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SWS: HUNGER INCIDENCE STEADIES IN 2016
[RELATED: Philippine Economy Fastest growth in Asia; 3 years]


JANUARY 24 -The number of Filipinos who experienced hunger during the last quarter of 2016 steadied from the third quarter and a year ago, the Social Weather Stations survey said. The average hunger rate last year was at 13.3 percent, which is broadly steady from 2015's 13.4 percent. Related Stories Palace: Typhoons may have caused 2-point increase in Q4 self-rated poverty Self-rated poverty at record low in 2016 The survey conducted from December 3 to 6 using face-to-face interviews showed that the total hunger rate for the fourth quarter of 2016 was 13.9 percent. The SWS noted that the measure of hunger refers to involuntary suffering as the respondents answered a question that specified hunger due to lack of food to eat. The total hunger rate was the sum of 10.9 percent or an estimated 2.5 million families who experienced "moderate hunger" and 3 percent or an estimated 673,000 families who experienced "severe hunger." READ MORE...RELATED, Fastest growth in Asia; 3 years...

ALSO: Duterte cites Chinese contribution to Phl economy
[ALSO FROM MALAYA: Think tank suggests one runway for NAIA]


JANUARY 28 -Filipinos perform the traditional dragon dance along Session Road in Baguio City ahead of the celebration of the Chinese New Year today. ANDY ZAPATA JR.
In yet another sign of the country’s good relations with Beijing, President Duterte greeted members of the local Chinese community as they mark the Chinese New Year. The President yesterday expressed appreciation for both the Chinese and Filipino-Chinese communities’ contribution to the country’s economy, culture and history. In a one-page message, Duterte welcomed the new year under the Chinese lunar calendar, describing it as opportunities for “change” that can “mean a forward move, a rising or a leap towards a better station, a steady ground, a reason to be grateful for and proud for the gift of life and the fulfillment of our aspirations.” “The government shares the joys and hopes of our Chinese friends and Chinese Filipinos who have found a root and reason for staying in the country. They have enriched the Filipino culture and history on their own,” he said. The Department of Labor and Employment also reminded businesses to comply with the pay rules for the event, which had been declared a special non-working holiday by Malacañang. READ MORE...ALSO, Think tank suggests one runway for NAIA...

ALSO: Trump torpedoes Pacific trade pact
[RELATED: New US envoy says Trump goal at UN is to show US strength]


JANUARY 24 -US President Donald Trump holds up an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, January 23, 2017. Trump the decree Monday that effectively ends US participation in a sweeping trans-Pacific free trade agreement negotiated under former president Barack Obama. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB
WASHINGTON, United States — President Donald Trump yanked the United States out of a major Pacific trade deal Monday, making good on an election campaign promise and delivering a hammer blow to Asian allies. Trump said he had “terminated” the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a trade deal binding the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Vietnam and seven other allies against growing Chinese economic clout. Together, TPP members represent 40 percent of the world economy.  READ MORE...RELATED,
New US envoy says Trump goal at UN is to show US strength...

ALSO: Govt to prioritize $4.4-b projects for China funding
[RELATED: Food & Agriculture Org (FAO) warns of growing water scarcity amid climate change, population growth]


JANUARY 29 -Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III The government will prioritize 12 out of the initial 40 projects lined up for funding by the Chinese government at an indicative cost of $4.4 billion, the Finance Department said Friday. The economic team of President Rodrgio Duterte earlier this week flew to China to finalize the $15-billion investment pacts from Beijing. The team, led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, submitted 40 project proposals. They include the $3.4-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in the provinces of Cagayan and Kalinga with an estimated total project cost of $53.6 million; the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project in Quezon, $374.03 million; and the South Line of the North-South Railway running from Manila to Legaspi City in Bicol, $3.01 billion.
The other nine projects with an indicative cost of another $1 billion were under feasibility study. These are North Luzon Expressway East Project, Panay Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges, Davao City Expressway, Ambal-Simuay Sub-Basin of the Mindanao River Basin Flood Control and River Protection Project, Dinagat (Leyte)-Surigao Link Bridge, Luzon-Samar Link Bridge, Agus 3 Hydroelectric Plant, Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Coastal Development Program, and the Camarines Sur Expressway. READ MORE... RELATED, Food & Agriculture Org (FAO) warns of growing water scarcity amid climate change, population growth...

