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WORLD's TOP CHEFS SAY EAT SMALL FISH TO MAKE BIG DIFFERENCE


FILE - In this Sunday, Nov 20, 2011 file photo, a child looks over a day's catch of sardines at the Hout Bay Harbour near Cape Town, South Africa. On Tuesday, March 17, 2105, 20 leading chefs from some of the world's best-rated restaurants are meeting in San Sebastian, Spain to to draw attention to what they hope is a simple solution to the threat facing many of the larger fish species that overfishing has pushed to near collapse. They say if more people ate more little fish - anchovies, sardines, herring and mackerel, for example - both human diets and seafood populations would improve. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN, MARCH 23, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Alan Clendenning (Associated Press) | Updated March 18, 2015 - 11:20am  - — Want to make a big impact on the health of our oceans? Think small, top chefs say. As in anchovies and sardines. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: FRAGMENTED DEMAND; Energy price to remain high


SOLAR POWER IMAGE, CONTRIBUTED -- The high price of electricity in the Philippines is not solely determined by the sources and costs of fuel. Even if these fuels — notably coal, crude oil and geothermal steam -- were low as fossil is now slightly higher than $50 to the barrel the price of energy will remain high because of the fragmentation of demand.  A senior official in the Department of Energy who asked not to be named confided to Business Insight that if the country is a one piece of territory instead of being separated by bodies of water, five giant generating plants would be sufficient to supply rising — sometimes erratic -- demand for electricity. That, the official said, would have been possible if the Philippines is not composed of three major islands — Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Likely, he said, the cables would be underground.  According to the official, the Philippines is the only country he knows where generating plants of as small as 20 to 25 MW “are rising everywhere but shortage of electricity is almost a permanent fixture. READ MORE...

ALSO: Food inflation reducing impact of Pantawid Pamilya cash grants


Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)  MANILA, Philippines - The increase in food prices is reducing the impact of cash grants being given to the country’s poorest of the poor, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman has said.  Due to food price inflation – blamed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for the rising poverty incidence in 2014 – there is a need to increase the amount of cash being granted to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Soliman said in a press briefing yesterday.  She said the maximum P1,400 given to a 4Ps household-beneficiary is actually worth P800 when adjusted for inflation.  The Department of Social Welfare and Development chief said the government has to address the food security issue, if not increase the cash subsidies given to 4Ps beneficiaries.  “We have to really review and undertake drastic measures in addressing food security of the nation as a whole, and the poor in particular,” she said. “And not just production, it is accessibility.” CONTINUE READING...

ALSO:Gov’t cash transfer (CCT) program can’t keep up with inflation’
[State auditors have pointed out several problems in the CCT, such as unpaid cash disbursements, double entries, data errors, delayed cash releases and liquidation issues.]


CCT LOGO   Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman has admitted that the Aquino administration’s flagship antipoverty program is not enough to help the poor cope with high food prices.   Soliman said the monthly allowance from the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, also called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, has been devalued by inflation that its beneficiaries could not cope with the rapid increase in food prices. “We need to take drastic measures to address food security, not just production but accessibility. Even if we produce enough [food], they can’t afford it,” Soliman said in a news conference Friday when asked about the official poverty data.  The poverty incidence went up during the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, from 24.6 percent to 25.8 percent, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) reported recently. The Neda attributed the worsening poverty to “very high food prices,” especially of the staple food rice, and the devastation wrought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Visayas in November 2013. READ MORE...

ALSO: Taipan's son, Lucio K. Tan Jr. takes future in own hands


THE BIO-METHANE plant of Aseagas, a member of the Aboitiz group, will process effluents of Absolut Distillers Inc., a subsidiary of Tanduay Distillers Inc. 
To find your place in the sun is a difficult enough task, but it becomes even more formidable if your father has covered practically the entire territory. Lucio K. Tan Jr., son of taipan Lucio Tan, is confident, however, that he has what it takes to rise to the challenge and emerge victorious. And one sector where the younger Tan feels he can put his own stamp on is energy, through the corporate programs of Tanduay Distillers Inc., which he took over as president and COO in May of last year, and the investment plans of newly incorporated LCT Power Corp. “We want to show the country that we are serious about our energy business,” Tan told the Inquirer in an interview at the Century Park, one of the business entities belonging to the sprawling Lucio Tan Group of companies. The group has interests in banking, airline operations, agriculture and real estate development. According to Tan, these are the early days for the energy company. But the intent is to turn it into a big player in the energy sector. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Bloomberry boosts RP’s gambling hub potential
[Solaire Casino & City of Dreams are the centerpiece of the Philippines’ campaign to rival Las Vegas and Singapore as one of the world’s biggest gambling destinations, after the Chinese enclave of Macau, the industry’s capital.]


