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General Category => Real Estate Laws and Current Events => Topic started by: PinoyBroker on January 13, 2015, 11:04:58 AM

Title: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on January 13, 2015, 11:04:58 AM
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Saturday to Monday, January 10-12, 2015
Stronger economic growth seen in next 2 yrs
Infra, election spending to provide big boost

Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:59 AM | Monday, January 12th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines–For the Philippine trade chief, 2014 was “a good pause” for the expected “strong charge” in the last year and a half of the Aquino administration.

Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said that while 2014 was a good year, it was also beset by difficulties caused by the Manila port congestion, rising power rates, controversies involving the government and underspending, among others. These difficulties, he said, might have tempered the economy’s growth.

In the third quarter, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed to 5.3 percent, the lowest since 2011. This brought the average growth for the first three quarters of 2014 to 5.8 percent. For the full year 2014, the government was looking at a growth rate of at least 6.5 percent.

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Metro Manila property sector still attractive to investors

Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
6:21 AM | Monday, January 12th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines–Metro Manila’s property market remains attractive to global institutional investors this 2015 even as overall interest in Asia-Pacific’s emerging markets has somewhat waned ahead of the expected rise in US interest rates.

This was based on Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ latest annual research “Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific 2015,” which ranked the Philippines’ capital regional eighth highest in terms of city investment prospects and likewise eighth in terms of development prospects for this year. There were 22 markets monitored in the ninth annual survey.

Metro Manila’s ranking in the latest survey slipped from fourth place last year in terms of investment prospects but still stood better than other major Southeast Asian cities such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok. In terms of development prospects, its ranking was unchanged from last year.

In particular, the Philippines was noted to be still among the “best bets” in the residential property segment alongside its Southeast Asian peers.

John Fitzgerald, chief executive of ULI Asia-Pacific, said in a forum last week that while foreign estate investors had been looking at emerging market opportunities for the last three years, in practice they found limited scope to buy.

The three main risks that stood out this 2015, Fitzgerald said, included an economic hard landing in China, which could have a “knock-on” impact across the region, uncertainties on “Abenomics” or Japan’s economic stimulus program and the looming interest rate increases by the US Federal Reserve.

“Fast-growing emerging markets like the Philippines and Indonesia remained on investors’ radar, but the attraction has dimmed somewhat this year as investors become cautious over the potential for capital outflows in the wake of upcoming US interest rate hikes,” the report said.

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NGCP completes school bldg proj in Leyte

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
January 10, 2015 - 12:00am
PALO, Leyte, Philippines – The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has completed 21 school buildings it earlier committed to build in Leyte to help the province recover following the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

In a ceremony here, NGCP formally turned over a new three-classroom school building to Palo 1 Central School. The other schools were turned over in November.

The 21 beneficiary schools are spread out in nine local government units (LGUs) of Leyte namely, Palo, Tolosa, Ormoc City, Tan-auan, Sta. Fe, Alang-alang, Barugo, Carigara and Capoocan.

Around 10,000 students are expected to benefit from the new school buildings.

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MPIC allots P17B for 3rd Mactan bridge

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)
January 11, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) would spend as much as P17 billion to put up a third bridge connecting the city of Cebu and Mactan island.

Ramoncito Fernandez, president of MPIC’s Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), said the company is just waiting from the issuance of the Notice of Award from city government of Cebu.

“Our estimate of the start of construction of the project is anywhere between six and nine months from notice of award,” Fernandez said.

The original cost of the 7.9-kilometer bridge when it was first submitted to the government was P15 billion.

“Cost of the project is about P17 billion at today’s prices,” he added.

With the third bridge, it would be easier for motorists from Cebu City and the rest of southern Cebu to go to Cordova and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

There are about 82,000 vehicles per day using the two bridges that currently connect Cebu City and the island of Mactan.

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Decision on SM Prime’s reclamation plan up to next gov’t

By Daphne J. Magturo, Reporter
Posted on January 11, 2015 10:53:00 PM
SM PRIME Holdings, Inc.’s plan to reclaim and develop a combined 600 hectares of land along Manila Bay into a central business district may have to wait until 2017 before the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) acts on it, as the regulator said it looks to commissioning a lengthy comprehensive study that will serve as a “benchmark” for all reclamation projects involving the country’s major hub.

“The study is intended to be a comprehensive study for the whole Manila Bay area from the northern most tip in Pampanga down to the Southern part in Ternate or Maragondon, Cavite,” PRA Assistant General Manager for Reclamation and Regulation Joselito D. Gonzales told BusinessWorld in a phone interview.

“It will serve as a benchmark study where we will countercheck proposed projects,” he said, noting that the study is already “long overdue.”

To identify who will conduct the study, the PRA will launch within the year a bidding among consultancy firms with experience in reclamation and environmental study.

After that, the winning consultancy firm is expected to finish the study within 14 months, according to Mr. Gonzales.

“It is logical that the study is finished first before we move ahead with the processing of the LGUs’ (local government units) recommendations,” he said.

Last year, the cities of Pasay and Parañaque both awarded to the SM Group separate contracts to reclaim and develop around 300 hectares each in Manila Bay under their jurisdictions for at least P54.5 billion and P50.19 billion, respectively, and also recommended the same to the PRA, which in turn will endorse it to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for final approval.

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Township development seen as growth generator for property firms

By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star)
January 12, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Township development has become the biggest generator of growth for the major private real estate developers in the country today.

This type of property development features not just office towers. It brings together in the location residential condominiums,  lifestyle malls, retail and commercial strips, open parks and even a transport hub.

Most of the big players have outgrown their original shells  –  stand-alone towers, one-off projects – and explored various sectors, creating new communities, Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services Inc. said in a report.

The report cited Megaworld  which is developing Bayshore City in Pasay City, Uptown Bonifacio and McKinley West in the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) area, Woodsite City in Pasig City; Alabang West in Muntinlupa City, Mactan Newtown in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu; Iloilo Business Park in Iloilo City; and Davao Park District in Davao City.

Under the banner of Suntrust Ecotown, the group is also developing Southwoods City in the boundaries of Cavite and Laguna; Boracay Newcoast in Boracay Island; and Twin Lakes in Tagaytay City.

Megaworld envisions Woodside City as an “environment-friendly” mixed-use development. A main “green” feature of the township is the approximately 1,000 trees that will be planted around the development. This greening feature will help provide an outdoor thermal comfort for the future residents, workers, tenants and visitors of the township.

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Property firm speeds up dev’t in south

Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:15 AM
Monday, January 12th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines–The leisure estate arm of property tycoon Andrew Tan-led Megaworld Corp. has rolled out the third phase of its upscale village, Alabang West, after the first two phases generated P5 billion in sales less than three months after its launch.

In a statement, Megaworld unit Global-Estate Resorts Inc. said it remained bullish on its residential projects at Alabang West, citing brisk sales and strong demand for the high-end horizontal residential development.

From an initial price of P47,000 per square meter in October, the price rose to P48,500 in December.

Rachelle Peñaflorida, vice president for sales and marketing of Megaworld Global-Estate Inc., said the group had started selling lots under the third phase in view of the fast take-up of the initial two phases.

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SMDC eyes horizontal development in P18-B expansion this year

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
January 12, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines -  The residential development arm of the Sy family’s property conglomerate SM Prime Holdings Inc. will undertake a more aggressive growth path this year, allotting as much as P18 billion to double the company’s new project launches and potentially make its foray into horizontal housing development.

SM Prime chief finance officer Jeffrey Lim said SM Development Corp. (SMDC) is earmarking a capital ex-penditure budget of P15 billion to P18 billion this year to fund new projects as well as expand existing developments.

For this year, Lim said SMDC would hike its new project launches to about four or five from only two last year.

The new projects would add 12,000 to 14,000 units to SMDC’s portfolio and would generate sales of as much as P14 billion, Lim said.

In addition, he said two more existing projects would be expanded this year through the addition of new towers.

“We see a lot of demand continuing and there’s a lot of demand in terms of afford- able residential condos,” Lim said, when asked regarding the firm’s more bullish plans for the year.

SMDC also intends to push through with its planned maiden venture into low- cost horizontal development.

“We’re working on horizontal development, but that is still in the planning stages. Hopefully we can launch one project within the year to serve as our pilot,” Lim said.

Lim said SMDC is still finalizing the location for the horizontal project, but it would likely be in the province, either north or south of Metro Manila.

He said the move to venture into hori- zontal development arose from demand coming from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) looking for units at the P800,000 to P1.2 million range.

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FBDC to build performing arts center in BGC

By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
January 12, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines -  Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. (FBDC), the main private developer of Bonifacio Global City, is embarking on a P450-million performing arts center project in Taguig following the success of the country’s first world-class science museum.

The performing arts center, which would cement the city’s stature as a premier science and arts hub, will be undertaken by the Bonifacio Art Foun- dation Inc. (BAFI), a corporate founda- tion of FBDC.

In an interview, BAFI managing direc- tor Manny Blas II told The STAR that construction of the 500-seater performing arts theater will commence by the end of the month and would be operational by the middle of next year.

“The next project of the foundation is to build a performing arts center in BGC so we will have both arts and science facilities. So the Mind Museum would be for the sciences and now there will also be one for the arts in BGC,” Blas said.

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This news aggregation service is brought to you by CCGA Real Estate Services & Advisory.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on January 13, 2015, 11:06:10 AM
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Saturday to Tuesday, January 13, 2015
MPIC’s proposed Cebu bridge proj subject to Swiss Challenge

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 13, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The proposed of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. to build a P17-billion bridge connecting Cebu City and the municipality of Cordova will be subjected to a “Swiss Challenge.”

MPIC said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) that the proposed Cebu-Cordova bridge project of Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp. will have to go through a “Swiss Challenge.”

 “MPTDC can now start negotiations with both Cebu City and the Municipality of Cordova. Once done, a Swiss Challenge will have to be conducted before award,” the company stated in the disclosure.

Under the “Swiss Challenge” approach, the government would give other private sector participants a chance to submit competitive counter proposals. If the counter proposals are more attractive than the unsolicited or original proposal, the government would give the original project proponent the opportunity to match the competing counter proposal and win the project.

The unit of MPIC’s Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) is looking at forming a joint venture with the city of Cebu and the municipality of Cordova for the design, construction, implementation, operation, and maintenance of the toll bridge for a period of 35 years including preparatory work, design, and construction.

The project includes the construction of the main bridge structure, viaduct, causeway, and roadway.
In an earlier interview, MPTC president Ramoncito Fernandez said the construction cost of the toll bridge is estimated at P17 billion.

About 70 percent of this will be sourced from debt while 30 percent will come from equity contributions.

Assuming that all awards and approvals are secured by the first half of 2015, the MPIC unit intends to complete the project by 2020.

The proposed toll bridge spanning 8.3 kilometers linking the island of Mactan to mainland Cebu through the town of Cordova would decongest the traffic in two existing bridges and provide seamless access between the two islands.
BCDA bidding out small lots

Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:38 AM | Tuesday, January 13th, 2015
State-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is bidding out seven so-called “small value properties” along C-5 Road and in the Fort Bonifacio area in line with the agency’s asset privatization program.

In a notice, the BCDA said it was bidding out two lots in Fort Bonifacio—the 165-sqm Kalayaan Villa which is being offered for a minimum bid price of P4.95 million and the 225-sqm Summit Housing, which is expected to fetch bids of at least P5.062 million.

Also up for sale are lots located at the East of C-5 Road in Taguig City: the 96-sqm Lot 12515-E, which has a price tag of P1.78 million; 262-sqm Lot 3 (P4.85 million); 438-sqm Lots 2A and 2B (P8.103 million); 976-sqm Lot 1250-B (P18.056 million), and 4,040-sqm Lots 2 and 25-E-3 (for P72.6 million).

According to the BCDA, these lots are being offered on an “as-is, where-is” basis. The properties listed are being sold separately, which means interested parties may opt to bid for any or all of the lots being offered.

Interested bidders have until Feb. 11 to purchase the bidding terms of reference for a nonrefundable fee of P10,000.