ALSO: Bill Gates could reach ‘trillionaire’ status by 2042 (at 86 years old)
[RELATED: RANKING AND WORTH IN PHOTOS -The World's Billionaires]


JANUARY 25 -In this May 5, 2014, file photo, Microsoft co-founder and Berkshire Hathaway board member Bill Gates speaks during an interview with Liz Claman on the Fox Business Network in Omaha, Nebraska. Forbes on Monday, March 2, 2015, said that Gates's net worth rose to $79.2 billion in 2015 from $76 billion last year. That put him at the top of the magazine's list of the world's billionaires for the second consecutive year. AP PHOTO/NATI HARNIK
As the world’s richest man, Bill Gates exponentially grows his net worth each passing day, and according to a recent study, he’ll most likely become the first ever trillionaire in the next 25 years. As pointed out in an Oxfam International report entitled “An Economy for the 99%”, the Microsoft founder’s wealth has grown at a staggering 11 percent clip per year since 2009, and has shown no signs of slowing down. With his net worth at $78.7 billion, as modestly estimated by Forbes as of August 2016, the 61-year-old tech wizard is projected to reach the unimaginable trillionaire status by the time he is 86 years old. By the time he left Microsoft in 2006, Gates’ net worth was at $50 billion and has grown at an astonishing rate over the last decade. His meteoric rise money-wise comes “despite his commendable attempts to give it away through his Foundation,” the report said. READ MORE...RELATED,
The World's Billionaires...

ALSO: US envoy vows support for Pinoy entrepreneurs
[RELATED: Trump Business Partner Is Philippines’ New Trade Envoy to U.S.]


DECEMBER 21 DURING HIS VISIT TO DAVAO -Ambassador Sung Kim The new US ambassador to the Philippines has expressed strong support for Filipino entrepreneurs, particularly the start-up community, as he vowed to expand ties between Manila and Washington. Ambassador Sung Kim met with some of the country’s youngest Filipino start-up entrepreneurs on Tuesday night, as he buckled down to work hours after meeting with President Duterte to present his credentials.During the reception organized by the US embassy to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, Kim said Filipinos embody the “can-do” attitude that has created such amazing innovations in Silicon Valley. “The Philippines is a wonderful country. It’s a very important relationship so I’m looking forward to strengthening this relationship,” Kim said in a short message during the dinner reception in Makati. READ MORE...RELATED, Trump Business Partner Is Philippines’ New Trade Envoy to U.S. ...


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SWS: Hunger incidence steadies in 2016

MANILA, JANUARY 30, 2016 (PHILSTAR) Patricia Lourdes Viray January 24, 2017 - 11:45am — The number of Filipinos who experienced hunger during the last quarter of 2016 steadied from the third quarter and a year ago, the Social Weather Stations survey said.

The average hunger rate last year was at 13.3 percent, which is broadly steady from 2015's 13.4 percent.

Related Stories Palace: Typhoons may have caused 2-point increase in Q4 self-rated poverty Self-rated poverty at record low in 2016 The survey conducted from December 3 to 6 using face-to-face interviews showed that the total hunger rate for the fourth quarter of 2016 was 13.9 percent.

The SWS noted that the measure of hunger refers to involuntary suffering as the respondents answered a question that specified hunger due to lack of food to eat.

The total hunger rate was the sum of 10.9 percent or an estimated 2.5 million families who experienced "moderate hunger" and 3 percent or an estimated 673,000 families who experienced "severe hunger."

READ MORE...

"Moderate hunger' refers to those who experienced hunger ‘only once’ or ‘a few times’ in the last three months, while severe hunger refers to those who experienced it ‘often’ or ‘always’ in the last three months," the SWS said.

The steady hunger situation was observed across geographic areas, according to the SWS report.

In Metro Manila, the average hunger rate was 12.8 percent, 3.8 points lower than the 16.6 percent average in 2015.

A 13.6 percent full-year average was recorded in balance Luzon, 1.2 points higher than 2015's 12.4 percent.

