ECONOMY DISAPPOINTS

The Philippine economy grew by 5.7 percent in the first quarter of the year, lower than the 6.5 to 7.5-percent full-year target set by the government. National Statistician Lisa Grace Bersales on Thursday said the first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth is below the 6.3-percent growth posted in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the 7.7 percent posted in the same period last year- the highest quarterly growth rate achieved in the Aquino administration. Growth in the first three months of the year was driven by the services sector which expanded by 6.8 percent and the industry sector which grew by 5.5 percent, she said. "Among the three major economic sectors, services made the highest contribution to the GDP growth in the first quarter of 2014 contributing 3.8 percentage points followed by industry with 1.8 percentage points, and the whole agriculture sector with 0.1 percentage point," Bersales said. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the slow growth in the first quarter came as the economy continued to feel the lingering effects of disaster that hit the country last year. Typhoon Yolanda destroyed Eastern Visayas November last year, killing thousands and leaving billions worth of damage. "The relatively slow growth is expected, given the magnitude of the destruction in production capacity. In agriculture, permanent crops, notably coconuts, were felled. Damage to agricultural output also disrupted supply chains, which may partly explain why food manufacturing output also declined," he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: May inflation projected at 3.9% to 4.7%

Inflation is expected to further accelerate this month due to higher rice and sugar prices, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said yesterday. BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said the rate of increase in the consumer price index is seen settling between 3.9 percent and 4.7 percent this month. “Inflationary pressures could stem from the observed uptrend in food prices, particularly rice and sugar,” the central bank chief said in a text message to reporters. “However, lower petroleum prices and electricity rates during the month could partly temper the impact of these upward pressures,” he added. If the rate settles at the high end of 4.7 percent, this would be the fastest since November 2011. Inflation rose to 4.1 percent in April from 3.9 percent in March amid higher food prices and an increase in utility rates. The rate has so far averaged 4.1 percent in the four months to April, above the midpoint of the central bank’s 3-5 percent target range for the year. “Looking ahead, the BSP will continue to keep a watchful eye on the risks to price stability, with a view to implementing appropriate policy actions as necessary,” Tetangco stressed. READ MORE...

ALSO: Slower economic growth for PH seen

After beating expectations last year with a growth rate of 7.2 percent, the Philippine economy is seen to grow at a slower pace this year but infrastructure projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) framework are seen perking up growth back to more than 7 percent in 2015. American banking giant Citigroup sees the Philippines posting a slower gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.8 percent this year but sees growth hitting 7.3 percent next year with big PPP projects such as the Mactan-Cebu international airport rehabilitation project. HSBC, on the other hand, expects the effects of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” and weaker local demand to slow Philippine growth this 2014 to 5.9 percent. Last week, the Philippines announced that fourth-quarter GDP grew by 6.5 percent, beating market consensus forecast of 6 percent. This brought full year growth to 7.2 percent despite the adverse impact of Yolanda in the last quarter. “While the future certainly looks bright and the Philippines has turned around from being a laggard of Asia to one of its bright spots, there are reasons to remain vigilant,” HSBC economist Trinh Nguyen said in a research note dated Jan. 30. Nguyen said growth was likely to slow this first quarter of the year on weaker agriculture output due to the impact of “Yolanda.” Furthermore, a weakened peso is seen to cause import costs to rise. READ MORE...

ALSO: Mactan-Cebu eyed to be world's first resort-airport

APRIL 19 --Louie Ferrer, Megawide chief marketing officer and spokesman, said the Mactan-Cebu airport will be turned into a "resort-airport" facility with 20 aircraft parking stands with aerobridges. It will also have 13 aircraft parking stands to be served by bus transfers. The new airport will also have separate international and domestic terminals, which will be connected by a link bridge. "The airport terminals will reflect the rich Cebuano heritage in a state of the art design with a soothing resort-like atmosphere conceptualized by international and Cebuano designers," Ferrer said. The airport will have 149 check-in counters for international and domestic flights, from the current 44. It will also have "unique" retail and food shops, airline lounges and an enhanced in-line automated baggage handling system. The airport will also have an adjoining "village mall" complex. "The GMR Megawide consortium has proven that it has the credentials, expertise and financial capabilities to take on this prestigious project and deliver an airport that all Filipinos will be proud of and Cebuanos can call their own," Ferrer said. The DOTC earlier said it will award the Mactan-Cebu airport project by next week. READ FULL STORY...

