Today's Top Stories

  • Cebu Pacific Air Cargo continues digital transformation with SmartKargo

    Cebu Pacific Air Cargo continues digital transformation with SmartKargo

    Cloud-based solution powers apps, kiosks to streamline customer experience MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Cebu Pacific Air (PSE: CEB) has renewed its contract with QuantumID Technologies to ramp up SmartKargo for CEB Cargo.  The partnership will continue the cloud-based real-time management of CEB’s air cargo business using the advanced SmartKargo operating system.  The largest Philippine carrier has utilized the innovative Software as a Service (SaaS) solution to empower customers with real-time shipment information and advanced tools such as mobile apps that streamline customer experience via kiosks at the warehouse. The mobile app has also allowed CEB Cargo to enable its clients to manage their shipments end-to-end, from booking to destination. In addition, SmartKargo has helped CEB manage and integrate new dedicated cargo capacity into its fleet. “The SmartKargo Cloud solution has equipped CEB Cargo with the advanced digital tools to run our business,” said Alex Reyes, Cebu Pacific Vice President for Commercial. “We are very pleased to continue the partnership, and look forward to sustained growth that SmartKargo has enabled.” Enhanced capabilities of SmartKargo allowed CEB Cargo to provide paperless Airway Bills (e-AWBs), and ease of booking for CEB Cargo agents and customers by allowing single-screen data entries.  In addition, the solution provides simplified pricing and rate-making capabilities; real-time capacity management; user-configurable business Intelligence and reporting; and integrated Cargo Revenue accounting. The platform supports streamlined participation with partners doing e-commerce—facilitating B2B or B2C door-to-door operations via mobile applications as well as third party integration. “We at SmartKargo look forward to continue providing CEB Cargo with solutions and tools to grow their business,” said Jay Shelat, Executive Vice President at QuantumID Technologies. “We are happy and grateful to be working with an outstanding team of cargo professionals and excellent leadership.” Cebu Pacific was the first Asian carrier to adopt the SmartKargo Cloud platform in 2013.  About Cebu Air Inc. (PSE: CEB) Cebu Air Inc., operating as Cebu Pacific, is the largest carrier in the Philippine air transportation industry, offering its low-cost services to more destinations and routes with higher flight frequency within the Philippines than any other airline. Together with subsidiary Cebgo, CEB flies to 37 domestic and 26 international destinations with over 100 routes spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA. The Cebu Pacific fleet is comprised of two (2) Airbus A320NEO, two (2) Airbus A321NEO, seven (7) Airbus A321CEO, 33 Airbus A320, eight (8) Airbus A330, eight (8) ATR 72-500, and 13 ATR 72-600 aircraft. The ATR aircraft are used by Cebgo for inter-island flights where jet operations are not possible. CEB has received its first ATR freighter in August 2019, to provide bespoke cargo services within the country. CEB boasts of one of the youngest fleets in the world, with an average fleet age of five (5) years. For bookings and inquiries, guests can visit www.cebupacificair.com. The latest seat sales can be found on CEB’s official Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) and Facebook pages. About SmartKargo The SmartKargo end-to-end platform has robust mobile applications and advanced technologies such as real-time information, business intelligence, mobile apps, and machine-learning capabilities–while providing quick and seamless integrations with an airline’s current or future systems via APIs, for fast deployment and integration. The end-to-end technology is an extension of the SmartKargo Cloud SaaS solution that is built upon the world’s leading global cloud infrastructure, Microsoft Azure. SmartKargo Cloud provides ease-of-use and instant access to shipment information for all members of the value chain. Azure is the world’s leading cloud platform that supports our robust mobile applications. For more information visitwww.smartkargo.com

    September 19, 2019

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  • Smart signs sweet deal with Arbee's Bakeshop

    Smart signs sweet deal with Arbee's Bakeshop

    Alex O. Caeg, Senior Vice President and Head of the Consumer Sales Group at PLDT and Smart, and Alma Bella Galang, Chief Executive Officer of Arbee's Bakeshop led the signing ceremony.  PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has teamed up with Arbee's Bakeshop to provide accessible and fast loading services for Smart, TNT, and Sun prepaid subscribers, particularly for those residing in Visayas and Mindanao. The signing ceremony was participated in by Alex O. Caeg, Senior Vice President and Head of the Consumer Sales Group at PLDT and Smart, and Alma Bella Galang, Chief Executive Officer of Arbee's Bakeshop. "Under this partnership, our prepaid customers can conveniently access Smart's mobile and data services in over 100 branches of Arbee's Bakeshop across the region, 24 hours a day 7 days a week," said Caeg. This is the latest channel distribution tie-up forged by Smart to serve its subscribers in the country.

    September 19, 2019

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  • 'Tienda sa Misamis Oriental' formally opens

    'Tienda sa Misamis Oriental' formally opens

    MISAMIS Oriental--Governor Yevgeny Vincente "Bambi" Emano spearheaded the ceremonial cutting of ribbon on Tuesday (September 17) to signal the formal opening of the 'Tienda sa Misamis Oriental. The ceremonial cutting, which marked the opening of the "Tienda sa Misamis Oriental," held at the Centrio Mall in Cagayan de Oro City formed part of the Provincial Tourism Week. Joining Emano during the event were Atty. Jeffrey Caudor Saclot, provincial tourism officer, Department of Tourism Regional Director Marie Elaine Unchuan of Northern Mindanao, and Virgilia "Bebing" Dumadag, provincial board member of Misamis Oriental.

    September 18, 2019

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  • PowerSource group bolsters Iligan’s growth

