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In pandemic, banks book higher deposits


Eternal Chapels executives and officers pose for a souvenir photo after the blessing of Cabuyao branch. From left are Ms. Sharon Tan, Jaime B. Bangalan, vice president for Operations of Eternal Chapels; Numeriano B. Rodrin, president and chief operating officer; T. Anthony C. Cabangon, Eternal Gardens director; D. Edgard A. Cabangon, chairman and chief executive officer; Rev. Fr. Gomer R. Torres; D. Antoinette C. CabangonJacinto, Eternal Chapels treasurer; Alexander R. Atienza (partially hidden), branch manager; Benjamin V. Ramos, vice chairman; Engr. Mariano F. Hilario, Engineering and Project Development head of the ALC Group of Companies; Jose Antonio V. Rivera, vice president for Marketing; Arch. Lerma E. Balolong (partially hidden), designer of the Eternal Chapels; and Marvin C. Timbol, vice president for Finance. Story on B1.


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By Tyrone Jasper C. Piad


HE coronavirus pandemic has prompted Filipinos to put more money in the banks, economists said. Amid a major slowdown in economic activities, analysts pointed out that capital expenditures were reduced, resulting in higher cash deposits. Households, at the same time, are only spending on the essentials and keeping their money for rainy days. “The Covid-19 lockdowns have dramatically reduced economic activities as well as consumption, thereby reducing business spending to adapt to slower demand,” RCBC Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said. He said this led to an “increase in deposit levels as businesses, households and other institutions become more conservative by holding more cash . . . in order to help them better tide

[amid the pandemic]." In addition, Ricafort pointed out that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has implemented various monetary and liquidity infusion measures, which have led to having excess cash in the financial system. Some of the additional cash was placed on bank deposits, he explained. According to the latest data from BSP, the banking system’s deposit liabilities grew by 7.5 percent to P14.32 trillion as of end-July from P12.97 trillion year-onyear. The amount of deposit has risen by around 5 percent year-to-date. UnionBank Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion noted that the increase in the banking sector’s deposit liabilities was “significant.” Asuncion also agreed with Ricafort that the BSP showing an accommodative stance amid a pandemic fueled liquidity in the financial system.

“The BSP has used many of its expansionary tools to help support the ailing economy and thus the increase in the liquidity,” he said. Looking at the breakdown, the bulk or 84 percent of the banks’ deposit liabilities as of end-July—P12.03 trillion—are denominated in peso. The rest was in foreign currency. Of the peso accounts, savings deposit comprises the majority, amounting to P5.49 trillion. This is followed by demand deposits worth P3.77 trillion. Meanwhile, peso-denominated time deposits and long-term negotiable certificates of deposit reached P2.55 trillion and P217.92 billion, respectively, for the period.

Increasing bank deposits

WHILE the economic slowdown prompted the surge in bank deposits,

See “Deposits,” A2

BusinessMirror A broader look at today’s business







WB: COVID WOES MAKE www.businessmirror.com.ph


Wednesday, September 30, 2020 Vol. 15 No. 356

P25.00 nationwide | 2 sections 16 pages | 7 DAYS A WEEK

PHL RECOVERY UNCERTAIN PHILIPPINE National Police Highway Patrol Group personnel guard a newly closed lane leading to a U-turn slot on Edsa in front of TriNoma mall in Quezon City. The gradual closure of the 13 U-turn slots along Edsa, done to free up traffic on dedicated bus lanes, has led to initial confusion on lane assignments, as some private vehicles used to the open lanes merge toward the inner lanes, only to find a dead end. NONOY LACZA


By Cai U. Ordinario

AILURE to control the pandemic in the Philippines has made the country’s economic recovery uncertain, according to the World Bank’s October 2020 Economic Update for East Asia and the Pacific report.

The Washington-based lender said the Philippine economy could worsen to a contraction of 9.9 percent this year from the baseline contraction of 6.9 percent. Next year, the Bank said, the economy could post a growth of only 2.9 percent if global growth remains anemic in 2021; otherwise, GDP could reach a growth of 5.3 percent on the back of low base effects. With the pandemic and the economic uncertainty, the World Bank

projects that poverty will increase to 22.4 percent this year using a $3.2 per day poverty threshold. “Indonesia and the Philippines face uncertain prospects. The region’s two most populous countries after China have not so far succeeded in controlling the pandemic,” the report stated. “Indonesia has not imposed strict lockdowns and seems to be relying on softer measures, while Continued on A2

‘Boracay tourists don’t need PNP travel OK’ By Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo Special to the BusinessMirror


OURISTS to Boracay Island don’t need to secure a travel authority from the Philippine National Police (PNP). This was the comment of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat when asked about the requirement by certain carriers of said travel authority. They also don’t need a medical certificate from a government-accredited doctor: “The negative RT-PCR test result will suffice.” She said the DOT is now correcting the carriers on the requirements for tourists going to Boracay. This developed as the country’s major carriers are cautiously mounting their flights

to Caticlan, Aklan, the gateway to the world-famous Boracay Island, as the latter starts accepting more tourists even from general community quarantine areas. In a Viber message to the BusinessMirror, Cebu Pacific Airways vice president for marketing and customer experience Candice Iyog said, “At the moment, loads for our flight to Boracay are still building. We intend to operate three times weekly beginning October 1,” or one flight per day every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. She added, “Passengers planning to fly to Boracay have to secure a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours prior to their date of departure. Tourists would also need to submit a health declaration form online [aklan.gov.ph], and pre-regis-


ter prior to check-in to help the local government monitor arrivals.” Tourists also need to present a “medical certificate from any government-accredited doctor.” Iyog said, “We welcome this recent development as we believe this marks the beginning of opening more domestic destinations for tourism.” Air Asia Philippines is offering two flights a day to Caticlan for the whole month of October: Wednesdays, two flights a day beginning October 2; Wednesdays and Fridays starting October 7; and Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, beginning October 11. “We will see how this turns out, which we will base our November schedule from,” said Mariane Patricia Mantaring of AirAsia Communications.

Among the airline’s requirements: “A medical certificate issued by any government physician, a travel authority pass issued by the Philippine National Police, a health declaration card, a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure, and booking confirmation details for hotel/resort to be presented upon check-in and arrival.” Philippine Airlines spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the airline is flying to Caticlan beginning October 1 with two flights, and two more flights on October 4, 9 and 11. “This will pave the way for a regular twice-weekly service operating every Friday and Sunday from October 16 onwards.”



HE country’s food service sector’s sales this year may plunge by more than half to $6.9 billion from last year's $14.9 billion as Filipinos’ consumption outside their homes was drastically cut by the movement restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. This was the latest forecast of a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report by the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) office in Manila. The latest forecast by the USDA-FAS Manila office was a steep reversion of its earlier projection of a record-high $16 billion, which was an 8-percent expansion from last year. If the latest forecast materializes, it would be the lowest sales of the domestic food service industry in the past nine years, based on historical GAIN information and data. What drove the downward revision? Dampened consumption, particularly dining out, and Covid-19 pandemic. “Dining out was an important aspect of Filipino family bonding and celebrations, but since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, consumers have shifted away from dining out and prefer to cook food at home,” the report read. See “Food Service,” A2

See “Boracay,” A2

n JAPAN 0.4594 n UK 62.2259 n HK 6.2526 n CHINA 7.1146 n SINGAPORE 35.3068 n AUSTRALIA 34.2674 n EU 56.5228 n SAUDI ARABIA 12.9193

Source: BSP (September 29, 2020)

News BusinessMirror

A2 Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Boracay… Continued from A1

The airline requires passengers to submit an “RT-PCR negative test result, travel authority, and a confirmed hotel booking in a DOT-accredited hotel,” she said. The DOT and stakeholders on Boracay are looking forward to the All Saints’ Day break to regain much needed tourism revenue. However, it will only be a three-day holiday, with October 31 being a Saturday and All Souls’ Day, or November 2, a Monday. Meanwhile, Sen. Nancy Binay said safety and health protocols should be the top priority as Boracay is set to open its doors to local tourists on Wednesday. “While we recognize that this is a step towards getting the tourism sector and our economy back on track, we would like to remind the Department of Tourism and would-be travelers that health and safety should always be our first priority,” she said in a statement on Tuesday. She cited the recent opening of tourism, which triggered a second wave of Covid-19 infections in Croatia and Vietnam. “Perhaps we can learn many lessons from them on why the decision to open the borders to visitors could trigger a resurgence of Covid-19 cases,” said Binay, who chairs the Senate Committee on Tourism. Binay is puzzled why the DOT lifted the age restrictions for travel to the island, when the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has prescribed that minors and senior citizens stay at home while in GCQ or modified GCQ. “I think many are asking why the age restrictions are relaxed when it comes to Boracay. Children are allowed to travel and go on a vacation but they aren’t allowed to go to school. Physical distancing is mandated, but on the bus and train, we allow passengers to squeeze together. How do we make our messaging clear to the public when government health and safety policies are disconnected and disjointed amongst government agencies?” Binay said in Taglish. She urged the DOT and the local government in Aklan to ensure their guidelines are in sync and not confusing to those who want to travel. She added, “Traveling is still a major virus carrier, so the LGU should be prepared to handle the influx of tourists, rationalize and restrict the carrying capacity, and also be ready to strictly enforce health protocol compliance in all levels,” she underscored. A list of DOT-accredited hotels and resorts on Boracay is available on its Facebook page.


Duterte to Facebook: Taking down accounts is censorship


By Samuel P. Medenilla

ALACAÑANG accused socialmedia giant Facebook of committing censorship when it got rid of some pro-government accounts.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Duterte will raise the issue once he meets with executives of Facebook. “The President does not tolerate the censorship of pro-government advocacies, including the advocacy to protect children against child enlistment as combatants,” Roque said in an online press briefing on Tuesday. Roque was referring to the page

of the Hands Off Our Children, an advocacy group condemning the recruitment of children to become combatants by communist rebels. While the page is not directly maintained by the government, the page helps the government to promote children’s rights, Roque said.

Fact checker

ON Monday, Duterte called out Facebook for supposedly targeting

the pages and accounts of the supporters of the government, when it took down 200 alleged fake accounts for having suspicious activities. Roque questioned the process of how Facebook determines if an account is fake or not, especially since he claimed its local factcheckers are anti-government media entities, Rappler and Vera Files. Rappler and Vera Files were tapped by Facebook to become its third-party fact-checker after both got certification from the International Fact-Checking Network. To counter the said anti-government fact-checkers, he said the government is now studying having its own fact-checkers.

Content-based restriction

ROQUE insists Facebook’s move

against pro-government sites is a form of “content-based restriction,” which should be questioned before courts for being “unconstitutional” and to set the necessary jurisprudence. “I encourage [the affected] pro-government groups to go to court and let us see what will be the ruling of the court on the matter,” Roque said. In this regard, he said the country will help in settling “worldwide debate” on the extent of Internet freedom of expression. “I welcome the remarks of the President because it seems that the Philippines again will be primarily responsible for the formation of new norms on Internet freedom of expression,” Roque said.



the Philippines has gone on a cycle of repeated strict lockdowns and reopenings,” it added. The World Bank said while the Philippines, like Indonesia, could take

advantage of its young population, it suffers from a “large informal sector and poor living conditions for a large fraction of their population.” The Philippines is also expected by the World Bank to be more affected by the crisis than Indonesia because of

its exposure to the global economy. World Bank Philippines Senior Economist Rong Qian said the country is far more dependent on tourism and exports compared to Indonesia. This means the Philippines economic recovery is also dependent on the recovery of its trade partners and the global economy. “The downside scenario is the risk of reversal to a strict lockdown and slower recovery or deeper recession of the global economy,” Qian said in a press briefing on Tuesday.


BASED on the World Bank’s latest Macro Poverty Outlook for the Philippines, the key domestic risk in the country “remains the uncontrolled Covid-19 transmission,” which may lead to stricter quarantine restrictions and dampened domestic consumption. For this year, poverty incidence in the country could reach 22.4 percent from the estimated 20.5 percent in 2019. This is based on the $3.2 per day lower middle-income poverty rate set by the World Bank using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) estimates. The World Bank said poverty could remain elevated until next year, albeit at a lower rate of 21.4 percent, before further slowing to 20.4 percent in 2022. These estimates may be consistent with World Bank expectations that the Philippine economy will return to its pre-pandemic form by the end of 2021. The OECD explained that PPPs are rates of currency conversion that try to equalize the purchasing power of different currencies, by eliminating the differences in price levels between countries. The PPPs are not used by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to compute poverty. The government uses a poverty threshold which is the minimum income/expenditure required for a family/individual to meet the basic food and non-food requirements. Basic food requirements are currently based on 100-percent adequacy for the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intake (RENI) for protein and energy equivalent to an average of 2,000 kilocalories per capita, and 80 percent adequacy for other nutrients. On the other hand, basic non-food requirements are indirectly estimated by obtaining the ratio of food to total basic expenditures from a reference group of families, cover expenditures. These expenditures are on: clothing and footwear; housing; fuel, light, water; maintenance and minor repairs; rental of occupied dwelling units; medical care; education; transportation and communication; non-durable furnishings; household operations; and personal care and effects.


THE World Bank said in the first half of 2020, the Philippine economy shrank by 9 percent, as compared to the 5.6-percent growth in the same period last year. The contraction, the Washingtonbased lender said, is the largest since 1985, and driven by the implementa-

tion of strict quarantine measures including restrictions on mobility, work-from-home arrangements, and closures of workplaces that choked economic activities. The World Bank added that Philippine exports and imports also weakened as international trade slumped, upended by massive disruptions in global value chains. The Covid-19 shock, the Bank said, has pushed the economy into recession and threatened its economic and social gains. The pandemic has triggered declines in remittances sent by Filipino overseas workers and job losses caused by strict containment measures. Recovering from the pandemic requires effective public health management and social protection measures in the immediate and resuming the government’s strong emphasis on human capital investments and infrastructure that characterized the Philippines’s successful growth story pre-Covid. “In the short term, every peso put directly in the hands of poor and vulnerable families through social assistance translates into demand for basic goods and services in local communities, which in turn supports micro and small enterprises and the government’s recovery efforts,” said Ndiamé Diop, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. “At the same time, one cannot overemphasize the importance of improvements in public health management, including testing, tracing, isolating and treatment to effectively control the spread of Covid-19 and secure a definitive recovery.” Diop added that investing in the infrastructure of social services and assistance delivery—such as the foundational identification system, digital mobile access, and transaction accounts—would help ensure that social protection measures directly reach poor and vulnerable families when they need it. Qian added that there is a need to continue the government’s infrastructure initiatives that would help boost the economy and address the country’s infrastructure constraints. Structural reforms, Qian said, would also be needed to improve the business environment, foster competition, and boost productivity growth to enhance inclusive growth. “In the medium term, sustaining the public infrastructure spending agenda will support economic recovery while addressing long-standing infrastructure gaps in the country,” said Qian. “Reforms in still-protected sectors like finance, transport and communications will equip people, government and the private sector to take advantage of emerging digital opportunities,” she added. The World Bank Group said it will deploy up to $160 billion in financial support over 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, develop human capital, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans.

Food service… Continued from A1

The report noted that food service sector sales since mid-March have gone down by 70 percent on an annual basis. Citing industry analysts, the report said it will take at least six months for the Philippine dine-in scene to bounce back once the Covid-19 outbreak eases. “In the meantime, the establishments that have remained in business are enrolling in food delivery platforms such as FoodPanda and GrabFood, adapting to other consumer preferences, including curbside pick-up and cashless payment platforms such as GCash and PayMaya, while also continuing to explore niche markets and trends, including higher demand for plantbased food,” it said. The report noted that due to closure of physical restaurants and stores, food businesses were forced to venture into social media, giving rise to a new food service distribution channel. “In turn, businesses began to increasingly leverage the Philippines’s leading worldwide usage of social media,” it said. “As a result, a wide range of imported food service products quickly became accessible and more affordable to consumers. Importers are hopeful this direct link with dedicated community resellers and home-based entrepreneurs will continue long after the Covid-19 outbreak tapers,” it added. Despite the current business and demand climate, US exports of high-value food and beverage products to the Philippines from January to July grew 6 percent on annual basis, according to the report. Bulk of these products are dairy, meat and poultry products including offal. While the months leading into the holiday season, typically the peak consumption period, are expected to be significantly more subdued than past years, FAS Manila estimates sales of high-value, consumer-oriented US agricultural products to the Philippines by year-end should still reach a record $1.15 billion. The BusinessMirror’s previous Broader Look piece tackled how the drying-out of the Filipinos’ pockets is posing a concern for the economy and local food producers. (Read story here: https://businessmirror. com.ph/2020/09/24/cut-consumption-couldcancel-christmas/)

Deposits… Continued from A1

Ricafort said that a lockdown measure permissive of more business activities can also support its growth. “Further reopening of the economy from lockdowns may lead to further pickup in business activities that would support further growth in bank deposits,” he said, noting that rise in deposits usually outpaces the economic growth. Apart from this, both economists said that further monetary easing—fueling liquidity—can lift the bank deposits. “As long as the BSP continues its expansionary moves, I am seeing deposits liabilities increasing, and as long as local demand is tepid, these will continue to rise,” Asuncion said. The Central Bank initiatives to safeguard the economy from the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in liquidity infusion of over P1 trillion already.

Household savings

MAJORITY or 71.1 percent of households with savings put their money in the bank, according to the BSP’s Consumer Expectations Survey for the third quarter. While this is lower compared to the 73.9 percent in the first quarter, banks are still recognized as the most preferred savings institutions by the households. However, households with savings— across all income groups—dipped to 24.7 percent in the third quarter from 37.8 percent in the first quarter. Respondents said they are saving money for emergencies, health, hospitalization, retirement, education and business capital and investment. The BSP noted that no survey was conducted for the second quarter due to the community quarantine. The report is a quarterly survey of a random sample of about 5,000 households in the country.


The Nation BusinessMirror

Davao lauds conviction of night market bombers By Manuel T. Cayon @awimailbox Mindanao Bureau Chief


AVAO C I T Y—T he c it y government here lauded the conviction Monday of 14 persons who detonated a bomb four years ago at the night market here which killed 17 and hurt 78 others, even as the city government expressed its wish that the guilty parties should have also been convicted of terrorism. “ The verdict, handed down Monday, September 28, 2020, by Judge Marivic Vitor of the Regional Trial Court Branch 266 in Taguig, underscores the delivery of justice for the fatalities of the bomb attack, the survivors, their loved ones, the entire City of Davao and all the Dabawenyos who endured the impact of the said terror attack,” said Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, this city’s the acting mayor while the mayor, her sister Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio took her leave of absence for a week. In his statement posted in the officia l Facebook account of the cit y, the acting mayor said “ four years after the grisly attack, we continue to mour n with the families of the victims and the sur v ivors. Day in and day out, these families are constant ly reminded of the hor ror brought by the bomb ex plosion

to their lives.” The explosion happened on September 2, 2016, at the section where market-goers regularly go for a massage. “Given the many lives lost because of the bomb attack—and given its impact on Davao City and its people—we respectfully express our dismay as we point out that this positive development is somehow tarnished by the absence of a strong law against terrorism,” the acting mayor said. The vice mayor said the perpetrators would have been convicted also as terrorists “if only the Philippines has a good antiterror law.” “We believe that the decision underlines the urgency to enforce strong laws against people and groups that espouse terrorism. Terrorism is real. And if we fail to do something to stop it, it will find its way to destroy us,” he added. The Taguig City court named as respondents to the multiple murder and multiple attempted murder charges the following: Abubakar Zulkipli, TJ Tagabaya Macaba lang , Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Urbano Mustapha, Datu Masla Sema, Abu Hadid Dilangalen, Jessy Vincent Guinto Original, Zack Haron Lopez, Pendatun Coy Maruhom, Abu Calid, Abu Solaiman, Jackson Mangulamas Usi and Ausa Abdullah Mamasapano.

Editor: Vittorio V. Vitug • Wednesday, September 30, 2020 A3

PUJ drivers decry ‘discrimination,’ ask SC to nullify road ban since lockdown


By Joel R. San Juan


N organization of jeepney drivers on Tuesday petitioned the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional several issuances of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and other government agencies that prohibit traditional jeepneys from plying the roads as part of the safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

In a 65-page petition for certiorari and prohibition, jeepney drivers belonging to the National Confederation of Transport Workers’ Union (NCTU) decried the respondents’ continued discrimination against traditional jeepneys and for giving preference to modernized units in gradually allowing public-utility vehicles (PUVs) back on the road as government eased quarantine measures.  Aside from the IATF, named respondents in the petition were Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Department of Transportation (DOTr). While the IATF, which was created

through Executive Order (EO) 168, Series of 2014, was given the mandate to implement effective quarantine and proper isolation procedures, the petitioners argued it was not given the authority to suspend public transportation, or impose nationwide quarantines.  The petitioners also pointed out that the DOTr is vested only with administrative power over transportation, even as it is the only agency with quasijudicial functions related to land transportation.  While these agencies may regulate transportation systems to ensure road safety and viability, the petitioners claimed they are not authorized under

the law to unilaterally and indefinitely suspend public transportation. “The respondents arbitrarily and unreasonably confiscated petitioners’ right to work. Deprived of a substantial means of livelihood, the petitioners were unable to earn income for themselves and for their families. Respondents failed to establish a causal connection between the prohibition and the mitigation of the effects of the pandemic, making the measure unreasonable,” the petitioners said. They explained that the issuances of the IATF, LTFRB and DOTr were arbitrary because they lacked legal basis. “When respondents gradually allowed public transportation to operate, traditional PUJs were singled out without sufficient basis and without effort on the part of respondents to inform traditional PUJ [public-utility jeepney] drivers of the fact of and the rationale of the discrimination,” the petitioners said. “There is also uncertainty as to what standards were followed in choosing which among the traditional PUJs were to be allowed to ply the roads. The decision-making process of respondents is thus patently whimsical and infringed on petitioners’ right to due process,” they added.    Among the issuances being sought by the petitioners to be declared null and void were LTFRB Board Resolution No.060, Series of 2020; LTFRB Memo-

randum Circular (MC) No. 2020-019; LTFRB MC No. 2020-023, -023A, -023B, and -023C;
LTFRB MC No. 2020-026; LTFRB MC No. 2020-029 and -029A; LTFRB MC No. 2020-036; LTFRB MC No. 2020-037; LTFRB MC No. 2020-040; LTFRB MC No.2020-041; LTFRB MC No. 2020-043; LTFRB MC No. 2020045; LTFRB MC No. 2020-046; DOTr Guidelines dated May 29, 2020; 
 The petitioners argued that the above mentioned issuances violated the principle of separation of powers, disregarded the petitioners’ rights to due process, equal protection clause, as well as international laws and covenants. “With this action, hopefully, the DOTr will realize the truth. Their decision left jeepney drivers behind. Many are going hungry; many are affected,” the group said.  The petitioners also complained that the LTFRB denied them permission to operate even though they have fully complied with the safety protocols.  Meanwhile, other  PUVs were allowed back on the road when quarantine rules were eased, they said. “The state showed an obvious preference  to modernized jeepneys even though no substantial distinction exists between them and traditional jeepneys,” lawyer Gena Myrtle Terre, one of the legal counsels of the petitioners, said. The petition was filed before the Court after six months of drivers’ unheeded calls to get back on the road.

A4 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 • Editor: Vittorio V. Vitug

Economy BusinessMirror


From firing women workers to revenue dip, UNDP report details MSMEs’ Covid woes By Elijah Felice E. Rosales @alyasjah


QUARTER of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have laid off workers to survive the financial challenges induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the United Nations (UN). In a survey, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines reported 25 percent of MSMEs reduced their manpower on declining revenue amid the pandemic. On the other hand, just one in every five MSMEs retained all of their employees in spite of income losses. Further, 81 percent of MSMEs lamented consumer demand weakened during the health crisis, discouraging them from resuming their operations.

They also said they are suffering from shortage in raw materials due to transport and logistical issues arising from the movement restrictions in place. As such, the UNDP poll reported nearly 80 percent of MSMEs saw their revenue decline from April to June compared to their monthly income prior to the pandemic. Worse, at least 60 percent of MSMEs decried failing to receive any form of assistance from any stakeholder, whether the government, private sector or nongovernment organizations. They said what they need now are access to credit facilities, tax breaks and deferment of loan payments. Provided with these measures, MSMEs can transition their operations into the new normal by adapting the use of digital platforms, using noncash payment options,

allowing employees to work from home, among others. UNDP Philippines Officer in Charge Enrico Gaveglia argued the economy will only recover if the MSMEs recover as well, as the sector makes up 99.5 percent of business establishments and close to two thirds of the labor force. Gaveglia vowed the UNDP will support the government and development partners in carrying out programs geared toward preventing further closures of MSMEs. Likewise, the institution is working with the private sector in providing online resources and e-commerce trainings to help MSMEs move to the digital marketplace. “Digital infrastructure in the country is key to enable the development of a new market space online,” Gaveglia said.

