“This is certainly not Bush vs. Gore.”—Wisconsin’s chief elections administrator Mike Haas, on the first candidate-driven statewide recount of a presidential election in 16 years set to begin on Thursday in Wisconsin, a state that Donald J. Trump won by less than a percentage point over Hillary Clinton after polls long predicted a Clinton victory. AP
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“I said I would absolutely consider staying on.... I agreed to stay on.”— Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara, after his meeting with Trump on Wednesday, adding that Trump asked him to remain “presumably because he’s a New Yorker and is aware of the great work that our office has done.” Bharara, who was once lauded on the cover of Time magazine as the man who is “busting Wall Street,” has in the past few years set his sights on prosecuting more than a dozen state officeholders, including New York’s two most powerful lawmakers. And lately, he has hinted that there may be more prosecutorial surprises to come. AP
“He’s the only person...in the last 30 years in golf that any expectation you set, he’ll somehow prove to you that he can do better. But, I think, with this, I just hope that everyone gives him time. I hope he has the time to fall into a rhythm and just get enough tournaments where he can kind of build up that seeing the shots under competition, under the gun.”—Jordan Spieth, on Tiger Woods’s return to golf. Woods last played on August 23, 2015, when he closed with a 70 at the Wyndham Championship to fall out of contention and tie for 10th. Two back surgeries followed, leaving him so debilitated at times that he wondered if he would ever play. AP
BusinessMirror A broader look at today’s business
Friday, December 2, 2016 Vol. 12 No. 51
DA gives in to meat processors’ demands T
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By Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas
he Department of Agriculture (DA) has agreed to fast-track the issuance of import permits for meat processors after they complained about the department’s new rules, according to the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi).
We are willing to support the government to curb meat smuggling.” —Buencamino
Pampi said the decision of the DA to prioritize its 35 members in the revalidation of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPS-ICs) would avert any increases in the prices of canned goods. “Of course, [the setup of a green lane] for our members would surely avert the shortage of meat Continued on A2
Before his now-infamous US rants, Duterte hated ‘imperial Manila’ first
ec a des before President Duterte began ranting about US imperialism, he routinely blasted another conquering power motoring e2-E3 closer to home: Manila. Duterte’s disdain for entrenched tough wheels elites can be traced to his upbringfor off-roaders ing in Davao, the biggest city on the southern island of Mindanao, where insurgents have fought for more than 100 years against outside dominance by the Spanish, Americans, Japanese or governments in Manila. He felt that leaders in the faraway capital never did enough to atone for past atrocities and develop Mindanao, home to 11 of motoring e4 help the country’s 20 poorest provinces. “Years of Mindanao’s neglect is in excitement Duterte’s consciousness,” Danilo Dayanggalore in vios hirang, a Davao City councilor who has known the President for three decades, cup finale said in an interview last month. “People in Manila have a low regard for people in Mindanao, because their drivers and maids are from here. You can see the dismotoring e2-E3 crimination, and Duterte hates that.” That sense of injustice, impressed on
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INCLUSIVE GROWTH THEME TO GIVE WAY TO ’20 BY ‘22’ AGENDA
he government will be consolidating the recommendations culled from the series of publicprivate meetings since July, and translate them into a new “20 by ’22” socioeconomic agenda, with the theme “Malasakit at Pagbabago” (Care and Change). Undersecretary Gloria J. Mercado of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary said the administration’s original 10-point economic agenda will be combined with another 10-point list concentrating on social goals for the new 20 by’22 socioeconomic agenda. “There’s the 10-point economic agenda which we have now, plus the ‘10++’ social agenda that we got from a recent Davao summit. The harmonization of these is to put the two instruments together, and we want to call it 20 by ’22. These will be merged with the social agenda,” Mercado told the BusinessMirror. The additional 10-point agenda came from 25 public and private national summits, which were used by the Duterte administration to present to various sectors the existing 10-point economic agenda. “The list will encompass security, culture, education and so forth,” Mercado added. The undersecretary said this will still be presented to the Duterte Cabinet this December for approval. “The President wants it next year; he’s working on that already,” she said. The 20 by ’22 agenda will have the tentative title Malasakit at Pagbabago, which will replace former President Benigno S. Aquino III’s “Inclusive Growth” agenda. Catherine N. Pillas
Govt targets 1.2M new jobs annually By Catherine N. Pillas & David Cagahastian
President Duterte gestures as he attends the 80th anniversary of the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila. AP/Aaron Favila
his psyche after decades of public life in Davao, now threatens to upend US strategy in Asia. Since taking office at the end of June, Duterte has spooked markets with repeated outbursts aimed at the US—everything from scrapping joint patrols in the South China Sea to
insulting US President Barack Obama. International investors have pulled $366.58 million from Philippine stocks since Duterte was sworn in, and the peso has fallen 3.5 percent. The American Chamber of Commerce and other business groups in Manila have also warned
He government has upped the ante in its employmentgeneration program, now targeting to create 1.2 million jobs annually from 2017 to 2022. Achieving the target is not just about the robust outlook for key economic drivers, like infrastructure and manufacturing, but also the need to settle the lingering issue on how to end the so-called endo, or illegal contractualization. Labor Secretary Silvestro H. Bello III announced that Department Order (DO) 18-A, which governs the registration of contractors, will be amended or repealed before the end of the year. However, the government is not inclined to completely abolish all forms of contractualization, and will, instead, push for a “middle ground”, so both labor and management will be happy. “We will come up with a policy or guidelines that will be enforced by the department before the year ends. We will decide whether we will amend, revise, or repeal Department Order 18-A,” See “Govt,” A12
See “Duterte,” A2
n japan 0.4349 n UK 62.2434 n HK 6.4137 n CHINA 7.2257 n singapore 34.7104 n australia 36.7183 n EU 52.7318 n SAUDI arabia 13.2669
Source: BSP (1 December 2016 )
A2 Friday, December 2, 2016
DA gives in to meat processors’ demands Continued from A1
products,” Pampi Executive Director Francisco Buencamino told the BusinessMirror. “He [Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol] said he would put up an express lane for Pampi members and that we have to submit to the DA the list of our members,” Buencamino added. He said Pampi members will no longer have to go through the “tedious” process of revalidating their SPS-ICs. “If you’re a Pampi member, your documents would not be scrutinized meticulously because you’re considered a legitimate importer.” Earlier, Buencamino said delays in the release of their shipments would result in additional costs, such as fees for replugging
Duterte. . .
Continued from A1
that Duterte’s comments are creating unease. While Duterte said he would try to curb his tirades now that Donald Trump has been elected, the real-estate mogul was unlikely to have given the relationship much thought, said Gregory Poling, a Southeast Asia specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “I worry that their similar personalities but very different political leanings are a recipe for greater tension, not less,” Poling said. Duterte has made clear he intends to continue to push for his country to be less economically and militarily reliant on the US, which he accuses of hypocrisy in its criticism of his war on drugs. For now, China and Russia appear to be the beneficiaries. Duterte stated that it could be the three
of frozen-meat containers. The additional costs incurred by importers due to delays in the delivery of raw materials to factories are usually passed on to Filipino consumers, Buencamino said. “There were some containers that were held back. There are members who import just in time for their December operations, so we have to see what has been the effect of the one-week delay on some containers. We don’t have the final data,” he added. Piñol said the “green lane” is not only applicable to Pampi members but also other institutional importers, especially those importing perishable goods who have no record of engaging in smuggling. “They will still go through the usual
of them “against the world” on an October trip to Beijing, in which he took home investment promises worth $24 billion. “Historically, I have been identified with the Western world,” Duterte said during a November 20 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “It was good until it lasted. And of late, I see a lot of these Western nations bullying small nations.”
‘Fighting a monster’
In the Philippines Duterte uses similar language to describe elites in the capital. For decades, the nation has been led by powerful dynasties whose main assets are their wealth, family lineage, business connections and ties to the US, which controlled the Philippines as its territory for nearly 50 years until 1946. Duterte, whose father was a lawyer and mother a teacher, is the first president to hail from Mindanao.
procedures, but what we are saying is that the institutional importers should be given priority in the SPS-IC validation, especially if they don’t have any record of smuggling,” he told reporters in an interview on Thursday. The DA released on November 22 Memorandum Circular (MC) 5, which authorized the review of the validity of all SPS-ICs to curb smuggling, according to Piñol. MC 5 also ordered the creation of a group that would inspect all inbound shipments of agricultural goods and food before the Bureau of Customs (BOC) evaluates the tariffs for these shipments. Dubbed as the Agriculture and Fisheries Trade Facilitation Unit (AFTFU), it was created by the DA on Monday.
“Imperial Manila controls everything,” Duterte said in an August speech. He lambasted central government policies that had “allowed oligarchs to take control of mines” near his home in Davao City, adding: “I am fighting a monster.” Duterte said on Wednesday Mindanao, especially its Muslim regions, would be a priority for government assistance. Duterte was drawn into leftist politics during the late 1960s, during his time at university— where one of his teachers was the founder of the Philippine communist party. After graduating with a degree in law, he became a prosecutor in Davao City. He eventually became mayor, serving seven terms that spanned 22 years in office. Duterte earned the nicknames “Duterte Harry” and “The Punisher” with a no-nonsense approach to crime that foreshadowed the bloody tactics that would be used in his nationwide drug war, which
Piñol said, however, the DA will tweak their earlier proposal to inspect all shipments before the BOC evaluates the contents for tariffs. “We have a problem with that [AFTFU]. We cannot implement that because there’s no cold storage facilities within the Customs compound, therefore, we cannot open each container, because it might spoil the goods inside,” he said. “So, what will happen now is that we are just going to conduct a random checkup and follow the selected container up to the Customs-bonded warehouse for inspection,” Piñol added. The DA chief had assured consumers that the price and supply of holiday goods will be stable, despite the more stringent
has killed thousands of people. Duterte has always shown that he is willing to get nasty if he believes it is for the greater good, said Jesus G. Dureza, a member of Duterte’s inner circle who has been friends with him since high school. Dureza recalled a time when a gang leader from a rival school was disturbing neighbors. The young Duterte scaled the school wall, warned the gang leader to stay away and then punched him in the face. “He’s a very naughty soul,” Dureza said. “It’s only now that I look back and see that he had a tendency to be a punisher even in the early days.” Dureza said Duterte’s anti-US rhetoric is part of his push for an independent foreign policy and shouldn’t be taken literally. Despite his repeated attacks on the US, Duterte is yet to cancel any key agreements with the Americans. To illustrate his point, Dureza recalled how Duterte used to flirt
trade measures rolled out by the DA to stop the smuggling of agricultural products. Buencamino and his group lauded the efforts of the DA to stop smuggling, particularly technical smuggling. “The group hailed the efforts of the DA in the context of eliminating unscrupulous meat traders [during the meeting]. And we are willing to support the government to curb meat smuggling,” Buencamino said. “It was a very good meeting, all the problems raised were addressed,” he added. Pampi met with Piñol on Tuesday to discuss the problems with the implementation of the MC 5. During the meeting, Pampi proposed to Piñol the creation of the green lane for institutional importers.