City of Dreams Manila, a partnership of Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment and the Philippines’ SM Group, opened its doors on December 14 with only its main casino floor and a few restaurants in operation. Solaire Resort & Casino, controlled by Philippine billionaire ports magnate Enrique Razon Jr, debuted in March 2013 
Mega-casino Bloomberry reported yesterday its first annual profit on the back of half a billion dollars in revenues, strengthening the Philippine’s bid to become one of the world’s biggest gambling hubs. Bloomberry Resorts, which operates the Solaire Resort and Casino, said it posted a P4.072-billion($91-million) net profit in 2014, compared with a loss of 1.315 billion pesos in the previous year. Revenues doubled to 24.122 billion pesos from 2013. Solaire, owned by Filipino billionaire and port magnate Enrique Razon, opened in March 2013, the first of four billion-dollar casinos planned on a glittering strip fronting Manila Bay dubbed Entertainment City. The huge casinos are the centerpiece of the Philippines’ campaign to rival Las Vegas and Singapore as one of the world’s biggest gambling destinations, after the Chinese enclave of Macau, the industry’s capital. CONTINUE READING...


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World's top chefs say eat small fish to make big difference


FILE - In this Sunday, Nov 20, 2011 file photo, a child looks over a day's catch of sardines at the Hout Bay Harbour near Cape Town, South Africa. On Tuesday, March 17, 2105, 20 leading chefs from some of the world's best-rated restaurants are meeting in San Sebastian, Spain to to draw attention to what they hope is a simple solution to the threat facing many of the larger fish species that overfishing has pushed to near collapse. They say if more people ate more little fish - anchovies, sardines, herring and mackerel, for example - both human diets and seafood populations would improve. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN, MARCH 23, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Alan Clendenning (Associated Press) | Updated March 18, 2015 - 11:20am  - — Want to make a big impact on the health of our oceans? Think small, top chefs say. As in anchovies and sardines.

That's the message from 20 of the world's leading chefs, who gathered in northeastern Spain on Tuesday to draw attention to what they hope is a simple solution to the threat facing many of the larger fish species that overfishing has pushed to near collapse. Their take: If more people ate more little fish — anchovies, sardines, herring and mackerel, for example — both human diets and seafood populations would improve.

Ferran Adria, of Spain's now closed elBulli restaurant, joined with Grant Achatz of Chicago's Alinea, Massimo Bottura of Italy's Osteria Francescana and more than a dozen other chefs for a summit with the U.S.-based ocean conservation group Oceana to discuss leveraging their star power to get these fish not just onto their own menus — which only a lucky few will ever eat from — but into restaurants and homes worldwide.

"It's the right moment and the right ingredient," said Gaston Acurio, the co-owner and chef of Peru's famed Astrid y Gaston restaurant, during an exclusive round table discussion with The Associated Press. "One of the best markets in the world is health and wellness, and anchovies and small fish are health and this is wellness that is good for society."

Driving the chefs' involvement is the campaign by Oceana aimed at convincing consumers to embrace eating more small oily fish. Known as "forage fish," they're part of the food chain that feeds larger fish, such as tuna or swordfish, both of which are threatened. The smaller fish are abundant enough to feed both the larger predators as well as plenty of people, says Oceana chief scientist Michael Hirshfield.

But though anchovies, sardines and similar small fish are treated as delicacies in much of the Mediterranean, in the rest of the world they often end up as feed for farmed salmon, chicken and pigs.


The good news, as Sharpless and Evans reveal, is that if just 25 coastal nations of the world, including the United States, take three key steps — enforce scientific quotas, protect nursery habitat, and reduce bycatch – to better manage their wild seafood supply, the world’s oceans will not only become more biodiverse, they will sustainably provide more fish for the world to eat. And more fish in our oceans and in our bellies will result in less obesity and heart disease and reduced carbon emissions. SOURCE PERFECTPROTEIN.ORG

"They feed 3 pounds of fish to make 1 pound of salmon. That's not a great way to feed a planet," said Andy Sharpless, Oceana's CEO and author of "The Perfect Protein." ''We can feed tens of millions more people if we simply eat anchovies and other forage fish directly rather than in form of a farmed salmon or other animals raised on fish meal and fish oil."

Their point isn't to criticize the farmed seafood industry, the chefs said. Rather, they want to lead by example. They agreed to serve small oily fish at their restaurants as much as they as they can, to train younger chefs that the fish are as good for the planet as for the plate, and to develop recipes that make it easy for the average consumer to prepare them at home.

"We need to take advantage of species that there are in great abundance," Acurio said. "We as chefs with the magic and the passion and the talent we have can provoke and convince people to consume them and influence the market. As chefs we can create a consciousness to inspire many other cooks."

The chefs scoffed at the idea that people — particularly small fish-wary Americans — might be reluctant. They said the same food revolution that has turned sushi into convenience store food around the world can work just as well on this. It doesn't hurt that the chefs gathered in San Sebastian are known for their innovation and for taking raw food materials people would never think of buying and transforming them into delicacies.

Acurio said the chefs' best contribution to promoting consumption of small fish might be creating simple meals anyone could cook. "If we can invent concept products, like the best burger you have ever eaten mixed with anchovies, that's one way to popularize it," he said.

For Joan Roca, who runs Spain's famed El Celler de Can Roca with his brothers, the involvement with the campaign boils down to his feeling that "all chefs have a responsibility to be visible."

"This campaign is trying to raise ethical and environmental public awareness," he said. "If you take care of your health, you also take care of the planet's health. It is as simple as that and it is something that everyone needs to understand."


MALAYA

FRAGMENTED DEMAND; Energy price to remain high By Amado P. Macasaet on March 19, 2015


SOLAR POWER IMAGE, CONTRIBUTED

The high price of electricity in the Philippines is not solely determined by the sources and costs of fuel. Even if these fuels — notably coal, crude oil and geothermal steam -- were low as fossil is now slightly higher than $50 to the barrel the price of energy will remain high because of the fragmentation of demand.

A senior official in the Department of Energy who asked not to be named confided to Business Insight that if the country is a one piece of territory instead of being separated by bodies of water, five giant generating plants would be sufficient to supply rising — sometimes erratic -- demand for electricity.

That, the official said, would have been possible if the Philippines is not composed of three major islands — Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Likely, he said, the cables would be underground.

According to the official, the Philippines is the only country he knows where generating plants of as small as 20 to 25 MW “are rising everywhere but shortage of electricity is almost a permanent fixture.

If the provinces the Alcantaras intend to serve with electricity is landlocked with one another, one generating plant that has economies of scale would have been enough.

The accident of the county being so fragmented such that the fact of having 7,000 islands has become a tourist attraction prevents smaller islands populated by a few hundred people from having access to electricity or energy.

In the major islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the economies of scale are not comparable to landlocked Singapore and other Asean neighbors.

One good example that proves fragmented demand is the fact that Alsons of the Alcantara family in Mindanao have three power plants in advanced state of construction in three different provinces separated from each other by wide open sea.

According to the DOE official and a senior officer of Alsons of the Alcantaras, the effect of lower prices of fossil should have resulted into a drastic reduction of prices of motor fuel.

But then , there is no fuel refinery in Mindanao. The fuel has to be shipped to that island by barges and other means of sea transport which raises cost.

That is why it is more practical to import motor fuel from Singapore. The generating plants have resorted to coal as main fuel. There is enough of it from Malangas and Semirara. The coal from these sources are largely used by the cement companies.

The generating plants import coal which has higher BTU or heat that reduces the cost of generating electricity.

The DOE is encouraging the use of solar and wind to generate electricity. Its own record shows their contribution including biomass negligible. Coal fired generating plants produce more than 33 million kilowatt hours. Solar power contributed a picayunish l,4124 MWh to the electricity generated in 2013.

Food production is so dependent on energy. But it is not easily available to remote areas precisely because the investors in power generation cannot see economies of scale to supply energy to fragmented areas.

The other proof of fragmentation, the DOE executive explained, is the transmission of geothermal electricity from Togonon, Leyte to other provinces in the Visayas by submarine cable.


PHILSTAR

Food inflation reducing impact of Pantawid Pamilya cash grants By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 21, 2015 - 12:00am


Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)

MANILA, Philippines - The increase in food prices is reducing the impact of cash grants being given to the country’s poorest of the poor, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman has said.

Due to food price inflation – blamed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for the rising poverty incidence in 2014 – there is a need to increase the amount of cash being granted to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Soliman said in a press briefing yesterday.

She said the maximum P1,400 given to a 4Ps household-beneficiary is actually worth P800 when adjusted for inflation.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development chief said the government has to address the food security issue, if not increase the cash subsidies given to 4Ps beneficiaries.

“We have to really review and undertake drastic measures in addressing food security of the nation as a whole, and the poor in particular,” she said. “And not just production, it is accessibility.”

CONTINUE READING...
Soliman shared that she had discussed with NEDA director-general Arsenio Balisacan data from the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Annual Poverty Indicators Survey, which showed that poverty incidence among Filipinos rose to 25.8 percent in the first semester of 2014 from the 24.6 percent registered in the first half of 2013.

Soliman said this has led her to believe that without the government’s social protection programs, “we will be in a worse off position.”

“What we are providing… is the bare minimum,” she said.

Meanwhile, more than one million children graduating from public elementary and high schools all over the country this month are from 4Ps household-beneficiaries, Soliman said.

Records show that a total of 863,046 public elementary school graduates and 333,673 graduating high school students benefit from the program.

The DSWD-National Capital Region (NCR) would be holding a graduation party for some 18,000 high school graduates in Metro Manila on April 10 at the Ynares gymnasium in Rizal province, Soliman said.

The party would also be a venue for the DSWD-NCR to link the children to scholarship programs of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

“There will be booths for CHED and TESDA so that they (children) can immediately register for whatever they want to get for skills enhancement,” Soliman said.

The DSWD chief said the graduation of 4Ps beneficiaries proved the objective of the program, which is to give “the worst off” in society “a fighting chance.”

She added that many of the graduates were the first in their families to receive a high school diploma and attain the opportunity of either attending college or getting a TESDA skills certificate that could lead them to blue-collar jobs here or abroad.

“What’s most important is that after high school, they can further their skills through TESDA, or they can start working and get a better salary because they already are high school graduates,” she said.

The DSWD expanded the coverage of the 4Ps in 2013 to include children of household-beneficiaries aged 15 to 18 years old. This was implemented following recommendations from experts to ensure that children get help until they finish high school.

--------------------------------------------------

AQUINO'S 4Ps: Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps (formerly Ahon Pamilyang Pilipino) is a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Philippine government under the Department of Social Welfare and Development.It aims to eradicate extreme poverty in the Philippines by investing in heath and education particularly in ages 0–14.It is patterned on programs in other developing countries like Brazil (Bolsa Familia) and Mexico (Oportunidades).[3] The 4Ps program now operates in 17 regions, 79 provinces and 1,484 municipalities and 143 key cities covering 4,090,667 household beneficiaries as of 25 June 2014.

----------------------------------------------------


INQUIRER

Gov’t cash transfer program can’t keep up with inflation’ Dona Z. Pazzibugan @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:06 AM | Sunday, March 22nd, 2015


CCT (CONDITIONAL CASH TRANSFER PROGRAM) LOGO

MANILA, Philippines–Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman has admitted that the Aquino administration’s flagship antipoverty program is not enough to help the poor cope with high food prices.

Soliman said the monthly allowance from the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, also called the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, has been devalued by inflation that its beneficiaries could not cope with the rapid increase in food prices.

“We need to take drastic measures to address food security, not just production but accessibility. Even if we produce enough [food], they can’t afford it,” Soliman said in a news conference Friday when asked about the official poverty data.

The poverty incidence went up during the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, from 24.6 percent to 25.8 percent, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) reported recently.

The Neda attributed the worsening poverty to “very high food prices,” especially of the staple food rice, and the devastation wrought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Visayas in November 2013.

READ MORE...
Because of the CCT, the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s budget has dramatically increased.

In 2014, it was given an P83-billion budget, “but even the subsidy was not enough,” Soliman said.

She said the maximum monthly allowance of P1,400 that could be given to a household was based on 2008 prices, and inflation had reduced its real value to P800.

“What we’re providing is the minimum to be able to address poverty,” Soliman said.

Although the program failed to make a dent in poverty reduction, Soliman has continued to defend the CCT, saying its effects could not be seen immediately.

Under the CCT, a monthly allowance is given to poor households to keep their children in school and to regularly bring young children and pregnant mothers to undergo checkups in health centers.

Nearly 4.1 million households are covered by the program.

“If there’s no CCT, we will be worse-off,” Soliman said.

State auditors have pointed out several problems in the CCT, such as unpaid cash disbursements, double entries, data errors, delayed cash releases and liquidation issues.


INQUIRER

Taipan's son, Lucio K. Tan Jr. takes future in own hands Tina Arceo-Dumlao @tinaarceodumlao Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:10 AM | Sunday, March 22nd, 2015


THE BIO-METHANE plant of Aseagas, a member of the Aboitiz group, will process effluents of Absolut Distillers Inc., a subsidiary of Tanduay Distillers Inc.

To find your place in the sun is a difficult enough task, but it becomes even more formidable if your father has covered practically the entire territory.

Lucio K. Tan Jr., son of taipan Lucio Tan, is confident, however, that he has what it takes to rise to the challenge and emerge victorious.

And one sector where the younger Tan feels he can put his own stamp on is energy, through the corporate programs of Tanduay Distillers Inc., which he took over as president and COO in May of last year, and the investment plans of newly incorporated LCT Power Corp.

“We want to show the country that we are serious about our energy business,” Tan told the Inquirer in an interview at the Century Park, one of the business entities belonging to the sprawling Lucio Tan Group of companies. The group has interests in banking, airline operations, agriculture and real estate development.

According to Tan, these are the early days for the energy company. But the intent is to turn it into a big player in the energy sector.

CONTINUE READING...
He believes that the sector offers lucrative opportunities, considering that the group itself uses a lot of energy, and that the Philippines will need additional energy sources to support its economic growth.

“Right now, the real opportunity is in energy,” said the 49-year-old Tan.

Among the plans being considered by LCT Power is the commercial operation of a 100-megawatt plant that will run on liquefied natural gas.

At the same time, Tan will work on similar energy projects under the aegis of TDI, the oldest of the subsidiaries of the Lucio Tan Group and best known for producing the award-winning Tanduay Rum that is said to control 99 percent of the local rum category.

Next week, for example, Tan will be on hand for the scheduled inauguration of the group’s 2-megawatt solar plant in Lian, Batangas, within the compound of Absolut Distillers Inc.

It is the first solar project of the Lucio Tan group and also the first to operate in Batangas.

The solar facility can supply 60 percent of the alcohol distillery’s power requirements, but Tan said the option was there to sell the entire output to the energy-starved Luzon grid, which runs the risk of suffering from a shortfall in the summer months, when power demand is at its highest.

The installation of the solar plant at the alcohol distillery is part of the general direction for the Tan companies, under his leadership, to fully embrace green manufacturing principles and significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

For example, Asian Alcohol in Negros Occidental, another distillery under the Tanduay group, is looking to invest in wind power.

“When it comes to green manufacturing, nothing comes close to us. That is our rallying point, our competitive advantage,” said Gerardo Tan Tee, general manager of ADI, a subsidiary that sells ethyl alcohol to parent firm, Tanduay Distillers Inc.

Tan said he was particularly proud of what the distillery had accomplished so far because it has become synonymous with green manufacturing expertise—and it has the international awards to prove it.

“Distillery operations are being reinvented,” said Tan, adding that the distillery is actively looking for other markets and income sources to reduce its reliance on TDI.

“You cannot rely on just one company for survival,” explained Tan, who earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Davis in 1991 and has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University.

To hasten its diversification, ADI has come up with a proposition that it has the highest quality alcohol products—byproducts of sugar—in the market.

For now, it produces ethyl alcohol mainly for Tanduay, which needs it for rum production. It also sells alcohol to the pharmaceutical industry, and dry ice to Philippine Airlines.

But recently, it signed a supply contract with petroleum product distributor Seaoil, which needs bioethanol to blend with gasoline.

The Tan group has also signed a contract to sell effluents of its distillery to Aseagas of the Aboitiz Group, which will in turn process it to produce methane gas. Effluents are already being reprocessed to become liquid fertilizer, which is distributed for free to farmers in Batangas.

Aseagas, which started this month the construction of what it claims will be the world’s biggest and Asia’s first liquid biomethane plant, will convert every cubic meter of distillery effluent into a minimum of 15 cubic meters of pure methane fuel. The plant will start commercial production in the fourth quarter of this year.

With this new venture, ADI will improve its capability to treat distillery waste, while generating profit at the same time.

