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Love in the time of apps: Filipinos grapple with old, new dating quirks By Faye Pablo & Natasha Pangilinan

Special to the BusinessMirror


OOKING up among young couples today is like the mobile connection in the country: sometimes slow and sometimes unsuccessful. This is relative to the first attempt. On a first date, a man or a woman will see if there would be a second date or they can push through toward much deeper connection. Basically, if a man tells a woman he’ll see her again, the date must have been good and they

Galo and Aurea Francisco pose at the 3D painting located at Art In Island Interactive Art museum in Cubao, Quezon City. Relationships always become a hot topic in the Philippines every Valentine’s Day. NONOY LACZA

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both enjoyed it, according to people the BusinessMirror talked to. Some said there would be a second date if phone numbers are exchanged. This would mean they would want to continue communicating with each other. Others said that if the couple meets each other the day after date night, this means they’re looking forward to take the next step. The first date could also be considered good if a couple welcomes meeting each other’s friends. This means they are really interested in getting to know more about each other. Continued on A2


A broader look at today’s business


Wednesday, February 14, 2018 Vol. 13 No. 126

‘Naia consortium’ to spend ₧350 billion for airport rehab


By Lorenz S. Marasigan


OUGHLY P350 billion— that’s the amount that a consortium of Filipino conglomerates are willing to spend to transform the country’s main international gateway into a premier global air hub free of land and airside congestion.


business news source of the year

P25.00 nationwide | 5 sections 30 pages | 7 days a week

Philippine Rise as a legacy

The number of conglomerates calling themselves the “Naia consortium” partners  

Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Alliance Global Group Inc., Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp., Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. submitted on

2016 ejap journalism awards

Edgardo j. angara


he Duterte administration recently revoked all permits given to foreign entities conducting scientific research in Philippine Rise (formerly known as Benham Rise). The Philippine Navy and the Air Force were ordered to regularly monitor—and chase away, if needed—any foreign fishing or research vessel sailing in the area. Continued on A11

Continued on A2

PHL on track to hit $122-B exports target by 2022–DTI Palace backs NFAC call

to review rice-buying price

By Elijah Felice E. Rosales



By Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz

lectronics exports skyrocketed to a record-high $32.7 billion last year, pumping more than half of the country’s merchandise exports that increased to $62.87 billion for a growth rate of 9.53 percent.


The value of the country’s merchandise exports in 2017, up 9.53 percent

See “Exports,” A12


alacañang backed the proposal of the National Food Authority Council (NFAC) for the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) to again review the government’s palay-buying price. Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque Jr. admitted in a news briefing on Tuesday that the P17per-kilogram (kg) support price of the National Food Authority (NFA) is “too low” and discourages farmers from selling their crop to the government. “The buying price of the NFA is too low, that’s why farmers don’t


“Philippine merchandise exports grew by 9-and-a-half percent in 2017, which is practically three times what we had expected for the year. It really exceeded the targets for merchandise exports,” said Senen M. Perlada, director of the Department of Trade and Industr y’s (DTI) Exports Marketing Bureau. The trade department targeted a 6.5-percent to 7.5-percent growth in total exports last year, banking on an objective to grow services exports by at least 10 percent. On the other hand, the government had aimed to expand merchandise exports by at least 4 percent. The record-high $32.7-billion electronics exports in the previous year contributed 52 percent of the country’s total commodity exports. It was also an 11-percent hike from the $29.4 billion recorded in 2016.

ROQUE: “The buying price of the NFA is too low, that’s why farmers don’t want to sell their rice to the NFA.”


& Bernadette D. Nicolas

DTI Export Marketing Bureau Director Senen Perlada, left, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (SEIPI) President Dan Lachica and ON Semiconductor Philippines Inc. President and General Manager Sunil Banwari lead the briefing that focused on the 2017 performance and 2018 outlook of the Philippine electronics industry. The event was held at the DTI International offices in Makati City. ALYSA SALEN

China imposes duties amid trade tensions


EIJING—China told importers of a US industrial chemical to start posting deposits on Tuesday in preparation for possible antidumping duties, amid rising trade tension with Washington.

PESO exchange rates n US 51.6510

A preliminary ruling by the Ministry of Commerce said styrene monomer from the United States, South Korea and Taiwan is being sold at prices 5 percent to 10.7 percent below the proper level. The chemical is widely used to make

packaging and consumer products. Importers must now pay cash deposits while the ministry completes its investigation. The ministry said in its ruling the Chinese styrene industry has Continued on A2

want to sell their rice to the NFA. If there would be an adjustment in the price and it is realistic, NFA stock wouldn’t be a problem anymore,” Roque said. He issued the statement after Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr. and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol on Monday urged the Neda to look into the possibility of raising the government’s palay-buying price. See “NFAC,” A22

Lower chamber passes bill creating housing superbody


he House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the bill creating the  Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHUD), one of the priority measures identified by the  Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac).  Voting 193-6, members of the lower chamber passed on third and final reading  House Bill (HB) 6775 seeking to address

the worsening housing problem in the country. The bill will be transmitted to the Senate for its own deliberation.    Rep. Alfredo A. Benitez of the Third District of Negros Occidental, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said the HB 6775 will not only deal with the physical element of housing, but also provide the necessary link to community services See “Lower chamber,” A12

n japan 0.4756 n UK 71.4592 n HK 6.6055 n CHINA 8.1639 n singapore 39.0202 n australia 40.5357 n EU 63.4894 n SAUDI arabia 13.7721

Source: BSP (13 February 2018 )

A2 Wednesday, February 14, 2018

BMReports BusinessMirror

Love in the time of apps: Filipinos grapple with old, new dating quirks Continued from A1

They also make plans on going somewhere else. According to the people who the BusinessMirror talked to, there won’t be a next date if one of the two promises to call back when asked when they will meet again. Another reply to that question signifying there won’t be a second date would be: “This isn’t going to work out.” This is the most obvious sign the first date was a disaster.

The search

ACCORDING to Charice Dizon (not her real name), if you want to find your best mate, you have to focus on what you are really looking for a date. Dizon said you have to be clear if what you want is a serious relationship or just someone who can be with you to have fun. “I just wanted a person who would make me feel like I’m interesting,” the

26-year-old said. Dizon added she has a hard time telling if a date is a good one or not. She felt like her date is intimidating. However, she said she is also too afraid to commit. Dizon believes that fear of commitment has made her stick to dating. I also don’t want to be hurt in the end if the relationship does not work out the way I want it to be, she added. Unlike Dizon, some people the BusinessMirror talked to said they go on dates to really find a serious partner or go into a serious relationship. Others, however, said they go on dates just to have fun.

Second date

REPHRASING a cliché, dating is sweeter the second time around. The conversation can go deeper from hobbies and interest to personal matters and issues. You can build a little trust with each other beginning with the second date.

“If I like a woman, I will really ask her out for the second time,” Jake Camara (not his real name) said. “[The] second date is always one of the best since we are somehow becoming comfortable with each other.” According to the 25-year-old call-center agent, the second date is successful if the couple plans out a vacation. “What’s better than planning a quick getaway from the busy life of the Metro?” Camara said. “To make it more special, you are planning it with someone special, too. May it be a two-hours away Batangas beach or a long drive to Baguio, it is always special when it is with someone you want to know more.”

‘Love meter’

FOR 24-year-old Janna Ricafort (not her real name), the date could be successful if he sends a text message the morning after. Texts and calls have always

played a big role in a relationship today, said Ricafort, a freelance Web developer. In some cases, it became the “love meter” in a relationship, she added. “I always make sure that next thing in the morning I will not text them first,” Ricafort said. “Instead, I’ll wait for them to initiate the conversation with me after the first date.” She said women are meant to be pursued. If you are meant to be, efforts must be exerted, she explained. “You are meant to be special, especially to someone who dearly wants you,” she added. Ricafort said she considers the relationship going strong when he demands attention. For some, demanding partners are quiet annoying, but it still makes me feel very special, she added. “Demanding, I mean, is that he starts to ask you if you’ve eaten your lunch or dinner, or if he’s checking if you were able to get home safe

or just simply asking for a selfie because he misses you that much.” For Camara and Ricafort, action still speaks louder than words. Sometimes, we find it hard to tell someone how we really feel about him or her, he said. “There are just not enough words to express how much they mean to us. That is why we express it through our actions, through our gesture,” he added, citing dating is one gesture. For Ricafort, the assurance that they are the only one you dearly want, you dearly desire “is better to see than to hear the words ‘I love you.’” “Through their action, even without asking, you are assured and you know very well that they are into you,” she added.

Long process

ONE could deem dating as the first step in a long process of a relationship, whether heterosexual or

‘Naia consortium’ to spend ₧350 billion for airport rehab

Tuesday a P350-billion unsolicited proposal to the Department of Transportation to redevelop the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).  Jose Emmanuel F. Reverente, the spokesman of the consortium, said the group has tagged Changi Airports International Pte. Ltd. to provide technical support  in the areas of master planning, operat ions opt imi zat ion and commercial development.  The proposal involves expanding and interconnecting the existing terminals of the Naia, upgrading airside facilities and developing commercial facilities to increase airline and airport efficiencies, enhance passenger comfort and

experience and improve public perception of the Naia as the country’s premier international gateway. The plan, Reverente added, is divided into two phases.  The first one involves the  improvements and expansion of terminals in the current Naia land area.  “For Phase 1, we expect to take the capacity of all the terminals to about 65 million passengers annually—double the capacity of the current airport. We expect that Phase 1 can be completed within 48 months,” Reverente said in a media briefing on Tuesday.  Roughly P100 billion will be allocated for the first phase of the project—an amount divided equally among the members of the consortium. 

The second phase, on the other hand, involves the development of an additional runway, taxiways, passenger terminals and associated support infrastructure. “Phase 2 will still be in consultation with the government,” he explained. “We will work with the government to identify the most ideal location of the third runway.” Toward the end of the second phase of the proposed program, the capacity of the Naia should reach the 100-million passenger mark.  He added that  the proposal includes a people mover that would link all three terminals and connect the Naia to the existing mass-transport system in Metro Manila, as well as an option for

a third runway. Reverente floated the idea of connecting a railway from Naia to the Metro Rail Transit Line 3, and Light Rail Transit Line 1. This is not the only unsolicited proposal for the rehabilitation of the Naia, a decades-old airport infrastructure that has a 30-million passenger capacity with a perpendicular runway.  Megawide Construction Corp., which operates, maintains and is currently expanding the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, also intends to undertake a similar project.  Louie B. Ferrer, who sits as president at GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., said his group is delighted to see another proposal

homosexual. Dizon considers dating as a stage where she gets to meet the person who, potentially, could be the one who’ll be with her for the rest of her life. Rosa Luna (not her real name), 42, said couples today should also be mindful of where date leads to, which is not necessarily getting married. As our elders have said, marriage is not a spoon of hot rice that a scalded tongue spits out of a mouth, Luna added. She said a relationship doesn’t develop overnight but the first date is a start. A relationship, whether as friends or something serious, requires each to invest a lot of time and effort, Luna added. While dating, she said, is a start, it should also be an ongoing event in a relationship. It could be as simple as walking on a park without spending or as lavish as going abroad, Luna added. “The most important thing is that the couple is serious in helping grow the relationship together.”

Continued from a1

for the redevelopment of the Naia, as this gives the government more choices for the deal. “Megawide GMR intends to participate in the development and rehabilitation of Philippine airports and this still includes Naia. The government and the people now have the choice between a number of airport proposals and which ones offer the best value. This kind of competition is healthy for the infrastructure sector,” he replied, when sought for comment. Reverente noted that his group finds the need for the rehabilitation and modernization of the Naia as urgent, given its current state.  “We’ve worked very hard to give a compelling proposal,” he said. “The

message is clear: we need this, and we can get this done.” He added that the upgrades will elevate the Naia to the level of major regional airports, such as Changi in Singapore and Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok, and will become a viable transit hub for the Asean region.   “Given the full support and commitment of each of the seven consortium members and the existing infrastructure already in place, the project implementation can be expedited. Immediate enhancements and capacity upgrades can be expected within a couple of years, followed by further expansion to be completed shortly after,” Reverente explained.

China imposes duties amid trade tensions Continued from A1

been “substantially damaged” by dumping, which occurs when manufacturers sell a product to another country at unusually low prices. The decision follows US President Donald J. Trump’s approval last month of higher tariffs on Chinese-made solar equipment and washing machines that Washington said were sold at unfairly low costs. The Trump administration is also due to announce results of a probe into whether Beijing improperly pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, which could lead to further penalties. Beijing’s steady accumulation of multibillion-dollar trade surpluses with the United States—which widened January to $21.9 billion—has prompted demands for import controls. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have accused Trump of threatening the global trade regulation system by taking action under US law, instead of through the World Trade Organization (WTO). Beijing has filed a challenge in the WTO against Washington’s latest trade measures. It also launched an antidumping investigation of US sorghum exports earlier this month. Styrene monomer figures largely in foam and plastic packaging, as well as low-cost consumer products, which are central to China’s booming ecommerce industry.