with the canteen lady when they were high-school students. One day he told her: “Did you hear that plane circling on top of the school earlier? That was me practicing. If you don’t accept me as your boyfriend I will crash that plane toward the school.” As mayor, Duterte’s tactics also created controversy—including accusations from groups, such as Human Rights Watch, that his advocacy of extrajudicial killings had led to the deaths of more than 1,000 suspected criminals since the late 1990s. Duterte denies ordering any killings, though while campaigning for president he said he had helped kill at least three suspected rapist-kidnappers during a rescue operation in Davao in 1988. “I said ‘Put your hands up’. No one did, so I attacked,” he told a radio station. “His antielite attitude can be traced to hailing from the province and he may have had a difficult
time navigating an elite-driven Manila,” said Earl Parreno, an independent political analyst who sits on the board of Institute for Political and Electoral Reform. As an undergraduate at the San Beda College of Law in Manila, Parreno said, Duterte would often take on anyone who bullied other southerners like him. That sympathy for the disadvantaged was later reflected in some of his polices as mayor of Davao, and helps underpin a high popularity rating. In the 1980s Duterte dismantled the city’s antivice squad so sex workers could ply their trade without being harassed by policemen, as long as they submitted themselves to regular free health check-ups, according to Dayanghirang. Under Duterte’s leadership, the city passed an antidiscrimination ordinance and mandated that minorities make up at least 30 percent of the police force, he said. Bloomberg News
BusinessMirror Editor: Dionisio L. Pelayo • Friday, December 2, 2016 A3
Partly-list group calls for House investigation on US firms’ control of civil-registry system
By Marvyn N. Benaning | Correspondent
PARTY-LIST lawmaker on Thursday asked the House of Representatives to look into the P1.59-billion contract won by the US computer company Unisys for control of the civil-registry system of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate of Bayan Muna has filed House Resolution (HR) 592, urging the House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization to look into the deal that will be in effect for the next 12 years. Zarate noted that the Civil Registry System-Information Technology Project Phase 2 (ITCP2) deal between the PSA and the US-based Unisys Corp. will be the second contract for Unisys, which also won control of the first phase of the project from the defunct National Statistics Office (NSO). However, he said Unisys had committed gross violations of the contract provisions for the first phase of the project, as attested to by the Commission on Audit (COA) in its 2005 and 2015 reports. Zarate warned that with Unisys having “unbridled control” of the civil-registry system, the US government can easily have undiminished access to all civil documents of more than 100 million Filipinos. He said on October 3, Unisys executive Juan Ingersol Castro
and PSA Director General Lisa Grace Bersales signed the concession agreement for Phase 2 of the Civil Registry System-Information Technology Project (CRS-ITP 2), under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program. CRS-ITP 2 was still awarded to Unisys, despite the company’s contractual violations and failures during the project’s first phase, as reported by the COA in 2015, Zarate said. “The recent deal, in sheer disregard of the said audit, still proceeded with Unisys given again full control of all civil-registry documents nationwide and the government getting a mere 45.5 percent of the revenues,” Zarate said, while Unisys secured the rest despite the original provision of the contract that calls for the government to have 58.7percent share. “The COA, in its audit, castigated both the PSA [then the National Statistics Office] and Unisys for violating the original contract. It was stipulated in the original 12-year contract [CY 2000-2012] that Unisys shall transfer operations and control
of the civil-registry system to the PSA five years before the contract’s expiry in 2012, but Unisys did not abide. Perplexingly, the PSA did not even muster any initiative to take over controlling the civil-registry system, even failing to impose sanctions to Unisys despite the latter’s violation of its contractual obligations,” HR 592 said. “This seeming intention of Unisys not to hand over the civil-registry system was already evident in the early years of the project when the COA, in its 2004 Sectoral Audit of the CRS-ITP 1, observed that Unisys had not trained the PSA personnel to operate the system. Moreover, the PSA has neither possession nor took part in the monitoring of records on actual purchases and inventory of items to be turned over to the PSA. In fact, this isolation of the PSA from the implementation of the NSO Serbilis Centers eventually led to the anomalous contract extension of Unisys,” the resolution added. The same resolution stressed that “had the PSA taken over control of the country’s civil-registry system, the government would not have needed the rollout of CRS-ITP 2, thus saving government billions of pesos. Moreover, revenues would have been solely realized by the government.” Even worse, Resolution 592 argued, “the PSA, with their failure to sanction Unisys, even allowed the latter to secure two contract extensions that ran from 2012 up to 2015, apparently with the go-signal of a ‘higher authority’. The PSA, in its reply to the COA, did not name who specifically that ‘higher authority’
was. Clearly, this project was so lopsided in favor of Unisys, evident with the fact that Unisys was even the sole bidder of the project.” The resolution also argued that the COA itself had “raised apprehension over a foreign company having full and unbridled control over the country’s civil-registry system, as this would surely be compromising public interest and security. The COA, in its 2004 Sectoral Performance Audit of the Civil Registry System project, noted the government’s inadequacy of control to protect the interest of the government and the public.” Zarate also raised the possibility that “having foreign companies Unisys and PriceWaterhouseCoopers [which shall supervise the project] control the country’s civilregistry system would permit them to collect and retrieve stockpile of information about Filipino citizens and share the same with their other clients, such as various branches of the US armed services and, possibly, US intelligence agencies. Unisys is in a rolling contract with the US government for ClearPath defense systems that support US Air Force logistics and operations, such as missions in Syria. What is more alarming is that the PSA could not even disclose safeguarding measures to monitor how troves of information would be kept and managed by these foreign companies.” In conclusion, Resolution 592 said “it is imperative that the PSA finally take over the operations of the country’s civil-registry system, in compliance with the original contract and impose sanctions to Unisys for its violations therein.”
Police raises Terror Alert Level 3 nationwide By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr. Philippines News Agency
By Ashley Manabat | Correspondent @ashleymanabat
LARK FREEPORT—“If we will not act now, we will face a serious water crisis in less than 10 years.” Thus,said Renato S. Tayag Jr., founding chairman of the Capampangan advocacy group Advancement for the Development of Central Luzon (ADCL), that is pushing for the development of a surface water source for this free port. In the Balitaan media forum organized by the Capampangan in Media Inc. (Cami), in cooperation with the Clark Development Corp. (CDC), at the Bale Balita here, Tayag said conservation is the key to avoiding a water crisis in the near future because of the threat brought about by climate change, El Niño and forest denudation, which leads to the destruction of watersheds and wastage. Tayag said this is echoed by Greenpeace, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), World Wildlife Fund for Nature Conservation (WWF), and the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), which warns that the aquifers will eventually dry up. Tayag said among the keys to conservation are rainwater collection, especially in industrial plants and big companies to preserve the aquifer. “We pump water only in severe cases,” he said. Tayag said his group is now developing the water shed by planting more trees because it takes at least five years before the trees can be productive. He said the project is called the Sapang Bato Watershed Community Project, which is on a 40-hectare property in sitio Target. Sapang Bato is a barangay inside this free port. Tayag said City Councilor Edu Pamintuan is leading the advocacy in the city council, while the 1 million trees project is led by Bishop Joe Briones of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, who reports to the city government. But Tayag cautioned that those who are planting trees should only plant within their resources. “Plant only what you can water based on your resources,” he said. “But the whole community should be involved. There is no exception because we are all using water,” he said. “We invite schools, universities and big companies like San Miguel Corp. to have this as part of their corporate social responsibility [projects],” he said. “To sum it up, there will be a serious water shortage if no human intervention is done to conserve it,” he said.
US Congress passes bill awarding gold medal to Filipino WWII vets
ERROR Alert Level 3 was raised nationwide after the arrest of two suspected terrorists allegedly behind the foiled bombing attempt at the US Embassy in Manila on Monday. In a news conference in Camp Rafael Crame, Quezon City, on Thursday, the National Police chief, Director General Ronald M. dela Rosa, said that, because of the fullalert status, the public should expect a stricter implementation of security measures, especially on the conduct of random and mobile checkpoints. “Full alert” in the police is the equivalent of red alert in the military. When that alert status is raised, all personnel are required to be on duty round the clock and all leaves and furloughs are cancelled. Dela Rosa also advised the public to be “alert, vigilant and observant” but not to “panic.” He said the public has nothing to be worried about, even if the Terror Alert Level 3 is raised nationwide. Dela Rosa also issued directives to the regional police directors to intensify security measures in highly urbanized cities. Meanwhile, authorities are hunting down three more suspects in the failed US Embassy bombing on Monday, following the arrest of two suspects on Wednesday, one of them in Bulacan. However, two of the three remaining suspects may have already returned to Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, where the military is currently clearing the town of Butig, also in the province, from the Maute Group. Dela Rosa said the suspects, who
Angeles group calls for water conservation
MARTYRS AND HEROES
Former Sen. Wigberto E. Tañada (left) presents the commemorative plaque to the relatives and friends of Jose Aquilino T. Tangente at the 2016 Annual Honoring of Martyrs and Heroes held at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City. The photograph shows (from left) Seigfred Deduro, Orvillo Tangente, Cynthia Deduro, Susana Tangente, Myrna Tangente Librodo, Renee Valencia and Easter Grace Tangente Monserate. NONOY LACZA
are still at large, were called by their colleagues by phone to come home and help in warding off the ongoing operations by soldiers in Lanao del Sur. Four of the suspects, including those two arrested on Wednesday, were confirmed members of the Maute Group, according to dela Rosa during a news conference on Thursday. The last of the five suspects is a member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. “As of now, we presume the three have already gone back to Mindanao, but there is a slim chance that they might still be
here. The hunt is continuing,” dela Rosa said. A joint team from the Manila Police District and the Bulacan police arrested Rayson Kilala, 34, of 92 Bagumbayan, Bulakan, Bulacan, on Wednesday. Kilala, who also goes with his Moro name “Rashid Kilala,” was captured at around 9:30 a.m. The other suspect was identified as Jiaher Guinar. Dela Rosa said Rasid is a recruit to the Islamic faith and a religious preacher in Bulacan. He was allegedly the one who placed the homemade bomb inside a trash bin while Guinar
was assigned as the trigger man. Rasid himself admitted that their first target was Luneta Park, but they were “ bothered by our conscience” and, instead planted the bomb near the US Embassy. The suspects’ three accomplices transported the bomb from Central Mindanao to Metro Manila, dela Rosa said. He said the two suspects are members of the Ansar Khalifa group, which has direct links with the Maute gang. With Rene Acosta and Catherine Joy L. Maglalang
HE US Congress has passed the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015. The US House of Representatives approved the bill on November 30, while the US Senate approved it on July 13. It will become a law once outgoing President Barack Obama signs it. The Senate version (S 1555) was sponsored by Democrat Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Harry Reid of Nevada, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada. The House version (HR 2737) was sponsored by Democrat Reps. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Juan Vargas of California, Mike Thompson of California, Mark Takai of Hawaii and Jackie Speier Califonira and Republican Rep. Joseph Heck of Nevada. Both bills were introduced on June 11, 2015. The Philippine Embassy in Washington lauded the passage of the bill. “We welcome this good news and extend our appreciation to all the advocates and supporters of the bill at the US House of Representatives and the Senate. Our veterans’ sacrifice is one of the greatest stories of heroism, courage and strength that our two countries have ever seen. From ordinary civilians to defenders of free nations, these men and women deserve our deepest respect and gratitude,” said Minister Patrick Chuasoto, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Philippine Embassy, in a statement. “We also recognize the contributions of the Philippine Consulates General and Filipino communities across the United States, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, and the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project in the success of this joint campaign. We look forward to the final step of President Obama’s signing this bill into law,” Minister Chuasoto added. The Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 seeks to award a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions in the United States, collectively, to 260,000 Filipino veterans in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II. Recto L. Mercene
A4 Friday, December 2, 2016 • Editors: Vittorio V. Vitug and Max V. de Leon
Business expansion boosts Metro Manila job generation in Q2–PSA
By Cai U. Ordinario
he expansion of businesses boosted employment generation in Metro Manila, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Based on the Labor Turnover Statistics (LTS), the PSA said the accession rate increased to 12.43 percent in the second quarter of 2016 as opposed to the 10.13-percent growth in the separation rate. The growth in the accession rate was the highest since the third quarter of 2014 when it was at 12.11 percent. “These rates indicated that for every 1,000 employed, 23 workers were added to the total enterprise work force, 124 workers were added due to either expansion or replace-
12.43% Accession rate in the second quarter of 2016 as opposed to the 10.13-percent growth in separation rate
ment, while 101 workers were laid off or quit their jobs,” the PSA said. Hiring in Metro Manila was driv-
en by expansion of business activities at 8.86 percent, more than double the hiring of workers for replacement purposes, which contracted 3.57 percent in the second quarter. PSA said eight industry groups registered higher accession rates due to expansion than replacement of workers. This included administrative and support-service activities at 15.18 percent in the second quarter of 2016; information and communication, 7.98 percent; and human health and social-work activities, 8.13 percent. There were 10 industries, meanwhile, that posted more replacements than expansion. This was led by education at 9.49 percent. The list also included wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles at 6.99 percent and accommodation and foodservice activities at 9.31 percent. In terms of separations or termi-
nations, most of these were largely attributed to employee-initiated. Data showed that employee-initiated separations or resignations accounted for 7.33 percent, while 2.8 percent were due to terminations or employer-initiated separations. Overall, employment growth in Metro Manila remained positive and accelerated to 2.3 percent during the period. This doubled the 1.15 percent rate registered in the same period in 2015. “Gains were observed in the agriculture and services sectors which offset the decline posted in the industry sector,” PSA said. The LTS is a quarterly sample survey of enterprises conducted by the PSA since the third quarter of 2002. The survey aims to capture “job creations” and “job displacements” in business enterprises based in Metro Manila by collecting quarterly data on accessions and separations of workers.
NTC eyeing to cut text, Internet rates–Cordoba
he National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is looking at slashing the rate of short message service (SMS) and Internet cost next, following the decision of Globe Telecom Inc. and PLDT Inc. to reduce their interconnection charges for voice calls. According to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, lowering voice call rates is just the first step of a string of reforms eyed by the regulatory body to give subscribers an efficient way of communication at the lowest possible rates. “This is just the first step. It wouldn’t stop with voice. It will continue with text, Internet. We will lower the prices,” Cordoba said, after Globe and PLDT agreed to cut down interconnection charges by January 1, 2017, through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on November 28. Cordoba said affording the public a cheap, but high-quality way of communication is the thrust of the administration of President Duterte, noting that 50 percent of the market still relies on conventional calls. “These are the people in the prov-
inces, especially the lower income families. They are the ones using voice calls,” he noted. “The telcos right now, they can use the lower interconnection rates to give different promos, pocket pricing and unlimited calls; they may be crossed over from one network to another,” Cordoba added. The NTC recently issued Memorandum Circular (MC) 09-11-2016 on Interconnection Charge for Voice Service, which directs that interconnection rates among telcos’ voice services shall no longer be higher than P2.50 per minute from the previous P4 per minute charge. The interconnection charges are also subject to an annual review by the NTC. NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said “effectively, the retail rates should be dropped by P1 across all plans,” following the agreement signed by the telcos. Cabarios explained that with the lower interconnection charges, the current retail rates of P6.50 per minute for mobile calls and P7.50 per minute for mobile to landline calls are expected to drop to P5.50 and P6.50, respectively. PNA
Duterte party launches feeding program for QC street children, adults By Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz @joveemarie
resident Duterte’s Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has recently launched “Duterte’s Kitchen” in Cubao, Quezon City, to support government’s national feed-
ing program for the poor. In a news statement, Glen Badon, PDP-Laban national executive director, said Duterte’s Kitchen was agreed upon during a meeting among Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, Senate President Aquilino L. Pimentel III, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi and other party officials.
