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BusinessMirror A broader look at today’s business


Thursday, March 14, 2019 Vol. 14 No. 155



P25.00 nationwide | 6 sections 48 pages | 7 DAYS A WEEK

DBCC scales down ’19, ’20 growth goals 6% to 7% A T

A guild for the online techie tribe

By Rea Cu

During its 175th meeting, the DBCC scaled down the GDP growth target for the year to 6 to 7 percent, from the previous 7 to 8 percent. Economic growth next year is projected to reach 6.5 to 7.5 percent.



SIDE from the budget impasse, the ill effects of El Niño and global headwinds such as global trade tensions have forced the government to revise downward its growth targets this year and in 2020.

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) on Wednesday announced the revisions it made in the country’s growth targets and other macroeconomic assumptions.

Rene E. Ofreneo

The DBCC expects to hit the original growth target of 7 to 8 percent in 2021 and 2022. “The 6 percent to 7 percent is an adjustment from the 7 to 8 percent which we used to have every year

The new GDP growth target for 2019 set by the DBCC, from the previous 7 to 8 percent. Economic growth next year is projected to reach 6.5 to 7.5 percent

until 2022, and that is because it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the budget will be reenacted until April,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters in a news briefing in Pasay City. “The El Niño phenomenon is also at the back of our minds,” he added.

HE Philippine Labor Code is turning 45 this year. It was promulgated through a Presidential Decree (PD 442) by President Ferdinand Marcos on May 1, 1974. In the light of the numerous changes in the labor market and the composition of the labor force in the last five decades, the Code truly needs an updating, if not an overhaul. In the first place, the Code is virtually silent on the organizing rights and social protection needs of the various segments of the informal sector/economy workers, who constitute two-thirds of the labor force. A proposed Magna Carta for Workers in the Informal Economy (MCWIE) has been languishing in Congress. Continued on A11

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Neda: Reenacted budget to stall infra projects, cut GDP growth this year By Cai U. Ordinario



REENACTED budget will likely result in the lowest GDP growth rate that the Philippines will see in nearly a decade as it would hamper jobs creation and the implementation of publicly funded projects. The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said GDP growth could slow to 4.2 to 4.9 percent. If the government will operate under a reenacted budget for the rest of the year, the projected GDP growth is the lowest since 2011, when it reached 3.7 percent. If the budget impasse is resolved by April, full-year GDP growth could slow to 6.1 to 6.3 percent. A reenacted budget until August will cause the economy to expand by 4.9 to 5.1 percent this year. “Thus, we call for the immediate passage of the 2019 budget. The longer we wait, the more adverse the effect will be,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement. Apart from the damage on the economy, the reenacted budget will cost as much as 180,000 to 240,000 more jobs and fail to lift 400,000 to 550,000 more Filipinos out of

Govt wants to hike NFA buffer stock



appropriations law that can aid this government better their lives and help our country move forward,” Panelo added. Despite the delays in the deliberations on the GAB, Malacañang said the President did not meddle at any instance, consistent with the policy of noninterference with coequal branches of government.

HE national government is open to increasing the National Food Authority’s (NFA) buffer stock as El Niño could recur in the latter part of the second semester of 2019. National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary for Regional Development Mercedita A. Sombilla also told the BusinessMirror that hiking the NFA’s buffer stock to 30 days from the current 15 days would require additional funds. Sombilla noted that the NFA’s budget of P7 billion will allow the food agency to procure only 15 days of buffer stock. Increasing this to 30 days would entail doubling the NFA’s budget for palay procurement. “We have to make a decision to probably increase the buffer stocking,” she said in an interview on Tuesday. “The P7 billion under the current GAA will not really be enough if like for example we want to increase its buffer stocks in preparation for events like this, that will not be enough.” Sombilla said the NFA could borrow money from the national government. Under the rice trade liberalization law, she said a special

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The GDP growth posted in 2011. The Neda said GDP growth could slow to 4.2 to 4.9 percent if the government will operate under a reenacted budget for the rest of the year, the lowest since 2011

poverty this year. Pernia also said a reenacted budget will delay new and ongoing infrastructure projects, as well as the implementation of public social services such as the Unconditional Cash Transfer and Pantawid Pasada Program. The Philippine economy grew by 6.2 percent in 2018, lower than the government’s revised target of 6.5 to 6.9 percent. This is also lower than the 6.7 percent and 6.9 percent recorded in 2017 and 2016, respectively, largely due to the spikes in inf lation last year. In terms of jobs, the government is targeting to create over a million jobs annually until 2022. This will be fueled by the government’s Continued on A8


SENATE PROBE Residents of Barangay Barangka in Mandaluyong City lined up to get their rations of water as supply dwindles in their place for the past four days, as the hot season started to bite and the water level at the La Mesa Dam reached a critical level. The Senate is opening an inquiry into the matter. Story on A12. ROY DOMINGO

Senate, House must break stalemate–Palace


DAY after President Duterte met with lawmakers from both chambers, Malacañang said it is leaving it up to Congress leaders to break the impasse on the proposed P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget. “The Office of the President has yet to receive the enrolled General Appropriations Bill or GAB for this year despite the approval of

the Bicameral Conference Committee [Report] of Congress of a version last February 8, 2019,” said Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo in a statement on Wednesday. “Only Congress can resolve and break this impasse.” “We call on the Senators and Representatives to break the stalemate and deliver to the Filipino people an

n JAPAN 0.4704 n UK 68.4882 n HK 6.6718 n CHINA 7.8055 n SINGAPORE 38.6317 n AUSTRALIA 37.0801 n EU 59.1291 n SAUDI ARABIA 13.9654

Source: BSP (13 March 2019 )



A2 Thursday, March 14, 2019

‘Govt to miss poverty reduction target due to budget impasse’


By Cai U. Ordinario


HE Duterte administration can say goodbye to its goal of bringing down poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 if the House of Representatives and the Senate will not be able to resolve the impasse on the 2019 budget. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said on Wednesday that the reenactment of the budget will have “serious implications” on job creation and poverty reduction, especially if the reenactment of the budget happens for the entire year.

“Given our high poverty incidence, we are not going to be helped in terms of reducing our high poverty rate with this reenacted budget,” Pernia told reporters in an interview. “If it [reenacted budget] is the whole year, surely it will not help.” Based on the 2015 poverty

estimates, the country’s poverty incidence was at 21.6 percent, 3.6 percentage points lower than the 25.2 percent recorded in 2012. This translates to as much as 21.927 million poor Filipinos in 2015, or a reduction of 1.819 million from 23.746 million in 2012. The reenacted budget could make the country’s goals of lifting millions from poverty even more difficult considering that poverty incidence likely went up in 2018. The poverty data is based on the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted every three years. In 2018 the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) conducted the survey and the first semester results will be released before June. Some economists fear that the picture may not be as rosy given the high commodity prices seen in

2018. The increase in the price of rice was a key factor that caused inflation to accelerate. UP School of Statistics Dean Dennis Mapa said food inflation, especially for the poorest 30 percent, reached 7.1 percent last year. This could worsen poverty, especially among farmers and fishermen who are considered among the near-poor. Reducing the country’s poverty rate to 14 percent by 2022 is a crucial step to meeting the Philippines’s commitment under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate poverty by 2030. The goal of the SDGs is to end poverty in all its forms. The first target under this goal is to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day by 2030.

State workers can get 4th tranche of SSL hike despite budget delay


HE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) assured government employees on Wednesday that the reenactment of the budget will not affect the grant of the fourth tranche of the salary increases as stated in the Salary Standardization Law (SSL). Even if the budget is reenacted, the benefits can still be granted but it may require an executive order as recommended by DBM, according to DBM Acting Secretary Janet B. Abuel. However, she said they are

Parties in simulated birth given chance to rectify birth record in new law By Bernadette D. Nicolas

DBCC scales down ’19, ’20 growth goals P Continued from A1

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said global trade tensions could also dampen the country’s growth prospects for the year. “Internationally, the unresolved issues between our major trading partners are a source of concern. We also know very well that any slowdown in growth of our trading partners will negatively affect our own growth opportunities,” Dominguez said. The DBCC also revised downward its assumption for the price of Dubai crude oil. Its price is projected to average between $60 and $75 per barrel this year until 2022, from the previous assumption of $75 to $85 per barrel for 2019 and $70 to $80 per barrel in 2020. The assumptions for the 364day Treasury bill rate and the six-month London Inter-bank Offered Rate (Libor) have also been adjusted, with the average T-bill rate seen to range from 5.5 to 6.5 percent in 2019 and 5.0 to 6.0 percent in 2020 until 2022. Last year, the DBCC projected the T-bill rate to settle at 4.5 to 5.5 percent for 2019 until 2022. The six-month Libor will range from 2.5 to 3.5 percent from 2019 up to 2022, coming from the previous assumption of 3.0 to 3.5 percent in 2019 onward. Services exports growth was also adjusted downward to 10 percent in 2019 from 11 percent last year, while maintaining its growth assumptions at 11 percent from 2020 to 2022.

WHILE Metro Manila suffers from lack of water, the rest of the country’s farms get dehydrated like this one in Isabela province. The impact of the El Niño dry spell is among the factors that prompted the DBCC to scale down GDP growth targets for 2019 and 2020. SUZANNE JUNE G. PERANTE

The DBCC retained its projection for goods exports growth at 6 percent from 2019 to 2022. The projected rate of imports expansion was retained at 9 percent in 2019 and 8 percent from 2020 to 2022. The inflation forecast was retained at 3 percent to 4 percent this year and 2 to 4 percent in 2020 to 2022. The foreign-exchange rate assumption from 2019 to 2022 was also retained at 52 to 55. In terms of the government’s

medium-term fiscal program, revenue collections are projected to reach P3.15 trillion for this year, equivalent to 16.9 percent of GDP. The government’s revenue target for the year was revised downward from P3.208 trillion. The DBCC said revenue measures from the tax-reform program are projected to contribute P162.2 billion to the government’s coffers in 2019, taking into account the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. The government’s disbursements are

expected to reach P3.78 trillion in 2019, assuming that it will operate under a reenacted budget in the first quarter of the year. The disbursement target is equivalent to 19.4 percent of GDP. Given the approved revenue and disbursement programs, the corresponding nominal deficit target is set at P631.5 billion in 2019, equivalent to 3.2 percent of GDP. The deficit target will then be maintained at 3.0 percent of GDP from 2020 to 2022.

still hoping for the passage of the budget. “But definitely we want to allay the fears of the government employees that the reenactment of the budget would not prevent the grant, but would require an EO to be issued by the President which the DBM has already recommended but we are holding because we are hoping for the enactment of the 2019 GAA [General Appropriations Act],” said Abuel in a briefing with the Development Budget Coordination Committee. Bernadette D. Nicolas


RESIDENT Duterte has signed into law the Simulated Birth Rectification Act which simplifies the legal adoption process of a child by allowing simulated births through a simpler administrative proceeding. Malacañang has yet to release a copy of the newly signed law.  However, the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office said Republic Act 11222 was signed by the President on February 21.  According to the measure, “birth simulation” refers to the tampering of the civil registry to make it appear in the record of birth that a child was born to a person who is not the child’s biological mother. Under the reconciled version of the bill, persons who previously simulated the birth of the child will not be criminally liable for it if the simulation was done for the best interest of the

child and the child had been consistently treated by the supposed parents as their own son or daughter. To fast-track the adoption process, those who simulated the birth record of a child should be exempt from criminal, civil and administrative liability provided that the application to rectify a simulated birth record should be filed within 10 years from the effectivity of the measure. For simpler and less expensive adoption and rectification proceedings, the law also allows for administrative adoption proceedings if the child has been living with the supposed parents for at least three years and the Department of Social Welfare and Development declares the child legally available for adoption.  Instead of going through the courts, those who will file a petition may do so through the social welfare and development officer of the city or municipality where the child resides.

DILG urges provinces to help fight insurgency, create TFs Continued from A12

Last December 4, 2018, Cavite was also declared as a province with Stable Internal Peace and Security, the first to be given such a distinction across the country. That tag can only be attained if no NPA activity has been recorded for at least a year.

Rel ated ly, t he C a l aba rzon became the first region in the country to create a Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conf lict during the joint Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council meeting in Calamba City on February 26. Jonathan L. Mayuga

Palace working on EO to better manage fragmented water sector


MID the water crisis felt by residents and business establishments in Metro Manila, the government revealed it is currently working on an executive order (EO) that would allow government to properly address the water issues in the country. The Office of the Cabinet Secretary said on Wednesday the proposed EO aims to “address the fragmentation in the water sector by providing the framework for an integrated and coordinated effort in planning and implementing the programs and projects to address all issues in the water sector.” At least 32 agencies are in the water sector, with different offices involved in the various aspects of the IWRM.  The Economic Cluster led by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III already vetted the EO so

the EO now will be vetted by the Cabinet Assistance System (CAS) led by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. “Even before parts of National Capital Region suffered water supply problems, the Economic Cluster and the Cabinet Assistance System was already working on an issuance that would help the government better resolve the many issues involving the supply and distribution of water,” Nograles said in a statement.  Nograles added the interagency efforts were prompted by policy issues that were unearthed in the process of finalizing the 20172022 Philippine Development Plan.  “If you go through the PDP, you will see that it admits that despite the country’s abundant water resources, there are issues in

“If you go through the PDP, you will see that it admits that despite the country’s abundant water resources, there are issues in the development, utilization and management of water-related services.” —Nograles

the development, utilization and management of water-related services,” Nograles said. According to the Palace official, the issues include: (1) limited operationalization of  integrated water resources management (IWRM) in many of the countr y’s river basins and watersheds, which results in the resources’ suboptimal use and wastage and uncoordinated plans, projects and programs;

(2) quantifying the extent of many issues in the water resources sector (i.e., water resource availability or lack thereof, water stress levels, inefficiency in use, over/ underutilization of resources, groundwater pollution, land subsidence, saltwater intrusion, etc.), thus the challenges involved in proper planning and management given the lack of available updated, consolidated, and/or harmonized data; and (3) access to safe water supplies due to the uneven distribution of freshwater sources. “The administration knows that these issues have to be addressed and we know the fundamental challenges involved. Our priority now is to provide the President with a way to resolve these issues, and we should be threshing out the details in the

next few days,” said Nograles.

Hasten Kaliwa Dam

MEANWHILE, in a separate development, Dominguez also said on Wednesday that the water crisis sends a strong signal to hasten the construction of the Kaliwa Dam. “Absolutely. Yea h, in fact, this had been done before the water crisis would be much less serious or much less of a threat,” he said.  Asked if he will recommend steps for the construction to be faster than its original pace, Dominguez said: “Well the process of bidding out and awarding is well on its way and I’m sure the MWSS [Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System] will urge their contractors to move faster than originally planned.” On Tuesday, Manila Water

Company Inc. explained that the unusually huge demand for water because of “El Niño” and the limited allocation for the water concessionaire are behind the current supply shortage being experienced by consumers within its concession area. While waiting for the Kaliwa Dam project, Manila Water assured the public that it is currently boosting supply from Laguna de Bay and is stepping up deep well projects to get water from other sources.  Prior to this, Sen. Grace Poe has also warned that the country is facing a looming water crisis, prodding the government to “be more proactive in addressing the problem by adopting a radical approach in tackling existing problems or shortcomings” in the water-supply system.” Bernadette D. Nicolas

The Nation BusinessMirror

Duterte signs Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act


RESIDENTDutertehassignedinto law a bill that requires motor vehicle owners to use child restraint systems when traveling with children. Duterte signed Republic Act 11229, or the Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act on February 22 and a copy of which was sent to the media on Wednesday. “It shall be unlawful for the driver of a covered vehicle not to properly secure at all times a child, in a child restraint system while the engine is running or transporting such child on any road, street, or highway unless the child is at least 150 centimeters or 59 inches in height and is properly secured using the regular seat belt. The child restraint system shall be appropriate to the child’s age, height and weight,” the law reads. Under the law, no child 12 years and below of age shall be allowed to sit in a front seat of a motor vehicle “unless the child meets the height requirement.” A child restraint system, according to the law, refers to a device capable of accommodating a child occupant in a sitting or supine position. “It is so designed to diminish the risk of injury to the wearer, in the event of a collision or of abrupt deceleration of the vehicle, by limiting the mobility of the child’s body,” the law explained. Under the law, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Philippine Information Agency, Department of Health, Department of Education and private agencies and organizations must undertake regular nationwide information, education, and communication campaign within six months from the passage of the Act. The campaign must include infor-

mation on the proper installation, use and maintenance of the child restraint system. The DOTr may call upon any government agency, including the Philippine National Police (PNP) and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to extend their full support and cooperation for the implementation of this Act. It must also conduct and submit to Congress a periodic review on the implementation of this Act at the end of the third year from the date of effectivity year thereafter. The DOTr, in consultation with the Departments of Trade and Industry and Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Council for the Welfare of Children, and other concerned agencies and stakeholders must promulgate the implementing rules and regulations on child restraint systems within six months from the effectivity of the Act. The Act shall take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in two national newspapers of general circulation. That Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill 1971 and House Bill 6938 was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on December 11, 2018. Grab Philippines is preparing its driver-partners in the transport network vehicle service sector for the implementation of the new law, Spokesman Nicka Hosaka said on Wednesday. “We are ready to carry it out within the TNVS community as soon as the implementing rules and regulations of the law are made available,” she said.  Bernadette D. Nicolas, Lorenz S. Marasigan with PNA

Editor: Vittorio V. Vitug • Thursday, March 14, 2019 A3

PNP chief: Command responsibility is the norm in anti-illegal drugs ops By Rene Acosta @reneacostaBM


ATIONAL Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has reminded anew all policemen involved in implementing anti-illegal drugs operations to strictly adhere to existing policies and guidelines set by the police top leadership. In a memorandum, Albayalde ordered police regional directors to ensure that the selection and vetting procedures are properly observed in the activation and organization of drug-enforcement units in all levels with a quarterly

evaluation to assure credibility. All regional directors were also ordered to supervise anti-illegal drugs operations, especially in the arrest of high-value targets and other drug suspects within their areas of responsibility in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. At the same time, all unit commanders were also reminded to supervise and monitor the operations and activities of their anti-illegal drugs units against possible irregularities that often affect the image of the PNP. Albayalde said the policies and guidelines should ensure that op-

erating units should avoid lapses and ensure an efficient supervision of police subordinates during operations. “As we focus on the upcoming 2019 midterm elections [in May], the PNP is also upgrading its wellsustained mechanism to intensify our relentless crusade against illegal drugs,” Albayalde said. The PNP issued the reiteration of the standing policies and guidelines following the arrest of two antiillegal drugs policemen from Pasay and Pasig Cities in robbery/extortion cases last week. The guidelines stated that command responsibility should be the

norm in the field, and that unit commanders, team leaders and supervisors should closely monitor and supervise the activities of their units and personnel. “Every PNP personnel must be given specific duties to as an agent of change in the community, he must know and report his neighbors who are involved in illegal drugs and crime,” Albayalde said. On the issue of human rights, Albayalde assured the PNP is responsive to the requirements of due process, rule of law and human rights in all police operations, adding these are deeply rooted in the police doctrine, systems and procedures.

Stadium plan within QC Circle ‘inappropriate,’ says lawmaker


HE chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development on Wednesday expressed her opposition to a proposal to build a coliseum within the grounds of the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC), saying that the construction of a sports arena in the site is simply “inappropriate.” Quezon City Rep. and panel chairman Winnie Castelo said that building such a massive structure in QMC would wreak havoc on the

trees and other plant life in the park that has also served as a respite ground from the daily grind of Quezon City residents. “The place would not be appropriate. It would compromise the beauty of the place as serene and tranquil,” Castelo said in a news statement. Quezon City Rep. Vincent Crisologo said he plans to build an auditorium at the QMC. Crisologo is currently running for Quezon City

mayor against incumbent Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte. According to Crisologo, the QMC has sufficient space to accommodate an auditorium.   While cities like Manila, Caloocan, San Juan and Makati have their own large sports auditoriums and basketball stadiums, he said. Quezon City does not have one, he argued. “There is no general planning. So I think we should replan the circle,” Crisologo added.

Passive park

CASTELO, however, said that QMC is a passive park designed for walking and promenade. “The real purpose of that park is for tranquility and serenity. It’s a passive park where park-goers can promenade,” he added. Castelo also noted that the place is sacred, as it is where the remains of former President Manuel L. Quezon are buried. Jovee Marie N. Dela Cruz

A4 Thursday, March 14, 2019 • Editor: Vittorio V. Vitug

Economy BusinessMirror

Slight car sales increase in February may signal vehicle industry recovery By Elijah Felice E. Rosales



ALES of local vehicle assemblers slightly rose in February on the back of an uptick in the passenger car segment and in what could be the outset of the industry’s recovery this year. Total industry sales in February rose 0.6 percent to 26,327 units from 26,176 units during the same month last year, according to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. and

Truck Manufacturers Association. However, annual sales of the industry are still in the red. Sales in January to February declined 8 percent to 53,215 units, from 57,821 units during

What Philippines gave up with the recent enactment of rice trade liberalization law By Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas @jearcalas


HE Philippines has given up its right to impose the most effective protection against import surges of farm products when it enacted the rice trade liberalization (RTL) law, according to a highranking official. Agriculture Undersecretar y Segfredo R. Serrano said Republic Act 11203 included a provision that removed the government’s authority to reimpose import restrictions in times that import surge cause harm or injury to the local agriculture sector. “[Reimposing quantitative restriction (QR) as a general safeguard] is useless now since it became a collateral damage when the rice trade liberalization law was enacted,” Serrano told reporters in an interview on Tuesday afternoon. “We have lost one elbow room in protecting the local industry. If you invoke Republic Act 8800, you have the option to impose a temporary or a tenured QR to stem prejudice or damage to the industry, and it is a very effective measure,” Serrano added. Serrano cited Section 3 of the RTL law as the provision that effectively amended the provisions of RA 8800 or the Special Safeguards Act that allow the government to reinstate QR as a protective measure in times of detrimental import surge proven to be detrimental to a domestic sector. Section 3 of the RTL law amended Section 4 of RA 8178 or the Agricultural Tariffications Act to read as follows: “The following laws and all other laws or provisions of law prescribing quantitative import restrictions or granting government agencies the power to impose such restrictions on agricultural products or hindering the liberalization of the importation, exportation and trading of rice are hereby repealed.”


DUE to this, the government could no longer impose QR anymore as a trade remedy on the reported surge in palm oil imports, which Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said has caused oversupply in the local market, thus, pulling down the farm-gate price of copra to below cost-to-produce levels. Likewise, the government could not invoke such right if the volume of rice imported in the country under the new trade regime would reach a level that would drastically affect local farmers. “That’s the biggest whammy on the agriculture sector. What gives the teeth to being able to prove the

causality between the import surge and price decline…is the ability and flexibility to apply QR on a tenured basis,” Serrano said. “This is a unilateral disarmament on the agriculture sector. We cannot reimpose QR on agriculture, but we could still do it in industrials. So what does that tell us?” he added. Serrano said they vehemently opposed the provision but to no avail.

Deaf ears

FEDERATION of Free Farmers Inc. (FFF) National Manager Raul Q. Montemayor said they flagged the consequences of the RA 11203’s Section 3 to lawmakers and even to the Malacañang but it fell on deaf ears. “I think they did not know or understand what this was all about,” Montemayor told the BusinessMirror. “Or maybe they thought that the special safeguard (SSG) provision in Section 10 of R A 11203 was sufficient or was what we were talking about.” Due to the removal of the authority to reimpose QR, the government has been left with only the option to increase tariffs on farm imports if it proves that imports have caused harm to local industries. “If SSG proves to be insufficient to address a surge in imports and decline in palay prices, the general safeguards under RA 8800 could be a fall back position of the government. But RA 11203 seems to have taken out this option,” he said. Montemayor said they have proposed that the Section 3 of RA 11203 to be clarified in the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) so as not to leave the government helpless in protecting the local farmers.  Montemayor added they are hopeful that Piñol would insist on fixing the provision. “During the IRR consultation in Iloilo, I flagged this concern and suggested that a phrase be added in the IRR to say “except as provided under RA 8800 and WTO rules,” he said. “Otherwise, it would be difficult because importers might use the RA 11203 to challenge the imposition of QRs under RA 8800,” he added. The World Trade Organization allows the reimposition of QRs and increased of tariffs given that the import surge was proven harmful to a country’s domestic sector. “A WTO member may take a safeguard action (i.e., restrict imports of a product temporarily) only if the increased imports of the product are found to be causing, or threatening to cause, serious injury,” according to the WTO. 

the same period in 2018. Yet, this was a more manageable margin compared to the 15percent decline the industry registered in January. Local car assemblers are working to rebound their sales this year after a dismal showing last year. February sales of passenger cars improved 3.4 percent to 8,471 units, from 8,192 units during the same month in 2018. On the other hand, sales of commercial vehicles dipped 0.7 percent to 17,856 units from 17,984 units. The Asian utility vehicle bracket had the largest slowdown at 59.2 percent to 2,227 units from 5,463 units.

Sales of light commercial vehicles and light trucks both grew double digits at 25.2 percent and 77 percent, respectively. However, there were lesser buyers of trucks and buses in February. Sales of Category IV trucks and buses slipped 1.1 percent to 368 units from 372 units, while those of Category V slumped 58.7 percent to 81 units from 196 units. The uptick in car sales came on the same month inflation, or the general increase in commodity prices, settled at 3.8 percent, according to figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority. Inflation in February was the same as the rate during the same

month last year, but was slower than the 4.4 percent in January. Local car assemblers blamed, among others, the record high inflation last year, which peaked at 6.7 percent in September and October, for their 16percent decline in sales. Still, the industry has catching up to do if it seeks to achieve its target of growing 10 percent in sales this year. Sales of passenger cars in January to February are still down 5.7 percent at 16,958 units, from 17,982 units during the same period last year. The decline was larger in the commercial vehicle segment at 9 percent to 36,257 units from 39,839 units.

Data confab seeks to draw new blueprint of govt’s ICT road map By Roderick L. Abad @rodrik_28


O raise further public awareness on the government’s strategic road map for its information and communications technology policy formulation, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. will delve on the National ICT Ecosystem Framework (NICTEF) at the 1*DATA Privacy and Security Solutions Day on March 20 at the Makati Shangri-La hotel. NICTEF is a newly created major blueprint on the future direction of the department for its initiatives. It serves as the state’s response to the increasing need for an authoritative reference covering the whole ICT agenda. In order to convert raw data into valuable information, the framework has  six strategic thrusts, namely, Participatory e-Governance, Industry and Countryside Development, ICT User Protection and Information Security, Improved Public Links and Connectivity, Re-

source Sharing and Capacity Building throughout ICT, and Enabling and Sustainable ICT Environment. 1*DATA is a conclave of data privacy and security thought leaders and influencers in both public and private sectors, as well as professional associations. This event is organized by the National Association of Data Protection Officers of the Philippines (Nadpop), which is the pioneering group of privacy professionals in the country. “Nadpop members know that in order for them to handle the responsibi l it ies in manag ing personal information in their respective organizations, they will need the help of world-class solutions providers,” said Sam Jacoba, Nadpop founding president and 1*DATA Conference chairman. “We also wish to inspire them to become world-class privacy and security professionals [that are] the foundations in strengthening our country’s data privacy ecosystem.” To help reinforce this goal, former National Privacy Commission (NPC) Deputy Commissioner

and NICTEF Consultant Damian “Dondi” Mapa will discuss the Solutions Framework for Data Privacy and Security. UN Consultant Dr. Emmanuel Lallana will then talk on Competencies Framework for data protection officers, or DPOs, which will help Nadpop to develop initiatives for their membership to become world-class privacy and security professionals. Henry Aguda, Unionbank chief technology and operations officer, chief transformation officer, and UBX chairman of the board, will lecture on Tech of Security, which is part of a bigger discussion on The Science, Art and Tech of Data, Privacy and Security during the plenary session. Industry organizations like the Infocomm Technology Association of the Philippines and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) will share the State of Data Privacy in their respective sectors and professions. ITAP will be represented by its President Carlo Subido, while IBP DPO Atty. Boyet Medina will speak on behalf of his group. 

New law widens free skills training, and certification for poor Pinoys By Samuel P. Medenilla @sam_medenilla


ORE marginalized Filipinos may soon be able to obtain certification and skills training from the government after President Duterte finally signed Republic Act (RA) 112301, or the “Tulong Trabaho Act” last month. Under the new law, the government will allocate a portion of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for its Tulong-Trabaho Fund (TTF) to be managed by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) for qualified beneficiaries.  The TTF could also be availed of by its beneficiaries to pay for assessment and certification, as well as documents and procedures for their TechnicalVocational Education and Training (TVET) program.    To qualify for the TTF, a beneficiary should be at least 15 years old and not enrolled in any education or training course as well as employed workers who intend to expand their skills.  Tesda will then determine the industries with Selected Training Program, which may be eligible for the TTF, using quantitative and qualitative data provided by the Department of Labor and Employment.  “The Tesda board shall release the initial list of available STPs within two months from the effectivity of this Act and shall update such list in accordance with the provisions of this Act,” RA 112301 said.  TTF recipient-industries must ensure that 80 percent of their beneficiaries pass the Philippine TVET Competency Assessment and Certification System.   “Failure to meet the passing rate shall subject, the school or training center to performances review and audit by the Tesda Board,” RA 112301 said.   RA 112301 was signed by President Duterte on February 22 and will take effect 15 days after being published in the Official Gazatte or in a newspaper of general circulation.  Tesda, in consultation with “relevant” stakeholders, will have 60 days to formulate and release its implementing rules and regulations (IRR). A oversight committee comprised by members of the House of Representatives and the Senate will be tasked to monitor the enforcement of the TTF.

IPOPHL brings IP-focused MCLE program to the Visayas


HE Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) will be mounting the 2019 edition of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) this March in Cebu, to expand its education drive and reach out to intellectual-property (IP) practitioners in the Visayas. The IPOPHL MCLE 2019 Program’s Cebu leg, to be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel from March 18 to 22, marks the program’s debut in a major city outside of Metro Manila. “Scaling up our IP Education and Awareness drive is at the forefront of IPOPHL’s agenda. The MCLE Program’s first run outside of Luzon this March will be an essential learning opportunity for lawyers and nonlawyers alike. Our curriculum for this lecture series is a diverse offering of updates on IP legislation, strategic innovation on IP core processes and appeals, commerce-related concepts of IP,” Director General Josephine R. Santiago said in a news statement issued on Wednesday. IP processes, including litigation and the special rules and procedures on IP cases will be discussed. IP is a game changer of scientific innovation and creativity, and has been entrenched as a component of economic growth in the Philippine Development Plan (particularly


An elderly vendor displays her inventory of dressed chicken at the Kamuning Market in Quezon City on Wednesday amid reports reaching the Department of Trade and Industry that chicken is being sold at some Metro wet markets above the government’s suggested retail price. NONOY LACZA

in chapters on advancing science, technology, and innovation, and expanding economic opportunities for industry and services). The area of IP is an increasingly popular field in legal practice that remains to be fully tapped by a new generation of lawyers. With every sector, from manufacturing

to banking, now being infused with technology, expertise in the field of intellectual property will complement law firms’ existing competencies in high-demand practice areas such as information technology and cyber law. I nt e l le c t u a l pro p e r t y h a s been a salient feature of mod-

ern free trade agreements, both bilateral and multilateral ones, putting it in a prime intersection with trade law. The lecture series will tackle topics such as the impact of new legislation (the competition law and the Data Privacy Act) on IP, as well as enforcing one’s IP rights. PNA


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If you have any information / objection to the above mentioned application/s, please communicate with the Regional Director thru Employment Promotion and Workers Welfare (EPWW) Telephone/ No. 400-6011. If you Division have anywith information objection to the above mentioned application/s, please communicate with the Regional Director thru Employment Promotion and Workers Welfare (EPWW) Division with Telephone No. 400-6011. ATTY. ANA C. DIONE, CPA REGIONAL DIRECTOR ATTY. ANA C. DIONE, CPA REGIONAL DIRECTOR



A8 Thursday, March 14, 2019

Comelec talks to power firms to avert outages


By Samuel P. Medenilla


HE Commission on Elections on Wednesday said it is now bracing itself for possible power interruptions as a result of the El Niño phenomenon. 

The poll body said it is now coordinating with power firms to ensure there will be sufficient electricity supply during and after midterm elections on May 13. “We were able to get assurances of priority  for election-related activity,” Comelec spokesperson James B. Jimenez told reporters in an interview.  He said they notified the power companies of the “critical phases”


The number of hours that batteries of vote-counting machines (VCM) can sustain operations, in case of power interruptions on election day

Split by sibling Senate, House must break stalemate–Palace politics, JV Ejercito, Erap meet briefly Continued from A1


FTER admitting that he and his father have not spoken “for a long time,” reelectionist Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito had a casual conversation with former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada in a restaurant in San Juan on Tuesday. However, Ejercito said that they did not talk about politics during their encounter, which was arranged by a family friend. “Nothing definite,” he told the BusinessM irror in an interview when asked if Estrada promised to support his candidacy “No serious talk muna [for now],” he added. He also posted on Instagram and Facebook their brief “reunion.” “It’s been awhile...father and son bonding,” he captioned the photo while both were holding glasses of wine. Late last year, Ejercito left the party of his father, when he was asked to withdraw his senatorial bid to support his half-brother former Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is working on a comeback to the Senate. Ejercito then left his father’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and took his oath with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). He then said that he left the PMP because of differences in principle. His father accompanied Jinggoy when the latter filed his certificate of candidacy. “I don’t agree with the position of allowing two siblings [running] at the same time,” he said, as such a situation would confuse the public, to his disadvantage. He said he is not only hoping for his father’s support, but also for his approval, following the signing into law of the Universal Health Care Act and the creation of the Department of Human Settlements, and recently, the “Act Providing for the Special Protection of Child Passengers in Motor Vehicles,” which he authored. Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco

Water crisis. . . Continued from A12

“The reality is, if we are getting 1,600 MLD from Angat and the demand is 1,740, that means, we are getting water from La Mesa. This means La Mesa water level will go down.  This has been happening since 2016. But we are lucky [that] from July to October, La Mesa gets filled up.  During summer, it will start peaking.  June, July, it rises again and then returns to normal level,” he explained. According to Carpio, the bigger the demand, the more the water at La Mesa Dam is depleted.  “It happened in December 2018.  [We were never able to return to normal] and it peaked now.  So far, we are hoping for water in La Mesa to recover by the onset of the rainy season,” he said. According to Carpio, Manila Water is currently boosting supply from Laguna de Bay, and is stepping up deep well projects to get water from other sources, while waiting for the Kaliwa Dam Project. “We constructed a plant to draw water from Laguna de Bay until the Kaliwa Water Source is constructed.  But that will be energized to produce 100 MLD a day and another 50 MLD sometime in August.  But really, we are catching up. Kaliwa Dam is delayed and [MWSS Administrator] Reynaldo Velasco has put it back on track.  We saw it coming,” he said.

The Palace reiterated that the Executive branch has already performed its constitutional task to submit the proposed 2019 national budget, noting it did so 30 days before the deadline imposed by the law. The Executive branch also threw its full support with its staff attending committee hearings to make sure that the legislative process would be unhampered and the money measure is approved on time. “…We await Congress to comply with its constitutional mandate to pass the same,” Panelo said. Nonetheless, Panelo assured the public that the administration is prepared to cushion the impact of a reenacted budget and that the delivery of public services will be maintained. “As soon as the enrolled bill on the budget is submitted to the President, the latter will perform his constitutional duty to scrutinize it, and if he finds it in conformity with the constitutional demands, he will sign it,” he said. At his late Tuesday meeting, with Congress leaders at Malacañang, Duterte had begun the dialogue by saying he would not sign the budget bill if Senate President Vicente Sotto III does not sign it. Sotto had refused to affix his signature on the documents sent by the House because, according to Senate leaders, House leaders had “manipulated” the final version that was already approved by the bicameral conference committee and ratified separately by both chambers on February 8. Sotto explained that he cannot in conscience sign what he knows to be an inaccurate representation of the supposedly approved final version.

Hesitant BY Wednesday, hours after the Dutertebrokered meeting ended with an inconclusive or soft agreement, Senate leaders were still hesitant to reconvene a bicameral panel, as suggested by their House counterparts, to hammer out a final reconciled Senate-House version of the 2019 budget bill. “The bottom line for us in the Senate is that we cannot adopt something that is unconstitutional because the provision of the Constitution is clear. Upon the last reading of a bill no amendment thereto shall be allowed. That’s very clear,” Senator Panfilo Lacson told reporters. He disclosed that some members of the bicameral panel “were still insisting last night that the budget measure is an exception.” Lacson said he replied that

“the Constitution does not say ‘except the appropriations measure or revenue measure.’ When you say last reading of a bill, it covers all bills, including appropriations and revenue measures where the President may exercise lineitem veto.” Lacson said senators were puzzled why the HOR waited until the BCC-approved measure was ratified before they realigned. “The problem with realignment is that’s basically an amendment.” He cited a P72.319-billion appropriations intended for the DPWH. “This is what they touched. And reallocated to the districts. I said, ‘Mr. President, what is bad here is the Build, Build, Build is your legacy program. Because the substantial amount of P72 billion was reallocated to districts, Build, Build, Build will be derailed’.” He cited the Asset Preservation Program (maintenance of bridges, roads, buildings), Network Program (road networks, primary roads) among the substantial items touched. “The DPWH studied this well and presented it to the Cabinet and DBCC [Development Budget Coordination Committee]. And it was approved by the Cabinet. So why should congressmen suddenly remove the P72 billion?” Lacson asked. Asked how much was reallocated, Lacson replied the net increase added up to P95 billion. He took issue with Rep. Fredenil Castro’s rebuke to senators not to meddle with their affairs. The Senate, said Lacson, must take a stand because “it’s unconstitutional. That’s everybody’s concern. Since we have a bicameral system of government, the Senate cannot but intervene because what we will submit to Malacañang as an enrolled bill is the same enrolled bill the Speaker of the HOR has already signed. We will not also allow our SP to be exposed to possible criminal charges or criminal investigation later on because that’s tantamount to falsification of the records of the legislative process. What is being certified when one signs an enrolled bill, is that the contents were the ones approved in plenary, which it is not. What we approved did not include their amendments because that’s post-bicameral.”

‘Nothing unconstitutional’ IN a news conference on Wednesday, Castro said, however, the House is firm in its position that there is nothing unconstitutional in itemizing lump sums in the 2019 national budget after ratification. “Members of both chambers signified to the President that they will follow his

Govt wants to hike NFA buffer stock Continued from A1

account will be created for the use of the NFA. The revolving account will come from the NFA’s sales to agencies that will be required to provide relief in case of emergencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Sombilla said the funds being set up will come from the proceeds of all sales, even from DSWD purchases of emergency stocks. In a recent joint statement, Neda, the Department of Finance, and the Department of Budget and Management said El Niño may hamper food production. The economic team cited data

from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration which indicated that El Niño will continue until June. The agencies said around 19 provinces are expected to experience drought this year including Metro Manila. In this light, they assured that the government will take proactive measures to mitigate its adverse impacts. The agriculture sector will be hit hardest by the dry spell. Because of this, the economic team said there is a need to increase the sector’s resiliency against extreme weather conditions. Cai U. Ordinario

suggestion so that in a few days’ time, the budget is finalized,” he said.  “We were able to finish the discussion. And then the President added it’s the ballgame of Congress to finish it in a manner which is more or most convenient, or to which they are both comfortable,” he added.  During the meeting with the President, Castro said that there was no such finding that the House was at fault in itemizing the lumpsum appropriation in the committee report after the ratification. “It‘s still itemized because it is not unconstitutional and it is not illegal,” he added.  “That is still period of legislation, whereas if the President has already approved the budget, that is the period of execution; therefore that would be postenactment,” Castro said.  At the same time, House members challenged Sotto to exercise transparency by ordering colleagues to give the breakdown of their alleged P75-billion “post-bicameral realignment” under the 2019 national budget. According to Castro, Lacson suggested retaining the lump-sum appropriations in the bicameral report and just allowing the President to itemize the projects which may be covered by the lump-sum appropriations.  “[However] to this suggestion, [House Committee on Appropriations Chairman] Rep. Rolando Andaya expressed reservation as this would be unconstitutional. This proposal of Senator Lacson did not sit well with the President because, quoting the President, he does not want to be involved in allocating projects,” Castro explained.  “The President said, ‘I cannot, that’s the job of Congress. You resolve the impasse, you finish the budget’,” he added.

Transparency HOUSE Deputy Minority Leader and COOP-Natcco Party-list Rep. Anthony Bravo, a member of the bicameral conference committee on the national budget, said senators “should also show transparency and honesty from their end.” He noted that senators even failed to identify themselves as proponents of the proposed infrastructure projects worth P21 billion under the national budget. Earlier, Andaya said the Senate allegedly made post-bicameral realignments worth P75 billion. Andaya said the Senate only submitted its list of projects on February 11, 2019 or three days after both chambers ratified the bicameral panel-approved version.

Bernadette D. Nicolas, Butch Fernandez and Jovee Marie N. Dela Cruz

wherein they cannot afford to have power outages. “If there’s any chance at all that power shortage can be scheduled, then they take that in consideration every time,” Jimenez said.  The poll official said this was in anticipation of the possible reduction of the country’s energy supply as the  El Niño bites most deeply. Many hydropower plants are expected to suffer reduced yields due to low water supplies.  

The Department of Energ y (DOE) has projected that El Niño will impact the power supply from April to June.   In case of power interruptions on election day despite their precautions, Jimenez said their votecounting machines (VCM) are equipped with batteries with 16hour life. He also said they will also be deploying generator sets to the voting precincts as part of their contingency plan.

