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NEED FOR WISDOM

 
NOYNOY AQUINO

President Aquino, whether intended or not, says the wrong thing at the wrong time. uring his meeting last Thursday with the widows, one family reportedly said: “We hope sir we can get justice. We hope we can show them that the government is more powerful than them.” To which the President answered: “Why, what is justice for you? Aren’t we doing it already? What do you want me to do, get the fingerprints of the enemy? They are so many. Just so we can find out who killed your relatives?... My father was also killed so I know how you feel kaya patas na rin tayo ngayon.” Some of those present observed that the President seemed not to be serious with his answers and was in fact laughing while answering their questions. One of the families asked why no airstrike was sent to which PNoy responded: “Do you play computers?’ READ REPORT FROM THE BEGINNING...

ALSO: Cacao offers PH sweet growth prospects


BLACK forest ham + cocoa powder --Filipinos need to explore cacao’s potential as a major export commodity to points in North America and Europe, according to Alyssa Jade McDonald-Bartl, a social entrepreneur and founder of Blyss Chocolate. “I am highly impressed with the cacao you grow here,” McDonald-Bartl recently told a group of Filipino cacao farmers, chefs, and culinary business experts. READ MORE...

ALSO Subway Project? P20B savings from metro loop transit

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will seek President Aquino’s approval for the final alignment of the country’s first subway project, which aims to reduce peak-hour traffic in Metro Manila. The preferred alignment for the P370-billion Metro Transit System Loop (MTSL) will run from the Taft station of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3 along Edsa Macapagal boulevard-Sen. G. Puyat avenue-Ayala avenue. However, there are two alignment options for the sub-station at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) that are subject for approval – either a station under the 26th street or 32nd street. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Need for wisdom


Mary Ann LL. Reyes

MANILA, FEBRUARY 22, 2015 (PHILSTAR) HIDDEN AGENDA By Mary Ann LL. Reyes - President Aquino, whether intended or not, says the wrong thing at the wrong time.

During the papal visit, the President chastised members of the Filipino clergy in front of Pope Francis for tolerating abuses committed by the previous administration of President Gloria Arroyo.

Then he went on criticizing the local leaders of the Roman Catholic Church who are critical of his administration.

It was good that the Pope hardly understood English. And that the Pope was a better leader, and a better man. In reaction to what the President said, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said it was unusual for that sort of speech to be delivered in front of the Pope. They didn’t hit back. But of course, it was another way of saying that the President could have chosen a better audience.

But for all intents and purposes, it was a diplomatic faux pas and spoke clearly about what kind of leadership this country has and what kind of person our President is.

It is not the first time that the President has put his foot in his mouth.

He chose to criticize the head of the Bureau of Immigration on the occasion of the agency’s anniversary. And then during his State-of-the-Nation address, the President continued with his tirade and scolded several “underperforming” agencies, including the BI, Bureau of Customs, and National Irrigation Administration.

It is not that I disagree with the President’s point that these agencies and their heads may not be performing as expected. The point is, as President, he could have chosen a better stage. After all, their failure reflects on him as head of the executive department.

And then of course, we recently have the President criticizing the Supreme Court after the High Tribunal declared certain parts of the disbursement acceleration program (DAP) as unconstitutional, and his acceptance of PNP Chief Alan Purisima’s resignation, but at the same absolving his long-time friend from any wrongdoing in connection with the Mamasapano incident.

Then lately, we hear about the President insulting and scolding the widows of the slain SAF men. Speaking of lack of compassion and breeding.

During his meeting last Thursday with the widows, one family reportedly said: “We hope sir we can get justice. We hope we can show them that the government is more powerful than them.”

To which the President answered: “Why, what is justice for you? Aren’t we doing it already? What do you want me to do, get the fingerprints of the enemy? They are so many. Just so we can find out who killed your relatives?... My father was also killed so I know how you feel kaya patas na rin tayo ngayon.”

Some of those present observed that the President seemed not to be serious with his answers and was in fact laughing while answering their questions.

One of the families asked why no airstrike was sent to which PNoy responded: “Do you play computers?’

Another asked: “We would just like to ask why the fighting lasted for more than 10 hours? Why was there no reinforcement?”

He answered: “10 a.m. I was in Zamboanga. (Special Action Force director Getulio) Napenas started texting me around 7:15 the troops were fighting. I said, send reinforcement so I thought it was already ok… I did not know that that was not true. And I did not know that the 84th was also dragged into the fight in the early afternoon. If we suppose you text your friend so that you’d meet at the (Mall of Asia), is it that easy for you to go there immediately?”