ALSO: Renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue

MAY 27 --Renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue said he will soon finalize an agreement with GMR Megawide Consortium to design the Mactan Cebu International Airport passenger terminal. “We are in talks right now, but it is highly likely that I will be the one to design the airport. We were supposed to finalize it a few weeks ago, but I had to leave for New York on business,” Mr. Cobonpue said on the sidelines of the Open Collaboration for East Asia New Champions conference in Mactan at the weekend. An announcement will be made in two weeks. Mr. Cobonpue said the consortium was still reviewing the architectural designs while he wanted to view the new plans before committing to the project. “I am waiting for that (new plans) and it should be complete in one to two weeks. They should announce it after that,” he added. Andrew Acquaah Harrison, deputy chief executive officer of Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd. and GMR representative to the consortium, confirmed that they want Mr. Cobonpue to do the interior design. “We definitely want him on board because he’s a great Cebuano designer. We believe his vision can really highlight and reflect the Cebuano heritage in the airport’s design,” Mr. Harrison said in a telephone interview yesterday. The multi-awarded designer, famous for his nature-inspired furniture and interior designs, and his team were earlier reported to have been tapped to redesign the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The government, however, gave the project to another group.READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Economy disappoints

MANILA, JUNE 2, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Jovan Cerda - The Philippine economy grew by 5.7 percent in the first quarter of the year, lower than the 6.5 to 7.5-percent full-year target set by the government.

National Statistician Lisa Grace Bersales on Thursday said the first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth is below the 6.3-percent growth posted in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the 7.7 percent posted in the same period last year- the highest quarterly growth rate achieved in the Aquino administration.

Growth in the first three months of the year was driven by the services sector which expanded by 6.8 percent and the industry sector which grew by 5.5 percent, she said.

"Among the three major economic sectors, services made the highest contribution to the GDP growth in the first quarter of 2014 contributing 3.8 percentage points followed by industry with 1.8 percentage points, and the whole agriculture sector with 0.1 percentage point," Bersales said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the slow growth in the first quarter came as the economy continued to feel the lingering effects of disaster that hit the country last year. Typhoon Yolanda destroyed Eastern Visayas November last year, killing thousands and leaving billions worth of damage.

"The relatively slow growth is expected, given the magnitude of the destruction in production capacity. In agriculture, permanent crops, notably coconuts, were felled. Damage to agricultural output also disrupted supply chains, which may partly explain why food manufacturing output also declined," he said.

He added that the tourism and insurance industries likewise decelerated in the first quarter because of calamities, and prudential measures in the previous quarter to prevent real estate bubbles held back the growth in private construction.

Balisacan said that despite this, the Philippine economy's growth was the third-fastest among major economies in Asia, next to China's 7.4 percent and Malaysia's 6.2 percent.

"Despite all of these, the Philippine external market is a bright spot in the growth of the economy during the period. The country is now benefiting from the sustained growth in the global manufacturing industry. Total exports grew double digit this quarter, a rebound from the 10.6 percent contraction in the same period in 2013. Imports, notably of raw materials and intermediate goods, also improved to 8 percent from a 2.8 percent growth last year," he said.

Balisacan said the economy will continue to grow at an increasing pace in the remaining quarters of the year, as the effects of typhoon Yolanda and other disasters will be diminished.

"We remain confident that we will meet the growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent for the full year of 2014," he said.

Moving forward, Balisacan said the country needs to diversify the economy, develop resiliency and maximize the improving global economy. He also raised the urgency of speeding up the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the disaster-stricken areas as these will restore supply chains.

May inflation projected at 3.9% to 4.7% By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 29, 2014 - 12:00am 1 1 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Inflation is expected to further accelerate this month due to higher rice and sugar prices, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said yesterday.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said the rate of increase in the consumer price index is seen settling between 3.9 percent and 4.7 percent this month.

“Inflationary pressures could stem from the observed uptrend in food prices, particularly rice and sugar,” the central bank chief said in a text message to reporters.

“However, lower petroleum prices and electricity rates during the month could partly temper the impact of these upward pressures,” he added.

If the rate settles at the high end of 4.7 percent, this would be the fastest since November 2011.

Inflation rose to 4.1 percent in April from 3.9 percent in March amid higher food prices and an increase in utility rates.

The rate has so far averaged 4.1 percent in the four months to April, above the midpoint of the central bank’s 3-5 percent target range for the year.

“Looking ahead, the BSP will continue to keep a watchful eye on the risks to price stability, with a view to implementing appropriate policy actions as necessary,” Tetangco stressed.

The BSP’s policy-making Monetary Board has kept key policy rates steady during its first three meetings for the year amid expectations inflation will remain within target. Overnight borrowing and overnight lending rates remained at 3.5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, since October 2012.

