Investment Archives

Nov 20, 2019 06:40 AM

President Duterte has ordered government agencies to hasten the development of special economic zones (ecozones) in rural areas and halt the approvals of ecozones in Metro Manila.

Duterte made the order through his Administrative Order (AO) No. 18 signed on June 17.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (KIWI BULACLAC / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Based on the AO, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), along with other government agencies, is ordered to hasten human capital and infrastructure development in rural areas.

“There is a need to promote rural development, ensure inclusive growth in the countryside, and create robust economic activity and wealth generation in areas outside Metro Manila,” the AO read.

The PEZA; the departments of Information and Communications and Information Technology (DICT), Trade and Industry (DTI), Transportation (DOTr), and Public Works and Highways (DPWH); and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) are also directed to provide interventions to strengthen ecozones in the countryside, and ensure the development of backward and forward linkages of industries in and around such ecozones.

However, the PEZA, under the order, will no longer accept, process, or evaluate applications for the establishment of ecozones in Metro Manila until such moratorium is lifted.

The moratorium, however, shall not prevent locator companies from commencing their operations on existing ecozones in Metro Manila.

The AO also states that applications endorsed by PEZA already submitted to the Office of the President (OP) will not be covered by the moratorium as long as these applications are found to have sufficient documents.

Other applications with insufficient documents are not covered by the moratorium as long as PEZA was notified by the OP of the said deficiencies and PEZA has addressed them within 30 days from the effectivity of Duterte’s order.

However, the AO states that the exclusion of an application from the moratorium shall not be construed as a guarantee that the same will be granted.

The said order will take effect immediately after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

Source: http://www.news.mb.com.ph/

Nov 20, 2019 03:55 AM

One of the oldest stock brokerage firms in the country ceased operations earlier this week after its owners uncovered a long-running scam by a “trusted employee” that resulted in almost the entire investors of clients’ shares held by the firm being wiped out.

The company—50-year-old R&L Investments Inc. based in Mandaluyong City, and a member of good standing of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE)—saw “over P700 million worth of its inventory of stocks” stolen by its settlement clerk, who was apprehended by police operatives and had since confessed to the crime, according to various market sources.

The Inquirer obtained a copy of the letter of R&L Investments’ owner, Lucy Linda Lee, to PSE director Alejandro Yu narrating the details of the theft by the firm’s employee, Marlo Moron, who allegedly began dipping his hands into the firm’s stock inventory in small amounts in 2011—with the amounts gradually increasing as he was emboldened over the years.

“Almost all our stock position had been depleted,” Lee said in her report to the PSE where she also disclosed that the firm had decided to stop trading operations starting last Monday, Nov. 4, to mitigate the damage.

At the end of 2018, R&L Investments held P765 million worth of stocks on behalf of its clients, according to its audited financial statements.

According to various sources, the scam was discovered in the days leading up to the long All Saints’ Day weekend when the company was found to be short of P3 million worth of stocks at the end of the trading day.

As the hours progressed, and amid a mad scramble to borrow shares to cover this shortfall, it was gradually discovered that the value of missing stocks had ballooned to P300 million, and eventually to almost its entire inventory after a more thorough internal audit.

The scam remained undetected over the years because the settlement clerk was the same person who was in charge of preparing the daily stock position reports for the owners—reports which he confessed to doctoring in a separate handwritten confession seen by the Inquirer.

Moron, who was confronted by R&L Investments’ owners on Nov. 1, said he had started stealing from the firm in small amounts eight years ago, transferring the shares to another account under the name of one Julieta Sulapas with another stockbroker, Venture Securities. From there, 3 percent was paid to Sulapas’ account with Union Bank of the Philippines, and the balance being transferred back to Moron for his disposal.

Moron claimed to have acted alone, and said he was forced to steal in larger amounts over time because of a growing casino habit (“Nalulong din po sa casino”). The R&L employee also executed a promissory note endeavoring to return all that he had stolen, while maintaining that there were no cash or securities left for him to return.

In her letter to the bourse, Lee said the firm had been advised to “make good” on all its deliverables “so as not to create a problem with the PSE.”

“Since these transactions are legitimate in nature, we shall abide, and borrow from other brokers if need be, or buy it back in order to deliver,” she said. “This is a very unfortunate event, considering that R&L Investments just celebrated its 50th year of being a stock broker.”

Bourse sources told the Inquirer that the firm’s owners had committed to sell personal assets like real estate, houses and other valuables to honor their obligations to their clients.