PhilHealth bares substantial settlement of interim reimbursement to hospitals By Cai U. Ordinario @caiordinario


HILIPPINE Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) reported on Tuesday that it has released nearly half of the interim reimbursement for hospitals nationwide this year. In PhilHealth Update No. 1, the state health insurance company said it has released 46 percent or P6.9 billion allocation for its Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM). PhilHealth said these funds have been “liquidated by health-care facilities in line with strict government accounting and auditing rules.” “As of July 31, 2020, PhilHealth has prepositioned P14.97 billion to its healthcare partners nationwide to help augment their liquidity needs as they prepare for the surge of Covid-19 patients, while ensuring that the

health-care needs of other patients indirectly affected by the pandemic will continue to be taken care of,” the report stated. The top 10 hospitals that received the highest reimbursements together accounted for P1.998 billion of the amount. The hospitals include the Southern Philippines Medical Centers worth P326 million; Philippine General Hospital, P263 million; Davao Regional Medical Center, P209 million; and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, P204 million. The other hospitals are the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional hospital which received P201 million; National Kidney and Transplant Institute, P179 million; and Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, P165 million. Rounding up the top 10 are the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center with P150.7

million; Northern Mindanao Medical Center, P150.2 million; and the Quirino Memorial Medical Center, P150.2 million. In August, Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo said PhilHealth’s P26.8-billion allocation for its IRM has far exceeded the estimated cost of Covid-19 hospitalizations. Her estimates came as the Philippine Red Cross repeated its accusation that PhilHealth has failed to reimburse it in a timely fashion for hundreds of millions in costs for doing Covid-19 RT-PCR tests for priority sectors, such as returning OFWs and locally stranded individuals. Quimbo said her computation showed the total estimated cost for Covid-19 this year is only P3.3 billion. According to her, the PhilHealth has estimated 209,000 Covid-19 cases this year.

Rene S. Meily, president of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), said MSMEs need to find way to subsist for as long as the pandemic is here. In spite of the health risks, he advised them to consider reopening for their families and enterprises to survive. “We are in the middle of a once in a lifetime medical emergency. I know you are worried about your health, scared to open your businesses. But for the sake of our families and ourselves, we have to take that step and reopen while maintaining safety standards,” Meily said. Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez on Monday informed senators at least 6 percent of the more than 1.4 million MSMEs nationwide remain closed as of the government’s latest monitoring. He said MSMEs in various sectors are reopening

Retrenchment of MEPZ workers complied with labor regulations, DOLE exec says By Samuel P. Medenilla @sam_medenilla


LABOR group on Tuesday called for a government investigation into the alleged mass illegal retrenchment of workers at the Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) in Cebu, which reportedly affected about 4,000 workers. In a news statement, the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) criticized the treatment of the said workers, which it alleged violated  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines. The group alleged that the violations include lack of prior consultations on termination; absence of 30 days notice before the termination; and the absence of clear explanation on the criteria for termination.  “We demand that DOLE [Department of Labor and Employment] and the LGU [local government

FIRST TIME SINCE VIRUS ONSET: DAVAO House ‘power bloc’ backs NEA’s push CITY POSTS NO ‘VERY HIGH RISK’ AREA to retain P10.8-B ’21 budget proposal By Manuel T. Cayon @awimailbox Mindanao Bureau Chief


AVAO CITY—For the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown in mid-March, Davao City has no area listed under “very high risk” category and only two landed in the next high risk category. This was the latest listing of barangay classification posted at the city government’s Facebook page for the week of September 25 to October 1. The two barangays, Leon Garcia in Agdao and 23-C in downtown that were previously listed in the very high risk category, have been downgraded to the next lower categories, with Leon Garcia listed as the lone barangay in the high risk category and 23-C in the moderate risk category, along with 13 others. The other 167 barangays are in the low risk category. The improvement came as infection rate in the rest of the Davao region continue to be the highest in Mindanao, ascribed mainly to its location as the prime destination in southern Philippines. The Department of Health recorded 272 active cases in the city, which is 55 percent of the total for the Davao region of 493. Since the lockdown began in March, the city has already listed 1,861 infections of whom 1,516 have recovered.

In the Southern Philippines Medical Center, the country’s largest government hospital based in Davao City, it reported 23 new cases in the region on Monday, for a total of 307 active cases. It has admitted 1,994 persons so far since March this year, of whom 1,603 have recovered. Positivity rate went down to its lowest at 1 percent, the Department of Health has also reported. This is the percentage of the number of persons who were likely to have been infected because of their contact, or who have showed symptoms similar to that of the Covid-19 infection. Before taking a leave of absence beginning Monday, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio posted a reminder to city residents to keep close guard against complacency. Mayor Sara said she was told by government doctors to warn city residents of the extent of local transmission going on. “Consider everyone infected. Do not let your guard down, especially those whom you know. It’s not because you are friends that he or she is not possible Covid-19 carrier,” she said. Only last week did the mayor disclose that 40 passengers of an airline tested positive despite a standing requirement in Manila, or elsewhere, that incoming passengers should have a negative result of their swab test at least two days before taking the flight to the city.

By Lenie Lectura



HE National Electrification Administration (NEA) is pushing for an increase in its budget for 2021 to P9 billion, from the P1.8-billion recommendation of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). The agency, which oversees 121 electric cooperatives (ECs) in the country, initially proposed P10.8billion budget for next year’s projects. These include the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) Phase II, Barangay Line Enhancement Program, Strategized Sitio Electrification for Off-Grid Areas, among others. But the DBM recommended a P1.8-billion subsidy as indicated in the 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP). Of which, P1.6 billion would be set aside for SEP and P200 million for Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund. NEA welcomed on Tuesday the resolution filed by the “power bloc” of the House of Representatives that seeks to restore P9 billion in its budget for 2021. Power bloc representatives filed last September 22 House Resolution 1245 urging the House Committee on Appropriations to restore the P9 billion in the NEA’s proposed budget for the implementation of the government’s electrification projects. NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said the additional budget is important to realize the goal of

one by one, as quarantine restrictions, especially in the regions, are being relaxed. At the strictest of the lockdown in April and May, over 38 percent of MSMEs reported they shut down their shops. This number fell to 11 percent in June and July when the government eased quarantine protocols. It dropped to its lowest at 6 percent in August and September. According to the UNDP, the survey on MSME condition was conducted to supply policy-makers with data that they can use in crafting policies and interventions. The poll gathered the insights of 285 MSMEs from all over the country. The results of the UNDP survey were presented to some 170 MSME owners and development organizations in a recent forum organized by UNDP Philippines and PDRF.

total electrification by 2022. “NEA will appreciate a favorable action from Congress as initiated by the power bloc for the restoration of the original request for subsidy if only to fast-track the national government’s Total Electrification Program,” Masongsong said. Masongsong said the DBM-recommended P1.6-billion subsidy for SEP will only energize 1,085 sitios. Some 12,000 sitios, or 1.7 million households across the country, remain without access to electricity to date. The power bloc representatives Presley de Jesus, Sergio Dagooc (APEC), Godofredo Guya and Adriano Ebcas (Ako Padayon Pilipino) said restoring the proposed budget will allow NEA to energize an additional 3,915 sitios and enhance the grid connections of 74 barangays, including seven barangays under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and 13 submarine cabling projects. The proposed budget, the lawmakers said, will also augment the recommended P200-million budget for ECERF, a financial assistance for the restoration of damaged infrastructure after a fortuitous event. “To be able to fully and effectively implement the directive of President Duterte, as well as to finally provide access to electricity for all Filipinos, the NEA should be given the full amount it has proposed,” the power bloc representatives stressed in their House resolution.

unit] of Cebu intervene in the retrenchment process to ensure that the OECD guidelines are observed in the MEPZ,” Organization of Metrowear Employees for Genuine Advocacy (OMEGA-PIGLAS-SENTRO) President Carmina A. Golosino said in a news statement.  Metrowear was among the companies in the MEPZ, which reportedly implemented the retrenchment amid the company’s financial woes caused by the pandemic. L abor A ssist a nt Secret a r y Dominique Tutay confirmed they already have initial information on the reported retrenchment. However, she said, based on the report from their regional office (RO) in Central Visayas, the said companies complied with prescribed regulations before initiating the said retrenchments.  “The company coordinated with DOLE-RO 7 and gave the necessary notification [to the affected workers],” Tutay said in a Viber message.

DOJ chief eyes probe into delay in procurement of meds for PDLs By Joel R. San Juan



HE Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to look into a report issued by the Commission  on Audit (COA) that the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has put the health of the more than 50,000 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) under its care at risk due to the delay in procurement of medicines.  Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra stressed that the availability of medicines for PDLs is necessary in this time of pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 20 PDLs and infected more than 300 others.  “I will certainly look into this. I’ll wait for the BuCor explanation,” Guevarra said.   “In a congested prison where the risk of getting sick is very high, medicine is next only to food in terms of essentiality. Any delay in its procurement and delivery should immediately be addressed,” the justice chief said. Based on the audit report released by the COA, there was a delay in the procurement process for the medicines and drugs intended for the PDLs last year prior to the pandemic.  It added that the delay in the procurement process exceeded three months, which is the maximum allowable period under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.  The report also indicated that seven procurement contracts with a total amount of P65.53 million worth of medicines and drugs were awarded to the winning bidders beyond the 90-day allowable period.  The COA has advised BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag to strictly adhere to the provisions of RA 9184.  BuCor officials said the delay in the procurement process may have been due to the suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman of the BuCor Bids and Awards Committee.  The  BuCor has a population of more than 50,000 with more than 28,000 at the New Bilibid  Prisons in Muntinlupa. 

Stakeholders hail prioritization of local materials in BBB program infra projects


TA K EHOLDER S have welcomed the government’s move to prioritize local construction materials for its “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program and underscored their commitment to provide quality goods for current and upcoming infrastructure projects. In a joint statement, the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) and Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) expressed full support for the government initiative, saying it will help spur the country’s economic recovery, preserve jobs and contribute to the national income through taxes. “The Philippine building materials industries, especially the cement industry, is confident and ready to ensure that our Philippine infrastructure projects will have adequate materials supply from companies that are proud to be manufacturing locally,” said CEMAP Executive Director Cirilo Pestaño. PISI President Roberto Cola, for his part, assured that the steel industry will provide ongoing and upcoming government projects with the best quality of building materials, including Philippine steel. Cola, in a phone interview, also said that PISI is also looking out for the safety and welfare of consumers when they purchase building materials, such as steel bars, from small hardware and other retail stores. “Some people are taking advantage of the situation. Nakakasira iyan sa buy

local at sa consumers na siyang maaapektuhan niyan ultimately,” said Cola, referring to substandard steel bars being sold in small markets. “Ang problema natin, iyong mga nagpupunta sa hardware stores. Mga maliliit na contractor at consumer na hindi nila alam ang standard. Ang problema nasa resellers, at hardware na siyang mas malaking merkado,” he added. The two associations are at the forefront in the battle against substandard and mislabeled construction materials, such as cement and steel bars. CEMAP is on guard against mislabeling of imported cement and passing it off as locally manufactured while PISI is on the lookout for substandard steel bars being sold in the market. Recently, Pestaño brought to the Department of Trade and Industry’s attention the possible noncompliance of Philcement Corp.’s “Union V Super Strength 40” Type 1P cement to Philippine National Standards (PNS) and Department Administrative Order (DAO) 17-06, or the new rules covering cement in the country. Pestaño alleged that Philcement Corp. is one of the companies engaged in cement importation but the packaging on one of its products being sold in Pampanga carries the markings “Manufactured by Philcement Corporation” and “Product of the Philippines.” “Was this product actually manufactured in the Philippines?” Pestaño asked in his letter to Undersecretary Ruth Castelo, head of the DTI’s Consumer Protection Group.

www.businessmirror.com.ph • Editor: Angel R. Calso

The World BusinessMirror

Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Global Covid-19 death toll eclipses 1 million


EW DELHI—The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed 1 million, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders’ resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.

“It’s not just a number. It’s human beings. It’s people we love,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical histor y at the University of Michigan who has advised government officials on containing pandemics and lost his 84-year-old mother to Covid-19 in Februar y. “It’s our brothers, our sisters. It’s people we know,” he added. “And if you don’t have that human factor right in your face, it’s very easy to make it abstract.” The bleak milestone, recorded on Monday in the US by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas. It is 2 1/2 times the sea of humanity that was at

Woodstock in 1969. It is more than four times the number killed by the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Even then, the figure is almost certainly a vast undercount because of inadequate or inconsistent testing and reporting and suspected concealment by some countries. And the number continues to mount. Nearly 5,000 deaths are reported each day on average. New outbreaks are hitting parts of Europe, and experts fear a second wave in the US, which accounts for about 205,000 deaths, or 1 out of 5 worldwide. That is far more than any other country, despite America’s wealth and medical resources.

“I can understand why... numbers are losing their power to shock, but I still think it’s really important that we understand how big these numbers really are,” said Mark Honigsbaum, author of “The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria and Hubris.” The global toll includes people like Joginder Chaudhary, who was his parents’ greatest pride, raised with the little they earned farming a half-acre plot in central India to become the first doctor from their village. A f ter t he v ir us k i l led t he 27-year-old Chaudhary in late July, his mother wept inconsolably. With her son gone, Premlata Chaudhary said, how could she go on living? Three weeks later, on Aug. 18, the virus took her life, too. All told, it has killed more than 95,000 in India. “This pandemic has ruined my family,” said the young doctor’s father, Rajendra Chaudhary. “All our aspirations, our dreams, ever ything is finished.” When the virus overwhelmed cemeteries in the Italian province of Bergamo last spring, the Rev. Mario Carminati opened his church to the dead, lining up 80 coffins in the center aisle. After an army convoy carted them to

a crematory, another 80 arrived. Then 80 more. Eventually the crisis receded and the world’s attention moved on. But the pandemic’s grasp endures. In August, Carminati buried his 34-year-old nephew. “This thing should make us all reflect. The problem is that we think we’re all immortal,” the priest said. The virus first appeared in late 2019 in patients hospitalized in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first death was reported on January 11. By the time authorities locked down the city nearly two weeks later, millions of travelers had come and gone. China’s government has come in for criticism that it did not do enough to alert other countries to the threat. Government leaders in countries like Germany, South Korea and New Zealand worked effectively to contain it. Others, like US President Donald J. Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, dismissed the severity of the threat and the guidance of scientists, even as hospitals filled w ith gravely ill patients. Brazil has recorded the second most deaths after the US, with about 142,000. India is third and Mexico fourth, with more than 76,000.

3 killed in Northern California wildfire as 70,000 people flee


“Seems like they got enough on their hands already. So I wanted to step in and put out the fire,” Hertel said. D ominic Wiggens, who lives in the same neighborhood, evacuated but returned later Monday. His home was still standing, but many others were gone. “It’s so sad,” he said. Pacific Gas & Electric was inspecting its equipment as it sought to restore power to more than 100,000 customers who had it turned off in advance of gusty winds and in areas with active fire zones. The utility’s equipment has caused previous disasters, including the 2018 Camp Fire that killed 85 people and devastated the town of Paradise in the Sierra Nevada foothills. More than 1,200 people were also evacuated in Shasta County for the Zogg Fire, spread over 23 square miles (59 square kilometers) by Monday. Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini said three people died as a result of the fire, though he gave no details. “It’s with a sad heart that I come before you today,” he said, urging residents to heed advice to leave. “When you get that order, evacuate immediately. Do not wait.” Residences are widely scattered in the forested area in the far northern part of the state. The region was torched just two years ago by the deadly Carr Fire—infamously remembered for producing a huge tornado-like fire whirl. The causes of the new fires were under investigation. Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said 2020 has been challenging.

“The silver lining to it is that people who live in California become more prepared, they’re more aware, they know these events take place and we’re seeing a citizenry that does get it and is working hard to be prepared,” he said. Numerous studies in recent years have linked bigger wildfires in America to climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Scientists say climate change has made California much drier, meaning trees and other plants are more flammable. The latest fires erupted as a giant ridge of high pressure settled over the West, producing powerful gusts blowing from the interior toward the coast while slashing humidity levels and raising temperatures. So far in this year’s historic fire season, more than 8,100 California wildfires have now killed 29 people, scorched 5,780 square miles (14,970 square kilometers), and destroyed more than 7,000 buildings. Most of the losses occurred after a frenzy of dry lightning strikes in mid-August ignited a massive outbreak of fires. Fire worries were developing across Southern California, although it was unclear how strong the predicted Santa Ana winds would become. Heat and extreme dryness were also expected to create problems. Conditions were also hot, dry and windy in parts of Arizona, where the Sears Fire in Tonto National Forest north of Phoenix has grown to more than 14 square miles (36 square kilometers) since it erupted on Friday. Authorities reported zero containment. AP

AN FRANCISCO—Northern California’s wine country was on fire again on Monday as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, destroying homes and prompting orders for nearly 70,000 people to be evacuated. Meanwhile, three people died in a separate fire further north in the state. In Sonoma County, residents of the Oakmont Gardens senior living facility in Santa Rosa boarded brightly lit city buses in the darkness overnight, some wearing bathrobes and using walkers. They wore masks to protect against the coronavirus as orange flames marked the dark sky. The fire threat forced Adventist Health St. Helena hospital to suspend care and transfer all patients elsewhere. The fires that began on Sunday in the famed Napa-Sonoma wine country about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of San Francisco came as the region nears the third anniversary of deadly wildfires that erupted in 2017, including one that killed 22 people. Just a month ago, many of those same residents were evacuated from the path of a lightning-sparked fire that became the fourthlargest in state history. “Our firefighters have not had much of a break, and these residents have not had much of a break,” said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire. Sonoma County Super visor Susan Gorin evacuated her property in the Oakmont community of Santa Rosa at about 1 a.m. She is rebuilding a home damaged in the 2017 fires. Gorin said she saw three neighboring houses

in flames as she fled early Monday. “We’re experienced with that,” she said of the fires. “Once you lose a house and represent thousands of folks who’ve lost homes, you become pretty fatalistic that this is a new way of life and, depressingly, a normal way of life, the megafires that are spreading throughout the West.” More than 68,000 people in Sonoma and Napa counties have been evacuated in the latest inferno, one of nearly 30 fire clusters burning across the state, said Cal Fire Division Chief Ben Nichols. In Napa County, the entire town of Calistoga, population around 5,000, was ordered to evacuate on Monday evening. Many more residents have been warned that they might have to flee, even though winds eased significantly Monday afternoon, giving firefighters an opportunity to make some progress, he said. “The smoky skies that we’re under are a sign that there’s not a lot of air movement out there moving the smoke around,” Nichols said at an evening briefing. “Not good for air quality, and folks outside exercising, but great for us to work on containing this fire and working on putting it out.” The Glass Fire broke out before 4 a.m. Sunday and merged with two other fires to scorch more than 56 square miles (145 square kilometers) as of Monday. There was no containment. Officials did not have an estimate of the number of homes destroyed or burned, but the blaze engulfed the Chateau Boswell Winery in St. Helena and at least one five-star resort. Logan Hertel of Santa Rosa used a garden hose to fight flames at a neighbor’s house in the Skyhawk neighborhood until firefighters could relieve him.

U.N. chief says pandemic toll is ‘mind-numbing’

Trump, Biden set to debate at a time of mounting crises


NITED NATIONS—United Nations SecretaryGeneral António Guterres says the loss of 1 million people to the coronavirus is an “agonizing milestone” that has been made worse by the “savageness of this disease.” In a statement released after the global death toll from the pandemic crossed 1 million, Guterres called it a “mind-numbing figure.” “They were fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues,” he said. “The pain has been multiplied by the savageness of this disease. Risks of infection kept families from bedsides. And the process of mourning and celebrating a life was often made impossible.” Guterres warned “there is no end in sight to the spread of the virus, the loss of jobs, the disruption of education, the upheaval to our lives.” Still he said the pandemic could be overcome with responsible leadership, cooperation and science, as well as precautions such as social distancing and wearing face masks. He said any vaccine must be “available and affordable to all.” AP


LEVELAND—In an election year like no other, the first debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, could be a pivotal moment in a race that has remained stubbornly unchanged in the face of historic tumult. The Tuesday night debate will offer a massive platform for Trump and Biden to outline their starkly different visions for a country facing multiple crises, including racial justice protests and a pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans and cost millions of jobs. The health emergency has upended the usual trappings of a presidential campaign, lending heightened importance to the debate. But amid intense political polarization, comparatively few undecided voters remain, raising questions as to how, or if, the debate might shape a race that has been defined by its bitterness and, at least so far, its stability. Biden will step onto the Cleveland stage holding leads in the polls—significant in the national surveys, closer in the battleground states—but facing questions about his turn in the spotlight, particularly considering Trump’s withering attacks. And Trump, with only 35 days to change the course of the race, will have arguably his best chance to try to reframe the campaign as a choice election and not a referendum over his handling of a virus that has killed more people in America than any other nation. “This will be the first moment in four years that someone will walk on stage as co-equal to

Trump and be able to hold him to account for the malfeasance he has shown leading the country,” said Steve Schmidt, senior campaign aide for John McCain’s 2008 Republican presidential bid and a frequent Trump critic. “If Biden is unable to indict Trump for all that he has done, [that] would be profound failure. There is no spinning that away.” The president’s handling of the coronavirus will likely dominate much of the discussion. The pandemic’s force will be tangible as the candidates’ podiums will be spaced far apart and the traditional opening handshake scrapped. And the debate could be shaped by an extraordinary confluence of other recent moments: the death of Supreme Cour t Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, allowing Trump to nominate a conservative jurist to replace a liberal voice and reshape the high court for generations, and the blockbuster revelations about Trump’s long-hidden tax history, including that he paid only $750 a year in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and nothing in many other years. But the impact of the debate—or the two that follow in the weeks ahead—remains unclear. The tumult of 2020 is difficult to overstate: Covid-19 has rewritten the rules of everyday life; schools and businesses are shuttered; and racial justice protests have swept the nation after a series of high-profile killings of Black people by police. Despite the upheaval, the presidential race has remained largely unchanged since Biden seized control of the Democratic field in March. The nation

has soured on Trump’s handling of the pandemic, and while his base of support has remained largely unchanged, he has seen defections among older and female voters, particularly in the suburbs, and his path to 270 Electoral College votes, while still viable, has shrunk. Polls suggest fewer undecided voters remain than at this point in the 2016 campaign. And several high-profile debates in past elections that were thought to be game-changing moments at the time ultimately had little lasting effect. Four years ago, Democrat Hillary Clinton was widely seen as besting Trump in their three debates, but she lost in November. In 2012, Mitt Romney crushed Barack Obama in their first meeting only to falter in the rematches. But some debates have mattered: most famously, a turning point in the 1960 race was when John F. Kennedy was perceived—at least by TV viewers—as outdueling Richard Nixon. And in 1980, Ronald Reagan was able to reassure nervous voters that he possessed a presidential temperament when he delivered a winning performance against incumbent Jimmy Carter. While both sides anticipate a vicious debate between two men who do not like each other, the Biden campaign has downplayed the night’s importance, believing that the pandemic and the battered economy will outweigh any debate stage gaffe or zinger. Conversely, the Trump campaign has played up the magnitude of the duel, believing it will be a moment for the president to damage Biden and recast the race. AP

The virus has forced trade-offs between safety and economic wellbeing. The choices made have left millions of people vulnerable, especially the poor, minorities and the elderly. With so many of the deaths beyond view in hospital wards and clustered on society’s margins, the milestone recalls the grim pronouncement often attributed to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin: One death is a tragedy, millions of deaths are a statistic. The pandemic’s toll of 1 million dead in such a limited time rivals some of the gravest threats to public health, past and present. It exceeds annual deaths from AIDS, which last year killed about 690,000 people worldwide. The virus’s toll is approaching the 1.5 million global deaths each year from tuberculosis, which regularly kills more people than any other infectious disease. But “Covid ’s grip on humanit y i s i ncomp a r a bl y g re at e r than the grip of other causes of death,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University. He noted the unemployment, poverty and despair caused by the pandemic, and deaths from myriad other illnesses that have gone untreated.

For all its lethality, the virus has claimed far fewer lives than the so-called Spanish flu, which killed an estimated 40 million to 50 million worldwide in two years, just over a century ago. That pandemic came before scientists had microscopes powerful enough to identify the enemy or antibiotics that could treat the bacterial pneumonia that killed most of the victims. In the US, the Spanish flu killed about 675,000. But most of those deaths did not come until a second wave hit over the winter of 1918-1919. Up to now, the disease has left only a faint footprint on Africa, well shy of early modeling that predicted thousands more deaths. But cases have recent ly surged in countries like Britain, Spain, Russia and Israel. In the United States, the return of students to college campuses has sparked new outbreaks. With approval and distribution of a vaccine still probably months away and winter approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, the toll will continue to climb. “We’re only at the beginning of this. We’re going to see many more weeks ahead of this pandemic than we’ve had behind us,” Gostin said. AP

WHO, partners roll out faster Covid tests for poorer nations


ENEVA—The World Health Organization announced on Monday that it has agreed with its leading partners to a plan to roll out 120 million rapiddiagnostic tests for the coronavirus to help lower- and middle-income countries make up ground in a testing gap with richer countries—even if it’s not fully funded yet. At $5 apiece, the antigenbased rapid diagnostic tests for which WHO issued an emergency-use listing last week, the program initially requires $600 million and is to get started as early as next month to provide better access to areas where it’s harder to reach with PCR tests that are used often in many wealthier nations. The rapid tests look for antigens, or proteins found on the surface of the virus. They are generally considered less accurate—though much faster—than higher-grade genetic tests, known as PCR tests. Those tests require processing with specialty lab equipment and chemicals. Typically that turnaround takes several days to deliver results to patients. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed the program as “good news” in the fight against Covid-19. “These tests provide reliable results in approximately 15 to 30 minutes, rather than hours or days, at a lower price with less sophisticated equipment,” he said. “This will enable the expansion of testing, particularly in hardto-reach areas that do not have lab facilities or enough trained health workers to carry out PCR tests.” “We have an agreement, we have seed funding and now we need the full amount of funds to buy these tests,” he said, without specifying.

