9TV (SOLAR NEWS) JOINS CNN TO LAUNCH 'CNN PHILIPPINES' 

OCT 15 --LOGO: 9TV TO BECOME CNN PHILIPPINES: CNN Philippines is coming. After announcing in August this year that Solar News Channel would officially change its name to 9TV in an effort to be identified with the defunct RPN 9 channel, the news and current affairs arm of Solar Network is again rebranding itself, but this time as the internationally renowned news network CNN. Media Newser, an online community site, released a report earlier stating that the channel's news division will be closely working with the international arm of CNN, which will also be providing original reporting and programming to the local arm and that CNN Philippines is looking into hiring veteran and well-known news personalities and journalists. Once launched, CNN Philippines is expected to find heavy competition from established local broadcast news organizations ABS-CBN News Channel and GMA News. According to reports, CNN Philippines will be accessible to viewers on free television. SOURCE: PHILSTAR.

MANILA, OCTOBER 20, 2014 (MANILA TIMES)
by Rosalie C. Periabras - Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific and Nine Media Corp. on Tuesday announced a joint venture partnership to launch CNN Philippines, an English news channel on local free-to-air television that will also be available 24 hours on cable and pay TV. As the CNN website continues to lead the way as the world’s most visited news channel portal, an important part of the partnership will be a world class digital component with the CNN Philippines TV channel being complemented by CNNPhilippines.com. “I think there is a great moment for CNN to come into countries and when we do that, we look around to see who’s on the market, we look around the environment, we look around who allowed transparent, balanced and free journalism,” said Greg Beitchman, senior vice president for content sales partnerships, CNN International.

He added, “Well I think for us, for CNN, we got a lot (from the partnership). Our brand reaches a wider audience via free-to-air (TV audiences) that 9TV Media reaches. We also get a stronger editorial presence here, so the Nine Media network will be growing its editorial coverage and we’re able to take editorial content and news from them about the Philippines and that is official from us.” CNN Philippines will operate from studio facilities in Manila and will replace 9TV on the RPN network nationwide. It will be an English-language channel that offers a dynamic combination of local and international news, as well as current affairs, feature programming and documentaries. “By integrating local elements and content in its programming, CNN Philippines brings together world-class local and international content for Filipino audiences,” said Ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua, chairman of Nine Media Corp. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Foreign traders asking immediate steps from govt to ease up bottlenecks in country's supply chain 

OCT 16 --PHOTO: UNRESOLVED PORT CONGESTIONS. Foreign trade groups in the country
are asking for immediate steps from the government to ease up the bottlenecks in the supply chain in the country through seven measures that the groups agreed on during a meeting. The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) sought the implementation of the following: 4 Remove all bans. Local government units have joined the trend of restricting deliveries of goods by imposing daytime truck bans thereby strangling the needed delivery of supplies and goods within and outside Metro Manila.

The national government needs to reassert its power and jurisdiction over national roads that cut across cities within Metro Manila and expand open 24/7 express lanes for delivery trucks thereby enabling the continuous flow of cargoes to and from the ports, according to the group. After the Manila day time truck ban was lifted by the city, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) still maintains its own truck ban. It should also be lifted. 4 No Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) franchise requirement for trucks for hire (TH). The group said the trucking industry is not a public utility nor comes within the purview of a common carrier that necessitates the regulation by the government through the LTFRB by requiring the application of franchises. * READ MORE...

ALSO: China (Almost) Overtook The US As The World's Largest Economy -IMF explains

Sorry, America. China just overtook the US to become the world's largest economy,
according to the International Monetary Fund. Chris Giles at the Financial Times flagged up the change. He also alerted us in April that it was all about to happen. Basically, the method used by the IMF adjusts for purchasing power parity, explained here. The simple logic is that prices aren't the same in each country: A shirt will cost you less in Shanghai than in San Francisco, so it's not entirely reasonable to compare countries without taking this into account. Though a typical person in China earns a lot less than the typical person in the US, simply converting a Chinese salary into dollars underestimates how much purchasing power that individual, and therefore that country, might have. The Economist's Big Mac Index is a great example of these disparities. So the IMF measures both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world's biggest economy. * CONTINUE READING...

(ALSO by Boo Chanco) China: World’s No. 1 economy, almost!