A pre-bid conference will be held on Jan. 23 to allow interested parties to thresh out any concerns or issues regarding the bidding.

For this year, the BCDA is expected to also bid out for long term lease and development portions of the 9,450-hectare Clark Green City in Pampanga, which is envisioned to become the “international business hub of the Southeast Asian Region.” The first phase will see the development of 1,300 hectares.
First LGU PPP project gets go signal
Posted at 01/12/2015 4:47 PM | Updated as of 01/12/2015 4:50 PM
MANILA – The first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project of a local government unit has been approved by the Investment Coordination Committee–Cabinet Committee (ICC-CC).

The ICC approved the P400 million Tanauan City Public Market Redevelopment Project, which involves the construction of a commercial mall building and separate wet and dry public market facilities.

The project will be a 25-year concession including one-year construction period.

The redeveloped public market aims to create jobs for the local communities in the city and nearby municipalities as well as improve storage and market facilities for local business.

It is also expected to reduce traffic in the area by significantly improving the turnaround time for transporting goods and wares to and from the public market.

“This is the first LGU-PPP project approved by the ICC and we look forward to more local PPP initiatives facilitated by the Center’s PPP capacity building strategy for local governments,” said PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao.

The Tanauan City government plans to start the bidding process within January and expects to award the contract to a private partner by March this year.
CREBA proposes package to address 5.5-M housing backlog

By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated January 13, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (CREBA) is proposing a package of reforms to allow the country to address the 5.5 million housing backlog in the next 20 years.

 “With the backlog estimated at 5.5 million, we have set our target production of 500,000 (housing units) per year for the next 20 years,” CREBA national chairman Charlie Gorayeb said during the group’s Developer’s Forum yesterday.

To achieve the annual housing production target of 500,000 units, Gorayeb said the group has identified a five-point agenda or package of reforms aimed at providing benefits to the government, homebuyers and the private sector.

Among the reforms pushed is the availability of long-term and affordable funds for socialized and economic housing.

The group is proposing a Centralized Homebuyer Financing Program (CHFP) which would involve initial contributions from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Pag-IBIG and unused agri-agra funds of banks invested in housing bonds pursuant to different laws, to be made available as home financing assistance to individual home loan borrowers with no component for development financing.

In addition to the CHFP, the group is proposing the operation of a long-term mortgage-backed securitisation program which would involve securitisation, capital and secondary market operations for home mortgages and other housing-related receivables, conveyances and financial instruments to be managed by a secondary mortgage institution organized by the government, to increase funds available for housing and home development.
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Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on January 22, 2015, 08:41:31 AM
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Ayala Land to open 8 new malls until 2016
Posted at 01/19/2015 7:08 PM | Updated as of 01/20/2015 3:21 PM

MANILA – Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) is expanding its mall network with 8 new malls that the firm is planning to open until 2016.

“On projected malls, ALI aims to open a total of 8 malls within 2015 to 2016. On total malls so far, we have 16,” Suzette Naval, Ayala Land’s corporation communications manager, said on Monday.

One of these malls will be located in Legazpi, Albay through a partnership with Bicol-based LCC group. The mall is expected to open within the year.

"Bernard Vincent Dy, ALI president and CEO confirms the Legazpi Mall project which was reported in Philippine Daily Inquirer," Naval said.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange, ALI also said it is looking to spend P100 billion in capital expenditures this year to support the firm’s “aggressive growth trajectory” as part of its 2020 Vision program, which aims to achieve a 20 percent annual growth in the next six years.

“This will be supported by our recent P16 billion equity placement and a combination of cash, cash flow generated from our operations, dividends from our subsidiaries and an estimated P10-P15 billion in borrowings. The plans on the borrowings are still being evaluated based on market conditions to ensure that we maintain a healthy balance sheet position,” the firm said.

ALI is the firm behind the Glorietta and Greenbelt malls in Makati, and the Trinoma mall in Quezon City. The firm also has malls in Alabang, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Subic, Bacolod and Pampanga.
Sta Lucia to expand mall presence outside Metro

By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 21, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Property developer Sta. Lucia Land Inc. (SLI) is eyeing to expand its mall presence outside its domain in Rizal, citing the country’s consumption boom as its growth driver.

“The company plans to replicate its success and expertise in its current 120,000-square meter mall in Rizal by building    new malls in commercial areas it already owns,” SLI said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday.

SLI said the size of its commercial areas across the country currently stands at  around 33.93 hectares and are located in over 20 cities and provinces.

SLI president and chief executive officer Exequiel D. Robles earlier told The STAR in an interview that the company is eyeing Iloilo or Davao as possible locations for its new mall developments.

To date, SLI’s only mall under its portfolio is the Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall in Cainta, Rizal. 

Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall was the first shopping complex which catered to the communities of Pasig, Cainta, Marikina and Antipolo in 1991

In September last year, the listed property firm completed IL Centro, a two-level expansion mall of its East Grand Mall.

As one of the country’s largest subdivision developers with presence in 10 regions, SLI said it is poised to capture the country’s remarkable economic performance in the coming years as growth continues to accelerate in areas outside Metro Manila

“With multiple projects already present in the key cities and provinces, the company will be the beneficiary of increased purchasing power and the renewed influx of commerce as businesses starts to flourish in emerging cities and provinces,” the listed property firm said.

David dela Cruz, SLI executive vice president and chief finance officer, said market value of the company’s properties in Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Pampanga and Bulacan has appreciated in recent years is expected to do so in the coming years.

“Even during the property crisis that happened in the past decades, property prices in these areas did not have violent swings, but instead have had a steady trajectory of increases in values over the past years,” he said.

The company has launched a total of 38 projects in the past three years in areas such as Rizal, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao.

SLI was able to more than double its earnings in the third quarter of last year behind soaring real estate sales.

The company’s net income climbed 112 percent in July to September 2014 to P426 million from P201 million the previous year.
8990 Holdings launches P1.1-B Gen. Santos project

Doris C. Dumlao
1:00 AM | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

MASS housing developer 8990 Holdings is breaking into the residential property market of General Santos with the launch of a P1.1-billion housing project, thus expanding its footprint in Mindanao.

The launch also marks the establishment of 8990’s seventh hub.

In a briefing on Tuesday, 8990 Holdings president and chief executive officer Januario Jesus Atencio said the company still had a lot of room to grow, noting it was in only seven of the country’s 14 regional growth centers.

Upbeat on prospects for the housing market, he said 8990 expected to sustain a growth of 20 percent each year.

In 2014, he said 8990 was on track with its guidance of generating around P8 billion in revenues, out of which 40 percent in margins would likely be unlocked.
About 8,000 residential units were completed last year by the listed company.

This year, 8990 is setting aside P3 billion for capital spending, mostly for land acquisition.

Meanwhile, the new project in General Santos came about following an opportunity to acquire an existing project started by a local businessman, whose core expertise is in tuna fishing and thus decided to divest from mass housing.

8990 acquired the project called “Rosalio Bayview” from Safi Land-GSC Development Corp.

8990 will initially build on the 18.82-hectare portion of SAFI’s 67.53-ha landbank, but it has the exclusive rights to acquire additional land in case of strong market demand.

The project will be renamed Deca Homes GenSan Bayview, which will start offering within this quarter 1,271 house and lots ranging from 80 sqm to 150 sqm as well as parks, playgrounds and other community facilities.

8990 plans to set aside about 20 percent of the development project for socialized housing units at 40 sqm each.

The price of each housing unit will likely range from P450,000 for the socialized segment to as high as P750,000.

The P1.1-billion project estimate refers to the sales value of new units to be brought to the market.

“GenSan is a progressive city with a big housing demand,” Atencio said.

“We are happy about opening our new branch in General Santos City because it allows us to expand our reach to new areas and extend our housing products and services to more working-class Filipinos,” he added.

The company has vowed to step up efforts to provide affordable houses to help the government address the massive backlog in housing units.
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Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on January 22, 2015, 08:41:59 AM
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Thursday, January 22, 2015
Green architecture helps mitigate effects of climate change

January 21, 2015
Climate change is taking its toll in our country. Rainy seasons have become unpredictable, bringing severe flooding and other dire conditions that scientists predict will become more frequent as the planet continues to become warmer.

In response to environmental threats, Filipino architect and green architecture advocate Albert Zambrano encourages architects to do their roles in limiting the effects of climate change in the communities. He said that architects are in a position to take a lead role in climate action by promoting green designs.
Green building designs can help ease negative effects of climate change.

Green building designs can help ease negative effects of climate change.

“It has been estimated that 40 percent of all fossil fuels consumed are attributed to the construction and operation of buildings. If architects design buildings that are energy efficient, then the carbon dioxide emission, which is one of the leading causes of climate change, can be significantly reduced,” he said.

To help mitigate the effects of climate change, according to Zambrano, architects can do three things: employ green building principles and processes to their projects; educate and convince clients, building users, other building professionals, and stakeholders to go green; and create examples or templates for easy replication on a mass scale for higher impact.

Locally, architects and their respective organizations are quite active in addressing the issue of climate change by pushing for green building designs. The United Architects of the Philippines, for instance, encourages its members to design green.

A number of academic institutions have also expressed commitment to promoting green architecture so future architects will be equipped with the knowledge and skill set to deal with climate change.

Zambrano, who is teaching Urban and Regional Planning and Building Information Modeling courses at Mapúa Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture, Industrial Design, and the Built Environment, involves his students in social housing projects he spearheads to expose them to real-life situations.

One of his recent projects is the vertical sidewalk-medium rise building, a multi-story structure designed to mitigate floods, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and create livelihood opportunities for the urban poor. Together with renowned architect Felino Palafox, Jr., he also spearheaded the Estero de San Miguel Project, which was unveiled recently.

The buildings use natural light and ventilation, have green walls made from steel matting suitable for growing pechay or spinach, and have rainwater and grey-water catching system useful for collecting water during the rainy season and recycling of household water. Both were also designed to be conducive to the development of micro, small, medium, and home-based enterprises.

While it can be said that architects can take the lead role in mitigating the effects of climate change, environment-friendly practices can start at homes and in schools.

“The government has enacted laws addressing climate change. What needs to be done now is instill green living in the future generations. Simple things like practicing the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle) at home and work in every opportunity can have an impact,” he concluded.
Delay of the land

Conrad Banal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:29 PM | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
SM Prime Holdings, owner of the 50 or so SM malls all over the country, issued a statement saying it was resuming an expansion project in its property in Baguio City, which was derailed by court cases for more than two years now.

Thus, the SM group last Saturday started groundwork at its eight-hectare property in one of the busiest areas of the city.

It seems the construction workers uprooted pine trees in the private property, some 60 of them, according to unconfirmed accounts on the Internet.

Uh-oh, the guys down here in my barangay could almost hear all the noise from the self-proclaimed “environmentalists” against the resumption of the SM land project.

Actually, at the onset, the SM group called the Baguio mall expansion a “green” project, owing perhaps to its LEED certification. LEED was nothing but the “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” recognized all over the world for standards on “green” construction.

Let us put things in perspective here: Those environment friendly construction standards did not just come from out of nowhere, because the US Green Building Council developed them. Meaning, there was “science” in them.

Really now, the signal for the SM group to resume its much delayed “green” project came from the Court of Appeals a couple of weeks ago. The CA affirmed an earlier decision made by the Baguio City Regional Trial Court.

(A long time ago, the regional court already lifted a “temporary environmental protection order” issued against the project, obviously upon the insistence of so-called environmental groups, which then went to the CA to appeal the lifting order.)

And so for more than two years, nothing happened in the P1.2-billion expansion project of the existing mall in the SM property that the Baguio City government hailed as a big help in solving some big problems in the ever-growing urban Baguio.

You see, the SM group even aimed to provide green facilities in the eight-hectare mall property, such as walls and rooftop filled with live, breathing plants, which genuine environmentalists would only love to have in all construction projects anytime.

Ornamentation and aesthetics aside, however, and this may be unknown to many, the expansion project had—from the beginning—other environmental features invisible to the public eye. Among them was the sewerage treatment facility that the entire Baguio City, not just the SM mall, direly needed.