Dr. Catharina Boehme, chief executive of a non-profit group called the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, said the rollout would be in 20 countries in Africa, and would rely on support of groups including the Clinton Health Access Initiative. She said the diagnostic tests will be provided by SD Biosensor and Abbott. Peter Sands, the executive director of the Global Fund, a partnership that works to end epidemics, said it would make an initial $50 million available from its Covid-19 response mechanism. He said the deployment of the quality antigen rapid diagnostic tests will be a “significant step” to help contain and combat the coronavirus. “They’re not a silver bullet, but hugely valuable as a complement to PCR tests, since although they are less accurate, they’re much faster, cheaper and don’t require a lab,” he said. Many rich countries have also faced problems rolling out accurate tests, and testing itself is no panacea— XC `2countries like France and the United States have all faced backlogs and hiccups at times, and rapid tests in Britain and Spain turned out to be inaccurate. But rolling out testing in poorer countries aims to help health care workers get a better grip on where the virus is circulating, in hopes of following up with containment and other measures to stop it. Sands said high-income countries are currently carrying out 292 tests per day per 100,000 people—while the lowest-income countries were conducting 14 per 100,000 people. He said the 120 million tests would represent a “massive increase” in testing, but were still a fraction of what is needed in those countries. AP

A6 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 • Editor: Angel R. Calso

Opinion BusinessMirror



Access to affordable food averts hunger


ust like most countries in the world that continue to grapple with the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Philippines is anxiously awaiting the rollout of a vaccine. After six months of being placed under varying degrees of lockdown, some areas continue to see increasing infections at an alarming rate. Elsewhere, more and more people continue to suffer economic pain because of government’s decision to limit a number of economic activities in line with its desire to stop the spread of the virus. Although some countries are racing to get a vaccine out before the end of the year, experts say the best-case scenario is for a vaccine to be available in early 2021. Even then, not everyone will have access to it, and many people will have to wait in line as governments have vowed to prioritize frontliners and vulnerable groups once a vaccine is available. It also remains to be seen whether or not companies can immediately deliver the huge volume of vaccines required by many nations. Unfortunately, the vaccine, if it comes at all, will not make the country’s problems immediately go away. Millions of Filipinos remain unemployed, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority. As millions remain unable to earn enough to meet their needs, poor families will continue to experience hunger and starvation. Despite the availability of food even during the pandemic, results of a recent Social Weather Stations survey indicated that many Filipinos experienced hunger in the past three months. The figure rose even higher after quarantine restrictions have been eased and thousands were able to return to work, based on the results of the survey, which was conducted this month. Hunger was at record-highs in Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao. However, the hunger problem is not unique to the Philippines as countries that saw spikes in their Covid-19 cases are also facing a hunger crisis. Latin America and Caribbean nations are expected to see a surge in the number of people that will grapple with food insecurity over the coming months, according to a Bloomberg report. The World Food Program also said disruptions caused by Covid-19 will double the number of food insecure people this year. The global hunger problem will hit women and children the hardest and is seen undoing the progress made by countries, such as the Philippines, to fight malnutrition and cut maternal deaths. Food insecurity and health system disruptions caused by Covid-19 could increase maternal and under-5 child deaths in 118 low-income and middle-income countries, including the Philippines. In an article in The Lancet Global Health, experts estimated that even a small reduction in coverage and use of maternal and child health services could lead to 42,240 additional child deaths and 2,030 additional maternal deaths per month. We recognize the importance of long-term plans, such as a road map detailing strategies to ensure food security. However, stopgap measures to reduce hunger are currently needed as the Philippines awaits the discovery of a vaccine. We urge government to find immediate solutions that will allow the unemployed and the poor to have access to affordable food. As supply is not an issue, food products must be brought to those that need them the most in the time of the pandemic. Since 2005

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All About Social Security


as anyone of you experienced the strain of following up on a particular concern with an organization or business establishment, say, the status of your telephone or Internet installation, requesting for a copy of your credit card monthly billing statement, or asking for replacement of goods or items that you purchased?

Well, most of us can relate to all of these things as in one way or another, we are the one giving services to our clients or we are the clients transacting business with a particular organization or company. Every day, government and private companies receive voluminous transactions, and the Social Security System is not an exemption to this. Even before the pandemic, one of the most visited government agencies in the country is ours, primarily because we have around 38 million members worldwide and most of our transactions then are done manually through over the counter or face to face interaction. More so, we have seven major benefit programs and loan facilities that cater to the needs of our members and pensioners as well. Transactions may come in as simple as phone call inquiries, text messages, e-mails, and walk-in queries, but due to the limited per-

sonnel that the SSS currently has, it is a reality that most concerns may encounter some delay before they can be addressed. This causes stress, impatience and even anger, and some members sometimes resort to bad-mouthing or mistreating our SSS employees. Therefore, it is no surprise that many of our frontliners are battered with stories of complaints raised verbally, in written form or through rants in various social-media platforms. This is where the online facility, uSSSap Tayo, was conceptualized. Bearing the mental, emotional, and physical health and safety of the SSS employees in mind, an integrated complaint and feedback system is needed. This will promptly and properly address the concerns of our members as they are given an updated and detailed status of their claims and benefit applications. The next question is, what is the

This is where the online facility, uSSSap Tayo, was conceptualized. Bearing the mental, emotional, and physical health and safety of the SSS employees in mind, an integrated complaint and feedback system is needed. This will promptly and properly address the concerns of our members as they are given an updated and detailed status of their claims and benefit applications. Customer Relationship Management System or CRMS? CRMS is an online SSS service facility which aims to manage all service delivery communications and complaints of the member effectively and efficiently. It also enhances and automates the recording, reporting, controlling, and tracking of complaints and incorporates current communication processes for easier referral and control. In addition, it helps improve the services of concerned departments, branches, and other concerned units in answering queries regarding claims status, communications, and other service-related concerns of our members since it acts as a wholistic communication tool. Thereby, incorporating the use of e-mail, postal mail, call center, text messaging, social media, SSITs, as it welcomes walk-in members. In December 2019, as part of SSS’s digitalization efforts, we started the internal implementation of this feedback system spearheaded by the

Member Communications and Assistance Department to facilitate walkin member’s complaints. Soon, we will have a separate launching for this on our official web site, www.sss.gov.ph, to enable our members, and the general public as well, to gain access to this social media platform. CRMS is very user-friendly. Upon receipt of the communications and complaints of the members through the various contact channels, the system will generate tickets which it will then direct to the concerned units. The system will set a response and resolution time, as well as send notifications regarding its current status. Finally, the system will generate a port closure survey regarding the service provided and provide solutions and reports regarding the specific concern. Indeed, this huge leap into the development and improvement of the SSS communication channels is crucial in the improvement of the delivery of all SSS services. This will allow the SSS to resolve more member concerns and improve the overall delivery of services. As always, SSS wants to truly live to its promise of providing universal and equitable social protection through world-class service to our members and their families. Aurora C. Ignacio is SSS president and chief executive officer. We welcome your questions and insights on the topics that we discuss. E-mail mediaaffairs@sss. gov.ph for topics that you might want us to discuss.

Fund the National Integrated Cancer Control Act! Susan V. Ople

Jennifer A. Ng Vittorio V. Vitug Lorenzo M. Lomibao Jr., Gerard S. Ramos Lyn B. Resurreccion, Dennis D. Estopace Angel R. Calso

Chairman of the Board & Ombudsman President Advertising Sales Manager Group Circulation Manager

Aurora C. Ignacio

Lourdes M. Fernandez

Senior Editors

Creative Director Chief Photographer

uSSSap Tayo, the SSS Customer Relationship Management System



omorrow marks the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer is the second leading cause of death for Filipinos, next to heart diseases. Among women, it ranks No. 1 as the cause of death, with breast cancer as the primary type with the highest incidence. The good news is that there are medical interventions combined with early diagnosis that can help cancer patients live long. In short, nowadays, a cancer diagnosis does not automatically come with a death certificate.

Unfortunately, the cost of obtaining treatment combined with the risks of Covid-19 transmission while visiting a hospital have become barriers to getting well, or at least in managing the disease. With so much attention and resources focused on the highly infectious virus, ailments that have been around for so long have been marginalized, public policy-wise. Fourteen months have passed from the approval of the imple-

menting rules and regulations of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA) or Republic Act (RA) 11215. Sadly, very few people, including cancer patients, are aware that there is such a law. Perhaps, if more people are aware of this law, pressure can be brought to bear upon our legislators to fund it. Right now, this is a largely unfunded law without sufficient personnel to even support its implementation.

The National Integrated Cancer Control Act, authored by then Senator JV Ejercito, is a legal tapestry of every cancer patient’s dream— from cheaper cancer medicines to a policy-setting Council that will push for better interventions to prevent cancer and to facilitate its treatment. Cancer treatments are not cheap. I should know, because my weekly chemotherapy treatments at a private hospital cost around P40,000 each. I still have 9 treatments to go, and thereafter a monthlong treatment plan that involves radiation therapy, five days a week. So you see, a cancer patient would have to put up with so much, financially, and suffer so many pains and aches, emotionally and physically, for an entire year or even more of treatment. Unfortunately, these treatments do not come with a guarantee of no recurrence in any other organ of the body. Under the NICCA, a Philippine Cancer Center would be established in the National Capital Region with comprehensive cancer care centers and treatment units also to be put up in various regions. There would also be a Cancer Assistance Fund under the Department of Health that can

provide financial assistance to patients in need. The law also calls for the expansion of PhilHealth’s benefit packages that are now limited only to a few selected hospitals and not for all kinds of cancer. The new law also mandates more affordable cancer drugs and improved palliative and pain management services. I encourage cancer patients and advocates of cancer awareness to listen to a recent webinar presented by the Strong To Someone Facebook group, entitled “Cancer Care-Nections.” The webinar is still available on their Facebook page. In it, Dr. Clarito Cairo Jr., program manager of the DOH’s NICC program, lamented the lack of funding for the NICC. He said that next year’s line budget item for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, where cancer programs and services are included, have been reduced from the current P510 million to P370 million. Why cut the budget for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases at a time when most ailments in the list of top 10 causes of death fall under this category? It See “OPLE,” A7

Opinion BusinessMirror


Aon acquisition of Willis Ideate. Create. Innovate. Towers Watson Dr. Carl E. Balita

Entrepreneurs’ Footprints

Atty. Dennis B. Funa



Wednesday, September 30, 2020 A7

market-driven approach of entering the well-served, and probably saturated market. The pandemic experience has caused so much hurt in our human existence and the creative entrepreneurs shall come to the rescue. Creativity follows a process. First is preparation, where the entrepreneur explores the problem or opportunity in all directions. The second is incubation, where the entrepreneur engages in a non-conscious way of thinking about the problem. The third is illumination, where there is the flowing of the “aha” eureka idea. And finally, verification, where there is a test of the idea and the creation of the most exact form of the idea. The quarantine experience has been long enough to allow introspective moments to journey an entrepreneurial mind through the creative process. We have come pass the discomfort and the survival zones of the pandemic experience and should now be ready to enter the opportunity and growth zones.


ntrepreneurship is all about finding an unmet need and building a business around it. One can only be in business if there is a product or service that someone is willing to buy. While there is a reduction in the discretionary income of Filipino families, the Covid-19 pandemic is giving rise to many and new unmet needs, and there are emerging opportunities and challenges with the shift in consumer preferences.

Both Aon and Willis, in addition to insurance and reinsurance broking, provide investment and benefits advice. Both are noted for their retirement business as well. Consulting, investments and retirement business comprises 16. percent of Aon’s revenue in 2019, while it comprised 48.6 percent of Willis’ 2019 revenue. Willis shareholders will receive 1.08 Aon shares for each of their shares. The offer represents a premium of 16.2 percent for Willis to the closing price of Willis shares on March 6, 2020. Willis had demanded for this “meaningful premium” at the range of 20 percent. Upon completion of the deal, Aon shareholders will own 63 percent and Willis shareholders will own 37 percent of the combined or merged company on a fully diluted basis. Aon structure and the controlling shareholders for Aon will not change. Management will be retained by Aon Chief Executive Officer Greg Case and Aon Chief Financial Officer Christa Davies. But

Willis CEO John Haley will become the executive chairman. The Board of Directors will be represented proportionately. The financial advisor is Credit Suisse Securities (USA) for Aon and Goldman Sachs & Co. for Willis. Aon will keep its headquarters in London. Its Philippine operations through Aon Insurance and Reinsurance Brokers Phils., Inc. will not be affected. Aon operates in 120 countries including the Philippines.

The growth of e-commerce and omnichannel platforms results from an increased preference and demand for online transaction and alternative modes for shopping. There is also a rise of proximity retailing. According to a Kantar Survey, 66 percent avoid big malls and superstores as well. Some 86 percent prefer grocery shopping in supermarkets near home. And 66 percent discovered new online stores they want to buy from even after Covid. Survey also shows that 47 percent of consumers expect to retain changed behavior after the outbreak ends. Home has become the center of life—a dynamic place where work, learning and recreation are situated. Consumers’ primary concerns include family health, access to food and health care, jobs and finances, and mental health. The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said there is increased demand for health products, health boosting goods, soap and sanitizing products, Internet, electronics, bikes and motorbikes. There is a lower demand for durables, non-essentials and tourism and travel. This pandemic crisis spells opportunities for entrepreneurs who are creative enough to see these emerging needs and wants in a business environment where businesses, big or micro, are in the level playing field. The drive toward survival entrepreneurship, if given sufficient strategic

Ople. . .

Few causes for optimism in Covid-19’s toll–yet

rish-domiciled insurance broker Aon Plc will be acquiring an also Irish-domiciled insurance broker Willis Towers Watson Plc. (Willis) in what has been set to become as the world’s biggest insurance merger ever. The merger talks started around January of 2019 and proceeded in an on-and-off tempo. Exploratory talks first started on January 30, 2019. The merger is set to be completed and closed by mid-2021. Aon will be the surviving entity. The $30 billion, all-stock acquisition merges two of the world’s leading brokers. Aon and Willis are the second and third largest insurance brokers in the world. The largest is Marsh and McLennan. This is until the Aon-Willis merger is completed. The merger, creating an $80 billion (equity value) company, will create the largest insurance broker in the world, surpassing Marsh & McLennan. Marsh, in April of 2019, acquired British rival Jardine Lloyd Thompson for $5.7 billion to create what was then the world’s largest insurance broker.

continued from A6

doesn’t make sense. Why pass the National Integrated Cancer Control Act in 2019 only to keep failing to fund its provisions, and thus, failing to fulfill its objectives? Congress needs to be consistent in its priorities. Do not pass laws that you later opt not to even fund because that is simply toying with people’s emotions, or in this case, with their lives. As a cancer patient whose brother also died of cancer, I appeal to our legislators to please fund RA 11215. Think of mothers with breast cancer who can’t even afford a mammogram; or workers that can’t even file for a sick leave because they have depleted all their leaves for chemotherapy sessions. Think of returning OFWs with cancer (there are quite a few of them especially from Hong Kong) that have to reunite with their families with such a diagnosis, no longer the triumphant breadwinner but the person that all must care for. Peter Paul Perez of the Cancer Coalition of the Philippines said in the Strong for Someone webinar that around 96 cancer patients die every day. This number is far greater than the daily reported deaths due to Covid-19 virus, a number bound to drop even further once vaccines hit the market. We need champions in Congress and the Senate that would make sure this noble law is funded next year and beyond. The budget hearings are not over. There is still time. Malasakit is a word that we keep hearing from our public officials, including our legislators. How about some malasakit for people with cancer? Is that too much to ask? Susan V. Ople heads the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, a nonprofit organization that deals with labor and migration issues. She also represents the OFW sector in the InterAgency Council Against Trafficking.

Upon completion of the deal, Aon shareholders will own 63 percent and Willis shareholders will own 37 percent of the combined or merged company on a fully diluted basis. Aon structure and the controlling shareholders for Aon will not change. Its Philippine operations through Aon Insurance and Reinsurance Brokers Phils., Inc. will not be affected. Aon operates in 120 countries including the Philippines.

By Justin Fox | Bloomberg Opinion


ovid-19 is especially hard on the old and frail, with 79 percent of the deaths attributed to the disease in the US among those 65 and older and 94 percent among people with at least one “comorbidity” such as diabetes, dementia, obesity or hypertension. This has led some people to argue that most of the country’s 200,000plus deaths so far from the disease somehow shouldn’t count, which is ghoulish and awful. But I don’t think it’s ghoulish or awful to point out that a lot of the people dying from the coronavirus this year would have died from something else in the nottoo-distant future, albeit likely in more pleasant circumstances than alone in a hospital room hooked up to a ventilator. By “a lot” I do not mean most, and by “not-too-distant future” I do not mean next month. Going purely by the age distribution of US Covid-19 victims, one recent study estimated that on average they would otherwise have had an additional 11.7 years to live. Attempts to adjust for underlying medical conditions among the victims bring that number down somewhat but not radically; a study based on data from Italy found that doing this reduced the lost life expectancy by about a year. Meanwhile, a recent estimate of the loss of quality-adjusted life years, which fully count years of good health and discount those beset by infirmity, put the average for US Covid victims at about seven. Still, these averages do imply that tens of thousands of Covid-19 victims in the US had pre-pandemic life expectancies of less than a year or two, meaning that in the epidemic’s wake we should expect to see the phenomenon that is known in mortality studies by the definitely ghoulish term “harvesting.” As in, after the Grim Reaper makes an especially big

harvest of souls, he’ll have fewer to reap in the immediate aftermath. “You would expect a decline in deaths following an epidemic, arising from the fact that epidemics, by targeting frail individuals, make the population suddenly more ‘robust’ on average, which can then lead to a deficit of deaths once the epidemic is over,” explained mortality-statistics expert Michel Guillot, a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and senior researcher at the French National Institute of Demographic Studies. For a straightforward example of the phenomenon, Guillot pointed me not to an epidemic but to an August 2003 heat wave that killed an estimated 45,000 to 50,000 Europeans, the vast majority of them elderly. In its immediate aftermath, deaths among French people ages 85 and older reverted to more or less normal, with the aftereffects of heat stress perhaps canceling out any harvesting effect. But in 2004, they were below normal all year long, ending down 13.5% from the 2000-2002 average. Together, 2003 and 2004 saw a 6.6% drop in 85-and-older deaths from the earlier period, probably attributable to mild winter flu seasons as well as harvesting effects. It was as if the heat wave had never happened (except that it had). In other words, optimists hoping for a post-pandemic mortality decline that cancels out at least some of the death toll from Covid-19 aren’t necessarily wrong, but they may have to wait a while. This is especially true in the US, where the disease has

guidance, could lead to the creation of breakthrough products, new age services and resilient enterprises. But there is more into entrepreneurship than just survival. The business idea should be subjected to creative twists and innovative turns. Creativity and innovation lead to value creation, and in effect differentiate a product or service. They lead to entrepreneurial success.

Ideate to create

Creativity is thinking new things. It is developing new ideas and discovering new ways of looking at problems and opportunities. Creativity involves generating something from nothing. It may also mean putting old things in new ways, or simply creating something better or simpler. Business ideas are currently abundant to people who can identify the pain-points of the market—an experience which bothers, irritates, disturbs or annoys a substantial market. In the words of Marketing Guru Josiah Go, market-driving strategy explores the unserved market and offers solutions to address these pain-points. It becomes a hurt-and-rescue story where the entrepreneur is the hero, who may live with the customer happily ever after. The market-driving entrepreneurship gives birth to a creative business idea, which is not through the traditional join-the-bandwagon

never stopped spreading and weekly deaths from all causes have remained well above normal since late March. Because US weekly mortality data trickle in with long and variable lags from the individual states, and the people at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t do a great job of either communicating the incompleteness of the data or successfully adjusting for it in their excess-death estimates, some of the aforementioned optimists have repeatedly fooled themselves and others into believing that the Covid mortality wave is over and the happy time of reduced deaths is upon us, but so far they’ve invariably been proved wrong when the numbers get revised upward over subsequent weeks. The CDC’s numbers for New York City do appear to be up-to-date, though, and as one of the places in the US hardest hit by Covid-19 in the spring and most successful in restraining it since, it also seems the likeliest to see below-normal mortality among the elderly. And yes, total deaths among those 85 and older have been a little lower than the 2017-2019 average since midJune—but only 0.7% lower. From late March through early May, they were 324% higher. Several European countries were even more successful in driving down Covid-19 cases and deaths over the summer than New York City was, although there’s been a lot of backsliding lately. So did deaths among the elderly fall below normal during the hiatus? They did, here and there. Among the countries I looked at, the effect was most apparent right after the epidemic waned in Italy, but it wasn’t very big and with data available only through midyear we don’t know yet if it lasted. Also apparent in the chart is that deaths among elderly Italians were well below the previous three years’

Create to innovate

Innovation is doing new things. It is applying creative solutions to enhance people’s lives. It is labelled as creative destruction, where newly created goods, services or firms can hurt existing ones. Innovation is not the sum but the product of invention and of commercialization. In the absence of either invention or commercialization, there is no innovation. Invention alone cannot innovate unless commercialized and translated to useful and rewarding products. Many entrepreneurs may not have invented anything but have successfully commercialized an invention. Innovation is not just planning new products, services, brand extensions, technological innovations or novelties. It is about imagining, organizing, mobilizing and competing in new different ways. Simply put, innovation is the exploitation of new ideas. Joseph Schumpeter, in his Theory of Innovation, posits innovation as the changes in methods of produc-

average in January, the result most likely of a milder-than-usual flu season. This also shows up in other European mortality charts. In Germany, the large European nation that has so far been the most successful in fending off Covid-19, deaths during the worst weeks of this year’s coronavirus epidemic were actually lower than those during recent flu seasons, and since then deaths have been slightly above normal. Deaths among those 85 and older were also running well below normal in France before Covid-19 hit, but that hasn’t been the case since. In Spain, meanwhile, deaths among those 85 and older have since mid-July been consistently higher than in past years — perhaps offering an early indication of the second Covid-19 wave now sweeping the country. And in England and Wales deaths are running 4% below the past years’ average since mid-June, but I wouldn’t make too much of that just yet. There will almost surely come a time in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic when markedly fewer elderly people are dying than usual. We just haven’t made it to that aftermath yet, and I’m guessing that we won’t in the US and most of Europe until sometime next year. In the meantime, 2020 is likely to see big increases in overall mortality. As of Sept. 5 the CDC’s estimated increase in deaths over expected levels so far this year in the US was about 254,000, or 12.8%. Even if deaths revert to average for the rest of the year, which seems unlikely, this would represent the biggest increase in the US mortality rate (in deaths per 100,000 residents) since the influenza-pandemic year of 1918. Because of the age profile of the disease, though, the life expectancy decline would be less historic. In the

tion and transportation, production of new product, changes in the industrial organization, opening up to a new market, among others. Peter Drucker, the Father of Modern Management, identified seven sources of innovation, namely, the unexpected, incongruity, market structure, necessity, demographics, changing perception, and new knowledge. All of these sources are related to the current pandemic experience. The unexpected results from the discovery of something by chance in the process of this unprecedented experience. With the incongruence in the supply and the demand, innovation may be born. The market structure in the new normal will give rise to innovative ideas to respond and adapt to it. As necessity is the mother of invention, it may lead to innovation. The volatility in the demographics of people incites re-imagination of how they live and how products and services will have to adjust to their new habit and emerging lifestyle. Changing perception of the environment and life itself triggers innovations while new knowledge, brought about by the equally disrupting Fourth Industrial Revolution and by the realization of how humanity should co-exist with coronavirus, is a major source of innovation. The importance of innovation cannot be understated as entrepreneurs set their footprints through the pandemic experience. It is for this reason that the Philippine Business Conference 2020 organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry adopted the theme Innovation@PH to bring innovation at the center stage of the biggest virtual gathering of businesspeople, policy-makers and though leaders in the country. It is free and will happen virtually on October 7 to 8, 2020. Engineer Eunina Mangio, chairman of the conference, shares that the 46th PBC aims to impart innovative solutions to businesses, especially on how they can navigate their ecosystems in this new normal.

same study that estimated 11.7 average years of life lost by US Covid victims, University of California at Berkeley demographers Joshua R. Goldstein and Ronald D. Lee also estimated that 250,000 additional deaths due to the disease would decrease average US life expectancy at birth by about 10 months (0.84 years)—the biggest one-year drop since World War II but smaller than decreases in 1943 and several years in the 1920s and 1930s (mostly due to bad flu seasons), and just a fraction of the staggering 11.8-year decline in 1918. In France, Guillot and Myriam Khlat of the National Institute of Demographic Studies estimated in June that the country’s average life expectancy decline this year— assuming no second wave in fall, which at the time seemed like a reasonable assumption—would be just one-tenth of a year for women and two-tenths for men. Lower Covid-19 mortality in France is part of the explanation, as is that milder-than-usual 2019-2020 flu season and an age profile of Covid deaths that is skewed even more to the very old than that of the US. A much higher share of US Covid-19 victims are under 65 than in other affluent countries, the result of a somewhat younger population in the US but also of a much less healthy population. Only 4.8% of French people ages 20 to 79 have diabetes, for example, while 10.8% of Americans do. Maverick French doctor and hydroxychloroquine booster Didier Raoult soon picked up on Guillot and Khlat’s estimate to argue that it meant Covid-19 just wasn’t that a big a deal. I don’t think that’s the right conclusion. But it is a very different sort of a deal than, say, a war or a disease that targets the young.