Source: http://www.business.inquirer.net/

Nov 20, 2019 03:52 AM

Reference Number: 2019-187
Release Date: November 7, 2019
GDPGross Domestic Product (GDP) grew year-on-year by 6.2 percent in the third quarter of 2019.

Trade and Repair of Motor Vehicles, Motorcycles, Personal and Household Goods; Construction; and Financial Intermediation were the main drivers of growth for the quarter.

Among the major economic sectors, Services posted the fastest growth with 6.9 percent. Industry grew by 5.6 percent. Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing registered a growth of 3.1 percent.

Net Primary Income (NPI) from the rest of the world and Gross National Income (GNI) had corresponding growths of 2.9 percent and 5.6 percent.

With the country’s projected population reaching 108.3 million in the third quarter of 2019, per capita GDP grew by 4.5 percent. Meanwhile, per capita GNI and per capita Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HFCE) posted a growth of 4.0 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.

CLAIRE DENNIS S. MAPA
Undersecretary
National Statistician and Civil Registrar General

Source: http://psa.gov.ph/

Aug 08, 2019 09:00 AM

MANILA — The Monetary Board announced on Thursday that it has approved the risk management guidelines on investment activities of banks and quasi-banks (QBs) in its July 11 meeting.

In a statement, the Board said the guidelines aim to set out the regulatory expectations in managing risks arising from investment activities considering the exposures of banks/QBs to a wide range of instruments, which include bonds issued by emerging economies, complex structured products, and other tradable assets.

The issuance emphasizes the need to conduct an appropriate due diligence prior to making an investment and on an ongoing basis.
The conduct of due diligence reviews for new plain vanilla instruments acquired for trading or short-term profit taking (i.e., to be held in the trading book) may be made at the option of the bank/QB, as long as the resulting positions from the investments are still within the set limits.

The new guidelines likewise take into account the lessons learned during the 2008 financial crisis and the relevant guidance set out in the Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision. Specifically, these require a bank/QB with significant holdings of securities issued outside the country to assess whether its capital is sufficient to cover the risks arising from the possibility that the relevant foreign government may impose currency conversion restrictions.

Cognizant of the fact that the BSFIs have different structures, complexities, and ranges of investment activities, the guidelines are meant to be applied proportionately depending on the profile of the bank/QB and its investments. (PR)

Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/

Aug 08, 2019 08:59 AM

MANILA – The Philippines’ financial and capital market, despite being smaller compared to some counterparts in Asia, has a bright future thanks in part to government’s continued push for its development.

Earlier, Pru Life UK President and Chief Executive Officer Antonio de Rosas said opinions about the “too shallow” equities and bond markets of the Philippines are backed by facts.

He said the domestic capital market “does not really offer enough diversity in terms of managing the risks of clients”, thus, if big fund managers enter the domestic environment, they are immediately faced with limitations.

He said that a USD1 billion investment, while considered very substantial in the country, is but a drop in the bucket by global standards today.

He, however, remains optimistic since the domestic economy continues to post strong growth.

Listed companies have been raising record-high offerings in recent years and investors are hailing this, attributing it to improvement of the domestic economy and risk-taking attitude of domestic investors.

Relatively, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that assessing diversity depends “on whether we are referring to institutional or individual/retail investors.”

She explained that “on the institutional side, there are efforts from the government in trying to develop the capital market” and “on the retail side, it’s a matter of creating awareness as to the different investment options that are available to individual investors.”

“This is also where financial education programs can be of value and where partnerships between the public (government agencies) and private sector can play an important role,” she pointed out.

Asked when she thinks the country’s domestic market will be at par with its counterparts in the region, Fonacier said this “would depend on how effective the roadmap will be implemented.”

She said the government is committed to achieving developments in the capital market.

She added that Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III even heads the Capital Market Development Council (CMDC), which is tasked to “push for the capital market development framework.”

Also, Dominguez said the CMDC, which is co-chaired by the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX), along with other regulatory agencies and market participants have agreed to pursue short-term and medium-term measures within a four-year term ending in 2022.

He said these measures are targeted to “foster depth and liquidity in the Philippine capital to support the financing of growth-enhancing and job creating projects of both private and public sectors.”

He noted that Package 4 of the Duterte administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) supports the capital market development.

This particular tax reform package is aimed at redesigning “taxation on financial sector intermediation into fairer, simpler and more efficient system,” he said.