To think, if you would ask genuine environmentalists, sewerage treatment was always a “must have” in urban projects, precisely to avert the total destruction of natural waterways from human water wastes.

Also included in the SM construction blueprint was the provision for impounding and storing some 6 million liters of rainwater, which a water-deprived city like Baguio could definitely use to water the plants—and the pine trees—in its various parks.

That—or for cleaning the streets of mud created by soil erosion in most parts of the city.

Above all, the SM expansion project, from the very start, boasted of allotting space for parking that can accommodate—at any one time—more than 1,200 vehicles and more than 250 for motorcycles or… well, bicycles.

As I said in the past, biking and hiking in Baguio were always refreshing back in our younger days when we used to go there for short summer trips.

Nowadays, nobody would want to bike and suffer the thick smog in the city, exacerbated surely by the worsening traffic condition all over the city, mainly due to the critical lack of parking space.

Question: How could the Baguio City government solve the smog problem without solving the traffic congestion by providing parking spaces for thousands of vehicles?
For so many years, in large parts of Baguio City, the streets were converted into parking lots by all sorts of commercial establishments.

For example, one of my favorite restaurants in Baguio has always been “Cafe By The Ruins.” I heard that it opened a branch recently by the sidewalk beside another favorite place called “Mario’s.”

Guess what—their customers would double-park on both sides of the road. You can just imagine the result.

As I said, the CA just affirmed the decision of the regional trial court, dated April 2012, to dismiss the case against the SM project that was filed by three groups claiming to represent the thousands of residents of Baguio City.

The RTC ruled back then that the mall project within the vicinity of the Luneta Hill “will not cause irreparable injury to the environment or the constituents of the City of Baguio.”

From what I heard, the same groups were still planning to file a motion for reconsideration before the CA.

Still, the SM group announced that, with the CA decision issued last month, it could finally proceed with the “Sky Park,” which was the mall expansion project, featuring green walls and roof deck, sewerage treatment and water impounding systems, and parking facility with floor area bigger than the Araneta Coliseum.

After all, the group claimed it had already secured the final approval and necessary permits for the project, even holding dialogues with various community groups.

But aside from legal voodoo and all that mambo-jumbo, it would be hard to see the project as anything but beneficial to Baguio City. Let us not even talk about the economic impact of the project, considering the taxes it would bring into the city coffers.

For instance, in 2012 or two years ago, even the notorious DENR, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, ordered the SM group to plant 6,000 trees in and around Baguio City.

But the SM group went against the DENR order, because instead of planting 6,000 trees, the group actually planted 60,000 trees, or 10 times the number ordered by the DENR.

Here is more, in its representations with LGUs in the Baguio metropolitan area, the SM group had committed to plant 500,000 trees in the next five years.

No other group—whether genuine or pseudo environmental group—could claim to have committed such a grand tree planting scheme in Baguio and surroundings.

Well, in its own eight-hectare property, SM already cared for about 1,200 pine and alnus trees, with 41 of them replanted (i.e. relocated) in the same site, under supervision of the DENR and the LGUs.

Besides, other establishments cut trees in the city, such as the Toyota dealer expansion for its show room, or those 700 or so trees that the developers of condos in the city also cut down.

Like it or not, Baguio City for a long time now suffered from various problems such as mass squatting—nicely known as illegal settlement —such as in the Busol area. And so what used to be mountainsides full of trees were converted into squatter colonies full of garbage.
Why BSP is tightening rules on real estate investments
Posted at 01/19/2015 10:12 AM
MANILA – More developers have been enticing buyers to purchase properties by no longer requiring them to pay the 20 percent downpayment.

However, financial adviser Salve Duplito said that what most people don’t realize is that the 20 percent downpayment rule is their protection from foreclosure, lightens mortgage, and reduces pressure on cash flow.

The downpayment requirement is also a litmus test of whether you’re financially ready to buy a house.

“Without a 20 percent downpayment, buying a house seems more achievable. But there’s a high likelihood that’s an illusion buyers will discover as the years go by. And the result of that illusion—foreclosure—can be very painful,” she said on ANC’s “On The Money.”

The aggressive selling strategy of waiving the 20 percent downpayment requirement is one of the factors in the US financial crisis in 2008.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is tightening its regulations regarding this strategy as well as other aspects of real estate lending in efforts to keep the country’s financial sector healthy.

“That is part of the regulatory review we are doing because we want to be sure that credit underwriting standards are being maintained,” said Dr. Johnny Ravalo, BSP assistant governor.

The BSP is also reviewing contract-to-sell financing deals of real estate developers.

Contract-to-sell financing is a scheme that involves removing downpayment, and allowing buyers to pay in installment but with a balloon payment within a couple of years.

The developer then sells the receivables to the bank.

Ravalo said the BSP has set a minimum standard of 1 year before a developer can sell the receivable to a financial institution.

“We are undertaking a new review whether it needs to be tightened a little bit more, given what we are seeing as the supply side of the market. An individual cannot simply go to the developer, get a unit, and then the developer next day turns around and sells it to the bank. It has to go to an aging process so there is track record that the individual has a capacity to pay. Only then, there’s a minimum period for that, can the developer go to a bank and try to sell,” he said.

The BSP is also tightening regulations in terms of prioritizing cash flow and capacity to pay rather than collateral in credit evaluation.

Ravalo also said that the regulator is tightening disclosure rules as well as monitoring data and compliance.

He added that demand for real estate seems to be less an issue now than before due to the country’s demographic.

The important signs that the BSP is looking at in real estate is the capacity of individuals to pay their loans; how well banks can find good borrowers; and what recourse a person has when he falls into financial distress.

“If you want to keep the economy healthy, stay away from those no downpayment deals, which make it harder overtime for you to pay off your property,” Duplito said.
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BSP to release new resd’l real estate price index by Q3

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 19, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas may release the new residential real estate price index by the second quarter of this year, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said last week.

Guinigundo told reporters the central bank is currently collecting first quarter data for the property index, which will serve as an indicator of house prices in the country.

“We’re collating data… first quarter data so maybe it will come in in the second quarter,” Guinigundo said, adding construction materials and building permits will be the main components of the index.

The BSP executive last year said the index will initially cover Metro Manila and nearby provinces but there are plans to expand this to other key cities in the country.

The central bank aims to build at least 20 years of data for the new property index aimed at also helping regulators spot any potential asset bubbles in the sector, Guinigundo said.

The BSP has been continuously monitoring banks’ exposure to the housing sector given the sustained robust growth of the sector and rising prices of houses, offices, and lots.

Latest central bank data showed banks’ real estate exposure jumped 23 percent to P1.159 trillion as of end-September last year.

The bulk of these were real estate loans, which grew 24 percent to P977.05 billion, while the rest were investments in the property sector which also increased 25 percent to P384.119 billion.

The central bank has deployed policy actions to better guard banks’ exposure to the sector and ensure there are no inflated prices in the property sector, in line with its financial stability mandate.

Last year, the BSP has required banks to undergo a separate stress test to assess the impact of their exposure to the real estate sector in case borrowers fail to pay their loans.

Banks need to maintain a common equity tier 1 capital ratio of at least six percent and a minimum risk-based capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent even if 25 percent of their exposure to the sector has been written off.

Back in 2012, the BSP also enforced stricter rules for banks’ reporting of their exposure to the real estate sector.

The system was amended so banks would also report loans to developers of socialized and low-cost housing, and to individuals, and credit supported by non-risk collaterals or Home Guarantee Corp. guarantee.

Banks were also required to report their investments in debt and equity securities that finance real estate activities.
BCDA seeks bids for 9 prime lots in Bonifacio Global City, C-5

By Chrisee J. V. Dela Paz, Reporter
Posted on January 19, 2015 10:02:00 PM,-C-5&id=101137
STATE-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is selling P115-million worth of prime lots along C-5 Road and Bonifacio Global City and yesterday published a bid bulletin seeking offers from investors.

The properties would be sold on an “as is, where is” basis, which means that the winning bidder for each lot will get everything that comes with the property, at its present condition.

Through the bid notice, BCDA has opened the floor for prospective bidders to participate in the auction of nine prime lots: a 165-square-meter (sq.m.) lot in Kalayaan Villa, Bonifacio Global City; a 225-sq.m.

lot in Summit Housing also within the upscale center; and seven prime lots along east of C-5 road with lot sizes of 96 sq.m. to 4,040 sq.m.

The properties will not be bid out as one bundle so “an interested bidder may opt to bid for any or all of the properties,” the BCDA said.

Interested groups may buy the terms of reference for each lot at the BCDA headquarters in Bonifacio Global City until Feb. 11 for a non-refundable fee of P10,000 each.

The BCDA has set a pre-bid conference for Jan. 23 at its headquarters in Bonifacio Global City.

The BCDA was created by Republic Act 7227 to convert former US military bases.

The state-run agency also engages in public-private partnership infrastructure deals such as tollways, airports, seaports, as well as major real estate developments.

Since it was established in 1992, the BCDA has earned P62.78 billion from the disposition of former Metro Manila camps, its Web site showed.
Why BSP is tightening rules on real estate investments
Posted at 01/19/2015 10:12 AM
MANILA – More developers have been enticing buyers to purchase properties by no longer requiring them to pay the 20 percent downpayment.

However, financial adviser Salve Duplito said that what most people don’t realize is that the 20 percent downpayment rule is their protection from foreclosure, lightens mortgage, and reduces pressure on cash flow.

The downpayment requirement is also a litmus test of whether you’re financially ready to buy a house.

“Without a 20 percent downpayment, buying a house seems more achievable. But there’s a high likelihood that’s an illusion buyers will discover as the years go by. And the result of that illusion—foreclosure—can be very painful,” she said on ANC’s “On The Money.”

The aggressive selling strategy of waiving the 20 percent downpayment requirement is one of the factors in the US financial crisis in 2008.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is tightening its regulations regarding this strategy as well as other aspects of real estate lending in efforts to keep the country’s financial sector healthy.

“That is part of the regulatory review we are doing because we want to be sure that credit underwriting standards are being maintained,” said Dr. Johnny Ravalo, BSP assistant governor.

The BSP is also reviewing contract-to-sell financing deals of real estate developers.

Contract-to-sell financing is a scheme that involves removing downpayment, and allowing buyers to pay in installment but with a balloon payment within a couple of years.

The developer then sells the receivables to the bank.

Ravalo said the BSP has set a minimum standard of 1 year before a developer can sell the receivable to a financial institution.

“We are undertaking a new review whether it needs to be tightened a little bit more, given what we are seeing as the supply side of the market. An individual cannot simply go to the developer, get a unit, and then the developer next day turns around and sells it to the bank. It has to go to an aging process so there is track record that the individual has a capacity to pay. Only then, there’s a minimum period for that, can the developer go to a bank and try to sell,” he said.

The BSP is also tightening regulations in terms of prioritizing cash flow and capacity to pay rather than collateral in credit evaluation.

Ravalo also said that the regulator is tightening disclosure rules as well as monitoring data and compliance.

He added that demand for real estate seems to be less an issue now than before due to the country’s demographic.

The important signs that the BSP is looking at in real estate is the capacity of individuals to pay their loans; how well banks can find good borrowers; and what recourse a person has when he falls into financial distress.

“If you want to keep the economy healthy, stay away from those no downpayment deals, which make it harder overtime for you to pay off your property,” Duplito said.
NEDA-ICC approves subway, 5 other projects

Posted at 01/15/2015 11:22 PM
-- ANC Business Nightly, January 15, 2015
Watch the video here:

A Cabinet-level NEDA committee approves the Philippines’'first subway, a Manila-Bicol-Laguna railway, and four other projects, paving the way for final approval by President Aquino.
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Philippines' urban density getting worse - World Bank
Posted at 01/26/2015 3:45 PM | Updated as of 01/26/2015 6:00 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The country's urban areas, particularly Metro Manila, is getting more populated and is showing no signs of slowing down, according to a recent report by the World Bank.

The World Bank’s East Asia’s Changing Urban Land Escape report showed that the Philippines has the fifth-largest populated urban areas in the region, increasing at a rate of 3.3 percent annually to 23 million in 2010 from only 17 million people in 2000.