Imports surge hits clear float glass; govt probing, eyeing safeguard duty By Elijah Felice E. Rosales



OLLOWING the imposition of a safeguard duty on cement, the government is now eyeing to protect the float glass industry after it reportedly got hit by a surge in imports from 2013 to 2017. Trade Secretar y R amon M. Lopez has issued a notice of initiation for a preliminary investigation on whether to apply safeguard measure on clear and tinted float glass. He said his agency found the existence of a prima facie case in the protest that increased imports over the past years seriously injured the local float glass industry. Citing data from the Bureau of Customs, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a report the import volume of clear float glass jumped from 2013 to 2016, and only declined in 2017 due to the antidumping measure imposed on clear float glass from China. Imports of clear f loat glass surged 646 percent in 2014 to 32,351 metric tons (MT) from 4,337 MT in 2013, and rose 52 percent in 2015 to 49,289 MT. It further went up in 2016, this time by 19 percent, to 58,787 MT, before falling in 2017 by 29 percent to 42,029 MT. “It was observed that during the POI [period of investigation], imports of clear float and clear reflective glass showed an upward trend which is recent, sharp, sudden and significant,” the report read. The volume of imported tinted float glass also leaped by triple digits in 2014 and 2015, the report added. Customs data showed imports of tinted float glass increased 274 percent in 2014 to 22,431 MT from 6,005 MT in 2013; and jumped 127 percent in 2015 to 50,974 MT. However, imports slumped 15 percent in 2016 to 43,255 MT, and dipped 2 percent in 2017 to 42,312 MT. “In 2016 it declined 7,719 MT, or 15 percent, and slightly declined by 2 percent in 2017. In 2017 an

antidumping duty was imposed on bronze float glass from PROC [People’s Republic of China],” the report read. According to the DTI, the major suppliers of imported float glass from 2013 to 2017 were China, Indonesia and Malaysia. China nearly accounted for all of clear float glass imports in 2016 with a 96.66-percent market share. It was only in 2017, when an antidumping duty was slapped on clear float glass, that the import share of China slumped to 22.07 percent. The Philippines imposes no import duty on float glass from Southeast Asian countries, but taxes Chinese clear and tinted float glass by 15 percent. The surge in imports, the report added, resulted in a steady drop in the sales of the domestic industry—dipping 1.24 percent in 2014 to P99 million from P100 million in 2013, falling 3.92 percent in 2015 to P95 million; and further slipping 5.71 percent in 2016 to P89 million. It recovered 36.42 percent in 2017 to P122 million in reaction to the antidumping imposition on Chinese clear float glass. On the other hand, sales of locally made tinted float glass grew 53.46 percent in 2014 to P153 million from P100 million in 2013, declined 36.66 percent in 2015 to P97 million, but rebounded 10 percent in 2016 to P107 million. In 2017 sales rose 42.48 percent to P152 million, industry data claimed. The petition to apply safeguard measures was filed by Pioneer Float Glass Manufacturing Inc. on the claim that it got seriously injured by the increased import volume of clear and tinted float glass from 2013 to 2017. Pioneer Float Glass is the lone manufacturer of f loat glass in the countr y with 192 dealers nationwide that distribute to customers downstream. The petition comes on the heels of the government’s decision to implement a safeguard duty of P210 per MT on cement.

Neda: Reenacted budget to stall infra projects, cut GDP growth this year Continued from A1

massive infrastructure spending of P8 trillion to P9 trillion until 2022. “Even with this, the economy has been steadily growing by at least 6.0 percent for seven consecutive years. Also, in the first ten quarters of the administration, the economy has been growing at an average of 6.5 percent. We need to sustain this momentum, or even accelerate it, now with inflation rate down and within our target range,” Pernia said. Based on documents obtained by the BusinessMirror, the national government intends to spend P4.71 trillion in the next three years for ongoing and new projects identi-

fied under the three-year rolling infrastructure plan (TRIP). Neda said the amount covers around 7,401 projects. The TRIP is the government’s tool to strengthen the link between programming and budgeting. It ensures that the right types or the needed projects are included in the pipeline and are accordingly funded. This includes P3.42 trillion for 4,376 projects under Tier 1 or ongoing projects and P1.287 trillion or 4,376 projects in Tier 2 or new and/or expanded projects In order to maximize government resources, the pipeline list of TRIP projects will include Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects. Tier 1 will be

composed of ongoing projects that need to have continuous funding in the next three years while Tier 2 includes “new” projects. Meanwhile, the majority or 71.19 percent or P3.35 trillion of the funds to be used for these projects are from the national budget, while 25.18 percent or P1.185 trillion will be obtained from Official Development Assistance. Around 2.51 percent or P118.32 billion will be financed through corporate funds of government-owned and -controlled corporations; 0.58 percent or P27.09 billion will be from joint ventures; and 0.54 percent or P25.56 billion will be financed through public -private partnerships.

Agriculture/Commodities BusinessMirror

Editor: Jennifer A. Ng • Thursday, March 14, 2019


Govt eases restrictions on agri free patents By Bernadette D. Nicolas @BNicolasBM


ARMERS holding agricultural free patents may now sell their land or use it as collateral after President Duterte signed a measure that removed Commonwealth-era restrictions on lands covered by the Public Land Act. The President signed the Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act, or Republic Act 11231, on February 22. Under RA 11231, agricultural public lands alienated or d isposed in favor of qualified public land applicants shall not be subject to restrictions imposed on the registration, acquisition, encumbrance, transfer and conveyance of land covered by free patents under the Public Land Act. “Agricultural free patent shall… not be subject to any restriction on

encumbrance or alienation,” read a portion of the newly signed law, a copy of which was obtained by the BusinessMirror. The law shall also have a retroactive effect. Any restriction regarding acquisitions, encumbrances, conveyances, transfers or dispositions imposed on agricultural free patents issued under Section 44 of Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, before the effectivity of RA 11231 are lifted. The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) welcomed the pas-

sage of the law, saying this will benefit more than 2.5 million agricultural patent landowners and spur agricultural lending. “It w i l l faci l itate transactions in the rural land market that will lead to the highest and best use of agricultural land,” FEF said in a post on its official Facebook page. FEF said the restrictions prohibit land owners from selling and mortgaging their land within the first five years of the patent grants and gives original landowners the option to buy back the property within five years from the date of sale. “The latter restriction has made agricultural patents unbankable inasmuch as banks do not want to hold a property for five years before its disposition,” read the statement FEF issued after the ratification of the bicameral report on the measure. Johnson Melo, director of Rural Bankers Associations of the Philippines, also said in the same statement that lifting the restrictions on agricultural free patents will also improve access to credit

A FARMER uses a hand tractor to till his rice field at the foot of Mount Arayat in Pampanga in this file photo.

of farmers, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises. “It will empower millions of free patent holders who, prior to this, could not freely use their land as

DA launches probe into GM corn seeds ‘price fixing’ By Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas @jearcalas


HE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it has started investigating allegations that traders and multinationals are manipulating the price of genetically modified (GM) corn seeds. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said he has instructed two DA officials to compare the prices of GM corn seeds in the local market with those sold in other countries. Piñol made the directive after he received reports that GM seeds are being sold at P6,000 per bag. A corn farmer needs about two bags of seeds costing P12,000 for 1 hectare. “They [traders] are selling it at a very high price right now. It seems that there is connivance among GM seed producers, because they have the same prices,” the agriculture chief said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday. The DA would try to establish that there is price fixing or connivance among GM corn seeds sellers, which include some multinationals. Piñol said the DA would finish


the investigation by next week. He said the DA would forward its findings to the Philippine Competition Commission. “The moment we are able to establish that they are really selling their seeds at a high price compared to other markets and they have monopolized it, we will file charges against them,” Piñol said. “We can seek damages in behalf of the corn farmers. We will have verifiable complaints,” he added.

Philippine Maize Federation Inc. (PhilMaize) President Roger V. Navarro welcomed the investigation initiated by the DA to determine transparency in pricing and to determine if companies are taking advantage of farmers. “If multinationals are not hiding anything and are transparent, they will not be afraid of this investigation,” Navarro told the BusinessMirror. The International Service for

the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) reported last year that total hectarage planted with biotech maize in the Philippines declined by 21 percent to 642,000 hectares, from 812,000 hectares last year. This is despite a 10.42-percent expansion in the country’s total corn area in 2017, driven by favorable weather conditions. Total area planted with corn last year reached 1.378 million hectares, from the 1.248 million hectares recorded in 2016. T he reduction in t he area planted with authorized Bt corn seeds resulted in an 18.6-percentage point decline in the adoption rate of the technology to 46.5 percent in 2017, from 65.1 percent in 2016. “Biotech maize area and adoption rate decreased because according to industr y analysts, there was a proliferation of counter feit biotech maize seeds,” ISAAA said. Seed industry stakeholders estimate that about 10 percent of the Bt corn seeds sold in the domestic market are counterfeit.

Rice, corn inventory expanded in February—PSA report


HE country’s rice inventory in February went up by 19.24 percent to 2.141 million metric tons, from 1.795 MMT recorded in the same period last year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). However, the volume was 16.04 percent lower than the 2.555 MMT recorded rice stockpile in January, the PSA said in its monthly inventory report. The PSA said 48.22 percent, or about 1.032 MMT, of the total rice inventory during the period were in households, while 37.88 percent

or 811,200 MT were held by commercial warehouses. It added that 297,620 MT, or 13.9 percent of the total stockpile, were in NFA warehouses. “ Year-on-year, the cur rent stocks in the households dropped by 5.09 percent, while stocks in NFA depositories and commercial warehouses grew by 384.72 percent and 25.46 percent, respectively,” the PSA said in the report, which was published on Wednesday. “Compared with the previous month’s record, the existing stocks

in the households and commercial warehouses correspondingly declined by 17.25 percent and 32.69 percent. However, stocks in NFA depositories increased by 203.72 percent,” the PSA added. In the same report, the PSA said the country’s corn inventory in February nearly doubled to 781,520 MT, from 410,330 MT recorded a year ago. On a monthly basis, the February figure was 15.59 percent higher than the 676,130 MT recorded in January, according to the PSA. The PSA said the bulk of the

corn inventory, or 635,620 MT, were in commercial warehouses while the remaining volume 145,900 MT was in households. “Compared with its previous year level, corn stocks in the households and in commercial warehouses were up by 96.85 percent and 89.27 percent, respectively,” it said. “The total corn stock for this month in the households and commercia l warehouses grew by 26.20 percent and 13.40 percent, respectively [from their prev ious mont h ’s levels],” it added. Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas

capital asset due to the restrictions,” the statement read. A study by FEF published in 2016 estimated that agricultural land/asset covered by the five-year

CaneX farming solutions to boost harvesting efficiency


ELGADO Brothers (Delbros) Group, one of the country’s pioneers in agriculture and logistics innovation, presented a new cutting-edge system for the sugarcane industry through its sugarcane farm solutions member-company, Cane Express (CaneX). Aimed at modernizing and optimizing the sugarcane farming industry, CaneX’s new innovative system revolutionizes traditional harvesting, loading and hauling. CaneX is the first in the country to deploy 48-foot triple axle Intermodal Trailers, which employ the company’s “drag and drop” model and can haul multiple loads in one day, efficiently shortening overall delivery time of sugarcane. “The country’s sugar output for 2017 to 2018 declined due to a drastic drop of labor and unfavorable weather conditions,” CaneX Managing Partner Sebastian Ledesma said in a statement. “With our modernized solutions, we aim not only to bridge the labor gap but also contribute to the sugarcane industry’s positive output by improving the current harvesting, loading and delivery model.” Because of inefficient traditional farm practices, labor costs, and lack of financing and infrastructure support, the industry is facing higher production costs for small and large farms compared to neighboring Southeast Asian countries. These challenges have caused a drop in the country’s overall sugarcane supply and a surge in sugar prices. Through the Filipino-designed CaneX trucks, mechanized cane harvesters and loaders are expected to cut hauling, harvesting and loading time, allowing farmers to focus on growing crops as best as they can, and for sugar mills to get the freshest sugarcane. This new technology

Gene-edited food quietly arrives in restaurant cooking oil


EW YORK—Somewhere in the Midwest, a restaurant is frying foods with oil made from gene-edited soybeans. That’s according to the company making the oil, which says it’s the first commercial use of a gene-edited food in the United States. Calyxt said it can’t reveal its first customer for competitive reasons, but CEO Jim Blome said the oil is “in use and being eaten.” The Minnesota-based company

is hoping the announcement will encourage the food industry’s interest in the oil, which it says has no trans fats and a longer shelf life than other soybean oils. Whether demand builds remains to be seen, but the oil’s transition into the food supply signals gene editing’s potential to alter foods without the controversy of conventional GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. Among the other gene-edited crops being explored: Mushrooms

that don’t brown, wheat with more fiber, better-producing tomatoes, herbicide-tolerant canola and rice that doesn’t absorb soil pollution as it grows. Unlike conventional GMOs, which are made by injecting DNA from other organisms, gene editing lets scientists alter traits by snipping out or adding specific genes in a lab. Start-ups, including Calyxt, say their crops do not qualify as GMOs because what they’re doing could theoretically

be achieved with traditional crossbreeding. So far, US regulators have agreed and said several gene-edited crops in development do not require special oversight. It’s partly why companies see big potential for gene-edited crops. “They’ve been spurred on by the regulatory decisions by this administration,” said Greg Jaffe of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health watchdog group. AP

restriction amounts to at least P387 billion. This amount may even reach trillions of pesos if patents prior to 1980 are included, according to the study.

IN this July 18, 2018, file photo, a farmer holds soybeans from the previous season’s crop at his farm in southern Minnesota. AP PHOTO/JIM MONE

can help lower production and labor costs, as well as help local farmers properly assess competitive prices for their products. CaneX trucks allow for three to four trips with bigger loads for hauling, as opposed to the current process that is limited to two trips a day. Compared to traditional farming that takes 10 people three to four days to harvest 1 hectare of land, mechanized harvesters can cut 1.2 hectares per day. Additionally, manual loading usually takes up to three to four hours to fill a 10-wheeler truck, while mechanized loaders efficiently cut the process to just 50 minutes. The company looks to double its current fleet of 15 harvesters and seven loaders in the next two years by committing over P90 million in equipment and personnel investment. Additionally, it also sees an opportunity to expand its services from simply harvesting, loading and hauling to full end-to-end farming, which includes planting, fertilization, cultivation and farm-management services, by 2020. At present, CaneX is used in farms in Negros, Bukidnon, Cavite and Batangas. “As seen through the years, Delbros is committed to modernizing agriculture and helping farmers produce more with their limited resources through our technology,” Delbros Group Managing Director Jose Paolo Delgado said. “Through our continued support of our farmers and the agriculture industry, we also take part in fueling the country’s potential economic growth. With over 70 years of history, Delbros Group is the country’s pioneer in agriculture and logistics innovation. It has over 20 subsidiaries and member-companies both locally and internationally.

A10 Thursday, March 14, 2019 • Editor: Angel R. Calso

Opinion BusinessMirror


Boracay: ‘The best beach in the world’


ALM, warm waters, gently sloping sand. Very relaxing. Possibly the most beautiful beach in Asia.” That’s how Boracay was described in the TripAdvisor’s 2019 Travelers’ Choice Awards, which cited 24 others in its Asia’s Best Beaches category. Surprisingly, Boracay only bagged the ninth spot among the region’s top 25 beaches. The Radhanagar Beach of Havelock Island in India topped the list, while Yapak Beach, the second-largest beach in Boracay and named after the prevalent white puka seashells, was listed last at 25th. The TripAdvisor’s 2019 Travelers’ Choice Awards ranks beaches, destinations, attractions, among others, based on millions of traveler reviews and opinions. Boracay received over 6,000 reviews with 62 percent excellent rave reviews and 24 percent very good rating, with most of the comments acknowledging the successful rehabilitation of the island. For example, TripAdvisor reviewer mariasusnaf2018 said: “Boracay still has it! After the six months rehab the Boracay White Beach is cleaner and clear. It has maintained its popularity among tourists and locals. It’s really lovely during sunsets. The burst of colors is awesome. I saw garbage bins, which were absent before.” “The best beach in the world. Experience the new, renovated and clean White Beach of Boracay. It is excellent for watersports and I can swim here the whole day. Be careful with the sun and always use your sunblock with high factor. Food are excellent everywhere you go,” said jguzon from Oslo, Norway. President Duterte ordered the six-month closure of the 10-squarekilometer island paradise starting April last year because it was turning into a “cesspool.” Boracay’s intensive rehabilitation managed to rid the beach of pollution and fix its unregulated sewage system. It reopened its beaches to tourists on October 26, 2018. Since then, sustainable tourism has been the battle cry of the Department of Tourism in promoting the country’s destination and in rallying tourism stakeholders to do their part in balancing development and conservation. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat earlier described Boracay’s closure as a “blessing in disguise.” She said: “The challenging act of closing down Boracay, a flagship destination and the country’s top sun-and-beach destination, has evidently become a blessing in disguise for secondary tourism spots to have a share of the limelight and attention they truly deserve.” She added that Palawan’s Nacpan Beach and Las Cabanas Beach were voted as the 13th and 22nd best beaches in the TripAdvisor’s 2019 Travelers’ Choice Awards. The tourism chief said: “We take it that this TripAdvisor citation of Boracay and El Nido is indicative of the positive reactions to the reforms and new policies being implemented in an effort to inculcate a culture of sustainable tourism. This bodes well with our campaign of highlighting the people’s genuine testaments and reactions to our destinations.” The recent naming of Boracay and Palawan beaches among Asia’s best in the TripAdvisor 2019 Travelers’ Choice Award gives us reason to rejoice. However, it pays to remember that we are just talking about a small segment of a global travel and tourism industry that’s estimated at about $8 trillion in 2016. The big challenge for us is to work for the inclusion of our attractions, destinations, hotels, airlines and restaurants in the top 25 of their respective categories. Since 2005

BusinessMirror A broader look at today’s business

Buying the right stock John Mangun



FTER some 30 years of experience and a few million in tuition fees—I learned how to trade the stock market on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Trading Japanese stocks was simple.

There were no trading symbols, only numbers. I had no idea of the company name or its business. Financial statements were written in Japanese, of course. I bought when the price was going higher and sold when the price was going down. Simple. From talking to investors, I almost get the idea they think making profits that way is sort of “cheating.” The stock market is such a noble historic institution that we should show more respect by understanding the factors that influence prices. You may want to get a yellow pad—long bond —to figure out which stock to buy. We start with macroeconomic

Making sense of election surveys Cecilio T. Arillo

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considerations. We should look at global economic growth. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development “cut forecasts again for the global economy in 2019 and 2020, following previous downgrades in November”. It might be good to put down on your yellow pad the growth forecast for all the big economies. Then you need to figure out how that might impact the Philippine economy. Speaking of the Philippines, you also need to include inflation forecasts, interest-rate forecasts and any other forecasts. You will probably need to do this on a

weekly basis so that you can make sure you have continuing input from all the economists and government experts. You also need to find out how all that information and predictions might, in one way or another, affect stock prices. The next factor in your stock picking is to examine the individual companies. You will want to spend time reading financial reports, corporate disclosures and stock-brokerage research. I always have had a problem with the research reports because I have never understood what a “hold” recommendation means. I assume if I already own the stock —either at a profit or loss—I should not do anything. But if I do not own it, should I buy and then hold, or hold off from buying until it becomes a “buy”? The other recommendation that bothers me is “lighten up.” Does it mean sell some if I have a profit or sell some if I have a loss? As far as the financial statements go and all the ratios to stock price and items on the balance sheet, most issues that go higher do not seem to consistently follow acceptable parameters. I suppose that is why I made


O help guide the public in comprehending the significance of surveys and questionnaires, noted sociologist Howard Schuman explains in plain language the nature, importance and problematic aspects of surveys in Contexts magazine, the newest publication of the American Sociological Association. A professor and research scientist emeritus at the University of Michigan, Schuman noted in his article, “Sense and Nonsense,” that surveys have appealed since ancient times to two human propensities: (1) Gathering information by asking questions and (2) attempting to learn more about one’s environment by examining a small part of it (i.e., sampling). Through an illustrative example of the sampling conducted by the infamous Literary Digest poll prediction of the 1936 US presidential election, Schuman demonstrates both the problems and progress made in survey methodology. On the basis of a very large sample—2 million completed and returned surveys out of 10 million distributed—the Literary Digest had incorrectly predicted that Franklin D. Roosevelt would lose decisively

in the election to George Dewey. “At the same time, pollster George Gallup, using many fewer cases but a better method, accurately predicted that Roosevelt would win. Gallup used quotas in choosing respondents in order to represent different economic strata, whereas the Digest had worked mainly from telephone and automobile ownership lists, which in 1936 were more likely to include wealthy people who were likely to be opposed to Roosevelt,” explained Schuman. (There were other sources of bias, as well.) As a result, the Digest disappeared from the scene, and Gallup became a household name. Schuman highlights two advances in survey methods since the 1930s and 1940s that allowed the modern survey to develop and flourish. “The first is the emergence of probability sampling, which is

Interestingly, however, for mathematical reasons, reasonably accurate estimates can be obtained—from populations of very different sizes—with sample sizes of around 1,000, and only when extraordinary precision is needed do samples need to be much larger. fundamental to social science research today and helps overcome the problem of biased sampling of respondents. The second relates to the development of greater precision in asking questions in surveys and in replicating and testing the validity of the questions themselves,” said Schuman. Obtaining a good sample depends on more than adhering to principles of good probability sampling (i.e., selecting respondents from the population in proportion to the degree to which they are representative of that population). Well-done surveys also depend on the quality of their implementation. Thus, when members of a population who are selected to be in the sample are not successfully interviewed or do not respond to specific questions, the omissions can seriously compromise the validity and reliability of the survey and are as important as the sample size.

money when the Tokyo market was selling a triple-digit Price-EarningsRatio and companies with the most debt also had their stock price go up the most. The third factor is looking only at the price action and using the 100 plus indicators and trading systems to let the price movement forecast the future. This is easy since most of them are built into the charting programs you can buy or from your online broker. The only hard part is which method to believe when one says “sell” and another says “buy.” Maybe that is why there is a web site called “” After you have filled your yellow pad, you should be in a great position to decide which stock to buy. However, you may be one of these people. When asked at a stock-market seminar what the number one reason investors buy a particular stock, the answer is always the same: “Hot tip.” E-mail me at Visit my web site at Follow me on Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stockmarket information and technical analysis tools provided by the COL Financial Group Inc.

Interestingly, however, for mathematical reasons, reasonably accurate estimates can be obtained— from populations of very different sizes—with sample sizes of around 1,000, and only when extraordinary precision is needed do samples need to be much larger. The “margin of error” plus/minus percentage figures that accompany most media reports of polls reflect the size of the final sample, but they do not reveal the sampling methods or the extent to which the targeted individuals or households were actually included in the final sample. For instance, the percentage of people who refused to take part in a survey is particularly important. In some surveys, the percentage is small, within the range of 5 to 10 percent. But even in the best nongovernment surveys, the refusal rate can reach 25 percent or more, and it can be far larger in the case of poorly executed surveys. The opinions of nonresponders in a population may be very different from those of responders, thus their noninclusion biases results. Many survey reports are based on such poor sampling procedures that they do not deserve to be taken seriously. This is especially true of reports based on “focus groups,” which offer human interest but are subject to vast amounts of error. Internet surveys also cannot represent the general population See “Arillo,” A11

Opinion BusinessMirror

Nobody knows anything On our Lenten exodus about India’s huge elections


By Mihir Sharma | Bloomberg Opinion

NDIA’S parliamentary elections are like no others in the world. Nine hundred million people are eligible to vote in 2019, for 573 constituencies—the largest of which contains almost 3 million voters. The country will take 39 days to vote; some states, like giant Uttar Pradesh with a population of 200 million, will vote in seven stages. And, on May 23, we will get to know who won. That’s assuming there’s a clear victor. The last elections, in 2014, threw up a result that had been unthinkable for three decades: a clear majority for one party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. While repeating that mandate isn’t impossible, it will be extremely difficult. The BJP doesn’t have much of a presence outside the north and west of India and, for its majority in 2014, it had to win almost all the seats in which it was competitive. In the end, Modi himself only won a little more than 30 percent of the vote. For the BJP, 2014 was something of a perfect storm. The incumbent Congress-led government was extraordinarily unpopular, buffeted by corruption scandals and anger over high inflation. Modi himself was a breath of fresh air for many voters: articulate, especially when compared to the Congress leaders, and with no major corruption allegations to his name. His campaign was streets ahead of his opponents’, as well. It pioneered electioneering methods that have since become increasingly common in the world’s other democracies, exploiting everything from Twitter to free news coverage to targeted trolling to questionable claims on social media. This time around, Modi faces a more difficult task. Memories of the Congress years have faded. And his own performance as prime minister has been, at best, underwhelming. Government officials may claim that India is growing faster now than it ever has, but few people believe that. What everyone knows is that jobs are hard to come by and that farmers in particular are suffering. That said, Modi unquestionably remains far more popular than any would-be rivals. He has never stopped campaigning. In 2014, he was an exciting novelty; in 2019 he is an institution. His face is everywhere, on walls and in newspapers, above reminders of one government welfare program or another. He has a radio show, his government can count on support from tame television channels and, of course, he still has Twitter. The question that nobody can yet answer is if this election will be, like 2014, a quasi-presidential one—in which Modi’s promises and popularity are the single most important factor—or a regular parliamentary one, such as 2009 or 2004, where more local issues predominate. If it’s the latter, the BJP will be on the defensive. As was evident in its loss of three crucial states in its heartland

Arillo . . .

continued from A10

adequately at present, though this is an area where some serious attempts are being made to compensate for the inherent difficulties and sampling bias. Schuman also describes several techniques researchers use to improve survey questioning—such as asking several different types of questions about any important issue; varying the form, wording and context of questions; and introducing comparisons into analyses. These techniques are utilized in order to overcome variations in response that are produced not by the responders’ actual opinions but by the peculiar form, wording or frame of reference of questions in a survey. Using several examples from actual surveys, he shows how different ways of asking the same question can produce substantial differences in outcomes. Despite the methodological

An election as complex as India’s is fiendishly difficult to predict. India is the most diverse country in the world, and each state has its own hot-button issues; many of them have their own regional leaders and political parties. Voters will examine not just who might become prime minister but what the local dynamics are, as well as the caste and connections of whoever might represent them in Parliament. at the end of last year, voters aren’t pleased with the state of the economy or with the BJP’s administrative skills. A “grand alliance” of the opposition might in that case oust Modi. We would be back to the coalition era —in which the national parties, the BJP and the Congress, would have to wheedle, bribe and threaten various smaller parties till a working majority could be cobbled together. An election as complex as India’s is fiendishly difficult to predict. India is the most diverse country in the world, and each state has its own hot-button issues; many of them have their own regional leaders and political parties. Voters will examine not just who might become prime minister but what the local dynamics are, as well as the caste and connections of whoever might represent them in Parliament. Some areas have multiple equally strong parties, and a tiny swing from one to the other might translate into big advantage in terms of parliamentary seats. Pollsters might get the overall numbers right—the number of voters who prefer the BJP to the Congress, say, but, translating that into a final tally of seats for the competing alliances is almost impossible. History bears out this unpredictability. Few outside Modi’s own circle believed that he would win a majority in 2014. In 1999 the BJP won fewer seats—after a border skirmish with Pakistan—than predicted. In 2004 the BJP government was unexpectedly voted out. And, in 2009, the Congress  increase in seat strength startled pretty much every observer. Only the stock markets seem to have decided the 2019 result already. They’ve shot up in recent days after a couple of favorable polls for Modi’s party, and on the assumption that a recent confrontation with Pakistan has strengthened his tough-guy image. Perhaps they need to look again at history. Nobody ever knows quite what the Indian electorate will produce on counting day. advances, some issues still remain doubtful. For example, pollsters still face the task of interpreting the meaning of questions and the associations among questions, but this is true in all types of research, including those using field observations. For Schuman, surveys remain one of the best tools for learning about large populations. “In the end, however, with surveys, as with all research methods, there is no substitute for both care and intelligence in the way evidence is gathered and interpreted. What we learn about society is always mediated by the instruments we use, including our own eyes and ears,” concluded Schuman. Founded in 1905, ASA is a nonprofit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions and use of sociology to society. The author is a member of ASA and he can be reached at

Msgr. Sabino A. Vengco Jr.



OLLOWING his clear-cut “God first” standoff with the devil in the desert, the Second Sunday of Lent follows up with the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain (Luke 9:28-36) wherein His glory summons us to obedience and fidelity.

Jesus’ irrepressible glory EVEN as Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, the place of His final struggles and pains, His glorious majesty could not be completely kept under wraps. While praying and in the company of His disciples, as it would be in Gethsemane, Jesus was transfigured in glory and witnessed by His awakened followers. His imminent passion has occupied their minds; He has informed them that He “must first endure many sufferings, be rejected...and be put to death” (Luke 9:18-22). And now there He is, all resplendent, talking with Moses and Elijah. They are speaking of the “exodus” that Jesus is going to fulfill in Jerusalem, referring to His “passage” and “passing over” from death to life, from suffering to glory.

The traditional word describing the passage of ancient Israel from Egypt into the joy of the Promised Land is here employed by the evangelist to indicate the momentous exodus of Jesus through the crucible of the cross to the glory of God’s Son. The two great figures from the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah, seen with Jesus then disappearing, verifies that the messianic era with which they had been popularly associated in Jewish tradition as some sort of precursors is now at hand with Jesus. His exodus would be its seal. In Jesus would be fulfilled the expectation of the Old Testament, as safeguarded by the law (Moses) and proclaimed by the prophets (Elijah). At the end with Jesus standing there alone, it is His saving exodus that would make the

Thursday, March 14, 2019 A11

difference and to Him alone would man’s wholehearted faith be given.

Listen to Him!

PETER’S enthusiastic reaction to the manifestation of Jesus’ glory was a spontaneous proposal to build three tents for the three magnificent men. That would enable them to linger longer on that mountaintop in that unusual experience of heavenly glory. To prolong the consolation would not be bad, but heaven has something else in the program. Jesus, glorious not only in spite of his approaching passion and death but in fact due to His self-sacrifice, has not been through this intended transfiguration just for cosmetic purposes. The affirmation of heaven that Jesus is the Son and the Chosen One brings to focus the entire event. As the Son He alone knows the Father; we should listen to Him. As the Chosen One He is empowered to lead all to salvation. He is our teacher whose word we must listen to and according to which we need to act. Jesus in his own earlier announcement about His passion and death also explained its implications to His disciples. “Whoever wishes to be my follower, must deny His very self, take up His cross each day and follow in my steps” (Luke 9:23). If Jesus is the Messiah, then His word is

A guild for the online techie tribe Dr. Rene E. Ofreneo

LABOREM EXERCENS Continued from A1


N the other hand, the formal sector labor force has also become diverse. In particular, the non-regulars composed mostly of casuals, temporaries, seasonals, project hires, agency-deployed workers, job-order employees (for the government) and other contractuals outnumber the regulars by a wide margin. Hence, the discourse in Philippine industrial relations is overwhelmingly focused on how to regularize the nonregulars, and strengthen the ranks of those who enjoy collective bargaining rights. A 2017 study of the ILO Manila office estimates the total of those covered by registered collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) to be around 200,000 in 2016, a measly number indeed considering that the total work force was around 43 million in the said year. As it is, the country’s tripartite dialogue participants spend so much energy arguing over what is “permissible job contracting” and what is “prohibited labor-only contracting” under Articles 106-109 of the Labor Code. President Duterte made a promise to the organized labor groups that he would abolish the “endo system” within the first few months of his presidency. He failed to deliver and simply passed on the job to Congress, by asking the nation’s Representatives to come up with a Security of Tenure or SOT law that will pacify and satisfy the trade unions. At this stage, it is unlikely that such a bill shall be enacted by the present Congress. Meanwhile, there are other segments of the labor force, some formal and some informal, who are invisible in the Labor Code. These include the techie workers in the fast-growing online economy. The call center/business-process outsourcing sector, the second leg of the economy (the first leg is the overseas labor migration), has generated over a million jobs. There are no reports of any union being successfully organized in the sector despite the intense organizing efforts of virtually all the major labor centers such as the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Federation of Free Workers, Alliance of Progressive Labor and National Trade Union Congress. Success here means the successful registration of a CBA that is duly recognized by both the employer and the Department of Labor and Employment. There are various reasons for the inability of

the centers to form call center/BPO unions and conclude CBAs with the concerned IT/ICT firms. These include the following: workers are hired on a per project basis, IT/ICT workers do not consider themselves at the same level as the factory workers, strict human resource management programs that keep unionism at bay, and workers easily drop out of the company roll when they find work unpleasant. Perhaps, it is time to widen the concept of unionism and collective bargaining that is applicable to various segments of the labor force, formal and informal. In India, they have long recognized that informal sector workers cannot be organized into formal unions enjoying formal CBAs with their respective employers. Thus, today, the biggest unions in India are the informal sector associations such as the Self-Employed Women Association in Ahmedabad. They organize to defend themselves against state harassment of their businesses, mostly home-based work and street vending; they negotiate with the state governments on housing, education, social protection and various community needs; they pursue self-empowerment programs such as savings mobilization and developing their own banks; they set standards for their products, and so on and so forth. The proposed MCWIE law for the Philippine informals draws inspiration from the experiences of SEWA and other similar organizations in other countries. The same type of unionism can be done in the case of the nonregular workers in the formal

labor market. Why not organize the agency workers and let them take over the business of scalawag “manpower agencies” and the socalled manpower cooperatives? In Japan, there are reports of more and more agency and part-time workers being formed into unions, separate from the unions of the regulars. Here in the Philippines, the usual pattern of organizing the non-regulars is to ask the government and the employers to regularize the nonregulars so that they can be covered by the CBA of the regulars. With the digitization of the economy and the continuous splintering of the labor force into various segments, this type of organizing will become more and more difficult. It is in the light of the foregoing that we find the efforts of a group of online Filipino freelance workers to form a guild of their own a truly welcome development. These online freelance workers are composed mostly of media writers, Web designers, copy editors and data analysts. They are distinct from those employed by the call center/ BPO sector and those involved in the physical gig economy of companies like Grab and Lazada of the Alibaba group. These freelancers are largely on their own, meaning they negotiate with overseas clients, mostly wealthy individuals or small businesses, on specific jobs to be done, either at home or online. However, there are agencies that match their skills and talents with these overseas clients. In America, the leading matching agency is Upwork, whose 2016 registry listed over 300,000 Filipino freelancers. Apart from media writers and editors, the list includes those doing accounting and consulting, IT and networking, and engineering and architecture. The biggest number of freelancers—over 100,000—are

vital for us, and His example normative to us. If Jesus is the Son of the heavenly Father, then His way will have to be our way. Each of us will have to undergo our own passage or exodus from death to life, through self-sacrifice to glory.        Alálaong bagá, our Lenten season is our passage of discipleship toward our participation in the glory of the Risen Lord. It is the resoluteness to pass up self-interest and opportunism, and to reject superficiality. It is a day-to-day dying to our hunger for the bread and the flesh the world offers. It entails our detachment from the intoxicating power promised by the influencebrokers of the Earth. It consists essentially of our living faith in God whom we would never tempt in any way and in whom we have our assurance that after death there is life, after suffering, glory. For so many of us, this imperative of “exodus” in discipleship still remains to be internalized, daily passing over from our weaknesses and failures to the new life of discipline and fidelity to Jesus, especially during the season of Lent.    Join me in meditating on the Word of God every Sunday, from 5 to 6 a.m. on DWIZ 882, or by audio streaming on

doing administrative support. The latter means Filipino administrative assistants have become “virtual assistants” or VAs of rich clients overseas, doing various errands or jobs such as following up certain customers, doing record keeping, issuing reminders on important meetings and so on. But what is a guild? Simply put, a guild is an association of like-minded individuals possessing similar skills and knowledge. The early unions in Europe were really guild of artisans and skilled workers. In the Philippines, during the late decades of Spanish rule and with the onset of capitalism, a number of gremious or guilds arose: guild of carpenters, guild of sandal makers, guild of tobacco workers, guild of port workers, and so on. In America, guilds of some professionals prospered and even became prosperous. These include the American Actors’ Guild, headed once upon a time by Ronald Reagan. The primary purpose for the formation of a guild is to protect the members and support their individual and collective self-advancement. In the online freelance business, the challenges in these two areas are numerous and enormous, e.g., how to set fair standards on work and compensation, how to get redress for treatment by errant clients, how to get social insurance and other social protection, how to avoid a Race-to-the-Bottom competition among members and other online freelancers, how to get the government to recognize their status and get needed social and labor protection, and so on. The point is that online freelancers are workers, and like other segments of the labor force, they deserve equal social and labor protection. (Note: The guild of online media freelancers is being formed with the assistance of UNI Apro and UP SOLAIR.)

Table 1 Filipino freelancers registered with Upwork (January 2016)

JOB CATEGORY Administrative support Customer service Writing Design and creative Accounting and consulting IT and networking Engineering and Architecture Data Science and Analytics

NUMBER 124,092 89,879 85,396 52,357 40,078 15,795 10,465 6,917

Source: Table 3.2 of Jorien Oprin, “Employment in the Online Outsourcing Industry,” masteral thesis, University of Amsterdam.

2nd Front Page BusinessMirror

A12 Thursday, March 14, 2019

‘People are thirsty for truth’ about water crisis roots–Poe


By Butch Fernandez & Jonathan L. Mayuga

@butchfBM @jonlmayuga

HE Senate Committee on Public Services, flexing oversight powers covering State-granted franchises, will open an inquiry on Tuesday amid a “gripping water supply crisis” affecting Metro Manila and Rizal Province, summoning officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS). Chaired by Sen. Grace Poe, the committee also sent out invitations to get testimonies from officers of  private concessionaires Manila Water—supplying Rizal province and parts of Metro Manila’s East Zone—and Maynilad, which supplies the Metropolis’s West Zone. The Senate hearing is expected to assess the impact of “the water crisis gripping the country, which particularly affects parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province, and several farming communities in the provinces.” Poe said on Wednesday, “We will call for the hearing as part of the committee’s oversight functions over the country’s utilities,” as she voiced concern that “what we are seeing now is not normal and something that our households and farmers do not deserve.”  Poe added:  “Ipapatawag natin ang hearing na ito dahil ang sambayanang walang tubig, walang mainom, walang paligo ay uhaw na uhaw sa katotohahan [We will call this hearing because the people who have no water to drink or shower with are thirsty for the truth].” 

The senator said officials of concerned agencies, heads of water concessionaires, regulators and other concerned stakeholders are expected “to discuss the crisis and come up with solutions to ease the impact of the supply shortage.” Poe stressed the importance of having such officials at the hearing “so that together, we can come up with immediate short- and longterm solutions to avert the current water crisis.” She also cited “need to hear the current mitigating measures planned by the agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, given the importance of our agricultural sector to the economy.” Poe had earlier voiced serious concern  over the looming water crisis that is expected to be aggravated by the impact of El Niño. At the same time, Senator Poe stressed the need to “rationalize the economic as well as administrative regulation” of water utilities through an independent, quasi-judicial body.

What caused water shortage?

THE unusually huge demand for

“We will call for the hearing as part of the committee’s oversight functions over the country’s utilities. What we are seeing now is not normal and something that our households and farmers do not deserve.”—Poe

water because of El Niño and the limited allocation for Manila Water Co. Inc. are behind the current supply shortage being experienced by water consumers w ithin its concession area, Manila Water Co.Inc. had explained earlier. The weak El Niño has a doublebladed effect—increasing the demand for water by consumers and depriving dams of much-needed rainwater, the company said. River systems that drain to dams also dry up faster. Manila Water COO Geodino Carpio, explaining over CNN Philippines the current predicament of Manila Water’s customers, said the company has had to experience “supply shortage” by an average of 140 million litres per Day (MLD) per day since 2016. Manila Water’s allocation from Angat is 1,600 MLD while the demand of its consumers over the years said Carpio, has been increasing over the years and it has peaked to 1,740 MLD.  This means a supply shortage of 140 MLD. Also, he said the installed aqueduct from Angat to Ipo Dam, and Ipo Dam to La Mesa Dam has limitations, which means there’s a need to enlarge its capacity because even if the National Water Resource Board (NWRB) were to allow Manila Water to draw down


a higher water allocation, the limited capacity of the aqueduct will constrict the flow of supply. Hopefully, Carpio said, by September next year, with ongoing projects to boost water supply distribution, there will be more water from Angat, preventing supply shortage. “By September next year, there will be more water from Angat, if the NWRB allows it,” he added.

Nonrevenue water

ACCORDING to Carpio, Manila Water was able to cope with the supply shortage from Angat by reducing its Nonrevenue Water. “In 1997, our system loss was about 63 percent. It means for every 100 liters we get, 63 liters are lost.  Mas malaki ang tapon [The volume of wastage is bigger]. Today, we have 10 to 12 percent NRW.  Worldwide, the acceptable standard is 20 to 25 percent.  We are better than world-class standards in terms of controlling system losses,” he said. However, he said the company can only save water from NRW by so much. “We can only save water so much.  Any more than 12 percent.... The more our water saving increases, it means the cost also increases,” he said in mixed Filipino and English. “We are overly producing more than 1,600 MLD. Sometime in February, we were averaging 1,740 MLD per day production.  But we are receiving 1,600 MLD per day.  There are also peaks.  During Saturdays, for example, in Montalban, many households are doing laundry, hence, the consumption is high.  During Pacquiao fights, during breaks, the water consumption goes up,” he quipped. See “Water crisis,” A8

CLARO CAMINTOY ALLERA hugs his daughter and wife as he arrives at the Naia Terminal 3 on Tuesday evening. He is one of the seven Filipino seafarers detained in Libya since 2017 after the Libyan Coast Guard boarded and seized Liberian-flagged M/T Levante while anchored in international waters. The seafarers were accused of fuel smuggling, a charge they were recently cleared of, prompting Philippine authorities to work for their immediate repatriation. NONIE REYES By Samuel P. Medenilla



HE Department of Labor and Employ ment (DOLE) on Wednesday allayed fears of a mass deportation of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III made the assurance amid the spread of online reports claiming UAE authorities will start deporting migrant workers by April 2019. The article, which circulated in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Oman, claimed migrant workers in 35 job categories, who are over 40 years old, will be deported so they could be replaced by UAE nationals.  Bello tagged the article as “fake news,” citing the reports of labor attaches submitted to him by the  International Labor Affairs Bureau (Ilab).  He said Labor Attaches Alejandro Padaen and Felicitas Bay were able to confirm from UAE authori-

ties that the mass deportation report is false. UAE is the second top destination for OFWs next to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Based on the latest report of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), around 265,498 OFWs were deployed to the UAE in 2017. 

Repatriates from Libya

IN a related development, Bello said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will help seven Filipino seafarers who were repatriated from Libya. The workers were flown back to the Philippines on Tuesday after they were finally acquitted in a fuel smuggling case.  Bello said they could avail themselves of livelihood assistance and educational scholarship from OWWA. “This is a manifestation of the government’s responsiveness to the needs of our workers while they are out of the country and even when they are back home to enable their quick reintegration,” Bello said.

