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A broader look at today’s business n

Saturday, November 10, 2018 Vol. 14 No. 31



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When robots ring the bell

ONE of Robo Global’s collaborative robots recently rang the closing bell while surrounded by company executives in a celebratory moment at the New York Stock Exchange. Robotics and automation are increasingly viewed as a productivity tool, rather than a passing fad or a cool technology for geeks to gush over. THE NEW YORK TIMES

By Janet Morrissey | The New York Times News Service


HEN Robo Global’s team recently gathered at the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its robotics index and exchange-traded fund, it marked the event in true robotic fashion: A robot, propped on a table, reached out its arm and rang the closing bell as 15 company executives applauded wildly next to it.

This clever, eye-catching gesture was aimed to show the world how easy—and increasingly common—it is for humans to work alongside robots. “It was symbolic,” said Travis Briggs, chief executive of Robo Global’s operations in the United States. “We’re in the first inning of this transition to automation and artificial intelligence [AI], and there is a massive amount of growth potential.”

Productivity booster

INDEED, robotics and automation are no longer viewed as a passing fad or a cool technology for geeks to gush over. Instead, more companies are turning to AI to boost

productivity and stay relevant in a fiercely competitive market. Experts call it the fourth industrial revolution and compare today’s robotics in the workplace to the early days of the Internet. At a recent conference hosted by Robo Global, experts showed photos and videos of robotic prototypes of all shapes and sizes: Robots that climb stairs and around corners to find an object and AIlaced pills that can retrieve foreign objects from a person’s stomach. They even included a video of a woman, with electrodes attached to her head, using thoughts to tell a robot where to place an object. “We’re starting to see robots and automated systems penetrate

every sector of the economy,” said Jeremie Capron, director of research at Robo Global. “The pace of change is really accelerating, so, yes, it’s a revolution.”

Labor threat?

ROBO Global, which researches, advises and invests in robotics, automation and AI companies, knows all about the sector’s growth. Since setting up its Robo Global Robotics & Automation Index ETF (Robo), which tracks more than 80 companies, the corporation reports that its assets have soared to $3.46 billion from $43 million its first year. Several other robotic ETFs, like iShares Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (IRBO) and Global

X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic ETF (BOTZ), have since been established to tap this growing sector. The phenomenon strikes both admiration and fear into a nervous American work force: A video by Boston Dynamics, showing human-looking robots running and jumping over blocks, drew more than 5 million views on YouTube in one week this fall. Yet, many Americans, who grew up watching science fiction and Terminator movies in which robots were the enemy, worry about robots stealing their jobs. “Terminator and those kinds of images have a significant impact Continued on A2

The day the typhoon came

CHILD SURVIVORS OF YOLANDA RELIVE TRAGIC PAST, 5 YEARS LATER By Estrella Torres | Special to the BusinessMirror


T 10, Rafael (not his real name) witnessed the death of his father who was hit by a collapsed wall following a flash flood during Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan). “I was scared and crying,” Rafael told Save the Children Philippines during an interview on the eve of the fifth-year commemoration of the ty-

phoon that stunned the world with its storm surges and images of devastation—all happening just as the United Nations was hosting a meet-


ing on climate change. Rafael knew then that they would both die if he tried to save his father. He swam through the ravaging waters overnight and fell asleep clinging to a log. “When I woke up it was a miracle because I was in another village and I saw some of my friends,” Rafael said in Filipino. He walked to an evacuation center and reunited with his mother and two siblings. The four cried together as Rafael broke the sad news of his father’s passing. Yolanda made landfall in Guian, Eastern Samar, on November 8, 2013, and caused massive Continued on A2

FAMILY-BENEFICIARY of the shelter program of Save the Children Philippines wherein families are provided with construction materials to build durable, storm-resistant homes. SAVE THE CHILDREN PHILIPPINES

n JAPAN O.4618 n UK 68.7466 n HK 6.7258 n CHINA 7.5909 n SINGAPORE 38.2772 n AUSTRALIA 38.1762 n EU 59.8039 n SAUDI ARABIA 14.0323

Source: BSP (November 9, 2018 )

News When robots ring the bell A2 Saturday, November 10, 2018

Continued from a1

on the way people perceive technology,” said Raffaello D’Andrea, professor of dynamic systems and control at ETH Zurich University, and a cofounder of Kiva Systems, a robotics company that was sold to Amazon. A recent report, “The Future of Jobs 2018,” by the World Economic Forum, forecasts that machines will perform more than half of all current workplace tasks by 2025, up from 29 percent today. It also predicts that 75 million jobs will be displaced by 2022, but that 133 million jobs will be created. Of the new jobs, 54 percent will require new skills. A McKinsey Global Institute report is gloomier, predicting that by 2030, as many as 800 million people worldwide may have been displaced by automation and will need to find new jobs.

Next-generation storekeepers

RETAIL giant Amazon was one of the earliest to embrace this technology, with its $775-million acquisition of Kiva—now called Amazon Robotics—in 2012. Amazon had been under pressure to deliver orders to its Amazon Prime customers within the promised 48-hour window without losing money, Capron said. Amazon immediately deployed 3,000 robots into its fulfillment centers. “We need advanced technology and automation to meet customer demand—it’s that simple,” said Tye Brady, chief technologist at Amazon Robotics. The robots wander up and down the aisles, bringing shelves of items directly to associates to package and ship, significantly slashing costs and shortening the time to process and deliver an order. Today, Amazon has more than 100,000 robots navigating 26 fulfillment centers around the world. “Amazon delivered more than

5 billion items under two business days in 2017 to their Prime program members, based on our research, including discussions with Amazon Robotics,” Capron said. All of this bolstered customer loyalty and demand, resulting in more orders, sales revenue and jobs. Brady said it was a myth that automation always destroys jobs. “Since the acquisition of Kiva, we’ve added 300,000 full-time jobs globally,” he said. “Last year alone, we added 130,000.”

Cheaper alternative

AS robots have become faster, smaller, cheaper and safer in recent years, more and more companies—large and small—have been seeking robotics to step up productivity, increase precision or cut costs, said Stuart Shepherd, regional sales director for Universal Robots USA and chairman of the Association for Advancing Automation. The average hourly cost of a manufacturing worker to an employer is $36 in the United States, while the hourly cost of a robot is $4, according to a recent Pew Research report. All Axls Machining, a business in Dallas, was struggling to find enough workers to operate its metal-fabrication equipment and to sand and inspect metal parts manually for the medical, aerospace, defense and industrial sectors. Without workers to run the machines and the assembly lines, production lagged. “After 5 p.m., we’d have a skeleton shift, with only half the machines running,” said Gary Kuzmin, the company’s owner. “It was costing me orders that I couldn’t get to my customers on time.” But then Kuzmin discovered Universal Robots, which makes collaborative robots, or cobots, which are small, affordable and designed to operate safely side by side with workers. They are easy to program


to do multiple tasks and allow the company to crank out parts around the clock. After introducing the robots, one job that was expected to take six months to complete was finished in less than half that time, Kuzmin said. “We saw a 60-percent profit increase on that job alone.” The company became so adept at programming the robots for different jobs that it formed an All Axls Robotics unit, which sells its especially programmed robots to other machine shops. Kuzmin said the increased productivity allowed him to hire—rather than fire—more workers, boosting his work force to 22 from 16. Early in 2017, another company, Zippertubing, of Chandler, Arizona, was having a tough time finding extra workers to help fulfill a big automotive order for its cable management products. “We had a lot of people who would come in, work for maybe a week, and then leave because they didn’t like the repetitive work environment,” said Tim Mead, operations manager at Zippertubing. It brought in Universal Robots’s cobots and immediately saw productivity surge. “It used to take three people to do all of the operations that the robot now does,” Mead said. The robots have also increased the company’s accuracy in spotting faulty manufactured parts. When operators look at thousands of parts a day, they sometimes become “snow-blind” to defects, Mead said. But that never happens to robots.

‘Automate or fail’

IN certain sectors—consumer electronics, automobile manufacturing and logistics—“we’re moving into an era where automation has really gone from a competitive advantage right now to absolutely necessary,” Briggs said. “Automate or fail.”

All of this has stoked fears, especially among Americans, that robots, automation and AI will throw millions of people onto the unemployment line. Some industry experts play down these concerns, saying that in any industrial revolution, jobs are lost and new ones created. “Fifty years ago, or even 15 years ago, who knew what an app developer was, or the amount of programming that we’d need,” Briggs said.

Possible casualties

OVER the next decade, the biggest job losses will most likely affect low-skilled workers performing repetitive tasks, like machine operators, assembly line workers, dishwashers, drivers and preparers of fast food. Certain white-collar areas, like data entry, accounting and payroll, will suffer as well. Demand, however, will probably surge for data analysts, software developers, web designers, IT experts, e-commerce specialists, health-care providers, entrepre-

neurs and social-media experts, according to the World Economic Forum report. Sectors that involve human skills, like sales, marketing, customer service, and even art and entertainment, will also be in high demand, the report said. While new jobs will offset losses, retraining and education will be critical. As many as 375 million workers globally will need to change job categories and learn new skills to survive the transition, according to the McKinsey Global Institute report. “The days are gone where somebody learns to do a task, and that’s what they do for the rest of their life,” D’Andrea said. How quickly and how deeply AI and robotics penetrate the job market will ultimately dictate how rapidly people need to be retrained. “History tells me that every prior technological revolution has resulted in more wealth and more jobs,” Capron said. “So it would have to be very different this time around for history not to repeat itself.”

End of human race?

BUT AI has its critics. Visionary billionaire Elon Musk has described it as humanity’s “biggest existential threat,” while the renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who died this year, predicted that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Musk is particularly concerned about the use of AI to develop autonomous lethal weapons that could select targets without human intervention—a development with potentially apocalyptic repercussions. Raffaella said AI was a long way off from being a real threat. He does believe, however, that regulations will be needed to safeguard its use in autonomous weapons. Briggs was less concerned. “I think Elon Musk is being overly dramatic,” he said, noting that he did not believe that AI should be regulated. “I think regulation is a slippery slope—it certainly stifles creativity.”

The day the typhoon came Continued from a1

deaths and devastation in 14 other provinces, including Tacloban. The government estimates that around 7,000 people had died and millions were displaced. Save the Children Philippines estimates that 1.5 million children were seriously affected by the storm, the strongest to hit the Philippines in recent history. The group reached out to more than 800,000 children and their families for relief and recovery by providing water, sanitation and hygiene kits. Save the Children Philippines also helped displaced families by training carpenters and giving them tools to build durable and storm-resistant homes. The enhanced skills also helped them with livelihood opportunities. “Our experience from Typhoon Haiyan taught us hard lessons that children face the greatest struggle to survive and recover in times of disasters,” said Atty. Albert Muyot, CEO of Save the Children Philippines, in a statement. The group aims to provide a lifeline to children at risk during disasters and emergencies. These include protection from diseases and starvation to potential exploitation and abuse, said Muyot. The group also set up ChildFriendly Spaces, a makeshift tent where children can play and learn as part of psychosocial healing. The Child-Friendly Spaces also protected children from physical and sexual violence, psychosocial distress and illegal child labor. Michael (not his real name) was only eight years old when the storm hit his town in Tacloban. He told Save the Children that he learned how to write while he was staying in one of the Child-Friendly Spaces. “My nightmares stopped when I started attending learning and play sessions inside the ChildFriendly Space,” he said during the interview. Save the Children also set up Temporary Learning Space (TLS), a makeshift classroom with teaching aids that allow school-age children to resume classes. Makeshift classrooms also helped most children to return to classes as many of them were forced in the interim, right after the disaster, to get involved in harsh and dangerous labor. To ensure the health of lactating mothers and their babies in times of disaster, Save the Children also trained health workers and mothers on reproductive health and breast-feeding. At least 33,000 mothers and

standard setting for all responders for community and village leaders, school personnel and rescuers.

Child sensitivity

A GIRL writes her own newspaper in one of Save the Children Philippines’s Child-Friendly Spaces. SAVE THE CHILDREN PHILIPPINES

children were screened for malnutrition and reached 14,000 children through the NGO’s supplementary feeding program. In the last three years, Save the Children Philippines has shifted assistance from relief and recovery to building resilience of child survivors and livelihood for parents in the typhoon-hit areas. The tragic experience in Yolanda propelled the passage of Republic Act 10821, or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act of 2016, which gives priority to protection of children before, during and after disasters and emergencies. The law created the Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children (CEPC) that mandates local officials to establish the following in their respective cities and provinces: • A Comprehensive Emergency Program to protect and safeguard children, and promotes human rights, ensures children have access to essential services for immediate recovery; • Heightened surveillance against child trafficking and other forms of violence and abuse against children in the aftermath of disasters and calamities; • Increased participation of children in disaster-risk reduction (DRR) planning and postdisaster needs assessment; • A system of restoring civil documents for children and their families to better access services and protection against the exploitation; • Less disruption of educational services with limited use of schools as evacuation centers and proper use of temporary learning spaces; • Improved care and process for family tracing and reunification for orphaned, unaccompanied and separated children; • Improved data collection and reporting related to affected children for better understanding of their needs; and • Child-centered training and

IN 2015 Save the Children Philippines implemented the Child Sensitivity Program (CSP) that addresses intergenerational poverty among Haiyan-affected families in Leyte. The program strengthened the child protection and welfare component of the government’s conditional cash transfer known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). In Ormoc, the group started the Child Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP) in January 2017 that links 4Ps cash-transfer programs to improving the livelihood of poor families in Haiyan-devastated provinces and building resilience of child survivors. The CSSP program covers psychosocial healing of Haiyan child survivors under ages 13-17 so they can be resilient and equipped in pursuing livelihood and employment. Hector Tuburan Jr., program manager of the group’s Eastern Visayas Program Office (EVPO), said child survivors of Yolanda are now mostly teenagers but still undergo psychosocial counseling to help them build confidence in school up to employment. The CSSP program has 24 sessions, including the sharing of “ups and downs” experiences among child survivors of Yolanda as part of psychosocial healing and efforts to build up the coping mechanism. Most of the child survivors relate “downs” to their tragic experience of losing loved ones, homes and properties during Yolanda. Tuburan said part of building resilience among child survivors is to assure them that despite the loss of loved ones, they still have one or two parents and siblings. Muyot led a team visit of Save the Children to Ormoc in Leyte province in early November to assess programs that empower child survivors to be resilient and secure their livelihood and employment opportunities. “Child survivors still cry when they recall their tragic experience losing loved ones and being displaced during Typhoon Haiyan,” said Muyot. “The Haiyan experience has left lifelong scars among children who survived. Healing takes time, but it’s possible, when we help improve their lives and secure a better future for them.”   Torres is head for media and communications of  Save the Children Philippines. | Editor: Angel R. Calso

