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STARBUCKS SET TO HIRE THOUSANDS OF REFUGEES  
[RELATED: Duterte is open to accepting refugees affected by US Muslim ban]


JANUARY 30 -Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz: Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz is the latest US corporate chief to heavily criticise the travel ban. Facebook, Google and Tesla have all made public statements about the immigration ban, and Airbnb are offer free accommodation to people affected by the travel restrictions and unable to get into the US.(Airbnb is a Worldwide Alternative to Hotels Unique Accommodations, Worldwide.)
Starbucks plans to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide over the next five years in response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban, the head of the US coffee-chain company said Sunday. “I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise,” Starbucks chairman and chief executive Howard Schultz said in a letter to employees posted on the company’s website. “We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question.” Schultz, a Democratic Party supporter, said that Starbucks had been in contact with employees affected by the new Republican president’s executive order signed Friday. The decree suspends the arrival of all refugees for at least 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and bars citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte is open to accepting refugees affected by US Muslim ban...

ALSO: OKADA MANILA -Manila’s biggest casino complex readies formal opening in February
[RELATED: Okada Manila - Regional game-changer]


JANUARY 31 -Photo by Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News MANILA - The casino project of Japanese gaming magnate Kazuo Okada and businessman Antonio 'Tony Boy' Cojuangco will be renamed Okada Manila. Okada Manila, formerly Manila Bay Resorts Integrated Resorts and Casino, was renamed to reflect the Okada brand and the marriage of the Japanese and Philippine cultures, Tiger Resorts chief executive officer Takahiro Usui said. Okada Manila is the third casino to open in Entertainment City in Parañaque after Bloomberry's Solaire and Melco Crown's City of Dreams.
After several months of delay, Okada Manila is set to formally open its doors next month to make the $2-billion development the biggest integrated casino resort in the country. In an interview with the Inquirer, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chair Andrea Domingo said the sprawling casino hotel complex—owned by Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada—is slated to have its full opening on Feb. 17. This comes after the third casino resort in the Pagcor Entertainment City complex on the edge of Manila Bay held a “preview” event last Dec. 21, followed by a “soft opening” of a small section of its gaming floor a week later on Dec. 30—both meant to avoid having to pay the regulator a P100-million penalty for missing a yearend opening deadline. Once opened, the 44-hectare Okada Manila is set to become the largest integrated entertainment resort in the country that will occupy a total floor area of 34,321 square meters, housing more than 500 table games and 3,000 electronic gaming machines. It houses a Y-shaped hotel of two wings offering a total of 993 rooms. READ MORE...RELATED, Okada Manila: Regional game-changer...

ALSO: Friday markets - Peso-dollar rate at P49.78; stocks climb
[RELATED: Shares in Asia mixed on uncertainty over US immigration flap]


FEBRUARY 3 -MANILA BULLETIN
The Philippine peso–US dollar exchange rate at the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corporation (PDEX) closed at P49.78, slightly weaker than Thursday’s (February 2) rate at P49.75. The reference exchange rate bulletin of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), showed the Philippine currency settling at P49.78 to the greenback. On the other hand, the Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) rose by 0.79 points (0.01%) to close at 7,226.70. The All-Shares Index also rallied by 9.32 points (0.21 %) to 4,375.03. FULL REPORT, RELATED
Shares in Asia mixed on uncertainty over US immigration flap...

ALSO: Finance chief expresses concern on mine closures
[RELATED: Nickel prices surge after Philippines shuts down mines]


FEBRUARY 4 -Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO The head of Duterte’s economic team on Friday expressed concern about the job losses and foregone tax revenues to be brought by the environment department’s order to close down up to 23 mines. Asked if he deemed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) order was prudent, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters that economic managers “have to assess first [its] decision.” “I have to consult with other economic managers. But my primary concern is the impact on employees, and my secondary concern is the impact on municipal finances because municipalities collect a lot of taxes” from mining operations, Dominguez explained. Later, the finance secretary tweeted: “I am deeply concerned over the welfare of the 1.2 million people affected by the closure of the 23 (Philippine) mines. This will result in joblessness.”
READ MORE...RELATED, Nickel prices surge after Philippines shuts down mines: Speculators rush to close bearish bets for metal used in making stainless steel...

