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277,000 SMEs; 27,000 allied businesses, jobs created underline Ayala group’s growth

March 14, 2020

Makati, Philippines – March 12, 2020. As Ayala Corporation caps its 185th founding anniversary, its network of 227,000 small medium enterprises (SMEs) and allied businesses of some 27,000 partners and suppliers across the group are recognized as pillars in its continuing growth story. “Beyond our products and services, our businesses create multiplier effects for society and the economy.      Our group creates employment opportunities for a broad segment of Filipinos-- whether professionals, skilled or unskilled---as well as various entrepreneurial opportunities for many micro, small, and medium businesses. With the Ayala group’s unique attributes in diversity, scope, and brand equity, we are fortunate to have the ability to contribute to providing livelihood opportunities with scale and serve as catalyst for economic and social progress for many communities throughout the country,” noted Ayala Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.      More than half of these 227,000 unique SMEs within the Ayala network, partner with Globe for their data transaction needs and various ICT solutions to run their daily business operations. Another 100,000 enterprising Filipinos are already growing their business ventures with BPI’s Banko through zero collateral, low interest loans of up to P150,000 and sound financial advice. An estimated 1,000 SMEs are also doing business in 35 AyalaLand Malls nationwide and some subcontractors at the Makati Development Corporation that build sustainable residential and commercial spaces.      According to a DTI report, micro small medium enterprises (MSMEs) are becoming a significant contributor in the Philippine economy. They make up 99.5% of the businesses in the country where 60% are micro entrepreneurs with annual revenues of less than P10 Million. MSMEs employ 63% of working Filipinos and contribute to 35% of the country’s GDP. Ayala supports the growth of the MSMEs in the country. In addition, some 27,000 suppliers and partners across the Ayala group continue to benefit from the income derived from Ayala’s diverse businesses. All these economic activities aim to include as many players as possible creating more income generating prospects and jobs.      The Ayala group reported 71,823 total direct hires in 2019, up 19% from 2018. Ayala’s suppliers and SME partners are part of the country’s most productive citizens. The Philippine Statistics Authority estimates the country’s employment rate at 94.9% at December 2019. Ayala’s net income in 2019 reached P35.3 billion, which included divestment gains from AC Education and AC Energy. The strong consumer-driven growth of Ayala Land, BPI, and Globe lifted Ayala’s bottomline during the period.

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Korean firm starts construction of Panguil Bay Bridge