In Visayas, hunger climbed by 3.1 percent from 2015's 10.8 percent to 13.9 percent in 2016.

Mindanao registered a lower hunger average of 12.7 percent last year from 15.8 percent in 2015.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that Malacañang takes note of the survey results. He also attributed the stready hunger reates to the rise in consumer prices, according to a report from BusinessWorld.

The survey was conducted among 1,500 respondents nationwide with a ±3 points sampling error margins.

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RELATED FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT

Fastest growth in Asia; 3 years By ANGELA CELIS January 27, 2017

The Philippine economy expanded by 6.8 percent in 2016, the fastest growth in Asia, well within the government’s six to seven percent growth target and the best in three years, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported yesterday.

Last year’s growth is better than the 5.9 percent recorded in 2015 but below 2013’s 7.1 percent growth.

In comparison, China grew by 6.7 percent and Vietnam at 6.2 percent. Ernesto Pernia, NEDA director-general and socioeconomic planning secretary said growth for the fourth quarter was 6.6 percent, backed by higher investment and consumption.

Economists reported that the high growth rate may encourage the central bank to increase policy rates for the first time in over two years to curb rising inflationary pressures.

Pernia said the government is confident of hitting this year’ 6.5-7.5 percent growth target.

“Our strong economic performance will likely be sustainable over the long run,” Pernia said.

Household consumption, underpinned by around $40 billion worth of inflows from business outsourcing contracts and millions of Filipinos working overseas, grew 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.

Business investments climbed 15.0 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, faster than the 13.3 percent in the same period the previous year.

A burst of campaign spending in the run-up to the May presidential polls last year and holiday spending have taken the sting off the impact of weak exports and a decline in farm output.

Exports dropped 5.2 percent in the 11 months to November, due to sputtering demand from its top markets, and agricultural output fell 1.4 percent last year due to bad weather.

While some cooling in growth is expected this year, the new government’s pledge to raise and accelerate infrastructure spending should retain the country’s status as one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

The fourth quarter growth was the slowest recorded for the year, but was higher than the 6.5 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2015.

“Let me note that the last quarter growth of an election year is usually slower than the first half due to the transition of government, and as investors adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude,” Pernia said.

He noted that domestic demand, in terms of investment and consumption, continued to fuel growth for the fourth quarter of 2016.

“There was continued robust expansion in investments which grew by 15 percent. Public investment in infrastructure remained strong with public construction expanding by 23 percent, faster than the 20.1 percent growth in the third quarter,” Pernia said.

“Private consumption grew, though slower than the previous quarter, to a still respectable 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter. This is attributed to high consumer confidence, modest inflation and interest rates, and improving labor market conditions,” he added.

In terms of sectors on the supply side, growth in services improved to 7.4 percent and industry grew by 7.6 percent in the fourth quarter.

However, agricultural growth was a letdown as it returned to negative territory, contracting 1.1 percent, reeling from the effects of typhoons “Karen” and “Lawin” during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Pernia said the industry sector is seen to stay vibrant.

“The construction industry, in particular, will be in the limelight following the government’s aggressive commitment to approve and implement critical infrastructure projects,” he said.

“The services sector is also expected to remain strong, supported by moderate inflation, expected influx in inbound tourists, expansion in retail trade, a healthy financial system, sustained growth of remittance, and the continuing growth of the IT-BPM (information technology-business process management) sector,” he added.

Domestic demand, Pernia said, has so far remained buoyant, and should continue to provide support to economic growth in the near to medium-term.

Improved employment prospects and favorable income conditions will underpin the growth in household consumption, he said.

“This would mean that, over the next six years, the economy will expand by about 50 percent in real terms, and per capita income will rise by over 40 percent. This should bring us to the upper middle income category standing by 2022,” Pernia said.

“More importantly, we hope to reduce the poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022, thereby lifting about 6 million Filipinos out of poverty,” he added.

In separate statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said the per capita gross national income is estimated to increase from $3,550 in 2015 to at least $4,100 by 2022 for the country to achieve upper middle income status, which is where China and Thailand are today.