ALSO: VW advisor pushes new better roads to ease traffic volume in PH
[LATEST REPORT: MMDA, malls agree to retain traffic measures implemented for past holiday season]


FEBRUARY 4 -The government is not going to solve the traffic problem by simply controlling the volume of vehicles sold through a planned excise tax hike on automobiles, the local unit of German automotive brand Volkswagen said.
Klaus Dieter Schadewald, chief operating advisor of Volkswagen, said the excise tax increase should be coupled with improvement in infrastructure as well as removal of old cars on the road. “We understand that the government needs money and at the end of the day, it may be a combination of excise tax and fuel taxes. The point is when you increase this kind of things, you also have to do something on the other side which helps the overall system because if you tax the cars, if you tax the fuel, we will not solve the problem if you are not investing into infrastructure and not getting rid of old cars,” Schadewald told The STAR in an interview. Aside from new and better roads, vehicles more than 15 years old should not be on the road anymore as they may either be unsafe or polluting the environment, according to the Volkswagen official. READ MORE...RELATED, MMDA, malls agree to retain traffic measures implemented for past holiday season...


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Starbucks set to hire thousands of refugees


Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz: Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz is the latest US corporate chief to heavily criticise the travel ban. Facebook, Google and Tesla have all made public statements about the immigration ban, and Airbnb are offer free accommodation to people affected by the travel restrictions and unable to get into the US.(Airbnb is a Worldwide Alternative to Hotels Unique Accommodations, Worldwide.)

NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 6, 2017 (MANILA STANDARD) posted January 30, 2017 at 08:05 pm by AFP -Starbucks plans to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide over the next five years in response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban, the head of the US coffee-chain company said Sunday.

“I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise,” Starbucks chairman and chief executive Howard Schultz said in a letter to employees posted on the company’s website.

“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question.”

Schultz, a Democratic Party supporter, said that Starbucks had been in contact with employees affected by the new Republican president’s executive order signed Friday.

The decree suspends the arrival of all refugees for at least 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and bars citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

READ MORE...

The CEO said the refugee hires would be fleeing war, persecution and discrimination in the 75 countries where the company operates.

“And we will start this effort here in the US by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with US troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support,” he said.

Schultz also defended Mexico, which Trump has said will have to pay for a wall along its long and porous border with the United States to deter immigrants, perhaps by the US imposing a 20 percent tariff on Mexican imports.

“Building bridges, not walls, with Mexico,” he wrote, voicing support for the country that has provided Starbucks with coffee for three decades and where nearly 600 Starbucks coffee shops employ 7,000 people.

“We stand ready to help and support our Mexican customers, partners and their families as they navigate what impact proposed trade sanctions, immigration restrictions and taxes might have on their business and their trust of Americans.

“But we will continue to invest in this critically important market all the same.”

Schultz is close to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate who lost to Trump in the November election, and supported her during her White House campaign.

But he has dismissed persistent rumors that he would seek the highest office in the land.

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

GMA NEWS NETWORK

Duterte is open to accepting refugees affected by US Muslim ban Published January 30, 2017 3:56am By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News

President Rodrigo Duterte was open to accepting refugees who would be affected by US President Donald Trump's executive order restricting the admission of refugees from seven Muslim countries.

"Ako, in the name of humanity and God, we'll have to make some adjustments," Duterte said early Monday morning. "If there is a compelling reason for us to offer sanctuary, I am one of those na... okay lang ako sa walang mapuntahan na. If they cannot go anywhere anymore except to face death by hunger."

"Pati iyong Rohingya sa Myanmar, iyong mga Muslim doon na they're driven out of the sea, we will consider it," he added.

However, Duterte said that Congress would need to approve the admission of refugees.

"I, for one, I said in the name of humanity. Kaawa, eh. They might be a potential problem to the country, but it's a matter of handling them," he explained further.

Nonetheless, Duterte said that he understood Trump's policies and maintained that he would not interfere in US affairs.

