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

AT LEAST 7% ECONOMIC GROWTH SEEN IN Q2
[ON THE BACK OF HIGHER SPENDING BOOSTED ELECTION-RELATED DISBURSEMENTS]


JUNE 8 -MAKATI DISTRICT -If realized, a GDP expansion of seven percent or more will be the fastest since the 7.7-percent growth in the first quarter of 2013. Paulo Alcazaren Economic growth may hit at least seven percent this quarter on the back of higher government spending boosted by election-related disbursements, the outgoing budget chief said. "We expect an even better performance in the second quarter," Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told reporters on Wednesday. Growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), rose 6.9 percent in the first three months, the fastest quarterly expansion since 2014. If realized, a GDP expansion of seven percent or more will be the fastest since the 7.7-percent growth in the first quarter of 2013. From April to June, Abad said economic expansion could be supported by faster procurement of state services and "more heightened" spending for the presidential elections last May 9. "I think those things combined give us optimism that the second quarter may even be better than the first," he said on the sidelines of a public finance conference in Pasay City. As of May, 85.2 percent or P2.56 trillion of the P3.002-trillion budget are already in the hands of agencies and ready to be spent, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data showed. Abad maintained DBM had already improved agencies' capacity to absorb big outlays, which he blamed for succeeding years of underspending that impact on growth. "Many of the agencies are more oriented toward how they can control spending than it being more expansionary so that when the situation suddenly changed, adjustments have been slowed," he explained. "But (they were) able to benefit from our public financial management programs already... and their respond to these changes have been remarkably well," he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Consumer optimism up on change in leaders
[Net Inflows breach $1-B mark Foreign investments surge 52% in Q1]


JUNE 11 -According to the latest BSP Consumer Expectations Survey, the consumer composite index (CI) went up to 26.6 percent for the next 12 months in the second quarter from 25.4 percent in the previous three months. STAR/File photo
Consumers have received with optimism the change in the country’s leadership, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.
According to the latest BSP Consumer Expectations Survey, the consumer composite index (CI) went up to 26.6 percent for the next 12 months in the second quarter from 25.4 percent in the previous three months. The CI is measured based on the number of optimists and pessimists surveyed. “For the year ahead, consumers attributed their more optimistic outlook to the change in administration as well as the election of new government officials,” the BSP said in a statement. This was reinforced by better outlook for peace and order as well as availability of more jobs in the country and abroad, it added. The BSP survey, held from April 4 to 16, involved 5,754 households nationwide. It had a 96.1 percent response rate. READ MORE...RELATED, Net Inflows breach $1-B mark Foreign investments surge 52% in Q1...

ALSO: Mark Villar - Metro traffic woes to ease in 2-3 years
[Villar gave no guarantees that road congestion would be eliminated by the end of Duterte’s six-year term, but he said they were taking “big steps” in resolving this.]
[RELATED: MPIC pursues plan to rehabilitate MRT-3]


JUNE 8 -Mark Villar, incoming DPWH secretary, said he has started coordinating closely with the Department of Transportation and Communications for a comprehensive plan to decongest Metro Manila.COURTESY OF MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT -he administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila’s traffic woes in its crosshairs with a plan to rapidly deploy infrastructure projects aimed at dramatically cutting road congestion in two to three years. Incoming Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said late Monday that Metro Manila was among the priority targets. Projects here would form part of an “ambitious” infrastructure program the Duterte administration would launch after it takes over next month. The capital district, the center of the country’s economic influence and home to more than 10 million people, has made global headlines with its multihour traffic jams. Its clogged roads and an aging mass transit railway network now strained to the hilt have been the subject of congressional inquiries. “The directive is to hit the ground running,” Villar told reporters in his first interview since being named the next DPWH chief. Villar, whose family owns listed property giant Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc., said they were crafting a “comprehensive” plan together with the Department of Transportation and Communications. Villar takes the helm of a department credited with undertaking wide reforms under outgoing Secretary Rogelio Singson. While declining to give too many details, Villar said much of the focus would be placed on rolling out projects whose feasibility studies have been completed, yet were not implemented by earlier administrations. READ MORE...RELATED, MPIC pursues plan to rehabilitate MRT-3... ALSO: MORE TO BE DONE TO EASE DOING BIZ- DTI