The Nation BusinessMirror

D.O.J. readies probe on charges vs. Aquino, others in Dengvaxia mess By Joel R. San Juan @jrsanjuan1573


HE Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday said it is poised to conduct preliminary investigation into criminal charges lodged by anticorruption groups against former President Benigno S. Aquino III and 19 others for their alleged role in the P3.5billion Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine mess.   Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II said the probe will commence even as there is no conclusive findings yet as to the cause of death of several children who perished after being inoculated with the vaccine.   Aguirre said it would be the burden of the private complainants to substantiate their allegations against the respondents during the preliminary probe.   “It’s up to the complainants to prove their allegations. It’s their duty to support their cases and not depend on another’s submission,” Aguirre told reporters.   Over 830,000 children—aged 9 and above—from public schools in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Cebu were reportedly vaccinated with Dengvaxia since it was launched in April 2016.      The charges were filed by  the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. (VPCI), Dr. Francisco Cruz and lawyer Nasser Marohomsalic.   They filed their complaint for multiple homicide and physical injuries,  malversation of public funds, and violations of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and RA 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act)  against Aquino, former and incumbent officials of the Department of Health (DOH) and pharmaceutical firms Sanofi Pasteur and Zeullig ahead of conclusive findings by government agencies on whether the reported deaths of children inoculated with Dengvaxia were caused by the vaccine.   Aguirre pointed out that the

complaint filed by VACC and VPCI is independent of other possible complaints to be filed by other parties over the same controversy. “It would be up to the prosecutors how to treat the complaints, whether to consolidate them or resolve [these] separately,” the justice chief said.   VACC lawyer Manuelito Luna earlier said they have conducted their own fact-finding investigation and submitted to the DOJ evidence as well as records of the Senate and DOH probes. Besides Aquino, the other former top officials of the government named in the complaint were ex-Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad and former Secretary Janette Garin; DOH Undersecretaries Dr. Carol Tanio, Gerardo Bayugo, Lilibeth David and Mario Villaverde; assistant secretaries Lyndon Lee Suy and Nestor Santiago; DOH Financial Management Service Director Laureano Cruz; DOH directors Dr. Joyce Ducusin, Dr. May Wynn Belo, Dr. Leonila Gorgolon, Dr. Rio Magpantay, Dr. Ariel Valencia and Dr. Julius Lecciones; retired DOH Undersecretaries Dr. Nemesio Gako, Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr. and Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go; and Dr. Yolanda Oliveros, who served as  head executive assistant to Garin.   The groups said they filed the complaint based on the testimonies of the resources persons invited to shed light on the issue by the House Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation (Blue Ribbon) joint with other concerned committees, which substantiated their claim that the respondents were “directly and proximately” responsible for the Dengvaxia vaccine mess. They said Aquino and the other respondents should be held responsible for “ill-advisedly, thoughtlessly and imprudently” implemented the anti-dengue vaccination program.   They added that the purchase of the Dengvaxia vaccine was approved by Aquino and Abad even if the program had no allocation in the 2016 national budget.  

Editor: Vittorio V. Vitug • Wednesday, February 14, 2018 A3

Solgen hits ‘deliberate’ attempt to hide closure of plunder raps against Duterte By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan | Philippines News Agency


he plunder case filed by Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV against President Duterte has already been closed and terminated, Solicitor General Jose C. Calida said on Tuesday.

Calida was referring to the plunder case filed by Trillanes against Duterte in May 2016 over allegations of the former Davao City mayor’s unexplained wealth and undeclared bank accounts. The solicitor general said he inquired from the Office of the Ombudsman, through a letter dated February 8, the status of the criminal complaint filed by Trillanes on May 5, 2016, which accused Duterte of maintaining “ghost” employees in Davao City that could have funded the latter’s P2.4 billion worth of deposits. “I received a letter from [Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur] Carandang stating that the investigation has already been closed and terminated. The recommendation to terminate was approved by Deputy Ombudsman Cyril Ramos on 29 November 2017,” Calida said, citing the reply he received from the Office of the Ombudsman on the matter.

It can be recalled Carandang has been suspended by Malacañang over unauthorized disclosures of Duterte’s alleged secret bank accounts. Calida questioned the decision of Ombudsman Conchita CarpioMorales to withhold from the public the status of the case. “A public officer must be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity and efficiency,” Calida told reporters at a news conference. “Ombudsman Carpio-Morales, being the Ombudsman, must be the protector of the people. She has the constitutional duty to publicize matters covered by investigations when the circumstances so warrant and with due prudence,” he noted. “This case involves the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Why are you withholding this information? When this case was filed, a press conference was even conducted. Three months after the termina-

tion of the case, the public has still no knowledge that the evidence supporting the allegations of Trillanes is without merit,” he complained. “If the case, in the magnitude like this, when the President of the Philippines is the respondent and the case was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman, why will not disclose it to the public? Are they also cuddling the complainant, Sen. Trillanes?” Calida asked. Calida said “Sen. Trillanes…is always badgering the President about this. Now, what can you say? His evidence was junked, and because it [was] ‘junked,’ [this is] another word for ‘garbage.’”

Ombudsman [Conchita] CarpioMorales, being the Ombudsman, must be the protector of the people. She has the constitutional duty to publicize matters covered by investigations when the circumstances so warrant and with due prudence. This case involves the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Why are you [Carpio-Morales] withholding this information? When this case was filed, a press conference was even conducted.” —Calida

CBCP backs deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait


DOLE urged to issue rules on ‘workplace romance’


group called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to issue guidelines on “workplace romance” policy to prevent employers from implementing oppressive management prerogatives. According to Alan Tanjusay, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines spokesman, there is no government policy that prevents an employee from having a romantic relationship with his/ her superiors and vice versa. “Since there is no government policy governing workplace romance between co-employees or between a rank-and-file employee

falling in love with his or her boss, or vice versa for that matter, the matter of workplace romance issue is controlled by company’s management prerogative. And some employers use or create such prerogative to lay off, demote or transfer their employees,” he said in a news statement on Tuesday. “The law is vague and subject to many interpretations. Therefore, many employers tend to demote, transfer or lay off their employee on the basis of having a relationship with their boss or with their co-employee—particularly those who are not unionized,” Tanjusay added. PNA

DDB’s Cuy fetes high-school students in campus-based antidrug abuse drive By Nelson S. Badilla



ven students enrolled in secondary levels in the Philippine public education system have become part of the campaign of the Duterte administration to end the drug menace in the country. The secondary students’ anti-illegal drug campaign called Barkada Kontra Droga (BKD) is being undertaken through a massive education, information dissemination and different activities to increase and widen the knowledge of the students on how illegal drugs could destroy the life, personality and future of students.   BKD is a project of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), policy-

making body against the abuse of prohibited drugs. Recently, DDB chairman, Secretary Catalino S. Cuy gave awards to five BKDs of different high schools that won in DDB’s Search for the Outstanding BKD Program. Cuy awarded the BKD of the Agusan del Sur National High School as the number one in anti-illegal drugs program.   Tambulig National High School in Zamboanga del Sur got the second spot, while the Bangcud National High School in Bukidnon received the third-place award.   Cuy also recognized the Pototan National Comprehensive High School in Muntinlupa City and Cagayan National High School and given them consolation prizes.

The government’s top lawyer also said the Senate should stop the hearing about Duterte’s unexplained wealth and undeclared bank accounts considering it is based on the complaint filed before the Ombusdman. “Knowing that this frivolous case was terminated by the Ombudsman, Sen. Trillanes now seeks to have another Senate hearing on the matter to convince the public about his garbage junked by the Ombudsman,” Calida said. “The Senate should stop this nonsense investigation,” Calida argued, adding he would inform President Duterte on the matter through a formal letter.

The awarding ceremony was done at the DDB compound in Quezon City.   Cuy congratulated the winners, saying the “recognition is what you truly deserve. It is an achievement you truly earn.”   “On behalf of the Dangerous Drugs Board, I congratulate you on your victory and wish you all the best in your antidrug advocacy and endeavors,” he said.   DDB’s Media Affairs and Public Relations Unit Head Ella Marie L. Dimaculangan said “the competition was open to all secondary schools with organized and functional BKD chapters nationwide.”   “To qualify, chapters should have conducted a series of programs on preventive education and informa-

tion dissemination, followed by the launching of alternative activities (i.e., poster/slogan contest, essay writing) in the school and in the community,” Dimaculangan said. In a text message, Dimaculangan said that the “BKD is a project of the Dangerous Drugs Board designed as a preventive education and information program to counter the dangers and disastrous effects of the drug menace.”   BKD’s principal aim is “to empower the individual student to become the catalyst within his/her peer groups in advocating a healthy and drug-free lifestyle through the involvement in various activities,” she added.   BKD started in 2014 and was institutionalized through DDB Board

Regulation 5, Series of 2007. BKD has 344 chapters nationwide, with a total membership of 90,994. The DDB’s Board Regulation 5 was in compliance with the Section 77, Article IX of Republic Act 9165, which is about the National Drug Education Program. Having BKD, it is the high hope and concern of the DDB to help the country prevent high-school students in all parts in the country from involving themselves in drugs, including drug trafficking. Information from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that there is a substantial number of the youth and children who were being used by drug syndicates as dealers and runners.

he Catholic Church expressed support for the government’s decision to impose a total deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait. Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) said such decision of President Duterte only shows the strong will of the government to protect Filipino migrant workers. “We at CBCP-ECMI fully support the decision of the President for the deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait,” he said. “With that decision is our strong message that enough is enough. Life matters. Life should never be abused. A life of an OFW is also precious. A single Filipino is important and someone special. We protect life. Their rights be respected, their dignity be promoted,” the Balanga prelate added. Although the CBCP-ECMI head noted that they recognize the efforts of the government in assisting OFWs, he then urged the government to create more jobs so that Filipinos will no longer leave their families, since there is work available in the country. “We appreciate the livelihood assistance of the government and their efforts of repatriation. Let us create more jobs so that they will never be forced to work abroad, be separated from their families,” he said. “And those guilty be prosecuted. Even those placement agencies be investigated, punished,” Santos added. At the same time, he asked Filipinos who are illegally working there to come home. “We appeal to our undocumented OFWs to take advantage this amnesty, and repatriation to our country,” the Catholic prelate added. PNA


A4 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 • Editors: Vittorio V. Vitug and Max V. de Leon


DOF bucks tax-exempt perk for small-scale gold miners


By Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz


he Department of Finance (DOF) on Tuesday opposed a proposal in the House of Representatives to exempt small-scale gold miners from paying excise taxes.  During the House Committee on Ways and Means hearing on bills seeking to exclude from gross income and exempt from the payment of excise tax the sale of gold by small-scale miners to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Finance Director Juvy C. Danofrata said the proposal may affect government policies on equity. “We actually do not support the proposal because it may introduce distortions on the policies on equity,” Danofrata told lawmakers.  According to the finance director, excise taxes on minerals “are compensation to the state for the extraction of natural resources.”  She said proposals that aim to encourage small-scale miners to  sell their gold to the Central Bank, instead of the black market, “may be tantamount to promoting or legislating tax evasion.” Danofrata added big mining companies can pose as small-scale miners to take advantage and avail themselves of

the tax exemption. For his part, BSP Assistant Governor Iluminada T. Sicat said the Central Bank is supporting the passage of proposals that will spare small-scale gold miners from tax payment. Sicat added the government could just let go the revenue from the excise taxes on gold from small-scale miners, saying  “there’s nothing to lose [in the grant of tax-exempt privilege to small-scale gold miners]. It’s smuggling [and] there’s no tax loss here because the government cannot collect [and] it [gold] goes to the black market.”  Currently, there are six bills filed in the lower chamber seeking to exclude from gross income and exempt from the payment of excise tax the sale of gold by small-scale miners to the BSP.   These measures are House Bill (HB) 1664, by Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan of the First District of Benguet, HB 3297 by Rep. Evelina G. Escudero of the First District of Sorsogon, HB 3304 by Rep. Gloria Macapagal-

Arroyo of the Second District of Pampanga, HB 3470 by Party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen S. Paduano of Abang Lingkod, HB 4057 by Rep.  Elisa Kho of the Second District of Masbate and HB 7133 by Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez and House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Dakila Carlo E. Cua of the Lone District of Quirino.  Section 17 of Republic Act 7076, or the People’s Small-scale Mining Act of 1991, provides that “all gold produced by smallscale miners in any mineral area shall be sold to the Central Bank, or its duly authorized representatives, which shall buy it at prices comparative with those prevailing in the world market regardless of volume or weight.” Alvarez, in his explanatory note, said the proposed legislation would have the effect of assisting the BSP in the fulfillment of its mandate under its charter, returning to the formal sector the sale of gold from small-scale mining and supporting the trade of smallscale miners as originally envisioned under the law.  Under Alvarez’s bill, the sale of gold to the BSP by registered small-scale miners, as defined under the law, accredited traders shall not be included in gross income and shall be exempted from taxation.  Also, the bill said the sale of gold by registered small-scale miners to accredited traders for eventual sale to the BSP is also exempted from taxation. 


Baguio artist Lito Malaggay designs handicraft artwork made from copper wire during the An Exhibition of Hub Showcase of Crafts and Folk Arts  at the People’s Park in Baguio City. The exhibit runs from February 11 to 24. PNA/Joey Razon

PSA exec renews call for quality and accuracy of civil registration By Ashley Manabat | Correspondent


ITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has reiterated its continuing advocacy for accuracy of civil registration in the observance of Civil Registration Month this February. PSA Regional Director Edgardo Pare said the agency is pushing for quality and accuracy of registering births, marriages, deaths, decrees, legal instruments and judicial orders. This year’s celebration of Civil Registration Month is anchored on the theme “#napapanahongCRVS” as the quality and accuracy of data affects people’s civil status and legal documents, the PSA official added. February of every year is declared as Civil

Registration Month pursuant to Proclamation 682, series of 1991. “Among the activities lined up for this month include the presentation of the results of the 2014 to 2015 Analysis of Causes for National Deaths for Action, discussion on Statutory Rules on Civil Registration, lecture on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics [CRVS] and CRVS Interactive Challenge,” Pare said. The PSA was created on September 12, 2013, when the Philippine Statistical Act of 2013 (Republic Act 10625) was signed by former President Benigno S. Aquino III. The new government authority was created by merging the National Statistics Office, the National Statistical Coordination Board, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics and the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics.