‘Further budget delay to cut 60K to 160K jobs’ DILG urges provinces to help fight insurgency, create TFs By Samuel P. Medenilla




Light rains

URTHER delays in the ap proval of the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) will deal a fatal blow to the country’s employment generation target this year. Economic managers on Wednesday warned the country will lose between 60,000 and 80,000 jobs if the 2019 GAA will be deferred up to April. This, they added, could grow to a whopping 120,000 to 160,000 if the delay in the approval of the budget will reach up to August.   The bulk of the P3.7-trillion 2019 budget will be used for government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.    Without it, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said many of the infrastructure projects already in the pipeline for 2019 will not push through as scheduled.  If the budget is released by the third quarter of the year, DOLE’s Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) said it will be already too late for the government to meet its employment target for 2019.  “Projects go through a bidding process so it will take time [to be implemented],”  BLE Director Dominique R. Tutay explained. She said sectors seen to suffer from the fund delays include construction, transport and logistics.   The DOLE earlier said the government is aiming to generate 900,000 to 1.1 million jobs for 2019.  Last year, the country was only able to generate 800,000 jobs.


HE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is urging local officials to help fight the insurgency and create special task forces following the creation of a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac). In a statement, Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año said he expects the country’s 81 provinces “to do their share in bringing the local insurgency to its conclusion.” “With no less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself taking the role as National Task Force Chairperson, provincial governments should follow his lead by taking more active and decisive actions to counter communist terrorist groups through the creation of a provincial task force,” Año said. According to Año, the primary responsibility of the provincial task force is to harmonize and optimize government efforts and resources at the provincial level to address the root causes of insurgency and attain sustainable peace and development. In December last year, President Duterte signed Executive Order 70, which institutionalized a whole-ofnation approach in dealing with insurgency through the creation of the NTF-Elcac. Local government units, including the provinces, the DILG

chief said, could play a key role in “wiping out” the decades-old loc a l com mu n i st i n su rgenc y problem because “they are more grounded on the societal issues in their localities which are being exploited by communist terrorist groups to inf luence locals to take up arms against the government.” He said, “Putting an end to insurgency does not only require a military solution because this will address only one facet of the issue. We should, therefore, work  together and put our act together as one nation—starting from the provinces, cities, towns, and barangay—to lick the insurgency problem.”  Meanwhile, the DILG chief lauded the Provincial Government of Cavite for being the first one to organize a Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-Elcac) through a resolution approved by the Provincial Peace and Order Council on March 8 in Trece Martires City. The Provincial Task Force will be headed by Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla as chairman. He will be assisted by Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, and Police Col. William Segun, director of Cavite Police Provincial Office, as cochairmen. Continued on A2

Editor: Efleda P. Campos

Companies BusinessMirror

Thursday, March 14, 2019


Ayala Corp. 2018 income grows 5% to ₧31.8B By VG Cabuag



ONGLOMERATE Ayala Corp. on Wednesday said its net income grew 5 percent to P31.8 billion last year from the previous P30.26 billion on strong contribution of its core businesses that spans telecommunications to banking to property development. In its disclosure, the company said equity earnings of its units reached P39.4 billion, or 10 percent higher year-on-year. Borrowing costs, however, increased as Ayala funded its investments with new debt, moderating

its net profits during the period, it said. “The aggressive growth strategy that we embarked on over a decade ago has been unprecedented for the Ayala Group. Over the past 10 years, we spent close to P200 bil-

lion in capital expenditure at the parent level alone to support the investment programs of our various business units, including our new growth platforms in power, industrial technologies, infrastructure, education and health care,” the company’s president and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala said. “Our profitability has also improved steadily over the past 10 years, growing at a compounded annual rate of 15 percent,” he said. Net income of the company’s listed core units Ayala Land Inc., Bank of the Philippine Islands, Globe Telecom Inc., Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. (IMI) and Manila Water Co. all posted growth last year. Unlisted firm AC Energy Inc.’s net earnings expanded 16 percent to P4.1 billion in 2018, largely driven by its domestic thermal and renewable assets, as well as higher

contribution from its Indonesia investments. AC Energy’s investee companies reached P3.6 billion, 37 percent higher than the previous year’s results. Asia Industrial Technology Holdings Inc., meanwhile, had a net income fall of 53 percent year-on-year to P578 million, largely due to the weaker performance of its automotive businesses and start-up losses from newly acquired businesses. This decline was partially offset by a one-time gain in its electronics manufacturing services arm, IMI, as its revenues expanded 24 percent to P70.8 billion on the back of a 16-percent growth in revenues from traditional businesses and a 61-percent growth in recently acquired companies. AC Motors registered a 76-percent decline in net earnings to P164 million, owing to lower earnings of the

group’s Honda and Isuzu dealerships, both hit by weaker sales amid an industry-wide slowdown. This was aggravated by lower contributions from AC Industrials’s investments in the Philippine distribution companies of Isuzu and Honda. Volkswagen’s sales volume was affected by the delay in the delivery of its China-sourced vehicles. AC Industrials continues to ramp up its automotive retail portfolio. In 2018, it partnered with Kia Motors and China’s SAIC Motor for the distribution of Kia and Maxus vehicles in the Philippines, respectively. AC Industrial, through its subsidiary MT Technologies GmbH, has executed a share purchase agreement to acquire a 75.1-percent controlling stake in C-CON Group. “C-CON significantly advances MT’s goal to offer end-to-end engi-

neering, design and manufacturing services to its automotive customers. Beyond these, the addition of C-CON’s unique lightweight and high-strength carbon fiber technology further positions MT and AC Industrials to participate in the ongoing transformation of the mobility space, while opening the potential for applications in new markets such as aerospace, marine, architecture and power generation,” it said. It did not disclose the price of the purchase. Founded in 1991 and with eight locations and 200+ employees that span Germany’s automotive hubs, C-CON and its subsidiaries deliver design, development, engineering, manufacturing, series production and process-management services directly to leading German automotive original equipment manufacturers.

First Gen registers $243-M net income last year FDC board approves By Lenie Lectura @llectura


IRST Gen Corp. posted $243 million in net income last year, up 51 percent from the previous year, driven by the strong contribution of its natural gas business. It reported on Wednesday its natural gas business delivered recurring earnings of $186 million last year as against $120 million a year ago. The company’s newest natural gas-fired plant, the 420-megawatt (MW) San Gabriel flex plant (San Gabriel), benefited from significantly higher dispatch and revenues as it sold power at attractive prices in the spot market in the first half of 2018, and subsequently sold its full production to Meralco under its power-supply agreement starting last June. “2018 was an exceptional year for First Gen as we concretized

value from the sizable investment made for the modern 420-MW San Gabriel natural gas-fired power plant. This was made in anticipation of the market’s increased electricity demand and the need for new cost-competitive power supply to the grid,” First Gen President and COO Francis Giles B. Puno said. T he compa ny ’s ot her g a s plants—the 1,500-MW Santa Rita and San Lorenzo natural gas-fired plants—continued their reliable performance, incorporating the technical upgrades First Gen has invested over the years that effectively reduced the power rates to consumers. First Gen’s 2018 performance was also made better by lower interest expenses and higher interest income as a result of the group’s deleveraging and refinancing initiatives. Savings in interest expense and the receipt of insurance proceeds likewise offset unrealized foreign-exchange losses and higher

deferred taxes. Meanwhile, consolidated revenues from the sale of electricity increased by 16 percent to $2 billion, from $1.7 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, Energy Development Corp.’s (EDC) geothermal, wind and solar revenues accounted for $652 million or 33 percent of total consolidated revenues. EDC’s renewable-energy portfolio generated higher revenues in 2018, primarily driven by the full recovery of the Unified Leyte plants that resulted in higher sales volume. “Our geothermal platform, through EDC, likewise made a remarkable recovery in the second half of 2018 with the faster-thanexpected recovery of its Unified Leyte plants from the outage caused by natural calamities in 2017, coupled with higher sales volume and more attractive selling prices. We expect EDC to continue to outperform this year,” Puno said.

FG Hydro, owner of the 132-MW Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric plants, reported higher revenues at $36 million. The hydro plants accounted for 2 percent of First Gen’s total consolidated revenues. The absence of ancillary service sales in the first quarter of 2018 was partially offset by the hydro plants’ higher volume sales to WESM and higher spot market prices in 2018. First Gen is a leading independent power producer in the Philippines that primarily utilizes clean and indigenous fuels such as natural gas, geothermal energy from steam, hydroelectric, wind and solar power. It has 3,492 MW of installed capacity in its portfolio, which accounts for 21 percent of the country’s gross generation capacity. Puno said the company is now focused on firming up its future direction with the LNG regasification terminal investment in partnership with Tokyo Gas.

Japanese tech firm opens Subic R&D center By Henry Empeño Correspondent


UBIC BAY FREEPORT—Subic technology firm Sanyo Denki Philippines Inc. (SDP) has opened a research and development (R&D) facility here to serve as the hub of product development for the company’s three design units. The firm, located at the Japaneseowned Subic Techno Park here, inaugurated the Sanyo Denki Technology Center (SDP-TC) last week, an expansion project for the company that had so far invested $121.97 million since its establishment here in 2000. SDP CEO and President Koichi Uchibori said the newly inaugurated facility was built to serve as the research center for the Sanyo Denki’s Design Division in preparation for the expansion of the firm’s Design Department. The company reportedly plans to increase the number of design engineers who will handle new product development projects in the future. With more design engineers, the firm expects more new product development projects could be completed. Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who attended the inauguration, said Sanyo Denki’s new project “will bring the future of technology to Subic.” She said that aside from the fact that SDP would be hiring more lo-

WILMA T. EISMA, chairman and administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, assists Sanyo Denki officials led by SDP COO and President Koichi Uchibori in inaugurating the Sanyo Denki Technology Center at the Subic Techno Park.

cal workers, the technology transfer would again put Filipino workers on top of the game. “Subic would benefit more from the transfer of knowledge and skills,” she added. SDP, engaged in the manufacture of uninterrupted power system (UPS), cooling fans, servo amplifiers and stepping motors, operates three factories in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Currently employing 3,883 workers, SDP was listed as the

second-top exporter in Subic in 2018 with freight-on-board (FOB) value of $178.65 million. Its Subic operations include highly efficient automated production lines such as the surface mount technology (SMT), and a department for developing and designing cooling fans. SDP senior executive operating officer Kauro Tamura said the SDP-TC will consolidate the technology development base for its three design departments that respectively tackle fan design,

servo design and power design. SDP design division supervisor Michiro Watanabe said Sanyo Denki’s efforts to enhance its operations in Subic has resulted in the establishment of the SDP-TC, the third building it has put up here since 2000. “This comfortable work space will allow us to go on with the business, with the combined efforts of the Japanese management and the Filipino staff, to deliver world-class products with higher performance and higher quality,” Watanabe also said.

2019 equity offering


HE Gotianun family’s holding firm Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC) on Wednesday said its board of directors has approved the company’s equity offering, which may either be a private placement or a top-up offering. The company has delegated the president of the company, Lourdes Josephine Gotianun-Yap, to appoint advisers, consultants, underwriters, lead managers, arrangers, global coordinators, stabilization agents and other relevant parties for the said measure. The company will still determine the price of the offering and seek the authority to list the

shares issued in connection with the Philippine Stock Exchange, it said. Meanwhile, the company has promoted Sharon P. Pagaling-Refuerzo, 39, as its new corporate secretary. Previously the company’s assistant corporate secretary, Refuerzo is concurrently senior assistant vice president for the corporate advisory services of the legal department of Filinvest Land Inc. She is also the corporate secretary of Cyberzone Properties Inc., The Palms Country Club Inc., and Timberland Sports and Nature Club Inc., as well as corporate secretary in various companies of the Filinvest Group. VG Cabuag

Peco obtains TRO from local city court vs MORE Power


ANAY Electric Co. Inc. (Peco) successfully sought a 20-day restraining order from a local court on March 13, effectively barring the takeover of MORE Power and Electric Co. (MORE Power). In a five-page decision, the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court branch 209 enjoined MORE Power from expropriating and taking over the distribution assets of Peco. The same court also prohibited the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) from issuing Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN), provisional authority or any other permits in favor of MORE. If any had already been issued, the court ordered the agencies to suspend the implementation pending the resolution of the case. MORE’s application for a CPCN is up for hearing on March 27. The court said that if the CPCN will be granted, this will give rise to a situation where two electrical companies are operating in the same franchise area since Peco was given a transitory authority to operate for two more years. “All told, the foregoing facts clearly show that there is no other ordinary, speedy and adequate

remedy to prevent the infliction of irreparable injury to Peco except through the issuance of a TRO. Wherefore, premises considered, petitioner Peco’s prayer for issuance of a TRO is hereby granted,” the court said. The court will hear on April 2 if the TRO will be converted into a Writ of Preliminary Injunction. Republic Act (RA) 11212 granted MORE the franchise to distribute power in Iloilo City. Peco applied for the issuance of a TRO because its existing assets are in danger of being expropriated by MORE. Under Sections 10 and 17 of RA 11212, MORE is authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain over all the distribution assets and properties of Peco in the franchise area. Peco said this directs the turnover of its business to MORE instead of requiring MORE to put up its own distribution system like all distribution utilities have done. “Without these injunctive reliefs, MORE will undoubtedly succeed in violating Peco’s rights and unlawfully taking over Peco’s assets. As soon the law took effect, MORE became clothed with the power of eminent domain, which instantly puts Peco’s rights at risk of being violated,” Peco said. Lenie Lectura

PLDT to sustain ‘elevated’ level of 2019 capital outlay


IGITAL services provider PLDT Inc. expects its elevated capital expenditures (capex) for 2019 to be sustained in the next few years, as it ventures into the “brave new world” of 5G. Manuel V. Pangilinan, the company’s president, said his group is expecting to continue investing heavily in new technologies, particularly in the 5G networks for both fixed line and wireless. “I think once we’ve started the buildup for 5G and the continuous rollout of cell sites and bases stations, our capex level will definitely stay elevated,” he said in a press briefing on Tuesday night. While it promises to deliver better Internet speeds, 5G requires telco towers to be built contiguously. Sadly, the Philippines is one of the poorest countries in Asia in terms of telco infrastructure.

Pangilinan noted his group will be aggressive in its infrastructure buildup. It will also equip its existing towers with 5G radios to initially provide the service. “We will build as many base stations as required by the business,” he said. The telco and subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. are currently pilot-testing the use of 5G in different use cases. It has partnered with Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia to deploy initial networks that would test how 5G could be applied in the Philippines. 5G is seen as the next mobile technology that will revolutionize not only the way people communicate with each other, but also how devices talk to one another to create a smart environment. Lorenz S. Marasigan


Companies BusinessMirror

Thursday, March 14, 2019


March 13, 2019

Net Foreign Stocks Bid Ask Open High Low Close Volume Value Trade (Peso) Buy (Sell) FINANCIALS

ASIA UNITED 58.1 58.65 58.1 58.1 58.1 58.1 10 581 BDO UNIBANK 132.8 132.9 133 133 132 132.8 1419930 188258570 BANK PH ISLANDS 86.45 86.65 85.1 87.15 85.1 86.65 686380 59457829.5 CHINABANK 27.55 27.6 27.55 27.6 27.45 27.55 50100 1379365 EAST WEST BANK 12.22 12.26 12.22 12.28 12.2 12.22 168500 2059280 METROBANK 78.6 78.9 76.5 78.9 76.5 78.9 2067550 161716496 PB BANK 14 14.06 13.86 14 13.86 14 155400 2169606 PBCOM 21.55 22.4 22.6 22.6 22 22 2000 44600 PHIL NATL BANK 61 61.1 61.3 61.6 60.95 61.1 420570 25758598 PSBANK 58 58.9 58.8 58.8 58 58 1000 58709 RCBC 26.35 26.5 26.5 26.5 26.3 26.5 33200 879080 SECURITY BANK 166.8 167 167 168 166 167 255510 42642098 UNION BANK 60.8 61.25 60.55 61.25 60.55 61.25 12850 784451.5 BRIGHT KINDLE 1.34 1.35 1.37 1.37 1.34 1.34 30000 40470 BDO LEASING 2.26 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.27 2.3 7000 15950 COL FINANCIAL 18.06 18.2 18.2 18.2 18.2 18.2 700 12740 FERRONOUX HLDG 4.38 4.49 4.47 4.5 4.47 4.5 51000 228690 IREMIT 1.47 1.5 1.46 1.47 1.46 1.47 48000 70280 MEDCO HLDG 0.455 0.465 0.46 0.46 0.46 0.46 10000 4600 NTL REINSURANCE 0.96 0.98 0.96 0.98 0.95 0.96 368000 355040 PHIL STOCK EXCH 183.1 185 184 185 184 185 2680 495727 SUN LIFE 1805 1820 1805 1805 1805 1805 60 108300 INDUSTRIAL ALSONS CONS 1.42 1.45 1.42 1.42 1.42 1.42 640000 908800 ABOITIZ POWER 35.3 35.45 35.1 35.45 35.1 35.45 2840300 100131730 BASIC ENERGY 0.235 0.243 0.243 0.244 0.234 0.243 940000 224050 FIRST GEN 21.45 21.5 21.45 21.75 21.05 21.5 2955300 63085560 FIRST PHIL HLDG 73.8 73.85 73.7 74 73.7 73.8 66850 4936929.5 MERALCO 374.8 378.2 375.6 378.2 371 378.2 102590 38513986 MANILA WATER 26.55 27 27 27 26.5 27 838800 22389120 PETRON 6.7 6.71 6.63 6.75 6.52 6.7 6324000 42100187 PHINMA ENERGY 1.32 1.33 1.33 1.34 1.32 1.33 2960000 3933200 PHX PETROLEUM 11.8 12 11.98 12 11.78 12 131400 1562372 PILIPINAS SHELL 48.95 49 49.6 49.6 48.7 49 351300 17222555 SPC POWER 6.37 6.4 6.42 6.42 6.37 6.4 78400 501169 AGRINURTURE 14.08 14.1 15 15 14.1 14.1 417700 6081702 CNTRL AZUCARERA 15.9 16.48 16.5 16.5 16.2 16.48 900 14816 CENTURY FOOD 15.5 15.58 15.5 15.7 15.5 15.5 389000 6032352 DEL MONTE 6.1 6.29 6.1 6.29 6.1 6.29 2300 14429 DNL INDUS 11.28 11.34 11.32 11.32 11.24 11.28 564500 6370646 EMPERADOR 7.53 7.55 7.5 7.55 7.5 7.55 267000 2002909 SMC FOODANDBEV 106.5 107.4 109 109 105.9 107.4 1359630 145739921 ALLIANCE SELECT 1.01 1.03 1.03 1.04 1.01 1.01 1670000 1699050 GINEBRA 26.55 27.5 27.5 27.5 27.35 27.5 100900 2773400 JOLLIBEE 316.2 316.4 315.6 318 315 316.4 364290 115340046 MACAY HLDG 10.8 11.06 10.98 11.08 10.52 11.06 19700 211960 MAXS GROUP 11.94 11.98 12 12.02 11.9 11.98 2306100 27621018 MG HLDG 0.197 0.2 0.2 0.201 0.2 0.201 100000 20040 PEPSI COLA 1.39 1.41 1.38 1.42 1.38 1.4 3902000 5474200 SHAKEYS PIZZA 12.28 12.4 12.28 12.4 12.28 12.4 25700 318492 ROXAS AND CO 1.82 1.86 1.84 1.86 1.82 1.86 18000 32960 RFM CORP 4.7 4.79 4.79 4.79 4.79 4.79 1000 4790 SWIFT FOODS 0.128 0.129 0.13 0.13 0.129 0.129 550000 70970 UNIV ROBINA 144.6 144.8 141.2 144.8 141.2 144.8 526130 75103384 VITARICH 1.64 1.65 1.64 1.65 1.63 1.64 562000 923140 VICTORIAS 2.55 2.6 2.62 2.62 2.54 2.55 25000 63880 CEMEX HLDG 2.62 2.63 2.66 2.7 2.58 2.62 6872000 18116660 DAVINCI CAPITAL 5.9 6.22 6.25 6.25 5.89 5.89 500 3084 EAGLE CEMENT 15.6 15.76 15.78 15.78 15.6 15.76 172500 2713428 EEI CORP 8.75 8.78 8.8 8.85 8.72 8.78 536100 4704705 HOLCIM 9.6 9.62 9.6 9.65 9.6 9.6 2701000 25931192 MEGAWIDE 19.86 19.9 20 20 19.8 19.86 230600 4584640 PHINMA 8.9 9 9 9.31 9 9 10300 92741 TKC METALS 1.01 1.02 1.01 1.05 1 1.01 587000 589280 VULCAN INDL 1.31 1.32 1.35 1.35 1.29 1.31 5895000 7728670 CROWN ASIA 1.87 1.9 1.91 1.91 1.91 1.91 10000 19100 EUROMED 1.65 1.75 1.65 1.65 1.65 1.65 3000 4950 LMG CHEMICALS 4.1 4.28 4.2 4.2 4.15 4.15 111000 463700 PRYCE CORP 5.85 5.9 5.85 5.86 5.85 5.85 20000 117010 CONCEPCION 41 42 40.55 41 40.55 41 12000 491955 GREENERGY 2.44 2.45 2.63 2.73 2.45 2.45 35381000 91328420 INTEGRATED MICR 12.76 12.86 12.7 12.96 12.7 12.86 98400 1261150 IONICS 1.68 1.7 1.63 1.75 1.63 1.7 313000 532460 SFA SEMICON 1.3 1.32 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 81000 105300 CIRTEK HLDG 29.4 29.5 29.05 29.5 29 29.5 55800 1642730

-5295425 21287484.5 -721410 -648676 42442231 -387287 49980 -672520 -11278488 -167616.5 295979 15081155 -26640530 1167652 6437858 -3487930 16140040 -1525510 30628 -3070675 441364 259720 -4599804 -1409503 55550713 25750 2748650 8167236 5270 -22564688 20040 1134020 -0 64500 18543354 -164350 22950 1311160 -90698 1503794 8911402 2412728 -8080 -9500 19100 -117010 491954.9999 5548430 -118466 -13000 -135675


ABACORE CAPITAL 0.76 0.77 0.78 0.78 0.75 0.76 7082000 5384410 -431200 ASIABEST GROUP 20.1 20.5 20.75 20.75 20.05 20.5 24400 495045 40600 AYALA CORP 919.5 920 930 930 918 920 282450 259918785 -128357925 ABOITIZ EQUITY 58.85 58.95 57.6 59.25 57.6 58.95 2226770 131010124 11171877.5 ALLIANCE GLOBAL 14.92 14.98 15 15.08 14.7 14.98 5764300 86037228 19377966 ANSCOR 6.5 6.8 6.5 6.88 6.46 6.5 147100 956105 202135 ANGLO PHIL HLDG 0.75 0.76 0.74 0.76 0.74 0.76 34000 25180 ATN HLDG A 1.4 1.42 1.41 1.47 1.39 1.4 9548000 13508930 ATN HLDG B 1.4 1.41 1.43 1.43 1.4 1.41 1013000 1426950 56400 COSCO CAPITAL 7.46 7.5 7.5 7.55 7.42 7.5 587700 4404238 934294 DMCI HLDG 11.16 11.2 11.2 11.24 11.12 11.2 5897600 65,935,744( 24,626,994.0004) FILINVEST DEV 14.62 14.7 14.8 14.84 14.2 14.62 2112500 30838894 -7283386 FORUM PACIFIC 0.237 0.25 0.24 0.25 0.236 0.25 250000 59490 GT CAPITAL 987 993.5 985 995 974.5 993.5 71230 70419345 8948820 HOUSE OF INV 6.12 6.18 6.13 6.13 6.13 6.13 2000 12260 JG SUMMIT 63.1 63.2 64.45 65 62.4 63.2 3931130 248218711.5 -12401521 KEPPEL HLDG A 4.83 5.56 4.8 4.8 4.8 4.8 5000 24000 LODESTAR 0.54 0.56 0.56 0.57 0.55 0.57 53000 29450 LOPEZ HLDG 5.12 5.21 5.09 5.25 5.05 5.12 942400 4839246 -2007868 LT GROUP 16.5 16.52 16.42 16.58 16.32 16.52 7674000 126521046 63289496 MABUHAY HLDG 0.56 0.58 0.56 0.57 0.56 0.57 129000 73330 METRO PAC INV 4.9 4.94 4.94 4.97 4.89 4.94 9304000 45840230 513330 PACIFICA 0.039 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.039 0.04 10000000 399700 PRIME ORION 3.12 3.13 2.99 3.13 2.98 3.12 7704000 23713010 -248750 PRIME MEDIA 1.14 1.21 1.23 1.23 1.21 1.21 13000 15920 REPUBLIC GLASS 2.58 2.69 2.69 2.69 2.69 2.69 6000 16140 SOLID GROUP 1.33 1.36 1.35 1.36 1.34 1.36 16000 21540 SYNERGY GRID 448 450 450 450 449 449 270 121250 SM INVESTMENTS 931 937 927.5 940.5 926 931 185490 172593880 -114743250 SAN MIGUEL CORP 171.7 172.4 171.2 175.9 171.2 172.4 1167710 202349738 23189985 SOC RESOURCES 0.75 0.78 0.75 0.75 0.75 0.75 30000 22500 SEAFRONT RES 2.36 2.37 2.37 2.37 2.36 2.37 31000 73370 TOP FRONTIER 273 282 274.2 282.4 268 282 11510 3210570 -1154078 WELLEX INDUS 0.237 0.244 0.24 0.244 0.24 0.243 370000 89160 ZEUS HLDG 0.335 0.34 0.355 0.355 0.33 0.335 60860000 20586600 27400 PROPERTY ARTHALAND CORP 0.9 0.91 0.92 0.93 0.89 0.91 1088000 983960 -53100 AYALA LAND 42.8 42.85 42.8 43 42.6 42.85 8636800 370005925 -126102615 ARANETA PROP 1.87 1.95 1.87 1.87 1.87 1.87 124000 231880 -149600 BELLE CORP 2.36 2.38 2.4 2.4 2.36 2.36 675000 1603480 -61660 A BROWN 0.78 0.79 0.78 0.79 0.78 0.79 520000 406470 19500 CITYLAND DEVT 0.91 0.93 0.92 0.93 0.91 0.93 25000 23130 CROWN EQUITIES 0.239 0.24 0.24 0.245 0.24 0.24 1800000 432050 -64800 CEBU HLDG 6.52 6.75 6.6 6.75 6.6 6.75 82000 544363 CEB LANDMASTERS 4.25 4.29 4.21 4.3 4.21 4.25 293000 1245490 -663000 CENTURY PROP 0.495 0.5 0.49 0.5 0.49 0.495 6490000 3214800 -64350 CYBER BAY 0.405 0.41 0.405 0.41 0.405 0.405 390000 159450 -28450 DOUBLEDRAGON 21 21.05 20.3 21.3 20.3 21.05 266900 5580555 766615 DM WENCESLAO 10.36 10.38 10.16 10.36 10.08 10.36 2178200 22449378 4132400 EMPIRE EAST 0.5 0.51 0.5 0.51 0.5 0.51 146000 73970 EVER GOTESCO 0.13 0.137 0.13 0.13 0.13 0.13 40000 5200 FILINVEST LAND 1.52 1.53 1.52 1.54 1.5 1.52 15091000 22922910 -4862270 GLOBAL ESTATE 1.23 1.24 1.24 1.24 1.23 1.23 1425000 1759230 8990 HLDG 12.02 12.08 11.98 12.16 11.98 12.02 1569800 18916002 -6094460 PHIL INFRADEV 1.92 1.93 1.87 2.05 1.87 1.92 11731000 23100580 1041210 CITY AND LAND 0.86 0.88 0.92 0.93 0.88 0.88 227000 202450 MEGAWORLD 5.38 5.41 5.45 5.48 5.35 5.41 11299000 61234750 14600403 MRC ALLIED 0.39 0.395 0.39 0.395 0.385 0.395 9800000 3822200 -78000 PHIL ESTATES 0.45 0.46 0.45 0.46 0.45 0.46 90000 40700 PRIMEX CORP 2.82 2.85 2.85 2.85 2.85 2.85 52000 148200 ROBINSONS LAND 23.6 23.7 23.65 23.7 23.1 23.7 980100 23113890 -266875 PHIL REALTY 0.455 0.465 0.45 0.45 0.44 0.45 420000 188350 ROCKWELL 2.03 2.05 2.01 2.06 2.01 2.05 270000 552680 SHANG PROP 3.1 3.14 3.14 3.14 3.1 3.1 277000 863780 STA LUCIA LAND 1.56 1.59 1.59 1.59 1.56 1.59 483000 760560 SM PRIME HLDG 37.65 37.7 37.1 37.75 37 37.65 8928100 333566440 -15838360 STARMALLS 7.08 7.09 7 7.12 7 7.08 278200 1963394 -99592 SUNTRUST HOME 0.75 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 2000 1600 PTFC REDEV CORP 43.05 45.85 43.05 43.05 43.05 43.05 400 17220 VISTA LAND 7.21 7.22 7.2 7.3 7.19 7.22 2551100 18410816 -9510306 SERVICES ABS CBN 20.7 20.8 21.3 21.3 20.5 20.8 190600 3956240 GMA NETWORK 5.69 5.7 5.7 5.72 5.65 5.69 380500 2165197 MANILA BULLETIN 0.59 0.61 0.62 0.62 0.58 0.61 2186000 1302200 GLOBE TELECOM 1851 1860 1905 1905 1851 1851 44120 82179420 -17027795 PLDT 1109 1119 1116 1119 1102 1119 74370 82898010 6417785 APOLLO GLOBAL 0.044 0.045 0.046 0.046 0.043 0.046 8500000 372000 -305000 DFNN INC 7 7.3 7.1 7.3 6.98 7.3 158200 1136380 IMPERIAL 1.93 2.06 1.92 1.92 1.92 1.92 2000 3840 ISLAND INFO 0.127 0.129 0.129 0.13 0.127 0.13 4750000 606580 ISM COMM 5.41 5.42 5.28 5.47 5.27 5.41 2774000 14877982 1596 JACKSTONES 3.08 3.28 3.15 3.27 3.15 3.27 4000 12720 NOW CORP 2.86 2.88 2.84 2.9 2.8 2.86 727000 2064060 379020 TRANSPACIFIC BR 0.42 0.425 0.43 0.435 0.42 0.42 18640000 7923250 -12750 PHILWEB 2.74 2.76 2.79 2.79 2.73 2.74 1453000 4001190 -1386440 2GO GROUP 12.28 12.36 12.16 12.28 11.84 12.28 35900 434124 7200 CEBU AIR 81.85 81.95 81.7 83 81.25 81.85 307800 25120059.5 -19030238 CHELSEA 5.82 5.83 5.9 5.9 5.75 5.82 473000 2749723 INTL CONTAINER 118 118.3 116.9 119.8 116.8 118.3 1570750 185830110 53054672 LBC EXPRESS 15.26 15.8 15.26 15.26 15.26 15.26 800 12208 LORENZO SHIPPNG 0.9 0.91 0.89 0.91 0.89 0.9 711000 633990 MACROASIA 19.42 19.88 19.94 20.05 19.32 19.42 876100 17325668 1641584 METROALLIANCE A 1.91 1.99 1.9 2.02 1.9 1.99 73000 139500 PAL HLDG 10.3 10.36 10.48 10.48 10.2 10.36 20100 208592 HARBOR STAR 2.96 2.98 2.97 3 2.94 2.98 687000 2036800 -32940 BOULEVARD HLDG 0.079 0.08 0.077 0.081 0.077 0.079 427220000 33851030 -341880 WATERFRONT 0.67 0.68 0.66 0.68 0.66 0.67 855000 572910 -36800 STI HLDG 0.7 0.71 0.72 0.72 0.7 0.71 1624000 1141070 154660 BERJAYA 2.79 2.8 2.82 2.87 2.7 2.79 572000 1581650 -19570 BLOOMBERRY 11.9 11.92 11.8 12 11.8 11.9 4165000 49593408 8724008 PACIFIC ONLINE 9.1 9.49 9.21 9.21 9.19 9.2 2200 20236 -20236 LEISURE AND RES 3.3 3.31 3.32 3.32 3.3 3.3 511000 1686530 23150 MANILA JOCKEY 4.71 4.86 4.7 4.86 4.7 4.86 21000 98860 PH RESORTS GRP 4.98 5.06 4.94 5 4.94 5 17000 84880 PREMIUM LEISURE 0.89 0.9 0.9 0.91 0.89 0.89 6485000 5815330 500210 TRAVELLERS 5.6 5.62 5.62 5.62 5.6 5.6 154500 865494 -21266 METRO RETAIL 2.99 3 3 3 2.98 3 392000 1174720 14950 PUREGOLD 47.15 48 47.65 48 47.05 48 255300 12107840 -2552445 ROBINSONS RTL 86.1 87 85.1 87 85.1 87 1052850 90628439.5 -43296486.5 PHIL SEVEN CORP 130.1 134 132.1 134 130 134 62170 8212229 -62600 SSI GROUP 2.35 2.36 2.4 2.4 2.35 2.36 7974000 18819540 8921940 WILCON DEPOT 15.64 15.66 15.76 15.76 15.58 15.64 3737600 58494948 46503732 APC GROUP 0.425 0.43 0.425 0.43 0.425 0.43 610000 260250 EASYCALL 14.26 14.28 14.6 14.7 14.22 14.26 190500 2739822 -1458 GOLDEN BRIA 373.2 377.8 373.2 379.8 373.2 377.8 2860 1073930 IPM HLDG 7.1 7.13 7.12 7.12 7.12 7.12 15000 106800 PRMIERE HORIZON 1.19 1.2 1.2 1.23 1.13 1.19 43707000 51753380 127820 SBS PHIL CORP 8.47 8.75 8.34 8.79 8.34 8.79 85100 737719 MINING & OIL ATOK 13.12 13.2 13.58 13.58 13.02 13.5 2600 34224 APEX MINING 1.45 1.46 1.45 1.47 1.45 1.46 1362000 1980680 -148870 ABRA MINING 0.002 0.0022 0.0021 0.0022 0.0021 0.0021 54000000 113600 ATLAS MINING 2.9 2.95 2.91 2.91 2.9 2.9 39000 113220 -5800 BENGUET A 1.2 1.29 1.2 1.2 1.18 1.2 112000 134270 BENGUET B 1.11 1.29 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.11 6000 6660 COAL ASIA HLDG 0.295 0.3 0.295 0.295 0.295 0.295 140000 41300 CENTURY PEAK 2.26 2.27 2.27 2.28 2.26 2.26 460000 1042630 DIZON MINES 7.83 8 8 8 7.8 8 10800 84457 FERRONICKEL 1.48 1.49 1.48 1.49 1.48 1.49 331000 490360 GEOGRACE 0.245 0.249 0.247 0.255 0.244 0.249 3360000 826000 LEPANTO A 0.123 0.124 0.122 0.123 0.12 0.123 2210000 266950 LEPANTO B 0.128 0.131 0.128 0.128 0.128 0.128 20000 2560 MANILA MINING B 0.0082 0.0085 0.0084 0.0084 0.0084 0.0084 2000000 16800 MARCVENTURES 1.1 1.13 1.11 1.13 1.11 1.12 161000 180430 NIHAO 1 1.05 1.07 1.08 1.01 1.05 616000 627520 NICKEL ASIA 2.66 2.67 2.73 2.73 2.65 2.67 749000 2002840 -111870 OMICO CORP 0.59 0.62 0.62 0.63 0.59 0.62 142000 85150 ORNTL PENINSULA 0.93 0.95 0.93 0.94 0.92 0.94 82000 76410 PX MINING 3.95 3.98 3.93 4.01 3.93 3.95 466000 1839970 -201940 SEMIRARA MINING 19.9 20 20.15 20.25 19.86 19.9 3289200 65542270 23619588.9999 UNITED PARAGON 0.0072 0.0078 0.0072 0.0072 0.0072 0.0072 5000000 36000 ORNTL PETROL A 0.012 0.013 0.012 0.013 0.012 0.013 1500000 18200 ORNTL PETROL B 0.012 0.013 0.012 0.012 0.012 0.012 100500000 1206000 PHILODRILL 0.011 0.012 0.012 0.013 0.011 0.011 324100000 3888600 PHINMA PETRO 3.16 3.24 3.2 3.2 3.16 3.16 29000 91750 PXP ENERGY 14.12 14.14 14.06 14.42 13.9 14.12 684800 9665492 -45508


98.2 97 971 102 450 480 895 898 0.98 980 75.15 77 72.1 73.25 74.6 73.6 71.95 72


19.5 5.5

100.4 98.35 980 104.5 476.8 495.8 900 900 0.99 989.5 75.45 77.1 73.5 73.45 74.9 74.5 72 73.5

100 98 973 102 450.2 480 900 900 0.98 980 75.1 76.7 72.5 73.45 74.75 73.7 72.5 72

100 98 973 102 450.2 480 900 900 0.99 980 75.1 77.1 72.5 73.45 74.75 73.7 72.5 72

100 96.5 971 102 450.2 480 900 900 0.98 980 75.1 76.7 72.5 73.45 74.6 73.6 71.95 72

100 97 971 102 450.2 480 900 900 0.98 980 75.1 77 72.5 73.45 74.6 73.6 72 72

10000 11000 1000 290 300 100 50 50 150000 90 140 15930 4400 5000 53500 4000 49900 29490

1000000 1069785 972200 29580 135060 48000 45000 45000 147500 88200 10514 1223653 319000 367250 3995204 294430 3594335 2123280

49000 88200 22110 1489880 -

20.2 5.65

20.2 5.59

20.2 5.65

20 5.5

20 5.5

143200 182600

2868740 1006944

-180475 -












5.04 1.36

5.09 1.36

5.15 1.38

4.9 1.33

5.04 1.35

247300 5990000

1237968 8086970

10040 141050











Editor: Efleda P. Campos

Net income of San Miguel F&B unit rises 8% to ₧30.5B


By VG Cabuag


AN Miguel Food and Beverage Inc. (SMFB), the consolidated food and beverage unit of the conglomerate, on Wednesday said its income last year grew 8 percent to P30.5 billion after its three major units posted double-digit growth rates. Consolodated sales of San Miguel Brewery Inc. (SMB), San Miguel Pure Foods Inc. and Ginebra San Miguel Inc. grew 14 percent to P286.4 billion in 2018, it said.

“Despite the high inflationary environment in the past year, we are pleased with the performance of our food and beverage businesses, which all delivered strong revenue

growth. This is proof that our brands continue to resonate strongly with consumers,” SMFB President and CEO Ramon S. Ang said. “Moving forward, we will continue to invest in our businesses to meet the demands of growing consumption in the Philippines, and ensure that our quality products are always accessible to our consumers. We are confident that this will lead to more sustainable earnings growth and value,” Ang said. Consolidated income from operations also grew 8 percent to P46 billion, it said. Beer unit SMB reported a 14-percent growth in consolidated revenues to P129.2 billion, driven by higher consumption of brands Red Horse

and San Miguel Pale Pilsen, along with marketing campaigns. Pure Foods also had higher consolidated revenues of P132.3 billion, up 13 percent, through its strong portfolio of brands including Magnolia, Purefoods, Tender Juicy, B‐ MEG, Dari Creme, Star and La Pacita. Growth was attributed to higher volume growth of its protein, prepared and packaged food, and animal nutrition and health businesses. “However, earnings were tempered by rising costs of major raw materials, start‐up costs from expansion projects, and the decline in poultry prices towards the end of the year,” it said. Ginebra, meanwhile, generated revenues of P24.8 billion, up 19 percent than the previous year.