Shanghai – The big news just before we got here over the weekend had to do with China overtaking the US to become the world’s largest economy. This is according to the International Monetary Fund or IMF whose computation method adjusts for purchasing power parity or PPP. Remember the Big Mac Index popularized by The Economist? That is based on PPP which assumes that prices aren’t the same for the same Big Mac or any other product or service in every country. The price of a Big Mac after you convert in dollar terms will cost you less in Shanghai than in New York. PPP is a means to compare countries. A Chinese worker in China earns a lot less than an American in the US. Just converting the yuans into dollars underestimates that Chinese worker’s purchasing power.

What the IMF did was to measure both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, China has just about overtaken the US and is now the world’s biggest economy. According to the IMF, by the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48 percent of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the US will make up just 16.28 percent (or $17.416 trillion). Assuming we are impressed by this measure, The Economist observed “historians point out that China is merely regaining a title it has held for much of recorded history. In 1820 it probably produced one third of global economic output. The brief interlude in which America overshadowed it is now over.”

But others insist it will be some time before China actually overtakes the US in raw terms, not adjusted for purchasing power. By that measure, China is still more than $6.5 trillion lower than the US and isn’t likely to overtake for quite some time. Bloomberg published a report that “the PPP, used to differentiate how far money goes in each country, hardly reflects where the two nations currently stand vis-à-vis each other. Consider this: in 2013, US GDP was at $16.8 trillion, way ahead of China’s $9.24 trillion before adjusting for inflation, which is the more commonly known measure of an economy’s size, World Bank figures show.”  * READ MORE...

ALSO from Malaya: IGNORING FRAUD 

OCT 15 --By Amado P. Macasaet, I have solid information Mighty Corp. paid customs more than P1 billion representing tariff due on tobacco imported at an incredibly low price of $0.68 per kilo while the world average is $4 and $6 to the kilo. Customs did not make public the huge collection although it announces with regularity the confiscation and eventual sale in public auction of smuggled goods worth less than P50 million. My own suspicion of the non-disclosure of the payment to the public is that Customs is scared its “success” in collecting a “huge” amount may lead to public demand that the alleged under-declaration of cigarette volume by Mighty may explode before the eyes of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Taken to its logical conclusion, the refusal of the BIR to look into the truth or falsity of findings that Mighty is liable for at least P15 billion in excise tax due on undeclared cigarettes may officially catch the attention of President Aquino. His good image may be tarnished. But I dare say with certainty the President knows about the reports of fraud committed by Mighty.

There is hardly any difference between the case of Mighty and the pork barrel scandal that led to the filing of plunder charges against three senators and a slew of petty bureaucrats. In fact, the case of Mighty is worse if the amount alleged to be as big as P15 billion is to be compared to the P10 billion said to have been stolen by the lawmakers through the manipulation of Janet Lim Napoles, the brains behind the pork scam. The alleged tax liability of Mighty is claimed to be much bigger at P15 billion compared to the P10 billion pork barrel scandal. The difference in amounts is not relevant to the necessity of finding the truth of the reports about Mighty’s alleged tax evasion. The Senate went hammer and tongs against its own peers. But it would not touch reports of fraud by a private corporation. More important is the refusal of the BIR and the Department of Finance to look into what A.C. Nielsen and Oxford Economics found in their studies of the operation of Mighty.

The Senate has not found it worth its time — in aid of legislation — to call for public hearings on the alleged tax liability of Mighty. Very definitely, the Senate, particularly its Blue Ribbon Committee will find the necessity of passing a law that will prevent under- declaration of cigarette volume by Mighty after a public hearing. In aid of legislation, the Senate should find it necessary and urgent to pass a law that will prevent under-declaration of volume by Mighty and the rest of the companies that may be doing the same. There should be a new law that will require all producers of goods that pay excise tax, to swear to the capacity of their machines and their rates of utilization. The volume declared for taxation must at all times match capacity utilization. The certification must be made after independent agencies have determined such capacity and utilization. Neither the BIR nor the Senate wants to investigate the reports of the two world-known market researchers. Both are completely indifferent to the necessity of straightening out what appears to be fraud. * READ MORE...

