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Posts Tagged ‘tourism’





Mindanao exec to address Caraga bizcon
Read 230 times | Posted on June 14, 2013 @ 5 years ago

By Roel Catoto of MindaNews

SURIGAO CITY – An official of a major mining firm will speak at the 18th Caraga Business Conference scheduled next week at the Hotel Tavern in this city.

Takanori Fujima, president of Taganito High-Pressure Acid Leach (THPAL)-Nickel Corp. will give an overview of the company’s single largest investment the country.

The business conference will take place on June 13-14.

Fujima is scheduled to speak on June 14, on the topic “Investing Mineral Processing in Surigao: Competitive Advantage of Mining in Caraga.”

He is given a 30-minute talk that includes an open forum.

Organized by the Surigao Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SCCI), Fujima is expected to give an overview of business opportunities from the mining firm’s $1.4 billion investment.

THPAL is scheduled for commissioning this year in Claver, Surigao del Norte.

Willie A. Gan, president of SCCI encouraged the business sector to attend the regional business conference.

In October 2011, the New People’s Army launched simultaneous attacks on THPAL and two other mining firms in Claver “for damaging the environment and violating the rights of Lumads, peasants and workers.”

The rebel group alleged that THPAL’s nickel processing plant is a gross air pollutant in the province.



4 ASEAN members OK to adopt common visa
Read 260 times | Posted on June 14, 2013 @ 5 years ago

By Darwin G. Amojelar

THE Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Indonesia have agreed to develop a common smart visa system to boost tourism across Southeast Asia.

During the 22nd World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia, ministers and tourism authorities of the four ASEAN member-states said they will facilitate travel in the region by developing a common smart visa system.

Tourism ministers of the four ASEAN member-states have signed the “Statement of Intent on SMART Visa” during the ongoing WEF meeting taking place in Nay Pyi Taw from June 5-7.

“By recognizing the importance of the connectivity in tourism activities, the statement of intent expresses our desire to give a boost to the tourism sector by facilitating the movement of tourists across borders; by going towards a smart visa through adopting best practices; and maximizing the use of technology to reduce the inefficiencies of the traditional visa application process,” Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. said in a statement.

“By signing this letter of intent, ministers and tourism authorities agree to work hand-in-hand for the implementation of this system, whose objective will be that of eliminating those barriers to the movement of tourists which are currently creating disincentives to travel. Such objectives will be achieved in close coordination with the governmental entities in each of their respective countries,” said U Htay Aung, Union Minister of Hotels and Tourism of Myanmar.

The statement of intent forms a part of joint efforts to improve growth of the national and regional travel and tourism sectors along with social integration.

More specifically, ministers of tourism have agreed to collaborate on working towards the ASEAN Common Visa initiative as called upon by leaders at the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta in November 2011.

It also builds on the single visa scheme for tourism travel between Cambodia and Thailand that began this year. Progressive relaxation and an ASEAN common visa would also benefit non-ASEAN nationals who intend to visit the region.

According to Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu, “Considering that tourism is a priority sector under the ASEAN Economic Community and that it constitutes a significant contribution to the integration of ASEAN countries, it is important to be ‘smart’ about visa facilitation for travel.”

In the Philippines, President Benigno Aquino III had issued Executive Order 29, outlining his government’ open-skies policy, which involves allowing foreign airlines to fly to airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). (Interaksyon)



Philippines, the ‘brightest spark’ in ASEAN – ICAEW report
Read 225 times | Posted on June 14, 2013 @ 5 years ago

THE Philippines is growing at a faster pace among the five biggest economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation or ASEAN-5, supported by robust government spending and increased business confidence, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

“The Philippines looks to be doing exceptionally well as the government spends heavily on infrastructure and confidence about governance and business prospects abounds,” ICAEW noted in the “South East Asia Economic Insight Report” released recently.

Touting the Philippines as one the “brightest sparks in the ASEAN region,” ICAEW noted “booming household expenditure have also contributed to the glowing picture.”

ICAEW sees the Philippine economy expanding at 5.1 percent this year and accelerating to 5.4 percent next year.