Singapore water debacle threatens 90% losses for investors


HE catastrophic slump of Singapore’s muchvaunted water and power company, Hyflux Ltd., has stunned 34,000 retail investors who were lured by the promise of a 6-percent annual return forever from a company that seemed to have a gold seal of government approval. At the heart of the debacle is Tuaspring, a desalination and power plant that cost S$1.1 billion ($809 million) and was heralded as one of the “national taps” for an island that had long depended on importing water and harvesting rainwater for survival. The company’s glowing prospects encouraged investors including Li Meicheng and Violet Seow to funnel some of their savings into S$900 million of junior debt to help fund the venture and group expansion. Tuaspring was opened to great fanfare in September 2013, with the head of the Public Utilities Board and two government ministers flanking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who called the plant “the latest milestone in Singapore’s water journey,” praising its “unique and cost-efficient design.” But the facility hasn’t made money since under its 25-year water-supply agreement. And losses snowballed after its gas-turbine power plant started selling excess capacity in 2016 to the

power grid, which had a glut of electricity caused by the opening of the market to competition. As cash depleted and liabilities approached S$2.7 billion, Hyflux sought court protection from creditors to restructure. Many investors expected the government to step in and help a venture it had enthusiastically praised. But the authorities have rejected calls for intervention into what they call a “commercial matter.” The PUB served a notice of default on the Tuaspring plant owner for operational and financial lapses. Hyflux was given 30 days to make good on its obligations, or the state could terminate the contract and seize the plant. “I’m very disappointed that the government has decided to take a tough stance instead of offering a helping hand to an iconic Singapore company,” said Li, a 42-year self-employed businessman who owns Hyflux perpetual notes and preference shares. “This is another dagger in the chest for retail investors.” The government deadline for Tuaspring to comply, April 5, is the day creditors must vote on Hyflux’s restructuring plan, effectively forcing them to accept the workout deal or risk losing everything. Hyflux must persuade more than 50 percent of those who turn up to the meeting and 75 percent in value of claims to back the reorga-

VW ups EV push to 22M cars as Porsche, Audi slip


OLKSWAGEN AG aims to produce almost 50 percent more electric cars than it targeted previously, boosting a bet that has already strained profit margins. The world’s largest automaker now plans to build 22 million battery-powered vehicles over the next 10 years, compared with an earlier goal of 15 million. Return on sales fell last year at the company’s three core brands VW, Porsche and Audi as trade wars, a Chinese slowdown and new emissions testing in Europe added to costs. CEO Herbert Diess is pushing forward with the industry’s most ambitious electrification plan, using VW’s heft to overtake e-car pioneer Tesla Inc. and as regulators pick up the pace on emissions regulation. The risk is that buyers stay on the fence, delaying the payoff years down the road. By comparison, General Motors Co. expects to sell 1 million electric cars annually by 2026. The German carmaker is also in advanced talks with Ford Motor Co. to work together on autonomous driving and other areas. “The supertanker is picking up speed,” Diess said on 3Tuesday in speech notes during the company’s full-year earnings. “We are aligning Volkswagen with e-mobility like no other company in our industry.” Diess, like other automaker CEOs, is under pressure to find savings while he funnels more cash toward

the company’s biggest transformation in decades. VW is spending €44 billion ($49 billion) through 2023 on electric and connected cars. Keeping profitability level this year from 2018 will be an achievement given the USChina trade spat and falling demand in China, VW’s biggest market, Diess said in a Bloomberg TV interview. Volkswagen fell 1.5 percent to €144.40 at 12:20 p.m. in Frankfurt. The stock has declined 6.8 percent in the past year, compared with a 21-percent drop in the Stoxx Europe 600 Automobiles & Parts Index. VW is also making progress on a plan for a partial share sale in trucks unit Traton SE. A date will be agreed “in the foreseeable future” with VW weighing up market conditions “in the next days,” Diess said in speech notes. The division is valued at as much as €30 billion. To help gain scale and save costs, VW is opening up its dedicated electric-car platform to others. The company is also in talks to deepen a cooperation with Ford beyond working together on vans, adding on Tuesday that discussions about further possible collaborations in e-mobility and autonomous driving are at an advanced stage. VW may take a stake in the self-driving car project with Ford, Diess said. It’s also considering acquisitions of software suppliers. Bloomberg News

nization. The company will reschedule a town hall previously planned for March 13, as a large number of noteholders wish to attend. “This adds to the urgency and pressure on Hyflux and its creditors to pass the restructuring plan,” said Ang Chung Yuh, a senior fixed-income analyst at iFast Corp. “They are stuck between a rock and a hard place.” The PUB said in response to questions that its responsibility is to safeguard Singapore’s water security and that desalination plants are


integral to that security. “PUB’s decision to issue a default notice is to ensure the asset is secured and continues to produce water,” according to emailed comments from a spokesman. Li and other holders of junior securities stand to lose as much as 90 percent of their capital in the restructuring proposal, under which Indonesia’s Salim Group and energy company Medco Group will gain a 60-percent stake in exchange for a S$530-million cash injection. Banks and senior bond holders would lose about 75 percent. Bloomberg News March 13, 2019

NAV ONE YEAR THREE YEAR FIVE YEAR Y-T-D PER SHARE RETURN* RETURN STOCK FUNDS ATRAM ALPHA OPPORTUNITY FUND, INC. -A 1.5885  -2.64%  11.23%  4.16%  10.25%  ATRAM PHILIPPINE EQUITY OPPORTUNITY FUND, INC. -A   4.0476  -10.76%  2.34%  0.59%  3.7%  CLIMBS SHARE CAPITAL EQUITY INVESTMENT FUND CORP. -A   0.9224  - 6.55%  N.A.  N.A.  3.58%  FIRST METRO CONSUMER FUND ON MSCI PHILS. IMI, INC. -A   0.8468  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  3.18%  FIRST METRO SAVE AND LEARN EQUITY FUND,INC. -A   5.4122  -7.58%  1.34%  1.36%  2.68%  MBG EQUITY INVESTMENT FUND, INC. -A   126.78  7.46%  N.A.  N.A.  8.86%  ONE WEALTHY NATION FUND, INC. -A   0.8585  -10.79%  -4.21%  N.A.  3.14%  PAMI EQUITY INDEX FUND, INC. -A   50.9583  -8.34%  2.38%  N.A.  3.56%  PHILAM STRATEGIC GROWTH FUND, INC. -A   534.56  -7.65%  1.39%  1.3%  3.85%  PHILEQUITY DIVIDEND YIELD FUND, INC. -A   1.2889  -6.66%  3.23%  4.55%  2.78%  PHILEQUITY FUND, INC. -A   37.997  -6.95%  3.88%  3.86%  3.73%  PHILEQUITY MSCI PHILIPPINE INDEX FUND, INC. -A,3   1.012  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  PHILEQUITY PSE INDEX FUND INC. -A   5.1527  -7.99%  3.32%  3.77%  3.91%  PHILIPPINE STOCK INDEX FUND CORP. -A   859.97  -7.9%  3.03%  3.66%  3.8%  SOLDIVO STRATEGIC GROWTH FUND, INC. -A   0.9087  -4.89%  1.84%  N.A.  5.52%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY PHILIPPINE EQUITY FUND, INC. -A   4.2473  -5.95%  3.48%  2.74%  4.64%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY PHILIPPINE STOCK INDEX FUND, INC. -A  0.9893  -8.27%  3.02%  N.A.  3.67%  UNITED FUND, INC. -A   3.612  -5.16%  4.79%  3.62%  3.17%      EXCHANGE TRADED FUND FIRST METRO PHIL. EQUITY EXCHANGE TRADED FUND, INC. -A,C,2   115.0187  -7.61%  4.15%  4.75%  3.86%  ATRAM ASIAPLUS EQUITY FUND, INC. -B   $1.0026  -12.35%  7.41%  1.26%  7.91%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY WORLD VOYAGER FUND, INC. -A   $1.2386  -5.59%  N.A.  N.A.  12.08%  BALANCED FUNDS     PRIMARILY INVESTED IN PESO SECURITIES ATRAM DYNAMIC ALLOCATION FUND, INC. -A   1.6997  -6.42%  -0.27%  -1.12%  2.94%  ATRAM PHILIPPINE BALANCED FUND, INC. -A   2.285  -5.72%  1.57%  0.97%  3.43%  FIRST METRO SAVE AND LEARN BALANCED FUND INC. -A   2.6073  -5.11%  -0.86%  -1.21%  2.5%  GREPALIFE BALANCED FUND CORPORATION -A   1.337  -6.91%  N.A.  N.A.  2.51%  NCM MUTUAL FUND OF THE PHILS., INC. -A   1.8953  -3.71%  1.49%  1.49%  2.83%  PAMI HORIZON FUND, INC. -A   3.6093  -6.11%  -0.01%  0.43%  2.27%  PHILAM FUND, INC. -A   16.3266  -5.07%  0.22%  0.56%  2.63%  SOLIDARITAS FUND, INC. -A   2.1166  -4.55%  1.71%  2.37%  2.14%  SUN LIFE OF CANADA PROSPERITY BALANCED FUND, INC. -A   3.8011  -3.99%  1.67%  1.73%  4.1%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY ACHIEVER FUND 2028, INC. -A,D,4   0.9783  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY ACHIEVER FUND 2038, INC. -A,D,4   0.9734  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY ACHIEVER FUND 2048, INC. -A,D,4   0.9717  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY DYNAMIC FUND, INC. -A   0.963  -4.29%  1.28%  N.A.  4.48%      PRIMARILY INVESTED IN FOREIGN CURRENCY SECURITIES COCOLIFE DOLLAR FUND BUILDER, INC. -A   $0.03574  1.62%  0.21%  1.61%  1.39%  PAMI ASIA BALANCED FUND, INC. -A   $0.9734  -9.28%  3.97%  -0.52%  3.97%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY DOLLAR ADVANTAGE FUND, INC. -A   $3.6043  -3.65%  6.29%  2.09%  8.94%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY DOLLAR WELLSPRING FUND, INC. -A   $1.0691  -3%  N.A.  N.A.  5.85%  BOND FUNDS     PRIMARILY INVESTED IN PESO SECURITIES ALFM PESO BOND FUND, INC. -A   346.17  2.62%  2.04%  2%  0.81%  ATRAM CORPORATE BOND FUND, INC. -A,1   1.8683  -0.21%  -0.36%  -0.42%  0.49%  COCOLIFE FIXED INCOME FUND, INC. -A   2.9982  5.34%  5.27%  5.25%  0.92%  EKKLESIA MUTUAL FUND INC. -A   2.1524  2.25%  1.54%  1.66%  1.03%  FIRST METRO SAVE AND LEARN FIXED INCOME FUND,INC. -A   2.237  1.13%  0.27%  0.66%  1.25%  GREPALIFE FIXED INCOME FUND CORP. -A   P 1.5957  -0.62%  -0.43%  0.08%  2%  PHILAM BOND FUND, INC. -A   3.9562  -0.29%  -0.82%  0.32%  0.93%  PHILEQUITY PESO BOND FUND, INC. -A   3.5874  2.77%  1.27%  1.08%  2%  SOLDIVO BOND FUND, INC. -A   0.9115  0.58%  -0.67%  N.A.  2.12%  SUN LIFE OF CANADA PROSPERITY BOND FUND, INC. -A   2.8458  2.39%  1.5%  1.43%  2.89%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY GS FUND, INC. -A   1.5769  1.87%  1.03%  0.95%  2.4%      PRIMARILY INVESTED IN FOREIGN CURRENCY SECURITIES ALFM DOLLAR BOND FUND, INC. -A   $452.13  2.31%  2.01%  2.95%  0.86%  ALFM EURO BOND FUND, INC. -A   Є215.07  1.09%  1.38%  1.57%  1.14%  ATRAM TOTAL RETURN DOLLAR BOND FUND, INC. -B   $1.1568  3.57%  1.51%  2.17%  2.75%  FIRST METRO SAVE AND LEARN DOLLAR BOND FUND, INC. -A   $0.025  1.21%  0.68%  N.A.  0.81%  GREPALIFE DOLLAR BOND FUND CORP. -A   $1.6977  -1.53%  -1.21%  0.79%  0.44%  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 -A   $1.0531  0.67%  -0.9%  -2.37%  1.49%  PHILAM DOLLAR BOND FUND, INC. -A   $2.2238  2.34%  0.45%  2.69%  2.42%  PHILEQUITY DOLLAR INCOME FUND INC. -A   $0.0576829  1.52%  1.03%  1.7%  1.23%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY DOLLAR ABUNDANCE FUND, INC. -A   $2.9295  - 0.09%  -0.15%  1.88%  2%  MONEY MARKET FUNDS     PRIMARILY INVESTED IN PESO SECURITIES ALFM MONEY MARKET FUND, INC. -A   122.08  3.45%  2.13%  1.74%  1.03%  FIRST METRO SAVE AND LEARN MONEY MARKET FUND, INC. -A,5   1.0045  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  N.A.  PHILAM MANAGED INCOME FUND, INC. -A   1.1902  2.47%  0.94%  0.67%  0.7%  SUN LIFE PROSPERITY MONEY MARKET FUND, INC. -A   1.2287  3.04%  2.42%  1.76%  0.8%      PRIMARILY INVESTED IN FOREIGN CURRENCY SECURITIES SUN LIFE PROSPERITY DOLLAR STARTER FUND, INC. -A   $1.0209  2.03%  N.A.  N.A.  0.49%                                                 * - 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

Finance seeks more reforms as world economy wrestles with slower growth pace


HE Department of Finance (DOF) believes the Philippines should use the time when the global economy is posting a slowerthan-expected pace of growth to improve the country’s investment environment. In its economic bulletin, the DOF said the drop in the country’s 2018 FDI levels to $9.802 billion from the 2017 level of $10.256 billion was brought about by the volatile global economic environment during the year. “The drop in [the] 2018 FDI is just a temporary phenomenon brought about by the uncertain world economic environment,” the DOF said. “FDI flows will recover when world conditions are better. Meanwhile, the Philippines should implement reforms for a better investment environment.” The FDI for 2018 was lower by 4.4 percent compared to the 2017 level. In terms of its percentage to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the 2018 FDI was 3 percent of the GDP for the year, and 3.3 percent for 2017. The GDP of the Philippines for 2018 settled at 6.2 percent while, for 2017, it settled at 6.7 percent. “The FDI decline in the Philippines in 2018 mirrors the global FDI decline during the past two years. In 2017, it dropped 6.5 percent to $1.9 trillion. In the first half of 2018, it dropped by a heftier 44 percent to just $432 billion. This is due to slowdown in the world economy brought about by US-China trade war, Brexit and slowdown in worldwide growth,” the DOF added. The DOF said that to increase

investments made in the Philippines by other countries, it needs to further cut red tape, as well as ease restrictions on foreign ownership with the country having the one of the most restrictive investment regimes in Asia. To further cut red tape, the DOF said that the platform should be fully implemented. This platform is envisioned to further facilitate the exports and imports of manufacturers, apart from other digital infrastructure. “A World Bank study shows that foreign capital should be attracted to enhance more competition and efficiency in the economy,” the DOF said. Equity investments for 2018 fell by 33.3 percent, which reversed the surge of 31.1 percent in 2017, registering a $2.267-billion equity investment for 2018 from $3.397 billion in 2017. “On the one hand, the rise in inflows to the electricity in 2017 is explained by the $1.3-billion investment made by a consortium of foreign investors in Energy Development Corporation [EDC], an operator of geothermal fields. On the other hand, in 2018 San Miguel Corp. acquired Masinloc Group’s power assets for $1.9 billion,” it added. The TradeNet platform is expected to enable the government to eliminate trade-data discrepancy. On Monday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported FDI to the Philippines fell short of the government’s projection of $10.4 billion for 2018, as fewer investors placed their bets on the long-term economic prospects of the country. Rea Cu

After 2 years, BPI microfinance subsidiary records P3.3-B loan, reaches 45,240 SEMEs

BPI Direct BanKo Inc., the microfinance arm of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), formally opened its 200th branch in Los Baños, Laguna. Shown here are, (from left) BanKo Chairman Simon Paterno, Head of BPI Unsecured Lending and Cards Group Marie Josephine Ocampo, BPI Chief Finance Officer Maria Theresa Marcial Javier, and Laguna Provincial Public Employment Service Office Manager Mary Jane Concuera.


PI Direct BanKo Inc., the microfinance subsidiary of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), said it has helped 45,240 micro-entrepreneurs with P3.3 billion worth of microenterprise loans in just two years. Jerome R. Minglana, BanKo president, was quoted in a statement as saying the savings bank has expanded aggressively since 2017, growing its network of branches to 200 as of end-2018 to help small entrepreneurs, particularly the self-employed microentrepreneur (SEME). Minglana during the celebration of the lender’s 200th branch in Los Baños, Laguna, said he considers their loans as “very meaningful for these small businesses and grassroots communities.” “We continue to strengthen our commitment to the SEME market by providing them with better financial options that best fit their needs,” he added. Today, BanKo covers key provincial

areas such as Tuguegarao, Masbate, San Carlos City and Koronadal where unbanked SEMEs could benefit from BanKo’s loans. BanKo promotes financial inclusion by granting access to easy, convenient and affordable loan products to fund the operations and grow the businesses of SEMEs. This helps create a positive impact on the quality of lives of these small entrepreneurs. Minglana said Los Baños is a good example of a place where BanKo can make a positive impact on the community. “Known to be a top tourist destination and home to an array of springs and resorts, Los Baños, Laguna, is considered to be a key zone as it captures a large number of SEMEs,” he said. In the 2017 BSP Financial Inclusion Survey, 52.8 million adults (15 years old and above) out of 68.6 million adults are unbanked, or don’t have deposit accounts.

Thursday, March 14, 2019


Banks flock to BSP’s TDF despite cuts in volume offered this week


By Bianca Cuaresma @BcuaresmaBM

ATES in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s (BSP) liquidity facility continued to fall on Wednesday, as banks bid more than what is offered in the Central Banks’ term deposit facility (TDF) during the week. Both the rates in the sevenday and 14-day facility of the BSP went down during the week, with the medium tenor registering the bigger drop on Wednesday.

In particular, the yield in the 14-day facility hit 5.0975 percent during the week, dropping from the 5.1452 percent seen in the previous week’s auction.

For the seven-day facilit y, the rate likewise dropped from 5.0342 percent in the prev iou s week to 5.0214 percent on Wednesday. The TDF is one of the BSP’s liquidity absor ption facilities to manage circulation in the economy.  As banks bid to park funds in the BSP’s facility, the TDF effectively siphons off a part of this structural liquidity from the financial system to bring market rates closer to the BSP’s main policy rate.  Banks displayed strong appetite in the two tenors offered by the BSP for the week, with both windows being oversubscribed on Wednesday.  The total bids for the seven-day tenor, in particular, hit P34.396 billion, while the 14-day facility

for a total of P32.053 billion in tenders. The BSP offered both the P20 billion in term deposits for the seven-day and the 14-day tenors during the week. Since the start of the year, banks have been showing sustained interest in the BSP’s TDF, with bouts of oversubscription every week. For 2019, the BSP has only increased its volume of offering once—in the first week of January—from P30 billion to the current P50 billion offered. For this week, however, the BSP opted not to offer any 28-day term deposits to banks.  Earlier this month, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said that the oversubscription in the weekly TDF is an indicator that there continues to be “ample liquidity” in the local stream. 

PHL’s largest UITF provider still bullish amid signs of moderate global economic growth


HILE BDO Un iba n k sees the global economy heading for more moderate growth this year, it still makes sense to diversify into global investments and seize opportunities in markets outside the Philippines for growth over the long term. Through BDO’s Global Feeder Funds (GFF), investors can gain access to the United States, China, Japan, European and global equity markets. The said funds started 2019 with very strong returns ranging from 12 percent to 18 percent in dollar terms as of end-February. Based on fund performance figures published by a web site on the Unit Investment Trust Funds (, the BDO China Equit y Feeder Fund (CEFF) landed the top spot for dollar-denominated global equity funds with its 18.4-percent return since the start of the year. The bank said its CEFF feeds into the BlackRock Global Funds (BGF) China Fund, which is primarily invested in a portfolio of equities and equity-related instruments of China-related companies traded both onshore and offshore China. According to Frederico R.D. Ocampo, the chief investment officer of the BDO Trust and Investments Group, the rally in the Chinese stock market this year is due to improving sentiment toward China as its policy environment become more supportive and concerns on the trade war has eased. BDO currently manages six US dollar-denominated global feeder funds. All six funds found its way to the top 10 dollardenominated equity UITFs in the country, including its newly launched fund, the BDO Global Equity Index Feeder Fund at rank 3. “We continue to expand the range of investment choices available to our clients,” Rafael Ayuste Jr., trust officer of BDO, said in a statement. “We have

lined up products for launch this year which hopefully will attract client’s interest again in the UITFs which generally took a beating last year due to weak markets.”

With over P214 billion in assets under management across 27 investment funds, BDO is currently the largest UITF provider in the Philippines with a 37-percent mar-

ket share. The BDO GFFs are available for a minimum investment of $2,000 through the BDO network of more than 1,200 branches and via BDO Invest Online.




Thursday, March 14, 2019

Fuzzy PH agriculture data lead N

By Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas & Cai U. Ordinario

EARLY a year after facing the wrath of avian influenza, the local poultry sector grappled with a familiar foe: price. In August of 2018, in fact, the farm-gate price of broiler started to decline on the back of increasing output. During that time, the sign of a glut seemed too early to call, United Broiler Raisers Association (Ubra) told the BusinessMirror. However, prices maintained a downward trend and, indeed, an oversupply was confirmed by November. The glut wasn’t the usual production spree by local raisers in anticipation of Christmas demand. It was a glut that no poultry raiser saw coming and which persists until today. The Ubra explained that the glut stemmed from aggressive loading by poultry raisers who thought that the market can absorb additional supply. Poultry raisers, Ubra said, were wrong on this. Just as the local industry loaded more and more day-old chicks unto the market, imported poultry meat products were surging. The market eventually choked on an oversupply that even big poultry producers like San Miguel Corp. and Bounty Fresh Food Inc. were forced to sell at a bargain. Could the glut have been averted? Yes, if only timely and updated data on the country’s supply and demand situation was available to guide farmers on their production cycles, Ubra said. But the data, which could have saved small poultry raisers from a gloomy Christmas, came months after the industry had already incurred losses. And the chance of it repeating again, sans this updated and timely data on the country’s supply and demand situation, is likely, Ubra President Elias Jose Inciong said.


IN January, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol admitted that the government was partly to blame for the oversupply. “We had a lapse in issuing guidance to the stakeholders on the current chicken supply situation, which we have to do actually to guide farmers on the volume they should raise in their farms,” Piñol said in a January 8 interview. “So, we will be updating our data on our supply situation.” The broiler wasn’t the only farm commodity that was hit by oversupply last year. Tomatoes being dumped on the roadside in Laguna and truckloads of vegetables being rejected in Baguio also made headlines. Situations like these could have been easily prevented if farmers were properly guided on market demand and production trends in the country, according to economists and policy-makers interviewed by the BusinessMirror. The lack of data hampers policy-making as the absence of empirical evidence could cause government to undertake ungrounded decisions, economist Rolando T. Dy said. “If data shows we lack pork fat, or pork skin, then we must import,” Dy, executive director of the University of Asia and the Pacific’s Center for Food and Agri Business, said in an interview. “But if we do not have data, which could be used to forecast or project supply and demand situation, and we are blind, then it is likely that we would have oversupply or undersupply because our decisions do not have any basis,” he added.


DY said the verification of data adds veracity to the collected information to ensure that accurate figures are being used in policymaking. Such process is presently absent from the country’s data system. For example, Dy pointed out, the government could cross-check data sets on rice and palay production with rice millers. He further explained that these millers are the ones on the ground and could verify if estimates on production and projections are realistic. For one, the government still uses 65 percent as the average milling recovery rate (MRR) of palay to rice—a figure that, Dy said, has been disputed by local stakeholders for some years now. Citing rice millers, he added that the average MRR right now in the Philippines could be around or below 62 percent. And the 3-percent difference could mean thousands of metric tons of rice that could spell an oversupply or shortage. (The BusinessMirror published a Broader Look last year that reported the “grainy” data that government uses in rice policy-making: https:// snapshot-of-rice-consumption-data-remains-grainy-as-pinoys-grapple-withsupply-prices/)


DY said it is high time the government adopted modern technology, such as drones and satellite images, in collecting and validating data. The use of such equipment, he added, would reduce errors committed by humans in statistical work as they provide opportunities for cross-checking manually gathered data. However, Dy pointed out, having such statistical system or process is easier said than done, especially when the government doesn’t have an “appreciation” for “good” data. “But the problem is that it would entail big investments. And the government does not appreciate good statistics,” he said. “We have capability to conduct such data collection and verification but we do not have the funding.” More so, Dy proposes that the government create a tripartite body or board that will focus on data verification. This board could include representatives from the government and private sector to ensure that there is timely updating in the data covering food supply situation in the country. Other Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Malaysia, have these types of boards to monitor the supply and demand situation of their key crops, Dy said. He added that the government could even look at putting up a separate agency to focus on analyzing data. However, Dy noted this may entail amending the charter of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The government could even tap professors in state universities and colleges (SUCs) to conduct the data validation to easily boost the manpower or staff in such process, he added. The professor said it is only a matter of investing in a “good” and “sound” data system, which could be even beneficial to the government in the long run. “For example you have P2 billion, that would be equivalent to 200 kilometers of rural road at a

P10 million per kilometer cost. That’s the favorite thing the government does,” Dy explained. “But if you invest that P2 billion in a data system and do a cost-benefit analysis versus the construction of rural roads—the benefit of good data would be double or triple of that road construction.” According to Dy, the government can have a sound data system if it wants to. “Kung gusto may paraan; kung ayaw maraming dahilan [We can find means if we want something but if we don’t, we can only find excuses not to do it],” he said. “The corporate sector is even willing to pay more than P2 billion to have an information system [where] the benefits are multifold. Look at it, they even have ‘Big Data’ analytics and Blockchain.” Dy said the Philippines is not lagging in terms of data coverage but it has to catch up in terms of analytic responsiveness. For example, the government has no data monitoring on new emerging crops in the country, such as avocado and durian, he said. The demand for these commodities, Dy explained, is growing fast in countries such as China and Vietnam.


PHILIPPINE Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Senior Research Fellow Roehlano M. Briones told the BusinessMirror that the PSA faces a lot of challenges when it comes to data. Foremost among these challenges is the issue of regularity. Briones said data from the PSA “comes intermittently,” leaving little or no room for policy adjustment. This is a function of money because it is costly to fund annual or monthly surveys. This is partly because official data usually has larger sample sizes. A case in point is the conduct of the Family Income and Expenditure (FIES), which is done only every three years. This survey is being used as the basis for the government’s poverty data. The information that is collected is always three years late. Speeding up the conduct of such surveys, including agriculture data, could involve the local government units (LGUs) to get updated data, especially on the consumption side. However, Briones said this is difficult when it comes to production because, oftentimes, there is underestimation or overestimation, depending on what suits the LGU concerned. This is the same reason, Briones said, why the government does not entrust the LGUs with funds for conditional cash transfers (CCTs) since these can be used for patronage politics. This is the reason for the emphasis on the need to have an independent body to handle the CCTs. “For consumption, that might be less problematic. Why am I saying this? There’s always a debate between PSA and LGUs especially with respect to production figures. So LGUs are always debating [against], either seriously overestimated PSA [data] or seriously underestimated; often it is underestimated,” Briones said. “For its part, the PSA says once you link production with government programs or whatever data, consumption or production, to government data from the national government, and then you ask LGUs who could potentially benefit from these programs, ask them to collect the data, you’re undermining the integrity of the data-collection process,” he explained. Briones added that LGUs are not set up as data-collection agencies and thus have no capacity to undertake data gathering for official statistics. He said that government does not allocate plantilla positions for LGUs. However, should government decide to create these positions, the people who will be assigned to fill them will have to go through years of training.


EXPERIENCE and technology are also factors that can spell the difference between good and bad statistics. He said the PSA had to go through years and decades before they reaching a certain standard in data collection and processing efforts. “This is all part of the infrastructure I’m saying. It takes a long time to accumulate this expertise and capacity,” Briones said. He added that while the PSA has become an independent agency capable of undertaking the task of collecting and processing quality data, there are other practices done by countries that are helping them come up with the data they require. Briones cited as example the Thai government, which uses a cropcutting methodology that allows the government to take a sample of the harvest and from there extrapolate how much will be produced based on the yield and the size of the harvested area. The government will visit farmers, select random plots, cut the produce and compensate the farmers for their trouble. In the Philippines, he said, the Philippine Rice Information System (Prism), which is helping the country monitor rice production and prepare for and mitigate the effects of disasters such as typhoons and El Niño to rice areas, was introduced. The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) explained that Prism evaluates crop health and damage in the event of typhoons,

flood, or drought. For instance, damage caused by Typhoon Glenda and Typhoon Marion in 2014 was assessed using SAR images. The PhilRice said flooded rice area maps were also produced and used to validate the reports from the LGUs. This also helps assess drought-affected areas in Mindanao due to the prolonged El Niño. Prism, PhilRice said, involves remote sensing, crop modeling, standardized procedure for crop health assessment, and smartphone-based surveys to provide information on where, when, and how much rice is grown in the country. PhilRice said that since 2014, this monitoring and information system has been generating timely seasonal data on rice areas and yield, and assessment of crop health and damage in the event of typhoons, flood, or drought. However, Briones said, these remote-sensing technologies are more widely used in OECD countries like Australia and the United States. The Philippines got its remote-sensing technologies from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


ONE powerful tool that is under the disposal of the PSA is the PhilSys, or the national ID. Briones said the national ID, which assigns “student numbers” to each Filipino, will give the PSA the wherewithal to cross reference with data such as the farmer’s registry or the list of

those who have availed themselves of crop insurance. This will enable the government to ensure that those included in the registry are one and the same person. However, the only limit in this system right now is the fact that it is still voluntary. Whereas countries like South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have long had national IDs in place, the Philippines’ system is still voluntary. Having a system that has less human intervention is more advantageous and will prevent inaccuracies that could lead to overestimations and underestimations. “‘Personalistic’ interactions are prone to inaccuracies especially if there are incentives or money at stake in those interactions,” Briones said. “But there’s a greater hope of more objective assessment if you use technology.” He said that in order to avoid gluts in the case of chicken or tomatoes, Briones said the private sector can explore creating a “Grab-like” application that can show farmers and buyers the prices of certain commodities per locale. This gives farmers and consumers the power to choose the best produce at the best price. It can also inform farmers about the commodities that are in demand and at what price they can be sold. While technology is not the best suit of farmers whose average age is 52, Briones said when it comes to these technologies, older farmers would usually involve



Editor: Dennis D. Estopace | Thursday, March 14, 2019


ds to glut, confused farm sector This is particularly the case with data concerning vegetables when the planting and harvesting can only take months. Ampalaya or bitter gourd, for example, only takes two months to plant and grow. And even before the PSA can collect all the data, the planting and harvesting seasons have passed. This poses concerns not only in collecting data but also releasing the information and ensuring that information reaches the intended audience in time.



younger generations in operating devices such as smartphones and navigating web-based applications. This technology, however, needs to be developed by a private entity since application development and technology such as these cannot be efficiently managed by the government.

Up to par

THE PSA said they have not been remiss in their duties to ensure that official government data remains on a par with international standards and international commitments. These efforts include the updating of frames that are the basis of samples to be used in various agriculture surveys as well as the regular conduct of numerous surveys that seek to collect information from planting intentions of farmers in the rice and corn sectors to the production of livestock and poultry which is based on the number of animals that were slaughtered. PSA Deputy National Statistician and Sectoral Statistics Officer in Charge Rosalinda P. Bautista told the BusinessMirror the agency regularly conducts agriculture-related surveys. In terms of palay surveys, the PSA collects information on production per quarter based on quantity and land area covered. They also observe standing crops and survey planting intentions. She explained that the PSA would regularly conduct the survey a month after the reference quar-

ter. Specifically, the first 10 days after the reference quarter. This is done except during the last quarter of the year when data for the fourth quarter is obtained in December. This, she said, allows the PSA to conduct validation of the data they have collected. Apart from keeping a regular schedule, the PSA also regularly updates the surveys it conducts to make the instruments more responsive to current situations and the results more accurate. This is part of the PSA’s mission to “deliver relevant, reliable statistics and civil registration services for equitable development toward improved quality of life for all.” In terms of agriculture data, Bautista said, the PSA is in the process of updating the frame that it uses to select its sample for all the agricultural surveys it conducts. This helps keep the list of respondents updated. However, in the exercise of its functions, particularly where agriculture data is concerned, the PSA admitted that certain constraints cannot be immediately addressed. Bautista said these include human error; seasons that affect agriculture production; and the government’s own resources.


BAUTISTA admitted there are limitations on the part of farmers. This may be due to their lack of education, their age, or the simple reason they, too, are humans who can

commit mistakes, she said. Bautista explained that gathering information, for example, can be tricky given that many farmers do not keep records of their production. This makes it crucial for the PSA to conduct a thorough validation of the data they acquire, which can take time. Further, their age becomes a factor. Bautista said the average age of Filipino farmers is 52 years old and nobody in their families is willing to go into farming. This leaves the farmer alone to his devices without a child to replace him in taking care of production and keeps them from being accurate with their answers when PSA conducts surveys. “Of course, farmers do make mistakes, the same thing that happens when we conduct our validation and we try and compare with what happened. So one time, I said, we should be concerned if farmers do make mistakes in estimating. Is it a defect [that is due to] our limitations or is it also a defect due to the fact that the farmer really did make a mistake in estimating? This can happen both ways,” Bautista said. In PSA’s quest to deliver accurate and responsive data, Bautista said, the seasons that affect agriculture production and, eventually, access to the results become a challenge. Bautista said that as much as the PSA would like to release information with as little lag as possible, sometimes the planting and harvesting season is too short for the PSA to capture the data that it needs.

ACCESS to data, however, becomes another challenge as most of the data that PSA generates are in the website. This also means that farmers should have the technological knowhow, the knowledge and background on statistics, to be effective users of PSA data. “There is issue of access among farmers. How can our web-based data reach farmers? And do they have the capacity to understand? Supposed to be, the DA should help them,” Bautista said. “We [only] produce the data and it’s in the website. It’s up to government to make a way for farmers to access this, understand it so that he may use it to decide when to plant, what to plant.” Prior to being merged with the three other agencies that comprise the PSA, the Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS) used to be the sole agency that addresses concerns of farmers regarding data. The data includes price monitoring and teaching farmers to interpret data. Under the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997, data dissemination and teaching farmers to interpret the data that they get was part of the functions of the BAS. This entailed going to farmers’ groups and conducting an extension service on statistics for farmers. One of the products of this function was the Agriculture and Fisheries Market Information System (Afmis) launched in 2010. The Afmis is an online repository of price data as well as a directory of buyers and sellers and other market information.

Legal powers

HOWEVER, when the Philippine Statistical Act was passed in 2013, that particular function of BAS of extending help to farmers was excluded from the PSA’s functions. Apart from legal limitations, there are also financial concerns. If PSA will come up with more frequent information or data on particular commodities, the government needs to allocate a lot of resources to finance these efforts. Bautista said financial resources are important because statistical undertakings are expensive. The PSA needs to tap enumerators and equip them with the training and materials that will allow them to do their field work. Of course they are paid for these efforts. One major challenge, particularly for this year, is the re-enacted budget. This is crucial not only for the preparations of the Census of Agriculture and Fisheries (CAF), which is being done through the redesign of various agriculture surveys. The 2020 CAF will be pilot tested in six provinces this year: three for palay and three for corn. This will require a budget of P16 million. “Even with the reenacted budget, we are really committed to do it. We will just agree on prioritization,” Bautista said. Efforts to disseminate and explain the data are being done by PSA through a weekly radio program. Bautista said that the PSA’s regional and provincial arms also have tieups with local radio stations to reach more farmers in the process. She added that to some extent, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) also conducts seminars and other capacity-building efforts for farmers and farm workers. However, the reach of these seminars and fora is limited considering that

smallholder farmers live far from provincial centers. Many, Bautista said, live in hard-to-reach places.

Free enterprise

UNLIKE social democratic states such as Canada and European nations, there are no production quotas in the Philippines. A production quota is when the government dictates the volume to be produced just sufficient to meet local consumption or export if there is excess. If an investor seeks to enter the poultry industry, then he must wait for someone to quit business or wait for an available production quota, Inciong explained. Since the Philippines has a free enterprise business environment, having a data system is crucial, he added. “Everyone could go into the business because there is no production quota,” Inciong said. “Therefore, the only way for you to have a rational system, wherein everyone would self-regulate, is to have solid and timely data.” Furthermore, Inciong, who is a lawyer by profession, said a sound data system is more vital than ever now since the country has competition laws already. “Before you can invoke the competition law, you need data to say that there is oversupply already, or the production intention is greater than the demand,” he said. “The point is there is rationality in the system based on timely information.”


INCIONG said Ubra has been advocating for a sound data system for the poultry and livestock sector since the 2000s. The Department of Agriculture (DA) has just restarted its price and volume watch group that monitors domestic prices, production volume, cold storage inventory and import volume. The price and volume watch group of the DA was absent for some months before it was reinstated last February, Inciong said. Inciong explained that since the government implements a minimum access volume (MAV) on chicken imports then there is a need to monitor arrivals accordingly. At present, the MAV for chicken imports is around 23,000 metric tons. All imports exceeding the MAV must pay corresponding special safeguard duty (SSG) if their landed cost is below the trigger price set by the government. “We don’t know how much has entered the country and in particular our MAV utilization. Because you will cross-check the total arrival to the MAV utilization to determine the out-quota imports,” he said. “Once you determine it, then you could monitor next if they pay the corresponding SSG.” However, Inciong said the data being collected by the DA is still insufficient. He points out that it lacks data on the prices of imports, which is crucial in invoking the protective measures against surge. Having data on the price of imports abroad could aid government to determine if there is a dumping or smuggling occurring in the country, Inciong said. Since government is not monitoring the prices of imports abroad, then unscrupulous traders who misdeclare the value of their shipments could easily get away, he added. Furthermore, Inciong pointed out that government could have been losing revenues due to the lack of a data system. He said there is no current data system that monitors the imports that enter the customs bonded warehouses (CBW) as well as the volume being re-exported. Since the government is encouraging exports as a dollarearning revenue measure through CBW, some big companies are allowed to import raw materials, like chicken leg quarters, at zero tariff

on the condition that they should export them as yakitori products, he explained. However, the government is not able to monitor the volume that is being imported by these companies and the volume that they export in relation to raw materials they brought in, Inciong added. Due to this, the government could be blinded if some of the imported raw materials—at zero tariff—are being sold in the domestic market, making it unfair to those who brought in the same commodity but paid corresponding tariffs, he said. “So, yes, it is possible that the government is losing revenues. We do not know how much is being imported to the CBWs and how much of it is being exported,” he said.


ON the lack of an improved agricultural data system, Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo R. Serrano said that having a sound data system “should have been easier today because you have mass of mainstream technology to do that.” Serrano concurs that the government as a whole has no appreciation for good data. Second, there still exists a “haka-haka” or guesswork culture even among policy-makers in the government, he added. “We should promote increasing appreciation of science, of the scientific method and objective evidence,” he told the BusinessMirror. “So it is a climate of science. A climate of objective. And not a climate of fear or fearmongering.” Serrano said data should be also made accessible to farmers so that they could make objective decisions in their production plans. Furthermore, he pointed out that it is wrong to assume that farmers are not capable enough to analyze data and other relevant information on planting. “It is an insult to say that farmers are risk-adverse. It is the most stupid comment as farmers have dealt with risks all their lives,” he said. “What farmers fear the most is uncertainty. It is the duty of the government, particularly in this era of climate change, to convert those uncertainties into quantifiable risks— and that is data,” he added. Serrano said if the government can empower farmers to make choices on their own due to substantial and abundant information, then it has already succeeded in uplifting their lives. “The mere fact that you liberate farmers from prescriptive services provided by the government and enable them to make choices based on their experience, competence and insights, we have already uplifted their welfare,” he said. Serrano hopes that the establishment of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) would pave the way for the modernization of the country’s data system. “I have very high hopes for DICT to do this in an integrated manner in the government,” Serrano said. Since a lot of Filipinos now own smartphones, Serrano said it is possible for the government to conduct surveys among farmers through smartphones. With such technology at hand, the government easily expands its reach and sample size, thus, effectively reducing its margin of errors, Serrano explained. “Can you do a near census with smartphones? Yes,” he said. Asked if it is too late for the government to have an advanced data system, Serrano said: It’s not. “We should have done this in the last century. It’s not late—it is never late,” he said. “But if we dilly-dally a little more, then we will be the only blind government in this region,” he added.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

The World BusinessMirror

Iraq and Iran build economic ties as a sidelined US looks on


n the contest for Iraq’s loyalty, geography is proving irresistible. Baghdad is being urged to take sides in the US-Iran confrontation that’s escalated into one of the Middle East’s top flash-points. President Donald J. Trump is pushing Iraq to stop buying natural gas and electricity from its neighbor. President Hassan Rouhani wants it to purchase more to ease the pain imposed by American sanctions. So far, Rouhani ’s winning. On a three-day state that ends on Wednesday, he’s held a press conference alongside his Iraqi counterpart, addressed businessmen, visited important Muslim shrines and chatted with tribal leaders. In December, after a 16year American military presence, Trump caused a diplomatic furor by arriving unannounced in the middle of the night at a US base, speaking to troops and leaving without meeting top officials. “The essential part of Rouhani’s message is addressed to the US—Iran’s on the ground in a major way,” said Ihsan Al-Shammari, an Iraqi political analyst.

Tehran “is bolstering its relations in a broad way to support its political position inside Iraq.”

Visas, trade

The two countries signed transportation and trade agreements, including one for the construction of a railroad link between the Iranian city of Shalamcheh and Iraq’s oil-hub at Basra. From next month, the neighbors will drop visa charges for each other’s citizens, Iran’s state-run Press TV reported. And Rouhani said officials planned to boost bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current $12 billion. Obstacles to banking between the two nations have also been

cleared, Secretary of the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Hamid Hosseini told state-run Tasnim news agency. Respective central bank governors signed an accord last month to make payments for oil and gas trade through non-US dollar bank accounts, using euros and Iraqi dinars to skirt US sanctions. Shiite Muslim Iran’s influence in Iraq has been deepening ever since the US invasion of 2003 removed Sunni Muslim dictator, Saddam Hussein, and precipitated a shift in power to the country’s majority Shiites. Iranian militias played a significant role in pushing Islamic State jihadists out of Iraqi territory—a victory made possible by US air power. And undeterred by an undercurrent of Iraqi nationalism, the three Shiite frontrunners for the post of prime minister in last year’s elections trumpeted their good relations with the Islamic Republic.

Vague offers

“We were standing by the Iraqi nation when times were hard and at a time of peace and security, we are at their side too,” Rouhani said in comments on Monday, according to Iranian state media. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Iraq in January amid Arab doubts over the US commitment to their region following Trump’s announcement that he wanted to

pull troops from Syria. While those talks focused on security issues, Pompeo also spoke about reducing Iraq’s reliance on imported energy that mostly comes from Iran. He didn’t get far, it seems. In a February interview in Moscow, Abdulkarim Hashim Mustafa, special adviser to Iraq’s prime minister, put the record straight. “These are American sanctions and we have the right to protect our national interests,” he said. “We tell them always: we are your friends but we are not part of your policies in the region.”

