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‘BUSINESS’ Archives



Competition in infrastructure services can enhance exports
Read 236 times | Posted on October 27, 2012 @ 5 years ago

Competition in infrastructure services can enhance exports

The Philippines and other developing countries may consider introducing competition into infrastructure monopolies which is crucial for enhancing export competitiveness.

This is the recommendation of trade experts in the book titled “Combating Anti-competitive Practices,” published by the International Trade Centre (ITC). ITC is the joint cooperation agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations for business aspects of trade development.

The book is co-authored by economist and judge of Supreme Court of France Dr. Frederic Jenny, and two members of the WTO’s Intellectual Property Division –counselor Robert Anderson and legal affairs officer Anna Muller.

The trade experts pointed out that measures to strengthen competition are important complement to other reforms aimed at improving performance in the provision of public infrastructure services, including transportation, energy and telecommunications.

“Successfully implemented, such measures offer substantial potential benefits for the users of such services, including (very much) export-oriented businesses,” they said.

This, as infrastructure services account for much of the costs of export-oriented and other developing and transition economy businesses.

The authors said restructuring and applying appropriate competition rules to this sector merit consideration by all countries as a complement to participation in trade-liberalizing agreements and arrangements.

The report stressed that competition laws are important to deal with three main sets of business practices: cartels, mergers between competing firms and abuses of dominant position.

It also cited the need to introduce competitive access regime and measures such as the separation of potentially competitive segments from other segments that constitute genuine natural monopolies.

The report, however, did not recommend a uniform or ‘blanket’ approach to the implementation of competition-oriented structural reforms across all sectors and countries.

“Experts counsel a ‘case-by-case’ approach. User businesses and their associations, in addition to public interest and other advisory bodies, play a role in providing input to policy formulation,” it said.

Likewise, countries should establish and strengthen incentives for investment, innovation, the creation of efficient management structures and productivity improvement, the authors added. — Danielle Venz, PHILEXPORT News and Features



Boosting public goods and services provision can curb corruption
Read 375 times | Posted on October 27, 2012 @ 5 years ago

Boosting public goods and services provision can curb corruption

The Philippines should efficiently provide public goods and services and create a business-friendly environment in an effort to stamp out corruption.

Dr. Ronald Mendoza, executive director of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Center and associate professor of economics, made this recommendation based on results of the 2009 AIM Enterprise Survey Data indicating that more corruption was reported by firms if they were located in cities with very poor business environments.

The survey, which was implemented in the second quarter of 2009, covered about 1,740 firms in 29 cities in the country.

“Results suggest that corruption affects Philippine SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in a very pernicious way,” he said in a forum recently organized by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

Mendoza said there is an observation that there are possibly higher opportunities for corruption bribe-seeking when public goods and services are inadequate and inefficient.

He said the survey found that bribery was reported by companies who got their business permits a month late, those which experienced an hour of power interruption, with roads that were poorly maintained, those that accessed informal sources of credit, and firms in cities with high poverty incidence.

With this, Mendoza said lowering the number of steps to set up a business could thus reduce the opportunity for ‘gatekeepers’ to extort bribes.

To boost competitiveness, Mendoza said that poverty in the country should be reduced through improving education, health and other human capital investments.

“This could also have knock-on effects in building a stronger “demand” by a well-educated voting cohort for less corruption and a more professional public sector at the local level,” he said.

Mendoza likewise stressed the role of the media in helping curb corruption, noting that these might also facilitate more information on the practice and more likelihood to report bribery.

“Policymakers need to address these challenges if they are to unleash the full potentials of SMEs,” he said.

The SME sector comprises about 99.6 percent of all registered firms nationwide, employs 69.9 percent of the labor force and contributes 32 percent to the economy. — Danielle Venz, PHILEXPORT News and Features



Cities urged to adopt cluster-based strategies to boost growth
Read 315 times | Posted on October 27, 2012 @ 5 years ago

Cities urged to adopt cluster-based strategies to boost growth

The head of the League of Cities is urging cities to implement cluster-based strategies to further spur developments and continue to be the country’s most dynamic areas.

“Development planners tell us that as economies become more globalized, cities need to adopt policies that embrace the tendency for industry clustering,” said Oscar Rodriguez, mayor of the city of San Fernando, Pampanga.

