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(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

NOY GROUNDBREAKS COUNTRY'S FIRST GREEN AND DISASTER RESILIENT METROPOLIS


APRIL 11 -President Aquino will lead today the groundbreaking rites of the country’s first smart, green and disaster-resilient metropolis called Clark Green City in the former US Air Force base. The president is expected to arrive at Capas, Tarlac today along with Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Emmanuel Esguerra. On hand to welcome the president are Bases Conversion and Development Authority chairman Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia, BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Casanova and various officials of both the regional and local government units of Central Luzon. The BCDA is in charge of building Clark Green City. President Aquino is expected to lead in laying the time capsule of what will become the country’s most modern and global metropolis. “It’s all system go for the Clark Green City,” Casanova said. He said the development of the 9,450-hectare Clark Green City will be in phases. The first phase that comprises 288 hectares will be developed by BCDA and its joint-venture partner, property developer giant Filinvest Land Inc. The Filinvest parcel will have two distinct components: an industrial zone and a mixed-used development with residential, office, commercial and institutional elements. Casanova pointed out that Green City is perfectly suited to become a back-up government center because it will be built to be disaster-resilient, taking into consideration the ill effects of climate change and other natural disasters. READ MORE...RELATED,
San Miguel bullish on prospects of Davao industrial estate...

ALSO: OFW remittances up 9.1% to $2.11 B in Feb


APRIL 16 -BSP officer-in-charge Diwa Guinigundo said cash remittances from overseas Filipinos reached $2.11 billion in February, 9.1 percent or $175 million higher compared with the $1.93 billion recorded in February last year. File photo
Remittances from overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) expanded 9.1 percent in February despite the prolonged slump in global oil prices, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.
BSP officer-in-charge Diwa Guinigundo said cash remittances from overseas Filipinos reached $2.11 billion in February, 9.1 percent or $175 million higher compared with the $1.93 billion recorded in February last year. The 9.1 percent growth in February was the fastest since June last year when cash remittances booked a double-digit growth of 10.9 percent. Guinigundo said remittances rose 6.2 percent to $4.13 billion in the first two months of the year from $3.89 billion in the same period last year. The growth in the first two months was faster than the four percent full year growth set by the central bank. Guinigundo, who is also deputy governor of the BSP, said remittances from land-based Filipino workers went up 6.9 percent to $3.2 billion, while remittances from sea-based workers increased 3.7 percent to $917 million in the first two months of the year. READ MORE...

ALSO: PLDT, Facebook boosting tie-up


APRIL 12 -PLDT chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan meets with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The country’s largest telco Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Facebook are looking for ways to strengthen their partnership to make Internet services available to more Filipinos. In a statement yesterday, the telco said its chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan recently met with Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California to discuss ways to enhance the two firms’ partnership to introduce Internet to more Filipinos and help change their lives for the better. PLDT through its wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. was the first telco in Southeast Asia to roll out Free Basics via a partnership with Facebook in March last year. Free Basics aims to make mobile Internet available to two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected. Through Free Basics, which is now available in more than 30 countries, individuals can access online sources and services without data charges. Free Basics allows users to access online information such as news, employment, health, education and other local information. Millions of users on the Smart network have enjoyed Free Basics since its launch. READ MORE...RELATED,

ALSO: Panama Papers - Are Filipino politicians tagged in the biggest leak in history?
[Are Filipinos included in the Panama Leaks? We don’t know yet. So far a listing of power players in the Panama Papers did not include the Philippines. But the ICIJ said that what it posted on its site is not yet the full list of companies and people.]