Sunni allies

Trump has made isolating Iran’s economy and curbing its military potential the cornerstone of his Middle East policy, finding grateful allies in Israel and among Sunni Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia. Iranian oil production is languishing as foreign investors steer clear of the world’s fourth-largest holder of crude. Pledges by US officials to tighten curbs on Iran’s oil sales and the expiration of waivers for several of the nation’s customers in early May are set to further restrict its exports. Dhafir Al-Ani, an Iraqi Sunni lawmaker, regretted that his nation was caught in the middle of the standoff. “The US has the ability to punish countries helping Iran bypass sanctions,” he said. “I hope Iraq will not be the victim of the US-Iran conflict.” Bloomberg News

Criticism of FAA mounts as other nations ground Boeing 737 jets


A S H I N G T O N —T h e US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is facing mounting criticism for backing the airworthiness of Boeing’s 737 Max jets as the number of countries that have grounded the aircraft grows in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend. The rest of the world typically takes it cues from the FA A, long considered the world’s gold standard for aircraft safety. Yet, other aviation safety regulators, including the European Union, China, Australia and the United Kingdom, have decided not to wait for the FA A to act. The Ethiopian disaster came just five months after the deadly crash of another new Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air in Indonesia. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in a statement on Tuesday that he’s concerned that international aviation regulators are providing more certainty to the flying public than the FA A. “In the coming days, it is absolutely critical that we get answers as to what caused the devastating crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, and whether there is any connection to what caused the Lion Air accident just five months ago,” DeFazio said. The FA A has increasingly become cozy with airplane manufacturers and airlines when it shou ld be more proact ive in safety, said Bill McGee, aviation adviser for Consumer Reports. The magazine and web site on Tuesday called on airlines and the FA A to ground the 737 Max planes until an investigation into the cause of the Ethiopian crash is completed to see if it’s related to the Lion Air crash in October. “ T hey h ave not presented any evidence that the problems that we’ve seen with these two crashes are not problems that

Ground crew chat near a Boeing 737 Max 8 plane operated by Shanghai Airlines parked on tarmac at Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. US aviation experts on Tuesday joined the investigation into the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner that killed 157 people, as a growing number of airlines grounded the new Boeing plane involved in the crash. AP

could potentially exist here in the US,” McGee said. “Increasingly the FAA is relying more and more on what the industry calls electronic surveillance,” added McGee, who has written about aviation for nearly two decades. “Not going out and kicking the tires, seeing the work being done, making sure it’s being done properly.” Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also called for the US to ground the 737 Max, just as his agency halted flights of another Boeing plane six years ago because of safety concerns. “These planes need to be inspected before people get on them,” LaHood said on Tuesday. “The flying public expects somebody in the government to look after safety, and that’s DOT’s responsibility.” LaHood was Department of Transportation secretary in 2013 when the department grounded the Boeing 787 because of overhe at i ng l it h iu m - ion bat te r y packs. The planes were idled for less than a month, until Boeing crafted new fire-resistant compartments around the batteries. LaHood said current Secretary Elaine Chao should do the same thing with the Max 8, even if it means overruling the FAA, which

has taken no action in the face of the dozens of other countries banning the plane from their skies. “The secretary has the authority to suspend these planes” and require inspections by both FA A and Boeing personnel, he said. “She has the authority to do it no matter what the FAA thinks.” But veteran accident investigators defended the FA A, which has said there’s no data to link the two crashes. “I don’t see the facts to justify what they’ve done,” John Goglia, an independent safety consultant and former member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said of the moves by other countries to stop the Max 8 from flying. “If they have facts, I wish they would share them with the rest of the world so we can protect the air-traveling public.” The FA A said it was reviewing all available data, and so far had found no basis to ground the planes. John Cox, president and CEO of the aviation consultancy Safety Operating Systems, said countries that have grounded the Max 8 may have linked the Ethiopian and Indonesian crashes even though investigators had yet to analyze the Ethiopian plane’s

black boxes. “The FA A is on solid ground so far,” said Cox, a former airline pilot and accident investigator. “But politics may overwhelm them if enough members get together and demand the planes be grounded.” Democ rat ic Sen s. R ic h a rd Blumenthal of Connecticut and Dianne Feinstein of California already have urged FA A to do just that, signaling that the agency may soon face escalating pressure from Capitol Hill. “My fear is that the FAA is simply trying to save face and avoid acknowledging the safety defect that they failed to find when they certified the plane’s safety,” said Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Air safety regulators in at least 40 countries, including the European Union, have either grounded Boeing 737 Max jets or banned them from their airspace after Sunday’s deadly crash in Ethiopia. In addition, at least 10 airlines worldwide have stopped flying the planes. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which covers 32 countries, announced on Tuesday that it would ban the planes from f lying in its airspace. Other countries that have either grounded the planes or temporarily banned them include China, the United Kingdom, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Oman, Malaysia and Australia. Airlines that have stopped using the planes include Gol Airlines of Brazil, Cayman Airways, Ethiopian Airways, Jet Airways of India, Aeromexico, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Turkish Airlines, Eastar Jet of South Korea, Smartwings of the Czech Republic and LOT of Poland. Sandy Morris, an aerospace analyst at Jefferies in London, called the string of bans on the Boeing Max jets unprecedented. “ It seems l i ke a rebe l l ion against the FA A,” Morris said. AP

US immigration agency moves to close international offices


A S H I N G T O N —T h e Home l a nd Sec u r it y Department is moving toward c losing immig rat ion ser v ices of f ices outside the United States, saying it is expected to free up millions of dollars a year to better address a backlog in domestic locations. US Citizenship and Immigration Services Spokesman Jessica Collins said on Tuesday that the agency is in preliminary discussions to close offices in 20 countries outside the United States.

There are about 70 employees in Great Britain, Mexico, South Africa, Italy, India, the Philippines, China and other countries. Collins says the agency will work closely with the State Department to avoid any interruptions to services overseas. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights First criticized the move saying that closing international offices would mean fewer services for refugees. The agency says refugee processing won’t be affected. AP

Britain’s parliament rejects prime minister’s Brexit deal


ONDON—With just 17 days to go, Britain’s departure from the European Union was thrown into chaos and doubt on Tuesday as Parliament delivered a crushing double blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal and to her authority as leader. Lawmakers rejected the deal 391-242, ignoring May’s entreaties to back the agreement and end the political chaos and economic uncertainty that Brexit has unleashed. It was a narrower outcome than the historic 230-vote margin of defeat for the agreement in January, before May secured changes from the bloc—but not by much. Top EU officials warned that the defeat had increased the chances of a chaotic “no-deal” British exit, which could mean major disruption for businesses and people in the UK and many of the 27 remaining EU countries. The stinging 149-vote defeat stripped away May’s control over the course of Brexit and handed it to Parliament, which is divided about what to do next. A drawn and hoarse May admitted defeat—again—and confirmed that Parliament will vote on Wednesday on whether to leave the EU on March 29 without an agreement. If that is defeated— the likely outcome—lawmakers will vote on Thursday on whether to delay Brexit, something that needs to be approved by the EU nations too. May warned lawmakers that “voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face.” “The EU will want to know what use we mean to make of such an extension. This House will have to answer that question. Does it wish to revoke [Brexit-triggering] Article 50? Does it want to hold a second referendum? Or does it want to leave with a deal but not this deal? “These are unenviable choices,” she said. The EU, which had warned there would be no more changes or negotiations if Parliament threw out the deal, expressed exasperation at yet another Brexit crisis. In a statement, the European Commission said the member states “have done all that is possible to reach an agreement.” “If there is a solution to the current impasse, it can only be found in London,” it said, adding that “today’s vote has significantly increased the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit.” European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt tweeted: “Brexit was about taking back control. Instead the UK spiraled out of control.” The defeat came after May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced changes on Monday designed to overcome lawmakers’ concerns about provisions designed to ensure the border between EU member Ireland and Britain’s Northern Ireland remains open after Brexit. The mechanism, know n as

the backstop, is a safeguard that would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU until a permanent new trading relationship is in place. Brexit supporters in Britain fear the backstop could be used to bind the country to EU regulations indefinitely. May said documents to be added to the deal provided “legally binding” assurances that the backstop would be temporary and that Britain would have a way to get out of it if the EU failed to negotiate in good faith. However, the text of the 585-page withdrawal agreement remained unchanged. May’s hopes the concessions would be decisive were dashed when Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said the changes “reduce the risk” Britain could be trapped inside EU regulations—but do not eliminate it. In a written legal opinion , Cox said the UK could still not extract itself from the terms of the divorce deal unilaterally, a key demand of pro-Brexit British politicians. Afterward, hard-core Brexit supporters in May’s Conservative Party and the prime minister’s allies in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) both said they could not support the deal. The DUP, which props up May’s minority government, said “sufficient progress has not been achieved” on the key issue of the Irish border. The European Research Group of pro-Brexit Conservatives, which has dozens of lawmakers as members, said the amendments “do not deliver ‘legally binding changes’” to the withdrawal agreement, as the government promised. Other EU nations had urged British politicians to seize the chance to back the deal and ensure an orderly departure. Delaying Brexit, the path Britain looks set to take, would need the approval from all 27 remaining EU countries. The EU Commission said it would “expect a credible justification” for the postponement. Some British lawmakers had warned their Brexit-backing colleagues that rejecting the deal could lead to Britain’s departure being postponed indefinitely, because a delay would give momentum to opponents of withdrawal. “Today is our Hotel California moment. If we don’t check out tonight, we may never leave,” tweeted Conservative legislator Bob Seely. The government’s defeat will embolden politicians calling for a second referendum on whether to leave the EU or remain, though there is no clear majority in Parliament for that course. It has also increased the chances that May’s fragile government could fall, sparking a snap election. “The prime minister has run down the clock and the clock has been run out on her,” said Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. “It’s time that we have a general election and the people can choose who their government should be.” AP

The World BusinessMirror

Feds charge 50 in widespread US college admissions scam


OSTON—A fast-mov ing college admissions scandal moved from bombshell indictments to guilty pleas in a matter of hours, yet the full fallout from the federal case against the rich and famous could take months or more to unfold. Big names such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin headline the list of some 50 people charged in documents released on Tuesday that describe a scheme to cheat the admissions process at eight sought-after schools. The parents bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into selective schools, authorities said. At the center of the scheme was admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer, founder of the Edge College & Career Network of Newport Beach, California, authorities said. Singer pleaded guilty and his lawyer, Donald Heller, said his client intends to cooperate fully with prosecutors and is “remorseful and contrite and wants to move on with his life.” Prosecutors said that parents paid Singer big money from 2011 up until just last month to bribe coaches and administrators to falsely make their children look like star athletes to boost their chances of getting accepted. The consultant also hired ringers to take college entrance exams for students, and paid off insiders at testing centers to correct students’ answers. Some parents spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and some as much as $6.5 million to guarantee their children’s admission, officials said. “These parents are a catalog of wealth and privilege,” US Attorney Andrew Lelling said. At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents were charged. Dozens, including Huffman, the Emmy-winning star of ABC’s Desperate Housewives, were arrested by midday on Tuesday. Huffman posted a $250,000 bond after an appearance in federal court in Los Angeles. Her husband, actor

William H. Macy, has not been charged, though an FBI agent stated in an affidavit that he was in the room when Huffman first heard the pitch from a scam insider. It was unclear when the “Full House” star Loughlin would turn herself in. Loughlin’s husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, was released in Los Angeles after posting a $1-million bond. T he coaches worked at schools such as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles. Stanford’s sailing coach John Vandemoer pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Boston. A former Yale soccer coach pleaded guilty before the documents went public and helped build the case against others. No students were charged, with authorities saying that in many cases the teenagers were unaware of what was going on. Several of the colleges involved made no mention of taking any action against the students. Several defendants, including Huffman, were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. “For every student admitted through fraud, an honest and genuinely talented student was rejected,” Lelling said. Lelling said the investigation is continuing and authorities believe other parents were involved. The IRS is also investigating, since some parents allegedly disguised the bribes as charitable donations. The colleges themselves are not targets, the prosecutor said. A number of the institutions moved quickly to fire or suspend the coaches and distance their name from the scandal, portraying themselves as victims. Stanford fired the sailing coach, and USC dropped its water polo coach and an athletic administrator. UCLA suspended its soccer coach, and Wake Forest did the same with its volleyball coach. AP


President pleasing While lower oil prices would be pleasing to consumers—and to a US president who has called several times for Opec to keep output levels high— the warning is an example of how the organization is trying to convince US shale producers and their financial backers that they should join the effort to try to stop the bill. The American Petroleum Institute has stated its opposition to the measure, but Opec is taking aim at the financial industry that plays a big role providing billions of dollars in debt and equity to US drillers. Opec has been publicly vocal

about its opposition to the measure, without painting a doomsday scenario as it did privately. “Nopec legislation won’t serve the US interest,” Opec Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said on Tuesday in Houston. Some oil executives have joined in the fight. The Chief Executive Officer of London-based BP Plc. said on Tuesday that one of his messages to the Trump administration is to avoid disrupting oil markets too much. He singled out the Nopec legislation, which “could have severe unintended consequences if it unleashed litigation around the world.”

Opec ‘moderates’ If Opec weren’t around and countries started producing at will, “you’d end up with another price collapse and then you’d see the boom and the bust in the oil fields around the world. I think Opec, in its own way, moderates the highs and the lows and really has helped the shale industry, in my view.” The meeting included Michael O’Dwyer, a senior energy banker at Morgan Stanley; Bob Maguire, a senior dealmaker at Carlyle International Energy Partners; and Osmar Abib, chairman of global energy at Credit Suisse Group AG. The meeting also had representatives from pension funds, including the one run by the state of New Jersey, managers such as Fidelity and Guggenheim Partners, and hedge funds including Moore Capital Management LP. Opec has used its capacity to send oil prices down in the past—at


New US envoy to Australia warns of China’s ‘payday loan diplomacy’


ANBERRA, Australia—The new US ambassador to Australia said on Wednesday that he’s concerned about the way China lends money to developing Pacific nations in what he describes as “payday loan diplomacy.” Arthur Culvahouse Jr. told reporters in Canberra that it was up to US allies and Western liberal democracies to educate people about the dangers of such loans. US Vice President Mike Pence previously warned of China deploying “debt traps” against developing Pacific nations. “I would use stronger language. I would use payday loan diplomacy,” Culvahouse said. He said “the money looks attractive and easy upfront, but you better read the fine print.” China categorically rejects accusations that it uses loans, grants and other financial inducements to extend its diplomatic and political reach, saying it is merely acting in the best interests of both sides in such transactions. It is especially sensitive to “debt trap” claims where they concern projects included under its gargantuan “ belt and road” infrastructure initiative. Yet, it has largely ignored criticism of its dealings with Sri Lanka, where that country was forced to hand over a port, airport and land for development after it was unable to repay billions of dollars in Chinese loans, and has sought to blunt criticism from Malaysia and others over the terms of projects backed by Chinese loans. The US and Australia have their own infrastructure investment projects in the region. Last July, the US Overseas Private Investment Corp., the Japan

In private, Opec reportedly warned Wall Street on Nopec pec is sending a clear message to Wall Street banks and big investors: If Washington passes legislation that would allow the US government to sue the cartel, the first victim will be shale. Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei, the United Arab Emirates oil minister and the former president of Opec, told a group of US financiers on Monday that if the so-called Nopec bill becomes law, the cartel would stop working and therefore every member would raise production to maximum capacity, causing a crash in oil prices, according to people who attended the meeting. The discussion took place in a closed-door meeting between Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries officials and the financial community on the sidelines of the annual CERAWeek conference by IHS Markit in Houston, according to the people who asked not to be identified because the talks were private.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

times flooding the market as it did in 1985-86, 1998-99 and more recently in 2014-15. Saudi Arabia, which is currently pumping less than 10 million barrels a day, can boost its production to 12.5 million. While Wall Street has been largely quiet on the Nopec bill, the US petroleum sector is strongly campaigning against it. The American Petroleum Institute head Mike Sommers wrote in a letter last year to Congress that while “cartels for any commodity are harmful to consumer interests,” the current legislation “threatens serious, unintended consequences for the US natural gas and oil industry.” US politicians have tried several times since 2000 to pass the Nopec bill, but the White House opposed it—both George W. Bush and Barack Obama threatened to use their veto. The risk for Opec is that Donald Trump may break with his predecessors. The US administration so far has given mixed message about its views about the Nopec bill. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has vocally opposed it, but Trump has remained silent. In an interview with Bloomberg Television on Tuesday, Perry said that Opec was “appropriately concerned” about the potential legislation. Before becoming president, Trump didn’t just support the Nopec bill, he was a cheerleader. “We can start by suing Opec for violating antitrust laws,” he wrote in his 2011 book Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again about the problem of high oil prices. Bloomberg News

Bank for Investment Cooperation and the Australian government announced a partnership to invest in Asia-Pacific infrastructure. The partners said in a joint statement at the time that good investments stem from transparency, open competition, sustainability, adhering to robust global standards, employing the local workforce and avoiding unsustainable debt burdens. In November, Australia announced a AU$2 billion ($1.4 billion) Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific to provide grants and lon g - t e r m lo a n s for i nve s t ments in telecommunications, energ y, t ra nspor t a nd water infrastructure. China protested in January last year when then Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Concetta

US Ambassador to Australia, Arthur Culvahouse Jr. speaks to the media during his first press conference outside his residence at the US Embassy in Canberra on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The new US ambassador to Australia says he’s concerned about the way China lends money to developing Pacific nations in what he describes as “payday loan diplomacy.” Culvahouse told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday that it was up to US allies and Western liberal democracies to educate people about the dangers of such loans. Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP

Fierravanti-Wells said Chinese aid programs in poor Pacific island countries were creating “white elephants” that threatened economic stability without delivering benefits. Culvahouse dampened expectations that President Donald Trump might visit Australia any time soon, saying he’d talked to the W hite House before he’d left, and while a presidential v isit rema ined a possibi l it y, Trump had “a busy schedule.” “I do expect a number of very senior administration officials with whom I met to visit Australia this year,” he added.

Long affiliated with Republican officeholders, Culvahouse oversaw the vetting process for President Trump’s running mate in 2016. A Republican from Tennessee, Culvahouse is the former chairman of O’Melveny & Myers, an international law firm. He assisted the late Sen. John McCain to vet vice presidential candidates in 2008 and served as counsel to then US President Ronald Reagan from 1987 to 1989. Before Culvahouse presented his credentials on Wednesday, the ambassador post had been vacant since October 2016. AP

B8 Thursday, March 14, 2019

Learn photography the FPPF way



H E H o m e D e v e l o p m e nt Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) released P46.96 billion in multipurpose loans (MPL) last year, the highest-ever released in a single year; and a posting growth of P1.58 billion, or 4 percent higher than the amount released in 2017. The amount assisted 2,268,715 members with their immediate financial needs, 11 percent more than in 2017.

“Pag-IBIG Fund’s performance in 2018 is outstanding. Among our record-breaking feats is the amount we disbursed [for] multipurpose loans, [in] which many of our members rely on. The amount of cash loans and the number of borrowers have been steadily increasing since 2016, because more a nd more members are turning to Pag-IBIG Fund for their financial needs,” said Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario,

who heads both the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Pag-IBIG Fund board of trustees. Pag-IBIG Fund also released P2.28 million in calamity loans (CL) to 160,203 members for them to recover from the effects of calamities in their area. The fund released P49.23 billion in total, under the MPL and CL programs, f or t he b e ne f it o f 2 ,4 2 8 , 918

borrowers in 2018. “In Pag-IBIG Fund, we always find ways to serve our members better. So in 2018, despite our transition to a new system, our multipurpose loan program was able to assist nearly 2.3 million members with their immediate financial needs. This year we expect to process loans faster with this new system,” PagIBIG Fund Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy P. Moti said.



GROUP of rock-stage photographers will gather for a one-day debut exhibit, dubbed as Obscurakista, at the Art in The Park inside Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village, Makati City. It will be spearheaded by Mon Malana and Neil Bautista, who came up with an idea of joining a collective art exhibit using photo as their art medium. 


El Deposito Museum launched

The lensmen call themselves “The RockShots Group”, with members such as seasoned live-acts photographers Aleck Pulido, Butch Giovanni Capoy, Carla Aya De Guzman, Jonathan Garcia, Jun Uy Diestro, Mari Arquiza, Richie Macapinlac, as well as veteran and awardee photojournalist Luis Liwanag. See t he e x h ibit on Su nd ay, March 17.

‘IT’S A GIRL THING’ AT SAVOY THIS MONTH AVOY Ho t e l M a n i l a , Megaworld ’s award-winning homegrown brand, celebrates the international women’s month and raises a toast to achievers with its “It’s A Girl Thing” promo for the whole month. For a special rate of P5,500, ladies can avail themselves of an overnight stay at an Essential 1 room with buffet breakfast for two, two hearty smoothie drinks with a Li Mei pig plushie stuffed toy for the Year of the Pig, and an option


EARNING photography is best through the Federation of Philippine Foundation Photographers (FPPF). The FPFF is offering photography courses for beginners and special courses for professional photographer at Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila. The basic photo course, known as comprehensive digital photography, is for enthusiasts who want to learn photography as a hobby, they may need for their families. For beginners there is a lesson plan that will be shared to them to acquire basic skills to operate a camera and take good photos in five days. For coorporate employers, there is a shorter time to teach how to operate the camera aand come up with nicely compoed pictures. For professional photographers there are special courses for them to enhance their knowldege and be more competitive in their profession. The FPPF has trained and dedicated photo staff who will share their knowledge and expertise in photography. The next five Satruday basic photograhy seminar starts on March 16; and from May 13 to 17. The next advanced course starts on April 23; videography on April 1 and 14 (two Sundays), wedding on May 18 and19 (Saturday and Sunday); and cruise-ship photography on March 16 (Saturday). For further information, visit www.

for a late checkout at 2 p.m. Guests can also book a minimum of three nights to get the last night for free, with buffet breakfast and a one-time P500 Savoy Café voucher. Visitors can also opt for a five-night stay and get the last night for free, inclusive of buffet breakfast, a P1,000 Savoy Café voucher, P1,000 laundry credits, and late checkout until 4 p.m. Located at the Newport City, the 11-stor y,  684 -room air port hotel is also offering the year-round

SM CITY MARIKINA LIGHTS UP IN BRIGHT PINK The mall façade was illuminated in pink to grab public attention and give a hint of what they expect at SM this women’s month. SM gives tribute to women’s achievements in a highly visible way and supports the opening of Glitter City campaign, believing that every woman deserves to “SMile, Shine and Sparkle”. Arrive and Stay promo, where airline passengers must present a valid boarding pass and avail of the P5,500 special rate for an overnight stay with buffet breakfast for two. Stay period is until five days upon arrival, with only a maximum of two rooms to avail of per boarding pass. Early this year it has achieved a Loved by Guests award from Bookings. com  for delivering exceptional

customer service, based on online guest reviews. Late last year it also won in the Best New Hotel award in the TripZilla Excellence Awards 2018, topping the world’s tourism and hotel brands in 72 hotly contested categories, where winners were decided via an intensive voting on TripZilla’s platform. For more information, log on to  www.


HE National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) lead the launching of Museo El Deposito in San Juan City on February 18. The new museum innovatively exhibits the waterworks that distributed potable water in Manila in the 19th century. Present in the event are (in photo, from left) NHCP chairman Rene R. Escalante, San Juan City Mayor Guia G. Gomez, Anchor Land President Elizabeth Ventura, Public Works Assistant Secretary Eduardo Ramos, and NHCP acting executive director Ludovico D. Badoy.

Experience the sound of Kundirana at Winford Manila


INFORD Manila Resort and Casino (WMRC) celebrates music and friendship this March with a special show featuring Harana on March 30 at the Hippodrome bar and lounge. As part of the Saturday Special concert series, the stage for this performance will be dedicated to Kundirana—one of the most renowned and celebrated music ministries and high-school singing groups in the Philippines. The Harana is an all-male singing group composed of the Kundirana alumni from La Salle Greenhillls. The group was formed in 2011after a Kundirana reunion concert got the guys back together and rekindled their singing spirit. Since then, the Harana has performed in many events, bringing joy to audiences through their music and camaraderie. Admission is free for casino floor viewing, for all WMRC members and guests who are 21 years old and above. For those who want a more intimate concert experience, VIP tickets are available for only P1,250 net per person. Each ticket includes a prime seat near the Hippodrome stage and is inclusive of food and drinks. Visit for more information. In photo are (from left) Jay Jaucian, Vince Mallari, Macky Maceda, Mark Burgos, Sonny Maroon, King Trinidad and Carlo Balingit.

Editor: Jun Lomibao •

Sports BusinessMirror

Thursday, March 14, 2019


TOUGH DAY FOR WORLD’S TOP PLAYERS NAOMI OSAKA loses in just over an hour in the fourth round of the first title defense of her career. AP


NDIAN WELLS, California—It was a tough day for seeded players at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday, with Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka, the world’s top-ranked players, ushered out in the desert. Djokovic and Philipp Kohlschreiber resumed their third-round match that was suspended because of rain a night earlier. The unseeded German knocked off the five-time tournament champion, 6-4, 6-4. Osaka lost to Belinda Bencic, 6-3, 6-1, in just over an hour in the fourth round of the first title defense of her career. “She sort of came out there really aggressive,” Osaka said. “She sort of knew what she wanted to do more than me.” Since Osaka won the title at Indian Wells a year ago, she won the US and Australian Opens. Her triumph in Australia made her No. 1 for the first time, but her time at the top has been rocky. Osaka fired her coach and lost in the first round in Dubai before taking on a new coach, Jermaine Jenkins, who came on court during the match. “It’s always a bit tricky whenever you change someone in the team, but I feel like for a first tournament we did really well,” Osaka said. “We communicate well, so I think that’s a really big plus. I don’t think it’s going to be difficult.” On Tuesday, the 23rd-ranked Bencic served and returned bet-

ter. The bottom half of the men’s draw still includes No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal and fourth-seeded Roger Federer, both of whom breezed to victory. Nadal eased by 25th-seeded Diego Schwartzman, 6-3, 6-1, while Federer defeated Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka, 6-3, 6-4. “Overall it’s not been easy playing Stan,” Federer said. “He feels the same way, so that’s very awkward sometimes.” Djokovic owned an 8-1 record against Kohlschreiber, who beat a No. 1 player for the first time. Kohlschreiber liked the weather—sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s—much better than the cold and rain on Tuesday night. “I liked my chances more at night against Kohlschreiber, but it wasn’t to be last night,” Djokovic said. “Completely different conditions today. I congratulate him for playing tactically really well and getting me out of my comfort zone. He deserved to win.”

The 35-year-old German started thinking he had a chance early in the first set when he survived a handful of break points on his serve. “I would say after 3-all in the first set I felt like getting closer to the set, holding my service games, which is not easy against Novak, because he’s such a great returner,” Kohlschreiber said. “I know from that point on it’s going to be a very interesting match.” Djokovic was just 1 for 5 on break-point opportunities. Kohlschreiber converted three of his four chances. Next up for Kohlschreiber is Gael Monfils, who owns a 13-2 record against the German. Djokovic remains alive in doubles with partner Fabio Fognini. Djokovic returned about an hour after his loss for their match. “When I hit a good return, I was wondering why this didn’t happen in singles,” he said. Also ousted were No. 6 Kei Nishikori, No. 10 Marin Cilic and No. 14 Daniil Medvedev. In women’s fourth-round matches, No. 2 Simona Halep lost to Marketa Vondrousova, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2; and No. 7 Kiki Bertens was beaten by 20th-seeded Garbine Muguruza, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. AP


TIGER WOODS: I’ve cost myself a few years here and there because of it. AP


ONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida—Tiger Woods no longer has a pain in the neck. The trick going forward for Woods is to make sure the soreness that caused him to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational doesn’t keep him from missing more tournaments the rest of his injury filled career. “I’m 43 with four back surgeries so [I] must manage what I have and understand that I’m going to have good weeks and bad weeks, and try and manage as best I possibly can and not push it,” Woods said on Tuesday after a nine-hole practice round at The Players Championship. “There are times when over the years I pushed it, pushed through a few things, and I’ve won a few tournaments doing it that way,” he said. “But also, I’ve cost myself a few years here and there because of it.” Woods chose not to push it last week by skipping Bay Hill, where he has won eight times. He had fusion surgery on his lower spine in April 2017—his fourth surgery on his back in four years—and it allowed him to return to a level that saw him win last year at the Tour Championship, play in another Ryder Cup and return to the top 15 in the world ranking. Woods said his neck first bothered him last summer at the British Open, where he was seen wearing kinesiology tape, and at times during a big stretch of tournaments during the FedEx Cup playoffs. It flared up again at the Genesis Open last month, and then got worse in Mexico City the following week. “It was getting to the point where it was affecting my setup, my backswing, my through swing,” Woods said. “It was just gradually getting worse. That’s just because my lower back is fused, and so the stress has to go somewhere if I don’t have movement, and so it’s very important for me going forward since the surgery to keep pliable or else the stress is going to go somewhere else.” Woods did not want to commit to a pre-Masters schedule

until after The Players was over. The Valspar Championship next week is where he was runner-up last year. That’s followed by the Dell Technologies Match Play, a World Golf Championship for which he had not been eligible since 2014. Asked specifically about Match Play, Woods said, “If nothing flares up, then I’ll play.” Either way, he was not concerned about being prepared for the Masters, which starts on April 11, as he tries to end 10 years without winning a major. Assuming this week goes well and he goes to Texas for the Match Play, that would give him five tournaments before the Masters. Woods played between five and six times before the Masters during younger and healthier times over the last 15 years. “I’ve played three this year so far, and that’s about right,” he said. “I was going to play three or four. If I would have gotten my rounds in last week, it would have been four tournaments, so I’m right there where I need to be. My finishes are getting a little bit better each and every time I’ve gone out so far this year, and I’ve

gotten a little bit more consistent with my play. And I think that everything is headed on track toward April.” As for his health, Woods does not consider that a major concern. Long before the back surgeries, he had four surgeries on his left knee, the worst of them in 2008 a week after he won the US Open at Torrey Pines. He also has dealt with an Achilles’ heel problem and what he described as a left arm issue at the 2013 US Open. “It’s more just my lower back,” Woods said. “I’ve got to keep that moving, even though it’s fixed. I’ve got to keep all the other structures pliable, and that’s one of the issues of having a procedure like I did, that the forces have to go somewhere. I’ve got to stay fit, I’ve got to stay on it, and have to stay as loose as I possibly can for as long as I play out here.” For now, Woods is trying to keep his game moving in the right direction as the Masters draws near. He has not finished out of the top 20 in his three starts this year, though he not finished closer than eight shots of the winner. The Players Championship has returned to its March date, and Woods is the only player in the 144-man field to have won it in March (2001) and May (2013). AP

RORY MCILROY preaches patience, and the real measure will be at the Masters next month when he tries to complete the career Grand Slam. AP

McIlroy waits for consistent golf to pay off in wins


ONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida—Rory McIlroy is playing his most consistent golf since the end of 2011 and the start of 2012, when he finished no worse than third in nine out of 12 tournaments worldwide with two victories, the latter in the Honda Classic that put him at No. 1 in the world for the first time. The difference is winning. His tie for sixth last week at Bay Hill was his worst finish in five starts on the Professional Golfers Association Tour this year. McIlroy preaches patience, and the real measure will be at the Masters next month when he tries to complete the career Grand Slam. What really stands out is that Bay Hill was the ninth time in his last 30 tournaments dating to 2018 that he played in the final group without winning. “I’m playing well. I would much rather be putting myself in position to have a chance to win,” McIlroy said after he closed with a 72 at Bay Hill. He started the final round one shot behind Matt Fitzpatrick and wound up four shots behind Francesco Molinari. “It doesn’t matter if I’m playing that golf on Thursday, Friday, Saturday...yeah, my Sundays haven’t been what I would have liked,” McIlroy said when pressed about his chances from the final group. “But I’m putting myself in that position. So good golf is good golf. I keep saying that at the end of the day.” Some context is required. Of those nine times in the final group, he was at least three shots behind in five of them. The only time someone came from further back to win on those occasions was at Kapalua, where Xander Schauffele closed with a 62. The others were against Dustin Johnson in Mexico, Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship, Justin Thomas at Firestone and Patrick Reed at the Masters. Bay Hill was the only time McIlroy didn’t break par in the final round. Still, he had his chances. The turning point was on the fourth hole, right after McIlroy made a 25-foot birdie putt to tie for the lead. He had a 5-foot birdie putt that he missed. He missed another birdie chance on the par-5 sixth, and the hole started shrinking. He managed only two birdies in the final round. Next up is The Players Championship, a real test for McIlroy. He has missed the cut four times in nine appearances. “That’s the great thing about golf,” McIlroy said. “You don’t have to wait too long to get back on the horse.” AP




Thursday, March 14, 2019



EW YORK—The National Basketball Association (NBA) has suspended Toronto’s Serge Ibaka for three games and Cleveland’s Marquese Chriss for one game for their involvement in an on-court fight. Chriss will sit out Cleveland’s game on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Ibaka will miss Toronto’s games against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, at Detroit on Sunday and against New York on Monday. The NBA says Ibaka drew the stiffer penalty for several reasons. The league found he was the instigator and threw a punch at Chriss. The league also cited his history of fighting during games. Chriss’s suspension was for throwing a punch at Ibaka. The suspensions are without pay. Ibaka will lose about $448,000 and Chriss about $22,000. The NBA has also fined Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook $25,000 for the language he directed toward a fan in Utah. Meanwhile, the Jazz have banned the fan from all events at their arena permanently and effective immediately. Westbrook says the fan made racial comments toward him during the Jazz-Thunder game on Monday night. The NBA and the Jazz both investigated the matter and released decisions on Tuesday afternoon. Westbrook was fined for using both profanity and threatening language, which he did from the sideline. The Jazz say that the fan was banned for “excessive and derogatory verbal abuse” during the game. AP

NBA RESULTS Indiana 103, New York 98 Philadelphia 106, Cleveland 99 LA Lakers 123, Chicago 107 Milwaukee 130, New Orleans 113 San Antonio 112, Dallas 105 Denver 133, Minnesota 107 Portland 125, LA Clippers 104



HE Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines Inc. will stage the inaugural Go For Gold Skateboarding Regional Championships next week. Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines President Monty Mendigoria announced in a press conference on Wednesday that the regional championships would kick off with the Luzon leg on March 23 and 24 at Robinsons Mall in Novaliches. The best from the Visayas region will show up in Cebu City on April 6 and 7 where Asian Games gold medalist Margielyn Didal is expected to inspire the national team aspirants right in her hometown. “We feel that Margie and the skateboarding team will become our bright lights in the 2020 Olympics, and hopefully they can bring home our first Olympic gold medal,’’ Go For Gold godfather Jeremy Go said. The 30th Southeast Asian Games qualifier is

POWERBALL Marketing and Logistics Corp. Vice President Jeremy Go (left) addresses a press conference along with (from left) Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines President Monty Mendigoria and Carl Sambrano. NONIE REYES

scheduled on August 24 and 25 in Santa Rosa, Laguna, after the most promising skaters from the south take center stage in the Mindanao leg

on May 25 and 26 in General Santos City. Besides targeting the majority of the eight gold medals at stake in skateboarding in the

SEA Games that the Philippines is hosting from November 30 to December 11 in Clark, the national skaters are also training their sights on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. “We will look for the best skaters in the regionals,” Mendigoria said. “The top 3 participants from the regionals will get the chance to prove their worth in the national SEA Games qualifying championship.” Mendigoria also organized a skateboarding judges seminar and accreditation examination where 12 new judges and referees were accredited under the tutelage of Asian Extreme Sports Federation technical director Warren Stuart. Skateboarding in the Philippines catapulted to instant fame when the 19-year-old Didal won the gold medal in the Asian Games last year in Indonesia. Didal is now busy preparing for a series of Olympic qualifying tournaments that will bring her to Tokyo.


PRINCESS SUPERAL finds her touch off the mound late in another scorching day at the Legends course.

Superal fumbles, but recovers to regain lead


ARCO MENDOZA and Aimee Lee churned out superb rounds in tough conditions to rule their respective divisions and lead the winners in the MercedesTrophy Golf Invitational at the Sta. Elena Golf and Country Club in Laguna. Mendoza scored a net 40 points to capture the Class A plum, while Lee reigned in the ladies side with a 72 from a gross 93 with Simon Heo and Francis Wee sharing the spotlight by ruling the Classes B and C with 46 and 44 points, respectively, in the

18-hole tournament played over the posh 27-hole layout. The winners in three men’s divisions and their respective runners-up along with the ladies champion will all represent the Philippines in the MercedesTrophy Asian Finals set in Brisbane in August via Philippine Airlines. The best Filipino placer in the Asian Finals will clinch a berth in the World Finals set in Stuttgart, Germany, in October. Aside from the rare chance to play alongside the other regional winners, participants in

the Asian Finals will also be treated to an experiential drive that will showcase the worldclass performance and dynamic handling of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Joining the Australia trip are runners-up Laurence Tan (39 points-Class A), Emmanuel Lopez (40 points-Class B) and George Barcelon (41 points-Class C). More than 200 players made up of Mercedes-Benz owners and guests took part in the 14th staging of the annual championship pre-

sented by Auto Nation Group Inc., exclusive distributor of Mercedes-Benz in the country, and backed by Platinum sponsors Makati ShangriLa Hotel, Philippine Airlines, PLDT, Paramount Life and General Insurance, Shell Philippines and TW Steel. The event, backed by the BUSINESS-MIRROR, Boysen, Remy Martin, Security Bank and Boss, was also held to raise funds for the Cardinal Medical Charities Foundation Inc., a nongovernment organization that grants medical care and financial subsidy to disadvantaged patients.



HICAGO—Less than a week after passing Michael Jordan for fourth on the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) career scoring list, LeBron James delivered a memorable night at the arena Jordan first made famous. James had 36 points and 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a 20-point deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls, 123-107, on Tuesday night and end a five-game losing streak. James played 33 minutes and showed no signs of letting up with the Lakers barely hanging on in the playoff race. He took over after the Lakers’ 14-point lead was cut to four with 8:38 left, making a jumper and then on the next possession going through the lane for a thunderous dunk. James didn’t stop there, hitting a three-pointer over 7-footer Robin Lopez and capping it off when Josh Hart passed the ball off the backboard to James, who finished with a reverse dunk to put the Lakers up 115-101

with five minutes remaining. James was asked if he had any special thoughts returning to the United Center. “Not really, but I definitely recognize the greatness Mike had in this city,” James said. “Pretty much every time I play here I look up at the rafters, look up at the jersey retired and then when the starting lineups come up, when I was a kid watching that starting lineup watching the Bulls run through the city and Jordan’s name and number getting called, I always have that feeling.” It was James’s highest-scoring game since December 18. Kyle Kuzma added 21 points after missing two games with an ankle injury. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 24 points off the bench for the Lakers, who outscored the Bulls, 43-24, in the third quarter. Lopez had 20 points and seven rebounds, and Otto Porter Jr. finished with 19 for the Bulls. With Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram ruled out for the season, James

put on a show at United Center like he did so many times as a member of the Cavaliers and Heat. The Bulls outscored the Lakers, 11-1, after he checked out in the first quarter to lead, 34-16, at the end of the period. Then something finally start to click for the Lakers. “We started to have fun,” Kuzma said. “Everybody had a joy for the game, happy for each other. Everybody was moving the ball, passing it. It felt like everybody got shots tonight.” The Bulls led 60-55 at the half. Ryan Arcidiacono and Lopez led Chicago with 12 apiece. James finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in the half and Caldwell-Pope added 11 points. James continued the momentum in the third quarter. He scored the first six points for Los Angeles, including a breakaway reverse dunk from Kuzma. The Lakers took a 66-64 lead when James found Kuzma for a lay-up with 8:49 in the third quarter. Kuzma, who scored 12 points in the period, made a three to ignite a 16-0 run late in the

quarter. Rajon Rondo buried a three to give the Lakers a 98-84 lead going to the fourth. “We got defensive stops and we made some shots. We were very in-tune with what we needed to do defensively and our second-unit guys came in with energy and effort,” James said. Lauri Markkanen struggled again with his shot. He was four of 17 for 11 points. “To say something is wrong with him I think would be premature and not correct. To say, we need him to play better for us to have a chance to win is the way to say it,” Bulls Coach Jim Boylen said. “Whether it is rebounding the ball and bringing it, which he needs to do more of. He was playing well, he was doing more of that. And he needs to, obviously, make open shots.” AP LEBRON JAMES has 36 points and 10 rebounds, as the Los Angeles Lakers overcome a 20-point deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls, 123-107. AP


MEMBERS of the Orchard Golf and Country Club team pose with their trophy.

HE Orchard Golf and Country Club took home the Founders division at the close of the 72nd Philippine Airlines Interclub golf team championships over the weekend in Cebu City. Orchard actually finished second behind Cebu Country Club, but was elevated to first after the Carmonabased squad won the overall title. Zachary Castro and Gabriel Matthew Macalagium led Orchard in the final day at Cebu Country Club with 35 and 34 points, respectively. Orchard closed out with 129 for 482, 24 points ahead

of Forest Hills. Valley settled for third place with 439. In the Aviator class, Club Filipino de Cebu leaned on the final day 35 points of Baltaire Balanguan to beat Alta Vista, 409-393. Third spot went to Rancho Palos Verde Team 1 with 390. Mactan Island captured Sportswriter with 342 followed by Camp John Hay 339 and Camp Evangelista 323. The Friendship title was won by Davao City Golf with 306 with South Cotabato and Iligan finishing second and third with 288 and 259, respectively. Meanwhile, Jolo Magcalayo of Tagaytay Highlands

won the individual title with 73 points, one ahead of Bayani Garcia of Cebu Country Club. This year’s Interclub is sponsored by Radio Mindanao Network, Asian Air Safari and Vanguard Radio Network. Also extending support are ABS-CBN Global Ltd. (The Filipino Channel), Rolls-Royce, Primax Broadcasting Network, UM Broadcasting Network (Mindanao), Fox Sports, Cignal TV, GECAS, Boeing, Lufthansa Technik AG, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, Dusit Thani Manila and Casino Filipino. Official hotel is Quest Hotel Conference Center Cebu.

RINCESS SUPERAL blew a huge lead with a shaky backside start but finished with flourish, birdying the last four holes as she battled back from three down to regain a one-shot lead over Thai Thanutra Boonraksasat with a 69 after two rounds of the International Container Terminal Servicers Inc. Manila Southwoods Ladies Championship in Carmona, Cavite, yesterday. Superal found her touch off the mound late in another scorching day at the Legends course then bucked tough pin placements to spike her big comeback with four straight putts inside 10 feet for a 33-36, staving off three Thai rivals all set to foil the ace Filipina shotmaker’s drive for the crown in the P1.5-million event serving as the sixth leg of the 2018-2019 Ladies Philippine Golf Tour circuit. “I just couldn’t hit it good off the tee in the early going and some of my approach shots were off until I regained my touch and rhythm at the finish,” said Superal, who sparked hopes of a three-day assault of the bunker-laden layout with a bogey-free 64 on Tuesday. But she stumbled with a bogey on No. 10 and though she rolled in a 20-footer for birdie on No. 14, she struggled from there, dropping another stroke on No. 2 and falling off the leaderboard as Boonraksasat, taking advantage of an early tee start, recovered from a bogey on No. 2 with five birdies in the next seven holes then added two more at the back to finish with a 66 and wrest the lead at 10-under 134. Superal’s fiery finish, however, shoved the reigning LPGT Order of Merit champion back on top at 133 with Chonlada Chayanun joining the title chase with a 135 after a 67. Multi-titled Yupaporn Kawinpakorn made it a three-player threat for Thailand as the Pradera Verde leg winner last December birdied three of the last six at the front for a 69 to stay in the mix at 136. Chihiro Ikeda fired a bogey-free 68 but stood five shots off Superal at 138, while another Thai also carded a 68 for solo sixth at 140 heading to the last 18 holes of the tournament put up by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. Thai Punpaka Phuntumabamrung, three behind Superal at the start of the round, limped with a 73, enabling Pauline del Rosario (69), Taiwanese Huang Yu-ning (70) and Korean Hwang Min Jeong (68) to tie her at seventh at 140. Only the top 20 plus ties from among the 51 starters advanced to the final round with former threetime OOM winner barely making it at 146 after a 75 with Gretchen Villacencio fighting back with a 68 and Saraporn Chamchoi matching par 72 for identical two-over overall cards. Sofia Chabon, who turned in an impressive 68 in the first round, groped for a 74 but emerged the lone amateur to make it to the final round at 142.