ALSO: Gokongwei won’t join Duterte admin, vows to help in more important way


JUNE 12 -Business magnate Lance Gokongwei -WIKIPEDIA PHOTO Business magnate Lance Gokongwei isn’t joining the government anytime soon, possibly not ever, but he pledged something just as important to the incoming President Rodrigo Duterte: help to boost the country’s lethargic domestic manufacturing sector.Gokongwei, president of conglomerate JG Summit Holdings and the successor of his father, tycoon John Gokongwei Jr., had been offered the post of finance secretary but declined, sources from the Duterte camp said. In an interview after JG Summit’s stockholders meeting late Thursday, Gokongwei neither confirmed nor denied Duterte’s reported offer. But he said Carlos Dominquez was “an excellent choice” for the position. As the captain of the Gokongwei conglomerate, the Wharton-educated Lance is not expected to leave—even just for six years—the crucial post his father groomed him to play since he was born. And especially not when the founder and patriarch, fondly called “Big John” who still sits as chair emeritus, has indicated a desire to fully retire when he reaches the ripe age of 90 this August. The patriarch has transferred bulk of his shares to Lance and other children and recently liquidated some. Any required divestment as a consequence of joining public service could only complicate estate planning. FULL REPORT

ALSO: Megaworld sees P3-B sales from Makati condo


JUNE 8 -Megaworld (MB File Photo)
Top township developer Megaworld Corporation is expecting to generate P3 billion in sales from a new residential condominium tower it is building within the Makati Central Business District. To be called The Ellis, the 30-story tower along L.P. Leviste Street in Salcedo Village will be highlighted by a unique, unconventional and contemporary façade with interiors inspired by New York’s industrial designs. “The Ellis stands out to be Megaworld’s residential masterpiece in the heart of Makati CBD highlighted by design and innovation,” said Megaworld Vice-President for sales and marketing – Makati CBD Eugene Lozano in a statement. The tower will have 237 units ranging from studio (24 sqm to 34.5 sqm) and executive studio loft with balcony (64 sqm), executive one-bedroom with balcony (64 sqm to 69 sqm) to two-bedroom with balcony (75 sqm) and executive two-bedroom with balcony (121.5 sqm). READ MORE...

ALSO: Philippines new training ground for foreign seafarers
[Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) data showed the number of deployed Filipino seafarers has grown steadily to 401,826 in 2014 from 347,150 in 2010. In terms of remittances, Filipino sea-based workers sent home $5.79 billion last year or 5.3 percent higher compared with $5.5 billion in 2014. Sea-based workers accounted for 22.5 percent of the record $25.77 billion cash remittances booked in 2015.]


MAY 23 -Consolidated Training Systems Inc. has inked a deal with Holland America Line Corp. to exclusively train their crew in compliance with International Maritime Organization standards. Photo shows CTSI chief executive officer Epifanio Joaquin (second from left) and Holland America Line Corp. executive Andre Van Schoonhoven signing the training agreement.
Aside from being a major source of manpower for the world’s commercial shipping companies, the Philippines is now becoming a training ground for foreign seafarers.
Epifanio Joaquin, founder and chief executive officer of Consolidated Training Systems Inc. (CTSI), said the Philippines provides 25 percent of the world’s commercial shipping crews. “With giants from the shipping industry already having established roots in the country, recruitment and deployment opportunities for Filipinos are coming in fast. With demand for crew in various shipping segments booming, it will be a challenge for the Philippine recruitment industry to keep up with the demands of sourcing, processing and training over the next forecasted five years,” Joaquin said. Joaquin said the Philippines has the most complete facilities with one of the largest footprints in Southeast Asia. “We’ve got an excellent track record, world class training equipment and facilities, modern and well equipped classrooms, cutting-edge technical support services, modern accommodations and catering services, the best training staff and unparalleled competency to see it done,” he said. CTSI has inked a deal with Holland America Group headed by Capt. Andre van Schoonhoven to exclusively train their crew in compliance with International Maritime Organization standards and to satisfy Holland America Line’s drive to employ the best trained crew possible. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

 At least 7% growth seen in Q2


MAKATI DISTRICT -If realized, a GDP expansion of seven percent or more will be the fastest since the 7.7-percent growth in the first quarter of 2013. Paulo Alcazaren

MANILA, JUNE 13, 2016 (PHILSTAR) Prinz Magtulis, June 8, 2016 - Economic growth may hit at least seven percent this quarter on the back of higher government spending boosted by election-related disbursements, the outgoing budget chief said.