A8 Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Treasury stops selling 10-year T-bonds as demand weakens By Cai U. Ordinario



HE Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) is no longer offering 10-year Treasury bonds (T-bonds) in October as investors are now keener on shorter tenors. In a recently issued memorandum, the Treasury said it will borrow a total of P140 billion from the local debt market in October. This is lower than the P160 billion it programmed in September. Based on the BTr data, the treasury offering in October is composed of P20 billion worth of Treasury bills (T-bills) and P60 billion T-bonds. “[The] preference is on short to immediate part of the curve,” National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon told reporters on Tuesday. Data showed that the Treasury will be offering P20 billion worth of T-bills on every auction date slated for October 7, October 14, October 21 and October 28. The government will of-

fer 364-day T-bills worth P10 billion; P182-day T-bills worth P5 billion; and, 91-day T-bills worth P5 billion per auction date this month. Meanwhile, in terms of bonds, the Treasury will issue three-year T-bonds worth P30 billion on October 8 and five-year Tbonds worth P30 billion on October 22. The government borrows to finance its spending requirements as well as to cover its budget deficit. As tax collections are down amid the pandemic, the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) is projecting the country’s budget deficit to more than double to 9.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) or P1.815 trillion from only 3.4 percent of GDP or P660.2 billion last year. The DBCC also expects the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio this year to increase to 53.91 percent of GDP— a level that it has not seen in over a decade—from a record low of 39.6 percent of GDP last year.

PHL syrup exporters lose market on 24% safeguard by Jakarta S

CREATE may have a chance in Senate


By Elijah Felice E. Rosales


HILIPPINE exporters of fructose syrup may have just lost one key market in Southeast Asia in Indonesia’s decision to enforce a safeguard duty of 24 percent on imports of the product. The Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau on Tuesday said Indonesia is set to impose safeguard duties on fructose syrup that will last for three years. The Indonesian Trade Safeguard Committee (KPPI) concluded there is a need to apply the trade measure after imports surged from 2015 to 2018 based on Jakarta’s data.   As such, the KPPI recommended to impose safeguard duties on fructose syrup imports at 24 percent on the first year, 22 percent on the second and 20 on the third and final.   The Philippines belongs to the list covered by the safeguard measure; therefore, the additional tariffs apply to fructose syrup exports to Indonesia. Fructose syrup

used to be one of Manila’s million dollar shipments to Jakarta up until last year. Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country exported $1.03 million worth of fructose syrup to Indonesia in 2015.   In 2016 and 2017 the Philippines recorded zero shipment of the product to its Southeast Asian neighbor. In 2018 it sent 11.12 million metric tons of fructose syrup, amounting to $1.51 million, to Indonesia, before stopping exports again up until this year. Fructose syrup makers appear to no longer be interested in the prospect of exporting, posting no shipments at all after 2018. With the safeguard measure executed by Indonesia, it may just be the dead end for Philippine exports of fruc-

tose syrup—or at least for three years. The last time the Philippines shipped the product in 2018, Indonesia imported more than 95 percent of the shipments, showing Jakarta is Manila’s largest buyer of fructose syrup. The KPPI investigated the surge in fructose syrup imports in response to the petition filed by PT. Associated British Budi (ABB), who produces 54 percent of Indonesia’s domestic output of the product. ABB argued before the KPPI the local market was flooded by cheap imports from China, citing a jump in figures from between 2015 and 2018. The KPPI then submitted a notification to the World Trade Organization last year to ask for comments from relevant parties.   The KPPI reported the imports of fructose syrup jumped for the period of investigation, and this trimmed the ABB’s market share and, consequently, income.   According to the KPPI, ABB endured losses on all fronts due to the import surge from 2015 to 2018. It reduced the firm’s domestic sales, production, productivity, capacity, operating profit and labor force.

Pag-IBIG Fund grants grace, offers special loan restructuring


ag-IBIG Fund has granted a 60-day grace period on all loan payments and is offering a special loan restructuring program for home loan borrowers in its efforts to provide members financial relief amid the pandemic, top officials announced. Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario, chairman of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development and the 11-member Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees, said the one-time 60-day grace period on payments of all loans is in accordance with Republic Act No. 11494, or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), while providing its housing loan borrowers in arrears with a Special Housing Loan Restructuring Program to help update their accounts and keep their homes. “We heed and support President Duterte’s call to help our fellow Filipinos who are experiencing financial hardships brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. We recognize that this pandemic continues to impact jobs and businesses in the country. And so the Board has immediately approved the implementation of the 60-day grace period following the signing of the Bayanihan 2 law and our Special Housing Loan Restructuring Program to provide further financial relief to our members,” said del Rosario. He added that under Pag-IBIG Fund’s guidelines, the grant of the 60-day grace period will be applied automatically to all loan payments on the agency’s Multi-Purpose Loan, Calamity Loan, and Housing Loan which fall due from September 15 until November 14, 2020. The grace period will give borrowers payment reprieve without incurring any penalty, and interest on interest. “Under the Bayanihan 2 law, the grace period covers loan accounts with up to 3 months in arrears. But under our approved Pag-IBIG guidelines, we will cover loan accounts with up to 9 months in arrears so we can help more borrowers, specifically those whose incomes

were affected when community quarantines were first declared in mid-March. And while the accrued interest is payable until December 31 under the Bayanihan 2, Pag-IBIG Fund will allow payment of accrued interest on a staggered basis during the remaining term of the loan, thus providing for an even longer and easier payment term for our borrowers,” del Rosario added. The Special Housing Loan Restructuring Program, meanwhile, aims to further help Pag-IBIG housing loan borrowers save their properties from foreclosure. Under the program, borrowers whose finances have been affected by the pandemic may renegotiate the terms of the loan and secure a more affordable payment term. Borrowers can soon apply for the restructuring program online by visiting the Virtual PagIBIG until December 15, 2020.   “After our string of ‘best year ever,’ this is the time for Pag-IBIG to show how much we care about our member-borrowers. Under Bayanihan 1, we granted a grace period to 4.77 million borrowers and approved nearly 300,000 applications under our 3-month payment moratorium program.  And now, this added grace period and our Special Housing Restructuring Program will help our member-borrowers—especially those who are currently experiencing financial difficulties—even more,” said PagIBIG Fund Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy P. Moti.   “But we also would like to encourage our borrowers who are capable of paying, to continue paying their loans. Better collections will allow us to keep offering loans at low interest rates to more members. Tulad po ng pangalan ng batas, ngayon ay panahon upang magbayanihan [As the law’s name says, now is the time to help one another]. Help us in helping more members because together, we can overcome the challenges we are facing today. Sa ating pagkakaisa, madadaig natin ang pandemyang ito [United, we can defeat this pandemic],” Moti ended.

ENATORS, citing signals from Malacañang that President Duterte considers the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) a priority bill, have stepped up deliberations on the tax reform, which cuts corporate income tax from 30 percent to 25 percent while rationalizing fiscal incentives. Unlike its more problematic first version embodied in Citira [Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act] lawmakers led by Sen. Pia Cayetano are looking to iron out all questions about the impact of the remedial law on businesses, especially those fearing the loss of incentives to help them recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. “It was not like this in the first version, which is Citira,” administration Sen. Christopher Bong Go recalled, adding: “We would like that immediately available to all the businesses. So that is the reason we need to pass it so that by next year, it can already be availed of,” referring to the incentives that sponsors of the measure insists won’t be eroded. Senator Cayetano, chief proponent of the bill as chairman of the endorsing Ways and Means Committee, reported that “we have recalibrated the benefits under Citira to immediately address part of the impacts of Covid, and that is the reduction of income tax, because that is something that is welcomed by every and all businessmen.” Under interpellation, Cayetano clarified that “if we had stuck with the [original] Citira version, the provision extended to businesses that are registered and currently receiving incentives, that sunset provision would have been much shorter.” She added: “So, we again recognize the impact of the pandemic, and we give a more generous, longer sunset provision for those who are currently availing of incentives. And when their incentives are over, and that is 4 to 9 years from now, there is some misunderstanding that it is totally over for them.” On the contrary, she explained, “they are allowed to reapply,” adding this was also one issue she wanted clarified. “That is also something I want to emphasize. So the sooner we pass it, the sooner they can continue with their current incentives, and the sooner the transition to new incentives provided by CREATE.” She was apparently responding to concerns raised by the locators in special economic zones, which earlier asked senators not to pass legislation that takes away incentives they have been drawn to, and which encouraged them to stay put in the country. At the same time, she sought to emphasize that the vast majority of the companies will benefit from CREATE because it lowers the Corporate Income Tax. For those who already receive incentives, Cayetano also assured that “they will continue to be profitable.” The CREATE bill was certified as urgent by President Duterte last March 9, 2020, and Cayetano recalled that “it was mentioned as a State of the Nation priority this year and in previous years.”  Asked about the potential benefits of prioritizing passage of CREATE bill into law, Senator Go acknowledged part of his  advocacy programs is the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program and that means “creating job opportunities in the countryside,” as well as addressing “overpopulation, traffic congestion, and pollution in Metro Manila.”  In turn, Cayetano affirmed she is also an advocate of Balik Probinsya. “As the chair of your Committee on Sustainable Development Goals [SDG], Innovation, and Futures Thinking, SDG 11 is creating sustainable cities and communities. And we can only do that if we try to decongest our metropolitan areas. So CREATE was especially drafted, and I would like to emphasize that I really pushed for provisions that would generally identify areas and give incentives to the [provinces], the areas outside metropolitan areas.”

Butch Fernandez

Companies BusinessMirror


Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Displaced workers tapped for Nlex project By Lorenz S. Marasigan



lex Corp. is gearing to quickly build the 8-kilometer Nlex Connector, announcing the hiring of 1,500 technical and skilled workers, including returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and those who were displaced by the pandemic.

“Being a government partner in infrastructure building, Nlex Corp. and the entire Metro Pacific Tollways group are keen in helping the economy recover from the adverse effects of the pandemic. With our ongoing projects, we can create more opportunities for people thus propel growth in the country,” Nlex Corp. President Luigi L. Bautista said. Bautista noted that this initiative is in line with the call made by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to extend job opportunities to OFWs who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are looking at our massive infrastructure projects as key employment generators. Apart from building roads and bridges to spur economic development, this administration’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program is also geared towards providing livelihood to fellow Filipinos,” said Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar. Bautista added that his group is mobilizing additional equipment to improve productivity and further speed up the construction of the road. “We are currently working on

‘EDC treading regenerative path’ By Lenie Lectura @llectura


he country’s leading producer of geothermal energy, Energy Development Corp. (EDC), said there is “little time left” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. EDC President Richard Tantoco, a guest speaker during last week’s webinar organized by the Focolare Movement and the Global Catholic Climate Movement-Pilipinas, said there is a need to go beyond sustainability and become regenerative amid the worsening climate crisis. “This decade of the 2020s will critically determine whether we succeed or not. To succeed, humanity needs to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 6 percent every year until we achieve net zero emissions in 2050. Our emissions should peak in 2030 or sooner then go on a radi-

cal decline after that. For context, the lockdowns and passenger transport restrictions resulting from the pandemic are expected to bring emissions down this year by about 8 percent; which means we need a Covid-scale catastrophe every year until 2050 just to achieve the 1.5 degree Celsius target,” said Tantoco. He said there is a need to shift to a model of regenerative development. In the case of EDC, regeneration includes its employees, community, environment, shareholders and cocreators, such as our customers, partners, contractors, suppliers. “We all need to benefit from the positive impact of our decisions and actions. While our investors are important, regenerative thinking demands that we look at our business from a wider lens than just profitability,” he said.

As part of the Lopez group of companies, EDC is determined to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future because sustainability, Tantoco said, is no longer good enough. “Businesses today must urgently become a regenerative force that elevates everything that they touch—customers, employees, suppliers, contractors, the environment, communities, and investors. The transformation cannot be done by entities working alone. We must all play unique, reciprocal, and synchronized roles in a world that needs to be healed. We choose this path because we believe it is the only way to create lasting value for all stakeholders and not just shareholders,” he said. Tantoco cited his own experience at being regenerative during the pandemic. In a farm up north, Tantoco said

he bought seedlings from the Philippine Hardwoods at a higher rate than normal. He also paid for the workers’ daily wages. Now, they have potted over 60,000 seedlings of palusapis, kamagong, yakal, guijo, malaruhat, dugon, narra and other threatened or endangered tree species. “My dream is to plant 1 million trees in 5 years. But more than the raw numbers, my dream is to capacitate my neighbors to ultimately become self-sufficient. I’m just one of many EDC employees who try to do their best to live by the Lopez values—our north star as we fulfill our new chosen path to decarbonization and a regenerative future. “What makes me proudest are the efforts of fellow employees who have heeded the call to be regenerative in their own spheres of influence and in their own unique way,” he said.

espite the limitations brought about by the pandemic, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. were able to expand their fixed and wireless networks’ capacity and reach to accommodate the surge in demand for data because of the national health situation. Mario G. Tamayo, the SVP for network planning and engineering at both firms, said his group’s fiber infrastructure now spans 382,500 as of end August, a 19-percent increase from end-2019, while increasing its capacity by 8 percent to 3.78 million ports. This net-

work has so far reached 8.1 million homes. Smart, he added, now has 28,200 4G base stations, a 15-percent rise from end-2019, benefiting various cities and municipalities, including far-flung areas such as Pag-asa Island in Palawan and Kawayan in Biliran. “Our sustained investments in our network over the years have put us in a strong position to meet the surge in demand for our services amid the pandemic,” Tamayo said. “These investments likewise lay the foundation to support increasingly bandwidth-intensive applications

which are driven by technological advancements such as 5G.” Currently, Smart is expanding its 5G network, adding key cities in the Visayas and Mindanao to its list of 5G-powered areas. These include Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao. Tamayo added that his group continues to invest in its network to meet the growing demand for connectivity. He explained that from 2015 to 2019, his group has injected P260 billion to improve its network. For 2020, the telco titan has set aside P70 billion in capital expenditures to accommodate the demand. Lorenz S. Marasigan

the first 5-kilometer section of the Nlex Connector from Grace Park, Caloocan City to España St., Sampaloc, Manila. As projected, more than 1,500 workers are needed to accelerate the construction works,” said Bautista. The Nlex Connector spans 8 kilometers from the new Caloocan Interchange to the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, linking the North Luzon Expressway (Nlex) to the South Luzon Expressway (Slex). Upon full completion in 2021, the Nlex Connector will significantly cut travel time from Nlex to Slex by at

least 60 percent. Instead of the usual two hours, travel time will be reduced to about 20 minutes. It will also provide improved accessibility for cargo trucks bound for the Manila Ports and the international airports, Aside from solving the traffic congestion in several Manila roads, the Nlex Connector is also expected to stimulate economic development in Manila, Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas, as well as its surrounding areas. It is expected to handle roughly 35,000 motorists daily, especially cargo trucks.

Eternal Chapels opens branch in Cabuyao City


he Eternal Chapels celebrated the Blessing of its third branch in Cabuyao City, Laguna, in a simple ceremony held on September 28. Located inside Eternal Gardens memorial park in Barangay Mamatid, the Eternal Chapels was blessed by Rev. Fr. Gomer R. Torres, parish priest of San Vicente Ferrer Diocesan Shrine and Parish. Present during the private ceremony were company executives and officers, headed by chairman and chief executive officer, D. Edgard A. Cabangon. The event, which had very limited attendees, also celebrated the blessing of the branch office of Eternal Gardens, which is located in the same building as the Eternal Chapels. Designed by Architect Lerma E.

Balolong, Eternal Chapels Cabuyao features two premier chapels and three deluxe chapels, each with its own family room with pantry and clean toilet and bath, and free WiFi connection. Eternal Chapels Cabuyao is also equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and employs only licensed professional embalmers who are highly skilled and have knowledge in the latest and best embalming techniques. This is in keeping with the company’s commitment to provide Filipinos with the best mortuary and chapel services. The two other branches of Eternal Chapels are located in Cagayan de Oro City and Naga City. Eternal Chapels and Eternal Gardens are part of the ALC Group of Companies founded by the late Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua.

Nokia expands PLDT boosts fiber infrastructure RCBC extends online fee waiver till year-end 5G deal with UK’s BT Group D


okia Oyj has extended its relationship with BT Group Plc to supply the British phone company with gear for its high-speed fifth-generation mobile networks. The deal will make Nokia, BT’s largest provider of radio access equipment—the wireless network ’s antennas—the Finnish company said in a statement on Tuesday. BT’s fourth-generation mobile network is currently about two-thirds Huawei Technologies Co. and one-third Nokia. The network gear maker is filling a void left by Huawei after the United Kingdom set out rules this year banning the Chinese company from supplying phone companies with 5G equipment and requiring Britain’s carriers to remove all of its 5G gear by 2027. BT’s 5G supplier for the sensitive network core is Ericsson AB, and Nokia’s Swedish rival could also win more work from BT as the carrier plans to phase out its Huawei gear. Nokia currently has an agreement to supply equipment to BT in the greater London area, the Midlands—which covers an area in the middle of England that includes the city of Birmingham— and some other rural parts of the country. The deal announced Tuesday will expanded coverage to areas including Aberdeen, Cambridge and Brighton, Nokia said. Other UK carriers are also busy plotting their post-Huawei futures. CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd’s Three UK recently signed a deal with Ericsson, ripping up its plan to rely on the Chinese vendor. Bloomberg News

Uber keen on ride-hailing venture


ber Technologies Inc. is considering a purchase of Daimler AG and BMW AG’s ride-hailing joint venture Free Now, a deal that could boost its market share in Europe and Latin America, people with knowledge of the matter said. Uber expressed interest in a potential acquisition of Free Now after the venture’s efforts to attract additional investors struggled to gain traction amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Any deal could be complicated by the challenging market ridehailing companies face, which could make it more difficult to agree on a price, one of the people said. Daimler and BMW’s shopping of Free Now reflects their focus on generating cash and improving efficiency within their core automotive operations. Carmakers have been scaling back their mobility-service ambitions, with General Motors Co. shutting down its Maven car-sharing business earlier this year and Ford Motor Co. ceasing its Chariot shuttle service in 2019. “If external investors aren’t willing to provide capital, why should Daimler/BMW put more money in?” Bernstein analysts Arndt Ellinghorst and Thanos Hadjiantonis wrote in a note. “The traditional industry has begun to realize it’s been wasting a lot of time, effort and money by trying to compete in these areas with questionable medium- and long-term returns.”

BusinessMirror file photo

By Tyrone Jasper C. Piad @TyronePiad


Pedestrians pass in front of signage displayed outside Uber headquarters in San Francisco. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

There’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, and other bidders could emerge, the people said. Representatives for Uber and BMW declined to comment, and a Daimler spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on speculation. Daimler and BMW merged their mobility operations last year and folded them into a joint venture called Your Now, which comprises 5 business including the Free Now ride-hailing service. Free Now used to operate as MyTaxi and has integrated ride-hailing apps including France’s Kapten, Greece’s Beat and Romania’s Clever Taxi. Daimler valued the equity investment in its half of the Your Now venture at €618 million ($720 million) at the end of June. Its activities also include much smaller operations dubbed Park Now and the car-sharing platform Share Now.

Uber has been looking to shed minority holdings in several ride-hailing operations recently, including portions of its stakes in China’s Didi Chuxing and the Southeast Asian ride-share company Grab. It has also agreed to sell its European freight business and some of its stock in Russia’s Yandex. While San Francisco-based Uber has dialed back its once-sprawling global ambitions, it’s still in more than 10,000 cities across roughly 70 countries. A London judge granted the ride-hailing service an 18-month license extension Monday, allowing the company to continue operating in its biggest European market. Making money with mobility services has proven a challenge for tech firms and automakers alike. Transport regulations vary significantly across regions and have made it difficult to scale up operations. Bloomberg News

izal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) is extending the waiver of online fund transfer fees until the end of the year. In a statement on Tuesday, the Yuchengco-led bank said the decision was in response to the call of its clients to provide some relief amid the ongoing pandemic. “In response to the continuing call for relief measures during these extraordinary times, RCBC will continue to waive fund transfer fees through Peso Net and InstaPay until December 31,” the bank said. According to a list provided by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last month, RCBC was previously among the banks that were only offering free online money transfers until September 30. Others include BDO Unibank Inc., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., Bank of the Philippine Islands, China Banking Corp., Bank of Commerce, Robinsons Bank Corp., Philippine Savings Bank, Paymaya

Philippines Inc., G-Xchange Inc., China Bank Savings Inc., Philippine Bank of Communications and Equicom Savings Bank Inc. Meanwhile, the following banks will be waiving the said fees until the end of the year: Union Bank of the Philippines, Asia United Bank Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, Security Bank Corp., Sterling Bank of Asia Inc., Standard Chartered Bank, East West Banking Corp., United Coconut Planters Bank, Maybank Philippines Inc. and Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. “We encourage everyone to continue banking from home using RCBC online banking for your banking transactions for your safety,” RCBC said. In the first half, RCBC saw its net income rise by 17 percent to P3.1 billion from P2.66 billion a year ago after booking higher trading gains. RCBC shares inched up by 0.61 percent, or 10 centavos, to close at P16.50 each amid the 0.34-percent drop for the main index on Tuesday.


Companies BusinessMirror

Wednesday, September 30, 2020


September 29, 2020

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


44.5 86.45 64.85 21.7 8.32 38.7 9.01 16.7 23.25 50.8 16.42 92.1 54.2 0.76 25.2 0.55 3.07 7.33 1.25 0.285 680 154.1 1850 1.02

45 86.5 65 21.75 8.34 38.75 9.44 17.58 23.3 51.85 16.5 92.15 54.3 0.82 25.4 0.57 3.23 8.3 1.3 0.295 710 156.9 1915 1.1

44.5 86.8 63.9 21.65 8.2 38.3 9.31 17.14 24.15 51 16.22 91.95 54.3 0.81 25.4 0.55 3.15 7.35 1.27 0.295 678 157 1851 1.03

45 87.1 65 21.75 8.36 38.75 9.46 17.14 24.2 51.85 16.5 92.4 54.3 0.82 25.9 0.57 3.39 7.35 1.31 0.295 678 157 1851 1.03

44.5 86.5 63.9 21.65 8.15 37.6 7.92 16.7 23.25 51 16.22 91.9 54.2 0.81 25.1 0.55 3 7.33 1.24 0.285 678 157 1828 1.02

44.5 86.5 65 21.7 8.32 38.75 9.46 16.7 23.3 51.85 16.5 92.15 54.2 0.81 25.2 0.57 3.23 7.33 1.3 0.285 678 157 1850 1.02

5600 2924040 893750 114600 409400 7617100 13200 20000 1609400 540 49800 321100 19980 69000 287600 2000 56000 2300 53000 40000 30 10 250 161000

249300 253640403.5 57728900 2488805 3382616 292653995 119025 336636 38085435 27904 819152 29598475.5 1083034 56000 7255250 1120 175000 16873 67230 11600 20340 1570 461665 164520

133400 -176204935.5 -9978872 -864480 -70563.9997 172350235 -32337180 -587506 308988.5 374947 -976560 258950 -

INDUSTRIAL AC ENERGY 3.18 3.19 3.16 3.22 3.15 3.18 10795000 34309480 1.24 1.25 1.24 1.25 1.23 1.25 312000 386840 ALSONS CONS ABOITIZ POWER 26.35 26.4 26.5 26.5 26.3 26.35 421800 11123545 0.16 0.163 0.164 0.164 0.16 0.163 640000 103230 BASIC ENERGY FIRST GEN 23.1 23.15 23.3 23.4 23.1 23.15 2008300 46535525 61 61.65 61 61 61 61 50460 3078060 FIRST PHIL HLDG 275.8 278 277.6 279 275.4 278 113350 31466156 MERALCO MANILA WATER 14.72 14.8 14.5 14.82 14.5 14.72 1099000 16110936 3.05 3.07 3.08 3.08 3.03 3.05 1363000 4163910 PETRON PETROENERGY 3.11 3.17 3.11 3.11 3.11 3.11 10000 31100 10.76 10.96 10.96 10.98 10.96 10.96 5200 57008 PHX PETROLEUM 16.3 16.32 16.58 16.6 16 16.3 1098200 17,951,196( PILIPINAS SHELL SPC POWER 9.82 10 9.8 10.1 9.79 10 162300 1611922 7.85 7.9 7.92 7.97 7.8 7.85 137700 1094630 AGRINURTURE AXELUM 2.67 2.68 2.71 2.72 2.65 2.68 1234000 3297400 12 12.4 12 12 12 12 8300 99600 CNTRL AZUCARERA 17.26 17.36 17.5 17.5 17.2 17.26 1039100 18034552 CENTURY FOOD DEL MONTE 4.68 4.75 4.66 4.8 4.66 4.71 43000 204220 5.45 5.48 5.61 5.61 5.45 5.45 6679500 36826819 DNL INDUS EMPERADOR 9.88 9.89 9.88 9.89 9.83 9.89 1754700 17270810 64.5 64.6 64.7 64.7 63.9 64.5 23900 1537413.5 SMC FOODANDBEV ALLIANCE SELECT 0.63 0.64 0.63 0.63 0.63 0.63 253000 159390 1.19 1.2 1.2 1.21 1.18 1.2 4400000 5248020 FRUITAS HLDG 50 51 51.25 51.4 50 50 8090 412831 GINEBRA JOLLIBEE 144.7 144.8 140 144.8 140 144.8 1582390 226752675 7.62 8 8.2 8.2 8 8 4700 37660 MACAY HLDG MAXS GROUP 4.97 5 5 5.04 4.97 4.97 92300 460922 0.128 0.137 0.128 0.128 0.127 0.127 50000 6390 MG HLDG 5.8 5.81 5.86 5.86 5.8 5.8 50000 290459 SHAKEYS PIZZA ROXAS AND CO 1.16 1.17 1.16 1.18 1.15 1.17 4314000 5033730 1.68 1.77 1.71 1.71 1.68 1.68 69000 117110 ROXAS HLDG UNIV ROBINA 133.9 134 134.5 135.9 134 134 722030 97090624 VITARICH 0.75 0.76 0.77 0.77 0.75 0.76 4409000 3324600 51.15 53 51.8 52 51.05 51.1 710 36297 CONCRETE A CONCRETE B 52 55 56 56 52.05 55.95 320 17327 1.47 1.48 1.45 1.49 1.43 1.48 9773000 14326720 CEMEX HLDG DAVINCI CAPITAL 3.12 3.29 3.3 3.3 3.29 3.29 14000 46130 14.08 14.1 14.1 14.1 13.7 14.1 1831300 25316524 EAGLE CEMENT 6.77 6.78 6.8 6.81 6.59 6.77 1396500 9404865 EEI CORP HOLCIM 5.43 5.46 5.31 5.53 5.31 5.43 1039500 5648769 7.08 7.09 7.16 7.17 7.03 7.08 2086800 14790706 MEGAWIDE PHINMA 8.37 8.6 8.55 8.6 8.55 8.6 10000 85835 0.7 0.74 0.7 0.73 0.7 0.7 136000 95350 TKC METALS 0.7 0.72 0.7 0.72 0.7 0.72 320000 226980 VULCAN INDL CROWN ASIA 1.87 1.9 1.88 1.9 1.88 1.9 23000 43440 1.87 1.9 1.86 1.95 1.86 1.87 388000 729000 EUROMED LMG CORP 4.33 4.88 4.85 4.93 4.85 4.88 4018000 19808000 4.22 4.39 4.39 4.39 4.39 4.39 1000 4390 MABUHAY VINYL 20.85 21.4 21.1 21.5 21.1 21.45 53600 1132705 CONCEPCION GREENERGY 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.19 2.23 5944000 13213090 5.9 5.91 5.96 5.96 5.9 5.9 1592200 9397232 INTEGRATED MICR IONICS 0.98 1 1.02 1.02 0.98 1 514000 511080 1.43 1.44 1.42 1.45 1.42 1.44 1029000 1480050 SFA SEMICON CIRTEK HLDG 5.54 5.6 5.65 5.73 5.46 5.6 6600600 36844674