Finance officials have said that there are about 80 types of taxes for financial investments and deposits, among others, in the country and Package 4 of the CTRP is targeted to simplify the taxes and cut these to just around 40.

Dominguez said strategic reforms identified in the blueprint for capital market development include the formulation of “new products and services to promote diversification in the debt and equity capital markets, support of market-making activities to increase liquidity in the secondary market, enhanced financial market infrastructures to achieve more reliable price discovery process, implement further improvements in regulatory approaches to protect investor interests and integration of technological innovations with current systems and processes to improve market accessibility.”

Innovations on the over-all enhancements of market liquidity, stable government security prices and increased bank and corporate issuances are continuously being achieved with the help of the BSP, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), he said.

“The launch of BTr’s Retail Treasury Bond online ordering platform promotes financial inclusion and taps unserved segment of society as it opened direct participation of retail customers including Overseas Filipinos,” he added.

He is referring to the online platform that BTr used when it offered retail treasury bond (RTB) in February this year.

The online platform allowed account holders of state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to directly place RTB orders to the BTr instead of coursing it through their banks just like in the practice in the past.

The impact of these improvements is now being experienced.

Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Cezar P. Consing noted that although the domestic capital market is still relatively small “it’s deeper now than it was three or four years ago.”

He said size and volume of the deals that are being offered now “are getting quite bigger and bigger.”

He, however, admitted that “when you add it and look at it as the size of GDP (gross domestic product) and you compare to other countries in the region it is still quite small.”

“But again, we will get to the point when we are comparable,” he stressed.

Asked when this could possibly happen, the BPI chief said: “I think in a few years.”

He explained that “the thing that excites me is in the last couple of years investment as a percentage of GDP in the Philippines is beginning to approximate the ASEAN average.”

He said investments in the past “have always been lower” because domestic growth is led by consumption.

“Now with investments beginning to approximate the ASEAN average the quality of growth is a lot better. So that is what excites me,” he said.

“I think it is just a function of time before our metric will begin to look like the other countries,” he added. (PNA)

Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/

Aug 08, 2019 08:58 AM

MANILA — Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, along with high-ranking officials of four other government agencies, signed Wednesday a new and enhanced memorandum of agreement (MOA) aimed at improving the ease of doing business in the country by facilitating the early resolution of complaints and other concerns raised by investors, the Department of Finance (DOF) announced in a statement.

The new Investment Promotions Unit (IPU) Network (Net) MOA inked on Wednesday commits 36 government agencies to efficiently and swiftly resolve issues raised by investors to avoid delays in the processing of business registrations, permits and licenses, among other concerns, in line with the Duterte administration’s goal to cut red tape and make the Philippines more attractive to investors.

With the new MOA in place, the delivery of frontline government services, especially the processing of business transactions, will be monitored by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to ensure that any delays are addressed immediately in compliance with Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act.

Under RA 11032, simple business transactions should be processed within three days, complex processes within seven days and highly technical ones within 20 days.

Signed at the DOF office in Manila, this new MOA states that IPU Net should act on investment issues and concerns within 72 hours from the receipt of the complaint or query, but not later than 15 days, as prescribed under the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

It also aims to promote the use of the One Window Network (OWN) of the Bureau of Investments (BOI) and other online facilitation systems available in other government agencies in fast-tracking the submission of investment-related issues, concerns, and queries.

OWN is a cloud-based web portal and mobile application that offers online facilitation of investors’ pre-investment and post investment queries and concerns.

The new IPU Net MOA also covers pre-investment and post-investment assistance and services to investors to support the retention and expansion of their projects.

Aside from Dominguez, the other signatories to the new IPU Net MOA were Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay, Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Bureau of Local Government Finance executive director Niño Alvina and Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Emilio Aquino.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez witnessed the signing of the IPU Net MOA, which was earlier signed by the heads of the other concerned government agencies.

BOI Investment Assistance Service director Bobby Fondevilla said the IPU Network has been processing queries and concerns, mostly from investors under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

An IPU Network MOA was first signed on April 25, 2007 among the BOI and 26 other government agencies. (PR)

Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/

Feb 22, 2019 07:11 AM

Eliseo Rio Jr. may remain as the acting chief of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) at least through June.

A source with knowledge on the matter told The Manila Times Rio, a retired military general, might keep his position “until end of June” or longer, as President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to appoint a new DICT chief.