"We expect an even better performance in the second quarter," Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told reporters on Wednesday.

Growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), rose 6.9 percent in the first three months, the fastest quarterly expansion since 2014.

If realized, a GDP expansion of seven percent or more will be the fastest since the 7.7-percent growth in the first quarter of 2013.

From April to June, Abad said economic expansion could be supported by faster procurement of state services and "more heightened" spending for the presidential elections last May 9.

"I think those things combined give us optimism that the second quarter may even be better than the first," he said on the sidelines of a public finance conference in Pasay City.

As of May, 85.2 percent or P2.56 trillion of the P3.002-trillion budget are already in the hands of agencies and ready to be spent, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data showed.

Abad maintained DBM had already improved agencies' capacity to absorb big outlays, which he blamed for succeeding years of underspending that impact on growth.

"Many of the agencies are more oriented toward how they can control spending than it being more expansionary so that when the situation suddenly changed, adjustments have been slowed," he explained.

"But (they were) able to benefit from our public financial management programs already... and their respond to these changes have been remarkably well," he said.

READ MORE...

Abad's comments followed statements from the incoming Duterte administration that current macroeconomic targets will be reviewed this month.

Specifically, Abad's successor, Benjamin Diokno, has said this year's 6.8 to 7.8-percent target is "on the high side" considering an expected slowdown in the second half.

Abad, for his part, said there could be "better performance" if the new administration will put efforts to attract investments, support tourism and bid out more infrastructure projects.

"I think we are turning over to the next administration an economy that is in great shape," he said.

"They can actually concentrate on how to build on that, making it more robust and growing the economy further," he added.

The budget chief said he has yet to meet Diokno to finalize the transition, but expressed confidence it would be an easier task than when President Aquino took over in 2010.

"The objective of the President is to enable the administration to be able to hit the ground running as soon as they take over," he said.

"Things are in good place," he added.


PHILSTAR

Consumer optimism up on change in leaders By Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 11, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


According to the latest BSP Consumer Expectations Survey, the consumer composite index (CI) went up to 26.6 percent for the next 12 months in the second quarter from 25.4 percent in the previous three months. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Consumers have received with optimism the change in the country’s leadership, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

According to the latest BSP Consumer Expectations Survey, the consumer composite index (CI) went up to 26.6 percent for the next 12 months in the second quarter from 25.4 percent in the previous three months.

The CI is measured based on the number of optimists and pessimists surveyed.

“For the year ahead, consumers attributed their more optimistic outlook to the change in administration as well as the election of new government officials,” the BSP said in a statement.

This was reinforced by better outlook for peace and order as well as availability of more jobs in the country and abroad, it added.

The BSP survey, held from April 4 to 16, involved 5,754 households nationwide. It had a 96.1 percent response rate.

READ MORE...

“This was actually the highest second quarter reading for the next 12 months on recorded. This is very positive,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo told reporters in a briefing.

In the same quarter in 2010, the CI was at a lower 10 percent for the next year or during the time then presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Aquino III was leading unofficial polls.

But Guinigundo emphasized this could not be attributed to a particular administration since economic conditions were different back then.

“The economy is in a much stronger shape today compared to what we had in 2010. The additional six years after that further cements market confidence driven by the households,” he explained.

For this quarter, pessimists actually outnumbered optimists with -6.4 percent CI. While this has historically been the case for current quarter readings, the figure was worse than the -5.7 percent in the first three months.

For the next three months, CI reading of 5.6 percent was also down from 9.1 percent, data showed.