The country’s average population density in urban areas is second only to Korea, reaching 10,300 people per sq. km. in 2010 from from 9,500 people in 2000.

Metro Manila is the country’s densest city with 16.5 million people as of 2010 while the second most populated area in the country is Cebu with 1.5 million.

“The Manila urban area is the Philippines’ undisputed primate city, with no close competitors. In 2010, it had 56 percent of the urban land in the country and more than 70 percent of the country’s urban population,” the report said.

Metro Manila’s land area has expanded in the last 10 years, but the report said the expansion grew at a much slower rate compared with the growth in population.

The report said Metro Manila’s land area increased 2.2 percent per year to 1,300 sq. km. from 1,000 from 2000 to 2010.

However, population grew with a rate of 3.1 percent annually or to 16.5 million people from 12.2 million.

“Like almost all urban areas in the country, [Metro] Manila is becoming even denser. Its population density increased from 11,900 people per square kilometer to almost 13,000 between 2000 and 2010,” the World Bank said.

World Bank also noted that nearly all the new developments for residents or about 94 percent were located Metro Manila’s neighboring provinces of Cavite, Bulacan and Laguna.

The population growth, however, occurred mostly in Quezon City, Caloocan City, and Manila.

“The City of Manila the densest local unit (almost 48,000 people per sq. km.). In total, the administrative area of Metro Manila added nearly 2.3 million additional residents with a negligible increase in urban built-up area (just 14 sq. km.),” it said.

Outside of Metro Manila, Cebu has the largest population, growing rapidly at a rate of 4.1 percent to 1.5 million from 1 million between 2000 and 2010. The cities of Angeles City, Davao and Bacolod, meanwhile, are in the 500,000 to 1 million population range in 2010.
Banks set tighter standards for household borrowers

By Kathleen A. Martin, The Philippine Star
Posted at 01/24/2015 9:27 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Local banks tightened their credit rules for household borrowers in the fourth quarter, according to a survey by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“The DI (diffusion index) approach… indicated a net tightening of overall credit standards for household loans owing largely to perceived stricter financial system regulations,” according to the latest Senior Loan Officers Survey.

“In particular, banks’ responses indicated reduced credit line sizes for auto loans and wider loan margins for personal and salary loans,” the BSP said.

Household loans pertain to finance auto loans, credit card loans, personal or salary loans, and housing loans.

A diffusion index of 14.3 percent was recorded for the fourth quarter, higher than the 9.5 percent in the third quarter, the BSP survey showed. This is the fifth consecutive quarter the index showed a net tightening for credit standards for household loans.

The diffusion index approach measures the proportion of banks that tightened credit standards versus those that eased them. A positive index means more banks tightened their standards, while a negative one shows there were that loosened them.

“Most of the respondent banks foresee maintaining their credit standards over the next quarter,” the BSP said.

“However, some banks expect overall credit standards to tighten slightly due to expectations of continued strict financial system regulations and banks’ reduced tolerance for risk, among others,” the central bank added.

On the other hand, banks maintained their credit standards for enterprises in the fourth quarter, the same survey showed.

“The unchanged overall credit standards was attributed by banks to their steady outlook on the domestic economy as well as specific industries, such as wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, and real estate, renting and business activities, among others,” the BSP said.

The central bank said the banks still expect to maintain credit standards for enterprises in the first quarter of the year.

Looking at loan demand, the BSP said a diffusion approach showed a net increase in overall demand for corporate and household loans.

“The net increase in loan demand for businesses was attributed by banks to clients’ improved outlook on the economy as well as increased inventory financing needs of borrower firms, among others,” the central bank said.

“Meanwhile, the net increase in overall demand for household loans reflected higher housing investment, lower interest rates, and more attractive financing terms offered by banks,” the BSP said.

The quarterly survey has been conducted by the central bank since the first quarter of 2009 to review banks’ credit standards, demand conditions for loans, and potential risks in asset markets.

For the fourth quarter survey, questions were sent to 35 universal and commercial banks, with only 34 responding.
MPIC to pursue NLEX-SCTEX link project
Posted at 01/26/2015 6:24 PM
MANILA – Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) said it will continue to pursue the infrastructure project that will integrate the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

“We’ve made that proposal many years ago so it is something that we support — the integration of NLEX and SCTEX,” MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said on Monday.

MPIC’s tollway arm, Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) are looking to sign the integration agreement by February.

“We are having the signing of the integration agreement, it is tentatively scheduled on February 5,” MNTC president Rodrigo Franco said.

Franco said around P600 million will be spent for the integration project, which includes the relocation of the toll plaza, additional toll booths, and the deployment of the electronic payment system.

The integration works will begin immediately after the signing of the agreement.

Franco said MNTC is targeting to complete the NLEX-SCTEX integration by November.

Meanwhile, the firm said it will have to carefully evaluate the offers for the operation and maintenance of the 94-kilometer SCTEX under the Swiss challenge process.

Pangilinan said MNTC has the right to match any offer submitted by the interested groups.

“We have the right to match. I think we will just have to wait for the number and look, consider, and assess it carefully,” he said.

The interested firms include San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and a group represented by the law firm of Aguirre, Abano, Pamfilo, Paras, Pineda, and Agustin.

The interested parties were given until January 30 to submit their bids. The contract is scheduled to be awarded to the winning bidder in March.

The companies will be required to match the P3.5 billion offer made by MNTC, and share 50 percent of the gross toll revenues with the BCDA.

The concession is valid until 2043, and will continue the integration of NLEX and SCTEX.
BGC 26th Avenue picked as train stop

By Chrisee J. V. Dela Paz, Reporter
Posted on January 26, 2015 10:28:00 PM
THE COUNTRY’s first subway will count 26th Avenue in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) as a train stop, the head of the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center said.

A committee of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) committee has picked the upscale street as the site for one of the stations for the proposed P378.33-billion Makati-Pasay-Taguig Mass Transit Loop, PPP Center Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao said.

The decision was made after technical advisors assured the Manila Golf and Country Club that the undertaking will not disrupt the latter’s operations, she added.

But it is the NEDA Board, where President Benigno S. C. Aquino III sits as chairman, that has the last say.

“There’s a preferred alignment attached to the condition for approval, it’s the 26th street [sic] but that’s for the NEDA-ICC (Investment Coordination Committee), it might change in the NEDA Board,” Ms. Canilao told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Makati City on Friday.

“There’s continuous discussion with Manila Golf if it will be felt on the surface. Our technical advisors assured that engineering solutions will be implemented for them not to feel it. They are open to it, the dialog is still continuing,” she added.

The subway system was one of the seven infrastructure projects approved by the NEDA committee last Jan. 14.
ALI to expand mall portfolio

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 26, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Property powerhouse Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) plans to put up a slew of new large-scale shopping centers in the next five years as part of the company’s vision 2020 program.

In an interview, ALI chief finance officer Jimmy Ysmael said the property unit of the country’s oldest conglomerate would pursue growing its mall portfolio as it has no intention of being left behind in the battle for mall supremacy in the Philippines.

Ayala malls of the Zobel family, together with SM malls of the Sy family and the Robinsons malls of John Gokongwei Jr.’s clan, are the leaders when it comes to shopping center development in the country.

“There will be a lot of new shopping center developments which is really aligned with our 2020 vision where we intend to expand the portfolio of shopping centers,” Ysmael said.

Ysmael said Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod and Iloilo are the sites outside Metro Manila where ALI is looking to put up its new mall offerings in the coming years.

Within Metro Manila, he said the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati is a potential location for another Ayala mall.

Ysmael said ALI is not likely to venture into developing small, community malls yet so its upcoming mall developments would continue to be large-scale shopping centers.

 “What we are looking at more now is to concentrate in bigger developments because it actually takes the same effort to actually plan, build, and manage a small mall compared to a bigger one. So if you would want to achieve the scale that you want to achieve, we’d rather do it on a bigger manner and we have the land bank to do that, especially within the Metro Manila,” he said.

Aside from building new malls, Ysmael said ALI would also be continuing the expansion of its existing malls.

ALI’s mall portfolio includes the TriNoma mall in Quezon City, Glorietta and Greenbelt shopping centers in Makati, Market Market in Fort Bonifacio, and Marquee mall in Pampanga, to name a few.

Total gross leasable area of all ALI malls across the country stood at 1.33 million square meters as of end September 2014.

It has an average occupancy rate of 93 percent with an average building lease rates of about P1,134 per square meter a month.

 “In the case of shopping centers, we normally redevelop every now and then, as what we’re seeing in Ayala center in Makati. Redevelopment continues so we really look at retail as more of an interim use at the end of the day. As the community develops, we can redevelop and increase density,” he said.

ALI’s 2020 vision is to grow its earnings by at least 20 percent annually to achieve a net income of P40 billion by 2020.

Aside from expanding its shopping centers, Ysmael said part of the plan is to aggressively expand ALI’s office, hotel and resort portfolio “to achieve the balance growth between development and recurring income.”
Why Sta. Lucia ventured into house construction
Posted at 01/26/2015 4:54 PM

MANILA – Sta. Lucia Land Inc. (SLI) is confident that its house construction arm, Sta. Lucia Homes (SLH), will help address the gap between lot buyers and contractors.
SLI said it has seen that most of its lot buyers face issues such as limited access to contractors and bank financing in building their homes.

“Majority of our lot buyers do have the intention and the initial capital to construct houses, but has limited access to contractors, difficulty in securing the necessary business permits and little or no access to bank financing,” said David dela Cruz, SLI and SLH executive vice president and chief financial officer.

“We have seen this gap and decided to offer our buyers a reliable contractor to address all their construction, documentation and financing needs,” he added.

SLI incorporated SLH in 2014 to offer construction services to its more than 120,000 lot buyers.

“SLH is the company’s contribution to the country’s housing backlog of 3.9 million houses, which benefits not just our current customers but the communities within the area as property values will increase once houses are constructed and communities are developed,” the company said.

SLH general manager Ria Rivadeneira said the firm estimates that more than 60,000 of its lot buyers nationwide have yet to build homes.

She admits that constructing homes for its lot buyers is a challenge, but noted that its agents are still in touch with thousands of lot buyers who have yet to build houses.

“All we need to do is to reestablish these relationships,” she said.

The firm also believes that house construction is not only profitable, but will also give a significant boost to its financial performance.
Larossa building set to bloom in Quezon City’s first botanical ville

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 26, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - A unique residential building with natural lighting and cooling features is set to be topped off and made to blossom in all its glory in Quezon City’s first and only urban botanical village now fast taking shape in a prime and prestigious address in Capitol Hills.

The structural top-off completion in the last week of January has been announced, making the building a grand showcase of nature-based construction technology. Named “Camia,” the building has its lower levels in the finishing phase for its turnover early this year.  Another two buildings, Sampaguita and Magnolia, in Phase 1were also announced to be in full-blast construction for completion towards the end of the year.

The construction and development of the project dubbed “Larossa in Capitol Hills” is being handled by Primehomes Real Estate as one of the multi-billion projects in prime locations awarded to the company for masterplanned development.

Run by the country’s top architects, Primehomes is developing the Larossa as a mid-rise residential condominium community of 10-storey residential buildings with basement parking and roofdecks elegantly designed to complement the playful 3.6-hectare terrain, featuring century-old trees and lush vegetation dominating the open space that accounts for 65 percent of the property.

Larossa in Capitol Hills is envisioned to redefine what living in harmony with nature is all about to “create communities that matter.”  This concept involves the use of natural materials to create the ideal natural environment for aesthetics, recreation and relaxation.

Located in one of the highest peaks of the metropolis in the heart of Quezon City, Larossa is surrounded by the remaining chunks of the city’s natural greenery and just a five-minute drive to the country’s top universities University of the Philippines – Diliman and Ateneo de Manila and commercial hubs UP-Ayala Technohub and UP Town Center.

For more information, visit and Model units are available for viewing at the LAROSSA in Capitol Hills showroom, Capitol Hills Drive cor. Zuzuaregui Road, Old Balara, Quezon City.
How to save on real estate taxes

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 26, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Center for Global Best Practices will hold a special one-day seminar entitled, “Optimizing Tax Savings for Real Estate Transactions” on Feb. 20 at The EDSA Shangri-la Hotel, Mandaluyong City.