    PowerSource group bolsters Iligan’s growth

    ILIGAN City--Iligan’s biggest investment project in years is now operating its thermal hybrid power plant in Barangay Kiwalan assuring the Industrial City of the South’s continuous electricity supply. In a press conference called during the recently concluded 28th Mindanao Business Conference held at the MSU-IIT gym in Iligan City, officers of the Power Source Philippines Energy Inc. (PPEI), a subsidiary of the PowerSource Group, announced it completed the construction of its P3 billion (B) hybrid power plant, in July of last year. PSPI has set up PowerSource Philippines Energy Inc. (PPEI) as a special purpose vehicle for the project. Its Board of Investments (BOI) filing listed an initial investment of P2.3 billion in 2015 and construction of the power plant commenced in February 2016.  “Through a joint effort with the local government unit, other energy companies, and the local community, we want to help protect and bolster Iligan’s energy future so that homes have light, businesses can function, and important healthcare services continue to operate worry-free,” said  Ricardo G. Lazatin, President of PowerSource Group, PPEI’s mother company. “This plant is unique in the sense that it is an embedded plant within Iligan,” said PPEI Executive Director Michael Dennis D. Rayala. “So basically, if anything happens say a massive blackout in Mindanao, PPEI and other embedded plants in Iligan can power the city independently. So there is assurance and security of power in such situations.” The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) granted PSPI a certificate of compliance (COC) last February 6, 2019 to operate its 25-megawatt (MW) circulating fluidized bed (CFB) thermal hybrid plant and two units of 3.20 MW blackstart diesel engine generator sets located in Brgy. Kiwalan, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte. The plant utilizes a mix of 70% coal and 30% biomass. Rayala said PPEI signed a 25-year power supply agreement (PSA) with the local distribution utility Iligan Light & Power, Inc. (ILPI) for 12MW baseload power and 8MW baseload power with Republic Cement Iligan Inc. Investments & Promotions Code Lazatin credits Iligan city for crafting an attractive local investment code which was a major factor in its decision to invest in the area. “PowerSource is highly appreciative of Iligan’s Investment and Promotions Code, which makes the city an ideal location for new business ventures,” Lazatin said.  Corporate Citizenship   Lazatin added the PowerSource Group is going beyond merely providing energy to the city and is also focusing on how the company can make a meaningful impact on the community. Foremost, PPEI made the decision to transfer its headquarters from Makati to its newfound home in Iligan on March 20, 2019 to show its long term commitment to the development of the city. “PPEI) our subsidiary that operates the embedded thermal hybrid plant in Iligan has moved its head office from Makati to Iligan because we’d like to really support the community and generate additional revenues and taxes for the city. Most importantly, this move is an insurance and a security for power supply in Iligan,” Lazatin stressed. Lazatin added that PPEI has complied with an extensive list of regulatory requirements in the development and construction of the plant, so by promoting good corporate governance, PPEI can help the city attract more investors to Iligan. PowerSource Group is currently drawing up plans to work with schools starting with the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) to create a cadetship program for young engineers and students that will aid their skills development. This will eventually help turn Iligan into the Philippine center of excellence for energy engineering, or what Lazatin calls Energyneering.  Aside from creating jobs at the plant, PPEI has donated a fire truck and ambulance worth P4-million to the Iligan LGU last June 24 which was assigned to its host barangay in Kiwalan.    “Right now, we want to focus on finding potential partnerships and building good relationships with Mindanaoan communities,” said Lazatin. “Aside from generating revenue for the local government, we’re hoping our presence encourages others to consider Iligan as a viable investment opportunity.”   Additional opportunities that PowerSource Group is currently exploring include, among others, initiatives that will support the environment and restore natural resources through agro-forestry and water distribution.   “PowerSource Group considers itself as a long-term partner in the economic growth of Iligan and the rest of Mindanao. We are here for the long haul in helping promote the brighter future of Mindanao,” Lazatin concluded.

    September 18, 2019

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Suzuki Moves Up to 4th Place in PH Automotive Brands Ranking

August 26, 2019

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines Inc., the country’s pioneer subcompact car distributor, marks another first as it starts H2 of 2019 with another milestone. For the month of July, SPH grabs the 4th place among top automotive brands for the month-to-date and climbs to the 5th spot for the year-to-date ranking in the industry, the highest in the history of the brand with a 41% sales growth vs last year.      SPH closed the first half of 2019 on a high note, posting 14 percent sales growth over the same period last year. “We started the year on the right foot and strengthened our efforts in Q2 to reach more Filipino customers. Our aggressive and strategic marketing campaigns are key in pushing up our position both in the Philippine automobile industry and CAMPI rankings. These achievements reflect the Filipinos’ growing trust in our brand and the quality Suzuki cars that we provide. We are more driven now more than ever to bring only quality driving experience in every Suzuki ride,” shared SPH Director and General Manager for Automobile Division Keiichi Suzuki.       Committed to giving quality driving experience to every Filipino, SPH continues to assure the market with best-performance vehicles such as the New Ertiga, Swift, Celerio, Dzire and Vitara. These top-selling Suzuki vehicles collectively contributed 77 percent to total H1 2019 sales.       The top-favorite 7-seater family vehicle Ertiga is still the number one best-selling Suzuki vehicle in this year’s lineup with a 34 percent share of sales. The introduction of the new Ertiga Black Interior ramped up sales even further. Its fuel efficiency and spacious interior complement the elegance and modern style, giving the Ertiga a strong edge over its competitors.       Following Ertiga as a top-selling Suzuki vehicle is the hatchback well-loved by millennials. The Suzuki Swift contributed 13 percent to overall sales for the first half of the year.       The Celerio ranks third among Suzuki’s top-selling vehicles with an 11 percent shares of sales. Powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-liter DOHC engine, the hatchback is available with either a five-speed manual transmission or a Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), making it the first model in its segment to offer CVT. Its compact design surprises with an interior that provides ample space, legroom and storage for stress-free driving.      SPH buckles up for continued strong growth these succeeding months with more targeted marketing strategies. Besides continuous efforts to bring the vehicles closer to the target markets through product displays and test drives, SPH reinforces its presence in the transport scene through active campaigns and promotions, including for those in the transport vehicle service (TNVS) ecosystem.       SPH makes ride sharing a more comfortable experience not just for drivers but for the commuters as well with the Suzuki Ciaz. A reliable partner on the road, the Ciaz runs on a refined K14B engine and has a lightweight and aerodynamic body for enhanced efficiency. Its roomy and ergonomically designed interior ensures a safe and comfortable ride for both the driver and passengers.       Spurred by the back-to-back successes in H1 2019 and with consistent marketing efforts, Suzuki Philippines warms up for a much more exciting initiatives for the remaining months of the year. These include the ongoing series of Auto Festival exhibits at SM City General Santos (September 21-22) and SM City Davao (October 26-27).      The brand will continue delivering on its commitment to provide only good-quality vehicles to provide Filipinos with the best driving experience and bring them closer to the Suzuki way of life.