The Monetary Board will revisit policy settings next on June 19.

Food and power prices may further cause an uptick in inflation this year although the rate will still be within target, Tetangco said as the country endures the El Nino season (drought).

“We’re trying to come up with an estimate of the potential impact of El Nino on [inflation] forecasts. We have preliminary numbers. While there will be upward effect but average for the year as we see it now will still be within the target,” he said.

Tetangco explained the central bank is looking at previous El Nino episodes as bases for the estimated impact of drought on inflation, especially on food prices and power rates.

“Impact can be felt in a number of areas. One is food prices [and] two is power because of the hydroplants. But as I mentioned earlier, there are certain mitigating measures being put in place. That’s cloud seeding, drought resistant crops, water impounding to moderate El Nino,” he explained.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Slower economic growth for PH seen Philippine Daily Inquirer 7:23 pm | Sunday, February 2nd, 2014


PPP BIGGEST PROJECT: "The Mactan-Cebu airport will be turned into a "resort-airport" facility with 20 aircraft parking stands with aerobridges," said Louie Ferrer, Chief Marketing Officer for Megawide Construction. "It will also have 13 aircraft parking stands to be served by bus transfers."

After beating expectations last year with a growth rate of 7.2 percent, the Philippine economy is seen to grow at a slower pace this year but infrastructure projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) framework are seen perking up growth back to more than 7 percent in 2015.

American banking giant Citigroup sees the Philippines posting a slower gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.8 percent this year but sees growth hitting 7.3 percent next year with big PPP projects such as the Mactan-Cebu international airport rehabilitation project.

HSBC, on the other hand, expects the effects of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” and weaker local demand to slow Philippine growth this 2014 to 5.9 percent.

Last week, the Philippines announced that fourth-quarter GDP grew by 6.5 percent, beating market consensus forecast of 6 percent. This brought full year growth to 7.2 percent despite the adverse impact of Yolanda in the last quarter.

“While the future certainly looks bright and the Philippines has turned around from being a laggard of Asia to one of its bright spots, there are reasons to remain vigilant,” HSBC economist Trinh Nguyen said in a research note dated Jan. 30.

Nguyen said growth was likely to slow this first quarter of the year on weaker agriculture output due to the impact of “Yolanda.” Furthermore, a weakened peso is seen to cause import costs to rise.

“This means that while improved global demand should support export growth, import costs will be a drag on GDP growth. The exchange rate pass-through of a weaker peso will also have an impact on headline inflation,” Nguyen said.

Both HSBC and Citi expect the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to keep key interest rates unchanged during its first monetary setting for 2014 this Thursday.

Citigroup economist for the Philippines Jun Trinidad said: “We expect the overnight rate to remain unchanged, but officials could signal tightening to curb Philippine peso vulnerability in an (emerging market foreign exchange) selloff environment, in which the Philippine peso is unlikely to be spared.”

For this year, Trinidad said primary fiscal expenditures, led by infrastructure (including reconstruction costs), should dominate first-semester spending. He added that import content of growth was likely to increase in the second half and base effects for some components, like exports, could restrain headline GDP growth even as the momentum remained upbeat.

Trinidad added that the weaker peso would bode well for consumption outlook for as long as inflation impact was limited.

“We expect real exchange rate gains in firs half of 2014 to support purchasing power of remittances, sustaining consumption gains, while rehabilitation work in the typhoon-devastated areas should gradually restore the region’s contribution to GDP. As inflation rises while BSP’s tightening signals/actions mitigate Philippine peso weakness in the second half of 2014, other GDP components should take the lead in sustaining the upbeat momentum,” Trinidad said. Doris C. Dumlao

FROM ABS-CBN


With the new expansion, the number of check-in counters for domestic and international flights at Mactan-Cebu Airport is expected to increase from the existing 44 counters up to 149 check-in counters. There will also be unique retail and food outlets, airline lounges, and an enhanced automated baggage handling system. An adjoining "village mall" complex will be added for the benefit of travellers, visitors, employees, and well wishers.

Mactan-Cebu eyed to be world's first resort-airport ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 03/19/2014 5:46 PM | Updated as of 03/19/2014 7:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The consortium of Megawide Construction Corp. and India's GMR Airports have not yet been awarded the contract for Mactan-Cebu International Airport, but they're vowing to turn it into the world's first resort-airport.


