AQUINO: PHILIPPINES 'SICK MAN OF ASIA' NO MORE

President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday said consistent economic growth over the years has moved the Philippines’ development forward so that its label “Sick Man of Asia” is now just a “distant memory”. Aquino, speaking at Euromoney Philippines Investment Forum 2014, said the recent investment grade status and increasing economic and financial rankings proved that the world economy is recognizing the full potential of the Philippines as an emerging country. He specifically mentioned a 2013 survey by the Japan External Trade Organization which showed the Philippines as the second most profitable among ASEAN-5 countries, next to Thailand. He said this report is “impressive” considering that the country is at “dead last” in 2010. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Rankings, the Philippines is now at 59th place, or 26 spots higher since he step into office in 2010, he said. The country has also recorded a marked improvement in the World Bank and International Finance Corporation’s Ease of Doing Business Report after it moved thirty places in a single year, he added. “These developments are unimpeachable proof: The large-scale turnaround of the Philippine economy is gaining even greater momentum. The days when we were called the Sick Man of Asia are becoming a distant memory,” he said in the televised forum, noting that Philippines is now referred to as “Asia’s Bright Spot,” or the “New Asian Tiger.”

ALSO: President invites investments in PH

President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday urged potential investors to be part of the country’s success story and invest in lucrative sectors such as infrastructure, tourism, and agriculture. In return, the President promised to sustain the country’s impressive economic development as well as pursue measures, including amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer law, to keep the business climate conducive to growth. Aquino spoke anew on the country’s economic achievements and the opportunities for investment during the 3rd Euromoney Philippines Investment Forum 2014 at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City. “I invite all of you here to consider working with us in accelerating the growth of these sectors,” the President said. “As our people continue to rewrite the story of the Philippines – from the apathy of the past to the dynamism of the present, from our previous fumbles to the firm resolve that is propelling us towards a more promising future – I invite all of you to take a larger role here – to be present as our people pursue the permanence of our prosperity, on the road to becoming an economy and a country greater than ever before,” he said. To attract more investors, he said the administration will support the passage of bills that will foster a business-friendly environment.

ALSO: EU diplomats back PH as investment hub in Asia

Ambassadors and diplomats from member states of the European Union (EU) have underlined their strong support for the Philippines as an investment destination in Asia. This followed a visit to the construction site of the second offshore gas platform of the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Phase 3 Project. EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said “Several European companies are involved in this endeavor that promises to secure an important source of revenue for the Philippine people while creating new jobs for well-trained Filipinos in their own country.” Ledoux, with Ambassador Josef Muellner (Austria), Roland Van Remoortele (Belgium); Massimo Roscigno (Italy); Charges d’Affaires a.i Michael Hasper (Germany), Hero de Boer (Netherlands), Mihai Sion (Romania); Deputy Heads of Mission Jan Vytopil (Czech Republic), Nicholaos Verghis (Greece); and Commercial Counsellor Ms. Marie-Jose Connan (France) on Thursday toured the Keppel Subic Shipyard in Subic, Zambales, to witness the fabrication activities for the Malampaya Phase 3 (MP3) platform.

ALSO: Malampaya project draws $1-B investment

A second Malampaya Gas platform is being built at the Keppel Subic Shipyard in Subic, Zambales, at a cost of $750 million, bringing total investment in the natural gas project to $1 billion. The new platform will ensure that the current level of gas production is maintained at the Malampaya natural gas facility off Palawan, which provides fuel for 40 percent to 45 percent of Luzon’s power requirements. “The investment in Malampaya Phase 2 is $250 million and Phase 3 is $750 million, a total of $1 billion. That money was raised by a consortium and we didn’t get any loan from the [Philippine] government,” said Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) managing director Sebastian Quiniones. “The scale of this European investment is significant by any measure. Several European companies are involved in this endeavor that promises to secure an important source of revenue for the Philippine people while creating new jobs for well-trained Filipinos in their own country,” European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux said.


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Aquino: Philippines ‘Sick Man of Asia’ no more


This file photo shows President Aquino before he flew to Japan in December 2013 for the ASEAN-Japan summit. (Photo from Aquino’s official Facebook page)

MANILA, FEBRUARY 24, 2014
(MANILA BULLETIN) by Manila Bulletin - President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday said consistent economic growth over the years has moved the Philippines’ development forward so that its label “Sick Man of Asia” is now just a “distant memory”.

Aquino, speaking at Euromoney Philippines Investment Forum 2014, said the recent investment grade status and increasing economic and financial rankings proved that the world economy is recognizing the full potential of the Philippines as an emerging country.