ALSO Manila Times Column: PNoy should shield PPP from politics 

OCT 14 --There are two ways to look at President Aquino’s report from his recent trip to Europe where he said he had come home with some US$2.3 billion in investment commitments in the bag. First is to say that the $2.3 billion figure is merely a little over 10 percent of the US$20 billion-worth of potential Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects he was supposed to sell to the European business community. Second is to say that the US$2.3 billion worth of investment pledges is a significant accomplishment, and that amount is a sign that the international business community still sees the country’s PPP program as credible and worth its while. No debate here: what PNoy got from the European businessmen, if it ripens into actual investments at all, could significantly boost the country’s bid to push infrastructure development faster and solve some of our problems, including employment. That, of course, is a big “if”.

In his arrival speech, PNoy boasted that the investment commitments will translate to some 55,000 jobs. Both the commitments and their job-creation potentials are welcome news. PPP Center Executive Director Cossette Canilao said two major PPP projects were high on the list of the President’s menu. One is the US$2.27-billion Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project. The other is the US$544.2 million Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project. We do not know if these two projects are part of the $2.3 billion investment pledges from PNoy’s trip. We hope they are. The Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project will not only solve the perennial and often deadly flooding of the towns and cities around Laguna de Bay, it will also make travel from Cavite to Laguna much faster and easier. The Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, on the other hand, will serve to assure our countrymen that we won’t run out of safe drinking water in the near future.

We hope that PNoy realizes that his PPP pitch in Europe has definitely raised expectations from the international business community. Potential investors expect that mechanisms are in place to ensure that our bidding processes are fair and that the playing field is, as promised, level and apolitical. From the purely legal viewpoint, the PPP stands on solid ground. Republic Act 7718, or the Philippine Amended Build-Operate-Transfer Law, and its implementing rules and regulations prescribe the modes by which investors can come in. The law likewise prescribes that, under the solicited mode, the implementing agency or local government unit concerned must procure and award priority infrastructure and development projects through transparent and competitive pre-qualification and public bidding processes. The pre-qualification process boosts the expectation of the investor communities, both local and international, that the competition to bag the projects will be joined only by entities that have the right credentials, preventing a mockery of the subsequent bidding process.

The transparency and competitiveness of the actual bidding of the project, on the other hand, is the assurance that there are no intervening and unseen variables at play that can unduly taint the credibility of the bidding process or of the PPP program itself. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

9TV joins CNN to launch CNN Philippines


9TV TO BECOME CNN PHILIPPINES:
CNN Philippines is coming. After announcing in August this year that Solar News Channel would officially change its name to 9TV in an effort to be identified with the defunct RPN 9 channel, the news and current affairs arm of Solar Network is again rebranding itself, but this time as the internationally renowned news network CNN. Media Newser, an online community site, released a report earlier stating that the channel's news division will be closely working with the international arm of CNN, which will also be providing original reporting and programming to the local arm and that CNN Philippines is looking into hiring veteran and well-known news personalities and journalists. Once launched, CNN Philippines is expected to find heavy competition from established local broadcast news organizations ABS-CBN News Channel and GMA News. According to reports, CNN Philippines will be accessible to viewers on free television. SOURCE: PHILSTAR

MANILA, OCTOBER 20, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) by Rosalie C. Periabras - Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific and Nine Media Corp. on Tuesday announced a joint venture partnership to launch CNN Philippines, an English news channel on local free-to-air television that will also be available 24 hours on cable and pay TV.

As the CNN website continues to lead the way as the world’s most visited news channel portal, an important part of the partnership will be a world class digital component with the CNN Philippines TV channel being complemented by CNNPhilippines.com.

“I think there is a great moment for CNN to come into countries and when we do that, we look around to see who’s on the market, we look around the environment, we look around who allowed transparent, balanced and free journalism,” said Greg Beitchman, senior vice president for content sales partnerships, CNN International.

He added, “Well I think for us, for CNN, we got a lot (from the partnership). Our brand reaches a wider audience via free-to-air (TV audiences) that 9TV Media reaches.

We also get a stronger editorial presence here, so the Nine Media network will be growing its editorial coverage and we’re able to take editorial content and news from them about the Philippines and that is official from us.”

CNN Philippines will operate from studio facilities in Manila and will replace 9TV on the RPN network nationwide.

It will be an English-language channel that offers a dynamic combination of local and international news, as well as current affairs, feature programming and documentaries.

“By integrating local elements and content in its programming, CNN Philippines brings together world-class local and international content for Filipino audiences,” said Ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua, chairman of Nine Media Corp.

