PH JOINS 'MODERATELY FREE' ECONOMIES IN 2014

The Philippines has graduated from being a “mostly unfree” to a “moderately free” economy, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Foundation. Up by 1.9 points, the country’s economic freedom score reached 60.1 this year, making it the 89th freest economy in the world. It’s rank has jumped eight notches from 97th in 2013. It also marks the first time in a decade that it breached the 60-point mark to join other “moderately free” countries. While the Philippines ranks 16th out of 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the Heritage Foundation said its overall score was “slightly below the world average.”

PH up 10 notches in ‘economic freedom’ list; Country remains in ‘mostly unfree’ category

The government’s anti-corruption efforts helped push the Philippines’ global ranking in terms of economic freedom by 10 notches to 97th among 177 countries and territories.
This was according to the editors of the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, jointly released by Washington D.C.-based The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. Based on the latest annual index, the 19th since it first came out in 1995, the Philippines scored 58.2 out of 100 points. Such score keeps the Philippines in the category of “mostly unfree” countries or those within the range of 50 points to 59.9 points. “(The) score is 1.1 points higher than last year, with notable improvements in investment freedom and freedom from corruption outweighing a decline in business freedom,” the editors said in a statement. They added that such score was below the global average of 59.6, but noted that the Philippines’ improvement provided contrast to the world’s 0.1 point gain.

ALSO: Real estate company lends hand in ‘Yolanda’ areas

A real estate company has rallied their employees to help in the rehabilitation of typhoon-devastated areas by doing what they do best – building homes. Volunteers from Property Company of Friends, Inc. (PRO-FRIENDS), the developers of Lancaster New City in Cavite, went to Bingawan in Iloilo over the weekend to plan and start the rebuilding of houses destroyed by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” last November 8. What is now considered the strongest storm of 2013 left at least 6,000 people dead and damaged more than a million houses in Eastern Visayas and nearby provinces, including Iloilo. The PRO-FRIENDS management in Iloilo and its employees carefully planned the rebuilding of the houses in the province, in a bid to give residents much-needed help. Among the beneficiaries was Rogelio Premalion, whose 7-year old wooden house was destroyed when a coconut tree fell on it at the height of the strong winds.

ALSO: (INVESTMENT?) The most premium residential building in the country

With the new year upon us, many are exploring property investments that may result in optimum yields in the future. Makati City is still the prime area to invest in being one of the most cosmopolitan districts in the country. Just a smidgen away from completion is Discovery Primea (www.discoveryprimea.com), the 68-story residential tower that is currently one of the tallest buildings in the country, and located right in the heart of Ayala Avenue.
Discovery Primea stands on the site of what used to be the Gilarmi Apartments across the famed Rustan’s Department Store. The Gilarmi Apartments date back to the ’60s, and were demolished a decade ago


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PH joins ‘moderately free’ economies in 2014

MANILA, JANUARY 14, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Kristine Angeli Sabillo - The Philippines has graduated from being a “mostly unfree” to a “moderately free” economy, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Foundation.

Up by 1.9 points, the country’s economic freedom score reached 60.1 this year, making it the 89th freest economy in the world. It’s rank has jumped eight notches from 97th in 2013.

It also marks the first time in a decade that it breached the 60-point mark to join other “moderately free” countries.

While the Philippines ranks 16th out of 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the Heritage Foundation said its overall score was “slightly below the world average.”

“Improvements in seven of the 10 economic freedoms, including significant gains in trade freedom, investment freedom, and freedom from corruption, have been partially offset by a deterioration in property rights. With its third consecutive year of overall score improvement, the Philippines has risen back to ‘moderately free’ in the 2014 Index,” it said.

The Index of Economic Freedom takes into account the following issues: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property freedom, freedom from corruption and labor freedom.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the result was “another affirmation of the gains that our country is reaping along the straight path.” He said it reflected “significant improvements,” as well as the government’s consistency in its reform agenda.

However, Lacierda pointed out that the data used was based on 2012 statistics.

“We believe that there have been significant improvements since then despite the challenges we had to overcome as one nation,” he said.

Nevertheless, the spokesperson said the “positive results of this evaluation only strengthen our administration’s resolve to continue implementing reforms founded on good governance and true public service, which are necessary prerequisites to fostering lasting and inclusive growth in the Philippines.”