The World

Vietnam and Cuba sign trade pact, pledge to deepen ties


A NOI , V ie t n a m —T he leaders of Vietnam and Cuba on Friday pledged to deepen relations between two of the world’s few remaining communist countries. President Nguyen Phu Trong and his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel witnessed the signing of trade and finance agreements after an hourlong talk behind closed doors in Hanoi. Speaking at a joint news conference, Trong, who is also the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party, said, “Vietnam and Cuba will continue close and comprehensive cooperation...and deepen exemplary fraternal relations.” Trong said he and the Cuban president discussed measures to deepen ties in defense, security and diplomacy, and enhance cooperation in agriculture, biotechnology, the pharmaceutical sector, medicine, education, science and people-to-people exchanges. Diaz-Canel said all the Cubans had great admiration for Vietnam’s struggles for independence and

that his and Trong’s visit to Cuba in March will contribute to strengthening the countries’ relations. “We also expressed our desire to continue to share experiences of building socialism in each country,” Diaz-Canel said. He thanked Vietnam for its support in efforts to lift the US economic embargo on the island country. Last week the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning the embargo on Cuba and rejected proposed US amendments strongly criticizing the lack of human rights in Cuba. The Cuban president is on a three-day visit to Vietnam as part of his first international tour since taking office in April. He has already visited Russia, North Korea and China and will visit Lao PDR after Vietnam. Diaz-Canel replaced Raul Castro in April in a historic changing of the guard in Cuba, becoming the first non-Castro head of state in the country since the revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959. AP

US ambassador says North Korea canceled Pompeo talks


N I T ED N AT IONS — US Ambassador Nikki Haley said on T hursday that North Korea canceled this week’s talks between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a senior North Korean official, but a meeting between the two nations’ leaders is still on for after January 1. “I don’t think there was some major issue” for the postponement, she said. “I have talked with the administration and basically what we’re looking at is they postponed it because they weren’t ready.” Pompeo was supposed to meet with Kim Yong Chol in New York on Thursday to discuss the North’s commitment to eliminating its nuclear weapons and arrangements for a second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “I do think the talks are going to be rescheduled,” Haley said of the Pompeo-Kim Yong Chol meeting. “And it doesn’t change the fact that that summit is still scheduled for the president and Kim to meet after the first of the year.” Haley spoke to reporters ahead of UN Security Council closed consultations called by Russia to discuss exemptions from UN sanctions on North Korea. “ We h ave g iven a lot of c a r rot s up u nt i l now,” she s a id , p oi nt i n g to t he K i m -Tr u mp su m m it i n Si ngapore a nd follo w - up me e t i n g s a s w e l l a s

stoppi ng m i l it a r y e xerc i ses. While there haven’t been any nuclear or ballistic missile tests by North Korea, Haley said its government hasn’t allowed inspectors into its nuclear and missile facilities. “We’re not going to get rid of the stick because they haven’t done anything to warrant getting rid of the sanctions yet,” she said. Haley accused Russia of trying to “earn brownie points with North Korea and I think they are also just trying to go ahead and talk about lifting sanctions because they’re already cheating.” She accused Russia of bringing in North Korean laborers and providing Pyongyang with refined petroleum, in violation of UN sanctions. And she added: “We know they’ve been doing some things with the financial aspect of it.” As she left the closed council meeting, Haley said humanitarian exemptions were discussed. She said earlier that the US goal is to make sure aid goes to people in need, not the regime, so it is investigating technical aspects of a number of requests to make sure aid is not rerouted. “So we’re going to take our time to do that,” she said. But Haley said Russia’s real aim came out at the end of the council consultations. AP


Saturday, November 10, 2018


US, China hold security talks amid trade tensions


ASHINGTON—Even as the United States and China butt heads over trade, their top diplomats and defense chiefs are meeting in Washington on Friday, looking to tamp down tensions on other issues that have put a chill on relations between the two world powers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis meet with their counterparts Yang Jiechi and Wei Fenghe at the State Department. The talks were due to be held in Beijing last month but were postponed after Washington announced new arms sales to Taiwan, and US and Chinese vessels came close to colliding in the South China Sea. Although the rescheduling of the US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue signals an effort

by the two sides to contain the slide in the relationship, it’s something of a placeholder ahead of a planned meeting at the end of the month between President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping at a Group of 20 summit in Argentina. That’s where the two leaders are likely to address the burgeoning trade dispute that’s already hurting constituencies in both nations and threatens to weigh on the wider global economy. Trump has

slapped tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products, in a push to narrow the US trade deficit and push back against what the US views as predatory Chinese tactics on the high technology industry. Beijing has retaliated with tariffs on $110 million worth of US goods. “We want this to be a constructive, results-orientated relationship with China,” US Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, told reporters on Thursday. “The United States is not trying to contain China, but we want fairness and reciprocity.” He described Friday’s meeting as a chance for a “frank and open” exchange of views on issues like North Korea, human rights, and cooperation on Afghanistan and Iran, where the US is pressing Beijing to cut oil imports. The US also seeks action from China on the export of a synthetic form of opioids called fentanyl that is a scourge of drug addiction in America. Branstad said they would also discuss “strategic security” and avoiding accidents between the

two militaries. The US Navy says a Chinese destroyer came close to the USS Decatur in late September in an “unsafe and unprofessional maneuver” near a disputed reef in the South China Sea, where Beijing has sweeping but disputed sovereignty claims. China clearly views Friday’s talks as a scene-setter for the upcoming meeting between Trump and Xi. Yang met Wednesday with US national security adviser John Bolton and urged that the two sides “manage differences properly” and look to make that summit a success, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported. “China is in damage control mode,” said Yun Sun, a China expert at the Stimson Center think tank, noting Beijing’s uncertainty about what exactly Trump wants out of trade deal but its hopes that with US mid-term elections out of the way the mercurial American president may be more inclined to reach a compromise. “Their top priority is to stabilize relations,” she said. AP

Wildfire devastates California town of Paradise


ARADISE, California—Tens of thousands of people fled a fast-moving wildfire on Thursday in Northern California, some clutching babies and pets as they abandoned vehicles and struck out on foot ahead of the flames that forced the evacuation of an entire town and destroyed hundreds of structures. “Pretty much the community of Paradise is destroyed, it’s that kind of devastation,” said Cal Fire Capt. Scott McLean late Thursday. “The wind that was predicted came and just wiped it out.” McLean estimated that a couple of thousand structures were destroyed in the town of 27,000 residents about 180 miles (290 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, where residents scrambled to flee. The extent of the injuries and specific damage count was not immediately known as officials could not access the dangerous area. Butte County CalFire Chief Darren Read said at a news conference that two firefighters and multiple residents were injured. As she fled, Gina Oviedo described a devastating scene in which flames engulfed homes, sparked explosions and toppled utility poles.

“Things started exploding,” Oviedo said. “People started getting out of their vehicles and running.” An Associated Press photographer saw dozens of businesses and homes leveled or in flames, including a liquor store and gas station. “It’s a very dangerous and very serious situation,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. “I’m driving through fire as we speak. We’re doing everything we can to get people out of the affected areas.” The blaze erupted as windy weather swept the state, creating extreme fire danger. A windwhipped fire north of Los Angeles in Ventura County burned up to 15 square miles and at least one home in a matter of hours. It threatened thousands of homes and prompted evacuations of a mobile home park, a state university campus and some neighborhoods. A nearby blaze was smaller at about 2 square miles but moving quickly. Acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the fire-stricken area in Northern California and requested a presidential disaster declaration, saying that dangerous weather conditions were expected to last several days.

Shari Bernacett said her husband tried to get people to leave the Paradise mobile home park they manage. He “knocked on doors, yelled and screamed” to alert as many residents as possible, Bernacett said. “My husband tried his best to get everybody out. The whole hill’s on fire. God help us!” she said before breaking down crying. She and her husband grabbed their dog, jumped in their pickup truck and drove through flames before getting to safety, she said. Terrifying videos posted on social media showed cars driving along roads that looked like tunnels of fire with flames on both sides of the road. Concerned friends and family posted frantic messages on Twitter and other sites saying they were looking for loved ones, particularly seniors who lived at retirement homes or alone. Among them was Kim Curtis, who was searching for her grandmother, who told family at 8 a.m. Thursday that she would flee her Paradise home in her Buick with her cat. Her grandmother, who is in her 70s and lives alone, never showed up up at a meeting spot in Chico, though.

“We’ve just been posting all over social media. And just praying for a miracle, honestly,” said Curtis, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Officials were sending as many firefighters as they could, Cal Fire Spokesman Rick Carhart said. “Every engine that we could put on the fire is on the fire right now, and more are coming,” he said. “There are dozens of strike teams that we’re bringing in from all parts of the state.” The sheriff confirmed reports that evacuees had to abandon their vehicles. Rescuers were trying to put them in other vehicles, he said. “We’re working very hard to get people out. The message I want to get out is: If you can evacuate, you need to evacuate,” Honea said. T he w i ldf ire was repor ted around daybrea k. Within si x hours, it had grown to more than 26 square miles (69 square kilometers), Gaddie said. Thick gray smoke and ash filled the sky above Paradise and could be seen from miles away. Fire officials said the flames were being fueled by winds, low humidity, dry air and severely parched brush and ground from months without rain. AP

ExportUnlimited BusinessMirror

A4 Saturday, November 10, 2018 • Editor: Efleda P. Campos

Lopez: Manufacturing sector can drive Philippine growth

China trade expo attracts 3,600 companies from 152 countries


TRENGTHENING the country’s manufacturing sector can add even more momentum to the national economy’s growth, according to Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, adding that attracting exporting firms to operate here would help boost the country’s dollar revenues. On the sidelines of the third Philippine Construction Industry Congress in Pasay City, Lopez said the 6.1-percent gross domestic product (GDP) of the country in the third quarter of the year is considered “sustained momentum” toward economic expansion. He noted that growth of industry and services remained robust, having increased by 6.2 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively, in the third quarter. “These are the two sectors

that we really want to grow to create the base that we need,” Lopez said. T he ma nufact ur ing sector posted a 4-percent growth in the third quarter. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), he said, targets to attract more investments in manufacturing to serve local demand by replacing imports with domestic production. Philippine Statistics Authority data show that trade deficit for

IN this November 5 photo, a security guard stands at the entrance to the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. Visitors to the vast trade fair meant to rebrand China as a welcoming import market could sip Moroccan wine, ogle Italian yachts and watch a Japanese industrial robot play ping-pong. AP/NG HAN GUAN

LOPEZ the first nine months of the year increased by 70.5 percent to $29.9 billion, from $17.54 billion in the same period a year ago. “We really need to connect our capability, our capacity to export by having also a bigger manufacturing capacity,” he added. “To have that, we have to pursue the investment growth, and thankfully that we are getting

that right now,” Lopez said. The top trade official said the government continues to roll out reforms, particularly in lowering corporate income-tax rate and liberalizing sectors, wherein more foreign players can participate. He added that the DTI is also pursuing trade deals with different countries to improve market access for Philippine products. PNA

DTI chief opens Philippine pavilion at China expo


HANGHAI—Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez opened on Tuesday the Philippine National Pavilion at the China International Import Exposition, which aims to improve the market access of Philippine products into China. CIIE runs from November 5 to 10 and features 3,000 exhibitors from 130 countries. “The Philippines appreciates the Chinese government’s thrust to deepen its globalization commitment. CIIE is China’s way of conveying to the world that it is ready to open more its market and encourage more exporters to China,” Lopez said.   He added: “It sends a strong signal to the world that China would also like to help balance trade with its trading partners, as China believes in promoting globalization that is more inclusive, to achieve the goal of having shared prosperity with other countries.”   The 136-square-meter Philippine National Pavilion, themed “Partner Philippines: Building Value Together,” showcases the country’s initiatives in trade, investment and tourism. It features 10 partner government agencies and companies, as well as 11 universities. These universities are promoting their undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as English as a Second Language (ESL).   Aside from the national pavilion, there are 36 booths in the Enterprise Zone featuring Filipino exhibitors: 28 for food, five for consumer goods (apparel, accessories and consumer goods, electronics, automobile and information technology) and three for services (tourism and service outsourcing).   Lopez cited the close trade re-

EXECUTIVE Director Pauline Suaco-Juan (from left) Trade Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana, Consul General Wilfredo Cuyugan, Consul Conrado Demdem Jr., the Department of Tourism (DOT) Shanghai’s Warren Palacio, Consul Marlowe Miranda, DTI-Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Beijing Commercial Counselor Glenn Peñaranda, PTIC Shanghai Commercial Vice Consul Mario Tani and Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez at the Philippine National Pavilion at the China International Import Exposition.

lations between the Philippines and China. China is the country’s largest import partner at $17.5 billion in 2017 and fourth-largest export market at $8 billion in the same year. Also present at the opening ceremonies were Philippines Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana, Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China Trade Director General for Asian Affairs Peng Gang,  former Com-

mercial Counselor of China to the Philippines and Mofcom Director General for Foreign Trade Development Bureau Wu Zhengping, Special Envoy to China Carlos Chan, Trade Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado and Department of Trade and Industry DTI-Citem Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan. The Philippine participation to the CIIE is spearheaded by the DTI, in cooperation with the following government and private-

sector partners: the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Tourism, the Tourism Promotions Board, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Airlines, Federation of FilipinoChinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Anvil Business Club, Philippine Franchise Association and the Integrated Development Studies Institute.