March 14, 2020

The joint venture group of three major Korean construction firms has begun the design and construction of the Panguil Bay Bridge Project in Tubod, Lanao del Norte. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) issued the group a Notice to Proceed on Feb. 14, 2020 and civil works for the project officially started on February 28, 2020. Joint venture contractor Namkwang-Kukdong-Gumgwang earlier advised DPWH of their readiness to start the detailed engineering, design, and construction with the mobilization of personnel and equipment on Friday, February 28, 2020. “Hopefully the project will be completed before the end of 2022,” said National Economic & Development Authority Region X Director Mylah Faye B. Cariño. Mega Bridge Program The Panguil Bay Bridge project is the first listed undertaking of DPWH’s Inter-island Linkage (Mega Bridge) Program which involves the construction of a series of short- and long-span bridges linking island provinces to eventually connect Mindanao and Visayas to Luzon via land travel. DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said the moving P1.7-trillion plan involves the construction of 17 short- and long-span bridges with a total length of 175,650 meters to be funded through a mix of foreign loans and grants, public-private partnerships, and the General Appropriations Act (GAA), a law Congress passes annually which defines the annual expenditure program of the national government and all of its instrumentalities. First dibs The Panguil Bay Bridge is the first project under the master plan. Once completed, the Panguil Bay Bridge will be the country’s longest at 3.77 kilometers, some 1.57 kms longer than the 2.2-kilometer San Juanico Bridge that links Samar and Leyte. DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain, project director in-charge of DPWH UPMO Operations and Technical Services, said it is envisioned to be a two-lane bridge which would connect Tangub City in Misamis Occidental and Tubod town in Lanao del Norte that would drastically reduce travel time between these two points from two-and-a-half hours to seven minutes. It will also shorten trips from the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan to Tangub as well as the Zamboanga Peninsula Region. Villar said bridges are key to developing the Philippine transport industry, as they are crucial in improving mobility and interconnectivity among adjacent cities and provinces. Aside from spurring economic growth, bridges would also reduce the country’s estimated P3.5-billion daily productivity loss due to traffic. THE Panguil Bay Bridge Project, to be financed through official development assistance from South Korea, broke ground November 27, 2018, The $100.13-million loan for the project was obtained from the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) in 2016 through a loan agreement with the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF). Cost overruns The Panguil Bay Bridge Project was one of three bridges under the national government’s Build Build Build infrastructure program which incurred the highest cost overruns in the 2018 national budget due to high inflation and project changes, according to data released by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). Neda’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) Portfolio Review 2018 report, total cost overruns—additional costs over and above the Investment Coordination Committee (ICC)-approved project cost—increased 264.02-percent to P24.79 billion in 2018, from P6.81 billion in 2017. Inflation in 2018 averaged 5.2 percent with September and October posting the highest inflation rates of 6.7 percent in the year. The change to the Panguil Bay Bridge Project and Integrated DRR was brought about by the increase in the length of approach roads and the width of the main bridge by a meter. The scope of the project was also widened with an increase in the length of the pile foundations; borehole diameters; inclusion of a seismic design; and additional temporary facilities. The changes increased the project cost of the Panguil Bay Bridge Project P2.52 billion (51.57 percent) to P7.38 billion from the ICC-approved cost of P4.86 billion. Neda said the revised cost includes actual expenses for RoW [right-of-way] acquisition in Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte. Reallocation The project also had to re-allocate US$9,093,000 from Contingencies to Civil Works and Detailed Engineering & Design (DED) loan categories, since the original loan allocation for civil works and DED amounting to US$86,038,000 was deemed insufficient to cover the US$125,519,000 actual bid price of the winning civil works contractor. “These changes in scope involved costs which required the concurrence and approval of the funders so it resulted in delays since negotiations involve time but hopefully with the notice to proceed and start of civil works we can now proceed with less of these delays,” Cariño noted. The Department of Finance earlier requested the Export-Import Bank of Korea’s Economic Development Fund (KEXIM-EDCF) approval for the re-allocation while assuring the bank the US$9,093,000 shortfall resulting from this would be financed by the Philippine Government from its counterpart funds. KEXIM subsequently approved the request as well as the Contract Agreement and Notice of Disbursement Limit for Design-Build of the project. The remaining US$30,388,000 for civil works and DED contract shall be sourced from the national government’s counterpart funds, which has already been covered by the ICC approval in July 2018 of the DPWH request for change in the aforementioned scope and 52 percent increase in project cost.

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PUV Modernization Program in Misamis Oriental

March 7, 2020

Local officials gathered during ribbon cutting during the launch of the PUV Modernization Program for Misamis Oriental as dozens of modernized PUVs will operate within the province. In the photo are Donald Rey Ellarina (left), president and CEO of Donsal's Express, LTFRB-10 Regional Director Alan Guro (3rd from left), Misamis Oriental Gov. Bambi Emano, and other dignitaries. Photo by Gerry Lee Gorit

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Third suspect in shootout with cops in Libertad arrested

February 21, 2020

ILIGAN City--The third suspect who was involved in a shootout on Monday (Fébruary 17) with policemen manning a checkpoint in Libertad, Misamis Oriental was arrested Wednesday afternoon in a hinterland part of Barangay Poblacion of Libertad, a police official from Police Regional Office (PRO) in Northern Mindanao. Police Lieutenant Colonel Mardy Hortillosa, spokesperson of PRO 10, the suspect, who he did not name, was arrested in a pursuit operation of joint elements of Libertad and Initao Municipal Police Stations of Misamis Oriental Provincial Police Office, 2nd Police Mobile Force Company and Regional Mobile Force Battalion 10. The suspect and his three other cohorts escaped after shooting a police officer when flagged down in a checkpoint in Libertad. The shootout resulted to the death of Police Staff Sergeant Ronald Caayupan and wounding of Chief Master Sergeant Fernando Maestrado who is now in a stable condition. The driver of the four armed men, identified as Jephone Fabriga Tinamisan, resident of Bañadero, Ozamiz City, died while one of them was arrested the following morning (February 18) hiding in a bush near the dried up river where they jumped. The first arrested suspect was introduced as Richard Son Perez to the police but said his name is Richard Manda when interviewed by reporters. Captain Dino Magno, chief of Initao Municipal Police Station who was in the pursuit operation, said the third suspect was arrested about five kilometers from where the firefight started. "He has no gunshot wound but he has bruises all over his body, probably he got those when he jumped from the bridge. He is very dirty and looks very hungry," Magno said. The suspect is now at the custody of Libertad police for interrogation.