The reasons cited for the less sanguine outlook were poor harvests as a result of the El Ninno phenomenon and the impending La Niña, as well as higher expenses for education during enrolment period.

Nevertheless, Guinigundo said the positive outlook over the next year could indicate the economy – which grew by three-year high 6.9 percent in the first quarter – would continue to source strength from consumers.

Businesses also take their cue from consumers when embarking on expansion, BSP deputy director Teresita Deveza said in the same briefing.

“If housing conditions are not good, business conditions are not good. It’s really the household that is driving economic growth,” she said.

Guinigundo agreed. “That particular component of GDP (gross domestic product) growth will also continue to drive the actual second quarter real GDP growth,” he said.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Net Inflows breach $1-B mark Foreign investments surge 52% in Q1 By Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 11, 2016 - 12:00am 1 2 googleplus0 1


FDI posted a net inflow of $1.293 billion in the first three months, up 52.1 percent from $850 million in the same period last year. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Foreign direct investments (FDI) breached the $1-billion mark in the first quarter, buoyed by the economy’s strong performance, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

FDI posted a net inflow of $1.293 billion in the first three months, up 52.1 percent from $850 million in the same period last year.

For March alone, net inflows surged 59 percent to $364 million.

FDI is considered the best type of investment as it is more stable and thus, expected to boost job generation. A net inflow indicates more investments entered than left.

“The country’s sustained favorable economic performance as evidenced by 69 consecutive quarters of positive growth and growth prospects for the year ahead helped drive inflows,” the BSP said.

Growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), accelerated to 6.9 percent in the first quarter, the fastest quarterly expansion since the first quarter of 2013.

Broken down, equity investments or inflows channeled by company head offices to their subsidiaries in the country accounted for the bulk of FDI inflow.

From January to March, equity placements were positive at $676 million, up nearly 54 percent year-on-year.

BSP said Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, the Bahamas and Taiwan accounted for most of equity investments during the three-month period.

By sector, the bulk of equity capital went to the financial and insurance, construction, food and accommodation, real estate and manufacturing activities.

Investor purchases of debt instruments accounted for the next big chunk of FDI. Investments on securities rose 50 percent to $617 million in the first quarter.

The balance was in the form of reinvested earnings at $181 million, down 2.1 percent.


INQUIRER

Mark Villar - Metro traffic woes to ease in 2-3 years
[INCOMING DPWH CHIEF - ROLLOUT OF INFRA PROJECTS IS KEY] 
SHARES: 998 VIEW COMMENTS By: Miguel R. Camus @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:43 AM June 8th, 2016


Mark Villar, incoming DPWH secretary, said he has started coordinating closely with the Department of Transportation and Communications for a comprehensive plan to decongest Metro Manila.COURTESY OF MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT.

The administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila’s traffic woes in its crosshairs with a plan to rapidly deploy infrastructure projects aimed at dramatically cutting road congestion in two to three years.

Incoming Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said late Monday that Metro Manila was among the priority targets. Projects here would form part of an “ambitious” infrastructure program the Duterte administration would launch after it takes over next month.

The capital district, the center of the country’s economic influence and home to more than 10 million people, has made global headlines with its multihour traffic jams. Its clogged roads and an aging mass transit railway network now strained to the hilt have been the subject of congressional inquiries.

“The directive is to hit the ground running,” Villar told reporters in his first interview since being named the next DPWH chief.

Villar, whose family owns listed property giant Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc., said they were crafting a “comprehensive” plan together with the Department of Transportation and Communications.

Villar takes the helm of a department credited with undertaking wide reforms under outgoing Secretary Rogelio Singson.

While declining to give too many details, Villar said much of the focus would be placed on rolling out projects whose feasibility studies have been completed, yet were not implemented by earlier administrations.

READ MORE...

The comprehensive plan, as he put it, would also address disaster management, flood control, tourism and the efficient transportation of agricultural goods.

“There are many plans. At this stage, we are talking about implementation,” Villar said. “Definitely, there will be a major change in two to three years.”