Although Duterte in November nominated Sen. Gregorio Honasan 2nd for the DICT post, the Commission on Appointment failed to confirm him last year, which means Honasan’s status was “bypassed” and needs to be reappointed by the President.

Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd previously said Honasan would assume the DICT leadership before 2018 ended, or by early 2019.
However, the timing as well as issues involving the Constitution might not allow Honasan to get the position from Rio anytime soon, the source said over the weekend.

According to Article 6, Section 13 of the 1987 Constitution, no senator or member of the House of Representatives must be appointed “to any office which may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected.”

Honasan, a retired Army officer, was already a senator when the law creating the DICT was signed on May 23, 2016. His second six-year tenure at the Senate would end in June.

Another order blocking the potential appointment of a new DICT chief is the Commission on Elections Resolution 10429 under the Omnibus Election Code, where so-called “midnight appointments,” or “appointment or hiring of new employees, creation or filling up of new positions …” are prohibited during March 29 to May 12, 2019. The election period kicked off on January 13.

Given those, the source said there was no certainty yet as to who would be appointed as the next DICT chief.

Even Sotto, himself, on January 10 hinted a possibility that Honasan might be appointed to a different department.

Rio, who has been leading the current administration’s third telcocommunications initiative, told The Times in December that if Honasan were to replace him, he could “work well” with the legislator, as the latter expressed support for the department’s current projects, including free WiFi internet access in public places, national broadband plan and common tower policy, among others.

The government official served as DICT undersecretary before the President named him in May 2018 as acting chief of the agency.

Source: /www.manilatimes.net

Feb 22, 2019 07:11 AM

THE stock market fell on Friday, closing out a volatile year that saw it hit a record high in January but then succumb to factors ranging from rising inflation and a weaker peso to the US-China trade war, among others.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) fell by 0.22 percent or 16.64 points to close at 7,466.02 while the broader All Shares inched up 0.08 percent or 3.72 points to 4,517.85.

Friday’s finish marked a 12.76-percent drop from the start of 2018 and was also a 17.6-percent plunge from the 9,058.62 peak recorded on January 29. It was the PSEi’s first annual loss since 2016.

“It is human nature to want a perfect ending to a story. But looking at the stock market’s performance, it may not be as good as what most hoped for, but it is also not as bad as some feared,” PSE Chairman Jose Pardo said in a statement.

Wall Street a factor

Regina Capital Development Corp. head of sales Luis Limlingan attributed Friday’s drop to profit-taking and said sentiment was also weighed down by volatility on Wall Street.

US markets looked set to close in the red on Thursday in a see-saw session but a late comeback allowed the Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to end up for a second straight day.

P2P Trade Online sales associate Gabriel Jose Perez, meanwhile, pointed to net foreign selling as having weighed on the PSEi.

Foreign funds bought P2.76 billion issues and sold P2.96 billion for a net foreign selling position of P198 million.

“Things to watch out for once we resume trading next Wednesday should be first how US markets perform over the long break — more so with how volatile trading has been recently,” Perez said.

“December inflation is also set to come out next Friday, so that’s something we should watch out for. A figure at the lower end of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ recently released 5.2-6.0 percent range could give strength again to the index,” he added.

Regional markets were mixed as investors greeted Wall Street’s rally with caution. Tokyo fell by 0.31 percent while Hong Kong and Shanghai rose by 0.10 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

In Manila, sectoral results were mixed with the property, services, and financials the only gainers.

More than 1.29 billion issues valued at P5.66 billion were traded.

Winners led losers, 119 to 81, while 48 issues were unchanged.

Prospects for 2019

Looking ahead, Timson Securities Inc. trader Jervin de Celis said the market could climb back to the 9,000 level should local corporate earnings and the economy improve.

The same factors behind this year’s volatile trading — the US-China trade war, US Federal Reserve rate hikes and domestic inflation — are still expected to continue influencing the market.

“The trade rift between the two economies (China and the US) has to improve to restore investors’ confidence in risky assets like stocks. If they come to a win-win agreement early next year it will buoy the market sentiment,” de Celis said.

“On the other hand, if the talks on trade do not go well, it might further slow down the Chinese economy and this may dampen the market sentiment in the short run,” he added.

The US Fed’s announcement that it will likely hike rates by only two times next year instead of three, de Celis continued, will help attract foreign funds back to emerging markets such as the Philippines.

“We may see a comeback of foreign investors,” he said.

Consumer spending, meanwhile, is expected to pick up in the second quarter amid mid-term election spending.