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Cop killed in shootout with armed men in Libertad, Misamis Oriental

February 20, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--A police officer was killed when law enforcers engaged a group of armed men in Libertad town, Misamsi Oriental last Monday night, police said. Based on police report, five men were on board a white Mitsubishi Mirage on the way to Iligan City from Cagayan de Oro when they were flagged down by a group of police officers along the national highway in Barangay Poblacion, Libertad town at 8:20 in the evening. Police said the suspects inside the car fired at the officers conducting a checkpoint that resulted to the death of Staff Sgt. Ronald Caayupan. Wounded was Chief Master Sgt. Fernando Maestrado. Also killed was Jephone Tinamisan, from Ozamiz City, and said to be the vehicle’s driver. Recovered were four pieces caliber .45 handgun, two pieces KG 9 semi-automatic firearms, a 9mm pistol, four pieces hand grenade, and five plastic packets containing white crystalline substance believed to be shabu. Bahian said they are in the possession of cellphones retrieved from the crime scene. Following the conduct of a pursuit operation, one of the suspects was arrested near the bridge where he jumped off after running away from the law enforcers. Police identified the suspect, who sustained broken bones, as Richard Perez, although in an interview with reporters he introduced himself as “Richard Manda,” from Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. The suspect said they were on their way to Tubod, Lanao del Norte when the vehicle they were riding in was flagged down in Libertad. Lt. Col. Mardy Hortillosa, the regional police spokesperson, said pursuit operation has been launched to go after the three suspects who managed to escape. Hortillosa said Brig. Gen. Rolando Anduyan, regional police director, has directed police units from nearby towns to help in searching for the fleeing persons. He said a team from Cagayan de Oro City Police Office’s Special Weapons and Tactics was even deployed to assist in the search efforts.

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Initao police honors single mothers during Valentine's Day

February 17, 2020

INITAO, Misamis Oriental--Police here serenaded on Friday (February 14) employees of the local government unit (LGU) who are 'singles' or not in a relationship and solo parents or unmarried mothers to honor them on Valentine's Day. After singing a song entitled Valentine, popularized by Jim Brickman and Martina Bride, a police officer threw 'hugot' lines and gave flowers to a woman they intended to honor. Captain Dino Magno, chief of Initao Municipal Police Station, said his office came up with the idea of honoring single mothers to lighten up their Valentine's Day. "Many of them did not have partners who will give them flowers or chocolates perhaps for several years. Atleast they will go home not empty handed," Magno said. Jessie Acut, a staff at the municipal mayor's office, said she was delighted to have been serenaded and have received flowers on Valentine's Day. "This is my first time in three years that I received flowers on Valentine's Day," Acut, mother of five, who have been separated from her husband for 17 years, said. Amee Bagares, officer-in-charge of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development, who has been single mother for 14 years. She was smiling as he received flowers from a police who threw her a hugot line. But the highlight of their giving of Valentine presents is to surprise Vivian Magno, the wife of Senior Master Sergeant Jason Magno, the police officer who died after covering a grenade with his body, shielding a crowd from its explosion at the Initao College on November last year. Jason, the younger brother of Dino, was awarded by President Duterte medal of valor. Vivian celebrates her 41st birthday on February 14 for the first time without Jason. On February 15, Jason will also celebrates his 47th birthday. Vivian did not able to contain her tears when colleagues of her late husband started singing to her birthday song when she arrived at the police station around 10:00 o'clock in the morning on Friday. She went to the police station to get the police clearance her eldest son applied as requirement for his entry to the Philippine National Police Academy (PNP). "I am surprised and at the same time I am happy that Jason's former colleagues did not forget my birthday. This reminds me of Jason's attitude that he would never spend for his birthday because he would prefer spending for others' like mine or his children than his," Vivian said crying. Jason was known by his colleagues as thoughful and kind who did not let special occasions like Valentine's Day passed without giving something to his colleagues and close to him according to Dino. "This is some sort of remembering him," Dino said of his younger brother who was considered hero for saving the lives of several students in exchange of his.

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