Badon said the Duterte’s Kitchen was created to complement their Social Services and Economic Development Program and Duterte’s advocacy to feed the poor. “It was the brainchild of the Speaker after their meeting,” Badon said, adding that Duterte’s Kitchen, which is located near the Metro Rail
Transit 3 Cubao station, seeks to feed hundreds of children daily. Currently, Badon said the Duterte’s Kitchen serves at least 50 to 70 street children during breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Before, we only provide food for the street children, but now even hungry adults are also being
attended to,” Badon said. Duterte’s Kitchen mostly serves free lugaw, or rice porridge, and champorado or chocolate rice porridge, for breakfast; and rice meal with vegetables, fish, chicken or pork adobo during lunch and dinner. “Our staff are volunteers who believe on the advocacy of extending
help to the underprivileged people and bring hope and inspiration to them,” he said. “The food being served also depends on the donors. If we receive donated vegetables, chicken or pork meat, then we serve these to the street children, and even to the elders,” Badon said.
Habitat cleanup drive
Sen. Cynthia A. Villar and newly appointed Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Deputy Chairman Frisco San Juan Jr. (right photo) lead hundreds of environmental volunteers in a cleanup activity along the shorelines of Manila Bay at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area on Thursday. The event is a kick off of this year’s International Volunteer Day, which carries the theme GlobalApplause-Give Volunteers A Hand. The group also enjoyed bird watching and had a breath of fresh air, while at the 175-hectare protected area dubbed as Metro Manila's last remaining beach and mangrove area. PNA/Avito C. Dalan
briefs dpwh taps monitoring system, geotagging to eliminate ghost projects The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is using a new monitoring system with a built-in geotagging feature that would identify spurious projects. “We have rolled out the use of the Project and Contract Management Procedures and Application [PCMA]. The new feature would enable the adding of geographic identification data to photos, videos and other posts which allows other content from the same geographic location to be found,” Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar said in a news statement. The DPWH is looking to fully implement the new system next year. “By 2017, with the full implementation of the PCMA, we expect to detect any ghost project real-time, as they are posted in the system,” he said. The DPWH chief added: ‘’The use of geo-tagging will provide a more accurate measurement of project accomplishments and, at the same time, determine whether certain infrastructures have been duplicated or if there are any instances of infrastructure overlap in the country.” Likewise, the PCMA is expected to improve transparency and accountability of physical and financial outcomes through use of online geographic-based status reporting and geo-tagged photos required for contractor claims processing. PNA
anti-contractualization policy out before year-end–bello
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday said it is looking to issue a policy on contractualization before the end of 2016. Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the plan is based on the proposals of the employers and labor groups. “We will come up with a policy or guidelines that will be enforced by the Department before the year ends. We will
decide whether we will amend, revise, or repeal Department Order 18-A,” he said in a news statement. With this, Bello announced that senior officials of the department will meet next week to review the proposals of the labor and employers’ groups on contractualization, including Department Order 18-A, or the Rules Implementing Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code, as Amended. DOLE Order 18-A provides guidelines for the registration of contractors. An amendment or repeal of a department order and the issuance of a new one traditionally would allow swift implementation of reforms that otherwise need Congressional approval. “Our goal is to remove illegal forms of contractualization, including ‘endo’ and ‘555’,” Bello added. PNA
labor dept inspects firecrackers, pyrotechnics establishments in bulacan
The government has started the inspection of 130 manufacturers, retailers and dealers of pyrotechnics and firecrackers in Bulacan to check on theri compliance with the occupational safety and health standards (OSHS), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said. Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said on Thursday the establishments are composed of 40 manufacturers and 90 retailers/dealers of firecrackers in the municipalities of Santa Maria and Bocaue. He noted that once the companies were found to be compliant with the requirements, the DOLE office in the region will recommend and will be the basis to lift the Work Stoppage Order, which the DOLE chief issued last week. “The DOLE Regional Office in Region 3 will make assessment on the compliance of these establishments. They will check the compliance of the local establishments with the safety and health standards, which will serve as basis for the agency to lift or not the work stoppage order,” he said in a statement. PNA
Editor: Jennifer A. Ng • Friday, December 2, 2016 A5
DA takes steps to boost local onion sector By Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas
he Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday it is rolling out a series of measures to strengthen the local onion industry and help farmers improve their competitiveness.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said these initiatives include the provision of government financing for a marketing agreement between local onion farmers and big supermarkets and restaurant chains. In a meeting with officials of the National Association of Onion Farmers, Piñol also made an assurance that the DA will implement a provision in the Food Safety Act of 2013 that requires the department to inspect all agricultural imports to protect domestic producers and consumers. “What we want to do is to make [onion farmers] more competitive so you can produce and earn more at current operating costs,” Piñol said. He said the DA is also monitor-
ing the operation of unscrupulous traders who dump excess onion imports into the local market during harvest, which causes farmers to incur losses as prices drop due to oversupply. Piñol said in a statement he met with the representatives of big supermarket and restaurant chains, like SM, Robinsons, Shakey’s, Jolibee, Shopwise, Savemore and Mindanao-based NCCC malls to finalize an agreement to buy directly from local onion farmers. He said the DA is ready to provide financing for the onion farmers so they can supply the supermarket and restaurant chains on credit. Piñol said he has instructed Agriculture Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña to work with the onion
farmers’ group to determine the financing needed to implement the onion supply agreement. The DA chief also asked Laviña to train farmers in using marketing techniques, such as labeling of products. Piñol said the DA will expose farmers to new farming technologies and techniques to help them lower production costs and increase farm yields. He cited an offer of VietGrow, one of Vietnam’s biggest vegetable seeds producer and fertilizer manufacturer, to set up demonstration farms in North Cotabato, Southern Leyte, Nueva Ecija, Isabela, Ilocos Norte and Mindoro. Laviña said the DA will work with the local onion farmers to draw up a road map for the development of the onion industry from farming to post harvest production and marketing to improve their incomes and make them more competitive against imported onion. Piñol said the DA will provide all the post-harvest facilities that local onion farmers need to reduce losses, including the construction of cold storage facilities in the “onion belt” in Central and Northern Luzon and in Mindanao for onion bulbs.
Georgia suspends chicken price for first time in over 40 years
A farmer in Roxas, Isabela, shows off his onion harvest to visitors. The town of Roxas is known as the “pinakbet capital of the Philippines”.
LEONARDO PERANTE II
PHL agriculture sector seen growing by 5% to 6% in 2017 T
he Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is expecting the agricultural sector to recover and grow by 5 percent to 6 percent in 2017, from this year’s estimated flat growth. “I am confident that we will grow. I would be targeting around 5 percent to 6 percent by next year. I believe that in the next cropping season, I just hope that we will not be hit by extreme calamity, [it’s] very, very positive,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in an interview. Piñol said the sector is expected to post f lat growth in the fourth quarter, sustaining
third quarter’s 2.9 percent. The sector grew by 2.9 percent in the July-to-September period, breaking five consultative quarters of decline. The improvement of weather conditions allowed farmers to plant more crops. Agriculture has recovered from the prolonged drought caused by El Niño, which has dissipated in the third quarter of 2016. Piñol said the sector posted negative growths of 4 percent in the first quarter and 2.13 percent in the second quarter. “For the whole year, I think we will just even up because of the severe negative growths in the first
and second quarters,” he added. The agricultural sector, grew a measly 0.11 percent in 2015 in terms of production volume. The DA has set a productiongrowth target of 3.5 percent for this year. Officials said they are banking on the livestock sector, as well as the government’s efforts to encourage farmers to plant hybrid rice to boost output. Earlier, the DA said the damage of El Niño to the country’s rice sector has not been as extensive as initially feared. The DA had projected that the prolonged dry spell will destroy 970,000 metric tons of rice. PNA
he Georgia Dock chickenprice index, an industry benchmark whose reliability has been questioned in recent months, won’t be published this week because of a lack of data from participating producers, the Georgia Department of Agriculture said. The department, which has compiled the index since 1972, had a “significant reduction” in participants after new reporting requirements were established, Spokesman Julie McPeake said on Wednesday in a telephone interview. She declined to comment on the number of producers contributing data, while saying the total was insufficient. The index came under fresh scrutiny after the largest US producers were named as defendants in a series of lawsuits filed since September alleging collusion to control supply and drive up prices, something the companies denied. The index has also been criticized by the director of Georgia Department of Agriculture’s weekly chicken-price report, who complained of inadequate resources and a lack of cooperation from the chicken companies. The gauge has been used widely to help formulate some of the sales contracts between producers and consumers. The wholesale value of the US chicken industry’s annual shipments is $60 billion, according to the National Chicken Council. The Georgia agriculture agency asked participants to sign and return affidavits and attestations by Tuesday to confirm their data is accurate. McPeake said the department received some documents from some companies, while oth-
ers may need more time. She declined to provide the names and exact number of participants.
“We do understand we gave them a short turnaround,” she said. “It is possible we may resume publishing the Georgia Dock in the future.” Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., the second-largest US chicken supplier, still is participating in the index. The company is “comfortable” attesting to the accuracy of its data, CEO Bill Lovette said on Wednesday in a conference call with analysts. Tyson Foods Inc., the biggest US producer, submitted a signed affidavit to the state saying it “will continue to provide accurate pricing information to the index, as we always have,” company spokesman Worth Sparkman said on Wednesday in an e-mail. “As part of our usual practice, we provided our company’s data to the index this week,” Sparkman said.
Sanderson Far ms Inc., the third-largest producer, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The company said earlier in the week it was considering the request for affidavits. Tyson fell 3.6 percent to $56.81 in New York. Pilgrim’s dropped 3.8 percent to $17.61, the lowest closing price since March 2014.
The Georgia Dock quoted poultry price, published on Wednesdays, is an average of offering prices for birds weighing 2.5 pounds (0.5 kilogram) to 3 pounds. In the past, as many as 10 producers participated, including Tyson and Sanderson. Each company’s data is weighted according to production capacity. Georgia Dock has been an effective pricing tool for “select” chicken products historically, Pilgrim’s Lovette said. Less than 5 percent of his company’s US sales are tied to the index, with customers choosing from a range of pricing tools, he said. Bloomberg News
Los Baños-based Irri marks 50th anniversary of rice variety’s release
he International Rice Research Institute (Irri) said it recently hosted a “Partners’ and Farmers’ Day” to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the rice variety IR8. Officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA), led by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, Undersecretary Segfredo R. Serrano, and Philippine Rice Research Institute Director Sailila Abdula attended the event.
Irri said in a statement that over 350 farmers from the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal and Oriental Mindoro joined the DA officials. IR8 was the first high-yielding variety released by Irri and is credited to have sparked the Green Revolution in rice in the 1960s to 1970s that saved Asia from mass starvation. Irri Principal Scientist Emeritus Peter Jennings, now in his 80s,
traveled from North Carolina to join the celebrations in Los Baños, Philippines. “On a personal note, when people talk to me about IR8, my mind tends to go back earlier, to the very beginning of Irri: it was unknown then, without a track record. But it had two important qualities,” Jennings said. “First, Irri started with the audacious objective of improving rice yield and the wellbeing of farmers;
second, it had a very small number of staff, but all very brilliant and excellent in what they did. That team came up with IR8, which laid the foundation for what had become a world-class institution,” he added. In his speech, Piñol said it is important to benchmark the competitiveness of Filipino farmers in achieving food sufficiency for the country despite the challenges in the sector.
The Philippine government, which supported hosting Irri in the country, is now the fourth biggest donor to the institute’s research. “Irri does not do anything alone; we work with our sister organizations in the CGIAR, and we work heavily in partnership with both public- and private-sector entities,” Irri Director General Matthew Morell. “We have strong support from nations and we are grateful for that support.”
Senior leaders from Irri and the Department of Agriculture took part in a ceremonial planting of IR8 seedlings in special plots at the Zeigler Experiment Station, while Deputy Director General for Research Jackie Hughes demonstrated the use of the labor- and time-saving mechanical transplanter. The event is the culmination of a global celebration that started in New Delhi, India, on November 21.
Friday, December 2, 2016
The World BusinessMirror
Editor: Lyn Resurreccion • www.businessmirror.com.ph
Presidential election recount set to begin in Wisconsin
ADISON, Wisconsin—The first candidatedriven statewide recount of a presidential election in 16 years was set to begin on Thursday in Wisconsin, a state that Donald Trump won by less than a percentage point over Hillary Clinton, after polls long predicted a Clinton victory.
