PESO/US$ RATE STANDS AT P42.62/$1 / NOY REACHES OUT VIA YOUTUBE, NOV. 4

MANILA
, NOVEMBER 3, 2011 (BULLETIN) The peso exchange rate stands at P42.62 to the US dollar, the closing rate last Friday at the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp. (PDEx). The weighted average rate stands at P42.608.

T-bills rise, 90-day at 0.919%

Treasury bill yields were mixed at the auction yesterday, with yields on the three- and six-month debt paper rising to catch up with interest rates in the secondary market for government securities.

The 90-day paper fetched 0.919% at yesterday's auction, up from 0.690% in September, while the 181-day bill rose to 1.115% from 0.682%. Yield on the 363-day paper declined to 1.079% from the 1.75% fetched during the Oct. 18 auction, when the government rejected all bids for the three- and six-month treasury bills to keep yields from rising too sharply from their levels below 1%.

The government had rejected yields of more than 2% sought by banks in the two treasury bill auctions in October. Total tenders for the P9 billion offering reached P21.46 billion.

Petron sues dealer for dumping

Petron Corporation has filed an anti-dumping case against its dealer in Bogo City, Cebu after uncovering several violations of the existing dealership contract with the company.

In a statement, Petron said a criminal case for Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, and False Designations of Origin was filed against Edilberto M. Dilao, Madil service station dealer, before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.

The dealer was found by Petron to be getting fuels from other suppliers, violating its Dealer and Sublease Contracts. (JAL)

Typhoons to push inflation higher

Supply shocks in the Philippines caused by several typhoons likely spurred inflation to a quicker pace in October, although economists doubt that higher consumer prices would force a policy tightening from the central bank amid dimmer global economic growth prospects.

The median forecast of 10 economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires is for the consumer price index, the country's main inflation barometer, to have risen 5.1% in October from a year earlier.

Honda to suspend R.P. production

Honda Motor Co. plans to reduce production in Brazil, England and the Philippines because of parts shortages stemming from the floods in Thailand, Keitaro Yamamoto, a spokesman for the company, said yesterday.

Production will be cut in England this week and Brazil the following week, he said. In the Philippines, output will be halted today, he said.

Aquino reaches out via YouTubeBottomline By MICHAEL ALLAN HAMLIN November 2, 2011, 3:00am

MANILA, Philippines -- On Friday, November 4, Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III will be the first Asian head of state to be interviewed live on the online video social network YouTube.

Moderated by APAC Google Policy Director Ross LaJeunesse, YouTube World View provides the opportunity for 30 million Filipinos who regularly access the Internet to ask Mr. Aquino a question. Filipinos proposed questions and then voted to rank the most important.

According to the World View website (www.youtube.com/worldview), the top question Friday will be, “NAIA is now tagged by a party as the ‘world’s worst airport.’ NAIA is named after your late father and is a historical landmark so I think it is valuable to you personally.

What are your plans (and DOT) to improve its current state?”

Recent reports suggest that Department of Science & Technology Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II will have some input for the response.

NAIA is of course the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and the site of the assassination of Mr. Aquino’s father, former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. The “party” the questioner referred to is a website, Sleeping in Airports. It ranked NAIA Terminal 1— in operation since 1981 and operating overcapacity since 1991— as the worst airport in the world and in Asia.

Mr. Roxas plans to turn Clark International Airport (CIA) into the Philippines’ principal international port of entry. But the airport is 100 kilometers away from the country’s central business districts, and has no high-speed rail access. The heavily trafficked North Luzon Expressway doesn’t have the capacity to handle the anticipated increase in traffic if CIA is upgraded.

Perhaps as a result the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) is recommending a R1 billion upgrade of Terminal 1, which it says can be completed in 12 months. According to NCC co-chairman Guillermo M. Luz, the proposal is awaiting the approval of the Manila International Airport Authority. Mr. Luz believes that even if CIA is upgraded and access improved that the principal international airport should be physically closer to the business community.

He probably has a point. Narita International Airport in Japan is 70 kilometers from Tokyo, making travel to the airport time-consuming, hectic, and annoying. According to figures cited in a news report by Mr. Luz, the Hong Kong and Bangkok airports are about 50 kilometers from their central business districts. Hong Kong’s Airport Express is just fast-enough and reliable-enough to be endurable.

So it makes sense that Filipinos will want to know where Mr. Aquino stands on this issue. Not so much because of his family history, but because Terminal 1 really is the worst airport in Asia and it needs fixing.

Speaking on behalf of Mr. Aquino at the recent launch of YouTube Philippines, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang explained why his boss is embracing online video as a communications medium. “Open and transparent governance has always been one of our priorities, and we have been actively exploring the ways through which social media can deepen democracy.

“And so, knowing that it can be difficult for the ordinary Filipino to view his government as accessible and transparent, we are taking the first step in coming to you.” Mr. Carandang also announced two presidential YouTube channels, govph and rtvmalacanang.

The move makes a lot of sense. The Philippines’ online population is growing rapidly as access is made increasingly available to far-flung provincial areas. In the same way that Filipinos dominate SMS—with close to 1.5 billion messages a day—they dominate social networks. An August 2010 comScore study showed that Filipinos spend more time on social networks than users anywhere else in the world.

The Philippines is the eighth-largest Facebook population in the world, with more than 90% of Internet users regularly accessing the site. More people visit brand communities on Facebook than brand websites, according to studies by Universal McCann. The top five brands in the Philippines are Smart Communications, Hair Experts, Starbucks Philippines, Nescafe Philippines, and Red Horse Beer.

Smart has more than 1.1 million fans on Facebook, who visit the site for product announcements, promotions, and to meet other users. Filipino Internet users are also among the top viewers and uploaders of video. According to Universal McCann, virtually every Filipino who uses the Internet watches online video. Globally, as of March last year, 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and views exceed two billion every day.

Although Google — which owns YouTube — doesn’t release country-specific information, executives do say that views from the Philippines are among the highest in Asia. The platform is there. It’s relevant. It’s popular. Now let’s see how well Mr. Aquino leverages it.

(Disclosure: Google is a client of my firm, TeamAsia, and TeamAsia was involved in the recent launch of YouTube Philippines. This column was not reviewed by Google executives.)

(Michael Alan Hamlin is the managing director of TeamAsia and a Manila-based author. His latest book is High Visibility: Transforming Your Personal and Professional Brand. Write him at mahamlin@teamasia.com.).

Copyright © 2011 Michael Alan Hamlin. All Rights Reserved.


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