This is above the 4.9 percent 2013 and 2014 growth projection for ASEAN-5 which groups Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

The projection for the Philippines is the second best in the five-nation bloc, behind Indonesia’s 5.7 percent projected growth in 2013 and 5.5 percent in 2014.

Thailand is seen growing at 4.8 percent in 2013, decelerating to 4.4 percent in 2014; while Malaysia’s growth is projected at 4.4 percent and 4.2 percent for this year and the next, respectively.

Island nation Singapore is seen trailing the bloc, growing at 2.3 percent in 2013 and 3.6 percent in 2014.

ICAEW’s outlook for the Philippines, however, falls-short of the government’s growth goal of 6 to 7 percent in 2013 and 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2014.

It is slower than the 6.6 percent expansion in 2012 and is below the 6.05 percent full-year 2013 median forecast of private sector economists polled by GMA News Online.

Sought for comment, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) economist Emilio Neri, Jr. surmised that ICAEW’s “conservative projections” may be based on “historical growth data, which are lower than Indonesia.”

ICAEW economic advisor and Cebr’s head of Macroeconomics, Charles Davis, noted in a statement, “We expect growth in the Philippines to fall to about 4.5 percent in 2015 as capacity constraints lead to higher inflation and tighter monetary policy. However this remains a good figure, and the country looks set to shake off its former reputation as the ‘sick man of Asia’.”

“Fiscal consolidation, which we see as aggressive so far, will be an impetus for more aggressive spending,” BPI’s Neri said. This “will determine if the Philippines can sustain a 6 percent growth trajectory,” he added. (gmanetwork.com)



ASEAN BAC launches regional business awards
Read 221 times | Posted on June 14, 2013 @ 5 years ago

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN—THE ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) has launched the ASEAN Business Awards in a bid to recognise the most outstanding and successful ASEAN companies contributing to ASEANs economic growth and prosperity.

In a statement, ASEAN BAC said it has invited private companies from the region to submit their nominations for the upcoming ASEAN Business Awards 2013, which will be presented in August this year.

On February 4 Brunei Darussalam assumed chairmanship of the ASEAN BAC 2013, which also saw the relaunching of the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA).

ASEAN BAC launched the awards in 2007 to recognise business which have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy.

This year, in recognition of the role of youths as contributors to economic development and consistent with ASEAN 2013 theme of ‘Our People, Our Future Together’, the ABA 2013 committee has included the criteria on Young Entrepreneur (YE).

According to the statement, this additional criteria will involve assessment under the Innovation category only.

Since its introduction, the annual awards have recognised more than 60 companies throughout the region; considered as the Most Admired ASEAN Enterprises and excelling in the categories of Growth, Employment, Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

ABA was conceived to be the first of its kind in the region, with the dual objectives of showcasing home grown ASEAN companies that have become role models for other aspiring companies, as well as providing a spotlight for promising ASEAN small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have the potential to be global players.

The statement added that to ensure the high-quality and independency of such a prestigious award, ASEAN BAC has engaged KPMG as the Strategic Partner.

KPMG will administer the implementation of the nominations, assessments and selections; as well as assist in promoting the event throughout the ASEAN region.

Companies shortlisted by the Strategic Partner will be brought to the attention of an independent judging panel comprising of top business leaders, economists and academics from ASEAN countries.

Awards will be presented at the Gala Dinner of the 2013 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ASEAN BIS), which is scheduled to be held on August 22 to 24 in the Brunei capital of Bandar Seri Begawan.

Interested companies are invited to complete and return the ABA 2013 nomination form, which can be obtained from the ASEAN BAC website at www.asean-bac.org



ASEAN needs to be flexible for 2015
Read 203 times | Posted on June 14, 2013 @ 5 years ago

THE Integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2015 should not be a blanket initiative; instead governments and practitioners need to take into account the unique characteristics and different growth levels of the countries when planning a regional capital market convergence, according to experts.

Whether it is the ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard, accounting standards or ranking standards, the experts said the integration of ASEAN Economic Community 2015 should have enough flexibility to accommodate the different levels of development within the region.