APRIL 5 -The Panama Papers deals with a goliath 2.6 terabytes of data. — It’s so far the biggest leak in history in terms of data volume, even dwarfing the widely known Wikileaks by more than 1,500 times.
Since the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealed the existence of the Panama Papers on Sunday, various publications have been after the story which links 140 politicians around the world to secret offshore companies. The ICIJ has clarified that having an offshore company is not illegal. But it can be used to cheat on tax by hiding the money. And in the particular case of the Panama Papers, investigation by the ICIJ found that it was used to “facilitate bribery, arms deals, tax evasion, financial fraud and drug trafficking.”  With this massive find, ICIJ’s Director Gerard Ryle told Wired that he advise reporters to “go crazy” but tell “what’s in the public interest for your country.”  In the Philippines, news reports have been circulating associating political figures like Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and Sen. JV Ejercito to the Panama Papers. Although their names, along with 570 other Filipinos, have been associated to offshore companies, it was for the Offshore Leaks in 2013 and not the recently released Panama Papers. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Joey Concepcion - How do we elect a leader?


APRIL 14 -By Joey Concepcion 
After the heated debate among the vice presidential candidates last Sunday, we have seen a tighter competition for all the candidates. With less than a month from election day, candidates visit more towns and provinces to show their plan of actions to more voters. We are now at the peak of the election campaign period and the race is still anybody’s game. But as we hear more political promises and proposals, we see more of the candidates’ focus and priorities. More often than not, voters are often swayed and blinded by these plans and do not recognize the bigger picture. Promises of reducing crime and eliminating drugs in a short span of time, fighting corruption continuously and all other incredible related platforms are important, but to many of us, eliminating poverty should be the primary social issue that must be addressed. After all, poverty is the root cause of all these crimes and drug-abuse. Poverty continues to be a challenge in this country. Yes, it is a very difficult task, but there is still hope. In Go Negosyo, we have always pushed for poverty alleviation through entrepreneurship. It has even been our slogan for years, “Go Negosyo, Sagot sa Kahirapan.” Our advocacy aims to engage more people to entrepreneurship, thus creating an active economic activity which I think is essential in development. We can generate an active economic activity by creating more entrepreneurs. As we encourage more Filipinos to become entrepreneurs, we then generate more jobs. By having more companies and job availabilities, we give more people a chance to level up in life. Aside from creating more entrepreneurs, we need to empower the micro and small enterprises as well to level up, innovate, and develop their businesses. This can be done through mentoring, seminars, and trainings. To make it simpler, envision a young Filipino who was inspired to establish his own company. After some time, he levels up and needs to hire more people to support the business. Enterprising individuals then become part of the business. After a few years, employees will also start their own companies, then hire people, and so on and so forth. READ MORE...

ALSO: Bohol - The new Phl paradise


APRIL 14 -Bellevue Resort Hotel in Bohol 
The staff of PeopleAsia magazine had their summer outing at the Bellevue Resort Hotel in Bohol — a top-of-the-line facility under the Bellevue Hotels and Resorts Group with Johnny Chan as chairman. Acting as host was Arthur Lopez who is president of the Philippine Hotel Owners Association and AML Hotel Consultancy that serves as consultant for the hotel group.
The luxury resort, which sits on a 3.5-hectare property in Panglao, is developing a reputation as one of the best five-star resorts in the country with its excellent facilities and amenities, fantastic food and superb services from the friendly and accommodating staff. But what really sets the property apart from most others is the fact that from the onset, the management has consciously adopted a green approach in the development, taking into consideration the challenges faced by tourism establishments in Panglao. For instance, the access to adequate supply of potable water — which Bellevue solved by building its own desalination plant instead of building a deep well or transporting water from Tagbilaran City. The resort takes pride in being environment-friendly, putting up a wastewater treatment facility as well as a water storage facility for collected rainwater. Power is also used efficiently by giving guests the option to cool their rooms with fresh air instead of the air conditioner and designing the rooms in such a way that natural lighting and ventilation is maximized. For its efforts, the hotel recently won the 2015 ASEAN Green Hotel Award. The fact is, Bohol is fast becoming a major tourist spot, with visitors expected to increase once the construction of the new P4.6 billion international airport is completed, with funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA. The new airport will be 10 times larger than the current one in Tagbilaran, with plans to put up flights to and from Japan, China and South Korea. According to sources, the new airport facility will adopt green measures in its design, for instance maximizing natural ventilation and putting up solar panels on the roof, while filters will be used for the drainage system to make sure the waters of Panglao will not be contaminated. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Noy groundbreaks Green City today

MANILA, APRIL 18, 2016 (TRIBUNE) Written by Ed Velasco Monday, 11 April 2016 00:00 - President Aquino will lead today the groundbreaking rites of the country’s first smart, green and disaster-resilient metropolis called Clark Green City in the former US Air Force base.