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New Isuzu Dealership Soon to Rise in Tagum

August 12, 2019

Motoring

By: , Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC), the country’s leader in the commercial vehicle segment in the Philippines, is beginning the construction of its new dealership in Tagum, Davao Del Norte in line with the growing demands and expansion efforts of the company.      Tagum is predominantly agricultural, producing various agricultural crops and trees. It is strategically located at the northern portion of Southern Mindanao and lies in the intersection of three major road network system namely the ‘Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway’, the ‘Davao-Mati-Agusan Road’, and the ‘Davao-Bukidnon Road’ that connects the city to other major destinations in the region and for the rest of Mindanao.      As the city serves as a vital economic crossroad not only for the province, but for the entire Davao Region, Isuzu strategically located their new 11, 000 square meter dealership to feature not only its latest Isuzu’s showroom design, but also to showcase 8 light commercial and 2 truck service bays ready to serve the region.      The soon to rise Isuzu dealership in Tagum is strategically located along the road that connects to the three major road network systems, to bridge the way of the customers from major destinations in the region and for the rest of Mindanao.      “The construction of this new dealership demonstrates our dedication and commitment to create tailored transport solutions that make the greatest difference to individuals and businesses in the Philippines,” said Hajime Koso, President of Isuzu Philippines Corporation.      The construction of the dealership is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Moreover, Isuzu aims to continue to offer customers reliable, durable, dependable, and value-for-money vehicles that will give them the edge they need to be successful in their businesses and personal needs.      Isuzu Philippines Corporation currently has 43 dealerships nationwide, offering world-class vehicles, and exceptional after-sales services.

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Isuzu Launches ‘PUV-X’ Program at the 2019 Philippines Bus & Trucks Expo

August 12, 2019

Motoring

By: , At the Philippines Bus & Trucks 2019 expo to be held from July 24 to 26 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) unveils its vaunted “PUV-X” program that provides the optimum “Isuzu Advantage” for its public utility vehicle (PUV) customers.      IPC’s presentation is a key portion during the 4th Transport Cooperative National Congress, an annual event spearheaded by the National Federation of Transport Cooperatives (NFTC-BKKPPI). Held within the Philippines Bus & Trucks 2019, the Congress gathers inputs from the transportation cooperatives sector to help formulate the needed programs, projects and activities to further update and develop these sectors.      The “PUV-X” Program enumerates Isuzu’s 10-Point Advantage: 1) Isuzu’s proven reliability, durability and efficiency; 2) Experienced Body Builders; 3) Accredited Accessories Suppliers; 4) An unmatched 3 years or 150,000 kms warranty coverage; 5) Nationwide dealership network of 43 outlets and counting; 6) Expert Truck Executives (Truck Elites) to help customers; 7) Nationwide parts availability, competent and trained service technicians, technical assistance from Japanese and Filipino engineers, and Isuzu Service Medic vans for roadside assistance anytime; 8) Drivers and mechanic trainings; 9) Extensive fleet management system, and; 10) All-around customer assistance.      To aid in the discussion, NLR77 Class 2 PUV and NLR85 ref van were displayed at IPC’s booth. Test drives of the Isuzu PUVs used by the Senate Employees Transport Service Cooperative (SETSCO) will be offered during these two days. The SETSCO shuttle will also provide free rides to event participants within the Mall of Asia complex.      The annual PhilBus & Truck Show is recognized by the industry as the number one international bus, truck and commercial vehicle exhibition, a business-to-business trade show that prides itself in delivering top-quality trade buyers and decision makers. By working closely with key trade associations, the expo brings together bus, trucks and commercial vehicle operators, mining and construction companies, leasing and logistics companies, manufacturers, trading, parts and service and repair workshops to see and get updated on the latest range of buses, trucks and commercial vehicles.

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Ertiga Continues to be the Best-seller in Suzuki PH Stable

August 12, 2019

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines Inc. (SPH), the country’s pioneer subcompact car distributor, closes the first half of 2019 on a high note, posting 14 percent sales growth over the same period last year and climbing to the sixth spot in the local automobile industry ranking and fifth place in the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) ranking.      “We started the year on the right foot and strengthened our efforts in Q2 to reach more Filipino customers. Our aggressive and strategic marketing campaigns are key in pushing up our position both in the Philippine automobile industry and CAMPI rankings. These achievements reflect the Filipinos’ growing trust in our brand and the quality Suzuki cars that we provide. We are more driven now more than ever to bring only quality driving experience in every Suzuki ride,” shared SPH Director and General Manager for Automobile Division Keiichi Suzuki.      Committed to giving quality driving experience to every Filipino, SPH continues to assure the market with best-performance vehicles such as the New Ertiga, Swift, Celerio, Dzire and Vitara. These top-selling Suzuki vehicles collectively contributed 77 percent to total H1 2019 sales.      The top-favorite 7-seater family vehicle Ertiga is still the number one best-selling Suzuki vehicle in this year’s lineup with a 34 percent share of sales. The introduction of the new Ertiga Black Interior ramped up sales even further. Its fuel efficiency and spacious interior complement the elegance and modern style, giving the Ertiga a strong edge over its competitors.      Sporting a fiercer look and boasting maximum functionality, the all-new Ertiga combines strength and elegance in a compact body, allowing Filipino families to go on adventures and seize the day in style.       The upgraded 7-seater MPV features a taller nose and a wide and elegant front grille. The lower roof side extends the head room while providing a more stylish side view. The integrated lower grille and fog lamps add a sense of stability and make the car look edgy. Deeper curves on the side and shoulder and character lines were added to reflect robustness and a stronger presence.       The interior of the all-new Ertiga is designed with sophistication and flexibility in mind. The new steering wheel has a flat bottom for better leg clearance while the gauges are painted with metallic chrome for a sleeker look. The seats have a deep curb with the fabric showing a 3D effect.      The all-new Ertiga offers new comfort features to help make traversing Metro Manila traffic more bearable and pass the time away more pleasantly. The improved MPV has larger passenger legroom with the increased tandem distance of the 3rd row seats. For added relaxation, the third row has more headspace while the seats are designed with a reclining and tilt-down mechanism up to 16 degrees.       For better ventilation and convenience, a rear AC was installed to keep the 2nd and 3rd row passenger comfortable. Small storage spaces are also added all around, including a coin holder, ventilated cup holder, improved center console and door pockets, to accommodate more hand-carry items.      The all-new Ertiga comes in a light yet highly rigid body, thanks to Suzuki’s new generation platform, the HEARTECT. The new frame effectively disperses impact energy to improve safety while reducing noise and vibration.      Another notable feature is the Total Effective Control Technology (TECT), which scatters collision energy across the vehicle frame to mitigate damage to the car and passengers.       “All the upgrades on the new Ertiga are designed to give Filipino riders the confidence to enjoy every adventure knowing they and their family are safe and comfortable. Beyond making technological improvements on our vehicles, our goal is to always ensure that our customers have an optimum driving experience,” added Suzuki.      The all-new Ertiga is priced starting with GA at 728,000 PHP, GL MT 848,000, GL AT 888,000 and GLX at 978,000. It comes in 7 colors: Pearl Glorious Brown, Metallic Magma Gray, Pearl Burgundy Red, Prime Cool Black, Metallic Silky Silver, Pearl Radiant Red and Pearl Snow White      Following Ertiga as a top-selling Suzuki vehicle is the hatchback well-loved by millennials. The Suzuki Swift contributed 13 percent to overall sales for the first half of the year.      The Celerio ranks third among Suzuki’s top-selling vehicles with an 11 percent shares of sales. Powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-liter DOHC engine, the hatchback is available with either a five-speed manual transmission or a Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), making it the first model in its segment to offer CVT. Its compact design surprises with an interior that provides ample space, legroom and storage for stress-free driving.

