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@akosistellaBM Special to the BusinessMirror

T will be a one-strike policy at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), when it deals with hotels and other establishments located along Manila Bay found violating environmental rules. This developed as DENR Undersecretary for Attached Agencies Sherwin Rigor said even residential condominiums are in the agency’s target sight for inspections. He told the BusinessMirror these condos will “definitely” be closed down, “no exemption,” if found polluting Manila Bay. The agency is




slated to inspect 500 condos along the bay area. “Condos need to [install] their septic vault or tank fast or use biotech. While being constructed, technology is available for that. They should not wait for us to discover they don’t have any of those equipment,” he stressed. “We believe condo owners will understand because if they cannot pressure the owner, then their property will decrease in value,” the DENR official said, adding, “it will also hit their brand because the buyers were shortchanged.” Among the major condominium developers in the bay area are SM Development Corp., Robinsons Continued on A2


A broader look at today’s business n

Friday, January 11, 2019 Vol. 14 No. 93

MB highlights reveal BSP growth concerns


By Bianca Cuaresma


HE country’s economic growth—which was found to be easing in recent quarters —played a major role in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s (BSP) latest decision to halt its tightening cycle. Highlights of the December 13 monetary-policy meeting of the Central Bank—made public on Thursday— showed that the tamer inflation was not the only reason behind the Monetary Board’s (MB)

decision to keep rates unchanged for the first time in seven months. “The Philippine business cycle —measured as the trend cycle of growth rate for industry and ser vices—eased for the third

consecutive quarter in the third quarter of 2018, but remained above t he long-ter m g row t h trend,” read the meeting highlights, as discussed by the Monetary Board members last month.

Forward-looking domestic demand indicators point to less robust economic sentiment, with most recent surveys show business and consumer sentiment turning less sanguine in the fourth quarter.” —Monetary Board

“Forward-looking domestic demand indicators point to less robust economic sentiment, with most recent surveys show business and consumer sentiment turning less sanguine in the fourth quarter,” it added. See “BSP,” A2

Weak global trade to hurt PHL exports in 2019–Neda

See “Global trade,” A8

Letter to the Supreme Court Dr. Jesus Lim Arranza

Make Sense


WROTE a letter to the Supreme Court (SC) on January 10, 2019, to air my serious concerns over a case, titled SPS. Felix A. Chua And Carmen L. Chua, Et Al. v. United Coconut Planters Bank, Et Al., GR 215999, Third Division, Supreme Court. I am a stockholder of the UCPB and a former member of the UCBP board of directors (and its Legal Oversight Committee), which is now owned by the government. Also, I was once the president of the United Coconut Associations of the Philippines Inc., the organization of practically all the stakeholders in the coconut industry. Continued on A6

Unfazed, exporters see 6% rebound from sluggish ’18 growth


SHOW-CAUSE ORDERS A gasoline boy fills up the tank of a customer at a station along Osmeña Highway in Manila in this file photo. The energy department said 444 stations have so far started implementing higher fuel prices brought about by the second-round excise tax, and it was issuing them show-cause orders to explain their implementation of the second tranche, as it warned petroleum dealers not to apply the new excise rates on old inventory. Story in Companies, B2. BUSINESSMIRROR


P25.00 nationwide | 5 sections 24 pages | 7 DAYS A WEEK

By Elijah Felice E. Rosales


HE country’s exporters should brace for a difficult 2019 as the lackluster performance of global trade is expected to continue this year, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia acknowledged the need to improve the country’s midterm export strategies and sustain merchandise trade growth this year. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday that the country’s total merchandise trade grew by 4.1 percent, reaching $15 billion in November 2018. This is the slowest pace since the 2.7 percent recorded in March 2018. “Moderation in global growth appears inevitable in 2019. Given a less encouraging global economic outlook, the country needs to ramp up the implementation of strategies outlined in the Philippine Export Development Plan 2018-2022,” Pernia said in a statement. He added that supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is necessary to increase their participation in global value chains. “Simplifying loan processes, provision of financial literacy trainings, and facilitation of linkages between MSMEs and large corporations are some ways to spur the internationalization of MSMEs,” Pernia said.



XPORTERS are expecting to grow revenue to as high as 6 percent this year, as they look to rebound from a sluggish performance last year. Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. told the BusinessMirror exporters are looking to rebound this year and expand revenue by 6 percent to as high as 9 percent. He argued this is highly plausible, given that exporters have already factored in the additional costs brought about by new taxes, inflation and the international trade conflict. “We are quite certain that merchandise exports will be positive this 2019,” Ortiz-Luis said. “It will be at least 6 percent of growth to maybe a high target of 9 percent. We see no reason it will not happen, considering we have already factored the

“We see no reason it will not happen, considering we have already factored the problems we have with the major markets, the trade war, domestic issues and the bad [performance] of our agriculture sector.”— Ortiz-Luis

problems we have with the major markets, the trade war, domestic issues and the bad [performance] of our agriculture sector,” he explained further. Full-year export figures have yet to be released, but latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed exports from January to November 2018 slowed 0.9 percent to $62.76 billion, from $63.32 billion during the same period in 2017. Electronic products remain to be the sector’s strongest link. See “Exporters,” A8

PIDS study: Mediocre farm performance to continue after tariffication By Cai U. Ordinario



HE agriculture sector will continue to have difficulties contributing to the expansion of the country’s economy even after the rice import caps have been converted into tariffs, according to a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).


In a study, titled “Scenarios for the Philippine Agri-Food System with and without Tariffication: Application of a CGE model with Endogenous Area Allocation,” PIDS Senior Research Fellow Roehlano M. Briones used a new Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model for his estimates. “The baseline scenario finds that growth patterns prevailing

since the 2010s can be sustained within the SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] period assuming productivity trends in the industry and service sectors continue,” the study read. “Unfortunately, the scenario also implies that the mediocre growth performance of agriculture will likewise be sustained into the foreseeable future,” it added.

Sans the conversion of the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice, Briones said GDP growth would average 6.12 percent. However, with tariffication, average GDP will improve by 0.05 percentage point and reach 6.17 percent between 2016 and 2030. “Tariffication is disadvantageous to the palay sector across various measures, namely, area

harvested, yield and production. Even agriculture as a whole is adversely affected, experiencing a further growth slowdown,” Briones said. “Overall growth of GDP, as well as household per capita expenditure, rises with greater openness to rice imports. Consistent with expectation, imports are larger with tariffication, leading to more

n JAPAN 0.4850 n UK 67.0622 n HK 6.6825 n CHINA 7.6826 n SINGAPORE 38.7253 n AUSTRALIA 37.6112 n EU 60.5257 n SAUDI ARABIA 13.9628

See “PIDS,” A2

Source: BSP (10 January 2019 )



A2 Friday, January 11, 2019

Palace blames detractors for lower democracy rank


By Joel R. San Juan @jrsanjuan1573 & Bernadette D. Nicolas @BNicolasBM

ALACAÑANG on Thursday denied that the government is unleashing legal attacks against the opposition after the Philippines’s ranking again declined in the 2018 edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index. The Department of Justice also said the legal actions taken by the government against key personalities in the opposition were legitimate and were intended to “protect the state and the people.” “Definitely, there is no basis [for the statement that the government launched legal attacks against the opposition]. Most of them were just misplaced accusation,” Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo said in a Palace briefing on Thursday. Panelo also said the country’s ranking would not have slipped this year if the ones behind the Democracy Index were not listening to detractors. “They are the ones acknowledging that there is an increase [in Asia’s score]. The one that they are referring to as dampener were the criticisms from the opposition because they are listening to that. If they do not listen to those wrong [accusations], it will not affect our rating,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino. “Because according to them, from the point of view of detrac-

PIDS. . .

Continued from A1

affordable consumer price of rice, and therefore greater rice demand,” he added. Briones used the new CGE model to estimate GDP growth, wages, crop area and crop yield, output and exports of agri-food sectors. The baseline scenario was estimated without rice tariffication and the other estimate is with rice tariffication. Based on his estimates under the baseline scenario, growth will be fueled by the industry sector, which may expand anywhere between 6.5 and 7.5 percent annually, or an average of 7.07 percent in the 2016 to 2030 period. Services is expected to take a backseat and grow at an average of 6.16 percent between 2016 and 2030. The agriculture sector, Briones said, is the “laggard basic sector,” as it would expand by only 2-3 percent annually, or an average of 2.44 percent during the period. In the tariffication scenario, the industry sector will contract by 0.2 percentage point, placing average growth to 7.05 percent in the 2016 to 2030 period. Agriculture sector growth is also expected to take a hit as it could see a contraction of 1.24 percentage points. This will bring down agriculture growth to an average of 1.2 percent during the period. However, the services sector could grow slightly faster by 0.23 percentage point, with expansion averaging around 6.29 percent between 2016 and 2030. “The reason is likely due to higher purchasing power of households as rice gets cheaper due to lower import barriers,” Briones said.

Baseline scenario

IN the baseline scenario, wages in the industry and services sectors would increase by 2.93 percent by 2029, from 1.94 percent in 2016.

tors, critics, there are humanrights violations, but there is none. Our rating would not have been affected if not for those accusations. So they should not listen to those criticisms which do not have basis,” he added. It can be recalled that, last year, President Duterte voided the amnesty given to his vocal critic, Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV in 2011 in connection with his role in the Oakwood mutiny and the Manila Peninsula incident, which happened in 2003 and 2007, respectively. T hrough his Proc lamat ion No. 572, Duter te pushed for Trillanes’s arrest and the revival of the rebellion and coup d’etat charges filed against the senator before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. A lso last year, the government’s chief legal counsel Solicitor General Jose Calida successfully ousted then-Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno by filing a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court questioning the validity of her appointment as chief magistrate. Briones noted that the industryservice wage is 1.94 times higher than agricultural wage. Agriculture wages would rise by 1.52 percent by 2029, from 1 percent in 2016. The estimates made by Briones showed that post-tarrification, wages in the industry and services sectors will grow faster than the baseline scenario by 1.8 percent. However, he said the reverse trend occurs for agriculture wage under tariffication, as this could decline by 16.5 percent compared with the baseline. “Given only slight improvement in output compared to a large deterioration in agricultural wage, it is not clear that household welfare has improved,” Briones said. Rice tariffication, according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, will enable consumers to source affordable rice from various sources and not just from the National Food Authority (NFA). T he r ice t a r if f ic at ion bi l l amends the two-decade-old Republic Act 8178, otherwise known as the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, and replaces the quantitative restriction on rice imports with tariff. The bill, which was ratified by both chambers of Congress on November 28, is set to be transmitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature. Under the new rice importation regime, legitimate rice traders can now import rice sans NFA permits, provided they secure a sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry and pay the appropriate tariff to the Bureau of Customs. The proposed law also provides for the establishment of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund consisting of tariff revenues. A portion of the rice tariff revenues in excess of P10 billion will be used to provide direct financial assistance to rice farmers.

Calida alleged that she failed to fully disclose the required statements of assets, liabilities and net worth when she applied for position in 2012. His petition was granted by the majority members of the 15-man High Tribunal, which led to Sereno’s ouster. The government also filed a suit before the court to declare the communist New People’s Army as a terrorist group. Also last year, the government moved for the cancellation of the business registration of online news site Rappler, which has been critical of the Duterte administration, over foreign ownership issues. “I can’t agree that these government actions are undemocratic in any way, and this so-called intelligence report by [the EIU] should not bother us at all,” Guevarra said in a statement. Justice Undersecretary and Spokesman Mark L. Perete also stressed that the government has not resorted to legal actions as a form of retaliation in order to get back at the opposition. “Legal action has been, and will be, taken as called for by the circumstances in each case and as dictated by the evidence at hand, regardless of the political affiliation of the party concerned,” Perete said.

‘Dampeners of democracy’

IN its Democracy Index 2018 released on Wednesday, the Philippines’s ranking continued to fall, dropping to 53rd from 51st in the 2017 edition. In 2016, the Philippines was ranked 50th among 167 countries in terms of the quality of democracy. The EIU has continued to classify the Philippines as having a

BSP. . .

Continued from A1

The latest BSP survey on business sentiment showed a drop in confidence from local firms for the fourth quarter of the year. The decline in optimism was attributed to high inflation, weaker peso, increased interest rates, lower volume of sales and lack of raw materials supply. Consumer confidence was also increasingly pessimistic about the country’s economic prospects, as the latest BSP survey on consumer expectations yielded a confidence index score that is the lowest in four years.  Filipino consumers also blamed inflation, as well as low salaries, high unemployment and bigger household expenses, for their bleaker outlook. 

Tamer global growth

THE BSP Monetary Board also found world growth to be tamed in the next few months. “Indicators of global economic activity continue to signal a mild expansion, as output growth in the service sector has accelerated but has eased slightly in the manufacturing sector. Stronger new work inflows boost economic activity in India, while stronger new export orders supported manufacturing activity in the US. Meanwhile, economic activity in the euro area declines due to weaker growth in

SC. . .

Continued from A8

The SC pointed out that even the petitioners conceded, based on their petition, that press freedom “is not absolute and unfettered at all times.” “The list of cases in our jurisprudence could go on, but the bottom line is that; there is prior restraint when the government totally prohibits and/or,in some way, restricts the expression of one’s view or the manner of expressing oneself. There is none in this case,” the SC said. “The challenged government actions in the instant petition do not, in any way, come near the govern-

“flawed democracy” along with other 54 countries. In its report, the EIU noted an increase in Asia’s score in the 2018 democracy index but considered the legal attacks on the opposition in the Philippines as among the “dampeners” of democracy. Aside from legal attacks in the country’s opposition, the EIU said other dampeners to democratic gains in Asia include the controversy over electoral irregularities in Pakistan and the sentencing of two Reuters journalists to seven years in prison in Myanmar for illegal possession of documents. “All this served as a reminder that there is still a long way to go for democratic values to be entrenched in Asia,” the report said. The EIU said the improvement in the region’s score in 2018 was driven by rising political participation across the region. In particular, the EIU cited the successful major elections last year in Malaysia and Afghanistan, which ranked 52nd and 143rd, respectively, in the democracy index. The latest report also indicated that only 20, or 12 percent, out of 167 countries enjoy full democracies, while only 4.5 percent of the world’s population lives in a “full democracy.” Norway is ranked No. 1 in the democracy index for 2018, while North Korean is at the last spot. The EIU is the world’s leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis. The EIU Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. new business,” the meeting highlights read. “While global economic activity remains strong, signs of uneven growth amid rising trade tensions are developing. Over the medium term, continued policy uncertainty, spillovers from tighter global financial conditions and geopolitical risks remain the key downside risks to global growth,” it added.  ING Bank Manila analyst Nicholas Mapa earlier said the combination of lower inflation and tamer growth rates increases the likelihood that the BSP’s decision to keep the country’s interest rates unchanged in December is a full stop—and not a temporary pause—to its overall tightening cycle.  “Meanwhile, should inflation edge closer to within target, growth decelerate until the first half of 2019 and the Fed indeed take on a more dovish stance next year, the BSP may quickly slash its main policy rate as early as the second quarter,” Mapa projected.  Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that slower spending by households significantly affected the country’s economic performance in the July-to-September period.  The country’s GDP only posted 6.1 percent growth in the third quarter of the year, the slowest in two years. Also just recently, the World Bank cut its 2018 and 2019 Philippine growth forecast on the back of higher inflation and slower private consumption.  ment actions struck down as unconstitutional for being tantamount to a prior restraint or censorship,” it added. The advisory issued by the authorities, according to the SC, clearly shows that no media network or personnel is prohibited nor restricted from reporting or writing newsworthy events. “Neither was there any indication of the claimed chilling effect on the exercise by the media of the right to free speech and press.… There was no allegation, much less proof, that the media opted to step back from or refused to cover similar events due to the fear of incurring criminal liability pursuant to the challenged advisory,” it added.

As 66% worry over Rody’s health, Palace not releasing records


ESPITE more Filipinos being worried about the President’s health, Malacañang said on Thursday this will still not prod them to release the President’s medical records. This, after Social Weather Stations survey results released on Wednesday showed 66 percent of Filipinos worrying about the President’s health and 49 percent believing that he has health problems. Compared to September 2018, those worried about President’s health rose by 11 points from 55 percent.  Asked if the survey will persuade Malacañang to release his medical records, Presidential Spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said: “No, it will not because the Constitution requires serious illness. The President knows he is not in serious illness so he is not obligated to release anything about his condition.” According to the 1987 Constitution, the public shall be informed about the state of the President’s health in case of serious illness. The Cabinet members in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness. The Palace also assured the public that there is nothing to worry about the leader’s health.  “A grateful President assures the nation that there is no cause for worry, as he is in a fine state of health, and his punishing schedule of activities in attending and responding to the needs of the citizenry is proof of his good physical condition. Even as he performs his constitutional duties, he shall endeavor to always watch over his health,” he said.  None t he les s, M a l ac a ñ a n g viewed the results positively as this only meant that the President is loved by many Filipinos. Panelo said this is also a “re-

sounding rejection” of the opposition, the critics, and the det ractors who cont inuously assault the President with ruthless and baseless accusations or condemnations. “They worry that this President who is offering his freedom and his life so he could save the succeeding generation from being addicted to illegal drugs and from the clutches of certain death, as well as so he could free their families from being dysfunctional, would not last in his presidency. They fear that such an unwelcome event will deprive them of the genuine change they have seen in his unorthodox, tough yet compassionate and caring governance,” he said in a separate statement. The proportion of those worried about the President’s health was the highest in Mindanao at 73 percent, followed by Metro Manila at 66 percent, the Visayas at 66 percent and Balance Luzon at 63 percent.  Last December 30, the President skipped the 122nd anniversary of the martyrdom  of  national hero Jose Rizal in Davao as he was “advised to rest” by his doctor.  In November, the President was a no-show in five events attended by world leaders during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Singapore.  Malacañang said the President skipped the events because he was taking power naps. The Palace has since stood firm that the President  is in a good health condition even though Duterte admitted previously that he went to a hospital to undergo further medical tests. Prior to the hospital visit, the President also said he underwent endoscopy and colonoscopy.  Former Presidential Spokesman Harry L. Roque Jr. previously said there was a “growth” found during the endoscopy performed on the President.  Bernadette D. Nicolas


Residences, Federal Land and DMCI Homes, to name a few. Meanwhile, Rigor said the agency will start inspecting some 2,000 hotels along the bay area and Roxas Boulevard starting January 27. “After we inspect them, we will give them the chance to refute our findings. If they really are not at fault, then they will be exempted [from penalties], and announced as examples that other hotels should emulate.” However, “if found to be discharging wastewater w ithout proper treatment, then we will be filing them penalties from the PAB [Pollution Adjudication Board],” he emphasized. “So based on the date of operation or the date we found the discharge, penalties can range from P1,000 to almost P200,000 per day depending on the size of the business. So we will close them down.” As what happened in Boracay, once closed down, these hotels will have to reapply for permits again with the DENR and Department of the Interior and the Local Government, and accreditation with the Department of Tourism (DOT). President Duterte recently warned hotels in the bay area to install wastewater-treatment facilities, “or else I will close you.” He also said he didn’t care if the Philippines loses its tourists, accusing the hotels of dumping their guests’ excrement straight into the Bay.

No STP, no permit

TOURISM stakeholders point out,

however, that hotels will not be given permits to operate by local government units if they don’t build sewerage-treatment plants on-site. “It is a requirement of city hall, so we should have these [STPs] before they release our permits,” said one hotelier, who requested anonymity. For its part, the DOT expressed support for the initiative to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay. In a news statement, the agency headed by Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat, said: “We recognize that such efforts are for the best interest of the tourism industry and are in line with the thrust of the DOT to create a culture of sustainable tourism. “Together with the interagency task force that has transformed Boracay into a model of sustainability, consultations and dialogues will be pursued, to ensure accredited tourism establishments in all parts of the country will conform with the highest standard of environmental conservation.” Under the National Tourism Development Plan of 2016-2022, the DOT aims to attract some 8.2 million foreign visitor arrivals to the Philippines and generate P564 billion in inbound tourism revenue this year. Rigor said the DENR will be meeting with tourism accommodations, malls and other establishments and stakeholders in the bay area next week to inform them of the agency’s rehabilitation plan and hear out their concerns. | Editor: Angel R. Calso

The World

North Korea’s Kim, China’s Xi back 2nd summit with Trump


IM JONG UN and Chinese President Xi Jinping backed a second summit between the North Korean leader and President Donald J. Trump, state media reported, in the latest sign that momentum was gaining toward a meeting. Kim, who this week met Xi in his fourth trip to China, said he would work toward achieving results in talks with Trump, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said on Thursday. Xi said he supported North Korea’s denuclearization efforts and added that there was an international consensus to continue dialogue. Xi informed Kim of his intention to make his first visit to North Korea, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a separate report. They also talked about the difficulties and concerns about the outlook on the denuclearization process and improving relations with US, the North Korean report said. Kim, who held an unprecedented summit with Trump in Singapore in June, also said he would maintain his stance on denuclearization, Xinhua said.

Seeking talks

KIM laid out a key condition in his New Year’s Day address, calling for the US to ease sanctions squeezing his state’s anemic economy, something that China supports. North Korea in December also demanded the US remove nuclear weapons from the region.

Trump is seeking a second summit with Kim to reenergize talks that have made little headway since Kim agreed to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” at their first meeting. The US president recently said a date would be announced “in the not-too-distant future.” Kim could be looking to leverage his relationship with Xi, who Trump has accused of relaxing pressure on North Korea, to push the US to make concessions in nuclear talks. The North Korean leader said in his New Year’s address that he might take a “new path” in negotiations if Trump didn’t ease trade, travel and investment restrictions. “The visit of Chairman Kim to China is, I think, quite a good sign and I look forward to the second summit,” South Korea’s envoy to the US, Cho Yoon-je, said earlier on Wednesday in Washington. The Xinhua report described Kim’s meeting with Xi, which was held on what is believed to be the North Korean leader’s 35th birthday, as being held with a “cordial and friendly atmosphere.” The two men, who had gone five years without meeting each other before last year, customarily referred to each other as “comrade” and committed to future exchanges. “I am willing to work with Comrade Chairman to make sound efforts to guide the future development of China-DPRK relationship,” Xi said, referring to North Korea’s formal name. Bloomberg News


Friday, January 11, 2019


US, China leave next steps for trade negotiations unclear B

EIJING—The United States says talks in Beijing on ending a bruising trade war focused on Chinese promises to buy more American goods. But it gave no indication of progress on resolving disputes over Beijing’s technology ambitions and other thorny issues. China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday the two sides would “maintain close contact.” But neither side gave any indication of the next step during their 90-day cease-fire in a tariff fight that threatens to chill global economic growth. That uncertainty left Asian stock markets mixed on Thursday. Share prices had risen on Wednesday after President Donald J. Trump fueled optimism about possible progress by saying on Twitter talks were “going well!” The US Trade Representative, which leads the American side of the talks, said negotiators focused on China’s pledge to buy a “substantial amount” of agricultural, energ y, manufactured goods and other products and services. However, the USTR statement

emphasized American insistence on “structural changes” in Chinese technology policy, market access, protection of foreign patents and copyrights and cyber theft of trade secrets. It gave no sign of progress in those areas. Trump hiked tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Washington also wants changes in an array of areas including the ruling Communist Party’s initiatives for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics, artificial intelligence and other industries. American leaders worry those plans might erode US industrial leadership, but Chinese leaders see them as a path to prosperity and global influence and are reluctant to abandon them. The two sides might be moving toward a “narrow agreement,” but “US trade hawks” want to “limit the scope of that agreement and keep the pressure up on Beijing,” said Eurasia Group analysts of Michael Hirson, Jeffrey Wright and Paul Triolo in a report. “The risk of talks breaking down re-

mains significant,” they wrote. On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders expressed optimism to Fox Business Network. She said the timing was unclear but the two sides “are moving toward a more balanced and reciprocal trade agreement with China.” The US statement said negotiations dealt with the need for “ongoing verification and effective enforcement.” That reflects American frustration that the Chinese have failed to live up to past commitments. Beijing has tried to defuse pressure from Washington and other trading partners over industrial policy promising to buy more imports and open its industries wider to foreign competitors. Trump has complained repeatedly about the US trade deficit with China, which last year likely exceeded the 2017 gap of $336 billion. US stocks surged on Wednesday on optimism higher-level US and Chinese officials might meet. That enthusiasm was wearing thin on Thursday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.5 percent, while Tokyo’s

Nikkei 225 dropped 1.4 percent. Economists say the 90-day window is too short to resolve all the conflicts between the biggest and second-biggest global economies. “ We can confidently say that enough progress was made that the discussions will continue at a higher level,” said Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council. “That is very positive.” Chinese exports to the US have held up despite tariff increases, partly due to exporters rushing to fill orders before more increases hit. Forecasters expect American orders to slump this year. China has imposed penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing customs clearance for US companies and suspending issuing licenses in finance and other businesses. US companies also want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies. Those include subsidies and other favors for high-tech and state-owned industry, rules on technology licensing and preferential treatment of domestic suppliers in government procurement. AP



A4 Friday, January 11, 2019

Court convicts RCBC branch manager of money laundering By Joel R. San Juan @jrsanjuan1573


HE Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Makati City on Thursday declared that former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Branch Manager Maia Santos-Deguito is guilty of seven counts of money laundering in connection with her involvement in the laundering of $81 million stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh Bank 2016.   In its 25-page decision, Makati RTC Branch 149  Presiding Judge Cesar Untalan imposed a penalty of up to seven years of imprisonment for each count against Deguito.   “Accused Deguito has indeed vio-

lated the [Amla] law with complete knowledge and awareness of the consequences of the transactions she had executed and transacted. She implemented, executed and transacted all these deposits and withdrawals involving huge and big amounts in United States dollars within a time frame of less than two hours,” the trial court pointed out.   “That period of time was good enough and sufficient for accused Deguito to inquire the legality of these $81.0-million remittance; but she did not for reason only known to her. Moreover, there were enough good reasons for accused Deguito not to transact and implement these remittances…,” it added.