* Working closely with their TV counterparts, CNNPhilpines.com offers the latest news, business, science and technology, entertainment and sports, as well as opinion and analysis, special reports, exclusive interviews and videos. CNN Philippines and CNNPhilpines.com will officially launch in the first quarter of 2015.

“It’s our opportunity, our way also to reach into the local market and so as you know CNN is big on news gathering, we have a very large footprint worldwide. We want to tap the team here to broadcast the best news from the Philippines internationally, and I think that is really important and that is what the partnership is all about.

It’s not a one-way business, it’s a two-way partnership,” said Ellana Lee, senior vice president and managing editor of CNN International.

The launch of CNN Philippines is part of a greater strategic effort undertaken by CNN International’s Content Sales and Partnerships Group, a division of Turner Broadcasting International.

The core business is to explore ways in which CNN can reach more consumers locally, regionally and internationally across both digital and linear platforms, including branded channels, by partnering with other leading media organizations.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Foreign traders via ECCP, urges immediate steps from govt to ease up bottlenecks in country's supply chain Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 16 October 2014 00:00


UNRESOLVED PORT CONGESTION

Foreign trade groups in the country are asking for immediate steps from the government to ease up the bottlenecks in the supply chain in the country through seven measures that the groups agreed on during a meeting.

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) sought the implementation of the following:

 4 Remove all bans. Local government units have joined the trend of restricting deliveries of goods by imposing daytime truck bans thereby strangling the needed delivery of supplies and goods within and outside Metro Manila.

The national government needs to reassert its power and jurisdiction over national roads that cut across cities within Metro Manila and expand open 24/7 express lanes for delivery trucks thereby enabling the continuous flow of cargoes to and from the ports, according to the group.

After the Manila day time truck ban was lifted by the city, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) still maintains its own truck ban. It should also be lifted.

4 No Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) franchise requirement for trucks for hire (TH).
The group said the trucking industry is not a public utility nor comes within the purview of a common carrier that necessitates the regulation by the government through the LTFRB by requiring the application of franchises.

* Let unhampered market forces and unrestricted supply meet the demand for trucks but avoid increasing the demand through imposed productivity restrictions, the ECCP said.

4 Remove the expiration of gate passes and delivery orders (DO) for container vans in the port.

Delivery orders and gate passes for containers should be without expiration once customs clearance is done. This will eliminate endless extensions and the inconvenience and delay brought about by the long queuing for revalidation of gate passes and thus streamlining the delivery system at the port.

4 Government should review and possibly regulate through the reactivation of a Shipper’s Council the allowable demurrage and detention charges for containers.

The ECCP said the problem of congestion and the resulting inefficiency of the delivery system in the ports of Manila has spawned unbridled and unrestricted charging of demurrage and detention charges by the shipping lines to the prejudice of shippers, importers, consignees and the public in general.

4 Restrain the shuffling of containers from the ports of Manila to the ports of Subic and Batangas. The directive of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to remove overstaying containers in the ports of Manila will mitigate the problem of congestion of Manila but entails increased storage and transport costs with nobody voluntarily willing to pick up the resulting cost, and Batangas port meanwhile being as congested as Manila, the ECCP said.

4 Promote the speedy upgrading of equipment in the secondary ports of Batangas and Subic by adding quay cranes and rubber tyred gantry cranes as required, and in the case of Batangas cancel temporary leases entered into by the port during the times of underutilization, to make space for expanded operations, it added.

4 The group suggested as a mid-term solution the creation of a direct link from the Slex-Nlex connector into the port of Manila.

Start the planning now while the connector is under construction, it said.

The ECCP said the serious problems in the supply chains of the Philippines will persist and may even further aggravate within the pre-Christmas season if the root causes for the port congestions and resulting significant cost increases and delays in moving supplies to the Philippines are not recognized and addressed in a coordinated way.

“It is clear that the present situation is not a port capacity issue but the confluence of lack of proper coordination between the national and local governments; ill-timed and misplaced regulatory restrictions; and the absence of long term strategic planning and infrastructure development.

All of these now impede the free flow of cargo and create damaging effects to the supply chain and to the economy altogether,” it said.

The regulatory restrictions to the free and unhampered flow of cargo movements to and from the ports have reduced the productivity per truck per month from previously 25 moves to only 10 to 12 moves, recently improving to 13 to 15, it said.