Rodriguez, in a recent business conference, underscored the need for cities to interconnect to each other to achieve growth and development.

“As more and more people converge on cities, for instance, we realize the wisdom of interconnecting with other cities particularly those contiguous to us in terms of geography, resource profile, or even culture. No man is an island and the same is true for a city,” he noted.

To this end, Rodriguez said his city has entered into a sister-city agreement with its neighbor Angeles City, noting that the partnership hopes to give opportunities for cooperative efforts to advance their mutual interests.

He said they also supported the bid of another neighbor in the province, Mabalacat, to become a new city of Pampanga. The town’s graduation to cityhood resulted in higher revenue and overall economic gains.

“We shall continue to look for more partners with which we can “cluster” in our search for sustainable development and growth that will benefit our people,” he added.

Rodriguez, also the president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, said cities should work harder to boost their respective competitiveness.

He cited efforts at cutting the cost of doing business and ‘satisfying business needs’ as among the key drivers for achieving competitive standards among cities.

“For LGUs (local government units), particularly cities, to be competitive, they have to excel in their job of providing services and support facilities to their communities, particularly to business enterprises that also want to contribute their share for the betterment of the domestic economies,” he added.

Moreover, Rodriguez said that while the overall Philippine economy grew in 2011 by 3.9 percent, much higher rates of expansion were registered in many of the regions outside highly urbanized Metro Manila.

The National Capital Region shared a slightly lower 35.7 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011. Of the country’s 17 regions, seven posted growth rates last year that were higher than Metro Manila, he said. — Danielle Venz, PHILEXPORT News and Features



MERALCO launches program to help SMEs reduce power costs
Read 220 times | Posted on October 27, 2012 @ 5 years ago

MERALCO launches program to help SMEs reduce power costs

The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has launched the time-of-use (TOU) metering program specifically designed to help small and medium enterprises (SME) within its franchise area to help reduce the cost of their monthly electric consumption.

The program was announced by Francisco Collantes, Jr., manager of the electric distributor’s SME relationship management office.

Under the program, SMEs could enroll in the program by applying with Collantes’ office. After the payment of some fees, the SME enrollees will be given special metering devices that computes consumption of electricity not under the present blended rates, but on a time-of-use rates.

Collantes explained that cheaper rates are charged during off-peak hours while peak hours are also charged peak or high rates. The differentiated rates affect only generation charges.

From Mondays to Saturdays, peak hours when generation charge are highest is from 8:00 in the morning to 8:00 in the evening. The rest of the day are off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper. On Sundays, electricity is expensive only from six to eight in the evening.

The program was unrolled after the company piloted the program with different SMEs in Metro Manila. Among those piloted, the partner enterprises made between five and 20 percent of savings on their two-month electric bills.

Applied on micro enterprises, the savings on electric bills were found not to be very significant and took more than two months before their impact was felt.

Collantes said that the program is best enjoyed by the BPO industry that deploys people during the night, enterprises that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and those with night shifts. Savings are highest on Sundays when peak hours are only from six to eight in the evening. — Abe P. Belena, PHILEXPORT News and Features



Villars open Sendong Memorial, pay tribute to victims, the living
Read 286 times | Posted on October 27, 2012 @ 5 years ago

Villars open Sendong Memorial, pay tribute to victims, the living
BY PAT SAMONTE

BULUA, CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Senator Manny Villar and Cynthia Villar, Chairman and Managing Director, respectively, of Villar Foundation, led the unveiling and dedication ceremonies on Thursday of Sendong Memorial, built to honor the memory of those who died and went missing when Tropical Storm Sendong ravaged this city on December 17 last year.

Cynthia Villar dedicated the memorial not only to those who perished but to the living as well, “Through the Sendong Memorial, may we be able to help you pay homage to the memory of your dearly departed loved ones. The memorial will stand as a lasting tribute, not to the death, but to the lives of those whom we have lost, to the people who helped Cagayan de Oro recover…”

The memorial occupies 716 square meters inside the Villar Foundation’s Golden Haven Memorial Park here. Made of travertine and black granite base, it features an ascending circular marker in the middle, accented by a water fountain. Its 13 pillars bear the names of the confirmed and identified casualties of Typhoon Sendong.