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Cebu Pacific Air Cargo continues digital transformation with SmartKargo

September 19, 2019

Corporate

By: PR, Cloud-based solution powers apps, kiosks to streamline customer experience MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Cebu Pacific Air (PSE: CEB) has renewed its contract with QuantumID Technologies to ramp up SmartKargo for CEB Cargo.  The partnership will continue the cloud-based real-time management of CEB’s air cargo business using the advanced SmartKargo operating system.  The largest Philippine carrier has utilized the innovative Software as a Service (SaaS) solution to empower customers with real-time shipment information and advanced tools such as mobile apps that streamline customer experience via kiosks at the warehouse. The mobile app has also allowed CEB Cargo to enable its clients to manage their shipments end-to-end, from booking to destination. In addition, SmartKargo has helped CEB manage and integrate new dedicated cargo capacity into its fleet. “The SmartKargo Cloud solution has equipped CEB Cargo with the advanced digital tools to run our business,” said Alex Reyes, Cebu Pacific Vice President for Commercial. “We are very pleased to continue the partnership, and look forward to sustained growth that SmartKargo has enabled.” Enhanced capabilities of SmartKargo allowed CEB Cargo to provide paperless Airway Bills (e-AWBs), and ease of booking for CEB Cargo agents and customers by allowing single-screen data entries.  In addition, the solution provides simplified pricing and rate-making capabilities; real-time capacity management; user-configurable business Intelligence and reporting; and integrated Cargo Revenue accounting. The platform supports streamlined participation with partners doing e-commerce—facilitating B2B or B2C door-to-door operations via mobile applications as well as third party integration. “We at SmartKargo look forward to continue providing CEB Cargo with solutions and tools to grow their business,” said Jay Shelat, Executive Vice President at QuantumID Technologies. “We are happy and grateful to be working with an outstanding team of cargo professionals and excellent leadership.” Cebu Pacific was the first Asian carrier to adopt the SmartKargo Cloud platform in 2013.  About Cebu Air Inc. (PSE: CEB) Cebu Air Inc., operating as Cebu Pacific, is the largest carrier in the Philippine air transportation industry, offering its low-cost services to more destinations and routes with higher flight frequency within the Philippines than any other airline. Together with subsidiary Cebgo, CEB flies to 37 domestic and 26 international destinations with over 100 routes spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA. The Cebu Pacific fleet is comprised of two (2) Airbus A320NEO, two (2) Airbus A321NEO, seven (7) Airbus A321CEO, 33 Airbus A320, eight (8) Airbus A330, eight (8) ATR 72-500, and 13 ATR 72-600 aircraft. The ATR aircraft are used by Cebgo for inter-island flights where jet operations are not possible. CEB has received its first ATR freighter in August 2019, to provide bespoke cargo services within the country. CEB boasts of one of the youngest fleets in the world, with an average fleet age of five (5) years. For bookings and inquiries, guests can visit www.cebupacificair.com. The latest seat sales can be found on CEB’s official Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) and Facebook pages. About SmartKargo The SmartKargo end-to-end platform has robust mobile applications and advanced technologies such as real-time information, business intelligence, mobile apps, and machine-learning capabilities–while providing quick and seamless integrations with an airline’s current or future systems via APIs, for fast deployment and integration. The end-to-end technology is an extension of the SmartKargo Cloud SaaS solution that is built upon the world’s leading global cloud infrastructure, Microsoft Azure. SmartKargo Cloud provides ease-of-use and instant access to shipment information for all members of the value chain. Azure is the world’s leading cloud platform that supports our robust mobile applications. For more information visitwww.smartkargo.com

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28th Mindanao Business Conference Executive Report