He cited the Edsa-Taft and Katipunan flyovers, the widening of the C-5 road and a proposed bridge that would link Bonifacio Global City and Kapitolyo in Pasig that was challenged by Pasig-based residents since it would worsen traffic conditions.

Villar gave no guarantees that road congestion would be eliminated by the end of Duterte’s six-year term, but he said they were taking “big steps” in resolving this.

“We are planning on increasing our spending, doing pump-priming, on infrastructure so we can somehow catch up,” Villar said.

“Our traffic is a function of underspending on infrastructure, so now that our infrastructure [spending] will go up, we would be able to start minimizing traffic problems,” he said, noting that infrastructure spending would account for about 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

A perennial issue hampering big infrastructure projects like new roads and railway lines is right of way. Villar said this was currently being addressed. Moreover, President Aquino last March signed a law on how right of way would be acquired for large state-led infrastructure projects.

The law covers, among other items, how private land owners will be compensated. This can be done with the help of an independent, government-accredited property appraiser. The law stated that the government can begin expropriation proceedings if a property owner does not accept the government’s offer within a 30-day window.

A 2012 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency showed that productivity losses due to traffic in Metro Manila amounted to P2.4 billion a day. Left unchecked, that figure would balloon to P6 billion daily by 2030, Jica said.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

MPIC pursues plan to rehabilitate MRT-3

By Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 11, 2016 - 12:00am 1 3 googleplus0 0


In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, MPIC said it would push for a proposal which involves making improvements on the railway from North Avenue station in Quezon City until Taft station in Pasay City, to the new administration. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is pursuing a proposal to rehabilitate the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) under the incoming administration.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, MPIC said it would push for a proposal which involves making improvements on the railway from North Avenue station in Quezon City until Taft station in Pasay City, to the new administration.

“It has in fact re-submitted its proposal and will of course give due regard to the inputs from the incoming administration,” MPIC said.

Last month, MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said the company was open to reviving its proposal for the improvement of the MRT-3 with the new government.

“You can see it (rehabilitation) is necessary,” he said.

MPIC first submitted a proposal to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to rehabilitate the MRT-3 in 2011.

Under the proposal, MPIC offered to make an investment worth more than $500 million to undertake works to upgrade the train system.

MPIC’s proposal was thumbed down as the offer involved hiking fares for the MRT-3.

The DOTC has also said it prefered having an open and transparent competitive bidding over an unsolicited proposal.

The MRT-3 carries close to 600,000 passengers per day, way more than its designed capacity of 350,000 daily.

Apart from operating beyond its capacity, the train system has deteriorated over the years.

The DOTC which has assumed responsibility over the procurement of the MRT-3’s maintenance provider, has been slammed for the train’s service interruptions and series of breakdowns.

MPIC is involved in rail projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) program. – With Iris Gonzales

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RELATED FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT

MORE TO BE DONE TO EASE DOING BIZ June 08, 2016

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) admits the target of hitting the top third percentile of competitive countries in terms of the ease of doing business is a stretch but said government should continue to pursue that aim.

Adrian Cristobal Jr., DTI secretary, said national agencies have made big strides in the past five years in easing doing business and measures are being duplicated down to the local government unit (LGU) level.

“For Gameplan 4.0, we will continue to reduce steps (in starting and closing a business) and all other agencies still continue to reduce steps also in paying taxes, getting electricity. To reach the upper third is a bit of a stretch. We knew it is an ambitious target. We hope to continue to land in the upper third but (that’s) quite challenging,” Cristobal said.

Cristobal was referring to the work programs of members of inter-agency Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Task Force under the auspices of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) which he co-chairs.

Ongoing reforms for processes that affect business such as construction permits and fire safety certificates involve LGUs.

Since its implementation, the Philippines has posted significant gains in the Doing Business Report of the International Finance Corp., moving up 45 notches for the past five years.

Currently, the Philippines ranks 103rd out of 189 economies in the report.

Cristobal admits the port congestion that hit the country last year had significant impact in trading borders – sliding 30 notches – but hopes this would improve now that the congestion has been resolved.

READ MORE...

The Philippines was also off two notches in starting a business but this should recover as more LGUs adopt the same standards as those used by the national agencies.