“The scary possibility in 2019 is an inverted yield curve in the US, which may signal or cause a recession,” de Celis also said.

“It’ll send rippling effects across financial markets and may drag our index below 7,000 again but if our economy remains resilient then the bright side of that story is that foreign funds may flow back into our index especially when the Fed decides to implement expansionary monetary policies to stimulate the economy,” he added.

For Regina Capital’s Limlingan, the PSEi could be boosted by the mid-term elections, lower inflation, continued crude oil price drops and a stable monetary policy.

Challenges could arise from developments in the US-China trade war, a widening trade deficit that could lead to a further depreciation of the peso, and a deceleration in global growth.

Source: www.manilatimes.net/

Feb 22, 2019 07:10 AM

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) posted a 6.1 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, resulting in the 6.2 percent full-year growth for 2018.

The main drivers of growth for the quarter were Construction; Trade and Repair of Motor Vehicles, Motorcycles, Personal and Household Goods; and Other Services.

Among the major economic sectors during the fourth quarter of 2018, Industry had the fastest growth, with 6.9 percent. This was followed by Services, which grew by 6.3 percent, and Agriculture, by 1.7 percent.

Net Primary Income (NPI) grew by 0.9 percent.  As a result, Gross National Income (GNI) posted a growth of 5.2 percent. On an annual basis, GNI grew by 5.8 percent, while NPI’s growth is at 3.7 percent.

With the country’s projected population reaching 107.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, per capita GDP and per capita GNI grew by 4.4 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, per capita Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HFCE) grew by 3.8 percent.

Source: www.psa.gov.ph/

Jul 03, 2018 10:29 AM

Philippine economy grows 6.8% in 1Q 2018
The Philippine economy grew by 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

Jul 03, 2018 07:32 AM

MANILA — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) announced that it will hold public consultations on its draft terms of reference (TOR) for the entry of a new telecommunications player on July 6, 2018.

In an advisory to media Monday, the DICT said that the consultations will be held on Friday morning at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Galleria in Ortigas Center, Quezon City.

“Two versions of draft Terms of Reference (ToR) published in the DICT website will be presented: (1) using the Highest Committed Level of Service (HCLOS) formula; and (2) using auction as mode of selecting the New Major Player. Output of this consultation shall be a significant contribution to the DICT and the Oversight Committee,” the DICT said.

The DICT has released last Thursday its proposed guidelines on the auction of frequency spectrums under a second set of draft guidelines for the selection of the third major telco player.

According to the guidelines, a bidder that will offer the highest annual capital and operating expenditure for a 5-year commitment period shall be selected as the new major telco player. The new telco player shall be subject to the applicable spectrum user fees pursuant to prevailing rules and regulations after the said period. Participants should have a minimum bid amount of PHP 36.58 billion.

The newer guideline is an alternative to the earlier terms of reference dated June 26, which used the Highest Committed Level of Service (HCLoS) as basis for the selection of a new telco player.

A third telco player should have an annual capital and operating expenditures worth PHP40 billion, must have coverage of at least 30 percent of the national population and a minimum average broadband speed of 5 Mbps according to the earlier guidelines.

The criteria for the selection were set as follows: 40 percent for national population coverage, 20 percent for minimum average broadband speed and 40 percent for annual capital and operating expenditure over a five year commitment period.

The latest draft of the guidelines was made in accordance with the preference of the Department of Finance (DOF) for an auction of the frequencies that will be assigned to a third telco player.

The DOF is a member of an oversight committee to assist the NTC in the formulation of the guidelines for the selection and assignment of radio frequencies for the entry of new telco player. The committee is composed of the DICT secretary as chairperson; Finance secretary as vice chairperson, Office of the Executive Secretary and the National Security Adviser.

The DICT has earlier expressed opposition to the auctioning of frequencies as this will force a new player to put up a huge amount to qualify for the bidding process, which is not related to the setting up telecommunication facilities and improvement of services.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has said that a third telco player needs to have at least PHP 200 billion to compete with existing telco giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. (PNA)

Source: www.pna.gov.ph

Feb 20, 2018 02:29 AM

Philippine economy grows 6.6% in 4Q 2017; 6.7% in 2017

Nov 22, 2017 08:32 AM

Reference Number: 2017-139
Release Date: November 16, 2017

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 6.9 percent in the third quarter of 2017. Manufacturing, Trade, and Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities were the main drivers of growth for the quarter.