The president also warned undocumented Filipinos in the US that they needed to leave. He said he would not lift a finger to help them if they were arrested. — DVM, GMA News


MANILA TIMES

Manila’s biggest casino complex readies formal opening in February Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:04 AM January 31, 2017


Photo by Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News -The casino project of Japanese gaming magnate Kazuo Okada and businessman Antonio 'Tony Boy' Cojuangco will be renamed Okada Manila. Okada Manila, formerly Manila Bay Resorts Integrated Resorts and Casino, was renamed to reflect the Okada brand and the marriage of the Japanese and Philippine cultures, Tiger Resorts chief executive officer Takahiro Usui said. Okada Manila is the third casino to open in Entertainment City in Parañaque after Bloomberry's Solaire and Melco Crown's City of Dreams.

After several months of delay, Okada Manila is set to formally open its doors next month to make the $2-billion development the biggest integrated casino resort in the country.

In an interview with the Inquirer, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chair Andrea Domingo said the sprawling casino hotel complex—owned by Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada—is slated to have its full opening on Feb. 17.

This comes after the third casino resort in the Pagcor Entertainment City complex on the edge of Manila Bay held a “preview” event last Dec. 21, followed by a “soft opening” of a small section of its gaming floor a week later on Dec. 30—both meant to avoid having to pay the regulator a P100-million penalty for missing a yearend opening deadline.

Once opened, the 44-hectare Okada Manila is set to become the largest integrated entertainment resort in the country that will occupy a total floor area of 34,321 square meters, housing more than 500 table games and 3,000 electronic gaming machines. It houses a Y-shaped hotel of two wings offering a total of 993 rooms.

READ MORE...

With several industry players fighting for market share in Asia’s highly competitive casino landscape, Okada Manila is already being touted by its operator as a game changer.

Okada Manila president Steve Wolstenholme said the integrated resort has the potential to compete with other gaming giants across the region.

Okada Manila features a dancing fountain comparable to the Dubai Fountain and the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas; Asia’s first nightclub and indoor beach club enclosed in a dome; a high-end retail area; a world-class 3,000-square-meter spa facility, and several food and beverage outlets.

The luxury resort has already contributed to local job generation by employing 22,000 workers to construct and develop the first phase. It is expected to hire 8,000 personnel to operate the casino, food and beverage, and hotel and leisure facilities for the first phase of development alone.

Earlier, Okada said he expected his integrated resort to be profitable in its first year of operations and give a return on his investment in three to five years as the country seeks a larger share of Asia’s gaming and tourism revenue.

Okada built his fortune during the 1980s manufacturing slot machines and Japanese pachinko machines. He is now worth $1.77 billion, according to Forbes magazine. —DAXIM L. LUCAS

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Okada Manila: Regional game-changer 0 SHARES Share it! Updated January 31, 2017, 5:55 PM Okada Manila casino / CREDIT: okadamanila.com / Manila Bulletin Okada Manila casino / CREDIT: okadamanila.com / Manila Bulletin


Okada Manila gaming tables / CREDIT: okadamanila.com / Manila Bulletin

With several players slugging it out for market share within Asia’s highly-competitive casino landscape, Okada Manila, the newest addition to the integrated resorts in Entertainment City, is already being touted as a game-changer.

Steve Wolstenholme, president of Okada Manila, said the newly opened integrated resort of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada, has the potential to compete with other gaming giants across the region.

The 44-hectare Okada Manila is set to become the largest integrated entertainment resort in the country that will occupy a total floor area of 34,321 square meters, housing over 500 table games and over 3,000 electronic gaming machines. It houses a Y-shaped hotel of two wings offering a total of 993 rooms.

It also features a dancing fountain comparable only to the Dubai Fountain and the Fountains of Bellagio, Asia’s first nightclub and indoor beach club enclosed in a dome, a high-end retail area, a world-class 3,000-square meter spa facility, and several food and beverage outlets.

Apart from its unique features, Okada Manila takes pride in the effortless integration of the Japanese people’s respectful demeanor, passion for creativity and hunger for innovation, and the Filipinos’ hard work, hospitality and cheerful spirit, in terms of quality service.

“With these guiding principles and values, Okada Manila expects to bring people around the world together through fun and entertainment by providing unique experiences that no one else can deliver,” Wolstenholme said.