Ayala CEO says PHL emerging as refuge from US-China trade war


YALA Corp. is in talks to provide land to a Chinese company planning to build one of the world’s biggest tire factories in the Philippines to avoid having to pay US tariffs, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jaime Augusto Zobel said. A company based in the Chinese province of Guangdong is looking for 100 hectares (247 acres) of land in the Philippines from where it can set up a manufacturing base, he told Bloomberg Television’s Rishaad Salamat on the sidelines of the New Economy Forum in Singapore. Zobel didn’t identify the company.

The move may illustrate the latest example of how manufacturers are increasingly turning to Southeast Asia as an alternative to China amid tensions between the world’s two biggest economies. About a third of more than 430 American companies in China have or are considering moving production sites out of China, according to an August 29 to a September 5 survey. The Philippines’ oldest conglomerate, which has interests in property, banking, telecommunications and infrastructure, is betting the consumer-driven economy can sustain robust growth amid higher in-

terest rates, Zobel said. A manufacturing retreat from China to avoid US tariffs is gathering pace. With US levies on $200 billion of Chinese products set to balloon to 25 percent in 2019, companies on the mainland making everything from car parts to cameras are lining up other production facilities across Southeast Asia. Fujifilm Holdings Corp., which makes its popular Instax cameras near Shanghai, said it may shift that process to Thailand or the Philippines “if the situation is going to be really serious.” Lower-level manufacturing in

China is attracting less investment and that process is being accelerated because of the trade dispute, Kerry Logistics Network Ltd. Chairman George Yeo said in an interview at the New Economy Forum. About a third of more than 430 American companies in China are considering moving production out of China, according to a survey in August and September. “On the electronics side, we’ve had a number of companies both from Taiwan and China looking to start manufacturing in the Philippines for the global market to get out of that tariff cycle,” said Ayala’s Zobel. Bloomberg News


HANGHAI—Visitors to a vast trade fair meant to rebrand China as a welcoming import market could sip Moroccan wine, ogle Italian yachts and watch a Japanese industrial robot play ping-pong. The communist government’s marketing extravaganza involving 3,600 companies from 152 countries showcases the promise and challenges of China’s growing, state-dominated and intensely competitive markets. The Philippines has its own national pavilion at the trade expo, apart from 36 booths in the Enterprise Zone featuring Filipino exhibitors: 28 for food, five for consumer goods (apparel, accessories and consumer goods, electronics, automobile and infor mation technolog y) and three for services (tourism and service outsourcing). At a stand for German robot maker Jungheinrich AG, spectators watched a bright yellow automated forklift shift bulky cartons. A manager, Christian Wurzinger, said China accounts for one-third of its global sales but the Hamburg company wants to expand beyond factories and logistics into health and other industries. The expo gives “very good access to Chinese companies, especially outside big cities,” said Wurzinger. “We are lucky to be here.” Still, he said Jungheinrich already faces Chinese competition: “There are plenty of local Chinese manufacturers with pretty good technology, to be honest.” The China International Import Expo is part of efforts to develop China-centered world trading networks while resisting pressure to roll back industr y plans that Washington, Europe, Japan and other governments say violate its marketopening obligations. Eager to dispel complaints that they abuse the global trading system, China’s leaders are touting its growing demand for foreign food, luxury brands, entertainment and other goods. China already is the No. 1 market for most of its Asian neighbors. But a big share of those imports is iron ore, computer chips and other materials that are turned into smartphones, toys and other goods for export. That is changing as communist leaders promote consumer spending as part of efforts to develop self-sustaining economic growth and reduce reliance on trade and investment. That holds out the promise of a market of 1.4 billion consumers, even if incomes are a fraction of those in developed countries. On the expo’s opening day, President Xi Jinping promised on Monday to boost imports, cut costs for importers, protect patents and improve consumer spending power. But he did not address US and European complaints about technology policy that prompted President Donald J. Trump to impose penalty tariffs of

up to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese goods. Importers into China must contend with a thicket of restrictions and, in autos and other industries, pressure to help develop potential Chinese competitors as the price of market access. Tarvand Saffron, an Iranian exporter of saffron, was invited to the expo by a Chinese stateowned company. But export manager Amir Reza Jalalian said food regulations bar sales of its product in China. “Maybe in the future we can import saffron,” Jalalian said, as visitors crowded around the company’s stand to smell the crimson spice. Business groups complain that while Beijing increases imports to serve its factories and consumers, foreign companies are being squeezed out of technology and other promising industries. Exhibitors at the expo ranged from General Motors and Lego toys to Brazilian shoemakers, a Korean dumpling brand and Uganda’s National Enterprise Corp., an exporter of coffee and honey. Visitors crowded around a stand for Japan’s Omron Corp. to watch an industrial robot hit a ping-pong ball back and forth with a human opponent. Global auto, aerospace and technology brands already are wellknown in China, suggesting many were at the expo not to sell but to nurture relations with the Communist Party by showing support for Xi’s trade initiative. “For the bulk of China’s imports, these expos don’t make much difference,” said Gareth Leather of Capital Economics. “For companies from smaller, developing countries, probably at the margins they do make a bit of a difference.” At a stand promoting Polish poultr y, visitors lined up for bowls of chicken in cream sauce made by cooks led by celebrity chef Artur Moroz. Nearby, visitors sipped red and white wines from La Ferme Rouge, a winery in Morocco in North Africa. It produces exclusive batches under the labels of luxury hotels in Morocco and wants to market that service to high-end Chinese hotels and restaurants. “It’s a big opportunity for us to enter this part of the market,” said Rita Sourelah, a manager. The expo also highlighted the blurring of lines as Chinese companies acquire US and European brands and technology to sell at home. Weichai Group, a Chinese shipbuilder, displayed a luxury cabin cruiser made by Italy’s Ferretti, in which Weichai bought a 75-percent stake in 2012. Other hybrid importers included Sweden’s Volvo Cars, a unit of Chinese automaker Geely Holding; General Electric Appliances, acquired by China’s Haier Group in 2016; and California-based solar supplier MiaSole, part of Beijingbased Hanergy Group. AP

Editor: Jun Lomibao |



Saturday, November 10, 2018

ARGENTINA’S national women’s team members sit on the bench during a training session in Buenos Aires. AP



The Associated Press

UENOS AIRES, Argentina—In a country where the soccer conversation is overwhelmingly dominated by talk of Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona, female players in Argentina struggle to be heard. That’s changing rapidly, however, and it’s partly because of a picture that was widely shared on social media. The photo, taken in April before a Women’s Copa America match in Chile, showed the Argentine players with their hands cupped behind their right ears, a sign of protest highlighting that no one was listening to them. It took social media to spread the message because the traditional media, including Argentina’s top TV channels and newspapers, didn’t even cover the continental championship. “We live in a soccer-mad country but with a lot of machismo,” Argentina forward Belen Potassa said at the national team’s training grounds on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. “Soccer is Messi, [Gonzalo] Higuain, [Diego] Maradona and no one else.” While those players are adored and even idolized, the women’s team has been sidelined—just like in other countries around the world. The Argentine soccer federation often is late in paying travel expenses while the players have routinely faced the prejudices of a chauvinistic society that sees soccer as a men’s-only game. Still, the longdisadvantaged team of women may be on the verge of a game changer by defying long-established gender inequalities and proving themselves on and off the field. By finishing third at the Copa America, the team in the light blue-and-white striped shirts earned a place in the playoffs for this year’s Women’s World Cup in France. Argentina will play Panama on Thursday for

a spot in the 24-team tournament. For the first time in the country’s women’s soccer history, the game will be played at a soldout stadium in Buenos Aires. Another major achievement came in practice. The women’s team was recently allowed to train at the same complex where Messi and the rest of the men’s team prepare for games, grounds that until recently were reserved for men only. “Women fight since they’re born because we don’t have the same rights as men. But in sports the sacrifice is twice as tough. They don’t pay you, the clothes are not the same, the sponsors are not the same,” said Potassa, who recently signed a contract with a wellknown sports brand that supplies her with boots and clothing. The women’s team’s progress has even received the support of Messi and several Argentine professional clubs that have promoted the playoff game against Panama on social media under the motto: “It’s time to root for them.” Many female players say they feel part of a cultural change driven by the country’s strong feminist movement, which has mobilized tens of thousands to fight against violence against women, and helped them gain ground in politics and the workplace. But to gain equality, there is still a long way to go. While the men’s league draws huge crowds and brings in millions of dollars, female players are amateurs and get about 3,000 pesos (about $82) for travel expenses at a first division club. If a woman plays for the national team, she’ll earn 300 pesos ($8) a day. That forces players to split their time between soccer and a second job to survive, said Potassa, who is also a receptionist at a local college. Veteran goalkeeper Vanina Correa, the only mother in the national team, said the hardest part is being away from her children,

Romeo and Luna. The four-year-old twins stay with their grandmother, while Correa trains for the playoff more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) from home. “It’s very hard to be here,” said Correa, who doubles as a municipal employee. “I’m always thinking about home and wondering what they’re doing and if they’re behaving. “It would be more comfortable if we could live off soccer. I don’t have much left [in my career] but we’re fighting for the girls who are coming next.” That fight has been going on all over the world. Ahead of the last Women’s World Cup in 2015, a group of international players protested because the tournament was scheduled to be played on artificial turf, which is considered by many to be inferior to the real grass that has always been used in the men’s game. The tournament in Canada went on to be a huge success: It attracted the biggest crowds of any Fifa tournament outside of a men’s World Cup and broke TV rating records in North America, with the final drawing more viewers than any other prior men’s or women’s match in the United States. Following their victory over Japan for the trophy, the US women went on to campaign for, and receive, a better contract with US Soccer that brought them closer to the compensation level of their male counterparts. The Americans were not alone. National teams from other countries also won more equitable contracts with their federations, including Australia and Ireland. But in Argentina, that kind of change still seems far away and female soccer players must join leagues in neighboring Brazil, Europe or the United States to make a living from the sport. One of the major obstacles they face is the lack of attention. It wasn’t until this year that a nonsports TV channel finally began broadcasting league games.

After battling cancer, Lee seeks Olympic gold


UALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—His cancer in remission after intensive treatment, former No. 1-ranked Lee Chong Wei is setting his sights on winning an Olympic gold in badminton. In his first public appearance since his diagnosis, the three-time Olympic silver medalist said health is his top priority, but he isn’t ready yet to hang up his racket. Lee said doctors gave him a clean bill of health after more than two months of intensive treatment for nose cancer in Taiwan. Already into light fitness training, Lee hopes to return to the court next month. “I love badminton...I cannot say 100 percent that I can comeback, see how my

body is,” Lee told a news conference Thursday. “If I can play, it’s the last track for me.” Lee is regarded as a sporting hero in Malaysia after a lengthy career that has included the Olympic medals and 69 titles around the world. He was suspended for eight months in 2015 after testing positive for a banned LEE anti-inflammatory drug in the World Championships, but returned to elite competition. The cancer came as a shock after he went for a medical checkup because he felt unwell during the Indonesian Open in July. He said he couldn’t eat or sleep for days

after discovering his illness, but support from family and friends pushed him to be positive. The treatment was intense, and he couldn’t eat or talk for several days. Lee said his medical condition is “back to normal” now, but he needed to return to Taiwan every three months for evaluation. Now regaining some weight and his appetite, Lee said he’d follow medical advice not to rush back into intense competition. But with the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, he hasn’t given up hopes of winning that elusive gold medal. AP




DAMSON University has the chance to take the second twice-to-beat advantage when it tackles an already-ran University of the East (UE) in Season 81 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Currently sitting in second place with a 9-3 win-loss record, the Soaring Falcons could gain more ground in the semifinals if they beat the Red Warriors (1-11) in the game set at 2 p.m. University of Santo Tomas (5-7) and University of the Philippines (6-6) take the floor in a crucial match for the last spots in the Final Four at 4 p.m. Adamson University recently beat UST, 96-83, last Wednesday to seal its place in the semifinals along with defending champion Ateneo de Manila.

The first two quarters were tight until the Soaring Falcons broke loose in the third quarter then flashed their composure in the critical stretch against the young but resilient Growling Tigers. Sean Manganti scored 22 points and seven rebounds and four assists, while Simon Camacho and Jerrick Ahanmisi chipped in 15 and 13 points, respectively, for Adamson University. Head Coach Franz Pumaren encouraged his team to stay hungry. “Hopefully we can improve on our finish this year,” said Pumaren, referring to their failed campaigns in the last two seasons. UE rolled to its 11th loss when it bowed to Far Eastern University, 61-80, last Sunday. Scoring machine Alvin Pasaol unloaded 16 of his 24 points in the third period, but his effort came short as the Tamaraws already mounted a huge lead. Ramon Rafael Bonilla

REWARD FOR TIO Philippine Olympic Committee President Ricky Vargas (second from right) presents a replica of a check to 17-year-old Christian Tio as his incentive from the POC for his kiteboarding silver-medal performance at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Also in photo are (from left) windsurfing head Manny Cabili, POC Secretary-General Patrick Gregorio, Tio’s mother Liezl and POC Communications Director Ed Picson.



Saturday, November 10, 2018 | Editor: Jun Lomibao


while Armstrong was “still a multimillionaire and not here to answer the questions.” Then in early 2013, when Armstrong confessed to doping on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Wiggins described himself as thinking, “what a fucking arsehole” and, in relation to Armstrong’s insistence he didn’t dope on his comeback between 2009 and 2011, “you lying bastard.” Wiggins, however, makes no apologies for his recent comments. “I’m sick of being told how to feel about the sport by people who have never ridden a bike. I’ll decide what I want to feel about the sport,” Wiggins said. “I understand the open wound that cycling has. I understand that. Everyone’s got the right to an opinion, but for me it’s not a debate. I’m not going to go on Question Time and debate it, but that’s the way I feel, having written this book, and I’ve realized that’s how I feel. Referring to the memorabilia he has collected and featured in his book, he added: “I started collecting these jerseys at 18. I just happened to end up winning the Tour. I still do it, I still go around’s always been a passion of mine, to curate this and care for it and look after for the next generation. I’ve got

RADLEY WIGGINS has defended his recent comments about Lance Armstrong, declaring himself “sick of being told how to feel about the sport by people who have never ridden a bike.” The 2012 Tour de France champion has been making a number of public appearances to promote his new book Icons, which focuses on 21 cycling figures, one of whom is Armstrong, who was stripped of seven Tour de France titles after confessing to doping. In an appearance at the Rouleur Classic exhibition in London on Thursday evening, Wiggins echoed sentiments he’s voiced on TalkSport Radio two weeks ago, describing Armstrong as his initial inspiration for becoming a cyclist and suggesting he has been looked upon unfairly since receiving his lifetime ban in 2012. “He’s a tough character. I know him quite well. I still speak to him—sorry about that— but I can’t change it,” Wiggins said on Thursday. “This isn’t to condone anything he did. He knows he did wrong. But at some point, you’ve got to get on with your life.