The recount, requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, carries none of the drama of the Florida presidential recount of 2000, when the outcome of the election between Al Gore and George W. Bush hung in the balance. Almost no one expects Stein’s push for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to result in a Clinton victory over Trump. “This is certainly not Bush v. Gore,” said Wisconsin’s Chief Elections Administrator
Mike Haas. But still, county election officials across Wisconsin were hiring temporary workers, expanding hours and dusting off recount manuals to prepare for the work of retabulating nearly 3 million ballots. Most counties will manually recount the ballots, although Stein lost a court challenge this week to force hand recounts everywhere. The state’s largest county, Milwaukee, was recounting the ballots by feeding them through the same machines that counted them on election night. In Dane County, where Clinton won 71 percent of the vote, the ballots will be counted by hand. Clinton lost to Trump by about 22,000 votes in Wisconsin. Wisconsin election officials have less than two weeks to complete the recount. December 13 is the federal deadline to certify the vote to avoid having the fate of Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes decided
by Congress. Even if that were to happen, the votes would almost certainly go to Trump, since Republicans control both chambers of Congress. Stein has argued, without evidence, that irregularities in the votes in all three states suggest that there could have been tampering with the vote, perhaps, through a well-coordinated, highly complex cyber attack. Her critics, including the Wisconsin Republican Party, contend that she’s a little-known candidate who is merely trying to raise her profile while raising millions of dollars. Stein had raised nearly $7 million, about twice as much as her longshot presidential campaign, to pay for the recounts. The Wisconsin recount was estimated to cost about $3.9 million, while Stein paid $973,250 for the one in Michigan. Stein filed a lawsuit on Monday in Pennsylvania to force a recount there. AP
As Trump claims to have saved Carrier jobs, details are hazy
ASHINGTON—In persuading Carrier to keep hundreds of jobs in Indiana, Presidentelect Donald Trump is claiming victory on behalf of factory workers whose positions were bound for Mexico. But the scant details that have emerged so far raise doubts about the extent of the victory. By enabling Carrier’s Indianapolis plant to stay open, the deal spares about 800 union workers whose jobs were going to be outsourced to Mexico, according to federal officials who were briefed by the heating and air-conditioning company. This suggests that hundreds will still lose their jobs at the factory, where roughly 1,400 workers were slated to be laid off. Also, neither Trump nor Carrier has yet to say what the workers might have to give up or precisely what threats or incentives were used to get the manufacturer to change its mind. “There’s excitement with most people, but there’s a lot of skepticism and worry because we don’t know the details,” said TJ Bray, 32, who has worked for Carrier for 14 years and installs insulation in furnaces. “There’s a few that are worried. And there’s still a few that don’t even believe this is real. They think it’s a play, a setup or a scam.” Sen. Joe Donnelly, an Indiana Democrat, said he, too, has lingering questions about what the announcement could mean for the workers. “Who is going to be retained? What is the structure there will be for the retention? What is going to be put in place?” Donnelly said. “Are these the same jobs at the same wage? I would sure like to know as soon as I can.” Fuller answers could emerge on Thursday, when Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is ending his tenure as Indiana governor, are to appear with Carrier officials in Indiana. On the campaign trail, Trump threatened to impose sharp tariffs on any company that shifted its factories to Mexico. And his advisers have since promoted lower corporate-tax rates as a means of keeping jobs in the US. Trump may have had some leverage because United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, also owns Pratt and Whitney, a big supplier of fighter jet engines that relies in part on US military contracts. Carrier said in a statement that more than 1,000 jobs were saved, though that figure includes headquarters and engineering staff that were likely to stay in Indiana. The company attributed its decision to the incoming Trump administration and financial incentives provided by Indiana, which is something of a reversal, since earlier offers from the state had failed to sway Carrier from decamping to Mexico. “Today’s announcement is possible because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive US business climate,” the company said. In February United Technologies said it would close its Carrier air-conditioning and heating plant
in Indianapolis and move its manufacturing to Mexico. The plant’s workers would have been laid off over three years starting in 2017. Whatever deal Trump struck with Carrier does not appear to have salvaged jobs at a separate branch of United Technologies in Huntington, Indiana, that makes microprocessor-based controls for the heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration industries. That branch will move manufacturing operations to a new plant in Mexico, costing the city 700 jobs by 2018. Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters suggested that local officials lack the political clout to preserve those jobs. “At a local level, there was not much that anybody was going to do to make global, publicly traded companies make a decision other than what they made for the benefit of their shareholders,” Fetters said. Donnelly said he worries about other factory job losses threatening his state. Bearing maker Rexnord, which has a factory near the Carrier plant in Indianapolis, plans to lay off about 350 workers. And electronics manufacturer CTS plans to eliminate more than 200 jobs at its Elkhart plant, he said. Union leaders who represent the Carrier workers were not involved in the negotiations that the Trump team had with their employer. Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents Carrier workers, said of Tuesday’s news: “I’m optimistic, but I don’t know what the situation is. I guess it’s a good sign. ... You would think they would keep us in the loop. But we know nothing.” Trump’s deal with Carrier may be a public-relations success for the incoming president. It also suggests that he has unveiled a new presidential economic approach: actively choosing individual corporate winners and losers—or at least winners. To critics who see other Indiana factories on the verge of closing, deals like the one at Carrier are unlikely to stem the job losses caused by automation and cheap foreign competition. The prospect that the White House might directly intervene is also a concern to some economists. The incentives needed to keep jobs from moving often come at the public’s expense. They note that Trump’s activism might encourage companies to threaten to move jobs overseas in hopes of receiving tax breaks or contracts with the government. “It sets up a race to the bottom,” said Diane Lim, chief economist at the nonprofit Committee for Economic Development. Carrier’s parent company indicated that moving production to Mexico would save the company $65 million annually. Because of pressures like that, states routinely give manufacturers incentives, and “economists who recoil at the thought of this are living in a dream world,” said Scott Paul, president of the American Alliance for Manufacturing. For Trump, a challenge will be trying to duplicate the Carrier feat many times over to retain and increase the nation’s 12.3 million manufacturing jobs. AP
www.businessmirror.com.ph • Editor: Lyn Resurreccion
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Friday, December 2, 2016
China factory gauge matches post-2012 high
hina’s official factor y gauge matched a post-2012 high as a credit-fueled recovery of smokestack industries gained momentum and signaled a pickup in inflation expectations. Manufactur ing purchasing managers index rose to 51.7 in November, compared with a median estimate of 51 in a Bloomberg survey of economists and 51.2 the prior month non-manufacturing PMI climbed to 54.7 from 54 in October; numbers above 50 indicate improv ing conditions steel industry PMI increased to 51.0 from 50.7 The report added to evidence that the old-growth drivers are picking up, fueled by inexpensive credit and showed that large companies, which tend to be state owned, are faring better than smaller enterprises. Input prices jumped to the strongest reading since March 2011, signaling that inflationary pressures may be building after China recently snapped four years of factory gate deflation.
“The Chinese economy was continuing to improve in November, probably helped along by infrastructure spending, which shou ld under pin December quarter GDP growth of around 6.7 percent or maybe even a bit more,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney. “The main uncertainty though going forward relates to recent signs of a liquidity tightening—evident in rising interbank rates and bond yields—and how long this persists and hence the flow on to growth in December and early next year.”
“Underlying data shows that this is pretty clearly heavy-industry driven, with help from credit and little contribution from consumption,” said Christopher Balding, an associate professor at the HSBC School of Business at Peking University in Shenzhen. “While this may prop up growth in the short term, it is clearly not rebalancing or deleveraging.” “China’s manufacturers have a little more spring in their step,” said Frederic Neumann, cohead of Asian economic research at HSBC Holdings Plc. in Hong Kong. “The solid performance of the manufacturing sector will give Chinese officials some confidence on keeping a tight grip on the property market and snuff out excessive price gains in selected cities. “ “With this growth momentum, the PBOC [People’s Bank of China] doesn’t need to ease,” said Raymond Yeung, chief greater China economist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The government will make an effort to deal with the structural issues such as capacity reduction and corporate deleveraging.” New orders strengthened to 53.2 from 52.8 the prior month New export orders rose to 50.3 from 49.2. Input prices jumped to 68.3 from 62.6. Business activ it y e x pectations fell to 55.5, the weakest reading since July, from 58.5. Small enterprises had the weakest level by size at 47.4, trailing medium-sized companies at 50.1 and large firms, which often are state-owned, at 53.4. Private PMI by Caixin Media and Markit Economics pulled back from a two-year high, edging down to 50.9 from 51.2. Bloomberg News
World-beater status at risk as India rebuts threat to growth
r i m e Minister Narendra Modi’s administration sought to refute concerns that the clampdown on cash would strip India of its status as the world’s fastest-growing big economy. GDP, which grew a slower-thanestimated 7.3 percent in July to September, will slump to 6.5 percent over the next quarter, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 14 economists. That’s weaker than the previous 7.8 percent projection and the 6.7 percent forecast for China. “At the moment all these statements are based without data,” TCA Anant, the government’s chief statistician, told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday. “Assumptions can lead people to all sorts of conclusions and I don’t want to contest at that level. I would rather suggest you wait for the data.” A steep economic slowdown risks hurting foreign investment into India and voters’ perceptions of Modi before key state elections next year. While supporters say his November 8 move to abruptly invalidate 86 percent of currency in circulation will help curtail tax evasion and graft, critics say it will dent demand in an economy where almost all consumer payments are in cash. “A t t e n t i o n h a s a l r e a d y t u r n e d to the impac t of the government ’s demonetization measures, which could cause significant disruption in the current quarter and possibly beyond,” Shilan Shah, Singapore-based India economist at Capital Economics Ltd., wrote in a report after the GDP data. The central bank will lower the policy rate to 6 percent from 6.25 percent at a December 7 review to “cushion the blow,” he said.
Manufacturing growth slowed to 7.1 percent from 9.2 percent a year earlier and mining contracted 1.5 percent versus a 5-percent gain. While expansion in trade and similar services picked up to 7.1 percent from 6.7 percent, that in financial services slowed to 8.2 percent from 11.9 percent. Much of the growth was supported by government spending, which surged 15.2
percent from the previous year, and private consumption, which rose 7.6 percent. Worryingly, investment fell 5.6 percent, a continued run of disappointing data. Economists at Standard Chartered lowered their GDP growth forecast for the 2017 fiscal year to 6.8 percent from 7.7 percent, and to 7.2 percent from 7.8 percent for 2018. They cited the demonetization move, the likely implementation of a goods and services tax, and a more uncertain global environment after Donald Trump’s US election victory. The government’s ability to stimulate investment is also limited, as another set of data released on Wednesday showed that the budget deficit hit 79.3 percent of the full-year target in the first seven months of the fiscal year, compared with 74 percent the previous year. The revenue shortfall, which is 92.6 percent of the full-year goal compared with 73 percent, “remains a source of concern,” said Aditi Nayar, principal economist at ICRA Ltd. A separate gauge, which showed a sharp improvement in infrastructure growth, was also skewed by surges in steel and refinery products, which may be temporarily hurt by the demonetization, she said.
The rupee briefly erased gains in the offshore market after the GDP data, with the one-month nondeliverable forward contract falling to 68.74 a dollar from 68.65. The currency, stocks and sovereign bonds gained in the onshore market, which had shut before the release. What could help Modi is his move to penalize tax evaders and impose penalties on unexplained income exposed by the cash clampdown, said Sujan Hajra, chief economist at Anand Rathi Securities Ltd. The government also estimates that as much as 5 trillion rupees could be left undeclared, which could be transferred to the government for social spending. “While demonetisation will lead to slower growth, the voluntary disclosure of income could be expansionary,” Hajra said. “So it is tough for the statistician to comment on what the impact will be from demonetization when the situation is so fluid.” Bloomberg News
China steps up yuan intervention. Bloomberg News
China’s global shopping spree sparks opposition at home, too
fter facing opposition around the world to its recent dealmaking spree, even China itself is turning against it.
Concer ns are mounting in Beijing over a surge in outf lows that’s causing further devaluation pressure on the yuan and fears that overeager companies may risk biting off more than they can chew. So now, Chinese regulators plan to generally bar megadeals of $10 billion or more, people with knowledge of the matter said this week. They will also curb billiondollar property purchases by state enterprises and large acqu i sit ion s out side a buyer ’s core business, according to the people. The moves at home could further slow the $234-billion wave of overseas deal-making that’s already struggling with opposition in the US and Europe. “It’s going to be more challenging for Chinese buyers amid the current global political climate,” said Samson Lo, head of Asia mergers and acquisitions at UBS Group AG in Hong Kong. A US government panel this month recommended a rejection of the Chinese takeover of German semiconductor supplier Aixtron SE, while the election of Donald Trump as the next US president has some advisers telling Chinese acquirers to wait and see. Meanwhile, Germany’s economy minister has called for European Union measures to give national governments greater powers to block deals.
Companies from China have been announcing foreign purchases at the rate of nearly three a day in 2016, and the value of those deals has almost tripled from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. China now rivals the US as the biggest buyer of overseas companies, the data show. T he Chinese gover nment ’s sweeping curbs on that overseas deal-making will see measures slated to last until the end of September 2017, the people with
The cost of megadeals that Chinese regulators plan to bar
knowledge of the matter said. Regulators will restrict takeprivates of overseas-listed Chinese companies using onshore capital, and will pay extra attention to deals by highly leveraged firms, according to the people. “They are probably trying to send a signal to everyone,” said Brett McGonegal, CEO of Capital Link International Holdings Ltd. in Hong Kong. “What has often been said is that maybe there’s too much M&A going on, and the fact it’s not being placed properly is leading to a huge waste of money.” China is generally suspending several categories of deals, while still leaving room for some strategic transactions, the people said. T he State Council aims to strengthen supervision of government-owned assets overseas, according to a statement issued late Wednesday. It discussed the issue at a November 29 meeting, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, focused on value-added taxation and improving state-owned enterprises’ efficiency. The government plans to normalize regulatory oversight of how state enterprises raise money, make acquisitions and manage capital overseas, the statement shows.
The measures show Chinese policy-makers are worried about capital outf lows, according to Zhao Longkai, an associate finance professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. Estimated outflows in October reached $73 billion, picking up again after having slowed mid-
year, according Capital Economics Ltd. Estimates from Bloomberg Intelligence show about $620 billion flowed out in the nine months through September, putting further devaluation pressure on a currency that has lost almost 6 percent of its value this year to the lowest level since mid-2008. “The Chinese government is preparing to deal with the consequences of a very strong dollar and does not wish to see the yuan depreciate too fast,” said Shen Jianguang, chief Asia economist at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Trump’s election has raised fears about the future climate in the most popular destination for China’s overseas acquisitions. Bankers and lawyers have been counseling deal-hungry Chinese companies to pause planned acquisitions in the US until Trump clarifies his stance on cross-border purchases, three advisers to Chinese clients said earlier this month.