The President should start reading and reflect on the words of James, the Epistle writer who spoke about, among other things, controlling the tongue. John Maxwell, in his book The Maxwell Leadership Bible, says among the lessons in leadership that can be derived from reading the Book of James are: that integrity occurs when words and actions match, how if one can bridle their tongue they can discipline any part of their life, and how leadership motives must be pure, and mercy and justice are healthy motivators.

Maxwell says: “What power our words contain.” James focuses on the little muscle inside our mouths called the tongue,” “a little thing that dispenses both blessing and cursing. Leaders must pay close attention, for they communicate often and carry great influence when they speak… The tongue is a spiritual meter. If we can bridle it, we can bridle the whole body. It becomes the gauge for our maturity… The tongue is powerful. Like a huge fire, it can ruin or bless our entire lives. This power was meant to send us down the right path, not to kill us… The tongue can reveal what sort of wisdom we harbor insider. A good tongue protects our integrity.” James asks: “Is yours a good guard or a bad one? Does it create peace or reveal hypocrisy.”

Innovation

St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) has launched a mobile app that would allow netizens to get easy access not just to its wide array of healthcare services, but also to health tips and other health issues.

Launched late last month, the St. Luke’s MedConnect is a free and easy-to-use mobile application that can be downloaded to a smartphone within minutes, and can be used to request an appointment with a St. Luke’s doctor, access one’s laboratory results, reserve a hospital room, pay online, schedule executive check-ups, and read about health tips. The St. Luke’s MedConnect app is available for download at the Apple App Store and Google Play.

St. Luke’s has been innovating continuously. Its Quezon City branch has been accredited four times by the JCI or Joint Commission International, the international arm of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the oldest and most prestigious healthcare accreditation organization in the world.

Meanwhile, St. Luke’s-Global City earned its first JCI accreditation after only two years of operation. Both Global City and Quezon City are also certified by German-based accrediting body Temos for Excellence in Medical Tourism and Quality in International Patient Care.

For the 6th straight year last July, St. Luke’s Medical Center was recognized as a Readers Digest Platinum Trusted Brand (Hospital Category). This is the 16th Trusted Brand survey conducted by Readers Digest among Filipino and Asian consumers to find out the most trusted brands across Asia’s five key markets namely the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Global marketing research company Ipsos conducted the survey which covered 42 categories and five thousand respondents. Trusted brands were rated according to six attributes: trustworthiness and credibility, quality, value, understanding of consumer needs, innovation and social responsibility.


INQUIRER

Cacao offers PH sweet growth prospects Marlet D. Salazar @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:28 AM | Sunday, February 22nd, 2015


ALYSSA Jade McDonald-Bartl, founder of gourmet chocolate company Blyss

Filipinos need to explore cacao’s potential as a major export commodity to points in North America and Europe, according to Alyssa Jade McDonald-Bartl, a social entrepreneur and founder of Blyss Chocolate.

“I am highly impressed with the cacao you grow here,” McDonald-Bartl recently told a group of Filipino cacao farmers, chefs, and culinary business experts.

She also mentioned how she was particularly struck by the way the stakeholders all worked together to maintain the industry’s high standards.

McDonald-Bartl is currently in the country for a series of speaking engagements.

Origins

McDonald-Bartl grew up in a family of social entrepreneurs who raised cattle in the wild hills, and cared for the rubber forests of Papua New Guinea. Her mother is from Australia.

McDonald-Bartl is now based in Germany and gets to visit Australia from time to time.

She decided to leave her corporate job and took up what her family did best—farming.

Before she started the business, McDonald-Bartl asked her father to find her the best cacao bean. What he found was Arriba Nacionale in Ecuador.

McDonald-Bartl wasn’t successful at first, but she persisted. In time, she was able to position Blyss’ beans as a premium brand used in the most exclusive hotels and restaurants around the world.

“I sell only beans now. We already sold seven tons before the year,” she said, describing the beans as perfect.

The best cacao variety

McDonald-Bartl told the local cacao growers that the Philippines has one of the best bean varieties in the world—the “Criollo.”

BLACK forest ham + cocoa powder BLACK forest ham + cocoa powder

Originally from Mexico, the bean took root in the country. But even though the Criollo here is considered to be of high quality, only a handful of Filipino farmers get to produce the local variety.

It was reported that most farmers in the country refused to grow Criollo because it was a sensitive variety and entailed a lot of work.

“We can either agree that this is worth the time and effort, or we can just use the big growing varieties,” McDonald-Bartl said.

Winemakers, she added, “celebrate the amount of work, and they celebrate the artisanship.”

Cacao farmers and growers can look into that and market the beans or chocolates like wine, she explained.

Believing that commercial standards of environmental and social care in business must be improved, McDonald-Bartl went on to urge farmers and growers to take advantage of the honesty and purity of the local beans.