“And you’ve got to move on, because we’ve seen what’s happened to Jan Ullrich. For some people, you’re going to find them in a hotel room like Marco Pantani, and I don’t think that’s winning the war.” At one point, Wiggins pointed to his new book and asked, “Is it better not to write about Lance in here acknowledging that his recent comments have divided opinion. On Thursday there was no shortage of applause from the audience, but not everyone has welcomed the sympathetic stance on such a controversial figure. Wiggins—who has himself been the subject of controversy since revelations of his use of corticosteroids under TUE’s ahead of the 2012 Tour and other major races, and also been investigated by UK Anti-Doping and the British Parliament over the so-called Jiffy Bag scandal—appears to have softened his stance on Armstrong over the past few years. In 2012 he voiced his anger when the US Anti-Doping Agency’s report came out, complaining of having to “pick up the pieces”


‘Treat cyclists in respectful manner’

ARIS—The professional cyclists’ union is urging anti-doping authorities to treat athletes in a more respectful manner after a Belgian rider was forced to leave a cycling gala to follow anti-doping inspectors for an out-ofcompetition test. Pieter Serry, who rides for the Quick Step team, missed the Gala of the Flandrien on Tuesday after doping inspectors came to the ceremony to take samples. In a statement published on Wednesday, the riders’ association (CPA) complained about “another case of non-respect for the privacy of the riders” and criticized the odd timing of some doping controls. “There have been cases reported where

the riders were checked on their wedding day, during a funeral or on their child’s first day of school,” said Gianni Bugno, the president of the CPA. “Now we read about the case of Pieter Serry, controlled in the off-season, out of the hour scheduled, while at the Flemish cycling festival.... The riders pay 2 percent of their prizes to make these controls possible, they are the only athletes in the world who pay the anti-doping from their own pockets,” Bugno said. “The riders respect the measures required for the fight against doping, but at

least they ask for the respect of their private life in return.” Belgian media quoted Serry as saying he had already been tested two weeks ago and told anti-doping authorities he was available from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. at his home. “I understand that there must be checks and that people have to do their work, but two checks immediately after each other, out of season, is simply a waste of money. I feel like a prisoner with an ankle monitor,” Serry was quoted as saying.

Lappartient slams Wiggins


David Lappartient: Bradley Wiggins is Bradley Wiggins. He always says some strange things.

CI President David Lappartient has hit back at Bradley Wiggins after the 2012 Tour de France winner described Lance Armstrong as an inspirational figure and called him a “perfect” Tour winner. Wiggins made the comments in his new book Icons and in an interview with British radio station TalkSport earlier this week. Speaking in London after appearing at the Rouleur Classic, Lappartient said that the comments were not befitting of a Tour de France champion. “Bradley Wiggins is Bradley Wiggins. He always says some strange things,” Lappartient said, according to the Telegraph. “When I saw [his comments] I thought ‘unbelievable.’ The guy who won the Tour de France, he has been Olympic champion, he has been world champion, and he’s supporting Lance Armstrong, who has been banned for life for cheating. “So, for me, this isn’t acceptable to have some statement like this, specifically from a former winner of the Tour de France. I fully disagree with what he said, of course, because

we know now that this [career] has been based on cheating. But Wiggins is Wiggins.” Wiggins has been promoting his new book Icons, which features an entire chapter on Armstrong, in recent weeks. On Thursday he added to those comments saying, “This isn’t to condone anything he did. He knows he did wrong. But at some point, you’ve got to get on with your life,” he said. “I’m sick of being told how to feel about the sport by people who have never ridden a bike. I’ll decide what I want to feel about the sport.” As well as Wiggins’s comments, Lappartient was asked about the recent furore surrounding World Anti-Doping (Wada) president Craig Reedie. There has been pressure for Reedie to step down from his position after the recent decision to lift a ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) sent an open letter asking him to resign due to his handling of the Chris Froome case, Operacion Puerto and the refusal to ban Tramadol. There have also been calls for an

Simpson jerseys, Ocaña, all these guys. I would have done that anyway—I just happened to win the Tour. So it’s irrelevant. I don’t want to be relevant, I’d rather not be relevant—I could go out and get pissed without being in the Daily Mail the next day. But you can’t and I accept that, but I ain’t gonna bloody change either.” During the event, Wiggins also spoke about his former Sky teammates Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome. Froome finished second to Wiggins at the 2012 Tour and has since gone on to win the title four times, putting him one shy of the all-time record. This year he finished on the podium behind a teammate again, as Geraint Thomas seized his opportunity to win the sixth yellow jersey in seven years for Sky. Cyclingnews

The CPA added it will try to find out whether it was the Belgian anti-doping agency, the national cycling federation or Cycling’s Anti-Doping Foundation which ordered Serry’s test. “In addition, the CPA will present an official request to all the bodies involved in the fight against doping and the UCI to establish a code of conduct for the controllers, to ensure the respect for the private life of the athletes, at least in certain circumstances,” the CPA said. AP

independent investigation into allegations of bullying by former Athlete Committee Chairman Beckie Scott. However, Lappartient says he will not join those asking for the Brit to move aside, but said that he wants a stronger Wada. “I will not join the statements calling for Craig Reedie to resign,” said Lappartient. “From the discussions I had with him, I know he’s trying to do his best to lead the organization but it’s not always easy. I don’t think asking him to step down is a solution. For me, I would like to give more power to the governing body, and the president. I’m calling for a stronger Wada.” Cyclingnews




Bradley Wiggins: I’m sick of being told how to feel about cycling.

INCENZO NIBALI ended his 2018 season at the Saitama Tour de France criterium in Japan, but has yet to think about his goals and ambitions for 2019 and his team for 2020 and beyond, preferring to enjoy his end of season without worrying about the future. Nibali traveled to Japan with his wife and agent and spent Monday visiting Tokyo before flying home via London for other meetings and events. He is due to be questioned by French police at the weekend as both he and Bahrain-Merida push on with legal action for possible damages and loss of earnings after the incident with roadside spectators at the Tour de France that left him with a fractured vertebra. He will gradually begin riding again at home in Lugano, Switzerland, in November before attending a Bahrain-Merida training camp in mid-December to prepare for the 2019 season.   Nibali was relaxed and sun-tanned in Saitama after a holiday in Zanzibar. Before Il Lombardia, he told Cyclingnews that he’d be flattered to receive an offer from Team Sky for 2020 and revealed that talks with BahrainMerida had stalled.      In Saitama he joked that Team Sky Manager Dave Brailsford had not called him while he was on the beach in Zanzibar, suggesting he will take his time before deciding where he will spend the final years of his Grand Tour career. Trek-Segafredo and UAE Team Emirates have also reportedly shown interest in the 33-year-old Italian for 2020, when the new WorldTour structure and threeyear licences begin.     “Nobody called me but I was perhaps difficult to get hold of because I wanted to switch off a bit,” Nibali told Cyclingnews with a smile in Saitama. “My agent is aware of all the offers and interest we’ve received. Nothing has changed for the moment. I’m still a BahrainMerida rider and so first of all I have to be professional to the end of my contract. There’s a lot of good signs that I could extend my current contract but I’m still considering all my options. “Bahrain-Merida have shown their interest for the future but I think it’s normal that a rider considers all their options when a contract ends and there are good opportunities that should be considered. Contracts will be confirmed half-way through next year, so at the moment it’s all about

P “Anyone can judge me as they see fit. But they should be aware that I’ve done everything possible to show that I not only won races before, but after coming back from my ban I have been even better.” VINCENZO NIBALI will still decide on 2019 Grand Tour goals and future at Bahrain-Merida.

understanding and evaluating things for the future.” Nibali preferred the warmth of Zanzibar to the cold of Paris and Milan for the recent route presentations of the Tour de France of Giro d’Italia. He has admitted he took a brief look at the race routes but is in no rush to decide his 2019 Grand Tour goals. The Sicilian opted to target the Tour de France in 2018 before his race ended suddenly due to the spectator incident on the slopes of L’Alpe d’Huez. Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni is optimistic that Nibali will return to target a third victory at the Corsa Rosa in 2019 but it seems negotiations with Bahrain-Merida are still ongoing.   Nibali seems tempted by the limited amount of time trials in the 2019 Tour de France but also by the climbing and difficulties of the 2019 Giro d’Italia.    “I only spent 10 hours in Europe before traveling to Japan, so I’ve not seen any real details of the routes. I’ve seen some maps but that’s about it. I was asked to attend the Giro presentation alongside Chris Froome, but I booked my holidays last May and so my schedule was set a long time ago,” Nibali explained. “I know the Giro starts in Bologna and then visits Tuscany where I raced when I was junior and under-23 rider. It also has the San Marino mountain time trial and some hard mountain stages and testing descents. I’ve heard the time trial kilometers at the Tour de France are pretty short, too, but that’s all I know.   “However, I haven’t spoken to the Bahrain-Merida management, so it’s difficult to say which will be my biggest goal. In 2019 I could target the Giro or the Tour, or perhaps even both. I often try to alternate my Grand Tour goals but last year I was on form at the Tour and then my race was suddenly interrupted. “The Giro d’Italia is always special for me because I’m Italian but nothing has been decided yet.” Cyclingnews


LEJANDRO VALVERDE (Movistar) said that he has no regrets about his successful career as a professional cyclist, despite his doping ban related to the Spanish investigation dubbed Operación Puerto.  In an interview with the Spanish newspaper AS, the world champion reminded that he served his penalty but added that he had never produced a positive test. “I don’t think it’s a question of whether I have anything to regret,” Valverde told AS following his victory at Saitama Criterium held in Japan on Sunday. Valverde’s name had been linked to one of the blood bags seized from doctor Eufemiano Fuentes offices during the Operación Puerto police raid in 2006, but he was initially cleared by a Spanish judge in 2007. The following year, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) matched a DNA sample taken from Valverde at the 2008 Tour de France to some of the seized blood evidence, and they banned Valverde from competing in Italy. A long battle between Valverde and the UCI ended with the Spaniard receiving a backdated two-year ban in 2010 that ran through to the end of 2011. “I never tested positive, but it was decided that I must be sanctioned, and so it was,” Valverde said. “I served my sentence and since then, the only thing that has concerned me is enjoying cycling. “Anyone can judge me as they see fit. But they should be aware that I’ve done everything possible to show that I not only won races before, but after coming back from my ban I have been even better.” Valverde rejoined Movistar in 2012 and has had a highly successful career since, where he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2015 and 2017,

Froome opens


HRIS FROOME will begin his 2019 season in Colombia, confirming his presence in the Tour Colombia, which was run for the first time this year under the name Colombia Oro y Paz. New world champion Alejandro Valverde is also provisionally down to ride the six-stage mid-February race. Froome’s participation has been on the cards for a number of months, and even during this year’s race the Colombian Cycling Federation were talking up their hopes of landing the fourtime Tour de France winner for the race’s second edition. Froome recently visited Colombia to take part in Rigoberto Urán’s mass-participation ride “Giro de Rigo,” and while he was there he paid a visit to the Federation to confirm his presence. “Hello friends,” Froome said in Spanish in a video message. “I’m very happy to confirm my participation in the Tour Colombia, where I’ll begin my 2019 season. Many thanks to the Colombian Cycling Federation for the invitation. See you soon.” Froome has traditionally opted for a February start to his seasons. This year he began at the Ruta del Sol in Spain, as he did in 2016, while in the two intervening years he was in Australia for the Herald Sun Tour. Froome won

irror CYCLING | Saturday, November 10, 2018


Allen: I want J to be the best domestique in the world Former junior time trial world champion Jess Allen is on another year with MitcheltonScott to keep improving.