The president is expected to arrive at Capas, Tarlac today along with Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Emmanuel Esguerra.

On hand to welcome the president are Bases Conversion and Development Authority chairman Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia, BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Casanova and various officials of both the regional and local government units of Central Luzon.

The BCDA is in charge of building Clark Green City. President Aquino is expected to lead in laying the time capsule of what will become the country’s most modern and global metropolis.

“It’s all system go for the Clark Green City,” Casanova said.

He said the development of the 9,450-hectare Clark Green City will be in phases. The first phase that comprises 288 hectares will be developed by BCDA and its joint-venture partner, property developer giant Filinvest Land Inc.

The Filinvest parcel will have two distinct components: an industrial zone and a mixed-used development with residential, office, commercial and institutional elements.

Casanova pointed out that Green City is perfectly suited to become a back-up government center because it will be built to be disaster-resilient, taking into consideration the ill effects of climate change and other natural disasters.

READ MORE...

Clark Green City’s favorable geological conditions make it less vulnerable to earthquakes. The absence of a fault line under or within its vicinity makes the site ideal for long term development.

The city will also be spared from the damaging effects of super typhoons since its neighboring mountain ranges: the Zambales Mountain Range and the Sierra Madre Mountain Range will serve as natural barriers. Flooding will also be remote due to its high elevation.

Casanova also noted that Clark Green City will showcase the country’s capability to build a sustainable and modern city.

“The city will adopt smart and green features like compact walkable communities with generous open spaces, bike lanes, mass transportation, smart utilities, high-bandwidth connectivity, protected biodiversity, energy efficiency and urban farming, among others, making it one of the country’s most livable cities of the future.”

At full development, Clark Green City will have some 1.12 million residents, 800,000 workers and contribute a gross output of approximately P1.57 trillion per year to the national economy or roughly four percent share in the county’s gross domestic product.

Its strategic location and connectivity to major cities in Central Luzon through the country’s expressways that include the North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway and soon the Central Luzon Expressway will allow the convergence from north, east, south, and west and serve a catchment population of some 12 million people.

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

San Miguel bullish on prospects of Davao industrial estate By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 14, 2016 - 12:00am 0 5 googleplus0 1


Ang

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Corp. expects its planned 2,000 hectare industrial estate in Davao to boost economic activities in Mindanao.

Ramon S. Ang, president and COO of San Miguel, yesterday said the SMC Davao Industrial Estate would spur private investments from both local and foreign groups.

“Davao has many unique characteristics that make it a very ideal investment destination. It is home to a growing and skilled workforce, and the peace and order situation is very stable. It is very investment-friendly, and for businesses wanting to locate there, generous incentives are available,” he said.


SMC Coal-Fired Power Plant Malita credit to April Vanessa Bagahansol

Ang said the centerpiece of the investment would be San Miguel subsidiary SMC Global Power Holdings Corp.’s brand new 600-megawatt power generation facility, which is set for partial commissioning starting in the second quarter of this year.

The power facility is seen to improve power security in the Mindanao region and provide lower electricity rates.

Ang said the industrial estate would have an international port with a depth of up to 20 meters, and a private airport with a concrete runway.

While having its own private airport, the SMC Davao Industrial Estate is also highly accessible via the Davao City and General Santos City international airports as well as the Davao seaport. It is also situated in a generally typhoon-free area near the equator.


APRIL San Miguel Corporation ads today @ Manila Bulletin inviting locators and investors.It appeared that their 2000 hectare property in Malita is now referred to as Davao Industrial Estate (PEZA approved). The project has an international seaport and a private airport. FROM SKYSCRAPERCITY.COM

SMC, Southeast Asia’s largest food, beverage, and packaging conglomerate, has in recent years diversified into non-allied but strategic industries that are key to the country’s growth. This includes, among others, power generation through SMC Global Power; oil refining and marketing, through Petron Corp.,; and infrastructure through SMC Holdings Corp., which holds the concession to many of the country’s major toll roads and airport and mass transit system projects.

