Today's Top Stories

  • International consumer groups express concerns over foreign grant influence on FDA regulations

    International consumer groups express concerns over foreign grant influence on FDA regulations

    Over 35 national consumer organizations under the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) sounded the alarm over foreign grants on local health regulators that may adversely affect efforts to reduce the harm caused by combustible cigarettes in low and middle-income countries including the Philippines. INNCO particularly cited the influence exerted by non-government organizations supported by Bloomberg Initiative on regulators such as the Philippines Food and Drug Administration. “There is also an element of corruption aided by the Bloomberg NGOs, who are co-opting tobacco policy through the sheer force of money. The legislators in Philippines recently questioned the conflict of interest in their FDA receiving funds from these NGOs while pushing anti-vaping policy,” Samrat Chowdhery, president of INNCO and a leading tobacco harm reduction advocate, said during the recent virtual presentation of “Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) 2020” published by UK public health agency Knowledge Action Change (KAC). Chowdhery was referring to the Philippines FDA’s admission that it received foreign grants from American business interest groups Bloomberg Initiative and The Union while in the process of drafting regulation on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs).   During an online public consultation on the guidelines for e-cigarettes and HTPs, a ranking FDA official admitted that the agency received grants from foreign anti-tobacco advocates when confronted by Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing and Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Sur Rep. Deogracias Victor Savellano.  The GSTHR report also records various kinds of opposition to low-risk products being mounted by ant-vaping organizations such as the position paper by the influential Paris-based Union which called for a ban on vaping and HTPs in LMICs.  “This is, of course, highly discriminatory, will increase health gaps between western and developing nations, and is a prime instance of the philantro-capitalism kind of thinking that is highlighted in the GSTHR report,” said Chowdhery. He said that aside from bans in LMICs, there was also a growing number of restrictions on vaping and other risk-reduced alternatives—from higher taxation and restrictions on online sales, to the new favorite of tobacco control, which is flavor bans. He said this is happening across many US states and in Europe. Chowdhery said the war was also heating up on oral nicotine pouches—a new innovation that is like snus but without tobacco and low on the harm spectrum, close to nicotine gums in risk.  “We are seeing attempts to ban them in Baltic countries and the Bloomberg network is doing the same in Africa by spreading misinformation and overstating risks without any concern that they are affordable, less risky and effective in helping smokers switch,” he said. Chowdhery noted that these bans and restrictions which prevent access or increase barriers to tobacco harm reduction are now the biggest hurdle to achieving a society in which people do not die in millions per year from the harmful use of tobacco.  The GSTHR 2020 report said that globally, 36 nations currently ban low-risk alternatives, and most of them are LMICs in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.   Chowdhery said this is alarming because almost 80% of over a billion smokers worldwide live in developing nations where most of the 8 million annual deaths from smoking are recorded. He said that in most countries where there is a ban on tobacco harm reduction products, the main argument is that it was done to ‘Save the Children’.  He said this goal, in reality, is jeopardized as there is inadequate enforcement of the ban and a black market mushrooms which is difficult to control.  “We have seen this in Brazil, Mexico, Thailand and now in India. Recently, South Africa reversed its tobacco ban during Covid outbreak over concerns that the resultant black markets would be difficult to shake off,” he said. He said that ultimately, any move away from the concept of risk-differential taxation and increasing barriers to tobacco harm reduction ultimately serves to perpetuate smoking.  “It hurts the health of the country, but also causes huge financial loss as tobacco-related mortality and morbidity costs, as well as the lost man-hours, rise, and by decimating an industry which could create jobs and revenue while improving the health of tobacco users,” he said.  “This economic argument is stronger now than ever as countries struggle to cope during the pandemic—the answer isn’t in giving sops to the tobacco industry as Bhutan has done by ending its decades long tobacco ban, which was ineffective anyway, the answer is in allowing and promoting access to THR alternatives so while there is additional revenue, there isn’t additional death and disease,” said Chowdhery. He said such restrictions also violate human rights principles by denying tobacco users a means to prevent disease and early death.  “Personal liberty is built into almost all constitutions across the world, and especially when you take second-hand risk out of the equation, there remains absolutely no argument to prevent access without violating these basic principles. The failed war on drugs has led to introduction of harm reduction as among the core tenets of drug policy, and it’s time it caught on in tobacco control too,” he said. Chowdhery said despite these adverse developments, there is a glimmer of hope as science is slowly but steadily winning over ideology.  “Since the last edition of the GSTHR report in 2018, four countries have banned THR alternatives while 22 nations from various regions of the world have either reversed bans or put in place formal regulations allowing their use. The tide is turning, and I hope this trend continues in years to come,” he said.

    November 21, 2020

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  • Navy seizes P150-M smuggled cigarettes off Tawi-Tawi

    Navy seizes P150-M smuggled cigarettes off Tawi-Tawi

    ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Naval Task Force 61 and its 3rd Boat Attack Division have intercepted a shipment of PHP150 million worth of smuggled cigarettes off Tawi-Tawi, a top Navy official said Saturday. They seized the shipment in waters off the island town of Simunul at about 9 p.m. on Friday, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) commander, Commodore Toribio Adaci Jr., said. Adaci said the wooden-hull vessel, M/L Nur 1, was intercepted following a tip-off on the entry of the smuggled cigarettes. He said the Nur 1 was found to be loaded with some 3,000 master cases of undocumented cigarettes with an estimated market value of PHP150 million. The boat came from Tarakan, Indonesia, and was en route to a private wharf in Indanan, Sulu. It was skippered by Sahibul Hiyang Sirajan and had an eight-man crew. “It has been the modus operandi of smugglers operating in the region to drop off their goods somewhere and utilize several smaller boats to distribute them to the different places in Western Mindanao,” Adaci said. He said the Nur 1 was escorted to the Lamion Wharf in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi for refueling and reprovisioning and would be escorted to this city for turnover to the Bureau of Customs. Appropriate charges will be filed against the owner of the cargo, the vessel, and its crew. (PNA)

    November 12, 2020

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  • DAGYAW 2020: 3rd Episode feature challenges of the business and economic sectors