President Aquino speaking at the 3rd Euromoney Philippine Investment Forum. (Photo of PTV)

He specifically mentioned a 2013 survey by the Japan External Trade Organization which showed the Philippines as the second most profitable among ASEAN-5 countries, next to Thailand. He said this report is “impressive” considering that the country is at “dead last” in 2010.

In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Rankings, the Philippines is now at 59th place, or 26 spots higher since he step into office in 2010, he said. The country has also recorded a marked improvement in the World Bank and International Finance Corporation’s Ease of Doing Business Report after it moved thirty places in a single year, he added.

“These developments are unimpeachable proof: The large-scale turnaround of the Philippine economy is gaining even greater momentum. The days when we were called the Sick Man of Asia are becoming a distant memory,” he said in the televised forum, noting that Philippines is now referred to as “Asia’s Bright Spot,” or the “New Asian Tiger.”

But aside from the increasing confidence of investors in the country’s economy, Aquino noted the increasing morale of Filipinos in his government. He flaunted that his administration is doing its job more than what it promised, thus resulting in Filipino’s trust on his government.

“Not long ago, our people had very low expectations of their country, their government, and even themselves. Over the past three and a half years, however, we have shown them what it feels like to have a government that actually works for them—a government that does not break past promises, and in fact, underpromises, and over-delivers,” he said.

He set the Department of Education as an example, which he said promised to address the 66,800 classroom shortages at the end of 2013, and was fulfilled and even exceeded their expectations.

“It goes without saying that this has had a tremendously positive effect on our national psyche: The Filipino has recovered his pride, and has become even more determined to exhibit his full potential to the entire world,” he added. (Ron B. Lopez)

President invites investments in PH by Genalyn Kabiling February 19, 2014


Manila Bulletin- P-NOY AT EUROMONEY FORUM – President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers a speech during the 3rd Euromoney Philippines Investment Forum 2014 at the Ballroom 1 of Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City on Feb. 18, 2014. Also in photo is Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. (Richard V. Viñas)

Manila, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday urged potential investors to be part of the country’s success story and invest in lucrative sectors such as infrastructure, tourism, and agriculture.

In return, the President promised to sustain the country’s impressive economic development as well as pursue measures, including amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer law, to keep the business climate conducive to growth.

Aquino spoke anew on the country’s economic achievements and the opportunities for investment during the 3rd Euromoney Philippines Investment Forum 2014 at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City.

“I invite all of you here to consider working with us in accelerating the growth of these sectors,” the President said.

“As our people continue to rewrite the story of the Philippines – from the apathy of the past to the dynamism of the present, from our previous fumbles to the firm resolve that is propelling us towards a more promising future – I invite all of you to take a larger role here – to be present as our people pursue the permanence of our prosperity, on the road to becoming an economy and a country greater than ever before,” he said.

To attract more investors, he said the administration will support the passage of bills that will foster a business-friendly environment.

“Our intention is clear – to create smoother working conditions between the private sector and the government, which will help government consistently harness your efficiencies as we all engage in the communal task of nation building,” he said.

At the start of his speech, the President shared the “report card” of the Philippines, citing the 7.2 percent economic growth in 2013, the investment grade obtained from major credit rating agencies, and improved competitiveness ranking.

“These developments are unimpeachable proof: The large-scale turnaround of the Philippine economy is gaining even greater momentum,” he said. “We are seeing so many international organizations and publications expressing optimism about our future, and they have already referred to us as ‘Asia’s Bright Spot,’ or as the ‘New Asian Tiger,’” he added.

Although the government is focused on the rebuilding of Yolanda-hit areas, the President assured that he has “not dropped the ball” in promoting vital industries such as agriculture, infrastructure, tourism, or manufacturing. He said these key industries, that drive economic growth, made “giant strides” last year.

The manufacturing sector grew by 10.5 percent and was one of the main factors in building on the country’s economic momentum, he said. The government also increased infrastructure spending from P304 billion in 2013 to nearly 400 billion in 2014. He cited the construction of three new major airports as well as rehabilitation of 50 others in strategic areas. Aquino also committed to stimulate growth in the agriculture sector, citing plans to develop irrigation mechanisms and agricultural infrastructure.

“These, among others, have opened the floodgates of opportunity in our priority sectors. We are fully intent on keeping up the pace of our progress,” he said.

Aquino also mentioned anew that the country will reach a “demographic sweet spot” in 2015 when a large portion of the population reach working age. “On average, hitting such a sweet spot has led to a ten-year period of 7.3 percent yearly growth. So one can only imagine the possibilities for us, considering our workers are renowned for their resilience, creativity, and loyalty,” he said.

To investors who plan to do business in the country, Aquino said human capital would be the least of their worries. He said the government has made substantial budget increases in the education sector to ensure the graduates are properly equipped to qualify for the available jobs.