Lawmaker moves to defer bigger pay deductions for SSS members By Butch Fernandez @butchfBM


he Senate Committee on Government Corporations was asked on Tuesday to conduct an inquiry into bigger deductions in workers’ take-home pay to cover the proposed increase in the contribution rate of Social Security System (SSS) members. Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto, in filing Resolution 621, moved to defer its implementation until a comprehensive review is done to “ensure that the SSS Charter remains responsive to the needs of its members and pensioners.” Recto recalled that the SSS was created under Republic Act 1161, also known as the Social Security law, in order to manage a social security and pension fund for those who are employed in the private sector, as well as self-employed individuals. The senator said that the vision of the SSS is to provide universal and equitable social protection through world-class service to its 34,576,598 registered members and 1,195,673 pensioners. Recto’s resolution noted that effective in January 2017, a P1,000

across-the-board increase in SSS pensions was granted to alleviate the plight of pensioners who are receiving meager amount to support their daily subsistence. He added that during the same period, there was a proposed 1.5percent increase in SSS contribution rate, from the current 11 percent to 12.5 percent supposed to be effective in May 2017, “in order to maintain its fund life until 2040.” But Recto  said the SSS was not able to implement its plan to increase SSS members’ contribution rate as it awaited the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. However, he added, the SSS recently announced that it plans to increase members’ contribution rate from 11 percent to 14 percent, a three-percentage points rise to cover the years 2017 and 2018. “If such is to proceed in April 2018, SSS projects to collect about P45 billion in additional revenues at the end of the year,” Recto said, noting that SSS justified the adjustment in contribution rate would enable the pension fund’s actuarial life to be extended to 2044 from the current 2032.

According to Recto, various labor advocates are voicing out their disapproval of SSS’s looming plan to increase the premium contribution of its members by April 2018. The restive workers, he said, cited “insufficient consultation from its stakeholders, as well as the timing when workers are still struggling to cope with the price increase caused by the recently implemented TRAIN law.” Recto’s resolution asserted “an immediate need to look into this compelling issue of raising SSS members’ contribution rate and its potential impact to its millions of members.” Moreover, the lawmaker said the role of Congress to ensure that the proposed increase in the SSS contribution rate shall not further aggravate the collection efficiency of SSS, “because many members and employers may no longer be able to pay the higher premium.” Recto, likewise, said it is also an appropriate time to revisit the SSS Charter, which was amended 20 years ago, to allow introduction of reforms to enable the SSS to grant additional pension without increasing its premium and contribution rates.

Business groups back Duterte administration’s TRAIN


eforms on tax system and bureaucracy rolled out by the Duterte administration had helped to have a better environment for businesses in the Philippines, top executive of Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. (HKCCPI) said. HKCCPI President Anthony Chan said the lower personal- and corporateincome tax rates under the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) of the administration is boosting the country’s attractiveness to investors. The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act has been implemented at the start of the year, which lowers personal-income tax, while the government is now pushing for the CTRP Package 2 aiming to reduce corporate-income tax. “The tax reform, especially the

reduction in income-tax rates, also makes the Philippines more attractive and investment-friendly,” Chan said. “We also see the current administration really mean to cut or weed out corruption that tremendously encourage investment and job creation,” he added. The business group’s head, on the other hand, wishes that Congress will pass the bill on ease of doing business. Chan, on other hand, said businesses and Filipino workers were thriving in the country under the Duterte administration. “Investors from Hong Kong invest in manufacturing sectors, employing workers with higher-than-minimum wage and decent working conditions, that’s the view we share that, generally, the people are better off under the current administration,” he said.

A Forbes article published earlier this month said Filipinos were better off under this administration, citing the Gallup survey that the percentage of Filipinos who consider their lives thriving since President Duterte took office increased to 28 percent in 2017, from 26 percent in 2016. This is also true for the International Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ICCP) Founder Francis Chua, who said the high approval rating of President Duterte in various surveys suggests that lives of Filipinos were in better condition in the past two years. Chua said local business environment was also better off in this administration, noting the increasing number of projects registered with the investment promotion agencies in the country. PNA

A BusinessMirror Special Feature

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 A5

GOD’S BEST job of choosing relationships on my own, I decided to let God choose the next one. It was after this that God began unfolding the events that led me to start dating Matt, the man that would become my husband. “Once I put God in charge of my love life, a funny thing happened. Matt and I are college friends and close buddies, but I had not considered him in a romantic way. Suddenly, I began to see in Matt several of those “husband material traits” that I had been searching for with other guys. I ran down the partial list in my head and realized they were all there. Godly, Christian man? Check. Capable of being the spiritual leader in the relationship? Check. Sensitive? Caring? Funny? Check, check, check! “As I began to observe his life and how he interacted with others, as well as how wonderfully he always treated me, I decided that there could really be something here. As I prayed about it, I felt like God gave me permissio n to pursue it. Later on, when I prayed about the possibility of marriage, God answered that prayer clearly too. The rest is history. We dated for about 10 months before he proposed. “And now, after nearly four


By Leony R. Garcia

INDER, OKCupid, Skout, EHarmony, and HowAboutWe. If you are on a look out for dates – Valentine’s Day or not–you have probably visited these dating apps. There are actually more apps up for grabs for the tech-savvy yet bored and feeling unloved. Indeed, in this time of technological advancement – the smartphones – in particular, looking for that ‘perfect’ date is just a swipe or click away. According to some dating app users–or at least those who have tried using them–they did so because their lives revolve around work. There are no ‘suitable’ candidates in their workplaces and since they have no time to meet with other people outside work they need to seek the help of dating apps. Some also said they use a dating application just to kill time and quash boredom. I have not witnessed nor heard of a successful coupling via dating apps except in the local movie, All About You. Here, the characters played by Jennylyn Mercado and Derek Ramsay met through the app in Taiwan, fell in love at first sight, had casual sex and later decided for a live-in arrangement. However, after a series of personality differences, they decided to break up. But to keep up the chemistry and kilig moments of the comeback loveteam (the two first starred in another blockbuster movie, English, Only Please) and for the movie to have this theylive-happily-ever- after feel, the couple decided to settle their differences and opted for marriage instead. Aside from dating apps, most social media sites and other apps

actually give a host of opportunities for getting-to-know-you and dating later. Take the case of my childhood friend, Lourdes Manikan (not her real name), who was working at a household in Cyprus. She met Gregg Banks through a FaceBook chat that progressed to friendship and later on, to romantic love. Today, Lourdes is now Mrs. Banks and the couple are based in the United States in San Francisco Bay Area. Ellaine Erica (not her real name) was enjoying her single blessedness as a tenant manager in a big mall in Bacolod City. Her fellow manager introduced her to Leonard Lawrence through video calling. She was talking to her friend via Facetime or video call when Leonard showed up asking for a possible Filipina partner. Ellaine was available at that time and gamely joined the conversation. After that, and many communications later, Ellaine and Leonard wed the Filipino way at Ellaine’s hometown in Iloilo. But soon she joined Leonard to his hometown Down Under. The couple has been happily married for five years now enjoying Australia’s goodness. There may be more stories of successful dating and marriages

but do we really need a third party to screen out today’s candidates for dating and later, lifetime partner, to be? For sure, dating apps or social media sites, don’t work for everyone. There are books available to guide you, young people, aside from the actual experiences of your elders. Books about relationships and Christian dating may offer great help. Choosing God's Best by Don Raunikar could help you establish your own standards regarding marriage. Reading this, you may want nothing less than God’s best for you! In gist, the book said, if you believe that if you are seeking God’s will about who you date, He will lead you to someone that is a true fit for you. It doesn’t mean that your future spouse will be perfect or that you will think alike or always agree on everything. That will never happen -- but if you seek God’s guidance, He will lead you to the person who is going to be the best match for you. God pairs us up with people that complement the gifts, talents, and personalities that He has given us – if we let Him. Take the story of Martha: “I have found this to be true in my own life. The guys I dated before I began dating my husband were not all bad guys. In fact, most of them had many good qualities. We genuinely cared about each other and had fun together. But in each relationship there were things that didn’t feel quite right. “In some relationships, I found myself compromising some of my values to be more in line with that guy’s. In other relationships, I began to think that some of the things I had wanted in a husband were perhaps more wishful thinking than things that could actually be. Did those caring, sensitive, funny, godly men really exist? “And so I thought I had finally chosen the right one after several others. But then again, I made the difficult decision to break up with the guy.I don’t want to fall in love with anyone else until heis ‘the right one,’ I told God in my prayers. Since I had not done such a great

years of marriage I am so glad I followed God’s leading. It’s not that my husband and I never disagree, or that we do not get on each other’s nerves periodically, but married life is so much simpler when you know that this is the person that God led you to. With that in mind, we know God will see us through whatever difficulties we face in the future. And as I look back on past relationships, I can see why Matt and I are the best match compared to others we each dated.” Christian teachings said you just have to sleep and your Godly Heavenly created perfect husband or wife will be brought to you at the right time and place. Go on with your life as though there is nothing you need, like you do not feel the need. You deserve someone who will appreciate you for who God made you to be, encourage you to grow spiritually and embrace all that God has for you, and cherish you as a precious gift from your Heavenly Father. Don’t settle for less than that. Focus on God and He will bring the perfect partner He has created for you at the right time and when you will see her/him at the first time, like Adam you will say, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ (Genesis 2:23)

A BusinessMirr

A6 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 |

Celebrate the Magic of LOVE L

OVE is in the air! The romantic Pinoys surely know how to celebrate the magic of love this Valentine’s Day. Seda BGC’sMisto restaurant presents A Dinner to Remember, featuring a buffet with the finest meats and seafood as main dishes, and a rich variety of sumptuous starters and desserts to complete the feast. A glass of sparkling wine enhances the flavors. Dinner buffet on February 14, 2018 is Php1,200++ and available from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. A different kind of setting is offered at Straight Up, Seda’s popular roof deck bar that stuns for its amazing view of the metro skyline, cool music and extensive fare. Its Valentine’s Day buffet consists of grilled lamb as the featured carving with pastas, pizzas, grilled beef and prawns, plus appetizers and desserts amid jazz /lounge music from a guest singer. Seda BGC is located at 30th Street cor. 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Whether the object of your affection is your family, friends, or a significant other, show your love with a charming and relaxing stay at Richmonde. The “Intimate Deal” provides guests with cozy and private accommodations for as low as PhP 3,200 nett. A “Bed and Breakfast” booking offers great value with the inclusion of a filling breakfast buffet for two at Richmonde Café for as low as PhP 3,700 nett. To

bring the romance level up, there’s the “Valentine Package” which includes wine and cheese that can be served to you in-room or at The Exchange or Richmonde Café. Package rate starts at only PhP 4,200 nett with breakfast buffet for two. Richmonde Hotel Ortigas is located at 21 San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Enchanted Kingdom (EK) offers a twist to your usual Valentines date as it offers “Enchanting Dinner in the Sky”. Experience a whole day filled of romantic adventures and high energy thrills at a very reasonable rate. Couples and group dates can enjoy an enchanting dinner date on board the 130-feet tall Wheel of Fate (Ferris Wheel). Feel the cool fresh breeze and savor a set of flavourful menu as you enjoy a breathtaking view of the Sta. Rosa skyline The Couple package is P1,700 (P2,100 with Agila) and the group of four (4) package at P3,300 (P4,000 with Agila) inclusive of regular day passes, dinner on the Wheel of Fate, a souvenir photo, premier seats at the world-class Enchante Musical show. Promo is only available on ALL weekends of February! Visit details. Experience the magic of love and romance in the air at the sky hotel, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila. Find the confection that speak from the heart. Give the gift of sweet treats to show your love and

affection, or just celebrate the love month with decadent desserts to share. Decadent Valentine’s cake, chocolate hearts, pralines, and strawberry tarts are available for sweet gestures at Café Pronto. Take the better half to an ultimate experience with special offers to enjoy on Valentine’s Day, 14 February, at Cucina and Lung Hin. Discover a lavish array of different cuisines, prepared-to-perfection. Cucina elevates its live action sta-

tions for this sweet celebration, especially the well-loved, the Seafood Station. Enjoy this for 2,888 per person with special Valentine cocktails sold separately. To know more about the signature dining outlets of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, visit Get serenaded on Valentine’s Day while enjoying a buffet feast for Php2,288nett per person on “Flavors of Love” Valentine concert. Have a romantic night, celebrate,

and share the love! Add Php 200 for unlimited Red or White wine to make the night even more special at F1 All-Day Dining Restaurant. With “A Lot Like Love” Room Package. Let F1 Hotel Manila give you the romantic stay you’ve been dreaming about, and stay in a Fort Suite for only Php6,450nett, with buffet breakfast for two. For inquires, call 908-7888 or visit Away from the hustle and

bustle of the metro and set against the scenic bay area, Okada Manila sets the mood for the most dreamy dates in the city. Choose from a selection of the property’s exclusive Valentine’s dinner experiences, on 14 February. Be swept away at La Piazza, Enbu and Japanese Kappou Imamura with a real taste of amore! Chef Gleb Snegin’s sumptuous five-course meal brimming with authentic Italian flavors awaits. Memorable date night at La Piazza includes free-flowing prosecco and a grand view of The Fountain’s performances. Enbu entices diners with a spectacular six-course Valentine’s Dinner featuring assorted appetizers, the freshest seafood, plus premium Japanese wagyu served fresh from the grill. Experience more festive dining at the property’s other restaurants: Red Spice presents a six-course Valentine’s feast for two featuring mouthwatering Oriental favorites on 14 February; Goryeo Korean Dining woos diners with a set meal for two complete with wagyu prime ribeye and a bottle of red wine to share from 14 to 16 February; and an indulgent Valentine’s dinner celebration with freeflowing sparkling wine at Medley Buffet for larger groups of family and friends on 1415 February. For table reservations, please contact Okada Manila at +63 2 555 5799 or e-mail

Skip the roses and the park: Get creative this Valentine’s Day with these gift items and date spots


By JT Nisay

OSES are red, violets are blue. This Valentine’s Day, try something new.” You see, even the corniest clichés can be given a new spin with a little effort. The same applies to your plans this Valentine’s Day. So, cancel your order for a bouquet of red roses, keep those picnic basket and mat on the shelf, and go for something different this year to keep things fresh and exciting, for a more memorable day of hearts.