Thursday, March 14, 2019




B R R B


TENEO rolled to its fifth win via a 25-8, 22-25, 25-16, 25-10 victory over Adamson University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City. Take away the team’s anemic second set, the Lady Eagles underscored their might in the succeeding frames to safely remain on top of the standings with a 5-1 won-lost record. “I really admire my players for their sacrifices and hard work,” Ateneo Head Coach Oliver Almadro said. “They’re making my job a lot easier.” Left with only two days rest after their straight-set win over the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons on Sunday, the Lady Eagles barely showed fatigue against the lowly Lady Falcons. Ponggay Gaston scattered 16 points on 10 attacks and six aces, while Kat Tolentino added 15 points off 10 spikes, four blocks and an ace for the Lady Eagles. “I really challenged them because we had little time to rest before this game. I applaud my players because they needed to balance their studies and team practices,” Almadro said. “It paid off today.” Adamson University actually started well with a 4-0 lead in the first set. But Ateneo regained its footing when it unleashed a 21-2 counterattack to take the opening frame.

ATENEO’S Madeleine Madayag and Katrina Tolentino foil Adamson’s Christine Joy Soyud at the net. NONOY LACZA

It was total disaster for the Lady Falcons as their 11 errors outnumbered their total points in the set. Refusing to let its guard down, Adamson University showed a semblance of a fight in the second set, but it was the lone highlight from the Lady Falcons side as the Lady Eagles, behind the duo of Gaston and Tolentino, bulldozed their way

to the victory. Bea de Leon chipped in 14 points, while Deanna Wong facilitated the offensive assault with 29 excellent sets for the Lady Eagles. Eli Soyud was the only double-digit scorer for Adamson University with 13 points on 11 attacks. Mary Joy Dacoron and Chiara May Permentilla had nine points apiece.



EENAGERS Richard Anson Navo and Eunice Ulat reigned supreme over 400 participants in the Vermosa Sports Hub Aquathlon 1 held over the weekend at the Vermosa Sports Hub in Imus, Cavite. Navo finished the standard distance 500-meter swim and 5-kilometer run event in 28 minutes and 27 seconds to top the 15-17 age group. Irienold Reig Jr. came in second with 29:03 in the same age group and Don Velasco, competing in the 30-34 category followed 52 seconds later to round out the top 3 male finishers. Ulat went head to head with Erika Nicole Burgos in the 15-17 female age group but sprinted to the finish of the standard distance in 34:10, just 16 seconds ahead of Burgos. The girls were joined by Celma Hitalia of the 50-above group with her 36:40. In the relay category, siblings Janelle and Jacob Blanch put in a fast finish time of 30:17.

Younger and first-time multisport athletes took advantage of the Vermosa aquathlon’s petite distance race—300-meter swim and 3-km run—to test their mettle. Among the inspiring performances in the category came from two expectant moms, six-month pregnant Aimee Lagman and Nadine Bettina Almario, who is four months on the way. For Diana Zamudio, second place in her age group marked a sweet return to racing following a horrible freak accident nearly a year ago. The family-and-beginner-friendly format of the Vermosa Sports Hub Aquathlon 1 supported by Ayala Land Inc., Gatorade, Standard Insurance, Speedo, My Daily Collagen, and MoguMogu drew several pairs of parent-child tandems and teams of siblings competing and even winning in their respective age groups. Among the kids aged 7 to 12 who raced the short-





ILIPINO striker Rene Catalan just earned an impressive win over former ONE world strawweight champion Yoshitaka Naito of Japan with a first round stoppage at Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar, for ONE: Reign of Valor on March 8. Catalan, who was unsuccessful in his first two fights for ONE has been on a glorious roll, chalking up his sixth consecutive win with three of those ending in stoppage. Catalan socked it to Naito literally in Myanmar, giving it to him in the head countless times until the referee stopped the fight less than 30 seconds left in the first. That and his previous feats should serve notice to all and sundry that Filipino fighters are special in the world of martial arts—to be in awe about, feared and respected. It’s now the turn of the Lakay boys Eduard Folayang and Kevin Belingon to feed the myth and hold the reputation aloft. Catalan belongs to the Catalan Fighting System, led by him and his brothers Robin and Rabin. Come March 31, Team Lakay—a tightly knit brotherhood much like the Catalan blood brothers—will be put to the test on the world stage, with Folayang and Belingon, both reigning champions in their respective weight categories, putting their championship belts on the line. Folayang will meet an old, albeit much re-

spected, foe: Sinya Aoki, the legendary Japanese champion whom he defeated in explosive fashion in 2016 to win his first championship belt. Belingon will figure in a decisive best-of-three with his erstwhile contender Bibiano Fernandes, whom he defeated last November in Singapore. “I knew at one point or another, I would be facing Shinya [Aoki] again. It was inevitable,” Folayang said. “He was quickly coming back up and I had just won the title again. Plus, the huge Japan event was announced. I anticipated defending the lightweight belt against him there. “ After learning that he will be defending his title against Aoki, Folayang was happy to show the world his improvements, especially in the grappling aspect of his game. And to be able to do that against a man known as “The Grandmaster of Flying Submissions” would be a testament of the Baguio City native’s hard work. “Nevertheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to once again face this legend,” Folayang said. “He’s the greatest submission artist in mixed martial arts history. I couldn’t be happier to headline this event against him. It is an honor.” Folayang knows for a fact that Aoki is very dangerous when the action hits the mat, so Folayang has been putting in the extra work to fortify his takedown defense to keep the action

er swim-run distances, the spirit of sportsmanship was evident with teams, such as the Elizabeth Seton Saints and Get Coach’D waiting and cheering for their teammates at the finish line on the IAAF-standard Vermosa track oval. “We are delighted with the great turnout of this event in partnership with Bike King who ensured that the contests ran smoothly. The participants had a lot of fun,” said Vermosa Sports Hub Operations Manager Andrea Intalan, who awarded the age-group winners along with Bike King official Ting Joson. The Vermosa Sports Hub Aquathlon 1 is part of the Vermosa Sports Hub series and the Sun Life Aquathlon series. By joining the series, the top 20 finishers of the individual standard distance are awarded points and could vie for the honor of being named the top athlete of 2019 in their age group.

on the feet. With an entire nation sitting squarely on his shoulders, Folayang aims to notch what would perhaps be the biggest victory in his career thus far. “As much as possible, I will not give him the opportunity to bring me down to the mat,” Folayang concluded. “It all boils down to how well I defend myself from his takedowns, knowing how expertly he moves with this sole purpose in mind. Takedown defense is a very important part of my training right now, and I am constantly improving in this area.” Belingon meanwhile is not taking the trilogy lightly. He clearly recalls how the AMC Pankration representative gave him one of the most unforgettable 25 minutes of his life. This made him earn Belingon’s respect and admiration. But the former criminology student stays unfazed. “I feel as confident now as I have ever been. I have all the respect in the world for Bibiano. He is a tremendous athlete and he has all the skills to prove just that. He is also an amazing strategist and very smart in the cage. He’s a veteran and it is very hard to deal with that experience. He put up a great performance last time and made it difficult for me to get any sort of advantage.” But Belingon is confident he can defend his ONE Bantamweight World Title successfully. It is the result of hard work and sacrifice for the past three years, he says, and this upcoming match on March 31 will be the toughest of all their encounters so far. “I can see why he is so well-respected and revered. He’s a legendary World Champion after all. But I was able to show him also how much I have improved, which is why I got the victory.” I know Bibiano will be hungry to win back the ONE Bantamweight World Championship, but I am determined to keep the belt with me. If I can beat Bibiano for the second time, I believe it will show that I am a worthy and deserving champion.” And so we wait.

The Lady Falcons tied the University of the East Lady Warriors at the bottom with a 1-5 record. In men’s play, National University surged to its fifth straight, 25-19, 2517, 25-15, over UP. Ateneo bagged its third consecutive win with a 25-18, 25-22, 25-15 beating of Adamson University.

2 LOGISTICS seeks to tighten its hold of second spot when it tackles dangerous United VC in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Action starts at 7 p.m. with the Cargo Movers looking for their seventh win that will put them one game behind undefeated Petron. Foton, meanwhile, tries to crawl out of the basement when it tangles with PLDT Home Fibr at 2 p.m., while Cignal and Generika-Ayala collide for a crucial win in the 4:15 p.m. second game. After racing to six straight wins, the Cargo Movers suffered a minor hump when they bowed to the Blaze Spikers in their very first meeting this year; 25-23, 14-25, 22-25, 18-25. But that setback is already a thing of the past as the Cargo Movers, behind the impressive performance of seasoned reinforcement Lindsay Stalzer, quickly gathered themselves and pulled off a very convincing 25-20, 25-21, 25-19 win over PLDT to shit down the first round of the preliminaries on a sizzling note. Stalzer, who have three Grand Prix titles and two Most Valuable Player awards under her belt, erupted for 19 points, while Becky Perry and Majoy Baron chipped in 12 and 10 markers, respectively, for the Cargo Movers, who are looking very serious in their pursuit to reclaim the title. “We lost to Petron, but we recovered quickly against PLDT,” said F2 Logistics Coach Ramil de Jesus, who

had to rush from a game with De La Salle University at the UAAP just to make sure that the Cargo Movers will be able to bounce back. “As much as possible, we want to sustain the momentum. We’re already in the second round and adjustments were already made. We expect all teams to step up. Every game will be very important as far as our quest for title is concerned.” United VC, however, is no pushover. After finishing the first round with a 4-3 mark, a lot is expected on the fearsome foursome of Kalei Mau, Alohi Robins-Hardy, Tai ManuOlevao and Yasmeen Bedart-Ghani, especially now that they have already adjusted to the local brand of play. In their previous meeting with the Cargo Movers on February 26, United VC lost in four sets, but Mau dropped 22 points to match the firepower of Stalzer, who erupted for 30 points in her debut game this season. “We’re looking forward to this match because we feel that we have a good chance to win this time,” said United VC Coach Joshua Ylaya, who also drew significant numbers from Bedart-Ghani and Manu-Olevao. “F2 Logistics is one of the best teams. But we’re adjusting and jelling as well so we’ll see. I hope we can convert our chemistry into a victory.” Aside from Stalzer, Perry and Baron, also tipped to carry the cudgels for the Cargo Movers are Aby Maraño, Michelle Morente and setter Alex Cabanos, who is doing a tremendous job in the absence of injured Kim Fajardo.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Sports BusinessMirror

GULF CRISIS ESCALATES E SCALATING a sports television rights dispute, a Qatarowned broadcaster accused Asian soccer leadership of breaking contracts and deciding to stream games for free in Saudi Arabia. BeIN Sports said it intends to seek arbitration against the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under the terms of its contract. The networks claims a breach of a multimillion dollar agreement to broadcast games exclusively across the Middle East, including the continent’s Champions League. The AFC said it will use its Facebook and YouTube channels to broadcast Saudi-hosted soccer games in AFC competitions, an effort to protect broadcast partners and “tackle attempts to illegally exploit those rights wherever it occurs.” Bootlegged feeds from BeIN of top international soccer games have been pirated by Saudi Arabia-based BeoutQ since 2017. Saudi authorities declared BeIN illegal in the kingdom, a proxy battle in the nation’s wider economic and diplomatic boycott that was launched nearly two years ago. BeIN will likely file for arbitration in Singapore. The network claimed the confederation’s actions threaten the business model that sports rights holders rely on worldwide. “The AFC’s decision to livestream directly into Saudi Arabia on the AFC’s own digital platforms is a material breach of our

multmillion dollar regional broadcast agreement and we will immediately be launching a major international dispute to recover damages and protect our position,” BeIN Chief Executive Officer Yousef Al-Obaidly said. “The AFC’s decision is not only a selfharming commercial decision and a clear political play with Saudi Arabia, but most damagingly it will impact rights holders across sports and entertainment around the world.” Saudi Arabia’s soccer federation said the decision amounts to canceling “the BeIN sport monopoly over all Asian Football Confederation competitions.” The AFC announcement came less than four weeks before the confederation’s presidential election. Incumbent Sheikh Salman of Bahrain faces candidates from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which is supported by Saudi Arabia. The format of the 2022 World Cup also is up for discussion this week. Fifa is exploring expanding the tournament from 32 to 48 teams and adding one or more countries to Qatar, selected as host in 2010. A Fifa feasibility study said Qatar would not be forced to share games with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates unless those countries restore diplomatic and travel ties with Doha. That leaves Kuwait and Oman as options for an expanded tournament.

Persian Gulf countries would have to lift boycotts of Qatar before being eligible to join hosting of the World Cup, Fifa determined in a feasibility study recommending its ruling council endorse expansion of the 2022 tournament to 48 teams despite the logistical and political complexities. The 81-page study seen by The Associated Press says Qatar would not be forced to share games with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates unless those countries restore diplomatic and travel ties with Doha. Because of their neutrality in the situation, Kuwait and Oman are the most viable options identified by Fifa to host games in 2022. Venues in at least one more country would be required to cope with the additional 16 teams and 16 games under the expansion proposal. The feasibility report was prepared for Fifa’s ruling council to consider ahead of a meeting in Miami on Friday, when the leadership will seek approval to press ahead with finalizing plans for adding another 16 teams. Making the 2022 tournament the first 48-country World Cup, at this late stage, would require Qatar to accept giving up exclusivity on hosting the event more than eight years after its winning bid. But to protect itself legally, Fifa says that any alteration to the tournament plans “shall be agreed together with Qatar as the appointed host nation, and any new proposals must be prepared

jointly between Fifa and Qatar.” With logistics already challenged by the existing plan to play 64 games in eight stadiums within a 30-mile radius in Qatar, Fifa said two to four additional venues are required in the region in “one or more” nation. The Fifa study identified stadiums in five countries, of which Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are currently unviable because they severed travel ties with Qatar in 2017 over accusations Doha supports extremism. Qatar denies the claims. “Due to the geopolitical situation in the region and the recent blockade that Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE have imposed on Qatar, the involvement of such countries in organizing a cohosted tournament with Qatar would require the lifting of such blockade, in particular the lifting of all restrictions relating to the movement of people and goods between these countries,” the Fifa feasibility study said. “Ideally, this should be evidenced as a precondition to the appointment of such cohosts and should cover all aspects related to the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022.” Two other potential cohosts—Kuwait and Oman—are more feasible because they are not part of the boycott. Qatar’s national football team used the countries as stopovers to get its team to the Asian Cup in the UAE in January because direct travel is prohibited. AP

KARATEDO Kiyo Shimizu performs during a celebration in Tokyo. AP

KARATEDO’S EXCLUSION IN PARIS ‘24 ‘ILLOGICAL’ Manchester City sets up scheme

SCRAMBLE FOR LOOSE BALL Gonzaga’s Jenn Wirth and BYU’s Paisley Johnson, Shaylee Gonzales and Melody Kempton (33) scramble for the ball during the second half of their NCAA women’s final college basketball game at the West Coast Conference tournament on Tuesday in Las Vegas. AP

W to compensate sex-abuse victims M

DORADO’S goalkeeper Gaspar Servio, (right) and Gustavo Canto foils Pumas’ Felipe Mora’s (center) attempt to score in their Copa MX quarterfinal match at the Olympic University Stadium in Mexico City on Tuesday. AP

ANCHESTER, England—Manchester City has set up a scheme to compensate victims of child sexual-abuse experienced at the club. City on Tuesday launched its redress scheme for survivors following investigations into the conduct of two of its former youth coaches, saying the victims “were entitled to expect full protection from the kind of harm they suffered as a result of their sexual abuse as children.” The club did not go into precise details about the scheme because of ongoing investigations into historic instances of sexual abuse that have uncovered allegations against John Broome, who worked as a youth coach in the 1960s. Broome died in 2010. Another former youth coach at City, Barry Bennell, was last year jailed for 30 years after being convicted of 50 child sexual offenses committed between 1979 and 1991. Described in court as a “child molester on an industrial scale,” Bennell abused young players at his home—described by one complainant as a “paradise” for boys— and on the way to matches and in changing rooms. Boys coached by Bennell told the trial how he had a power-hold over them as they dreamed of becoming professional players. City said it is focused on completing its investigations to the

highest standard and urged any other survivors of sexual abuse to come forward. It said the redress scheme applies to the victims of Bennell and Broome. “The club reiterates...its heartfelt sympathy to all victims for the unimaginably traumatic experiences that they endured,” City said in its statement. A lawyer for some of Bennell’s victims said the response from City hasn’t gone far enough. “We’ve been told at the last minute, before it was made public to journalists, that this scheme was coming out,” Dino Nocivelli told the BBC, “and therefore I take offence to the wording of this being a survivors’ scheme. This is Man City’s scheme, it isn’t for survivors. “There’s been a lack of due diligence and care given to them. Second, they [City] still fail to admit actual responsibility.” A child sex-abuse scandal in English soccer was triggered by the decision of a former player, Andy Woodward, to speak out in November 2016 about abuse he suffered at the hands of Bennell. That sparked many other players to break their silence. AP

ORLD Karate Federation (WKF) President Antonio Espinós claimed it is “simply not logical” to exclude the sport from the Paris 2024 program before its Olympic Games debut at Tokyo 2020 and has vowed that the international governing body will “continue fighting until the end” for the “restoration of its honor and its athletes’ rights.” Last week, Paris 2024 stated it will not be reconsidering its proposal for new sports on the program of the Olympic Games in five years’ time after holding a meeting with leading figures from karate, including Espinós. Espinós was accompanied by Francis Didier, president of the French Karate Federation, and Toshihisa Nagura, secretarygeneral of the WKF. Their aim was to convince Paris 2024 to agree to karate being a fifth additional sport, joining breakdancing, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing—pending final approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). But their efforts proved to be unsuccessful with Paris 2024 explaining that “there were no new elements provided by the WKF that would imply reconsidering the proposal made to the IOC.” Espinós insists, however, that the sport simply cannot be excluded before Tokyo 2020. “Karate is in a unique situation,” the Spaniard said. “It is the only sport in the program of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that, regardless of being a world-class power in France, has been excluded from the list of additional disciplines of Paris 2024. “This decision has been taken even

before giving the sport the opportunity to make its debut in Tokyo. “We cannot be excluded before Tokyo. “It is simply not logical to exclude our sport before allowing it to showcase its values in Tokyo and before having enough arguments to evaluate its continuity as an Olympic sport.” Espinós has also highlighted the “tremendous notoriety” of karate in France as the main reason for its would-be inclusion as an additional sport at Paris 2024. France is the No. 1 nation in Europe and No. 2 in the world, while the WKF claims karate boasts “outstanding popular support” in the country with 250,000 registered members—55 percent of whom are under the age of 18. “There is no other country where karate is stronger than in France,” Espinós added. “It is a sport with tremendous popularity there—it is practiced by hundreds of thousands of youngsters, it has multiple world-class stars and it also registers high numbers of spectators who enjoy its remarkable sporting spirit. “For all these reasons, we are surprised and even more outraged by the decision of Paris 2024. “We believe that this decision was taken following a process without any guarantees, without clear rules, lacking in transparency, missing all basic values of fair play and unfit for current times and for an organization and an event with such a global impact as this. “We will not accept it and we will continue fighting until the end for the restoration of our honor and our athletes’ rights.” Paris 2024’s decision on the four additional sports still needs to be ratified by the IOC, which is due to discuss the proposal before it goes in front of its Executive Board between March 26 and 28. Provisional approval could then be granted at the IOC Session in Lausanne in June, before Executive Board confirmation in December 2020. The WKF has launched a high-profile digital campaign to try to convince Paris 2024 to add them to the program. The #Karate2024 campaign aims to “showcase the unity of the sport and requests the inclusion of the discipline in the list of additional sports to be added to the program of the Olympic Games Paris 2024.” Fans have been encouraged to get involved by using the hashtag and spreading the message “KARATE: Olympic sport.” A main thrust of the campaign is the #TsukiForKarate2024 challenge where fans are asked to perform their best “tsuki” punch in defense of karate’s Olympic place. Insidethegames


God of mystery and grace

EAR God, in Jesus You show us Your love and Your power. In faith we pray: Strengthen us, oh God. Grant holy perseverance to Pope Francis and all who bear the responsibility of leadership in Your Church. Give us courage to fix our hearts on Your Word and offer our lives in loving service. Revive the spirits of those exhausted by worry or care for loved ones. May God increase our faith, hope and love by the Holy Spirit, through Christ our saving help. Amen. GIVE US THIS DAY, SHARED BY LUISA LACSON, HFL Word&Life Publications •

Editor: Gerard S. Ramos •

THE art experience in Hong Kong is not limited to standalone events and places. Out in the open, art has penetrated the corners of different neighborhoods, inviting the curious to explore these living “street art museums.” BUSINESS WIRE

Life BusinessMirror


Thursday, March 14, 2019


Hong Kong in March: A mecca for art and local culture enthusiasts D

URING the month of March, visitors in Hong Kong will enjoy a plethora of arts and cultural events around the city, including the internationally renowned Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central, which provides rare occasions for appreciating famous art pieces and a journey through the city’s fascinating cultural life. In addition to the latest cultural venues and street artworks that have emerged in Hong Kong in recent months, art and culture enthusiasts will find Asia’s World City the perfect subject matter to immerse in art and culture ambience.

BRISBANE Airport took home the top award, as well as the highest honors for the airport category

DOT, MCIAA commend winners of Routes Asia Marketing Awards

INTERNATIONAL ART AT ART BASEL HONG KONG AND ART CENTRAL VISITORS can immerse themselves in a lavish visual feast at Art Basel Hong Kong (March 29 to 31) and Art Central (March 27 to 31), the mainstays of Hong Kong Arts Month. Now in its seventh year, Art Basel Hong Kong will return to the conveniently located Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre with 242 galleries from 36 countries. Also boasting a strong lineup is Art Central, where over 100 galleries will showcase art from around the globe. The fifth edition will also feature carefully created performances, large-scale installations, new media art and talks. Aside from the incredible art, patrons will be served a mesmerizing view of Victoria Harbour and the city’s signature skyline at the Central Harbourfront venue. NEW CULTURAL HOT SPOTS CAPTURE A SLICE OF HISTORY A VARIETY of important cultural venues have surfaced in the city in recent months. In January, the Xiqu Centre opened, becoming the first venue in the much-anticipated West Kowloon Cultural District. The Xiqu Centre is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Cantonese opera, featuring a striking architectural design that contrasts traditional and modern elements. With a futuristic form and a steel structure, the eight-story structure is a reinterpretation of the traditional Chinese lantern, whereas its façade is shaped to resemble the parted curtains on a performing stage. While admiring the architecture, visitors are encouraged to enjoy an intimate Cantonese opera viewing experience over traditional tea and dim sum at the Tea House Theatre. Another new development is The Mills, an innovative cultural hub transformed from a textile factory. Situated in Tsuen Wan, once an industrial area and now a major residential district, The Mills celebrates the golden days of Hong Kong’s textile industry and carries on the legacy by nurturing the city’s creative talents. Inside the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT), visitors can learn about the history of Hong Kong’s textile industry, and the current local and global textile arts landscape. Visitors are warmly

invited to experience the manual cotton-spinning process using traditional spinning instruments at CHAT’s Welcome to the Spinning Factory! Exhibition. Starting March 16, visitors can appreciate the array of contemporary textile arts displayed at the Unfolding: Fabric of Our Life exhibition. Also new is a key heritage site that opened in the past year, Tai Kwun, one of the city’s largest heritage revitalization projects which took a decade to complete. Three iconic declared monuments are now part of this cultural destination that houses a worldclass museum, some of the city’s trendiest boutiques and restaurants, and sleek bars including Behind Bars, a stylish venue repurposed from the former Central Police Station prison cells. LOCAL STREET ART THE art experience in Hong Kong is not limited to standalone events and places. From a street perspective, art has penetrated the corners of different neighborhoods, inviting the curious to explore living “street art museums.” Stroll through Central, Sheung Wan and the latest “ARTLANE ” in the hipster Sai Ying Pun area, featuring murals by local and overseas artists to be found on walls of old buildings and staircases. Travelers can capture photos

in front of the popular street art; hunt for shutter art around Hong Kong painted by young local artists under an initiative aptly called “HK Urban Canvas,” depicting the unique personalities and stories behind local shops; and keep an eye out for buzzing street scenes, intriguing contrasts and all the oddities that make Hong Kong an arts oasis. “Hong Kong’s flourishing arts scene takes center stage this month, further cementing the city as the cultural hub of Asia,” said Bill Flora, US director at the Hong Kong Tourism Board. “From the worldrenowned Art Basel to community activities in Hong Kong’s neighborhoods, Hong Kong Arts Month offers something for every type of arts and culture lover.” MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE AND THE LENS THOSE who seek more sensory stimulation will find an abundance of performing arts events, the most notable of which is the Hong Kong Arts Festival. With a history of over four decades, the annual event featuring opera, theater, music, dance and more has been an artery of the city’s cultural life. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy 166 performances and over 300 exciting array of outreach activities by more than 1,700 artists from around the world during the month of March. BUSINESS WIRE/AP

More weekly flights, more reasons to enjoy your vacation THE more often you travel, the clearer your idea of a hassle-free journey is. You have probably been there once or twice—hoping for added booking slots to choose from, more practical schedules for your travel needs, even a tiny chance of adding more flexibility to your itinerary. For your frequent travel wishes, Philippine Airlines (PAL, www.philippineairlines. com) has something to help you out: more frequent flights weekly, just as you like it. ■ GET MORE OPTIONS FOR BOOKING. Imagine going straight to your hotel check-in right after you land, or getting to witness, say, Japan’s breathtaking sunset right before your plane departs. More flights mean more time slots for everyone to book, making sure none of your valuable time goes to waste.

■ ENJOY LESS TRAVEL TIME AND MORE TIME TO EXPLORE. It’s fun to roam around the airport during layovers. But wouldn’t it be more fun to just arrive earlier at your destination? The carrier’s new flight schedule gives you a lot less waiting, allowing more moments for you to enjoy the adventures as they come. ■ REVEL IN A MORE FLEXIBLE ITINERARY. Whether it’s a last-minute client meeting or a random tour you’d like to go on before you leave, having PAL’s expanded booking options gives you more leeway to add to your itinerary without worrying about your way back home. ■ CHOOSING AN AIRLINE WITH MORE FLIGHTS WILL DEFINITELY GIVE YOU ADDED EASE AND CONVENIENCE. The country’s only four-star airline,

Philippine Airlines will increase their weekly flights starting this year. Travelers will enjoy spacious legroom for long-haul flights, complimentary inflight meals crafted by worldrenowned chefs, a dedicated inflight

entertainment system that lets you enjoy a plethora of movies, TV shows, music at your fingertips, free baggage allowance and the famed service experience that only the flagship carrier can offer.

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) congratulated the winners of the 2019 edition of the Routes Asia Marketing Awards during the Routes Asia Networking Evening held at the Radisson Blu Cebu. “The Philippine Department of Tourism expresses its warmest congratulations to all the winners of the best airports in the different categories, and of course the winner in destination marketing, and, finally, the over-all winner,” DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development Planning Benito Bengzon Jr. The Routes Marketing Awards are considered the most prestigious in the aviation industry as they are voted for and judged by the airline network planning community. Australia lorded over the competition hoarding five awards including the top accolade, Overall Winner, for its Brisbane Airport, which was also named as the winner for airport category of Over 20 Million Passengers. Two more airports from Australia dominated the 4-20 Million Passengers Category with the Perth Airport regarded as the winner and Adelaide Airport as Highly Commended. Brisbane Marketing was adjudged the winner for the Destination award after posting a record growth from international visitors and a successful hosting of last year’s Routes Asia. Cambodia’s Sihanouk International Airport bested the Under 4 Million Passengers category with Malaysia’s Langkawi International Airport as Highly Commended. For the Over 20 Million Passengers, Fukuoka International Airport received the Highly Commended citation. “Being a Routes awardee is a tremendous honor and I congratulate all of them for the value proposition they infused into their airports, to their marketing efforts and I wish to emulate their examples in my airport,” said Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) General Manager Steve Dicdican. The Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) was named as the 4-20 Million Passenger winner two years ago at the Routes Asia 2017 Marketing Award in Okinawa, Japan. “Routes Asia counted us to be the most exemplary in marketing. It challenged us to do better next time. That’s why we are exerting our best to win again— not in the same category but in a higher category,” Dicdican added. Also in 2017, the DOT finally clinched the Destination award after an earlier nomination in the category. “When we won the award in 2017, it was a clear recognition of the achievements that we have made in our tourism campaign, and that is something that we ought to strive for every year for Routes Asia,” Bengzon said. The DOT now banners a refreshed It’s More Fun in the Philippines campaign that features a new logo, a new font, and a more sustainable approach to tourism marketing of emerging destinations and route development.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Entertaining BusinessMirror


Today’s Horoscope By Eugenia Last

CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Betsy Brandt, 46; Megan Follows, 51; Billy Crystal, 71; Quincy Jones, 86. HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Think twice before making a move this year. Emotions will be difficult to control, causing you to show a sign of weakness and vulnerability. Don’t overreact, promise too much or let poor influences come between you and common sense. Rise above and choose the high road, regardless of what others try to persuade or pressure you to do. Your lucky numbers are 3, 12, 18, 22, 27, 36, 45.


ARIES (March 21-April 19): Stick to what and who you know. Being too open or friendly will give someone the opportunity to meddle in your affairs. Keep your life simple and doable. Only promise what you know is possible; it will lead to new beginnings. HHHH

NO Bake Chocolate Hotcake Cheesecake

MICROWAVE Mango Graham Mug Cake

4 quick and easy desserts that don’t require a stove or oven


REPARING delicious desserts for a weekend potluck with girlfriends can be a daunting task, especially if you’re a novice in the kitchen. Worry not: it is now easier to whip up scrummy desserts with Maya (www.themayakitchen. com)—and this without a stove or oven to boot! From fluffy mug cakes and muffins, to fruity cold treats, make good use of these four quick recipes to put impressive desserts on the table for your whole family. Join the Mango Graham craze with Maya Happy Mug Cake Mix. Skip the long lines in different malls and create your own Mango Graham Mug Cake at home. Simply combine a pack of Maya Happy Mug Caramel Mug Cake Mix with mango juice in a mug, put it in the microwave for one minute and 30 seconds, then top with chopped fresh mangoes,

graham crackers, and whipped cream—and voila, your dessert is ready. How about enjoying your favorite sweet treats all in one serving. If you’re craving for chocolate and cheesecake, then the No Bake Chocolate Hotcake Cheesecake will surely hit the spot, and it’s so easy to make. Prepare cream cheese filling by beating cream cheese with sugar in a bowl. Place a cooked chocolate hotcake (made with Maya Chocolate Hotcake Mix) in a pan and pour enough cream cheese filling on top. Repeat this step to make layers, ending with a hotcake as the topmost layer. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours to set and finish up by coating the entire cheesecake with dark chocolate ganache. Beat the heat with this Homemade Blueberry Lime Ice Cream. If you don’t want to bring storebought dessert but don’t have the confidence to try an elaborate recipe, just make Homemade Blueberry Lime Ice Cream. Beat heavy whipped cream until it peaks, and mix condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice in a bowl. Blend the lime-milk mixture with the whipped cream, then add blueberry filling and lightly mix until it creates swirls. Freeze for at least six hours or overnight to give everyone a refreshing treat. MICROWAVE MANGO GRAHAM MUG CAKE 1 pack Maya Happy Mug Caramel Mug Cake Mix 3 tablespoons mango juice/mango nectar, chopped fresh mango, graham crackers, whipped cream, as needed

RICHMONDE Hotel Iloilo’s The Granary offers buffet deal for graduates


RICHMONDE Hotel Iloilo ( rewards all graduates with a free buffet at The Granary in celebration of their academic accomplishment. It will be a delectable send-off as they march into the future. Revel in your graduate’s scholastic success as you savor the sumptuous selections of The Granary’s hearty breakfast buffet that comes complete with all-time favorite breakfast items, unlimited crispy bacon, an omelet station, assorted breads and pastries, fresh juices, coffee, hot tsokolate, and a whole lot more. If you prefer an evening affair to honor your graduate, you can delight in the lavish buffet spread of international dishes—from soups, salads, entrées and desserts, with carvings plus a la minute cooking and grilling—at the weekend dinner buffet. Whichever buffet you choose, graduates eat for free if accompanied by three guests paying the full buffet price of P675 net for breakfast buffet and P950 net for weekend dinner buffet. This graduation treat is available until month’s end, with the breakfast buffet served daily from 6 am to 10 am, and the weekend dinner buffet served Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (except March 24) from 6 pm to 10 pm.

Mix happy mug cake with mango juice in a mug. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove from microwave; be careful as the container will be hot. Top with chopped fresh mango, graham crackers and whipped cream as desired. Serve immediately. Yield: 1 serving. NO BAKE CHOCOLATE HOTCAKE CHEESECAKE 1 pack Maya Chocolate Hotcake Mix 200g, prepared and cooked according to package instructions 1 bar cream cheese 1/2 cup sugar 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 1 tablespoon gelatin powder, bloomed in 3 tablespoons water Prepare a cake pan by lining it with aluminum foil. Cut cooked chocolate hotcakes the same size as the

cake pan. Prepare cream cheese filling. In a bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar. Slowly, add the cream. Beat until well blended. Place hotcake at the bottom of the prepared pan, pour enough cream cheese filling on top of the hotcake. Repeat this step to make layers, with a hotcake as the topmost layer. Chill for a few hours to set. Optional: coat the whole cheesecake with dark chocolate ganache. Yield: Eight to 10 servings. HOMEMADE BLUEBERRY LIME ICE CREAM 2 cups whipping cream 1 can condensed milk 1 piece lime zest 1 piece lime juice 1 cup blueberry filling/topping


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Go over every detail. To be sure is to be safe. If you play your cards right, you stand to make a substantial gain. Don’t let someone coerce you into giving too much or getting into an argument that is fruitless. HHH


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): An emotional matter will escalate quickly if deception and poor judgment take over. Be precise, and offer only what you know is factual. You’ll be called out if you deviate from the truth or offer the wrong impression. HHH


CANCER (June 21-July 22): If you want change, be prepared to do the work yourself. An idea you have will be worth fleshing out and can even lead to saving money or a financial gain. Don’t trust someone else to take care of your responsibilities. HHH


LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Listen to what’s being said. Don’t argue with the boss or someone in a higher position. Gather your thoughts and get the facts before you decide to make changes. Time is on your side, so slow down and observe. HHHH


VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Refuse to let emotions interfere with your productivity or progress. Concentrate on what you want to accomplish, and set goals that you can handle on your own if necessary. Travel, communication and educational pursuits are in your best interest. HH


LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Put your personal needs first. Listen to your heart, and make adjustments that will put you at ease. Demanding people should be kept at a distance until you have time to figure out how best to say no. HH


In a bowl, whip heavy cream/whipped cream until it reaches its peak. Set aside. Mix condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice. Lightly fold in lime-milk mixture into the whipped cream, until well blended. Add the blueberry filling/toppings and lightly mix until it creates blueberry swirls. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and freeze the ice cream at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve. Yield: 10 to 12 servings

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Interacting with people who are heading in a similar direction will lead to personal growth and greater enthusiasm. Success is within reach, but taking better care of your health and well-being should be your priorities. HHHHH


CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Make positive changes to the way you live. How you present what you want to do will make a difference to the response you receive. Don’t put your money or your health at risk to prove a point. HHH

1 pack Maya Oven Toaster Butter Cake Mix 200g 2 tablespoons softened butter 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter 2 pieces eggs ½ cup fresh milk 1/3 cup strawberry jam Prepare a two 6-hole 3oz muffin tins. In a bowl, mix together butter and peanut butter, and beat until well blended and soft. Add in eggs and milk. Blend mixture until all ingredients are well incorporated. Fold into the batter mixture half of the strawberry jam then pour mixture into prepared muffin pans. Divide the rest of the strawberry jams on top of the muffin and make a swirl. Bake in the oven toaster for 12 to 15 minutes using steamer 10 to 12 minutes. Yield: Eight to 10 muffins.


SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Get the facts before you make an assumption and overreact. Truth matters, and treating others the way you want to be treated will help you bypass getting into trouble with someone. HHH



AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): A steady pace forward is good enough. If you overdo it, you will invite injury or ill health. Know when to stop and when to ask for help. Don’t be fooled by someone using emotional tactics. HHHHH


PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Be careful what you share. Look out for your best interests, and draw a line between what’s doable and what’s foolish. You don’t have to impress anyone; just do your best and stick to what you know. HH BIRTHDAY BABY: You are emotional, outgoing and generous. You are compassionate and elaborate.

‘changing locks’ BY STU OCKMAN The Universal Crossword/Edited by David Steinberg

ACROSS 1 Fanatical 6 TV host Kelly 10 Jigsaw puzzle side 14 Fame star Cara 15 Chatted via AOL, say 16 Krill, for a whale 17 *Discover statements 20 Villain’s counterpart 21 “On the Basis of ___” 22 Biscotti flavoring 23 List-ending abbr. 24 Dallas baller 25 Headphones brand 27 Liger and others 33 Malia or Sasha 35 Prize for Malala Yousafzai 36 Score such as 1-1 37 Opportunity rover org. 38 Some determine eye color 39 Stash (away) 40 Quattro minus uno 41 Nigeria’s largest city 42 ___ Hopkins 43 *Falstaff’s voice

6 At any point 4 47 “___ too shabby” 48 Birds-feather connection 51 Mad Hatter’s guest 54 Musical gift 55 Gorillas, e.g. 56 Alcopop selections 60 Lump of Earth 61 Dutch cheese 62 Myanmar, once 63 Not nuts 64 Certain Scouts 65 Hair feature “woven” in each starred answer DOWN 1 Nouveau ___ 2 French stop sign word 3 Whiskey follower, at times 4 Prefix with “China” 5 ___ gratia 6 Popular Asian condiment 7 Big-screen format 8 According to 9 Interject 10 “Lucky You” rapper

1 Brat’s home? 1 12 Women, in Westerns 13 Someone ___ (not you) 18 Ivan or Peter 19 Pesto herb 24 Management deg. 25 My Funny Valentine musical 26 Binary digits 28 Singer Sumac 29 Charity supporter 30 Listening to an aria, say 31 Simba, e.g. 32 Hems but doesn’t haw 33 Where to get “Lost”? 34 Naked 38 Comedian Kaplan 39 Cain or Abel, for Eve 41 Often-chopped meat 42 Write quickly 44 The aughts, for one 45 Ripped 49 Nuclear reactor creator 50 Syrian president 51 Fundamentals, briefly 52 ___ Land (2016 film)

3 Tappable picture 5 54 Bidding war site 55 Cote d’___ 57 Ball girl? 58 Vow before a kiss 59 Recede, as the tide

Solution to yesterday’s puzzle:

Parentlife BusinessMirror

Thursday, March 14, 2019


KEEP your food fresh and delicious every day with innovative refrigerators from SM Appliance Center.


CLOCKWISE: Marcus and Meagan at the Art Fair when Marcus was around 5; the three of us at this year’s Art Fair; Marcus and Meagan at the Ayala Museum in 2014; Marcus and me at the Art Bar, a store that we love to go to see the latest in art books and supplies; me outside Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France, in 2015; and my own art done in June 2013 that says: “Shield to pain/Shield to fear/Eye for hope/Eye for faith/God knows I believe/That Gratitude is here to stay.”

Strikes, strokes and strength: Part II MOMMY NO LIMITS



AST week, I shared our trip to Art Fair 2019. I shared my belief that art is a great way to teach kids that mistakes and failure are beautiful parts of life. I always felt that our world often puts great weight on perfection. When you ask many business tycoons or experts in their field, however, they will always say they learned most from their mistakes. I asked myself: Is there really a way to impart this strength of facing mistakes to our kids? My earliest memory was when I was 3. I was being punished inside a washroom of Little Green School because I was too talkative. My next memory was not passing the entrance exam of my first big school at age 4 because I cried in front of our principal. When I finally got in that school at 5, I was determined to do my best. I ended up receiving the gold medal. This started my journey of pressured expectations. Art had a unique role in my life. When I wanted to be a painter at 6, I was told it was not a worthy profession. It took a lot of work for me to excel in school. But with every free time I had, I was either playing with my flesh and green clay containers, or doing watercolor. I loved folding the paper in half, doing my mix of colors on one side, then folding it to be reflected on the other side. Even when I watered the plants, I would use the hose to form figures on

the ground. I also loved to doodle. I loved to create colorful motivational quotes, especially when I got an unfavorable grade in school. I had different art versions of “Study Very Well” each year on my corkboard. I decorated my calendars and made colorful notes. I loved getting my hands dirty with my Craypas. This was a type of oil pastels that allowed you to spread the crayon line into blurry images. I always felt a sense of relaxation and delight even when injecting colors had nothing to do with the subject matter. It’s like I was holding my breath to always be perfect but art allows me to freely breathe to move and strive. Needless to say, I encountered many failure in my life. From academic, social, career, to even familial issues, I would doodle and write poetry as you see in one of the photos shown here. Today, when I travel, I have my set of coloring gears and unlined notebooks. I would spend free hours in the museum, especially on modern art. In my melancholic or any “thinking” day or even in the middle of a stressful issue at work, I have my colored pens and then it’s off to doodling mind maps. I have always wanted to raise my kids with the “comfort” of art. As much as I wanted them to peg goals, I also wanted them to go through their journey with the relaxation that art provides. As early as when they turned 1, I had art time with them. I even enrolled them in My Masterpiece. It was a school that introduced different creative media at a young age. They had finger paint and egg crayons lying around. I took my kids to museums as early as they were 2. Ayala Museum was a frequent Sunday morning ritual. We would go through the historical dioramas and end up with the masterpieces on the top floor. It was not because I was gearing them up to be artists one day. I just loved the “act of breathing” art connoted. I have always imagined artists releasing their thoughts

without boundaries, never planning the stroke, never fearing mistakes, but ending up with a work that pleased their own soul. True enough, when my daughter turned 3, I saw her intensity to be far stronger than my own. I didn’t need to push because she pushed herself. I enrolled her in Global Art. I saw how relaxed she felt. Today, she excels in school and recently got into fencing. She pushed herself to get a medal in her first interschool competition, which she did. Amid all the work, I would see her doodle on her own. We would go to Sip n Gogh, a place where you can get on-the-spot art lessons, at times to unwind together. Art soothes and gives her the room to breathe. I guess art exposes kids to a “no mistake” attitude early on. Even if you spill paint on paper, that’s fine. It may even result to a beautiful image. Even if you dirty yourself with art materials, you can always wash it off after. That’s why when my kids started school, our weekends were filled with art time. Eventually, I saw them creating art on their own. Whether it was blending colors or building something abstract with Lego blocks, to finding Fortnite figures online to recreate on ink, my kids have expanded their dimension beyond the distinct right or wrongs of academics. The best lesson art teaches my kids is finding glory in mistakes. For every stroke, kids see that it brings an uncertain picture. When life strikes a different direction, they know that life was not meant to be perfect or controlled. As we continuously embrace art in our lives, I hope to teach my kids that even if one was a consistent honor student or achiever, one should not fall into the trap of that “look down” judgment if one makes a mistake. Instead, even when life gives us the most unexpected and even the “ugliest picture,” we are able to view it from an art-infused lens and transform it into a beautiful experience. ■

NOW this should be one carnival parents wouldn’t mind treating their kids to. Keep cool this summer with SM Appliance Center’s new exclusive air-conditioners, refrigerators, fans, and get a chance to win exciting prizes in its Summer Carnival 2019 promotion ( Every single receipt P1,000 purchase from March 15 to May 31 at any SM Appliance Center store nationwide entitles customers to one electronic raffle entry and a chance to win Summer Carnival prizes. These include trips to Asian theme parks like the Universal Studio in Singapore, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Legoland in Malaysia with four economy round-trip tickets for each winner and 3D/2N hotel accommodations. Closer to home, there will be 80 winners of regular day passes at Enchanted Kingdom, with four tickets for each winner. Customers can also win prizes for their home, including TCL 40” UHD Slim TV and TCL 1HP Window Aircon with Remote. Now is also the best time to enjoy a cool and comfortable summer at home with high-performance, energy-saving inverter air-conditioners, electric fans with powerful cooling features, and innovative inverter refrigerators that will keep your food fresh and properly organized.