Sendong was one of the worst natural calamities that hit Mindanao and one of the deadliest cyclones to visit the Philippines in the last 12 years. Some 1,200 lives were lost and hundreds more were unaccounted for. It affected almost 150,000 people and damaged P1.3 billion worth of farm crops, infrastructure and property.

Mrs. Villar said the memorial stands “to remind us that we should take care of our environment to prevent disasters in the future. Typhoon Sendong, which many say was caused by climate change and deforestation, shows the pressing need for Filipinos to protect the environment.”

She praised the local government for its environmental efforts including the dredging of the Cagayan de Oro river, the overflowing of which contributed to the Sendong disaster.

In this context, she said the Villar Foundation is involved in various environment-related projects particularly its flagship Sagip Ilog program that has won numerous international awards including the United Nations’ Best Water Management award last year.

She added that “We will try to help the Sendong victims’ families through livelihood projects. We will also try to come up with measures to mitigate the effects of typhoons and other natural calamities.”

For his part, Sen. Manny Villar said, “It is proper and fitting to remember the victims of Typhoon Sendong. Through this simple effort, we offer this memorial to remember the people who perished. We also recall and praise the bravery and heroism of some of our countrymen.”

In Tagalog, he said humbly, “Pagpasensiyahan nyo po itong aming konting alay,” referring to the Sendong Memorial.
Sen. Villar announced his retirement from politics. He assured however, that “I will pursue my activities to help the poor full time. Poverty is one problem that we should try hard to solve.”

Several thousands gathered at the blessing and dedication of the memorial including local officials, survivors, families and relatives of victims, donors, members of religious groups and people from the academe.

-30-



Power group meets to prioritize MisOr electrification roadmap
Read 295 times | Posted on October 22, 2012 @ 5 years ago

Power group meets to prioritize MisOr electrification roadmap

Cagayan de Oro City – Energy firm STEAG State Power Inc. (SPI) convened recently a planning group that will lay down plans to accelerate and prioritize the energization of Misamis Oriental at the sitio level. During a recent coordinating meeting held at the Mallberry Suites, officials from SPI, the Department of Energy (DOE) and electric distribution utilities CEPALCO, MORESCO 1 and MORESCO II agreed to prioritize Misamis Oriental as recipient of the electrification fund accruing from the electricity sales of Steag’s coal-fired power plant in Villanueva.

Pursuant to the DOE guidelines, power generating companies set aside one centavo for every kWh of electricity sales to fund electrification and other community development programs and projects.
Since 2006, Steag has earmarked PhP 31.97 million for the electrification of 39 villages in Region 10, of which 32 are in Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City.

Anabel Elmaga of the DOE Rural Electrification and Management Division said the identification of the recipient communities follows the radiating order from the location of the Steag power plant as provided for in the ER 1-94 guidelines of the DOE.

“Priorities are the host communities nearest the power plant of Steag including the host province, then the host Region” Elmaga explained.

Data from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) showed that there are still 730 potential sitios for energization in Misamis Oriental, most of these are within the franchise area of MORESCO II (covering the eastern towns of the province).

“We are working on the full energization by 2013 of the remaining five sitios in our host communities in Tagoloan and Villanueva afterwhich we move on to consider the other neighboring towns in Misamis Oriental” said COMREL Manager Ghaye Alegrio.



BPI launches post-graduate scholarship for teachers
Read 262 times | Posted on October 13, 2012 @ 5 years ago

BPI launches post-graduate
scholarship for teachers

TWELVE public high school teachers from Region XII (SOCCSKARGEN) were accepted in the BPI Post Graduate scholarship program launched this year in partnership with the Department of Education and Mindanao State University – General Santos.
Region XII is considered as one of the poorest region in the country and with lowest result in the 2006 National Achievement Test, ranking no.14 out of 17 regions in the county.

This is one of the goals of BPI Founation: to contribute towards the upliftment of the quality of Philippine education.
The scholarship given will be for the Masters Degree in teaching Reading, Science and Mathematics for two years covering academic years 2012-2014 inclusive of summer 2013. The scholars will be studying full time for the 1st year and will write and defend their thesis in the 2nd year while back in service. They will be required to teach back in their schools for 3 years for every year of scholarship. Monitoring of their performance will be conducted by DepEd.