This comprehensive program will discuss the legally permissible means of avoiding taxes in real estate transactions. The lecture will also include updates, examples, new regulations and specific situations that will be discussed thoroughly to guide participants in executing their plans or solving their tax problems and issues effectively.

Featured speaker is expert tax practitioner Francisco Gonzales, CPA, and a partner at Ong Meneses Gonzales & Gupit Law Offices where he specializes in tax practice. He is a faculty at the Ateneo Law School since 1997 and a bar review lecturer at the same school since 2002 up to the present. He served as the executive director of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants from July 2006 until June 2010.

For details and a complete list of seminars, check or call the Center for Global Best Practices in Manila 556-8968/ 69, Cebu (032) 512-3106/ 07 or Baguio (074) 423-5148.
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Land values in Metro continue to rise

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 28, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Land values in Metro Manila continued to rise as of end-September last year, boosted largely by the sustained strong demand for office space in the capital, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.

Implied land values in the Makati central business district (CBD) went up 35 percent to P435,000 per square meter in the third quarter from a year ago, the central bank said, citing data from Colliers International.

The latest level is also 19 percent higher than the P366,425 per sqm recorded in the second quarter of last year, the BSP said.

“The significant increase in the Makati CBD land value is primarily attributed to the sale of JAKA Tower, an unfinished office building located along the prime area of the business district,” the central bank said.

In Ortigas center, land values grew nine percent to P154,000 per sqm in the third quarter versus the same period in 2013. It was also three percent higher than the P149,365 per sqm recorded in the second quarter of 2014.

“Implied land values in the Makati CBD were slightly above their 1997 levels in nominal terms, but only about 45.1 percent of their 1997 levels in real terms,” the BSP said.

“Meanwhile, land values in the Ortigas Center were lower than their comparable levels in 1997 in both nominal and real terms by about 79 percent and 34.8 percent, respectively,” the central bank said.

Nominal figures refer to the actual price in 1997, while real terms are nominal values adjusted for inflation.

At the same time, the BSP said office vacancy rate in the Makati CBD slid to 1.9 percent in the third quarter last year from 2.1 percent in the second quarter.

“This was due to continued strong office demand amid limited office supply in the Makati CBD. The office vacancy rate is estimated by Colliers to narrow further to 1.6 percent in Q3 2015,” the central bank said.

Residential vacancy rate, meanwhile, also went down to 8.1 percent in the third quarter from 10.6 percent in the second quarter.

The BSP said there were higher occupancy rates observed in high-rise residential segments although Colliers International expects the rate to go up to 10.7 percent by the third quarter of this year as more units will become available.
SMC, Ayala-MPIC, 2 others to vie for LRT-2 deal

Miguel R. Camus
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:47 PM | Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
CONGLOMERATES San Miguel Corp., Aboitiz Equity Ventures, DMCI Holdings Inc. and the Ayala Corp.- Metro Pacific Investments team yesterday signified formally their intention to participate in the bidding for the long-term operations and maintenance contract for the Light Rail Transit Line 2 in Metro Manila.

The four groups partnered with various international railway operators ahead of the submission of qualification documents for the LRT-2 public-private partnership deal, said Michael Sagcal, spokesman for the Department of Transportation and Communications.

San Miguel partnered with Korea Railroad Corp., DMCI unit D.M Consunji Inc. partnered with Tokyo Metro Co. of Japan, Aboitiz Equity Ventures partnered with Singapore’s SMRT Transportation and Ayala-Metro Pacific-led Light Rail Manila partnered with France’s RATP Dev.

The qualification process is meant to determine which groups will be allowed to submit technical and financial offers. The deadline for qualification documents was pushed back from last month after several bidders sought more time.

“Railway modernization entails improving infrastructure and shifting services toward better customer-orientation. Our projects for LRT-2 will make fast, affordable, and convenient transportation accessible to residents of the densely populated parts of Rizal, such as Antipolo and Cainta,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said in a statement.

The LRT-2 PPP deal calls for the private sector to operate and maintain the existing line for a period of 10 years, extendable by another five years.

The 13.8-kilometer LRT-2 line runs from Recto Avenue to the Depot at Santolan Street along Marcos Highway. It currently traverses the cities of Manila, San Juan, Quezon City, Marikina, and Pasig. The railway line handled almost 200,000 people per day in 2014, latest data from the Light Rail Transit Authority showed.

John Eric Francia, managing director at Ayala, said it made sense for their group to pursue the LRT-2 deal because Light Rail Manila in 2014 already bagged the P65-billion LRT-1 Cavite extension PPP.

“We can leverage our capabilities and provide consistent quality service between the lines,” Francia said.

The transportation department will separately build an “East extension,”  from Santolan to the Masinag market in Antipolo City along Marcos Highway. Once completed, the LRT-2 concessionaire will also operate the extension project.
City of Dreams Manila all set for grand launch
Posted at 01/27/2015 10:22 AM | Updated as of 01/27/2015 11:31 AM
MANILA, Philippines - City of Dreams Manila is gearing up for its official grand launch on February 2.

Developer Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corporation said more than 600,000 have visited the integrated casino-resort during its "sneak preview" period which started last December 14. Around 20,000 visited the casino on its first day alone.

The grand launch will be led by Melco Crown Entertainment co-chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho and co-chairman James Packer, as well as Melo Crown Philippines chairman and president Clarence Chung.

"Our official Grand Launch finally delivers our stated commitment to bring Manila its first international integrated leisure destination offering. The new resort complex will deliver a diverse collection of contemporary leisure and lifestyle brands from all over the world, including Crown, Nobu, Hyatt and the Pangaea Group, who are behind the world's most successful nightclubs and lounges," Chung said.

City of Dreams Manila had generated a lot of buzz for its promotional trailer directed by Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese and featured Hollywood stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

City of Dreams Manila will have an opening concert on February 2, with international R&B star Ne-Yo as the headliner. The concert will also feature Gary Valenciano, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Kyla, and Jed Madela.

The resort complex is located at Entertainment City, which the Philippines is hoping will rival Macau as the region's gaming hub.
STI inaugurates P250M academic center in Batangas

Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:46 AM | Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines — Educational network operator STI Education Systems Holdings Inc. has inaugurated a P250-million new academic center in Batangas City in line with its nationwide expansion program.

The new academic center with a footprint of 5,621 square meters along Kumintang Ibaba stands on three floors and houses fully air-conditioned classrooms with LCD projectors and lighting systems, according to the STI’s disclosure filed with the Philippine Stock Exchange Tuesday.

The new center also has a library filled with updated research materials, Internet and WiFi connection and industry-grade simulation laboratories aimed at providing modern and conducive learning environment for its students.

STI said that with classes already ongoing since June 2014, STI Batangas has been ready to welcome up to 1,500 students taking courses under Information and Communications Technology, Business and Management, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Arts and Sciences and Engineering. This academic center is also one of the pioneer senior high schools nationwide with permit from the Department of Education to educate Grades 11 and 12 students.

“As we continue to grow our reach and improve our campuses nationwide, we are also building stronger foundations in education for those who are entrusting their future to us,” STI president Monico Jacob said.

“We believe that as we strive to continually improve the quality of education we have in STI, our commitment to nurture the growth of our students to become competent and responsible members of society remains our ultimate priority. This is also why the whole STI community is always driven to thrive for academic excellence and ensuring that our facilities, our campuses will serve as one of the important tools that will help us deliver world-class education to our students. From the facilities, to the curriculum and to the services that we provide, we are committed in finding ways to bridge the gap between graduates and the requirements of industries in various fields,” Jacob added.

STI Academic Center Batangas is the first of four of such STI centers to debut in the first quarter of this year. The others are in Calamba, Cubao and Lucena.

The Tanco-led network has existing centers in Bonifacio Global City, Naga, Fairview, Alabang, Novaliches, Malolos, Ortigas-Cainta and Caloocan.

The network also operates iAcademy, a college that provides specialized and industry-based Information and Communications degree programs; alongside West Negros University in Bacolod City. iAcademy has likewise inaugurated its eight-floor innovation center in Makati, investing on high-end technology and equipment in classrooms, a Cintiq laboratory for design students, computer laboratories, auditorium and customized student lounge.
Regus to open 4 more centers in PH

Ben O. de Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer
3:15 AM | Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines–Regus, a global provider of “flexible workspace,” said it would open four more business centers in key commercial hubs in Metro Manila by the end of April this year.

In a statement, Regus said one new center each in the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Taguig would be opened in the first four months as part of its “unprecedented expansion” in the country, which was “buoyed by confidence in the Philippine market.”

The company did not disclose, however, how much would be spent to acquire or lease the additional sites.

The new business centers, whose office space can be used by individual Regus members as well as client-firms, will be located at the Nomad PBCom Center in Makati City, Polar Business Center in Mandaluyong City, Marco Polo Hotel in Pasig City, and Eco Tower at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.

These four upcoming locations will bring to 17—16 in Metro Manila and one in Cebu City—the total number of Regus centers in the country by April.

“The launch of four new centers in the first four months of 2015 marks an unprecedented move for Regus in the Philippines. In comparison, Regus Philippines opened four new centers in all of 2014; and the first four centers in the Philippines took 12 years to establish. This newfound optimism and confidence in the Philippines is primarily due to the growing demand for flexible workspace solutions from business owners, employees and employers,” said Regus Philippines country manager Lars Wittig.

“We are accelerating our growth and with these latest additions, we are reaching a critical mass or a pivot point where we become a business enabler and credible solution to employee retention, enterprise productivity, and operational efficiency for any organization,” Wittig added.

Last year, Regus added over 2,500 workstations to its Philippine business centers as occupancy rates here reached “sky high” levels, he said.

Globally, Luxembourg-based Regus has over 2,000 business centers in 104 countries where it provides “convenient, high-quality, fully-serviced spaces for people to work” to 1.5 million members.
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Philippine economy to regain momentum in Q4

By Karen Lema, Reuters
Posted at 01/28/2015 1:19 PM | Updated as of 01/28/2015 6:43 PM
MANILA - The Philippine economy likely finished 2014 strong with growth in the last quarter expected to have regained momentum, putting it on course for another year of solid growth that will allow the central bank to leave policy rates on hold in the near term.

Buoyant consumer demand, strong exports and a recovery in farm output probably helped offset a pull-back in government investment, which had been a big drag on the economy last year and is expected to remain a key risk in 2015.

Economists polled by Reuters expect the data on Thursday to show that gross domestic product rose a seasonally adjusted 1.7 percent in October-December from the previous quarter, faster than the 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in July-September, which was a more than five-year low.

On an annual basis, the economy probably grew 6.0 percent after expanding 5.3 percent in the September quarter. Growth in the second quarter was 6.4 percent and 5.6 percent in the first quarter.

"A fall in agricultural production and a decline in government spending dragged third quarter GDP growth...These factors should be transitory, and we expect economic growth to rebound in the fourth quarter report," Moody's Analytics said in a research note.

An increase in the production of crops, livestock and poultry sub-sectors in the fourth quarter, helped push 2014 farm output growth to 1.83 percent, faster than the 1.12 percent uptick in 2013.

Exports in the 11 months to November rose 10 percent from a year earlier, supported by shipments of electronics parts which have been benefitting from improving global demand.

For all of 2014, the same poll forecast growth of 5.8 percent, below the government's 6.5-7.5 percent target and the weakest since 2011, but enough to keep the Philippines in the list of Asia's fastest-growing economies.

Analysts' estimates ranged from annual rises of 5.5 percent to 6.8 percent for 2014.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco has said there was no reason to change its monetary policy stance at the moment but authorities stood ready to keep financial volatility in check.

Analysts expect the central bank to keep the benchmark interest rate steady at 4.0 percent in the first half. The central bank meets for the first time this year on Feb. 12.

The consensus in the same Reuters poll was for GDP to expand at a faster clip of 6.5 percent in 2015, but much of the growth this year will depend on the government's ability to spend its 2.6 trillion peso national budget.