THAMES International Business School, the country’s first international college offering UK-based programs, organized with the British Council a two-day creative skills boot camp under the Creative Innovators Programme (CIP). Participants were given fresh and exciting workshops with topics running across the different creative industries—from design, craft, film, animation and technology. Sessions are cocreated and facilitated by Thames International lecturers and Creative Innovators Programme fellows, offering a unique opportunity to learn about the technical, management, and business skills needed by artists and creative entrepreneurs to thrive. Workshops were developed with the support and guidance of Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation. Thames continues to support CIP with Post Graduate scholarships for artists and creatives called ICE, or Innovation and Creative Enterprise. Opening the boot camp were the CIP partners organizations: (from left) Design Center of the Philippines Executive Director Rhea Matute, Foundation founder, British Council Country Director Pilar Aramayo-Prudencio, Head of Arts and Creative Industries Malaya del Rosario, and Thames International President Joel Santos.

Haunting ‘Roma’ scene shines rare spotlight on stillbirths OF all the little moments of joy and strife that fill the Oscarwinning film Roma, the most gut-wrenching takes place in a Mexico City hospital room, where a doctor coolly tells a frightened young woman, “Your baby was born dead.” The haunting scene, set in 1971, graphically introduces a subject that today is still poorly understood and often avoided. While global rates have declined since then, stillbirths remain surprisingly common with nearly 3 million each year, most in developing countries. The US rate, 6 in 1,000 births, hasn’t budged in a decade and the cause is unknown in at least one-third of cases. Most US insurers don’t cover autopsies and many parents don’t want them, often leaving circumstances and potential causes a mystery. “This is a really seriously understudied area of research,” said Jennita Reefhuis of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It’s such a devastating event to happen to a couple. This is something that deserves more attention.” THEN AND NOW THE young mother in Roma is given just a few seconds to hold her lifeless child before a doctor tells her he must take and “prepare” the body. From her hospital bed a few feet away, she watches silently as the infant is wrapped up in a white shroud.

The coldness of that lingering scene is partly dramatic flourish, but it also reflects thinking at the time that stillbirths were almost to be dismissed. Dr. Francisco Ruiloba, an obstetrician from Mexico City, said many hospitals in Mexico, and elsewhere, have since adopted a more humanistic approach. In his practice, Ruiloba said, mothers are given as much time as they need and the body is prepared “with respect and out of the room.” In a 2009 guidance reaffirmed last month, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says emotional support should be offered to parents of stillborns, including referrals to grief counselors, support groups or therapists. Parents should have the chance to hold and to name their infants, and to say goodbye, the group advises. Studies have found that allowing parents to spend time with stillborn infants may reduce mothers’ chances for developing anxiety and depression afterward. Many US hospitals let parents spend hours or even days with them. Some hospitals take memento photographs, footprints and handprints for families; some provide cooling cots to preserve the body while the family grieves. We stress “how important it is to the patient for us to get comfortable being with them and talking about it and reassuring them that this is a terrible thing but they will get through it,” said Dr. Alan Peaceman, who heads Northwestern

Medicine’s maternal-fetal medicine department in Chicago. Pediatric nurse Lindsey Wimmer, whose son Garrett was stillborn in 2004, says parents “used to be told not to see or name their baby, just to move on and have another one. Now we know that’s not a very practical way to deal with it. “Their grief just waits for them and they will never forget about these babies,” said Wimmer, executive director of the Star Legacy Foundation, a Minnesota-based group that promotes stillbirth research and education. Social media has given grieving parents a new outlet. Canadian Rebekah Shirey posted a poignant video for friends of what looks almost like a routine labor and delivery. Surrounded by family and friends in an Ottawa hospital room, with her partner Steve Martin by her side, Shirey pushes, cries and then cradles their stillborn son Elijah. It was July 29, 2017, and Shirey had learned days earlier that Elijah’s heart had stopped beating. Tests showed problems with her placenta. “The more awareness we have and the more community we have make it easier to go through these things,” she said. HEARTBREAKING SCENARIOS ABOUT 1 in 5 US stillbirths occur near the end of a normal, uneventful pregnancy. The scenarios are hauntingly similar: A few days or weeks before the due date, a woman suddenly

becomes aware of less kicking or no fetal movement at all. Most women want an immediate cesarean section, but these operations are rarely done for stillbirths because of the risks. Instead, doctors give drugs to induce labor—and the parents wait. That’s the nightmare Lindsey Schmitz of Chicago endured in 2016 after a “textbook” pregnancy. After 24 hours of difficult labor, nurses gently placed Sawyer Schmitz on his mother’s chest and stepped away as the power of that moment sank in. “He was warm. He was beautiful and had that baby smell,” Schmitz recalls. “He just looked like he was asleep.” Grandparents, aunts and uncles joined the distraught parents in the birthing room. “They commented on his features. Laughed about his chin,” she said. “The nurses took pictures, lots of pictures.” Schmitz says she’s wracked by the things that in her grief she didn’t think to do—“cut a lock of his hair, read a book to him, we never dressed him. At that moment, you just don’t know that’s what you’re going to want.” She did want to know the cause, but an autopsy and other tests gave no answers. Now, Schmitz volunteers as a resource for other women who’ve had stillbirths. “When you’re in this club, you realize it’s so much more prevalent than anyone talks about,” she said. AP


Show BusinessMirror

Thursday, March 14, 2019

‘Queer Eye’s’ Fab Five are serving self-care and love in Season 3 trailer debut THE Emmy Award-winning Queer Eye from Netflix ( returns ready to transform the stylistically challenged into hip-and-happening savants at the hands of the Fab Five. This season, these fearless ambassadors of taste are headed to Kansas City to bring their infectious brand of self-love, confidence and encouragement to a whole new roster of heroes. The series returned to Netflix in 2018 going global and introducing audiences around the world to a modern aesthetic, diverse perspectives and a brand new Fab Five: Antoni Porowski (Food and Wine), Bobby Berk (Interior Design), Jonathan van Ness (Grooming), Karamo Brown (Culture) and Tan France (Fashion). Queer Eye Season 3 launches globally on Netflix tomorrow, March 15.

IN this June 13, 2017 file photo, US singer Britney Spears performs during her concert in Taipei, Taiwan. Producers of the new musical stage comedy Once Upon a One More Time say their show will use Spears’s hit songs, which include “Oops!... I Did It Again,” “...Baby One More Time,” “Toxic” and “Stronger.” AP

A BRITNEY SPEARS MUSICAL STAGE COMEDY IS SET FOR CHICAGO BY MARK KENNEDY The Associated Press NEW YORK—Britney Spears is the latest pop star throwing her fedora onto the stage. Producers of the new musical stage comedy Once Upon a One More Time say their show will use Spears’s hit songs, which include “Oops!...I Did It Again,” “...Baby One More Time,” “Toxic” and “Stronger.” The show will have its world premiere this fall in Chicago at the James M. Nederlander Theatre. Previews begin in October. The show’s story centers on classic fairytale princesses like Cinderella and Snow White learning that being happy ever after may take some work. In a statement, Spears says: “This is a dream come true for me!” She joins other pop heavyweights, such as Tina Turner, Donna Summer, Carole King and Cher to have their music used in a stage musical.

Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone: Remembering Annie Brazil REELING



T was a small bar behind the now-defunct Delta Theater, tucked into a space partly hidden by a Chinese restaurant selling dumplings. My friend and I, forever in search of a quiet drinking place and, perhaps, some old music, saw the place. I do not remember the name of the bar. I remember the song and the singer. Her name was outside written on a small board: Annie Brazil. I did not know her except for old reviews. But nothing prepared me for what I was hearing: Billie Holiday sweeter by an ounce and yet the grief intact. I was also not ready for that voice, gravelly and whispery, velvet and violent with the beat, achingly musical. And I was not ready for the songs she sang. I was stargazing, my eyes fixed on this lady, her hands and fingers making small, furtive gestures and singing the songs I thought Manila would never offer an old soul. My friend and I were barely seated when she segued from a very fast, or what I thought was an unusually faster version of “It’s A Sin to Tell a Lie” to that old Cole Porter standard “So in Love.” In Annie’s voice, there was no standard: “Strange, dear/ But true, dear/When I’m close to you, dear/The stars fill the sky....” It was not anymore the song popularized by Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel in Kiss Me Kate. The piano was percussive and the love-hate dynamics in the original gone. Annie, I would find out, had a darker, sadder, perhaps more grounded approach to something we assume to be always ethereal. “In love with the night mysterious/The night when you first were there/In love with my joy, delirious/When I knew that you could care.” Annie was not just singing, she was reading: “So taunt me/And hurt me/Deceive me, desert me.” She had barely ended the song when I applauded so loudly my friend almost wanted to stop me. I could not help myself, so I shouted, “Bravo.” It was so out of place, that lusty “bravo,” so showy and, perhaps, much too off-putting but I was this faithful jazz believer about to turn apostate and finding in Annie Brazil’s world a shrine. I became once more a devotee, a convert before I had even left the church. After her set, she came to our table. As customary, we asked her to order anything. It was chivalry that was predictable and so old-fashioned but she relented. She ordered “Cointreau.” I remember the bottle: it was emerald green. I thought the fans (for I thought of everyone there as her fans) were all green with envy that Annie Brazil sat down with us. The small talk had to end. Before leaving us, she asked if we had any request for any song. I loved the glint in her eyes when she said, “any.” “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone” was what I asked her to sing. Perched now on that tall chair, which was her trademark, she whispered to the band. Whereupon the band went into a brassy intro, which was followed by a banner-waving first two lines: “Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone/Oh honey,

though our friendship ceases from now on.” The piano and the bass were relentless but so was that voice: “And listen, if you can’t say anything real nice/It’s better not to talk at all is my advice.” The words were acerbic. Then she went for the punch, the bitterness equaled the sweetness of the separation: “We’re parting, you go your way I’ll go mine/It’s best that we do/Here’s a kiss I hope that this brings lots of luck to you.” Without waiting for the applause, which came anyway, she went full-throttle with “It Had To Be You.” The song just went up and up, the chords complicating and complicated. In that song, I would witness that unusual kick that came with an awkward flip of the hand as if reaching out for something that was elusive. (She would tell me she would kick to create a new sound.) I would hear also that cluck she made in between lines of a song. Then it was “Moonlight on Vermont.” That night, I had become a fan. I, of course, went back to that bar for many nights. She gave me permission to shout out my request. Each night, immediately after being seated or even as I walked to my table, I would already call out to her: “Please, Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone.” We followed her as she sang in other places. My friend and I even dared to invite her for lunch. But we never became friends. I remained—and this I like—a fan. Years went by. I learned she had moved to the United States.

One day, the newspaper carried news of Annie singing in Makati, in the joint owned by her son, Richard Merk, who is also a singer, a jazz singer. It was the last day of her performance. The place was full: I sat near the bar. A waiter approached and I gave him a piece of paper. On it was the request to sing: “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone.” She searched for me in the dark as she started singing. There it was, that voice, the vowel curled and snapped at the end of the line, the quiver as each word almost ended with an unknown sound. As on that first night, I was not looking into Annie Brazil’s eyes. They were always the most beautiful sad eyes this side of moonlight jazz. Then one day came the sad news: Annie Brazil had passed away at 85. What was the name of that bar again...was it Buttercup? Annie, it does not really matter, what matters now are those songs and that voice. As for more requests, there is a song that I hope you would get to sing once more. Remember “What’s New.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful when our time comes, for you to welcome us with those lines: “What’s new?/ How is the world treating you?/You haven’t changed a bit/Lovely as ever I must admit.” As for your request not to talk about you when you are gone, that is one wish we cannot honor. Long before you have converted a small corner in Heaven into a jazz bar, we will still be talking about your music, the most elegant, rhythmic heartbreaks and joys you gifted us. ■

‘Onanay’ to air heart-warming finale this Friday WITH a roller-coaster of emotions, toprating GMA prime-time series Onanay is set to air its heart-tugging finale tomorrow night, March 15. Some of the lead stars shared their unforgettable experiences and expressed their gratitude to everyone who supported the show which brought laughter and tears to viewers, and managed to pull off a victory in the ratings game. Mikee Quintos, who plays the affable Maila, shared her sentiments as she reminisced the moments she had with the entire crew: “Magkahalong saya at lungkot ang nararamdaman ko dahil mamimiss ko silang lahat. But I’m really thankful. It was a long run, ang dami kong na-build na bagong friendships, and I’m just truly grateful for the whole experience of portraying Maila.” Mikee also added that she learned


a lot from her costars, most especially from Superstar Nora Aunor and Cherie Gil: “Always be professional, trust yourself na kaya mong pumasok sa eksena dahil kapag nag-doubt ka sa sarili


mo, doon ka hindi makakapagtrabaho. Working with them, napansin ko na ang galing nila mag-relate with other people in the scene. Kung sino ’yung kaeksena nila, madadala ka talaga.”

Kate Valdez, who plays her sister Natalie in the show, promised viewers they will be on the edge of their seats for the last few episodes. “Marami pa po tayong aabangan. Aside from Onay’s love life, dapat nilang abangan kung ano ba ang mangyayari kay Helena [Cherie Gil], ano pa ba ’yung mga gagawin niya lalo na sa pagkawala ko sa kanya,” she shared. “Sobrang dami pa pong mga pasabog na hindi dapat palampasin.” Meanwhile, Jo Berry, who breathed life to the well-loved character of Onay, said that she feels extremely grateful for the opportunity given to her, “Super blessed po and kumbaga hindi ko pa rin macompose ’yung right words para masabi kung gaano ako ka-thankful sa opportunity and sa chance na binigay sa akin ng GMA to portray Onay. Napakadami ko pong natutunan sa teleserye na ’to.” Jo further shared the challenges she

underwent and how she got through them with the help of her costar, Cherie Gil, and director Gina Alajar. “’Yung scene namin sa pool, sobrang touched talaga ako kina Ms. Cherie at Direk Gina kasi takot talaga ako ’nun at kinakabahan. So, tahimik ako dahil talagang naapektuhan ako ng scene, nanginginig ako tapos ’yung alalay nila sa akin ibang klase. Sabi nga nila na ganon talaga as an actress, dadating tayo sa point na ’yung mga kinatatakutan nating mga bagay, kailangan nating gawin—at kinaya ko naman po.” For Kate, it was Gina Alajar who guided her most throughout the show. “Kaya Nanay Gina ’yung tawag namin sa kanya kasi nararamdaman namin ’yung care niya sa amin as actors. Hindi ka matatakot na magtanong sa kanya and humingi ng advice. Sobrang sarap sa feeling na makatrabaho si Nanay Gina, at isa talaga siya sa tumatak sa puso’t isip ko.”

Envoys&Expats BusinessMirror | Thursday, March 14, 2019 E1


Preserving public health paramount for Davao-based expat-environmentalist


By Henrylito D. Tacio | Contributor

UT of 100 million-plus Filipinos, about 9 million rely on unimproved, unsafe and unsustainable water sources, [while] 19 million lack access to improved sanitation…” This very alarming situation is culled from the web site, which explained: “Families without a safe water source in or near their homes often spend significant time and energy collecting water. Those without a sanitary toilet facility face a number of unattractive choices— including venturing out at night, or suffering the embarrassment of asking to use the toilet of a neighbor.” If that’s not disconcerting, here’s another scenario: According to the National Sewerage and Septage Management Program (NSSMP), Filipinos who have toilets “do not have septic tanks; many…have open bottoms. Most [of them] are not regularly dislodged, and the septage removed is not treated and disposed of properly.” The result: Health problems, or even death.  Without access to improved sanitation, children and their families are at much greater risk of contracting waterborne diseases, which kill 55 people each day, the NSSMP deplored. “Proper sanitation has always been the most effective tool to pre-

serve public health,” pointed out Sean Ligtvoet, a Dutch national who works as project officer at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Office in Davao City. “That’s why I feel privileged to be able to improve the sanitary status in areas where it’s most needed.” Ligtvoet is referring to the Profitable Sanitation Facility (PSF) project, a collaborative effort of the regional DOST office and the HELP (Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy)-Davao Network, composed of volunteer organizations and individuals based in Davao City.

Preventing environmental pollution

PSF is an undertaking where the urban poor of Davao City can go to a clean toilet and shower, as well as get top-quality drinking water provided by the Davao City Water District (DCWD). The wastewater is treated by an integrated Helophytefiler system to prevent environmental pollution. More importantly, the community where the PSF is located can

earn an income by taking care of the facility. But that’s going ahead of the story. According to Ligtvoet, PSFs are currently being implemented under the Public Sanitation and Hygiene Upgrading Program (PUSHUP), a joint venture between the regional DOST office and the DCWD.  “It’s a public comfort room with five toilets, designed for a capacity of 200 users a day,” Ligtvoet explained. “The wastewater goes to a septic tank below the facility. After staying there for four to five days, the wastewater is pumped up and discharged on a 12-square-meter helophyte-filter system.” The effluent—liquid waste or sewage—from the filter system is discharged to the nearest surface body of water, since the parameters conform with B-class effluent standards stated in the Administrative Order issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on water-quality guidelines and general effluents. The water for flushing and cleaning comes from the DCWD. The method the PSF uses is called vertical helophyte-filter system (VHFS), which is derived from the vertical flow-constructed wetlands. “This is well known in the Netherlands, where the government endorses the technology to any establishment [unattached] to the communal sewerage system,” Ligtvoet said. “The VHFS is a low-cost and nature-based wastewater-treatment system, which uses a sand filter [with multiple layers of filter substrate] and reed plants [called helophytes] to treat grey and black wastewater,” the

Dutch national further explained. “The system is very low-priced to install, needs relatively less maintenance, has no consumables and is easy to understand. In fact, all of the needed components are available in the Philippines.” The VHFS reportedly passes the standards set by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the environmental department. “It lasts for at least 20 to 25 years,” he said.

Community involvement

THE first project started in October 2017. “As of now we have implemented three units, and the fourth one will be constructed in March for a Badjao village in barangay 76-A,” he explained. Through a memorandum of agreement or memorandum of understanding, the barangay is responsible for maintenance and operation of the facility. To use such, the users pay a small fee. From the income, the barangay pays for the utilities, while a small salary is designated for the person maintaining and cleaning the facility. “It’s the barangay itself which decides what time it opens, but [ideally], from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m.,” Ligtvoet elaborated. The Dutch environmentalist said that PSFs are constructed in barangays that have problems with proper sanitation. “But the DCWD targets those areas where they receive complaints from barangays or other government agencies,” he informed. In doing those projects, Ligtvoet had learned some lessons. “Sometimes, it’s easy to involve the community and, in some cases, it’s not,”

he shared. “The first project in 76-A was a great success as the comfort room is still super clean a year after, and the barangay is actually making a profit out of it to financially support other projects. There is even a television now in the waiting area.” It’s a different case in other barangays. “The people there are much poorer, and the water supply has many and long interruptions,” according to him. “As a result, the project is a bit of a headache and needs more attention.” Ligtvoet is very much worried with other barangays, which have no PSF. “The primary tool to preserve the public health,” he reiterated, “is, and always will be, proper sanitation. Since proper sanitation was established in Europe, less and less children died every year. At that time, Escherichia coli-related diseases were most common.” With the situation today, he urged, “Take a closer look at the informal settlements [or squatter areas] in Davao City. You don’t need to be an expert to understand that this situation is just waiting for a huge epidemic to break out.” But the situation changed a bit since he came to the Philippines in September 2012. “I’ve done case studies about flood-risk reduction in Manila, but knew nothing about Davao or the Filipino culture,” he admits. “However, I fell in love with the Philippines a few months after my arrival and, since last year, I’ve been a permanent resident [of this country].”

Better alternatives

LIGTVOET is an engineer and stud-

ied water management at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. “My initial approach was to do something about the flooding,” he said. “But after a week, I was sure that the issues regarding improper wastewater management was way more severe.” When he started working in the country in 2012, most Filipinos didn’t understand him, and there was less attention for proper wastewater management. “However, after [thenEnvironment Secretary] Gina Lopez and now, the President himself, it became a hot item, and you see lots of things happening.” “I feel blessed to be part of this greener movement, and I’m proud of the Philippine government [now] that [it finally sees and admits] the growing issues regarding improper wastewater management,” he added.  However, Ligtvoet also believes that it’s not easy for private entities to comply with the high standards set by EMB. “The private wastewater-treatment consultants and companies are asking way too much money for their systems, which should be way less expensive,” he told this author. “The VHFS is a good alternative, because it’s very affordable to construct and needs very little maintenance.” He now lives in Davao City with his Filipina wife. “I come from Rotterdam, which is in many ways the exact opposite of Davao City,” he expounded. “I like the spatial planning in Rotterdam more, but I’m always inspired by the kindness and hospitality of the Filipinos.” Continued on E2

Envoys& BusinessMirror

E2 Thursday, March 14, 2019


DFA chief urges stronger global attention to address impact of climate-related disasters


EW YORK—Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. underscored the reality of climate change and the imminent prospect of ecological collapse due to global climate inaction in his intervention at the recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Open Debate under the theme: “Addressing the Impacts of ClimateRelated Disasters on International Peace and Security.” Locsin highlighted that the devastating effects of climate change are suffered most severely in vulnerable countries like the Philippines, and detailed the national economic and social stress that have been brought about by global warming, powerful storms and rising sea levels. While the Philippines emits less

than half of 1 percent of global emissions, the country has put itself firmly on the path of lowcarbon development, according to the DFA chief. He also reaffirmed the Philippines’s commitment to the strengthened Asean Humanitarian Assistance cooperation, corresponding to the One Asean,

FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. (right) called for better risk assessment and mitigation strategies on climate-related disasters at the UN Security Council Open Debate.

LOCSIN (right) lauded the initiative of Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas to convene a high-level discussion on the climate-security nexus.

One Response Approach; Sendai Framework for Disaster-Risk Reduction; and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Underlining shared responsibility and common fate, Locsin said, “If all mankind cannot have this planet on the same terms; no part of mankind should.” He then went on to suggest

participated in the meeting, including foreign, environment and other ministers of Kuwait, Belgium, Indonesia, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Hungary, Maldives, Haiti, Canada, Fiji, Nicaragua, Somalia and the Philippines. At the sidelines of the event,

that the Security Council considers the climate-change challenge as its “first, foremost and last security concern.” The Dominican Republic’s Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas chaired the UNSC Open Debate on the climate-security nexus. At least 83 council—and other member-states

Locsin also had a bilateral meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi. The two officials reaffirmed their countries’ respective commitments in addressing the impacts of climate-related disasters at the bilateral, regional and international fora. DFA

PHL engages in intl efforts to strengthen environmental protection


AIROBI—The Philippines underlined its commitment to protect the environment at the first substantive session of the Ad-Hoc Open-Ended Working Group with the theme: “Toward the Global Pact for Environment [GPE]” at the United Nations office in Nairobi. Head of the Philippine Delegation and Ambassador to Kenya Uriel Norman R. Garibay reiterated the country’s position that there already exists an integrative framework for bringing the global

community’s work on the environment. He was referring to the 2030 Agenda on the Sustainable Development Goals, which bring together the social, economic and environmental spheres to support human development in a sustainable manner. The ambassador underlined that the main concern is the delivery of commitments, anchored on the principle of “Common, but Differentiated Responsibilities.” He also thanked UN SecretaryGeneral António Guterres for his

AMBASSADOR to Kenya Uriel Norman R. Garibay underscored the Philippines’s commitment to the environment. ENB.IISD.ORG

report on the “Gaps in International Environmental Law and Environment-Related Instruments.” Garibay nevertheless assured that the Philippines would meet the constructive engagement in the GPE process as he stated that the process cannot be rushed, and that the same should be transparent and consultative. He also emphasized that the engagement of the Philippines in the process is with the understanding that there will be no renegotiations of already agreed principles

and commitments, no disruption or distraction from the continuing implementation of existing international environment agreements, and no dilution or backtracking of existing internationally commitments on the protection of environment. The other members of the Philippine delegation to the session included Minister Leila C. LoraSantos of the Philippine Mission to the UN in New York and May Ofrasio of the Philippine Embassy in Nairobi.


Preserving public health paramount for Davao-based expat-environmentalist Continued from E1

On Manila, Ligtvoet intimated: “I’m actually not such a big fan of Manila, because I get quite intimidated by the amount of people and the traffic. I strongly believe that they should stop investing so much [there] and start decentralizing as soon as possible.” He offered some unsolicited, yet sensible pieces of advice: “Start building an airport somewhere else and move the major port to Batangas. Also, all government agencies should have their national offices outside of this highly urbanized area. Only then can the proper measures be taken to rehabilitate the area.” He also said that he’d rather work for P40,000 a month in Davao than be salaried for P400,000 a month in Metro Manila. “In Davao, there is still space and possibilities for a small player to become big, but in Manila, it’s already a rat race. I really want things to be done as quickly as possible, and in Davao, it’s still quite easy to move around.”

Blessed to be in PHL

WHEN asked about food, he replied: “I used to be a cook in an Italian restaurant to finance my studies in the Netherlands. As such, I know more than average about different food and flavors. I’m really fascinated by Filipino cuisine, and when I cooked adobo in the Netherlands, many of my friends kept on insisting that I cook that meal.” “However, my favorite [viands] are Bicol Express and kinilaw. No other country makes better barbecue than the Philippines. The right amount of sweet and saltiness really compliments the fine taste of the meat,” he related. Ligtvoet met his beautiful wife Tedz in 2012, when he was in discussion with some findings with another Dutch intern. “Since that time, we have always been together, but had to deal with a long-distance relationship for quite

THE Dutch environmentalist shows President Duterte the scale model of the Profitable Sanitation Facility.

some time. In the end, it all worked out fine.” They were married in February last year. “She works home-based for an American company, where she hires virtual assistants and does very well doing that,” the proud husband said. The Dutch describes his wife as “very sweet and highly intelligent.” He added, “She helps me with many cultural misunderstandings, which I encounter during my work in the communities. She has a very Western way of thinking, and that creates a good bridge to understand the differences in mindsets between the Dutch and the Filipinos.” He admitted that he actually never planned to stay long in the Philippines. “But every time I plan to leave, more great opportunities came my way,” he explained.  Ligtvoet considers his boss, DOST Regional Director

Dr. Anthony C. Sales, as “a great leader.” According to the expat-environmentalist: “I feel very blessed working for him. He is by far the most intelligent person I know, and gives me lots of space and guidance to improve the technology. I’ve never felt the urge to leave, and will be happy to work with him for many more years.” Although Dutch by birth, he already considers himself part-Filipino. “I live more by the day,” he shared. “I don’t really make future plans, but try to go with the flow as much as possible. This has given me lots of happiness so far, and I did things that I [never thought] was possible a few years ago. Life is one huge learning process, and you should embrace it as it is. Try not to lead it so much, because you never know what tomorrow brings.”

&Expats | Thursday, March 14, 2019 E3


Japan inks projects for water infra, agricultural training

Biz leaders enhance PHLHungary economic relations

HUNGARIAN Watertechnology Corp. Chief Executive Officer Adrian Kiss (second from right) toured Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. (center) on the grounds of his company’s headquarters. BUDAPEST PE

INTERNATIONAL Labor Organization Country Director Khalid Hassan (from left), Food and Agriculture Organization Representative Jose Luis Fernandez, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Koji Haneda and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito G. Galvez at the signing and exchanging of notes for FAO’s project on agricultural vocational training.


MBASSADOR of Japan to the Philippines Koji Haneda led the signing and exchanging of notes with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative Jose Luis Fernandez and International Labor Organization (ILO) Country Director Khalid Hassan on March 6 for two projects in the Bangsamoro Region, witnessed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito G. Galvez. FAO’s project, which amounts to $1.765 million, aims to assist farmers and fisherfolks, includ-

ing former combatants, women and indigenous peoples in acquiring various agricultural vocation-

al expertise. The new knowledge and skills are earmarked to help them efficiently operate farms, gain employment or set up their own businesses. On the other hand, the ILO intervention has a total budget of approximately $2.66 million. It envisions developing water infrastructure that will benefit an estimated 11,814 households. At least 1,800 workers from the target communities will be employed to help build the watersupply facilities. Both projects are deemed to provide sustainable livelihood and build healthier communities, which are key milestones to achieve peace and development in Mindanao. These two undertakings form part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development, or J-BIRD, which empower people and communi-

ties to benefit from the dividends of peace. Japan, from 2006 to date, has provided a total of about P13 billion, or $260 million, worth of assistance to the Bangsamoro region. Two weeks prior, two exchanges of notes were signed in Japan for nonproject grant assistance, to provide underground water detection and well-drilling machines for deployment in the Bangsamoro region worth ¥560 million, as well as the urgent rehabilitation of socioeconomic infrastructure, particularly the rebuilding of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority training center in Marawi City, which cost ¥1.8 billion. The Japanese Embassy believes that all these endeavors will strengthen the momentum for peace and optimum development in the island-region of Mindanao. Embassy of Japan


Intl summit advances rights, representation of Filipinas


UDAPEST—Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. met with officials of the Hungarian Watertechnology Corporation (HWTC) in Erd, Hungary, on February 14 and looked into possible synergies between Philippine and Hungarian companies in enhancing economic relations and exploring new avenues for cooperation. HWTC Chief Executive Officer Adrian Kiss welcomed Locsin to the company headquarters and presented the possible areas for cooperation between their countries’ businesses. Accompanying Locsin at HWTC was retired ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., who is also a consultant for Ayala Corporation—one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines involved in real estate, water management, renewable energy and infrastructure. HWTC officials have previously visited the Philippines to personally see Laguna de Bay and discuss possible projects with the Laguna Lake Development Authority. They have also offered support to the Philippine government through possible cooperation with the National Disaster

Risk Reduction and Management Council to improve the government’s capabilities to utilize state-of-theart water technology in times of calamities. Locsin conveyed the appreciation of the Philippines for Hungary’s donation of a water-treatment facility, which is still in operation today, to the people of Eastern Samar after the destruction caused by Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name: Haiyan) in 2013. The DFA Chief also welcomed the European country’s further assistance that can help Filipinos, whose lives were affected by natural and man-made disasters, including families in Marawi City, which was destroyed by terrorist activity in 2017. The secretary also invited Hungary to look into applying its expertise toward the rehabilitation of Lake Lanao. He was shown the various types of compact water-treatment units of HWTC during his visit, as well as the activities in different countries of Hungarian companies Rafako and Animative through their respective officials. DFA

Unctad’s Women’s Day event features economic empowerment


ARKING the annual Women’s Month celebration and kicking off a series of events, SPARK! and the Office of the Vice President, in partnership with the embassies of Austria and Sweden, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the University of the Philippines-Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (UPCWGS) brought together powerful women and their allies in the fight for empowerment and gender equality on March 8 at the SM AuraSamsung Hall. Participants raised the level of discourse on women’s rights in this year’s International Women’s Day Summit 2019, carrying the theme: “Advancing the Rights and Representation of Filipino Women.” The summit highlighted key issues with three panel discussions: “Toward a World Without Violence: Ending Violence Against Women [VAW],” “Breaking Barriers: Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment” and “Magnifying Women’s Voices and Participation: Creating an Equal World.” A call to challenge barriers hindering their collective progress, the confab provided a platform to collectively reflect on remarkable achievements made toward women empowerment and gender equality despite persistent discrimination in communities

DEPUTY Permanent Representative Maria Teresa T. Almojuela (left) underscored the important role of women in the Philippine economy, especially in the micro, small and medium enterprises sector, at the International Women’s Day event of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva, Switzerland. GENEVA PM

G SUMMIT luminaries, which included Ambassador Harald Fries of Sweden (seated, second from left), Vice President Ma. Leonor G. Robredo and Ambassador Bita Rasoulian of Austria (seated, fourth and fifth from left, respectively).

and workplaces. It also offered an opportunity to discuss innovative solutions to enhance men’s meaningful engagements to achieve gender equality. Ambassador Harald Fries of Sweden opened the summit, and welcomed Vice President Ma. Leonor G. Robredo afterward for

her keynote speech on behalf of all partners. Ambassador Bita Rasoulian of Austria joined the third panel with Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel as they focused on women empowerment in male-dominated fields. UNFPA Country Representative Iori Kato rounded up the discus-

sions with his closing remarks. Other notable panelists included Empower’s Kat Alano for the discussion on VAW, as well as Dr. Nathalie Africa-Verceles of the UPCWGS and Filipina designer Zarah Juan for the discussion on women’s economic empowerment. Embassy of Sweden

ENEVA—The Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, represented by Deputy Permanent Representative Maria Teresa Almojuela, joined in the celebration of International’s Women Day by serving as a high-level panelist at the “Dress Up for Sustainable Labels” event organized by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) at the Palais des Nations on March 7. The event featured multinational panel members who discussed the promotion of sustainable labels, followed by a fashion show that presented designs from African international trends market Afrodyssée. In her remarks, Almojuela emphasized on the critical role of women’s participation and empowerment in the Philippine economy, as well as the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector, where the majority of registered Philippine business establishments are female-led. The Philippine deputy permanent representative to the UN highlighted the focused support being provided by the government to women entrepreneurs,

underpinned by a robust national policy framework on women economic empowerment in the Philippines. On sustainability standards, Almojuela pointed out that the vast majority of Philippine MSMEs are microenterprises, which makes it very important for the government to establish an enabling environment to assist enterprises in securing sustainability certifications and realizing long-term gains as part of the programs to support them in accessing international markets and global value chains. She cited the ongoing collaboration with Unctad on fostering “green” exports, particularly in helping Filipino farmers and entrepreneurs gain organic certification for virgin coconut oil products. Unctad is undertaking a wide range of technical-cooperation projects, assisting small-scale producers in developing countries, such as the Philippines, meet the rapidly growing global consumer demand for sustainable products, considered as growth drivers in trade and ensuring benefits for all stakeholders. DFA


Health&Fitness March 14-20, 2019



UMMER is fast approaching, and what better way to get kids to reduce their “screen time” and go out and be active than by getting them into sports?

Balesin Island Club, in partnership with San Miguel Corporation (SMC), is offering up a worthwhile and memorable summer vacation for kids and the whole family with its first-ever Summer Sports Camp from April 1 to June 28, 2019. An all-star roster of expert coaches and instructors will teach basketball, tennis, baseball and soccer to kids aged eight to 18 years old. Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) legends Vince Hizon, Alvin Patrimonio, Johnny Abarrientos and Willie Miller, plus Jr. NBA Coach Louie Gonzalez will man the basketball camp, while the tennis camp will be led by national team coaches PJ Tierro, Niño Alcantara, Roland Kraut, Karl Santamaria and Dennis Sta. Cruz. National Mustang and Bronco coaches Eric Gesmundo and JhoelPalanog, along with the 2018 University Athletic Association of the Philippines’ (UAAP) Most Valuable Player and star pitcher Kiko Gesmundo, and Justin Zialcita will teach baseball. Meanwhile, soccer camp instructors will include former Davao Aguilas Football Club Head Coach Melchor Anzures, and former national team players Loy Fuentebella, “Mr. Football” Elmer Bedia and LA Bedia. Under camp director and international professional tennis registry Coach Marty Ilagan, these coaches will use modern and scientific approaches to athletics, and incorporate character-forming lessons in their programs to help kids become champions in sports and in life. “Balesin offers this perfect vacation for the family and, at the same time, keeps the kids active through sports and learning from the best national coaches,” said Ilagan. The SMC, one of the Philippines’s major conglomerates, owns the country’s largest and most diversified food company, San Miguel Food and Beverage Inc., and will provide the sports camp participants with household favorites, such as

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Purefoods breakfast staples and snacks, Magnolia Free Range fresh chicken, fresh brown eggs, fresh milk, fruit drinks and Magnolia ice cream to beat the heat. For an even more fun-filled week, kids can also enjoy other sports activities on the island such as archery, wall climbing, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, paddleboarding, and beach volleyball. While kids learn and hone skills in their preferred sports, parents get to experience the ultimate medi-spa experience with a complimentary Day of Total Wellness Package for two (worth P25,000 per person) at Aegle Wellness Center, the premier integrative health and wellness center in the Philippines. Headed by Medical Director Dr. Benedict Valdecañas and Associate Medical Director Dr. Ruby Magpantay, both pioneers in the integrative medicine field, Aegle is designed to provide holistic and sustainable health solutions. The facility offers clinical and therapeutic services, such as comprehensive blood-chemistry workups, physician and nutritionist consultations, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, intravenous therapy and thalassotherapy (offered exclusively at Aegle Balesin). Massage treatments are also included in the Day of Total Wellness Package. In addition to the kids’ sports training and activities, the Sports Camp package includes a five-day/four-night stay in one of Balesin Island Club’s well-appointed villas, and includes roundtrip airfare to and from Balesin, as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire stay for four people. Balesin is a world in itself with seven villages authentically patterned after the most alluring vacation destinations in the world—Mykonos (Greece), St. Tropez (France), Costa del Sol (Spain), Toscana (Italy), Bali (Indonesia), Phuket (Thailand) and Balesin (Philippines). Interested parties may register at to avail themselves of the all-inclusive package rate of P160,000 + VAT—a whopping 50 percent off from the package inclusions’ standard price of P320,000 + VAT. The San Miguel Balesin Summer Sports Camps is also sponsored by Under Armour Southeast Asia, Wilson, Tri-

Factor, and Blackbox Audio Systems. For inquiries and registration, visit or contact Marty Ilagan at (+63)917-566-2453 and e-mail, or Luisa Banta at (+63)917-597-9651, and email balesinsportscamp@alphaland.


is published and distributed free every Thursday by the Philippine Business Daily Mirror Publishing Inc. as a project of the BusinessMirror. Publisher T. Anthony C. Cabangon Editor in Chief Lourdes M. Fernandez Editor Eleanor A. Leyco-Chua Group Creative Director Eduardo A. Davad Layout Artist Ma. Lorena R. Galang Online Editor Ruben M. Cruz Jr. VP-Advertising Sales Marvin Nisperos Estigoy Account Managers Cez C. Cabiles Jane R. Nacional Circulation Manager Rolly Manangan Contributors Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco Henrylito Tacio Nazarene A. Leyco Tin Majadillas Aimee Lagman Froilan Gregory H. Romualdez III Cesar M. Cruz Jr. Contributing Photographer Iking Dalusong Advertising Sales Telephone Nos: 814-0134 loc 123 Fax No. 814-0134 loc. 124, 817-7055 Advertising Sales Cellphone Nos: 0917.9442818, 0917.4424472, 0917.8616088, 0918.9090970 817-9467 (Editorial); 813-7025 (Fax line); 817-5351, 817-1351 (Advertising Sales); 893-1662 (Circulation),



Story & photos by Henrylito D. Tacio


OR every 100,000 Filipinos, some 189 people are afflicted with cancer while four die of cancer every hour. That’s according to a study conducted by the Institute of Human Genetics of the University of the Philippines.

Based on recent data released by the Department of Health and the Philippine Cancer Society Inc., nine Filipinos are diagnosed with cancer every hour. The good news is: President Duterte recently signed Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act. The new law pursues to implement a national framework to fight cancer. A few days after the president enacted the law, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) released the finding of a study, which said that a certain species of seaweed thriving in the country’s water may have anticancer benefits. “Researchers from the University of Santo Tomas found that polysaccharides extracted from Co-

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dium species, locally known as pukpuklo [a seasonally available seaweed], are effective against cancer cells and destructive enzymes associated with cancer metastasis,” said a press statement released by the DOST. The researchers, headed by Dr. Ross Dizon Vasquez, evaluated the inhibitory potential of the polysaccharide fractions isolated from Codium species. They found that “the seaweed fights destructive enzymes that aid metastasis or spread of cancer to different parts of the body.” Polysaccharides are carbohydrates such as starch, cellulose, or glycogen whose molecules consist of a number of sugar molecules bonded together. These kinds of carbohydrates are used by the body in storing energy,

sending cellular messages or for providing support to cells and tissues. The Codium species used in the study were collected in Ilocos Norte, Aklan, Iloilo, and Cagayan province.  Pukpuklo, a favorite Ilokano dish, is known as a good source of dietary fiber, amino acids, and minerals. However, little is known about its medicinal value, and further studies have yet to be conducted to explore its use in the field of medicine. Last year, the medical research was also on the limelight when Dr. Annabelle V. Briones shared her study showing the possibility of carrageenan as a valuable agent in gene delivery/therapy. Carrageenan is an indigestible carbohydrate extracted from edible seaweeds.  In her study, Dr. Briones used those extracted from red seaweeds (particularly the Eucheuma variety). Gene therapy is a method of introducing new genetic material (DNA) into the diseased cells of an individual with the intention of producing therapeutic benefits for the patient. This kind of therapy has been around for decades, but scientists have seen little success with

this technology because gene transfer is a very delicate and complicated process. In her study, Dr. Briones found that carrageenan, specifically the iota type, may be used as a potential gene delivery vehicle when it was tested as a “coating” material for DNA in cultured cells (in vitro). According to her, the coating made from the iota carrageenan was able to protect the DNA as it remains stable and viable during the gene transfer process. She added that the iota carrageenan has the highest transfection efficiency compared to the other two types of carrageenan, the kappa and the lambda.  The iota carrageenan has the “best release capability” of the DNA material into the target cells, said Dr. Briones, who was given an Achievement Award (Chemical Sciences Division) by the National Research Council of the Philippines in 2016. Seaweeds are marine plants that grow abundantly in shallow reef flats and in lagoons with a water depth of less than 2 meters at high tide. They differ from plants because they lack the stems, leaves, roots and vascular systems that are common in higher plants.