“When I visit chefs, I don’t even use packaging,” she said. “I have a clear glass of beans and I hand it over.”

She did so because she wanted them to experience the cacao in its purest form.

Beyond pastries

“Why are we selling just to the pastry division [of hotels]? We can get our products sold more than once,” McDonald-Bartl explained.

More products can be produced using chocolates, apart from sweets and desserts. For one, the cosmetics industry is cashing in on cacao butter.

McDonald-Bartl also said that other areas of the culinary industry could benefit from the beans.

“Cacao butter doesn’t burn,” she said, “compared with other forms of oil or butter.”


DIFFERENT varieties of chocolate and cacao beans

To illustrate, McDonald-Bartl showed to those gathered around her a pan-seared steak cooked using her brand of cacao butter. The steak is part of a menu being marketed by a hotel chain.

“Can you see melted chocolate there?” she asked the audience.

There was no melted chocolate. But on the menu, her brand was listed alongside the steak, indicating that the meat was cooked with Blyss Chocolate cacao butter.

There are other markets to explore and trends to tap, she encouraged her listeners, citing such trends as halal, kosher, raw and vegan.

Products that bear these “stamps” are assured of a market.

“The more gorgeous we keep our quality, the easier it is to meet any single trend that’s going on,” she says.

Branding

When farmers sell their cacao to food manufacturing companies or restaurants and hotels, the end products will carry only the brand stamped by manufacturers. In most cases, where the cacao came from was a detail that would never see the light of day.

“If my brand and name are going to be on the menu, I want it to represent what I’m standing for,” McDonald-Bartl said. “We have to be demanding.”

Taking care of the product doesn’t stop when it gets sold.

“If I walk into a kitchen and I see my bag ‘oxidating,’ I take it off the shelf,” McDonald-Bartl says. “You just killed my product. We must teach them how to take care of the product.”

McDonald-Bartl was invited by restaurant chain The Cravings Group as part of a course offering that highlighted chocolates.

The Blyss Chocolate owner will visit the country at least four times a year to personally facilitate the course, said Marinela Guerrero-Trinidad of The Cravings Group.


MALAYA

SUBWAY? P20B savings from metro loop transit By Myla Iglesias on February 20, 2015

MANILA --The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will seek President Aquino’s approval for the final alignment of the country’s first subway project, which aims to reduce peak-hour traffic in Metro Manila.

The preferred alignment for the P370-billion Metro Transit System Loop (MTSL) will run from the Taft station of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3 along Edsa Macapagal boulevard-Sen. G. Puyat avenue-Ayala avenue.

However, there are two alignment options for the sub-station at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) that are subject for approval – either a station under the 26th street or 32nd street.

DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said 26th Street is the ideal location for the BGC alignment because there is a P20-billion price difference in construction cost as against 32nd street.

“The NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) suggested that we present (to President Aquino in the next NEDA Board) 26th avenue as the site for one of the stations for MTSL. There’s no problem, we are a team player. So, we will present it,” Abaya told reporters.

He added the P20-billion savings is a huge amount in terms of expenses to schools, health centers and scholarships.

Last month, the NEDA-Investment Coordination Committee approved MTSL but the project was not discussed in the NEDA Board meeting last February 16.

There is no schedule yet for the next NEDA Board meeting, which is chaired by President Aquino.

All the alignments have impact on private property. For example, the 26th station passes BGC via McKinley Road and will pass through the Manila Golf and Country Club.

Abaya said the agency has to evaluate the project as this may face legal hurdles if the sub-station at 26th street is pursued without the approval of Manila Golf management.

The project will improve passenger mobility by providing seamless transfers with the existing transit services of Light Rail Transit (LRT) line 1, Philippine National Railways (PNR) and MRT-3 as well as other mass transit developments and public transport terminals.

It has 11 stations, about five of which are interchange stations (MRT Taft, LRT-1 Buendia, PNR).

The project will be up for bidding under the public-private partnership with the private sector partner expected to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the mass transit system for 31 years.

Aside from MTSL, the government will also bid out the country’s biggest rail project worth P288 billion that stretches from Malolos, Bulacan up to Matnog in Bicol this year, as part of the strategy to expand the mass transport system.

The project, called North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), has phases 1 and 2 expected to be completed by 2020.

The NSCR phase 1 involves the construction of a 36.7-kilometer narrow-gauge elevated commuter railway from Malolos to Tutuban, Manila.

The phase 2 commuter rail to south from Tutuban to Calamba, Laguna has a projected 330,000 passengers per day with 19 stations and 14 trains.

The phase 2-long haul for the south line has a total length of 653 kilometers with 66 stations. Travel time would be 10 hours for Manila-Calamba-Legaspi. The expected passenger traffic in the first year of operation is 11,000 per day.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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