“As a company, we always endeavor to invest in industries and areas that will support our country’s growth and improve the lives of our people. Davao is a major growth area, and we want to do our part in helping the region and its people achieve their full economic potential. After all, it has been home to one of our major facilities—San Miguel Brewery Davao—for a very long time now,” Ang said.


PHILSTAR

OFW remittances up 9.1% to $2.11 B in Feb By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 16, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


BSP officer-in-charge Diwa Guinigundo said cash remittances from overseas Filipinos reached $2.11 billion in February, 9.1 percent or $175 million higher compared with the $1.93 billion recorded in February last year. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Remittances from overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) expanded 9.1 percent in February despite the prolonged slump in global oil prices, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

BSP officer-in-charge Diwa Guinigundo said cash remittances from overseas Filipinos reached $2.11 billion in February, 9.1 percent or $175 million higher compared with the $1.93 billion recorded in February last year.

The 9.1 percent growth in February was the fastest since June last year when cash remittances booked a double-digit growth of 10.9 percent.

Guinigundo said remittances rose 6.2 percent to $4.13 billion in the first two months of the year from $3.89 billion in the same period last year.

The growth in the first two months was faster than the four percent full year growth set by the central bank.

Guinigundo, who is also deputy governor of the BSP, said remittances from land-based Filipino workers went up 6.9 percent to $3.2 billion, while remittances from sea-based workers increased 3.7 percent to $917 million in the first two months of the year.

READ MORE...

More than 75 percent of the cash remittances came from the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Canada, Japan, and Qatar.

“The steady deployment of overseas Filipino workers remained a key driver to the growth of remittance inflows,” Guinigundo said.

BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. earlier said the $81 million bank heist involving the money stolen by hackers from Bangladesh Bank that found its way to the country via Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) has not affected remittances.

However, he noted foreign correspondent banks of local banks have ended their partnerships involving remittances as part of their de-risking efforts.

BPI president Cezar Consing earlier confirmed the money laundering scandal could result in higher cost for cash remittances.

Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed 31.6 percent of the 160,277 total approved orders in January and February were processed during the period.

Processed job orders were intended mainly to fill demand for service, production, and professional, technical and related workers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, and the UAE.

Personal remittances also grew nine percent to $2.33 billion in February from $2.14 billion in the same month last year.

Personal remittance is computed as the sum of gross earnings of overseas Filipino workers with work contracts of less than one year, including all sea-based workers, less taxes, social contributions, and transportation and travel expenditures in their host countries.

For the first two months, personal remittances went up 6.1 percent to $4.57 billion from $4.31billion in the same period last year.

According to Guinigundo, personal remittance flows consisted primarily of transfers from land-based workers with contracts of one year or more amounting to $3.5 billion as well as compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts reaching $1 billion.

Cash remittances rose 4.6 percent to $25.77 billion last year from $24.63 billion in 2014 amid the strong demand for skilled Filipino workers abroad.

For this year, remittances are expected to increase by four percent on account of the steady deployment of Filipino workers, greater diversification of country destinations, and shift to higher-skilled types of work.

Moody’s Investors Service said weaker remittances from the Middle East due to the continued softening in oil prices would reduce the benefits of oil imports for several Asian economies including the Philippines.

In a report, Moody’s said the more pronounced and prolonged oil price decline coupled with fiscal tightening in many oil exporting countries could hurt migrant worker earnings and remittances.

Moody’s said diversified locations and vocations of overseas workers from the Philippines, India, and Vietnam would help reduce the fall in remittances.

Moody’s said the Philippines draw its remittances almost equally from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies with 34 percent and the US with 31.7 percent.

“The proportion of remittance inflows from the US and GCC are nearly equal, at 34 percent, and 31.7 percent, respectively,” Moody’s added.