1007510 24800 -1387110 -40458350 1003450 -10174024 -2549894 -3042620 3,291,533.9999) 244576 279480 -33210 -14451234 -270721 -540599.9997 8320 91166091 -800 -30802 -315910 -9657150 33000 1721620 307158 -7920 80289 -762130 -0 1596090 -47280 -130120 871559

HOLDING & FRIMS ABACORE CAPITAL 0.465 0.47 0.47 0.47 0.465 0.465 1990000 927000 7.4 7.8 7.8 8.04 7.41 7.8 61800 460365 ASIABEST GROUP AYALA CORP 686 693 689 691 685 686 90410 62162245 45.15 45.25 46.3 46.3 45.15 45.15 617400 27923860 ABOITIZ EQUITY ALLIANCE GLOBAL 6.9 6.92 7.05 7.06 6.83 6.9 9229000 63773967 2.42 2.43 2.41 2.43 2.35 2.43 3265000 7844340 AYALA LAND LOG 6.24 6.38 6.45 6.45 6.38 6.38 8100 51895 ANSCOR ANGLO PHIL HLDG 0.55 0.57 0.54 0.56 0.54 0.55 109000 60160 0.58 0.59 0.59 0.59 0.58 0.58 1227000 717430 ATN HLDG A ATN HLDG B 0.56 0.58 0.58 0.58 0.56 0.56 59000 33220 5.12 5.14 5.12 5.18 5.12 5.12 4253000 21776964 COSCO CAPITAL 4.03 4.04 4.04 4.05 4.03 4.04 3335000 13474160 DMCI HLDG FILINVEST DEV 8.51 8.75 8.7 8.7 8.51 8.51 300 2591 0.18 0.204 0.18 0.18 0.18 0.18 40000 7200 FORUM PACIFIC GT CAPITAL 391.8 392 396 396.2 391 392 163700 64275446 3.03 3.17 3.17 3.17 3.17 3.17 12000 38040 HOUSE OF INV 59.3 60 60.5 60.95 59.3 59.3 454820 27037769.5 JG SUMMIT JOLLIVILLE HLDG 4.3 4.85 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.3 1000 4300 0.6 0.62 0.63 0.63 0.59 0.61 281000 169500 LODESTAR LOPEZ HLDG 2.28 2.29 2.3 2.3 2.29 2.29 1553000 3,559,940( 8.88 8.89 8.97 8.97 8.89 8.89 712000 6345949 LT GROUP MABUHAY HLDG 0.475 0.49 0.495 0.495 0.495 0.495 10000 4950 3.48 3.49 3.5 3.56 3.48 3.48 31665000 110845360 METRO PAC INV 2.9 2.98 2.91 2.91 2.9 2.9 41000 118990 PACIFICA HLDG PRIME MEDIA 0.76 0.78 0.76 0.78 0.76 0.78 41000 31180 0.98 0.99 0.98 0.98 0.98 0.98 11000 10780 SOLID GROUP SYNERGY GRID 153 159 155 155 155 155 40 6200 880 885 890 890 876 880 101010 89014065 SM INVESTMENTS 98.55 98.6 99 99 98.6 98.6 136680 13512934.5 SAN MIGUEL CORP SOC RESOURCES 0.62 0.65 0.62 0.62 0.62 0.62 48000 29760 117.1 124.8 128 128 122 124.8 330290 42267460 TOP FRONTIER WELLEX INDUS 0.188 0.195 0.188 0.192 0.188 0.192 240000 46000 0.133 0.136 0.132 0.136 0.132 0.136 410000 55020 ZEUS HLDG

-125650 -37397195 -21413750 -8199497 2163420 28000 131153 -2177240 -31212874 -18408661 2,206,199.9994) -1117515 -15414370 81200 -42542225 -4974400.5 -181240 -

PROPERTY ARTHALAND CORP 0.52 0.54 0.54 0.54 0.52 0.54 364000 190310 29.45 29.5 29.85 30.1 29.45 29.45 4021600 119713885 AYALA LAND ARANETA PROP 0.96 0.99 0.96 0.99 0.96 0.99 25000 24060 25.65 25.7 25.6 25.8 25.55 25.7 7622200 194905785 AREIT RT BELLE CORP 1.36 1.38 1.37 1.38 1.36 1.36 1247000 1696270 0.78 0.79 0.78 0.79 0.77 0.79 969000 756930 A BROWN 0.77 0.79 0.77 0.79 0.77 0.79 20000 15480 CITYLAND DEVT CROWN EQUITIES 0.129 0.131 0.131 0.131 0.129 0.131 1020000 132170 4.84 4.9 4.85 4.91 4.84 4.84 82000 398830 CEB LANDMASTERS CENTURY PROP 0.365 0.37 0.37 0.375 0.365 0.365 6610000 2442700 0.3 0.305 0.27 0.305 0.27 0.3 46450000 12712800 CYBER BAY 14.02 14.12 14 14.34 14 14.02 2848800 40373076 DOUBLEDRAGON DM WENCESLAO 5.4 5.47 5.5 5.5 5.4 5.4 88000 478499 0.265 0.275 0.27 0.285 0.265 0.275 5590000 1539700 EMPIRE EAST EVER GOTESCO 0.085 0.086 0.085 0.086 0.085 0.086 310000 26650 0.91 0.92 0.92 0.93 0.91 0.91 5935000 5430990 FILINVEST LAND 0.74 0.77 0.74 0.76 0.74 0.76 4370000 3236230 GLOBAL ESTATE 8990 HLDG 6.8 6.87 6.88 6.88 6.83 6.83 48100 328758 1.1 1.11 1.11 1.11 1.1 1.1 1358000 1498580 PHIL INFRADEV MEGAWORLD 3 3.01 2.98 3.01 2.95 3.01 11789000 35102340 0.243 0.244 0.23 0.247 0.23 0.243 40370000 9716980 MRC ALLIED PHIL ESTATES 0.29 0.31 0.29 0.3 0.29 0.3 250000 73550 1.15 1.21 1.24 1.28 1.17 1.21 94000 111930 PRIMEX CORP 14.22 14.3 14.52 14.52 14.22 14.22 1114700 15939722 ROBINSONS LAND PHIL REALTY 0.209 0.218 0.208 0.208 0.208 0.208 10000 2080 1.49 1.54 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 126000 189000 ROCKWELL SHANG PROP 2.65 2.69 2.65 2.69 2.65 2.65 247000 654800 STA LUCIA LAND 1.85 1.95 1.95 1.95 1.93 1.95 100000 194000 28.45 28.5 28.85 28.85 28.45 28.5 2015300 57507575 SM PRIME HLDG VISTAMALLS 3.77 3.83 3.77 3.77 3.71 3.77 43000 161170 1.15 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.14 1.17 3682000 4241240 SUNTRUST HOME VISTA LAND 3.52 3.54 3.48 3.55 3.48 3.52 2351000 8241910

-20800 -52321950 -6644670 -1360 12320 -242800 -137500 -31597510 -306265 -35750 -365010 -130608 16410 -6016500 7180 -6277384 15000 622590 -21102525 1180 -883050

SERVICES ABS CBN 7.03 7.05 7.1 7.21 7.01 7.06 689000 4868083 5.07 5.08 5.07 5.1 5.06 5.08 449600 2280619 GMA NETWORK MANILA BULLETIN 0.38 0.395 0.39 0.39 0.38 0.38 410000 156500 10.94 11.14 10.8 11.14 10.8 11.14 4500 48970 MLA BRDCASTING GLOBE TELECOM 2088 2100 2088 2118 2080 2088 29785 62213210 1352 1353 1365 1365 1351 1353 128440 173974865 PLDT 0.056 0.057 0.056 0.057 0.055 0.057 33850000 1877750 APOLLO GLOBAL DFNN INC 2.9 2.91 2.91 2.91 2.9 2.9 100000 290160 4.98 4.99 4.7 4.99 4.59 4.99 143364000 685509720 DITO CME HLDG ISLAND INFO 0.079 0.083 0.083 0.083 0.079 0.083 1560000 124160 1.56 1.58 1.58 1.58 1.58 1.58 43000 67940 JACKSTONES 3.31 3.32 3.29 3.36 3.15 3.32 33715000 110162480 NOW CORP TRANSPACIFIC BR 0.195 0.196 0.197 0.202 0.193 0.195 7390000 1453230 2.12 2.15 2.19 2.21 2.11 2.12 414000 885390 PHILWEB 2GO GROUP 8.42 8.43 8.6 8.6 8.42 8.42 15900 134346 4 4.05 4.1 4.1 3.95 4 6978000 28137450 CHELSEA 36.4 36.5 37 37.4 36.3 36.4 251600 9192820 CEBU AIR INTL CONTAINER 108 108.3 107.3 108.5 107 108 599640 64692084 14.5 14.7 15.7 15.7 14.14 14.98 9200 138062 LBC EXPRESS LORENZO SHIPPNG 0.75 0.81 0.74 0.74 0.74 0.74 10000 7400 4.75 4.76 4.71 4.82 4.67 4.76 4094000 19351040 MACROASIA METROALLIANCE A 2.04 2.06 2.1 2.13 2 2.04 903000 1849440 5.8 5.89 5.9 5.9 5.8 5.89 51100 299680 PAL HLDG 1 1.01 1.03 1.03 0.96 1 2302000 2282360 HARBOR STAR ACESITE HOTEL 1.13 1.22 1.22 1.22 1.22 1.22 5000 6100 0.027 0.028 0.029 0.029 0.027 0.028 38900000 1072900 BOULEVARD HLDG GRAND PLAZA 10.58 10.64 10.64 10.64 10.64 10.64 10900 115976 0.39 0.395 0.41 0.41 0.38 0.39 1040000 403700 WATERFRONT 6.49 6.5 6.49 6.49 6.49 6.49 1000 6490 CENTRO ESCOLAR STI HLDG 0.315 0.325 0.325 0.325 0.31 0.32 14750000 4697700 2.97 2.98 2.9 3.07 2.81 2.97 916000 2696260 BERJAYA BLOOMBERRY 7 7.05 7.13 7.18 6.89 7 5404200 37607484 PACIFIC ONLINE 1.83 1.92 1.91 1.94 1.83 1.91 172000 320840 1.25 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.25 1.25 31000 39170 LEISURE AND RES MANILA JOCKEY 2.05 2.2 2.07 2.07 2.05 2.05 26000 53360 2.17 2.35 2.35 2.35 2.35 2.35 5000 11750 PH RESORTS GRP PREMIUM LEISURE 0.31 0.315 0.305 0.32 0.305 0.315 97120000 29695650 5.76 5.79 5.76 5.87 5.75 5.79 3450600 19931619 ALLHOME 1.37 1.38 1.38 1.39 1.37 1.38 1050000 1448190 METRO RETAIL PUREGOLD 49.3 49.35 49.3 49.4 48.15 49.35 1288900 63413470 65.1 65.8 66.5 66.5 65 65.1 287800 18792641.5 ROBINSONS RTL PHIL SEVEN CORP 113.9 115.9 113.9 113.9 110 113.9 4950 558747 1.12 1.13 1.16 1.16 1.11 1.12 4046000 4554080 SSI GROUP 15.7 15.72 15.8 15.84 15.7 15.7 168400 2647696 WILCON DEPOT APC GROUP 0.29 0.3 0.295 0.295 0.295 0.295 1160000 342200 6.46 6.6 6.68 6.68 6.45 6.46 56700 368216 EASYCALL GOLDEN BRIA 287 304.2 288 306 285 304.2 1180 349910 0.223 0.226 0.226 0.227 0.223 0.226 2440000 549410 PRMIERE HORIZON 3.94 4.18 3.94 3.94 3.94 3.94 4000 15760 SBS PHIL CORP

-38464780 -66903375 2125330 142390 52520 -5058 227000 -4249120 -16042731 -47100 -640660 -14750 6490 6850 -23934786 74400 -1817404 6790965 -6984985 -137569 714859.9996 -1457542 147500 -

MINING & OIL ATOK 7.19 7.9 7.95 7.95 7.78 7.9 3300 25715 APEX MINING 1.46 1.47 1.44 1.48 1.42 1.46 10925000 15875770 -210 0.0008 0.0009 0.0008 0.0009 0.0008 0.0009 520000000 452100 ABRA MINING ATLAS MINING 3.85 3.86 3.78 3.86 3.78 3.85 168000 640500 2.48 2.52 2.5 2.52 2.48 2.52 13000 32440 BENGUET A 2.42 2.5 2.42 2.42 2.42 2.42 5000 12100 -4840 BENGUET B COAL ASIA HLDG 0.229 0.236 0.235 0.236 0.23 0.236 90000 20910 2.49 2.57 2.55 2.58 2.55 2.58 100000 256240 256239.9999 CENTURY PEAK DIZON MINES 7.33 7.52 7.59 7.59 7.52 7.52 1200 9052 1.12 1.13 1.15 1.15 1.13 1.13 5409000 6127280 135679.9998 FERRONICKEL 0.225 0.229 0.231 0.232 0.226 0.226 30000 6890 GEOGRACE LEPANTO A 0.129 0.13 0.126 0.13 0.126 0.129 12270000 1568530 0.128 0.129 0.126 0.13 0.126 0.128 11540000 1454170 LEPANTO B MANILA MINING A 0.009 0.0093 0.009 0.009 0.0089 0.009 14000000 125800 0.0096 0.01 0.011 0.011 0.01 0.01 6000000 63000 MANILA MINING B 0.83 0.84 0.84 0.85 0.82 0.83 1314000 1091900 MARCVENTURES NIHAO 1.97 2 1.99 2 1.97 1.99 138000 274180 -41580 2.93 2.95 3.01 3.01 2.91 2.93 14288000 42,199,890( 11,010,759.9999) NICKEL ASIA OMICO CORP 0.355 0.38 0.38 0.38 0.38 0.38 10000 3800 0.52 0.54 0.52 0.55 0.52 0.54 56000 29480 ORNTL PENINSULA PX MINING 4.14 4.15 3.98 4.14 3.98 4.14 2546000 10305820 815760 SEMIRARA MINING 10 10.06 10.1 10.14 10 10 3869400 38847568 -3530582 0.0042 0.0043 0.0045 0.0045 0.0043 0.0044 32000000 140000 UNITED PARAGON ACE ENEXOR 5.8 5.85 6 6 5.85 5.85 140500 822208 0.0083 0.0085 0.0083 0.0083 0.0083 0.0083 2000000 16600 ORNTL PETROL A PHILODRILL 0.008 0.0081 0.0081 0.0081 0.008 0.0081 15000000 120400 5.18 5.2 5.25 5.25 5.17 5.18 1243500 6456520 837070 PXP ENERGY PREFFERED AC PREF B2R 514 515 514 514 514 514 220 113080 102 102.7 102.3 102.7 102 102.7 12960 1322098 CPG PREF A DD PREF 101.5 101.8 102 102 101.5 102 49270 5019790 106.6 108 106.6 106.8 106.6 106.8 6840 730484 FGEN PREF G GLO PREF P 507 508 506 506 506 506 20 10120 1023 1030 1023 1023 1023 1023 200 204600 GTCAP PREF B 101.2 101.5 101.4 101.5 101.4 101.5 87570 8888098 MWIDE PREF PNX PREF 3A 98 98.4 98 98 98 98 1600 156800 946.5 950 951 951 945 950 3030 2877560 PNX PREF 4 PCOR PREF 2B 1030 1050 1050 1050 1050 1050 10 10500 1057 1058 1057 1057 1057 1057 100 105700 PCOR PREF 3A 1080 1088 1075 1080 1075 1075 1070 1150300 PCOR PREF 3B SFI PREF 1.52 1.9 1.38 1.38 1.38 1.38 1000 1380 76.75 76.8 77.6 77.6 76.8 76.8 441530 34137439 SMC PREF 2C SMC PREF 2E 75.8 76.5 76 76.5 76 76.5 801100 60883650 -7650 77 77.8 77 78 77 77 46430 3582420 SMC PREF 2F 76 76.45 75.75 76 75.75 76 9000 683750 SMC PREF 2G SMC PREF 2H 76.15 77 77 77 77 77 6170 475090 244090 76.15 78 76.5 76.5 76.5 76.5 1700 130050 SMC PREF 2I PHIL. DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS ABS HLDG PDR 6.69 6.7 6.71 6.72 6.69 6.7 530800 3556586 -3553230 4.81 4.98 4.77 4.98 4.77 4.98 1900 9306 GMA HLDG PDR WARRANTS LR WARRANT 0.63 0.64 0.62 0.65 0.62 0.63 86000 53740 SMALL & MEDIUM ENTERPRISES ALTUS PROP 9.62 9.63 9.8 9.81 9.5 9.62 410500 3959533 -202502 2.08 2.09 2.12 2.15 2.05 2.09 5275000 11040450 61800 ITALPINAS KEPWEALTH 5.11 5.25 5.31 5.31 5.11 5.25 27000 138741 2.1 2.93 2.09 2.09 2.09 2.09 1000 2090 MAKATI FINANCE MERRYMART 3.05 3.06 3.09 3.14 3.04 3.05 24979000 77021290 -435530 EXHANGE TRADE FUNDS FIRST METRO ETF 88.5 90 88.55 89.25 88.5 88.5 10680 947133 16851


Megawide to fund projects via preferred shares offering


By VG Cabuag


egawide Construction Corp. on Tuesday said it will issue new preferred shares worth some P8 billion, to fund its existing projects in Parañaque and Cebu.

The company said it already filed its application with the Philippine Stock Exchange. It said it will issue some P3 billion in new preferred shares and P5 billion as its oversubscription option. “We see significant opportuni-

ties in both our organic and external pipeline amid the challenges emerging from the health crisis. We are very thankful to our partners for arranging this facility and gathering together the sources and users of the fund, especially

in this critical yet exciting stage for the company,” Edgar Saavedra, the company’s chairman and CEO, said. Proceeds from the issuance will be used to fund its runway for growth program, which primarily includes the development of the 1.7-hectare Lot 2 at the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, expansion of its precast capacity, and initial design stages for the MactanCebu International Airport multiuse development. “We also want to take advantage of this window of opportunity for investors who are searching for attractive investment alternatives and for projects that offer signifi-

cant value. At the end of the day, we believe that all sectors—the public sector, private companies, and financial institutions—should come together for businesses to recover quickly,” Saavedra said. RCBC Capital Corp. and PNB Capital Corp. were picked as joint lead underwriters for the capital raising exercise, which is targeted to be completed by November this year. Other projects in the company’s pipeline include the original proponent status for the MCIA expansion proposal, Carbon Market redevelopment and the NAIA rehabilitation project. Megawide’s shares closed at P7.08 apiece on Tuesday.

PCPPI new normal playbook promotes self-care


he Covid-19 pandemic has brought uncertainties and disruptions in the lives of most Filipinos, including businesses nationwide. When the national government mandated all business establishments to implement Covid-19 prevention and control Measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc. (PCPPI) complied and implemented immediate and essential changes in its operations in order to ensure the safety and well-being of its people. PCPPI created a playbook that contains action points, policies and procedures, and served as a primary guide to the company’s “new normal.” “This playbook aims to help our employees, or our Bravehearts, get and stay on track. It offers easy-toread tips and measures as we return to work and live under the new normal. This also reminds us to continue caring for ourselves and one another. I hope that with this playbook, our employees will be able to re-build their momentum and work with renewed strength, so we can help sustain our organization and continue its growth during and beyond the new normal,” PCPPI President and CEO Frederick Ong said. PCPPI believes improving one’s health and well-being is fundamental in the country’s fight against Covid-19. This playbook is also meant to promote mental health awareness through effective people management. “Aside from educating and enforcing the new working protocols that both the government and science prescribe on the new normal, that includes frequent hand washing, social distancing, and wearing of face mask/shield, in PCPPI, we un-

derstand that our employees’ health and welfare start mainly with selfcare and their mental well-being,” Ong added. The company encourages its employees to practice self-care. Their own health and well-being must come first before anyone and anything else. The playbook also provides mental health care tips, as mental health is as important as physical health, especially during this time of a pandemic. It is important to stay socially connected while physically distanced. Here are PCPPI’s pieces of advice in mental health care: n Maintain connection with friends, family and loved ones. Leverage on technology. n Develop coping skills. n Seek medical and professional help when needed.

Embracing changes

PCPPI welcomed changes through three interdependent focus areas in the playbook. The first focus area dubbed “Great to be back,” highlighted the importance of getting correct information and guide on the new normal; the second focus area called “Great to be Pepsi” talked about setting the right mindset as employees embark on the new normal; and lastly, the “Great for others” focus area is about taking action for others and the environment. The company also conducted a series of webinar on Covid-19, with Dr. Yvonne Ferrer of DLSU Department of Pharmacology; and on Stress Management for employees to deal with the effects of the pandemic, work-from-home set-up, and preparing them for the new normal. “It is our goal to maintain a healthy balance to support our em-

Bloomberry Foundation turns over quarantine facility to IATF


loomberry Cultural Foundation Inc. and state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. have completed and turnedover the country’s largest Covid-19 quarantine facility to the Integrated Agency Task Force (IATF). The facility, called Solaire-PAGCOR Mega Quarantine Facility, was funded by the foundation, Solaire Resort and Casino’s corporate social responsibility arm. Built by Prime BMD of the Razon Group, the facility is capable of housing 600 patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. They will be housed in eight air conditioned tents with 75 beds per tent. It is intended mainly for patients who cannot quarantine themselves at home effectively. Each patient gets his own private and enclosed cubicle with a bed, desk, chair and outlets. Aside from beds, the facility also has separate toilets and showers for male and female patients. There are also laundry facilities for hand washing of clothes. A separate tent houses a clinic for patients

whose symptoms progress. The clinic is designed to stabilize a patient for transport to a hospital should his symptoms worsen. The entire area is further divided into clean and hot zones. The clean zones are for staff manning the facility, who also have their own tented quarters, toilets, showers, lockers as well as as well as a tented mess hall. “The grounds on where the facility is open air to allow patients to walk outside for fresh air and sunshine, factors that should help in a patient's recovery,” the foundation said. Aside from this mega facility, foundation has also supported the retrofitting of quarantine facilities at the Philippine General Hospital, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. Meanwhile, Ayala Group and the City of Manila helped construct a new molecular laboratory in Sta. Ana Hospital to increase the city’s Covid-19 testing capacity. Ayala said it hopes the facility will help strengthen the health systems of Manila. VG Cabuag

ployees, the community, and the business. The company is committed to remain responsible in delivering our obligations in service to the Filipino people,” Ong added. “Let us

mutual funds

make it a social responsibility to look after ourselves, customers, families, friends, organization, community and the environment, all pulling together to move forward.”