Aside from the prison term, Deguito was ordered to pay a fine corresponding to not more than 200 percent of the value of the laundered money which would amount to almost $110 million.   The court said Deguito’s claim that she has nothing to do with the transactions was “a complete lie.”   In convicting Deguito, the court gave weight to the testimony of AntiMoney Laundering Council secretariat officer Rafael Echaluse who investigated the case.   Echaluse claimed that Deguito, who was then the RCBC-Jupiter branch manager, facilitated the opening of several fictitious accounts where the stolen money from Bangladesh were deposited.   It was a lso Deg uito who fac i l it ated t he withdrawals of the money from the said accounts to the  dollar accounts of businessman William Go. Go has denied opening a dollar account at RCBC and accused Deguito of opening the accounts without his knowledge.   Echaluse declared that all the Jupiter accounts were opened and used as tools to receive and transfer the proceeds of the unauthorized remittances of more or less $81 million from Bangladesh Bank.

“She said there was an instruction of her higher officers of the bank…what she [have done] to shield herself from such violation, by simply, making inquiry of the source of these remittances of such huge and big amounts in United States dollars! Accused did nothing to protect herself; but rather she proceeded in implementing these covered transactions with gusto, hence she must be made available for violation of the Amla law,” the court ruled.   The trial court pointed out that with her 16 years of experience in the banking industry, Deguito has full knowledge of the provisions of the Amla law, thus, she must be responsible for her acts and implemented transactions.   “Furthermore, as an experienced banker…Deguito with 16 good years   in the banking industry, must know and realized that the amounts by themselves are sufficient and good reason for accused Deguito to pause and stop and think there is something wrong with these remittances,” it added.   The court also found it “unbelievable” Deguito’s claim that she has no authority to hold the said deposits coming from and sourced from foreign remittances considering that the benchmark for violation of the Amla law is only P500,000.   “She has prior knowledge of these remittances, hence, accused Deguito was able to prepare, beforehand, for these remittances in crystal clear violation of the Amla law. Accused Deguito has taken advantage of her position in the bank and her banking knowledge and experience, hence accused Deguito was able to execute and implement these illegal transactions with ease,” the court observed.

DA chief Piñol assures assistance to N. Luzon vegetable growers


HE chief of the Department of Agriculture (DA) has vowed assistance to Northern Luzon farmers who incurred losses due to an oversupply of vegetables late December that drove retail prices below profitable levels. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the DA would compensate all Cordillera farmers who were forced to dump their truckloads of produce due to low buying prices. “I made this decision [last Wednesday] following confirmation by Cordillera agriculture officials that the reason behind the failure of the farmers to sell their produce was Tropical Depression Usman, which caused floods in the Bicol region,” Piñol said in a Facebook post recently. Piñol said DA regional directors reported to him that traders refused to purchase the farmers’ produce as the floods in the Bicol region prevented them from shipping the crops to the Visayas. Usman hit the Bicol region in end December, which caused the closure of the national highways, hence, prevented the transport of the vegetables, he added. “Most of the farmers who lost their vegetables are beneficiaries of the Production Loan Easy Access credit program of the DA, which gives them up to P50,000 at an interest of 6 percent every year,” he said. “The DA, through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council, has allocated P100 million for the Cordillera vegetable farmers,” he added. Piñol said that the DA and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. would start validating farmers who suffered losses and estimate their production losses for possible indemnities. The process may take two weeks before the disbursement of insurance payments, he added. Piñol said viral articles circulating in Facebook blaming the DA for the failure of the farmers to sell their vegetables caught his attention. He also cited an open letter by a farmer’s daughter, who accused him of working against the interest of the farmers. “I would like to assure our farmers that the administration of President Rody Duterte listens to the voices of our farmers and fishermen,” Piñol said. “Accusations that the DA is insensitive to the plight of the Cordillera vegetable farmers are baseless and prematurely hurled. As I have emphasized time and again, government is never perfect but this government will respond when the need arises,” he added. Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas

Bicolanos’ duel: Villafuerte, Andaya showdown in House By Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz @joveemarie


AMARINES Sur Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte Jr. wants next week’s reopening of Congress to be a “day of reckoning,”   as he called on the pro-Duterte majority coalition to kick out his fellow Bicolano Rep. Rolando G. Andaya Jr. as House majority leader for “subverting” Malacañang with his alleged nonstop maneuvers to further derail the already-delayed approval of the 2019 national budget.   “Andaya does not deserve to remain a minute longer as House majority leader for committing acts inimical to the interests of the pro-administration coalition and of the Filipino people, especially of the poor who have elected Mr. Duterte to the presidency on the conviction that he would bring about real change and liberate them from generational poverty on his watch,” Villafuerte said.   “Monday shou ld be the day of reckoning,” Villafuerte, who is a v ice chair man of the House appropr iat ions committee, said. “It is time for the majorit y coa lition that is f u l ly supportive of President Duterte to ask A ndaya: A re you w ith us or against us? ”  


RESPONDING to Villafuerte’s statement, Andaya said he would be willing to vote himself out his position as the current majority leader. “To me this post [as majority floor leader] is forced labor. Gusto ko na nga [I would to be] relieved of the duties of a majority leader noon pa [long time ago]. When this was first offered to me, I begged off a hundred times. I was recommending

my good friend Fred Castro to be the majority leader. I was happy being a deputy speaker. Sabi ko [I said] six months lang [on the] maximum, then please  release me,” he said. “This job has tied me down in Manila when I should be focusing in Camarines Sur. Many would give their arm and leg for this position. I see it however as a burden,” he said. But in the past six months, Andaya said House production of laws was high. “Daily, we were clearing legislation. We have passed all the President’s major bills. We did this without curtailing debate.  And we did not mince words when bad legislation came our way. And we were proactive and even anticipated the administration’s needs,” he said. “There is no greater proof of my loyalty to the President than that,” he added. 


VILLAFUERTE continued: “Andaya’s failure, or refusal, to put an immediate stop to his endless tirades against the national budget, “would be a confirmation of a long-nagging suspicion that he is a sleeper agent of the political opposition out to destabilize the Duterte administration ahead of the midterm elections.” “My fellow Bicolano legislator has unfortunately become the odd man out in the current House leadership, given that his No. 1 job as majority leader is to shepherd through the bigger chamber the legislative agenda of the government, including the annual GAA [General Appropriations Act], that would let President Duterte deliver on his campaign promises to the Filipino people,” Villafuerte said. Rene Acosta

briefs COMELEC CONTROL IN 18 CITIES, MUNICIPALITIES EYED NATIONAL Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde on Thursday said they were looking at 18 cities and municipalities around the country that may be accorded with “special attention” in view of the upcoming plebiscite in Mindanao and the national elections, given the possibility that violence may erupt in these areas. Emerging from a meeting with Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sheriff Abas and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., the police chief said, “We already have a list, but not necessarily that all these 18 cities and municipalities will be under Comelec control.” Albayalde added: “We are very much ready, that is why we made this final coordinating conference, although we will still do a series of conference before, during and after the conduct of the plebiscite and also before, during and after the conduct of local and national elections.” Abas, for his part, said that they are also considering placing Cotabato City under Comelec control in relation to the January 21 plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the city of Daraga in Albay for the local elections. Rene Acosta


HOUSE Majority Leader Rolando G. Andaya Jr. on Thursday clarified that the pay increases for teachers and civil are not General Appropriations Act-dependent, saying there is P100 billion under a 2018 reenacted budget. Andaya, in a news statement, said under the reenacted budget, there is P100 billion allocated for salary increases under the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF). What the Department of Budget and Management can defer during the pendency of the budget approval is the release of personnel services funds for new employees, he said. Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz

HEALTH CHIEF LAUDS ENACTMENT OF H.I.V./A.I.D.S. LAW HEALTH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III on Thursday welcomed the signing of the Philippine HIV and AIDS Act by President Duterte’s approval is a “huge step forward in responding to the growing HIV epidemic in the Philippines.”  “Now we can give the proper support to the Filipinos with HIV-AIDS. That is why we are truly grateful to President Duterte for giving priority and action  in the fight against HIV-AIDS, “ Duque said.  The law provides comprehensive education and prevention programs for people living with HIV and their families.  It also enables minors 15 years of age to get tested for HIV. Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco

HARD-TO-FILL JOBS IN PHL DOWN 47%–D.O.L.E THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Tuesday that the number of hard-to-fill jobs went down by 47 percent in the last decade as academic institutions heed their labor market advisories. According to the DOLE’s JobsFit 2022 report released last month, the number of hard-to-fill occupations is now only 54, compared to 102 listed in 2013. Hardto-fill jobs as those vacancies to which the employer is having a difficulty to fill because job applicants are not qualified Bureau of Local Employment Director Dominique R. Tutay attributed this to local academic and training institutions being able to address the demands of the labor market.  Samuel P. Medenilla

A6 Friday, January 11, 2019 • Editor: Angel R. Calso

Opinion BusinessMirror


The self-licking ice cream cone


ITH his recent departure from his position as United States secretary of defense, General James Mattis is a clear example of the situation in Washington, D.C., derogatorily known as the “self-licking ice cream cone”. General Mattis retired from the US Marines Corps in April 2012 after a distinguished and successful career. Mattis ended his service as head of the United States Central Command that oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was responsible for a region that includes Syria, Iran and Yemen. Upon retirement, he joined the board of directors of General Dynamics, an aerospace and def ense company. In 2017 the company posted $30.9 billion in sales with the bulk of its revenue coming from US military contracts. In fact, after Lockheed Martin Corp. and airplane manufacturer The Boeing Co., General Dynamics is the third-largest holder of US government military contracts. From 2013 until 2017, Mattis was a member of the board of directors of Theranos. The company has since been proven to have fraudulently sold a blood-testing technology that did not work. Its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, is currently under trial for fraud and conspiracy. In August 2012, Holmes asked Mattis, who had expressed interest in testing Theranos’s technology in combat areas, to help with a formal inquiry with the Food and Drug Administration about the company’s intent to distribute its tests without FDA clearance. Within hours, Mattis forwarded his e-mail exchange with Holmes to military officials, asking, “How do we overcome this new obstacle?” Mattis was confirmed as secretary of defense by the United States Senate on January 20, 2017. In 1992, Pete Worden, former director of Nasa’s Ames Research Center, wrote a paper about the bureaucracy inside the space agency that he described as “a self-perpetuating system that has no purpose other than to sustain itself.” A self-licking ice cream cone that never ends. A recent report shows that 25 generals, nine admirals, 43 lieutenant generals and 23 vice admirals retired to become lobbyists, board members, executives or consultants for the defense industry between 2008 and 2018. They are a part of a larger group of 380 high-ranking government officials and congressional staff who shifted into the defense industry during that time. This is the self-licking ice cream cone of government and elected officials and the military-industrial complex or military-industrial-congressional complex described by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961. In the Philippines, perhaps the system is not a never-eaten ice cream cone but a never-ending “Trip to Jerusalem.” Government employees serve their tenure and are subject to mandatory retirement. But that does not stop them from moving to appointed positions. After a time in an appointed position—and with public exposure—it is time to move up the ladder to elected office. While losing candidates for certain elected positions are not allowed to be appointed, they can bide their time until the clock runs out. Likewise, an appointed official who has spent time learning the ins and outs of a particular government department can be valuable in the private sector with a company that has to gain favor with that government department and its bureaucracy. It can be a “Trip to Jerusalem” because we keep seeing the same family names if not the same faces moving from chair to chair around the circle. However, unlike in the children’s party game, chairs and positions are not removed. In fact, it seems like the government keeps adding more chairs to accommodate additional players.

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Philippine football’s second wind Sonny M. Angara



ARLIER this week, the Philippine Azkals played a very close match against South Korea at the ongoing Asian Cup 2019 in Dubai. Many sports commentators expected South Korea, ranked 53rd, to dominate the Philippines, seated far below at 116th. But to their surprise, our national booters staged an impressive effort, putting up a defense that only gave way in the match’s final minutes. But while the Azkals exceeded the expectations of the footballing world, few Filipinos probably noticed their effort. That is a shame, since the match marked the Azkals’ maiden appearance at the Asian Cup, the region’s premier international football tournament. Football is undisputedly the world’s most popular sport. Yet, “the Beautiful Game” fails to draw Filipinos who are captivated more by the back-and-forth action of basketball, volleyball and even boxing. As a consequence, Philippine football remains nascent.  Still, efforts at expanding the game’s relevance beyond its regular fans and patrons are slowly reap-

ing dividends. Hopefully, it will blossom one day into a full-fledged resurgence. At the center of these efforts are the Azkals. In the past decade, their notable performance at the world stage attracted the layman’s attention toward the sport.  One can cite as a particular milestone their upset victories against Vietnam and other football giants during the 2010 Asean Federation Football (AFF) Cup.  Their spectacular display in 2010 was followed by an outstanding feat in 2016 when they scored a huge upset against North Korea during a World Cup qualifier match in Manila. This result propelled the Philippines

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to its highest-ever Fifa ranking— 115th out of 209, placing the Azkals at the top of the AFF ranking that is only next to Australia. The Azkals generated enough interest to inspire like-minded football fans to take action, particularly toward launching professional domestic leagues and forging important partnerships focused on grassroots development. For instance, nine years ago, the NCR-based United Football League allowed local football clubs to compete regionally. Domestic teams such as the Bacolod-based Ceres-La Salle FC and Makati City’s Kaya FC netted victories that qualified them for the 2010 edition of the Asian Football Confederation Cup. Then, in 2012, my father, the late Sen. Edgardo Angara who served as the honorary chairman of the Philippine Football Federation, brought to the Philippines UEFA-licensed Coach Maor Rozen to instruct 300 young footballers. Later on, the partnership between PFF, Alliance Global Group, Inc., Real Madrid FC and the Pinoy Sports Foundation was inaugurated to launch grassroots clinics for DepEd coaches and students at the McKinley Hill Stadium of Megaworld in Taguig City. Such initiatives must be sustained and expanded, especially since some

Continued from A1


HIS case is important because it could cost the government, the coconut farmers and the industry some P1 billion in needed support fund. Here is an excerpt of my five-page letter:

“Your Honors: At this time, I am anxious and worried because before resigning from the UCPB Board of Directors last year, the Board—during one of its meetings—was informed that the Third Division of the Honorable Court had reversed through a Decision dated August 16, 2017 (on the subject case) a decision favorable to UCPB that was earlier rendered by the Court of Appeals. But initially—the records of this case will show—the case was dismissed by the Supreme Court…. Incidentally, the acting chairman and members of the Third Division who signed the aforesaid Decision were: n Hon. Lucas P. Bersamin—

acting chairman (now chief justice) n Hon. Samuel R. Martires— member n Hon. Noel G. Tijam—member n Hon. Alexander G. Gesmundo—member To my simple mind and after looking at the circumstances surrounding this case and with all due respect to the members of the Third Division, there is an urgent need for the Supreme Court En Banc to determine whether the promulgation of the said Decision was done in violation or not, not only of the Constitution but of the Supreme Court’s own internal rules, as well. Please consider the following circumstances: n Justice Benjamin Caguioa was

designated as an additional member of the Third Division only on August 14, 2017, or two days before the said Decision dated August 16, 2017, was promulgated. However, this Decision indicates that Justice Caguioa did not sign the same as he was on leave at the time of promulgation (see page 20 of Decision). n Justice Tijam was designated as an additional member of the Third Division only on August 14, 2017, or two days before the Decision dated August 16, 2017, was promulgated (see page 1 of Decision). n Justice Martires was designated as member of the Third Division only on August 13, 2017, or three days before the Decision dated August 16, 2017, was promulgated (Special Order No. 2467). n Justice Gesmundo was designated as fifth member of the Third Division only on August 14, 2017, or two days before the said Decision dated August 16, 2017, was promulgated. This is per Special Order No. 2468 dated August 14, 2017, signed by former CJ Ma. Lourdes P. A. Sereno. This Special Order actually states that Justice Gesmundo assumed office as Supreme Court justice only on August 14, 2017. From the foregoing, I am requesting the Supreme Court to investigate and look into the following:

fear that the momentum first generated by the Azkals nearly a decade ago is starting to wane and slow down. Philippine football needs to find its second wind. This is one of the reasons we authored and sponsored the Philippine Sports Training Center (PSTC) bill. This measure calls for the construction of a world-class, state-of-the-art training complex for all our national athletes, which covers not just the Azkals, but also the Malditas (their female counterparts) and all our football youth teams.     Currently, the measure has been ratified by both houses of Congress and will be transmitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature required for its enactment into law. Some P3.5 billion is being proposed to be allocated this year for the training center, which shall also house a world-class football pitch. Following our team’s impressive effort against South Korea, we must keep in mind, echoing the words of Azkals forward Stephan Schrock, “We have something to build on.” Hopefully, the PSTC will help jumpstart a renewed interest in Philippine football.   Sen. Sonny M. Angara was elected in 2013, and is now the chairman of the Senate Committees on Local Government, and Ways and Means. E-mail:|Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @sonnyangara

n Could the three (3) abovenamed justices of the Third Division (Justices Gesmundo, Martires and Tijam) have adequately studied the case (which I understand already consists of around 2,000 pages) only in a period of two or three days, before the Decision dated August 16, 2017, was promulgated? n Was a Report made by the writer of the Decision and sent to the members of the Third Division in accordance with the Supreme Court’s Internal Rules, before the said Decision was signed? n Was the case (or Report) calendared for deliberation by the Third Division after such Report, if any, was sent to its members, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s Internal Rules? n Why was there a haste in promulgating the Decision dated August 16, 2017, when the three justices came on board only two or three days earlier and one justice was even on leave? The Constitution clearly provides that cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the concurrence of a majority of the members who actually took part in the deliberations on the case (Section 4[3], Article VIII, Constitution)… See “Arranza,” A7

Opinion BusinessMirror

US, China economies seek rare soft landing feat amid trade war


Protection and Indemnity Insurance Atty. Dennis B. Funa


By Rich Miller & Enda Curran | Bloomberg

HE world’s two biggest economies are separately struggling to come in for unparalleled, simultaneous soft landings, an effort complicated by the trade war they’re waging at the same time. It’s hard enough for the US or China to pull fiscal and monetary levers to manage a step-down in growth alone. For the two to try to do it concurrently makes what is already “a fairly narrow target even narrower,’’ said Deutsche Bank Securities’ Chief Economist Peter Hooper. A misstep would also turn what’s supposed to be a controlled touch down of their economies into something much worse—a worldwide recession. While most economists say that’s unlikely, they acknowledge that it can’t be ruled out, especially if the temporary trade truce between the two countries breaks down or if equities keep sliding. “If we get an escalation in trade tensions and another 10 to 15 percent drop in the stock market, you’re looking at enough of a tightening in financial conditions to say that a global recession is a real risk,’’ said Hooper, a former Federal Reserve official. Negotiations between the US and China in Beijing this week on trade were “extensive, in-depth and detailed” and laid a foundation for a resolution, China’s Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. The attempted maneuver by the Fed and Chinese authorities comes as the global economy enters 2019 showing signs of slowing, with the world’s No. 4 economy, Germany, flirting with a recession. Complicating the task is President Donald J. Trump. He has welcomed China’s economic troubles as giving him added leverage in trade talks with the Asian country, while he’s attacked Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for trying to slow the US economy with interest-rate increases. Tom Orlik of Bloomberg Economics said: “The US and China started 2018 with very different dynamics at work. The US was poised for a fiscal boost. China faced a deleveraging drag. In 2019, with US fiscal tailwinds fading, and China going slow on deleveraging, they are closer together. The trade truce reduces the risks, but both still face a year of slower growth.” Policy-makers are cognizant of the dangers and are acting accordingly. Speaking to economists in Atlanta this month, Powell raised the possibility of a pause in the Fed’s rate hiking campaign and a change in its balance-sheet reduction plans in response to the downside risks that investors perceive to the economy. China, meanwhile, continues to roll out measures to put a floor under its economy, including last week’s announcement of a cut in the amount of cash lenders must hold in reserves that freed up a net 800 billion yuan ($117 billion) of liquidity. The Finance Ministry is set to propose a small increase in the targeted budget deficit for this year, people familiar with the matter said. Maintaining expansions in gross domestic product is tricky because authorities have to walk a fine line between slowing the economy just enough to prevent overheating or financial excesses but not so much as to cause a contraction. Indeed, the Fed has arguably only accomplished the feat once, in 1994 and 1995, and even then there was a lot of collateral damage, including a hard landing for the bond market. China

Arranza. . .

continued from A6

T he Supreme Court’s ow n Internal Rules require that a written report on the case must be prepared by the designated writer of the decision and sent to all the justices concerned at least seven days before the case is discussed and deliberated upon. It is likely that this rule was not complied with as the said three justices became members of the Third Division only two or three days before the Decision dated August 16, 2017, was issued.

managed a slowdown in 2015 by ramping up spending, a tactic that cushioned growth but accelerated a build up in debt that economists warn is unsustainable. Trump has befogged the Fed’s task this time around first by juicing growth in 2018 with tax cuts and stepped up government spending, and then by effectively acting to restrain it in 2019 as his trade war rhetoric spooked businesses and investors. “It wrong-footed the Fed twice,’’ said David Hensley, director of global economics for JPMorgan Chase in New York. The president’s unrelenting attacks on the central bank also hurt because they threaten to undermine the Fed’s standing with investors and the American public. “Obviously the president has the right to comment on the Fed, but I would worry that if it continues or intensifies that it could undermine confidence in the Fed—and the market confidence in the Fed’s judgment,’’ former Chairman Janet Yellen said in Atlanta, in a rare joint appearance with Powell and ex-Fed Chief Ben Bernanke. And while Trump has cheered China’s slowdown, Powell and the Fed are concerned about it spilling over into financial markets and the US.

Market spillovers SEEKING to allay investor fears of a Chinese hard landing, Powell told the American Economic Association’s annual meeting last week that the country’s authorities are responding to signs of weakness in their economy with additional stimulus. “China and the rest of emerging Asia should continue to expand at a still solid pace this year,” Powell said. Some of the deceleration in China’s economy was self-induced as policy-makers sought to dampen frothy property markets, curb leverage and crack down on shadow banking. “We had been expecting the slowdown for quite some time,’’ Louis Kuijs, chief Asia economist at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg Television. What did surprise China was Trump’s assault on the country’s mercantilist economic policies, resulting in tariffs on some $250 billion worth of Chinese exports to the US, Hensley said. That threatened a bigger downshift in growth than China wanted. Chinese officials have responded with selective stimulus measures to try to prop up growth while eschewing their traditional approach of opening up the credit spigots. Cliff Tan, MUFG Bank Ltd.’s East Asia head of global markets research, said that China may no longer be able to engineer a soft landing of its economy. “China may see a very rocky landing, lasting five to six quarters’’ sometime over the next four years, Tan wrote in a report to clients. “The primary driver of China’s slowdown is not the trade war, but local credit problems.’’ Either way, the ability of both nations to guide their economies will dominate the global outlook through 2019. “Soft landings are really, really hard,’’ said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust Corp. in Chicago.