This loss of productivity has increased the demand of trucks from previously 6,000 to 8,000 units serving the Manila ports to above 20,000 units to deliver the same number of vans, and is aggravating traffic and tripling the cost of deliveries due to the lack of truck units, the ECCP added.

It said the untimely implementation of LTFRB regulations further aggravated the problems by preventing a market correction by fielding the required additional trucks.

“We are confident that by considering the above remedial measures and attacking the experienced supply problems at the roots, the situation can be brought under control and the truck productivity be restored, resulting in supply meeting demand, increased competition and reduced cost,” the group said.

FROM THE BUSINESSINSIDERS.COM

IMF explains: China (Amost) Overtook The US As The World's Largest Economy MIKE BIRD OCT. 8, 2014, 5:08 AM 385,361 297 FACEBOOK LINKEDIN TWITTER GOOGLE+ PRINT EMAIL

Sorry, America. China just overtook the US to become the world's largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Chris Giles at the Financial Times flagged up the change. He also alerted us in April that it was all about to happen.

Basically, the method used by the IMF adjusts for purchasing power parity, explained here.

The simple logic is that prices aren't the same in each country: A shirt will cost you less in Shanghai than in San Francisco, so it's not entirely reasonable to compare countries without taking this into account.

Though a typical person in China earns a lot less than the typical person in the US, simply converting a Chinese salary into dollars underestimates how much purchasing power that individual, and therefore that country, might have.

The Economist's Big Mac Index is a great example of these disparities.

So the IMF measures both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world's biggest economy.

* We've just gone past that crossover on the chart below, according to the IMF.

By the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48% of the world's purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the US will make up just 16.28% (or $17.416 trillion):

It's not all sour news for the US. It'll be some time yet until the lines cross over in raw terms, not adjusted for purchasing power.

By that measure, China still sits more than $6.5 trillion lower than the US and isn't likely to overtake for quite some time:

FROM PHILSTAR

China: World’s No. 1 economy, almost! DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 15, 2014 - 12:00am 0 8 googleplus0 1


Boo Chanco

Shanghai – The big news just before we got here over the weekend had to do with China overtaking the US to become the world’s largest economy. This is according to the International Monetary Fund or IMF whose computation method adjusts for purchasing power parity or PPP.

Remember the Big Mac Index popularized by The Economist? That is based on PPP which assumes that prices aren’t the same for the same Big Mac or any other product or service in every country.

The price of a Big Mac after you convert in dollar terms will cost you less in Shanghai than in New York. PPP is a means to compare countries. A Chinese worker in China earns a lot less than an American in the US. Just converting the yuans into dollars underestimates that Chinese worker’s purchasing power.

What the IMF did was to measure both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, China has just about overtaken the US and is now the world’s biggest economy. According to the IMF, by the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48 percent of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the US will make up just 16.28 percent (or $17.416 trillion).

Assuming we are impressed by this measure, The Economist observed “historians point out that China is merely regaining a title it has held for much of recorded history. In 1820 it probably produced one third of global economic output. The brief interlude in which America overshadowed it is now over.”

But others insist it will be some time before China actually overtakes the US in raw terms, not adjusted for purchasing power. By that measure, China is still more than $6.5 trillion lower than the US and isn’t likely to overtake for quite some time.

Bloomberg published a report that “the PPP, used to differentiate how far money goes in each country, hardly reflects where the two nations currently stand vis-à-vis each other. Consider this: in 2013, US GDP was at $16.8 trillion, way ahead of China’s $9.24 trillion before adjusting for inflation, which is the more commonly known measure of an economy’s size, World Bank figures show.”

* According to Bloomberg, David Hensley, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s director of global economic coordination in New York, pointed out that PPP is not quite the real thing. “By looking at a PPP comparison, especially for developing nations, you really exaggerate the importance of these economies, because it misses the command that each has over the world’s resources and its influence over global activity.”

Hensley also said that this “preoccupation with competition or foot-race captures little of the reversal in fortunes under way.” Hensly pointed out that emerging economies have lost their luster.

“The view we encounter now is a more sobering reassessment,” he said, adding that he prefers projections based on market exchange rates. “The US has cleaned up its act. China still has a lot of work to do.”

Whatever China’s ranking may be vis-à-vis the US these days, one cannot escape seeing the evidence of its fast growing economy upon landing in its economic capital of Shanghai. The Pudong airport itself is one very large airport and getting from one’s gate to immigration almost requires one to be in top physical shape.