September 29, 2020

NAV One Year Three Year Five Year Y-T-D per share Return* Return Stock Funds ALFM Growth Fund, Inc. -a 193.05  -24.2%  -11.87%  -4.61%  -23.34%  ATRAM Alpha Opportunity Fund, Inc. -a   1.0767  -30.77%  -12.62%  -2.51%  -22.09%  ATRAM Philippine Equity Opportunity Fund, Inc. -a   2.5913  -34.87%  -16.16%  -6.71%  -29.55%  Climbs Share Capital Equity Investment Fund Corp. -a   0.661  -30.46%  -13.01%  n.a.  -26.39%  First Metro Consumer Fund on MSCI Phils. IMI, Inc. -a   0.6787  -20.77%  n.a.  n.a.  -20.09%  First Metro Save and Learn Equity Fund,Inc. -a   4.1469  -23.64%  -10.03%  -4.65%  -22.17%  First Metro Save and Learn Philippine Index Fund, Inc. -a,4   0.6475  -25.46%  -12.62%  n.a.  -24.14%  MBG Equity Investment Fund, Inc. -a   83.66  -28.35%  n.a.  n.a.  -18.95%  PAMI Equity Index Fund, Inc. -a   38.6561  -25.62%  -10.57%  -3.49%  -24.62%  Philam Strategic Growth Fund, Inc. -a   415.84  -22.99%  -9.96%  -3.71%  -21.95%  Philequity Alpha One Fund, Inc. -a,d,5   0.8651  n.a.  n.a.  n.a.  -16.02%  Philequity Dividend Yield Fund, Inc. -a   0.989  -24.16%  -9.85%  -3.25%  -23.15%  Philequity Fund, Inc. -a   28.9515  -24.63%  -9.59%  -2.86%  -23.6%  Philequity MSCI Philippine Index Fund, Inc. -a   0.76  -26.29%  n.a.  n.a.  -25.35%  Philequity PSE Index Fund Inc. -a   3.9475  -25.25%  -10.03%  -2.76%  -24.43%  Philippine Stock Index Fund Corp. -a   659.94  -25.15%  -9.95%  -2.86%  -24.32%  Soldivo Strategic Growth Fund, Inc. -a   0.5987  -34.45%  -13.83%  -6.84%  -29.68%  Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity Fund, Inc. -a   3.0427  -28.87%  -11.53%  -4.27%  -27.71%  Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Stock Index Fund, Inc. -a   0.756  -25.36%  -10.25%  -2.97%  -24.46%  United Fund, Inc. -a   2.7694  -25.27%  -9.16%  -2.42%  -24.19%      Exchange Traded Fund First Metro Phil. Equity Exchange Traded Fund, Inc. -a,c   88.6186  -25.01%  -9.66%  -2.07%  -24.23%      Primarily invested in foreign currency securities ATRAM AsiaPlus Equity Fund, Inc. -b   $1.0239  7.69%  -0.53%  3.52%  -0.44%  Sun Life Prosperity World Voyager Fund, Inc. -a   $1.4687  14.32%  7.24%  n.a.  6.53%  Balanced Funds     Primarily invested in Peso securities ATRAM Dynamic Allocation Fund, Inc. -a   1.5322  -6.28%  -5.47%  -2.75%  -1.96%  ATRAM Philippine Balanced Fund, Inc. -a   2.0261  -11.58%  -5.43%  -1.18%  -7.11%  First Metro Save and Learn Balanced Fund Inc. -a   2.3694  -10.78%  -4.14%  -2.63%  -9.96%  First Metro Save and Learn F.O.C.C.U.S. Dynamic Fund, Inc. -a,1   0.171  n.a.  n.a.  n.a.  -25.16%  NCM Mutual Fund of the Phils., Inc. -a   1.8206  -7.07%  -1.97%  0.46%  -7.19%  PAMI Horizon Fund, Inc. -a   3.4171  -9.67%  -3.86%  -0.88%  -9.82%  Philam Fund, Inc. -a   15.271  -9.93%  -4.03%  -0.98%  -9.96%  Solidaritas Fund, Inc. -a   1.8895  -11.8%  -4.9%  -1.1%  -10.96%  Sun Life of Canada Prosperity Balanced Fund, Inc. -a   3.2161  -17.1%  -6.11%  -2.19%  -16.76%  Sun Life Prosperity Achiever Fund 2028, Inc. -a,d   0.9215  -9.44%  n.a.  n.a.  -9.27%  Sun Life Prosperity Achiever Fund 2038, Inc. -a,d   0.8157  -18.96%  n.a.  n.a.  -18.14%  Sun Life Prosperity Achiever Fund 2048, Inc. -a,d   0.7922  -21.08%  n.a.  n.a.  -20.24%  Sun Life Prosperity Dynamic Fund, Inc. -a   0.7861  -20.14%  -7.43%  -3.19%  -19.36%      Primarily invested in foreign currency securities Cocolife Dollar Fund Builder, Inc. -a   $0.03881  0.99%  2.52%  2.05%  1.6%  $1.0231  PAMI Asia Balanced Fund, Inc. -b   4.4%  0.36%  3.41%  1.1%  Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Advantage Fund, Inc. -a   $4.0465  8.02%  5.05%  5.82%  3.47%  Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Wellspring Fund, Inc. -a,3   $1.1471  3.6%  2.66%  n.a.  1.63%  Bond Funds     Primarily invested in Peso securities ALFM Peso Bond Fund, Inc. -a   368.23  3.94%  3.06%  2.61%  2.87%  ATRAM Corporate Bond Fund, Inc. -a   1.9508  1.81%  0.85%  0.31%  2.57%  Cocolife Fixed Income Fund, Inc. -a   3.2012  3.75%  4.78%  4.99%  2.67%  Ekklesia Mutual Fund Inc. -a   2.2881  3.8%  2.57%  2.18%  2.91%  First Metro Save and Learn Fixed Income Fund,Inc. -a   2.4459  4.8%  3.32%  2.01%  3.68%  Philam Bond Fund, Inc. -a   4.6147  7.5%  4.02%  2.54%  5.53%  Philam Managed Income Fund, Inc. -a,6   1.3108  5.87%  4.35%  2.46%  4.3%  Philequity Peso Bond Fund, Inc. -a   3.9494  5.48%  4.24%  2.3%  4.26%  Soldivo Bond Fund, Inc. -a   1.0346  8.95%  3.5%  1.95%  7.29%  Sun Life of Canada Prosperity Bond Fund, Inc. -a   3.1761  5.25%  4.71%  2.9%  3.27%  Sun Life Prosperity GS Fund, Inc. -a   1.7401  4.12%  3.93%  2.36%  2.29%      Primarily invested in foreign currency securities ALFM Dollar Bond Fund, Inc. -a   $477.65  2.65%  2.46%  2.82%  1.98%  ALFM Euro Bond Fund, Inc. -a   Є216.99  -1.52%  0.78%  1.17%  -1.27%  ATRAM Total Return Dollar Bond Fund, Inc. -b   $1.2368  3.07%  2.99%  2.45%  2.63%  First Metro Save and Learn Dollar Bond Fund, Inc. -a   $0.0263  1.94%  1.7%  1.59%  1.94%  PAMI Global Bond Fund, Inc -b   $1.0831  -1.44%  0.11%  0.14%  -0.96%  Philam Dollar Bond Fund, Inc. -a   $2.4833  2.93%  3.55%  3.36%  3.32%  Philequity Dollar Income Fund Inc. -a   $0.0612856  1.95%  2.21%  2.08%  1.63%  Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Abundance Fund, Inc. -a   $3.1618  -0.13%  1.65%  2.28%  -0.42%  Money Market Funds     Primarily invested in Peso securities ALFM Money Market Fund, Inc. -a   129.14  3.59%  3.3%  2.51%  2.63%  First Metro Save and Learn Money Market Fund, Inc. -a   1.045  2.19%  n.a.  n.a.  1.82%  Sun Life Prosperity Money Market Fund, Inc. -a   1.2906  2.84%  3.03%  2.62%  2.02%      Primarily invested in foreign currency securities Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Starter Fund, Inc. -a   $1.0492  1.58%  n.a.  n.a.  1.05%  Feeder Funds     Primarily invested in Peso securities Sun Life Prosperity World Equity Index Feeder Fund, Inc. -a,d,7   0.9858  n.a.  n.a.  n.a.  n.a.      Primarily invested in foreign currency securities ALFM Global Multi-Asset Income Fund Inc. -b,d,2   $0.93  n.a.  n.a.  n.a.  -6.06%                                                                                                                                                                                   a - NAVPS as of the previous banking day.    b - NAVPS as of two banking days ago.     c - Listed in the PSE.     d - in Net Asset Value per Unit (NAVPU). 1 - Launch date is September 28, 2019.     2 - Launch date is November 15, 2019.   3 - Adjusted due to stock dividend issuance last October 9, 2019. 4 - Renaming was approved by the SEC last October 12, 2018 (formerly, One Wealthy Nation Fund, Inc.).   5 - Launch date is December 09, 2019. 6 - Re-classified into a Bond Fund starting February 21, 2020 (Formerly a Money Market Fund).  7 - Launch date is July 6, 2020. "While we endeavor to keep the information accurate, the Philippine Investment Funds Association (PIFA) and its members make no warranties as to the correctness of the newspaper’s publication and assume no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions. You may visit http://www. pifa.com.ph to see the

latest NAVPS/NAVPU."



Bank official urges SMEs to automate ops By Rizal Raoul S. Reyes @brownindio Contributor


andemic or no pandemic, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to automate their operations, according to a top official of a major bank. “SMEs must pursue the automation process with or without Covid-19 because it will enhance their operations and allow them to compete equally in a level field brought about digital technology,” said UBX President John Januszczak in a recent online news briefing. “Before, this was only available to large companies but now available to SMEs which will now allow them to compete against the big boys,” Januszczak added. Januszczak said UBX was formed by UnionBank in 2018 to boost its digital banking platform, reach out to SMEs and promote financial inclusion in the country. He added that they have found gaps in the market and the best option is to implement virtualization in the process. By going virtual, it addresses the need to aggregate the financial services to enable SMEs and the unbanked to access not only services of UnionBank but also other systems as well. Although these are really trying times because of Covid-19, Januszczak said the current environment has ushered in what he calls the “golden age of online commerce” in the country. In response to this development, he said, UBX has embedded in its platform social-media tools Facebook and Viber for payments and orders. At present, there are 80,000 sellers using the UBX platform. Januszczak said UBX has introduced SeekCap, an online credit marketplace for SMEs. Although they are a vital cog in the country’s development, he stressed that this segment that drives over 60 percent of the economy has historically received less than 10 percent of credit provided by banks.  To reach out to more SMEs and assist them in their lending needs. UBX introduced ISeekCap, an embeddable lending platform which delivers a digital end-to-end lending experience that connects multiple lenders to MSMEs through platforms they use every day such as Lazada and accounting systems.  Besides developing technology, UBX Chief Investment Officer Matthew Kolling said the company is active in pursuing innovation by investing through its venture capital fund: ventures such as XLog, a digital logistics platform and artificial intelligence (AI) technology that leverages the vast amounts of data digital platforms are generating. UBX bridges gaps in digital capabilities through its technology services team to help businesses integrate embeddable financial services directly into their systems. Kolling said UBX will help SMEs navigate into their digital journey. “We will deploy our expertise and bet on them,” he said. “With their new capability, they can be more agile and competitive,” Kolling added.  Being a future-proof organization, UBX continues to invest in the future such as democratizing real estate through asset tokenization using the Biddit platform. UBX is helping to bring innovation from companies in the UBX venture fund to market. Through PDAX, UBX investment recently launched Bonds. ph, a blockchain enabled app that allows Filipinos unrestricted access to buy treasury bills directly through a mobile app. 


Editor: Vittorio V. Vitug • Wednesday, September 30, 2020 B3

Local innovators, start-ups told: Join nation-building push amid pandemic By Roderick L. Abad




ILIPINO innovators and start-ups are encouraged to work with the government and private sector to help keep the economy afloat and support the nation moving forward amid Covid-19. Cherrie Atilano, Department of Agriculture ambassador for food security and founder of AGREA Foundation, urged the youth to venture into agribusiness via the agency’s Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs financing program that offers zero-interest loans of up to P500,000 to borrowers between 18 to 30 years old. She likewise called on the women sector and returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to enter agribusiness, especially in the field of supply chain.

“[Thousands] of OFWs are coming back to the country and a lot of them have invested in land,” Atilano told reporters at the recent “Shell Livewire: Powering Start-ups and Innovators” webinar. “But since this is their first time in agriculture, we are working with the DTI [Department of Trade and Industry] to provide support through training. There is also a partnership with the DOST [Department of Science and Technology] to help them if they would rather go into processing rather than production,” she said.

Department of Information and Communication Technologies director Emmy Delfin, on the other hand, bared their plan to roll out the Innovative Startups and Acceleration Program, which aims to develop an online platform called the Startup Philippines Portal that will streamline business registration, make shared services more accessible, and promote more advanced investorand-collaborator matching. “We know that the new normal calls for new ways of governance, and ICT is helping the way the government, the private sector, and civil society engage and collaborate,” she noted. “There is a need for new ideas, strategies, and policy considerations to meet the emerging challenges that have been caused by the crisis.” Meanwhile, Philippine Trade Training Center executive director Nelly Dillera suggested that local firms need business skills training if they intend to be at par in the global trade. She said: “The smartest and the resilient are the ones who will survive. We would like to focus on the start-ups.” Dillera, likewise cited the DTI’s

Global MSME Academy that offers training and development services to both MSMEs and aspiring start-ups. Through this, the agency provides capacity building for back office operations and, at the same time, gives participants office space and prototype product development. Seeing that the entrepreneurial spirit among Filipinos, with bright new concepts are apparently high these days, yet the support system is somewhat lacking, Shell Vice President for External and Government Relations Serge Bernal said that the Shell Livewire could help address this concern. “In many cases the resources are there but they can be hard to find without the right connection. We want to help fill that gap through the Shell Livewire platform, not only so that entrepreneurs can successfully execute their ideas, but also so that society can benefit from the solutions that they bring to the table,” he said. Shell Livewire started in 1982, and since then has supported over 1,300 businesses in 20 countries to realize their innovative ideas by

linking them to mentorship, providing technical expertise and financial assistance, and inclusion in Shell’s supply chain. To date, the energy firm’s global enterprise development program has built livelihood capacities of coconut farmers in Quezon and seamstresses in Batangas, as well as established an EcoBrick facility in Cagayan de Oro. Also, it gained lately six new participants under the program’s umbrella. In partnership with Ignite PH Innovation, they include the top 3 technology start-ups, namely, Nextpay, Nanotronics, and uHoo. Community enterprises likewise joined Shell’s LiveWire program this year—MagzWheel Furnitures, Green Factory by Oro Handmade Innovations Inc., and Eco Explorations PH. “We are very excited to have all these partners work with us towards building the nation. During these extraordinary circumstances, we need extraordinary solutions. At Shell, we hope to cast a wider net in the search for these solutions through this initiative,” Bernal stressed.

USAID partners with PHL govt, private sector to help Filipina entreps boost their businesses


Chopping block enterprise An enter-

prising man expertly saws a tamarind tree log into pieces to make some kitchen chopping blocks in front of his house on Commonwealth Avenue in North Fairview, Quezon City over the weekend. He sells the finished chopping blocks at a fair price at a nearby market. PNA photo by Oliver Marquez

‘Muntipreneurs’ get zero-interest loans to recover from health crisis


O help local businesses badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and eventually revive the disrupted local economy, the city government of Muntinlupa has provided a zero-interest loan worth P2.762 million to 112 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) collectively known as “Muntipreneurs.” The local government, through its Tulong Negosyo Program (formerly Dagdag Puhunan), has distributed the cash assistance from March to September 2020. With the micro-financing program which Muntinlupa pioneered MSMEs are provided with loans ranging from P2,000 up to P150,000, depending on the business capital ceiling and payment record of beneficiaries.  This initiative targets to extend additional capital for aspiring entre-

preneurs and expansion of established business owners in the city. In a bid to help enterprises recover from losses due to the health crisis, the loan repayment period was recently extended by three months for clients with existing loans from March to June 2020. The Tulong Negosyo program has three categories: Simulang Kapital Pangkabuhayan with loan assistance amounting from P2,000 up to P5,000, Asenso Loan Program from P6,000 to P75,000, and Maunlad Loan Program from P75,000 to P150,000. A Savings Program has been incorporated in the loan assistance to teach clients about the importance of keeping money for future use. It also serves as protection to the customers and the program itself. Entrepreneurial education through trainings and other related interven-

tions are also conducted. In compliance to physical distancing and health protocols, the Tulong Negosyo has enforced online application services and cashless repayment system via Smart Padala and GCash. To apply, visit Joint Resources Financing Program-JRF Facebook Page or click the following links: bit.ly/TulongNegosyoNew and bit.ly/TulongNegosyoRenewal.  Recently, Mayor Jaime Fresnedi led a turnover ceremony of loan assistance amounting to P990,000 to 28 Tulong Negosyo Batch 116 beneficiaries at the Muntinlupa City Hall. Three of them received P100,000 each while one member got P150,000. The local chief executive, who is bullish on the revival the local economy, vowed to continue the program and assist Muntipreneurs, especially in these turbulent times. Roderick L. Abad

he US government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has forged a new partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Confederation of Cooperatives and the Philippine private sector to empower Filipina entrepreneurs. Together with Facebook, Shopee, and Lazada, USAID’s “Connecting Women Entrepreneurs to the Digital Economy” initiative will enhance Filipina entrepreneurs’ access to markets by equipping them with knowledge and tools to become effective online sellers. The initiative is implemented under USAID’s E-PESO project, which supports the Philippine government’s transition from cash and checks to electronic payments for broader-based economic growth and financial inclusion. “Advancing women’s digital connectivity is key to increasing their economic empowerment as business owners in an ever-expanding digital world,” USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II said. “USAID is pleased to support and collaborate with women entrepreneurs, the private sector, government, and other stakeholders in this initiative that will promote robust, inclusive growth and economic resilience.” This partnership, as part of

the US government’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, will increase women entrepreneurs’ access to financing, market opportunities and training to establish and grow their businesses. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the partnership “presents a great opportunity that can be harnessed in building back Filipino communities during the pandemic.” He emphasized that “women entrepreneurs, who are agents of innovation and change, will help bring the country towards digital connectivity and contribute to rebuilding livelihoods, as the Philippines reopens the economy and prepares for a better normal.” In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesswomen face struggles in their entrepreneurial journey as they balance their roles managing the household and caring for their families. Despite these barriers, global data underscore that supporting women-owned businesses advances prosperity.  In 2019, DTI reported that 64 percent of micro, small and medium enterprises assisted by the Philippine government were owned by women.  For more information, please contact digitalfilipina@dti.gov. ph and digitalfilipina@natcco. coop or visit http://www.epaypilipinas.com/women-in-digitaleconomy/.

Philippines implements new scheme to facilitate trade with Asean nations


he Philippines, together with the other nine Asean member-states, has begun to implement the Asean-Wide SelfCertification Scheme (AWSC) starting September 20, 2020.   The AWSC simplifies and streamlines origin certification procedure to claim and be granted lower duties or, in most cases, duty free treatment when using the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).    Philippine exporters may apply for Certified Exporter status

with the Bureau of Customs. Once granted, they can begin issuing their own origin declaration, which will be used by importers when claiming ATIGA preferential tariffs. The implementation guidelines are set out in the BOC Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) 24-2020.   “We are confident that this new scheme will facilitate trade and improve the ease of doing business for Philippine companies, especially for micro, small and medium enter-

prises [MSME].” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.   “With the AWSC, it will be easier for our MSMEs to maximize the use of ATIGA and benefit substantially from the Asean Free Trade Agreement. This is especially important in the current situation as this removes the step where companies must apply for a Certificate of Origin with the BOC for each of their shipments,” Lopez added.   To promote and encourage the use of AWSC, DTI will undertake

an online information dissemination campaign to increase domestic awareness of the scheme.   The AWSC is expected to significantly minimize burdens associated with administrative compliance and decrease transaction costs related to origin certification procedures. Compared to the usual practice where exporters apply to the BOC for Certificates of Origin for every shipment, this scheme removes the step of having to repeatedly transact with Customs.

As it is easier to certify a product’s origin, it is envisaged to increase the utilization of the ATIGA and subsequently, further increase the competitiveness of Philippine exports to Asean.   Since 2015, Asean member-states have eliminated tariffs on almost all products through the ATIGA, i.e. 99.65 percent for Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and 98.86 percent for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam.  


Show BusinessMirror

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 • Editor: Gerard S. Ramos


Carole Baskin of ‘Tiger King’ fame sued for defamation

O Jennylyn Mercado and Dennis Trillo

GMA ups the ante with star-studded drama anthology ‘I Can See You’

DO you ever get the sense that you are being watched? Or that you are not alone? If you have ever felt like being spied upon whether by someone or something, more often than not, your instincts may be correct. Researchers believe that humans are sensitive to a gaze as it signals either intimacy or danger— two of the things we need to pay attention to for our own well-being. GMA again raises the bar with an exceptional and one-ofa-kind program featuring the network’s biggest and brightest stars in the drama anthology I Can See You on the prime-time block. This unique drama anthology which highlights four miniseries—“Love on the Balcony,” “High Rise Lovers,” “The Promise” and “Truly. Madly. Deadly.”—dwells on its common visual storytelling mnemonic device which is the use of a camera as a witness to the tales of love and mystery from everyday people, thus the title: I Can See You. The ground-breaking program gifts viewers with compelling, contemporary and unique stories produced by four different teams in a remarkable four-week viewing experience. In observance of anti-Covid-19 protocols alongside the network’s precautionary measures, the cast and crew of the show underwent RT-PCR tests, lock-in tapings, and government-mandated safety and health protocols were strictly observed on the set. Kick-starting the drama anthology is “Love on the Balcony,” which premiered on Monday top-billed by Alden Richards, Pancho Magno, and Jasmine Curtis-Smith. It tells the timely story of a wedding videographer, Gio (Alden), who crosses paths with a frontline nurse, Lea (Jasmine).  Heating up prime-time TV viewing on October 5 is the second installment of the series, “High Rise Lovers,” which stars Lovi Poe,Winwyn Marquez and Tom Rodriguez. It follows the story of married couple Samantha (Lovi) and Luis (Tom) whose relationship dwindles as their opposing goals in life get the best of them. After moving into a new condominium unit, Samantha continues to strive for a big promotion at work while Luis, an unemployed contractor, is forced to accept a renovation job for another occupant—the mysterious and sultry Ysabel (Winwyn).   Bannered by Andrea Torres, Yasmien Kurdi, Benjamin Alves and Paolo Contis, “The Promise” gives viewers more reason to believe in the power of love on October 12. The story begins with rich widowed Frank (Paolo), who loses his passion for life and becomes a recluse after losing his wife Clarisse (Yasmien) from an accident. When Jude (Benjamin), his cousin and right-hand man in the company, visits him in the lake house where he stays at, Frank takes an interest in the latter’s girlfriend Ivy (Andrea), an aspiring artist who is willing to do anything to take her family out of poverty.  Finally, set to bring mystery and romance beginning October 19 is the last installment “Truly. Madly. Deadly.” headlined by Dennis Trillo, Rhian Ramos and Jennylyn Mercado. Coleen (Jennylyn) is a professional who, after being ridiculed online for a scandal with a married man, moves out of the city and works in a remote resort where she meets the mysterious resident IT guy named Drew (Dennis). Life seems to be going well for the recovering Coleen until her best friendturned-enemy Abby (Rhian) shows up and her past begins to haunt her once again.  GMA’s newest and much-awaited offering this year, I Can See You airs weeknights right after Encantadia.

By Mike Schneider The Associated Press

RLANDO, Florida—Carole Baskin, who became a pop culture sensation due to Netflix’s docuseries Tiger King, is being sued for defamation by a former assistant. As part of the lawsuit, the daughters of Baskin’s former husband are seeking more information about what happened to their father, who disappeared mysteriously more than two decades ago. The amended complaint to an earlier lawsuit was filed Tuesday in state court in Tampa by Don Lewis’ three daughters, Donna Pettis, Lynda Sanchez and Gale Rathbone, as well as his former assistant, Anne McQueen. It also names Baskin’s current husband and her tiger rescue sanctuary as defendants. The lawsuit said that Baskin defamed McQueen by posting a video diary entry on YouTube earlier this month in which she says McQueen played a role in Lewis’ disappearance. Those statements and embezzlement allegations also were made on Baskin’s web site, “bigcatrescue.org,” the lawsuit said. The lawsuit also is seeking what is known as a “pure bill of discovery,” which allows information in a case to be gathered before a civil complaint is filed. “Despite contentions to the contrary, the truth has never been explored in any court and there is a good faith basis to believe the truth will open up many viable remedies,” the lawsuit said. The pure bill of discovery “will be useful to identify potential defendants and theories of liability and to obtain information necessary for meeting a condition precedent to filing suit,” the lawsuit said.

Lewis’s disappearance remains an open case. In March, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister announced that his office was seeking new leads following the popularity of Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. The documentary is about Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic,” a former Oklahoma zookeeper. He was convicted of trying to hire someone to kill Baskin, who had tried to shut him down, accusing the Oklahoma zoo of abusing animals and selling big cat cubs. In retaliation, Maldonado-Passage raised questions about Lewis’ disappearance. The documentary extensively covered MaldonadoPassage’s repeated accusations that Baskin killed her husband and possibly fed him to her tigers. Baskin, who founded Big Cat Rescue, has never been charged with any crime and released a statement refuting the accusations made in the series. Baskin, who is a contestant on the show Dancing With The Stars this season, said nothing when judges of the TV dance competition made references in jest to the belief that Lewis was killed and fed to the tigers at her sanctuary, the lawsuit said. Lawyers for Baskin said on Wednesday they couldn’t comment on pending litigation. In an e-mail to The Associated Press late Wednesday, Baskin said she never would joke about the loss of her husband. “I didn’t kill him or have him killed, so there’s no way I’d associate losing him with that word or concept,” Baskin said. “Any Tiger King reference to killing or murder is strictly based on the fact that so many animal abusers have tried unsuccessfully to kill me either by rallying their minions or hiring hit men.” n has no issue with the model but she has issues with her former boyfriend, who repeatedly cheated on her when they were together. The singer-actress is happily single right now while her ex and the model are also quite happy together.



FANS of a teen actress are angry about her exclusion from her teleserye, which has resumed taping, their outrage continuing to roil even though the network has already explained why that happened. The teen actress is below 15 years old and thus is prohibited from tapings and shootings, according to an IATF resolution. Her fans are angry because they think she was excluded due to the presence of her ex and his new gf in the said teleserye when clearly, the network is just abiding with the law. The fans know that the teen actress and her ex are not on good terms. In fact, he would rather lose opportunities than work with her on anything. It’s a pity because their team-up was relatively successful and they, in fact, had several endorsements when they were still a love team.