Among the major economic sectors, Industry recorded the fastest growth of 7.5 percent followed by Services with 7.1 percent growth. Meanwhile, Agriculture slowed down by 2.5 percent from 3.0 percent growth in the previous year.

Net Primary Income from the Rest of the World (NPI) grew by 5.7 percent compared with the 4.1 percent growth recorded in the same quarter of the previous year. As a result, Gross National Income (GNI) posted a growth of 6.7 percent.

With the country’s projected population reaching 104.9 million in the third quarter of 2017, per capita GDP grew by 5.4 percent. Meanwhile per capita GNI and per capita Household Final Consumption Expenditure grew by 5.2 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.

LISA GRACE S. BERSALES, Ph.D.
Undersecretary
National Statistician and Civil Registrar General

Source: psa.gov.ph

Oct 03, 2017 11:27 AM

Updated October 1, 2017, 8:28 AM

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector started to see the need to heighten efforts to address the possible impact of what is described as “disruptive technological headwinds” — such as artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and robotics — to the industry’s Filipino workforce.

This, while the sector is now projected to only grow by 9 percent annually starting this year until 2022 in terms of revenues, which is slower than the “mid-teen” growth it experienced in previous years.

Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) President Rey Untal said that with the “looming threat of AI and automation” to the BPO sector, their organization decided to elevate the discussion on this issue during the upcoming 9th International IT-BPM Summit in October.

“Many experts are predicting that the workforce is in danger of being replaced by automation but that is simply not the case. What is often overlooked about automation is that while it is expected to impact certain jobs in the sector, this will also enable the IT-BPM Industry to move up the value chain, resulting in an increase in mid-skilled jobs and high skilled services,” Untal said in a briefing on Wednesday held in Makati.

“That is why it is important for us to continue the conversation at the Summit, where we have experts flying in from all over the globe to discuss the impact of technology and the future of the industry in great deal,” he added.

A data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that new investment pledges in the IT-BPM sector actually went down by 34 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, while investment commitments in BPO sector alone particularly slid from R6.27 billion to R4.9 billion from April to June period.

Jojo Uligan, Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) President, said the industry wants to answer all the issues affecting the industry, especially on the concerns regarding AI and automation.

To date, call center operations represent 67 percent of this industry.

“We need to protect our industry and workers. We’ve been talking about this for awhile. Our success in this industry is our people. We have to make sure that we protect them, make them stay relevant, and educate them. Yes, the industry would feel certain impacts but what we are focusing on are the opportunities,” Uligan also told reporters.

Meanwhile, officials of real estate services firm Santos Knight Frank shared a rather different outlook on the BPO sector.

While the popular sentiment is that the sector will slightly retrieve — eventually paving the way for online gaming sector to emerge as the top taker of office spaces in the country — moving forward, the multinational company said the office space demand from the BPO sector will actually even grow faster than usual.

For one, Santos Knight Frank Senior Director for Research and Consultancy Jan Custodio doesn’t believe that online gaming sector, even if it’s starting to grow a bit faster now, can outshine BPO in terms of office space take-up.

“We are not seeing a slowdown in the BPO sector any time soon. Online gaming will just augment the growth in the office sector. We are not worried about online gaming growing too fast,” Custodio said in a different press briefing also held yesterday.

“We have a different position from IBPAP and other service providers… We believe the BPO sector will continue to grow in the future,” he added.

To recall, Real estate expert David Leechiu said earlier this week that as the slowdown of inflow of BPO investments in the country becomes more apparent, online gaming is now seen as a potential saving grace for the real estate sector as it is projected to take up the demand for office spaces.

Source: business.mb.com.ph

Aug 22, 2017 09:07 AM


The Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board on Monday announced suspension of the accreditation of ridesharing company Uber for one month.

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 7:50 p.m.)
— The Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board on Monday announced suspension of the accreditation of ridesharing company Uber for one month.

The LTFRB also ordered the company to cease and desist operations of its online booking application, which allows users to book rides on their smartphones.

The board said the order is effective immediately.

“In an order dated 14 August 2017, the board meted out the penalty of one month suspension on the accreditation of Uber System, Inc. and was ordered to cease and desist its operation of their online booking application during the period of suspension,” LTFRB said in its advisory.

“The board strongly recommended to respondent Uber to extend financial assistance to its affected peer-operators during the period of suspension as an expression of good faith as their accredited peer-operators would not have suffered current predicament were it not for the predatory actions of respondent Uber,” it added.