Securities Commission Malaysia Deputy Chief Executive Nik Ramlah Mahmood said the reality was that ASEAN countries were growing at different speeds.

“Corporate governance should not be pursued in itself, it must be relevant to what is on the ground, to the people and the companies,” she said at a panel session at the International Corporate Governance seminar, held in conjunction with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Asian Rountable.

However, National University of Singapore associate professor of accounting Prof. Mak Yuen Teen believed a complete integration may not be viable and warned against too much compromise, which would result in a dilution of standards.

Ranjit says Malaysia has established a strong regulatory framework that underpins the country’s corporate governance eco-system.

“If you want integration, you cannot just select whatever is easy because that will not achieve much in the end,” he said. “There must be give and take and knowing what are the priorities.”

Asset management firm BlackRock head of corporate governance for Asia Clarence Yang recommended that instead of applying one-for-all standards, a “comply or explain” mechanism could be in place so that companies that cannot comply with the standards under certain circumstances could provide valid reasons instead.

In his opening address, SC Chairman Ranjit Ajit Singh agreed with looking at ASEAN as both a region and collection of differing markets.

“While there can be universal corporate governance principles and best practices which regulators can look to, we recognize that intricacies prevailing may require contextualization of the corporate governance framework to suit domestic conditions,” he said.

Ranjit said Malaysia had since the Asian financial crisis, established a strong regulatory framework that underpinned the country’s corporate governance eco-system.

He noted that most of the recommendations under the Corporate Governance Blueprint released in July 2011 had been implemented through the revised Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance and amendments to the listing requirements.

“We are currently half-way through the five-year implementation period. A midterm post implementation review will be undertaken next year to gauge the extent of effectiveness of our regulatory efforts to steer our direction forward,” he said.

The roundtable was organized in partnership with the Japanese government. (BM)



Rural banking and the qualms on the entry of foreign investors
Read 300 times | Posted on June 14, 2013 @ 5 years ago

Will rural banks turn into dummies of foreign investors now that foreign ownership in this sector was allowed at 60 percent?

Rural bankers hailed the recent signing into law of the measure allowing foreign investments in rural banks but will it really help the sector maximize its capacity to boost growth in the rural areas?

President Benigno Aquino III signed on May 24, 2013 the Foreign Equity Bill or Republic Act (RA) 10574, which is an amendment of the Rural Bank Act of 1992.

The amendment will allow foreign investors, either individuals or entities, to acquire up to 60 percent of a rural bank’s voting stocks.

House Bill 5360 was passed by the House of Representatives last January 3, 2013, while Senate Bill 3282 was passed by the Senate last January 28, 2013.

The bicameral conference committee report reconciling the two bills was ratified by both Houses of Congress last April 24, 2013.

Lawmakers who authored the bill were Senator Sergio R. Osmena III and Representatives Sergio A.F. Apostol, Rufus B. Rodriguez and the late Pedro Romualdo.

Lawyer Edward Leandro Z. Garcia Jr., who just relinquished his post as president of the Rural Bank of the Philippines (RBAP) this week, has said that signing into law of the measure “is a major win not only for rural banks, but to the countryside as well.”

“Now that foreign investments are allowed, rural banks are now in a better financial position to reach out and serve both the unbanked and under-banked through improved banking services.”

For one, Garcia said rural banks will now be able to get additional capital that will boost their capacity to compete with the bigger banks.

But will the entry of foreign investors really enhance rural banks, which are normally family owned? Or will it become just dummies of foreign businessmen?

Garcia, in an e-mail to PNA, said the 60 percent foreign equity is the ceiling and “existing rural banks has the option to allow foreign equity in their bank from zero up to 60 percent.”

He pointed out that “capital alone is not enough to be successful in rural banking.”

He explained that “in the Philippines, where there is diverse culture and ethnicity depending on each location, local knowledge of the community is indispensable if one is to succeed in banking.”

“Hence, while it is true that foreigners can bring in capital and some expertise they cannot do away with that banking know-how and experience that rural bankers have come to develop over six decades,” he said.