SO this singer-actress was the main performer during a recent online fashion show. Participating in the show was a model-influencer who is the current live-in partner of the singer-actress’ former boyfriend. Not suprisingly, fans of the singer-actress kept comparing her with the model whenever they appeared on-screen in one frame. The singer-actress

THERE are rumors that this star-maker is setting up a new group in another network. That’s not really a big deal. What is a big deal is that the group is very similar to the highly-successful one that made his network so popular. What’s more, he is bringing some of his more popular stars with him. Some of them have actually made the announcements that they’re doing projects with another network. One is an actress who is known to be very close to the star-maker. Another actress is also standing by the star-maker’s side. She is someone with a string of hit shows to her name. So will the star-maker succeed for the second time in his career? Everybody, including bigwigs at his former network, is watching with bated breath.


IT’S sad that stars, like almost everyone of us, have been having difficulties in this pandemic. An actress found her contract renewal in limbo because her network couldn’t promise her any new projects for this year or even next year because of what is happening. The actress, who is known to be enterprising, is open to doing freelance work. Even some of her businesses are temporarily on hold because of Covid-19. The actress is optimistic that when all this is over, her home network will give her a new contract. Her network recognizes her contributions in terms of projects that have rated well. It’s just that right now, there is nothing that they can offer her and they don’t want to make promises they cannot keep.

Today’s Horoscope By Eugenia Last


CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Lacey Chabert, 38; Marion Cotillard, 45; Jenna Elfman, 49; Fran Drescher, 63. Happy Birthday: Look for lucrative ways to spend your time. Do something creative or serviceable from the comfort of your home to cover day-to-day expenses. Focus on saving for something you want to purchase or pursue. Walk away from no-win situations instead of letting them consume you mentally, physically and emotionally. Call the shots instead of letting someone else control your destiny. Your numbers are 7, 12, 24, 29, 37, 43, 47.


ARIES (March 21-April 19): Pay attention, but don’t get involved in other people’s battles. Channel your energy into self-improvement, learning and a healthy lifestyle that will help you stay safe. Save your energy for personal gains, not fruitless battles. HHH


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your changeable attitude will be confusing to those trying to understand what you want. Be careful when dealing with children or your lover; if you show uncertainty, it will cause friction and a loss of control. Be precise and dependable. HHHH


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Don’t be fooled by what others do or say. You are best to research and gather information from a direct source, not hearsay. Someone you have worked with will use emotional means to dismantle your reputation. HH


CANCER (June 21-July 22): Anger will not help you solve a problem you encounter with someone opposing your lifestyle or habits. Use intelligence to outmaneuver anyone trying to change you or the way you live. HH


LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Put your energy into something that will help you earn more money. Hard work will keep you out of trouble and lead to financial gain. A confrontation with someone you live with will leave you in a vulnerable position. HHH


VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Change begins with you. Consider the past, present and what you want to strive to achieve in the future. A healthy attitude, reliable information and the ability to bring about change will encourage better relationships and prosperity. HHH


LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Listen attentively, and you will find a way to deal with unreasonable people. Be charming, and you’ll be able to motivate someone to see things your way. An energetic approach to love and being a team player will pay off. HHH


SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Get more involved with social media, and you’ll connect with someone who stimulates your mind and opens your creative imagination. Expand your knowledge and skills, and you’ll develop a positive way to improve your life. HHHHH


SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Problems will surface if you let an outsider interfere in your personal life. The less time you have to get into a debate, the easier it will be to avoid setbacks. Physical activity is favored. Romance is in the stars. HH


CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Uncertainty will stand between you and getting what you want. A change will be uplifting and encourage you to do things differently. Speak up and discuss your intentions with someone you can count on for practical advice. HHHH


AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Pay attention to your personal needs and relationships with others. What you do will be more meaningful than what you say. Don’t feel you have to take part in someone else’s plan when you have your own to fulfill. HHH


PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): What you do to help others will lead to mixed emotions. Taking physical action and making things happen will far exceed getting into a debate with someone and accomplishing nothing. HHH Birthday Baby: You are strong-willed, impulsive and opportunistic. You are imaginative and persuasive.

‘skating along’ by kevin christian The Universal Crossword/Edited by David Steinberg

ACROSS 1 Apt first Across answer 6 Tango requirement 9 Actress Sorvino 13 Place to see a big concert 14 Matching towel possessive 15 Tool that removes an apple’s center 16 Shoddy 18 President No. 44 19 Word before a maiden name 20 Ancient Peruvian 21 Muslim face veil 22 Kissing couple? 25 Back to the ___ 28 Everything bagel morsel 29 18-Across’ country, informally 30 Mamma Mia band 33 Fury 36 Stranger Things, for example 40 Wand wavers at SFO 41 Char 42 Partner of sweet, sour, bitter and salty 43 Word before “weight” or “time” 46 New Zealand natives

7 Reaction to a high price 4 52 “Pretty please?” 53 Competes 54 Be in the red 57 Instrument with pedals 58 Sport suggested by the first few letters of 16-, 22-, 36- and 47-Across 61 Elephant part 62 Neighbor on The Simpsons 63 Harder to find 64 Use a keyboard 65 Some baseball execs 66 Successfully not answer, as a question DOWN 1 ___ owl 2 Lake north of Ohio 3 Trait carrier 4 Tattoo parlor supply 5 No from Elizabeth Warren 6 Use your noodle 7 Flinch 8 Schindler of Schindler’s List 9 Alabama port city 10 Currency in Baghdad

1 Chart again 1 12 Many Egyptians 15 ___ Nast 17 Yahtzee needs 22 Bit of smoke 23 Eurasia’s ___ Mountains 24 Morales of Ozark 25 Candid Camera creator Allen 26 Employs 27 Summing 30 Tool for splitting firewood: Var. 31 You don’t want a squeeze from one 32 “It’s cold in here!” 34 Malek of Bohemian Rhapsody 35 “___ Coming” (Three Dog Night song) 37 “Mm-hmm” 38 Green dip, informally 39 “None for me, thanks” 44 Gas rating 45 Lizard that may have a blue tongue 46 ___ pit (wild concert area) 47 Dred in American history 48 Dawdle 49 Traveling in a Winnebago, perhaps

0 “Bite that person!” 5 51 Obeys 54 Gumbo vegetable 55 Unwanted plant 56 Jane who married Mr. Rochester 59 Mine find 60 Cleveland NBA player, familiarly

Solution to yesterday’s puzzle:

Image BusinessMirror


Editor: Gerard S. Ramos

• Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Swimming with sharks

THE FILIPINOS’ CONNECTIVITY TO THE SEA BY RECTO MERCENE A GLOBAL audience of more than a thousand viewers joined the virtual voyage of discovery and learning sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Maritime and Ocean Affairs Office (MOAO), called the Balangay.   The audience joined the event through a public webinar in celebration of the Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month (MANA Mo) on September 23.  Titled “The Balangay Through the Lens of Philippine Maritime History and Boat Culture,” the webinar featured four leading experts, archeologists and voyagers who elaborated on the genius and expertise of Filipinos in seamanship from precolonial times.  The Balangay also showcased the wealth of Filipinos’ ancient maritime traditions and history connecting the islands with great civilizations.  In his opening remarks, Assistant Secretary Igor G. Bailen said the celebration of MANA Mo was intended to raise national consciousness on maritime and archipelagic issues and policies. He highlighted that the Filipinos’ connectivity to the sea needs to be protected and preserved like an inheritance.  Dr. Maria Bernadette L. Abrera of the University of the Philippines Diliman provided an overview of Philippine maritime history, noting how early marauding islanders conducted seaborne raids to extend their political influence, thereby leading to the creation of ever larger communities. She also discussed the important role of Philippine shipbuilding in the Galleon Trade.  Dr. Ligaya S.P. Lacsina of the National Museum discussed the archeology of the Butuan boats and the lashed-lug boatbuilding tradition that underscored the excellent workmanship of Filipinos evident in the construction of the boats. She also shared photos of the remains of Butuan boats from their excavations in northern Mindanao.  Dr. Aurora Roxas-Lim of the Ateneo de Manila University focused on movements by sea and stated that the Austronesian peoples, including those in the Philippines, were expert boat builders and navigators who ventured across the oceans all the way to China, thus establishing the ancient trade routes. The long Filipino tradition of seafaring only ceased after colonizers disrupted inter-island trade and fostered religious hostility. Former Department of Enviroment and Natural Resources and Department of Transportation and Communications Undersecretary, Arturo T. Valdez, who led the expedition, shared his experience in building Balangay using time-tested techniques as a way to rekindle the maritime consciousness of Filipinos. Undersecretary Valdez and his team of adventurers then undertook an expedition that traveled across the archipelago in 2009 and around Southeast Asia in 2010, recreating voyages of the Balangay from material evidence traced back to 600 years ago. He underscored the importance of how such voyages have instilled pride in the Philippines’s maritime heritage that is intrinsic to the national identity.  The recorded webinar can still be accessed at bit. ly/3j9Qckk.


LL three of my sisters went into selling rellenong bangus and embotido when the pandemic hit and the lockdown stretched on for weeks into months. My eldest sister stopped selling when they started going back to work. My youngest sister, meanwhile, was in and out of it for some time. But my middle sister has persisted and even gone on to start a small sari-sari business. Initially, all my sisters sold the same products but later on, my middle sister went on to start her own business. The pandemic rattled most businesses big and small but for a few, just like my sister, it became an opportunity to start their own business. I don’t think my sisters were in direct competition against each other. In fact, they shared the same recipe for making our mother’s rellenong bangus and embotido, and they even had the same supplier of bangus in the wet market. But given the current scenario and given the limited number of people who would want to buy their product, they were really competing for market share. What set my middle sister apart was her tenacity to pursue the business and the opportunity to maximize her customers and their connections. If you closely examine their business venture, you can glean several insights into understanding why knowing your competitors in business helps you develop new products and services. And in understanding your business competitors, a helpful framework is Porter’s Five Forces. As the name implies, this framework was introduced and published by Michael E. Porter in the Harvard Business Review in 1979. Since then, it has given organizations a tool in evaluating their competition and in innovating products and services as their competitive advantage. These identified forces also help organizations examine how threats and opportunities can be leveraged to their advantage. These forces include competitive rivalry, bargaining power of customers, threat of substitute products and services, bargaining power of suppliers, and the threat of new entrants. ■ COMPETITIVE RIVALRY. When you are the only one providing a product or service, as is the case now for my middle sister, this becomes easier for you to market your product and at the same time, you can also more or less dictate the price. Competition keeps the price in check because more competitors mean that customers can choose which one can offer the lowest price with the same product or service. And when competition is in an equal level playing field, each goes to advertising and price adjustments to ensure they keep their share of the market through brand loyalty. Knowing how many competitors are in the market helps you identify which segment of the market you can focus your products and services. In the case of my sister, the others just dropped off making it easier for her to sell her products.

Slip in and chill

■ BARGAINING POWER OF CUSTOMERS. Consumers vote for your products and services by buying them. How many people buy your product or service also affects the quality and price of your offering because the fewer the consumers, the more they can dictate the price. If your clientele is small and there are other businesses that can provide the same offerings, they will choose the cheapest with the best quality. It also depends on how much they are willing to buy at a given time—if they want more and they can get the quantity from other sellers, they can influence the asking price to their advantage. More so when there are only a few people who buy your product or service offerings, they are price sensitive, and there are many substitutes in the market. Luckily for my sister, her product offerings may have been limited but she later expanded her catalog by including other products. ■ THREAT OF SUBSTITUTE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES. This is especially threatening to products and services with a cheaper price tag. One of the reasons companies outsource service-related functions is to cut on cost—either through lower overhead costs or cheaper labor costs in another country. Knowing how

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WITH the Covid-19 pandemic bringing about more casual lifestyles with work-from-home arrangements, new protocols, and a return to what is simple and essential, the global footwear brand Crocs has become more than ever the choice for men and women to slip into. The iconic Classic Clog that started a comfort revolution around the world...the Crocband collection with a bold mini-stripe for a sporty look...LiteRide’s superbly cushioned new kind of clog athletically inspired for your on-the-go lifestyle...the Tulum Collection’s sandals and flats in stylish prints for allday, all-year comfort. The good news is that consumers can now shop for their favorite Crocs style from the comfort of thier homes through the new Call and Collect Service. Just go to @crocsphilippines on Facebook—look for the blue checkmark beside the logo to ensure one is transacting with the authentic Crocs page. Select an item and contact your chosen store via Viber to place your order (stocks may vary per store). Once order has been placed, a confirmation message will be sent with the order summary, the total amount due excluding delivery fees, and payment guidelines. Once order confirmation has been received, the consumer may settle the payment through cash, GCash, PayMaya and online bank transfers. The shopper should arrange preferred courier and settle the delivery fee directly to the courier. If the order will be picked up, a Crocs representative will advise the pick-up time and will personally hand over the order. More information is available at www.crocs.com.ph.

Understanding how you fare against your competition can help minimize loss to your business and at the same time help you cope with new and emerging trends in your industry. It also helps you to establish a bottom line and discern when to branch out to other industries, or to just totally quit. you fare in terms of price, quality and turnaround time can spell the difference between you landing that contract or you looking for other clients. You also need to consider emerging technologies and how your offerings can be rendered obsolete by new ways of working and automation. Chatbots, robotic process automation, and artificial intelligence have replaced repetitive manual work into automated workflows. If your business can be replaced with accurate automated processes, your business might be at risk of becoming irrelevant especially if the substitute is cheaper and more accurate. ■ BARGAINING POWER OF SUPPLIERS. When suppliers understand that you are heavily dependent on their raw materials because they are your only supplier, they can heavily influence prices to their advantage. And when that happens, your profit is diminished by how much more you spend on raw materials. But if you get multiple sources of raw materials for your product or service, you avoid succumbing to the pressures of suppliers because you have other alternatives. This becomes problematic when there are only a few suppliers or just a few control a scarce resource, or when there are only a handful of substitutes and replacing them would cost more. In the case of my sister who only had one supplier of bangus in the market, they can dictate their asking price which in turn would minimize my sister’s profit. ■ THE THREAT OF NEW ENTRANTS. After a while, people got tired of my sister’s products and looked for alternative offerings. To keep her business afloat and provide other products and services to her already existing consumer base, she started a sari-sari store. Profits from selling rellenong bangus and embotido and an additional loan became the capital she used to put up a sustainable source of income. There are industries where new entrants are not a threat because of the heavy financial investment needed to join the market, like in the case of the airline or automobile manufacturing industries. But for others where entrants can easily join, like in the case of the online marketplace or the buy-and-sell apps, competition can be cutthroat especially when similar products can be bought at a lower price. New entrants mean new options for consumers and lesser chances to choose your product offerings. This goes without saying that you need to have a competitive advantage over what is currently available in the market. Understanding how you fare against your competition can help minimize loss to your business and at the same time help you cope with new and emerging trends in your industry. It also helps you to establish a bottom line and discern when to branch out to other industries, or to just totally quit. ■


B6 Wednesday, September 30, 2020

CeMAP and PISI express full support to Bayanihan 2

Eagle Cement hepls to close gaps in health, education via feeding program in Bulacan

EAGLE Cement hepls to close gaps in health, education via feeding program in Bulacan


AGLE Cement Corporation distributes Nutribun packs and other healthcare packages to households and various communities in Bulacan amid pandemic. Eagle Cement Corporation (Eagle Cement) supports its communities anew as it launches a 120-day feeding program for the children of its host community and neighboring barangays in various areas in San Ildefonso and Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan. As the pandemic continues to threaten the livelihoods of Filipinos in the margins of society, corporations big and small are continuously challenged to foster recovery and growth by serving their communities. “We’ve been supporting our neighboring communities even before the pandemic struck and COVID-19 has only magnified our role in helping them survive and get back up,” says Annaline Buizon, Community Relations Officer of Eagle Cement. “There was fear and uncertainty in the community so we immediately had to act,” Buizon added. The Company, which also calls San Ildefonso home, has an integrated

cement manufacturing plant in the town and has been playing an active role in the development of the community since 2008. Thus, in the early months of the pandemic, Eagle Cement mobilized to distribute food packs to its partner communities in San Ildefonso as well as in Malabuyoc, Cebu. Since the first distribution leg in March, the Company has shared over 21,000 food packs to 21,000 families as a form of first-aid to address the early economic challenges brought on by the new normal. With the economy slowing down and even coming to a halt during the early months of quarantine, the effects of the pandemic were deeply felt by the residents of Sitio Narra, a small, tight-knit community, tucked in the corners of San Ildefonso, where workers earned their living from agri-businesses, carpentry, trucking and setting up small shops. The feeding program is being held in select barangays (Akle, Alagao and Talbak) in San Ildefonso and neighboring town Dona Remedios Trinidad. Started in August and will run until February 2021, the program will feed 250 children

through a weekly distribution of Nutribun packs along with vitamin and milk packages. For Teacher Roxanne, this initiative by Eagle Cement is aligned with each teachers’ mission of shaping the values and aspirations of children. “As a teacher, this project is Eagle Cement’s investment in our children’s future. A lot of kids in our barangay came from poor families who cannot provide good nutrition that helps drive their performance in school," she said. “More than this, we are giving them hope by showing our confidence in the person that they can become. Education is not just about the lessons that we teach but also the presence of support and the love that we are offering as teachers and members of the community,” added Teacher Roxanne. The feeding program is being done in collaboration with each barangay’s health workers and mother leaders to ensure that proper safety protocols are followed during distribution. Eagle Cement also set up a regular monitoring system, as well as baseline and endline evaluations to measure the program’s results. The Company will then share the data to the barangays to include in their own health assessments, which can then inform future projects. For Eagle Cement, the feeding program is a crucial component of their holistic Corporate Social Responsibility program which tackles the following areas: family and community, livelihood and employment, infrastructure support, growth and development, health and emergency response, and technology and education. The program is also aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, one of which targets to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030.

Phoenix shines at 17th International Business Awards


HE Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) and Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) fully support and welcome the government’s prioritization of local products and construction materials for infrastructure projects, as provided for in the recently signed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2. Since the beginning of the crisis CeMAP and PISI’s members have shown unwavering commitment to support the nation on the road to recovery. This is done not just through relief aid but also through ensuring operations continue while ensuring the health and safety of employees, thereby preserving as many jobs as possible. With the use of local building materials, such as cement and steel, for the ongoing Build Build Build program, the industries can help fully support the nation’s economic recovery by continuing to preserving jobs, contributing to the national income through taxes, and ensuring that the multiplier effect of supporting local businesses is fully taken advantage of. “The Philippine building materials industries, especially the cement industry,

CEMENT mixer pouring

is confident and ready to ensure that our Philippine infrastructure projects will have adequate materials supply from companies that are proud to be manufacturing locally,” said CeMAP Executive Director Cirilo Pestaño. “Likewise, the steel industry is ready to assure that our local projects will receive the best quality of building materials, including Philippine steel, available for the government’s ongoing and upcoming projects. As an industry, we are ready to do our part and play a key role in the swift economic recovery of the nation,” PISI President Roberto Cola also added.

Sunshine Place offers voice classes online


INGING strengthens the immune system. For the elderly, it is a great form of aerobic workout for the lungs. The diaphragm becomes stronger and improves overall circulation. Posture is improved which helps stop snoring and sleep apnea. Singing one’s favorite song not only brings back memories but also calms the mind. Lastly, learning the craft broadens communication skills and boosts one’s confidence. At the Sunshine Place, Voice Classes are being offered with three schedules to choose from depending on the students preferred time and instructor. Sunshine Place brings together voice instructors to handle the classes—Cloi Sugano, every Wednesday to Saturday from 9:00 am-11:00 am; and Isaac Iglesias, on Thursdays from 10:00 am-12 noon and Saturdays from 2:00 pm-4:00 pm. All classes are done via Zoom. Voice classes start with necessary warm up before each session. Proper breathing, right intonation, posture, stage presence and interpretation are also taught. Concepts learned are applied with songs to be sung. Seniors can start with 4-session course while non-seniors are encouraged to take 8-sessions. Voice instructor Cloi Sugano is taking up Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at

the UST Conservatory of Music. A soprano herself, her voice trainings also include opera master classes with world-renowned conductor and sopranos. She is a recipient of Klassikal Music Foundation (KMF) scholarship program founded by McDonalds Chairman, Dr. George T. Yang. As a scholar, she has joined KMF produced concerts. She garnered 2nd Place in the 2019 Fides Cuyugan Asensio Voice Competition and 2nd Prize winner in the National Music Competition for Young Artist 2019: Alab ng Musika Senior Voice Category. Teacher Cloi’s one-on-one online lessons at Sunshine Place are designed to meet the individual needs of each student in order for them to discover their own voice and passion for playing music in a fun and effective way. Isaac Iglesias is a graduate of St. Scholastica’s College of Music where he is a part time faculty member and serves as conductor of the College’s Chamber Choir. He has studied under the tutelage of the Italian trained Soprano, Rica Nepomuceno. He joined numerous concerts like Good Ode Classics that showcased monthly concerts at the TIU Theater (2015-2016). He was one of the Philippine representatives to the 2019 ASEAN Music Festival in Vietnam. He is a member of Viva Voce Voice lab, a group of young classical singers trained by the renowned soprano of the Philippines, Camille Lopez-Molina, that performs in different operas and concerts. Aside from singing, he is also into acting. He participated in acting workshops at the CCP and had his first acting experience in 2005 playing the role of Basilio in ‘Noli Me Tangere the Musical’ by Ryan Cayabyab. The following year, he landed the role of Quiroga in ‘El Fili Busterismo.’ For more details, contact T. (632) 88564162, M. (+63917) 515-5656 or E.online. sunshineplace@gmail.com

Online application for SSS pension loan now available



HOENIX Petroleum, the country’s fastest-growing oil company, continues its annual winning streak at the prestigious International Business Awards, having bagged a total of three trophies from the awards organization this year. The company added to its list of awards two Gold Stevies through Phoenix SUPER LPG’s ‘Sarap Pala Magluto’ nationwide campaign and FamilyMart’s Coffee Creations introduction, and one Silver Stevie from its ‘Tulong Para Sa Taal’ corporate social responsibility campaign. “This recognition came at a time when everyone can use some motivation, given the impact of the pandemic. Because of these recognitions from the International Business Awards, we are more motivated to do even better and create campaigns that will not only bring corporate excellence but also bring

positive impact to the communities we serve,” Phoenix Petroleum President Henry Albert Fadullon said. ‘Sarap Pala Magluto’ is the nationwide campaign of Phoenix SUPER LPG that aims to encourage millennials to discover the joys of cooking through its German-made SRG regulator that offers a Safe, Sigurado, Simple cooking experience. The campaign, which also introduces Sarah Geronimo as brand ambassador, has successfully increased the brand’s market share and brand awareness, even topping the Twitter trend list on its launch day. Another Gold winner, FamilyMart’s Coffee Creations, was recognized for its achievements in sales since its launch. From selling only seven cups a day, Coffee Creations drastically increased FamilyMart’s coffee sales to an average of 70 cups a day. The project was attributed for the overall revenue of

FamilyMart in 2019. Meanwhile, the ‘Tulong Para Sa Taal’ campaign, which earned a Silver recognition from the IBA for PR Campaign of the Year-Corporate Social Responsibility category, impressed the judges with its comprehensive and centralized approach, utilizing all of Phoenix brands, products, stakeholders, and partners in bringing immediate help to over 10,000 affected families. These new IBA trophies bring the total Stevies trophies of Phoenix to six since it first joined the competition in 2017. The IBA or Stevies is the world’s premier business awards created in 2002 to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide. With a panel of jurors composed of industry professionals worldwide, it is considered as the Oscars of business.

HE Social Security System (SSS) added a new facility on its website to allow retiree-pensioners to file their Pension Loan Program (PLP) applications online. SSS President and CEO Aurora C. Ignacio said the new facility, found under the E-Services tab of the My.SSS member portal at www.sss.gov.ph aims to provide retiree-pensioners with a safer, faster, and more convenient means of filing their pension loans. “Through the SSS’ continuous digitalization efforts, the PLP was made available online since last September 15, 2020. Qualified retiree-pensioners can easily apply for the program without visiting our branches, which is either difficult or restricted, particularly for senior citizens, because of the COVID-19 situation,” Ignacio added. Retiree-pensioners who may use the said online method for application are those who have met all the qualifying conditions of the PLP and have registered My.SSS web accounts, current and active mobile numbers, and disbursement accounts may be a valid SSS Unified Multi-Purpose Identification card enrolled as an ATM card or an SSS-issued Union Bank of the Philippines Quick Card. The SSS is working towards the addition of Philippine Electronic Fund Transfer System and Operations Network (PESONet) participating banks among the PLP disbursement channels. To file a PLP application online, a retiree-pensioner must log in to his/her My.SSS account, proceed to the E-Services tab, click “Apply for Pension Loan,” choose the preferred loan amount and term, agree to the terms and conditions of the program, and print or download the PDF copy of the Disclosure Statement. The retiree-pensioner will receive an email confirmation of his/her pension loan application. Pension loan proceeds are credited to the retireepensioners disbursement account within five working days. Under the PLP, retiree-pensioners may opt to avail of a loan of three, six, nine, or 12 times their basic monthly pensions

(BMP) plus the one thousand additional benefit granted in 2017, but not exceeding the maximum amount of P200,000. To qualify for the PLP, the retiree-pensioner must be 85 years of age or below at the end of the month of his/ her preferred loan term; must have no deductions, such as outstanding loan balance, benefit overpayment payable to the SSS, etc. from his/her monthly pension; must have no existing advance pension under the SSS Calamity Assistance Package; and must be receiving his/her regular monthly pension for at least one month and his/her status of pension is “Active.” However, retiree-pensioners under the Portability Law, under the care and custody of a guardian, or receiving monthly pensions through checks are not qualified to avail of the PLP. Pension loans of three and six times the pensioner’s BMP plus the P1,000 additional benefit have a payment term of six and 12 months, respectively. On the other hand, both pension loans of nine and 12 times the BMP plus the P1,000 additional benefit have a payment term of 24 months. The first monthly amortization for the PLP will be due on the second month after the loan was granted. “A good thing about the PLP is that borrowers’ monthly pensions are not entirely collected for amortizations. We make sure that retiree-pensioners, in their chosen pension loan amount and term, still have a net take-home pension of at least 47.25 percent of their BMP including the additional P1,000 benefit,” Ignacio said. Pension loans have an interest rate of 10 percent per annum. The SSS will waive the collection of a one percent service fee to subsidize the payment for the premium of the Credit Life Insurance of the borrower. The SSS launched the PLP in September 2018 to help retiree-pensioners with their short-term financial needs through a low-interest loan. As of August 31, 2020, the SSS has released 143,799 pension loans amounting to P5.27 billion. For more information, follow the SSS Facebook page at the “Philippine Social Security System,” Instagram account at “mysssph,” and Twitter account at “PHLSSS.”