A senior US senator is leading the charge asking the government to block a Chinese aluminum magnate’s purchase of Clevelandbased Aleris Corp. for $2.3 billion, including debt. Chinese takeovers have drawn increasing focus from Capitol Hill recently, including China National Chemical Corp.’s record $43-billion acquisition of Syngenta AG. While the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), has closely scrutinized technology purchases, some US lawmakers have called for closer attention to Chinese acquisitions in the entertainment industry. Chinese property tycoon Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co. this month announced the $1-billion purchase of Dick Clark Productions Inc., the television studio behind So You Think You Can Dance. “ This new policy shift, and the uncertainties in the global marketplace, could mean that Chinese buyers are more caut iou s when se lec t i ng dea l s,” Bee Chun Boo, a mergers and acquisitions partner at Baker and McKenzie in Beijing, said by e-mail. “ Transactions may take longer to complete due to increased regulator y hurdles.”
In Ger many the gover nment h a s b e e n conduc t i ng a n i ndept h probe of Osra m Lic ht AG’s sale of its general lamps unit to a Chinese consortium, a move that’s likely to lengthe n t he ap pro v a l pro c e s s b y months. Another takeover in t he cou nt r y, C h i nese home appliance manufacturer Midea Group Co.’s purchase of Kuka AG, is currently being reviewed by CFIUS, the German robotics company said last week. Earlier in November, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel called on China to open its borders to more foreign investment to create a level playing f ield. C h a ncel lor A ngel a Merkel ’s government has been discussing a proposal for national governments in Europe to get more powers to block or impose conditions on shareholdings of non-EU companies. Two separate groups of Chinese investors, including one led by Fosun International Ltd. and another by China Resources Gas Group Ltd., are among final bidders for a majority stake in National Grid Plc.’s UK gas distribution business, people familiar with the matter said in October. National Grid is selling at least 51 percent of its UK gas-distribution unit, made up of four regional networks, which RBC Capital Markets has said could be worth as much as £12.6 billion ($15.7 billion). Still, Western officials are unlikely to block Chinese acquisitions unless they are in sensitive industries like defense or communications, according to Jonas Short, head of the Beijing office at boutique investment bank North Square Blue Oak Ltd. China’s restrictions on dealmaking won’t affect deals that serve a political purpose, as it wants to see state enterprises bulk up and become globally competitive, Short said. “ The government is trying to prioritize deals,” said Gabriel Wong, head of China cor porate finance at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Shanghai. “Its curbs on the foreign exchange outf lows will inevitably put a brake on certain Chinese outbound M& A deals.” Bloomberg News
The World BusinessMirror
Friday, December 2, 2016
Editor: Lyn Resurreccion • www.businessmirror.com.ph
Fuel may have caused plane crash
look at how fuel may have played a role in the crash of a charter flight approaching Medellin, Colombia, that killed all but six of the 77 people onboard:
Authorities have not released the flight plan for the jet operated by LaMia, a Boliviabased charter company, but aviation experts say international regulations require enough extra fuel to fly at least 30 to 45 minutes to divert to another airport in case of emergency. Pilots also calculate the actual consumption of fuel during the flight and rarely get into a position that requires them to use reserves. The BAE 146 Avro RJ85 jet’s maximum range was 2,965 kilometers (1,600 nautical miles). That is just under the distance between Medellin and Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where the plane took off at almost full capacity.
Flight and approach
A BAE 146 Avro RJ85 holds about 21,000 pounds of fuel. It burns fuel at a rate of 4,500 pounds to 5,000 pounds an hour. The flight was in the air for about 4 hours and 20 minutes when air-traffic controllers in Medellin put it into a holding pattern because another flight had reported a suspected fuel leak and was given priority.
In the final minutes of the LaMia flight, the pilot of the jet can be heard repeatedly requesting permission to land due to a lack of fuel and a “total electric failure,” according to a leaked recording. The recording, obtained by several Colombian media outlets, seem to confirm the accounts of a surviving flight attendant and a pilot flying nearby who overheard the frantic pleas from the doomed airliner. In addition, there was no explosion upon impact, pointing to a scarcity of fuel. AP
Iraq’s special forces control 19 Mosul areas
L-QASR, Iraq—Iraqi special forces fighting Islamic State (IS) militants on the eastern side of Mosul have retaken 19 neighborhoods from the extremist group since the battle for the city began last month, a senior Iraqi commander said on Wednesday. Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil of the special forces told The Associated Press his men were now about 4 kilometers from the Tigris river, which slices the city in half. He said the 19 neighborhoods constituted less than 30 percent of the part of the city east of the Tigris. The government last month launched a massive campaign to retake Mosul from IS. The offensive was launched on multiple fronts, but most of the fighting has to date been concentrated in the city’s eastern sector, with Iraq’s special forces taking the lead. The presence inside the city of an estimated 1 million residents has slowed down the campaign’s progress, with the Iraqis and their allies in a US-led coalition avoiding the use of overwhelming power to protect civilians. He said also that rain has vastly reduced the scale of fighting in Mosul on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Iraqi army troops sweeping through an area southeast of Mosul on Wednesday came under attack from IS militants firing automatic weapons and mortars. The troops from the Ninth Armored Division were on a foot patrol when they came under fire by IS militants stationed on the opposite bank of the Tigris River. The troops were sweeping an area east of the Tigris before they pressed on with their advance on Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city captured by IS in June 2014. The UN agency for women and children, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef ), meanwhile said in a statement on Wednesday nearly half of all the children in Mosul and their families have reportedly been cut off from access to clean water after a major water pipeline was destroyed in the fighting. The pipeline, one of three major water conduits ser ving civilians in eastern Mosul, is in parts of the city still held by IS, making it impossible to repair quickly, the statement said. AP
Syrian social worker Anas al-Basha, 24, dressed as a clown, distributes toys to children in Aleppo, Syria, in this undated photo. Al-Basha, was a center director at Space for Hope, one of the many important but unheralded local initiatives that has operated against the odds to provide the services of civil society in Syria’s war-torn opposition areas. He was killed on November 29 in a presumed government or Russian ballistic-missile strike on the Mashhad neighborhood in the besieged, eastern side of Aleppo city. Courtesy of Ahmad al-Khatib, via AP
UN: Laws of war disregarded in Syria
NITED NATIONS—Parties to the Syrian conflict have systematically disregarded the laws of war, showing time and again that they are willing to do anything to gain military advantage, the UN humanitarian chief said on Wednesday.
Speaking via video link from London, Stephen O’Brien told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that was nowhere more apparent than in the besieged city of eastern Aleppo, with nearly a quarter of million people trapped inside. “There are no limits or red lines left to cross. The rules of war—sacrosanct notions borne out of generations of costly and painful lessons and set more than 150 year ago in the First Geneva Convention—have been systematically disregarded in Syria,” O’Brien said. O’Brien added that some 25,000 people, most of them women and children, have been displaced from their homes since Saturday and that it is likely thousands more will flee in the coming days as Syrian forces step up their attack. He said there was no longer any properly functioning hospital in eastern Aleppo, which has been under siege for nearly 150 days and that most of the people trapped inside don’t have the means to survive much longer. He called on the Syrian government to allow the UN and its humanitarian partners unrestricted access to deliver food and medical aid. Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy to Syria, told the council that, over the last two weeks, government forces have recaptured almost 40
150 The number of years when the rules of war have been existing since the First Geneva Convention
percent of the area in Aleppo, previously held by opposition groups, forcing thousands to flee. He said his office has received credible reports of opposition groups preventing civilians from fleeing areas under their control. Also, he expressed concern that many fleeing the city, who are perceived to have links to the opposition, were being detained by government forces.
Syrians fleeing Aleppo shelled
A series of artillery rounds lobbed on Wednesday on Syria’s eastern Aleppo district killed 26 civilians, including seven children, as they fled a government ground offensive in the besieged enclave. It was the second time the Jub al-Quba neighborhood, in the historic district of the rebel-held
eastern side of the city, was struck in as many days. An air strike on Tuesday blamed by activists on the government killed 25 civilians in the same area. They were also believed to be newly displaced from the government onslaught on the northern parts of eastern Aleppo. Meanwhile, eight civilians, including two children, were killed in shelling on the government-held western side of the city, according to state media. The government blamed rebels for the attack. The embattled opposition fighters clashed heavily on the southern edge of the enclave with governmentallied troops, who made new gains in the government offensive that has cleaved the rebel-held part of the city.
First territorial gain
The Syrian government pushed its way into the 45-square-kilometer rebel-held enclave over the weekend, making its first territorial gain in the area seized by the opposition fighters since 2012. G o v e r n me nt of f ic i a l s s ay they want to “ liberate” the area, calling the opposition fighters “terrorists”, and accusing them of holding civilians there hostage. Despite opening a number of passageways to allow civilians to leave before the offensive, none of the residents took advantage of it, citing fears of being arrested or forcibly conscripted. The passageways were not UN super vised.
Opening fire on civilians
In New York on Wednesday, Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari accused the rebels of opening fire on the civilians as they tried to flee eastern Aleppo. The bodies of the victims of the Jub al-Quba attack on Wednesday lined the streets, as their bags and
few belongings lied close by their sides, photos showed. Jawad al-Rifai, who took the pictures for the Aleppo Media Center, said they were civilians—mostly women and children—f leeing shelling and air strikes on other parts of the city. “They were fleeing on foot. They were coming to our side,” said Ibrahim Al-Haj, a member of the Syrian Civil Defense (SCD) teams, explaining that the displaced were heading to what they thought was safer ground. “There were children, baby bottles and bags all over.” The neighborhood and others around it in Aleppo’s centrally located old city have absorbed thousands of residents displaced by the advance of government troops in the east. Abdulkafi Alhamdo, a teacher living in the Zabadieh neighborhood in eastern Aleppo, said refugees were filling up his building, most of its flats abandoned because of the war. They had close to nothing, he said, and have asked for the simplest things, including salt. “They knock on my door all the time. They ask for a plate, or some sheets,” Alhamdo said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria through a network of local contacts, said tens more were wounded in Jub al-Quba. Observatory chief Rami Abdurrahman said he predicts death tolls will rise in east Aleppo, as the internal displacement creates more residential density. The SCD in eastern Aleppo, also known as the White Helmets, put the toll at 45 killed. It blamed the government for the strikes.
Rescue efforts hampered
Rescue efforts by the group were hampered by the lack of functioning machinery, Rifai said.
“Most of their equipment is out of service because of the targeting against their quarters,” he added. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Aleppo as progovernment Syrian forces press on with their campaign to reclaim the divided city. The Observatory said more than 50,000, out of an estimated quartermillion inhabitants, have been displaced by attacks on rebel-held eastern Aleppo over the past four days. Many of them fled to safer ground in areas under government or Kurdish control. The International Committee of the Red Cross says around 20,000 people have fled. The Lebanese Al-Manar TV channel, operated by Hezbollah, which has groups fighting on the government side in Syria, reported from the Aleppo countryside that progovernment forces were advancing in the southern portion of the city’s rebel enclave. Syrian state media announced midday on Wednesday that its forces had retaken the southern Sheikh Saeed neighborhood, while the Observatory said rebels still held onto a third of the area. The Observatory added that Iraqi militia fighters were playing a central role in the government’s advance from the south. Yasser al-Youssef, a spokesman for rebel group Nour el-Din el-Zinki, said the pro-government fighters were repelled and the opposition had captured at least one of their soldiers. The group posted a video of the captured fighter. “There is regime deployment on the southern edge of the city. They are likely to attempt an assault on the southern front,” al-Youssef said. Residents said, meanwhile, after the killing in Jub al-Qubba, there was a respite in government bombing, most likely due to heavy rain. “The rain stopped the bombing,” al-Haj said. AP
China slaps 10% tax on Ferrari, Bentley cars to curb luxury
hina is slapping a 10-perce nt t a x on c a r s l i k e the Ferrari GTC4Lusso, Bentley Bentayga and Aston Martin DB9 in a bid to combat conspicuous consumption and promote more fuel-efficient vehicles. Buyers of autos costing 1.3 million yuan ($189,000) or more will be hit with the tax starting on Thursday, according to the Ministry of Finance. The levy on “superluxury” vehicles is meant to “guide reasonable consumption,” lower emissions
and save energy, the ministry said in a statement on its web site. The tax is China’s latest move to tone down spending by the country’s growing ranks of wealthy consumers. While the additional cost will be a limited deterrent for people willing and able to spend vast sums on a car, it’s another drag on these vehicles just as they were showing signs of recovery amid President Xi Jinping’s calls for thriftiness. It also comes as the government considers extending a tax
cut on smaller cars due to expire this month. “The tax increase is a display of the government’s attitude of advocating frugality,” said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the Passenger Car Association. “The increase in taxes on luxury cars may help make the extension of the small-car tax cut more likely, given it is in line with the government policy of promoting cars with better fuel economy.” Manufacturers of ultra-luxury vehicles have been shifting their
lineups in recent years to appeal more to Chinese buyers, who generally prefer large autos over sports cars. Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin are both planning their first sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), following Bentley’s lead with the Bentayga, which starts at 3.98 million yuan in China. Lamborghini SpA, which counts China as its second-biggest market, sold more than 2,000 vehicles through June this year, a record tally for the carmaker. The Italian supercar maker also is planning
to begin sales of the Urus SUV next year. Gaydon, England-based Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. “constantly adjusts to specific conditions in the markets in which we do business, and will do so for this taxation change in China,” a spokesman said by e-mail. A spokesman at McLaren Automotive Ltd. declined to comment beyond saying the Woking, England-based carmaker, was aware the Chinese government had been considering the move. Bloomberg News
West Papuans protest against Indonesian rule
est Papuan protesters faced off with the police in the Indonesian capital on Thursday in a demonstration calling for the remote region’s independence. Organizers had promised protests in other cities and said police had denied them permission to march in central Jakarta. The dozens of demonstrators were blocked from marching onto a busy traffic circle in the capital by several hundred police who fired water cannons and dragged several men from the crowd into waiting vans. After about three hours, they agreed to end the protest and were detained by the police. “Don’t hinder our right to voice our aspirations. Papuans are demanding the truth of our history,” a speaker standing atop a small truck shouted at the crowd. Members of the Papua Students Alliance chanted “Freedom Papua” and others sang independence songs. Rights groups accuse the Indonesian military of serious human rights abuses in Papua and some Melanesian island-states have also voiced concerns and called for Papuan independence. Many West Papuans see December 1 as the anniversary
of what should have been their independence. The Dutch colonizers of the Indonesian archipelago held onto West Papua when Indonesia became independent after World War II. It became part of Indonesia following a UN-supervised referendum in 1969 criticized as undemocratic. “They feel that the referendum back then in 1969 was a sham,” Veronica Koman from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute said. “There were 800,000 West Papuans at that time. West Papuans were promised one man and one vote. But instead only 1,022 turned up, it was set up that way. They have to vote with the military all over them and intimidation. It’s illegal. And they want Indonesia to admit that and hold a referendum,” she said. A low-level insurgency has plagued the mineral-rich region, which is ethnically and culturally distinct from much of Indonesia, for years. The Indonesian government, which for decades had a policy of sending Javanese and other Indonesians to settle in Papua, is now also trying to spur economic development to dampen the separatist movement. AP
China-Singapore tension spills into open after customs spat
Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi is accompanied by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as she inspects honor guards during a welcome ceremony at the Istana, or presidential palace, on Wednesday in Singapore. Suu Kyi is on a three-day official visit to the city-state. AP
or decades, Singapore has walked a careful line between the US and China. Now, the tiny Southeast Asian state is finding itself in Beijing’s cross hairs.