State spending has slowed for most of 2014 after aspects of a 145 billion peso ($3.34 billion) economic stimulus fund the Aquino government created from budget savings were declared illegal by the Supreme Court in July.

That has made public officials more wary about accusations of recklessness and have submitted spending decisions to more scrutiny, putting at risk big infrastructure projects.

"We are still flagging the risk of public under spending spilling over 2015 and remaining a dampener on an otherwise robust growth outlook," said Eugenia Victorino, economist at ANZ in Singapore.

Manila has a 7-8 percent growth goal in 2015.
Metro condo prices: Lowest in Las Piñas, highest in Makati

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 29, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Buying a condominium in Metro Manila? Las Piñas offers the cheapest prices on the average, according to global online property platform Lamudi.

In its latest report, Lamudi Philippines said property seekers on the hunt for a reasonably-priced condominium should consider buying in Las Piñas as it emerged as the city with the lowest average condo prices in Metro Manila.

The report showed average price of condominiums in the city stands at P49,849 per square meter, cheaper than anywhere else in the metro.

Makati, on the other hand, has the most expensive condominiums, with units costing an average of P139,012 per square meter.

That would bring the selling price of an average 120-square meter condo in the country’s prime business district at about P16.68 million, Lamudi said.

Lamudi, however, said although Makati’s property market is quite pricey, the city has a wide array of condo properties available which ranges from a very expensive P388,888-per-square meter branded residence in Ayala Center, to an affordable P27,137-per-square meter medium-rise condo in San Antonio Village.

Taguig came as having the second most expensive condominiums with an average asking price of P126,129 per square meter.

The report revealed that condominiums in Taguig’s Bonifacio Global City (BGC) area command the highest prices, with the most pricy reaching about P333,333 per sqm.

The cheapest condo in Taguig is located in the outskirts of BGC, costing P23,333 per square meter, the report showed.

Lamudi said Pasay and Quezon City have almost identical average condo prices at P104,685 and P101,277 per square meter, respectively.

The Lamudi data showed that average condo prices in Manila, Mandaluyong, San Juan, and Pasig are at P95,134, P88,174, P87,294, and P80,329 per square meter, respectively.

The online property platform, however, said no data was generated for Marikina, Valenzuela, Pateros, Malabon, Caloocan, and Navotas due to lack of condo listings in these cities.

Lamudi is a global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets, generating about one million visitors per month. Its fast-growing platform is currently available in 28 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with more than 600,000 real estate listings across its global network.

Jacqueline van den Ende, managing director of Lamudi Philippines, said the report was designed to inform Filipinos on property prices and to give a clear picture of how the real estate market was behaving.

“The Philippine real estate market is rapidly growing and what the market needs is hard data to inform Filipinos’ buying decisions,” Van den Ende said.

“In the future, our property price analysis will also include not only of condos but also prices of houses, commercial and office spaces, and industrial properties from across the Philippines,” she added.
Signing of NLEX-SCTEX integration pact set

By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 29, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - State-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) aims to sign next week with the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) the agreement for the integration of the toll payment of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

According to the BCDA, said it is working with MNTC to speed up the signing of the agreement on the toll integration ahead of the Feb. 12 deadline set by Senate president Franklin Drilon.

Drilon recommended the toll integration by February after he endured an 11-hour trip to Baguio during the holidays.

“The integration of the tollways had always been part of the plan. We are grateful for Senate president Drilon’s interest because it is now gaining momentum,” BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Paciano Casanova said.

 “We are working at signing the agreement in the first week of February,” he added.

The BCDA, he said, is just waiting for the green light from the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel before signing the agreement.

After the signing of the toll integration agreement, it would be submitted to the Toll Regulatory Board for approval.

The integration of the NLEX and SCTEX is estimated to cost P600 million.

At present, the operations of the SCTEX and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) are partially integrated, as motorists no longer need to queue separately in La Paz to pay and get new toll cards.

The BCDA said there are currently discussions between SCTEX and TPLEX to make driving through the two expressways more seamless.

 “For the long term, there will be discussions for a unified radio frequency ID (RFID) and other technologies to make it even more efficient for operators and motorists,” Casanova said.

The BCDA, created by Republic Act 7227, is mandated to transform former US military bases into alternative productive civilian use.

It engages in public-private partnerships to promote infrastructure projects such as tollways, airports, seaports, as well as other major real estate developments.
Megaworld on track to complete Chinatown condo
Posted at 01/28/2015 4:29 PM | Updated as of 01/28/2015 4:33 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Megaworld Corp. said construction for its residential condominium project in Binondo Chinatown in on track for its scheduled completion by the first quarter of 2017.

Yuchengco-owned EEI Corp. has been tapped to construct Noble Place, a P4.5 billion project in Chinatown.

"The project is on schedule. The foundation is already done and the contractor is already starting the construction of the residential tower," Wilson Sy, head of sales and marketing, Chinatown group, Megaworld, said.

The 47-storey building will have 460 units, and is located next to heritage buildings of Chinatown. Each unit, ranging from two-bedroom to five-bedroom, will have its own balcony to enjoy views of Manila. There are also studio and one-bedroom units available.

Noble Place is located at the corner of Juan Luna and Dasmariñas streets.

"This residential development gradually reinvents the old and traditional image of Binondo Chinatown into a vibrant modern metropolis by ushering new upscale developments within the area," Sys aid.

The building's amenities include an infinity pool, tai-chi and picnic areas, a clubhouse and tent pavilion. There is a viewing deck on the 47th floor, as well as a badminton court.

Sy said Megaworld has committed to helping in the rehabilitation of Plaza Cervantes.

"We are committed to bring the old glory of Binondo with the restoration of their historical street," he said.
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PH no more the ‘sick man of Asia’

Ben O. de Vera and Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:10 AM | Friday, January 30th, 2015
Posting an economic growth of 6.1 percent last year, the Philippines is no longer the “sick man of Asia,” the country’s chief economist said on Thursday.

“Overall, the Philippine economy’s performance in 2014 and the preceding years starting in 2010 shows how our country can no longer be called the ‘sick man’ of Asia,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

The economic growth in 2014 marked the second consecutive year the country posted the fastest rate in the region after China.

“Our economic growth is becoming more competitive with our East and Southeast Asian neighbors. We have avoided the dreaded boom-and-bust cycle that has hounded our economy for decades,” said Balisacan, also director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

In his presentation at the 5th Ayala-UP School of Economics Economic Forum, he said the country’s growth rate of 6.3 percent in 2010-2014 was the highest five-year average during the past 40 years.

In the fourth quarter, the economy grew by 6.9 percent, better than the 6.3 percent in the same period in 2013.

The Philippines’ fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) expansion was the third highest in the region, after China’s 7.3 percent and Vietnam’s 7 percent.

The fourth-quarter GDP growth was the fastest quarterly figure in 2014—the economy grew 5.7 percent in the first quarter, 6.4 percent in the second and 5.3 percent in the third.
State spending up

Balisacan told reporters that during the fourth quarter, the government made strides in addressing anemic government spending on public goods and services, which had slowed growth in the previous quarters.

Government consumption grew 9.8 percent in the fourth quarter, a reversal of the 0.4-percent decline in the same quarter in 2013 and of the 2.6-percent drop in the third quarter, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed.

In a statement, the Department of Budget and Management attributed the increase in public expenditures in the fourth quarter to “effective” use of government agencies’ cash allocations, on top of the “timely” release of employees’ bonuses, including yearend bonuses and productivity enhancement incentives.
DAP ruling’s effect

Public spending slowed last year mainly due to the “chilling effects” of the Supreme Court decision that stopped the flow of more money through the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Government agencies had also been more careful in their disbursements amid a more watchful eye of the Commission on Audit.

The Neda chief said the full-year GDP target for 2014 was not met mainly due to the sluggishness of government spending for the most part of the year. For the entire 2014, government consumption rose a mere 1.8 percent, lower than the 7.7-percent increase in 2013.

But “the worst is over” as far as the problem on underspending is concerned, Balisacan said.

“We have learned our lesson. We have identified the nature of the problem. The glitches in the previous quarters have been resolved, although not completely; some work remains in progress,” he said. “We made catch up in the fourth quarter; not all is lost.”

The effects of the uptick in government spending during the fourth quarter would spill over to this year, the Neda chief said. “The funds obligated in the last quarter of 2014 will impact on the economy, to be felt in the first half of the year. We expect a robust performance of the government sector in the first two quarters,” he said.

The government reported on Thursday that the GDP expanded by 6.1 percent in 2014—lower than the 7.2-percent growth posted in 2013 as well as below the 6.5-7.5 percent goal earlier set by the Development Budget Coordination Committee or DBCC.

The GDP growth last year was, nonetheless, within the 6-7 percent range, which Balisacan and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad had said was more “realistic” to be achieved.

The services sector contributed 3.4 percentage points or over half of last year’s growth, while the industry and agriculture sectors chipped in 2.5 percentage points and 0.2 percentage point, respectively, PSA data showed.
BPO, other growth drivers

Balisacan told a press conference that the growth drivers in services were business process outsourcing (BPO), real estate and renting, among other business activities.

In terms of year-on-year growth, the industry sector posted the highest expansion of 7.5 percent in 2014 and 9.2 percent during the fourth quarter.

“[T]he acceleration in industry growth was due to the double-digit expansion in construction, even as manufacturing remained as its biggest growth driver,” Balisacan said.

Despite missing last year’s target, Balisacan said the Philippines remained one of the fastest-growing economies in the region last year, posting a full-year GDP growth just behind China’s 7.4 percent.

In the October to December period, the services sector was likewise the biggest contributor to growth with a share of 3.3 percentage points. Industry contributed 3.1 percentage points, while agriculture had a share of 0.5 percentage point.

The sustained growth averaging over 6 percent during the past few years showed that the country was “maintaining the trajectory toward the path of high growth,” Balisacan said.
More jobs

Sustaining robust growth over a long period of time would bring about an economy that attracts more investments and generate more jobs to ultimately slash poverty, according to the Neda chief.

At the Ayala-UPSE forum, Balisacan said the government “should be spending more” to place the deficit at 2 percent of the GDP.

In the fourth quarter, government consumption contributed only 0.8 percentage point to the GDP growth. Robust consumer spending amid strong flows of remittances from Filipinos overseas and an improving economy in general allowed household consumption to account for 3.7 percentage points or over half of the GDP growth in the last three months.

Despite potential external shocks to be posed by the downward trend in global oil prices as well as a still fragile world economy, the Philippines’ growth target of 7-8 percent for 2015 is “sustainable and achievable,” Balisacan said.

Other economic managers lauded the 2014 growth figures.

“Our improved growth in the last quarter of 2014 is a testament to the soundness of the Aquino administration’s fiscal management strategy … News like this is certainly a good way to begin the new fiscal year, with expenditures making a positive showing in the last three months of 2014,” Abad said.

For Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, last year’s fourth quarter and full-year growth “resoundingly affirm that the Philippine economy is on an upward growth trajectory buoyed by strong macroeconomic fundamentals.”

Peter Perfecto, executive director of the Makati Business Club, said the group was “pleased” with the economy’s performance in 2014.

“Given that the growth is broad-based, featuring expansion in the three major sectors, we believe that this lays the foundations for more robust growth this year, especially in the first quarter. With our hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, the expected increase in public and private construction … will be able to greatly assist in attaining our year-end goal of around 7 percent,” he said.
PPPs to drive construction

“Furthermore, the most expensive public-private partnership (PPP) projects, such as the airports, subway and the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, will be bid out and some even awarded this year, which will drive up construction activities again,” he added.

Edgardo Lacson, Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) president, said the economy would further grow in 2015 due to accelerated infrastructure spending, low oil prices and renewed mining activity.

He said the start of election spending in the fourth quarter, resolution of the port congestion problem in Manila and a stable foreign exchange rate could further fuel economic expansion.