PHILSTAR

PLDT, Facebook boosting tie-up By Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 12, 2016 - 12:00am 0 7 googleplus0 0


PLDT chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan meets with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s largest telco Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Facebook are looking for ways to strengthen their partnership to make Internet services available to more Filipinos.

In a statement yesterday, the telco said its chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan recently met with Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California to discuss ways to enhance the two firms’ partnership to introduce Internet to more Filipinos and help change their lives for the better.

PLDT through its wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. was the first telco in Southeast Asia to roll out Free Basics via a partnership with Facebook in March last year.

Free Basics aims to make mobile Internet available to two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected.

Through Free Basics, which is now available in more than 30 countries, individuals can access online sources and services without data charges.

Free Basics allows users to access online information such as news, employment, health, education and other local information.

Millions of users on the Smart network have enjoyed Free Basics since its launch.

READ MORE...

Following Free Basics, Smart and Facebook introduced Free Facebook Toggle and Free Instagram, which resulted in a surge in the number of online users.

Apart from meeting with Zuckerberg, Pangilinan also took part in a series of engagements with Silicon Valley leaders and partners as the telco is looking for ways to cater to its subscribers’ digital needs.

PLDT has set its capital expenditures at a record P43 billion this year, with investments to be focused on data services amid growing demand for such.

As of end-2015, PLDT had a total wireless subscriber base of 68.9 million, consisting of over 3.9 million wireless broadband subscribers and about 65 million cellular subscribers.


PHILSTAR

Panama Papers: Are Filipino politicians tagged in the biggest leak in history? (philstar.com) | Updated April 5, 2016 - 3:31pm 47 2249 googleplus0 0


The Panama Papers deals with a goliath 2.6 terabytes of data.

MANILA, Philippines — It’s so far the biggest leak in history in terms of data volume, even dwarfing the widely known Wikileaks by more than 1,500 times.

Since the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealed the existence of the Panama Papers on Sunday, various publications have been after the story which links 140 politicians around the world to secret offshore companies.

The ICIJ has clarified that having an offshore company is not illegal. But it can be used to cheat on tax by hiding the money.

And in the particular case of the Panama Papers, investigation by the ICIJ found that it was used to “facilitate bribery, arms deals, tax evasion, financial fraud and drug trafficking.”

With this massive find, ICIJ’s Director Gerard Ryle told Wired that he advise reporters to “go crazy” but tell “what’s in the public interest for your country.”

In the Philippines, news reports have been circulating associating political figures like Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and Sen. JV Ejercito to the Panama Papers. Although their names, along with 570 other Filipinos, have been associated to offshore companies, it was for the Offshore Leaks in 2013 and not the recently released Panama Papers.

READ MORE...

What’s the difference? The Offshore Leaks differs from the Panama Papers by a massive number.

Picture this. The Panama Papers deals with a goliath 2.6 terabytes of data. This translates to almost 40 years worth of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, from 1977 until the end of 2015.

The law firm helped foreign clients hide their assets through shell companies in 21 tax havens.

A shell company exists only on paper. It has no office or employees.

In the Offshore Leaks, Marcos and Ejercito were identified as officers and master clients of offshore entities. A master client serves as a “go-between who helps a client set up an offshore entity,” the ICIJ explained. This helps keep the identity of the real owner under wraps.

The Offshore Leaks which covers nearly 30 years of data was just 260 gigabytes, while the Wikileaks in 2010 was at 1.7 gigabytes.

Are Filipinos included in the Panama Leaks? We don’t know yet. So far a listing of power players in the Panama Papers did not include the Philippines. But the ICIJ said that what it posted on its site is not yet the full list of companies and people.

In his interview on Wired, Ryle said that unlike Wikileaks, ICIJ won’t unleash the full set of documents on the web. But it said it will leak information on all the companies and players involved in early May. We’re talking about information from more than 11.5 million internal files of Mossack Fonseca. And who knows what we can discover.


PHILSTAR

How do we elect a leader? GO NEGOSYO By Joey Concepcion (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 14, 2016 - 12:00am 0 6 googleplus0 0


By Joey Concepcion

After the heated debate among the vice presidential candidates last Sunday, we have seen a tighter competition for all the candidates. With less than a month from election day, candidates visit more towns and provinces to show their plan of actions to more voters. We are now at the peak of the election campaign period and the race is still anybody’s game.