The MOA signing was held on September 12, 2012 at SunCity Suites, General Santos city represented by the BPI Foundation’s Executive Director Florendo G. Maranan and Finance and Administrative officer, Ms. Gina O. Astilla, Dr. Domingo M. Non of Mindanao State University, General Santos and Dr. Ma. Rosa C. Gutierrez, Officer-in-charge from the Office of the Regional Director DEPED Region XII.



Pinoy designer says: ‘Sketching Zs all my life’ led to iconic Nissan 370Z
Read 654 times | Posted on October 13, 2012 @ 5 years ago

Pinoy designer says:
‘Sketching Zs all my life’
led to iconic Nissan 370Z

SUPER sleek with that palpable classic feel, the much talked about Nissan 370Z is the all-time iconic sports car of the company’s Z series and a fitting predecessor to the successful Nissan 350Z. Just like the 350Z, Nissan’s all-time iconic sports car features retro-inspired styling that draws heavily from the first generation of “Z” cars like the Datsun 240Z.

It’s a thumbs up especially for Nissan 370Z’s Filipino designer Randy Rodriguez who recently visited the Philippines to grace the 4th Philippine International Motor Show held last August 16 to 19 at the World Trade Center in Manila. Rodriguez flew in courtesy of Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc.’s (NMPI) where he participated in the company’s “Drive the Fun” campaign during the motor show’s four-day event.

NMPI President and CEO Allen Chen shared, “We are all set to showcase the true meaning of ‘Drive for Fun.’ We’re very fortunate that we have Randy and that he’s more than happy to share his achievements with his fellow Filipinos. The 370Z model is one of the best vehicles to exemplify fun-to-drive that embodies all Nissan model.”

Now based at the Nissan Design America in California, one of the world’s foremost creative facilities, Rodriguez showed up at the NMPI booth where he had a meet-and-greet and autograph signing session among fans. Car aficionados got the chance to talk to Rodriguez and learn more about his design philosophy, his creative process, and of course, how he was able to conceptualize Nissan’s most celebrated sports car.

Although born and raised in Vancouver, Rodriguez is a Filipino by heart and by heritage—his parents are both Filipinos. He considers himself a fan of Nissan and its Z models ever since he got his first Z car when he was still 14. In fact, Rodriguez recounted in 2010 interview with Asian Journal: “I’ve been drawing Z’s my whole life, that’s why the 370Z theme came out quickly and naturally,”

The Nissan 350Z, which came in the form of a coupe or roadster, had been the company’s all-time bestseller since its introduction in 2002 and up until Nissan opened a design competition among all designers within the global Nissan Design Studios.

In 2009, the Nisssan 370Z was unveiled and was based on the winning design of Rodriguez. Immediately, his sleeker, lighter, and refined modern and vintage approach to the latest Z series incarnation got the attention of international car reviewers and aficionados that he soon found himself being featured in various motoring magazines and interviewed on TV by the international press.

The challenge was for the designers to make a super evolution of the 350Z while honoring its heritage and long history of innovative ideas.

Rodriguez shared, “It’s like the kid in me was brought to life! Because of my passion for the brand, the model, and the fact that I have been drawing Zs whole my life, my ideas for the 370Z’s theme came out quickly and naturally.”
The concept for the 370Z was “Erotic Mechanism,” something sexy while highlighting technical and mechanical details. “I can say it’s all the things a designer would want. I applaud the engineers and planners at Nissan for making that happen.

“The 350Z is beautiful, but a little friendly-looking to me, especially in the front. I wanted to turn up the anger a few levels and inject the car with some steroids. The 370Z is more dynamic and emotional with a bigger chest, flexed muscles and a more aggressive stance.”

The designer’s creative vision and drive for excellence has not only gathered winning points for Nissan but also marks another triumph for Filipino artistry and ingenuity in the international scene.

On the key to his success, Rodriguez advised, “It’s all about passion — passion to do the things you love. To my kababayans, designer or not, I urge you to find your own passion. Fuel it and share it. Follow your dreams and to be truly happy in life, you should do what you love. Focus, work harder than everyone else, and don’t give up. Develop your skills and talent to increase your chances in life.”