“For 2015, I see major drivers being improvement in infrastructure (ports, airports and roads), power availability, peace and order (the SAF massacre may be detrimental to the ongoing peace talks), stable peso, favorable business climate and political positioning for 2016 elections,” said Dan Lachica, head of Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc.
'Philippines escaped boom-bust cycle'

Agence France-Presse
Posted at 01/29/2015 6:58 PM
MANILA - Philippine officials voiced confidence the country had escaped a "boom-bust cycle" as they predicted on Thursday that economic growth would accelerate in 2015, after expansion last year beat international expectations.

The economy grew 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, new figures showed, offsetting weaker growth in the previous nine months to boost full-year gross domestic product (GDP) expansion to 6.1 percent, exceeding forecasts from major international institutions.

The rebound puts the country on a high-growth trajectory not seen in decades that will finally see it shake off its image as the "sick man" of Asia, economic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters.

Balisacan added that the government expected the economy to grow by between 7.0 percent and 8.0 percent in 2015.

"We have avoided the dreaded boom-bust cycle that has hounded our economy for decades," he said.

"What we are seeing in the last five years has never been seen in the last 40 years. The last time we have seen such growth was in the mid-1970s," he said, referencing a period when the Philippines saw annual economic growth rates approaching nine percent.

Despite global uncertainties, the Philippines was buoyed by "solid" macroeconomic fundamentals including strong domestic consumption, ample foreign exchange reserves, a stable banking sector and manageable inflation, finance secretary Cesar Purisima said.

Purisima said in a statement that the country "has more fundamental strength than most peers to fuel long-term growth prospects and buttress against vulnerabilities to external shocks."

On a full-year basis, the Philippine economy grew at a rate second in Asia only to China's 7.4 percent, and narrowly outpacing Vietnam's six percent, Balisacan said.

"With this upbeat year-end performance, the economy is anticipated to gain further traction in 2015," he said.
Megaworld eyes P2-B in sales from Davao condo
Posted at 01/29/2015 2:01 PM | Updated as of 01/29/2015 2:49 PM
MANILA – Megaworld Corp. on Thursday said it is expecting at least P2 billion in sales this year from One Lakeshore Drive, its first residential project in Davao Park District.

The firm said the first tower of One Lakeshore Drive is nearly sold out in less than two months after it was launched by Megaworld’s Suntrust Properties Inc., prompting the firm to launch the second tower this month, way ahead of its original schedule.

“We are very happy with the overwhelming reception of Davaoeños to our first residential project in Davao Park District. Our experience is far beyond what we have expected,” said Suntrust president Harrison Paltongan.

The residential tower is a four‐tower condominium cluster located at the corner of Megaworld Avenue and Lakeshore Drive, and beside a man‐made lake that is about a hectare in size.

“Residents will have direct access to the lake and some of them will have this exclusive spectacular view right outside their windows,” said Paltongan.

The towers, each 21-storeys high, will have views of Samal Island, Mt. Apo, and Davao Gulf.

Each tower offers studio units (up to 27 square meters); executive studio (up to 40 square meters); one‐bedroom (up to 50 square meters); and two‐bedroom units (76 square meters).

Davao Park District, Megaworld’s first township project in Mindanao, is located in an 11.2‐hectare property along the S.P. Dakudao Loop in Lanang, and is envisioned to be Davao City’s central business district (CBD) and a center for information technology and business process outsourcing (IT‐BPO) in Mindanao.

Megaworld is allocating P15 billion in the next five to seven years to build and develop the township project.
8990 Holdings to launch 9 projects this year
Posted at 01/29/2015 12:26 PM | Updated as of 01/29/2015 12:47 PM
MANILA – Listed housing developer 8990 Holdings Inc. is planning to launch nine housing projects worth nearly P4 billion this year to add 4,486 units to its inventory.

Its biggest project is the DH Pavia 3 in Iloilo, which has a total value of P1.5 billion. The horizontal-type project has a total of 2,125 units, 1,680 of which are expected to be delivered this year.

The firm will launch three projects in Cebu, three in Davao, one in Cavite, and one in Munitinlupa.

8990 Holdings said it is looking at a 15 to 21 percent increase in its net income in 2015 and a 22 to 27 percent rise in its revenues.

Net income is expected to be between P3.8 billion and P4 billion while revenue is seen between P9.6 billion and P10 billion in 2015.

In 2014, 8990 Holdings said its net profit grew 52 percent to P3.3 billion, higher than its target of P3 billion.

Gross sales in 2014 also grew by 48 percent to P7.9 billion while net margin increased to 43 percent from the 41 percent in 2013.

The firm cited the country’s strong economy; increase in OFW remittances; BPO sector growth; and the 4 million housing backlog as external factors for the growth last year.

Internally, the company attributed the growth to increased average prices by 18 percent; improved sales incentives to sellers; lower prices for materials; and double-casting to produce more panels.

“2014 made us realize that, more than sales velocity, our capacity to build more and more units is the main determining factor to our long-term sustainability,” the company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange on Thursday.

8990 Holdings launched its first high-rise condominium project, the P735-million Urban DECA Tower-EDSA, in 2014.
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Property picks for this year

by Rizal Raoul Reyes - January 27, 2015
INVESTING on property stocks will be productive in 2015 as the country is expected to post economic growth, according to stock, market analysts recently interviewed by the BusinessMirror. Astro del Castillo, managing director of First Grade Holdings, said investing in property stocks is a good move to start, as the property sector is expected to continue its growth path this year.

With the demand for more office facilities and tourism infrastructure, major developers,  such as Ayala Land Inc., Megaworld and SM Prime Holdings Inc., will capitalize on the boom and make the sector rosy.  “The outsourcing sector is expected to be a major contributor to the growth of property industry.”

“The business-process outsourcing industry is expected to be much stronger this year, as more outsourcing services will be required by the American economy.  As long as the economy of the US continues to rebound, outsourcing services will grow, which will benefit the Philippine economy.

“The opportunities are there and we must take advantage of it,” he pointed out.

Del Castillo said the government must also consider the potentials of a real-estate investment trust law to encourage foreign players to invest in the property sector. “We need to generate more capital to boost investments in the country.”

In another media briefing, online stock brokerage firm COL Financial Philippines chose SM Prime Holdings (SM Prime) as its top pick for the property section in 2015.

“Despite being one of the biggest residential property developers, it is still predominantly a Philippine mall operator [70 percent of operating income, 64 percent of NAV] making it a good proxy for consumer spending.

“Possibility of a share placement no longer a concern as the company already raised P18 billion through the sale of 1.06 billion treasury shares last November,” said April Lyn Tan, vice president and head of research of COL Financial Holdings Inc. in a recent media briefing held in Mandaluyong City.

SM Prime is one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia that is engaged in the development of malls, residences, offices, hotels and convention centers. It is the largest property developer in terms of asset and income base as of end-2013 in the Philippines. Aside from SM Prime, Tan said Ayala Land Inc. and Megaworld are the other picks for 2015. Tan mentioned that the continuous falling oil prices and the expectations of reforms that will be implemented by the current administration are going to drive the stock market beyond 2015.

“The most important reason the stock market will continue to go up is ample liquidity, both globally and domestically.”  The resulting drop in interest rates makes stocks more attractive compared to other liquid investments despite the Philippine Stock Exchange index’s relatively expensive valuation from a historical perspective.
Renewable energy as the future of property development in the Philippines

by Amor Maclang - January 27, 2015

AS demand for power and energy prices continue to surge, property developers and other industry players are searching for more ways to help promote a more efficient way of sustaining the daily affairs of the Filipino household.

With developers realizing the role that they play in promoting renewable energy (RE) technologies as more viable, long-term solutions to the demands of today’s real-estate market, we can surely expect the emergence of future developments anchored on RE technologies as more players contend with this shift.

“Renewable energy is the thing of the future,” Imperial Homes Corp. (IHC) President and CEO Emma Imperial said. “With the full support from various sectors and organization generated from these technologies, we see it as the real estate of the future.” Imperial surely knows what she’s talking about, having led Imperial Homes to several pioneering milestones in terms of environment-friendly and energy-sufficient developments.

The latest of such efforts involved the unveiling of their project, Via Verde, a solar-powered mass-housing community of 1,000 homes in Santo Tomas, Batangas. The development, which sits on a 4-hectareproperty, is supported by the Department of Energy  and the Commission on Climate Change, and recognized by the World Bank and International Finance Corp.
A worthy investment

Via Verde offers a combination of row houses and two-bedroom townhouses. Every unit comes with free 500-watt solar panels to allow future homeowners to enjoy lower electricity rates through the leaseback program of Enfinity-Imperial, IHC’s partner.

“These solar-powered homes will dramatically reduce the cost of electricity and provide a greener environment for our low-cost housing projects,” Imperial shared. “It does not pollute our air by releasing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide or mercury into the atmosphere like many traditional forms of electrical generations do. Therefore, solar energy does not contribute to global warming, acid rain or smog.”

For developers like IHC, investing on RE technologies for real-estate properties is a profitable initiative that yields optimal returns. “As an investment, the payback period [for RE-integrated developments] is between three to five years, and between 8 and 10 years when getting a loan payback,” she explained. “Also, the property appreciates faster compared to regular house and lot developments. Furthermore, it has a multiplier effect that can generate greater benefits, such as savings in fossil-fuel consumption and carbon-emission elimination.”

The project, Imperial added, aims to help alleviate the country’s backlog on mass housing currently pegged at 3 million, as well as to help provide a greener solution against the worsening effects of climate change.
A more conscious approach to doing business

Solar energy is ideal for communities because it is clean, isn’t easily depleted (unlike gas, oil and coal), sustainable, and thus helps protect the environment where families can comfortably live in and children can safely grow in. “By not using any fuel, solar energy does not contribute to the cost and problems of the recovery and transportation of fuel or the storage of radioactive waste,’’ Imperial noted.

The concept behind the Via Verde blueprint is a perfect complement to the ideals being championed by the Switch Right On movement—a groundbreaking RE campaign here in the Philippines that’s been gaining the support of various local and international organizations.

Recent figures shared by the Switch Right On movement—an initiative that we at GeiserMaclang support—show that the Philippines’s  dependence on energy provided by fossil fuels—90 percent of which is being imported, according to Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla—1) has been the main reason the country continues to bear the heavy burden of having one of the highest electricity costs in Asia; 2) The prices of coal—an important fossil fuel that has been the primary energy source in the Philippines for several decades—have more than doubled since 2010 and experts do not see any indication of this slowing down. The world has reached an economic tipping point where an increase in cost of fossil fuels and the decrease in cost of RE have made alternative sources of energy more practical.  With developers now beginning to promote a shift toward the use of RE, the local property sector has now taken the first step in making logical solutions to address a host of other issues.  The idea of promoting sustainable sources of power, thus, comes as a welcome development, if not a necessary investment, to help ensure a more progressive growth for the Philippine real-estate industry.
Alviera Industrial Park breaks ground

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 30, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The 31-hectare Alviera Industrial Park, expected to heighten business in Porac, Pampanga through light to medium, non-polluting industries, was recently launched in a formal groundbreaking. The park will feature 16 lots ranging from one to 1.4 hectares and three clusters of ready-built standard factory buildings. As a Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) special economic zone, Alviera Industrial Park offers locators economic incentives plus a wide range of support amenities. Several companies have already expressed interest as the park’s first locators.
A Noble Place to live in Binondo

(The Philippine Star) | Updated January 30, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The construction of Noble Place, a high-rise residential condominium in Binondo’s Chinatown, is in full swing and on track of its target completion by early 2017, its developer Megaworld Corp. said.

“The project is on schedule. The foundation is already done and the contractor is already starting the construction of the residential tower,” Wilson Sy, head of sales and marketing of Megaworld’s Chinatown group, said.

The company has commissioned Yuchengco-owned EEI Corp., one of the country’s leading triple “A” construction firms, to build Noble Place, assuring future residents and investors of the project’s turnover by the first quarter of 2017.

The P4.5-billion residential project will rise as a 47-story modern edifice beside the famous heritage buildings of the old Chinatown with a total of 460 units. Each unit, ranging from two-bedroom to five bedrooms, will have its own balcony to enjoy the magnificent view of Metro Manila. For students and investors, studio and one-bedroom units are also available.