West Papuan protesters react as police water-cannon trucks spray them during a rally calling for the remote region’s independence in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday. AP
Asean more accessible than EU, US
ncreased integration into the global economy of the economies that comprise the Asean has made the region a more accessible market for trading goods than either the European Union or United States. This is one of the findings of the Global Enabling Trade Report 2016, published today by the World Economic Forum and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation. The report features the Enabling Trade Index (ETI), which assesses the performance of 136 economies on domestic and foreign-market access; border administration; transport and digital infrastructure; transport services; and operating environment. Produced every two years, the report is a benchmark for leaders looking to boost growth and development through trade. Asean’s progress as an economic power comes at a time when the US and EU are becoming less open, according to the report. However, Asean’s progress in other areas measured by the index is less pronounced. As a result, the best economies for enabling trade tend to
be in Northern and Western Europe, with the notable exception of Singapore and Hong Kong SAR, in first and third places, respectively. “Free trade remains the most powerful driver of global economic development and social progress. The challenge for leaders today is to confront protectionism, but they also have a duty to make trade a source for more inclusive growth,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. Another key finding of the report is the limited success with which governments are tackling border administration efficiency. Reforming administration is recognized as a “low-hanging fruit” capable of producing disproportionate gains for both small and large businesses compared to the financial and political capital required to implement them. This lack of momentum could be seen as a cause for concern as the World Trade Organization’s 2014 Trade Facilitation Agreement comes into force in 2017.
Editor: Max V. de Leon • Friday, December 2, 2016 A9
China has gone public in recent months to chastise Singapore for a perceived alignment with the US against China’s actions in the disputed South China Sea. For Singapore, which the American Navy uses as a launch point for patrols of the strategic Strait of Malacca, the tensions cast doubt on its long-cherished ability to steer clear of political spats and focus on trade and investment. The latest episode has the added wrinkle of Taiwan, which China considers its territory. Nine Singaporean armored personnel carriers were seized by Hong Kong customs last week, with the vehicles en route from Taiwan on a commercial ship after being used in training exercises. Singapore Army Chief, Major General Melvyn Ong said the military was still seeking to ascertain the exact reason the vehicles were impounded. While Ong said Hong Kong was a common port of call for foreign militaries and noted “there have been no issues in the past,” the shipment elicited a formal protest from Beijing, which warned Singapore to abide by Hong Kong law and the One-China principle that China uses to guide its affairs with Taiwan. “This is not the first time Singapore ships equipment from Taiwan through Hong Kong,” said Bilahari Kausikan, an ambassador at large for Singapore. The fact this particular consignment was picked up shows China wants to “send a signal not only to us, but to all” Southeast
Asian nations. China’s long-term strategy is to turn Singapore into an ally and “mouthpiece” for its positions, he said. China might be seeking to gain the advantage ahead of Donald Trump’s January inauguration as US president—and amid questions about the future of President Barack Obama’s military and economic “pivot” to Asia —by prodding countries, like Singapore, to stay out of political disputes, like the South China Sea. The spat highlights the difficulty for smaller Asian nations amid the broader tussle for regional influence between China and the US Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has warned several times that the region’s nations don’t want to take sides. While countries are building economic links with China, some have also sought the buffer of strategic relations with America.
Singapore has strong historical and cultural ties to China, since the ancestors of many residents were traders from the mainland. The late Lee Kuan Yew—the former prime minister and current leader’s father—was regarded as a conduit for China to the rest of the region. Singapore last year hosted the first summit between presidents of China and Taiwan since their civil war. “For quite some time, Singapore has been pretending to seek a
For quite some time, Singapore has been pretending to seek a balance between China and the US, yet, has been taking Washington’s side in reality. This has turned Singapore into a platform for Washington to contain and deter Beijing.”—China’s State-Run Global Times balance between China and the US, yet, has been taking Washington’s side in reality,” China’s state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial on Monday. “This has turned Singapore into a platform for Washington to contain and deter Beijing.” Singapore has strengthened military ties with the US over the past year, allowing Poseidon surveillance aircraft to operate out of its territory, as well as littoral combat ships. Neither Singapore nor the US are claimants in the South China Sea. The Global Times warned that Singapore’s actions could deal a “huge blow to bilateral ties, result in a possible adjustment to Beijing’s foreign
policies and profoundly impact Singapore’s economy.” Singapore has said it wants a diplomatic solution to the maritime disputes, and for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take a joint position. China is Singapore’s largest trading partner, closely followed by the US. More than a fifth of Singapore’s GDP is linked to China, according to Natixis SA. Singapore has a growing role as a gateway to Southeast Asia for President Xi Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which aims to revive ancient trading routes to Europe. Still, the tensions won’t necessarily hit economic ties. “The issue between Singapore and China needs to be handled between the two governments in accordance with the applicable laws and in the context of a deep and wide-ranging relationship,’’ Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said in a statement. The military vehicles seized in Hong Kong lacked appropriate permits, and weren’t specifically declared on the ship’s manifest, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed person with knowledge of the matter. Importing undeclared cargo would be a violation of Hong Kong’s Import and Export Ordinance.
For now, Singapore is reacting cautiously. No single issue would hijack Singapore’s “long-standing, wide-ranging relationship with China,” Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said at a forum this week in Singapore, according to the Straits Times. Singapore hasn’t said if it plans to alert or stop military training in Taiwan. It has used the island for decades, in part because of its own limited size. China’s relationship with Taiwan has deteriorated since January, when the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party swept the more conciliatory Kuomintang from power. Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the seizure “kills two birds with one stone by demonstrating China’s displeasure with Taiwan’s military engagement with other countries.” The risk now is other behavior that was previously tolerated becomes a problem, said Jia Xiudong, former counselor for political affairs with the Chinese embassy in Washington. “It’s getting really hard for Asian nations to balance between China and the US when the two powers have shown growing signs of friction,” said Jia, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies under the foreign ministry. “One may have to pick a side, or at least, it has to be very careful to not damage the core interest of any side.” Bloomberg News
Indonesia pressures Google, Facebook on taxes to plug Widodo’s budget gap
ndonesia is widening its tax net to target global technology giants, like Google and Facebook Inc., a strategy that’s raising red flags for fear it may deter foreign investment. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati is seeking to squeeze more revenue out of an economy that’s been hit by weak commodity prices and subdued demand from China, Indonesia’s biggest trading partner. Halfway through a tax-amnesty plan, the government has raised almost 100 trillion rupiah ($7.4 billion) in income from penalties, and is now turning its focus to companies like Apple Inc., Twitter Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. The latest salvo from the tax
office underscores the challenge President Joko Widodo faces in funding his ambitious infrastructure goals, and the risk that it may backfire by scaring off investors. “We’re just looking for fair treatment,” said Lin Neumann, managing director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia. “The concern is that, if companies feel that they’re spending an enormous amount of time in negotiations over tax assessments that go beyond what they believe they have agreed to in their contracts and under the law, then that can hurt foreign investment.” If companies “end up in a kind of red-tape situation, that is not conducive to making plans for growth,”
The alleged tax and corresponding penalty owed by Google to the Indonesian government he said. “Ultimately, that situation hurts Indonesia.” The chamber helps to promote US businesses in Indonesia, and Google is among its members. Indonesia had initially put Google’s tax and penalty bill at 5 trillion rupiah, but could lower that to 1 trillion rupiah in a settlement
that may come as soon as this week, according to Muhammad Haniv, head of the special taxpayers office with the Finance Ministry’s Tax Directorate General. He said last week Facebook owed as much as 3 trillion rupiah. Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Yahoo! didn’t respond to requests for comment. Taj Meadows, Google head of policy communications for Asia Pacific, declined to comment, and referred to an earlier statement that said the company had paid all applicable taxes and will continue to fully cooperate with the Indonesian government. Indrawati—a former World Bank managing director who tried to clean up the tax system during her
previous tenure as finance minister —needs to keep the budget deficit below the legal limit of 3 percent of GDP. That goal is complicated by an economy that expanded last year at the slowest pace since 2009 and is forecast to grow only slightly better at about 5 percent this year. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said in a report this week that, while the Widodo government had embarked on a string of reforms over the past year to “improve the business environment, streamline investment and liberalize inward investment”, the fiscal balance was deteriorating owing to slower growth and low commodity prices. “While an ongoing tax amnesty
may help ease this constraint in the short term, in the longer-term tax revenues, which are very low, will have to be boosted,” it said. “Policies are needed to address the narrow tax base, the low number of taxpayers and weak compliance.” Indonesia’s tax agency’s Haniv said last week a letter had been sent to Facebook’s offices in Ireland seeking a meeting, as well as data on its operations in Indonesia, where it has 88 million users. Google has faced tax investigations elsewhere, including in the UK, where tax authorities reached a £130-million ($162-million) settlement with the company’s parent Alphabet Inc. in January. Bloomberg News
A10 Friday, December 2, 2016 • Editor: Angel R. Calso
Metro Manila Film Festival–Why?
N one form or another, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) has been in business since 1975, and will celebrate its 42nd event in a few weeks. According to its mission statement, the MMFF is “a festival that celebrates Filipino artistic excellence, promotes audience development and champions the sustainability of the Philippine film industry”. Its vision is “to develop audiences for and encourage the production of quality Filipino films, and to promote the welfare of its workers”.
Without wanting to be too critical, the mission statement sounds like a vision, and the vision sounds like its mission. And that might be part of the problem. During the course of the festival, only films approved by the jurors of the MMFF are shown in movie theaters. No foreign movies are shown, except in 3D theaters and IMAX theaters. A portion of the income earned during the MMFF goes to support the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation Inc. (Mowelfund). This is important, as the Social Welfare Program has helped many indigent and underemployed people working in the industry, which is known for high salaries only for the stars. Further, Mowelfund Film Institute is a valuable resource and training center for budding Filipino filmmakers. But the festival itself, with its winners and losers, has been a hotbed of controversy from the beginning. Iconic Filipino Director Lino Brocka walked out of the awarding ceremonies in 1977 when Celso Ad. Castillo’s film Burlesk Queen won eight of the 10 awards, including the Best Picture award during the third MMFF. In 2015 a day before the awards night, Erik Matti’s Honor Thy Father was disqualified for the Best Picture award in a decision surrounded by technicalities. Over the years, the criteria for a film’s inclusion in the festival have changed frequently, moving up and down the scale between “commercial value” and “artistic and technical excellence”. While the MMFF cannot be compared to two other film festivals—Cannes and Sundance—commercial value does not enter into the selection of entrants in either of those two. This year the new rules say the conditions for the choice of finalists are built on story, audience appeal, overall impact (40 percent); cinematic attributes and technical excellence (40 percent); global appeal (10 percent); and Filipino sensibility (10 percent). Based on this, the selection committee has included a majority of films from independent producers, creating controversy once again. Those in the industry from the major studios are complaining that “starpower” and commercial value (read “potential ticket sales”) should have carried more weight. One entertainment journalist wrote that the MMFF should have not just relied on excellence alone. It should have combined commercial value with technical excellence. By that logic, excellence in filmmaking should not be equally important with box-office receipts. Maybe that is why in 2014 we had Shake, Rattle and Roll XV. However, another journalist wrote: “Every year we get to see the same kind of movies in MMFF. Even the actors are the same familiar faces fielded to star in film entries, which are mostly film franchises or sequels.” If the purpose of the MMFF is to raise money for Mowelfund, then it would be good to remember that the highest box office in Philippine history was Iron Man 3 in 2013. If the purpose is to encourage and enhance Filipino filmmaking, then all high-quality films of merit should be included. Since 2005
Freedom of information James Jimenez
N straightforward terms, social media is the newly emergent platform through which the government has access to, and can be accessed by, the public it serves. Contrasted with the limitations of traditional media, social media allows governments to now project its voice to a much wider audience, at virtually no cost. Social media, in other words, has made it easier for government to keep its citizens up to speed, and to inform public discourse.