But as we hear more political promises and proposals, we see more of the candidates’ focus and priorities. More often than not, voters are often swayed and blinded by these plans and do not recognize the bigger picture. Promises of reducing crime and eliminating drugs in a short span of time, fighting corruption continuously and all other incredible related platforms are important, but to many of us, eliminating poverty should be the primary social issue that must be addressed. After all, poverty is the root cause of all these crimes and drug-abuse.

Poverty continues to be a challenge in this country. Yes, it is a very difficult task, but there is still hope.

In Go Negosyo, we have always pushed for poverty alleviation through entrepreneurship. It has even been our slogan for years, “Go Negosyo, Sagot sa Kahirapan.” Our advocacy aims to engage more people to entrepreneurship, thus creating an active economic activity which I think is essential in development. We can generate an active economic activity by creating more entrepreneurs. As we encourage more Filipinos to become entrepreneurs, we then generate more jobs. By having more companies and job availabilities, we give more people a chance to level up in life.


Go Negosyo Executive Director Ramon Lopez ,DTI Region IV-A Director Marilou Toledo and Go Negosyo angelpreneur Victor Madlangbayan recognized the first batch of entrepreneurs who served as mentees in the Mentor Me Program.

Aside from creating more entrepreneurs, we need to empower the micro and small enterprises as well to level up, innovate, and develop their businesses. This can be done through mentoring, seminars, and trainings.

To make it simpler, envision a young Filipino who was inspired to establish his own company. After some time, he levels up and needs to hire more people to support the business. Enterprising individuals then become part of the business. After a few years, employees will also start their own companies, then hire people, and so on and so forth.

READ MORE...

By doing these things – encouraging more Filipinos to become entrepreneurs and empowering existing micro entrepreneurs, we develop strong economic activity, a cycle of development. We must turn employees to entrepreneurs and the cycle spins faster.

This does not only engage those of the middle and higher classes, but it also gives a chance to the poor and underprivileged, the bottom of the pyramid to up the ante.

Now, the government’s role is to provide a better system most especially infrastructures. Plans of decongesting Metro Manila are great and I totally support it. By building airports, ports, railways, and opening more roads to and from the provinces, we will have an easy transport of goods and services and a wider market linkage. We need to develop the rural areas and construct business districts so that people from the provinces will no longer need to move in Manila just to provide for their families. We are now giving more people better opportunities.

Aside from this, we also need to strengthen our educational system to instill greater intelligence to the next generation.

We need a leader to do all these in the next six years. We need a leader who can set the right environment with consistent and progressive policies and conducive to doing business. An environment that will encourage people economic empowerment. We need a leader who can motivate Filipinos to be the best that they can be, to be enterprising and industrious. We need someone who can empower the mass-based population by “teaching them how to fish”.

Now the question is, how do we elect a leader? Do we go for their popularity and ride on the bandwagon? Or look at their track record and performance? More than this, I think we need to scrutinize and assess their character and values, their real priorities and platforms. I say we go for those who are sincere and committed to eradicate poverty. One with the kind of leadership that can change our culture and behavior. One who can push for people economic empowerment and entrepreneurship development. These can all help bring about prosperity for all.

Vote wisely.

***


Go Negosyo Mentor Me Program in Calamba, Laguna.

Go Negosyo launched the first Mentor Me Program in Calamba, Laguna recently. More than 200 aspiring, micro and small entrepreneurs joined the program. In partnership with DTI and the office of Sen. Bam Aquino, Go Negosyo will launch more Mentor Me Programs in the different Negosyo Centers located nationwide.