    DAGYAW 2020: 3rd Episode feature challenges of the business and economic sectors

    The succeeding episodes of Dagyaw 2020 became a hit and It has reached thousands of viewers and users online. The 3rd episode which dubbed as USAPANG NEGOSYO AT EKONOMIYA will be rolled out on October 30, Friday, 9 to 11 AM.       The 3rd episode will bring us to know the state of the Business and Economic Sector in the Region especially during this most challenging time when we are put under the state of national health emergency due to COVID19 pandemic.      The Participatory Governance Cluster of the Cabinet through the Department of the Interior and Local Government Region X (DILG-X), Department of Budget and Management (DBM-X), and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA-X) will host the 3rd episode of Dagyaw 2020.        NEDA 10 and Oro Chamber will be the guest speakers for the said episode while DOLE 10 and DTI 10 will be the responders. The event will be available through the DILG-X official Facebook Page and will be simultaneously live-streamed on various government agencies’ social media pages.       Moreover, Dagyaw 2020 aims to build mutual trust between the government and the Filipino people by providing open, neutral, and protected space for dialogue on key national and local issues and plans in the post of COVID-19 pandemic. (DILG 10/LGCDD/ Roque Salvo)

    October 29, 2020

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  • Emperador’s global presence continues to expand across North America, Europe and China

    Emperador’s global presence continues to expand across North America, Europe and China

    MANILA, Philippines - Emperador Inc. – the world’s largest brandy company owning the iconic Emperador Brandy and Fundador Spanish Brandy de Jerez – continues its aggressive growth across North America and Europe during the first nine months of the year even as the global pandemic adversely hit most countries in these continents.       Fundador, Tres Cepas, and Emperador brands have been growing consistently, particularly in the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Greater China. In Spain, brands owned and produced under Grupo Emperador España S.A. continue to dominate the brandy market with 40% market share.      Fundador has been particularly showing spectacular performance even in North America. In the United States alone, Fundador achieved 23% growth during the first nine months of the year. In Canada, sales have also tripled during the first nine months as Fundador Light has been made available in Alberta, Canada as a new expression this year. The new Fundador Double Light was also rolled out across the US.       Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, Fundador grew 185% during the first nine months, while in Italy, it recorded 15% growth during the same period. Emperador’s brandy performance, on the other hand, achieved 8% growth in Mexico during this period.      “We are glad that the company was able to deliver solid performance in the first nine months of 2020 on the strength of its international business that we have developed in the past five years.  The highest international growth comes from China, which is expected to more than double from last year, which will be driven by the premium single malt brands and brandy.  We are confident that this will pave the way for further growth in the future for Emperador,” says Glenn Manlapaz, chief executive officer, Emperador International.      As international sales of its brandy and whisky products in various markets around the world, Emperador recorded 11% growth in its net income to P5.9-billion during the first nine months of the year while third quarter earnings achieved 26% record growth to P2.5-billion as overseas demand for its products surged amid the global pandemic.       “The success of our international expansion boosted company earnings, bringing stability and growth at a time when the Philippines wrestles with the impact of the coronavirus.  Emperador’s global business saw double-digit growth as it adapted well to new consumption trends,” says Winston Co, president, Emperador Inc.      Emperador Inc., which owns Emperador Distillers, Inc., Scotch whisky maker Whyte and Mackay Group, and Bodegas Fundador in Spain, has brandy and whisky brands that are available in more than 100 countries around the world.

    October 28, 2020

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Emperador’s global presence continues to expand across North America, Europe and China

October 28, 2020

Corporate

By: , MANILA, Philippines - Emperador Inc. – the world’s largest brandy company owning the iconic Emperador Brandy and Fundador Spanish Brandy de Jerez – continues its aggressive growth across North America and Europe during the first nine months of the year even as the global pandemic adversely hit most countries in these continents.       Fundador, Tres Cepas, and Emperador brands have been growing consistently, particularly in the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Greater China. In Spain, brands owned and produced under Grupo Emperador España S.A. continue to dominate the brandy market with 40% market share.      Fundador has been particularly showing spectacular performance even in North America. In the United States alone, Fundador achieved 23% growth during the first nine months of the year. In Canada, sales have also tripled during the first nine months as Fundador Light has been made available in Alberta, Canada as a new expression this year. The new Fundador Double Light was also rolled out across the US.       Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, Fundador grew 185% during the first nine months, while in Italy, it recorded 15% growth during the same period. Emperador’s brandy performance, on the other hand, achieved 8% growth in Mexico during this period.      “We are glad that the company was able to deliver solid performance in the first nine months of 2020 on the strength of its international business that we have developed in the past five years.  The highest international growth comes from China, which is expected to more than double from last year, which will be driven by the premium single malt brands and brandy.  We are confident that this will pave the way for further growth in the future for Emperador,” says Glenn Manlapaz, chief executive officer, Emperador International.      As international sales of its brandy and whisky products in various markets around the world, Emperador recorded 11% growth in its net income to P5.9-billion during the first nine months of the year while third quarter earnings achieved 26% record growth to P2.5-billion as overseas demand for its products surged amid the global pandemic.       “The success of our international expansion boosted company earnings, bringing stability and growth at a time when the Philippines wrestles with the impact of the coronavirus.  Emperador’s global business saw double-digit growth as it adapted well to new consumption trends,” says Winston Co, president, Emperador Inc.      Emperador Inc., which owns Emperador Distillers, Inc., Scotch whisky maker Whyte and Mackay Group, and Bodegas Fundador in Spain, has brandy and whisky brands that are available in more than 100 countries around the world.

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SHELL’S 2ND VIRTUAL ART INTERACT SPOTLIGHTS MINDANAO | Creating stories of hope in isolation