This is true power, and it should come with a warning label. Social media is a double-edged sword. Wielded properly, and strictly for legitimate purposes, it is undeniably beneficial. As an example, it has become de rigueur for government entities to have verified profiles on Facebook and Twitter to better inform and communicate with the public. Through these official accounts, these savvy government agencies are able to compete more effectively
Thanking the maker(s) of the sword
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with traditional media for air space, ensuring that official positions are accessible to the public as an alternative to various editorialized versions of those positions. In the Commission on Elections (Comelec), for instance, we achieve this by the simple expedient of putting all official issuances and promulgations online. That way, the talking heads and pundits can get it wrong—let’s admit that they don’t always get it a hundred
percent right—but the public will still be able to see the source documents and, thus, be able to distinguish truth from spin. Used ineptly—or, worse, used not at all—social media can, however, be an amplifier for false narratives, simply by allowing such narratives to persist. In the run-up to the 2016 elections, starting in earnest just a few days before overseas voting kicked off, fake news raged like wildfire throughout social networks. If the Comelec had ignored that and not used its own social-media channels, all that misinformation could have irredeemably undermined the credibility of elections. As it turned out, the 2016 elections are now considered the most credible elections in recent Philippine electoral history, thanks in no small part to the Comelec’s use of social media. The 2016 experience, in which I was an active participant as the person most directly responsible for the content of the Comelec’s social-media accounts, is the reason I am thoroughly stoked for recent developments in the Freedom of
here is no doubt that the character of former Justice Secretary and now Sen. Leila M. de Lima is under constant attack. Others, myself included, might say her character is merely undergoing the process of being tried, tested and solidified. Never static, a leader’s character will always be tested every time he or she tries to change things or stands by his or her principles. Similar to character-building, the art of sword making takes a lot of hard work and patience. Factors such as sword size, shape, properties and metal composition determine the amount of metal, the temperatures of heating and the specific steps in the process of making a sword. Turning any desired metal to a sword takes six steps—forging, annealing, grinding, hardening, tempering and completion. Forging entails heating a bar of the desired metal in a furnace and repeatedly hammering it into shape to keep its strength and flexibility intact. Annealing softens the sword to allow for an easier grinding process. Grinding is the process where the edge and point of the sword is made. Hardening subjects the metal to high heat, and then placing it into a quenching tank to cool off quickly and evenly. Tempering the blade entails a repeat of the heating and quenching process, although at a
much lower temperature than was used at the hardening stage to make the blade strong but not brittle. The moment the blade will have a certain amount of flexibility yet still retain its sharp edge, it can now be completed to a “sword” where accessories, such as the pommel, guard and hilt, can be added. In the same vein, family values, educational background and professional experiences are some factors that determine the character of a person, while trials and oppressions will help build it. In his “Duty Honor Country” speech way back in 1962, Gen. Douglas MacArthur told the Corps of Cadets that a few hypocrites, demagogues and troublemakers will try to downgrade the values of Duty Honor Country to the point of mockery and ridicule. He, however, encouraged cadets to allow such actions for they help build a person’s character. In the 1,699 days that I served the Bureau of Immigration, there must
have been a few times that I felt that there was truth to the proposition that working for the government is a “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” duty. No matter how hard I tried to make a difference, there were critics and pessimists ready to pounce on whatever I did. While serving the government, at times, can be considered a thankless job, such opportunity to serve has taught me the value of gratitude. Hence, despite the unnecessary exposure to complaints/cases and being subjected to black propaganda, I still consider my stint in the bureau as a “Thankful” job. In the same speech, MacArthur said trials will make you strong enough to know when you are weak and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. Hence, I thank both supporters and detractors, both friends and foes, and both the good guys and the bad guys in the bureau, for they all helped me develop my character. Just like the steps in making a sword, I think my character underwent that same process where I was figuratively pounded, hammered, heated in high heat, drenched in water and hardened to gain both strength and flexibility. This is exactly what’s happening now with de Lima. While her integrity is far from being unblemished, in my eyes, it is still much higher than those I have encountered while working in the bureau. The congressional hearings have successfully cast aspersions on her character and tarnished her image as legislators took turns in trying to connect her romantic interludes
Information (FOI) front. On July 23 President Duterte issued the FOI Executive Order (EO) as a means to maintain transparency in his administration. EO 02 “operationalizes in the Executive branch the people’s constitutional right to information and the state policies on full public disclosure and transparency in the public service and providing guidelines therefor.” In other words, the public will now have access to information they need, with some exceptions, from national government agencies in the Philippines. And more recently, the government launched foi.gov.ph—an online portal meant to facilitate FOI requests. Although still in beta—tech speak for the state of being in infancy—and undeniably imperfect, the portal, nevertheless, represents a quantum leap forward in the continuing struggle to define how the government uses social media in the service of the people. James Arthur B. Jimenez is director of the Commission on Elections’s Education and Information Department.
with her driver/bodyguard with the druglords in the country. An ordinary mortal would likely raise the white flag and surrender. Giving up or, perhaps, shutting up is clearly the easy way out for de Lima. She may easily save face, avoid embarrassment and minimize the complaints/ cases against her by just refraining from pointing out the accountabilities and potential liabilities of the Duterte administration. A person with integrity will not strive for recognition, success, or victory. Success to him or her is not about fame or fortune but rather is about his or her quest for truth and justice. Though he or she might fail or die trying, the mere effort is already a success. No government official would want to be in the shoes of de Lima these days. But in the comforting words of Helen Keller— “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” As for de Lima, she should be thankful to both friends and foes during these trying times. She should expect to be repeatedly pounded, constantly hammered and subjected to heat to gain both strength and flexibility. After all, she is but a steel being “forged, hardened and tempered” into a sword. For questions and comments, e-mail me at email@example.com.
Friday, December 2, 2016 A11
Insights on financial literacy and inclusion Ser Percival K. Peña-Reyes
ith the theme “Ramping up Towards Philippines 2040”, the Philippine Economic Society (PES) held its 54th annual meeting at Novotel Manila, Araneta Center, on November 8. The theme alluded to “AmBisyon Natin 2040”, a long-term vision for the country that is now being translated into a socioeconomic development plan. The event served as an appropriate venue for the nation’s top economists to participate in the discourse.
Coincidentally, this year also marks the first time the country observes the Economic and Financial Literacy Week, as declared by Republic Act (RA) 10922 (The Economic and Financial Literacy Act of 2015). Indeed, economic and financial literacy will play a crucial role in achieving the “matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay” that describes the collective aspirations of ordinary Filipinos; thus, the event’s plenary session was devoted to this discussion. One of the breakout sessions kept with the theme of financial literacy. Invited to speak were Alvin Ang of Ateneo de Manila University, Mark Julius Eusebio of the University of the Philippines Los Baños and Dennis Mapa of the University of the Philippines Diliman. Moderating the discussion was Emilio Neri Jr. of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), which sponsored the panel. The discussion yielded many useful insights, so this column attempts to share some of them for everyone’s benefit. One insight is that the physical presence of banks doesn’t immediately guarantee people’s utilization of such facilities, especially if people don’t appreciate their value. That’s why merely forcing banks to expand into new geographic markets might only prove unprofitable, and the goal of financial inclusion will not be met. Perhaps, this explains some interesting trends. On a granular level (cities and municipalities), 591 out of 1,634 local government units (LGUs) nationwide still did not have bank offices as of end-December 2015, according to the Status Report on the Philippine Financial System published by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). On a broader level (regions), the distribution of banking resources bears a strong resemblance to the spatial pattern of economic activity in the Philippines. Last year the National Capital Region, Region 4A and Region 3, taken together, accounted for 62.95 percent of national output, 79.33 percent of deposit liabilities, 89.57 percent of outstanding loans, 56.84 percent of bank offices and 64.87 percent of automated teller machines (ATMs). Indeed, banking resources have been heavily skewed toward these top 3 income-generating regions, where businesses are likely to be profitable. So, another insight emerges. Promoting financial inclusion is not simply about ensuring the physical availability of banking facilities. Rather, the solution lies in economic and financial literacy, which influences how people think
and behave regarding finances. Such behavior modification will take time to realize, so there must be a large-scale, coordinated effort to sustain the campaign. This is where the significance of RA 10922 becomes evident. The law mandates all government agencies and LGUs to work closely to increase economic and financial awareness. The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) will take charge of the planning, initiating and executing of knowledge-expanding activities for government agencies and their instrumentalities. The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) is mandated to allot airtime for programs and printed materials on economic and financial-literacy awareness and enhancement. Likewise, the Department of Education (DepEd) and all higher-education institutions are mandated to conduct activities to enhance consciousness among the youth in public and private schools, at both elementary and secondary levels. For its part, the PES will encourage the active participation of the private sector and civil society. Through RA 10922, it is hoped that people’s improved awareness of economics and finance will lead to their greater financial security, which, in turn, will redound to society’s greater benefit through the stimulation of efficient markets and competition in the country. Indeed, saving and investing should be seen as not only self-securing acts, but also patriotic acts, since surplus funds are channeled and used to strengthen the nation by creating more businesses, roads, buildings, bridges and the like. While Filipinos should be thankful for overseas remittances and business-process outsourcing (BPO) revenues that have kept the economy afloat all these years, largely by fuelling domestic consumption, these funds have also fostered a culture of dependency, which tends to lull people into a false sense of complacency. With game-changing events happening abroad (Brexit, Trump presidency), there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future inflow of such funds. Thus, these resources should increasingly be channeled into investments to expand domestic productive capacity. Moreover, economic and financial literacy could break this culture of dependency and empower people to build a genuinely secure society. Ser Percival K. Peña-Reyes is a faculty member of the Economics Department under the School of Social Sciences of Ateneo de Manila University.
Imagining film communities Tito Genova Valiente
he Holy Spirit has not descended upon this community somewhere in Dasmariñas, Cavite, but people here are speaking in tongues.
We are mostly inside the campus of De La Salle University for the eighth edition of Cinema Rehiyon. This is a gathering of filmmakers, film educators and critics, and other film enthusiasts made possible under the patronage of the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) with a special funding from the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the latter under the leadership of Ms. Liza Diño-Esguerra. The event opened with Lem Lorca’s Water Lemon, the story of Filemon, a young man afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome, who measures the water level of the sea off Mauban each day. The story is a fairy tale, a charming
T sounds like something out of a dystopian novel: The fresh fish in many of Beijing’s biggest supermarkets simply disappeared last week, as if summoned to another realm. Social media buzzed with alarm and paranoia. The Beijing News placed a photo of an empty aquarium and an underemployed fishmonger on its front page. The truth turned out to be something earthier and more familiar. According to state media, someone had
tipped off the supermarkets about an impending health inspection. Rather than risk a problem, the stores—including Wal-Mart and Carrefour outlets—unloaded their fish. So far, at least, nobody seems to know where they went. The incident suggests a few underlying problems. One is that a huge amount of food production in China remains small scale and untraceable. A 2006 government census found more than 200 million individual agricultural holdings. Some consolidation has taken place since, but not nearly enough. According to state media, the
and Mindanao are expected anytime to understand and support. In forums and Q and As, several languages fly and many a thousand stereotypes about the islands of the South and the hinterlands are shattered, formed, reformed, interrogated and negotiated. The whole surrounding reeks of rebellion, not the kind that calls for suspension of any writ but one that demands a closer look from those who believe in forming a real republic and inducing a sociopolitical glue to construct a nation. The second night of the film conference saw a parade of short films, all with horror themes. Do not take the terrifying at face value. One filmmaker explains his “inspiration” to do a film about human-ingesting monsters by talking about death squads and extrajudicial killings. Cinema has just become a terrific metaphor for what is happening to this land. The true horror is not about phantasms running after pregnant women but in the poverty draining the land and the ugly politics munching on the viscera and exuviae of the haunted population.
Veritas 500: Bringing Jesus to every Catholic home
Church. In the time when the world is deeply influenced by secularism and materialism that leads to the abandonment of faith, there is a need to explore and discover new methods and means for transmitting the “Good News” more effectively to our people. In his Apostolic Exhortion, “Evangelii Gaudium”, Pope Francis said there are deficiencies in the popular cultures of Catholic people, which need to be healed by the Gospel:
To know more about Caritas Manila, visit www. caritasmanila.org.ph. For your donations, please call our DonorCare lines 563-9311, 564-0205, 0999-7943455, 0905-4285001 and 0929-8343857. Make it a habit to listen to Radio Veritas 846 in the AM band, or through live streaming at www.veritas846.ph. For comments, e-mail veritas846pr@ gmail.com.
This situation is worsened by China’s fractured system of oversight. The central government tends to pass off regulation of the food supply to local authorities. Those regulators, in turn, typically have little money or incentive to conduct inspections, and don’t coordinate with their counterparts in other cities and provinces. While agricultural officials oversee what’s produced on farms, meanwhile, food-and-drug agencies monitor what’s in the market. The upshot is that it’s exceedingly unlikely that any one regulator can trace a fish from
production in a contaminated pond to a Beijing Wal-Mart. Supermarkets often end up as helpless to control what they buy as their customers are. A final problem is petty corruption. Although President Xi Jinping has cracked down on misbehavior among senior party leaders, China’s score on Transparency International’s Corruption Index has actually gotten worse since he assumed power. Safety regulators who look the other way when fish ponds are polluted, or who tip off markets that an inspection is coming, are pretty familiar
characters to most Chinese. Fixing these problems will require more than patchwork remedies, such as increased reporting requirements or stiffer penalties. Regulators need more coordination and more funding. And, finally, the government should encourage and protect journalists who uncover the small-scale corruption underlying all these issues. Past governments could make excuses for avoiding these problems. The current one, officially the most powerful in a generation, probably can’t—especially if the fish keep disappearing.