Megawide-GMR consortium released its design for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Courtesy of Megawide-GMR Facebook page


Louie Ferrer, Megawide chief marketing officer and spokesman, said the Mactan-Cebu airport will be turned into a "resort-airport" facility with 20 aircraft parking stands with aerobridges. It will also have 13 aircraft parking stands to be served by bus transfers.

The new airport will also have separate international and domestic terminals, which will be connected by a link bridge.

"The airport terminals will reflect the rich Cebuano heritage in a state of the art design with a soothing resort-like atmosphere conceptualized by international and Cebuano designers," Ferrer said.

The airport will have 149 check-in counters for international and domestic flights, from the current 44.

It will also have "unique" retail and food shops, airline lounges and an enhanced in-line automated baggage handling system.

The airport will also have an adjoining "village mall" complex.

"The GMR Megawide consortium has proven that it has the credentials, expertise and financial capabilities to take on this prestigious project and deliver an airport that all Filipinos will be proud of and Cebuanos can call their own," Ferrer said.

The DOTC earlier said it will award the Mactan-Cebu airport project by next week.

The Megawide-GMR group submitted the highest bid of P14.404 billion for the project last December, followed by the Filinvest-Changi consortium with P13.999 billion.

The awarding of the PPP project has been delayed, as Filinvest had sought the disqualification of the Megawide-GMR consortium for the Mactan-Cebu airport project.

Filinvest earlier raised the conflict of interest issue between GMR-Megawide Consortium and First Philippine Airports Consortium, which included Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB). It noted that the managing director of MAHB is also a director of GMR Infrastructure Limited's airport affiliates, who were part of their bid for the Mactan airport project. The company claimed this was a violation of the bidding rules.

Megawide-GMR have refuted those allegations.

FROM BUSINESS WORLD

Renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue Business World, 27 May 2014 By John Paolo G. Bago


World-renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue will likely take charge of the design of the Mactan, Cebu International Airport expansion project. Cobonpue, along with designer Budji Layug and architect Royal Pineda, also previously designed a rehabilitation plan for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 for free, after it topped the list of a travel website’s world’s lousiest airports to sleep in in 2012. Their offer, however, was turned down by then Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II. The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) opted to hire Leandro V. Locsin and Associates, the original architectural and engineering firm that designed the NAIA-1, to be in charge of the redesign of the 30-year-old airport.| NPPA IMAGES

CEBU CITY — Renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue said he will soon finalize an agreement with GMR Megawide Consortium to design the Mactan Cebu International Airport passenger terminal.

“We are in talks right now, but it is highly likely that I will be the one to design the airport. We were supposed to finalize it a few weeks ago, but I had to leave for New York on business,” Mr. Cobonpue said on the sidelines of the Open Collaboration for East Asia New Champions conference in Mactan at the weekend.

An announcement will be made in two weeks. Mr. Cobonpue said the consortium was still reviewing the architectural designs while he wanted to view the new plans before committing to the project.

“I am waiting for that (new plans) and it should be complete in one to two weeks. They should announce it after that,” he added.

Andrew Acquaah Harrison, deputy chief executive officer of Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd. and GMR representative to the consortium, confirmed that they want Mr. Cobonpue to do the interior design.

“We definitely want him on board because he’s a great Cebuano designer. We believe his vision can really highlight and reflect the Cebuano heritage in the airport’s design,” Mr. Harrison said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The multi-awarded designer, famous for his nature-inspired furniture and interior designs, and his team were earlier reported to have been tapped to redesign the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The government, however, gave the project to another group.

Mr. Harrison also said the consortium was on track to deliver the P17.5-billion public-private partnership (PPP) project in three years. Construction of the new terminal is slated to begin early next year.

“For now, our focus and our goal is to meet up with various stakeholders to really market and project the new airport as part of the tourist’s experience. Their holidays begin the moment they land or board the plane,” said Mr. Harrison.

The consortium, made up of Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Ltd. from India and listed Filipino construction company Megawide Construction Corp., has promised a “resort-themed” airport to help promote Cebu as a tourism hub and major gateway to the country.

“Cebu and the region is really a tourism-driven economy. What we’ve done is consult with the tourism, hospitality, even other airlines to discuss how the airport can operate to market Cebu’s great tourism destinations,” he said.

GMR-Megawide was awarded the PPP project on April 4 despite a petition seeking to nullify the contract filed by Senator Sergio R. Osmeña III before the Supreme Court and a public relations war waged by second highest bidder Filinvest-Changi.

On April 22, the consortium made an upfront payment of P14.4 billion to the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority and signed the concession agreement to build a new facility that will bring the airport’s capacity to 25 million.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE