BUSINESS HEADLINES THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

DEUTSCHE BANK SAYS BINAY MOST EXPERIENCED AMONG PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES; DOF UNDERSECRETARY ADMITS THIS IS HARD TO DENY


MAY 20 ---Gil Beltran, senior Department of Finance undersecretary, spokesman, chief economist and head of the country’s preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meet (Apec)  - A ranking member of the Aquino economic team has gave a very strong credence to Deutsche Bank, the entity that recently said Vice President Jejomar Binay is the most experienced among the presidential candidates in next year’s election. Gil Beltran, senior Department of Finance undersecretary, spokesman, chief economist and head of the country’s preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meet (Apec), said the words that came from the bank is very difficult to rebut, much more to deny. “Deutsche did not become an international bank for nothing,” Beltran said in text message to The Daily Tribune from Dhaka, Bangladesh where he is attending an Apec-related activity. It can be recalled that Deutsche Bank said categorically that the vice president, a former human rights lawyer and seven-term mayor of Makati, “is seen as the only serious presidential contender, and is described as experienced and economically pragmatic.”   A ranking member of the Aquino economic team has gave a very strong credence to Deutsche Bank, the entity that recently said Vice President Jejomar Binay is the most experienced among the presidential candidates in next year’s election. Gil Beltran, senior Department of Finance undersecretary, spokesman, chief economist and head of the country’s preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meet (Apec), said the words that came from the bank is very difficult to rebut, much more to deny. “Deutsche did not become an international bank for nothing,” Beltran said in text message to The Daily Tribune from Dhaka, Bangladesh where he is attending an Apec-related activity. It can be recalled that Deutsche Bank said categorically that the vice president, a former human rights lawyer and seven-term mayor of Makati, “is seen as the only serious presidential contender, and is described as experienced and economically pragmatic.”READ MORE...

ALSO: Poe says, honesty more important, Deutsche Bank disagrees


MAY 19---Senator Grace Poe Speaking like a true-blue administration candidate, Sen. Grace Poe who is now being tipped as the likely anointed of President Aquino, challenged Vice President Jejomar Binay to appear before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee inquiry to dispute the allegations leveled against him, to prove his honesty. Poe was evidently smarting from the Vice President’s earlier warning that the country cannot afford to have an inexperienced leader elected to the presidency, given the number of problems it is already facing, which Poe clearly saw Vice President Jojo Binay’s warning directed at her. But one of the world’s biggest, most prestigious and most influential global banks, Deutsche Bank, yesterday agreed with the VP, as it categorically said that Vice President Binay is the most experienced among all the possible contenders for the presidency in next year’s election. Poe shot back using the style of President Aquino and the Liberal Party, saying that Binay should probe his honesty and sincerity by appearing before the Senate, taking the side of the three anti-Binay senators and the LPs, even when she should know that it is not for the VP to defend himself from these accusations before the Senate subcommittee since it is the duty of the three senators to prove their allegations first. And it is the courtroom, not the Senate where even the prosecution has to first prove the charges. But Poe, who has become a true blue politician now eyeing a higher office which she said she was not experienced nor qualfied at this time, now says that “For me, he (Binay) can prove his honesty and sincerity by his presence to explain his side on the allegation raised against him in the Senate. He should be the one to dispute the charges and not his representatives,” Poe said. Deutsche Bank, yesterday categorically said that Vice President Binay is the most experienced among all the possible contenders for the presidency in next year’s election. In an emailed commentary about the Philippines to select business reporters, including The Daily Tribune, the bank said: “The current Vice President is seen as the only serious presidential contender, and is described as experienced and economically pragmatic.” READ MORE...

ALSO: APEC Trade Ministers Issue Statement in Boracay


MAY 24 ---Trade Ministers from the 21 APEC member economies issued a statement at the conclusion of their meeting in Boracay on Sunday on expanding trade and spurring economic activity towards strong, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The statement, reflecting the outcomes of the 2015 APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting chaired by Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, describes joint actions to be taken forward by APEC members in the following priority areas: Supporting the Multilateral Trading System Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda Fostering SMEs’ Participation in Regional and Global Markets Investing in Human Capital Development Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities Strengthening Economic and Technical Cooperation READ MORE AND VIEW VIDEOS...

ALSO: Old 1985 peso bills valid only until end-2015 – BSP


may 21---MONEY, MONEY, MONEY Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo explains which set of bills would remain valid and which ones would be relegated to ‘Mickey Mouse’ status by 2017. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ 
BANK notes issued in 1985 may still be used for daily transactions up to the end of 2015 but they will be fully demonetized starting 2017, the central bank said. In a press briefing on Thursday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the public may continue to use the 1985 New Design Series (NDS) up to December 31, 2015 but thereafter, these old banknotes will no longer be accepted for payment transactions. From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016, the BSP said the public may exchange with authorized financial institutions such as universal and commercial banks, thrift banks, and rural as well as cooperative banks, their old banknotes with the New Generation Currency (NGC) Series at full face value, without charge. The public may also opt to exchange their old banknotes with the BSP or any of its regional offices or branches around the Philippines. Government institutions holding old banknotes which could not be exchanged during the prescribed period, such as banknotes used as evidence in a litigation case, will have to request the BSP Cash Department in writing, within the period of exchange, for a special exchange arrangement, it added. For overseas Filipinos (OFs) who have in their possession old banknotes which could not be exchanged within the prescribed period, they may register online starting October 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016 through the BSP website. These old banknotes may be exchanged with the BSP within one year from the date of registration. READ MORE...

ALSO: House passes 3 key economic bills


MAY 21---The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the landmark Fair Competition Act; the bill amending the Cabotage Law; and the proposed Philippine Archipelagic Sea Lanes Act. File photo
 The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading three key economic bills, including one that sets a fair competition policy to curb monopolies and unfair business practices. Approved Tuesday night were the landmark Fair Competition Act; the bill amending the Cabotage Law; and the proposed Philippine Archipelagic Sea Lanes Act. The three bills are part of the list of priority measures of the House and the Senate. The fair competition bill, principally authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., seeks to prevent monopolies and protect the economy from unfair competition practices. Belmonte said the measure has direct benefits for ordinary Filipinos as it would boost the inflow of foreign direct investments (FDI). He said the measure would foster fair competition that will result to better products and services aswell as lower costs that would benefit ordinary folks. The bill seeks to establish a National Competition Policy that will encourage fair and free economic competition by prohibiting the abuse of market dominant positions, and the excessive concentration of economic power by regulating improper concerted acts and unfair business practices. The bill provides for the creation of a Philippine Competition Commission to be under the Office of the President and shall implement the policy. READ MORE...

ALSO: PAL mounts Australia, New Zealand flights in December


MAY 21---PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said the airline would launch flights to Cairns in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand on Dec.1. File photo
- Flag carrier Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) is set to mount flights to Australia and New Zealand in December. This is the second long haul flight to be launched after the Tan Group bought back the 49 percent interest of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) in PAL for $1.3 billion last October. PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said the airline would launch flights to Cairns in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand on Dec.1. PAL would operate four flights weekly every Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays to serve the Manila-Cairns-Auckland route utilizing the 156-seater Airbus A320. Bautista said the route would stimulate passenger traffic along three travel streams — Manila and Cairns, Manila and Auckland as well as Cairns and Auckland. “The new service allows PAL to cater to the travel needs of business and leisure travelers and showcase its distinct brand of service marked by Filipino warmth, charm and hospitality. With close to 40,000 Filipinos residing in New Zealand, the new service is their convenient link to their home country-the Philippines,” he said. Upon arrival in Manila, he added that passengers could enjoy the capital city for a few days then connect to any of the 67 other destinations (30 domestic and 37 international) in the PAL network. “In the long term, the service will drive traffic between Southeast Asia and New Zealand,” Bautista said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Tycoons and aviation bigwigs on Airbus A350


MAY 21---By Babe G. Romualdez European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is on a full-scale world tour to promote its A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body), arriving in Manila yesterday to a warm welcome by business and local aviation bigwigs that included Philippine Airlines president/CEO Jimmy Bautista, Michael Tan, Cebu Pacific’s Lance Gokongwei, and Jimmy Chua, among many. Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras and Trade Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo, and of course members of the diplomatic corps, in particular from the French and German embassies, were also present to witness the aircraft’s highly-anticipated arrival. We joined the demo flight from Manila to the southern tip of the country, then the tip of Luzon and then back to Manila for one hour and 20 minutes of flying time with no landing. READ MORE...

ALSO: 'Deped fails to meet 18,000 new classrooms for K to 12'


MAY 21---More groups are now pressuring the government to stop the full implementation of the controversial K to 12 program next year.
 A group advocating children's issues on Thursday slammed the Department of Education (DepEd) for not meeting its target of 18,883 additional classrooms this year in time for the full implementation of the K to 12 program. The Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns said the DepEd has failed to meet its target which translates to growing problem of classroom shortage. "Ilang estudyante lang ba ang kayang pumasok sa 7,051 na classroom na kanilang pinagmamayabang na naitayo? Saan ipagsiksikan ang mga mag-aaral, lalo na ang mga tutuntong ng Senior High School (SHS) sa susunod na taon? Bakit ayaw pa kasing tanggapin ng DepEd na hindi pa sila handa para sa programang K to 12," the group's secretary general Kharlo Manano said. Manano also expressed concern on the reports that teachers who would be affected by the new curriculum have yet to be issued the teaching guide and other materials. He cited that only three schools in Marikina City are ready for the K to 12 program based on the list of the DepEd. Marikina local executives earlier said that public and private schools in the city are prepared in the full implementation of the program next year. "Nakakalungkot dahil mukhang mga tarpaulin at announcements lang nila ang handa sa K-12, kabaliktaran ito kung ang pagbabatayan natin ay ang tunay na kalagayan ng mga eskwelahan mula sa pasilidad, kagamitan hanggang sa kahandaan ng mga guro," Manano said. On May 29, several groups opposed to the K to 12 program will stage a caravan that will go around Metro Manila, calling for the stopping of the implementation of new curriculum. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on education


MAY 21---By Rey Gamboa  Most schools open next month (with the exception of colleges and universities, which are moving their opening dates to August to align with the international school calendar) For Filipinos with children in the primary and secondary levels, these are busy days preparing for opening day. Over 20 million children are expected to entering the public elementary and high school gates this June, and they will striving to complete another academic year to be able to get into college or vocation education levels. Education is still the basic vehicle of Filipinos to a better life. And rightly so, as studies have proven. In the Philippines, a household head with little or just basic elementary education will likely belong to the poverty level. And the bigger family is, the greater the chance of being pushed deeper into poverty. Being poor, there is a probability that the children will not be able to finish school. In some extreme instances, the children will not be able to step even one foot inside a classroom, and will likely grow up not knowing how to read or write. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Deutsche nod on Binay hard to deny, DoF says


Gil Beltran, senior Department of Finance undersecretary, spokesman, chief economist and head of the country’s preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meet (Apec)

MANILA, MAY 25, 2015 (TRIBUNE) Written by Ed Velasco Wednesday, 20 May 2015 - A ranking member of the Aquino economic team has gave a very strong credence to Deutsche Bank, the entity that recently said Vice President Jejomar Binay is the most experienced among the presidential candidates in next year’s election.

Gil Beltran, senior Department of Finance undersecretary, spokesman, chief economist and head of the country’s preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meet (Apec), said the words that came from the bank is very difficult to rebut, much more to deny.

“Deutsche did not become an international bank for nothing,” Beltran said in text message to The Daily Tribune from Dhaka, Bangladesh where he is attending an Apec-related activity.

It can be recalled that Deutsche Bank said categorically that the vice president, a former human rights lawyer and seven-term mayor of Makati, “is seen as the only serious presidential contender, and is described as experienced and economically pragmatic.”

READ MORE...
The bank added that the second highest official of the country “can solve the issues hounding the economy.”

While giving remarks that obviously sounded a thumbs-up, Deutsche Bank also hit the current Aquino administration by calling its severe underspending in infrastructure as “chronic.”

“The economy is seen as having the momentum to handle any deterioration in the quality of governance after Aquino’s term,” the bank’s exact words about the current administration.

Beltran said whatever words the bank attributes to anybody, it is well meaning and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“It is one of Europe’s biggest banks it has no time to nitty gritty,” the official said.

He said due to the very strict screening process of the bank, very few Filipinos were able to work in its main office in Frankfurt, Germany.

“Secretary Camacho (Jose Isidro, former Finance secretary) and Commissioner Sevilla (John Philip, the recently-fired Customs commissioner) both came from the bank,” he added.


TRIBUNE

Poe says, honesty more important, Deutsche Bank disagrees Written by Tribune Wires Tuesday, 19 May 2015 00:00 By Angie M. Rosales and Ed Velasco


Senator Grace Poe

Speaking like a true-blue administration candidate, Sen. Grace Poe who is now being tipped as the likely anointed of President Aquino, challenged Vice President Jejomar Binay to appear before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee inquiry to dispute the allegations leveled against him, to prove his honesty.

Poe was evidently smarting from the Vice President’s earlier warning that the country cannot afford to have an inexperienced leader elected to the presidency, given the number of problems it is already facing, which Poe clearly saw Vice President Jojo Binay’s warning directed at her.

But one of the world’s biggest, most prestigious and most influential global banks, Deutsche Bank, yesterday agreed with the VP, as it categorically said that Vice President Binay is the most experienced among all the possible contenders for the presidency in next year’s election.

Poe shot back using the style of President Aquino and the Liberal Party, saying that Binay should probe his honesty and sincerity by appearing before the Senate, taking the side of the three anti-Binay senators and the LPs, even when she should know that it is not for the VP to defend himself from these accusations before the Senate subcommittee since it is the duty of the three senators to prove their allegations first.

And it is the courtroom, not the Senate where even the prosecution has to first prove the charges.

But Poe, who has become a true blue politician now eyeing a higher office which she said she was not experienced nor qualfied at this time, now says that “For me, he (Binay) can prove his honesty and sincerity by his presence to explain his side on the allegation raised against him in the Senate. He should be the one to dispute the charges and not his representatives,” Poe said.

Deutsche Bank, yesterday categorically said that Vice President Binay is the most experienced among all the possible contenders for the presidency in next year’s election.

In an emailed commentary about the Philippines to select business reporters, including The Daily Tribune, the bank said: “The current Vice President is seen as the only serious presidential contender, and is described as experienced and economically pragmatic.”

READ MORE...
It is uncommon for the bank to have a political tone in its reviews for any economy as it mainly focuses on business aspects, particularly the exchange rate and monetary policies.

Deutsche Bank added that Binay can solve the issues hounding the economy while describing the economy to be deteriorating under President Aquino’s term.

“The economy is seen as having the momentum to handle any deterioration in the quality of governance after Aquino’s term,” it said.

The bank added that it has a team that visited Manila some weeks back “gathering views from government bodies, the central bank, business community groups and independent political and economic commentators.” It took another swipe at the Aquino administration’s severe under spending, calling the practice as “chronic.”

Despite of the under-spending, the bank sees a 6.5 percent full year GDP and 2.7 percent inflation for the Philippines this year. “Infrastructure disbursements are seen to accelerate ahead of elections, and after years of chronic under-spending, a higher fiscal deficit would be welcomed. We are forecasting 6.5 percent growth and 2.7 percent inflation this year."

Some of the other sharp reviews and comments about the Philippines include:

“The Philippines’ high growth-low inflation sweet spot is set to sustain this year aided by faster public spending and lower oil prices.

"The current account outlook remains comfortable, with double digit growth in business process outsourcing receipts, sustained remittance inflows, and lower oil creating space for higher capital goods imports.

"The main balance of payments shift has occurred on the financial account, with a large increase in resident outflows, reflecting an accumulation of onshore FX deposits, an increase in overseas lending and direct investment. This is partly policy encouraged to recycle the current account, and partly a result of low onshore yields.

"The term structure of rates in the Philippines remains too low. With liquidity in significant surplus, the current interest rate corridor is not effective. Policymakers now acknowledge that this could compromise monetary policy transmission in a tightening cycle.

"Policymakers are planning to introduce term deposit auctions to act as an additional tool of sterilization. This is an effort to lift interest rates away from the floor, but it is unclear how successful it can be.

“We think it would be more effective to narrow the basis between borrowing and SDA rates. We expect BSP will do this by raising SDA by 25-50 bps in the second quarter, while keeping the RRP steady given inflation should remain comfortably within its 2-4 percent target range.”

“Neither the May 2016 presidential elections, nor the Asean Economic Community is likely to be immediate game-changers. Strong domestic fundamentals argue for relative value Philippine longs, given a sparseness of genuinely constructive EM (emerging market) stories.”

Deutsche Bank is considered to be one of the most prestigious and most influential banks in the world. In 2009, it was the largest foreign exchange dealer in the world with a market share of 21 percent.

Poe said that while she and Binay have a long association, she also wants to know his side through the hearings.

Poe referred to the statement of Binay the other day on the need for experience and competence as qualities of the successor of Aquino as she admitted that her stint in government has not been as long as Binay’s.

“Not to uplift myself, however, in the short span that I have been in government, I tried to accomplish several things to help the poor, those oppressed and those who have little voice in government,” Poe said.

“While there should be experience and capability, I think what is more important is honesty,” Poe said.

Poe explained that Binay also supported former President Cory Aquino who she said had the paramount qualification of being sincere.

“In my view, it is not just the length of service in government that should be the measure but the quality of service.” Poe said.

When asked about questions raised on her citizenship, Poe, however, issued a vague answer where she claimed to be a natural born citizen but admitted having dual citizenship.

“I want to make clear that this issue of citizenship was also raised on my father Fernando Poe Jr., when he sought the presidency in 2004,” she said.


http://www.apec.org/
News Releases

Boracay Island, Aklan Province, Philippines, 24 May 2015

APEC Trade Ministers Issue Statement in Boracay

Issued by the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting


Trade Ministers from the 21 APEC member economies issued a statement at the conclusion of their meeting in Boracay on Sunday on expanding trade and spurring economic activity towards strong, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The statement, reflecting the outcomes of the 2015 APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting chaired by Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, describes joint actions to be taken forward by APEC members in the following priority areas:

Supporting the Multilateral Trading System Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda Fostering SMEs’ Participation in Regional and Global Markets Investing in Human Capital Development Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities Strengthening Economic and Technical Cooperation

Click to view video 2015 Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Statement

Trade Ministers adopted one statement annex:

Click to view Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

Trade Ministers also adopted a standalone statement:

Click to view Statement on Supporting the Multilateral Trading System

Trade Ministers considered a briefing by World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo on the state of the multilateral trading system and the Post-Bali work program as well as private sector policy guidance offered by 2015 APEC Business Advisory Council Chair Doris Ho and representatives of APEC’s Official Observers—the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and Pacific Islands Forum.

A Joint APEC Trade Ministers’ Press Conference that immediately followed their meeting in Boracay can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/embed/1sSShM18iAo 

For more:

Downloadable photos from the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting can be viewed here.

# # #

For further details, please contact:

David Hendrickson (in Boracay) +65 9137 3886 at drh@apec.org 

Michael Chapnick (in Boracay) +65 9647 4847 at mc@apec.org 

More on APEC meetings, events, projects and publications can be found on www.apec.org.  You can also follow APEC on Twitter and join us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

For more information, contact: media@apec.org


MANILA TIMES

Old peso bills valid only until end-2015 – BSP May 21, 2015 9:42 pm by MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO


MONEY, MONEY, MONEY Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo explains which set of bills would remain valid and which ones would be relegated to ‘Mickey Mouse’ status by 2017. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ

BANK notes issued in 1985 may still be used for daily transactions up to the end of 2015 but they will be fully demonetized starting 2017, the central bank said. In a press briefing on Thursday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the public may continue to use the 1985 New Design Series (NDS) up to December 31, 2015 but thereafter, these old banknotes will no longer be accepted for payment transactions.

From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016, the BSP said the public may exchange with authorized financial institutions such as universal and commercial banks, thrift banks, and rural as well as cooperative banks, their old banknotes with the New Generation Currency (NGC) Series at full face value, without charge.

The public may also opt to exchange their old banknotes with the BSP or any of its regional offices or branches around the Philippines.

Government institutions holding old banknotes which could not be exchanged during the prescribed period, such as banknotes used as evidence in a litigation case, will have to request the BSP Cash Department in writing, within the period of exchange, for a special exchange arrangement, it added.

For overseas Filipinos (OFs) who have in their possession old banknotes which could not be exchanged within the prescribed period, they may register online starting October 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016 through the BSP website.

These old banknotes may be exchanged with the BSP within one year from the date of registration.

READ MORE...
The central bank said that starting January 1, 2017, NDS banknotes that have not been exchanged shall no longer have any monetary value and will be considered demonetized.

“This will result in the circulation of a single currency series in the country–the New Generation Banknotes introduced in December 2010, which have more and enhanced security features to protect the safety of the public against counterfeiters,” said BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo.

As of April 2015, Guinigundo noted that there are about 2.8 billion pieces of banknotes consisting of the NGC and NDS series circulating in the system.

“About 20 percent of the total number of banknotes circulating in the Philippines consists of NDS. So this is an easier task for the BSP in partnership with the general public to retire the NDS,” he said.

The central bank said the demonetization process of the old banknotes is in line with the provisions of Section 57 of Republic Act No. 7653, or the New Central Bank Act, which authorizes the BSP to replace banknotes that are more than five years old. The old banknotes have been in circulation for almost three decades.


PHILSTAR

House passes 3 key economic bills By Paolo S. Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 21, 2015 - 12:00am


The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the landmark Fair Competition Act; the bill amending the Cabotage Law; and the proposed Philippine Archipelagic Sea Lanes Act. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading three key economic bills, including one that sets a fair competition policy to curb monopolies and unfair business practices.

Approved Tuesday night were the landmark Fair Competition Act; the bill amending the Cabotage Law; and the proposed Philippine Archipelagic Sea Lanes Act.

The three bills are part of the list of priority measures of the House and the Senate.

The fair competition bill, principally authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., seeks to prevent monopolies and protect the economy from unfair competition practices.

Belmonte said the measure has direct benefits for ordinary Filipinos as it would boost the inflow of foreign direct investments (FDI).

He said the measure would foster fair competition that will result to better products and services aswell as lower costs that would benefit ordinary folks.

The bill seeks to establish a National Competition Policy that will encourage fair and free economic competition by prohibiting the abuse of market dominant positions, and the excessive concentration of economic power by regulating improper concerted acts and unfair business practices.

The bill provides for the creation of a Philippine Competition Commission to be under the Office of the President and shall implement the policy.

READ MORE...
Likewise, it prohibits all unfair methods of competition as well as unfair deceptive trade or business practice which have the object or effect of unreasonably and substantially preventing, restricting or lessening competition.

The bill also provides for review of mergers and acquisitions by the commission.

The Cabotage Bill seeks to allow the entry and movement of foreign cargo vessels between ports within the country.

It also aims to lower the cost of shipping containerized export cargoes from Philippine ports to international ports and containerized import cargoes from international ports, the authors said.

The bill, which applies only to foreign vessels carrying containers, has long been pushed by various business groups as well as by some government agencies, including the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

Under the bill, a foreign vessel arriving from a port abroad shall be allowed to carry container vans or cargos to its domestic port of final destination, after being cleared at the port of entry.

Such vessels shall be allowed to carry container vans or cargos by another foreign vessel calling at the same port of entry to the local port of final destination.

For a foreign vessel departing a port in the country through another local port, shall be allowed to carry foreign container vans or cargo intended for export.

It shall also be allowed to carry foreign container vans or cargos by another foreign vessel through a domestic transshipment port and transferred at thesaid port to its foreign port of final destination.

The Archipelagic Sea Lanes Bill seeks to allow the “continuous, expeditious, and unobstructed transit” for vessels engaged in economic trade with the Philippines and neighboring countries.

Under the bill, foreign ships and aircraft passing through Philippine territory are allowed traverse not more than 25 nautical miles to either side of the axisline of the sea lane, or “shall not navigate closer to the coast more than 10 percent of the distance between the nearest points on island bordering the sea lane.”


PHILSTAR

PAL mounts Australia, New Zealand flights in December By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 21, 2015 - 12:00am


PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said the airline would launch flights to Cairns in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand on Dec.1. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Flag carrier Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) is set to mount flights to Australia and New Zealand in December.

This is the second long haul flight to be launched after the Tan Group bought back the 49 percent interest of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) in PAL for $1.3 billion last October.

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said the airline would launch flights to Cairns in Australia and Auckland in New Zealand on Dec.1.

PAL would operate four flights weekly every Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays to serve the Manila-Cairns-Auckland route utilizing the 156-seater Airbus A320.

Bautista said the route would stimulate passenger traffic along three travel streams — Manila and Cairns, Manila and Auckland as well as Cairns and Auckland.

“The new service allows PAL to cater to the travel needs of business and leisure travelers and showcase its distinct brand of service marked by Filipino warmth, charm and hospitality. With close to 40,000 Filipinos residing in New Zealand, the new service is their convenient link to their home country-the Philippines,” he said.

Upon arrival in Manila, he added that passengers could enjoy the capital city for a few days then connect to any of the 67 other destinations (30 domestic and 37 international) in the PAL network.

“In the long term, the service will drive traffic between Southeast Asia and New Zealand,” Bautista said.


PHILSTAR 'SPYBITS'

Tycoons and aviation bigwigs on Airbus A350 SPYBITS By Babe G. Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 21, 2015 - 12:00am


By Babe G. Romualdez

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is on a full-scale world tour to promote its A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body), arriving in Manila yesterday to a warm welcome by business and local aviation bigwigs that included Philippine Airlines president/CEO Jimmy Bautista, Michael Tan, Cebu Pacific’s Lance Gokongwei, and Jimmy Chua, among many.

Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras and Trade Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo, and of course members of the diplomatic corps, in particular from the French and German embassies, were also present to witness the aircraft’s highly-anticipated arrival. We joined the demo flight from Manila to the southern tip of the country, then the tip of Luzon and then back to Manila for one hour and 20 minutes of flying time with no landing.


The Airbus A350-XWB Cockpit 3D model--Computer Model BY DUST (PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO)

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Airbus has been stepping up its rivalry with American aircraft manufacturer Boeing whose B787 Dreamliner is a competitor of the Airbus A350 XWB – touted as the standard setter in terms of fuel efficiency. The A350 XWB has an extra wide cross section that provides high standards of comfort for passengers with innovative cabin concepts in all classes. Wider seats, wider aisles and straighter sidewalls all make for bigger personal space to passengers.

We’re told the A350 has also installed a new Satellite Landing System that allows its pilots to perform “precision landing approaches” with guidance from the EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System) or its US equivalent WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System). The EGNOS system was developed by the European Space Agency to hone the accuracy of satellite navigation to provide horizontal and vertical guidance to anywhere in Europe without the need for any airport-hosted infrastructure.

The system employs three geostationary satellites and a 40-strong network of ground stations, improving the accuracy of US GPS signals over European territory. EGNOS-augmented signals are thereby guaranteed to meet the extremely high performance standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (adapted for Europe by Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation).

Most big international airports use the Instrument Landing System (ILS) with radio beams allowing for precision landing and even auto-landing during bad visibility, but it is also expensive to install and maintain which is why smaller airports (and even some bigger ones) do not utilize ILS. EGNOS boosts the flexibility of airports as it offers a cost-effective way of safely increasing the use of other runways, avionics engineers explained.

PhilJets founder and managing director Thierry Tea – who used to be the head of the EADS (Airbus Group) in the Philippines and president/CEO of Eurocopter (Philippines) before putting up his own aviation solutions company – was definitely happy with the success of the event which his group coordinated, noting the enthusiastic interest for the extra wide body Airbus jet.

BBL: Who’s really the boss?

There is no question that everybody is for peace, including the international community with no less than US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg saying the United States is supportive of the peace process. The American Ambassador (right) with from left the Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, MILF panel member Abdullah Camlian, the author and Egyptian Ambassador Mahmoud Mostafa Ahmed) believes that lasting peace in Mindanao can be achieved – a hope that many Filipinos certainly share.

However, people are wondering why there seems to be “indecent haste” in passing the proposed and very controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). In fact, people are highly convinced that the measure is being railroaded to beat the June “deadline” to have it ready before the President delivers his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) this July.

If the surveys are right, only one fourth or 25 percent of Filipinos are supposedly in favor of the BBL, but with the way congressmen have been acting, it would seem that they are not listening to their constituents who are supposed to be their “bosses” as President Aquino himself calls the Filipino people.

The MILF says it is “uneasy” with the amendments to the BBL – but the same goes for majority of Filipinos who are angry that the hearings and deliberations held on the BBL provisions seem to have all gone to waste (at the cost of taxpayers) since the technical working draft that was supposed to incorporate the proposed amendments in the questionable provisions (due to constitutionality issues for instance) was suddenly superseded by the so-called “chairman’s draft” presented by Cagayan de Oro Rep. and ad hoc committee chair Rufus Rodriguez.

Among the questionable provisions are those involving public safety and security, with the draft BBL allowing the creation of an Armed Forces regional command within the proposed Bangsamoro entity – with the chief minister having control over this regional AFP. Muntinlupa Rep. and former AFP chief Pong Biazon objected to the inclusion of these provisions, but democracy being a numbers game – his objection and motion to delete was defeated – prompting him to utter: “God help this country in the future!”

The letter of Fr. Antonio Samson to Senate President Frank Drilon – which has been doing the rounds in cyberspace – articulates many of the concerns shared by Filipinos in crafting the BBL with such vague terms like “asymmetrical political relationship” between the Bangsamoro and the Philippine Central Government. Even the term “Bangsamoro” itself – of Bahasa Indonesian origin which means Moro nation – is causing confusion since it implies that the Bangsamoro is a separate “nation” with all the attendant connotations relative to territorial jurisdiction and integrity, among others.

In any case, the administration has to listen to the sentiment of the “bosses” who are growing angrier by the minute due to perceptions that the BBL is being rammed down their throats. This could be another disaster in the making with consequences far worse than the Mamasapano encounter – except that this time, the tragedy could fall upon the doorstep of Malacañang.


PHILSTAR

'Deped fails to meet 18,000 new classrooms for K to 12' By Dennis Carcamo (philstar.com) | Updated May 21, 2015 - 4:57pm


More groups are now pressuring the government to stop the full implementation of the controversial K to 12 program next year.

MANILA, Philippines - A group advocating children's issues on Thursday slammed the Department of Education (DepEd) for not meeting its target of 18,883 additional classrooms this year in time for the full implementation of the K to 12 program.

The Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns said the DepEd has failed to meet its target which translates to growing problem of classroom shortage.

"Ilang estudyante lang ba ang kayang pumasok sa 7,051 na classroom na kanilang pinagmamayabang na naitayo? Saan ipagsiksikan ang mga mag-aaral, lalo na ang mga tutuntong ng Senior High School (SHS) sa susunod na taon? Bakit ayaw pa kasing tanggapin ng DepEd na hindi pa sila handa para sa programang K to 12," the group's secretary general Kharlo Manano said.

Manano also expressed concern on the reports that teachers who would be affected by the new curriculum have yet to be issued the teaching guide and other materials.

He cited that only three schools in Marikina City are ready for the K to 12 program based on the list of the DepEd.

Marikina local executives earlier said that public and private schools in the city are prepared in the full implementation of the program next year.

"Nakakalungkot dahil mukhang mga tarpaulin at announcements lang nila ang handa sa K-12, kabaliktaran ito kung ang pagbabatayan natin ay ang tunay na kalagayan ng mga eskwelahan mula sa pasilidad, kagamitan hanggang sa kahandaan ng mga guro," Manano said.

On May 29, several groups opposed to the K to 12 program will stage a caravan that will go around Metro Manila, calling for the stopping of the implementation of new curriculum.


PHILSTAR 'BIZLINKS'

Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on education BIZLINKS By Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 21, 2015 - 12:00am


By Rey Gamboa

Most schools open next month (with the exception of colleges and universities, which are moving their opening dates to August to align with the international school calendar)

For Filipinos with children in the primary and secondary levels, these are busy days preparing for opening day.

Over 20 million children are expected to entering the public elementary and high school gates this June, and they will striving to complete another academic year to be able to get into college or vocation education levels.

Education is still the basic vehicle of Filipinos to a better life. And rightly so, as studies have proven.

In the Philippines, a household head with little or just basic elementary education will likely belong to the poverty level. And the bigger family is, the greater the chance of being pushed deeper into poverty.

Being poor, there is a probability that the children will not be able to finish school. In some extreme instances, the children will not be able to step even one foot inside a classroom, and will likely grow up not knowing how to read or write.

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Poverty and education, indeed, have very strong ties. This is why the Philippine government continues to support its conditional cash transfer program (or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps), which was started in 2008.

Keeping children in school

Admittedly, the 4Ps is helping to keep children in school, particularly those aged younger than 12, while raising mothers’ awareness of the importance of giving their offspring the opportunity to finish their education.

The 4Ps is by far the most expensive social program of the government, with a bill that was already running a tab of over P120 billion as of end 2012. Its coverage, though, has been phenomenal, now reaching more than three million households belonging to the poverty level.

The concept of the 4Ps was patterned largely on the Brazil and Mexico models, both countries being the first to successfully implement the CCT program.

In all the countries where CCT is now being practiced, one overarching rational is the need to meet the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the second MDG which focuses on education: to ensure that by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

Nothing dramatic

While many assessments of the Philippines’ 4Ps have not been gushing (i.e., in reducing the poverty incidence or keeping children motivated to stay in school and graduate primary levels), it has helped plenty of young children to continue their education, at least until they graduate from elementary schooling.

So far too, there have been no major scandals involving the transfer of monies to families – and many mothers have kept to their responsibilities over the years in exchange for the cash, which means agreeing to a host of health- and education-related stipulations.

In exchange, households get a boost from the P6,000 annual assistance for health and nutrition plus P3,000 per child (maximum of three children, maximum age of 14) for the 10 months of school. Not bad, really, for families living in poverty or extreme poverty.

As many social scientists will say, helping the poorest of the poor is one of the most difficult – almost close to hopeless – endeavors to undertake. And those living in poverty, a tad better than those in extreme poverty, are not far from the mold.

Therefore, it will be years, even decades, before any real or significant improvement and change can be glimpsed from this eight-year-old program. It’s a good thing, though, that this originally five-year social program continues to be extended.

Education gap

A major issue with the 4Ps is its non-inclusion of older children, those over 14 years old who have left primary schooling to take on jobs in the farms or small rural businesses, or as household help. They will join the ranks of citizens who have received little or no education, and who will likely further swell the poverty ranks.

Providing education opportunities to this generation of youth and not too young not covered by the 4Ps should be one of the objectives of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). It’s never too late to learn a new skill.

Fortunately, we are a nation that still values education – as can be gleaned from the proliferation of schools in the cities even outside of Metro Manila, and the huge number of students hoping to finish a college education.

There are still many examples of young boys and girls who strive to finish their education notwithstanding the inability of their parents to provide for tuition and, even more importantly, the everyday expenses that come with going to school and learning.

Scholarships

Thankfully, there is a growing number of kind-hearted and minded people as well as companies, who have reached out and continue to support those deserving youths committed to learn a decent skill or finish a course.

The CHED has a program that is gaining of popularity with students who need financial help. These may not be full grants, but whatever amount received is already a great help to those who aspire for a better life through further education.

There ought to be a master list of scholarship channels and sponsors available, one that makes available such opportunities like full and partial tuition grants, education loans, and other similar facilities more transparent to the public.

What’s left now is for CHED and TESDA to popularize and open access to ladderized education fit for working students. This would greatly help in bringing learning to a wider number of people, most specially those underprivileged.

Realizing the MDGs for education this year may not be possible, but at least this nation is doing something that will make this happen.


THE 'MDG' LOGO @ http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/mdgnews.shtml

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