Shanghai, once known as the Paris of the East, is China’s most populous city. It is also reputed to be the largest city proper in the entire world.

But not too long ago Manila was more modern than Shanghai. One local here told me over dinner that he first visited Manila in 1988 and was full of envy. Not only did we have an impressive row of business buildings on Ayala Avenue, but the entertainment scene was tops. Shanghai didn’t have the malls we already had then or even supermarkets at that time, he said.

Sorry to say, he said, but you simply failed to progress and Shanghai, indeed China, progressed in leaps and bounds. The buildings in Shanghai are among the tallest in the world. And yes, these buildings seem to have sprouted overnight in the rice fields across the river that Mr. Carlos Chan said he saw when he first established his Oishi business in the early ’90s.

Shanghai’s population was estimated last year at 23.9 million, which means it is larger than the entire population of Taiwan. The city itself is large in area. I remember having to get from its second airport in Hongqiao to the main international airport in Pudong, 60 kilometers away and thought I would miss my flight.

The teeming population of Shanghai gives the city a population density of 3,700 people per square kilometer, or 9,700 people per square mile. But China’s one-child policy has kept the population in check, which also contributed to a shrinking workforce and a rapidly aging population.

Mr. Chan, who has established a large factory for Oishi in the western part of Shanghai, confirmed problems in recruiting a workforce over the last few years. He said they now have to contract recruiters to secure workers from other regions of China. Labor costs have also risen significantly. But the business they generate here makes everything worthwhile.

Shanghai is now dependent on migration to fuel its future growth. They are also testing reforms to its current policies and will now offer incentives to migrants by providing them the same benefits as local residents.

On the whole, observers say it will still take a long time before Shanghai can actually replace Hong Kong as China’s principal financial hub and gateway to world trade. That is because Chinese officials are still wary about opening up and relaxing some regulations, even for the recently launched Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

As an article in The Atlantic reports it: “Instead of the rumored market-influenced interest rates, corporate income tax concessions, freer convertibility of the renminbi and the opening of China’s capital account—which would have unleashed a tidal wave of Chinese investment into overseas markets—the zone opened under cautious new regulations that were short on details and long on restrictions.”

The Atlantic concludes: “Shanghai may very well overtake Hong Kong as China’s premier financial hub, but perhaps not until 2047, the year Hong Kong loses its status as a Special Administrative Region and, possibly, the tax regime, legal system and free flow of information that have underpinned its appeal to the rest of the world.

Airports

I have been to a lot of cities in China over the years, as far as the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang and I have never ceased to be amazed at how seriously they have developed their transportation system. Their airports, even those in the far flung provincial areas, will shame what we have at NAIA.

Traveling with a group of Filipinos this week, we of course have to talk about how crappy and embarrassing our main gateway airport is. Here is one joke I posted on Facebook that captures the mood.

I heard P-Noy is getting very embarrassed that NAIA, named after his martyred father, is once again the world’s worse airport. He has also given up on his buddy who is GM of NAIA being able to do anything about it, but he is standing fast by him and keeping him there.

P-Noy’s solution: blame it on Gloria Arroyo. So NAIA will be named after GMA’s father instead: Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. That makes up too for removing his name from the Clark airport.

COLUMN FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

IGNORING FRAUD By Amado P. Macasaet | October 15, 2014 MALAYA


Mighty Corp, a Bulacan-based cigarette manufacturer, became a subject of accusations that they are involved in technical smuggling, tax evasion and all other possible crimes. But Jacinto-Henares said that tobacco companies were just being aggressive in seizing market shares from big industry players since the enactment of the new excise tax regime last January. SOURCE: MIGHTYCORP WEB SITE


By Amado P. Macasaet

I have solid information Mighty Corp. paid customs more than P1 billion representing tariff due on tobacco imported at an incredibly low price of $0.68 per kilo while the world average is $4 and $6 to the kilo.

Customs did not make public the huge collection although it announces with regularity the confiscation and eventual sale in public auction of smuggled goods worth less than P50 million.

My own suspicion of the non-disclosure of the payment to the public is that Customs is scared its “success” in collecting a “huge” amount may lead to public demand that the alleged under-declaration of cigarette volume by Mighty may explode before the eyes of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Taken to its logical conclusion, the refusal of the BIR to look into the truth or falsity of findings that Mighty is liable for at least P15 billion in excise tax due on undeclared cigarettes may officially catch the attention of President Aquino. His good image may be tarnished. But I dare say with certainty the President knows about the reports of fraud committed by Mighty.