From the circumstances surrounding the case, one cannot help but conclude that it was not possible for the members of the Third Division to have actually deliberated upon the case before the Decision dated August 16, 2017, was signed and released… I write this request because I do not want any infirmity to remain uncorrected…? But I pose this simple question… why is it taking the Third Division a long time to resolve the pending motions to elevate the case to the Supreme Court en banc? It is now more than one year from the time the same were filed.”

Friday, January 11, 2019 A7


HERE are three basic types of marine insurance: a) Hull and Machinery; b) Cargo; and c) Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Insurance. Hull and Machinery (H&M) insurance protects the shipowner’s investment in the ship. It is basically a property insurance which covers the ship itself, the machinery and equipment. The owner will be protected for losses caused by loss of or damage to the ship and its equipment. Cargo insurance covers loss or damage to the goods carried. P&I is a mutual maritime insurance offered by P&I Clubs. It is mutual because it is formed by oceangoing shipowners, ship operators or demise charterers, and recently, freight forwarders and warehouse operators themselves. It has been said of a P&I Club, “under such a regime each member was both an assured—as to his own vessels entered in the club—and an insurer, in the proportion of his entered vessels in the club for the interests of each of his fellow members.” P&I is a special type of marine insurance. Its existence came about because of the reluctance of traditional marine insurers to cover certain risks or to provide very high limits of liability. Indeed, collision liabilities have been excluded by hull insurers. Shipowners acquire marine insur-

ance as protection against legal liability claims from crew, passengers and third parties. A P&I coverage complements the risks covered by Hull and Machinery policies. In actuality, shipowners need both H&M and P&I insurance. As it is today, P&I Clubs provide cover for open-ended risks such as a carrier’s third-party risks for damage caused to cargo during carriage, war risks, and risks of environmental damage such as oil spills and pollution. It may also cover damage to other floating objects not caused by collision, wreck removal costs, collision liability, damage to fixed objects, repatriation expense, damage to any other property, fines and penalties, costs of resisting mutiny or misconduct quarantine expenses, among others. The largest P&I insurance

Plebiscite on BOL Rev. Fr. Antonio Cecilio T. Pascual



Y brothers and sisters, the arrival of the New Year brings with it a big and important change that may happen in the lives of our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters.

This coming 21st of January, a historical plebiscite will occur at the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or ARMM, wherein its citizens may either agree or disagree on establishing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or BARMM. It can be recalled that in June 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law, that was passed by Congress to partly implement the agreement forged by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF after a series of discussions aimed at ending the hostilities in the South. It is seen by many Muslims in

Mindanao, as well as non-Muslim Filipinos, that the BOL’s approval may pave the way to a lasting peace, which will hasten the development of Mindanao. This will be a welcome development, especially for those that have not experienced economic improvement and our brothers and sisters who cannot avail themselves of public services because of the war and chaos. They also see the BOL as a first step toward establishing the autonomous leadership many of them have been longing for. For the BOL to take effect, it needs the vote of the people living in the specific areas of the BARMM, apart from other areas. It will also establish the management structure of the

pay-out recorded was $1.44 billion for the loss of Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground and overturned after striking an underwater rock in Isola del Giglio, Tuscany, on January 13, 2012. As a mutual insurer, P&I Clubs insure only its members. It is a nonprofit and co-operative group. Members are not issued insurance policies but a “certificate of entry.” In lieu of paying premiums, the members pay a “call,” the amount collected in a pool. Since the risks are borne by the members of the club, only shipowners with acceptable reputations are accepted. Consequently, those with lesser credentials are left out without sufficient insurance cover—an all too familiar situation in the Philippines. In contrast, the European Union Directive 2009/20/ EC has made it compulsory for the EU and foreign ships in EU waters and ports to have P&I insurance cover. P&I clubs each have their own “club rules.” The P&I insurance is renewed every year. There are very few P&I Clubs around the world; there is none in the Philippines. Among these are: a) In Bermuda—Steamship Mutual Management Ltd., and Gard P&I Ltd.; b) China—China Shipowners Mutual Assurance Association; c) Japan—Japan Shipowners P&I Association; d) Norway—Assuranceforeningen Gard, and Assuranceforeningen Skuld; e) Singapore— Standard Steamship Owners P&I Association; f) Sweden—Sveriges

Angfartygs Assurans Forening; g) United States—American Steamship Owners P&I Association; and h) South Korea—Korea Shipowners’ Mutual P&I Association. The very first club came about in 1855 as a “Protection Club” with the creation of the Shipowners’ Mutual Protection Society (later called the Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association or the Britannia Club) in response to the British Merchant Shipping Act of 1854. Its first concept was as protection against collision liability. The Britannia Club is the oldest P&I market in the world. As much as 90 percent of the world maritime tonnage is covered by P&I Clubs. There is an international association called the International Group of P&I Club composed of the major 13 clubs based in Peek House, London. The club funds are managed by asset managers. To illustrate the extent of its coverage, P&I Clubs provide insurance coverage of up to $1 billion for compensation of damages by oil pollution from laden oil tankers to be paid out in accordance with the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage. It brings to mind the Exxon Valdez tragedy in 1989 where 11 million gallons of oil spilled on the beaches in Alaska.

government within the assigned territory. Part of this structure is having one Bangsamoro government, in consonant with the Philippine constitution and under the general supervision of the President of the Republic of the Philippines. The Bangsamoro government will have its own Chief Minister, its own legislature or parliament, and its own judiciary. Once the majority of the people within the assigned BARMM have approved the BOL in the coming plebiscite, a Bangsamoro Transition Authority will be created to oversee the change in the current government from ARMM to BARMM. And the first regular elections for the Bangsamoro government will be held in 2022. Brothers and sisters, it is probable that not many of our non-Muslim fellowmen understand the importance of this coming plebiscite and the establishment of a Bangsamoro government within BARMM territory. Many may have doubts, fears, or even distrust on the capability of our Muslim brothers and sisters to govern themselves, as well as manage their economic and political development. We need to be reminded of the

process of the peace talks that bore fruit under the agreement. We need to have faith in our representatives in Congress who drafted the provisions of the BOL. Even the teachings of our Catholic Church agrees to the principles of the peoples’ self-government, particularly the people who have been left off for the longest time—some may say at the edge—and those who have been set aside. This will allow them to have a much greater involvement in their own development. This also speaks of justice. Our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters have been deprived of their right to govern their land. This will correct “historical injustice,” which is the intention of BOL. My brothers and sisters, it is important to listen to the voices of our Muslim brothers and sisters in this coming plebiscite. Let us hope for a peaceful, clean and honest plebiscite in Mindanao.

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

Make it a habit listening to Radio Veritas 846 Ang Radyo Ng Simbahan in the AM band, or through live streaming at  and follow its Twitter and Instagram accounts @veritasph and YouTube at For your comments, e-mail 

Emmanuel Macron has boxed himself into a corner By Lionel Laurent Bloomberg Opinion


HE Gilets Jaunes movement is splintering after Emmanuel Macron shelled out billions of euros to appease French citizens fed up with the high cost of living. But plenty are still taking to the streets, with turnout of about 50,000 across France last weekend. The violence is proving hard to contain. Rioters used a forklift truck to break into the offices of a top minister, who fled by the back door. Separately, a former boxer was arrested after beating up a cop. The president’s response has been to promise a tougher ground game, in the mold of a law-andorder politician on the campaign trail. His prime minister, Edouard Philippe, has promised to deploy 80,000 security forces on Saturday to contain the next round of protests, and proposed new laws and better equipment to crack down

on the yellow jackets. With the far right doing well in French opinion polls, you can see why Macron and his ministers have chosen this tack. But chucking boots at the problem isn’t a long-term solution. The more awkward question is why there’s still public support for the Gilets Jaunes, running at about 55 percent according to some media groups, despite widespread sympathy for France’s beleaguered police officers. The roots of the crisis clearly run deep, with the economy weakening, and the risk is that more brute force backfires. The government attempts to get the French public onside have already gone awry in some cases. The former boxer, whose actions were dubbed “intolerable”  by a senior minister, took to social media to defend himself. That led to a successful crowd-funding campaign. Macron’s real game should be politics, not policing. All the warning signs of popular discontent over the past year should have been

picked up at the local and regional level, but were either missed or misinterpreted—hardly a surprise when a president regards himself as Zeus-like. It’s this sense of a void between voters and Olympus-dwelling technocrats that lingers. Those below Macron in the political food chain failed to read the runes. Thousands of people for whom fuel costs are a major expense were protesting as far back as early 2018 against a lowering of the speed limit on French roads. A proposed hike to fuel taxes redoubled their anger. That protests had to turn violent to force a policy U-turn shows the problem. There are no midterm elections in France to capture the attention of its leader. Work is needed at the parliamentary level to reconnect with voters. Macron’s “En Marche” party secured a resounding majority in 2017, sweeping out the old twoparty system and bringing plenty of first timers into politics. Yet it’s

done little to secure political support beyond its urban middle-class base. Worse, the Paris-centric workload of reform and legislation has left precious little time to respond to constituents’ more  immediate concerns. One lawmaker who sympathized with the Gilets Jaunes back in November, before the movement became violent, was reportedly berated by top party officials. That was a missed opportunity to better understand their more reasonable grievances. France has a history of playing catch-up to popular unrest rather than getting ahead of it. Images of paramilitary-style police officers taking to the streets are commonplace. In fairness, the Gilets Jaunes’ urban guerrilla tactics have caught the authorities off-guard so there’s a case for beefing up security. But if Macron really wants to show the whole of his country a better way forward, good policies are better than an iron fist.

2nd Front Page BusinessMirror

A8 Friday, January 11, 2019

Laws for telecommuting, war vets’ pension hike, OKd


By Bernadette D. Nicolas


RESIDENT Duterte has signed into law measures institutionalizing work-from-home arrangement in the private sector and increasing the monthly old-age pension of senior war veterans. Through Republic Act 11165 signed by the President last December 20, employers are encouraged to adopt telecommuting—a work arrangement that allows an employee to work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and or computer technologies.  Aside from promoting work-life balance, the law is also intended to address traffic congestion and its tremendous effect on the country’s economy. Sen. Joel Villanueva welcomed on Thursday the signing into

law of this bill which he authored and sponsored. “We thank the President for supporting our bill that will promote workers’ right to work-life balance and flexible arrangement,” said Villanueva, who chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.  Under the law, an employer in the private sector may offer a telecommuting program to its employees on a voluntary basis, and upon such terms and conditions as they may

mutually agree upon, provided that it shall not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law. It shall also include compensable work hours, minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days and entitlement to leave benefits.  The employer shall also ensure fair treatment for the telecommuting employees.  All telecommuting employees shall:  a) Receive a rate of pay, including overtime and night shift differential, and other similar monetary benefits not lower than those provided in applicable laws, and collective bargaining agreements.  b) Have the right to rest periods, regular holidays and special nonworking days.  c) Have the same or equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises.  d) Have the same access to training and career development opportunities as those of comparable

workers at the employer’s premises, and be subject to the same appraisal policies covering these workers. e) Receive appropriate training on the technical equipment at their disposal, and the characteristics and conditions of telecommuting. f) Have the same collective rights as the workers at the employers’ premises, and shall not be barred from communicating with workers’ representatives. Meanwhile, the President also signed on the same day Republic Act 11164  which increases the oldage pension of veterans of World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars to 20,000 per month.  This only covers veterans of Korean and Vietnam wars who are not receiving pension from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  Moreover, the amount necessary for the initial implementation shall be charged against the available appropriation of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office. 

Senate caucus lining up priority bills after budget By Butch Fernandez



ENATE President Vicente C. Sotto III is convening an allsenators’ caucus on Monday to line up the chamber’s priority bills—next to the P3.7-trillion 2019 national budget—to be taken up for plenary consideration and early approval as soon as Congress reconvenes regular sessions next week. “We will be discussing the agenda, firstly the timetable for

the budget,” Sotto told reporters at Thursday’s Kapihan sa Senado media forum, adding: “It will be the budget on top of the agenda.” He clarified, however, that the list of agencies still pending in plenary interpellations on the 2019 budget bill are the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Tourism, the Department of National Defense, Dangerous Drugs Board, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, the National Commission on Indig-


enous Peoples, the Department of Health, the Commission on Elections and the Bureau of Immigration. Sotto said the latter was left out from the Department of Justice’s budget which was already submitted for plenary. “Those are the agencies left and we will be discussing the timetable in the caucus. It will be No. 1 in the agenda,” Sotto added. He indicated that senators, as before, will likely hold extended morning and afternoon marathon sessions on the budget bill, to

shorten the period that the government would be operating on a reenacted 2018 budget. “Most probably, that is why we will be starting at 10 a.m., but it depends on how long the interpellations on these agencies will take... if we need to extend all the way to Thursday morning and afternoon. I hope not, but if we have to, we will,” the Senate leader said. Apart from the budget bill, Sotto said the next item on the caucus agenda is the controversial Road Board bill. “Because as far as the Senate is concerned, technically, we have adopted the [original] House version [abolishing the Board], so there is no need for a bicameral panel [to reconcile conflicting provisions].” The Senate President added: “Our Majority Leader [Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri] is of course coordinating and cooperating with the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, and their request is for us to go into a bicam. So Senator Zubiri told me, but then again, there is the other half of the Senate who believes there is no need for a bicam because we have adopted the House version. There are no disagreeing positions, in other words, so there is no need for a bicam. Again, that will be [discussed by senators] on Monday in the caucus. We have to resolve that as those issues are to be resolved by the Senate and not by the Senate President alone.” He elaborated: “Personally, as I said, we have adopted the House version. We have to be technical about it, we have adopted it. If we go into a bicam, that would mean that we will have to pass again a motion on the floor recalling our previous motion which was already approved.” He initially declined to speculate on what prompted their House counterparts to insist on reconvening the bicameral talks on the Road Board abolition bill. “I really don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine,” Sotto said. But when pressed, the Senate leader said: “If I will venture into a guess, it would probably be they [House] want an amendment; they want to introduce an amendment [in their] version. The problem is if it is not contained in the Senate version, and it is not contained in the original House version, we cannot legally take it up in the bicam. [That’s the] SOP, we cannot introduce anything new into the bicam.”




HE Supreme Court has junked the P10-million class suit filed by 37 journalists who were arrested without warrant by authorities along with Magdalo rebel soldiers led by now Sen. Antonio  F. Trillanes IV during the Manila Peninsula standoff in 2007.   In a 15-page decision penned by the now retired Associate Justice Noel Tijam, the Court’s First Division affirmed the ruling issued by the Court of Appeals on May 31, 2013, and the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Makati City Branch 56. These junked the civil complaint filed against the leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP), ArmedForcesofthePhilippines(AFP)and members of the Arroyo administration. The petitioners claimed in their complaint that the warrantless and oppressive arrest of journalists peacefully exercising their constitutional rights clearly violates their right to press freedom and promotes a“chilling effect”on such constitutionallyguaranteed freedom. They claimed that the acts complained of constitute prior restraint  because this would prevent journalists from carrying out the duties of their profession to report on a matter of public interest. “We find no reason to deviate from the RTC’s and CA’s ruling, dismissing the case for lack of cause of action as petitioners failed to prove that their rights were violated which constitute an actionable wrong,” the SC said. “The realities of life in a complex society preclude an absolute exercise of the freedoms of speech and of the press. They are not immune to regulation by the State in the exercise of its police power,” the SC added. On November 29, 2007, Trillanes and other members of the Magdalo group walked out of the Makati RTC during the hearing of their coup d’etat case, known as the“Oakwood Mutiny”

Global trade. . . Continued from A1

He said the Foreign Investment Act must be reformed to allow foreign firms to transfer manufacturing facilities to the Philippines to serve both the domestic and regional (Asean) markets. Pernia said a low-hanging fruit is the full implementation of the Ease of Doing Business Act, which calls for the creation of the Expanded AntiRed Tape Authority and the full operationalization of the National Single Window. These measures, he said, will benefit existing firms, encouraging expansion, as well as attract new firms to do business in the country.

Wider deficit

“A WIDENING current-account balance due to rising capital goods imports and anemic exports growth is a cause for concern. The widening gap emphasizes the need to reform legislation to allow foreign investments in firms catering to the domestic market, in addition to expanding their exporting activities,” Pernia said. Trade deficit last November rose to $3.9 billion, from last year’s $3.28 billion. The November deficit, however, is lower than the $4.21 billion recorded in October. In November, total export sales declined by 0.3 percent to $5.57 billion, from $5.58 billion a year ago. Pernia said the decline in exports was mainly driven by the contraction in mineral and electronics exports. Payments for imports amounted to $9.47 billion, 6.8 percent higher than last year’s $8.86 billion. PSA data showed export earnings contracted 0.9 percent in the

Exporters. . . Continued from A1

It expanded 4.6 percent to $34.87 billion, from $33.34 billion during the same period in 2017. Ortiz-Luis said the sector will continue to rely heavily on electronic exports this year in its bid to recover. “As usual, we are still banking on electronics having the biggest [receipts]. We are hoping that they will resolve the issue on mining [because] we really feel that we should be

staged in July 2003. The group proceeded to the nearby Manila Peninsula Hotel and took over the same. While at the hotel, the group held a press conference calling for the ouster of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. When the 3 p.m. deadline for the group to vacate the hotel lapsed, the police hurled tear gas canisters inside the hotel lobby and broke into the premises to arrest Trillanes and his group. The members of the press who were inside the function room were also taken by the police officers and brought to Camp Bagong Diwa for processing. After several hours, the media people were cleared and released before midnight of the same day. Following the event, the PNP, AFP, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, as well as the Department of National Defense, came up with a position that journalists who ignore police orders to leave a crime scene will be arrested and charged with obstruction of justice and willful disobedience of authority. This prompted the petitioners to file a complaint for damages and injunction against the respondents. “We sustain thus the RTC’s and the CA’s finding that there is no prior restraint nor an impermissible regulation on the petitioners’ freedom of speech and of the press considering that respondents’ questioned acts were merely brought about by the exigencies of the situation and ultimately, were valid exercise of their authority so as not to compromise the safety of the civilians at the scene of the incident,” said the ruling. Veteran journalists Jessica Soho, Ed Lingao, Roby Alampay and Ellen Tordesillas were among the petitioners in the case. They were joined by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility as petitioners. See “SC,” A2

January-to-November period while imports grew an average of 15.8 percent during the period. Figures from the PSA indicated that export receipts recorded by the country’s top 10 market destinations for November reached $4.58 billion, or 82.2 percent of total revenues.

Top 3 markets

The top 3 export markets for the Philippines last November were the United States, Japan, and Hong Kong which accounted for 16 percent, 14.7 percent, and 13.1 percent of the total, respectively. Exports to the US amounted to $893.20 million. This represented a 12.6-percent increase, from $793.46 million posted in November 2017. Shipments to Japan were valued at $819.07 million. But this represented a decrease of 1.3 percent from last year’s $829.92 million. Hong Kong’s purchases of local products reached $729.01 million, 15.2 percent lower than the $859.78 million recorded a year ago. In terms of imports, the country’s bill from the top 10 import sources amounted to $7.06 billion, or 74.5 percent of the total during the period. The top 3 sources of imports for November were China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan which accounted for 18.7 percent, 10.9 percent, and 9.5 percent of the total, respectively. Imports from China amounted to $1.77 billion, or an increase of 4.3 percent, from $1.69 billion in November 2017. Merchandise goods sourced from South Korea had an import value of $1.03 billion in November 2018. This was 13.5 percent higher than last year’s $907.60 million. Purchases from Japan were valued at $903.28 million, 4.6 percent lower than the $946.39 million recorded a year ago. Cai U. Ordinario

gaining a lot of ground in the mining sector if issues there are resolved,” he argued. Nonetheless, the challenges brought about by the trade war between the United States and China linger, as well as global crude prices that Ortiz-Luis expects to be unstable given the uncertainty on international trade. “What we cannot really see is the trade war and the fuel [prices globally, but] it seems it will stabilize soon. Yet, those are the only that are somewhat iffy to us, [but] other than that, we should have a good year,” the Philexport chief said.

Companies BusinessMirror

Editor: Efleda P. Campos

Friday, January 11, 2019


DOE okays Uy-led LNG project TV5 improves bottom


By Lenie Lectura


AVAO-BASED businessman Dennis Uy’s capital-intensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project has been cleared by the Department of Energy (DOE). The much-awaited Notice to Proceed (NTP) was signed by the DOE on December 21, 2018, DOE Director Rino Abad said in an interview on Thursday.   “December 21, 2018 is the effective date,” Abad said, adding the NTP document was released from the Office of the Secretary (OSec).   “We will not know if the NTP was signed unless the paper has been transmitted from the OSec. At that time, when we said it was not yet signed, what we were only aware that it was with the Centralized Review and Evaluation Committee [CREC],” Abad said, explaining his comment last Monday when the NTP was not yet signed.   CREC oversees and handles the processing of service contracts in various segments of the sector. The committee is chaired by DOE Undersecretary Donito Marcos.   Marcos and committee member

Globe backs bill blocking copyright material promo By Lorenz S. Marasigan

DOE Assistant Secretary Leonido Pulido III confirmed on Thursday in separate text messages that the NTP was signed. Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi did not reply to confirm. Uy’s Phoenix Petroleum Corp. has partnered with China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) to develop an LNG hub in the country.   The Philippine fuel retailer and CNOOC formed Tanglawan Philippines LNG Inc. as the registered joint-venture firm.   In its application, Tanglawan is eyeing to build an LNG onshore terminal in Batangas with a capacity of 5 million metric tons per annum. It will also build a power plant with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts to 2,000 MW.   Abad said Tanglawan would have to secure other pertinent permits once it gets hold of the DOE-issued NTP.   “As provided by the Philippine


support in development work to achieve a final investment decision (FID). After this, the parties will enter into a definitive agreement to proceed with the construction of the Fgen Batangas LNG terminal project.   First Gen operates four gas-fired power plants, namely, the 1,000-MW Santa Rita power plant, the 500-MW San Lorenzo power plant, the 414MW San Gabriel power plant and the 97-MW Avion power plant.   Meanwhile, the DOE extended the permit of Energy World Corp. (EWC) to near the end of December 2018, to build the LNG import facility at Pagbilao Grande Island.   The permit provides EWC an additional 24-month construction period that will enable the completion date for the first tank of the LNG facility to be aligned to the commercial operation date of the associated 650MW power plant.   It will also provide time to align the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines switchyard expansion under construction and for the construction of the second LNG tank.   The 650-MW plant has been recognized as the anchor off-taker of the LNG project which consists of two 130,000-cbm LNG tanks, a dedicated jetty and marine infrastructure, as well as regasification and other ancillary facilities.

Gordon: NG must move quickly to avert further fallout from Hanjin travails By Butch Fernandez


LOBE Telecom Inc. is supporting the bill that will essentially block web sites that illegally distribute copyrighted materials in the Philippines. Ernest L. Cu, the company’s president, said the Philippine Online Infringement Act, filed recently by Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III, will help stop online piracy, which has created a dent on the earnings of content creators and the whole Philippine entertainment industry.  “The economic and social impact of online piracy is profound. Revenue losses are in the millions and thousands of jobs are affected due to a myriad of illegal streaming web sites and illicit streaming devices or ISDs. More important, these illegal sites and devices put customers at risk not only because of its content but specifically, malware,” Cu said.  The bill, he added, is an “important first step” toward the creation of more policies and legislations that will help curb the piracy issues in the Philippines, where “rogue site operators act with impunity.” Globe, which partially owns online streaming app Hooq, has been helping the entertainment industry fight piracy and protect intellectual property rights. So far since 2017, it has blocked roughly 2,500 illegal sites that hosted lewd contents and child pornography.  
“There is no silver bullet to deterring online piracy. What is required is a holistic solution to include consumer outreach, cooperation with technology platforms and other intermediaries, enforcement, and critically, capability to disable access to egregious piracy web sites through effective site blocking,” Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) General Manager Neil Gane said.  Cu is a board member in AVIA. 