September 17, 2019

Corporate

By: MIKE BAÑOS, ILIGAN CITY – The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed its satisfaction with the results of the recently concluded 28th Mindanao Business Conference held in this City of Majestic Waterfalls last September 12-14, 2019. Over 700 delegates from business, policy makers and stakeholders from government and private sector attended the three day conference organized by the PCCI and hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation of Iligan, Inc. (CCIFII) at the MSU-IIT gym in Barangay Tibanga, this city. A major milestone of the conference is the immediate response from President Duterte’s Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Karlo B. Nograles on the policy resolutions submitted by PCCI Mindanao. “We believe that the best evidence of government’s commitment to follow through on Mindanao development efforts are the Administration’s response to the 2018 MinBizCon Resolutions submitted to the President last year,” Nograles said.  “We are encouraged by the fact that many of the priorities and plans of the Administration are aligned with your concerns, and you have our assurance that the concerns you have raised are factored in the government’s ongoing programs and projects in the region,” he added. In response to the six policy agenda put forward by the PCCI to the Office of the President, Nograles, who represented President Rodrigo R. Duterte, committed to prioritize in the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP or Budget) the following major infrastructure projects and programs:   ·Upgrading the airport capabilities in Pagadian, Ozamiz, Tandag, Surigao, Camiguin and the expansion of the  Laguindingan Airport; · Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and a Trade (ROLL-IT) proposals from all regions in Mindanao; ·Rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi Hydro Power plants; ·Rehabilitation programs for Marawi City (livelihood, telecommunications, and other social services); and ·Packages of services and assistance for the implementation of Executive Order 70 - the Whole of Nation Approach to address peace and development in Mindanao. Target groups are geographically isolated and disadvantage areas, communities whose poverty incidence is more than 30% and conflict areas in Mindanao. “As we reach the halfway mark of the Administration, our focus is now ensuring that the programs and projects that we promised at the start of this term are being executed, if not yet completed, and will make a lasting impact on our countrymen via the many projects in Mindanao, “ Nograles said. Upgrading Mindanao Airports The night rating of the Pagadian, Ozamiz, Surigao (and Siargao), Camiguin airports are expected to be completed by 2019 to 2021. The Laguindingan Airport Original Proponent Proposal is undergoing NEDA vetting and is expected to be approved soon.  For the 2020 budget, the DOTr proposed funding for the aviation sector amounting to P 865 million for the development of airports and the upgrading of airport facilities. Of this, P100 million is allocated for the development of Laguindingan Airport. Based on the latest inspection, the November 2019 completion target for the initial 400-meter repair of the Surigao airport runway is expected to be met and the full 700-meters by February 2020. ROLL-IT Project Mindanao’s road network is being now developed by the DPWH with funds amounting to P126.86 billion. The Mindanao Road Development Network Program, covering 2,600.67 kilometers, connects the Zamboanga Peninsula, Southern Mindanao, Central Mindanao and Caraga Regions. For 2020, the proposed budget for ROLL IT alone is P10.2 billion. The DOTr also proposed for FY 2020 the inclusion of P97 million for the Mindanao Railway Project. “Also requested in this resolution is the conduct of consultations on policy-making. For this, we have the Regional Dialogues (Dagyaw), currently being conducted nationwide. Dagyaw 2019: Open Government and Participatory Governance Regional Dialogues encourage participation among government agencies, the public, and other stakeholders. As a platform for engagement and convergence, each regional dialogue focuses on area-specific topics to address the issues and problems encountered in each locality,” Nograles noted.            Agus-Pulangi Rehab The Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Plant rehab was among the projects lined up for China financing after the President obtained US$9 billion official development assistance (ODA) during his visit to Beijing in October 2016. Funding for this was firmed up as part of the “second basket” of projects in September 2017, and according to the NEDA, the rehabilitation of the plant is scheduled for 2020, to be completed by 2022 Rehabilitation of Marawi City “On fast tracking the Economic Recovery of Marawi City, we cannot agree with you more that acceleration for livelihood-related interventions, supplementary support such as financing and new and better opportunities for MSMEs and in parallel, continuing capacitation of those affected to be able to take up and sustain these activities, are paramount to the rehabilitation of the city as well as to establish business resiliency,” Nograles said. Corollary to this, however, is ensuring the security and the public’s safety so that dividends from current recovery programs will not be wasted, he added.  The reconstruction and rehabilitation of 18.97 kilometers of roads in Marawi City is now ongoing. Funding from both local and foreign sources have enabled the Duterte Administration to fast track the extensive planning and preparations required for the P67.99 billion reconstruction and rehabilitation program for Marawi within just a year after government troops liberated the city. Displaced families continue to be transferred to transitory shelters built through the efforts of Task Force BangonMarawi, and have been able to avail of livelihood projects and skills training programs undertaken by different implementing agencies, development partners, CSOs and NGOs. “As we build on these efforts that continue to this day, we in government welcome the new recommendations from the MinBizCon for 2019. From the initial briefing papers provided to us, there are new projects and priorities being recommended, and we welcome your input,” Nograles noted. Executive Order 70 - the Whole of Nation Approach While underscoring the media’s role in conveying to the public this government’s policy, the EO is now paving the way for better formulation of programs by the Regional Peace and Order Councils (RPOC) hand in hand with that of the Regional Development Councils (RDC). The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has also launched its own initiatives that utilize this approach to address the root causes of insurgency, internal disturbances, and armed conflict. The Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) initiative of the Regional Development Council-Region 10 (RDC-10) and the Regional Peace and Order Council-Region 10 (RPOC-10) is the first such mechanism to pioneer this approach. Emerging Investment Destination “In the coming years, we can expect increased investments since most of the committed investments and projects committed in the early part of the Administration are now past feasibility stage and are, in fact, already being implemented,” Nograles said. The Board of Investments (BOI) reports registered investments in Mindanao increased by 420% from P18.2 billion in April 2018 to P94.7 billion in April this year. The bulk of these investments in Mindanao are in the Caraga region (P 57.87 billion); Northern Mindanao (P31.97 billion); Davao Region (P2.7 billion); and Soccsksargen (P2.1 billion pesos). These registered new investments are expected to generate at least 7,000 new jobs.

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Oro Chamber supports Orobest program that enhances industry productivity and competitiveness thru scientific tech

September 16, 2019

Corporate

By: MDN digital - SEO Team, CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The Optimizing Regional Opportunities for Business Excellence through Science, Technology, and Innovation (OROBEST) is a regional program that enhances industry productivity and competitiveness through the generation and adoption of scientifically-developed technologies.   This program is a pilot endeavor of the Oro Chamber in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-X), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-X), USAID – Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE), and the academic institutions in Region 10.   According to Dr. Irene Floro, president of the Oro Chamber, “We have this innovation program in order to serve the technology innovation needs of the business establishments in our locality. We are tapping our local universities in the region that has the capacity to provide these answers through their research departments and technology centers..” After its successful launching last July 11, OROBEST Program Team conducted technology needs assessment with the small and micro-enterprises within the region as well as inventory of commercial and potential technologies from the academe. “At the moment, we are currently reaching out and prioritizing the small and micro enterprises who may have the needs to improve their technologies,” Queritess Queja, Executive Director of the Oro Chamber said. Last September 10, a Consultation with the Business Sector and Academic Institutions was held at Limketkai Luxe Hotel which identified the challenges of these sectors in terms of collaboration. The consultation also determined how these sectors can further strengthen their partnerships towards technology development and innovation.  With the positive results of the Consultation among these sectors, the Oro chamber- OROBEST program will again hold a series of activities on September 18-20, 2019, such as, Innovation Talk, Ideation and Project Design Workshops.  

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Belmont Hotel Manila Bags Prestigious World Luxury Hotel Plum

September 10, 2019

Corporate

By: MIKE BAÑOS, Belmont Hotel Manila, one of seven acclaimed hotel brands in the country’s premier entertainment and lifestyle destination Resorts World Manila (RWM), reaped yet another international recognition as one of the winners of The World Luxury Hotel Awards this year.  Belmont-Facade Defining excellence in global hospitality since 2006, the World Luxury Hotel Awards gather votes from over 300,000 international hotel guests in a four-week span to determine the top brands that connote luxury and the finest quality service for the year.   Belmont Hotel Manila was nominated in three of the award-giving body’s over 100 categories, including Luxury Airport Hotel category for being conveniently located in front of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 and easily accessible via the upscale pedestrian footbridge Runway Manila; Luxury Business Hotel category as voted by travelers who mix work, play, and pleasure; and Luxury City Hotel category highlighting Belmont Hotel Manila’s proximity to RWM and its many offerings. Last year, the brand was likewise recognized as the Airport Hotel of the Year by the Travel and Hospitality Awards.  Belmont Hotel Manila is a 10-storey business hotel with 470 well-appointed room, and features the all-day restaurant Café Belmont, fitness center with sauna, steam room and shower areas, a business  center, meeting rooms and function rooms, and a swimming pool with outdoor Jacuzzi, kiddie pool, and rooftop bar at penthouse that overlooks the NAIA Terminal 3 runway. Belmont Hotel Manila’s big win will be announced during the ceremonies to be held in Finland this October.   Know more about Belmont Hotel Manila and its world-class offers by visiting www.belmonhotelmanila.com.  BHM_WLHA Winner_Social Media 4