The DOF said if the momentum is sustained, the country would be well on its way to becoming a high income economy by 2040 with a per capita gross national income of a least $12,000, or where Malaysia and Korea are right now.

TYPHOONS BIGGEST ROAD BLOCK

Pernia said for now, the biggest roadblock is extreme weather disturbances like the El Niño.

“The country remains vulnerable to very strong typhoons. There is a strong call to develop our agriculture sector and make it resilient to such shocks,” he said.

“We are deeply concerned about the contraction of the crops sector in the fourth quarter following a contraction the previous year. More disturbing is the performance of the fishery subsector that remained in negative territory for almost seven years now,” he added.

Other potential downside risks, he said, include possible policy shifts in the United States, greater volatility in capital flows, and geopolitical risks.

“Thus, the government needs to remain vigilant and consider potential repercussions to the Philippine economy,” Pernia said.

He noted the need to nurture entrepreneurship and attract investments to produce higher paying, higher quality jobs especially outside of Metro Manila.

“In turn, such investments will require a truly secure and stable economic and political environment. This will require that policy statements are consistent and predictable with each branch of government, or at least not logically inconsistent across the three branches of government,” he said.

Pernia said there is a need to ensure that sectors are resilient and diversified in both of products and markets.

“In particular, we need to champion innovation and diversification in the industry sector as it is still heavily dependent on external demand,” he said.

“In the services sector, there is a need for a policy environment that makes it easier for firms to set up and operate businesses, as well as to comply with regulations. In this respect, we need to make our regulatory system much more efficient and transparent,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pernia said in terms of the demand for Philippine exports, there will be greater demand from China and Russia.

“Russia said loosely that they’re willing to ramp up our exports to them in terms of agricultural goods to something like $2.3 billion,” he said.

“We’re warming up to Russia as well, in fact there’s already a scheduled state visit of the President in May this year,” he added.

When asked about the recent pronouncements of US President Donald Trump, Pernia said the main concern with policy shifts has to do with protectionism, which is “rather inconsistent” with the Republican philosophy of free trade.

“So that’s going to be a major concern, not only for the Philippines but also global economy,” Pernia said.

“We are prepared, and even the Central Bank has been saying they are prepared to (face) any adverse policy shifts that may come our way,” he added.

Pernia however said issues related to the Trump presidency will likely only have a short-term impact.

“In the medium to long term, when the policymakers in the US realize the shortcomings of protectionism, they might just change or soften on that kind of philosophy,” Pernia said.


PHILSTAR

Duterte cites Chinese contribution to Phl economy 7 SHARES 0 0 0 Christina Mendez, Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - January 28, 2017 - 12:00am


Filipinos perform the traditional dragon dance along Session Road in Baguio City ahead of the celebration of the Chinese New Year today. ANDY ZAPATA JR.

MANILA, Philippines - In yet another sign of the country’s good relations with Beijing, President Duterte greeted members of the local Chinese community as they mark the Chinese New Year.

The President yesterday expressed appreciation for both the Chinese and Filipino-Chinese communities’ contribution to the country’s economy, culture and history.

In a one-page message, Duterte welcomed the new year under the Chinese lunar calendar, describing it as opportunities for “change” that can “mean a forward move, a rising or a leap towards a better station, a steady ground, a reason to be grateful for and proud for the gift of life and the fulfillment of our aspirations.”

“The government shares the joys and hopes of our Chinese friends and Chinese Filipinos who have found a root and reason for staying in the country. They have enriched the Filipino culture and history on their own,” he said.

The Department of Labor and Employment also reminded businesses to comply with the pay rules for the event, which had been declared a special non-working holiday by Malacañang.

READ MORE...

Former Senate president Edgardo Angara and son now Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara pushed for the declaration of Chinese New Year as a special non-working holiday, a measure approved in 2013.

“As we celebrate the onset of the Chinese New Year, we must also observe the proper pay rules for our workers in the private sector,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in a statement.

In his message, Duterte noted how the Chinese have contributed to the economy through trade and investments, as well as in cuisine.