Novelty surely isn’t everyone’s strong suit, which is why Globe myBusiness, the micro-small-, and medium-enterprise arm of Globe Telecom, has come up with the best date spots and gift items for your beloved. Read up and save yourself from coming up with another lastminute plan same as last year, and the one before that.

WHERE TO GO: nCamping Sites Forget crowded malls and restaurants. If you’re looking for an outof-the-box experience on this special day of love, try camping and lounge on the best of what nature has to offer. Groups of professional hikers and mountaineers are now offering this experience in different campsites near Metro Manila. Also, some resorts take camping to the next level by offering “glamping” or “glamorous camping.” Anytime you go for something glamorous on Valentine’s Day, it's bound to be a good one. nBeach-side resorts How does taking a long, sun-down

walk by the beach while holding your partner’s hand sound? Not only can you get peace and quiet in beach-side resorts, you can also enjoy a number of memorable activities. Try kayaking, canoeing, or even island-hopping for resorts in places-like Boracay, Alaminos, and Puerto Galera. For something edgier, go for snorkeling, scuba-diving or riding glass-bottom boats. nSpa and wellness centers The couple who relax together, stay together. Take it easy this V-Day and visit spas and wellness centers to de-stress and re-energize. There is no shortage of these places, so accessibility isn't a problem. If getting a massage together isn't your thing, there are spas and wellness centers that offer saunas, fish spas, jacuzzis and hydromassage pools for a different kind of relaxation. nHistorical churches Central Luzon has some of the oldest churches in the Philippines, making it a popular spot for pilgrims and tourists alike, even on Valentine’s Day. Provinces, such as Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales and

Tarlac, have popular churches with rich histories. One option is the Monasterio De Tarlac, a monastery located at the top of Mount Resurrection, where a landmark 30-foot colossal statue of Jesus Christ can be found. Maybe this trip can also serve as an ocular tour, right? Are those wedding bells we’re hearing? nAnnual Festivals A lot of festivals around the country take place in February and luckily, some of them are held near Valentine’s Day. One of them is the renowned Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City that is a celebration of the city’s floral crops showcased through huge floats and artistic displays. Crowds from across the country flock to Baguio City just for this event, which will be held this year on February 24. Now that the venues have been

covered, let’s get to the perfect items to pull from your back and hand to your would-be surprised partner this Valentine’s Day. Note: Not all the gift ideas are objects.

WHAT TO GET: nA perfect combination Those “His” and “Hers” items you find in department stores may seem cheesy to some, but there are more than a few products that are actually worth the consideration, from pillows to towels to jewelry to clothing. Besides, being cheesy is fun sometimes! nA personalized keepsake Personalized items have become such a hit that you’ll be sure to find names or initials on many items in just about any mall or shopping center. Make him or her feel one of a kind with something that’s

undoubtedly theirs - just like you! Nothing says “you mean a lot to me” like something you created with your own hands, so how about making a scrapbook? Cheesy? Yes. Tedious? Yes. Worthwhileandconveysthemessage “I treasure you” unlike any other gift? YES. nA delicious feast Valentine’s Day is the ultimate date night. Binge on delicious food, share bites and stories, and most of all relish the calm and romantic ambiance that only a good restaurant can to offer. nAn experience to remember It’s one thing to get your partner an gift, but it’s another to get him or her an experience. Do something you’ve never done as your relationship takes to new heights, like mountain-climbing or parasailing.

Get to know each other better and create memories together. nA chance to learn something new Check out a workshop or activity you’ve never tried before. More than just the introduction to what could be a new hobby, it would also be a great bonding opportunity for you two. Valentine’s Day should be a special occasion simply because it’s there for you to celebrate the most special people. Don’t let it go to waste by giving your partner exactly what he or she deserves— the best! Globe myBusiness provides digital solutions to local entrepreneurs to help them grow their business. Follow Globe myBusiness’ Facebook Page at https://www. and check out our wonderful surprises for Valentine’s Day!

ror Special Feature|Wednesday, February 14, 2018



LTHOUGH we are accustomed to view Valentine’s Day as that day of the year wherein we celebrate love, we can’t overlook the fact that V-day is more than just ritualizing love of romantic nature. Love can be of friendly, platonic or familial kind. In fact, these previous years have seen the popularity of Galentine’s day every Februrary 13th, wherein ladies get together to revel their affectionfor their closest girlfriends by throwing chic all-nighter bondingseshand relaxing sparties. Galentine’sDay was first made famous by Amy Poehler's character

Leslie Knope on the American series Parks and Recreation. This year marks a unique trend in Valentine’s Day rituals, as February 14 is the day to observe love in all forms-- and that includes self-love. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being extra-lovey to your special someone or loved

ones on this day, but self-love is something we should also prioritize and practice more, if not commemorate more. After all, you have been in a relationship with yourself the longest, more than you’ve been involved with anyone else in the world in your lifetime. Don’t you think it is high time you give yourself some extra lovin’ on Valentine’s Day, too? So how do you practice selflove on this special day of the year? Let us count the ways!


Pamper Your Skin the Natural Way. Your skin should be on top of your list when it comes to self-care, especially since it is the largest organ of your body. Now, you might be used to spending too much on various skincare products in the market, but getting au naturale is always the best option. Dubbed as the biggest trend in the beauty industry these days, essential oils are hugely raved as personal care and cosmetics market is oriented to-

So Scent-sational




ET your loved ones feel special this Valentine’s season with gifts of love, fragrance, and beauty from Japanese fast fashion brand Miniso. Express your love in Valentine cards in classy and lovely designs available at the Stationery section. There are also scent-sational fragrances that draw inspiration from Perfect Love, Romantic Sakura, and Crystal Diamonds; as well as natural essence oils derived from jojoba seed oil and the rosa damascene flower oil, as well as bath salts made from rose essence. Give yourself a romantic new look with Miniso’s beauty collection: various shades and colors of foundations, shimmery eyeshadows, luminous blushers, high definition lipsticks and eyebrow liners perfect for a date night. Spread the love with Miniso located in most SM Supermalls. Also, follow @MinisoPhilippines at Facebook for more gift ideas and updates.




THE MINISO BEAUTY COLLECTION: shimmery eyeshadows, pink blushers, waterproof eyeliners, automatic eyebrow liners, high definition lipsticks as well as sweet and stylish perfume scents. 2 The Miniso Women Perfume Collection is sweet and sensual for day or night. The Romantic Pink Sakura Perfume has a simple, elegant and fashionable scent for a sunny day; while the sweet and sensual Crystal Diamond Perfume is the perfect scent for a romantic date night. 3 Everyday Essentials from Miniso. Keep your things – like bath essentials, socks, and underwear - organized with this environmental friendly and multipurpose storage box.

wards health, wellness, natural beauty regimens and anti-aging. V&M Naturals, an all-Filipino company that produce essential skincare offerings from the finest oils and herbs for an all-natural experience. Sparing you from the danger of toxic chemicals like sulfates, surfactants, alcohol, sugar solutions or parabens, V&M Naturals’ essential oils are 100% made of premium oil recipes. Inspired by age-old beauty rituals, you can actually personally concoct your special mix of skincare oils for a smooth, clear and soft skin. Light your scented candles, turn up that jazz music and mix your own beauty oils on V-day for that unique special me-time. For effective skincare oil recipes based on your skincare issues, visit http://


Book your “haircare day” at La Provence. Have you always wanted to get your hair done while enjoying good food?

Now you can do just that at La Provence located at Central Square in BGC, Taguig. “La Provence is a one-stop shop where you can do your hair, nails, have a facial, and also enjoy French food like crepes, croissants, and drinks,” explains La Provence creative director Mehdi Moussaoui. “The goal of this place is for you to stay five to six hours and enjoy some pampering and beauty time without thinking of traffic.” This salon is Wella’s flagship salon in the county, so you are assured that you’d be catered to the latest hair trends globally. If you want a glass of wine, tea or coffee whilst getting your hair done, this salon-café is perfect for you.


Get the Eyebrow Shape of Your Dreams. You know you want it, but you just don’t know how to achieve it. Having natural-looking and shaped-to-perfection eyebrows might be all you need

to truly treat yourself for a beauty makeover. Browhaus, the first and only concept store to specialize in brow grooming services, has just launched Brow Resurrection. This brow makeover offering creates realistic hair strands from root to tip to give you perfect brows using an advance embroidery technique to make natural-looking strokes. You can have a finer finish compared to other semi-permanent brow treatments that simply weave in parallel hair strands. Browhaus consultants always consider your face shape and preferences to achieve the eyebrow shape of your dreams. For more info, visit There are definitely a hundred ways to spoil yourself rotten once in a while, and on love day, self-love should be unapologetic. Whatever your relationship status is at the moment, there is one kind of love that never goes out of style, and that is your genuine love and priceless care for yourself.

Banking&Finance BusinessMirror

A8 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 • Editor: Jun B. Vallecera

San Miguel taps banks for largest share sale


an Miguel Corp., the biggest Philippine company by revenue, has asked investment banks to pitch for a role in a planned sale of shares in its listed food business this year, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Conglomerate helping shepherd MSMEs to digital marketplace By Rizal Raoul S. Reyes Contributor

The conglomerate is expected to appoint advisers as soon as the end of this month, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The offering of San Miguel Pure Foods Co. stock could raise around $1.5 billion, though the exact size is still under discussion, the people said.   San Miguel President Ramon S. Ang said in a mobile phone text message on Tuesday he confirms the information, without elaborating. A share sale would boost Pure Foods’ public float after a deal combining San

Miguel’s food, beer and liquor businesses under a single publicly-traded company, the people said. Pure Foods will be worth an estimated $9 billion to $10 billion following that transaction, Ang said in November. A $1.5 billion offering would be the largest ever equity deal in the Philippines, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It would take the crown from the so-called re-IPO of billionaire Lucio Tan’s holding company LT Group Inc., which raised about $912 million in 2013, the data show. Deliberations are at an early stage and details of the potential transaction could change, the people said. Bloomberg News

Ethical challenges in today’s world


undits sometimes quip that “business ethics” is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms because it is said that there is an inherent conflict between ethics and the pursuit of profit. But more and more, as we see the effects of such unmitigated self-interest, we begin to wonder whether the mantra of the 1980s, “Greed is good” has not visited disaster on so many people today. Today we find ourselves in a quandary—is our world spinning out of control? Has evil taken root in every sphere of our lives, so that even the very means of our efforts to sustain our existence are now suspect? In our time Pope Francis said in his Ecumenical, Evangeli Gaudium, humanity is experiencing a turning point in its history, as can be seen from the advances occurring in the sciences and in technology. We are in an age of knowledge and information, and he has commented that this “has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.” He notes that today we have “an economy of exclusion and inequality.” In a system that idolizes increased profit, everything that stands in its way is pushed aside. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics. Ethics has come to be viewed with derision, as being counterproductive. It is felt to be a threat, because it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person, and that “ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response, which is outside of the categories of the marketplace.” Likewise, referring to Pope Benedict XVI’s third Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office observed, “…the Encyclical offers a message of hope: Humanity has a mission and the means to transform the world and progress in justice and love in human relations, even in the social and economic field.” Among other things, Benedict XVI emphasized that the economy is not a moral-free zone. Perhaps, Caritas in Veritate’s most important truth-claim about economic life is that the market economy cannot be based on just any value system…market economies must be underpinned by commitments to particular moral goods and a certain vision of the human person if it is to serve rather than undermine humanity’s common good.” He stressed that, “The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly— not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centered.”

FINEX free enterprise Mercedes B. Suleik And indeed, today, there is talk of ethics in finance and business. Corporate governance, which has become a buzzword in financial and capital markets is ethics-based. And so, we have seen a rise in government regulations, in the adoption of corporate governance codes, in the formulation of codes of conduct, in the strict observance of international financial standards. We are seeing that ethical behavior is the best long-term business strategy for a company. However, as the world struggles to “laymanize” ethics and ethical behavior, it seems to lose sight of what the Church has continually emphasized—that the heart of social doctrine remains to be the human person. This has to be the source that should inspire the thinking and behavior of businessmen and government leaders—their policies, actions and responses must always consider the centrality of the human person. Unfortunately, growth and development, as the world sees it, are independent or differentiated from the question of faith, as if human promotion is one thing, and the proclamation of faith is another…hence the idea that ethics and business are incompatible... that economics and religion never the twain can meet. The development of peoples, “is intimately linked to the development of individuals.” But all too often governments and political systems consider the development of peoples as matters of technological progress, of opening up markets and removing tariffs, of more investment in production, of financial engineering and institutional reforms… in other words, outside the realm of spirituality. It must be said, however, that true development is about integral development, which is about the whole person, and includes his spiritual development. In other words, ethics must be central to any ordering of human affairs.

Case clippings

By Justice S J Ranada Jr.