Downstream Natural Gas Regulation circular, the requirements for the next six months [extendable for another six months based on valid reasons] is for the company to get all the permits from other government agencies such as Environmental Compliance Certificate and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples,” Abad said. “Also, if applicable, the local government unit endorsement, financial closing, etc. Upon compliance, it can now proceed to construction,” he said. Aside from Tanglawan, two more firms filed their respective NTP applications.   US floating LNG player Excelerate Energy filed early this month an application for a permit to proceed with its plan to construct a proposed floating LNG terminal.   The pioneer and market leader in innovative floating LNG solutions is planning to construct the facility in Batangas.   Aside from Excelerate, the DOE has received a similar application from Lopez-led First Gen Corp. First Gen’s application stated it will construct an LNG terminal in Batangas City with its partner Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd. The latter will take a 20-percent participating interest in the Fgen LNG project and provide



HE travails of Hanjin Heavy Construction Inc.-Philippines (HHCI-Phil), which filed for corporate rehabilitation with an Olongapo court on January 8 to seek protection from creditors of some $400 million in loans, arose from a mix of external and local problems Sen. Richard J. Gordon said Thursday. To avert further disaster, the government must move quickly to contain the fallout on the economy and on labor, he added.      Gordon was the first chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) that manages the free port where Hanjin is listed as the biggest investor and employer. The local operator of the shipyard—which until last year had turned over a state-ofthe-art container ship to buyers and cited impressive orders from regional shipping lines—was likely the victim

of the global malaise resulting from a mix of many problems, Gordon told the BusinessMirror in a phone interview on Thursday.      Gordon said the global  shipping industry, for one, is in trouble from a confluence of factors such as the trade wars and geopolitical conflicts, and many of the big multinational companies that placed orders cannot pay the shipbuilders like Hanjin which were left holding the bag.       “The company will likely undergo receivership” so it can buy time to pay off its huge debts, but, Gordon added, “Hanjin’s case is a rude awakening to us,” because, he noted, it shows that even the most successful investors could fall by the wayside at some point. Hence, he stressed, the government “cannot take away incentives” so that investors can continue to grow and provide jobs for locals. Gordon, however, hastened to clarify he did not mean that Hanjin

was not given enough incentives, but merely wanted to point out that “even those given incentives could suffer troubles—what more if incentives are not given?”      HHCI-Phil’s income tax holiday had already run out, along with the estimated P4-billion energy subsidy it got from the government, which allowed it to operate the humongous shipyard—propelling the Philippines to the status of fourth-largest shipbuilder in the world—at concessional power rates.        Gordon expressed concern over the fate of thousands of workers as Hanjin slows operations, adding “let’s move quickly on creating opportunities” for business and for creating jobs, mindful of the factors that caused Hanjin to teeter on the brink. The BusinessMirror earlier reported that HHCI-Philippines had laid off some 7,000 workers in December, and was planning to lay off 3,000 more early this year. 

Mislatel, Transco project to provide broadband service to remote areas


HIRD telco player Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. Inc. (Mislatel), the joint-venture partnership between Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy and China Telecom, has formalized an undertaking with the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) meant to provide high-speed and affordable broadband in remote and rural areas of the country.   Mislatel Spokesman Adel Tamano said the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). “This will be part of the backbone of the network that we will roll out so it is a precondition to having a reliable national coverage. With a well-established network, we

can have better and more affordable Internet services,” Tamano said. The MOU also paves the way “to realize the objectives of the national broadband plan [NBP].”   Tamano said Mislatel is working on signing similar agreements with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and electric cooperatives (ECs) nationwide. “We are open to partnering with the NEA and the co-ops. We are working with the NGCP, as well,” he said.   The NGCP is in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power grid. It has been awarded a 25-year concession deal to operate and manage the transmis-

sion facilities. However, Transco still owns the assets.   NGCP’s fiber-optic capacity is available for the use of third parties in the implementation of the NBP.    NGCP’s existing fiber-optic cable network enables real-time communication between transmission facilities, and with generators and distribution utilities. The fiberoptic capacity to be leased out by the company uses transmission facilities. Allowing the government or third parties to “piggy-back” on this transmission communication backbone will be critical in the immediate implementation of this government’s national broadband program. Lenie Lectura

line by 30% in 2018 By Roderick L. Abad




V5 Network Inc. is confident to meet its “breakeven” goa l for 2019, following its success last year to reduce by 30 percent its net loss on the back of constant improvement in its operations and complete transition to sports programming. “That still remains to be the target. But I think the more important thing is in 2018, we ended up improving our bottom line— in fact, by 30 percent. And I felt that was a great performance, especially given the difficulties that the others in our industry are experiencing,” TV5 President and CEO Vincent P. Reyes told reporters in an interview after their press briefing for the rebrand of AksyonTV held in Makati City on Thursday. He attributed the reduction on their losses mainly to their continued operational efficiencies and partnership with ESPN through the launch of the co-branded ESPN5 channel in October 2017. “It gave us a lot of content at a cost which was not as prohibitive as it was when we used to do general entertainment,” he said of their tie-up with the leading global sports network.  “Being in the general entertainment [or] showbiz category really entails a lot of expense to be competitive. And because we made a conscious decision not to do that anymore and shift to sports, it allowed us to, like I said, greatly reduced our expenditures,” he said.  When pressed about his prospects for 2019, the top executive

sees it “very promising” given the results of the first year of their shift to sports. “And I think when the changes gain more traction here—this is now Year 2, and then ‘5 Plus’ coming onboard—hopefully, we can further improve that at the end of the year,” Reyes said. AksyonTV is set to relaunch as 5 Plus on January 13, mainly serving atypical sports and sportsrelated content while targeting younger viewers. “So doing things like the launching of 5 Plus just give us greater impetus to grow and target our younger audience,” he said.   5 Plus is aimed at serving content attuned with the pace of the viewers’ active lifestyle and interests.  This secondary channel to 5 will cover X Games, e-sports and collegiate games.  Meanwhile, the simulcast of Radyo5 news programs airing on AksyonTV will be transferred to its new home on Cignal.  The repositioning also sees a complete overhaul of the channel’s look, with the end goal of visually communicating its new image.  A young, dynamic design language was developed to represent the new programming and target audience.  Music identity and sonic branding also complement the visual changes of the channel.   A selection of 5 Plus’s atypical sports coverage will also be made available on the Web via www.tv5.  and on 5’s social-media platforms.  The latter will continue to promote more established sports like basketball, volleyball and boxing, among others.


Companies BusinessMirror

Friday, January 11, 2019

Editor: Efleda P. Campos

SCOs issued vs gas stations charging taxes


By Lenie Lectura


HE number of gasoline stations that have started to implement higher fuel prices brought about by higher excise tax reached 444 as of Thursday, the Department of Energy (DOE) said.   Of these, 369 outlets are from Petron Corp., 46 from Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and 29 from Flying V. 

“We are issuing show-cause orders [SCOs] to the concerned retail outlets for them to explain their implementation of the sec-

ond tranche of excise taxes. In addition, we are also validating the prices of their fuel products to check whether or not they have already imposed the second wave of excise taxes,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said. The agency has so far issued 30 SCOs.   DOE Director for Oil Industry Management Bureau Rino Abad said two teams from DOE-OIMB visited various retail outlets in Caloocan, Quezon City and Malabon to serve the SCOs and validate their documents relative to the imposition of excise tax and its corresponding additional value-added tax.

“The SCOs require them to explain why they raise their prices. It is also meant to formalize the process and at the same time, we are able to secure official documents that will be submitted to the BIR [Bureau of Internal Revenue],” Abad said.   Under the second tranche of excise tax under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), an additional excise tax of P2 will be imposed per liter of diesel and gasoline, and P1 per kilogram on household liquified petroleum gas. There will also be an additional 12-percent value-added tax, which totals to P2.24 for both

diesel and gasoline, and P1.12 for LPG. “The funds to be raised from these collections will be invested to the people through key infrastructure projects, intensified social development and other priority projects of the government,” Cusi said. The DOE-OIMB noted that a retail outlet’s imposition of excise tax depends upon the exhaustion of the 2018 existing inventories. Only new inventories in 2019, directly imported or locally produced by refineries, are covered by the second tranche of excise tax.   Moreover, the DOE-OIMB emphasized that inventory levels vary,

depending on the status of individual depots and retail outlets, and product turnover. The DOE is expecting the bulk of the 8,600 service stations to implement the higher excise taxes between January 15 and February 1 this year.   Cusi said the agency will be more vigilant in monitoring the implementation of the second tranche of the TRAIN law for petroleum products.  “I hope that every Filipino will be supportive of government causes. Also, let us remain vigilant and work together for utmost consumer welfare promotion,” he said.

CA rejects plea of Indonesian bizman to reverse decision on qualified-theft filing


HE Court of Appeals (CA) has junked the plea of Indonesian businessman Shadik Wahono and his corespondents to reverse its decision giving the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Marikina City the go signal to put them on trial  for qualified theft. The case was filed by San Miguel Holdings Corp. (SMHC), the infrastructure arm of San Miguel Corp. In an eight-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Sesinando Villon, the CA’s Special Former Ninth Division held that Wahono,  Nadiya W. Stamboel, Fema Christina Piramide-Sayson and Al-

vin Bugtas failed to raise new arguments that would warrant the setting aside of its July 11, 2018, ruling. Wahono and his corespondents were charged with qualified theft case before the Marikina City RTC for allegedly causing Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp. (CMMTC), which was jointly owned  then by the SMHC and Wahono, to make an unauthorized disbursement, which the latter used to incorporate another company called Citra Central Expressway Corp. T he  SMHC  specif ica l ly charged  Wahono for alleged unauthorized disbursement of P50 million of CMMTC funds.

“This Court, after a careful perusal of the entire records of the case, finds no compelling reason to disturb its earlier ruling,” the CA said. The appellate court said the arguments of Wahono’s camp with regard to SMHC and CMMTC’s supposed “lack of legal personality” to institute the petition and the alleged mootness of it have already been addressed in its earlier resolutions. “It is not disputed that SMHC is a stockholder of petitioner CMMTC. It has been alleged that private respondents, in their capacity as members of the Board of Directors of CMMTC, committed wrongful acts to the detriment of the corporation.

Accordingly, SMHC has the right to institute a derivative suit on behalf of CMMTC,” the CA reiterated. The CA further explained that the dismissal of the complaint by RTC of Marikina City Branch 193 Presiding Judge Alice Gutierrez against Wahono and Stamboel, who are still at large, and the acquittal of  Sayson and Bugtas, did not necessarily amount to the extinction of their civil liability and did not necessarily deprive the petitioners of their right to prosecute the same. The appellate court branded as “misplaced” the claim of Wahono’s camp that its directive to proceed to the trial on the merits of the case

violates their constitutional right against double jeopardy under Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution. It maintained its July 11 ruling that Judge Gutierrez showed bias and partiality in dismissing the complaint last year, thus warranting her removal from the case. In the same ruling,  the CA ordered the case to proceed to trial by another judge in Marikina RTC to be chosen by raffle in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court. “Having failed to live up to the standards of avoiding even the mere appearance of impropriety, the recusal of the respondent judge from the proceedings in the court a quo is


essential to the preservation of the people’s faith the judicial system,” the appellate court explained. The CA’s ruling stemmed from the petition filed by SMHC and CMMTC seeking the reversal of Judge Gutierrez’s decision denying their motion for inhibition. However, during the pendency of the petition, Judge Gutierrez issued  an order on October 25, 2017, dismissing the qualified theft complaint. This prompted the CA to issue a writ of preliminary injunction early  this year, enjoining   Gutierrez  from implementing its order dismissing the qualified theft case. Joel R. San Juan

January 10, 2019

NAV ONE YEAR THREE YEAR FIVE YEAR Y-T-D PER SHARE RETURN* RETURN STOCK FUNDS ALFM GROWTH FUND, INC * 263.95  -13.2%  3.7%  3.75%  4.71%  ATRAM ALPHA OPPORTUNITY FUND, INC.*  1.4963  -8.13%  10.64%  4.1%  4.92%  ATRAM PHILIPPINE EQUITY OPPORTUNITY FUND, INC.*  4.1203  -13.44%  5.72%  2.28%  5.5%  CLIMBS SHARE CAPITAL EQUITY INVESTMENT FUND CORP.*  0.9353  -8.47%  N.A.  N.A.  5%  FIRST METRO CONSUMER FUND ON MSCI PHILS. IMI, INC.*  0.8712  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  5.9%  FIRST METRO SAVE AND LEARN EQUITY FUND,INC.*  5.5834  -9.45%  3.43%  3.17%  6.06%  MBG EQUITY INVESTMENT FUND, INC. *  117.98  1.17%  N.A.  N.A.  0.01%  ONE WEALTHY NATION FUND, INC.*  0.8817  -14.11%  -3.36%  N.A.  5.58%  PAMI EQUITY INDEX FUND, INC.*  52.1379  -11.15%  5.26%  N.A.  5.68%  PHILAM STRATEGIC GROWTH FUND, INC.*  542.01  -11.36%  3.66%  3.17%  5.24%  PHILEQUITY DIVIDEND YIELD FUND, INC.*   1.3169  -8.83%  5.28%  N.A.  4.82%  PHILEQUITY FUND, INC.*  38.6462  -9.15%  6.1%  5.78%  5.33%  PHILEQUITY MSCI PHILIPPINE INDEX FUND, INC.* ****  1.0347  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  PHILEQUITY PSE INDEX FUND INC.*  5.2608  -11.02%  6.15%  5.79%  5.84%  PHILIPPINE STOCK INDEX FUND CORP.*   878.83  -10.83%  5.99%  5.9%  5.84%  SOLDIVO STRATEGIC GROWTH FUND, INC. *  0.9025  -10.14%  3.12%  N.A.  4.82%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY PHILIPPINE EQUITY FUND, INC.*  4.2742  -10.16%  5.51%  4.1%  5.16%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY PHILIPPINE STOCK INDEX FUND, INC.*  1.012  -11.13%  5.93%  N.A.  5.8%  UNITED FUND, INC.*  3.701  -6.99%  7.17%  4.66%  5.74%      EXCHANGE TRADED FUND FIRST METRO PHIL. EQUITY EXCHANGE TRADED FUND, INC.* *** ^  117.4085  -10.53%  7.14%  6.98%  5.79%  ATRAM ASIAPLUS EQUITY FUND, INC.**  $0.9332  -19.05%  2.98%  -0.44%  0.82%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY WORLD VOYAGER FUND, INC.*  $1.151  -11.24%  N.A.  N.A.  5.57%  BALANCED FUNDS     PRIMARILY INVESTED IN PESO SECURITIES ATRAM DYNAMIC ALLOCATION FUND, INC.*  1.7057  -10.89%  0.46%  -0.36%  3.14%  ATRAM PHILIPPINE BALANCED FUND, INC.*  2.2809  -9.01%  3.21%  1.71%  3.23%  FIRST METRO SAVE AND LEARN BALANCED FUND INC.*  2.6449  -5.93%  0.58%  -0.34%  4.04%  GREPALIFE BALANCED FUND CORPORATION* ****  1.3478  -9.59%  N.A.  N.A.  3.19%  NCM MUTUAL FUND OF THE PHILS., INC*  1.8929  -6.94%  2.68%  2.76%  2.62%  PAMI HORIZON FUND, INC.*  3.5708  -11.14%  0.82%  1.62%  0.99%  PHILAM FUND, INC.*  16.2205  -9.78%  1.23%  1.71%  1.93%  SOLIDARITAS FUND, INC.*  2.131  -7.06%  2.9%  3.4%  2.87%  SUN LIFE OF CANADA PROSPERITY BALANCED FUND, INC.*  3.7808  -7.89%  2.64%  2.33%  3.46%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY DYNAMIC FUND, INC.*  0.9539  -8.49%  1.95%  N.A.  3.55%      PRIMARILY INVESTED IN FOREIGN CURRENCY SECURITIES COCOLIFE DOLLAR FUND BUILDER, INC.*  $0.03537  -2.4%  -0.02%  1.81%  0.51%  PAMI ASIA BALANCED FUND, INC.*  $0.9351  -14.06%  2.91%  -1.11%  1.05%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY DOLLAR ADVANTAGE FUND, INC.*  $3.4074  -8.26%  3.84%  1.22%  3.38%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY DOLLAR WELLSPRING FUND, INC.*  $1.0283  -8.53%  N.A.  N.A.  2.26%  BOND FUNDS     PRIMARILY INVESTED IN PESO SECURITIES ALFM PESO BOND FUND, INC.*  343.69  1.95%  2.13%  1.94%  0.09%  ATRAM CORPORATE BOND FUND, INC.* ^^  1.8534  -2.16%  -0.68%  -0.45%  -0.18%  COCOLIFE FIXED INCOME FUND, INC.*  2.9759  5.45%  5.39%  5.27%  0.19%  EKKLESIA MUTUAL FUND INC.*  2.1312  1.2%  1.43%  1.66%  0.04%  FIRST METRO SAVE AND LEARN FIXED INCOME FUND,INC.*  2.2125  - 0.33%  0.06%  0.31%  0.16%  GREPALIFE FIXED INCOME FUND CORP.*  P 1.5721  -2.53%  -0.69%  -0.2%  0.52%  PHILAM BOND FUND, INC.*  3.7989  -6.07%  -1.62%  -0.44%  -3.08%  PHILEQUITY PESO BOND FUND, INC.*  3.5399  1.46%  0.77%  0.8%  0.75%  SOLDIVO BOND FUND, INC. *  0.8963  -2.54%  -0.69%  N.A.  0.43%  SUN LIFE OF CANADA PROSPERITY BOND FUND, INC.*  2.7816  0%  0.97%  1.04%  0.61%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY GS FUND, INC.* 1.5484  -0.31%  0.56%  0.64%  0.62%      PRIMARILY INVESTED IN FOREIGN CURRENCY SECURITIES ALFM DOLLAR BOND FUND, INC. *  $448.84  0.52%  2.25%  3.1%  0.13%  ALFM EURO BOND FUND, INC. *  Є212.27  -0.85%  0.95%  1.53%  -0.16%  ATRAM TOTAL RETURN DOLLAR BOND FUND, INC.**  $1.1304  -0.31%  1.06%  2.07%  0.45%  FIRST METRO SAVE AND LEARN DOLLAR BOND FUND, INC.*  $0.0249  - 0.4%  0.82%  N.A.  0%  GREPALIFE DOLLAR BOND FUND CORP.*  $1.6912  -4.95%  -0.54%  1.16%  0.05%  MAA PRIVILEGE DOLLAR FIXED INCOME FUND, INC.  N.S.  N.S.  N.S.  N.S.  N.S.  MAA PRIVILEGE EURO FIXED INCOME FUND, INC.  ЄN.S.  N.S.  N.S.  N.S.  N.S.  PAMI GLOBAL BOND FUND, INC*  $1.0366  -3.39%  -0.49%  -2.24%  0.27%  PHILAM DOLLAR BOND FUND, INC.*  $2.1874  -3.11%  0.98%  2.87%  0.76%  PHILEQUITY DOLLAR INCOME FUND INC.*  $0.0570213  - 0.28%  0.91%  1.85%  0.05%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY DOLLAR ABUNDANCE FUND, INC.*  $2.8763  -4.88%  0.27%  1.71%  0.16%  MONEY MARKET FUNDS     PRIMARILY INVESTED IN PESO SECURITIES ALFM MONEY MARKET FUND, INC.*  120.99  2.82%  1.91%  1.59%  0.14%  PHILAM MANAGED INCOME FUND, INC.*  1.1761  1.55%  0.59%  0.41%  -0.46%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY MONEY MARKET FUND, INC.*  1.2201  2.7%  2.29%  1.63%  0.12%      PRIMARILY INVESTED IN FOREIGN CURRENCY SECURITIES SUN LIFE PROSPERITY DOLLAR STARTER FUND, INC.*  $1.0165  1.76%  N.A.  N.A.  0.09%                                   * - NAVPS AS OF THE PREVIOUS BANKING DAY   ** - NAVPS AS OF TWO BANKING DAYS AGO   *** - LISTED IN THE PSE. **** - RE-CLASSIFIED INTO A BALANCED FUND STARTING JANUARY 1, 2017 (FORMERLY GREPALIFE BOND FUND CORP.). ***** - LAUNCH DATE IS NOVEMBER 6, 2017     ****** - LAUNCH DATE IS JANUARY 08, 2018     ******** - RENAMING OF THE FUND WAS APPROVED BY THE SEC LAST APRIL 13, 2018. ********* - BECAME A MEMBER SINCE APRIL 20, 2018.     ******* - ADJUSTED DUE TO CASH DIVIDEND ISSUANCE LAST JANUARY 29, 2018

Banking&Finance BusinessMirror

DOF seeks IFC help in using fintech for OFB


HE Department of Finance (DOF) has sought the assistance of the International Finance Corp. (IFC) anew in line with applying financial technologies (fintech) in the further development of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB). In a recent meeting with IFC officials, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III outlined the government’s plan to apply fintech in organizing the Philippines’s first OFB that caters to its citizens overseas, by converting it into a fully digital bank using mobile technologies rather than having physical branches to serve its clients. Dominguez underscored the need to put in place a liberal regulatory environment to enable fintechs, which are seen to help Filipinos ride the digital wave. He added that new fintechs are crucial for the government to achieve President Duterte’s goal of financial inclusion. “Let’s not choke it with regulations. Let them grow, make mistakes. Then we learn how to regulate them,” Dominguez said. The 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed that only 22.6 percent of the total adult population in the country, or about 15.8 million Filipinos, have bank accounts, leaving the majority of 52.8 million unbanked. Led by its CEO Philippe Le Houérou, the IFC assured Dominguez that the institution will support the government’s efforts in attaining financial inclusion through the use of digital technologies. “We are with you, to improve the way we work together on fintech, and

more broadly, financial inclusion,” Le Houérou said. During the meeting, Dominguez also asked the IFC for assistance in identifying and developing new industries to help transition workers in the country’s dollar-generating information technology-business process outsourcing (ITBPO) industry to new jobs, expressing concern over the emerging threats of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Our threat is not really from India,

but from the rapid changes in technology,” Dominguez added. He said the IT-BPO sector earns about $30 billion a year in revenues and employs around 1.2 million Filipinos. Then DOF chief also discussed with the IFC ways to institute reforms in the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), so it can refocus its efforts in training workers to make them employable in the emerging digital economy. He also broached the possibility of installing a solar power plant in New Clark City in Pampanga using green bonds as a financing option after Le Houérou briefly discussed the World Bank’s “Scaling Solar” program —a one-stop shop of services aiming to create viable markets for solar power through privately funded grid-connected solar projects.