The Index took into account the Philippine economy’s annual growth rate and legislative reforms on the investment environment, among others.

The top 5 freest countries are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, and New Zealand.
Listed as most repressed or least free are North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Eritrea.

PH up 10 notches in ‘economic freedom’ list Country remains in ‘mostly unfree’ category By Ronnel W. Domingo Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:29 am | Monday, January 14th, 2013


This handout photo taken on Oct. 29, 2012, shows former President Gloria Arroyo (right) accompanied by family members including her husband Mike Arroyo (2nd right), daughter Luli (3rd left), son, legislator Dato (2nd left), and party-list legislator Mikey (left), attending her arraignment on corruption charges at the anti-graft court in Manila. The government’s anti-corruption efforts helped push the Philippines’ global ranking in terms of economic freedom by 10 notches to 97th among 177 countries and territories. AFP PHOTO/ERNESTO LASIG / PNP-PIO

The government’s anti-corruption efforts helped push the Philippines’ global ranking in terms of economic freedom by 10 notches to 97th among 177 countries and territories.

This was according to the editors of the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, jointly released by Washington D.C.-based The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.

Based on the latest annual index, the 19th since it first came out in 1995, the Philippines scored 58.2 out of 100 points.

Such score keeps the Philippines in the category of “mostly unfree” countries or those within the range of 50 points to 59.9 points.

“(The) score is 1.1 points higher than last year, with notable improvements in investment freedom and freedom from corruption outweighing a decline in business freedom,” the editors said in a statement.

They added that such score was below the global average of 59.6, but noted that the Philippines’ improvement provided contrast to the world’s 0.1 point gain.

“The global advance toward economic freedom has ground to a halt,” they said. “Since reaching a global peak in 2008, economic freedom has continued to stagnate.”

Even then, the editors observed an overall positive trend in 2012, with 91 countries improving their scores compared to 78 that declined.

As for the Philippines, they noted that the government has pursued a series of legislative reforms toward an improved business environment that encourages broader-based job growth.

Still, the editors said Philippine institutions needed “deeper commitment to reform.”

“Although the perceived level of corruption has declined in recent years, more effective anti-corruption measures need to be institutionalized,” they said.

“The inefficient judiciary remains susceptible to political interference and does not provide strong and transparent enforcement of the law, undermining prospects for long-term economic development,” they added.

The index takes into account 10 criteria, including property rights, freedom in trade and financial freedom—of which the Philippines’ record showed no change from the previous year. This suggested a need for improvement in terms of market liberalization.

The country improved in terms of government spending, freedom from corruption, fiscal freedom and investment freedom.

However, the Philippines worsened in terms of business freedom and freedom in trade. This meant that the regulatory environment has become more inefficient.

Hong Kong remained the “freest” economy for the 19th time with 89.3 points. Mainland China placed 136th while Taiwan ranked 20th.

There were only four others in the league of “free” economies or those with scores of 80-100. These were Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland.

North Korea retained its bottom rank at 177th with 1.5 points, improving from the previous one point. It was among 32 other “repressed” countries, all scoring less than 50 points.

Real estate company lends hand in ‘Yolanda’ areas By Kristine Sabillo INQUIRER.net 4:23 pm | Tuesday, January 14th, 2014


BINGAWAN, Iloilo – A real estate company has rallied their employees to help in the rehabilitation of typhoon-devastated areas by doing what they do best – building homes.

Volunteers from Property Company of Friends, Inc. (PRO-FRIENDS), the developers of Lancaster New City in Cavite, went to Bingawan in Iloilo over the weekend to plan and start the rebuilding of houses destroyed by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” last November 8.

What is now considered the strongest storm of 2013 left at least 6,000 people dead and damaged more than a million houses in Eastern Visayas and nearby provinces, including Iloilo.

The PRO-FRIENDS management in Iloilo and its employees carefully planned the rebuilding of the houses in the province, in a bid to give residents much-needed help.

Among the beneficiaries was Rogelio Premalion, whose 7-year old wooden house was destroyed when a coconut tree fell on it at the height of the strong winds.

Premalion and his family were able to take cover in their house’s basement for three hours as the typhoon pummelled Visayas, killing thousands and washing out coastal communities.