LABOR–retirement based on bilateral agreement To construe from the employee’s acceptance of his appointment that he bad acquiesced to be retired earlier than the compulsory age of 65 years would, therefore, not be warranted. This is because retirement should be the result of the bilateral act of both the employer and the employee based on their voluntary agreement that the employee agrees to sever his employment upon reaching certain age. Laya v. Court of Appeals 10 Jan. 2018

GR 205813 Bersamin, J



LDT Inc., long known for pushing connectivity, recently embarked on a digital pivot to become a more relevant force in the digital world by introducing various products and services to the public for the digital lifestyle. On February 12 the information and communications technology behemoth wore the coat of a catalyst by empowering the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Through its digital innovations arm Voyager Innovations (Voyager) and entrepreneurship advocate Go Negosyo, PLDT launched a program designed to encourage the MSMEs embark on a digital road map through an end-to-end capability development program that covers all aspects needed to participate in the digital marketplace.  “We want to be the operating system of the digital microeconomy. PLDT also wants to contribute in democratizing the economy in digitizing the microdigital microeconomy. It is disrupting poverty in the country,” Orlando Vea, president and CEO of Voyager and PayMaya Philippines, said in an interview on the sidelines of the event in Makati City.  Vea said Voyager and PayMaya would play a big role in this undertaking. By introducing and harnessing the power of digital technology, Vea said the program will enable the marginalized sectors to break the vicious cycle of poverty by developing capabilities and be more self sufficient through microentrepreneurship. “With the digital tools, the microentrepreneurs can help themselves in the mainstream by availing of digital platforms,” Vea pointed.  By registering to any of the apps developed by Voyager, Vea said any microentrepreneur can avail of the various services offered by the PLDT group for free. He said the community can enroll in the program whether it involves lending, savings or investment. “We’re here to support to the economy

with solutions that are curated for the emerging markets,” she said. The partnership also aims to support the program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to equip more than 100,000 MSMEs with digital solutions by 2020. To push that agenda, PLDT SME Nation and Go Negosyo will provide the three “M’s”—specialized business training and mentorship, access to wider marketplaces through technology and an online selling platform and, finally, money—access to funding and capital to jump-start their business.  “We are committed to help SMEs thrive and become more globally competitive through digital services and solutions,” said PLDT Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan.   Through more than 750 Negosyo Centers nationwide, local businesses can participate in Go Negosyo’s Mentor Me program which had been expanded to include training in setting up and managing online stores through the TackThis!, the online store builder of Voyager.  The platform also provides small enterprises with the logistics capability to deliver goods to their online buyers.  Once online, MSMEs can reach a wider market nationwide through Takatack (www., Voyager’s virtual marketplace.    Lito Villanueva, head of Lendr, said business owners can gain immediate access of Voyager’s digital lending platform Lendr (, which helps MSMEs apply for various loan offers from participating banks and lending institutions.  The program will also equip merchants to accept mobile cashless transactions through PayMaya QR (quick response), which provides customers with a seamless payment experience via QR code technology while at the same time eases the burden on cashiers and front-counter agents.   “ The enablement program covers much of what business owners need to ready themselves in expanding their operations and putting up a presence in the online market space as we’ve all seen how e-commerce has become the new frontier aiming Filipino consumers,” said

Go Negosyo Founder Jose Concepcion Jr. “We not only empower business owners by enabling them with latest available technology solutions to quickly establish their global presence online. We also help them optimize their business potential and enhance their market competitiveness through selling and fulfilling transactions using these readily deployable innovative platforms,” PLDT and Smart Chief Revenue Officer and ePLDT President and CEO Eric Alberto said.  DTI Undersecretary Zenaida C. Maglaya said the DTI will help in the advocacy. “This is a new opportunity for the MSMEs to market their products and services,” she said in an interview.  Maglaya added it is still a challenge to encourage microentrepreneurs to pursue the digital road map because some of the MSMEs are not yet tech savvy. She said the program is going to complement the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pagasenso (P3) of the government to help in the financing programs of the microentrepreneurs.  “We still have provinces that are not covered by P3. With online lending, you don’t need a physical space to avail of the credit facility. It is a good option for the provinces that don’t have conduits to loans,” she added.  Maglaya said DTI’s Negosyo Centers are open to form partnerships with service providers to help assist MSMEs in their capability development. The partnership also aims to support the program of the DTI to equip more than 100,000 MSMEs with digital solutions by 2020.   In line with this, Voyager launched its “DigiHub” initiative last December under its Voyager DX program which aims to establish a center of excellence facility for digital platforms that entrepreneurs and MSMEs can utilize to help start of grow their businesses.  PLDT and Go Negosyo have been longstanding partners in promoting the development of MSMEs.  Both have collaborated extensively to provide the necessary services, facilities and training to boost economic activity of local communities and the regional hubs. 

Insurers chose to hand in their license


he Insurance Commission (IC) said seven insurance companies voluntarily surrendered their license due to progressively higher capital imposed on the industry. According to the regulator, six were nonlife insurers and one life-insurance firm who all acknowledged their inability to meet the minimum net worth requirement of P550 million. Insurance Commissioner Dennis B. Funa said these include the Centennial Guarantee Assurance Corp., CAP Life Insurance Corp., FLT Prime Insurance Corp., Manila Surety and Fidelity Company Inc., Meridian Assurance Corp., The Solid Guaranty. Inc. and United Insurance Co. Inc.

As a result, these companies were issued individual servicing licenses that allow for the orderly run off of their insurance business. This means they are barred from writing new contracts or extend them and their activities are limited to accepting premium payments, paying the cash surrender value of outstanding policies, reviving lapsed policies and such other related services. “The existing policyholders of these companies numbering more or less 170,000 will not be affected as all existing contracts remain effective and that they are bound to honor their contractual obligations and settle the insurance claims that may be filed,” Funa said. The IC closely monitors the limited busi-

ness activities of these companies to ensure their liabilities are paid and settled as they become due. “While these companies are not compliant with the present P550-million net worth requirement, [such] are positive, which means they have sufficient assets to settle their obligations to their policyholders,” Funa said. Under the Amended Insurance Code, the minimum net worth requirement of insurance companies increases every three years until 2022. The insurers were told to have at least P250 million by June 2013, P550 million by December 2016, P900 million by December 2019 and P1.3 billion by December 2022. Rea Cu

‘BBL needs growth-boosting basic framework’


he Department of Finance (DOF) called on lawmakers on Tuesday to consider the goal of attaining economic self-sufficiency and sustainable development for the Bangsamoro region when crafting the fundamental law for the autonomous political entity in Mindanao to ensure fiscal autonomy and lasting peace. According to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the requirements of sustained growth, such as hard infrastructure, human capital investment, new communication technologies and efficient administrative systems should also apply in the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region just like the rest of the country. “Fiscal autonomy is earned. It should be attained with the end goal of economic selfsufficiency and sustainable development. The provisions of the proposed law must ensure that in order to win public support,” Dominguez said at the Senate hearing on the creation of a basic law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region on Tuesday. Dominguez, who was invited as a resource person at the hearing, said any proposed funding scheme for the Bangsamoro

region should be “programmatic, transparent, performance-based and phased” to conform with the criteria of modern governance and win broad public support for the Bangsamoro basic law (BBL). “Let me begin by expressing full support for the formation of a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region through the enactment of a basic law. This will enable the achievement of a more substantial autonomy arrangement that meets the expectation of the Islamic community in Mindanao. In turn, this should be a major step toward achieving sustainable prosperity for all communities in Mindanao,” he added. Dominguez said the country’s economic fundamentals and strong growth momentum did not happen overnight but was attained through three decades of fiscal discipline, with the economy going through difficult structural adjustment programs to work down what was once a crushing debt load. In the case of the proposed Bangsamoro region, Dominguez said the pursuit of plans and programs “must be clear and reliable to ensure effective utilization of funds.”

One key program that should be included in the economic programs of the BBL is infrastructure development in sync with the rest of Mindanao’s overall transport plan, according to Dominguez. “It’s very important also that the national government provides technical assistance to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region because fiscal management is not easy. And people have to practice, get experience in doing it, and we have the experienced people, and we are willing to help them in every step of the way. But again I said it should be phased, transparent, programmatic and performance-based,” he said. He expressed confidence in the “efforts, patience, sacrifice and hard work” put in by the lawmakers and gave assurance the DOF would continue to work closely with them on the matter. “We want to help them make it successful, and the way to make it successful is to be with them monitoring these projects. You know designing a project, implementing and monitoring it is very difficult. I’m not saying they cannot do it, but we should be willing to help them,” he added. Rea Cu

ExportUnlimited BusinessMirror

DTI-EMB lauds 2017 export figures, consistent electronics-industry efforts @alyasjah

HE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) welcomed the significant development in the country’s export sector for 2017, as electronics cornered 52.02 percent of the total share of merchandise exports, while nonelectronics, 47.98 percent. Share of electronics used to be over 60 percent of the total exports 10 years ago. “Significant growth posted by nonelectronic goods for full year 2017 suggests the diversification and expansion of the country’s export products over the years,” DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado said. Combined with the 13.14-percent projected annual growth in services exports in 2017, the annualized total exports for goods and services for full year 2017 are expected to chalk up a double-digit growth of around 10.8 percent. Total exports of Philippine electronic products in 2017 increased remark ably by 11.17 percent backed by strong performance of 6 out of 9 subsector of the said industry. Meanwhile, nonelectronic goods marked an increase of 7.79 percent primarily led by an increase in a wide range of products. Forest products posted a tripledigit increase of 492.68 percent, which contributed to the significant rise of nonelectronic goods for this year. For full year 2017, the annual value of export shipments to the top market destinations of the

Philippines registered substantive growths. Combined markets of PROC (China) and HK SAR (Hong Kong) remained the top exports destination with a share of 24.73 percent to total exported goods, followed by Japan with a 16.2-percent share. Total exported goods to PROC and HK SAR amounted to $15.549 billion. Exported goods to Japan totaled $10.187 billion, down by 12.71 percent. The United States landed as the third top market destination with a 14.56-percent total share, growing by 3.45 percent. Total exported goods for full year 2017 to the US reached $9.157 billion. “We aim to pursue intensified promotion efforts to potential markets where we see a significant increase of our exports, while we continue to diversify and strategize to new markets,” Terrado said. Meanwhile, as electronics continues to top the country’s merchandise exports year after year, the industry is gearing to roll with its momentum by launching a road map that intends to identify the country’s future electronic products aimed to take advantage of

the world’s technological demand. The Semiconductors and Electronics Industries of the Philippines Foundation Inc. (Seipi) on Tuesday announced it will be launching soon the industry’s Product and Technology Holistics Strategy (Paths) road map. Seipi President Danilo C. Lachica broke the news after the government reported commodity exports last year was at $62.87 billion, of which 52 percent was contributed by the electronics industry. Lachica said the road map was crafted to further develop the sector and ensure its place as the top goods export of the country in the years to come. “We have been kind of steady between $20 billion and $30 billion for about a decade, and what we would like to do with the electronics industry is to explore how we can further improve that and, perhaps, even get a hockey-stick effect to take off from the $30-billion level much, much more than that,” he said. The road map was bankrolled by the DTI and was administered by the Department of Science and Technology. The main study was conducted by economists, academics and scientists from the private sector. Lachica added the Paths is a strategic plan for the electronics industr y that will identif y “what products and technolog y are we going to focus on.” This is to ensure the country will not be left behind by the growing demand for parts and machines needed to operate various technologies worldwide. “What this study proposes is to look at things that we should be producing and services that we should be providing in the Philippines,” Lachica said. He added he expects this road map to further boost the

already excellent performance of the electronics sector. With the emergence of newfound technologies—“the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, self-driving cars and big data”—the Seipi chief said there will be a demand for electronics that the country can provide to innovators. “These are the kinds of technologies that we looked at and the study basically evaluated the Philippine situation, competitive edges and comparison with different countries in Asia, as well as in North America and Europe, to come up with a suggested niches where we can play in,” he said. “For instance, in semiconductors, there was a proposal to look at sensors because when you do self-driving cars, there are going to be a lot of sensors involved. When you try to do disaster prediction and prevention, sensors will be involved. Even in memory chips because big data storage and artificial intelligence [need sensors]. Those are the kinds of things that will be proposed to semiconductor companies in the Philippines,” Lachica added. With Paths, Lachica believes the country will continue to perform excellently in terms of exporting electronic products. He added this will be crucial in broadening the electronics industry, which has to date, according to Seipi, employed about 3.2 million direct and indirect workers and is projected to employ a total of 5.5 million workers by 2020. It is also expected the soon-tobe launched road map will rake in an additional $1.5 billion worth of investments in 2020, $3 billion in 2025 and $5 billion in 2030. Seipi is targeting to breach $40 billion in export values in 2025 and $50 billion in 2030.