LTFRB said the following agencies were given copies of the order for enforcement: Metro Manila Development Authority, Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group, and Land Transportation Office.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

In July, the LTFRB directed ridesharing companies Uber and Grab to stop the operations of transport network vehicle services drivers who do not have the required certificates of public convenience (CPCs) or provisional authorities that grant them franchises to operate.

The board said the order would become executory on July 26.

However, this directive earned negative criticims from both drivers and the riding public.

Both Uber and Grab earlier admitted they continued accepting drivers into their platforms despite the LTFRB’s directives.

Source: www.philstar.com

Aug 22, 2017 08:59 AM

Reference Number: 2017-099
Release Date: Thursday, August 17, 2017

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 6.5 percent in the second quarter of 2017 and 6.4 percent in the first half of the year. Manufacturing, Trade, and Real Estate, Renting and Business Activities were the main drivers of growth for the quarter.

Among the major economic sectors, Industry recorded the fastest growth at 7.3 percent. Services slowed down to 6.1 percent compared with its 8.2 percent growth posted in the same quarter of the previous year. Meanwhile, Agriculture recovered with 6.3 percent growth from 2.0 percent decline in the previous year.

Net Primary Income from the Rest of the World (NPI) grew by 8.6 percent compared with the 6.1 percent growth recorded in the same quarter of the previous year. As a result, Gross National Income (GNI) posted a growth of 6.8 percent.

With the country’s projected population reaching 104.5 million in the second quarter of 2017, per capita GDP grew by 5.0 percent. Meanwhile per capita GNI and per capita Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HFCE) grew by 5.3 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.

LISA GRACE S. BERSALES, Ph.D.
Undersecretary
National Statistician and Civil Registrar General

Source: psa.gov.ph

Aug 01, 2017 06:14 AM

By Robert ”Bob” Reyes


Presidential Spokeperson Ernesto Abella with DICT Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima, MMDA Chairman Danny Lim, with stakeholdeers of the EDSA Wi-Fi Project. Globe Telecom Inc. and PLDT Inc. support the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the EDSA Wi-Fi project, providing high-speed Internet in the stations of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) and along the stretch of EDSA. The free Wi-Fi project will cater to the estimated 500,000 riders of the MRT and passengers of the more than 300,000 vehicles that ply EDSA every day.

On the occasion of our country’s 119th Independence Day celebration last Monday, the Department of Information and Communications Technology led the inauguration of the “EDSA WiFi” project for commuters along EDSA. The project is in line with DICT’s mandate to foster connectivity and improve public access to the Internet. The department also said that they wish to promote telecommuting to boost productivity while stuck in traffic or waiting for the next train to arrive.

The EDSA WiFi will make high-speed Internet connectivity available at street level throughout the whole 24-kilometer stretch of Metro Manila’s thoroughfare. The project includes all 13 stations of the MRT Line 3, from Taft Avenue in Pasay City to North Avenue in Quezon City. To ensure the availability and resilience of the free public WiFi service, the DICT has tapped the facilities of the country’s largest ISP’s: PLDT and Globe Telecom.

ultimate guide to the esda free wifi1

“This public WiFi offering is a gift to the people of this free nation. We work to give Filipinos access to the information and technology that they need in their daily live. EDSA WiFi will benefit the hundreds of thousands of commuters along EDSA daily,” said DICT Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima during the launch ceremonies held at the MRT3 Shaw Boulevard Station.

But, even before the official launch of the EDSA WiFi project last Monday, different press releases from the two major telcos have been circulating the interwebs. This created some sort of confusion to some, as different Internet speeds, data cap and number of free minutes had been reported.

The table shown serves as an ultimate guide for the first phase of the EDSA WiFi project. There are three available APN’s for the general public to connect with. Both Smart and Globe are time-based without data cap, while the DICT connection gives the unlimited number of minutes but only up to 100MB of data bandwidth allocated per user (device) daily. So, it is possible for one to use the Smart APN first (for example), then once the 30 minutes allocation is done, he/she may connect with the Globe APN. Once the Globe APN connection is also maxed out, one may opt to use the DICT APN and enjoy 100MB of data connection via WiFi for free.