A restaurant in Okada Manila / CREDIT: okadamanila.com / Manila Bulletin

Being a massive project, the luxury resort has already contributed to local job generation by employing 22,000 workers to construct and develop the first phase. It is expected to hire 8,000 personnel to operate the casino, food and beverage, and hotel and leisure facilities of the Phase 1 development alone.

Okada, who has heavily invested in the Philippines, expects his integrated resort to be profitable in its first year of operations and give a return on his investment in three to five years as the country seeks a larger share of Asia’s gaming and tourism revenue.

One of the early believers in the Philippines, Okada built his fortune during the 1980s manufacturing slot machines and Japanese pachinko machines. He is now worth $1.77 billion according to Forbes Magazine.


Okada Manila / Manila Bulletin


MANILA BULLETIN

Friday markets: Peso-dollar rate at P49.78; stocks climb Published February 3, 2017, 6:14 PM By MB Online

The peso and the stock market ended the trading week in opposite directions on Friday, February 3.


MANILA BULLETIN

The Philippine peso–US dollar exchange rate at the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corporation (PDEX) closed at P49.78, slightly weaker than Thursday’s (February 2) rate at P49.75.

The reference exchange rate bulletin of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), showed the Philippine currency settling at P49.78 to the greenback. On the other hand, the Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEi) rose by 0.79 points (0.01%) to close at 7,226.70. The All-Shares Index also rallied by 9.32 points (0.21 %) to 4,375.03.

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

RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Shares in Asia mixed on uncertainty over US immigration flap Published January 30, 2017, 3:05 PM By Associated Press


MB FILE / REUTERS/Toru Hanai – RTSUNQE (Manila Bulletin)

Most financial markets were closed in Asia on Monday for lunar new year holidays, but shares fell in Japan and Australia on uncertainty over the potential impact of President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries and other immigration actions.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.5 percent to 19,368.85. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia dropped 0.9 percent to 5,661.50 and India’s Sensex was nearly flat at 27,894.10. Shares rose in Thailand and Indonesia. Many other Asian markets were closed.

TRUMP TRAVEL BAN: The executive order signed by Trump on Friday placed a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen. It imposed a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program and blocked Syrians from entry indefinitely. The move triggered protests and confusion at U.S. airports and raised uncertainty for airlines and high-tech industries that employ many foreign-born workers, analysts said.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: “World leaders were quick to condemn President Trump’s executive order to ban U.S. travel from seven Muslim countries. The global reaction has been one of universal condemnation,” Stephen Innes, a senior trader at OANDA, wrote in a commentary. “The increase in civil unrest alone should be a concern for investors, and with a lack of clarity on the economic policy front, markets will be cantankerous early in the week as they’re completely uncertain of what’s next from President Trump on the geopolitical landscape.”

JAPAN DATA: Monthly data for December released Monday showed retail sales fell 1.7 percent from a month earlier. Core inflation excluding volatile food items fell 0.2 percent, showing deflation still is weighing on the economy, discouraging the wage increases needed to spur more consumption and investment, and raising doubts over how much momentum the economy may have gathered late in the year, just as the Bank of Japan holds its first policy meeting of 2017.No major changes are expected from the meeting, which wraps up Tuesday.

WALL STREET: Wall Street capped a week of milestones Friday with a day of listless trading that left U.S. stock indexes mostly lower. The Dow was nearly flat at 20,093.78. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged 0.1 percent lower to 2,294.69 and the Nasdaq composite eked out a 0.1 percent gain to 5,660.78, setting another all-time high. The market drifted between small gains and losses through much of the day as investors weighed company earnings and new data on the U.S. economy showing annual growth of just 1.9 percent in the last three months of 2016, a slowdown from 3.5 percent in the previous quarter. For 2016, the economy grew 1.6 percent, the worst showing since 2011 and down from 2.6 percent in 2015.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil lost 23 cents to $52.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 61 cents on Friday to $53.78. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 29 cents to $55.41 a barrel. It lost 79 cents to $55.70 a barrel on Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 114.56 yen from 115.08 on Friday. The euro rose to $1.0722 from $1.0699.


INQUIRER

Finance chief expresses concern on mine closures By: Ben O. de Vera - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:34 AM February 04, 2017


Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The head of Duterte’s economic team on Friday expressed concern about the job losses and foregone tax revenues to be brought by the environment department’s order to close down up to 23 mines.