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Construction, tourism jobs up for grabs in Tesda’s Oro, Iligan events

August 9, 2019

Money Matters

By: Mark Francisco, HUNDREDS of domestic jobs in the construction and tourism industry in Northern Mindanao are up for grabs in two simultaneous job fairs to be spearheaded by the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) on August 25. According to Tesda 10 director Tarhata Mapandi, the twin job fairs dubbed as World Café of Opportunities will be held at Limketkai Event Center (Cagayan de Oro City) and Robinsons Place Iligan. Mapandi said the job fairs are exclusively for alumni of vocational courses only. She said that August 25 was chosen as the date for this year’s event since it is also celebrated as Tech Voc Day. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will participate in the simultaneous events to provide livelihood opportunities while the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will conduct free entrepreneurship trainings. Representatives from the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and Land Bank of the Philippines will also be on hand to provide financial schemes. The World Café of Opportunities was conceptualized in 2018 as Tesda’s strategy to link vocational graduates to employment opportunities both in wage and self-employment in a one-stop shop. On the other hand, Tech Voc Day was timed every August 25 in celebration of Tesda’s annual anniversary. This year, the agency will celebrate its 25th.

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Security Bank Q2-2019 profit up 32% Year-on-Year to Php2.57 billion

August 7, 2019

Money Matters

By: , THE Security Bank Corporation (PSE: SECB) posted Php2.57 billion in net income in the second quarter of 2019, up by 32% versus year-ago level. Total revenues grew 32% year-on-year to Php 7.9 billion. Net interest income from customer loans and deposits sustained its strong trajectory growing by 44% to Php 5.4 billion. This was driven by the continued expansion of retail loans and low-cost deposits. Retail loan growth accelerated to 54% year-on-year while low-cost deposits increased 11%. Retail loans now account for 25% of total loans versus 18% a year ago. Total loans grew 11% year-on-year to Php 427 billion. Total deposits stood at Php 449 billion. On June 28, 2019, the Bank issued Php 18 billion worth of fixed-rate peso corporate bonds with a tenor of 2 years as a cost-efficient funding source alternative to short-term high-cost deposits. Total deposits and peso corporate bonds combined grew 5% year-on-year. Net interest spread on loans and deposits increased to 5.36% in Q2-2019, up 38 basis points quarter-on-quarter and 108 basis points year-on-year. Total net interest income grew by 22% to Php 6.1 billion. Interest income from financial investments grew 7%. Overall, net interest margin increased to 3.59% in Q2-2019, up 18 basis points quarter-on-quarter and 42 basis points year-on-year. Service charges, fees and commissions increased 70% to Php 1 billion. This was driven by loan fees, credit cards, deposit charges and bancassurance. Securities trading gains in Q2-2019 amounted to Php 376 million. Total non-interest income increased by 81% year-on-year to Php 1.7 billion. For the January 1 to June 30, 2019 period, net income was Php 4.95 billion, up 15% from year-ago level. Net interest income from customer loans and deposits increased by 37% or Php 2.7 billion to Php 10.1 billion. Interest income from financial investments was higher by 9% or Php 439 million. Total net interest income grew by 18% to Php 11.8 billion. Service charges, fees and commissions for the six-month period increased by 46% to Php 1.86 billion. Securities trading gains totaled Php 1 billion. Cost-to-income ratio was 53.7% despite a year-on-year operating expense growth (excluding provisions for credit and impairment losses) of 23%. Asset quality remained healthy, with gross non-performing loan (NPL) ratio at 1.1% versus 0.75% a quarter-ago, and lower than industry’s 1.7% as of May 2019. The Bank set aside Php 639 million for provision for credit losses in 1H-2019. NPL reserve cover was 127%. Security Bank continues to be among the country’s best capitalized private domestic universal banks. Common Equity Tier 1 Ratio further increased to 16.8% from 16.5% a quarter-ago. Total Capital Adequacy Ratio likewise strengthened to 19.2% from 19.0%. Return on shareholders’ equity increased to 8.8% from 8.1% in 2018. Shareholders’ capital improved to Php 115 billion, up 7% year-on-year. Total assets increased 8% to Php 777 billion.

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PH 2020 national budget: PHP4.1 trillion

August 6, 2019

Money Matters

By: Azer Parrocha, Philippine News Agency, PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the proposed national budget for 2020 worth PHP4.1 trillion, Malacañang said on Tuesday (August 6, 2019). Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte approved the proposed 2020 cash-based national budget during the Cabinet meeting that started Monday (August 5) night. The PHP4.1-trillion budget is 12 percent more than this year’s PHP3.7-trillion expenditure program. Last year, Duterte submitted the proposed PHP3.7-trillion national budget for 2019 to Congress, on the same day he delivered his third State of the Nation Address (SONA). However, the government operated on a reenacted budget since January 1 this year after lawmakers failed to pass the bill on time due to a budget impasse in Congress. Duterte finally signed the 2019 budget but vetoed several provisions on April 15, 2019. Malacañang has yet to announce when it will be transmitting the budget proposal to the Congress but has 30 days from his fourth SONA to do so or until August 22. In a statement, Panelo described the budget proposal as one that would “respond to the needs” of majority of Filipinos. “This budget proposal is designed to respond to the needs of the majority of our countrymen longing to be uprooted from the decades of: want of basic necessities, inadequate supply of basic services, lack of infrastructures required to spur economic growth, absence of accountability on government coffers, vexing bureaucratic rigmarole, deprived education and unchanged poverty, and geared to achieve a more peaceful and progressive Philippines where the living standards of Filipinos are raised,” Panelo said. Panelo assured the public that the budget’s biggest slice will be allotted to education, followed by public works, transportation, and health. Moreover, he said the budget will be spent “wisely to reach a state of vibrant economy that will be felt by the citizenry.” The Palace has expressed hope that the 2020 budget would be approved without any delays. (PNA)

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GCash teaches Filipino youth how to be financially responsible