World champion Alejandro Valverde says that he has served his penalty but adds that he has never produced a positive test.

adding to his two existing titles. He also had a streak of Flèche Wallonne victories from 2014 to 2017, a race he had first won in 2006. In the Grand Tours, he has finished on the overall podium five times since his return to racing—three times at the Vuelta a España (2012, 2013, 2014) and once at each the Tour de France (2015) and Giro d’Italia (2016). A crash at the Tour de France in 2017 caused Valverde to have to sit out for the rest of that season, but after a successful surgery and time for recovery, he returned stronger than ever. This year, he had one of his most successful seasons with 14 victories that included winning the elite men’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships. “I fell in the best hands,” Valverde told AS of his successful return from injury. “The operation was very fast and in a great place [in the Hospital of Dusseldorf, Germany]. I’ve still got the screws in my knee, and I do not feel any discomfort. I have friends with the same injury who can hardly get on the bike. “Then, the recovery, coordinated by Dr. Esparza and with the help of physio Antonio López and Nuria Lorente, went very well. All that, with the support of the family and my desire to return, have made it possible.” Movistar had a disappointing season in the Grand Tours, with their best-placed rider Richard Carapaz in fourth overall at the Giro d’Italia, while Valverde was fifth at the Vuelta a España. Valverde noted that Movistar were solely focussed on winning the Tour de France with a three-leader team that included himself, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa. Their biggest goal turned out to be a flop, however, when Landa finished seventh, Quintana 10th and Valverde 14th. Valverde said that he believes Quintana

still has a shot at winning the Tour de France, a race the Colombian will target in 2019. He also said that Landa still has the potential to be a key player in the Grand Tours. As for his own aspirations, Valverde says he thinks he might have already passed his prime for Grand Tour success, but he would still like to try and do well at the Giro d’Italia in 2019. “This year I came straight in wanting to win, after the crash,” Valverde said in an interview with another Spanish newspaper, Marca, again in Japan at the Saitama Criterium. “I’m not sure If I’m going to go with the mindset of trying to win the Giro. It’s clear that I’m a bit old now to try and win a three-week race. “What I can do is my best. We’ll see what teammates come as well—we’ll see if Landa comes or not—before we work out what my role will be, beyond enjoying it. “Above all, what I want to do is enjoy it. I’m a rider who likes winning, likes to do well, likes to help the team win. I want to keep being a ‘killer,’ and I want to try and win, wherever I may go.” Valverde, 38, also told Marca that he plans on targeting the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. “Since I came back from the sanction, every year I’ve been better, so I do not know how I’ll be, I’d love to win it, and I’ll go with the best preparation to get it, but you have to be realistic and recognise that it’s very complicated,” he said. In a recent Movistar team press conference, Valverde said that, although he has considered retirement after the Olympic Games, he might end up continuing to compete if he is still motivated and performing well. “If I have a 2020 season where I’m fighting for the wins, why not go for another one?” Valverde said. Cyclingnews

2019 season in Colombia the Giro d’Italia this year before finishing third at the Tour behind teammate Geraint Thomas, but he’s expected to focus squarely on the Tour in 2019 in a bid to land a record-equalling fifth title. The inaugural edition of the Tour Colombia—the first international professional race in the country—was considered a big success. While the likes of Fernando Gaviria, Nairo Quintana, Egan Bernal and Rigoberto Urán put on a dramatic show in front of huge crowds, the organisers are hoping to attract more big names from outside of Colombia for the second edition. As well as Froome, world Valverde is also set to compete, though his participation has yet to be formally announced. In recent years the Spaniard has kicked off his campaigns in Spain at the end of January at the Challenge Mallorca series, so Colombia could be his second outing of 2019. The organisers are also hoping to tempt Vincenzo Nibali and his Bahrain-Merida team over. The inaugural edition of the Tour Colombia— run as the Oro y Paz—was won by Froome’s Sky teammate Egan Bernal, with three sprint stages followed by three days in the hills. The 2019 edition will take place in the Antioquia region of central Colombia and will dip into the hills around Medellin, with a summit finish at Las Palmas at 2,500 meters on the cards. Cyclingnews


ELECTION FRENZY Citi Bikes line a street in New York. Ride-share companies are capitalizing on voter enthusiasm ahead of Tuesday’s

midterm elections by offering free or discounted rides to the polls in shared cars or on bikes. Bike-share company Motivate, which operates Citi Bike, is offering free bike rides. AP


ELSINKI—During the last season, which ended at the end of October, city bikers set new records in the Helsinki region On the busiest days, each city bike was used for 14 to 16 journeys on average in Helsinki. Approximately nine journeys were made per bike every day in Helsinki, and approximately three journeys per bike in Espoo. In total, the city bikes were used to pedal over 3 million journeys. There were 254 bike stations and 2,550 bikes in Helsinki and Espoo. About 48,500 users registered for the full season, and there were about 6,300 weekly pass users and approximately 15,000 day pass users. In Helsinki, the utilization rate is high in comparison to other cities worldwide, with approximately nine journeys per bike

every day. In other parts of the world, each bike is usually used for approximately four journeys per day. According to HSL’s Senior Advisor Tarja Jääskeläinen, one of the reasons for the popularity of the city bikes is that they are so easy to use. “You can get around quickly on a city bike, it is easy to pick up and drop off spontaneously. The bike service is part of the public transport system, and the bikes are located close to where people live and work.” The city bikes are also an easy mode of transport for tourists, but they are particularly aimed at the local residents. “The city bike has become part of the local identity. Traveling by city bike is convenient, and it is good for your health and the environment.” The users of the city bikes are fairly satisfied with the service. In a user survey, the service was rated 3.8 on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 was bad and 5 was excellent.

The question on how reasonable the fees are received the highest score of 4.4. The poorest score, 3.0, was given to bike availability. In the survey, 79 percent of city bikers said that they use the bikes for leisure journeys, 56 percent use them for commuting and 55 percent use them for running errands. The city bikes have particularly replaced journeys made by foot, tram and bus, but up to 17 percent state that they have also replaced car journeys with city bikes. Next year, the city bike service will be extended to East and North Helsinki. The city will get 88 new bike stations and 880 new bikes. The extension of the network will enable the service to better cater to large numbers of users also in central Helsinki. In Espoo, the service will continue at its current size. The next city bike season will start in Helsinki and Espoo on April 1, 2019. AP

Chris Froome’s participation has been on the cards for a number of months.

MORE than 3 million journeys were made on city bikes in Helsinki and Espoo in 2018. AP

ESS ALLEN says that she wants to be “the best domestique in the world” for her Mitchelton-Scott teammates in 2019, while continuing to learn and gain experience so that she can one day put herself in a position to win the world’s biggest races. Allen will continue with the Australian outfit in 2019, and is looking forward to being of even further help to her teammates later on in races, having already contributed to the team’s overall victory at the Gino Rosa in July, along with a number of other WorldTour events this season. “My role in the team the last two seasons has been as a “worker,” and I’ve loved it,” Allen said on the team’s web site. “We have some of the best riders in the world at MitcheltonScott, and I want to be the best domestique in the world for them until I’m strong enough to win races myself. “I know I may fly under the radar to people who just look at the race results, but I know how hard I work for the team, and I am proud of that,” she continued. “All of my teammates are humble winners and always acknowledge me for my hard work after every race, so that’s what most important to me.” Allen may be waiting for the day that she can take her own chances to win, but her small number of victories so far have been hugely significant. She was the junior time trial champion in 2011, winning the title in Copenhagen, Denmark, and then won the road race at the 2014 Oceania Championships while riding for the Jayco/Apollo Victoria Institute of Sport team. She joined what was then Orica-AIS midway through the 2016 season and continued with the team—then as OricaScott—in 2017, when she took a solo victory at the national criterium championships at the start of the season.  With Mitchelton-Scott in 2018, Allen has continued to learn and improve, supporting her teammates by working in the sprint lead-out trains and helping to pull back breakaways. “Being a worker the last two-and-ahalf seasons has made me a stronger rider, and I’ll continue to get stronger because of it,” said Allen. “I’ve learnt a lot about myself this season: how hard I can push myself, and learning to use my energy more wisely. “I’ve been a part of 10 WorldTour race wins this season and our first Grand Tour win, and although I didn’t win a single race, I know I contributed to the wins, and they will be some of my biggest career highlights. “I’m really happy to be continuing with Mitchelton-Scott again in 2019 as I believe this team is the best place for me to continue to develop into the world class rider I want to be,” the 25-year-old Australian said. “I’ll be targeting the spring Classics, and I want to continue my role as a domestique, but I also want to have more of an impact later in the races.” The team clearly values Allen’s positive personality off the bike, too. “The culture in the team is really special to me,” Allen pointed out. “All the riders and staff have a huge amount of respect for each other. We are serious when we’re racing, but we can all switch off, relax and have a good time, too. I love my job on this team, and I know that when I’m happy off the bike, I ride really well on the bike. “I love to post photos on my social media of me getting drink bottles for the team or riding the front to show people what my role is in the team,” she said. “I’ve always had a bubbly personality, and I’m a firm believer that your attitude and personality off the bike is just as important as your performance on the bike. “I like to be a positive and energetic person to help lift the team when needed, and I think that’s really important in a teammate.”


OurTime BusinessMirror

A8 Saturday, November 10, 2018 • Editor: Efleda P. Campos

Makati spent P30.3M for free movies enjoyed by elderly, PWD from January to September


AKATI Mayor Abby Binay has bared that the city government has paid a total of P30.3 million to its five partnercinemas for free movie tickets issued to its senior citizens and persons with disability (PWD) from January to September this year. To date, some 82,286 senior citizens and 9,336 registered PWDs of Makati are entitled to unlimited free entrance to cinemas located in the city, which is one of the most popular perks provided by the city government.   The mayor noted the “priceless joys” derived by the beneficiaries

of the program, which continue to make it a worthwhile investment for the city and its partners in the private sector. “Being able to watch movies as often as they want helps keep their minds active and their hearts young. It also allows them to spend precious bonding moments with

family members and friends, which contribute to their overall sense of well-being,” Mayor Abby said. The elderly and PWD Makatizens can watch free movies at any of the cinema-partners in Glorietta and Greenbelt, Century Mall, Power Plant Mall, Cash and Carry, and WalterMart.    In a recent report to Mayor Abby,  Makati City Hall Accounting Department Officer in Charge William Dayrit stated that the city paid a total of P30.3 million to five cinema partners for movie tickets issued for free to both sectors from January to September this year. Of this, P27.9 million was for senior citizens and P2.4 million was for PWDs.   The amounts constitute the 25-percent share of the city government in the cost of movie tickets used under the program, which is being

implemented in partnership with cinema owners in the city.   The free movies benefit for the elderly started in 1997 with the passage of City Ordinance 97085, appropriating P500,000 as the 25-percent share of the city in cinema admission costs for senior citizens.    The program was institutionalized three years later through City Ordinance 2001-035 granting the inclusion of appropriations in the annual City Executive Budget for its continuous implementation in succeeding years.   In 2006 the perk was also granted to registered PWDs of Makati through the enactment of City Ordinance 2006-066.   For 2018 the city government has allocated P40 million for the movie tickets of senior citizens and P4 million for PWD.

Golf-course developer launches new California airline at age 97


START-UP airline founded by a 97-year-old golf-course developer hopes to capitalize on the rapid growth between San Diego and Los Angeles. The question is: Will enough Southern California travelers find the carrier useful enough to skip the drive down to San Diego’s big airport? California Pacific Airlines took flight recently from Carlsbad, in northern San Diego County, with flights to San Jose, California, and Reno, Nevada. It plans to expand into Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona, later this month with its fleet of four, 50-seat Embraer SA E145 jets. The carrier is a long-held dream of Ted Vallas, a serial entrepreneur from the area who made his fortune in a motley career spanning golf-course and resort projects around the world, running a regional airline and working on aircraft cabin interiors. The airline aims to draw travelers from northern San Diego County who seek more convenient flights out of a smaller airport that has no other commercial service, said Ryan DiVita, the carrier’s director of sales and marketing. California Pacific will focus on business travelers who commute weekly for their work, as well as those heading to Las Vegas and Reno for leisure activities. “The goal is to go into what we

A PLANE comes in for a landing at the San Diego International Airport in San Diego, California. SAM HODGSON/BLOOMBERG

view is an underserved market,” DiVita said. “We feel that the amount of ridership possibility in the northern San Diego area warrants its own service.” Carlsbad had commercial service in the 1990s from American, United and America West airlines. San Francisco is the top destination from San Diego International (about 35 miles south of the Carlsbad airfield), where Southwest Airlines Co. is the top carrier, with 39-percent market share. California Pacific has a rocky history. Numerous efforts have failed to launch in recent years amid dis-

putes with San Diego County and federal regulators. Its current fleet and operating certificate were acquired  in  May, when the company purchased Aerodynamics Inc. That company, based in suburban Atlanta, operates federally subsidized Essential Air Service routes from Denver to Pierre and Watertown, South Dakota—a financial backstop that could help support California Pacific in the short run. “It’s a smart idea to try to build air service out of Carlsbad, because there’s been growth north of the city center,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst with At-

mosphere Research Group. But, he added, “they don’t have an easy road ahead of them.” Many people who travel frequently for work are deeply tied to a particular airline, due to company travel policies and a strong affinity for frequent flier programs, Harteveldt said. “The business traveler has to be wooed away from incumbent providers,” he said. And while Southwest won’t be flying its Boeing 737s into Carlsbad, it can certainly make life difficult for the newbie with fare cuts, additional service and other enticements aimed at travelers in San Diego and Orange County to the north. California Pacific, which has 89 employees, will also consider service to Oakland, Sacramento, California, and Los Cabos, Mexico, DiVita said, depending on how the initial flights perform. For an additional sweetener, the airline will offer travelers two checked bags without a fee, matching Southwest, the largest carrier in California by traffic. One-way introductory fares range from $99 to $149. “We are cautiously optimistic,” DiVita said. “Obviously, we are not naïve—you can’t be. But I will say that I think we have partnered with airports that are willing to help and invest in us and make it work as best as possible.” Bloomberg News

Senior citizens are replacing teenagers as fast-food workers By Leslie Patton Bloomberg


HE sullen teenager grinding through a restaurant shift after school was once a pop culture cliché—as American as curly fries. Nowadays, Brad Hamilton, the teen played by Judge Reinhold in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, would probably be too young to work at the fictional Captain Hook Fish and Chips. That’s because senior citizens are taking his place—donning polyester, flipping patties and taking orders. They’re showing up at casual dining chains, such as Bob Evans and fast-food operators like McDonald’s Corp., which says it plans to make senior citizens one hiring focus in the coming year. Restaurants are recruiting in senior centers and churches. They’re placing want ads on the web site of AARP, an advocacy group for Americans over 50. Recruiters say older workers have soft skills—a friendly demeanor, punctuality—that their younger cohorts sometimes lack.  Two  powerful trends are at work: a labor shortage amid the tightest job market in almost five decades, and the propensity for longer-living Americans to keep working—even part-time—to supplement often-meager retirement savings. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of working Americans aged 65 to 74 is expected to grow 4.5 percent, while those aged 16 to 24 is expected to shrink 1.4 percent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Stevenson Williams, 63, manages a Church’s Chicken in North Charleston, South Carolina. He’s in charge of 13 employees, having worked his way up from a cleaning and dishwashing job he started about four years ago and sometimes works as many as 70 hours a week when it’s busy. Williams is a  retired construction worker and had never worked at a restaurant before, but was bored staying at home. “It’s fun for a while, not getting up, not having to punch a clock, not having to get out of bed and grind every day,” he says. “But after working all your life, sitting around got old. There’s only so many trips to Wal-mart you can take. I just enjoy Church’s Chicken. I enjoy the atmosphere, I enjoy the people.” Hiring seniors is a good deal for fast-food chains. They get years of experience  for  the same wages—

an industry median of $9.81 an hour  last year,  according to the BLS—they would pay someone decades younger. This is a considerable benefit in an industry under pressure from rising transportation and raw material costs. James Gray from Calibrate Coaching says older people are also a good deal financially because they aren’t always looking to move up and earn more. They’re not  “necessarily looking for a VP or an executive position or looking to make a ton of money,” he says. Seniors typically have more developed social skills than kids who grew up online and often would rather not be bothered with real-world interactions. At Church’s Chicken, Williams coaches  his younger coworkers on the niceties of workplace decorum. “A lot of times with the younger kids now, they can be very disrespectful,” he says. “So you have to coach them and tell them this is your job, this is not the street.”  AARP  has become a veritable recruiting hub for the industry. In June  American Blue Ribbon Holdings Llc., which owns several casual dining chains, paid $3,500 to list hourly and management jobs on the nonprofit’s web site and hired five people for its Bakers Square and Village Inn dining brands. Bob Evans, a 500-plusstore sit-down chain that serves pot roast, biscuits and other homey fare, also recently advertised with AARP. Older hires typically work as hosts who seat customers and are “a nice fit with our brand,” says John Carothers, senior vice president of human resources. Honey Baked Ham Co. is looking to churches and senior homes to help fill its 12,000 seasonal jobs for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. The glazed-ham seller, which has more than 400 domestic locations, says older Americans are a key part of its staff, especially amid the labor crunch. Toni Var tanian-Heif ner, a 67-year-old former teacher, works part-time at a Honey Baked Ham restaurant in the Saint Louis suburb of Kirkwood, Missouri. She often walks to work for four- or five-hour shifts that start at 7 a.m.  She makes only about $10 an hour but gets a 50-percent discount on food.  Vartanian-Heifner is gearing up for the holiday season. “I enjoy the social part of it,” she says. “I think I’m going to work for at least five more years.”