Garcia said the new law “brings into the table a new option that is available for all rural banks, as to how many will take this option will still remain to be seen.”

“However, we are optimistic and sees this as a good indication because the industry is now thinking seriously of new ways by which to grow and expand like never before,” he added.

Relatively, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. told PNA that the new law is “an opportunity for improvement that rural banks will be wise to consider.”

“But ultimately, it’s their strategic decision to make,” he added. (PNA)



Landbank of the Philippines approves more loans for OFWs
Read 321 times | Posted on June 14, 2013 @ 5 years ago

More Overseas Filipino Workers get to start their own businesses through loans from the Land Bank of the Philippines.

As of end-April 2013, LANDBANK approved P508.8 million in loans to 709 returning OFWs, generating almost 3,000 jobs. This is part of LANDBANK’s P1-billion commitment to the government’s P2-billion OFW Reintegration Program in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Among the loans approved are working capital requirements and fixed asset acquisition for businesses in palay, rice and agricultural supply trading; hog raising and fattening; poultry; egg production; fishpond and fish trading; crop production; computer shop; grocery; transport; and construction, among others.

“By becoming entrepreneurs, our OFWs no longer need to leave the country to earn sufficient income. This program not only empowers our modern day heroes to improve their lives but also helps boost the country’s economy,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Gilda E. Pico.

Bonafide members of the OWWA who have undergone the required training may borrow from P300,000 to as much as P2 million at 7.5 percent interest per annum payable within one year or a maximum of seven years, depending on the proposed project.

The program is open to OFWs who have returned permanently as well as those who still intend to continue their careers overseas. Those who wish to continue working abroad should have a special power of attorney (SPA) executed in favor of their spouse, parents, or children of legal age.

For further information or assistance, interested OFWs may visit the LANDBANK website (www.landbank.com) or call (02) 405-7640 or visit the nearest LBP Lending Centers.

(Photo shows President Benigno Aquino III with Ms. Portia Chen, a beneficiary of the OFW Reintegration Program during the awarding of checks to OFW-borrowers during the 2013 Labor Day Job Fair at Camp Aquino, Tarlac City. Looking on are OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon and LANDBANK President and CEO Gilda E. Pico.



BSP sets seminar on pawnshops
Read 326 times | Posted on June 14, 2013 @ 5 years ago

By JEMIN B. GUILLERMO, Contributor

ROXAS CITY, Capiz- The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is set to conduct a seminar on the pawnshop business for Capiz and neighboring provinces in Western Visayas.

The event is intended for stockholders or proprietors, directors and officers and employees who are directly in-charge of the operation of pawnshops, foreign exchange and money changing and remittance business.

Information Officer Lowen Andrew June Ligad of BSP Roxas City Branch disclosed that the joint briefing and seminar on June 20 and 21 will focus on Presidential Decree 114 or the Pawnshop Regulation Act as well as Republic Act 9160 as amended by RA 9194, otherwise known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act. “Other rules and regulations governing the business of pawnshop or pawnbrokering, money changing and being remittance agents will likewise be discussed,” Ligad said.

He added that the the seminar will also focus about the pawnshop business, duties and responsibilities of the pawner and pawnee, and the financial data on the industry.

Ligad explained that the seminar is one of the prerequisites for the issuance of the BSP of the Acknowledgment of Registration, Authority to Operate and Certificate of Registration in doing such kind of business.

A P500 seminar fee will be charged for the two-day briefing on Pawnshop Regulations and AMLA seminar or P300 for the one-day AMLA seminar only.

Registration forms are available at the BSP Roxas City Branch, he said, adding that registration fees are likewise accepted by their office.



The Made-Up Life of Inyaki Yuson, Artist
Read 394 times | Posted on June 14, 2013 @ 5 years ago

by zola gonzaleZ – MACARAMBON

Jim Russel “Inyaki” Yuson is only 27 and already a quadruple threat in the fashion world. As hair, makeup, and fashion designer, his is that elusive combination of drive, talent, intelligence, and work ethic – the stuff of rock stars sans the fast and short expiration dates.

