APRIL 28, 2006
 (STAR) By Marianne V. Go - Investment bank, securities and investment management firm Goldman Sachs is being courted by the Philippines to invest some of its managed funds in the country.

According to Trade and Industry Secretary Peter B. Favila, Goldman Sachs Asia chairman Tom Morgan recently visited the country and paid a courtesy call on President Arroyo.

Morrison, along with other top Goldman Sachs officials, also met with Favila to explore possible investment opportunities.

Goldman Sachs, Favila said, expressed interest in a range of areas including tourism.

One particular area the firm was eyeing was Busuanga in Palawan province where an Amanpulo-type of resort could be built.

Favila offered the Subic Bay Freeport and Clark as possible investment areas especially since Subic is keen on developing more high-end tourism facilities while the Government is set to privatize the Mimosa Golf Resort in Clark.

The Mimosa Golf Resort, Favila said, has been doing good lately due to the influx of Korean tourists.

Apart from tourism, Goldman Sachs, Favila said, expressed interest in the Transco privatization.

Goldman Sachs, Favila said, already has existing investments in the Philippines in bonds, equity funds and a few others.

The Goldman Sachs top executive was able to spend only a brief one-day visit, but Favila has invited the officials to return for a longer exploratory visit.

Philippines to spend 28B US dollars on infrastructure projects 04/27 5:40:00 PM

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines plans to spend 1.5 trillion pesos (28 billion dollars) on major infrastructure projects over the next five years, seen as a hindrance to investments, the government said Thursday.

It plans to finance 56 percent of the costs and rely on the private sector for the balance of funds required for the projects.

About 743 billion pesos worth of transportation projects lead the list, the economic planning department said in a statement.

The rest would be spent on the power sector, water utilities, communications and social infrastructure.

Infrastructure spending would account for about four percent of the country's total gross domestic product for 2006-201O, the statement added.

"Infrastructure plays a crucial role in boosting economic growth and reducing poverty. Substantial investment is needed to create new infrastructure and maintain or improve existing ones," Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri said.

Napocor official warns of power crisis in Mindanao By Donnabelle L. Gatdula The Philippine Star 04/28/2006

The Mindanao islands will likely suffer massive power outages in the next few months due to insufficient power reserves in the area, a top energy officials said.

National Power Corp. (Napocor) president Cyril del Callar, in a presentation before members of the American Chamber and Commerce, said the lack of power supply in Mindanao started in the last quarter of 2005 and will be felt up to end-2006.

"Beginning last quarter of 2005 up to end of 2006, system gross reserve is no longer sufficient to meet the 11.9 percent load following and frequency regulation (LFFR) and spinning reserve requirement," he said. LFFR should be maintained to keep stability of supply in the entire grid.

He said the shortage in supply of power in Mindanao will be felt despite short-term solutions implemented by the power firm.

Napocor has transferred Power Barge 104 in August 2005. It also proposed to transfer PB101 and PB 102 by January and July 2006, respectively.

"Recurring power shortages are expected especially during peak periods when generators and associated transmission lines are on forced outage," he said,

The Napocor chief said the power situation in Mindanao will worsen in the next two months. "Power shortages are expected to worsen during the summer months due to the adverse effect of El Niņo on hydro capacity."

But Del Callar said from 2007 up to 2008, power supply will return stable as the system gross reserve will then be sufficient to meet the LFFR and spinning reserve requirement with the scheduled commissioning of the 200-megawatt (MW) Mindanao Coal Corp. by January 2007.

However, he said the remaining system net reserve is still not sufficient to meet the 9.1-percent back-up reserve requirement.

By 2009, he said additional new capacity of about 57 MW is needed and thereafter, an average of 116 MW annually.

Based on the grid-based plan of the government, it would deploy a number of power barges from Visayas to be brought to Mindanao as a stop-gap measure.

The government also plans to source power from embedded generation from power distributors Davao Light Power Corp. and Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co.

Del Callar said there is also a need to ensure the completion of the Mindanao Coal power plant by the end of this year.

He said they would likewise ensure the completion of capacity enhancement program like Balo-I flood control project and Pulangi desiltation/dredging project to help address the imminent power shortage.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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