Today's Top Stories

  • NHCP approves historical marker for Kagay-anon Patriot

    NHCP approves historical marker for Kagay-anon Patriot

    The National Historical Commission of the Philippines has approved the installation of a historical marker to honor the late World War II patriot Antonio Julian Montalván. Signed by Dr. Rene R. Escalante, NHCP Chairman of the Board, the approved text in Pilipino reads:   Antonio Julian Montalván y Corrales (Feb. 8, 1906 - Aug. 30, 1944) was a member of an espionage team as G-2, MC Liaison and Intelligence Officer, of the 10th Military District under Col. Wendell W.  Fertig in Mindanao, who reported directly to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  “He was a medical doctor, first assigned at the Misamis Provincial Hospital (now the Northern Mindanao Medical Center), then to Cebu, then Palompon in Leyte,” said his namesake and nephew anthropologist and columnist Antonio J. “Nono” Montalvan II. “He later served as public health doctor in Iligan.”   When the war began, he was the personal medic of Col. Wendell W. Fertig, head of the organized guerrilla resistance in Mindanao under the 10th Military District, United States Forces in the Philippines. He was recruited to serve as a spy by their cousin and brother-in-law Senator José Ozámiz.   The group helped establish coastal radio relay stations in Mindanao, Visayas and Southern Luzon. Later, he became part of a Manila spy network.   Montalván first served as courier between Manila and Mindanao. The boat would land in Pagbilao, Quezon near Tayabas. Then he would proceed to Manila to get in touch with the Manila spy network (Spyron). Then newly married to Rosario Llamas, a cousin of Virginia Llamas Romulo, -- the first Mrs. Carlos P. Romulo—he was arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai in Lucena, Tayabas town, in the house of his mother in-law Doña Tecla Capistrano Llamas. He was about to pack his bags for another clandestine boat trip to Mindanao after completing three successful trips when he was betrayed by one of the carpenters working in house.   The Japanese later detained and tortured him in Fort Santiago and at the Old Bilibid Prisons in Manila.   On August 30, 1944 he was executed by decapitation with the group of Senator José Ozámiz, and the Elizalde Group of Manila which included the writer Rafael Roces and Blanche Walker Jurika, the mother in-law of guerilla leader Charles "Chick" Parsons. The execution took place at the Manila Chinese Cemetery.   One of the perpendicular streets which links Burgos to Apolinar Velez streets in Cagayan de Oro City has been named in his honor. Philippine historian Ambeth Ocampo describes Montalván as a "World War II hero of Mindanao".   BGen Restituto L. Aguilar, (ret.), NHCP Executive Director, and former Chief of the Veterans Memorial and Historical Division, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) acknowledges much remains to be done in giving Filipino patriots and heroes of World War II the respect and recognition they deserve.   “The Second World War produced thousands of heroes but very few of them were known,” Aguilar notes. “Unlike in the Philippine Revolution and Fil-Am War where the concentration of large-scale fighting was in the 8 provinces around Manila, with some in various provinces, resistance to Japanese invasion and occupation was from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.” “After the war, there were over 400,000 guerrillas who were recognized. Add to these the over 100,000 who died fighting for our country. This was a big percentage to our population which was 18 million at the outbreak of war.” “Every veteran who fought for our country’s freedom are heroes that we must treasure. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices for fighting for the freedom we enjoy today. Their investment was their blood, sweat and tears.” “It is time for us to rediscover the unsung and unknown heroes in our family and we will be surprised to know that we have the blood of heroes in our veins. It is our duty in this generation to honor our heroes.”