After almost three hours of taking refuge and waiting for the wind and rain to weaken, Rogelio was able to carry his wife and son to safer ground. However, not much was left of his house. Gathering construction materials such as wood and plastic from the typhoon debris, he was able to build a makeshift house that served as their temporary shelter.

But Premalion, like many “Yolanda” victims, knew that his house will not be able to survive the next storm.

It was with open arms that residents welcomed PRO-FRIENDS after learning of their house rehabilitation project.

“Being a property developer, PRO-FRIENDS extended its help selflessly to the typhoon victims. The volunteers cheerfully joined hands in rebuilding the devastated house of the Premalions. Rogelio was too delighted to help with the volunteers and even provided snacks for them,” the company said in a statement.

The real estate company said the “Bayanihan” spirit showed the people of Bingawan that there was hope even after a big calamity.

It is their hope that the people of Bingawan and other typhoon-hit areas find inspiration in their fellow Filipinos to continue and move on with their lives.

Bingawan is one of the communities that PRO-FRIENDS have helped over the years. The property development company established a cooperative in the municipality to help people augment their income.

“Through this cooperative, many farmers were able to capitalize on their new-found livelihood and were able to sustain their everyday living. Many of these farmers’ children were able to finish school through the help of the established cooperative,” the group said.

“Over the years, PRO-FRIENDS remains steadfast in its commitment of creating communities and transforming lives,” it added.

PRO-FRIENDS is one of the country’s fastest growing real estate developers, known for the Lancaster New City and Bellefort Estates in Cavite and Parc Regency Residences in Iloilo. (advt)

The most premium residential building in the country By Tessa Prieto-Valdes Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:19 pm | Friday, January 10th, 2014


http://business.inquirer.net/files/2014/01/primea2.jpg
LUXURIOUSLY appointed Primea Junior Suite bedroom

With the new year upon us, many are exploring property investments that may result in optimum yields in the future. Makati City is still the prime area to invest in being one of the most cosmopolitan districts in the country.

Just a smidgen away from completion is Discovery Primea (www.discoveryprimea.com), the 68-story residential tower that is currently one of the tallest buildings in the country, and located right in the heart of Ayala Avenue.

Discovery Primea stands on the site of what used to be the Gilarmi Apartments across the famed Rustan’s Department Store. The Gilarmi Apartments date back to the ’60s, and were demolished a decade ago.

Enter Discovery Primea. The top floor was topped out last year, signaling the completion of the construction stage of Discovery Primea Tower. JTKC Land is the owner/developer of the 68-story tower. The company is owned by John Tiu Ka Cho, a Filipino-Chinese taipan with wide-ranging investments, including hotels and resorts, such as Discovery Suites, real estate, manufacturing, steel and financial services, such as Sterling Bank of Asia, and the iRemit remittance service.

Discovery Primea is Tiu’s magnum opus. The tower features serviced apartments, signature residences, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, luxury spa, 24-hour concierge, in-house clinic and executive valet for its residents and guests. This development will be the most premium residential building in the country, bar none.

As the flagship development of the Discovery Group, Discovery Primea has just 90 luxury residences available, each at least 400 square meters in size. The first floors will have very upscale, boutique, serviced apartments with 141 suites—ranging from junior suites to two-bedroom suites.

Designed by renowned Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, the new hotel will offer well-appointed guest rooms, top-quality restaurants, meeting rooms, cigar bar, fitness center, spa, beauty salon, business center, chapel, pool bar, sundry and wellness clinic. Guest rooms will target international executives travelling to the Philippines, and the food and beverage outlets will target foodies from all over the Metro.

Intensive training of the Discovery Primea team is already underway to prepare the staff with the necessary skills and competencies that will bring forth a new breed of hospitality professionals. This level of service will be the same warm, thoughtful and world-class service that the Discovery brand is known for, perhaps best exemplified at the group’s famed Discovery Shores hotel in Boracay.

Jun Parreno, Discovery’s chief operating officer, is delighted with all the on-time development ongoing with Discovery Primea. He shared his excitement with me during his birthday party at Discovery Suites, where he celebrated his 50th birthday with an intimate group of family and friends.

It was Jun who first brought the Discovery brand to the consciousness of Filipino resort goers, when he managed Discovery Shores. With his hands-on expertise managing Discovery Primea, I am sure the Makati property will have exceptional “service with a heart” as well.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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