Editor: Tet Andolong

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 B7

Pandemic changes market’s preferences and business operations


By Roderick L. Abad

HE ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis has brought changes in preferences of the local residential market, according to property experts. Per the latest installment of Lamudi’s The Outlook Roundtable Series dubbed “On the Horizon: Real Estate Leaders on Market Recovery,” many of the homebuyers are found prioritizing convenience, technology, and health safety when they lease or purchase a place to dwell in. Technology-wise, Torre Lorenzo Development Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tomas Lorenzo noted that fast Internet connection draws interest in residential buildings from many house hunters, particularly in the student market segment.  This holds true in Lamudi’s earlier report on a big consideration in connectivity amenities among aspiring homeowners.

On the other hand, Imperial Homes Group of Companies Group Chair and CEO Emma Imperial cited that the tech preference of property seekers, like in the case of their projects, comes in the form of stronger attention for solar-powered homes. Proof of which is the sales growth experienced by her company two months after the lockdown started mid-March of this year. She said: “The sales reached 40 percent higher than our pre-Covid performance.” Conscious about their well-being, potential homebuyers have been considering healthy buildings in their choices, shared Colliers International Philippines Senior Research Manager Joey Bondoc.  “It’s very important now that you are

in a building where there’s enough sanitation, enough sunlight. If you’re in a condo, you have to make sure that your property manager is implementing enough safety protocols,” he said. Bondoc added that investors, especially overseas Filipino workers, are searching for bigger spaces given the social distancing measures against the virulent illness. Raphael Felix, chairman of the Board of Subdivision and Housing Developers Association and president and CEO of Phinma Properties, pointed out that millennials have been lately engaged in the real-estate scene. “We used to have an average age of 30 to 40. Our 20- to 30-year-old market segment has doubled in the last three months,” he explained. The market’s liking for location, likewise, has become likely evident. In fact, Bondoc said that businesses are expanding to Cebu, Iloilo and Pampanga. Meanwhile, future homeowners opt to reside in provincial cities, particularly the affordable segment. “We’re very pleased that the demand is coming from a lot of regional markets, like

Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete,” Cebu Landmasters Inc. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Franco Soberano said of the notable takeup on their projects. “These regional centers are the first to bounce back from the crisis.” To cater to the changing demands of the buyers amid the pandemic, industry players have to transform also their internal operations. “Digital transformation has been forced upon us,” D.M. Wenceslao Vice President (VP) for Corporate Planning Julius Guevarra said, while acknowledging that online solutions are a must now to sustain their operations. For Damosa Land VP Cary Lagdameo, virtual staging has become the main element of their marketing campaign during the lockdown. And as the community quarantine measures were relaxed in August, they were able to shoot brokerguided tours. “During the pandemic and the stringent lockdowns, many have seen the value of living in mixed-use developments or at least being near and having easy access

to groceries, banks, offices and medical facilities,” said Tek Samaniego, editor of Philippine Daily Inquirer Property. Robinsons Homes has explored other types of content to connect with buyers. Mico Racelis, the firm’s business unit general manager (BUGM), said: “We’ve innovated on how we can reach out to them in terms of the remote arrangement we have right now. We’re actually creating tools to do that, like for example, we’ve started doing drone shots for all our provincial developments.” Confronted by the unprecedented health emergency, having the right attitude in these difficult times is one way for real-estate companies to survive this pandemic. “If we believe that the crisis will just end without any intervention that will not happen. We shouldn’t put them aside. We should confront them and react accordingly,” said Robinsons Land Corp. BUGM Henry Yap. Underscoring the importance of looking back at past experiences, he stressed that the learnings can help make informed decisions during crises.

Century Properties Group Pioneering the premier living experience targets completion of I 2,000 condo units by Q2 2021

Artist’s rendition of Azure North Towers 1 to 3


ITH construction work ramping up after a three-month lockdown in the second quarter, listed real-estate firm Century Properties Group (CPG) said it is targeting to complete about 2,101 condominium units by the second quarter of next year. Assuming Metro Manila lockdowns will continue to ease, CPG said it targets to complete around 500 units at The Residences at Commonwealth in Quezon City by the end of 2020. These units are in Quirino East and West Towers, the 6th and 7th buildings respectively, in the eighttower residential community. The first five towers (Osmeña West, Roxas East, Quezon North, Osmeña East, Roxas West) are complete, while the Clubhouse has been fully operational since April 2019. The Lap Pool, Kiddie Pool, and outdoor Play Area for kids were completed in the first quarter of 2020. CPG is also targeting the completion of 1,600 more units by batches from February 2021 to April 2021 in Bali and Monaco towers at the Residences at Azure North in San Fernando, Pampanga. Certain amenities, such as the Club House and the Wave Pool, are expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021. Company President and CEO Marco R. Antonio said while the current construction pace and number of workers are less than pre-quarantine levels, “we are increasing this progressively as we observe strict safety protocols in our project sites and manage completion timelines to de-

The Bali and Monaco towers progress update as of August 2020 at the Residences in Azure North, San Fernando, Pampanga. Completion of about 1,600 units in these two towers are targeted until the second quarter of 2021.

liver the units to our buyers.” At the mixed-use development Century Spire at Century City in Makati, construction has reached top off levels and façade glass installation has reached the 29th floor. The office and condominium tower, designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is being installed with 33,594 square meters of unitized and semi-unitized curtain wall system with insulated glass units, and a storefront curtain wall system with glass canopies at the ground floor. Visit century-properties.com or e-mail ask@century-properties.com for details about Century Properties projects.

T has been over six months since the pandemic has shaken the global economy, affecting industry giants and entrepreneurs alike. While many organizations have chosen the path of caution, Ovialand Inc. has chosen the path of grit and courage. Led by their promise of “Premier Living you Deserve” this property developer is not slowing down amid this pandemic as they have a strong determination to deliver their commitments to their clients. “We made commitments to our clients that we will provide their dream homes this year. We decided as a team that we will not let a pandemic prevent us from fulfilling our promises. Especially now that more families are deciding to stay home to keep their loved ones safe, we realized that we had to find safe ways to help them move to their new homes as soon as possible,” shared Pammy Vital, president of Ovialand Inc. Merely five years since Ov ialand launched its first premier project in the heart of Sto. Tomas, Batangas, Terrazza de Sto. Tomas, the company has strived to keep its promise to provide their clientele with a premier living experience they can only find at Ovialand developments. Since the company launched its first project in 2015, Ovialand has launched four more premier residential projects as of first half of 2020, all located in the south of Luzon. “To say that it has been a busy past five years is an understatement, but we are enjoying every minute of this journey. We are proud of our developments that provide more than adequate space not just inside the living spaces but the community as a whole. Our developments have wide open spaces and each family unit has more than enough space to feel comfortable and secure especially during the times of the stringiest quarantine guidelines,” shared Vital.

Led by leaders. Ovialand takes its success from its people who are mostly composed of disciplined managers and supervisors who are goal-driven and put the ompany’s mission of giving its clients the “Premier Living Experience” as the center of all their tasks. Led by Vital, its president, OLI’s recipe for success includes the company’s strong emphasis on working with values and consciously being aware of the company culture that every member is laying down. “We know that the culture we build today will dictate the success of our company in the years to come; that is why our team strives to work together to give you the Premier Living Experience you deserve,” Vital added. The Covid-19 pandemic truly put the team’s commitment to a test. But instead of

TERRAZZA, Caliya model units and Sannera

adopting a wait and see attitude, the team quickly evaluated their options and diligently laid out their strategy. “Definitely, the highest priority was safety. And there was definitely the compelling obligation to help restart the economy. When those were established, we quickly got to work,” shared Vital. Together with Ovialand ’s property management team, the communities that they serve were able to quickly impose their own additional guidelines against Covid-19. For its employees, the company announced work-from-home set up for tasks that can be done remotely. Team members who have to report to work are taken cared of through provided daily shuttles, as well as comfortable staff housing for easy and safe access to their offices and communities. Through this strategic approach to the quarantine measures in their various localities, the company was able to continue serving their communities and clients, and was able to resume their business as early as mid-May. Meanwhile for their construction workers, the company provided free Covid-19 testing, as well as additional allowances to ensure their and their families’ health and safety during the pandemic. “We were surprised that even during enhanced community quarantine, we received online inquiries about our developments, and we believe this is because the pandemic has reminded almost everyone of the importance of having a safe, secure and relaxing home, and they think that this is something they can have within the areas of our premier developments,” Vital shared. It has been four months since Ovialand has adapted to this new way of doing things and this has brought up their sales as more families choose to experience premier living.

Further delivering premier living to every family. Ovialand launched its fourth premier housing project in the province of Quezon, bringing the company’s total to 28 hectares of developments with 1,688 house and lot units. The company has sold 1,100 of these units and have completed 661 house and lot units over its five years of its operations. These projects are Terrazza de Sto. Tomas in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, which is 100 percent completed and turned over as committed; Sannera in San Pablo Laguna, which currently stands at 70 percent completion for Phase 1 and 15 percent completion for Phase 2; Caliya Phase 1 in Candelaria, Quezon, with the initial turnover scheduled this coming October. In the coming months, Ovialand will be launching as scheduled the second phase of its Caliya project in Candelaria, Quezon, as well as two more premier projects in Laguna and Quezon province. These two new projects are expected to add 8 hectares to the company’s sprawling premier residential projects, which will provide an additional 650 house and lot units. More houses mean that more families can enjoy Ovialand’s Premier Living Experience. “Since we launched Terrazza de Sto. Tomas, Ovialand has never stopped exploring other potential areas to build more premier communities where families can dwell and thrive. We tell ourselves that each client of ours is not just buying a place for shelter, but rather building the future of their families. The place where they will decide to live will dictate the decisions they will make for their longterm future. We want to make sure that this is a decision that they will look back at and say ‘I made the right choice,’ and this right choice is the premier living experience that is unique to Ovialand alone,” Vital concluded.

Sports BusinessMirror

B8 Wednesday, September 30, 2020

mirror_sports@yahoo.com.ph / Editor: Jun Lomibao


HILIPPINE Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Willie Marcial stated weeks ago that the league was making baby steps as it wooed government to allow the resumption of its stunted 45th season. For Marcial, it’s mission accomplished—the 12 PBA teams are all accounted for in the Clark bubble as of Tuesday, everyone harnessing up to resume what was shuttered by the Covid-19 pandemic in March. Little did the PBA’s bad boy, Calvin “The Beast” Abueva, know that he would be making his own baby steps toward his reinstatement in the league. Abueva and Phoenix Super LPG Interim Coach Topex Robinson were well on their way to Clark before sundown on Tuesday, their smiles concealed by face masks as they sat relaxed in an air-conditioned van that would take them to the PBA’s home for the next 49 days. “This is considered a major breakthrough for Calvin [Abueva] and for the team. This is a very huge development and we’re thankful for the Commissioner’s Office for being supportive,” Robinson told BusinessMirror. “They [PBA] were the ones who initiated the move to allow Calvin to join the bubble,” Robinson added. It was a major development for the 2013 Rookie of Year who was suspended indefinitely by the league—on top of a P70,000 fine—for clotheslining then-TNT KaTropa import Terence Jones and engaging former Blackwater guard Bobby Ray Parks Jr.’s girlfriend in a shouting match, both taking place on separate dates at the Ynares

PHOENIX Super LPG Interim Coach Topex Robinson (left) posts on his Facebook account his photo with Calvin Abueva as they head up north to the Clark bubble in Pampanga on Tuesday afternoon.

Sports Center in Antipolo City in May last year. Marcial met with Robinson and Abueva at the league’s offices in Libis, Quezon City, at around noon on Tuesday with the 6-foot-4 former San Sebastian star getting the green light to join his team in Clark.

But that’s all so far for the colorful Abueva. He couldn’t suit up for an official game with the Fuel Masters in the bubble without another approval from the PBA and a professional basketball player’s license from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).

Casimero: I want big fights, big paychecks


FTER his amazing third-round technical knockout victory in the US on Sunday, reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero wants only the big fights, big names, and big paychecks. The 30-year-old pride of Ormoc City is looking at World Boxing


Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Naoya Inoue of Japan and Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba at 118 pounds or World Boxing Council (WBC) king Luis Neri of Mexico at 122 pounds as his potential next opponent. But it’s Inoue, the Japanese “Monster,” that’s in Casimero’s mind 24/7. They



USTIN FORTUNE—the very same strength and conditioning coach who works wonders for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao—became the latest addition to the already star-studded corner that would hone Eumir Felix Marcial for his professional debut. International matchmaker Sean Gibbons confirmed in an online news conference organized by Big Boss Cement on Tuesday the addition of Fortune, who joins future Hall of Famer Freddie Roach as trainer and Marvin Somodio as assistant trainer at Marcial’s camp. “Because we’re training in Los Angeles and Justine and Freddie work together as they have with Senator Manny Pacquiao, we are going to try to do Marvin Somodio-Freddie Roach-Justin Fortune to

handle the training and conditioning [for Marcial],” Gibbons said. “I am very thankful for Sean because his goal of helping me to win the gold in the Olympics is there. He is not only thinking about my professional career, but also my Olympic campaign,” Marcial said. Marcial qualified for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics along with fellow boxer Irish Magno, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo. He said the Roach-Somodio-Fortune formula inspires him even more as he targets the country’s first Olympic gold medal in August next year. “I think this is our chance to have an Olympic champion. I hope you support me [until the] end as I try to accomplish my goal,” he said.

were supposed to lock horns last April but for one reason or another, the fight was called off. Casimero thinks that Inoue is docking him. “The longer it takes, the faster he runs away,” Casimero told Tuesday’s online Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. He said he’s ready to face anybody thrown before him, even mixed martial arts legend Conor McGregor. Marcial is expected to fly to US later this week or early next week to jumpstart his professional career. “I will do my best in training and God will provide the rest,” he said. International Boxing Federation super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and his coach, Joven Jimenez, meanwhile, told the same news conference that they are flying to Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Pagcor remits ‘all-time’ high P25M to PSC during pandemic


HE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) remitted P25 million to the Philippine Sports Commission’s (PSC) National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) for the month of August. The amount is paltry—compared with the average pre-Covid-29 pandemic monthly remittance from Pagcor of P140 million—but it’s almost four times that of the all-time low P7 million the sports agency got for July. “The 25 million is a lot higher from what the PSC was receiving after this pandemic. So yes, the PSC is thankful with what we have received from Pagcor, and the agency continues to remit to the PSC despite these challenging times,” PSC Executive Director Atty. Guillermo Iroy Jr. told BusinessMirror. With P25 million added to the NSDF and the athletes and coaches’ monthly allowances pegged at 50 percent at P32 million, the PSC, Iroy said, need to fill the void from the agency’s savings.

The PSC decided to cut in half the national team members’ monthly allowances after Malacañang ordered government agencies to contribute to the anti-pandemic effort. The PSC payroll included 996 athletes, 262 coaches, 280 para athletes and 82 para coaches for a total 1,620. Athletes get monthly allowances of as low as P12,600 to as high as P43,000, while the coaches’ average monthly pay is P18,000. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed some casinos to operate at 30-percent capacity when quarantines were eased, thus resulting to the hike in Pagcor’s remittance to the PSC. Pagcor continues to struggle amid the pandemic and has been fulfilling its obligations, including to the PSC, by exhausting its reserves from the previous year. Annie Abad

So from Libis, the duo drove all the way to Makati City and renewed talks with the GAB through Commissioner Eduard Trinidad and PBA Pro Games Chief June Bautista. The goal was to have Abueva’s license reinstated and according to Robinson, their mission looks as doable as what Marcial hoped for before. “He [Calvin] is very happy with the progress. The fact that he was asked to go there [Clark bubble] is already huge,” Robinson said. “We are aware that Calvin’s GAB license was revoked. There’s no reinstatement yet for his license, but we went there for a courtesy call and they really appreciate Calvin’s gesture.” Trinidad said that Abueva sought the reinstatement of his license, but didn’t make any commitment with the Fuel Master. “Calvin’s request will be discussed and decided upon by the board in its next meeting,” Trinidad said. “He will undergo a seminar on the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of a Professional Athlete once the GAB board decides to give back his license.” Abueva may still be barred from playing at the resumption of the Philippine Cup, but Robinson said he is allowed to join the team’s scrimmage that would start Thursday at the Angeles University Foundation. While suspended, Abueva was obliged to complete the PBA’s reinstatement requisites including engaging in various charitable works and undergoing psychological therapy and tests.

“I’m ready for any fight. My ultimate dream is to get all those 118-lb belts,” said Casimero, fresh from his stoppage of previously unbeaten Duke Micah of Ghana in Connecticut, who added he is flying back home to his family in Ormoc City middle of next month. “Give me McGregor. I will fight him at 140,” he told the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, Milo, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and powered by Smart with Upstream Media as broadcast partner. Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions joined the

TM backs professional 3x3 league


HE Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3—the country’s first 3x3 professional league— welcomed TM as its partner for its inaugural President’s Cup tentatively set to begin next month. “TM is one with the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President’s Cup in championing the talent of our local players and bringing them to the international stage,” said Kristelle Dizon, Globe VP for Consumer Mobile Business. “We continue to look for ways to help rekindle the passion of fans for basketball games by supporting the league online,” she said. “This

SERENA WILLIAMS and Rafael Nadal score straight-set victories against overmatched foes in Court Philippe Chatrier on Monday. AP

Serena, Nadal win French Open openers in overpowering fashion


ARIS—No matter how much success they’ve had over the years, and to this day, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal both profess to deal with doubts. Both began this French Open with straightset victories against overmatched foes in Court Philippe Chatrier on Monday. And both have something significant at stake over the coming two weeks: a chance to equal a record for Grand Slam singles titles. Williams already has 23, the most by anyone in the professional era—one more will allow her to tie Margaret Court’s all-era mark. Nadal began his attempt to pull even with rival Roger Federer for the most by a man, 20, by beating Egor Gerasimov of Belarus, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. His 2020 debut at a place he’s won 12 trophies did not change Nadal’s view of things at this pandemic-postponed event: It’s colder than

usual, the balls are heavier than usual, he’s had less preparation than usual. “The conditions are completely different,” he said, “than any other Roland Garros that we played.” Still, Gerasimov would have been forgiven for choosing the same metaphor to describe Nadal that Williams’s opponent came up with: “a runaway train.” After she played OK in the opening set, then was terrific in the second, of a 7-6 (2), 6-0 win over 102nd-ranked American Kristie Ahn, Williams—so used to being questioned about Court—was asked on this day about Nadal and Federer. “I don’t get involved in the ‘greatest’ talk. You know, the greatest for me is, and will always be, Jesus, so I’m going to leave it at that,” Williams began. And then she didn’t leave it at that.

“Rafa, I’m obviously a huge fan of his. I always have been. But it’s like you can’t compare two people that are equally great. Roger, I mean, he’s Roger Federer. I think that says enough,” Williams continued. “So, you know, it’s like I don’t understand why people want to pit, ‘Who’s this? Who’s that?’ They both have spectacular careers that 99 percent of people can only dream of and...every single credit and every single thing that they get, they absolutely deserve it. I’m a big fan of both, to be honest.” And rightly so. Novak Djokovic’s name belongs in the conversation, too, of course. He’ll be aiming for his 18th major championship at this French Open, which he finally gets underway Tuesday with his first Grand Slam match since being disqualified at the US Open.

online forum from Los Angeles and said it’s no longer difficult for Casimero to land the big fights because of what he has shown lately. “To me right now Casimero is the most exciting, fun bantamweight out there. Showtime and PBC [promotions outfits] are so excited they want to know when they can get Casimero back on,” Gibbons said. With the big fights come the big paychecks. “I want the big bucks. If they offer me peanuts, I’d rather not fight,” said Casimero, who is open to fighting in the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s next fight.

It was in New York less than a month ago that Ahn faced Williams in the first round—and lost. So imagine this (bad) luck of the draw: Ahn is now the only player to face Williams in the first round at two consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. Of note: Williams is 75-1 in openers at majors. “I mean, I laughed,” Ahn said. “I mean, what are the odds?” Yet she was up to the task for most of a 72-minute, 102-point initial set Monday, twice leading it by a break. And then? What changed for Williams? “I just need to play with more confidence,” she explained, “like I’m Serena.” Well, yes, she was more herself for the latter half of the contest, which by the end really wasn’t much of a contest. AP

will allow fans to watch and support their favorite teams while staying safe at home.” The partnership marks Globe’s first foray in Philippine basketball. The President’s Cup will feature 12 teams that will vie against Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City, the national team composed of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan and Troy Rike. “We are glad to have a partner in TM that shares the same vision as ours—to help bring the Filipino athlete to the global stage,” Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 league owner Ronald Mascariñas said. The teams are Uling Roasters-Butuan City, Bacolod-Masters Sardines, Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, Palayan City Capitals, Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes MLV, Porac Big Boss Cement Green Gorillas, Bicol 3x3 Pro, Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors, Saranggani Marlins, Pagadian City Rocky Sports Valientes and Petra Cement.

Al Mendoza alsol47@yahoo.com


LeBron, Lakers heavily favored YOU talk of warriors pitted in a war and, almost always, one side has superior soldiers over the other. The coming Laker-Heat match is no exception. Thus, when they begin their National Basketball Association (NBA) title clash tomorrow, the Lakers aren’t just favored but are heavily favored. The Lakers aren’t just ahead in personnel but are simply tooled to first-class status that is why they easily topped the West in the regular season, thanks chiefly to LeBron James and Anthony Davis—the league’s lethal duo assembled in 36 months or so. After James went to Los Angeles in July 2018 on a master stroke by Magic Johnson, Davis joined the Lakers in June 2019 on another made-in-heaven deal by Rob Pelinka. The quiet but shrewd Pelinka snared Davis upon the urging of James himself. James and Davis had so easily put the Lakers back to the spot they’d been familiar with for so long: No. 1 going to the postseason. They extended their domination since the NBA restart to post a 15-3 playoffs record on their way to routing Portland, Houston and Denver via 4-1 counts in their cruise to the Finals. Oh, yes, the Heat are not to be denied, having likewise dished out a rather impressive collection of postseason wins. Despite a modest No. 5 finish entering the NBA bubble, Miami debuted with a 4-0 blanking of Indiana, mocked Milwaukee next 4-1 and dismissed favored Boston in six. But Indiana was bereft of a legit star, affording Miami Coach Erik Spoelstra an easy first-round foe. Milwaukee strayed from focus to go political, walking away from a game for racism issues. That deboned the Bucks, their No. 1 ranking in the East going to tatters. Worst, repeat MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo got felled by an ankle injury midway into the playoffs. And Boston’s youngsters weren’t ready for the long haul, dragged into an arena awash with sharks. The pandemic has shooed away fans at Lake Buena Vista, Florida, as the Lakers and the Heat barge into a battle rich in drama and history. Miami is now led by the still slick-haired Pat Riley, the Heat’s general manager who had coached Los Angeles to NBA championships not too long ago. And James is now the eminent Los Angeles leader who had given Miami two NBA titles in 2012 and 2013. At 35, James doesn’t look old—nor does he move old. Stunningly, he brims with the youthful energy of a 25-year-old dynamo, the reason he has 36 triple-doubles already to his three-ring achievements in 10 record Finals appearances. Who can stop a freight train like James in full throttle? Bam Adebayo? He’s too thin and too fragile to offer resistance. Andre Iguodala? He’s seen better days. James’s stopper is yet to be born. James’s Waterloo is utopia. Against James, Davis, Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee and, yes, Kyle Kuzma and even Alex Caruso, Miami mainstays Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro become mere toy soldiers with nothing but pseudo skills. Find pride in the fact that Spoelstra is our own as his mother hails from San Pablo City, Laguna. But the joy ends there. He shares two NBA titles with James against the untitled Laker Coach Frank Vogel. Change topic. With James now under Vogel’s wings, Spoelstra needs a phenomenon as huge as the parting of the Red Sea to stop the Lakers from ending their 10-year title drought. Now, should Miami reach a Game 7—that’d be the miracle. THAT’S IT For allowing a tournament held in its grounds, Alabang was closed indefinitely by the government in violation of health protocols. The pandemic is no joke, you know.

Profile for BusinessMirror

BusinessMirror September 30, 2020  

BusinessMirror September 30, 2020