Greek retirees head to poor countries like Bulgaria to make pensions go further


REEK pensioners have seen their payouts slashed so much, some of them are moving to one of the poorest countries in Europe. Take George, 75, for example. After his wife died five years ago, he rented out his apartment in Thessaloniki, the country’s second-biggest city, packed his bags and moved to Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, where he says his monthly €800 ($905) pension allows him to “live like a king.” “Of course there are difficulties with adjusting and friends,” said George, who didn’t want to give his surname, fearing he’ll be pursued by Greek tax authorities. “But with the money I have, I can return to Greece often, and I also have the opportunity to travel.” Greece, which is among retirement destinations for other Europeans, is finding that its own citizens— like George—are now looking to live out their senior years in the country’s cheaper northern European Union (EU) neighbor after seeing their pensions cut at least 20 times during its protracted debt crisis. They may be glad they made the move as pensioners again find themselves in the crosshairs of Greece’s

potential clash with creditors, its first since exiting its bailout in August. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras risks creating the impression of backsliding on reforms as he tries to avoid implementing pension cuts that are scheduled to come into effect next year. Greece’s budget, submitted to the European Commission on October 15, includes a scenario without pension cuts agreed to and pre-legislated in 2017 after months of back and forth negotiations. The government believes the country can meet its target of a budget surplus before debt service of 3.5 percent of gross domestic product without such cuts. A decision on the matter will be taken by the end of November, according to a European official.

Bulgarian lure

IN the meantime, Greek pensioners are making a rational choice by moving to Bulgaria. In 2017, according to Eurostat data, Greece’s cost of living was almost double Bulgaria’s— which was the lowest in the EU. Although there is little data to show how widespread the phenomenon of Greek retirees heading north is, anecdotal evidence suggests it

may be picking up. Gasoline costs €1.15 per liter in Sofia, compared with about €1.60 in Athens; a home Espresso coffee costs €2.30, while the same brand in Greece has a €4.70 price tag; and metro ticket costs 80 cents, compared with €1.40. Cell-phone charges are half those in Greece. “In general, life is 30-percent cheaper than in Greece, and that’s if you choose to stay in Sofia, Burgas or Plovdiv,” said George. “In smaller towns or villages, life is even cheaper.”

No contest

BULGARIA joined the EU in 2007 and has grown at an average annual rate of 2.4 percent since then. That year was the last that Greece’s economy grew before a sovereign debt crisis wiped out a quarter of its economic output, sent unemployment soaring and left the country at times teetering over the abyss of a euro-exit. Bulgaria, the ex-Communist nation of 7 million people, remains the EU’s poorest member state. By July 2019 it hopes to join ERM-2, the waiting room for entering the euro area. It fulfills the formal criteria to become

AN elderly pedestrian passes a newspaper vendor outside an employment center in Athens. KOSTAS TSIRONIS/BLOOMBERG

the euro region’s 20th member given its solid public finances, although inflation zoomed up to a five-year high of 3.6 percent in September, which could complicate its path.

Still, those price rises aren’t enough to concern Nikos. The 71-year-old Greek national, who also didn’t want to give his surname, points to bread costing 60 euro-cents, restaurant

meals rarely exceeding €10 and rent of €200 for a one-bedroom apartment in a good neighborhood for why he’s living out his retirement in Bulgaria. Bloomberg News

Editor: Gerard S. Ramos •


Saturday, November 10, 2018 A9


Of staycations and a new Korean drama PRIMETIME

DINNA CHAN VASQUEZ @dinnachanvasquez


TAYCATION” is a term that was coined in the middle to late-2000s. The word staycation is derived from “stay at home” and “vacation.” I remember that in the past, a staycation didn’t necessarily mean checking into a hotel or resort. It just meant being home while the rest of Metro Manila was out of town or the country. According to, the word staycation “spread like wildfire across the US in May of 2008 after a record spike in petrol prices made it too expensive for many Americans to travel far from their own home.” Someone once told me (with a smirk) that a staycation was not the next best thing to a real vacation after I said I was staying home during a long weekend. But the truth is that a “staycation” or a stay at a hotel or somewhere relaxing that’s not your home can be therapeutic in a way. For instance, you can wake up anytime you want and you don’t need to worry about food. There’s a breakfast buffet, or you could always order room service. I used to love going to The Bellevue Manila in Alabang until the traffic became horrible and getting to Alabang required a travel time of at least two hours. I mean, for that time, I could already get to Hong Kong, right? Luckily, The Bellevue Hotels and Resorts group opened B Hotel in Quezon City around three years ago. I love the look and vibe of B Hotel with its industrial-themed interiors and non-carpeted floors in the guest rooms because carpets can sometimes trigger my allergies. Located at 14 Scout Rallos in Quezon City, B Hotel ( is just 30 minutes away from my house. No need for a travel time exceeding that of a one-way plane ride to Hong Kong from Manila. B Hotel Quezon City’s F&B supervisor said the hotel has an average occupancy rate of 80 percent, composed mostly of business travelers and corporate guests. During weekends and long holiday weekends, that’s when they get the staycationers who account for 30 percent to 40 percent of guests. I love B Hotel’s homey rooms, particularly their beds. The beds are the right combination of soft and firm. The food is also something to look forward to. A favorite is the Lobby Café’s pancit canton. Here’s more good news from B Hotel: The boutique hotel is now pet-friendly. I am actually considering bringing my dog Oden there for the New Year countdown. B Hotel, by the way, is hosting a New Year Countdown at the Lobby Café.

To check-in with your pet, you need to e-mail B Hotel a fully accomplished Pet Agreement Form at least two days before your booking date. You also need to bring the essentials such as leash and collar, your pet’s sleeping bed or blanket, a play pen or a carrier, doggie treats, medicine, food and water bowl, wet wipes and tissue, towels, waste removal bags, pee pads and diapers and toys. Think of it as a staycation with a baby minus the colic. (Please don’t judge me. I am a mother and I’ve dealt with colic, crying and all that.) There’s also a refundable security deposit of P5,000 per pet and a pet boarding fee (P1,000 to P2,000, depending on the room) on top of the overnight rates. You can bring in only two pets per room with a maximum weight of 10 kilos each. The pets aren’t allowed in the F&B outlets but you can always eat in the room and enjoy room service (the Chairman’s Club sandwich is a must-try). We usually stay in the one-bedroom suite, which has a spacious living and dining room area that’s perfect for pets so they can run around freely. In other news, Viu, a leading pan-regional OTT video service by PCCW Media Group, has announced a regional deal with South Korea’s entertainment conglomerate CJ ENM on the highly anticipated new romance K-drama series Encounter, acquiring its exclusive OTT rights in Asia. The drama will premiere on November 28 in South Korea and will be streamed on Viu in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, fully subtitled in local languages and as fast as four hours after telecast in Korea. Produced by Korea’s top drama production house, Studio Dragon, a subsidiary of CJ ENM, which has

made numerous hit series, including What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Goblin and Bride of the Water God, Encounter, has an all-star team with a renowned cast, director and scriptwriter. The lead actress and actor of Encounter are prominent hallyu (“Korean wave”) celebrities Song Hye-kyo, best known for her leading role in the preeminent series Descendants of the Sun, and Park Bo-gum, famous for Reply 1998 and Love in the Moonlight. Helming the show is director and producer Park Shin-woo, who also directed Jealousy Incarnate, with scriptwriter Yoo Young-ah, from My Annoying Brother, Bel Ami and Entertainer. “Our strategic collaboration with CJ ENM has grown since the launch of Viu to now cover 13 markets in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Our collaboration brings the best quality and most popular Korean productions from CJ ENM to our highly engaged fans. Bringing Encounter to our Viu-ers in the region is an example of our commitment to offering the best and most extensive Asian content, including Korean, Japanese and Chinese content, as well as Viu Originals that we produce in local languages in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, India and Hong Kong. With extensive content offerings, the video views on our platform have more than doubled to 1.2 billion in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year,” said Janice Lee, managing director of PCCW Media Group. Encounter is the story of the romance between Cha Soo-hyun (Song), an unhappy daughter of a prominent politician and the ex-wife of a conglomerate’s heir, and Kim Jin-hyuk (Park), who lives an ordinary life. Their fateful meeting marks the start of a love story that will rock their lives to the core. ■

IN today’s fast-paced technology-driven world, people demand only the best devices and innovations to make life easier. They continuously look for ways to improve the way they work and operate in order to do more and be more. The Samsung Galaxy Note9 is built for these purposes. With its upgraded core performance features designed for maximum productivity, the powerhouse smartphone delivers unparalleled power, speed and capacity. It allows users to power through anything and get the most out of everything. Productive individuals know how to maximize even the smallest time frames for daily tasks, whether for work or leisure. A lot can happen for the busy bee in the span of five minutes—reply to an e-mail, check an update on an ongoing project, and send a quick good-morning message to a loved one. With this in mind, Samsung engineered the Galaxy Note9’s 4,000 mAh battery to last all day. Keeping on-the-go users powered and connected without any interruptions, the Galaxy Note9’s standout battery eliminates the need to carry power banks or look frantically for an outlet all the time. With the brand’s latest flagship smartphone, a full charge is all that one needs to tackle a busy day ahead. When the need arises, loading up the Galaxy Note9 is made simple with fast wireless charging capabilities. Meanwhile, multitasking isn’t an issue with the Galaxy Note9’s 6GB RAM and 10 nanometer Application Processor. The robust hardware makes sure that the smartphone delivers unstoppable and uninterrupted performance by allowing seamless switching between applications, faster downloading speeds and smoother streaming experiences. Alongside all-day power and efficiency, people also prefer carrying as many important files as they can on their devices. It is satisfying to be able to pull out a business presentation, a detailed report, or photos from a recent trip wherever and whenever they need to, without any delay or difficulty. The Galaxy Note9 answers this need with its pioneering 128GB base storage and a limited-edition 512GB variant. Challenging the limits for portable memory, both units support microSD cards up to 512GB, allowing users to carry as much as 1TB of data in a single device. The Galaxy Note9 also utilizes Samsung Knox, the company’s mobile security platform, to keep documents, and large files secure anytime, anywhere. Now, Samsung makes it easier for everyone to experience the powerhouse capabilities of the Galaxy Note9 with flexible payment terms and exciting offers. More information is available at the Samsung Facebook page or

DIGITAL REVOLUTION MAY NOT MAKE GOODS CHEAPER–SURVEY FRANKFURT, Germany—A European Central Bank survey suggests the digital technologies sweeping through the corporate world mean some loss of jobs at big companies while bringing stronger sales and productivity. But a key question for policy-makers—what the digital revolution means for inflation—was harder to answer. Retailers told them e-commerce should lower prices to consumers, while goods producers foresaw more chance to raise prices, thanks to new technologies such as 3D printing and Internetconnected devices. The ECB surveyed 74 of the biggest global companies in Europe about the impact in the coming years from digitalization to find out how the new technologies were affecting the economy. On balance, companies saw digitalization having a “small negative impact” on jobs, while shifting labor needs from low-skilled to high-skilled employees. AP


A10 Saturday, November 10, 2018

Silicon Valley nannies are phone police for kids

CELEBRITY endorser Gabbi Garcia

updates through the day. “If the mom does call and the nanny picks up, it’s, ‘Well what are you doing that you can be on your phone?’” Swales said. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” She said that at least wealthy tech executives know what they want—no phones at all. The harder families to staff are those that are still unsure how to handle tech. “It’s almost safer to some degree in those houses because they know what they’re dealing with,” she said, “as opposed to other families who are still trying to muddle their way in tech.”



BY NELLIE BOWLES New York Times News Service

AN FRANCISCO—Silicon Valley parents are increasingly obsessed with keeping their children away from screens. Even a little screen time can be so deeply addictive, some parents believe, that it’s best if a child neither touches nor sees any of these glittering rectangles. These particular parents, after all, deeply understand their allure. But it’s very hard for a working adult in the 21st century to live at home without looking at a phone. And so, as with many aspirations and ideals, it’s easier to hire someone to do this. Enter the Silicon Valley nanny, who each day returns to the time before screens. “Usually a day consists of me being allowed to take them to the park, introduce them to card games,” Jordin Altmann, 24, a nanny in San Jose, said of her charges. “Board games are huge.” “Almost every parent I work for is very strong about the child not having any technical experience at all,” Altmann said. “In the last two years, it’s become a very big deal.” From Cupertino to San Francisco, a growing consensus has emerged that screen time is bad for kids. It follows that these parents are now asking nannies to keep phones, tablets, computers and TVs off and hidden at all times. Some are even producing no-phone contracts, which guarantee zero unauthorized screen exposure, for their nannies to sign. The fear of screens has reached the level of panic in Silicon Valley. Vigilantes now post photos to parenting message boards of possible nannies using cell phones near children. Which is to say, the very people building these glowing hyper-stimulating portals have become increasingly terrified of them. And it has put their nannies in a strange position.