There is hardly any difference between the case of Mighty and the pork barrel scandal that led to the filing of plunder charges against three senators and a slew of petty bureaucrats.

In fact, the case of Mighty is worse if the amount alleged to be as big as P15 billion is to be compared to the P10 billion said to have been stolen by the lawmakers through the manipulation of Janet Lim Napoles, the brains behind the pork scam.

The alleged tax liability of Mighty is claimed to be much bigger at P15 billion compared to the P10 billion pork barrel scandal. The difference in amounts is not relevant to the necessity of finding the truth of the reports about Mighty’s alleged tax evasion.

The Senate went hammer and tongs against its own peers. But it would not touch reports of fraud by a private corporation.

More important is the refusal of the BIR and the Department of Finance to look into what A.C. Nielsen and Oxford Economics found in their studies of the operation of Mighty.

The Senate has not found it worth its time — in aid of legislation — to call for public hearings on the alleged tax liability of Mighty. Very definitely, the Senate, particularly its Blue Ribbon Committee will find the necessity of passing a law that will prevent under- declaration of cigarette volume by Mighty after a public hearing.

In aid of legislation, the Senate should find it necessary and urgent to pass a law that will prevent under-declaration of volume by Mighty and the rest of the companies that may be doing the same.

There should be a new law that will require all producers of goods that pay excise tax, to swear to the capacity of their machines and their rates of utilization. The volume declared for taxation must at all times match capacity utilization. The certification must be made after independent agencies have determined such capacity and utilization.

Neither the BIR nor the Senate wants to investigate the reports of the two world-known market researchers. Both are completely indifferent to the necessity of straightening out what appears to be fraud.

* President Aquino who is quick to react against adverse comments on the way he runs the government is just as indifferent. For sure, he has knowledge about it. Oxford Economics is known to have submitted its findings to heads of state agencies who have the duty to look into it and that of A.C. Nielsen’s findings of fraud. Strangely, the President is just as indifferent.

The only logical conclusion that can be drawn from the refusal of the BIR to look into reports of tax cheating is the possibility that some key people in government are involved in the fraud. They are involved in what appears to be corruption. This does not sit well in President Aquino’s “matuwid na daan” style of governance.

The Senate has no political points to gain in trying to expose a tax fraud and consequently pass a law that will prevent its repetition. Exposing or inquiring into reports of business fraud by the Senate can lead to the truth and the guilty consequently punished.

That has not entered the minds of any official in the Executive Department. Or in the political minds of the lawmakers.

This is a shame.

The Blue Ribbon Committee turned the innards of Vice President Binay inside out for no other reason than to minimize his chances of winning the presidential race in 2016.

Binay is facing charges before the Ombudsman who will pronounce if charges are justified after a fair and through investigation.

On the other hand, Mighty sits pretty on its laurels of what could be big wealth amassed from tax avoidance or evasion.

So far Mighty is getting away. The integrity or lack of it of Binay on the other hand, has been exposed by the Blue Ribbon in its investigation “in aid of legislation.”

What new law can come out of the investigation of Binay? There could not be any.

The possibility is either dismissal of the complaint against Binay or the other possibility of filing information against him before the Sandiganbayan. Until he is found guilty he, by law, is presumed innocent.

The difference between Binay and Mighty is that the latter is not under investigation by Congress or any police agency like the NBI. Binay has been painted by the Blue Ribbon as a criminal but he has not been tried.

On the other hand, the two reports of “criminal acts” of Mighty remain unnoticed.

The intensity that attends the investigation of Binay and the indifference of the state to look into the tax case of Mighty tells a whole lot about how selective justice is dispensed with in this country.

MANILA TIMES OPINION

PNoy should shield PPP from politics October 13, 2014 8:02 pm by ATTY. DODO DULAY MANILA TIMES


Atty. Dodo Dulay

There are two ways to look at President Aquino’s report from his recent trip to Europe where he said he had come home with some US$2.3 billion in investment commitments in the bag.

First is to say that the $2.3 billion figure is merely a little over 10 percent of the US$20 billion-worth of potential Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects he was supposed to sell to the European business community.