October 20, 2020

Corporate

By: , Mindanao is hailed for its abundant natural resources and breathtaking landscapes. But beyond its pristine beaches and lush mountains is a burgeoning community of creatives who are injecting their unique Mindanaoan identity into art and using it as a force for good. As the country continues to grapple with COVID-19, Mindanaoan artists are stepping up to create stories of hope while in isolation. Following the theme of “HOPE IN OUR ART,” Pilipinas Shell’s 53rd National Students Art Competition (NSAC) held the second leg of Virtual Art Interact last October 17, in collaboration with creative collective Fringe Manila. Virtual Art Interact is also a platform where creatives can share their insights about their profession for the next generation. While the pilot event focused on the Luzon art scene, this recent forum put the spotlight on the growing community of creators in Mindanao. Since NSAC’s inception, Shell has acknowledged the vital role of visual artists, illustrators, sculptors, and other imaginative talents in shaping the youth and country’s future—especially now. “Through NSAC, we pledge our support to keep artists and art institutions alive. We want to amplify the youth’s voices, and continue the conversation on art’s importance,” said Sankie Simbulan, Country Social Performance and Investment Manager of Pilipinas Shell.  Simbulan continued, “The ethnic and cultural diversity of Mindanao and its rich history have given birth to a young generation of artists whose voices need to spread and be heard throughout the Philippines.”  Andrei Pamintuan, Creative Director of Fringe Manila and host of Virtual Art Interact, added, “This is a great opportunity to share stories from Mindanao. It’s important to be inclusive, especially for platforms like this, so that we can showcase the diversity of what’s happening in the Philippines.” Having survived many conflicts and calamities, Mindanao has proven itself to be a region of resilience—with artists at the helm of inspiring hope that propels the community forward.  Through his projects with Mindanao local governments, Zabala has been championing a fresh perspective of the region that does not let its past define its future. “At work, our goal is to recreate Mindanao’s image using art. For example, we created a campaign called ‘Zoom in Zamboanga City’ that is inspired by our rich history, nature, tourist spots, native patterns, and more,” Zabala explained. Being no strangers to crises, Zabala and fellow Mindaoan artists immediately heeded the call to once again inspire hope and courage as COVID struck the country. He shared, “The pandemic is a challenge for everyone. People have lost jobs, families have gone hungry, and mental health is affected. As public servants and artists, our work should never stop. We have since created several campaigns that promote generosity and kindness in the community.” Zabala, who did a live demonstration of digital illustration during the event, also discussed the many themes present in today’s art. “There are so many stories now about struggles and difficulties, both personal and in our country [Ang daming stories ngayon tungkol sa struggle]. As creatives, we use art to express our emotions and what we are going through.”  Zabala also pointed out one essential, if often overlooked, role that artists perform during crisis: “We also act as historians who visually piece together this moment in time—including all the contemplation and uncertainty it holds. When we look back on this period someday, art will help us make sense of it.” Isko Andrade, a former contestant and three-time winner of the NSAC, shared how he overcame the more discouraging moments during the pandemic. “COVID-19 has affected my career as an artist because of cancelled shows and exhibits, but I choose not to dwell on the negative side [Maraming nag-iba since nagka-COVID. Na-affect yung career ko as an artist kasi madaming cancelled shows at exhibits, pero di lang ako tumitingin sa mga negative].  “‘The pandemic has given me time to focus on myself, my craft, and taught me to appreciate and find inspiration in everything—whether they’re big or small [Pero ngayong pandemic, nakafocus ako sa sarili ko at sa art ko. Na-appreciate ko din ang bawat bagay, maliit man o malaki].” The Bulacan-based Andrade looked back on how opportunities presented themselves to him in the middle of adversity. One such door was his win during the NSAC competition in 2014. His winning oil on canvas piece, entitled ‘Ipinagkakait na Kalayaan,’ was in itself an example of triumph over adversity:  this life-changing canvas depicts paintbrushes ready to be buried, and was inspired by the death of his mother and the pains that come from being part of a broken family.  He said, “As a young student artist from the province, I had simple dreams of finishing college and getting a normal job. I didn’t think I could ever win NSAC, but it was such a big help for me and my family. I was able to pursue my art, and I learned to dream bigger. [Dati, pangarap ko lang sa probinsya ay makatapos ng pag-aaral at kumuha ng trabaho. Nakakatuwa dahil di ko akalain na mananalo ako sa NSAC. Sobrang laking tulong ng NSAC. Nakatapos ako ng pag-aaral at natuto akong mangarap ng higit sa pangarap ko.]” Zabala concurred that creative platforms such as NSAC are bringers of hope that can keep communities alive during the most difficult times. He said, “Art is a great tool for healing. It’s cathartic. We can use it to give people something to hold on to as they live through the pandemic.” Simbulan reminded the audience to remember and explore its rich heritage to mine stories for encouragement. She said, “As Filipinos, we have a wealth of culture and creativity that can act as reservoirs of hope and fuel for economic recovery. We can all learn a thing or two from artists—how to create more with less, how to discover new perspectives in the mundane, and how to find the silver lining amid this isolation..” The next and final leg of Shell Virtual Art Interact is set to happen on November 7 and will focus on the Visayas region. Meanwhile, the awarding of the NSAC, which currently has 1,300 entries, will take place on November 27. For more information, keep posted on Shell Philippines’ website and social media accounts.  Website: www.shell.com.ph Facebook: Shell

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SHARP PLASMACLUSTER ION TECHNOLOGY REACHES 90MILLION IN SALES GLOBALLY AND RELEASES NEW STUDIES IN REDUCING AIRBORNE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (SARS-CoV-2)

October 7, 2020

Corporate

By: , Sharp Philippines Corporation (SPC), with its goal of bringing convenience, protection, and lifestyle evolution to every Filipino household, recently launched its campaign “Stay Home, Stay Sharp”. It features products that are designed for the new normal setting — and one of its key features is Sharp's exclusive technology, the Plasmacluster Ion (PCI) Technology. In this time of global health crisis, this is SHARP’s way of keeping our homes free from viruses and bacteria. The Plasmacluster Ion Technology Sharp’s revolutionary technology, the Plasmacluster Ion (PCI) Technology will help Filipino households achieve a safe sanctuary. It has been proven to be effective against suspended airborne viruses and microbes that contaminate our air, leaving it cleaner and healthier.  This exclusive technology is a unique air purifying solution to eliminate disease-causing bacteria and viruses from poor air quality and it has been proven safe to humans regardless of the amount of ion concentration released in the air. The Plasmacluster Ions, which are the same type of positive and negative ions that is present in nature, come in contact with the airborne threats in the air, undergoing chemical reactions on their surfaces to form OH radicals. These OH radicals decompose the proteins on the surface membrane of the airborne threats by taking the hydrogen. Without protein, the airborne threats are disabled and in effect, deactivated. The hydrogen then combines with OH radicals, and together they transform to water which is released into the air. Tested by Over 30 Institutions and Organizations  Since 2000, Sharp is developing and improving Plasmacluster Ion Technology and with collaboration with over thirty (30) independent third-party research institutions and organizations across the globe, Sharp has been continuously promoting academic marketing to demonstrate the effectiveness of its Plasmacluster Ion Technology. In fact, there are numerous independent research organizations that have proven its clinical efficacy in suppressing the activity of harmful substances including influenza viruses, drug-resistant bacteria, and mite allergens, as well as in reducing bronchial inflammation levels in children with asthma. Above all, product safety, which is one of the biggest concerns of consumers before buying a product, has also been confirmed through research and studies. Rest assured, Sharp will continue to contribute to society by conducting a wide range of studies demonstrating the effectiveness of Plasmacluster Ion Technology. On the effectiveness of Plasmacluster Ion Technology in Reducing Airborne Novel Coronavirus Disease (SARS-CoV-2) In recent joint research conducted with Professor Jiro Yasuda of the National Research Center for the Control and Prevention of Infectious Diseases/Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Japan, Professor Asuka Nanbo, a Board member of the Japanese Society for Virology of the same institution, and Professor Hironori Yoshiyama of the Department of Microbiology, Shimane University Faculty of Medicine, and in cooperation with Nagasaki University, an internationally respected authority on infectious disease research, Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Technology was able to reduce floating novel coronavirus particles in the air, claiming it as a world first. Viruses present on the surface are much easier to eliminate with simple disinfectant,s unlike airborne viruses.    In the said study, Plasmacluster Ion Technology, which emits positive hydrogen ions and negative oxygen ions through a plasma discharge, demonstrated that the virus infectious titer was reduced by more than 90%.  A solution containing the novel coronavirus was released into a three-liter apparatus equipped with a Plasmacluster Ion device. The device discharged 10 million ions per cubic centimeter (cm3). Results claimed that the infectious titer in the retrieved solution was reduced by 91.3 percent in just 30 seconds compared with one that was not being exposed to Plasmacluster Ion. Sharp’s Corporation Masahiro Okitsu, Senior Executive Managing Officer, Smart Appliance, and Business Solution assured that the brand will continue to provide effective solutions in lowering the risk of infection. “Based on the result of this experiment, we will consider and provide effective uses of the Plasmacluster Ion Technology to mitigate the risk of coronavirus infection.” 90 Million Sales Mark Globally Currently, Sharp equips their appliances with Plasmacluster Ion (PCI) Technology to make them suitable for your home’s needs in this new normal. These are the appliances for cleaner and safer air: Refrigerators, Air Conditioner, Air Purifier (with mosquito catcher, with humidifier, with dehumidifier), Ion Generator, and Mite Catcher. In fact, the brand is now working to incorporate this technology to their Electric Fan products for the local market and it will be launched soon. As of April 2020, Sharp announced that it has reached the 90 million sales mark of products equipped with the Plasmacluster Ion Technology through its collaborations with different global businesses and industries such as hotels, hospitals, health clinics, restaurants, trains, vehicles, offices, banks, schools, training center, and supermarkets to name a few. Sharp will continue to expand the application of Plasmacluster Ion (PCI) Technology on its current industrial field of expertise and will seek new ways to apply it to other fields especially on medical devices.