MASTERCARD has curated special Priceless experiences for fans including the opportunity to view the opening ceremony rehearsal and get a behindthe-scenes tour, or to play test the gaming PCs the pros will compete on during the World Championship Final.

“In the last year everything has changed,” said Shannon Zimmerman, a nanny in San Jose who works for families that ban screen time. “Parents are now much more aware of the tech they’re giving their kids. Now it’s like, ‘Oh no, reel it back, reel it back.’ Now the parents will say ‘No screen time at all.’” Zimmerman likes these new rules, which she said harken back to a time when kids behaved better and knew how to play outside. Parents, though, find the rules harder to follow themselves, Zimmerman said. “Most parents come home, and they’re still glued to their phones, and they’re not listening to a word these kids are saying,” Zimmerman said. “Now I’m the nanny ripping out the cords from the PlayStations.”


PARENTS are now asking nannies to sign stringent “nophone use contracts,” according to nannying agencies across the region. “The people who are closest to tech are the most strict about it at home,” said Lynn Perkins, CEO of UrbanSitter, which she says has 500,000 sitters in the network throughout the United States. “We see that trend with our nannies very clearly.” The phone contracts basically stipulate that a nanny must agree not to use any screen, for any purpose, in front of the child. Often there is a caveat that the nanny may take calls from the parent. “We do a lot of these phone contracts now,” Perkins said. “We’re writing work agreements up in a different way to cover screen and tech use,” said Julie Swales, who runs the Elizabeth Rose Agency, a high-end firm that staffs nannies and house managers for families in the region. “Typically now, the nanny is not allowed to use her phone for any private use.” This can be tricky. These same parents often want

SOME parents in Silicon Valley are embracing a more aggressive approach. While their offices are churning out gadgets and apps, the nearby parks are full of phone spies. These hobbyists take it upon themselves to monitor and alert the flock. There are nannies who may be pushing a swing with one hand and texting with the other, or inadvertently exposing a toddler to a TV through a shop window. “The nanny spotters, the nanny spies,” said Perkins, the UrbanSitter CEO. “They’re self-appointed, but at least every day there’s a post in one of the forums.” The posts follow a pattern: A parent will take a photo of a child accompanied by an adult who is perceived to be not paying enough attention, upload it to one of the private social networks like San Francisco’s Main Street Mamas, home to thousands of members, and ask: “Is this your nanny?” She calls the practice “nanny-outing.” “What I’ll see is, ‘Did anyone have a daughter with a red bow in Dolores Park? Your nanny was on her phone not paying attention,’” Perkins said. The forums, where parents post questions and buy and sell baby gear, are now reckoning with public shaming and privacy issues. Main Street Mamas has recently banned photos from being included in these ‘nanny spotted’ posts, Perkins said. “We follow and are part of quite a large number of socialmedia groups around the Bay Area, and we’ve had families scout out nannies at parks,” said Syma Latif, who runs Bay Area Sitters, which has about 200 nannies in rotation. “It’ll be like, ‘Is this your nanny? She’s texting and the child is on the swing.’” Sometimes a parent will step in to defend the nanny and declare that the phone use at that moment was allowed. “They’ll say, ‘Actually it was my nanny, and she was texting me but thank you for the heads up,’” Latif said. “Of course it’s very, very offensive on a human-rights level. You’re being tracked and monitored and put on social media. But I do think it comes from a genuine concern.” Commenters will jump in to defend someone—or to point out that no one can be sure whether the perpetrator is a parent or a nanny. The standards are different.“There is this thought that the moms can be on their phones,” Latif said. “They can be texting, because it’s their child.” Others say it shouldn’t make a difference. Anita Castro, 51, has been a nanny in Silicon Valley for 12 years. She says she knows she works in homes that have cameras set up to film her. She thinks the nanny outing posts cross a line and feel like “an invasion.” “I use the forums to find jobs, but now just reading the titles: ‘I saw your nanny...’” Castro said. “Who are these people? Are they the neighbors? Are they friends?” A few weeks ago at the Los Altos library, another nanny told Castro about quitting after one mom followed her around parks to snoop. “She’d pop up and say, ‘Hey, you’re not on your phone, are you? You’re not letting him do that, are you?” Castro recalled. “So she finally just said, ‘You know, I don’t think you need a nanny.’” ■

EAR candy with an extra heaping of bass


THE new Sony Extra Bass It Girl, Gabbi Garcia, is making the party more extra by showing her deep love for music through song performances—with a good helping of bass. And the actress’s lucky fans were also treated to a fun meet-andgreet that surely set the mood for “Feel the Passion. Feel the Bass” campaign. For the second time this year, Sony Philippines ( gathered aspiring dancers all over the Metro for an open-for-all dance clinic held at Robinsons Manila on October 20 and 21. Sony Extra Bass ambassadors and hip-hop international champions UPeepz and A-Team joined the party of the two-day event, teaching the crowd the latest in dance performances. Meanwhile, fast-rising club DJ and Extra Bass ambassador Rammy Bitong shared his moves and mad DJ skills fronting electronic dance music. Event-goers witnessed a weekend of interactive product displays, fun activities, Dance Challenge and DJ Battle. Sony Philippines featured key products from its Extra Bass line so attendees were also able to cop extra sweet deals from the special discounts. Sony Extra Bass’s range of products, available in all Sony Centers nationwide, include portable Bluetooth speakers that are light, stylish and wireless that you can take to any party and stream high-quality sound effortlessly. Meanwhile, the Sony Extra Bass headphones boast superior sound quality and long-listen comfort.

UNCLEAR WHETHER DIGITAL REVOLUTION LOWERS PRICES–SURVEY FRANKFURT, Germany—A new survey suggests the digital technologies sweeping through the corporate world could mean some job losses at big companies, but it’s unclear what impact they will have on consumer prices. Retailers told the European Central Bank (ECB), which carried out the survey, that e-commerce should lower prices for shoppers. But producers of goods foresaw more chances to raise prices thanks to new technologies, such as 3D printing and Internet-connected devices. The bank asked 74 of the biggest companies in Europe how the think new technologies are likely to affect the economy in coming years. On balance, the businesses saw digitalization having a “small negative impact” on jobs, while shifting labor needs from low-skilled to high-skill employees. The ECB probed the price issue because its mission is to keep inflation under control near its goal of just under 2 percent. Central banks and economists have struggled to understand why inflation has only responded slowly to years of stimulus like low interest rates and money injections into the economy. AP

Priceless experiences for fans at the League of Legends 2018 World Championship MASTERCARD’S first activation of the World Championship came to life through The Mastercard Nexus, a League of Legends-themed experiential pop-up in the Gangnam Gu neighborhood of Seoul. The 2018 World Championship Finals kicked off in Incheon on November 3 with the “Finals Opening Ceremony presented by Mastercard,” which included a performance of the 2018 Worlds anthem “RISE” featuring The Glitch Mob, Mako, The Word Alive and Bobby of iKON. There was also a special performance debut of a new Riot-produced song featuring Madison Beer, Miyeon and Soyeon of (G)I-DLE and Jaira Burns. “The Mastercard Nexus is a result of passionate, creative collaboration designed to bring the League to life for fans in new and exciting ways,” said Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer

of Mastercard. “From the Mastercard Nexus to the Finals Opening Ceremony, we are thrilled to be on the ground for our first World Championship. Our promise to create unforgettable Priceless experiences for the community is only beginning.” “We’re excited to debut our partnership in such an engaging way at Worlds. Through the immersive Mastercard Nexus, the highly anticipated opening ceremony performances, and a variety of Priceless experiences, Mastercard is delivering the kinds of fan-first touchpoints that enhance the overall Worlds experience,” said Naz Aletaha, head of global esports partnerships at Riot Games. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Mastercard over the next few years to further evolve and define what Priceless means for League of Legends esports fans all over the world.”

The Mastercard Nexus featured a number of ways for League of Legends fans to get closer to the esport they love, including: EXPERIENCES ■ “Become a Champion” through social, shareable augmented-reality experience ■ Play on high-performance gaming PCs and experience Riot Game’s Snowdown Showdown 1v1 game mode that is used exclusively at the All-Star Event EDUCATION ■ Learn “how to stream”—from basics to advanced—at Twitch’s Creator Camp ■ Listen to panel discussions with shoutcasters and players INSPIRATION ■ Meet pro-players and teams ■ Interact with League of Legends cosplayers


Saturday, November 10, 2018 A11

Kris’s big surprise THE TECHNIVORE ED UY

“People in�luence people. Nothing in�luences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral in�luences people more than the best broadcast message.”



NFLUENCER. One of the most used and abused titles of people who live off their photos on social media.   These days, anyone with a social-media account can call themselves an “influencer.” Just like a few years ago when a lot of people became instant bloggers (even though they couldn’t write a single decent coherent sentence) just to get event invites, be part of the raffles and take home a loot bag (but that’s a topic for a future piece). I actually cringe when someone introduces themselves as an influencer, because in my experience, more often than not, these are the people who don’t even have blogs, only post Instagram or Facebook stories during events (unless they are paid) and flaunt their number of followers to back up their claim. Well, here’s the truth: Followers don’t make you an influencer; influence makes you an influencer.  You might have a follower factory in the Middle East, be a member of a hundred IG comment exchange groups to “create” engagement, and have a library of Lightroom Filters to make your posts look curated, but unless you can persuade people to actually buy the product you are promoting—please, use a different word.  Influencer marketing has evolved into an incredibly popular tactic. It’s true that one sponsored social-media post can do wonders for brand reputation and it’s a price worth paying. The key here is choosing the right influencer for the campaign; they may be legit, but they should also believe in your brand, and are not just doing it for the money. Otherwise, don’t be surprised to see them promoting the competitor as soon as your contract expires—or, worse, end up in the growing list of influencer fails. Celebrity smartphone endorsers have often been caught using a different phone (often an iPhone) in public. Just last week, there was this famous Russian celebrity who was caught using an iPhone even

though she’s a Samsung endorser. There were even news that Samsung was going to file charges, although it was later dismissed as fake. There were also numerous times when Instagram celebrities erroneously copy and pasted captions that even included conversations or instructions on when to make the post. So how do you identify a person of “influence” as opposed to an influencer? First is they should have acknowledged credibility within a certain subject area, or are real users of the product. Next is lots of two-way engagement— don’t just count the number of likes and comments, but also for the replies and conversation. Great communication skills, unless you want them to end up in the copy-paste fails, they should know how to write good content and speak with authority. Last, they should have a track record of successful recommendations in the past—someone who commands trust and respect that has been earned over time. They don’t just make recommendations; they make recommendations that are valuable to their audience, over and over.


WHEN it comes to “people of influence,” few can compare to the “OG” influencer herself, the Queen of all Media, Kris Aquino. Love her or hate her, there is no denying that Kris makes people aware, interested and make them rush to the stores. She’s even proven that she doesn’t need TV as she successfully transitioned to the digital landscape. I’ve seen her work with her crew first hand when I joined her during the launch of the iPhone X last year at the Smart flagship store in SM Megamall, and it’s clear that she’s invested a lot on equipment and is truly hands-on to make her content both personal and engaging. So it’s no surprise that Smart once again got Kris for the recent launch of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, but this time, instead of focusing solely on her and her encounter with the “X,” she shared the spotlight with the loyal subscribers for their “big” moment. Smart’s big surprise happened in an exclusive event hosted by Kris Aquino at the state-ofthe-art PLDT-Smart Store at World Plaza in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. “What better way to launch the biggest iPhones than with a big surprise for Smart customers? It’s such an amazing experience to be part of this big moment for subscribers who came here without any hint of what Smart thoughtfully set up for them. This is just proof that being with Smart really comes with a lot of rewarding experiences,” Kris said as she

joined PLDT-Smart executives and celebrities in the intimate gathering. Just when they thought they were simply claiming their new iPhones, 15 loyal Smart subscribers got the surprise of their lives and instead got a 512GB iPhone XS Max—the biggest and most top-of-the-line iPhone variant available today, a huge upgrade from the 64GB and 256GB model they had preordered. As if that were not enough, the lucky subscribers also got a big bonus in the form of a personalized MVP Rewards card with P10,000 worth of points. They even announced that 85 other lucky loyal customers from all over the Philippines would also get a surprise iPhone upgrade.  After hosting the launch, Kris then went out to film additional footage for her channel with son Bimby. Again, she had a full production crew with her, complete with lights and even a makeup artist.  So, if you are still wondering why brands pay big money to get Kris, all you have to do is watch her work and observe just how much effort goes into the content she creates. Now, about the latest iPhones and Smart: “The company makes it a lot easier for Filipinos to get hold of the latest iPhones, and optimize their breakthrough features powered by Smart LTE, the country’s fastest mobile network,” said Oscar A. Reyes Jr., PLDT and Smart FVP and head of consumer business market development.  “Apple fans can expect a much bigger digital experience as they can enjoy seamless streaming, real-time sharing and even lag-free gaming on their Smart-powered iPhones,” said Andrew L. Santos, PLDT-Smart FVP and Consumer Marketing head. Smart is also offering special discounts for subscribers who are renewing their postpaid plans. More information is available at iPhoneXs or any Smart Store.