The President also highlighted the positive transformation of the Filipino nation, particularly “the self-esteem and morale of our citizenry.” He emphasized that the string of reforms has made a positive effect on the national psyche.

From having low expectations of their country, their government, and even themselves, the people were shown what it feels like to have a government that “actually works for them – a government that does not break past promises, and in fact, underpromises, and over-delivers,” he said.

“The Filipino people have grown empowered. They have rediscovered how valuable they are to the country. They take pride in their work; and they have regained the capacity to demand excellence from their government.”

FROM MANILA BULLETIN

EU diplomats back PH as investment hub in Asia February 21, 2014

Ambassadors and diplomats from member states of the European Union (EU) have underlined their strong support for the Philippines as an investment destination in Asia.

This followed a visit to the construction site of the second offshore gas platform of the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Phase 3 Project.


PRIVATE-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP — The European Union delegation visits Malampaya Phase 3 fabrication yard in Subic Bay. A total P45 Billion (€750M) has been poured into new platform of Malampaya. Briefing the diplomats is Antoine Bliek, Malampaya Phase 2 and 3 Project Manager. The high-level EU delegation is made up of (L-R) Germany-Michael Hasper, Charge d’ Affaires a.i; EU Delegation- Ambassador Guy Ledoux; The Netherlands- Hero de Boer, Charge d’ Affaires a.i ; Austria Ambassador Josef Meullner; Greece’s- Nikolaos Verghis; EU Delegation- Walter van Hattum, Head of Trade & Eco; Romania- Mihai Sion, Charge d’ Affaires a.i; Italy (not in photo) – Ambassador Massimo Roscigno.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said “Several European companies are involved in this endeavor that promises to secure an important source of revenue for the Philippine people while creating new jobs for well-trained Filipinos in their own country.”

Ledoux, with Ambassador Josef Muellner (Austria), Roland Van Remoortele (Belgium); Massimo Roscigno (Italy); Charges d’Affaires a.i Michael Hasper (Germany), Hero de Boer (Netherlands), Mihai Sion (Romania); Deputy Heads of Mission Jan Vytopil (Czech Republic), Nicholaos Verghis (Greece); and Commercial Counsellor Ms. Marie-Jose Connan (France) on Thursday toured the Keppel Subic Shipyard in Subic, Zambales, to witness the fabrication activities for the Malampaya Phase 3 (MP3) platform.

Their visit did not only highlight the strong EU presence in the Philippines but also showed that the European Union has confidence in the Philippine economy and is looking to put in more investments, officials said.

Ledoux added, “We are convinced that many opportunities for more European job-creating investments exist.

“European businesses are closely following developments here, in particular with respect to reforms in customs, competition and public procurement, as they make their investment decisions.’’

Largest Investor By Stock

To date, the European Union is already the largest investor in the Philippines by stock at P440 billion.

These investments have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Philippines while adding value to the economy through technology and capital transfer, officials said.

The Malampaya Project – which supplies more than 40 percent of Luzon’s power requirements – is developed and operated by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) on behalf of joint venture partners Chevron Malampaya LLC and the PNOC Exploration Corporation.

The parent company of the Shell group is Royal Dutch Shell plc, which is incorporated in Britain with headquarters in the Netherlands.

Still regarded as the single biggest investment in the Philippines to date, Phase 1 of the Malampaya project has an estimated capital outlay of $4.5 billion.

It is now in its next stages of development which aim to maintain current levels of natural gas production.

$1.02B For Malampaya

In particular, the consortium has committed to pour in an additional $1.02 billion for the Malampaya Phases 2 and 3, according to officials.

The scale of the second Malampaya platform project required the use of a 1,500T gantry crane, the largest in Southeast Asia that has been built at the Keppel Subic Shipyard specifically for the Phase 3 project.

After the construction of the platform, the offshore transport and installation of the second gas platform beside the existing one will be executed with the participation of European companies Boskalis and Mammoet.

Sebastian Quiniones, Shell Philippines Exploration, B.V. Managing Director, said the company welcomed the visit of the EU delegates.

“We are happy to welcome the European Union delegates to the Malampaya Phase 3 Fabrication Yard and showcase a technological innovation where a gas platform is being built for the first time in the country.

“The relationship between the European Union and the Philippines has been a long-standing one and we are positive that this partnership will continue to broaden and deepen our ties and help each other progress as nations,’’ Quiniones added.