    April 15, 2021

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  • My Mantangale Postcards

    My Mantangale Postcards

    My recent trip to Mantangale in Balingoan, Misamis Oriental is a great breather, not just for me but for my friend, Paolette. It also came with a realization that we have a paradise somewhere near and I can still appreciate travel, though if it is not in other major Philippine islands or even abroad. I can be even proud about the place I call home with both its unique features and humble flaws.   We stayed at Mantangale Alibuag Dive Resort, a resort known for its pristine, blue-green waters, white sand beach and cool, cheek-kissing breeze. For me, what I appreciate about the place aside from its rich offering to beach-lovers is its vast display of green trees of different sorts surrounding the resort. It made me feel like I am also at the mid of the forest or somewhere in the mountain area or at the heart of a laid-back village where no one knows me. Having limited visitors allowed to stay is a bonus because it means no crowd at all. It kept us from noise, and instead, let us hear specifically the splash of waves and cheerful laughter and soft squeaks of kids playing while swimming in the pool.   I have been through so much challenges for the past few weeks, plus the requirements before the semester-end and it felt like I need this mini day out. Thanks to Pao for her itchy feet of needing to travel, I was able to ride along.   During the night we arrived in the Mantangale, we enjoyed night swimming. The hotel staff was kind enough to extend the pool hours a little bit for us since we entered near closing time. Prior to that, we planned to take sunset photos but to no avail we started the roadtrip at late afternoon and it also rained while on the road. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the activity we had. I was also able to do my long-planned “me time” before I went to bed. Pao was so annoyed, but I don’t care. She had no choice but to eat that baked sushi she ordered before the trip. (LOL.) The baked sushi was delicious! I took a long hot shower, listened to my relaxing mindfulness music and went to have Korean mask over my stressful face. It also rained overnight. Though it interrupted my sleep and made me feel nostalgic, it was a great overnight in entirety.   In the morning, I tried to chase sunset by the beach but it was cloudy. Paolette was anxious I woke her up so, so early, only to know there was no sun!   Being in the beach so early made the view be all ourselves. We took picture because I told her, “no picture, it never happened.” Just kidding. I felt it is also an opportunity to come up an article piece after so long. Mantangale also gives beautiful view and ideal backdrop for picture-taking having both Sipaka Heights and Island of Camiguin as background. It feels surreal!   We then took our breakfast by the pool. It was so nice seeing people even strangers once again, and even talking to them, mostly resort staff. I realized we took this communication for granted pre-pandemic not realizing our social being need such.   Thereafter, we went back to the pool for our picnic spread. Ha! Reading a book by the beach was first in Paolette’s bucketlist when she returned from work abroad and it turned out to be my photoshoot, she nearly charged me professional fee. Seriously, Pao brought a very nice book, I intend to read that when I visit her house once again.   We left the resort for another destination. I also discovered a lot of plants displayed along the resort’s pathway. It could be a great destination for all plantitas and plantitos out there for those beautiful greens are for sale.   “Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” — Michael Palin

    April 15, 2021

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  • Oca: QR code tracing won't steal bank info

    Oca: QR code tracing won't steal bank info

    CAGAYAN de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno assured the public Monday that the Quick Response (QR) Code-based coronavirus disease (Covid-19) contact tracing system will not expose the bank data of registered users, contrary to the claims of a local radio commentator. Moreno pointed out that the QR Code system, Higala App, does not even ask users for any information related to their bank accounts.      He said the contract tracing application is also equipped with data privacy protocols, adding that any claim of potential bank-related identity theft was "baseless and absurd".      "The statement (by a radio broadcaster) that the Higalaay (web portal in registering for QR code contact tracing) can tamper your bank accounts, that is (an) irresponsible commentary. We do our best to serve the people, and then you get these baseless commentaries)," he said.      Moreno, a banker and a lawyer by profession, pointed out that bank accounts are protected by the country's stringent bank secrecy laws.      Moreno said the local government is in the thick of dialogues with the business sector and other stakeholders on the QR code requirement, based on an ordinance passed in February this year.      The system is supposed to be implemented last month but ran into some technical problems, prompting the city government to extend the dry run until next month.      City residents and visitors can apply for the QR code through the Higalaa Web Portal, which is integrated into City Hall´s official website.      Moreno warned any unfounded claims on the contact tracing system could jeopardize the city's vaccination program. (PNA)

    April 15, 2021

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  • GCash launches over 30 lifestyle brands on GLife