*The Smart WiFi service lets you extend your free 30-minute session per day by purchasing Smart WiFi load from partner retailers or by converting your Smart, Sun, or TNT load to Smart WiFi minutes using WIFI10, WIFI20 or WIFI50 keywords sent to 99912.

ultimate guide to the esda free wifi3

** Globe/TM customers and other networks can avail of a GoWiFi Promo to continue their browsing by connecting to a @GoWiFi_Auto APN once the free minutes are up. Service can be paid using prepaid load, charged to a postpaid bill, credit card or via the Request-a-Fi feature. GoWiFi Auto currently gives a FREE 3-day trial period for new service users, valid until 31 August 2017.

The first stage of the EDSA WiFi project will cover all 13 MRT3 Stations and the continuous stretch of EDSA from Guadalupe to Cubao at street level. The second stage will cover EDSA from Cubao to North Avenue and from Guadalupe to Taft Avenue, which will be operational before the President’s SONA on July 24th.

I will conduct a station-by-station internet speed test in the coming days.

Source: technology.mb.com.ph

Aug 01, 2017 06:03 AM

‘Colorum’ transport network vehicles under Grab and Uber were given the chance to operate and charge their passengers until December this year as transport officials have yet to come up with improved policies on regulating the ride-sharing industry.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) member and spokesperson Aileen Lizada said they aim to release before the end of 2017 the revised guidelines on regulating the operations of transport network companies (TNCs) and transport network vehicles services (TNVS).

“It can be by revising the DOTR (Department of Transportation) order, it can be also how to treat the TNCs. We will propose it before Congress,” Lizada said.

She clarified that in the absence of such an order, no apprehensions will be conducted against TNVS units that are operating without franchises.

The LTFRB was supposed to start its crackdown on colorum TNVS after it ordered Grab and Uber to stop deploying unaccredited operators into the roads.

“We ordered them to deactivate all those without franchise, but since they filed their MRs (motions for reconsideration), we had to treat them first,” Lizada said.

The LTFRB has yet to release its decision on the appeals by Grab and Uber last July 20.

A tecnhical working group (TWG) composed of the DOTr, LTFRB officials, and representatives of Grab and Uber, was to meet Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issues on the ride-sharing transport sector.

Lizada said they will put a cap on the number of the TNVS that can operate and charge passengers.

“We need to address how many (drivers) are active in a day. How many are online and what time?…At the end of all the tecnhical working group (meetings), we will have the numbers,” she said.

According to Lizada, only around 14,000 TNVS are actually allowed to operate. They include the 3,700 which were given franchises and the more than 10,000 whose applications are still pending.

Lizada said only Grab as of press time had submitted its list of active operators as of June 30. She said they are still waiting for Uber to give them the data of its 28,000 operators.

The LTFRB official said they will also tackle in their meeting Grab’s and Uber’s business model which had already been violated.

“It was supposed to be a ride-sharing, meaning, the owner should be the driver. That the owner will share his vehicle to passengers. But we learned that this has become a business that an operator had 10 units. It should not be that way,” she said.

Lizada said they will consider suggestions from legislators to give Grab and Uber the franchise as operators for all the TNVS under their platforms.

Lizada asked for patience and understanding from the public and assured that they will address the issues with the TNCs

Source: news.mb.com.ph

Jun 07, 2017 04:47 AM

Reference Number: Q12017
Release Date: Thursday, May 18, 2017
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) posted a 6.4 percent growth in the first quarter of 2017. Manufacturing, Trade, and Other Services were the main drivers of growth for the quarter.

Among the major economic sectors, Services had the fastest growth of 6.8 percent. Industry decelerated to 6.1 percent as compared with the 9.3 percent growth recorded in the first quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, Agriculture recovered with 4.9 percent growth from a decline of 4.3 percent from the previous year.

Net Primary Income from the rest of the world (NPI) slowed down by 3.9 percent compared with the 9.4 percent growth recorded in the same quarter of the previous year. As a result, Gross National Income (GNI) posted a growth of 5.9 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, GDP and GNI grew quarter on quarter by 1.1 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively. Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing (AHFF) and Services rose by 1.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. Likewise, Industry expanded by 0.4 percent from the previous quarter.

With the country’s projected population reaching 104.1 million in the first quarter of 2017, per capita GDP grew by 4.9 percent. Meanwhile, per capita GNI and per capita Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HFCE) grew by 4.4 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.

LISA GRACE S. BERSALES, Ph.D.
National Statistician and Civil Registrar General

Source: psa.gov.ph

Feb 08, 2017 06:08 AM

 
CLICK THIS TO VIEW/DOWNLOAD PDF FILE