FROM MANILA TIMES

Malampaya project draws $1-B investment February 21, 2014 9:09 pm
by VOLT PALAÑA REPORTER


The Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power project is one of the largest and most significant industrial endeavors in Philippine history. A joint undertaking of the Philippine national government and the private sector, the project is spearheaded by the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) developed and operated by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) on behalf of joint venture partners Chevron Malampaya LLC and the PNOC Exploration Corporation. The DOE played a key role in making Malampaya a reality. In 1998, former President Fidel V. Ramos signed the declaration of commerciality of the venture. Three-and-a-half years later, in October 2001, the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project was inaugurated in a special ceremony at the onshore gas plant in Batangas.

A second Malampaya Gas platform is being built at the Keppel Subic Shipyard in Subic, Zambales, at a cost of $750 million, bringing total investment in the natural gas project to $1 billion.

The new platform will ensure that the current level of gas production is maintained at the Malampaya natural gas facility off Palawan, which provides fuel for 40 percent to 45 percent of Luzon’s power requirements.

“The investment in Malampaya Phase 2 is $250 million and Phase 3 is $750 million, a total of $1 billion. That money was raised by a consortium and we didn’t get any loan from the [Philippine] government,” said Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) managing director Sebastian Quiniones.

“The scale of this European investment is significant by any measure. Several European companies are involved in this endeavor that promises to secure an important source of revenue for the Philippine people while creating new jobs for well-trained Filipinos in their own country,” European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux said.

The scale of the project required the use of a 1,500-ton gantry crane—the largest in Southeast Asia—that was built at Keppel Subic Shipyard. European companies Boskalis and Mammoet were tapped to undertake the offshore transport and installation of the second gas platform beside the existing one.

On Thursday, an EU delegation led by Ledoux visited the site where the new natural gas platform is being fabricated. The delegation consisted of several European ambassadors including Josef Muellner of Austria, Roland Van Remoortele of Belgium, Massimo Roscigno of Italy, Michael Hasper of Germany, Hero de Boer of Netherlands, and Mihai Sion of Romania. Also joining them were deputy heads of mission Jan Vytopil of the Czech Republic and Nicholaos Verghis of Greece, and the commercial counselor of France, Marie-Jose Conna.

“We are happy to welcome the European Union delegates to the Malampaya Phase 3 Fabrication Yard and showcase a technological innovation where a gas platform is being built for the first time in the country. The relationship between the European Union and the Philippines has been a longstanding one and we are positive that this partnership will continue to broaden and deepen our ties and help each other progress as nations,” Quiniones said.

The Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project was developed and is operated by SPEX on behalf of joint venture partners Chevron Malampaya LLC and the Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. under Service Contract 38.

Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel with an abundant and diverse supply globally, which is why it is a preferred fuel source for sustainable growth and development.

CONTROVERSY: MALAMPAYA MISUSE OF FUNDS


FROM MANILA TIMES , OCTOBER 7, 2013 REPORT: THE Malampaya gas drilling project has generated a total of P170 billion in revenues for the government since it started in 2000, but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is clueless as to where a P130-billion chunk of it went, according to Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto. Recto on Monday said there were no documents to show which government agencies benefited from the P139 billion or how it was used. He said he wanted to find out what the Arroyo and Aquino administrations did with the fund. Based on records, the administration of president Gloria Arroyo spent P25 billion of Malampaya funds, while the present administration already spent P15 billion, or a total of P40 billion since the project started. “I have been studying the Malampaya fund collection since 2010 and there were no documents that will show the P130 billion. Maybe it was used to fund other projects,” he said. Recto said the DBM needs to come up with a system that will properly trace the funds because the government expects to collect around P30 billion annually from the Malampaya project until 2030. He has introduced several proposals that aim to reduce power rates or help the Armed Forces of the Philippines or both, using the gas fund. Senate Bill No. 465 seeks to reduce power rates by using the Malampaya funds to pay debts of the National Power Corporation (NPC) that are being passed on to power consumers.


PHOTO: A platform of the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project off Palawan province is to be installed next year to maintain fuel supply to power plants providing about half of Luzon’s electricity needs. FROM THE TRIBUNE, SEPTEMBER 2013: CoA silent on Aquino’s misuse of Malampaya funds Written by Tribune Saturday, 21 September 2013 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print Be the first to comment! Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares questioned the Commission on Audit (CoA)’s deafening silence on President Aquino’s misuse of Malampaya funds, as the CoA insists only on just focusing on the fund misuse during the term of former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The same was done by the CoA on the special audit report on the pork barrel, focusing only on the Janet Lim Napoles’ non-government organizations (NGOs) and the opposition senators and congressmen, while Aquino’s allies were spared from the CoA audit, which covered only the years 2-007-2009, under the term of Gloria Arroyo. The partylist congressman based his observation from two documents he had obtained from the CoA itself and the Department of Energy (DoE).

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