    GCash launches over 30 lifestyle brands on GLife

    This current generation is all about doing more with less stress as much as possible, which is why getting easy access to practically everything they need – whether it’s for work or play – has now become more of a necessity than a choice. For these dynamic individuals who want a more hustle, less hassle life, GCash has launched GLife, which caters to all things food, fashion, beauty, technology, and practically everything essential in everyone’s daily life! GLife can be your personal shopper, food delivery driver, errand saver, and service provider all rolled into one. “GLife is designed to be a ‘one-stop shop’ virtual platform that meets customers’ lifestyle needs. You can get everything you need – from food to beauty essentials, to groceries and movie tickets – with just a tap on your smartphone. This means a more convenient way to live your daily life, especially if you’re always hustling from one activity to the next,” explains Martha Sazon, President and CEO of GCash. Here’s what’s on GLife and everything you need to know to enjoy great deals from the brands you love and experience secure transactions all within GCash: GLife makes GCash your new super life app! GLife is a new app feature that’s conveniently located inside your GCash dashboard.  What the app does is it integrates all other apps and curates your favorite brands, shops, restaurants, and services all in one platform, so you can easily access them and pay conveniently using your GCash. With GLife, you don’t need to install extra apps on your smartphone just to access on-demand products and services. With one tap, you can easily browse for entertainment, health, shopping, tech, essential services, and other lifestyle needs, and pay for them effortlessly through fast and secure online transactions. On top of providing all your lifestyle must-haves, GLife is your go-to hub for the latest promos from your favorite brands. This means getting first dibs on the hottest deals that only GCash subscribers will be able to enjoy.  Access your favorite brands and merchants with just a tap GLife has partnered with a multitude of top brands and partner merchants that are practically everyone’s favorite when craving for good food, shopping for the latest beauty and fashion must-haves, ordering for groceries, and much more. The best part? GCash subscribers can look forward to exclusive deals from these brands and merchants when accessing their apps via GLife.   Never go “hangry” again when you can order your favorites easily from McDonald’s, KFC, Tapa King, Gong Cha, Kraver’s, Canteen, Peri-Peri, Classic Savory, Bo’s Coffee, Goldilocks, Kitchen City, or FoodPanda with just a few clicks. Add to cart your fashion or beauty finds and other items sweat-free from Lazada and Bench, get instant shop cashback from Findshare, or get your groceries delivered with no fuss from Puregold. In the mood for gaming? Try Goama Games and win GCash credit vouchers. Need a new gadget? Access the Cherry Shop to get the latest device or DataBlitz to shop for tech finds. You can even manage your Globe at Home account or track or Globe numbers in just a snap when you access the GlobeOne and Globe at Home apps on GLife. Among the other brands and partner merchants that have tied up with GLife are Purego.ph, GOMO, Gawin, GMovies, AIDE, Mr. Speedy, Generika Drugstore and HairMNL. There are many more to come, as GLIfe is continuously expanding its list of merchants to ensure that all the lifestyle needs of today’s customers are catered to. GLife mo na ‘yan! and download the GCash app today at www.gcash.com to enjoy a good balance of work and play. With this all-in-one super life app, switching from pay time to playtime is easier, faster, and of course, much safer. Watch this video to see the all-in-one super life app in action.

    April 14, 2021

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PAL warns travelers vs. use of fake Covid-19 test results

April 15, 2021

Corporate

By: , PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) on Monday warned passengers against using fake coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) test results at the airports.      In an advisory posted on its Facebook page, PAL said at least 15 individuals were recently prevented from boarding their flights since they presented fraudulent Covid-19 test results at the airport check-in counters.      They were caught in Manila and were bound for Cotabato, Dipolog and Zamboanga. They were turned over to the Philippine National Police (PNP).      According to PAL, most of these passengers were referred for inquest at the city prosecutor's office, while others have been isolated at quarantine facilities pending their real swab test results.      "We continue to work with government authorities against these fraudulent acts. We warn violators that falsification of public documents is punishable by law. We thank the PNP for their assistance on this matter," PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna told the Philippine News Agency.      PAL has advised passengers to secure Covid-19 test results only from legitimate medical providers.      The carrier added that passengers may be charged with falsification of public documents and violation of RA 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.      If found guilty, they may each face penalties of up to P50,000, or imprisonment for one to six months, PAL said. (PNA)

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Vehicle sales recover in Q1

April 15, 2021

Corporate

By: , AUTOMOTIVE vehicle sales recovered in the first quarter of the year amid the global health and economic crisis, the joint report of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) said Tuesday.      CAMPI and TMA reported that vehicle sales from January to March this year was higher by 8.9 percent compared to January and February 2020 despite being pre-pandemic months.      Vehicle sales during the three-month period reached 70,312 units from 64,542 units in the same period last year.      Sales of passenger cars grew double-digit by 22.9 percent to 21,855 units in the first three months of the year from 17,786 in the same period in 2020.      Commercial vehicle sales increased by 3.6 percent to 48,457 units in the January to March period this year from 46,756 units sold in the same months last year.      This is also the first time that the industry registered a growth in both year-to-date and year-on-year sales since the onset of the pandemic.      Vehicle sales last month pegged at 20,702 units, a surge of 87.7 percent from 11,029 units in March 2020 when the lockdown was first imposed.      Year-on-year, sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles improved by 111.5 percent and 78.2 percent, respectively.      However, CAMPI and TMA reported a drop in vehicle sales month-on-month.      The 20,702 sales in March this year was 21.1 percent lower than the 26,230 unit sales in February.      “The auto industry felt the slowdown in sales due to the reluctance of buyers with the additional deposit for some imported vehicles because of the provisional safeguard duty. The lockdown also forced dealers to close operations that badly hit the already struggling auto industry,” CAMPI president Rommel Gutierrez said in a statement.      Meanwhile, top car brands in the country in the first quarter of the year were Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ford, and Suzuki. (PNA)