TECHNOLOGY MEETS ART AT THE FORBIDDEN CITY THE busy month of “Techtober” ended with the launch of Xiaomi’s premium flagship product, the Mi Mix 3, at the Forbidden City (also known as the Palace Museum), one of China’s most important historical landmarks.  The company’s latest device for its awardwinning Mi Mix series again merges technology and art, sporting a beautiful ceramic back that comes in three colors and an innovative magnetic slider that hides the front cameras.  In addition to an stunning full-screen display experience, Mi Mix 3 features a camera setup that achieved a DxOMark photo score of 108, a four-sided curved ceramic back panel in a new Sapphire Blue variant and up to 10GB RAM. The Mi Mix 3’s patented slider incorporates neodymium magnets that have been carefully calibrated. Once the screen is pushed down, the magnetic mechanism immediately kicks in and finishes the opening in a snap with just the right amount of force. Xiaomi has dedicated substantial resources to the production process to ensure the slider has a life expectancy of 300,000 cycles in lab tests. The slider design not only creates space for front cameras and antenna, but also allows for the maximum full-screen display. Mi Mix 3 employs a 6.39-inch, 2340 x 1080-pixel FHD+ Samsung AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. Its bezels have been further reduced from the its predecessor to achieve an extreme screen-to-body ratio of 93.4 percent. The full-screen slider is fully customizable. Users can slide open the phone to answer calls or customize it to launch

different functions. Additionally, there is a special ingame function for the  slider, allowing users to access screen capture, screen recorder or hide notifications during gaming sessions. The Mi Mix 3 features a 12MP + 12MP rear dual camera that uses the same sensors as Mi 8. To further improve performance in low-light environments, Xiaomi introduced a steady handheld night photography mode in Mi Mix 3, bundling various useful features including hardware multiframe noise reduction, AI light metering, and AI image stabilization and calibration. Coupled with the rear camera’s 4-axis OIS, Mi Mix 3 is Xiaomi’s best smartphone for low-light photos to date. The rear dual camera also features 4K video recording and 960 fps slow-motion video capture, supported by an AI background music feature that automatically adds sound effects according to the flow of motion in the video. The 24MP + 2MP front module sports a Sony IMX576 main sensor that can capture more details than ever before. In low-light conditions, the sensor uses Super Pixel technology to combine the information of four pixels into one large pixel, resulting in 1.8µm large pixels that greatly improve clarity, especially in indoor and low-light scenarios. The secondary 2M sensor captures depth information to facilitate an AI bokeh effect. With these enhancements, Mi Mix 3 achieved a DxOMark photo score of 108, ranking among the world’s best smartphones for photography.  The Mi Mix 3 continues the series’ tradition of using unique materials with artistic design, adding a new Sapphire Blue version inspired by the Palace Museum’s ceramic collections. These ceramic pieces are renowned for their beauty and were meticulously made using a complex production process with very precise temperature control.  During the launch event, Xiaomi and the Palace Museum co-launched a special edition Mi Mix 3 featuring the legendary Chinese creature Xiezhi, a mythical beast that symbolizes justice, engraved on its back cover. This version is also one of the first smartphones in the world to come with 10GB RAM for extreme performance.   Those who plan to purchase the Mi Mix 3 will be happy to know that it comes with a 10W wireless charger that is 30 percent more efficient than its predecessor.  At the launch event, Lei Jun, chairman and CEO of Xiaomi, also revealed that Xiaomi Corp. expects its shipment of smartphones to exceed 100 million units by the end of October 2018, successfully reaching the full-year target set at its global core suppliers conference in September 2017. Xiaomi will reach the target two months ahead of schedule, and it exceeds the unit shipment of 90 million in 2017.  Xiaomi is currently the world’s fourth-largest smartphone brand, and has established the world’s largest consumer IoT platform, with more than 100 million smart devices (excluding smartphones and laptops) connected to its platform. Currently, Xiaomi products are present in more than 70 countries and regions around the world and have a leading foothold in many markets. The Mi Mix 3 will be available in Jade Green, Sapphire Blue, and Onyx Black through online and offline channels in the Chinese mainland, with 6GB + 128GB for RMB3299, 8GB + 128G for RMB3599, and 8GB + 256GB for RMB3999. The 10GB + 256GB Mi MIX 3 Palace Museum Edition is priced at RMB4999. The Mi Mix 3 will be available in the Philippines early next year.  ■

2nd Front Page BusinessMirror

A12 Friday, November 9, 2018

‘Higher prices prevent poor from enjoying GDP growth’


By Cai U. Ordinario


S household spending in the third quarter grew at its slowest pace in four years, local economists fear the worst: The rate of poverty reduction may have also slowed during the period. The situation could turn dire, they said, if the government is unable to address the supply problem that is being touted as the primary cause of high commodity prices. Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development Director Alvin P. Ang told the BusinessMirror that should this happen, some of the ground covered in reducing poverty could be lost. “I am concerned that if the supply problem will continue, inflation will increase further and the poverty rate will worsen because the poor will not be able to afford food

items,” Ang said. “That is the concern, basically. The gains you have made in the past will be wasted. The inclusivity of growth will be lost. If this will be lost, your distribution [of economic growth] will worsen because the poor won’t be able to have access [to food]. Instead of improving the poverty situation, it will worsen,” he added. On Thursday the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HFCE) grew 5.2 percent in the third quarter, the

Manufacturing. . .

average of five separate subcomponents. To score above the 50 threshold signals a growth, while to hit below 50 means a slowdown. The Philippines in October had the highest PMI among Southeast Asian economies, trailed by manufacturing giant Vietnam at 53.9 and Indonesia at 50.5. Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore all performed below the 50 mark. Lopez said, however, that reforms must still be enacted to sustain this progress. He said one reform that will

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bolster the sector’s development is the lowering of corporate income tax (CIT)—one of the two components of the controversial Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities (Trabaho) bill. Under the Trabaho bill, CIT will be gradually reduced to 20 percent in 2029 from 30 percent. The measure, however, faces opposition from economic zone locators, as it will rationalize tax incentives granted to them. “To continue with that [growth of the manufacturing sector], there must

EASTERLIES AFFECTING THE COUNTRY as of 4:00 am - November 8, 2018

“That is the concern, basically. The gains you have made in the past will be wasted. The inclusivity of growth will be lost. If this will be lost, your distribution [of economic growth] will worsen because the poor won’t be able to have access [to food]. Instead of improving the poverty situation, it will worsen.”—Ang

slowest since the 5 percent posted in the third quarter of 2014. Food consumption grew by only 2.8 percent in the third quarter, slower than 6.2 percent recorded in the second quarter. The slower spending by households significantly affected the country’s economic performance in the July-to-September period. GDP grew 6.1 percent, the slowest expansion recorded in two years. Other economists, such as Unionbank Chief Economist Ruben Carlo Asuncion, said the slowdown

be reforms,” Lopez said. “This lowering of CIT, part of the tax reform, is one that we will have. [The other is] liberalization of many more sectors. Hopefully, we can liberalize the two remaining sectors with the law,” he added. He is referring to retail trade and public utilities. “It can open up more sectors where foreign investments can come in and own up to 100 percent. Liberalize more so that we can really [attract investments], then lower tax rates. The business environment is in good condition. The demographic is still working in our favor,” the trade chief argued.

in household consumption caused by expensive food and fuel, will have an impact on poverty. Asuncion said high prices could also immediately increase selfrated poverty incidence in the country. Self-rated poverty data is collected periodically by the Social Weather Stations. “The government has to continue to address supply-side issues to help rein in inf lation. Measures have to be rolled out and properly implemented. We have heard of the rice tariffication law which has to be passed very soon,” Asuncion said. University of Asia and the Pacific School of Economics Dean Cid Terosa said there is a need for the government to protect Filipinos, particularly in enhancing their purchasing power. Terosa stressed that the government needs to ensure enough supply and access of all families to various basic commodities to prevent households from falling into poverty. See “Poor,” A2

The liberalization of retail trade, or House Bill 4595 filed by Rep. Arthur C. Yap of the Third District of Bohol and Senate Bill 1639 filed by Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, is still pending deliberation in their respective chambers. On the other hand, HB 5828, which amends the Public Service Act by redefining utilities, hurdled the House’s third and final reading September of last year, and is now awaiting action from senators. “[On] the FDI [foreign direct investments], there is also a big chunk there that is being raked in to manufacturing. We really have to sustain the flow of investments in manufacturing to really expand the sector,” Lopez said. FDI from January to October went up 156 percent to P39.3 billion, from P15 billion in the same period last year, according to the Board of Investments.

GDP. . .

Continued from A1

In an effort to curb the stubbornly rising inflation earlier this year, the BSP consistently pulled several rate hikes in 2018, hitting a total of 150 basis points for the entire year. “The 150 basis points cumulative rate hike for the year is likely weighing down on consumption and will dampen investment going forward,” Mapa said. Prior to the GDP announcement on Thursday, ING Bank Manila was of the view that the BSP may pull of a “moderate” rate hike in its November meeting, to the tune of 25 basis points. “Holding off on an additional rate hike, as marginal as it may be, would give the Philippine economy the breathing room it needs to catch its breath and resume its above 6-percent growth trajectory in fourth quarter with the midterm election in sights,” Mapa said. “With the 6.1-percent print, the likelihood for a stay has increased with recent dovish undertones from key voting BSP officials likely to pick up as slowing consumption is now a ‘concern’ according to the government,” he added. BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. said in a statement that as inflation starts to go down toward the end of the year, Central Bank officials will have to assess other economic indicators to see if there is still a need for tightening during the BSP’s upcoming meeting. “The MB will take into account there’s and other incoming date including GDP at its next policy meeting when it determines if there’s still need for further policy rate adjustments,” Espenilla said. The BSP is expected to have their next monetary-policy meeting on November 15. This will be their second to the last meeting for the year.


& Butch Fernandez @butchfBM


ITING the aborted multimillion-dollar national broadband network NBN-ZTE and North Rail deals, opposition senators sought a deeper review of how the consortium between a Davao businessman-friend of the President and state-owned China Telecom ended up the provisional third telco player seen to compete with the Globe-Smart telco duopoly. “We do not want another NBNZTE [$329 million] and North Rail [$421 million] anomalous deals in our midst, which, if not exposed, would have robbed the people billions of pesos,” said Senate  Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon and Sens. Risa Hontiveros, Leila M. de Lima Francis N. Pangilinan and Antonio F. Trillanes IV. A deputy minority leader in the House of Representatives held a different view, however. On Thursday Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. saw no distinct security risks seen with China Telecom in play as foreign partner of third telecommunication in the country.  In a statement, Campos played down concerns of potential security risks with China Telecom, saying that the newcomer is expected to help boost the country’s mobile Internet services. In a joint statement issued on Thursday, the five senators, however, thumbed down the proposed

Telcos. . .

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third telco player bared its commitments over the next five years. Aside from this, Fitch also “expects this to temper revenue growth” for both companies, as the third telco player is presumed to enter the market through a price war “as it strives to grab market share in an already highly saturated mobile market.”  Pangilinan noted that his group has yet to determine how big the impact is of the third telco player in the company’s top line, but noted that “the impact of the third player will not be significant in the first year.”  “We’re quite optimistic for 2019, but of course, they can conjure up something that will be new or creative, so we’ll just have to be able to respond to that,” he said.  Pangilinan said his group does not see the third telco up and running by 2019, as it takes a full year for a telco to set up as much as 300 cell towers.  Together, the two incumbents have roughly 15,000 towers in operation. Crisanto said it already expects the third telco to enter the market with low prices to squeeze out market share.  “Now you will know how competitive the industry is. For long, people are saying that we are not competitive, now you will know how competitive we are,” she said.  Mislatel emerged as the provisional third telco player, after two other bidders—Sear Telecommunications Inc. and Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp.—were disqualified for submitting incomplete requirements.  Led by Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp., China Telecom and Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., Mislatel Consortium will be using the congressional franchise of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. Inc. Its bid will still be evaluated, and is expected to be challenged by the disqualified parties. 

joint venture with China Telecom, saying it might end up as “NBN-ZTE part two.” This, even as the minority senators acknowledged that  “our telecommunications need more industry players for the sake of the tens of millions of Filipino consumers who deserve quality Internet and mobile services.”         “We long for a time when Filipinos would have free access to the Internet, when we could use our mobile phones without experiencing drop calls, when text messages would arrive on time, and when our private data would not be used without our knowledge or consent for commercial and intelligence,” the senators said, adding: “That’s why we need to do things right.” They suggested a thorough scrutiny of the third telco deal, a months-long exercise capped on Wednesday with only three groups submitting bids and two ending up disqualified. The senators insisted that “the selection of the joint venture of a Davao-based businessman and state-owned China Telecom as the provisional new major telecommunications player should be examined carefully.” They asked: “What qualified it in the first place? Why were the other bidders booted out? What is the track record of the winning bidder in the telecommunications business? Was the government opening up the bidding to other players just a formality?” the See “China telecom,” A2

Nonetheless, the government aims to award the third telco spot by this month. According to Fitch, the consortium will incur huge cash burns to roll out its network. “Consequently, only a newcomer with deep pockets and technical expertise would be able to compete effectively against the incumbents,” it said.  The third telco is also expected to handle issues pertaining to spectrum allocation and usage, as the two companies hold the majority of the frequencies in the telco space.  “Even after setting aside spectrum frequencies to the new telco, the incumbents still possess a majority of the rights across a range of spectrum frequencies, some of which were acquired from their joint purchase of San Miguel Corp.’s telecom assets in 2016,” Fitch said.  Thus, it predicts that the new player will “focus on the cost-effective long-term evolution network to accelerate network rollout.” It noted, however, that the third telco may find it hard to “monetize higher data traffic” at it remains a key challenge in the Philippines.  “The aggressive LTE rollout by the incumbent operators would also raise entry barriers for the newcomer,” Fitch said.  As such, the credit rating company sees “fixed-mobile convergence as advantageous, allowing telcos to tap into the fast-growing homebroadband market to mitigate mobile pressure and retain customers.”  The third telco is seen to break the telco duopoly, as it spurs competition, thereby increasing quality of services while bringing prices down.  But to further improve the telco market, which received a negative outlook from Fitch, the credit watcher suggested that the Philippine government intervene through legislative and policy reforms.  “This includes reevaluation of the current 40-percent foreign-ownership cap for public utilities, infrastructure and tower sharing, as well as spectrum redistribution,” it said. 

Businessmirror November 10, 2018  
Businessmirror November 10, 2018