Other IFC officials at the meeting were Vivek Pathak, regional director for East Asia and Pacific; Jane Xu, country manager for the Philippines; Val Bagatsing, principal investment officer, East Asia and Pacific; and Nicolas Marquier, adviser to the CEO. Mara Warwick, World Bank country director for the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam was also in attendance. The OFB was inaugurated at the Postbank Center in Manila by the President on January 17, 2018. Last year, the DOF pointed out that around 10 million overseas Filipino workers could be the initial beneficiaries of the technological leapfrog envisioned for the OFB, which aims to transform the way Filipinos buy, receive, sell and distribute goods and services. Rea Cu

FOR MARAWI Metrobank Foundation on Thursday turned over a P2-million contribution to the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Inc. (FFCCCII) to support its Marawi civic project. At the turnover were, from left: Dr. Ferdinand Gan, FFCCCII secretary-general; David Chua, FFCCCII vice president; Domingo Yap, FFCCCII president; Arthur Ty, chairman of Metrobank; Fabian S. Dee, president of Metrobank; and Aniceto M. Sobrepeña, president of Metrobank Foundation. NONOY LACZA

Friday, January 11, 2019


Gems of Gyeonggi Part Two


URING my visit to Gyeonggi province in South Korea sponsored by the Gyeonggi Association World Tourism Organization (GTO), I discovered another “gem”: the “All in One Gyeonggi” initiative. Octavio Peralta GTO is a government organization funded by the Gyeonggi provincial government that aims to establish Gyeonggi as a dynamic business events destination where people, technology and ideas converge to create great value and memorable experiences for its MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) events. GTO has a holistic and collaborative approach in promoting these international events that are organized in any of the province’s 31 city and county destinations. As the lead organization in the tourism and business events sector in the province, GTO assists business event organizers, corporations and associations by providing comprehensive and impartial information on Gyeonggi’s meeting and exhibition facilities, incentive venues and industry partners. To sustain this push, GTO set up the Gyeonggi Convention Bureau in August 2011. It was renamed as Gyeonggi MICE Bureau (GMICE Bureau) in March 2015 to focus and provide a broad range of support for MICE activities such as attracting international conferences, developing MICE-related tourism programs, providing onestop services, and establishing MICE business partnerships in Gyeonggi province. GMICE Bureau provides individualized financial subsidies to business event organizers, corporations and associations, complimentary site inspections tours (including accommodation, hosted tour, interpreter, etc.), promotional and orientation materials like brochures, visitor guides, maps and audiovisuals, new marketing channel development for business events, and liaison support with relevant government bodies and third parties. At the heart of the All in One Gyeonggi MICE strategy is the Gyeonggi MICE Alliance, a partnership between the Gyeonggi provincial government and the region’s major meetings-and-related businesses. The alliance, in effect, acts as a joint promotion and marketing body for the MICE industry in the entire province. In the Philippine context, this alliance may be likened to the public-private partnership model in infrastructure development. The main role of the Gyeonggi MICE Alliance is to: (a) develop and recommend policies and activities to foster the MICE industry, including staff training and personal exchanges; (b) create and deliver innovative MICE products and services; and (c) develop and operate an integrated marketing, branding, public relations and information systems. For GMICE Bureau, no event is too big or too small for Gyeonggi. It is thus dedicated to giving the full backing of the local government and industry in making MICE events anywhere in the province successful and memorable. From 2014 to 2106, results of its efforts were encouraging, with 114 MICE events and 328,000 participants recorded. This number is expected to increase. I am sharing what I have learned from my Gyeonggi trip to policy-makers and local governments here in the hope that such focused and integrated approach to MICE development and promotion in our country could be something to emulate and replicate. The contributor, Octavio “Bobby” Peralta, is concurrently the secretary-general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific, founder and CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives, and president of the AsiaPacific Federation of Association Organizations. The purpose of PCAAE—the “association of associations”—is to advance the association-management profession and to make associations well-governed and sustainable. PCAAE enjoys the support of Adfiap, the Tourism Promotions Board and the Philippine International Convention Center. E-mail: 

B4 Friday, January 11, 2019



OR a limited time only, Sun Life Financial Philippines is bringing back the Sun peso maximizer, an investment-linked life-insurance product that will enable clients to access top-quality assets worldwide using the local currency. Providing insurance protection for seven years, the Sun peso maximizer helps one secure the future of his loved ones with a guaranteed life-insurance benefit equivalent to at least 125 percent of his one-time premium payment. Moreover, by employing a systematic investment approach, the Sun peso

maximizer can also enhance the value of one’s money and offer the potential to earn more from global investment opportunities. This is done by tapping into the performance of the Goldman Sachs prime momentum-optimization strategy (GS PriMO), a transparent and systematic strategy that provides access to a wide range of global asset classes. Annual-income payments may also be enjoyed for six years then, at the end of the seven-year holding period, at least the full single premium will be received, thus, providing one the opportunity to earn while

also protecting his capital. The Sun peso maximizer will be available until January 16. “[The] Sun peso maximizer is ideal for those who aim to preserve their wealth, as well as boost their money’s growth and income,” Sun Chief Marketing Officer Mylene Lopa said. “With both the life insurance protection and investment aspects covered, clients can certainly make the most of the local currency with [the] Sun peso maximizer.” For more details, call at 849-9888 or visit today.

WELCOME RESPITE FOR THE NEW YEAR The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is pleased to announce that power rates for a typical household decreased this month by P0.34 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). For residential customers consuming 200 kWh per month, this will redound to a reduction of P68 in their electricity bills. Meralco Public Information Office Head Joe Zaldarriaga (in photo) explained that the overall rate decrease can be attributed to the downward movement in the generation charge, while Meralco’s distribution charge has remained unchanged since July 2015. To further help households gain more savings, Meralco also advised consumers to practice energy-efficiency.


TRIVING to realize a sustainable society, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. developed the mobile power pack, which can charge renewable energy as power source for electric devices. Honda is expanding its efforts toward the realization of “local generation and consumption of energy” and a “carbon-free society” by combining technologies to “generate”, “get connected” and “use” for energy. In 2017 Honda has conducted a demo of the mobile power pack in Asia and Romblon Island, where dieselpower generation is the primary source of energy while it is, therefore, overly dependent on high cost and carbon-dioxide energy, aside from facing a challenge in ensuring stable power supply while accommodating electricity needs with large fluctuations in day-night demand. For this demonstration testing, Komaihaltec, which jointly conducted this testing with Honda, installed a wind-power generator that generates clean energy. Honda installed an exchanger where surplus electricity will be stored in the mobile power packs to realize highly energy-efficient

use, through which the two companies will strive to realize a reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions. Soon in Romblon, Honda will utilize PCX Electric as an electric-mobility product, which can be installed with the mobile power pack, to collaborate with wind-power generator as renewable energy source in the island. The PCX Electric is an electric motorized scooter. Two mobile power-pack units enable the PCX Electric to travel up to 41 kilometers (60 km/hour steady state test) on a single charge. It maintains the PCX series’s easy-to-handle size and comfortable riding position to realize comfortable and elegant riding. It also maintains the advanced features, such as the stylish All-LED lights and Honda smart key system, which allows the rider to unlock the main-switch knob by simply approaching the scooter without removing the smart key from their garment. Honda looks forward to the continuing innovation of its products to contribute to the creation of a sustainable and carbon-free environment.



HE Madrigal Foundation, headed by Therese Madrigal and its partners, is now busy on a nationwide campaign helping the country’s tricycle drivers clean up their gasoline cylinders for better condition of their vehicles and for cleaner air. This is after the foundation has successfully launched Para Kay Manong Toda campaign last November. The advocacy campaign aims to help marginalized drives alleviate their lives by maintaining the good working condition of their prized vehicle, as well as contributing to cleaner air of their surrounding areas. The foundation also aims to have them being heard through forums, seminars and press conferences to improve their lives. Two panel discussions were held with topics ranging from environment to wellness. Speakers include Shariff Ibrahim, an advocate; Migui Moreno, actor and businessman; Mario Batuigas, former radio broadcaster and is now into online broadcast; Bong Quiroga, Business Chamber president; Rey Castro, barangay captain at Santa Maria, Bulacan; Undersecretary Rose Bistoyong, Climate

Change Council; Eva Lisa Adoremos, Manong Toda; and Therese Madrigal. Madrigal is overwhelmed with the outcome. Attendees came even from other countries just to attend the event and more from the local government units. The event was just the start, according to Therese, and the campaign would be touring nationwide to support trike drivers and operators. According to Therese, most drivers are head of the family and work seven times a week to support their loved ones in the absence of health insurance. Most of them don’t receive benefits from the government. These modern day heroes, especially in times of typhoon and street flooding, heavy traffic and other calamities, are exposed to pollution and environmental hazards every day. One of the programs under Para Kay Manong Toda is to help drivers on their working and medical conditions, so they can continue helping their families and society, as well as by giving reliable service to those in need. The foundation believes that information dissemination is one way for them to be heard.



HILIPPINE Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is definitely ending the year 2018 with partial sales of P59.4 billion, minus the small town lottery (STL) sales for the month of November and December. “We are very proud and happy to show you the results of our hard work. Many people tried to discredit the agency’s efforts [and] my leadership, especially STL, but these figures will tell you, otherwise. The agency is earning and soaring high,” PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan declared. In a data provided by the Gaming, Product Development and Marketing Sector, headed by assistant general manager Arnel Casas, the partial revenues of PCSO from January to December registered a whopping P59,432,344,377.63, short of 567,655,622.37 from the P60 billion target set by the agency by the end of the year. “Sa STL, baka ma-break natin ang P24 billion this year, from P4.7 to 5 billion a year dati. Kasi nag-a-average na ang STL ng P2 billion a month. Tapos, from original 18, meron na tayong 84 ASAs [authorized STL agents] nationwide, including [the] Visayas at Mindanao. But ang biggest factor sa pagtaas ng revenue natin ay ‘yung trust and confidence ng mga tao. Nakikita nila kung magkano ang kinikita at nalalaman nila kung saan napupunta ang kinikita—sa mga taong lubos na nangangailangan,” Balutan added. The PCSO Charter, or Republic Act 1169, particularly on revenue allocation, provides that the revenue of the PCSO shall be allocated to 55 percent for prize fund (payment of prizes), 30 percent for charity fund (various charity programs and service) and 15 percent as operating fund (maintenance and operating expenses). Of the 59.4 billion partial gross sales, P31,902,529,360 came from lotto and digit games, which is up by 0.13 percent, compared to the same period last year; P4,397,969,030 from Keno; P21,976,880,987.63 from STL (January to October); P5,841,000 from sweepstakes; and P1,149,124,000 from instant sweepstakes ticket. Of all lotto games, the Ultra Lotto 6/58

registered the highest revenue at P7,167,969,460, followed by Grand Lotto 6/55 at P2,728,871,040, Mega Lotto 6/45 at P2,657,748,020, Super Lotto 6/49 at P2,635,813,160 and Lotto 6/42 at P2,272,112,020, all from January to December. As for the digit games, three digits has the highest revenue at P7,223,932,630, followed by EZ2 at P6,485,531,320, four digits at P474,117,200, and six digits at P256,434,510. Balutan also credited the success of the agency to STL, which is the second-highest earning product, especially the efforts of operators, kaboes and kubradores who helped eliminate the illegal numbers game. “Lahat ng illegal numbers game—suertres, masiao, pares or jueteng—na ‘yan ay ima-migrate natin sila para maging legal na sila. Nabawasan ng husto ang mga nagi-illegal kaya kumita tayo ng husto. Remember from 18 naging 84 ASAs, imagine ‘yung 66 na ‘yun ang dating nagi-illegal? Kaya maraming nagagalit sa akin na mga local government units at mga congressmen dahil talagang tinamaan sila,” Balutan said. Balutan dispelled rumors that STL is being used as jueteng front. With the amount of presumptive monthly retail receipts (PMRR) being remitted by every ASAs monthly, he said that’s not possible anymore. “Mahirap na itong gawin front dahil malaki na ang ibinibigay ng mga korporasyon sa atin. Kung mag-i-illegal pa sila, hindi nila makakayanan ‘yung ipinapataw nating ingreso buwan-buwan...,” he explained. Despite all his detractors, Balutan assured he will fight for what is right, and educate the law-enforcement agency and the people as to what is illegal and, through the revenues of PCSO, it can help more people in need. Photo shows Balutan (center) greeting Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (left) and Lung Center of the Philippines executive director Dr. Vincent Balanag Jr. at the launch of 19th Malasakit Center at the Lung Center of the Philippines on January 7.

Sports BusinessMirror


| Friday, January 11, 2019 Editor: Jun Lomibao

Djokovic, Federer on opposite sides of Australian Open

M NBA RESULTS Boston 135, Indiana 108 THE Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo gets control of a loose ball in front of the Rockets’ Austin Rivers. AP

Washington 123, Philadelphia 106 Brooklyn 116, Atlanta 100 Memphis 96, San Antonio 86 Milwaukee 116, Houston 109 New Orleans 140, Cleveland 124 Dallas 104, Phoenix 94

VINCE CARTER hasn’t said if he plans to retire following the season. He would make league history if he returns, as nobody has played 22 seasons in the league. AP

Utah 106, Orlando 93 Portland 124, Chicago 112

IS IT GOODBYE VINCE CARTER? LA Lakers 113, Detroit 100


By Brian Mahoney The Associated Press

EW YORK—Vince Carter looked up at the highlights, enjoying the view of himself back in the days when he was among the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) highest flyers. He’s about to turn 42, now in his 21st season, and he doesn’t jump quite like the guy being shown on Wednesday night on the Barclays Center overhead screens. The Nets honored Carter, who is the oldest active player, with a tribute video during their game against Atlanta, a way to say thank you for his four-and-a-half seasons with the franchise. “It was great. Any time you can see old video of when you were young and spry and springy and all of that good stuff, I mean, it’s always great to see,” Carter said. Good times, yes. But was it goodbye? Carter hasn’t said if he plans to retire following the season. He would make NBA history if he returns, as nobody has played 22 seasons in the league. So was the video premature? “I’m OK with it. Either way it’s cool,” he said with a smile. “I’m very thankful for it, that they even considered it. “When it was mentioned to me I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’” The video was played in the first half, shortly after Carter had come off the Hawks’ bench for the first time. He received ovations from the crowd both times, and he acknowledged the fans after the video played. He never played in Brooklyn but was one of their best when the Nets played in New Jersey, ranking third on the franchise scoring list while playing in the backcourt alongside Jason Kidd. “Obviously it wasn’t in this building, but nevertheless the feeling is still the same,” Carter said. “My five years here was fun, a lot of fun. J Kidd made it obviously easy to play the game up and down and create a lot of highlights and memories, so it was awesome to see.” The Hawks’ road trip has been right down Carter’s memory lane. They played on Tuesday in Toronto, where he began his career and has repaired his relationship with fans that was damaged when he pushed for the trade that landed him in New Jersey. “It’s a great trip. Stressful sometimes, a lot of people to see, but the appreciation I’m very thankful for and I’ll never forget it,” Carter said. “And like I said, the video, yes it could be premature, or not. It’s still, they’re thinking about me and I’m very thankful for that.” He’s still productive, starting eight games and averaging 7.2 points, with a 21-point performance last month. If he comes back, he breaks a tie with Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish and Kevin Willis for the most NBA seasons. (Dirk Nowitzki, like Carter drafted in 1998, is also in his 21st season). Carter was informed during his postgame interview that

he was overheard as he was leaving the arena on Tuesday in Toronto telling someone that he would see him next year. “Really?” Carter said with a laugh. “Well, I’ll see you guys next year.” Giannis Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, wasn’t going to join in on the debate about whether he should be an early favorite for MVP after he led the Milwaukee Bucks to a victory over the Houston Rockets and last year’s MVP James Harden on Wednesday night. The rising young star was just happy his team was leaving Houston with a win. “All I care about is winning,” Antetokounmpo said. “I know by winning and doing whatever it takes to help your teammates and leaving everything out on the floor everything will take care of itself, the titles and all that.” Antetokounmpo scored 27 points and grabbed a season-high 21 rebounds to help the Bucks withstand a 42-point performance from Harden in a 116-109 win. In this matchup of early front-runners for MVP, Harden and his teammates were done in by a shooting slump late in the third quarter that spilled into the fourth and left them down by 15 points. “We just got stagnant and defensively I think we allowed 38 points in that quarter—way too many—especially at home and so there you go,” Harden said. “We couldn’t get out in transition. We couldn’t get to where we want to go because we couldn’t get any stops.” Milwaukee held a 13-point lead with about five minutes left before Houston used an 8-0 run, started by two threepointers from Harden, to cut the lead to 107-102. The Bucks got a lay-up from Eric Bledsoe before Harden scored the next four points to get Houston within 109-106 with two-and-a-half minutes left. Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws to push Milwaukee’s lead to four points with about 90 seconds left. Harden missed his third straight three-pointer before Antetokounmpo added a lay-up on the other end to make it, 112-106, with 40 seconds remaining. Harden missed another three seconds later and the Bucks added four free throws down the stretch to secure their seventh victory in eight games. It was Harden’s sixth 40-point outing in the last eight

games and he has scored 30 or more points in 14 straight games, which is the longest streak since Tracy McGrady did it in 2003. He shot six of 16 on three-pointers to give him at least five in the last 11 games. Houston center Clint Capela struggled, making just four of 16 shots a game after scoring a career-high 31 points in a win over the Nuggets on Monday. He finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Coach Mike D’Antoni credited Milwaukee’s big defensive duo of Brook Lopez and Antetokounmpo for making things tough on Capela. “They’re imposing at the rim,” D’Antoni said. “They did a good job and it costs us some turnovers, and we just weren’t real sharp and we tried to force some things up underneath the basket.” The Bucks scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to stretch a run they started in the third quarter to 15-0 and make it, 98-83, with about 10 minutes left. The Rockets got their first field goal since the 4:32 mark of the third quarter when PJ Tucker made a three-pointer a few seconds after that. Houston led by six at halftime after 23 points by Harden, but the Bucks opened the third quarter with an 11-3 run to take a 65-63 lead with about 9:30 left in the quarter. Milwaukee got four points from Malcolm Brogdon and three from Antetokounmpo in that stretch. The Rockets got five quick points from Gerald Green to start a 7-0 run later in the third that put them up, 75-70. The Bucks were down by seven later in the quarter before using a 17-1 spurt to end the quarter and take a 92-83 lead into the fourth. That run included a 9-0 run in the last 1:19 of the quarter highlighted by a tip-in at the buzzer by Antetokounmpo.

ELBOURNE, Australia—Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are each aiming for a record seventh men’s Australian Open title and the draw has ensured they can’t play each other at Melbourne Park until the final. Serena Williams already has seven Aussie titles, and is a strong contender to add another after skipping her title defense in 2018 while she was on leave after having a baby. Now seeded 16th, Williams was drawn into the same section on Thursday as No. 1-ranked Simona Halep, the runner-up here last year. The pair could meet in the fourth round. No. 1-ranked Djokovic starts at the top of the draw and will open against a qualifier. He has the potential of a second-round meeting against wildcard entry Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He defeated Tsonga in the 2008 Australian final. Djokovic also has a potential quarterfinal against No. 8-seeded Kei Nishikori. No. 4 Alexander Zverev is in the same half and looms in the semifinals if both players advance that far. Defending champion Federer is in the bottom half of the draw with No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal. Aiming for a third consecutive Australian title and a 21st Grand Slam crown, Federer will open against Denis Istomin. And with No. 6 Marin Cilic in the same quarter, there’s potential for a rematch of the 2018 final a few rounds early. Cilic has Andy Murray, who is coming back from a long-term hip injury, in his section. In Sydney, Aliaksandra Sasnovich’s impressive start to the season continued on Thursday with a straight-sets win over Timea Bacsinszky to advance to the Sydney International semifinals. The No. 33-ranked Sasnovich, who made it to the quarterfinals last week in Brisbane, was in control most of the way to beat the Swiss, 6-3, 6-3. Sasnovich will face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final. Kvitova and Kerber played later Thursday. Ashleigh Barty, who beat top-seeded Simon Halep on Wednesday, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Elise Mertens, breaking the Belgian player’s serve six times. “I thought it was a little bit of a slow start, but it was good to get the ball rolling mid to late in that first set,” Barty said. Barty will meet Yulia Putintseva or Kiki Bertens in the semifinals. In men’s quarterfinals on Thursday, eighth-seeded Andreas Seppi upset top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, and No. 3 Diego Schwartzman beat Yoshihito Nishioka, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (1). AP

NO. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic starts at the top of the draw and will open against a qualifier.



C2 Friday, January 11, 2019


HE Philippine Azkals bring all the lessons they learned from a confidence-building opener against South Korea when they take on higher-ranked China in a crucial match at the Asian Cup 2019 at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Kickoff is set at 5:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. in Manila) as the No.116 Filipinos face the No.76 Dragons with hopes of pulling a miracle—or at least repeat their impressive debut despite losing 0-1 to the Taegeuk Warriors on Monday night. With the mission focused on making a good impression rather than creating noise on the continental stage, the stakes are more critical this time as a second setback will dim the Azkals’ chances of advancing in the knockout round. The nationals loss to the World Cup veteran Koreans was more than enough to introduce the heavy underdogs to the big arena. Sven Goran Eriksson, the Azkals Swede coach with a packed credentials, said that the Filipinos are in jubilant mode after giving the Koreans the scare of their lives. “Even if we lost, the confidence was high. I spoke to the players, and the mood was good.

India striker surpasses Messi


BU DHABI, United Arab Emirates—His name is being mentioned in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, even though it’s a name few soccer fans are familiar with. By scoring two goals in his first match at this year’s Asian Cup, India striker Sunil Chhetri displaced Messi as the second-most prolific scorer in national team

They know they did a good job,” Eriksson said. Eriksson said he wishes to see the same intensity against the Chinese. “I want to see that we can dominate and keep the ball better against China,” he said. “It’s an extremely important game for us because if we lose, and South Korea wins [against Kyrgyzstan], it’s over for us,” he noted. Eriksson’s portfolio as a coach included stints in China with Guangzhao and Shanghai teams, clubs boasting of national team players. “If we think that it’s going to be easier against China, that’s dangerous. If you do not defend well against them, you will not win, and I know some of the players that are good in counterattacks,” Eriksspon said. China beat Kyrgyzstan, 2-1, also on Monday share the top spot with South Korea in Group C. Two years ago, the Dragons annihilated the then-Thomas Dooley-coached Azkals, 8-1, in a friendly in Guangzhao.

Ramon Rafael Bonilla

THE Philippines’s Patrick Reichelt battles for the ball during their match with South Korea. AP SUNIL CHHETRI displaces Lionel Messi as the secondmost prolific scorer in national team soccer. AP



BU DHABI, United Arab Emirates—Qatar and Japan won their opening games at the Asian Cup on Wednesday, but for both teams it’s all about 2022. Quite literally for Qatar, which is hosting the next World Cup that year and scored its first goal at 8:22 p.m.—or 2022—Qatar time. Japan’s quest for a record fifth title started with a 3-2 victory over Turkmenistan, while Qatar earned a 2-0 win over Lebanon amid political tension with the host nation. After giving up an early goal, Japan—which has a young squad that’s been rebuilt with an eye on the next World Cup—scored three in quick succession to turn the game around. Yuya Osako scored in the 56th and 60th minutes, the latter following a goalkeeping error, and Ritsu Doan made it 3-1 in the 71st. Arslanmurat Amanov scored with a long-range shot to give Turkmenistan— the Asian Cup’s second lowest-ranked team—the lead in the 26th minute. Ahmet Atayev converted a penalty kick toward the end after a foul by Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda. After losing to Belgium in the last 16 of the World Cup, Japan is trying to rebuild. Coach Hajime Moriyasu left some experienced players off the team for the Asian Cup, including midfielder Shinji Kagawa and forward Shinji Okazaki. He is instead giving more prominence to players like Gonda, whose last competitive international game was in 2013. Japan is unbeaten in six games since the World Cup, five of those victories. In the other Group F match, Uzbekistan beat Oman, 2-1. Eldor Shomurodov scored the winning goal in the 85th minute. Uzbekistan finished the match with 10 men after defender Egor Krimets was sent off in stoppage time for fouling an opposing player who was through on goal.