Second is to say that the US$2.3 billion worth of investment pledges is a significant accomplishment, and that amount is a sign that the international business community still sees the country’s PPP program as credible and worth its while.

No debate here: what PNoy got from the European businessmen, if it ripens into actual investments at all, could significantly boost the country’s bid to push infrastructure development faster and solve some of our problems, including employment.

That, of course, is a big “if”.

In his arrival speech, PNoy boasted that the investment commitments will translate to some 55,000 jobs. Both the commitments and their job-creation potentials are welcome news.

PPP Center Executive Director Cossette Canilao said two major PPP projects were high on the list of the President’s menu. One is the US$2.27-billion Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project. The other is the US$544.2 million Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project.

We do not know if these two projects are part of the $2.3 billion investment pledges from PNoy’s trip. We hope they are. The Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project will not only solve the perennial and often deadly flooding of the towns and cities around Laguna de Bay, it will also make travel from Cavite to Laguna much faster and easier.

The Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, on the other hand, will serve to assure our countrymen that we won’t run out of safe drinking water in the near future.

We hope that PNoy realizes that his PPP pitch in Europe has definitely raised expectations from the international business community. Potential investors expect that mechanisms are in place to ensure that our bidding processes are fair and that the playing field is, as promised, level and apolitical.

From the purely legal viewpoint, the PPP stands on solid ground. Republic Act 7718, or the Philippine Amended Build-Operate-Transfer Law, and its implementing rules and regulations prescribe the modes by which investors can come in.

The law likewise prescribes that, under the solicited mode, the implementing agency or local government unit concerned must procure and award priority infrastructure and development projects through transparent and competitive pre-qualification and public bidding processes.

The pre-qualification process boosts the expectation of the investor communities, both local and international, that the competition to bag the projects will be joined only by entities that have the right credentials, preventing a mockery of the subsequent bidding process.

The transparency and competitiveness of the actual bidding of the project, on the other hand, is the assurance that there are no intervening and unseen variables at play that can unduly taint the credibility of the bidding process or of the PPP program itself.

* At this point, the PPP can be a bright spot if, and only if, these processes can be protected.

Based on the report of the PPP Center, it looks like the government is serious in making PPP a true centerpiece for development.

Earlier, the PPP Center said two PPP projects were waiting to be awarded, with the bidding process already completed. These are the Cavite-Laguna Expressway Project (CALAX) and the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension, and Operation and Maintenance.

The other week, the LRT Line 1 Extension deal was finally signed despite much delay. Now, only the CALAX project is languishing on the shelf following an apparent indecision on the part of the Palace as to what its ultimate fate should be.

The business community is optimistic that the eventual issuance of the Notice of Award to the CALAX project, per the PPP Center update, can happen soon. Doing so will assure the international community that their expectations regarding the transparency and integrity of the PPP bidding processes are protected.

The same is expected when bids start coming soon for the three projects now being procured under PPP. These are the Bulacan Bulk Water project earlier mentioned, and the south and southwest terminals of the Integrated Transport System Project.

For the international business community, PNoy’s PPP pitch created not just enthusiasm but also momentum.

Given this, the Aquino government is now poised to accelerate development but only if it meets the expectation of blue-chip foreign investors that safeguards are in place to guarantee that our PPP processes are shielded from politics.

2 Responses to PNoy should shield PPP from politics
Amnata Pundit says:
October 14, 2014 at 12:35 pm
This PPP has only succeeded in creating a Permanent Plateau of Prosperity for the rich while gouging Juan de la Cruz for their mega profits. The people have to pay for these projects while struggling for a daily wage thats not even sufficient to give them dignity. A growth rate that earns the admiration of the Globalist agencies like the IMF is what maintains the illusion that we are prospering but the people know better.
Reply

Carlo L. Adan says:
October 14, 2014 at 6:37 am
You write very good columns, Atty. Dulay. You still have faith in PNoy and his hypocritical and correct regime to rule properly. He and the very few good men and women in his Cabinet cannot, sir. His realm is a tyranny of lies and corruption. He is under the control of his true Boss, the mafia dons of the Liberal Party who are bent on perpetuating their criminal control of our Republic using PNoy and the Smartmatic PCOS machines. Please be more energetic in fighting the scourge that whose program is to destroy our democracy and keep our people poor and powerless so they can monopolize power and wealth.


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