Another area, trading across borders, is expected to get a boost from the recent passage of the Customs and Tariff Modernization Act.

The EODB Task Force has committed to deliver the following improvements to impact the processes measured in the report: On starting a business, business applicants can now obtain all the relevant reference numbers (Securities and Exchange Commission registration number, Bureau of Internal Revenue tax identification number and employers registration number from social agencies such as Social Security System, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth) in just one application from a single location through the integrated business registration system.

On paying taxes and payroll-related payments, Pag-IBIG and PhilHealth have made it easier for companies to pay monthly contributions through online payment system.

For getting electricity, the client will just have to transact with Meralco and Quezon City through the online transmittal of certificate of electrical inspection.

For registering property, BIR developed a web-based system with the Land Registration Authority to automate manual processes of preparing certificate authorizing electronic registration.

The NCC said several reforms are also being undertaken to ease trading across borders such as the terminal appointment booking system and the implementation of the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act, which allows importers and exporters to directly ship their goods to the port of destination.

The NCC said ongoing initiatives are being reinforced to further improve court efficiency and ease the process in resolving disputes (enforcing contracts).

Guillermo Luz, NCC co-chair, said as the country transitions to the next administration, there is a need to institutionalize reforms and deeply embed it in the system so it will be irreversible.


INQUIRER

Gokongwei won’t join Duterte admin, vows to help in more important way SHARES: 890 VIEW COMMENTS By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 07:52 AM June 11th, 2016


Business magnate Lance Gokongwei -WIKIPEDIA PHOTO

Business magnate Lance Gokongwei isn’t joining the government anytime soon, possibly not ever, but he pledged something just as important to the incoming President Rodrigo Duterte: help to boost the country’s lethargic domestic manufacturing sector.

Gokongwei, president of conglomerate JG Summit Holdings and the successor of his father, tycoon John Gokongwei Jr., had been offered the post of finance secretary but declined, sources from the Duterte camp said.

In an interview after JG Summit’s stockholders meeting late Thursday, Gokongwei neither confirmed nor denied Duterte’s reported offer. But he said Carlos Dominquez was “an excellent choice” for the position.

As the captain of the Gokongwei conglomerate, the Wharton-educated Lance is not expected to leave—even just for six years—the crucial post his father groomed him to play since he was born.

And especially not when the founder and patriarch, fondly called “Big John” who still sits as chair emeritus, has indicated a desire to fully retire when he reaches the ripe age of 90 this August.

The patriarch has transferred bulk of his shares to Lance and other children and recently liquidated some. Any required divestment as a consequence of joining public service could only complicate estate planning.


MANILA BULLETIN

Megaworld sees P3-B sales from Makati condo by James Loyola June 8, 2016 (updated) Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share0


Megaworld (MB File Photo)

Top township developer Megaworld Corporation is expecting to generate P3 billion in sales from a new residential condominium tower it is building within the Makati Central Business District.

To be called The Ellis, the 30-story tower along L.P. Leviste Street in Salcedo Village will be highlighted by a unique, unconventional and contemporary façade with interiors inspired by New York’s industrial designs.

“The Ellis stands out to be Megaworld’s residential masterpiece in the heart of Makati CBD highlighted by design and innovation,” said Megaworld Vice-President for sales and marketing – Makati CBD Eugene Lozano in a statement.

The tower will have 237 units ranging from studio (24 sqm to 34.5 sqm) and executive studio loft with balcony (64 sqm), executive one-bedroom with balcony (64 sqm to 69 sqm) to two-bedroom with balcony (75 sqm) and executive two-bedroom with balcony (121.5 sqm).

READ MORE...

Special units called ‘Link Units’ are also available, which is a combination of either studio and one-bedroom (63.5 sqm) or studio and two-bedroom (103 sqm).

Current unit prices at The Ellis reach up to P180,000 per square meter.

“The concept of the ‘link units’ allows residents to have their living space attached to their working place. For example, the unit owner can live in the one-bedroom unit while the attached studio unit may be converted into an office,” explained Lozano.

The Ellis will feature on its Level 8 various first-of-its-kind amenities in condominium living in Metro Manila.