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Heated tobacco products will benefit public health

August 23, 2020

Corporate

By: , THE US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization for IQOS to be marketed as a modified risk tobacco product is aligned with the claims of a leading tobacco harm reduction expert that the introduction of heated tobacco products (HTPs) as better alternatives to conventional cigarette will see public health gains. Helen Redmond, adjunct professor at New York University-Silver School of Social Work, said the introduction of HTPs or heat-not-burn (HNB) tobacco products will benefit public health. She noted that there is a widespread, mistaken notion that nicotine causes cancer and other health problems. “That is false,” the professor said. “The use of nicotine is no threat, because nicotine is not the problem. Combustible tobacco is … What causes health problems is lighting tobacco on fire. The combustion releases thousands of toxic chemicals.”  The US FDA, in its recent issuance, concluded that the commercialization of IQOS in the US, a heated tobacco product, developed by Philip Morris International, is “appropriate to promote the public health.” “The availability of IQOS is an incredibly important development for the millions of Americans who continue to smoke and who suffer almost half a million preventable deaths each year,” Redmond said. It has been known for decades that tar, and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke, causes the death and disease associated with smoking, and not nicotine.  HTPs are smoke-free devices that heat, instead of burn specially-designed tobacco units to release a flavorful nicotine-containing tobacco vapor. The most popular HTP brand today is IQOS—an electronic device that heats tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper to generate a nicotine-containing aerosol.   “Several tobacco companies have developed HNB products like IQOS from Philip Morris and Glo Pro and Glo Nano from British American Tobacco. The technology is constantly evolving and becoming more user-friendly,” Redmond said. A recent study by Dutch researchers entitled, “A Method for Comparing the Impact on Carcinogenicity of Tobacco Products: A Case Study on Heated Tobacco Versus Cigarettes” assessed eight carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) to understand the likely health impact on individuals who switch to IQOS, compared to those who continue smoking. The researchers concluded that while not risk-free IQOS is associated with 10 to 25 times lower exposure to these carcinogens, and that this could translate into a substantially improved risk profile. The study was published on May 1, 2020 in the monthly peer-reviewed academic journal Risk Analysis. Smoke-free nicotine products include electronic cigarettes or vapes and Swedish snus. Public Health England consistently conclude in its annual reviews of all available evidence that E-cigarettes are around 95-percent less harmful than smoking.   Redmond also noted that e-cigarettes and HNB proved effective in making smokers switch since they offer the same pleasure, rituals and relaxation associated with smoking. The UK's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) concluded in its February 2019 clinical trials that e-cigarette was twice as effective as nicotine replacement treatments such as patches and gum in helping smokers quit. “E-cigarettes and HNB products make nicotine consumption much safer. In that, they are similar to patches or gums. The crucial difference is they look and feel like cigarettes, replicating the rituals and the enjoyment of smoking for people who switch from combustible tobacco—and therefore reducing the risk of relapse,” said Redmond. Redmond cited the case of Japan where nearly a third of smokers have already switched to HNBs. “HNB products have been available in Japan since 2014. The result—cigarette sales in the country have plummeted, outstripping anything abstinence-only messages have achieved” she said.

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Finance chief sees '20 deficit to be around P1-T

May 15, 2020

Banking & Finance

By: , GOVERNMENT expenditures for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is expected to increase the budget deficit to around PHP1 trillion this 2020.     This was disclosed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III Wednesday but assured the public that the government was in a good financial position even before the pandemic hit.     The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has set a 3.2-percent budget deficit cap for this year amounting to PHP677.6 billion.     Dominguez said there are lots of numbers that economic managers are currently looking at, but cited “the first number you have to figure out (is) what exactly is going to be our deficit for the year.”     “And our estimate is about a trillion pesos, around a trillion,” he said.     Dominguez said the government’s four-pillar Covid-19 response is being funded by the tax collections, the dividends from government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), and loans, among others.     He said that although collections of taxes have been delayed due to postponement of filing of income tax returns (ITR) and other related documents because of the quarantine period, the government will still be able to collect these.     He added the government was able to receive record-high PHP120 billion dividends from GOCCs, and this will be a plus for the Covid-19 response program.     The government has signed several loan agreements with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB), among others.     These include the loan pact with ADB that allows the Duterte government to access up to USD1.5 billion in budgetary support for Covid-19 programs and the USD100-million loan from the WB.     Dominguez said they are also in discussions with the governments of Japan, Korea, China, and France for “project-based bilateral financing.”     He declined to give specifics on where the government’s Covid-19 response financing currently is since they are still awaiting the reports until end-April, but vowed to disclose this once the data is available.     “We are exactly where we want to be,” he added.     Meanwhile, Dominguez said Finance officials “are willing to look” at the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA) that Senators plan to pass to help companies recover from the economic impact of the global pandemic.     CITIRA is part of the government’s tax reform program that aims to correct the country’s tax system.     Dominguez earlier said Senate Bill No. 1357, or the CITIRA, targets to make incentives given to companies more targeted, which will allow the country to be more competitive in the region.     If this bill is approved this year, the special tax rate on gross income will be increased immediately this year from the present five percent to eight percent then to nine percent next year, and to 10 percent by 2022.     On Wednesday, Dominguez said they are “willing to look at it (CITIRA) and most likely cut it further more quickly than originally planned.” (PNA)

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PH banking system resilient vs. impact of health crisis

May 15, 2020

Banking & Finance

By: , REFORMS instituted in the past serve as buffers for the Philippine banking system vis-à-vis the impact of the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said.     In a briefing aired over the central bank’s Facebook page Thursday, Diokno said the domestic banking system and the Philippine economy in general is facing the pandemic “from a position of strength.”     He said the domestic financial system is the country’s first line of defense against the pandemic, and the banking industry is up for this task since it remains adequately capitalized with total banking assets accounting for 81.7 percent of the financial system’s resources as of last February.     “Reforms have been put in place to maintain sufficient buffers in times of crisis and ensure business continuity to serve financial consumers and to keep the economy going,” he said.     The sector’s overall loan quality “was satisfactory”, with a non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of 2.1 percent, he said.     Deposits remain the banks’ main funding source with a share of 85.2 percent of the total.     Capital adequacy ratio (CAR), a gauge of banks’ financial strength, of universal and commercial banks (U/KBs), stood at 15.4 percent on a solo basis, and 16 percent on consolidated basis as of end-2019.     These are higher than BSP’s 10-percent minimum threshold and Bank of International Settlements’ (BIS) 8-percent minimum requirement.     Total portfolio grew by 10.2 percent year-on-year as of last February.     “I believe the banking system is now benefiting from prudential reforms carried out during the last 20 years. Moving forward, the BSP will continue to pursue proactive measures aimed at further strengthening the banking system,” Diokno said. (PNA)

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Bank lending expands faster in March

May 15, 2020

Banking & Finance

By: , OUTSTANDING LOANS disbursed by universal and commercial banks rose by 12.9% in March, faster than the downward-revised 12% pace in February, according to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).     Inclusive of reverse repurchase agreements, lending rose by 14%, quicker than the upward-revised 11.3% logged in the prior month.     Data showed the rise in production loans, which made up 87.6% of the total credit, continued to be the main driver of growth. Lending to the sector grew quicker at a pace of 12% from the 9.4% seen in February.     The sustained increase in production loans is attributable to an increase in credit for real estate activities (21.8%); information and communication (20.8%); financial and insurance activities (17.2%); wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (6.8%); and electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply (7.7%).     Other sectors also saw rise in loans except for manufacturing (-0.4%) and mining and quarrying (-5.3%), the BSP said.     On the other hand, growth of loans disbursed for households eased to 22.9% from the upward-revised 37.7% logged in February. This was mainly due to the slower expansion in credit card and motor vehicle loans during the month.     UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion attributed the pickup in lending to the market’s reaction after the easing moves done by the central bank since 2019.     “Since last year, we know that the BSP has been on an easing stance. RRP (reverse repurchase rate) cuts were made including other liquidity measures such as the RRR reduction. The market has been responding and liquidity in the market has been ample and growing,” Mr. Asuncion said in an e-mail.     In 2019, the BSP slashed rates by a total of 75 basis points (bps) before opting for a pause. By yearend, the overnight reverse repurchase rate was at four percent while lending and deposit rates were at 4.5% and 3.5%, respectively.     Meanwhile, reserve requirement ratios (RRR) were slashed by a total of 400 bps last year, which reduced the RRR of big banks as well as thrift and rural banks to 14%, four percent, and three percent as of end-2019.     BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno has said monetary policy tends to work with a lag of about three to nine months.     For this year, the BSP has been aggressive as it seeks to curtail the impact of the virus on the economy. It has cut rates by a total of 125 bps thus far which reduced overnight reverse repurchase, deposit and lending rates to record lows of 2.75%, 3.25% and 2.25%, respectively.     The BSP has likewise reduced RRR of universal and commercial banks by another 200 bps to 12%.     In the coming months, the lockdown measures may dent lending growth, according to Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort.     “Bank loans could start to slow down in April and May 2020 and could even potentially contract in Q2 2020 together with the broader economy, depending on how long the lockdown would last,” Mr. Ricafort said.

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PCCI asks financial institutions to extend loan maturity for biz

May 12, 2020

Banking & Finance

By: , THE country’s largest business organization, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), is asking banks and other financial institutions to extend loan maturity for enterprises for at least one year for them to be able to recover from the impact of the community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.     In a statement Monday, PCCI said the extension should include loans due between March 16, 2020 to December 31, 2020.     PCCI President Benedicto Yujuico said the business group’s members have a growing concern on their “deteriorating cash positions and diminishing ability to avoid massive lay-offs” as most businesses are closed during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that started in mid-March.     “The ECQ has brought substantially all businesses to a sudden and unexpected stop. Many are now facing economic distress, forcing them to resort to drastic cost-cutting, lay-offs, and pay cuts.  Even as the government slowly relaxes the quarantine measures, we expect that the effects of this crisis will continue to be felt and that businesses will continue to struggle through the end of 2020,” Yujuico said.     He added a loan extension for at least a year will go a long way to preserve employment and averting permanent closure of businesses, which are clients and partners of banks and the non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs).     “Without the support of Philippine banks and other NBFIs, many businesses will likely be forced to shut down,” the PCCI chief added.     Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) regions, where a large percentage of businesses are located, have been placed under ECQ for two months. (PNA)

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SMC to buy 4 million kilos of surplus corn from DA, to utilize its Petron stations as outlets for farm produce

April 26, 2020

Economy

By: , San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is teaming up with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to mass purchase agricultural produce, starting with four million kilos of surplus corn, to provide a lifeline to farmers and help secure the country’s food supply in the midst of COVID-19.     The surplus corn is enough to produce feeds for over 7 million live broilers that can eventually feed 4 million families in one day.     SMC is also in talks with the DA to utilize strategic Petron stations nationwide as outlets for government’s “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” rolling store program, to make farm produce such as fruits and vegetables accessible to consumers. The program is the market system project of the DA that links local farmers to consumers to ensure the sale of agricultural produce at reasonable prices.     “Through this program with the Agricultural department, we will be able to keep our farmers afloat as we navigate these uncertain times. At the same time, we also help people stay safe, healthy and nourished by providing them a convenient way to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from our local farmers,” SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said.     Petron stations that will be initially tapped as venues for Kadiwa stores are Filinvest, Dasmarinas/Edsa and Katipunan/La Vista. The company said that more gas stations will be added in the coming days. Currently, SMC’s Petron stations also serve as sites for SMC’s Manukang Bayan refrigerated vans, which bring fresh chicken and other refrigerated and canned meats closer to consumers.     He thanked the DA for offering its network of corn and cassava farmers to supply its San Miguel Foods, Inc. with raw materials for continuous food production.     “We thank the DA for helping us identify possible sources of corn and cassava and farmers who are in need of help. By helping them, we will also ensure that we get the needed raw material supplies for our various food products,” he said     Among these are some 25,000 hectares of corn farms in Cagayan, where much of the surplus corn will come from. The company is also looking to the DA to link it with cooperative heads in Tuguegarao for sourcing of cassava.     SMC said it will buy the produce at pre-agreed prices and volume, as part of a long-term partnership.     The company has also reiterated its call to farmers nationwide to supply rice, corn, cassava, sweet potato, coconut oil and other farm products that will be bought at guaranteed prices for the farmers benefit.      Ang emphasized the need to sustain economic activity in the food value chain, which includes agricultural products suppliers, processing, and shipping to retailers.      SMC has assured a stable food supply for at least six months even beyond the ECQ with the 24/7 operation of its food facilities. SMC’s food facilities can produce a daily output of 1.96 million kilograms of fresh meats (poultry, beef, and pork); 524,000 kilograms of processed meats (canned meat, nuggets, and hotdogs); and 2.11 million kilograms of flour/baked goods (flour, biscuits, pandesal, and nutribuns).     It also continues to donate food products, rice, and flour to vulnerable communities in support of the government’s Covid-19 relief efforts.

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Food rationing starts in Davao City

March 25, 2020

Economy

By: Che Palicte, PNA, DAVAO CITY – The city government rolled out food rations to some 50,000 families beginning Monday (March 23), as part of the aid package for those affected by the restrictive measures adopted to prevent the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).      Mayor Sara Duterte said those who qualify to receive the food rations are the indigents and out-of-work head of a family, contractual workers whose no pay and out-of-work head of a family, self-employed and out-of-work head of a family, and low-income head of family with significant loss or reduction of income.      “To those who are not residents of this city, do not worry because we [mayors in Davao Region] agreed to give food rations in our respective constituents,” Duterte assured.      She added that in order to avail of the relief goods, ration cards are distributed through the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) and the barangay leaders.      “During the distribution of the relief goods, we still have to observe social distancing,” she said, adding that a system will be in place to ensure the smooth distribution of the rations.      Mayor Sara said barangay chairpersons distributing the ration cards are monitored by team leaders consisting of the members of the City Council to ensure that the rationing is properly implemented, as well as to manage the issues in the barangays.      The mayor also called on members of the private sector that are providing relief goods to coordinate with Task Force Davao to avoid crowding or worse, chaos.      "We are prohibiting the private sector from giving relief goods directly to the people because this will cause chaos; this will be disorganized, and this will cause people to gather around," she said.      “Rest assured that your donations will reach the people. We do this to avoid mass gathering,” Duterte added. (PNA)

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Go hits irresponsible media accusations

March 25, 2020

Economy

By: , SENATOR BONG GO, in a message yesterday, lashed out at some print media outfits for coming out with a story that criticized his visit to Butuan City last March 14. The news report, he said, was very irresponsible.        “Sa aking pagbisita po sa Butuan City noong March 14, nais ko pong klaruhin muli ang mga pangyayari:       - Totoo na dumaan ako sa isang Evacuation Center para dalawin ang mga nasunugan, magbigay ng tulong, pakinggan ang kanilang mga hinaing, maghanap ng solusyon sa kanilang pang araw-araw na mga problema, at mag-iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng kanilang pagdadalamhati.       - WALANG MASS GATHERING NA SADYANG INORGANISA. Evacuation Center po ang pinuntahan ko. Doon na po sila pansamantalang nakatira bago pa ako dumating. Hindi ko sila sinadya na itipon sa lugar na iyon.       - Sa kooperasyon ng mga pulis at pati na rin ng mga evacuees, ipinaliwanag ko na kahit gusto ko man sila yakapin, kamayan, kamustahin, at lapitan, sinigurado ko na kaming galing Maynila ay NAKA-DISTANSYA sa mga taga Butuan City para rin po sa kaligtasan ng lahat kahit na wala naman kaming sakit. May barriers pa nga pong inilagay.       - Sinigurado ko po na ang tulong at serbisyong ibinigay namin ay sa pamamaraan na HINDI MAKAKASAMA sa kanilang kalusugan at mananatiling ligtas sila sa anumang karamdaman.       - Pinayuhan ko rin ang local officials at national agencies na MADALIIN ANG PAGBIGAY NG TULONG lalo na ng tirahan sa mga nawalan ng bahay dahil paano naman po sila susunod sa “Social Distancing measures” kung wala naman silang ibang matitirhan kundi doon sa evacuation center na kumpol-kumpol sila.       Para sa inyong kaalaman, March 9 nangyari ang sunog sa Butuan City. 444 na pamilya o 2,292 na indibidwal ang apektado at humingi ng tulong sa atin. March 12, nagpa-test kami ni Pangulong Duterte para malaman kung infected kami ng COVID-19. March 13 lumabas ang resulta at sinabing negatibo kami sa sakit at pwede kaming magserbisyo sa publiko. March 15 naman magiging epektibo ang “Community Quarantine” sa Metro Manila base sa inanunsyo ng Pangulo noong March 12 sa kanyang presscon.       Dahil dito, nagdesisyon ako na pumuntang Butuan City ng March 14 — isang araw matapos sinabing negatibo ako sa COVID-19, at isang araw bago ipagbawal ang paglipad mula Maynila — para magpadala ng sarili kong tulong sa mga nasunugan.       Hindi ko matiis na hindi tumulong sa kapwa. Ipinangako ko ito sa taumbayan na kahit saan man, basta kaya ng oras at katawan ko, pupuntahan ko kayo. Hindi ko po makakaya na ipagpaliban o ipagkait sa kanila ang tulong na kanilang hinihingi mula sa atin.       Nagpapasalamat po ako sa mga iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno na sumaklolo sa hinaing ng mga biktima ng sunog at pati na rin sa mga LGUs na nagbigay rin ng tulong. Napaka-importante po ang pagtutulungan ng national government at mga LGUs sa panahon ng sakuna. Isa po ito sa aking prayoridad bilang isang Senador at public servant.       Nagpapasalamat rin ako sa mga artista na sumama sa akin at kusang nagsakripisyo para pasayahin ang ating mga kababayang nangangailangan. Sila Robin Padilla, Philip Salvador, at Victor Neri ay tumugon sa tawag dahil alam nila na sa kanilang sariling paraan ay nabigyan nila ng saya at pag-asa ang kanilang kapwa. Si Robin, tumakas pa ng bahay para iparamdam ang kanyang pagmamalasakit.       Sa mga bumabatikos, tumulong nalang sana kayo. Hindi po nakakain ang inyong batikos. Hindi rin iyan nakakatulong sa mga naghihirap. Dumadagdag rin lang kayo sa problema. Puro dada, wala namang nagawa.       Wala po kaming ibang interes kundi tumulong at alagaan ang kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino. Hindi po kami takot mamatay. As always, I will continue to serve and I will die serving the Filipino people.      Now more than ever, we, as elected officials should do everything we can to be of service to the Filipino people. The government as a whole should still do its job in a manner that will not put the health of others at risk. Hindi pwedeng ipagpaliban ang tulong sa kapwa Pilipino, tuloy-tuloy dapat ang serbisyo.