“Their cuisine has been dearly familiar in many Filipino homes. Their philosophy and attitude in life are a wellspring of practical lessons that all of us, regardless of nationality, can learn from,” Duterte said. “May all of us develop more appreciation of our heritage as two distinct yet intertwined peoples and further fortify the goodwill that we have shared over the years.”

Since he assumed office, Duterte has started to pivot to China as part of his crafting of a more independent foreign policy – seen as veering away from the US.

“To everyone else who believes in the miracle of beginnings and who makes a choice for hope against fear, my best wishes on this auspicious season of the Chinese New Year,” Duterte said.

On the holiday pay, Bello said promoting workers’ welfare and protection by observing proper pay rules and other core labor standards would encourage productive and efficient workers.

“Compliance is good for business. It is good for the workers. It is good for all,” he added.

Under existing pay rules for a special non-working day, the “no-work, no-pay” policy would apply to an employee who opts not to work today “unless there is a favorable company policy, practice or collective bargaining agreement granting payment on a special day.”

If an employee worked, he shall be paid 130 percent of his daily rate on the first eight hours of work plus an additional 30 percent of his hourly rate for overtime work rendered on the holiday.

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

ALSO FROM MALAYA

Think tank suggests one runway for NAIA January 27, 2017

Private think tank, Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) is suggesting that the government adopt a single runway system to expand capacity of the country’s premier airport , Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) .

At present, NAIA has two runways, including a smaller 2,400m intersecting runway. CAPA said closing the smaller the runway and using just the one main 3,700m runway would improve air traffic management similarly to the change made by Mumbai Airport in 2013.

A single runway will allow NAIA to have maximum 46 flights per hour from the present 40.

“Further increases in movements under a single runway system are possible through air traffic management procedural changes and improved technology. For example, London Gatwick is able to handle 55 flights per hour with a single runway. Asian airports have typically been reluctant to increase movements to European levels, but at Manila there should be an opportunity to increase movements significantly without reaching the level achieved by Gatwick.” CAPA said.


INQUIRER

Trump torpedoes Pacific trade pact Agence France-Presse / 07:20 AM January 24, 2017


US President Donald Trump holds up an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, January 23, 2017. Trump the decree Monday that effectively ends US participation in a sweeping trans-Pacific free trade agreement negotiated under former president Barack Obama. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

WASHINGTON, United States — President Donald Trump yanked the United States out of a major Pacific trade deal Monday, making good on an election campaign promise and delivering a hammer blow to Asian allies.

Trump said he had “terminated” the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a trade deal binding the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Vietnam and seven other allies against growing Chinese economic clout.

Together, TPP members represent 40 percent of the world economy.

READ MORE...

READ: Pacific trade pact praised, panned as Obama urges approval

After signing an executive order, Trump said he would be “going back to those countries one-on-one” to find terms more favorable to the United States.

“We are going to have trade but we are going to have one-on-one,” he said.

“And if somebody misbehaves, we are going to send a letter of termination — 30 days and they’ll either straighten it out or we are gone.”

It remains far from clear whether countries that have spent years negotiating the TPP would be willing to enter new talks.

Trump came to office promising to gut existing trade pacts and reclaim manufacturing jobs lost overseas.

Trump has also vowed to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

Economists warn those jobs are never coming back and point to automation, not trade, as the main reason.

But Trump has sought to tap populist anger and argued for much more transactional trade deals, regardless of the impact on international norms and standards.

‘Serious mistake’?

According to a Petersen Institute analysis, the United States stood to be the biggest beneficiary from TPP, with an annual increase in exports of $357 billion.

The Institute also projected that the pact would be broadly neutral for employment levels.

President Barack Obama’s administration had also touted the deal as a strategic counterweight to China.

Trump’s Republican ally John McCain described the new president’s decision as a “serious mistake that will have lasting consequences for America’s economy and our strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region.”

“It will create an opening for China to rewrite the economic rules of the road at the expense of American workers. And it will send a troubling signal of American disengagement in the Asia-Pacific region at a time we can least afford it.”

Later Monday, Trump will meet with lawmakers from both houses of Congress as well as the speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan.

Tax reform is likely to be high on the agenda.

“What we’re doing is we are going to be cutting taxes massively for both the middle class and for companies,” Trump said Monday.