Steadily, over the past few years, Inyaki learned, trained, and taught hair, makeup, and fashion design at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines in Cagayan de Oro City.

Not the icing but the cake, he is also a registered nurse currently pursuing a master’s degree in medical surgical nursing.

Perhaps it is this training and discipline in the clinical field that gave him the methodical precision with the makeup brush.

This, coupled with the sharpened aesthete of an artist – his resume comes with a smattering of roles as stage actor and host – yielded an impeccable portfolio of makeup art on such high profile faces as Joey Mead, BB Gandanghari, John Lapus, Bianca Araneta – Elizalde, Andi Eigenmann, and Asia’s Next Top Model runner-up, Stephanie Retuya.

These artworks have been published as editorial shoots for Mega Magazine, Celebrity Living, Celebrity Mom, People Asia, Preview Magazine, Meg Magazine, IORA SG, Glamogirl SG, and on-air on ETC’s G Tongi for Mega Young Designers Competition and Amanda Griffin-Jacob for Amanda Living.

Ever since snagging a top 4 finalist spot on ETC’s Mega Fashion Crew Season 2 Extreme Edition, Inyaki has been hard at work, putting one block at a time in a progressively solidifying makeup-as-art career.

Despite his gravity-defying rise in both the national and international fashion scenes – he has just recently taught an advance fashion makeup workshop in Singapore – Inyaki maintains a level of discernment not commonly found in many a creative personality in this city.

Albeit the traipsing and overachieving from one project to another all over the country and abroad, he keeps everything in check with the knowledge of the dynamic and talent-populated world of hair and makeup art – those who came before, with, and after him in the field.

His humility is inspiring. He refers to the aforementioned traipsing and overachieving as “baby steps” as, in his words, he is far from being “there” yet and his “big break” is still before him.

Wherever and whatever “there” may be, Inyaki Yuson is making certain he enjoys the ride.



K-Water plans $900-M Pulangui V hydro project
Read 259 times | Posted on June 14, 2013 @ 5 years ago

By MYRNA M. VELASCO
Contributor

KOREA Water Resources Corporation (K-Water) is planning to join any ‘project tender arrangement’ that the Philippine government may set for the proposed $900 million (approximately P38 billion) Pulangui V hydropower project in Mindanao.

The proposed capacity of the greenfield hydro plant is 250 to 300 megawatts and it will be a dam-underpinned project. The facility’s site could cover several areas in Bukidnon and is also set to reach North Cotabato for the dam component.

“We are studying Pulangui V project and we are interested to develop it,” K-Water director general for overseas business department Won-Cheol Park has noted in a chance interview.

The other venture eyed by the company is the proposed Bulanog-Batang hydro power project in Bukidnon, which it penciled in to cost $490 million.

Based on initial studies by other prospective developers, the facility could yield power capacity of about 150 megawatts.

Another target cast in the South Korean firm’s investment roll for the Philippines is the P12.0 billion Kapangan run-of-river hydropower project in the Cordilleras.

Park was in the country last week to continually discuss with government officials the remaining contentious issues on the turnover of the privatized 218-MW Angat hydropower plant.

The company also renewed last May 28 its security deposit for the Angat facility, effectively stretching their engagement in the project for another six months while matters relating to the issuance of the certificate of effectivity (COE) are being sorted out.

Despite the “five tricky hurdles” in the negotiations for the Angat plant transaction, the K-Water official noted that they would want the “deal to close.”

According to government sources, a new appeal was lodged by the Korean firm for further deferment of the COE issuance pending the resolution of “outstanding issues.”

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) was reportedly inclined to issue the COE first week of June, based on the deadline earlier given by Finance Secretary and PSALM board chairman Cesar Purisima.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla also hinted to reporters that the government already has a “Plan B” in case K-Water walks away from the transaction or if negotiations on the closing will hit ‘epic fail’.

While he has not given the details, it was gathered from the side of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) that the “option plan” could be a “re-bidding” or it may also involve the second highest bidder which is First Gen of the Lopez group.

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