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PH Saves Billions with NGCP's Financing Grid Expansion

November 22, 2019

Economy

By: , As it strives to become the strongest power grid in Southeast Asia, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has so far invested P151 billion in the Philippines’s aging transmission system. A total of 5,626 transmission structures, 2,472 circuit-kilometers of transmission lines, 18 new substations, 63 upgraded substations, and an additional 15,634 MVA of transformer capacity has been installed in the past 10 years.      Being the country’s sole transmission service provider, NGCP lays the highways where reliable and sustainable power flows from generating plants to distribution utilities, industries, businesses, and households. Tasked with operating, maintaining, and expanding the power grid, NGCP is dedicated to improving the country’s transmission network. Better power transmission for the nation      The company completed 109 projects which include the Lumban-Bay 230kV Transmission Line Project which provided maximum dispatch of power plants from South Luzon to the Load Center; San Esteban – Laoag 230kV Transmission Line Project which accommodated the renewal energy power plants in Northern Luzon; Luzon Voltage Improvement Projects which provided additional MegaVolt Ampere Reactive (MVAR) capacity to improve power quality; Bataan Grid Reinforcement Project which accommodated a 600MW Coal Power Plant in Bataan;  Santiago-Tuguegarao 230kV Transmission line project, ensuring a more reliable and better quality of power transmission services for power consumers in Isabela, Cagayan, Kalinga, Apayao; and the Typhoon Nina Rehabilitation Project which upgraded the wind rating of transmission towers in Bicol region to withstand super typhoon winds of up to 300 kph.      In Mindanao, the company completed, among others, the Balo-i-Villanueva (Kirahon)-Maramag-Bunawan 230kV Transmission Line, the first 230kV transmission line in the region that connects the northern and southern Mindanao; the Aurora-Polanco 138kV Transmission Line which improved the reliability and power quality in Zamboanga del Norte; the Matanao-Culaman (Malita) 230kV Line which accommodated a new generating capacity in the Davao Occidental; the General Santos-Tacurong 138kV Transmission Line which catered the load growth and provided reliable transmission facility in SOCCSKSARGEN region; the Matanao-General Santos 138kV Line which provided N-1 to the existing line; and various substations such as Toril Substation and Opol Substation.            For the Visayas, NGCP energized the submarine portion of the Cebu-Negros-Panay 230kV Backbone Stage 1 which provided an additional transfer capacity between Negros and Panay; the Ormoc-Babatngon 138kV Transmission Line, reinforcing power transmission delivery in the Leyte and Samar provinces; the Southern Panay 138kV Backbone which addressed the load growth in the Panay area; the Calong-Calong-Toledo-Colon-Cebu 138kV Transmission Line, constructed to provide N-1 provision to the existing 138kV transmission corridor in Cebu; and the Bohol 138kV Backbone Line which provided a more stable and reliable transmission network in Bohol. More in the pipeline      NGCP’s Transmission Development Plan (TDP) details these priority projects to improve transmission backbones and alternative transmission corridors, and to develop resiliency policies for power transmission facilities.      The company is set to complete more projects in the coming years, among which are: the 500kV Substation Projects (Taguig and Marilao) and 230kV Substation Projects (Pasay, Navotas, and Antipolo) to cater to the load growth of Metro Manila; the Cebu – Bohol 230kV Interconnection Project to accommodate the load growth and provide reliability of Bohol Island; the Nabas-Caticlan-Boracay Interconnection Project to accommodate the load growth and provide reliability of the Boracay Island; the Visayas Voltage Improvement Project to improve the power quality in Visayas; the Mindanao 230kV backbone project to upgrade the region’s transmission capacity and secure the reliability of power transmission services throughout the island; the Mindanao Substation Upgrading Project to increase the substation capacity and improve power quality; and the Kabacan 138kV Substation Project which will contribute to power reliability in South Western Mindanao area.      An estimated total investment worth P463 billion is programmed for the next ten years. Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection      NGCP is on-track to complete the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP), considered as the largest energy infrastructure in the history of the country.       “We are dedicated to completing the MVIP by December 2020 not only because we committed this, but also because interconnection among the three main grids is long overdue. The interconnection of Visayas and Mindanao was first proposed by government in 1984; but it was private entity NGCP which brought the government’s decades old plan from the feasibility stage to the implementation and completion stage,” stated NGCP.      “Our projects, which will be worth PhP188 billion by end of 2019, and those in the pipeline, are meticulously planned by our engineers and updated year after year with careful consideration for the needs of every single area in the country,” NGCP noted.      NGCP is a Filipino-led, privately owned company in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid, led by majority shareholders Henry Sy, Jr. and Robert Coyiuto, Jr.