To pay for those cuts, Trump has promised a “border tax,” which is likely to come in the form of increased tariffs on exports.

That move is likely to face a challenge at the World Trade Organization and from big-box retailers.

Trump also vowed Monday to cut regulation “massively” by up to 75 percent. It remains unclear how this would be done or quantified.

Rocky start

Trump signed two other executive orders Monday — freezing the hiring of federal workers and hitting foreign NGOs that help with abortion.

The Republican leader is looking to shift attention firmly back onto his policy agenda after a first few days that put his incoming administration on the back foot.

Since he was sworn in on Friday, Trump’s White House has been pilloried for lying to the public about inaugural crowds and over a campaign-style speech by the president before a memorial to fallen CIA officers.

On Saturday, several million Americans poured onto the streets for women-led demonstrations against Trump, the scale of which were unseen in a generation, in a potent rebuke to the president.

Trump has upbraided top aides over unfavorable media coverage on everything from crowd sizes to suggestions he has ruled out releasing his taxes. He is the first presidential candidate in recent memory not to do so. CBB

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

New US envoy says Trump goal at UN is to show US strength 0 SHARES 0 0 0 Edith M. Lederer (Associated Press) - January 28, 2017 - 2:08am


Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, right, presents her credentials to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, left, as the new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Friday Jan. 27, 2017 at U.N. headquarters. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

UNITED NATIONS — New US Ambassador Nikki Haley arrived at the United Nations yesterday announcing a new way the US does business: The Trump administration's goal is to show US strength, speak out, and defend its allies — and as for countries opposing America, "We're taking names."

The former South Carolina governor said the United States will respond "accordingly" to opponents.

Haley spoke to the news media immediately after she walked into UN headquarters for the first time, saying "it's a thrill to be here" and declaring that at the US Mission to the United Nations, "You are gonna see a change in the way we do business. It's no longer about working harder, it's about working smarter."

In the halls of UN headquarters, the Trump administration's approach to the 193-member world organization has been a subject of non-stop diplomatic discussion, speculation and concern.

The United States is a permanent veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, the UN's most powerful body, and pays 22 percent of its regular budget and over 28 percent of the costs of its far-flung peacekeeping operations.

'FRESH EYES'

Haley said President Donald Trump wants her to put "fresh eyes" on the United Nations.

"Everything that's working we're going to make it better," she said. "Everything that's not working we're going to try to fix, and anything that seems to be obsolete and not necessary we're going to do away with."

In blunt language, with none of the diplomatic nuances characteristic of discussions here, Haley outlined the new US approach to the United Nations.

"Our goal with the administration is to show value at the UN, and the way that we'll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, and have the backs of our allies and make sure that our allies have our back as well," Haley said.

"For those that don't have our back we're taking names," she said. "We will make a point to respond to that accordingly. But this is a time of strength. This is a time of action. This is a time of getting things done."

Haley then got on an elevator and went to the 38th floor where she presented her credentials to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who became UN chief on Jan. 1. They then went into his office for a private discussion.


MANILA STANDARD

Govt to prioritize $4.4-b projects for China funding posted January 27, 2017 at 08:45 pm by Gabrielle H. Binaday


Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III

The government will prioritize 12 out of the initial 40 projects lined up for funding by the Chinese government at an indicative cost of $4.4 billion, the Finance Department said Friday.

The economic team of President Rodrgio Duterte earlier this week flew to China to finalize the $15-billion investment pacts from Beijing. The team, led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, submitted 40 project proposals.

They include the $3.4-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in the provinces of Cagayan and Kalinga with an estimated total project cost of $53.6 million; the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project in Quezon, $374.03 million; and the South Line of the North-South Railway running from Manila to Legaspi City in Bicol, $3.01 billion.

The other nine projects with an indicative cost of another $1 billion were under feasibility study.

These are North Luzon Expressway East Project, Panay Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges, Davao City Expressway, Ambal-Simuay Sub-Basin of the Mindanao River Basin Flood Control and River Protection Project, Dinagat (Leyte)-Surigao Link Bridge, Luzon-Samar Link Bridge, Agus 3 Hydroelectric Plant, Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Coastal Development Program, and the Camarines Sur Expressway.