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Smart hailed as country's fastest 5G Network -Ookla

April 15, 2021

Corporate

By: , Fastest 4G/LTE network in the Philippines made even faster by 5G   PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has solidified its superiority in 5G after being hailed as the fastest 5G network in the Philippines by Ookla®, the global leader in internet testing and analysis.      Based on consumer-initiated tests taken using Speedtest® by Ookla, Smart has consistently posted the fastest 5G speeds for Q1 2021, with median download speeds of 190 Mbps, more than double the competition's speeds for the same period*.      "Our steady investments and unflagging resolve to expand and upgrade our integrated fixed and wireless networks, as well as to bring Smart 5G closer to our customers nationwide, have brought about these outstanding results," said Smart Communications President and CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer Alfredo S. Panlilio.      "Just as we did with Smart LTE, which has been recognized by Ookla since 2018 as the country's fastest 4G/LTE network, we are working non-stop to expand the coverage of our 5G service and make it accessible to more customers, despite the challenges of the pandemic.  With 5G, we are making the Philippines' fastest mobile network even faster – elevating the average mobile speeds into fiber-like levels – to serve our customers better, especially in these critical times," he added. Undisputed leader in 5G      To date, Smart's expanded 5G network now has over 2,300 sites nationwide, supporting Filipinos who are increasingly reliant on mobile data to stay connected while on-the-go.      These Smart 5G sites have been fired up nationwide, including in all of Metro Manila's cities and municipalities, and in the provinces of Benguet, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Cebu, Iloilo, Aklan, Misamis Oriental, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Davao.      To complement this continuous expansion of Smart's 5G network, Smart has also ramped-up its efforts to widen its array of Smart 5G-certified devices to make 5G easier to access and enjoy.      Recently, Smart launched Rocket WiFi, the country’s first and fastest 5G Pocket WiFi which will enable 5G speeds on other devices for as long as they have a Wi-Fi connection. Specially designed for sharing and multitasking, Rocket WiFi can connect up to 15 WiFi-capable smartphones, tablets, or laptops, making it simpler and easier for more users to experience the lightning speeds of Smart 5G on a wide range of devices.      The next generation of wireless technology, 5G enables next-level digital experiences when streaming HD videos seamlessly, playing action-packed mobile games without lag, making crystal-clear video calls without buffering, and uploading and downloading heavy files in an instant.      Smart 5G complements Smart’s continuous expansion of its 4G/LTE network. Smart’s mobile network, which covers 96% of the population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi, is already the fastest in the country, as reported by third-party mobile internet analytics firms Ookla® and Opensignal.      This level of performance is enabled by PLDT's fiber infrastructure, the country's most extensive at 429,000 kilometers.

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GCash launches over 30 lifestyle brands on GLife