DTI welcomes PHL honorary consuls from Europe


HE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) welcomed 20 Philippine honorary consuls based in Europe through a Philippine Trade and Investment briefing, in support of the honorary consuls’ trade and investment promotional efforts in Europe, held on February 8 in BDO North Tower, Makati City. The 20 Philippine honorary consuls from Europe represent Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Belarus, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, France, Albania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria. The briefing, organized in collaboration with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center Berlin, Board of Investments, DTI Export Marketing Bureau and supported by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, European Union Delegation to the Philippines, German Philippine Chamber of Commerce Inc. and EU-Philippines Business Network, provided an overview of Philippine economic landscape, including trade and investment opportunities between the Philippines and Europe. DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado, together with Edward


Creatives as partners for growth


AM always execonomic agenda. cited to meet Hence, just last year, creatives. As the Department of Trade the supervising and Industry (DTI), with undersecretary for its Center for InternaTrade and Investtional Trade Exhibition ments Promotion and Missions, launched Group, we value Create Philippines. It the great contriis an annual industrybution of the credevelopment platform ative- services secthat showcases the Philtor in uplifting ippines’s Creative and By Nora K. Terrado and promoting the Content Industries to Undersecretary for Trade Philippine brand an international marto the global mar- and Investment Promotions Group ket. It is an avenue where DTI-EMB ket. I see them as creative professionals partners in levelgather, connect and cataing up the game for the same challenge lyze new business through an open that we all have: How do we narrate system that encourages sharing of the good stories we have as Filipinos? innovative business ideas and col Like goods and services being oflaborative opportunities. fered around the world, creative serWith Create Philippines, we vices, such as advertising, continue aim to enhance the country’s busito evolve. It continues to shape perness environment that will enable ceptions, expectations and demands creatives and artists in driving the of the consuming public. It tends to economy. First, we are aiming to affect us in many significant ways. gather experts, professionals, busiThat is why the industry continues to ness organizations and groups in deexpand. The opportunities are limitveloping the creative ecosystem. The less. More than the essential role they government is keen to gather people play in making the narrative of Filipino both from public and the private secgoods and services as good as it is, we tor in crafting our creative economic see the greater contribution that creagenda. Little by little, we believe ative services continue to provide in that we will continue to engage the the growth story of the Philippines. private sector in enhancing the cre Why are we making so much imative industry in the Philippines. portance today in making creativity We welcome the recognition of as among primary drivers of growth? Baguio late last year as it joined the Two decades ago, the world startUnesco Creative Cities Network ed describing activities that involve after we successfully held the first cultural heritages, including dance, Asean Creative Cities Forum and music, film, visual arts and the like Exhibition (ACCFE) last April. ACas creative industries. It evolved into CFE was spearheaded by the Design various things now powered by techCenter of the Philippines as part of nology. And today, we see creative the business events developed by industries being embraced by many the DTI to complement the coungovernments, making it one of the try’s hosting of the Asean. Baguio many means in achieving inclusive is the first Philippine city to join growth by building the so-called the network. We aim to encourage creative economy. more cities as we see the impor In this age of rapid globalization tance of greater participation of and the inevitable evolution of techcommunities in making growth nology, many economies, including truly inclusive. the Philippines, realize the need to As we move forward in this mistie business with creativity. In fact, sion, we look forward to the active according to a report by the British participation and support of the Council, a country’s creative indusmany creatives in the country. We try has a powerful way of providing look forward to work with all of you a distinctive image of a country or a in the future in making the Philipcity, helping it stand with its competipines known for its strengths and tors, as well as a good positioning of beauty. To all the creative entreits overall strength and capacity. preneurs and professionals in the This, in turn, opens up a whole new country, I salute all of you for makdiscussion on how we encourage more ing the Filipino creativity shine by professionals and businesses to make upholding the truth and highest their ingenuity a tool in driving the standard in promoting Filipino economy while building the creative goods and services.

upcoming events

FEB 14 THE 20 Philippine honorary consuls from Europe (Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Belarus, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, France, Albania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria) stand behind Philippine Ambassador Melita Sta. Maria-Thomeczek (seated, fourth from left); DTI Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado (seated, fifth from left); Board of Investments International Investments Promotion Service Director Angelica Cayas (seated, sixth from left); Director of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau Senen M. Perlada (seated, third from left); European Union Delegation to the Philippines Economic and Trade Section Head Walter van Hattum (standing, seventh from right); Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Ma. Alegria Sibal-Limjoco (seated, second from right) and BDO SVP and Group Head for International Desks Edward Wenceslao (seated, second from left).

Wenceslao, senior vice president and group head for international desks of BDO Unibank, welcomed the honorary consuls. “Europe is a strong economic partner of the Philippines. In the first quarter of 2017, EU investment share in the Philippines stood at 45 percent of the total foreign-approved investments. Philippine goods exported to

EU also grew by 31 percent, amounting to $8.4 billion in 2017,” Terrado said during her welcome remarks. Among European countries, Germany is the Philippines’s largest trading partner, followed by the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Ireland and Austria. The 20 Philippine honorary

consuls are in the Philippines to join the familiarization tour being organized by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and initiated by former Philippine Ambassador to Germany, Melita Sta. Maria-Thomeczek, Philippine Ambassador to Paris Maria Theresa Lazaro and the Philippine Embassy in Oslo, Norway.

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FEB 15

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By Elijah Felice E. Rosales

Editor: Efleda P. Campos • Wednesday, February 14, 2018 A9

PHL eyes more shipbuilding investments, pivots delegation to Asia Pacific Maritime


HE Department of Trade and Industry, through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), seeks to expand the Philippines’s shipbuilding sector in its first-ever participation in the 15th Asia Pacific Maritime (APM) from March 14 to 16 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. “With the onset of globalization, op-

portunities are immense in shipbuilding and repair. This drives us to charter a new direction in trade promotion, leading the first-ever Philippine exhibit in APM to highlight the country’s promising prospects in the international maritime trade,” Citem Executive Director Clayton Tugonon said. Known as Asia’s largest maritime and offshore exhibition, APM is a one-stop market for the region’s mari-

time community joined by more than 14,000 visitors and buyers from Asia, and 1,500 exhibiting companies from 60 countries across the world. It showcases the latest in marine equipment, technologies and service, as well as port technology. The country’s delegation eyes to invite more foreign investors and trade partners to augment the export-oriented operations of shipbuilding and

maritime firms in the country, in partnership with the Board of Investments. Tugonon said their high-impact investment drive will focus on creating new partnerships and one-on-one business-matching sessions as they leverage on the country’s world-renowned highly skilled work force with their cost-competitiveness, outstanding work ethic and ability to speak in English. “Aside from our flexible work force,

the geographic location of the Philippines carries a strategic advantage that should be attractive to potential investors,” Tugonon said. “This includes an abundance of coastline providing ocean access, adequate water depth and suitable areas for conducting sea trials.” He added: “The Philippines is also in proximity to the center of global economic activity for shipbuilding and shipping since the activity is concen-

trated in three East Asian countries, and the Philippines is located along key Southeast Asian trade routes, making it a convenient location for repair.” From a global perspective, the Philippines has been the fourth-largest ship producer since 2010, next to South Korea, China and Japan. In 2015 the Philippines accounted for 2.8 percent of world ship completions and 1.3 percent of ship exports.

A10 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 • Editor: Angel R. Calso

Opinion BusinessMirror


Redefining NFA’s role


few days before the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced that paddy production rose to 19.27 million metric tons (MMT) in 2017, from the previous year’s 17.62 MMT, the National Food Authority (NFA) sounded the alarm that its stockpile must be augmented soon, as it was only good for three days. This prompted the food agency to request the permission of the NFA Council (NFAC) to green light the importation of 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice. Despite the increase in paddy production, the NFA was unable to buy rice from farmers to boost its buffer stock. It was in 2008 when the NFA, then under the DA, had targeted to purchase around 1 MMT of paddy from farmers. That year, when the global food price crisis reached its peak, the Philippines learned the hard way that even if the government had the money to buy imported rice, traditional suppliers would prioritize their citizens’ needs. This prompted the government to roll out interventions to significantly increase rice output and to step up the procurement of local paddy. To encourage more farmers to plant rice and sell their crop to the NFA, the government raised the agency’s buying price to P17 per kilogram (kg), from P11.50 per kg, in April 2008. Despite the hike in its buying price, the NFA would never be able to meet its annual palay procurement target. In recent years, the justification given by the food agency is that private traders also raised their prices. Farmers also complained earlier that the stringent procurement standards set by the NFA discouraged them from selling their crop to the government. Rice bought from farmers and imports make up the NFA’s stockpile. Part of this rice inventory is sold to the poor at P27 per kg (regular milled) and P32 per kg (well-milled). This year it appears that the NFA would not be able to meet its procurement target again. It also remains to be seen if hiking its buying price would boost its chances of buying more locally produced rice. This is a cause for concern since the NFA would have no other recourse but to rely on local procurement to beef up its stockpile from now until the first week of June. The food agency’s inability to compete with private traders was the primary reason behind its request to import rice last year. The debacle faced by the NFA last year should have prompted the Duterte administration to act immediately and ensure that it would not happen again. But as it is, the NFA found itself grappling with the same dilemma this year. Following the government’s announcement that it had permitted the importation of rice, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr. said that the council wants to start evaluating the procurement and distribution strategies of the NFA. This should have been done last year, especially if the administration has plans of restructuring the NFA. Currently, there are efforts in Congress to amend Republic Act 8178, or the Agricultural Tariffication Act, to convert rice import caps into tariffs as part of the Philippines’s commitment to the World Trade Organization. The conversion of the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice is of paramount concern, but the Duterte administration should not stop there. It must now launch efforts to seriously look at the role of the NFA and to determine whether there is a need for it to continue selling rice to the public. Once the QR is converted into tariff, more rice imports are expected to enter the country. The NFA’s role must be redefined based on this scenario. Since 2005

BusinessMirror A broader look at today’s business ✝ Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua

The holding of foreclosed real properties by insurers Dennis B. Funa



N the United States insurance companies have become active lenders in the financing of commercial real estate. For example, MetLife and Pacific Life Insurance Co. provided a 12-year, $500-million mortgage to a joint venture of SL Green and the New York State Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS) for the 1.4-million-square-foot, Class A office tower at 919 Third Avenue, New York City. MetLife also provided a 10-year, $372-million, fixed-rate loan for the 1.8-million-square-foot office building at 1285 Avenue of the Americas, also in New York City, commonly known as the UBS Building.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, AIG issued between $600 million and $700 million in commercial realestate loans in New York City, giving it a market share of 4 percent. It was a top 10 New York City commercial real-estate lender in 2015. According to the US Mortgage Bankers Association, as of March 31, 2012, the life-insurance industry (in the US) owned approximately 13 percent of the $2.4 trillion in outstanding commercial mortgage loans. Life insurers have a variety of reasons for investing in commercial mortgage loans for three primary reasons: (1) to increase the level of asset-type diversification in their investment portfolio; (2) to match long-term assets with long-term liabilities, because commercial mortgage loans are generally long term

with fixed interest rates and almost always include prepayment (call) protections; and (3) to minimize credit losses, because, based on historical experience, commercial mortgage loans have had modest realized credit losses. Indeed, other than banks, realestate financing has been provided by insurance companies. Many insurers are active in mortgage lending operations. This has been a practice since the start of the 20th century. In the Philippines one of the investment opportunities for lifeinsurance companies is by lending or extending loans provided that ample security is given by the borrower (Section 204, second par., Amended Insurance Code). Among the acceptable securities may either

be a first mortgage on real properties or condominium units (Section 204, par. 2, a), first mortgage on agricultural lands (Section 204, par. 2, b) or purchase money mortgages, lease purchase agreements or similar securities (Section 204, par. 2, c). These loans and real-estate mortgages are subject to some conditions under the Insurance Code. For example, for loans secured by non-agricultural real estate, the loan amount shall not exceed 70 percent of the appraised value of the land. For loans secured by agricultural land, the loans cannot exceed 40 percent of the market value of the land. In both instances, the loan shall not have a maturity period beyond 25 years (Second 204, par. 3, 1). Moreover, no loans shall be allowed for mortgages on improved real estate if the improvements (i.e., buildings) do not belong to the owner of the land, and the owner of the improvements does not sign the deed of mortgages, unless otherwise approved by the insurance commissioner (Section 204, par.3, 2). With respect to lease agreements or similar securities received on the sale of real-estate property, the loans shall not exceed 100 percent of the selling price of said property, or 100 percent of its market value at the time of its disposition, whichever amount is lower (Section 204, par 3, 3). More important, no loan secured by real estate shall be allowed unless the title to such real estate shall have first been registered according to law, and the lien or interest of the insurance company as mortgagee has

been registered (Section 205). Nonetheless, acquiring high-quality mortgages is an underwriting activity left to the judgement of the insurer. Poor underwriting can lead to inflated valuations of the properties. Upon default of the borrower, such real estate duly mortgaged may then be foreclosed. Under Section 206 (a) of the Insurance Code, the insurance company is allowed to purchase, hold, own and convey such real-estate property mortgaged to it by reason of the money loaned. The only condition under the law is that such real property shall be sold by the company within 20 years after the title thereto has been vested in it. Such real properties now held by the insurance company are not subject to the limitations imposed on real properties acquired as investments. Specifically, they are not subject to the 20 percent of net worth limitation. In terms of valuation of these foreclosed real properties, Section 214 (e) provides that “real estate acquired by foreclosure or by deed in lieu thereof, in the absence of a recent appraisal deemed by the commissioner to be reliable, shall not be valued at an amount greater than the unpaid principal of the defaulted loan at the date of such foreclosure or deed, together with any taxes and expenses paid or incurred by such insurer at such time in connection with such acquisition.”