ADI is likewise preparing to invest in the modernization of the distillery to retain its reputation as the leader in best green practices.

“I personally take pride in saying that our distilleries have gone way ahead in its mission to sustainably produce quality sugar alcohol, always, with the environment in mind. This is the same alcohol that goes into every bottle of Tanduay. Our customers deserve nothing less than the best,” Tan said in a statement.

One of the awards ADI is most proud of is the Green Apple Environmental Award, which was granted in 2011 by The Green Organization at The House of Commons, Palace of Westminster in London, the United Kingdom. It is the first alcohol distillery to earn such a distinction for its green manufacturing practices.

In 2012, ADI also earned a special citation for Excellence in Ecology and Economy from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for its “efforts to improve operations through sound environmental practices.

The Tan group’s attention to quality has contributed to the growing reach of the 160-year-old Tanduay brand in the United States.

“We are positioning Tanduay as a major international brand. We now have a presence in the United States and we are looking to expand its reach to other countries in Asia,” said Tan.

Tanduay penetrated the US market with its Asian rum mix, which combined the signature taste and character of Tanduay with hints of dried tropical fruits and spices.

A year after Tanduay Asian Rum was introduced to the US market in 2013, it won the gold medal and “Best in Class” in the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. It was also recognized as having the “Best Value” by a panel of tasting experts from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York.

The aggressive expansion of Tanduay’s reach to new territories is part of multipronged efforts by the Tan-led group to take its mature operations, such as alcohol distilling and rum production, to the next level and explore new areas at the same time.

The father has provided the firm foundation for the group, and it’s now up to Tan and his siblings to build on it amid daunting challenges that come with running a growing multi-billion-peso enterprise.

The younger Tan is, fortunately, unfazed by uncertainties and what may come his way.

After all, Tan subscribes to the principle that the only way to predict the future is to create one you can call your own.


TRIBUNE

Bloomberry boosts RP’s gambling hub potential Written by Tribune Wires
Friday, 20 March 2015 00:00


City of Dreams Manila, a partnership of Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment and the Philippines’ SM Group, opened its doors on December 14 with only its main casino floor and a few restaurants in operation. Solaire Resort & Casino, controlled by Philippine billionaire ports magnate Enrique Razon Jr, debuted in March 2013

Mega-casino Bloomberry reported yesterday its first annual profit on the back of half a billion dollars in revenues, strengthening the Philippine’s bid to become one of the world’s biggest gambling hubs.

Bloomberry Resorts, which operates the Solaire Resort and Casino, said it posted a P4.072-billion($91-million) net profit in 2014, compared with a loss of 1.315 billion pesos in the previous year.

Revenues doubled to 24.122 billion pesos from 2013.

Solaire, owned by Filipino billionaire and port magnate Enrique Razon, opened in March 2013, the first of four billion-dollar casinos planned on a glittering strip fronting Manila Bay dubbed Entertainment City.

The huge casinos are the centerpiece of the Philippines’ campaign to rival Las Vegas and Singapore as one of the world’s biggest gambling destinations, after the Chinese enclave of Macau, the industry’s capital.

CONTINUE READING....
Analysts said Solaire’s nearly half billion dollars in revenue, in only its second year, showed the Philippines could achieve its goal.

“There’s nowhere to go but up, considering the attractiveness of this sunrise industry... we’ve just started to attract the high rollers,” First Grade Holdings managing director Astro del Castillo said.

A second mammoth casino called City of Dreams, a joint venture between Australian billionaire James Packer and Lawrence Ho, son of Macau gambling mogul Stanley Ho, opened at Entertainment City in mid-February 2015.

Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada has targeted a 2016 opening for his casino, while Filipino tycoon Andrew Tan and Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay will open theirs in 2018.

The largest American casino operator, Caesars Entertainment, said in October it was seeking a license to build a fifth mega-casino in the Philippines.

Gaming revenue in the Philippines reached $2.5 billion last year, according to the nation’s industry regulator.

The Philippines is targeting $7 billion dollars, roughly the levels of Singapore and Las Vegas, by 2020, according to Cristino Naguiat, who chairs the country’s gaming board.

Razon, the Philippines’ third richest man according to Forbes Magazine, said in a statement he was “elated” by the results and would work to surpass the numbers.

He announced this week he had struck deals to open casinos in South Korea, his first overseas gaming venture.

Bloomberry shares closed 2.96 percent higher at P10.44 yesterday.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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