Qatar dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge against Lebanon before Iraqiborn Bassam Al-Rawi curled in a free kick in the 65th. Almoez Ali made it 2-0 from a rebound 14 minutes later. Earlier, Lebanon thought it had scored its first major-tournament goal since 2000 through Ali Hamam at a corner, but it was ruled out for a foul away from the ball. It was the first time in 35 years that Qatar won an Asian Cup game while not being the host. Qatar is playing despite political tension with the host United Arab Emirates and Group E rival Saudi Arabia, which have blockaded Qatar, cutting many travel and trade links. That disrupted travel plans for the Qatari team and the head of the Asian Cup’s organizing committee, who is Qatari. Qatar leaned heavily on its lavish youth academy system to build a team, and its squad is the youngest of all 24 in the Asian Cup. Naturalized foreign-born players are also key, including French-born midfielder Karim Boudiaf and Portugal-born defender Pedro Correia. Lebanese fans made up the vast majority of the crowd for Wednesday’s game and frequently jeered Qatar. Saudi Arabia stayed top of Group E ahead of Qatar thanks to its 4-0 win over North Korea on Tuesday. AP

soccer. He now has scored 67 times for his country, trailing only Ronaldo’s 85. “There is no comparison whatsoever between me and Lionel Messi or Ronaldo, but I am very, very honored,” Chhetri said after India beat Thailand, 4-1, in its opening game at the Asian Cup. “I don’t take it for granted, the goals I score for my country. Every time I get an opportunity, I do my best to score.” At 34, Chhetri has established himself as the top striker in South Asia since first playing for India in 2005. “He has worked so hard over the years and has always tried to be as good as he possibly can and inspiring his teammates,” India Coach Stephen Constantine told The Associated Press. “He deserves to be talked about all over Asia and elsewhere for what he has done for India.” Chhetri is a five-time Indian player of the year, but he was always looking to move abroad to further his career. It just wasn’t easy. Despite regularly being linked with European clubs, Chhetri was turned down in 2009 by lowerleague English club Coventry. The following year, he joined the Kansas City Wizards but was released in 2011 without making it on the field for a Major League Soccer game. Soon after, he failed to earn a move to Glasgow to play for Scottish team Rangers. When some teams were interested, such as London club Queens Park Rangers, Chhetri did not meet the requirements for a work permit because India was not ranked in the top 70 by Fifa. The closest Chhetri came to playing in Europe was after a 2012 move to Sporting Lisbon, but after a handful of games for the “B’’ team he left Portugal and returned to India. Now in his mid-30s and playing for Bengaluru in the Indian league, a big international move is unlikely. But he’s still scoring goals for his country. On Sunday in Abu Dhabi, Chhetri’s two goals helped India win its first Asian Cup match since 1964. “The Asian Cup, it could not be bigger for us,” Chhetri said. “We need to stay focused and keep working hard.” Next up for the Indians is a game against host UAE before the group is completed against Bahrain. Suddenly, a place in the last 16 seems attainable. “Sunil Chhetri is an absolute professional and has shown that, time and time again, he gives everything for India every time he plays,” said Constantine, an Englishman who took over as India coach in 2015. “He is a phenomenal goal scorer at this level.” Now even Messi and Ronaldo will be aware of that, too. AP

THE 22-year-old Shim Suk-hee accuses her former coach of raping and sexually molesting her multiple times, beginning in 2014 when she was a high-school student.



Friday, January 11, 2019


WANTED: BLATCHE By Ramon Rafael Bonilla



HE country’s basketball body wants Andray Blatche to reinforce the national team in the sixth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers next month. But Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio said the federation has yet to draw a solid commitment for the naturalized player’s availability for the country’s away games against Qatar on February 21


EFENDING champion Arellano University needed a strong finish to offset a sloppy opening set to beat University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, 18-25, 25-16, 25-19, 26-24, on Thursday to close in on an eliminationround sweep and an outright finals berth in the women’s division of the 94th National Collegiate Athletic Association volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City. Power-spiking Nicole Ebuen did most of the heavy work and fired a game-best 18 points she laced with 12 kills and four blocks, as the Lady Chiefs booked their eighth straight victory, one win away from sweeping the eliminations that would push them straight to the best-of-three championship series. The Legarda-based team needs to hurdle last year’s finals opponent, San Beda, which is currently at No. 2 with a 7-1 won-lost card, on Tuesday to advance to the finals outright. Arellano University, which is eyeing a third straight crown and fourth overall in the last five seasons, also drew a solid effort from last year’s finals MVP Regine Anne Arocha, who contributed 11 points. Perpetual Help, which was led by Cindy Imbo’s 13 points, fell to its third setback against four triumphs and a share of No. 4 with San Sebastian College. The Lady Altas must beat San Sebastian and Jose Rizal University (4-4) next week to return to the Final Four. In the juniors’ side, Letran waylaid Mapua, 25-18, 25-19, 25-22, to keep its stranglehold of third spot with a 6-2 card. In men’s action, Letran smashed Mapua, 25-15, 25-22, 25-20, for its second win in eight outings.



ORE than 500 children from Bangued in Abra will participate in the first 2019 edition of the Philippine Sports Commission’s (PSC) Children’s Games “Sports for Peace” on Friday. “We are starting 2019 with the same


purpose, but with a greater motivation to expand the reach of the PSC by conducting the Children’s Games all over the country,” PSC Chairman William Ramirez said. The PSC’s centerpiece program for grassroots sports recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural

Organization in 2017, is opening its four-day program by training sports volunteers in the Ate/ Kuya Workshop. It will be followed by the games proper on Saturday. Philippine Sports Institute Deputy Director for Grassroots Marlon Malbog said that the PSC has a standing agreement with Abra Gov. Jocelyn Bernos to conduct an edition of the games in the province.

Kids from Muslim, Christian and indigenous communities will be playing various team and individual sports like basketball, volleyball, football, badminton and table tennis, as well as the muchanticipated Larong Pinoy. The PSC catered to a record 10,746 children in 22 cities, municipalities and provinces in its Children’s Games program.

PPS-PEPP tennis series opens new season in Valenzuela City


OPEN MEDIA WORKOUT Manny Pacquiao addresses an open media workout at the

Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles more than a week before he defends his World Boxing Association welterweight belt against Adrien “The Problem” Broner at the MGM Grand Arena on January 19. COURTESY WENDELL ALINEA/MP PROMOTIONS

Access to the facility before December 31 was a compulsory condition set when the Wada Executive Committee controversially lifted the suspension of Rusada on September 20 and with the deadline having now elapsed, calls have been made for them to be declared noncompliant again. A smaller expert team has now returned to Russia with Wada claiming the equipment issue has been resolved. A brief statement sent to insidethegames by Wada said the team had arrived in Russia and were “looking forward” to starting their work tomorrow. Wada President Sir Craig Reedie has said that if the trip is successful “it will break a long impasse and will potentially lead to many cases being actioned.” He added, however, that the organization is

still working on the basis that the deadline was missed and he appeared to suggest Rusada could still be declared noncompliant even if the data is acquired this time. Wada is considering “all the consequences” that missing the deadline could bring, he said. Critics, however, are concerned the new threeperson team may also end up leaving Russia without what they want, and have also claimed the data could have been manipulated. “This appears to be the sequel to the cat-andmouse game between Wada and Russia that we have unfortunately come to expect,” Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said in a statement. “We are all holding our breath this is not going to be a whitewash and Wada actually gets the data on the roughly 9,000 presumptive positive test results on over 4,000 Russian athletes that hopefully have not been destroyed.” Insidethegames


OUTH KOREA’S Olympic short track speed skating champion Shim Suk-hee has filed a complaint against her former coach over alleged sexual assault. As reported by Yonhap, according to a complaint submitted to police last month, the 22-year-old Shim accused Cho Jae-beom of raping and sexually molesting her multiple times, beginning in 2014 when she was a highschool student. “She has been repeatedly subjected to these crimes since she was a teenager, and the depth of her traumatic wounds is beyond description,” her lawyer Lim Sang-hyuk told SBS News. Shim maintains that Cho’s alleged sexual abuse continued until around two months before the opening of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games last February.

secured in the World Cup China is hosting from August 31 to September 15 in eight cities. Blatche is currently in China playing for the Tianjin Gold Lions and has earlier reiterated his intention to play for Team Pilipinas. Blatche could have returned to national team duties in the second game of the fifth window last December 3 against Iran, but Head Coach Yeng Guiao dropped him in favor of Christian Standhardinger. The team lost, 70-78, against the Iranians at the Mall of Asia Arena. Standhardinger, along with Stanley Pringle, are the other naturalized players in Guiao’s disposal. Guiao is expected to announce the 15-man pool before the national team returns to practice in two weeks.

Bangued hosts 2019 Children’s Games ‘Sports for Peace’ opener

Wada extracts data in Moscow HE World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has confirmed their three-person team has arrived in Moscow and will start working to extract crucial data from the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (Rusada) laboratory this weekend. Wada announced recently that a new team would head to the Russian capital this week after authorities there reportedly resolved an issue surrounding the certification of equipment. Wada had initially hoped to take control of the Laboratory Information Management System before a December 31 deadline, on the assumption it will help catch more cheats. On the first attempt last month, their five-person team was blocked by the Russian authorities, who claimed their equipment had not been certified under the country’s law.

and Kazakstan on February 24. “We told him and his representatives that we want him to be here at least one month before the games,” Panlilio said. “We’re in touch with him. I think [national team] Coach Yeng [Guiao] has put him in the pool. But what we want is for him to come earlier so he can learn the new system of Coach Yeng and the new pool of players,” he added. Blatche played for Team Pilipinas in the infamous brawl between the Filipinos and Australians at the Philippine Arena. The former National Basketball Association player missed the qualifiers to serve a three-game suspension slapped by Fiba. The Philippines has won only one of its last four outings for a precarious 5-5 won-lost card. Australia (9-1), Iran (7-3) and Japan (6-4) are

Lim said she was unable to tell the truth because of Cho’s threat that the revelation could ruin her career. Cho’s lawyers told SBS News that he denied the allegations of sexual assault. Last month, Shim said she wanted “the truth to come out” during a tearful testimony against Cho, who was sentenced to 10 months in prison in September for assaulting four skaters, including Shim, over a seven-year period from 2011 to 2018. According to Yonhap, the young skater, who helped hosts South Korea defend their women’s 3,000-meter relay title at Pyeongchang 2018, fought back tears as she described Cho’s alleged beatings and the effect they had on her. The case caused huge controversy in South

Korea in the buildup to Pyeongchang 2018, with Cho handed a lifetime ban by the Korea Skating Union just weeks before the Opening Ceremony. He is appealing his prison sentence. The issue first arose when Shim reportedly boycotted a training program in protest, although she did return two days later. Shim had originally only given statements through her lawyer, as she did not want to face Cho in court, but then said she felt she needed to tell her side of the story in person. During her testimony she alleged Cho had been abusing her, both physically and verbally, since she was in elementary school. The attacks, she said, led to injuries including broken bones and concussion. Insidethegames

MIX of the young and old, plus the current crop, gears up for a fierce battle in the next two weeks as the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala (PPS-PEPP) tennis tournament kicks off its new season on Friday with the Actifit Open national age-grouper in Valenzuela City. Alexa Milliam, who dominated the last quarter of last year’s edition of the country’s biggest talent search, banners the cast in the girls’ 14and 16-under divisions, upbeat but wary of her chances against a souped-up field in the Group 1 tournament presented by Dunlop. Mariel Jarata, Mica Emana and Jiana Hernandez set out to stop the Pontevedra, Negros Occidental, ace in the 14-under section while Franchezka Malaki, Romika Custodio and Hernandez are tipped to spoil Milliam’s bid in the 16-under category of the weeklong event that drew 200 players in nine age-group

divisions at the Actifit Sports Center. The event, coorganized by John Mari Altiche, will also feature the Legends division to be played on January 19 and 20 and January 26 and 27 with the men’s and women’s Open, featuring some of the country’s leading players, capping the twoweek meet from January 21 to 27. “We have lined up a record 70-leg circuit this year that will keep our age-groupers busy, particularly those from the countryside where talents are waiting to be tapped and developed,” Palawan Pawnshop President and CEO Bobby Castro said. Action shifts to Mindanao from January 31 to February 4 with Isulan, Sultan Kudarat and Kabacan, North Cotabato, hosting the next two legs of circuit sanctioned by the Unified Tennis Philippines made up of PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-MEG.

SPIETH LOOKING FOR FRESH START By Doug Ferguson The Associated Press





| Friday, January 11, 2019 Editor: Jun Lomibao

JORDAN SPIETH hits from the fourth tee during the pro-am round of the Sony Open on Wednesday. AP

ONOLULU—Jordan Spieth showed up in Hawaii three years ago hopeful that a new year would be more of a continuation than a fresh start. Back then, he was coming off two majors, five victories, the FedEx Cup and he was No. 1 in the world. He’s in a different spot at the Sony Open. Spieth went through an entire year without a trophy for the first time as a pro. He didn’t have even a mathematical chance at the FedEx Cup because he didn’t make it to the Tour Championship for the first time. Spieth starts the year at No. 17. So is this a fresh start or a continuation? In his case, a little of both. “Thinking of something as a fresh start, that you can throw away some of the struggles from last season, is beneficial,” he said on Wednesday. “But I was doing really good work as the season went on where I was focusing my work, which was in the putting. So I don’t want to necessarily wash all that away. I was doing the right stuff. It’s then just a continuation of that work as I start to dial it in more and more. “So yes and no,” he concluded. “I guess mentally, yes. But physically, no.” He wasn’t even sure he was coming to Oahu until a few weeks ago. Spieth wasn’t eligible for the winners-only field at Kapalua. He got married over Thanksgiving weekend, which cut into a typical schedule

of preparations for the new year. His expectations aren’t as high as they might be. “Just after Christmas,” he said of his decision to play the Sony Open. “I had a good day practicing and said, ‘All right, I’m going.’ A couple of days after that it was, ‘Dang it, I’m not ready.’ Couple of days after that, ‘Yeah.’ I’m really glad I’m here, whether it goes well or not.” The Sony Open starts on Thursday as the first full field of 2019, with 23 players who were at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week. That includes Justin Thomas, who won at Waialae two years ago by opening with a 59 and breaking the Professional Golfers Association Tour’s record for 72 holes with a 253 total. Patrick Reed also is in the field, the first time Reed and Spieth have been in the same tournament since the Ryder Cup, remembered as much for the European victory as Reed blaming Spieth for them not playing together in France. Spieth and Thomas went 3-1 as partners, while Reed and Tiger Woods went 0-2. “I was a bit surprised,” Spieth said about Reed’s post-Ryder Cup comments. “It didn’t bother me. I was just like, ‘Whoa.’ There was nothing lead up to that...nothing told me that was going to happen.” He doesn’t expect any awkward moments, even if they’re paired with each other at some point. Reed generally gets along well with everyone inside the ropes, though he tends to practice by himself. “It’s not like he’s ever been extremely cordial to individuals, anyway,” Spieth said. “I don’t think anything will be any different.... I don’t think anything will change with how we’ve talked to each other. It will be interesting if we’re

‘I DON’T NEED 87 WINS’ L INDSEY VONN doesn’t want health or history to dictate when her storied career ends. With yet another knee injury behind her and a major record within reach, the threetime Olympic medalist is determined to retire on her terms. Vonn is ready to return from injury and resume her pursuit of the World Cup wins record. She is four victories shy of Ingemar Stenmark’s 86 victories, making her the only skier to even get close to the Swedish great. Matching that mark is a goal for Vonn, but she doesn’t want it to become an obsession before she retires later this year. “The record won’t define me, whether I get it or not,” Vonn told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “I don’t need 87 wins to be able to continue the work of my foundation, to help kids, inspire people to be healthy and active, and be positive and strive to reach their dreams and goals. I don’t need that record to accomplish those things. Once I retire, 87 won’t really matter anymore. “It’s not going to change to way I leave the sport.” The 34-year-old will retire after the season with a long list of accomplishments. She won downhill gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, eight World Cup season titles in downhill, five more in super-G, and has four overall World Cup championships. She was a good bet to catch Stenmark, too, before hyperextending her left knee and spraining a ligament while training in November. She was set to return on Wednesday, but the downhill and super-G in Saint Anton, Austria, were canceled because of heavy snowfall. Vonn had hoped to use Saint Anton as a stepping stone to the speed events in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on January 19 and 20.

Vonn injured the knee a week before her scheduled first race in Lake Louise, Alberta. She had planned to retire after this season, but now plans to compete at Lake Louis once more in November 2019. “My knee feels really good, surprisingly a lot better than I thought,” Vonn said. “I was on crutches for a while, and it just took a bit to get the strength back. I feel really strong when I am skiing and don’t feel any pain in my left knee.” Vonn’s right knee is permanently damaged from previous crashes, and she wears braces on both legs. The 34-year-old has had to fight back from injuries many times: torn ACLs, fractures near her left knee, broken ankle, sliced right thumb, a concussion and more. She’s limited now to about three runs per day, and her achy body can’t handle the workload of other skiers. “Unfortunately, my body can’t take it anymore. I had too many surgeries,” Vonn said. “It’s pretty painful to ski every day. “I want to be able to ski with my kids one day, and I want to be able to be active and not be in pain all the time,” she added. “I am in the last 50 meters of my marathon career, and I am fighting my way until the end and I am not giving up. But at the same time, I know where the finish line is, and that is Lake Louise next year.” Her final tour includes next month’s World Championships in Are, Sweden. She has rented a house and will invite family and friends to the Swedish resort where she won her first medals at a major event—two silvers in both downhill and super-G at the 2007 worlds. “And Stenmark is Swedish,” she said with a laugh. “I have a couple of more races after that, but it would close the circle on the big championships.” Vonn recognizes that she’s close to “a very meaningful record.” She just isn’t going to let it sway her plans. AP

WITH yet another knee injury behind her and a major record within reach, the three-time Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn is determined to retire on her terms. AP

competing on Sunday, what will be talked about outside of us. Between us, it won’t be anything extra than what there always is, which is peers trying to win a tournament.” Spieth wants to win, more than anything else. And it really doesn’t matter who he beats. His last victory was the British Open in 2017, the third leg of the career Grand Slam. His putting stroke got away from him early last year, and about the time he sorted that out, the long game was no longer reliable. More than not winning, Spieth rarely contended. In his 23 events at stroke play, he missed the cut five times and finished at least 10 shots out of the lead at nine other tournaments. And still was a fraction away from being a great year. He clipped a tree on the 18th hole at Augusta National with a chance to win another green jacket, and he had a share of the 54-hole lead at the British Open. “If I play 18 and make birdie at Augusta and end up winning that day, then all of a sudden it’s looked at as one of the best years I’ve had in my career, and it’s all a difference of one hole,” he said. “That’s where you start look at it like...what can you get caught up in? I still had the opportunity to win two majors last year, which is the idea I want every year.” Spieth does have one concern starting the new year. He already figured out he can’t play effectively while wearing his wedding ring. “It’s just my putting,” he said. “When I’m cross-handed, kind of jams into my grip. Unfortunately, that means I’ll probably lose some rings.”

COMPETITORS wait to be checked by race officials after finishing the third stage of the Dakar Rally between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa, Peru, on Wednesday. AP

Al-Attiyah regains Dakar lead in drama-filled 3rd stage


IMA, Peru—Dakar Rally great Stephane Peterhansel won a drama-filled third stage on Wednesday in which defending champion Carlos Sainz and overnight leader Giniel de Villiers got stuck in the dunes and lost major time. The overall lead changed back to opening-stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah. Only Razeed Al Rajhi and Peterhansel were within 10 minutes of him. The motorbike standings were also shaken up, as race leader Joan Barreda descended in fog into a basin halfway through the 331-kilometer stage from San Juan de Marcona inland to Arequipa. He couldn’t get out and abandoned the race for the third time in four years. Also, defending champion Matthias Walkner,

second overall overnight, strayed 4 kilometers off course and dropped to 21 minutes off the pace. Sainz was the first notable driver to get in trouble just 38 kilometers in, when the front left wheel was almost torn off his Mini. He managed to restart, but only after a three-hour delay. De Villiers came to a standstill at 172 km and lost four hours. Cyril Despres, Sebastien Loeb and Jakub Przygonski faded in the dunes. Meanwhile, seven-time auto champion Peterhansel and two-time winner Al-Attiyah were tearing up the stage. Peterhansel eventually won, and after starting the day 14 minutes down, he’d halved the deficit on new leader Al-Attiyah. “It was a nice stage, with tough

dunes and tricky navigation, hard-to-find waypoints in the valleys,” Peterhansel said. “It was a quintessentially Peruvian stage and the sign of things to come in the next few days.” They were split by Al Rajhi, who was fourth on the stage. The Saudi is a threat having won his previous two events, the Kazakhstan Rally and Silk Way Rally, and his codriver is Timo Gottschalk, who won the 2011 Dakar with Al-Attiyah. But of his four previous Dakars, Al Rajhi finished only two. Nani Roma, the 2014 champion, was 12 minutes back. Walkner opened the way for the motorbikes as the previous stage winner and struggled straight away. He strayed and Ricky Brabec followed him. At least they were moving,

unlike Barreda, who couldn’t recover his Yamaha and quit after two hours. French rider Xavier de Soultrait, competing in his sixth Dakar, made a huge break at the start and held on for his first career stage victory by beating Pablo Quintanilla by 15 seconds. Quintanilla was consoled by taking the overall lead, 11 minutes up on Kevin Benavides. Sam Sunderland was third, 12 minutes back. In Quintanilla’s previous six Dakars, he finished in the top 10 three times, and abandoned three times. He has a good lead on other prerace favorites: Toby Price is 15 minutes back in fifth, de Soultrait is 16 minutes back in sixth and Walkner is 21 minutes down in eighth. AP


God of Grace

EAR God, You have shown us Your glory in the light of Jesus Christ. We praise You and pray: Gracious God, bless and keep us. Anoint servant leaders and officials with every gift of the Holy Spirit. Uncover deceit, fraud and unjust practices. Prosper efforts to ensure clean air, water and soil. May God bless us with the spirit of wisdom and revelation to believe, to know and to follow Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. GIVE US THIS DAY SHARED BY LUISA LACSON, HFL Word&Life Publications •

Editor: Gerard S. Ramos •

Life BusinessMirror


Friday, January 11, 2019


Emily Blunt: There’s something about ‘Mary’ G

OLDEN Globe-winning actress Emily Blunt’s transformative ability and versatile performances make her one of the most indemand actresses of today. Blunt recently starred in the Paramount/Platinum Dunes modern horror thriller A Quiet Place, opposite John Krasinski, who also wrote and directed the film. The film opened in April to $50 million and topped the $300-million mark at the worldwide box office. It also earned widespread acclaim, earning a 95-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Blunt recently wrapped production on Disney’s Jungle Cruise, opposite Dwayne Johnson. The film, based on the classic theme park attraction, is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and will be released in theaters in July, 2020. For now, Blunt is delighting audiences everywhere in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns where she plays the proper, peculiar and enigmatic nanny. “Emily is a brilliant actress who is funny, warm, quick-witted and deeply feeling. She can also really sing and dance,” says director Rob Marshall. “Mary Poppins is actually a very layered character, stern and reserved on the outside, yet warmhearted and childlike on the inside. Emily was able to play all of those layers with such a specificity and sophistication.” What follows is a chat with the enchanting actress. So do you remember the first film? I saw the first film...I think I must have been about six or seven, and was obviously swept away by the magic of it, and of her, and what she could do in turning the mundane into something magical, and the kind of joy she infused into these children’s lives. I think every child who watched that not only felt reassured by her sort of sternness, but also that she was going to come in and make everything right again. And I think that combination of magic and reassurance has been the thing that is seared into my nostalgia when I think about Mary Poppins.