Lawyer Dennis B. Funa is the current insurance commissioner. Funa was appointed by President Duterte as the new insurance commissioner in December 2016. E-mail:

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Who produced Trump’s budget? Not Trump BLOOMBERG VIEW


he Office of Management and Budget (OMB) delivered the presidential budget to Congress on Monday, and Congress reacted predictably. Democrats were quick to jump on various proposals, from cutting Medicare to privatizing the space station. And, oh, those huge deficits. Republicans didn’t seem to have much of a reaction at all, and Donald J. Trump’s morning tweets were about his infrastructure proposal, which was also rolled out on February 13, and the threat from opioids.   As Ezra Klein points out, there’s a pretty good-sized disconnect between a budget plan that slashes domestic spending and the congressional spending bill that the president endorsed and signed last week to increase that same category: “The Trump White House that built this budget exists in a different universe than the Trump White House that’s backing the congressional spending deal. It’s weird.” Perhaps one answer to this is to make a distinction: The plan the OMB sent to Congress is not, in any real way, the presi-

dent’s budget proposal. It’s the proposal of OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and is the equivalent of a House Freedom Caucus document. It includes proposals that Trump has little interest in supporting or fighting for. White House budgets in normal times are often treated with disdain by Congress, although less so during periods of unified party government. Still, no matter how often the budget is declared dead on arrival, the annual document is still normally regarded as a statement of the president’s

preferences and priorities. Congressional leaders and appropriators won’t treat this budget that way. They’ve learned that Trump is indifferent to most policy questions, inconsistent on others and easily rolled on almost anything. They know he doesn’t even bother reading his presidential daily brief—so there’s no reason to think “his” budget is anything different. It doesn’t help that Trump, unlike normal presidents, didn’t coordinate initiatives detailed in the budget with his State of the Union speech. The effect is to further distance the president from the budget.  In other words, Mulvaney’s budget is a wasted opportunity for Trump to try to influence government policy by fighting for his priorities in Congress. But that’s only the half of it. As presidency scholar Andrew Rudalevige points out, the process behind a budget proposal is normally important, as well. It’s “a very important tool of executive branch management, via the sustained review process that creates it.” The White House, through the OMB (which has been part of the presidential branch since the presidency began growing in 1939), reviews the budget requests from executive branch departments and agencies. This way the budget office gets a chance to look for evidence

of malfeasance while also putting pressure on each department and agency to conform to the president’s program. One of the more difficult challenges for each administration is the fight to get the executive branch to do what the president wants. For that to happen, however, everyone involved needs to believe the OMB director speaks for the president. It’s highly unlikely that anyone, from cabinet secretaries and other political appointees down to the permanent bureaucracy, believes that’s the case in this administration. Not to mention that Mulvaney himself has been holding down two administration jobs in the last few months; two days a week he’s acting as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Trump is not the first president by any means to be negligent in managing the federal bureaucracy. It is highly unusual, however, for a president to be so apparently indifferent to whether the executive branch follows where he leads. The effect is that every agency is on its own. It’s always the case that executive branch policy-making is a contentious battle among presidential nominees, the bureaucracy, Congress, the White House, interest groups and more. It’s just that in this administration, the president is more of an uninterested bystander than a combatant. 

Opinion BusinessMirror

Over 1,600 towns, cities worldwide now reversing privatization Michael Makabenta Alunan

on the contrary


ver 1,6000 cities and municipalities in 45 countries have acted to claim back public utilities and services from private companies, of which 835 were successful cases, showing people’s initiatives to wrest control over earlier privatization moves the past two to four decades that only resulted in spiralling prices, nondelivery of services to the poor and more misery. This is the summary of an ongoing three-day conference (February 13 to 15) of the Asia-Europe People’s Forum at University of the Philippines Diliman, where 20 foreign and local scholars, mostly with doctorate degrees in various fields, share notes on the accelerating movement toward reversing neoliberal policies, particularly the privatization and takeover of big businesses over public utilities and services. Significant deprivatization models and best practices worldwide were also discussed in a book, entitled Reclaiming Public Services, which is a compendium of studies documenting actual experiences from different countries and edited by Satoko Kishimoto of Transnational Institute and Olivier Petitjean. n Privatization causing inequality? Conference delegates told journalists that while privatization and the neoliberal policies the past decades may claim to have contributed to growth, they helped worsen global inequality. Prof. David Hall of the Public Services International Research Unit and the University of Greenwich-UK, said that “even the International Monetary Fund [IMF] in 2012 and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2011 admit that the austerity policies” did more harm and increased inequality, and affected long-term stability. In short, if growth ever happened because of “macroeconomic policies, as IMF theorizes, it was captured by a few and did not trickle down to the benefit of many,” added Prof. Rene Ofreneo, former labor undersecretary and dean of UP-School of Labor and Industrial Relations. Also raised in the conference was the observation that even if countries have exited from IMF or stopped dealing with IMF, the onerous loans transacted decades back continue to be a burden owing to the tied conditions or strings attached, which are more like hangman’s nooses. Cash-strapped in the past, many governments like the Philippines even begged for foreign loans, with creditors demanding sovereign guarantees in return that guaranteed payments through automatic debt service payments, even ignoring the constitutional power of Congress to make budgetary appropriations, making the Philippines one of a few of its kind with this onerous arrangement. Worse, these loans were tied to payment arrangements based on current foreign-exchange (forex) rates. Thus, when the Light Rail Transit Line 1 was clinched in 1981, forex was P7.80 per dollar, the government only raised P15.60 per dollar of debt based on the rule-of-thumb operating costs double the forex. Today, with the forex at P51.77 per dollar, the government has to raise P103.54 for every dollar of debt, or 1,227.43 percent more in effective costs than the original forex rate. n Austerity is no precondition for growth. IMF’s austerity prescription as a precondition for growth does not hold true based on volumes of facts and studies, Hall said. On the contrary, “long-term data shows GDP per capita rises as public spending rises as a percentage of GDP.” On the argument the private sector is more efficient, Hall said there

are no statistical proofs, claiming both are comparable, citing numerous studies. Unlike in privatization, whereby only those who pay avail themselves of “public” services, in publicly run services, distribution is done equally. Better still, even if rich and poor get the same equal public services, for the poorest 20 percent even in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development the same services already equal to 76 percent of their disposable income, Hall added. More so, in developing countries, where the poorest families have no incomes to start with and thus rely 100 percent on public services. n Privatization reversal a trend? Even in the United Kingdom where privatization started under Thatcher, there are already 64 cases of public takeovers from the private sector, called in Europe as “municipalisation” of running services for people not for profit. Prof. Vittorio Agnoletto, a medical doctor and professor at University of Milan, claimed it is privatization that has worsened inequality. He showed studies that Lenzie and Calton, two areas of Glasgow less than 10 miles apart, have male lifeexpectancy differences of nearly 30 years, with Lenzie, a rich neighborhood with 82 years old, while Calton, a poor neighborhood with only 54 years. The book Reclaiming Public Services noted that in Germany, 347 cases of remunicipalization were done the past 16 years, of which 284 cases were in energy. Moreover, 109 new municipal energy grids were established. Hans Bockler Foundation estimates that 600,000 jobs were lost in Germany between 1989 and 2007 due to privatization, but the reduction in jobs did not necessarily meant improvements in efficiency as labor savings were replaced by other forms of corporate greed. n Paradox of health workers. Locally, there are no experiences yet about reclaiming back public services, but one issue worth studying, Mercy Fabros of Woman Health and Alternative Budget Initiative said, is the paradox between the fact “the Philippines is the No. 1 exporter of doctors and No. 2 exporter of nurses, and yet 7 out of 10 die without ever seeing a medical professional.” She added there are over 300,000 unemployed nurses, and 250,000 underemployed nurses. And yet there are moves to privatize or cut down the number of government hospitals like in Manila. n Problem gets too big with H2 0 privatization. Water in the local Philippine language is tubig, and the problem, indeed, gets too big when this public utility is privatized. From P2.50 per cubic meter before it was privatized, today it is now P40 per cubic meter. In Indonesia Aqsa Alghiffari revealed that after 20 years of privatization, Jakarta claimed back in October 2017 its public-water utilities in a Supreme Court decision after efforts of civil society, trade unions and media. It is high time the government listened to the grumbling voices of the silent majority, and learn from the mounting experiences of other countries. E-mail:

Philippine Rise as a legacy Edgardo J. Angara Continued from A1


hese protective measures are all in order as they are consistent with the Philippines sovereign rights over the Philippine Rise. The United Nations in 2012 ruled that the area is part of the country’s extended continental shelf. In other words, Filipinos are the only ones that can freely conduct research and exploration, exploitation and development in the 13-million-hectare undersea plateau off the coast of Aurora province. Research and exploration in the Philippine Rise should be continuing given its immense aquatic resources and potential mineral and naturalgas deposits. Filipino scientists and researchers have the knowledge and expertise to properly map and make an inventory of the area’s resources. But they will definitely need more financial and institutional support from the national government—or even from abroad. That is the reason a separate

agency to coordinate all research and exploration efforts in the area —whether conducted by Filipino or foreign researchers—is necessary. The essential point is that the Philippines has exclusive exploration and exploitation rights— meaning all of the gas, oil, mineral and marine products found there belongs solely to Filipinos. Congress should incorporate that principle in the charter of the agency it will establish.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 A11

To ensure that future generations will ultimately benefit, all proceeds that would be generated from Philippine Rise’s resources should be deposited into a legacy fund held in trust for Filipinos. A portion of these proceeds, not exceeding 40 percent perhaps, may be paid to any developer as compensation for their services in bringing the seabed wealth to market. Such a novel regime also must be introduced in the special charter. Our leaders can take inspiration from the legacy fund created by Norway. In the 1990s Norway decided to channel into a trust fund, revenues from the vast petroleum reserves discovered in the North Sea. In 1996 the Scandinavian country levied significant taxes from the companies making use of their oil fields—in fact, up to 78 percent after profits and the cost of research and exploration. The fund is now professionally managed and invested in a balanced portfolio of stocks, bonds and real estate. After two and a half decades of prudent fiscal management and investment, Norway’s legacy fund has now become the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund account-

The end of the two-party system David Brooks

new york times


n the first half of the 1990s, I worked in Europe for The Wall Street Journal. I covered nothing but good news: the reunification of Germany, the liberation of Central Europe, the fall of the Soviet Union, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the Oslo peace process in the Middle East. Then, toward the end of my stay, there was one seemingly anomalous episode—the breakup of Yugoslavia. In retrospect, the civil war in the Balkans was the most important event of that period. It prefigured what has come since: the return of ethnic separatism, the rise of authoritarian populism, the retreat of liberal democracy, the elevation of a warrior ethos that reduces politics to friend/enemy, zero-sum conflicts. In those intervening years there’s been an utter transformation in the unconscious mind-set within which people hold their beliefs. Back in the 1990s, there was an unconscious abundance mind-set. Democratic capitalism provides the bounty. Prejudice gradually fades away. Growth and dynamism are our friends. The abundance mind-set is confident in the future, welcoming toward others. It sees win-win situations everywhere. Today, after the financial crisis, the shrinking of the middle class, the partisan warfare, a scarcity mindset is dominant: Resources are limited. The world is dangerous. Group conflict is inevitable. It’s us versus them. If they win, we’re ruined, therefore, let’s stick with our tribe. The ends justify the means.

The shift in mentalities seems like a shift in philosophy. But it’s really a shift from a philosophy to an antiphilosophy. The scarcity mind-set is an acid that destroys every belief system it touches. For example, in the years after Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party was defined by its abundance mind-set. The key Republican narratives were capitalist narratives about dynamic entrepreneurs and America’s heroic missions. The Wall Street Journal editorial page was the most important organ of conservative opinion. The party’s views on other issues, like immigration, were downstream from confidence in the abundant marketplace and the power of the American idea. Now, Donald J. Trump leads the Republican Party, the personification of the scarcity mind-set. Fox News, with its daily gospel of resentments, is the most important organ of conservative opinion. Restricting immigration has become the core Republican issue. Today’s Republicans are happy to trade away their fiscal principles if they can get their way on immigration, which is what they

It never hurts to talk


N the quarter-century that the world has been dealing with North Korea’s nuclear program, there have been precious few nuggets of good news. The United States response to an olive branch from dictator Kim Jong Un may be one of them. Kim’s gambit—sending his sister to the Winter Olympics in South Korea with an invitation for President Moon Jae-in to visit him in Pyongyang—had provoked some consternation. Was he hoping to divide Moon, who favors rapprochement, from the more hard-line views of US President Donald J. Trump? On his way home from the Games, US Vice President Mike Pence said what should have been equally obvious: The allies should not allow themselves to be divided. Talks, even between the United States and North

Korea, can and should proceed alongside the global pressure campaign against the North’s nuclear program. Two things are worth recalling. First, there’s no military solution to this crisis. Any conflict would result in a US victory—but also an inconceivable number of casualties in South Korea, and possibly Japan and US territories, such as Guam. That’s why talk of a “bloody nose” strategy —launching a limited strike to intimidate Kim—is foolish. Second, sanctions alone won’t solve the problem either. Though China has gone along with far harsher restrictions than ever before, Chinese leaders will always resist any measures—such as cutting off supplies of fuel—that might provoke a collapse in the North. Current sanctions seem to be having an impact

Eventually, those who cherish the democratic way of life will realize they have to make a much more radical break than any they ever imagined. When this realization dawns the realignment begins. Even with all the structural barriers, we could end up with a European-style multiparty system.