PHILSTAR

Bohol: The new Phl paradise SPYBITS By Babe G. Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 14, 2016 - 12:00am 0 13 googleplus0 1


Bellevue Resort Hotel in Bohol


SPYBITS By Babe G. Romualdez

The staff of PeopleAsia magazine had their summer outing at the Bellevue Resort Hotel in Bohol — a top-of-the-line facility under the Bellevue Hotels and Resorts Group with Johnny Chan as chairman. Acting as host was Arthur Lopez who is president of the Philippine Hotel Owners Association and AML Hotel Consultancy that serves as consultant for the hotel group.

The luxury resort, which sits on a 3.5-hectare property in Panglao, is developing a reputation as one of the best five-star resorts in the country with its excellent facilities and amenities, fantastic food and superb services from the friendly and accommodating staff. But what really sets the property apart from most others is the fact that from the onset, the management has consciously adopted a green approach in the development, taking into consideration the challenges faced by tourism establishments in Panglao.

For instance, the access to adequate supply of potable water — which Bellevue solved by building its own desalination plant instead of building a deep well or transporting water from Tagbilaran City.

The resort takes pride in being environment-friendly, putting up a wastewater treatment facility as well as a water storage facility for collected rainwater. Power is also used efficiently by giving guests the option to cool their rooms with fresh air instead of the air conditioner and designing the rooms in such a way that natural lighting and ventilation is maximized. For its efforts, the hotel recently won the 2015 ASEAN Green Hotel Award.

The fact is, Bohol is fast becoming a major tourist spot, with visitors expected to increase once the construction of the new P4.6 billion international airport is completed, with funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA.

The new airport will be 10 times larger than the current one in Tagbilaran, with plans to put up flights to and from Japan, China and South Korea. According to sources, the new airport facility will adopt green measures in its design, for instance maximizing natural ventilation and putting up solar panels on the roof, while filters will be used for the drainage system to make sure the waters of Panglao will not be contaminated.

READ MORE...

Hopefully, Gov. Edgar Chatto and the local officials will see to it that developers, most especially in Panglao, will adhere to green practices so that the island will not go the way of Boracay which has become over developed and congested, with contaminated waters and the coral reefs threatened as well.

For sure, the new airport will drive even more tourists to Bohol which the local government is promoting as an ecotourism destination to ensure sustainability and prevent congestion especially in more developed areas. The province of Bohol has a lot to offer in terms of ecotourism such as loom weaving, mangrove planting and other activities that can be conducted in select local communities in order for tourists to see and experience the locals’ way of life.

MNTC arbitration case a disturbing development The recent decision of the Manila North Tollways Corporation to file an arbitration case before the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in Geneva against the government is causing disquiet among foreign businessmen who are disturbed by the seeming penchant of the government to change business rules in midstream. MNTC has been asking government through the Toll Regulatory Board to act on its petition to adjust toll rates which has been pending since 2013 – resulting in at least P3 billion losses due to foregone revenues from January 2013 to December 2015.

Under the concession agreement entered into by the government with toll road operators – which had been spending billions on maintenance, improvement and expansion of the tool roads for the convenience of motorists – periodic rate adjustments are provided for. However, TRB has been putting off the increases for the longest time, perennially reviewing the petitions. “Government has to balance public interest with the need of businesses to recover a reasonable return on their investments,” opined a businessman, noting that the arbitrary decisions and violations of contract stipulations serve as deal breakers that have kept the Philippine from attracting foreign direct investments that it should be getting in light of its growing reputation as Asia’s fast rising economic star.

MVP in Silicon Valley

PLDT chairman and CEO Manny Pangilinan spent some time in Silicon Valley where he met with some tech leaders and partners. MVP also had some “facetime” with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the latter’s headquarters in Menlo Park to explore opportunities in strengthening their partnership, specifically in the area of mobile broadband services and how the company can solidify its position as the top digital company in the Philippines.

The telco is engaged in a strategic rebranding and is expanding its platform of Internet services on-demand. Describing the digital world as dynamic and complex, the PLDT chief expressed confidence that the company will be successful in its “pivot to digital.”

As PLDT noted in its PSE disclosure, “the company’s business has evolved such that its revenues are no longer mainly from its long distance toll revenue business, but are now largely from its expanded business portfolio that includes wireless telecommunications, data, broadband, and information technology services and other related value added services.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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