READ MORE....

These projects aim to interconnect the country’s three main island-groups, boost tourism and construct a flood control system in Mindanao and ensure stable power supply.

Dominguez said the three large projects that would undergo China’s loan application process were already approved by the board of the National Economic and Development Authority and the Investment Coordination Committee.

Dominguez said the Philippine government would recommend three priority projects for loan financing under the $3.4-billion assistance made available by the Export-Import Bank of China to the Philippines, including $2 billion in new commitments.

The three projects aim to raise the productivity of small farmers, improve transportation and logistics services in underserved areas of Luzon, and ensure a steady water supply to Metro Manila, he said.

“We are looking at implementing large infra projects in the rural areas particularly in irrigation, logistics in bridges and roads to connect communities to the major markets,” Dominguez said in an interview with the Chinese media during the Jan. 23-24 mission.

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Food and Agriculture Org (FAO) warns of growing water scarcity amid climate change, population growth By: Ronnel W. Domingo - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 12:10 AM January 24, 2017



The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is calling for better water management and improved access for small farmers while Malacañang continues to find ways to make the promise of free irrigation a reality.

FAO director general José Graziano da Silva in a statement warned that growing water scarcity was one of the leading challenges for sustainable development

According to the United Nations agency, competition for water will intensify as the global population exceeds nine billion people around 2050.

The FAO chief urged leaders to rise to the food security challenges posed by water scarcity on two fronts: first, promoting ways to both use less water and use it more efficiently, and secondly, by taking steps to secure access to water—especially for poor family farmers.

READ MORE...

In the Philippines, a proposed law is being prepared to provide the National Irrigation Administration with funds to continue operations as the Duterte administration continues to find ways on how to sustain irrigation services without the collection of irrigation fees.

According to Rep. Arthur C. Yap (Bohol, third district), he is preparing a bill that would also enable the NIA to be modernized and to receive sufficient funding to carry out its critical work for farmers.

“President Duterte promised free irrigation to farmers as part of his campaign promise but without a comprehensive financial and construction program to restore, rehabilitate, maintain and expand the current irrigated lands in the country, there won’t be sufficient water to distribute, if water even reaches the farms,” Yap said.


INQUIRER

Bill Gates could reach ‘trillionaire’ status by 2042 INQUIRER.net / 06:51 PM January 25, 2017


In this May 5, 2014, file photo, Microsoft co-founder and Berkshire Hathaway board member Bill Gates speaks during an interview with Liz Claman on the Fox Business Network in Omaha, Nebraska. Forbes on Monday, March 2, 2015, said that Gates's net worth rose to $79.2 billion in 2015 from $76 billion last year. That put him at the top of the magazine's list of the world's billionaires for the second consecutive year. AP PHOTO/NATI HARNIK

As the world’s richest man, Bill Gates exponentially grows his net worth each passing day, and according to a recent study, he’ll most likely become the first ever trillionaire in the next 25 years.

As pointed out in an Oxfam International report entitled “An Economy for the 99%”, the Microsoft founder’s wealth has grown at a staggering 11 percent clip per year since 2009, and has shown no signs of slowing down.

With his net worth at $78.7 billion, as modestly estimated by Forbes as of August 2016, the 61-year-old tech wizard is projected to reach the unimaginable trillionaire status by the time he is 86 years old.

By the time he left Microsoft in 2006, Gates’ net worth was at $50 billion and has grown at an astonishing rate over the last decade.

His meteoric rise money-wise comes “despite his commendable attempts to give it away through his Foundation,” the report said.

READ MORE...

In addition to the charitable work he does through his personal foundation, the tech innovator has also devoted his time and resources to eradicating infectious diseases and improving education around the world.

A recent estimate says he has donated over $28 billion through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In addition, Gates is a founding member of The Giving Pledge, a group composed of some of the richest individuals in the world who pledge to give away more than half of their worth.

What’s even more absurd is the fact that since no one has reached such status yet, the word ‘trillionaire’ is not even recognized in the dictionary as an official word.

“In such an environment, if you are already rich, you have to try hard not to keep getting a lot richer,” Oxfam noted in a Business Insider report.