N 2021 we, as a nation, will celebrate the fifth centenary of the coming of Christianity to the Philippines. We will commemorate the first Mass celebrated in Limasawa Island on 1521, as well as the first Christian baptism in the country. It was on that same year when Ferdinand Magellan brought the image of Santo Niño de Cebu, oldest religious icon in the Philippines.
Today the Philippines is known as the bastion of Christianity in Asia, with 84 million Catholics nationwide, and the third country with the most number of Catholics in the world. However, only 13 million, or almost 15 percent, are actively participating in this faith experience. So much work and effort has to be done to reach out and reevangelize the remaining 71 million “unchurched” or non-active Catholics who have drifted from the
vast majority of Beijing’s freshwaterfish supply comes from thousands of independently owned ponds in neighboring provinces. Supervising those millions of little farms is nearly impossible, and the farmers know it. On Tuesday the Beijing News reported that its journalists had visited fish farms near the city that routinely flouted the law, including requirements that farms be registered and that they keep track of the fertilizers and chemicals they put in their ponds. (Alarmingly, some farmers said they wouldn’t eat their own fish.)
various media platforms through Veritas TV and livestreaming in the next five years. In this campaign, the Catholic faithful are encouraged to contribute P500 balik handog each year for the next five years. Each P500 balik handog will help reach 480 inactive catholic faithful back to our parish communities (based on the population and number of barangays in the Philippines). As Catholics, we are encouraged to take part in this historic movement in our Christian faith. Let us thank the Lord God Almighty who gave us the priceless gift of Christian faith nearly 500 years ago by preserving it and helping our brethren to renew their relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.
machismo, alcoholism, domestic violence, low Mass attendance, fatalistic or superstitious notions that lead to sorcery and the like. Aware of this situation, Radio Veritas will launch a five-year program, “Veritas 500: Bringing Jesus to every Catholic home” on December 8, 2016, feast day of the Immaculate Conception, the principal Patroness of the Philippines with a Eucharistic Celebration to be presided by Most Rev. Teodoro Cruz Bacani Jr., Bishop Emeritus of Novaliches at 12 noon. The station will also conduct a telethon from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to raise initial funds for the campaign. The program aims to spread and witness the love, truth and justice of Jesus to the 71 million “unchurched” Filipino Catholics through new “ardor, methods and expression” in radio, television, social media and Catholink, the Church info hub. We will do this by expanding nationwide by putting up relay stations in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, and creating a strong presence in
Rev. Fr. Antonio Cecilio T. Pascual
Why are China’s fish disappearing? By Adam Minter
medium to comment on our small towns, where everyone is expected to fit. When a concern includes matters, like global warming, the prophesizing is assigned to someone who is “not normal,” a subtle dig at who we are as people. In the end, Lemon disappears but there is no sadness, just an understanding of what lies at the horizon, an eternity we will never understand. When the film closes, we learn about those small towns our knowledge of which is dissipated because we are forced to embrace the big, irrational picture of the big nation. There are no big national cinemas in this gathering called Cinema Rehiyon. That is what those outside Manila know.
Young and middle-aged filmmakers from as far and as small as Nabunturan in Compostela Valley in Mindanao and those in the periphery of the great Manila—Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal—are telling their stories without the burden of manifesting a national language. Their languages just happen to be the core of what has been imposed upon the imagined nation. The screenings in the many venues inside the De La Salle campus are a fantastic display of variances, variations and varieties. If you have been immersed in Manila without clan connection to any of the Mindanao or Visayas communities, then the languages used in the short films, documentary and full-length feature films are foreign languages. Where then lies this much-vaunted notion of national cinema? If Manila be the base and basis of what is happening in the Philippine republic, we might, as well, have a category of Best Foreign Language within our midst. In this conversation, the southernmost tip of Luzon, the Bikol region, suffers the most problematization. Not Visayas but not Tagalog either, the region is fit to fight its own cultural independence, a move that Visayas
2nd Front Page BusinessMirror
Friday, December 2, 2016
Sangley Airport up and running by Nov. 2017 By Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo
@akosistellaBM Special to the BusinessMirror
HE Department of Transportation (DoTr) promised the airline industry that the Sangley Airport in Cavite would be up and running by November 2017. During a panel discussion on Transport Network for Tourism discussion at the Tourism Summit of the Department of Tourism (DOT) last week, Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation Roberto C.O. Lim said the agency will soon be “bidding out the civil works for Sangley, prevent its flooding, and improve the runway to ensure small jets and turbo aircraft” will be able to use the airport. “We hope to use Sangley by November 2017, so we can decongest Manila [Ninoy Aquino International Airport],” he told participants of the summit. Lim said this is in response to
the continuing complaints of the airline industry, whose representatives were also at the panel discussion, that a new airport was needed soon. The DoTr is also studying proposals for a new airport in Bulacan from San Miguel Corp. and on reclaimed land at Sangley Point, a former US naval base, from the Solar-SM Group. The DOTr under the Aquino administration said it would move out general aviation, including air charter services to Sangley, to decongest the Naia, which has already exceeded its capacity. But by the end of its term, it had yet to bid out any project to improve the Cavite facility.
“The real solution is to come up with a new airport. It will be a game changer for Metro Manila. We will come up with a decision by the middle of next year,” Lim said. There have also been proposals to construct a second and third runway at the Naia. But Engr. Raul Glorioso, acting chief of the Aerodome Development and Management Service of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, shot down this possibility, saying these pose technical difficulties and would not only create too much traffic with the impending construction of the C-5, citing the assessment of the Department of Public Works and Highways. Carol Ong, general manager of Singapore Airlines, supported the idea of a new airport, but stressed that it should be in a “geographic area that is well situated,” meaning it should still be in Manila. Jaime J. Bautista, president of the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines and president of pioneering flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), said the new airport should “not be far from Naia.”
Bautista said Metro Manila can duplicate the solution in Japan, where Tokyo is serviced by both Haneda and Narita airports. “We can continue to operate Naia, which will add more tourists, until we’re able to develop a new airport. We really need a worldclass airport.” Panel moderator Vinoop Goel of the International Airport Transport Association did not think the Clark airport would make a viable alternative to the Naia due to the number of passengers coming from Metro Manila. “It’s quite a journey from Makati to Clark,” Goel stressed. He estimated about 8 million passengers just going to the Clark airport from Makati, “that’s 4 million cars that will cause additional traffic congestion [on the highways]. I don’t see how Makati residents will go to Clark.” Lim, meanwhile, encouraged the foreign carriers to “not only fly to Manila, but also to all other [provincial] destinations. We have 7,100 islands [which can accommodate] a variety of aircraft, and a legal framework exists,” pointing
to the existing “pocket open skies” policy of the government and the country’s signing of the Asean “open skies” agreement. In a separate speech at the summit on the Unified Tourism Agenda, Sen. Nancy S. Binay, chair man of the Senate’s Tourism Committee, batted for the establishment of more bed and breakfasts, and other “speciality inns” in the country. “This concept has been proven in places like Sagada and Batanes. To spread the idea, we need to train the community to be entrepreneurs and professional innkeepers. This way, we can encourage the deeper interaction of tourists with the community, as well as maintain the charm and way of life of the area.” She also appealed to the DOT
to help local governments draw up t heir respective tour ismdevelopment plans and incorporate these in the comprehensive land-use plan to identify and protect tourism sites. “Towns and provinces should not look only for their own interests in the tourism pie, but should look at how they can interconnect and relate to each other in terms of tourism development and promotion. Maybe we can see a regional tourism promotion in the coming days,” the senator added. She, likewise, addressed the need for provincial tourism officers to be included as regular staff in local government units, as they are “vital point persons in the planning and execution of tourism plans.”
The real solution is to come up with a new airport. It will be a game changer for Metro Manila. We will come up with a decision by the middle of next year.”—Lim
NEW OIL ERA DAWNS AS OPEC AGREES TO CUT PRODUCTION
il ministers at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) agreed to cut production of crude for the first time in eight years on Wednesday, a move that may produce ripple effects from global financial markets to the US economy, and all the way to the corner gas station. “I think it is a good day for the oil markets, it is a good day for the industry and...it should be a good day for the global economy,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters, after the announcement was made at Opec headquarters in Vienna, Austria. “I think, it will be a boost to global economic growth.” Under the plan, the cartel will cut production by roughly 1.2 million barrels a day. Opec’s dominant member, Saudi Arabia, will absorb the biggest hit by cutting about 500,000 barrels a day. The deal also extends to some non-Opec countries, such as Russia, which is slated to reduce production by 300,000 barrels a day. But the agreement is a tenuous one. The long-standing rivalry between the Saudis and Iran, a country looking to boost its revenue from oil after years of international sanctions, nearly derailed Wednesday’s meeting and the agreement with non-Opec countries won’t be for-
Govt. . .
Continued from A1
Bello said in a statement. Once that issue is settled, a big stumbling block for the administration’s jobgeneration tack would be removed. So At the Trabaho, Negosyo, KabuhayanEmployment and Livelihood Summit, Bello said the target of creating 1.2 million jobs annually is feasible, considering the requirements in construction, information and business-process management, and manufacturing. “We are envisioning an increase of 1.2 million in job creation annually,” Bello told reporters. Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno earlier said the construction sector alone can generate 1 million fresh jobs annually with the administration’s P8.2-trillion “Golden Age of Infrastructure” campaign. Construction will lead the demand for growth, more so as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) intends to remove the fee on regulatory requirements, such as the basic occupational safety and health certificate (BOSH). “Carpenters, electricians and plumbers are all very much in demand. Despite the demand, not a lot are applying in the industry,” Labor Undersecretary Dominador R. Say said. According to Say, the construction industry is burdened with an undersup-
mally addressed until a meeting on December 9. Analysts at Barclays expressed skepticism about the deal, sending out a report, titled “Show Me the Cuts”, and describing its outlook as “too good to be true.” Nonetheless, oil prices surged within moments of initial reports of a deal being struck. At the close of trading on Wednesday, the price of Brent crude—the benchmark price for global oil—was up $4.09, finishing at $50.47 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate —the recognized price for most North American producers—closed at $49.44 a barrel, a one-day jump of $4.21. The last time Opec countries cut production was in December 2008, when the price of Brent crude was trading at $40 a barrel. The projected cut comes as oil prices have experienced a sustained two-year slide. In November 2014 Opec surprised energy analysts by keeping production levels high, instead of cutting supplies to bolster prices. Prices plunged from more than $100 a barrel in the summer of 2014 to as low as $26 a barrel in February. The price drop has been good news for motorists, as gasoline prices have remained low, but it proved disastrous for many Opec countries that depend on oil revenue to keep their economies afloat.
ply of workers, and the DOLE is backing Congress’s move to remove the P5,000 fee for the BOSH certificate. “An employer hiring a worker in the construction industry will need to send the worker to the Occupational Safety and Health Center agency for certification. That’s P5,000. Under the proposal of Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong, the worker should be allowed to be trained for certification by OSCH (Occupational Safety and Health Center), even without an employer for free,” Say said. The DOLE said its line agency, OSCH, has agreed to the proposal. Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez also sees the rapid growth of the manufacturing and agri-processing industries as a source of additional jobs, especially for the lowerincome classes. The Duterte administration’s projection of 1.2 million jobs per year would mean a total of 7.2 million workers by 2022—outpacing the 4.3 million netted by former Chief Executive Benigno S. Aquino III, and the 4.8 million jobs created during President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term. Creating a million jobs in a year is realistic, said the DOLE, as this has been achieved three times under the Aquino administration: in 2011, in 2014 and in July 2015 to June 2016. The Aquino administration managed to lower unemployment rate to 5.8 percent, going beyond its target of 6-percent
North American producers also suffered, reversing the many of the gains they made in shale-oil formations in recent years, resulting in an estimated 200,000 layoffs and dozens of bankruptcies that affected the larger US economy. “I would argue one of the reasons we have reported very sluggish economic growth over the last two years is because of the drop in the investment in oil and gas companies,”said Bernard Weinstein, associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University. In California, for example, the number of active oil rigs plummeted from 44 in the fall of 2014 to just four earlier this year, according to the oil-field services company Baker Hughes. That’s the lowest number for the state since Baker Hughes began compiling figures in 1992. The November rig count for the state stands at six. Opec controls about one-third of the world’s oil supply, and a number of energy analysts on Wednesday said they expect prices to reach the $55-to-$60-perbarrel range in fairly short order. “Most of the shale guys would be very happy at 55-60,” Weinstein said. That’s because during the downturn, many US producers proved very resilient, finding cheaper and more efficient ways to extract oil and gas. MCT
to 6.2-percent unemployment rate. The DOLE has yet to set an unemployment-rate target to be incorporated in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, but hinted it aims to “do better” than the 5.8 percent. Earlier, labor practitioners said one of the ways by which the Duterte administration could realize its campaign promise to eradicate contractualization is the repeal of Department Order (DO) 18-A, which allows the operation of contractors upon approval of their registration, which merely requires a contractor to have a capitalization of at least P3 million in the form of cash, machineries, office space, and equipment and other assets. However, with the reinvigorated push from the government to come up with a compromise between labor and capital, labor groups have already deemed President Duterte’s campaign promise as having been repudiated. In statements earlier this week, Bello said this “middle ground” between labor and capital should recognize not only the rights of workers to security of tenure, but also the constitutional right of employers to recoup their investments. Bello said the government’s goal is to remove only the illegal forms of contractualization, such as the endo, or end-ofcontract employment arrangements, but not the legal forms of contractualization allowed under DO 18-A.