PHILSTAR

Philippines new training ground for foreign seafarers By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 23, 2016 - 12:00am 0 12 googleplus0 3


Consolidated Training Systems Inc. has inked a deal with Holland America Line Corp. to exclusively train their crew in compliance with International Maritime Organization standards. Photo shows CTSI chief executive officer Epifanio Joaquin (second from left) and Holland America Line Corp. executive Andre Van Schoonhoven signing the training agreement.

MANILA, Philippines – Aside from being a major source of manpower for the world’s commercial shipping companies, the Philippines is now becoming a training ground for foreign seafarers.

Epifanio Joaquin, founder and chief executive officer of Consolidated Training Systems Inc. (CTSI), said the Philippines provides 25 percent of the world’s commercial shipping crews.

“With giants from the shipping industry already having established roots in the country, recruitment and deployment opportunities for Filipinos are coming in fast. With demand for crew in various shipping segments booming, it will be a challenge for the Philippine recruitment industry to keep up with the demands of sourcing, processing and training over the next forecasted five years,” Joaquin said.

Joaquin said the Philippines has the most complete facilities with one of the largest footprints in Southeast Asia.

“We’ve got an excellent track record, world class training equipment and facilities, modern and well equipped classrooms, cutting-edge technical support services, modern accommodations and catering services, the best training staff and unparalleled competency to see it done,” he said.

CTSI has inked a deal with Holland America Group headed by Capt. Andre van Schoonhoven to exclusively train their crew in compliance with International Maritime Organization standards and to satisfy Holland America Line’s drive to employ the best trained crew possible.

READ MORE...

“We don’t know what the other players are planning but Holland America’s vision is very clear and we’re very proud to be a part of their plans in the coming years to bring Filipino crew to a whole new performance level and in greater numbers serving worldwide. We are very excited for the future. We see this as another opportunity for Filipinos to shine globally,” he said.

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) data showed the number of deployed Filipino seafarers has grown steadily to 401,826 in 2014 from 347,150 in 2010.

In terms of remittances, Filipino sea-based workers sent home $5.79 billion last year or 5.3 percent higher compared with $5.5 billion in 2014. Sea-based workers accounted for 22.5 percent of the record $25.77 billion cash remittances booked in 2015.

For his part, Van Schoonhoven said about 45 percent of all its crews are Filipinos.

“We carry the most important cargo imaginable, people. It is our customers, the people who make up our passengers, who make Holland America Line one of the best-ranked cruise ship companies in the world. It’s a great time to be in the cruise ship industry and right now we’re thriving and investing to grow even bigger over the coming years,” Van Schoonhoven said.

According to him, the company’s Indonesian crews are trained in the Philippines to keep them up to the same standards as their Filipino colleagues and to get consistency in the company specific trainings.

Van Schoonhoven said the company has trained a number of their Indonesian crew in the Philippines and intends to start training other nationalities including Europeans.

“We really took the time to find the right training partner who could ensure good value for money, high training quality and certification integrity without sacrificing capacity. Like I said, the industry is growing and we need to be able to run crew through serious training and get them deployed as soon as possible to the ships,” he said.

Van Schoonhoven explained the company is standardizing its training regime and crew training schedules over the next five years to make sure this would be compliant with all the international requirements and at a level expected by Holland America Line’s senior management and guests.

“We cannot compromise the safety of passengers and crew and we are doing a lot more than just IMO training. We are having CTSI run crisis management courses, forklift training, man-lifting training and various emergency response courses as well,” he said.

Van Schoonhoven explained the company believes it could edge out competition by not just providing luxury and comfort but safety and peace of mind as well.

“We’re always working to be number one. With well-trained Filipinos putting in the hard work on our vessels we see that as a reality that’s taking shape. We’ve got new vessels coming out of the shipyards this year and plan to keep building for as long as the industry remains robust,” Van Schoonhoven said.

Holland America Line, a subsidiary of Miami-based Carnival Corp. & plc, owns and operates some of the most prestigious and sought after cruise ship brands in the world including Carnival Cruise Lines, P & O Princess Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Cunard Lines.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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