Do you think the spirit of the first film, which was released in 1964, carries over? I think we’ve been very careful to pay homage to the original, and yet this is the next chapter and this is my version of her. This is not what Julie Andrews did so brilliantly, this is ultimately my interpretation of her. But yet I do feel that Rob Marshall very much wanted to pay respect to this film that has impacted people in such a big way. How did you go about making the character your own? I had these memories of it from a child. More about how it made me feel than the details of Julie’s version of her, so that has always stayed with me. But then I’ve read all of the books, and the books, which are set actually in the 1930s which is when our story is set, have a darker, more profound backdrop, and she just leapt off the page. She is so enigmatic and batty and funny and vain, and all of these things that were so delightful to play. Tell us how Rob Marshall approached you. He presented me the idea of it and he was so excited about it and he really made sure I was aware, you know, this was Disney’s most prized possession in many ways, and as it rightly should be, and so he just said, “I really want to do it and I only want to do it with you. And if you don’t want to do it, then I may just find something else” because he said, “I see you.” And I was like, oh my god, like it was just so exciting and flattering and thrilling and scary and everything that I sort of look for in taking on something new because I knew it was going to be such a stretch, and I want to be a bit scared taking something on at this point. Why do you think Rob Marshall is the perfect person to direct? Rob is the perfect person because he understands

human beings on a sort of molecular level. He understands people’s hearts. He is an innately wonderful, uncynical, hopeful man, and he is so sophisticated and so elegant that I knew this was not going to be a sort of CGId modernized, aesthetically cool version of Mary Poppins. This was going to be something that would be a classic, and he knows how to do big storytelling in a beautiful way. This was a completely, practically done, big Hollywood movie—such a throwback to those old movies where you don’t have a lot of computergenerated imagery (CGI). I think we barely had any green screen other than the animation sequences. And people are on wires, we are floating around on wires, and everything from the parrot umbrella that speaks was an animatronic actual umbrella that is not CGId...that is an actual parrot that is speaking that someone made with their hands. Every set was so beautifully crafted and real and transporting, and I think it just grounded everybody, you know. We all discovered the magic in it. There’s a whole sequence with Meryl Streep’s character, who plays my cousin Topsy, where we’re in an upside down room, and they actually created an upside down room. I mean it was just incredible. That special effects team—what they were able to do production design-wise and these sets that actually worked, that actually moved, and props that actually were filmed, and then that footage is in the movie, it can touch it and you can feel it when you watch the movie cause you’re not left feeling numb by something that’s sort of, you know, computer can feel it. Someone else just said to me that Mary Poppins, when it first came out, was the great unifier of the time, and I think in many ways that’s probably what we need right now. We are in a fragile time. It’s a disconcerting time, and I think this is a film that’s completely uncynical and as my husband (John Krasinski) calls it, it’s like a joy bomb. It’s just so

moving, you know, and I don’t think there’s anything else like it out there, and I think people don’t even realize how much they might need an experience like this. Why does Mary Poppins come back after 24 years? There’s a line in the trailer where Michael Banks says to me, “Well, what brings you here?” And she says, “Well, the same thing that brought me the first time. I’ve come to look after the Banks children.” And then the kids say, “Us?” And she goes, “Oh yes, you too.” So it’s really about Michael...he’s really the key. Yes, she’s come to give some solace and some comfort and some magic to these children, who have had to really become like adults in the absence of their mother and their mother passing, and their father is falling apart as much as Cherry Tree Lane is. But really it’s about him. I think that’s why she comes back. Can you tell us about some of the dance numbers? There’s a big musical number with Lin (-Manuel Miranda) and I, called “A Cover Is not the Book,” and that was probably the most dancing I had to do. I do a little bit in the big lamplighter dance sequence as well, but that was day one of rehearsals when we started to dance and we ran that thing for eight weeks over and over and over again, and what Rob says is that it’s got to be in your body so that on the day when the cameras are rolling and there’s all that crew and you’re in the costume, you don’t have to think about it...that you feel safe. And that’s a dancer’s mentality, like that’s where Rob comes from. He understands that when creating a spectacle such as this, you need rehearsals. You need to make sure that everything feels good and detailed to people.

Continued on d4


Friday, January 11, 2019

Society BusinessMirror


Today’s Horoscope By Eugenia Last

CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Amanda Peet, 47; Mary J. Blige, 48; Kim Coles, 57; Naomi Judd, 73. HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Money matters must be handled conservatively. Refuse to pay for someone else’s mistake. Make changes that will make you feel good about you, the way you look and the way you use your skills, knowledge and experience to get ahead. Connect with people you have enjoyed working or playing with in the past and pick up where you left off. Your lucky numbers are 6, 13, 17, 25, 29, 32, 40.

GUEST of Honor Madame Cielito Salvador-Avanceña, IBF Overall Chairman Maria Lourdes B. Locsin, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., IBF board of trustees with excellencies and the spouses of the heads of mission.


ARIES (March 21-April 19): Take more interest in your personal finances and health. Taking better care of both will relieve stress and help you protect against unexpected situations. Take control of your life and your future. Romance will improve an important relationship. HHH


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): An open mind will lead to valuable information. Listen to what others have to say; it will help you make a personal decision. An emotional issue should be kept secret until you figure out how best to proceed. HHHH


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Partnerships will be strained if you or the other person is excessive or overreacts. Stay focused on activities and events that will help you dispel energy you might otherwise turn into anger. Joint ventures are not in your best interest. HH FROM left: IBF Vice President Consul Betty Ang, Locsin Jr., Maria Lourdes B. Locsin, Salvador-Avanceña, IBF President Consul Helen Ong, Spouses of the Heads of Mission President Susan Fries and IBF Treasurer Alice Guerrero.

MADAME Cielito Salvador-Avanceña, Maria Lourdes Barcelon Locsin and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. at the booth of New Zealand.

A look back at the International Bazaar 2018


HE International Bazaar 2018 opened its doors to the public on November 25 at the PICC’s The Forum 1, 2 and 3. The annual shopping extravaganza started with a colorful opening ceremony attended by ambassadors, consuls, their spouses and other members of the diplomatic corps. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and his wife and International Bazaar Foundation (IBF) Overall Chairman Maria Lourdes Barcelon Locsin were on hand to welcome the guests and exhibitors. To declare the International Bazaar 2018 open, special guest of honor Madame Cielito Salvador Avanceña, foreign affairs secretary and Mrs. Locsin, IBF President Consul Helen Ong, IBF Vice President

Consul Betty Ang, IBF Treasurer Alice Guerrero, and Spouses of the Heads of Mission (SHOM) President Susan Fries led the sounding of Mindanao Agung gongs owned by the late National Artist for Music Lucrecia Kasilag. A festival of lights then signaled the opening of the doors to the public. Shoppers and bargain hunters immediately trooped in to see what the embassies and consulates, together with chosen Filipino entrepreneurs and exhibitors had to offer. Crowd-drawers were Swiss chocolates and cheeses, gadgets from China, porcelain and happy coats from Japan, olive oil and paella mixes from Spain, fresh produce from New Zealand, fine wines from Australia, port from Portugal, handwoven items

from Timor-Leste, tunics and jewelry from India, plus panama hats from Colombia. Not to be outdone were the Philippine booths that showcased worldclass quality items like handcrafted jewelry, metal hammered clutch bags, colorful hand-sewn shawls and organic oils. The International Bazaar, founded in 1966, continues to foster strong bonds of friendship among members of the diplomatic community in Manila. It has raised funds in order to keep up with the sociocivic projects and charitable initiatives it has started. In 2018 the IBF decided to add to its 26 beneficiaries and 40 college scholars, a livelihood program that will help bring hope to women in depressed areas. n

Tory Burch opens new boutique TORY Burch opened its newest boutique at Power Plant Mall in Makati, further extending the brand’s presence in the Philippines where it already has three retail locations: two in Makati City and one in Mandaluyong City. The new store is the largest in the country. To celebrate the opening, the boutique offers several pieces from the latest collection that are exclusive to the Power Plant location. The store’s façade is clean and modern, with minimal brass detailing, large windows and lightboxes featuring seasonal print campaigns. In keeping with all Tory Burch stores, the interior has been designed to create a residential feel. Oak panel walls, cane tables and brass étagères offer a neutral backdrop for a sophisticated mix of furnishings, including leopard rugs, mocha-striped drapes and banquettes covered in an exquisite floral inspired by Tory’s home in the West Indies.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): You can get ahead if you handle work relationships and your responsibilities professionally. Your insight into what will and won’t work will put you in the running for a position you want or help you gain respect. HHHHH


LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Make plans to do something with friends or your lover. A new look or an activity that will encourage you to get fit and look fabulous will lift your spirits. Romance is on the rise, and a promise can be made. HHH


VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Handle your cash with care. Getting out and participating in events that interest you is favored. A reunion is likely to bring back feelings that you’ve been ignoring for some time. Let go of the past and move forward. HHH


LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Choose your words wisely. Someone will not agree with the way you handle your responsibilities. Physical activity will help to calm your nerves and any tension you are feeling toward someone who is being critical. Make love, not war. HHH


SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You’ll be offered good advice. Take a unique path, but do so for the right reason. A shift in the way you feel about someone will lead to a lifestyle change. Personal growth and physical fitness should be your targets. HHHHH


SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Home improvements can be started, but first set a budget. Hosting an event or making special plans with someone you love will change the dynamics of your relationship. An emotional situation must be dealt with openly and honestly. HH


CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Take care of matters personally. If you expect a friend or relative to step in, you’ll be disappointed. Refuse to let anger take over when a friend or relative changes his or her mind. Do your own thing. HHHH


AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Put in a full day if it will help you achieve your goal. There is plenty to gain by making choices that are geared toward success. Make special plans to enjoy what you have achieved with someone you love. Romance is favored. HHH


PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Stick to what and who you know. Working alongside likeminded people will help you avoid anyone trying to tempt or manipulate you to get involved in things that are excessive or not good for you. HHH (FROM left): Mari Jasmine, Rachel Peters, Amanda Griffin-Jacob, Tory Burch Asia President Michel Gonzalez, SSI Group Inc. President Anton Huang, Iza Calzado, Mikaela Lagdameo-Martinez and Rissa Mananquil-Trillo.

BIRTHDAY BABY: You are generous, convincing and proactive. You are outgoing and persistent.

‘hear! hear!’ BY TRACY GRAY The Universal Crossword/Edited by David Steinberg

ACROSS 1 Storage story 6 Home field 10 Wriggly swimmers 14 Obsessed with video games, say 15 Sky blue, to Brigitte 16 Dentist’s request 17 Noah’s ark, to a pair of wildebeests? 19 Baked chip type 20 Abner’s partner of old radio 21 Tennis judge’s shout 22 “Mazel ___!” 24 Give a nickname to 25 Cleared the chalkboard 27 Stitch used when knitting a baby sweater? 29 Landlady’s favorite musical? 30 WWII female 32 Burst of electricity 33 2016 NCAA women’s basketball champs 35 Many shelter animals 36 Swishing part of a rodeo ride? 38 Prohibit

0 Deep, dark hole 4 41 Atrocities 42 Shape of Ford’s logo 43 Hatcher or Garr 47 Destroy an invasive bamboo crop? 49 Political debate topics 51 WWII battle zone 52 Antiquated 53 Surfer’s requirement?: Abbr. 54 1040 preparer, for short 55 On cloud ___ 57 Sign at a health supplement store? 60 Lacrosse score 61 Beehive State athletes 62 Toe problems 63 Hampton and Red Roof 64 Chatty pet 65 Look after DOWN 1 Fishing pier figure 2 Professor’s job protection 3 Novelist Capote 4 SSNs, e.g. 5 Travel by bike

6 Tightly strung 7 Israeli submachine gun 8 Countrylike 9 A/C cooling agent 10 Telepathy initials 11 Labor day offering? 12 Form of public worship 13 Livestock stalls 18 California’s state tree 23 Panoramas 26 Five o’clock shadow 27 Space that might contain a kegerator 28 Sticklers 31 ___ Arbor, Michigan 34 It’s been shortening since 1911 35 In vogue 36 Late senator John McCain, e.g. 37 Jump-starting org. for entrepreneurs 38 Profit-driven Star Trek race 39 Prolonged applause, usually 42 Actively working 44 Trick-taking card game 45 Turn from sin 46 Parents’ lay-down-the-law words

8 Holder of wedding memories 4 50 Eyeglasses, informally 53 Birth announcement start 56 Ernie of golf 58 Hankering 59 “___ is me!”

Solution to yesterday’s puzzle:

Relationships BusinessMirror

Friday, January 11, 2019

Something Golden for the new year THE guests and speakers of Aecon 2018, together with Rex Book Store officials, headed by Chief Operating Officer Don Timothy Buhain


IN a two-day event held recently at Marriott Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, Rex Book Store hosted its 10th Annual Educators Congress (Aecon), a gathering developed by the learning solutions provider to create and connect the local education industry’s leaders and decision-makers with the latest approaches and advancements in education. In 2018 Rex continued its commitment to helping sustain holistic learning for young learners in the country, with the aim of providing 21st-century skills and projectbased learning solutions to education stakeholders. Rex is recognized as the official Philippine partner of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), a nonprofit organization dedicated to shifting the focus of learning from mere academic achievement to long-term development and success through the active collaboration of the stakeholders of learning (schools, educators, parents, communities and industries), and ensuring that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. The theme “Whole Child Education in the 21st Century” reflects both Rex and ASCD’s joint commitment to creating and providing innovative learning solutions for the Whole Child. Since 2010 ASCD has been providing Rex with some of the industry’s most trusted resource speakers for their internal professional development, fusing new insights and research into Rex’s publishing practices and holistic education campaigns ( The event culminated with a synthesis of the resource speaker’s newly presented research paradigms and innovative ideas on education which strategically engage learning from different approaches and executions, highlighting new trends such as the shift from the “what” to the “how” in educational programs, as well as the implementation of visible learning as a new method of literacy. The two-day event was sponsored by Microdata, Converge, Zoomanity and PLDT Gabay Guro; along with Rex Book Store’s partner organizations which share the company’s vision of innovative and holistic education for the future.

BATANGUEÑO chef and DV Boer Farm brainchild Dex Villamin is famous in Thailand for his culinary expertise. Last year he was among the few chefs from around the world invited to serve at the feast commemorating the life of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyade.


AFTER the global telecast last December of Miss Universe showcased Thailand’s food and culture, a Filipino chef popular among Thais for his worthy achievements recalls his experience being a celebrity in his own right while working there. Former executive pastry chef Dex Villamin cherishes that country’s love and care for food. “You cannot eat better than Thai food in terms of quality and value-for-money. Ninety-five percent of their food are farm-grown,” said the 39-year-old achiever who mentored the champion teams at the Culinary Gathering of Cooks held in Bangkok and the Asian Culinary Cup, held in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Last year Villamin, who rose from the ranks working and concocting chocolates for various hotels in Manila, was invited to prepare for the feast in line with the cremation ceremony of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyade. He shared, “I was 23 at the time when opportunity came for me to go to Thailand. The Thais are very happy people and nakita ko ang ganda ng system nila when it comes to preparing and serving food.” During the Miss Universe coronation event, eventually won by Miss Philippines Catriona Gray, host Steve Harvey delightfully mentioned about Thai food being extra spicy. Villamin also hails Thailand’s tourism and his stay in that country prompted him to go into farming business back in his hometown in Batangas. DV, as he is fondly called in agribusiness community, is back in the Philippines for good and now the CEO of DV Boer Farm, which established itself as the foundation of modern farming in the Philippines. It operates nearly 100 sub-farms creating profitable livelihood programs and plenty of job opportunities. It is dubbed as the “People’s Farm.” Villamin also prides himself as a social entrepreneur sharing his spare earnings, and urging the needy to embrace the power of sustainable business. Last November he donated fishing boats to former NPA rebels in Batangas who have turned to fishing for livelihood. “I would happily give them fishes to eat but I want to teach them how to fish, too.” The chef-turned-farming guru loves Thailand for the opportunities and comfortable life it provided him. But he knew he would come back to his homeland and share what he learned while making a name for himself among the Thais.





OWN, Monsters, down! Apparently, a lot of the fans of Lady Gaga, a.k.a. Monsters, are figuratively up in arms over their idol’s alleged snub at the recent Golden Globe Awards. How could the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) not give Gaga the Best Actress in a Drama Motion Picture Award, nor bestow the Best Picture trophy to A Star is Born, in which she starred along with Bradley Cooper, the quite peeved Monsters demand. A Star is Born was an early favorite to make waves in this year’s awards season, but the raves it received were not enough to get Cooper the HFPA’s nod for Best Director, nor Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. No matter how much of a fan I am of Gaga, I can think of a number of good reasons why A Star is Born did not get the recognition the Monsters think it should have. First of all, Glenn Close. She turned in such an empathetic and sensitive performance as the long grieving spouse, Joan Castleman, literally responsible for her husband’s success in The Wife. She was the perfect foil—graceful, supportive and loving—to husband Joe (Jonathan Pryce), the vain and domineering novelist about to receive the Nobel Prize for his work. No one can hold a candle to this woman’s acting chops; she has been on top of her game as far back as I can remember (e.g. Garp’s mom in The World According to Garp, Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction, Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons and my favorite, Patty Hewes in Damages). She has essayed so many powerful roles and significantly memorable characters both in drama and comedy, on TV and in films, that The Wife was probably a no-brainer portrayal. But she approached it with such sensitivity, and as we all now know, drawing from her mother’s own painful experience of being her father’s eternal cheerleader. There were only a few people who watched The Wife in the theaters, which is unfortunate. But after Close’s win and her much applauded acceptance speech enjoining women to carve their own futures, I hope more people watch it. And I can only hope she snags the Oscars for Best Actress, as well. And, yes, while Gaga was a revelation in A Star is Born as Ally, the singer/songwriter discovered by Cooper’s Jackson Maine who eventually eclipses his own career, “maraming pang bigas s’yang kakainin,” as we Filipinos like to say, especially compared to Close. But Gaga is definitely on the right track here. It may be cliché to say, but her nomination, which

put her in the same league as actresses more experienced than her, should be welcomed. If she continues her acting career, I expect a lot of excellent performances from her. But let’s face it, A Star is Born is hardly original. In fact, this film is its fourth iteration, after the original Janet Gaynor and Fredric March-starrer in 1937, followed by Judy Garland and James Mason in 1954, and the still popular 1976 remake starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. That is not to say Cooper’s version last year was not worthy. To be fair, it was well-made, considering this was the multiawarded actor’s first directorial outing. And the songs, while not all remarkable, had a few hummable and memorable tunes like “Shallows,” which won a Globe for Gaga and her cowriters for Best Original Song. And then, there is Alfonso Cuaron, who produced, wrote and directed Roma for Netflix. On the surface, it may look like a quite unremarkable film about a maid’s work for a middle-class family in Mexico. But in truth, it delves into the maid Cleo’s (Yalitza Aparicio) devotion to the family she serves. She tries to protect the children from their father’s moral dilemma, and saves them from harm amid an important period in Mexico’s history in 1970s, as socialist tensions arise. Notwithstanding Cleo’s own personal

predicament, she continues to serve and in the end, her devotion is rewarded by family’s expressed affection for her. It’s a story many Filipinos will be able to identify with, but told in an exceedingly skillful and generous manner by Cuaron. And so, between Cuaron’s Roma and Cooper’s A Star is Born, like with Close’s Joan in The Wife and Gaga’s Ally, there really was no contest. It was not because of diversity issues or the HFPA’s move toward inclusivity. The best actress and the best director in the field of nominees were awarded. What I can’t figure is why Roma was included in the Best Motion Picture in a Foreign Language category, when clearly it would have snagged the Best Motion Picture Drama honor, as well. But then, the HFPA members just probably loved Bohemian Rhapsody so much, they opted to relegate Roma, made by one of their own, to a lesser film category. Why that is, I cannot imagine. For sure, Rami Malek is a brilliant actor whose rock-solid portrayal of Freddie Mercury delivered to fans one of the best acting performances of 2018. And of course, how can Queen’s songs not be loved by any audience? But it was not the best biopic on Mercury that many fans, including myself, had expected. It glossed over so many parts of Mercury’s life, including that of his bandmates. Ah, well...see you at the Oscars. n

requires a deeper dive. “What I find is often the line between experiences and things is not that clear,” Rubin said. A bicycle can provide an experience, and a new camera can preserve one. So buy experiences, especially with other people, but also think about buying material things that allow you to have experiences or enhance them. n BUY SOLUTIONS. Also known as “throw money at the problem” or “buy back time.” “One thing that makes people happier is to feel they have control over their time and they’re not doing boring chores,” Rubin said. So that could mean paying someone else to do yardwork or using a fullservice laundry. It’s the balancing act of money versus time. If you have a little extra money—probably because you sold your time to an employer—buy back time by paying for convenience. n BUY ACCORDING TO YOUR INTERESTS. What represents a happy experience for one person is not necessarily the same for another. Someone who mostly dines out should probably not use discretionary money to buy a fancy set of kitchen knives. But someone who loves to cook? Maybe so. Rubin reminds us, “Beautiful tools make work a joy.” n BUY DISCIPLINE. Want to improve your diet or fitness but have trouble summoning motivation? Use your money. That might mean choosing a pricier gym that’s more convenient or even hiring a personal trainer to add accountability. At the supermarket, it could mean buying healthy foods that are more convenient, like bagged salad. “If you can make it slightly easier to get yourself to do something you

want to do, that’s a good way to spend your money,” Rubin said. n BUY STRESS RELIEF. Is there a simple fix for recurring arguments or sources of stress, especially with a significant other? If you argue about a messy home, can you afford maid service? Or, can you afford not to get maid service? “The question is always, ‘Is it cheaper than marriage counseling?’” Rubin quipped. n BUY MONEY PEACE. “One of the greatest luxuries money can buy is the freedom not to think about money,” Rubin said. “And financial security is something that really contributes to people’s happiness.” Paying off debt is a good idea, and building an emergency fund is an especially good one. It provides cash for not only real emergencies, like a car repair, but all those emergencies in our heads that never happen but keep us up at night because they might. Happiness is silencing the haunting what-if voices. “The freedom from worry is a big boost to happiness,” she said. n BUY WIGGLE ROOM. If you have extra cash, use it to allow yourself to be sloppy without consequence. It could be as simple as buying a few extra pairs of underwear so you’re not pressed to do laundry every seven days. n BUY A DO-GOODER HIGH. Be charitable. “Contributing to others is a great way to support the causes you believe in and put your values into the world,” Rubin said. If you add a few of these purchases to your life’s shopping cart, chances are you’ll be happier when you check out.

How to buy happiness BY GreGorY KArP | NerdWallet IF you have a few extra bucks that you don’t need for necessities like rent or loan payments, consider shopping for happiness. From ancient philosophers to current experts in behavioral economics, people have been pondering the link between money and happiness. Among them is author Gretchen Rubin, who thinks about happiness for a living. She’s written several books on happiness, including The Happiness Project and the forthcoming Outer Order, Inner Calm. She helped think through the question of whether you can use discretionary money to buy happiness. Short answer: probably not. But you can definitely spend money to increase it. A lifetime happiness shopping list might go like this. n BUY BETTER RELATIONSHIPS. Key to happiness is how you deal with other humans. It’s a recurring theme. “So if you’re spending your money to broaden relationships or deepen relationships, that’s a good way to spend your money,” Rubin said. Use discretionary money to attend a college reunion or a friend’s destination wedding. A corollary, especially for younger adults: Buy a social life. Young adults often experience an intense period of socializing with friends, searching for life partners and networking for career opportunities—all potential sources of happiness. Maybe increase social bar-and-restaurant spending or pay for a dating app. n BUY EXPERIENCES—AND SOME THINGS. The usual advice is “buy experiences, not things.” But that



Show BusinessMirror

Friday, January 11, 2019

EMILY BLUNT on Mary Poppins Returns: “Someone else just said to me that Mary Poppins, when it first came out, was the great unifier of the time, and I think in many ways that’s probably what we need right now. We are in a fragile time. It’s a disconcerting time, and I think this is a film that’s completely uncynical.” HIYAS HILA

PIANIST HIYAS HILA PERFORMS ANEW WITH PPO THE Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) under the baton of Maestro Yoshikazu Fukumura greets the New Year with its sixth series of its current concert season with pianist Hiyas A. Hila as its featured soloist on January 18, 8 pm, at the CCP Main Theater. The program consists of Wagner’s “Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” Schumann’s “Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op.92.” Pianist Hila returns to play with the PPO after her critically acclaimed debut performance as soloist in an all Mozart concert of the PPO conducted by Maestro Fukumura in 2017. Hiyas Hila performs regularly as a solo, orchestral and chamber music artist. She has been featured in concerts in the United States, Spain and the Philippines. Her orchestral appearances include performances with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and the Metro Manila Concert Orchestra. Hiyas earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the University of Minnesota School of Music, with Lydia Artymiw as her teacher, and her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in piano performance, with Mack McCray as her mentor, from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. A graduate of the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA), she attended the University of the Philippines College of Music for two years, where she was a consistent university scholar before she moved to the United States. Her previous piano teachers were Regalado Jose, Leonor Kilayko, Ariel Dechosa and Cecile Basilio-Roxas. She has played in master classes given by Blanca Uribe, Faina Luzshtak, Roman Rudnytsky, Russel Brandon, Reynaldo Reyes, Ariel Dechosa, Boris Slutsky, Julian Martin and Albert Tiu. Dr. Hila received several scholarships and fellowship awards such as the Sergei Barsukov Scholarship for Piano at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship Grant, the University of Minnesota Centennial Piano Fellowship, UP Concert Chorus Alumni Foundation Inc. Scholarship, Cecile B. Licad Scholarship, GlaxoSmithKline Philippines Scholarship Grant and the Sonny B. Reyes Foundation Grant. Tickets to the concert are priced at P1,500, P1,200, P800, P500 and P400. For inquiries, call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704, or TicketWorld at 891-9999, or visit

Emily Blunt: There’s something about ‘Mary’ Continued from D1 What is your favorite song? Well, there are a couple. I mean, one that I loved doing was this ballad to the children, and it’s the most gentle side of her, the most tender side of her you see in the film because she is so kind of wacky and quite severe and rude. But I think her greatest quality is that she has this ability to recognize what people need in a moment and she can give it to them, and she recognizes in this scene that the children are really hurting and they really miss their mom. So it’s this very hopeful and tender scene and song to comfort them really, so I loved doing that. And I absolutely adored being a part of the massive lamplighter “Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” a huge dance number with, like, 50 dancers and guys on bikes and they had parkour guys; I mean it was just extraordinary. It got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, and that was when I was like, I am so lucky. I cannot believe how lucky I am that I get to do this. You mentioned lamplighters. Can you talk about Jack the lamplighter? Lin plays Jack, who’s a lamplighter. They called them leeries at the time and they would literally

light all of the oil gas lamps around London, and he’s a working-class guy, and Lin was perfect for it because we needed a character who is not magical in the way that Dick Van Dyke’s character maybe was not magical, but he is so in cahoots with Mary and understands what she’s about, and can’t wait to go on these adventures with her. So we needed somebody who has that sort of natural hopeful and effervescent quality, and Lin just has it in spades. He’s just so fab. You mentioned Meryl Streep. Can you tell us a little bit about her character? Meryl plays my cousin, Cousin Topsy, who runs a small fix-it and repair shop and she’s of a vaguely Eastern European descent. She’s a really crazy, very colorful, eccentric character. We have a somewhat contentious relationship, which was really fun to play, and we drive each other crazy. It’s one big number that she has and we bring something to her shop to have it mended, and her whole world is turned upside down so she gains the nickname Topsy-Turvy from Jack. Anyone else you especially enjoyed working with? It was so moving when Angela Lansbury and Dick

Van Dyke came on set because I think people in some ways don’t quite realize until those people are in front of you just how much they’ve impacted your life, from Murder She Wrote to...I mean, all the extraordinary work that she did. People have grown up watching The Dick Van Dyke Show and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And Rob Marshall, who is actually not a big crier...Dick has this beautiful speech that he makes, and I remember Rob being unable to say cut because he was crying. Because he grew up watching Dick, and was so inspired by him and what a showman he was, and the song and dance guy that he was and was so influenced by Dick, so it was terribly moving having them on set. Icons. When you look back at this film, will you think of it as a wonderful experience? It was one of the experiences that will probably define a period in my life like... forever. I mean it was just an unparalleled thing to play someone like her and work with the people that I did and for it to have been done in the way that it was done… it will always hold a completely special, unique, and sort of quite treasured place in my life really. It was amazing. n Mary Poppins Returns is now playing in Philippine cinemas nationwide.