July 24, 2019

Money Matters

By: , “HOW do I start investing? How do I start saving up? When do I know when to get insurance? These are the questions I’m asked,” Mynt Chief Marketing Officer Chris Manguera said the company, which runs GCash, the leading mobile wallet app in the Philippines. With a majority of the country’s youth aiming to be financially responsible, GCash is compelled to innovate and improve their products to address the needs of young users who want to be financially responsible. Manguera said: “The intention is clear. They all have the intention to save, to be financially ready. But in the end the big gap is between intention and action. It’s our responsibility to bridge the gap.” He explained that discussions with GCash users aged 18 to 35––which comprise a third of their 20-million user base––revealed that young Filipinos want products that (1) provide a customized or personalized experience; (2) are proven to be the best in the market; and (3) are convenient to use. “No. 3 is the most important—convenience. This is a daily journey for us, to improve the convenience of our product,” said Manguera. “We have to enable them. How do we give them access to multiple channels?” One way GCash has done so, he said, is to leverage the steady rise of smartphone use in the country. According to Manguera, there were 48 million smartphone users by the end of 2018, and by the end of 2019, roughly 50-60 million Filipinos will have a smartphone. “That transforms everything. A smartphone is access to opportunities. It is access to information. It’s also access to financial services,” Manguera said. “The smartphone is becoming a gateway for many opportunities. That is the opportunity that GCash saw.” Because GCash is a mobile service, the people behind it sought to find out what convinced or discouraged mobile phone users to download the app. What they discovered was that many Filipinos who download mobile apps check the size of the apps first, as their phones many not have enough storage for it. For most smartphone users, an app that takes up 20-40 MB is okay, but it still depends on how many photos are in their phones. “They actually care about their storage. They actually care about how many photos they have to delete to install your app,” Manguera said. Adapting to this reality, GCash decided to use apps already found in most smartphones, like Facebook Messenger, to provide access to GCash’s most popular services: online bills payment, domestic remittances, and the purchase of prepaid load. With its #PwedePala online campaign touting the benefits of FB Messenger-activated GCash accounts, the company saw a 60% growth in new registrations in the first 60 days of the campaign, many of them young users. “Different experiences, different motivations. But at the core of it, they all desire to be financially ready. Whether you’re a breadwinner, a fresh graduate living with your parents or wanting to travel the world, or a working student wanting to earn more, to better manage your resources––at the core of it they just want to be financially responsible,” Manguera said. Since 2015 GCash has been the leading finance app in the Google Play Store. It has received numerous distinctions, such as the Best Mobile Payment App of the Year in 2017 from The Asian Banker and the Best Mobile Payment Service Award from the Telecom Asia Awards in 2018. The Bangko Sentral ng PIlipinas (BSP) has also recognized GCash as its Outstanding Partner for Digital Transformation and Outstanding Partner for Innovative Financial Services for 2019, citing its innovative and responsive digital financial services.

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IDC Hosts Thanksgiving Event for Valued Partners

September 3, 2019

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By: , In the spirit of gratitude, camaraderie and mutual support for all contributing and active sellers of Primavera City (PC), Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) hosted the 2019 Mid-year Thanksgiving event last August 10, 2019, at YakiMix Cagayan de Oro, by thanking and recognizing individual sellers, and realties. “I would like to thank our valued partners for the outpouring support for IDC. Since the release of Citta Bella’s License to Sell last June 24, 2019, we have recorded an increase of total reservations at more than 200% in peso value in year to date comparison versus last year.” said Ms. Gladys Echano, IDC Sales Director   “We were astounded of the support of buying public and our sales force and we are always grateful for this. The success of Primavera City wouldn’t be possible without our ever-supportive partners. And for that, we thank you!" she added. Cittá Bella at Primavera City serves as IDC’s legacy in producing high quality, smart, safe, and sustainable buildings imbibing an Italian aesthetic design, all while considering a reduced environmental impact through lower energy consumption.  "Primavera's greatest asset is its location and the green features which makes it very sellable and unique. With Uptown's upcoming developments we are assured that investing in Primavera City will definitely be profitable in the years come." said Ma. Lourdes Elcarte With the first few floors of the projects designated for commercial space leasing. IDC designed its developments to be mixed-use which can provide for the residential tenants’ immediate needs. "I have been an accredited seller for Primavera City for 2 years now and for the past years, Primavera has proven itself to be the best investment buy here in Cagayan de Oro. From its amazing ambiance, magnificent panoramic view, eco-friendly features and for its investment opportunity, Primavera City has it! And we will continue to sell and promote the development with the help of IDC-PSO employees who’ve been helping us along the way" exclaimed Mr. & Mrs. Bernard Tubiano. Primavera City development was a recipient of the Best Mixed-Use Development award at the prestigious International Property Awards Asia Pacific for 2017-2018. The Asia Pacific Property Awards is a highly distinguished international awards program joined by independent panels comprised of 70 industry experts whose criteria include design, quality, service, innovation, originality and commitment to sustainability "Primavera City’s 360 view provides a breathtaking scenic peek of Cagayan de Oro’s rich scenic landscape covering Camiguin Island, Macajalar Bay, Cagayan de Oro River, the Malasag mountain view and the city’s impressive sunset. For me, this spectacular view from Primavera City is always the best!" added Maebelle Bernandino, Khristine Santillian & Jim Ogsimer. IDC recently reached out to EDGE to continue to develop its future green projects with the support of the EDGE application specifically for Primavera City. Considering its highly effective results achieved through the use of a software that helps the designers and developers not only to identify the most cost-effective ways to build green but finding also solutions to reach the minimum standard of 20% less resource intensity in energy, water and embodied energy in materials. “While working out in your own gym, swimming in your own pool (on the rooftop!), and a jogging path are all excellent benefits for fitness conscious residents, the real deal for Primavera City residents is its eco-friendly features. All the green/eco-friendly features are what makes living in Primavera City the ideal health, fitness and wellness investment. Everything around you is intended to help make you feel good; to protect you from harsh environmental elements.” said Mr. Jim Ogsimer. IDC’s development projects: Primavera Residences (PR) and Primavera City (PC), both mixed-use buildings, are strategically located in the city’s prime flood and traffic-free location. Moreover, IDC provides unique, innovative, sustainable, and safe real estate products that satisfy and exceed the expectations of customers, business partners, and stockholders. "This is proof that IDC delivers its commitment of being a genuine sustainable real estate developer. Primavera Residences was recognized as a green building by an international rating agency which is part of the IFC of The World Bank back in 2015. Now that Primavera City is currently applying for certification, this will be a statement of IDC's sustainable advocacy." added Liberty Ruth Quiñones.