Davao Region to boost onion production
Read 306 times | Posted on October 13, 2012 @ 5 years ago

Davao Region to boost onion production

By BEN D. ARCHE, Correspondent

DAVAO City – The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region XI will augment the area planted to onions with the additional 117 hectares of land suitable for the crop.

According to Melanie Provido, DA regional high-value commercial crops coordinator, the National Government allotted a budget at least P97 million for the Quick Response Fund (QRF), of which, P5 million has been set aside for the region.

The QRF is used for funding the rehabilitation of farmlands in various regions nationwide devastated by calamities.

Through the DA’s High Value Crops Development Program, the agricultural department will provide assistance to affected farmers using the QRF by providing seeds and planting materials, and other inputs to rehabilitate production areas.
DA will also provide organic fertilizers and at least one multi-cultivator for every 20 hectare-cluster of farms as a technical assistance to farmers.

Provido said the DA will utilize the P5 million QRF allocated in planting onions to help farmers earn and to resist illegal importation activities in Mindanao. “This is the first time that the DA will be planting onions in the region,” she said.

Of the additional 117 hectares, the 53 hectares will be planted with red onions, 20 hectares for the yellow variety and 23 hectares to shallots.

DA is expecting a total production of 530 metric tons (MT) for red onions, 300 MT for yellow onions and 210 MT for shallots.

The farmers will start planting shallot onions on October this year while the planting of red and yellow onions will take place on January 2013, Provido said.

Earlier, authorities in Davao discovered 23 container vans of smuggled potatoes and onions from Hongkong and China worth P18 million. The products were declared as margarine, lanolin, savory products, seasoning and yeast.

The DA high crops coordinator believed that the local demand for onions can already keep the industry on the right track, adding that part of the produce will be brought to Visayas and Luzon markets.



Diesel-fired barges to save Mindanao woes
Read 300 times | Posted on October 13, 2012 @ 5 years ago

Diesel-fired barges to
save Mindanao woes

By CARMELITO Q. FRANCISCO
and BUTCH ENERIO
Correspondents

A POWER generator is set to do overtime to cushion the impending shortage of power in Mindanao as a result of a more than a month preventive maintenance system (PMS) that the Mindanao Power Corporation-Steag Inc. is under taking.

In a press statement, Therma Marine Inc.(TMI) chief operating officer Jovy P. Batiquin, said the company’s two barges are expected to operate at full or maximum capacity on extended hours in order to provide additional power supply to electric cooperatives, distribution utilities and industrial customers.

The two diesel-fired power barges that Aboitiz Power Corp. bought from government in 2009 are currently moored at Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and in Compostela Valley.

Mr. Batiquin said the critical power shortage in Mindanao requires the company to operate on extended hours, noting the barges currently run about 10 hours a day to supply power cooperatives in areas in Mindanao where electricity supply is inadequate.

The barges have become the run-to power supplier after Mindanao has been beset by lower power output and supply shortages in previous years.

The power shortages was due to the deterioration of the old hydroelectric power plants run by the National Power Corp., a government entity.

Based on the advisory of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, the power situation in Mindanao yesterday was on red alert between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. as the curtailment level, or the supply shortage, would increase to 370 MW.

The increase in curtailment level is due to the outage of PB 104, a 10-MW power barge of the National Power Corp. moored in Mindanao, as well as the reduced capability of Pulangi to 150 MW due to the low water level of the lake.

The power supply shortage was also due to the shutting down of the 40-MW Agus 6 hydroelectric plant, and the outage of Steag since last Saturday.

This city’s power utility, meanwhile, assured its customers that outages in its franchise areas are unlikely. “In spite of the possible increase in power curtailment in Mindanao as a consequence, Davao Light (and Power Co.) will do its best to avoid implementing rotational power interruptions,” said Rossano C. Luga, spokesperson of the company in an e-mail.
Mr. Luga said the power distributor would be able to cushion the impact on the power shortage with the “optimization of its embedded power plants.” These power plants include its own 40-MW standby diesel plant and the hydroelectric power plants of its sister company, Hedcor, Inc., in Sibulan, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

He added that the distributor, also a subsidiary of the Aboitiz Power, was also among those that have bought power from Therma Marine, Inc. “All these are aimed at ensuring the economic activity and welfare of the people in our franchise area will be least affected by the power crisis,” said Mr. Luga.

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