“The super-rich can achieve returns that are not available to the ordinary saver, helping the gap to grow between the wealthy and everyone else,” the report stated. “The bigger the initial investment, the higher returns one can make as the initial costs of sophisticated advice and high-risk investments can be justified with the potential for super-lucrative returns.”

In a separate report last week, Oxfam revealed names of eight billionaires—including Gates—who have more money than the poorest half of the world’s population.

READ: 8 men as rich as half of the world

The list includes business magnate Warren Buffett, Inditex founder Amancio Ortega, Mexican investor Carlos Slim, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Oracle’s Larry Ellison. Khristian Ibarrola

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RELATED FROM FORBES

The World's Billionaires


PHILSTAR

US envoy vows support for Pinoy entrepreneurs 0 SHARES 0 0 0 Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - December 8, 2016 - 12:00am


Ambassador Sung Kim

MANILA, Philippines – The new US ambassador to the Philippines has expressed strong support for Filipino entrepreneurs, particularly the start-up community, as he vowed to expand ties between Manila and Washington.

Ambassador Sung Kim met with some of the country’s youngest Filipino start-up entrepreneurs on Tuesday night, as he buckled down to work hours after meeting with President Duterte to present his credentials.

During the reception organized by the US embassy to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, Kim said Filipinos embody the “can-do” attitude that has created such amazing innovations in Silicon Valley.

“The Philippines is a wonderful country. It’s a very important relationship so I’m looking forward to strengthening this relationship,” Kim said in a short message during the dinner reception in Makati.

READ MORE...

He came straight from Malacañang, where he met with the President for around an hour, much longer than what was initially expected.

Soon after the meeting, Kim said he is enthusiastic about the potential to grow the two countries’ two-way economic partnership.

Michael Klecheski, Deputy Chief of Mission, for his part said in his message to the crowd of start-up entrepreneurs: “We are very happy to celebrate (entrepreneurship), which is very near and dear to the hearts of Americans and very near and dear to the hearts of Filipinos, and it’s important for everyone to have links with other countries, and that’s one of the things we’re celebrating here tonight.”

Klecheski said the US government recognizes and strongly supports entrepreneurship.

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RELATED FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

Trump Business Partner Is Philippines’ New Trade Envoy to U.S. By RICHARD C. PADDOCKNOV. 9, 2016 Continue reading the main storyShare This Page Share Tweet Email More Save Photo


Century Properties Group Chairman and CEO Jose E.B. Antonio (left) is seen with businessman Donald J. Trump during the signing of a licensing deal in New York City in September 2011. -- PHOTO FROM CENTURY PROPERTIES -BUSINESS WORLD NEWS: Century Properties Group, Inc. on Monday confirmed the appointment of its chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), Jose E.B. Antonio, as special envoy for trade, investment and economic affairs to the US. President Rodrigo R. Duterte designated Mr. Antonio the position effective Oct. 28, the upscale property developer told the Philippine Stock Exchange.

BANGKOK — The timing of President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines couldn’t be better. Before Donald J. Trump’s election victory, the Philippine leader had already named Mr. Trump’s business partner in Manila as a special envoy to the United States.

Mr. Duterte, whose colorful and unpredictable comments have drawn comparisons to Mr. Trump, late last month named the chairman of Century Properties Group, Jose E. B. Antonio, as an envoy to Washington for trade, investment and economic affairs, Philippine news outlets reported. Word of the appointment became public this week.

Stock in Century Properties rose 20 percent on Wednesday on the Philippine Stock Exchange on the news that Mr. Trump had been elected.

The company is building the Trump Tower at Century City, a $150 million, 57-story apartment building in metropolitan Manila. Mr. Trump has no involvement in the project except to provide his brand name.

“I’ve always loved the Philippines,” Mr. Trump says on the company’s website. “I think it’s just a special place, and Manila is one of Asia’s most spectacular cities.” The website notes that the project is not owned, developed or sold by Mr. Trump or any of his companies.


Project Name: Trump Tower Manila Location: Makati, Metro Manila Height: 280 meters, 60 floors Purpose: Residential Architect: Broadway Malyan LLC


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