April 14, 2021

Corporate

By: , This current generation is all about doing more with less stress as much as possible, which is why getting easy access to practically everything they need – whether it’s for work or play – has now become more of a necessity than a choice. For these dynamic individuals who want a more hustle, less hassle life, GCash has launched GLife, which caters to all things food, fashion, beauty, technology, and practically everything essential in everyone’s daily life! GLife can be your personal shopper, food delivery driver, errand saver, and service provider all rolled into one. “GLife is designed to be a ‘one-stop shop’ virtual platform that meets customers’ lifestyle needs. You can get everything you need – from food to beauty essentials, to groceries and movie tickets – with just a tap on your smartphone. This means a more convenient way to live your daily life, especially if you’re always hustling from one activity to the next,” explains Martha Sazon, President and CEO of GCash. Here’s what’s on GLife and everything you need to know to enjoy great deals from the brands you love and experience secure transactions all within GCash: GLife makes GCash your new super life app! GLife is a new app feature that’s conveniently located inside your GCash dashboard.  What the app does is it integrates all other apps and curates your favorite brands, shops, restaurants, and services all in one platform, so you can easily access them and pay conveniently using your GCash. With GLife, you don’t need to install extra apps on your smartphone just to access on-demand products and services. With one tap, you can easily browse for entertainment, health, shopping, tech, essential services, and other lifestyle needs, and pay for them effortlessly through fast and secure online transactions. On top of providing all your lifestyle must-haves, GLife is your go-to hub for the latest promos from your favorite brands. This means getting first dibs on the hottest deals that only GCash subscribers will be able to enjoy.  Access your favorite brands and merchants with just a tap GLife has partnered with a multitude of top brands and partner merchants that are practically everyone’s favorite when craving for good food, shopping for the latest beauty and fashion must-haves, ordering for groceries, and much more. The best part? GCash subscribers can look forward to exclusive deals from these brands and merchants when accessing their apps via GLife.   Never go “hangry” again when you can order your favorites easily from McDonald’s, KFC, Tapa King, Gong Cha, Kraver’s, Canteen, Peri-Peri, Classic Savory, Bo’s Coffee, Goldilocks, Kitchen City, or FoodPanda with just a few clicks. Add to cart your fashion or beauty finds and other items sweat-free from Lazada and Bench, get instant shop cashback from Findshare, or get your groceries delivered with no fuss from Puregold. In the mood for gaming? Try Goama Games and win GCash credit vouchers. Need a new gadget? Access the Cherry Shop to get the latest device or DataBlitz to shop for tech finds. You can even manage your Globe at Home account or track or Globe numbers in just a snap when you access the GlobeOne and Globe at Home apps on GLife. Among the other brands and partner merchants that have tied up with GLife are Purego.ph, GOMO, Gawin, GMovies, AIDE, Mr. Speedy, Generika Drugstore and HairMNL. There are many more to come, as GLIfe is continuously expanding its list of merchants to ensure that all the lifestyle needs of today’s customers are catered to. GLife mo na ‘yan! and download the GCash app today at www.gcash.com to enjoy a good balance of work and play. With this all-in-one super life app, switching from pay time to playtime is easier, faster, and of course, much safer. Watch this video to see the all-in-one super life app in action.

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Moody’s revises PH banking sector outlook to stable

April 15, 2021

Banking & Finance

By: , MOODY’S Investors Service has changed its outlook on the Philippines’ banking system from negative to stable, citing its forecast of a mild recovery for the domestic economy this year which supports the sector.       “However, asset risks remain high because of a prolonged curtailment of business activity, a high unemployment rate, and weak consumer sentiment,” it said in a report dated April 13, 2021.       It forecasts a 7-percent growth for the Philippine economy this year, within the government’s 6.5-7.5 percent target.       Moody’s expects the banking environment to be stable as the government eases movement restrictions.      It said fiscal support is also expected to boost the recovery bid and back consumer spending and investment.      “However, a resurgence in infection rates and a reinstatement of some social-distancing measures will slow the economic recovery in (the) first half of 2021,” it said.      The credit rater expects non-performing loans (NPLs) to rise this year, adding that social distancing measures will contribute to the debt repayment capacity of borrowers, particularly the retail borrowers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).      However, Moody’s said the systemic risk is higher from corporate borrowers since “bank’s loans are heavily concentrated on them”.      Amidst these risks, Moody’s said Philippine banks’ “capital buffers will remain sufficient” but credit expansion is forecast to remain below pre-pandemic levels.      “As a result, rated Philippine banks will maintain sufficient capital buffers,” it said.      The banking sector’s profitability is also seen to remain stable after banks allocated significant loan loss provisions in 2020, it added. (PNA)

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Remittances, improved external demand to buoy recovery