Asked if he deemed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) order was prudent, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters that economic managers “have to assess first [its] decision.”

“I have to consult with other economic managers. But my primary concern is the impact on employees, and my secondary concern is the impact on municipal finances because municipalities collect a lot of taxes” from mining operations, Dominguez explained.

Later, the finance secretary tweeted: “I am deeply concerned over the welfare of the 1.2 million people affected by the closure of the 23 (Philippine) mines. This will result in joblessness.”

READ MORE...

Dominguez said he would convene next week the interagency Mineral Industry Coordination Committee (MICC), which he co-chairs with Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.

Dominguez noted the adverse impact of Lopez’s order on employment in mining communities. “In Surigao alone, one company employs 10,000 people. That’s my primary concern—the impact on employment in these rural areas.”

To provide jobs to those to be displaced from mining operations, Dominguez said he already asked his colleagues in the Cabinet if they have emergency employment programs in place.

“The Department of Social Welfare and Development is looking into it, so is the Department of Public Works and Highways to accelerate its projects. The Department of Trade and Industry has some emergency programs, as does the Department of Labor and Employment. They have responded and we’re going to meet to [reduce] the impact on the employees,” the finance chief said.

Also, Dominguez said he was concerned about how local government units could earn revenues if they could not collect from mining firms, which “pay a lot of taxes to the local governments.”

“We’re still assessing how different municipalities will be affected. We’ll check with local treasurers to give us [estimates on the] potential impact on the local communities. Our concern is primarily local,” Dominguez said.

As a whole, Dominguez said a crackdown on mining would ultimately impact on gross domestic product (GDP) growth. “That one, of course, is a concern, but people’s concerns are our first concern,” he pointed out.


Dominguez said he has yet to talk to President Duterte about these concerns, but said that economic managers would first discuss these issues among themselves to immediately address the impact on jobs and local revenues. “I want a quick assessment on the impact on those people in mining [communities].”

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

RELATED FROM THE FINANCIAL TIMES LTD

Nickel prices surge after Philippines shuts down mines: Speculators rush to close bearish bets for metal used in making stainless steel FEBRUARY 2, 2017 by: Neil Hume



Nickel rose on Thursday, outpacing other industrial metals, as speculators rushed to close bearish bets after the Philippines pressed ahead with an environmental crackdown on domestic producers.

Nickel for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange rose as much as $250 to $10,500 tonne after Manila ordered the permanent closure of mines that produce about 8 per cent of the world’s nickel supply. The metal is used to make stainless steel.

“Shorts have been covering,” said Marex Spectron, a commodity broker, which reckons bearish bets in nickel account for 11 per cent of open interest — the total number of outstanding derivative contracts.

Nickel came under pressure last month after Indonesia, another major supplier of ore, announced a potential resumption of exports. Analysts said Thursday’s news from the Philippines would offset any increased supplies from its rival producer.

“We regard any supply-side shift of more than 5 per cent as sufficient to alter the short-term price,” said Tom Price, analyst at Morgan Stanley. “So this potential 8 per cent event is significant.”

The decision to close the mines comes after an audit of the mining industry that started shortly after the Philippines’ tough-talking President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June. The inspections were overseen by Mr Duterte’s environment secretary Gina Lopez, a fierce critic of the industry.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said a total of 23 mines, mainly nickel producers, would be closed and five suspended, including the country’s biggest gold mine.


PHILIPPINES Environment Secretary Gina Lopez. FROM GMA NEWS: "'Yung komunidad haping-happy sila, but siyempre 'yung nagtatrabaho sa mina worried sila and then 'yung mga ekonomiya na nagdedepende sa mina worried sila," Lopez said "So sa kanila gusto kong sabihin hindi ko kayo iiwanan kasi ito ay ginagawa para sa inyong lahat," she added. On Friday, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said that a total of 1.2 million are projected to be affected by the closure of several large-scale mining firms in the country. Lopez said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be providing alternative livelihood for the affected communities through the promotion of eco-tourism. "My communities in Puerto Prinsesa makes P30 million a year... My La Mesa watershed makes P43 million a year," Lopez said. "So we will help the poor to give them alternative... Many people go into mining dahil hindi inalagaan ng pamahalaan e...if we don't take care of the poor, they'll do what they need to do to survive, so we have to fix it," she added. FEBRUARY 4, 2017 GMA NEWS BRIEF

“I visited the mines and I made my own judgment based on my own observations,” said Ms Lopez, a stanch environmentalist, during a televised briefing.