Facing pressure, networks fact-check Trump speech NEW YORK—Television pundits moved swiftly to correct or challenge President Donald J. Trump following Tuesday’s Oval Office speech on the proposed border wall, after their networks were the target of an unusual debate over whether they should show him at all. “Just because you say it’s a crisis doesn’t necessarily make it one,” ABC White House correspondent Cecilia Vega said following the president’s address. Some network critics had essentially made the same point in arguing for a television boycott, along with saying the president couldn’t be trusted with the truth. It’s rare, but not unprecedented, for networks to say no to a presidential request for airtime. But refusing to air Trump’s first Oval Office address as president, in the midst of a government shutdown over the funding fight, would have been seen as a provocative act in itself. So the four major broadcasters and cable news networks showed him, while also airing rebuttals from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and making provisions of their own to pounce on misstatements. CNN brought on Daniel Dale, a White House correspondent for the Toronto Star, who has become known for cataloguing Trump misstatements, and he said the president falsely asserted it was the Democrats who had advanced the idea of a steel barrier instead of a wall. NBC’s Chuck Todd made the same point. “I would say he made a lot of dubious claims,” he said. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos disputed Trump’s claim that the US-Mexico free trade agreement will essentially result in that country paying for the wall. “It has not been approved

by Congress and even if it is, there’s no provision there to make Mexico pay for the wall,” Stephanopoulos said. Shepard Smith conducted a rapid-fire rebuttal of some of the president’s claims during his coverage on the Fox broadcast network. After Trump talked about crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, Smith said, “Government statistics show there is less violent crime committed by the undocumented immigrant population than by the general population.” He said that border crossings along the southern border haven been dropping. “The president said law-enforcement professionals have requested the $5.7 billion [for the wall],” Smith said. “It’s he who requested it and he who said he would own the shutdown.” Smith’s analysis drew an angry response on Twitter from many of Fox News’ conservative fans. On Fox News Channel, Sean Hannity critiqued the Democratic response, saying Trump’s opponents hadn’t addressed reports of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, a point the president tried to drive home. Sen. Lindsey Graham joined Hannity to suggest Trump’s stand represents the best chance to improve border security. None of the networks used chyrons, or onscreen text, to rebut Trump while he was talking. But CNN and MSNBC used that form of fact-checking after he had finished. One CNN chyron read: “Trump: 90 percent of heroin comes across the Southern border. Fact: vast majority comes through legal ports of entry.” Earlier on Tuesday, CNN’s Jim Acosta had confronted Trump aide Kellyanne Conway outside of the White House, asking if she could promise whether Trump would tell the

HOUSE Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued rebuttals following US President Donald J. Trump’s Oval Office speech on the proposed border wall on Tuesday. AP

truth. That prompted a bitter exchange between the two. “Let me get back in your face, ‘cause you’re such a smart ass most of the time and I know you want this to go viral,” Conway said. Following Tuesday night’s coverage, the liberal watchdog organization Media Matters for America said the network fact-checking was ineffective. “The fact-checking came too late for any viewers who turned off their televisions after the president stopped speaking,” said Media Matters’ Matt Gertz. “The networks gave the White House exactly what the president wanted: unhindered access to lie to their audience. He played them, and they let them do it.”

By airing the rebuttal from Pelosi and Schumer, the networks did something that is seldom done for presidential speeches, except for events like the State of the Union address, said former NBC News executive Mark Lukasiewicz, now dean of the Hofstra University communications school. That sets a precedent that may be tough for them to back away from in future events, he said. Lukasiewicz argued that for the networks, it was an awkward night that would not please either side of the debate over border security. “The president made no news and no new proposals,” he said. “It is hard to argue this night was about anything other than pure politics—and the networks interrupted programming to accommodate it.” AP

Motoring BusinessMirror

Henry Ford Awards Best Motoring Section 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 2011 Hall of Fame

Editor: Tet Andolong

Friday, January 11, 2019

THE front end bearing the Volkswagen’s design cues

THE equally stunning rear end with stylish taillights

MONOCHROMATIC, straightforward and well-laid out dashboard

POTENT 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with Bluemotion Technology




Nissan LEAF e+ de E2 Friday, January 11, 2019


ISSAN has unveiled the Nissan LEAF e+, further broadening the appeal of the world’s best-selling electric car by offering a new powertrain with additional power and range. The “e+” refers to the increased energy density of the model’s battery pack and the higher output of its powertrain. The new powertrain adds to the car’s range by approximately 40 percent, ensuring that there’s a Nissan LEAF to meet the driving needs of a wider range of customers. “The LEAF e+ is ‘more’ LEAF, offering customers more choice in terms of power and range,” said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president of Nissan. “By offering

customers a choice of powertrains to suit their needs, the award-winning Nissan LEAF is now more convenient and appealing than ever.” More than 380,000 Nissan LEAF vehicles have been sold globally since the 100-percent electric model first went on sale in 2010. Equipped with advanced technologies including the ProPILOT semi-autonomous driving system and e-Pedal mode for one-pedal driving, the Nissan LEAF embodies Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company’s vision for

changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society. Having pioneered mass-market electric cars with the Nissan LEAF, Nissan is continuing to promote alternative vehicle transportation. The Nissan LEAF plays a vital role in Nissan’s efforts to integrate electric vehicles and energy systems into customers’ lives—creating an “EV ecosystem.” Among these efforts is Nissan Energy, the company’s initiative for its electric vehicles to easily connect with energy systems to charge their batteries, power homes and businesses, or feed energy back to power grids, as well as new efforts to reuse batteries. The Nissan LEAF e+ is scheduled to join the Nissan LEAF at Nissan dealerships in Japan in late January 2019. US sales are expected to begin in the spring of 2019, and European sales will commence in mid-2019.

The vehicle represents a step forward in each of the three key areas of Nissan Intelligent Mobility: Intelligent Power, Intelligent Driving and Intelligent Integration. It features a new version of the Nissan LEAF’s revolutionary electric powertrain, delivering excellent energy efficiency and robust torque and power output. While the Nissan LEAF meets the needs of many customers with its driving range of up to 322 kilometers (estimated WLTC Japan cycle), near-silent operation and smooth and responsive acceleration, the Nissan LEAF e+ offers more than 40-percent additional range of up to 458 km (WLTC Japan cycle), allowing customers the ability to do more between charges. The high-capacity battery and more powerful motor in the LEAF e+ combine to produce 160 kilowatts of power and 340 N-m of torque, enabling faster acceleration

when driving at high speeds. Accelerating from 80 kph to 120 kph is nearly 13-percent quicker. This allows the LEAF e+ to confidently pass slower-moving vehicles, exit corners faster and more seamlessly and merge easily with fast-moving traffic. The top speed has increased by approximately 10 percent for comfortable cruising. Thanks to an available new 70-kilowatt (100 kW peak) Quick Charging system, the 2019 Nissan LEAF e+ can charge more efficiently than ever. Based on early testing, Nissan LEAF e+ owners can expect similar charging times when hooked up to a 100-kW charger as current Nissan LEAF owners do with a 50kW charger, despite a 55-percent larger battery-storage capacity. Even with a 25-percent increase in energy density and the increase in energy storage capacity, the Nissan LEAF e+ battery pack is almost

Hino uplifts commuting with modern jeepney units I MPROVED riding experience for commuters and better driving conditions for drivers summarized the first few months of rollout of modern jeepneys. These are the findings of Hino Motors Philippines (HMP), exclusive distributor of customized Hino trucks and buses in the Philippines, which visited the Pateros-Fort Bonifacio Transport Service and Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TSMC) and Taguig Transport Service Cooperative (TSC) a few months after endorsing Hino modern jeepneys to the cooperatives in support of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP). Hino turned over 13 air-conditioned jeepneys to Pateros-Fort Bonifacio TSMC and 20 non-airconditioned units to Taguig TSC during its second turnover ceremony held recently. The Euro 4-powered Hino Class II jeepneys have a seating capacity of 23 with side-facing passenger seats resembling the conventional jeepney. Their design accommodates standing passengers to maximize the vehicle’s capacity. Tailor-made to requirements set by the Bureau of Philippine Stan-

dards, the modern jeepneys are also air-conditioned and equipped with a Beep Card system, speed limiter, GPS, CCTV and a dashboard camera. Still in the initial stages of plying the roads, the modern jeepneys involve the assistance of a passenger assistance officer in place of the Beep Card system. PAOs collect passengers’ fares and inform the driver when they are getting off. Emerson Vizconte, a jeepney

driver with the Pateros-Fort Bonifacio TSMC, noted the advantages of the modern jeepneys in comparison with old jeepneys. “Okay po ang performance nito. Bukod sa malamig ay maganda po siyang tumakbo at di pa ako nakararanas na masiraan,” he said. Jose, a driver with the Taguig TSC who has been driving jeepneys for 12 years, had some misgivings about switching to modern jeepneys. “Noong una, nag-alangan ako kasi baka masyadong iba itong modern

jeepney doon sa nakasanayan ko. Pero noong nahawakan ko na ‘yong unit, okay naman pala. Mas magaan at mas komportable imaneho ang modern jeepney kaysa sa dating jeepney,” he shared. In addition to better working conditions, the PUVMP aims to give operators and drivers benefits, such as SSS, PhilHealth and accident insurance. The PaterosFort Bonifacio TSMC and Taguig TSC are also looking to supporting

their drivers with fixed salaries to replace the boundary system. Freddie Hernandez, chairman of the Taguig TSC, expressed his appreciation for Hino’s service. “Isa sa mga kinatutuwaan namin kay Hino ay kapag may problema at tinawag namin sila, nandiyan agad sila, nakaalalay. Ipinapakita nila na very supportive sila sa project. Nababaon kasi kami kapag tumitigil at hindi umiikot yung gulong ng jeep. Pero ngayon, dahil sa magandang assistance ng Hino, madaling naaayos ang mga problema at walang back time,” he said. “The country’s transport system is long overdue for a real shake-up,” said Vicente Mills, Chairman of HMP. “The Department of Transportation envisions a structured transport system that involves small, medium and large vehicles plying structured routes. The modern jeepney project is the first of the series of changes that DOTr wants to implement in the next few years. We at Hino hope to continue being a part of this endeavor in line with our mission of ensuring the welfare and safety of the Filipino riding public,” Mills added.

the same size and configuration as the pack in the Nissan LEAF. Other than a 5-millimeter increase in overall height (16-inch wheels), the car’s exterior and interior dimensions are unchanged. The battery limited warranty of eight years/160,000 km (whichever occurs first) is standard for all versions. Playing a leading role in Nissan Intelligent Driving is ProPILOT, an in-lane semiautonomous driving technology that can automatically adjust the distance to the vehicle ahead, using a speed preset by the

Free breakfast at


O celebrate the New Year and to show Chevrolet’s appreciation to its loyal customers, bright and easy mornings are on its way this 2019 for Chevy owners. The Covenant Car Company Inc. (TCCCI), exclusive importer and distributor of Chevrolet automobiles and parts in the Philippines, has partnered with McDonald’s



Friday, January 11, 2019



Michael Schumacher, seven-time World Driving Champion, in the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix

driver (between about 30 kph and 100 kph). ProPILOT can also help the driver steer and keep the vehicle centered in its lane. If the car in front stops, ProPILOT can automatically apply the brakes to bring the vehicle to a full halt if necessary. After coming to a full stop, the vehicle can remain in place even if the driver’s foot is off the brake. If traffic restarts, the car will resume driving when the driver touches the steering wheel-mounted ProPILOT switch again or lightly presses the accelerator to activate the system. All these functions can re-

duce stress when driving on the highway in both heavy and fast-moving traffic. ProPILOT Park (available on Japan and European Union models only) is a system that can provide vehicle acceleration, braking, handling, shift changing and parking brake operation to guide the car into a parking spot. Further enhancing the Nissan LEAF’s driving experience is e-Pedal, which allows the driver to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop using only the accelerator pedal. To match the Nissan LEAF e+’s additional power and increased mass, Nissan has reprogrammed the e-Pedal software for smoother operation and enhanced pedal feedback, especially for operation in reverse, and for smoother and more rapid deceleration, making it easier to stop the car using e-Pedal, even when backing up. In addition to ProPILOT and ePedal, every Nissan LEAF is available with advanced safety technologies including Intelligent Lane Intervention, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection. Pricing of the Nissan LEAF e+ in Japan starts at ¥4,162,320. Other regional pricing will be announced closer to on-sale dates.

‘Michael 50’, Schumacher exhibition opens F ANS and representatives of Scuderia Ferrari Clubs from all over Europe have begun flocking to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy, after the Michael 50 exhibition opened on the occasion of the champion’s 50th birthday on January 3. Maranello has put together a special exhibition telling the story of Michael Schumacher's extraordinary record-breaking F1 career: the German champion won an as yet unequalled seven world titles, 91 victories and 155 podiums. The Hall of Victories displays some of the most important Ferrari single-seaters driven in his eleven years with the Scuderia. They range from the F310 of 1996, with which Schumacher won three Grand Prix (GPs) in his first season with the Prancing Horse, to the F399, the car that won the

The champ’s helmet

Constructors’ title in 1999 to set Formula 1’s oldest team off on an exceptional run of victories. There

is also the F1-2000 of the legendary “Alba Rossa” (Red Dawn), when at Suzuka Michael secured Ferrari

its first the world title since Jody Scheckter 21 years before. Then, of course, there are the record-breaking F2002 and F2004, and the 248 F1 of 2006, in which he triumphed at the Chinese GP for his 72nd and final victory with Ferrari. Fans will also be introduced to a lesser-known side of Schumacher, that of developer. Indeed, after leaving F1, the German driver remained at Ferrari not only to help the Scuderia but also to contribute to the development of various road cars, such as the 430 Scuderia in 2007 and the Ferrari California in 2008. The exhibition will run alongside Driven by Enzo and Passion and Legend, which are already open at the Maranello Museum. Michael 50 has been organised in partnership with the Keep Fighting Foundation.

Ford Everest offered at zero-percent interest this January

t McDonald’s for Chevrolet owners

Philippines to treat Chevy owners to a FREE breakfast every Thursday from January 10 to February 7. All qualified participants get a FREE Sausage McMuffin with Egg and Hashbrowns Meal (12oz. Premium Roast Coffee) when they drive-thru in their Chevrolet vehicle at participating McDonald’s stores in Metro Ma-

nila and select regional stores from 6 to 10 a.m. on the following Thursdays: n January 17, 2019 n January 24, 2019 n January 31, 2019 n February 7, 2019 Each qualified participant is eligible to a minimum of one (1) and a maximum of four (4) FREE Sausage McMuffin with Egg and Hashbrowns Meals (12oz. Premium Roast Coffee), depending on the number of passengers inside the vehicle. To avail themselves of the free items, the qualified participant will identify him or herself as a Chevy driver by saying “Love this Chevy!” at the drive thru order box. The qualified participant shall receive the appropriate number of coupons to avail of the free breakfast meal/s at the last drive thru window. The Chevy and McDonald’s Bright and Easy FREE breakfast campaign aims to invigorate morning drives and bring more positive vibes to Chevy owners. The promo is in partnership with McDonald’s Philippines. Per DTIFTEB Permit No. 15390, Series of 2018.


ING in the New Year with an exclusive deal for the Ford Everest available only this month. According to Ford Philippines, customers can get any variant of the Everest 2.2L Titanium at zero-percent interest rate up to four years at a minimum 20-percent down payment, giving them cash savings of up to P368,000. Those who wish to get the Everest 2.2L Trend 4x2 AT can avail themselves of an all-

in low down payment of P58,000. The Ford Everest has set the standard for mid-sized sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in the country with its best-in-segment 800mm water wading capability and outstanding fuel efficiency. Those purchasing the new EcoSport 1.5L Ambiente MT can also avail themselves of an all-in low down payment of P58,000. The new EcoSport features enhancements in both exterior and interior with

new and upgraded features and driver-assist technologies, as well as improvements in driving performance and fuel efficiency. Finally, customers getting the new Explorer can avail themeselves of P100,000 cash savings. The new Explorer comes in 3.5L V6 EcoBoost Sport and 2.3L EcoBoost Limited variants with updated exteriors. Its front has been fitted with a new grille insert to complement its more prominent lower fascia with new

redesigned fog lamps. “New Year means New Ford. With our New Year deals, we are giving more Filipino customers an opportunity to drive their own Ford SUV this 2019 with cash savings, interest-free payment options, and all-in low down payment and low monthly fees,” shared Bert Lessard, managing director of Ford Philippines.

Motoring BusinessMirror

E4 Friday, January 11, 2019

Listen to experts’ take on 2019 auto industry BOB SHAW

Auto Nation Group Inc.


The founding president of Lexus Manila Inc.


Isuzu PHL Sales Division Head


OT a single soul was surprised. I refer, of course, to the nosedive of vehicle sales in 2018. Even before 2017 could say goodbye, sales predictions for the year just ended were one and the same: the motoring industry would absorb sales blows left and right. The main reason, as we all know, is the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law that imposed gargantuan excise taxes that readily sent prices of many models soaring almost sky-high. The tax measure was a necessary evil for the government to jump-start its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program, which needs billions for the much-delayed infrastructurebased thrust targeted to orbit nationwide. Along this line, the following are some of our experts’ predictions for 2019:  

be neck-to-neck a la Pacquiao versus Marquez in a similar duel between Toyota and Nissan. 8. Overall, no government law can stop the growth of the industry as owning a car is an integral part of the Filipino Dream!”

“WHILE I was away for most part of last year, I took a keen interest in what was happening within the motoring industry. Last year’s double digit sales decline could primarily be attributed to the implementation of the TRAIN law. You will recall that in anticipation of higher tax rates that pushed prices up, customers bought more vehicles than what they probably actually needed in 2017. There was an abnormal demand, which subsequently affected the sales caused by the TRAIN’s implementation. To make matters worse, global oil prices skyrocketed, affecting fuel prices and dampening potential new demand for cars. Inflation, likewise, peaked. It was a doomed combination for sales. I anticipate, however, that vehicle sales will be on a rebound in 2019. People actually get used to new price levels and consider current levels as the new norm. Fuel prices have normalized and the economy appears to be more stable now. With the election in May, it is expected that there will be more money in circulation from campaign funds. Political parties normally purchase vehicles for added mobility of candidates and their supporters. I hope for the industry to return to its vigor.”

President of Mahindra

“IN my opinion, 2019 has the potential for growth coming from the seesaw that was 2018. Declining inflation rates and sustained GDP in Q4 this year, as well as the relatively stable retail volumes of the industry in the same period provides a springboard for the first half of 2019. This, coupled with new model introductions, stronger support from financing companies and increased spending [election year] will ensure a better 2019 for the entire automotive industry.”


Dealer of Chevy, Foton, MG and Nissan.

“ISUZU sees more car buffs buying vehicles again in 2019. The modest growth in light commercial vehicle sales will continue this year. IPC remains confident that the market will be able to adjust to the new SRPs, and those looking to buy their new vehicle have also adjusted with their next purchase.” “I THINK the motoring industry will more than recover in 2019. We are still way below the average sales volume of our Asean neighbors. Considering our population, we should be selling already near the 1 million mark like them. 2018 was down simply because vehicle buyers advanced their purchases in 2017 due to the impending excise tax. From 2019 onward, with the expected GDP still around 6.5 percent, industry sales growth could soar to 20 percent annually.”


Toyota First Vice President, Brand and Product Planning, Vehicle Sales Operations


President of Peugeot PHL

“THIS 2019, we will see: 1. More photokup sales over SUVs mainly because of train-induced prices affecting SUVs. 2. Resurgence of Kia mainly because of Ayala’s entry—a marquee player; also, BMW will shoot up because of SMB’s vaunted war chest. 3. Nissan will finally claim its rightful global position as Top 3 here (after 30 years of waiting). 4. TCCI’s MG might make wonders. 5. “Build, Build, Build” of the Du30 administration will propel higher sales on LDT segments, mainly for Foton, Hino and Isuzu. 6. Pseudo sports cars, priced under P3M, would be a trend, including similar sports cars from Chevrolet, Nissan, Toyota and Ford. 7. Sales of vans and photokups will

“FOR 2019, we estimate a 10-percent auto industry growth. This is mainly due to the expected improvements in economic conditions, driven by increased government spending on infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program and electionrelated spending.”

PEE STOP More industry experts’

“THE industry will continue to undergo correction resulting from years of tremendous growth year over year, as well as the implementation of the TRAIN 2 law. However, we remain cautiously optimistic for growth in the second half of the year because of the strong fundamentals in the Philippine economy, the projected 6-percent GDP growth and the upcoming elections.”

opinions coming soon…Happy January birthday greetings to Ray Butch “Elvis” Gamboa and Vernon “Sean” B. Sarne. Here’s to your health—and wealth!... Why Tivoli sold “only” 27 units in 2018 is another unpalatable surprise as this SsangYong model performs like magic, whether handling, ride-wise or fuel consumption. I am speechless. The Tivoli, only P1 million-plus, could yet be Korea’s greatest wonder since the invention of kimchi…My deepest condolences to the loved ones of Ma. Cristine “Baby” Concordia, who suddenly succumbed to pneumonia on January 6. Babes, full of life and brimming with energy before she fell ill, was my fellow MTRCB board member. You will be missed, Baby.

Businessmirror January 11, 2019  
Businessmirror January 11, 2019