April 7, 2021

Banking & Finance

By: , GROWTH of money being sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and improvement of external demand are expected to boost the domestic economy’s recovery this year.       However, Fitch Solutions Country Risks and Industry Research reduced its growth projection for the country this year from 7.6 percent to 5.8 percent on the expected hit from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).       The ECQ status in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal set from March 29 until April 4 was extended for another week to April 11 amid surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.       Fitch Solutions said another unfavorable factor in the economy’s recovery is the slow vaccination rollout.       In a report released Monday, the unit of Fitch Group cited signs of gradual economic activity such as the above 50 level of the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which was unchanged at 52.5 last February against the previous month “indicating a gradual improvement in activity.”       As of last March, the PMI index stood at 52.2 based on the report of the IHS Markit.       An index of above 50 indicates expansion while a figure of below 50 shows otherwise.       “Indeed, respondents noted supportive demand dynamics and increased inventory building on a more positive outlook,” Fitch Solutions said.       The report also said external demand has been improving, partially due to the Covid-19 vaccination program in other countries.       Similarly, OFWs remittances continue to remain resilient, it added.       The report said while the January 2021 inflows declined by 1.7 percent year-on-year, it is 1.8 percent higher than the January 2019 pre-pandemic level.      “We believe that overall remittance flows will begin to gradually rebound as growth picks up globally, particularly on the back of a recovery in the US and the Middle East on the back of rising oil prices, which together accounted for 57.4 percent of remittances in 2019,” it said.       It added while lockdowns in Europe and tightening credit growth in China threaten the broader recovery in global demand as vaccination rollouts progress, “we expect growth to prove strong, boosting the outlook for exports which we forecast to grow 9.5 percent, following a 16.7 percent contraction in 2020.”      “As such, the external backdrop should continue to provide support to the economy in 2021,” it said.       However, the report said implementation of the two-week ECQ will slightly dampen growth prospects given the expected slide in domestic consumption and investment, factors that the domestic economy are highly vulnerable to.  (PNA)

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PH external debt ratios lower on prudent policy

April 7, 2021

Banking & Finance

By: , THE Philippine government’s improved debt guidelines have resulted in the drop of the country’s external debt ratios compared to around two decades ago, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.      In an economic bulletin, the DOF said the proportion of the country’s foreign debt to gross national income (GNI) rose to 25.2 percent as of end-2020 compared to 20.2 percent in the previous year due to higher government liabilities.      However, last year’s figure was significantly lower at 30.9 percentage points than the 56.1 percent in 2000, or when the country was recovering from the impact of the Asian financial crisis.      Amidst the year-on-year uptick, the DOF said the country’s latest external debt ratio is better than the 28.95 percent average among six Asian countries in 2019 based on World Bank (WB) data.      WB data show that 2019 external debt as a percentage of GNI of China is 14.77 percent; Indonesia, 19.74 percent; Philippines, 20.19 percent; Thailand, 34.42 percent; India, 37.03 percent; and Vietnam, 47.56 percent.      The DOF said the Philippines’ prudent debt policy has enabled the country to strengthen its defenses against external shocks like the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.      “This is one of the reasons for the strong confidence of investors in the Philippine economy. Nevertheless, we must continue to prudently manage our fiscal situation and continue to observe fiscal responsibility,” it added. (PNA)

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Targeted spending crucial to economic recovery

April 5, 2021

Banking & Finance

By: , GOVERNMENTS, including those of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), need more targeted spending to boost the recovery of their economies from the pandemic.      Li Lian Ong, ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) group head and lead specialist, said the greater focus should be on “the segments that will drive and sustain growth going forward”, among others.      “They need to avoid artificially supporting firms that are no longer economically viable… an alternative is to provide support to workers while they upskill to meet demand in the other more in-demand sectors,” she said in a virtual briefing during the release of the Asean+3 Regional Economic Outlook (AREO) Wednesday.       In her presentation, Ong said economic recovery remains shrouded by uncertainties because of pandemic-related risks.      AMRO projects a 6.7-percent growth for ASEAN+3, which comprises 10-member bloc Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam plus China, Japan, and Korea, this year.      However, it forecasts a growth moderation to 4.9 percent in 2022.      For one, AMRO sees a  6.9-percent growth for the Philippine economy this year but it projects further growth acceleration to 7.9 percent next year.      Ong said pandemic-related risks are important to be looked into in the short-term because “we cannot really see the economic recovery until the virus is under control.”      “So what is going to be important now is targeted containment that is decisive, effective, and proactive,” she added.      During the same briefing, Marthe Memoracion Hinojales, AMRO economist and AREO lead author, forecasts global value chains (GVCs) to focus more “on resilience and not just efficiency,” which she said, “is a prime characteristic of GVCs until we were hit by back-to-back shocks.”      She projects the ASEAN+3 to be a prime destination of GVCs post-pandemic because of improvements in the infrastructure and labor sectors.      “It (Asean+3) is a good candidate for those seeking to diversify for resilience,” she added.      Along with the geographical part of this issue is the importance of technology and its overall stake in the value chain.      “Users have become comfortable with the technology that was accelerated by the pandemic,” she added. (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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