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Suzuki Introduces New Online Auto Loan Feature

May 18, 2020

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines Inc. (SPH), the pioneer compact car distributor in the country, brings good news to its avid customers and to those looking into purchasing their own automobile with the new Auto Loan feature found on their official website. With this new addition to one of its many available services, getting a new car is now a few clicks away!      SPH just launched a new feature on their website allowing customers to be able to apply for auto loans online. In partnership with banks including Bank of Commerce, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Chinabank Savings, East West Bank, Maybank, PS Bank, RCBC, Robinsons Bank, UCPB, and Yulon Finance, the Auto Loan Feature directs customers to their preferred bank’s website page dedicated for auto loans. Once accomplished by interested patrons, their bank of choice will be able to review and grant them the loans if eligible as they are in operation.      This new online service presented by Suzuki Philippines is an effort to provide ways to serve its customers by being reachable amid the current situation in the country brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to launch the online Auto Loan service with the help of dependable financial institutions is rooted from the realization that during this time of uncertainty, consumers are longing for a sense of security and reliability, more than just the product itself. SPH believes that their vehicles across different segments may provide this longing by staying committed in championing the Suzuki Way of Life! to the Filipino people and relentlessly finding solutions especially when people are now more than ever, highly concerned about where to tunnel their investments that will prove to be beneficiary to them even after these challenging times.

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Kawasaki Joins the Fight Against Covid-19 by Producing Medical Face Shields for Donation

May 18, 2020

Motoring

By: , Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) has begun manufacturing medical face shields and gowns at our Kobe and Harima factories, and has been donating them to medical facilities since the 20th of April.     Up to 500 medical face shields can be made per day using the transparent pattern film used for steel processing, and up to 1,400 medical gowns can be produced per day based on the guidelines by Osaka University Hospital. We have been donating the supplies to Kawasaki Hospital (Kobe City) since 20th April, and plan to supply to other prefectural hospitals as well through the Hyogo Prefecture Hospital Bureau.     KHI would like to express their appreciation for the medical staff who have been devoting themselves on the frontlines. By utilizing their design, production and quality control techniques to efficiently produce medical face shields and gowns for donation to medical institutions, they hope to contribute to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.     KHI also reaches out to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. They sincerely hope that those currently suffering from the virus will recover quickly, and that the spread of COVID-19 will end as soon as possible.

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VP Robredo Receives Suzuki Motorcycle Service Units for Healthcare Workers

May 2, 2020

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines, Inc. - one of the country's top motorcycle manufacturers shares help to those fighting the COVID19 battle at the front - the nurses and medical personnel by lending motorcycles as their transport service. This is in partnership with the Office of the Vice President's (OVP) Angat Buhay Program which is a flagship anti-poverty campaign relying on private partnerships in implementing its activities seeking to help people from the marginalized sector and recently to support our frontliners in the fight against COVID19. The units were turned over and received by Vice President Leni Robredo herself on April 23, 2020.  Suzuki lends 10 units of the Raider J Crossover to serve Angat Buhay's Free Dorm for Healthcare Workers hospitals' staff. Two of these - the Teacher's Village Dorm and Holy Family School in Maginhawa; will benefit from this initiative from Suzuki. Tenants of these dorms are working at East Avenue Medical Center, Philippine Children's Medical Center, Philippine Lung Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute and Philippine Heart Center. The Raider J Crossover is Suzuki's latest bike launched in February and the brand believes that it is the fitting ride for the frontliners, it is efficient and economical. More than that, since social distancing is a top priority nowadays, a solo ride on a motorcycle now provides one of the best means of transportation. "We are one with the whole nation in this fight against COVID19. We hope that these motorcycles help our frontliners in their commute to their respective medical facilities efficiently and safely. We will heal and overcome this together as one team Suzuki," Mr. Akira Utsumi said in a statement. "Thank you so much Suzuki Philippines for lending these units to us. These motorcycles will go a long way in helping our medical dormers," said Vice President Leni Robredo.  

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The Ford Ranger: Built To Last During Tough Times

May 2, 2020

Motoring

By: , MANILA, Philippines, 28 April 2020 – In times of uncertainties during natural calamities and pandemic crises, Filipinos are known for their resilience, strength and unwavering toughness even in the most trying times, rising above all odds and challenges.     This is why pickup trucks such as the Ford Ranger have become a popular choice among Filipinos who look for a tough and reliable vehicle for their needs. Built purposeful, the Ford Ranger has a durable design, proven performance, and segment-leading technologies to help get the job done.      Time-tested utilitarian characteristics give the Ford Ranger the ultimate edge as your daily workhorse. Its generous cargo space tied with 1.3 tons maximum payload capacity and impressive 800mm water wading capability with 230mm high ground clearance enable you to carry numerous back-breaking loads while effortlessly carving through obstacles both on and off-road. It features a Tailgate Lift Assist that makes lifting and lowering the tailgate easier when loading and unloading cargo.      A truck bed full of supplies and equipment demands a tremendous amount of power to effectively reach its destination. The Ford Ranger is equipped with the 2.0L Bi-Turbo Diesel engine capable of generating 213PS and 500Nm of torque coupled with 10-speed automatic transmission, delivering more than enough power to move heavy loads while remaining exceptionally fuel-efficient.     The Ford Ranger is also packed with advanced features to ensure maximum safety and convenience for drivers and passengers on-board. With the Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, pedestrians and vehicles near you are detected and alerts you with an audible and visual warning. The Ford Ranger also features Active Park Assist and rearview camera and sensors to ease your worries away during parking.     Enhanced Ranger lineup      At the start of the year, Ford Philippines introduced a series of enhancements to its entire Ford Ranger lineup to give customers more value in their pickup truck without any price increase.     The Ford Ranger XLS and XLT variants now come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability. Perfect for customers with workhorse and utility needs, the Ranger XLS and XLT variants are equipped with a selection of features that combine powerful performance with work-ready capability.     Meanwhile, Ranger Wildtrak 4x2 variants now have a new wheel design and LED headlamps. The Wildtrak 4x4 also has a new wheel design and LED headlamps with the addition of a high-mount USB feature to support various dashcam models. The Ranger Wildtrak combines iconic Ranger design qualities, powerful performance, and advanced technologies to suit work and play needs.      Finally, the Ranger Raptor now comes with a camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping aid, high-mount USB, and LED headlamps, enhancing the Raptor’s driver-assist technologies that make it a high-performance but safe and reliable pickup truck.     The new Ford Ranger FX4 is the latest addition to the Ranger portfolio, boasting of a bold design inside out and features that help widen the appeal of the Ranger among customers seeking for a versatile and capable pickup truck.       To know more about the Ford Ranger, visit www.ford.com.ph/trucks/ranger.

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