The Philippines is one of the world’s biggest sources of unprocessed nickel ore and a major supplier to China. The ore is prized by Chinese mills which use it to produce nickel pig iron, a cheap alternative to refined nickel.

Full details of the audit, which has the full backing of Mr Duterte, have yet to be released and it is not clear how the companies affected can appeal against it.

Supply-side issues are emerging as one of the most important issues for the mining industry in 2017. This is partly because workers are pushing for higher pay deals after years of relentless cost-cutting. This week workers at Escondida, the world’s biggest copper mine, rejected a pay deal and are expected to take industrial action.

At the same time, some resource-rich countries are changing their mining laws or reviewing activities by big players. In January, Indonesia told foreign miners that they would not be allowed to export copper concentrate — a dry feed stock used to make the metal — until they signed up to new mining licences.

Also caught up in the fallout from Thursday’s closures was Australian mining company OceanaGold, which operates the biggest gold miner in the Philippines. It shares fell 15 per cent after Ms Lopez ordered the suspension of operations at its Didipio mine even though it had won many environmental awards.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.


PHILSTAR

VW Advisor pushes new better roads to ease traffic volume By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 4, 2017 - 12:00am 4 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The government is not going to solve the traffic problem by simply controlling the volume of vehicles sold through a planned excise tax hike on automobiles, the local unit of German automotive brand Volkswagen said.

Klaus Dieter Schadewald, chief operating advisor of Volkswagen, said the excise tax increase should be coupled with improvement in infrastructure as well as removal of old cars on the road.

“We understand that the government needs money and at the end of the day, it may be a combination of excise tax and fuel taxes. The point is when you increase this kind of things, you also have to do something on the other side which helps the overall system because if you tax the cars, if you tax the fuel, we will not solve the problem if you are not investing into infrastructure and not getting rid of old cars,” Schadewald told The STAR in an interview.

Aside from new and better roads, vehicles more than 15 years old should not be on the road anymore as they may either be unsafe or polluting the environment, according to the Volkswagen official.

READ MORE...

“There is a necessity of course to recover taxes, but you also have to work on infrastructure and work first on mobility concept. Just to put one thing on the plate may not solve the problem. The problem is you have to have a whole picture of it. So if the whole picture everybody agrees on that then it will solve the situation. You need more money but you need to cover up infrastructure also,” Schadewald said.

According to Schadewald, the new proposed rates under House Bill 4774 remain very high and are seen to have a negative impact on the Philippine automotive industry should it be implemented.

“The House bill shows that there’s a dramatic increase. At the end of the day, when it comes like this it will have dramatic decrease of the car volume because the cars will have a significant price increase, specially the upper-end cars,” he said.

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

MMDA, malls agree to retain traffic measures implemented for past holiday season Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:31 AM January 29, 2017


MMDA traffic constable Cesar Detera Jr. in action

Traffic measures that were implemented in Metro Manila supposedly just for holiday season will now remain in force all year round.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and shopping mall operators particularly on Edsa have agreed to retain the “no-weekday sale” policy as well as the limited hours for product deliveries.

MMDA General Manager Tim Orbos said the mall operators in a meeting on Friday acknowledged that these measures helped ease traffic congestion on Edsa and connecting roads during the last Christmas season, and that they had no adverse effects on their business.

The MMDA earlier noted that vehicle speed tends to slow down to just five kilometers per hour on Edsa, where 16 malls are located, whenever there is a sale.

Also being extended for the entire year is the no-daytime delivery rule, wherein trucks and vans servicing the malls can do so only from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Meanwhile, the MMDA is also studying whether the malls could use a Pasig City-based waste conversion facility to help them dispose of their daily trash. Orbos said the facility, which began operations in 2015, can process 600 tons of trash a day and convert them into fuel.—DEXTER CABALZA


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