ing for up to 1 percent of all global stocks. In September 2017 as production from Norway’s oil fields began to dwindle, the legacy fund already amounted to $1 trillion—theoretically making every Norwegian man, woman and child a millionaire. Today, Norway draws from their legacy fund the money it requires for infrastructure, salary increases, university education, health and pension, among others. The country needs no extra tax levies for these purposes. Few in Norway have called for more of their legacy fund to be spent for present needs—but the general consensus underlying the stockpiling of the proceeds from their natural wealth is to take care of the needs of future generations. The Philippine Rise presents the present leadership with a unique and singular opportunity to help 100 million Filipinos and their children benefit from the country’s natural wealth. Such opportunity we can’t afford to squander, nor allow other countries to grab from us. Let’s seize the moment. Let us not fail our children again. E-mail:, Facebook and Twitter: @edangara

did in last week’s budget deal. The Trump era has produced a renaissance in conservative writing. National Review is a more interesting magazine now than at any time in its history. But the style of politics that Trump’s scarcity mind-set demands has been a disaster for conservative governance. He insists on perpetual warfare—against all comers. Stuck fighting his wars with him, Republican politicians have had to say goodbye to most of the pillars of conservatism: rule of law, fiscal discipline, global engagement, moral decency, the idea that people should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. In theory, the GOP restrictionist position on immigration is perfectly legitimate. But Trump has fatally entwined it with his constant race baiting. Republican politicians could have denounced the race baiting but remained silent. They allowed themselves to become fellow travelers to bigotry, and spoiled their own cause. The fact is that the scarcity mentality and the perpetual warrior style it demands are incompatible with any civilized political creed. At first the warriors seem to be fighting for the creed but eventually they transform it. Under the influence of this men-

tality, evangelicalism turns from a faith into a siege-mentality interest group that reveres a pagan immoralist. Under the influence of this mentality, liberalism goes from a creed that values individual rights and deliberation to one that values group separatism and intellectual intolerance. The scarcity mentality always ends up eating the host philosophy because it is operates on a more fundamental level of the psyche. All of this would be survivable if the mentality was going away in a few years. But it is not going away. The underlying conditions of scarcity are only going to get worse. Moreover, the warrior mentality builds on itself. As the right pulverizes the left, the left feels the need to pulverize back, and on and on. This is a generational challenge. Trump will be succeeded by some other warrior. Eventually, conservatives will realize: If we want to preserve conservatism, we can’t be in the same party as the clan warriors. Liberals will realize: If we want to preserve liberalism, we can’t be in the same party as the clan warriors. Eventually, those who cherish the democratic way of life will realize they have to make a much more radical break than any they ever imagined. When this realization dawns the realignment begins. Even with all the structural barriers, we could end up with a European-style multiparty system. The scarcity mentality is eventually incompatible with the philosophies that have come down through the centuries. Decent liberals and conservatives will eventually decide they need to break from it structurally. They will realize it’s time to start something new.

on the North Korean economy. But it’ll take time for pressure within the system to build—and, in the meantime, Kim’s scientists will continue their race to deploy a nuclearcapable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). With tensions so high, the chances of a miscalculation rise by the day. At the very least, all sides have reason to lower that risk. The Olympics have provided a temporary window of calm, with the North refraining from further nuclear or missile tests and the US and South Korea delaying scheduled military exercises. The immediate goal should be to extend that window. Moon should make clear that any talks—let alone a summit in Pyongyang—are contingent on a continued lull in testing. If nothing else, that will help

slow the North’s progress toward a functioning ICBM. If the US joins the talks, as well, it would be worth exploring a more formal arrangement. Unsurprisingly, Pence reiterated that any serious negotiations must lead to Kim giving up his nukes. While that should remain the official goal, it’s unrealistic at the moment. That means the US needs to focus for the foreseeable future on improving what it’s been doing for 25 years: containing and deterring North Korea by tightening economic sanctions, improving missile defenses, coordinating with allies in the region, as well as rivals such as China and Russia, and so on. That effort, too, can continue  alongside talks. Such an approach won’t always produce good news, but it should prevent the worst. Bloomberg View

2nd Front Page BusinessMirror

A12 Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Boracay business owners say they aren’t violators By Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo

@akosistellaBM Special to the BusinessMirror


GROUP of business owners on Boracay, Aklan, on Monday welcomed the six-month deadline given by President Duterte to government agencies to fix the issues facing the popular resort island. But the Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI) also said “most of the island’s business establishments are strictly in compliance with prevailing ordinaces and regulations.” They issued an official statement on Monday in reaction to President Duterte’s recent announcement that he would “close Boracay” if the government agencies he has tasked to take care of the island’s issues, fail to do so in six months. “We at the Boracay Foundation Inc.—the island’s biggest business organization in existence for more than 20 years, welcome the six-month ultimatum given by the President to the agencies and departments concerned to address the issues of Boracay,” it said. But, it added, “BFI is, however, deeply alarmed about the

Exports. . .

Continued from A1

Nonelectronics exports, Perlada said, increased by 7.8 percent last year and was valued at $30.17 billion. With this, he said outbound shipment of merchandise is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 2.4 percent. Latest figures by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported a 10.4-percent growth for exports of services from January to September in the previous year. Services exports was valued at $26.53 billion as against $24 billion for the same period in 2016. With the pace of the country’s exports performance, Perlada said the government is confident it can hit the lower end of its target of at least $122billion export receipts in 2022. “There is enough confidence on our part that we will be able to hit—cautiously optimistic at the very least—the lower end of the target for 2022 of having exports reach $122 billion.” “It is a range target of $122 billion to $131 billion. We are cautiously optimistic that we can at least get to the lower end of that target depending upon the kind of assistance packages that we provide,” the DTI official added. He promised the electronics industry will

President’s statement that he will ‘Close Boracay.’ We believe this statement stems from misinformation and unverified data presented to the President. While, indeed, there are many violators, most of the island’s business establishments are strictly in compliance with prevailing ordinances and regulations. BFI sees it unjust to close the island at the expense of compliant establishments.” The Department of Tourism, in a congressional hearing on Boracay’s problems, said it had submitted to Duterte a list of 200 establishments found to have various offenses. The DOT, however, has not made available the complete list to media. It did, however, point to a list of some 100 establishments on Boracay, which were not connected to continue to receive the government’s strong backing, given its consistent performance of being the country’s top export producer. Moreover, the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines Foundation Inc. is positive that electronics share in the country’s exports will continue to grow in the next years. Seipi President Danilo C. Lachica said they are expecting electronics exports for this year to grow by 6 percent. Sought why it is lower than the 11-percent growth of the industry last year, Lachica said it is better to “undercommit and overdeliver” so as to weather expectations. He added the sector’s outlook is still uncertain given the changing global demand. Hong Kong remains to be the country’s top importer of electronics with a share of 21.56 percent, higher than the 19.47 percent in 2016. On the other hand, the United States took over China as the second-largest recipient of Philippine-made electronic products at 12.66 percent and 12.61 percent, respectively. Rounding up the top importers of electronics are Singapore and Japan at 9.97 percent and 8.94 percent, respectively. Germany, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Thailand and South Korea are also among the highest importers of electronic products from the Philippines.

Lower chamber. . . Continued from A1

and components, such as education, health, culture, welfare, recreation, food and nutrition.   He added the agency shall be the sole and main planning and policy-making, regulatory, program-coordination and performance-monitoring entity for all housing, human-settlement and urban-development concerns, primarily focusing on the access to and the affordability of basic human needs.  The lawmaker also said the new housing superbody shall develop and adopt a national strategy to immediately address the provision of adequate and affordable housing to all Filipinos and shall ensure alignment of all the policies, programs and projects of all its attached agencies to facilitate the achievement of this objective. Under HB 6775, the agency will “focus on building communities and habitats in both

200 The number of Boracay establishments that the DOT wants investigated for various offenses

the island’s main sewer line operated by the Boracay Island Water Co. and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority but were issued discharge permits by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources . BIWC and DOT officials have said the DENR will have check if these establishments have their own sewage-treatment plant and if their discharged water are of the highest quality that would not pollute the waters of Boracay. Tieza, formerly the Philippine Tourism Authority, is the infrastructure arm of the DOT. The 500-strong BFI said it had been constantly decrying the lack of proper attention by the national government to Boracay, which has been suffering from overpopulation, overbuilding and environmental stress. The group noted that the solu-

tion to Boracay’s issues “is quite simple: to strictly implement existing environmental laws and local ordinances, and close all erring establishments immediately. To close the island would be an easy way out and too much to bear for the residents who depend on the island’s tourism for their livelihood.” In 2017 the island famous around the world for its long stretch of white-sand beach attracted 2 million tourists, half of whom were foreigners, while the rest were local tourists. This year the DOT is projecting arrivals on Boracay to reach 2.2 million. BFI underscored that the island generates about P56 million in visitor receipts for the economy, providing many Filipinos with livelihood and jobs. On February 5, Duterte gave the DENR and Department of the Interior and Local Government, six months to address the problems of Boracay by going after those who violated environmental and easements laws, as well as running after local officials who issued permits to establishments which are known to them to have violated laws. (See, “Duterte rejects new EO on Boracay, but gives task force 6 months to end mess.”) At the Manila Times Business Forum on February 9, Duterte described Boracay as a “cesspool,”

pointing out the island’s sewage problem. He also warned that, sometime soon, no foreigners will want to visit Boracay because of the polluted water, prompting him to warn that “I will close Boracay.” For its part, BFI called on its members “to strictly comply and follow the necessary policies to be implemented. Let us work on fixing Boracay, while maintaining open lines of communication, transparency and consultation with the local community on the ground.” It underscored that its members could help “restore Boracay—but its restoration cannot happen overnight and on its own. We need everyone to set aside their personal interests and together make this happen for the future generations. The BFI remains steadfast in its commitment to preserve and restore Boracay Island.” The group also stressed that, in the 20 years of its existence, they have been “focused on initiatives, such as coastal-resource management, to preserve and restore the island. With the rapid growth of tourism, the island’s problems have been mounting.” The BFI said it is committed to partner with government agencies to address the issues facing the island, and help them implement “real solutions” to these problems.

coming away lucky Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua (left) and other Chinese Foreign Ministry officials walk back to their meeting with their Philippine counterparts on the second Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on (BCM) the South China Sea on Tuesday, in Taguig City. Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque Jr. announced on Monday that “the contentious issues concerning the South China Sea are to be discussed between the two countries through the BCM.” The two sides are to issue a joint statement at the conclusion of their one-day meeting. AP/Bullit Marquez

rural and urban areas.” The new housing department will be created through the consolidation of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). The department shall act as the primary national government entity responsible for the management of housing, human settlement and urban development.  Under the measure, the functions of the HLURB shall be transferred to the proposed Human Settlements Adjudication Commission. The National Housing Authority, Home Guaranty Corp., National Home Mortgage Finance Corp., Home Development Mutual Fund,  Social Housing Finance Corp. and Human Settlements Adjudication Commission will be attached to the housing department for policy and program coordination, monitoring and evaluation. All these agencies shall continue to function according to existing laws and their respective charters.   Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz

NFAC. . .

Continued from A1

Economic managers, including the heads of the Neda, Department of Finance and Central Bank, who are part of the NFAC, earlier thumbed down the hike in support price, as it would open the floodgate for inflation on all commodities, Evasco said in a news briefing on Monday. He also announced during the briefing that the NFAC is pushing through with the NFA’s purchase of 250,000 metric tons of imported rice via the “government-to-private” scheme. The volume is set to arrive in the country by June, after the rice-harvest reason. Evasco said the government ensured that the timing of the arrival of imports would not coincide with the harvest season, as

this could cause farm-gate prices to fall drastically. The NFA said it was unable to meet its paddy-procurement target last year as traders bought rice from local farmers at P18 to P20 per kg, higher than its buying price of P17 per kg. The food agency earlier asked the NFAC to increase the NFA’s support price to P22 per kg.

Supply probe

PARTY-LIST Rep. Jose Panganiban Jr. of Anac-IP Partylist, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food, said the panel will start next week its investigation on the alleged shortfall in the buffer stock of the NFA. Panganiban told reporters in a news briefing that there is a need to immediately address the situation to stabilize the price of commercial rice. The lawmaker is one of the authors

‘Displaced OFWs could work for govt’ By Bernadette D. Nicolas



isplaced Filipino domestic helpers from Kuwait could consider taking on jobs that will become available once government projects are rolled out under its priority infrastructure program, dubbed as “Build, Build, Build.” “W hat the President really wants is for our fellow countrymen to not go to far away countries just to work. The only way for us to attain this is for them to be given jobs here in the Philippines,” Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque Jr. said in news briefing on Tuesday. “Under the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, we are hoping that we could have more jobs. Work is [available] is not only for men but also for women,” Roque added. Around 10,000 Filipino household domestic helpers are set to be repatriated following the government’s order of a total deployment ban to Kuwait. The BusinessMirror earlier reported that some 25,000 household service workers were also left stranded in the country because of the ban. Sen. Cynthia A. Villar said in a radio interview that female domestic helpers may become welders in the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program. Villar said women could also be employed in the country’s tourism industry after getting proper training. Roque said those who do not want to leave Kuwait, can opt to stay. “First of all, we are not forcing them [to leave Kuwait].” He added those who opt for repatriation from Kuwait will be given financial and alternative livelihood assistance. Around 116 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Kuwait arrived on Tuesday and were given P15,000 in cash and grocery bags. Roque also said the government has ordered all missions to find alternative jobs for those who will leave Kuwait, noting that they are looking at countries that have already signed the International Labor Organization convention, which recognizes and protects the rights of migrant workers. “We are looking at countries like Oman and Bahrain, where there is no complaint of abuse of our countrymen,” he said. As for the trip of Duterte to Kuwait, Roque added it is still under study, as the government wants to find out how the Middle Eastern country would act on the cases of abused OFWs. “ Under i nter nat iona l l aw, Kuwait has the obligation to provide justice for our countrymen,” he said. of the resolution calling for the investigation into the country’s rice inventory and the buffer stock of the NFA. “In recent report, the NFA admitted that there were only 65,200 metric tons of NFA rice, which would only last for two days due to relief operations for victims of unrest and typhoon last year,” the lawmaker said. Panganiban also joined other lawmakers in urging the NFAC to raise the government’s palay-buying price to P20 per kg, from the current P17 per kg. Earlier, Rep. Roger G. Mercado of the Lone District of Southern Leyte also asked the NFA to raise its buying price for palay to as much as P25 per kg. Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis has also filed a resolution calling for the increase in procurement of local palay, instead of importing rice from other countries.

Businessmirror february 14, 2018  
Businessmirror february 14, 2018