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Leading Service Network USSC Launches Their Own Superhero Circle Movement

August 29, 2019

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By: , MANILA, PHILIPPINES— After a successful run for the USSC 360° SuperHero Photo Booth, one of the country’s leading financial service networks takes their advocacy online. As a follow-through to their month-long ‘USSC SuperHeroes’ Day’ campaign in honor of National Heroes’ Day, USSC sets forth another milestone as they launch their #SuperHeroNgBuhayKo movement.  The #SuperHeroNgBuhayKo movement encourages everyone to nominate their “everyday hero” and share their stories of extraordinary encounters with them. “Through this movement, we get to celebrate the lives of these everyday heroes and make them stars. Their stories matter and we, at USSC, take these real life experiences into heart so we can also improve our services,” Becca Ramirez, USSC Brand and Product Manager, says. “Our previous National Heroes’ Day run also helped us understand our consumers more—what they want and the quality of service that they need. Which is why we want to extend this monthlong campaign into a more sustainable digital activation because we believe that everyone can be a superhero. We want to take it online from offline, and hopefully, a lot of people will participate,” Ziggie Gonzales, USSC Director for Brand and Product Management, adds. Join the #SuperHeroNgBuhayKo movement and nominate your USSC SuperHero! Simply post a photo of your everyday superhero with a caption about their super story. Use #SuperHeroNgBuhayKo #USSCSuperHeroesDay2019 and tag USSC on social media. All nominees will then be transformed into USSC SuperHeroes and featured on our pages! For more information, visit https://www.ussc.com.ph/. Follow USSC Super Service Stores on Facebook and @ussc.ph on Instagram.

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UnionBank bats for financial inclusion of MSMEs

July 25, 2019

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By: , With the rapid growth of technology in recent years, more and more businesses are slowly digitizing their operations and business models to adapt to the shift in the global marketplace. Here in the Philippines, local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are also making that shift to broaden their network and cater to a bigger and more diverse market. A lot of Filipinos have proven that while this is no easy feat, it is attainable and all it takes is support.      Many MSMEs now thrive locally and they continue to grow by the number every year. UnionBank recently sat down with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to discuss the different challenges that MSMEs are facing and how they can collaborate in bridging the information gap, and ease the business climate to be more financially inclusive.      Pia Roman-Tayag, managing director of the Center for Learning and Inclusion Advocacy (CLIA) of the BSP said that one of the biggest challenges to the growth and development of MSMEs is the limited access to credit. MSMEs are often reluctant to approach banks due to the difficulty – whether real or perceived – to meet bank loan requirements. Banks on the other hand are unable to appropriately gauge the capacity of borrowers due to a lack of formal credit histories and reliable financial statements.      Another factor is MSMEs’ limited knowledge on alternative modes of financing. They mostly rely on their internal funds to finance their investments. A World Bank report also showed that about 81.2% of Philippine enterprises rely mostly on internal funds to finance their investments and only 10.1% use bank financing, which is seen to inherently limit the prospect of growth. Ms. Tayag notes that this is where technology can play a crucial role in bridging the information gap and unlocking the potential of MSME finance.      UnionBank of the Philippines aims to bridge this information gap and provide MSMEs with the appropriate financial products and services they need to scale up their businesses. One of their solutions is UnionBank GlobalLinker (UBGL), an innovative and free online digital platform where entrepreneurs can access financial assistance, connect with other businesses and potential clients, and even create their own free online store.      Through UnionBank GlobalLinker, MSMEs can also save with pre-negotiated deals and offers from the platform’s partner fintech institutions like Taxumo, a tax filing platform that automates the computation, filing, and payment of business taxes; Paynamics for secure e-commerce transactions for merchants and their acquiring banks; Acudeen for invoice financing that helps MSMEs finance their receivables ahead of time; SeedIn, Southeast Asia’s leading business financing platform that connects MSMEs with potential investors for short-term financing and; Esquire Financing which provides tailor-made business loans for additional working capital and business expansion. As of date, the GlobalLinker network consists of 250,000 users worldwide, and 15% of which (or 38,000) are Filipino MSMEs.      UnionBank has also made it easier for business owners to open and maintain their own bank account. This is via the Biz Starter Account, which allows entrepreneurs to open a UnionBank checking account for a minimum deposit of P5,000. A business checking account helps MSMEs gain more credibility with investors, customers and other businesses and keep their accounting records accurate and organized.      Making these products and connections available on UBGL is consistent with UnionBank’s push for digitization as a financial institution. Beyond providing financial products and services, UnionBank wants to help MSMEs address the constraints to their growth, especially their limited access and knowledge on digitization. In the process, they are also enabling a community of businesses to help each other grow and succeed.      “Our goal is to help MSMEs access the resources that would best suit their needs,” UnionBank’s Program Manager and Lead Advocate for UBGL, Mourese Soriano said. “We want the platform’s users to have flexible choices that will address their restraints on capital and other sources of funding.”      MSMEs make up 99.5% of the total establishments in the Philippines, and contribute to 62.9% of employment and 35% of gross value added (GVA) (as reported by the Department of Trade and Industry). With added support for MSMEs from both the public and private sectors, the Philippines can achieve a more inclusive yet globally competitive economy.

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7th Financial Inclusion Steering Committee Meeting

July 25, 2019

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By: , The Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) held its 7th meeting on 5 July 2019 at the BSP in Manila. The FISC is an important platform that was established in 2016 through Executive Order No. 208 to provide strategic direction, guidance and oversight in the implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) which was launched in 2015. Now with 17 members, the inter-agency body ensures a coordinated approach to financial inclusion by ensuring policy and program cohesion and promotion of multi-sectoral collaboration.      Chaired by Governor Benjamin Diokno, the 7th FISC Meeting covered updates on priority initiatives the member agencies undertook in support of agriculture value chain financing (AVCF) and digital finance - the two focal themes of the NSFI.        The FISC members recognized the need to promote greater collaboration in government and private sector toward developing and financing agriculture value chains. Strengthening agriculture value chains can improve access of smallholder farmers and small agribusinesses to effective farming technologies and to stable, high value market– thereby improving their productivity, competitiveness, and bankability.  AVCF can therefore catalyze more meaningful and sustainable participation of the banking industry in agriculture financing, benefitting in particular the smallholders.      The FISC members also expressed their commitment to ensure more Filipinos are able to open and regularly use a transaction account so they can fully participate in the gains of an inclusive digital finance ecosystem. During the meeting, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) presented its initiative to facilitate the opening and use of e-money or basic deposit account for the conditional cash transfer program beneficiaries. Other agencies are also exploring opportunities to leverage their policymaking powers to promote use of transaction accounts, particularly by the microentrepreneurs, wage-earners and other vulnerable sectors. Aligned with this thrust, the Department of Finance also reported the ongoing interagency efforts to enable online payment of government fees and taxes which is expected to drive use of transaction accounts and digital payments.

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