MANILA, October 5, 2005
 (STAR) By Marianne V. Go - Local Chinese businessmen are urging the countryís legislators to temporarily suspend its series of investigations until the country hurdles the more pressing oil crisis.

Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCI) president Francis Chua called on the countryís legislators to temporarily suspend all its investigation and concentrate on improving the economy and hurdling the current oil crisis.

According to Chua, the biggest loser in not attending to the economy is the poor.

He warned that with the current oil crisis, a lot of businesses are suffering.

"Gasoline prices are very expensive," Chua complained and businesses are suffering.

If businesses close and factories close, those who would be hardest hit would be the poor workers, Chua said.

The recent spate of investigations, Chua lamented, is not helping solve the oil crisis and the economic problems.

"For the sake of economic survival,"Chua appealed, "suspend the investigations till we weather out the oil crisis."

In fact, Chua noted, the investigations only tend to scare away investors whom the Philippines badly needs.

Once the holiday season is over and some improvement in the economy is observed, Chua said, then Congress can resume its investigations.

BSP takes steps to push microfinance By Donnabelle L. Gatdula The Philippine Star 10/05/2005

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said yesterday that monetary authorities have taken several steps to promote the countryís microfinance industry.

Tetangco was reacting to a US-based microfinance research groupís observation that the BSP lacks proper regulatory framework to develop the microfinance industry and mobilize savings .

Microfinance Gateway, in a report called Philippine Country-Level Savings assessment, said there are other BSP regulations that hinder small savings mobilization by banks.

Based in Washington, D.C. the Gateway is managed by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), a consortium of 28 donors who support microfinance.

The BSP chief said they have trained examiners to deal with the banks engaged in microfinancing schemes.

"We have also conducted an intensive information campaign about microfinance," he said.

One issue raised by Gateway is that the cooperative and deposit-taking non-governmental organizations (NGOs) lack effective prudential supervision.

The BSP governor argued that the non-governmental NGOs are not under the supervision of the BSP.

"The BSPís mandate is to focus on the banking sector. However, its interest in the other sectors such as the NGO and cooperative sector insofar as microfinance is concerned is in relation to the transformation of non-bank microfinance institutions into banks. Other infrastructures needed for microfinance development such as developing uniform set of standards and promotion of best practices for sustainable operations within banks NGOs and cooperatives," the BSP Microfinance handbook said.

With these efforts carried out by the BSP, he said the number of banks engaged in microfinance have gone up to 187 and the loan portfolio has increased to P3.3 billion.

Pay-TV industry loses P5B yearly due to piracy By Marianne V. Go The Philippine Star 10/05/2005

The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) estimates that the pay-TV industry loses some P4 billion to P5 billion annually due to piracy.

In a press conference, CASBAA disclosed that last year 650,000 people in the Philippines accessed pirated pay-TV as compared to the 850,000 legitimate cable subscribers.

CASBAA further estimates that as of mid-2005, illegally connected cable users is at 835,000, while legitimate subscribers are only at 750,000.

CASBAA expressed alarm that the rapid growth in illegally connected cable users in the Philippines shows that the legitimate cable industry is going backward.

CASBAA stressed that pirate pay-TV operators are unfairly competing with legitimate cable companies and deceiving thousands of Filipino subscribers who pay good money for programs which have been illegally acquired and deceptively transmitted.

CASBAA added that piracy hurts not just the legal operators. It also victimizes many unsuspecting consumers who are willing to pay honestly and reasonably for the programs that they enjoy viewing.

The National Bureau of Investigation-Intellectual Property Right Division, acting on complaints filed by CASBAA, has raided the offices of three cable companies, namely Telmarc Cable Corp. in Pasig and its separate branches in Taytay, Rizal and Alaminos; Maguindanao Skycable and Z-Energy CATV Network in Cotabato City and Butuan City.

The raids are intended as a wake-up call to all cable operators engaged in any form of intellectual property theft.

Cable TV piracy cost industry $70 million last year 10/04 7:14:13 PM

MANILA (AFP) - Pirate cable television operators in the country cost the local industry an estimated $70 million last year, the regional cable and satellite association said Tuesday.

"The level of piracy in the Philippines is going up and not going down," John Medeiros vice-president of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia said during a telephone press conference in Manila.

According to data compiled by CLSA Asia Pacific Markets, piracy in Asia cost the cable and satellite industry $970 million last year compared with $874 million in 2003.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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