Technically, seaweeds are “multicellular” forms of algae and are classified into three main divisions: brown algae, red algae and green algae. Brown algae, commonly called “kelp,” are the largest variety. Pacific species can reach 65 meters in length and have structures that superficially resemble leaves and stems. On the other hand, red algae are composed of several species, including the Irish moss. They are abundant in clear tropical waters.  Meanwhile, green algae—which are sometimes called “sea lettuce”—are commonly seen at low tide, along rocky shores in northern seas. In the Philippines, some 390 species have been identified as having economic value as food, animal feeds, fertilizers, diet supplement, medicines and raw materials for industrial products. At least 60 Philippine varieties are reportedly edible, including gulamang dagat, gamet, pocpoclo, culot, lato, guso, barls-barls, bulaklak bato and balbalolang. Some of these varieties can be processed into jams, jellies, candies, pickles, baby’s food and gulaman bars. The food value of seaweeds varies in different species. Average chemical analyses of 46 species of marine algae in the Philippines show that the crude protein content (percentage of dry weight) is 7.44, 6.40 and 9.29 for the green, brown and red seaweeds,

respectively. This is about two to three times the protein content of common green leafy vegetables, which is 3.27-percent dry weight. Four species—Halimada, Hypnea, Sargassum, and Asparagopsis— have been used as feed or fodder for livestock. Species of Cladophora, Enteromorpha, Chaetomorpha, and Gracilaria are used to supplement or substitute for fish food for cultured herbivorous fish. Seaweeds have also some medicinal values. They are used to treat or prevent goiter, glandular troubles, stomach disorders, intestinal and bladder difficulties, unusually profuse menstrual flow, high blood pressure and high plasma-cholesterol level. Gracilaria species are used lo-

cally as pain relievers and ointments. Commercially, seaweeds are valued for their colloids or gluey substance, particularly agar, carrageenan and algin. Both agar and carrageenan are extracted from red seaweeds, while algin is extracted from brown seaweeds. Agar, which derived its name from the Malay word for seaweed, agaragar, is used in making jellied desserts, as stabilizer in pie fillings, piping gels, icings, cookies, cream shells, and as thickening and gelling agent in poultry, fish and meat canning. In the medical and pharmaceutical industries, agar serves as a laxative, suspending agent for barium sulfate in radiology, ingredient for slow-release capsules and in supposi-

tories and surgical lubricants, and as a disintegrating agent in tablets. It is also used as impression materials to make accurate casts in prosthetic dentistry, criminology and tool manufacturing. Carrageenan, on the other hand, is used in making ointments, as a stabilizing agent in frozen dairy products, as emulsifying agent in water-insoluble drugs and herbicides, and as texturing agent in toothpaste and powder. The Philippines is the world’s top carrageenan exporter. Algin or alginic acid, meanwhile, is used as another stabilizing agent for several food products, as a sizing agent in paper manufacture, and as thickening agent in print pastes and painting coatings. 



WO days after the inauguration of the BGen Benito N. Ebuen Air Base Hospital, the whole medical team of the said hospital partnered with the SM Foundation to conduct a mission in nearby Barangay Pajo and other neighboring barangays Marigondon, Gun-ob, Basak, Engaño, Ibo, Canjulao, Poblacion and Babag. Maj. Mares Cecile T. Lapada, MC OIC of the hospital and head of the medical mission, said, “It is time for the men and women of the BGen Ebuen Hospital to work as a team to prove to everyone that the hospital can answer calls for medical assistance. With the kindness of the SM Foundation, we commit our unwavering dedication to duty to help the distressed.” As of press time, hundreds availed themselves of medical consultations, dental services, blood chemistry and ECG. Medical volunteers from the local government unit of Lapu-Lapu also assisted in the endeavor. SM provid-

ed free medicines for the patients, including vitamins for children and seniors. Camp Ebuen staff also served nutritious arroz caldo to all those awaiting consultation.

Health&Fitness March 14-20, 2019 5



OME of us are still feeling the hangover of the most romantic month of the year. February reminds us to celebrate love in the grandest way possible to show our crush, our “more than” friend, our partner or the love of our lives that they take up the biggest space in our hearts. A dozen beautiful, freshly picked roses, the most mouthwatering imported chocolates, a romantic candlelight dinner on the rooftop overlooking the sparkling lights of the city—the list can go on and on how we express our sincerest feelings of love. But, on the other hand, there are some that don’t look forward to the Valentine season. Those who have experienced falling out of love, a bad breakup, betrayal, loss of their loved one and even those who have not met their perfect partner, dread this time of year where they sometimes feel the loneliness the most.

So where do broken hearts go?

n Understand your emotions.Why exactly do you feel sad? Or do you feel afraid? Afraid of being alone? Regret of losing that person? Or regret of wasting all those years with the wrong person? Is that why you feel angry? These are some questions you need to reflect on. Be honest and face them. Again, this will also be painful because you will expose your deepest fears and anxieties. But when you understand your emotions, you become stronger.

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few. Studies have shown that emotional stress can manifest itself physically and cause actual cardio-related problems. So take care of yourself. Exercise more. They say the best payback from a previous relationship is looking better than the way you looked when you were with them. Also, eat healthier food like leaner meats, whole grains, fiber, vitamin-rich vegetables and fruits.

Queen of hearts

n Take better care of your heart. Literally. Stress can take a toll on the heart. Maybe you too have also experienced this at one time or another—your chest tightens, you experience shortness of breath, your heartbeat quickens or you feel pain in your chest. There is some truth to the phrases connected to love or loss of love for that matter, like “brokenhearted,” “problems of the heart” and “heartache” just to name a


WHEN it comes to love and relationships, there really are no hard and fast rules to follow. Tons of books have been written to give advice on finding love, making relationships work, dealing with breakups and improving yourself in being the “Mr. or Ms. Right” for someone. We have all been touched by heartfelt lyrics from thousands of songs expressing the joy and pain of finding the “one” and breaking apart. But the truth remains. Being in a relationship is hard. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. However, I’m sure that dealing with heartaches is even tougher. Dealing with a broken heart is said to be one of the most painful experiences we can have in this life. It is like a typhoon of negative emotions that blows you around and leaves you in pieces in the af-

termath. You feel like crying on your pillow or looking far away out of your window while it is raining. Or you feel like posting your angry thoughts and rants on Twitter and deleting your “couples” photo album on Facebook. Then you feel like calling your ex, trying to say sorry, blaming everything on yourself, and this continues in a vicious cycle. The best thing you can do for your heart at this moment is to take care of it. Emotionally and physically.

SPEAKING of fruits, you might want to take a closer look at their queen: the mangosteen. It’s like the fruit was created with your heart in mind. Amidst the other nutritional benefits like youthful-looking skin, cancer prevention, treatment for stomach disorder and acne, energy boosts and more, this fruit also helps your heart in several ways. n It has antioxidants. Mangosteen contains a class of naturally occurring polyphenol compounds known as xanthones that are an excellent remedy against various heart diseases. Xanthones are also known to heal cells damaged by free radicals, slow the aging process, ward off degenerative diseases, and help prevent physical and mental deterioration. n It improves blood flow. Nutrients from mangosteen help promote red blood cells, protect against anemia and improve the dilation of blood vessels for better blood flow. This alleviates chest pains, high cholesterol, heart congestion and protects against the hardening of the arteries. n It improves blood pressure. Rich in minerals such as copper, manganese, magnesium and potassium that improves blood pressure, mangosteen provides protection against strokes and coronary heart diseases.

n There’s more! Mangosteen’s nutritional value cannot be overstated. It is a rich source of carbohydrates for energy and fibers for better digestion and weight loss. It also has high contents of vitamins A and C, as well as iron and calcium. Oh, did I forget that mangosteen is also very low in calories? But here’s the thing. Mangosteen is a seasonal fruit and mostly grown in Mindanao. So in the summer, it’s easy and affordable to get your hands on it at your favorite fruit stand or in the supermarket. But during its off season, you might have a harder time finding it.

Don’t lose heart

YOU can get all the nutritional benefits of mangosteen in food supplements like Nutrawell Mangosteen, available in 500-mg capsules. The newest addition to Generika Drugstore’s exclusive line of Nutrawell Food Supplements,Nutrawell Mangosteen is 500-mg capsule is one of the most affordable mangosteen supplements in the market, and you can conveniently find them in more than 800 Generika Drugstore branches nationwide at any time of the year. Now there is nothing wrong if you prefer eating the fresh, meltsin-your-mouth fruit. By all means. We all do. But if you want to enrich your daily diet with the nutritional benefits of mangosteen without the inconvenience of searching for it, especially during off season,Nutrawell Mangosteen 500mg capsule might be your best bet.

Health is heartfelt

YOU should love your heart all year around. Protect it, strengthen it and nurture it. When you can love yourself, you can love others even better. And it all begins from the heart.



F you are looking for a clinic that can address all your skin and aesthetics concerns, this is the place to go to, and it is located in Bonifacio Global City (BGC).

Powered by advanced aesthetic devices and manned by expert professionals, Avignon Laser Dermatology exceeds the quality and services that can be expected from similar aesthetic centers. What makes Avignon Laser Dermatology stand out is that patients do not need to pay as much for the same results. “We want to help our patients to be more confident with themselves. Avignon is their ally in reaching their goals,” said Benedict Sy, Avignon’s general manager. “We want to be instrumental to their success as women and men of Avignon.” Instead of having to go abroad to avail yourself of better and modern treatments, Sy said Avignon brings these services closer to home “where we can all enjoy it and make it more reachable to everyone.” Unlike most clinics, which use curtains as doors and collapsible light materials as dividers, Avignon has private rooms with solid doors and walls. Patients can enjoy full privacy and security while they freely discuss their aesthetic concerns with doctors who can provide them expert advice. “The modern French minimalist interior makes the clinic Instagram-worthy without sacrificing the aseptic environment of the clinic,” Sy related. “The clinic is another manifestation where beauty and science are merged without compromising each other. It’s a relaxing place where you can recharge and unplug from it all.” Avignon Laser Dermatology is strategically nestled in the affluent corner of BGC. The place is so exclusive that patients can feel the serenity and tranquility that patients did not know BGC, can offer. Another plus for customers is that Avignon offers free parking at the groundfloor level of Fort Victoria, just at the back of the clinic. “Parking is scarce in BGC, and if ever you find one, it might not be close to your destination, not to mention that it can be expensive,” Sy said. “We offer convenience to our customers so that they can enjoy the signature services that we have to offer.” One of Avignon’s signature services is the Thermage TLC Max, a treatment to tighten, lift and contour sagging and fatigue-worn skin. Unique to Avignon Laser Dermatology, the doctors have combined different techniques and technologies to achieve maximum results in non-invasive face lifting. Avignon TLC Max was perfected by their board-certified experts over the years and is guaranteed to make you look five years younger in 40 minutes. “There is no down time, and this is literally a lunch time procedure, which can be completed in under an hour,” related Dr. Ma. Angela Tomacruz-Cumagun, Avignon’s medical director. “The results are immediately visible, and it gets better over time. The best part of it is that you only need to do it once a year.” Another Avignon signature service is the MesoBioLift Skin Reset. Avignon’s signature facial helps the skin recover its elasticity by accelerating collagen production and triggering cell regeneration. Skin Reset also relaxes facial muscles and stimulates blood circulation. The Skin Reset device is made in Spain, and we are very proud to be one of the first two clinics to offer this specialized treatment. Avignon’s third signature service is the Clear Acne


and Scar Treatment or CAST. It makes use of a combined approach to treat different types of acne and acne scars at different stages. It targets and reduces acne scars by using different types of lasers and customizing the program to meet the patient’s need. “Our personalized approach allows the dermatologist and the patient to journey together towards renewed confidence as quickly as possible,”’ said Dr. Reg Llorin, Medical Operations and Consulting Physician. Avignon’s other services include Pore and Line Laser (PLL), which uses Clear + Brilliant, a Solta Medical laser made in the US; The Up-

graded Exilis Elite, which is FDA-approved for cellulite reduction; and the new Revlite SI laser treatment for acne scars and melasma. Mediostar Monolith from Germany is used for hair removal with brightening. Finally, patients can choose from a wide array of medical facials including silk peel dermal infusion. Avignon Laser Dermatology is located at 101 Ground Floor, Fort Victoria, 4th Avenue and 23rd Street, BGC, Taguig. For more information about Avignon Laser Dermatology, follow their Instagram @avignonclinic or visit You can also keep in touch by calling 09176368732.

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By Eleanor Leyco-Chua


UMMER is almost here, and everyone is looking for a quick but memorable getaway. With our long lists of commitments, appointments and to-dos, most of us cannot afford to spend for air fares or for long travel time. But who doesn’t dream of a fantastic staycation away from the hustle and bustle of the city even for a couple of days? Nestled at the heart of Antipolo City, adventure seekers or those who want to experience a romantic escape will find Luljetta’s Place Garden Suites suitable for a nice nature trip. Or, if you are planning to get the “yes” of your girlfriend, the amazing nature as your backdrop will surely make it happen.

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Known for its picturesque view of the mountain, its carefully planned landscape and design, the Luljetta’s Place Garden Suites leads the list of the most visited and most recognized resorts in the district. Perfect for a simple relaxation business stay and a simple and fast getaway, this “secret” garden is an hours drive away from Manila. The romantic ambience of the Luljetta’s Place Garden Suites is something

that cannot be missed. As soon as you enter the property, romance is like the air that lingers in the whole Luljetta’s Place Garden Suites. The numerous big trees and hanging gardens that hover over the villas add more sweetness to the surroundings. The sounds of chirping birds and swaying trees make Luljetta’s Place Garden Suites more appealing to whoever visits this charming place. This exclusive resort promises a blissful relaxation, simple yet fulfilling fun and comfortable and secured accommodation. Also, the combination of nature and modern design makes this resort very welcoming to everyone who is looking for a serene environment, Luljetta’s will not only give you a delightful staycation but it will bring you closer to nature as it rekindles and ignites your romantic personality.

Meticulously and beautifully carved along Antipolo ridges, Luljetta’s Place Garden Suites offers the spectacular views of Laguna de Bay, Antipolo and Metro Manila. With its 24 rooms, some of which can accommodate four to eight persons, makes Luljetta’s good for family vacation. It also has several function rooms and a spacious gazebo-type events space, which is excellent for weddings or debuts. The Greek-inspired villa with its lap pool overlooking the greeneries of Antipolo is another attraction of this resort. You don’t have to go to the very expensive places just to have a glimpse of Greek-inspired structures. Luljetta’s Place-Hanging Gardens Spa and Garden Suites also offers a holistic approach on health and wellbeing, highlighted by its very relaxing ambiance brought by the lush greeneries

that surround the resort. It has different functional pools and spa that are strategically positioned to provide access to the different stunning views and soothing atmosphere. A good staycation can’t be complete without good food. It’s not a problem at Luljetta’s Garden Suites because its chef, Christian Sapida, together with the whole management of the resort, carefully designed its menu to satisfy the discriminating taste of its guests. Priced reasonably, each dish in the menu can be shared by two persons, but if you are someone with a big appetite, another order of a dish is better. More so, there is no need to go out of the resort if you are looking for entertainment, as there is an acoustic duo playing every weekend. And if you want to pamper yourself, the spa—with steam bath and a Jacuzzi, which can be used exclusively—is just a few steps away from the rooms. A big entertainment room where you can watch your favorite Netflix movies is also available in the resort. Established in 2013 by the matriarch of Loreland Reality & Development Corporation, the property is part of the 8-hectare resort in Antipolo—Loreland Farm Resort. However, as a gamer changer, the company developed the Luljetta’s Place-Hanging Gardens Spa and Garden Suites to cater to a broader range of market banking on the health and wellness offerings of the resort. Every spot in the resort is just right for unwinding or if you just want to soak in the beauty that you can find around you.

With the serene and exclusive feel of the resort, it is also best for other social functions, such as wedding, debut and all other personal and corporate occasions From the breathtaking views to its contemporary facilities and amenities, Luljetta’s Place-Hanging Gardens and Spa’s well-trained, skilled and knowledgeable staff are always ready to be of service to its clients. The company believes that their people is also one of the keys to their success. As part of a progressive district of Antipolo, Luljetta’s Place is constantly improving and evolving to cater to the needs of every traveler and to contribute to the tourism industry and to its community. The Luljetta’s Garden Suites is at Luljetta’s Place, Sitio Loreland, Barangay San Roque, Antipolo City.



VEN with no formal education on culinary or home cooking, it’s the hidden skills that they have in cooking in their households or in a small canteen (eatery/carinderia). This is what the Cuisine Exploresion Media Production Inc. (CEMPI) wants to give an attention to explore and use their talent in cooking to be beneficial economically or even socially. “Basically, Cuisine Exploresion is all about empowering home cooks, both socially and economically. Socially, by means of recognizing and rewarding their skills on our media platforms. Economically, by providing a free venue for them where they can sell their food specialties through our events. So, what we really have here is an advocacy and a community—an innovative playground exclusively for food and culinary industry where all its stakeholders from consumers, culinary institutions, to brands can have a holistic and dynamic engagement,” Gerald Balane, managing partner of CEMPI, said.

One of the main goals of Cuisine Exploresion is also elevate the quality and the skills of the “Bida Ng Kusina” (BNK) to create a sizeable market called “Food Network” because it is mainly the habit of most Filipinos—to eat. CEMPI acknowledges the partnership with ALC Media Group (Print)—the BusinessMirror, Pilipino Mirror, Philippines Graphic, COOK Magazine and Health&Fitness because of its support and trust to their advocacy and vision as the first media partners. “Our lofty yet achievable goal is to make the world our kitchen in a Food Network meeting ‘Airbnb’ fashion. We know that it is doable with the right technology in placed and having our assumptions proved and tested. We are now just polishing our execution and establishing the right partners for the development of the platform. And we are so grateful to the ALC Media Group for being one of the first partners to believe and support our advocacy and vision,” added Balane. Aside from BNK, Cuisine Ex-

ALC Media Group (Print) and Cuisine Exploresion Media Production Inc. (CEMPI) seal a partnership for an advocacy program to acknowledge the skills of the home cooks to be “Bida Ng Kusina.” From left: Marlon Aldenese, advertising sales manager, COOK Magazine; Kristi Rose Eltagon, managing partner, CEMPI; Gerald Balane, managing partner, CEMPI; Marvin Nisperos Esitgoy, VP-group advertising sales, ALC Media Group; Dennis Guevarra, advertising sales manager, Philippines Graphic ; and Cris Galit, advertising sales manager, Pilipino Mirror.

ploresion also has two more projects in line called “Learn to Cook,” a program for kids, and “FoodUP Challenge,” for the chefs and culinary institutions. “Aside from Bida Ng Kusina, we

will also be rolling out two more initiatives this year, the Learn to Cook program for kids and the FoodUP Challenge for chefs and culinary institutions. So please, watch out!” Balane said.

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THE SM Store VP Operations and CSR Head Ma. Cecilia Abreu together with the kids supervised by Parañaque Development Foundation Inc., during the ceremonial turnover of donations recently held at Parañaque City.

CHILDREN from the Eugenia Ravasco Day Care Center in Parañaque City were some of the recipients of The SM Store’s Share-A-Toy campaign. Present during the ceremonial turnover were Eugenia Ravasco Day Care Center President Sister Adriana Yepes, Student Teacher Sister Geisa Beyuma,

DAY-CARE pupils from Eugenia Ravasco Day Care Center

Program Manager Lenny Galleta and The SM Store VP Operations and CSR Head Ma. Cecilia Abreu.

were excited to open their new toys from The SM Store.


HE SM Store recently brought smiles and joys to thousands of kids around the country as they received new bundles of toys— educational board games, plush toys, play sets and novelty items—from the Share-A-Toy campaign.

In this joint project of The SM Store and Toy Kingdom, booths were set up in all The SM Store and Toy Kingdom branches nationwide where shoppers had the chance to donate new and preloved toys for the benefit of the lessfortunate children. Big hearted and generous shoppers donated 53,139 toys at all The SM Store and Toy Kingdom branches nationwide. Each donation entitled the customer to a P50 discount coupon, which can

be redeemed for every minimum P500 single-receipt purchase of regular-priced toys at any branch of The SM Store and Toy Kingdom. Coupons are valid until December 31, 2019. These toys were donated to thousands of less-fortunate children from various schools, orphanages, local hospitals and churches. Among these were the Eugenia Ravasco Day Care Center and kids supervised by the Parañaque Development Foundation Inc. (PDFI).

CHILDREN from Eugenia Ravasco Day Care Center happily received their gifts filled with toys from The SM Store.

Less-fortunate kids all over the country received toys from the campaign, as these were distributed in the Camp Aquino Station Hospital, Cabanatuan City Day Care Center and Marilao Central School in North Luzon; and the Likha Molino IV Elementary School, Felicidad Sy Pediatric Ward and Lipa Archdiocesan Social Action Commission Inc. in South Luzon. These also brought joys to the VisMin area through the Life Care Community Services Foundation Inc. and Jeepney Bata Children Ministry in the Visayas and Communal Elementary School and Northern Mindanao Medical in Mindanao. Share-a-Toy is one of the ways The SM Store and its customers team up to share blessings to the less fortunate. Other upcoming 2019 store based projects include Donate-A-Book and Give the Gift of Wellness.



UMMER brings lazy days at the beach, hiking trips and gives everyone the opportunity to exercise outdoors. Whether you’re an athlete keeping fit by running or simply soaking up the sun, it’s important to know how to stay hydrated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 6,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for heat-related illnesses related

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to sports and exercise from 2001 to 2009. Dehydration is one reason for these visits, and it’s preventable by making sure fluids are readily available to drink. Many people are surprised to learn that milk—including chocolate milk— can help you hydrate after exercise, plus low-fat chocolate milk has the right protein to carb ratio to help you recover after a tough workout. In fact, drinking low-fat or whole milk after exercise

could restore and maintain hydration better than other popular post-exercise beverages, including water, according to one study. Researchers suggest it’s due to milk’s electrolyte content and energy density. When you think about how to stay hydrated this summer, reach for a glass of fresh Holly’s milk. It is one of the original hydration beverages—fresh and available in over 50 supermarket outlets.



ORMER US Navy Seals, together with hundreds of our country’s armed forces, police and civilian volunteers, paid tribute to our World War II heroes in a 160 kilometers “Freedom Trail” from KM Zero in Mariveles, Bataan, to Capas, Tarlac.

Freedom Trail is an annual event organized by the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB), in partnership with the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), and the Provincial Government of Bataan. The event honors the sacrifice and bravery of Filipino and American World War II heroes and survivors. Participants trail the 160-kilometer route that spans three provinces for 42 hours. Veterans Bank’s Freedom Trail traces the actual route of the Bataan Death March from KM Zero Mariveles in Bataan, to San Fernando Pampanga, up to Capas in Tarlac. The Freedom Trail kicks off the 77th year commemoration of the Bataan Death March. “Freedom Trail is our way of remembering our World War II veterans’ bravery and heroism during the war, particularly the Battle for Bataan. They were abandoned and yet against all odds held on and defend-

ed the country for three months, unlike our Southeast Asian neighbors. That’s why their captors let them go through what is now known as the ‘Bataan Death March.’ Let the Freedom Trail be a tribute to these brave heroes.” said Mike Villa-Real, head of Veterans Bank’s Marketing Communications Division. The Death March, considered as one of the darkest days in Philippine History, is the forcible transfer of 60,000 to 80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war (POW) from Saysain Point, Bagac, Bataan and

Mariveles to Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac. The prisoners were loaded onto box cars in San Fernando, Pampanga. The transfer began on April 9, 1942, and left thousands dead and seriously wounded after enduring torture under the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army. The Death March route stretches from Mariveles in Bataan to Capas, Tarlac via San Fernando, Pampanga. The total distance covered was from 96 to 112 kms. This year’s commemoration activities also includes “Ride for Valor,”

a competitive bike tour to be held on March 10 from Kilometer Zero in Bataan to Capas, Tarlac; and the Bataan Freedom Run that will be held on April 14, 2019. Bike and running enthusiasts are invited to register for the events. Proceeds from the activities will be used for the restoration and maintenance of historical markers along the route of the Bataan Death March. To register and find out more, visit the Facebook pages of the Bataan Freedom Run and the Veterans Bank Freedom Trail.

Health&Fitness March 14-20, 2019 11




NGOING measles vaccination drive in Makati City has been expanded to include children in Kinder to Grade 6 in the target age group, as part of intensified efforts to prevent the spread of measles in the community.

Makati Mayor Abigail Binay said an estimated 46,858 children in the said age group may receive their vaccines at their respective schools, during house-to-house visits done by MHD health personnel, or at their barangay health centers, whichever can be done first. “The measles vaccine has been around for decades and has been proven safe and effective. I am appealing to everyone to place your children’s health and safety first. Have them vaccinated, and tell your friends and family to have their kids vaccinated, too. This is the only way we can rebuild ‘herd immunity’ and keep infectious diseases like measles down,” the mayor appealed. The MHD extended the intensive campaign until March 31 on the mayor’s orders. To date, Makati City has 38 reported measles cases, mostly from Barangays East Rembo and Pembo. Barangays Rizal and Palanan are closely being monitored for possible clustering of measles cases.

“Since measles cases peak during the hot summer months, we expect the numbers to rise if we do not act swiftly. Parents and guardians must set their biases aside and have their children vaccinated against measles for their protection,” Binay added. The mayor said the MHD has mobilized all its personnel, including barangay health workers, to assist in the anti-measles vaccination drive. “They are knocking on doors and going house-to-house to ensure the safety and protection of our children,” she said. The mayor noted that even though Makati has one of the lowest number of recorded measles cases in Metro Manila, children are still susceptible to measles infection because of low herd immunity. This can only be remedied by increasing the number of vaccinated children everywhere. The vaccines can be received from health workers going house-to-house simultaneously in the barangays; daily at all barangay health centers;

and from all public schools in the city. The Palanan 24/7 health center has also been opened as a fixed post for round-the-clock vaccination. The MHD has also tapped the assistance of the Ospital ng Makati (OsMak) to vaccinate all patients within the vulnerable age group who are admitted or come in for a consultation.  Binay said residents can also have their children vaccinated during scheduled Lingkod Bayan Caravans in their respective barangays. On February 13, the MHD began its house-to-house immunization campaign targeting infants and children aged six months to 59 months old (5 years old). The outbreak response immunization drive aimed to cover 32,889 children from all barangays. This age group was prioritized because they are the most vulnerable to measles infection. Most deaths from measles also happen within this age range.  MHD Chief Dr. Bernard Sese said children six to eight months old are being given the measles rubella vaccine, while children nine months old and up are given the mumps, measles, rubella (MMR) vaccine. Apart from first-time recipients, Sese clarified that the campaign also covers children who have already been vaccinated for measles, provided at least one month has elapsed. Children who currently have cough, colds or fever cannot receive the vaccine.

The MHD chief reminded parents to be observant and to bring their children to the nearest health center or clinic should they show symptoms of measles infection. He explained that measles is a highly contagious illness. He said that for every reported case of measles, 12 to 18 individuals could be infected. This is why children within a 100-meter radius of an infected patient should be vaccinated. Sese also appealed to Makati residents to report all measles cases to the MHD for proper monitoring. He added that measles patients from Makati who may need to be admitted to a hospital will be referred to San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, or the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa. These facilities have isolation rooms for communicable diseases. According to the Department of Health (DOH), more than 70 patients, mostly children, have died from the measles virus. From January 1 to February 18, 2019, there were over 2,594 reported cases of measles in the National Capital Region alone. The highest concentration of measles cases is in Quezon City with 654 cases, followed by Manila with 514 and Caloocan City with 295 reported cases. Measles symptoms include fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, skin rash and small white spots, commonly found inside the mouth and the inner cheek.

MMDA lauds anti-smoking campaign of Mandaluyong City


HE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has lauded the Mandaluyong City Government for its continuous efforts to strictly implement and enforce its anti-smoking ordinance. City Ordinance 671, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Smoke-Free Ordinance of the City of Mandaluyong,” was enacted and approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Mandaluyong on July 17, 2017. It aims to regulate the use, sale, distribution, and advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products within the territorial

12 Health&Fitness March 14-20, 2019

jurisdiction of Mandaluyong. MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said the agency recognizes the efforts of Mandaluyong in promoting better health, and to reduce the prevalence of smoking-related diseases. “I would like to express my warmest congratulations to the local government of Mandaluyong for its relentless efforts in the implementation and enforcement of a 100 percent smoke-free policy,” Lim said. In a three-day Smoke-Free Environment Policies Training of Man-

daluyong barangay captains and enforcers held last month in Balanga City, Bataan, Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita “Menchie” Abalos shared their struggles and efforts to snuff out smoking in their city. The city’s Smoke-Free Task Force (SFTF), together with the MMDA, has been rigorously monitoring the selling of tobacco products in public establishments, especially near school premises. Mandaluyong SFTF is composed of police, city hall employees and barangay officials. Last year, a total of 6,283 smokers

were apprehended in public places while 292 store owners were caught for selling cigarettes near schools, according to Col. Roseller Sta. Maria, chief of Mandaluyong City Ordinance Enforcement Division. Meanwhile, Abalos disclosed that the city is aiming for another Red Orchid Award and hoping to reach the Hall of Fame distinction, just like Balanga City, Bataan. The MMDA believes that the Mandaluyong-LGU is eager to become a model smoke-free city not only in Metro Manila but in the whole Philippines. Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco



BY now, most of us probably know already the benefits of milk as it contains chock-full of vitamins, electrolytes and nutrients. And whether you want to light things up or just simply committing to healthier choices, consider rebooting your habits that includes drinking Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk—a delicious and creamy UHT Fresh Milk sourced from Germany’s biggest dairy farm where the purest and most premium milk is packed. Made from 100 percent pure cow’s milk, Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk contains 0.3 percent butterfat or the natural fatty constituent of cow’s milk. Aside from its high calcium, protein, vitamins and mineral contents, Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk’s unique ultra high treatment (UHT) process allows to preserve the milk’s quality and safety. Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk also possesses greater benefits for your health, that’s why making it a part of your active lifestyle will help you achieve your wellness goals.

REPAIR YOUR MUSCLES AND LOSE BODY FATS ADDING Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk in your daily regimen will aid in repairing your muscles after a strenuous exercise. Additionally, studies also suggest that consuming nonfat milk like Jolly Cow following a resistance exercise helps in promoting losses in body fat as compared with soy or sports drinks. Athletes and work out warriors won’t only find nourishment in Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk’s delicious taste, it’s also a great post-exercise rehydration aid. Along with a healthy lifestyle, Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk will help you get fit and recharged while ensuring you’ve got all the essential nutrients that our body needs daily.

PERFECT PARTNER FOR YOUR DAILY REGIMEN DON’T be confused with all the options that


OVER the weekend, adidas continued its commitment to championing girls and women in sport as it moves into the second phase of the She Breaks Barriers initiative. Launched in North America in December 2018, the initiative was born from the belief that through sport, we have the power to change lives. She Breaks Barriers is Adidas’s commitment to removing barriers standing between girls and sport. It is a series of initiatives to inspire and enable the next generation of female athletes, creators and leaders. The initiative has three areas of focus—to provide better access to sport for women and girls, remove gender stereotypes, and to address inequality experienced by female athletes at all levels and ages. The latest brand film brings together a lead-

are available around, choosing guilt-free milk should be deliciously simple. Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk is ready-to-drink and is an ideal breakfast companion for cereals, oatmeal, or an ingredient for a variety of recipes for baking or cooking. And since Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk is sourced from one of the world’s strictest European quality controlled sources, each drop is guaranteed richer, creamier and tastier, that’s why it also makes the perfect partner for coffee and smoothies.

Available in 1-liter size, Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk has a variety of usage and essential nutrients, so there’s no reason you should run out of Jolly Cow Non Fat Milk in your pantry! Jolly Cow is exclusively distributed by Fly Ace Corp. in the Philippines. It is available in three variants—Fresh Milk, Non-Fat Milk and Chocolate Milk. Jolly Cow is available in all leading groceries and supermarkets nationwide. For more information about Jolly Cow, visit www.

ing roster of athletes and creators to raise awareness of the lack of visibility of female athletes in media coverage and help drive change. Women in sport are lack visibility—research shows that only 4 percent of sports media coverage in the US is dedicated to women’s sport— Adidas is tackling this problem head on by pursuing equality and representation in the media. The film features Becky Sauerbrunn (USWNT, Defender Utah Royals), Keni Harrison (World Record Holder, 100 m hurdles), Maria Taylor (Analyst, Host and Reporter for ESPN), Layshia Clarendon (WNBA Point Guard, Connecticut Sun) and Rahaf Khatib (Marathon runner, Six Star Finisher), following a group of young athletes as they seek out female sports in the media, find their power and call their shot. “We believe she needs to see strong female role models to inspire her to pursue her dreams.

As part of our continued efforts to increase visibility for women and girls in sport, we have committed to ensuring that we will have equal gender representation across our owned social channels. This is the first step in changing how we will approach content creation in the future,” said Nicole Vollebregt, SVP of Global Purpose for Adidas. In the Philippines, women continue to break barriers in sports. For the first time in Asian Games history, the gender ratio of Filipino athletes sent last year was 50-50. Out of the 18 medals the Philippines took home, 12 were won by female athletes— showing the world how sports gives them the power to change lives. For more information visit and join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram via @adidas and @adidasWomen.

Health&Fitness March 14-20, 2019 13


TAKE PLEASURE IN LAS CASAS’ FOOD MARVELS THIS MARCH LAS CASAS is ready to create buzz and excite you with an array of food selections for the whole month of March. Welcome the month of March by spoiling yourselves with delectable meals made more remarkable by the scenic views of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Located at the heart of Bagac, Bataan, let this heritage resort be your next gastronomic adventure. Exclusive for Café Marivent at Casa New Manila, start a fun-filled day by indulging on Chicken Roulade Stuffed with Garlic longganisa for only P388 net. For fish lovers, Cusina ni Nanay Maria’s Pan Fried Red Snapper Fillet with Sweet Tamarind Tomato is a no-miss. Available at Casa Unisan, try this Las Casas signature dish for PHP 488 net. Meanwhile, cup off a tiring night a la Italiano with Pizza Gamberini in La Bella Teodora at Casa Biñan. For only P488 net, get a taste of pizza heaven best paired with house wines. Starting March 16, savor the diverse taste of Filipino culture with the heritage resort’s featured delicacies through an activity titled, “Flavors of Las Casas.” Inspired

by the Spanish empanada, this month’s featured Ilocos Empanada is a deep fried snack with longganisa, papaya, mung beans, eggs, and its signature orange rice flour base. Satisfy your Ilocano cravings at Casa Luna every weekends from 2 to 8 p.m.

Offering native favorites, Casa Biñan treats guests with Puto Biñan, Suman Latik, and Mini Buko Pie. Eat your way through the whole month of March with our irresistable food selections. For more information, call 332.5286, 332.5338, or visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is located at the heart of Bagac, Bataan. It is the only Philippine destination that showcases the best of Filipino heritage and culture through the colorful stories as retold by Jose “Jerry” Acuzar’s collection of restored Spanish-Filipino houses. From the majestic architectural design to heartwarming revival of traditions, Las Casas is a complete package to a one-of-a-kind travel to the past. All these unique initiatives of Jose Acuzar in line with his mission to bring Filipino heritage to greater heights has caught the attention of the international scene by being the only Philippine property to be a part of the Condé Nast Johansens Luxury Global Collection and Historic Hotels Worldwide. This heritage resort is also the Asia Awards of Excellence winner for Asia’s most excellent destination for 2017 and is a project of the New San Jose Builders Inc.


LADIES TAKE THE SPOTLIGHT AT CRIMSON HOTEL MARCH is National Women’s Month Celebration. Crimson Hotel Filinvest City, Manila, honors fearless women with its #BOSSBABE campaign. Ladies who rise up to challenges and take on the world are offered with special dining treats. An art exhibition will also happen to highlight the colorful world of women. For the whole month of March, the Café Eight restaurant treats all its female guests with a 50-percent discount on lunch and dinner buffet. The Women Who Dine special buffet promotion lets the ladies seize the day with powerful

14 Health&Fitness March 14-20, 2019

gastronomy for as low as P737++ per person (discounted rate of P1,470++). Showcasing the society of female artists who exude talent and confidence, the United Women Artists Association of the Philippines (UWAAP), in partnership with Crimson Hotel Filinvest City will hold an art exhibit in commemoration of the Women's Month. The FilipinArt Exhibit will run from March 8 to 22, 2019 at the hotel’s gallery. For more information, please call 863-2222 or e-mail

FOR many Filipino families, our wooden furniture at home mean more than just household necessities, as we associate them to longevity and sentimental values. Do you still remember the hearty conversations shared at your family’s wooden dining table? We bet you still keep your lolo and lola’s precious cabinet at home. Don’t you want these wooden furniture—and the many special moments associated with them—to be part of your lasting memories? If your answer is “yes,” you can protect and preserve your prized wooden furniture by using Jardine Distribution Inc.’s (JDI) Woodshine Furniture Polish by Solignum. Woodshine protects wooden benches, tables, chairs, desks and cabinets from dirt, smudges and light surface scratches, allowing these to remain as fine and delicate as the day you acquired them. Bearing the heritage of Superbrand—recognized timber expert Solignum—Woodshine is a furniture polish that is formulated to preserve the natural beauty of your furniture.

It is a special liquid emulsion with a wax-based formula that has antistatic property. This creates a natural barrier that repels dust particles and grime, prevents smudges and light scratches, and even removes coffee and water stains. Unlike other brands in the market, Woodshine has no strong and irritating odor—just a pleasant, mild lemon scent. Woodshine can be applied on all varnished, laminated and treated wooden furniture like chairs, tables and cabinets. It can also be used on other common surfaces like leather, vinyl and stainless tabletops. Since Woodshine has no antitermite property, JDI recommends the use of Solignum wood preservative before painting and finishing to protect the timber from the infestation of termites, wood borers, and fungi. Available in 150mL and 330mL aerosol cans, Woodshine can be purchased at Rustan’s Supermarket, Marketplace, Shopwise, Robinsons Builders and Wilcon Depot stores nationwide. For more information, visit www.


STEAK NIGHT SPECIALS AT MAKATI DIAMOND RESIDENCES THIS March, Makati Diamond Residences invites you to Steak Night Specials at Alfred. This month–long promotion features unlimited servings of steamship beef, complimented with green peppercorn sauce, red wine sauce or sauce Lyonnaise, and with Pommery or Dijon mustard and horseradish on the side. Start your hearty dinner with a salad, including Waldorf Salad, Potato and red beet salad, or chopped salad. Make your own pasta and choose from basil pesto or truffle mushroom cream sauce to perk up your dining experience. The Steak Night Specials promo is offered at ₱1,500 net

per person, and is available from Mondays through Fridays from March 4 to March 29, 2019, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Alfred. To reserve, call Alfred at (02) 317-0999 local 1114 or e-mail dine@makatidiamond. com. Visit for other hotel offers. Makati Diamond Residences is at 118 Legazpi Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City 1229. For more information, call +63 2 317 0999, e-mail or visit Check facebook. com/MakatiDiamondResidences or follow @ makatidiamondresidences on Instagram for more updates.


WINFORD Manila Resort and Casino (WMRC) celebrates music and friendship this March with a special show featuring HARANA on March 30, 2019, at the Hippodrome Bar & Lounge. As part of the Saturday Special concert series, the stage for this performance will be dedicated to Kundirana—one of the most renowned and celebrated music ministries and high-school singing groups in the Philippines. HARANA is an all-male singing group composed of Kundirana alumni from La Salle Greenhills. The group was formed in 2011after

a Kundirana reunion concert got the guys back together and rekindled their singing spirit. Since then, HARANA has performed in many events, bringing joy to audiences through their music and camaraderie. Admission is free for casino floor viewing for all WMRC members and guests who are 21 years old and above. For those who want a more intimate concert experience, VIP tickets are available for only P1,250 net per person. Each ticket includes a prime seat near the Hippodrome stage and is inclusive of food and drinks. Kundirana is known for developing successful professional singers and artists, including Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Randy Santiago, Rannie Raymundo, Dingdong Avanzado, Juan Miguel Salvador and Gian Magdangal of Philippine Idol, among many others. Visit for more information or call the hotline at +63 (2) 528-3600 for inquiries. Follow Winford Manila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates on special events and promotions.

3+1 TREAT FOR THE GRADUATES IT’S March Madness this month as Richmonde Hotel Iloilo rewards all graduates with a free buffet at The Granary in celebration of their academic accomplishment. It will be a delectable send-off as they march into the future! Revel in your graduate’s scholastic success as you savor the sumptuous selections of The Granary’s hearty breakfast buffet that comes complete with all-time favorite breakfast items, unlimited crispy bacon, an omelet station, assorted breads and pastries, fresh juices, coffee, hot tsokolate, and a whole lot more. If you prefer an evening affair to honor your graduate, you can delight in the lavish buffet spread of international dishes—from soups, salads, entrées and desserts, with carvings plus a la minute cooking and grilling—at the weekend dinner buffet. Whichever buffet you choose, graduates eat for

free if accompanied by three guests paying the full buffet price of P675 net for breakfast buffet and P950 net for weekend dinner buffet. This 3+1 treat is available from March 8 to 30, 2019. Breakfast buffet is served daily from 6 to 10 a.m., and the weekend dinner buffet is served Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (except March 24) from 6 to 10 p.m. For inquiries and reservations, call +6333 328-7888. Prior reservations required and proof of graduation must be presented to avail yourselves of the free buffet. This offer is not valid for settlements using gift certificates. Richmonde Hotel Iloilo is at Megaworld Boulevard corner Enterprise Road, Iloilo Business Park, Mandurriao, Iloilo City. For the latest promotions, follow us on Facebook @RichmondeHotelIloilo and Instagram @richmonde.rhi.

Health&Fitness March 14-20, 2019 15

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