“This residential development gradually reinvents the old and traditional image of Binondo Chinatown into a vibrant modern metropolis by ushering new upscale developments within the area,” said Sy.

Noble Place brings a distinct, elegant style of luxury with world-class facilities, amenities and design which Megaworld has always been known for. It rises above the rest by providing residents a magnificent view of the Intramuros golf course as well as a 360-degree perspective of the entire Metro Manila skyline.

The building’s 8th floor tastefully caters to the various recreational interests of the unit owners. There is an infinity pool for health buffs, tai-chi and picnic areas for those who simply want peaceful relaxation, and a clubhouse and tent pavillion for hosting parties and gatherings. To get a glimpse of that breathtaking view of the Metro, the viewing deck at the 47th floor is the perfect spot, where a badminton court is also located.

Noble Place will also have an exclusive skygardens in 16th and 26th floors while a variety of boutiques, coffee shops and salons on the ground floor will surely please sophisticated shoppers.

Boasting of its location at the heart of Manila – specifically at the corner of Juan Luna and Dasmariñas streets, Noble Place prides itself of the multitude of landmarks, it also has easy access to all commercial and educational institutions of Manila.
Green living in Alabang

by Rizal Raoul Reyes - January 27, 2015
TODAY, living in a garden atmosphere is one of the aspirations of modern Filipinos. They want to get a break from the rage and frenzy of urban living. In response, Filinvest launched the Botanika Nature Residences—a high-end, low-density residential enclave in Filinvest City in Alabang.

Located at the finest locale, Botanika is designed for the privileged few who want to savor a relaxing atmosphere amid the bustling metropolis.

“Inspired by New York’s Central Park, Botanika’s centralized garden system offers scenic walks through the 1.55-hectare property with three towers that gives a very different identity compared to the other ultra-high-end developments in Makati and Bonifacio Global City,” according to Catherine Ilagan, executive vice president of Filinvest Alabang Inc., Botanika project developer.

“Open green spaces are getting scarcer in the metropolis. Our planners thus thought of offering Botanika residents a system of gardens that would allow them to enjoy nature’s healing properties right at their doorstep,” Ilagan added.

Experts in the social and environmental sciences noted that nature can reinvigorate and rejuvenate an individual’s mind and become more productive.  “Nature is the perfect setting for a walk or a swim. It encourages movement and discovery.”

Botanika will veer away from the conventional residential condo environment which highlights the space limitation.  In Botanika, an owner can enjoy comfortable space from its 369 units ranging from 123 square meters to 343 sq m and spread out over three towers. Botanika will be offering the best of both worlds with privacy and nature enjoyed by the owner.

According to Ilagan, “Botanika is the first of the Filinvest Group’s Exclusive Collection, the newest and highest-end brand category.  Each project with the Exclusive Collection brand is envisioned to be an iconic, top-end and one-of-a-kind residential space that will add prestige to the group’s large-scale projects.

The buildings have a nature-centric design. From the top, each of the buildings takes the shape of a leaf, a unique configuration which will mean that none of the units will peer directly into a unit of a neighboring tower. When a resident looks out his window, he will not have a direct sightline into a unit in the neighboring tower because of the curving walls of the tower.

There will be an atrium at the center of each building.  This will enable the natural light to go through the structure. Further, the atrium will also force air through the edifice offering passive ventilation. From the ground level, the atriums will be interconnected to each other and to a central pool area through a paved walkway that naturally blends with the lush tropical landscape.

Leandro V. Locsin Partners and international firm AEcom are the two organizations that worked tremendously to ensure the natural order of things will be retained such as the property’s sloping terrain. The pool thus has various levels with the waters from one level dropping down to form a waterfall curtain setting for a lower level. “The planners weren’t afraid to compartmentalize spaces to create greater interest in the landscaping,” Ilagan said.

“We’ve designed Botanika to appeal to captains of industry, self-made entrepreneurs and multinational CEOs seeking quick access to Makati, as well as Laguna’s industrial estates through the Skyway,” Ilagan said. “They may not always have the time to walk through Botanika’s nature sanctuary or to enjoy the lavish amenities of the developments. But just knowing that it’s there for them to use when they want them should be reasons enough to consider living there.”

True to its mission, Filinvest has strictly followed the guidelines set by the Philippine Green Building Council to ensure every detail required by the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (Berde) will be followed. Botanika is a Berde-registered project.

The first building has 13 storys boasting of above-par facilities. With only 101 units for Tower 1, residents get to enjoy much sought-after exclusivity that other residential developments could only promise.

Being all about gardens, Botanika’s The Courtyard, The Sculptural Garden and Central Gardens provide the property’s outdoor amenities that support green living.

With huge abundant space, The Courtyard allows residents to do whatever they want—read a book, feel the morning breeze, gaze at the night sky, or even enjoy a sumptuous outdoor feast with the family. The Greenhouse is, likewise, open for anyone who likes to commune with nature especially in the mornings.

With uniquely tiered, stylized swimming pools, a buyer is given a new experience. The Veranda, a canopied area by the pool, can also be used for intimate al-fresco gatherings. Other amenities in Botanika include tiered swimming pools, kiddie pool, lap pool and changing rooms

Further, other major amenities include sun-roofed central atrium, grand lobby, reception lounge, roof decks, administration office, mail room, fire safety features, key card access for boom gates and floor access, and underground parking.

All these are artistically splashed with greens to further wash away the stresses of the day.

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Abaya: 2 common stations linking MRT-7 with LRT-1, MRT-3 now in design stages

February 2, 2015 10:31pm
The construction of two common stations that will connect the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 to the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT) and MRT Line 3 can go on as planned as the concessionaires have already agreed to proceed, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.
"As of now, ang feedback naman po sa akin, malapit na po kaming matapos, mukhang wala na pong immovable object sa diskusyon, mukhang magkaka-agreehan na po sila," Abaya told the Senate committee on public services on Monday.
"Nandoon po kami sa proseso ng pagfafinalize ng design na agree po yung dalawa (LRMC and ULC)," he added.
The firms involved in the agreement are Light Rail Manila Consortium, which bagged the P65-billion LRT-1 Cavite extension project, and San Miguel Corp.-owned Universal LRT Corp. (ULC), which holds the concession for the P63-billion MRT-7.
The LRMC is a partnership between Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and Ayala Corporation.
"Bahagi ng concession agreement with ULC, may nirerequire pong common station between MRT-3 and MRT-7. Pero ang nirerecognize po nila ay sa LRT-1," Abaya said.
"Kaya ang proposition po nila ay magtayo ng isa pang common station, sa tapat ng SM North Edsa, at may disenyo po silang ipinakita sakin," he added.
As part of its agreement with ULC, the government will not release any cash for the development of the proposed common station, the Cabinet secretary said.
"Fortunately, dahil sa kontratang nire-recognize nila, meron din po silang obligasyon na mag-construct, at ang kalalabasan po nito ay makakapagtayo ng isa pang stasyon, which is maganda sa ating mga pasahero," Abaya said.
The common station was originally supposed to be in front of SM North EDSA but the common station was relocated after a study showed government can save from P800 million to P1 billion if the station is built close to Trinoma, an adjacent mall owned by competitor Ayala Land Inc.
SM Prime asked the Supreme Court to stop the transfer of the common station, and the court issued a temporary restraining order against it on Aug. 1, 2014.
The important thing in building two common stations is that all parties agree, Abaya said. — JDS, GMA News
Why billionaires chose Manila for City of Dreams expansion

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez,
Posted at 02/02/2015 10:35 PM
MANILA – Billionaires Lawrence Ho and James Packer officially opened City of Dreams Manila at the Entertainment City complex in Paranaque on Monday.

Ho and Packer are co-chairmen at Melco Crown Entertainment, the casino developer that brought City of Dreams to the Philippines.

The $1 billion-casino resort along Roxas Blvd. is the first City of Dreams outside Macau.

"Our vision was always to find greatest locations in Asia for integrated resorts. We've been very selective. After Macau, Manila is really the first place we decided to go into," Ho said in a press conference for the resort's grand opening.

Ho expressed confidence that the Philippine market will continue to grow in the coming years.

"Our philosophy is very simple, we want to build things that we are proud of, integrated resorts that will last over time and market must be big enough. Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies anywhere in the world. We are very lucky to be here. We think this market in terms of tourism, overall economy and consumer spending is consistently on the rise going forward," he said.

Packer, meanwhile, described City of Dreams Manila as a "world-class" integrated casino resort.

"I had high expectations, and the property has exceeded my highest expectations. I'm so proud to be here and I genuinely think that City of Dreams Manila is a world-class property," Packer said.

"I can see tourism growing hugely in the Philippines...I think it's true, I think you do have more fun in the Philippines," he added.

Clarence Chung, chairman of Melco Crown Philippines Resorts Corp., said the casino resort expects an average of around 15,000 visitors daily.

However, he noted that bulk of the revenues of City of Dreams Manila is not expected to come from gaming alone due to the various non-gaming activities inside the complex.

“The Philippine community go to good food, and enjoy themselves dancing and singing, that’s why we have the various amenities…Macau is more serious when the people play, here it is more relaxed,” he said at a separate press conference also held during the grand launch.

Chung added that City of Dreams Manila provides an additional site and a logical choice for gamers in Macau who fly to places like the US and Australia to play in casinos.

City of Dreams Manila was developed by MCE Leisure Philippines Corp. and SM Group's Belle Corp., and is managed and operated by Melco Crown's MCE Leisure Philippines.

The casino resort, which sits on a 6.2 hectare complex, had its soft opening in December, becoming the second facility to operate in Entertainment City after Bloomberry's Solaire.

To mark the grand launch, American artists Ne-Yo and Kelly Rowland as well as local singers Gary Valenciano, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Kyla, and Jed Madela performed.
Hollywood connection

City of Dreams Manila generated a lot of buzz after a Martin Scorsese-helmed trailer was released featuring Hollywood stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

In the promotional ad, the two actors were seen "competing" for a role at the casino resort.

The short ad was produced by Brett Ratner, a business partner of Packer at RatPac Entertainment.

According to Packer, he and Ho drew inspiration to enter the casino industry from Scorsese’s 1995 film “Casino.” The film also starred De Niro.

“In my view, both the movie business and the casino business, we sell emotion, we sell fun. We make people feel things…There’s always been a synergy” he said.

De Niro is also a co-owner of Nobu with celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.

Aside from Nobu, City of Dreams Manila brings together hotel brands Crown and Hyatt, and leisure and lifestyle brands Pangaea Group and DreamWorks.
DreamWorks' first 'edutainment park'

One of the features of City of Dreams Manila is DreamPlay, the first education-based entertainment complex of DreamWorks Animation.

Joshua Wexler, the "chief executive of fun" at Pure Imagination Studios, said the Philippines is an ideal location for DreamPlay because of its partnership with Melco Crown and the friendliness of Filipinos.

"We have a great partner in Melco Crown and completely supportive of the vision and what we wanted to achieve. And also this is a wonderful community and a great place. We're excited to have it here," he told

DreamPlay allows children from ages 5 to 12 to roam around the interactive play space featuring characters from animated films "Kung Fu Panda," "Shrek," and "Madagascar."

The facility also offers themed-party rooms that can accommodate up to 70 people.

Wexler said the park has a capacity of around 1,200 people at any given time.

DreamPlay is expected to open before the middle of the year.
Greenfield District emerges as a new city center

February 2, 2015
As the first smart and connected district in the country that is “ahead of its time,” the 12.8-hectare Greenfield District along EDSA and Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City offers a balance between urban comfort, green living, and state-of-the-art-buildings.

Slowly becoming a lifestyle hub for city dwellers, this master-planned community developed by Greenfield Development Corp. also offers a multitude of lifestyle choices for everyone.

With a generous portion of the vibrant hub allocated to pocket parks, tree-lined roads and lush open spaces, it is possible to take leisurely strolls around the complex. Battling out traffic and congestion outside its perimeter is easy as a sense of calm and well-being takes over inside. Families can take the children out on a stroll, and fly a kite on weekends.

Dining al fresco is a regular sight along the many restaurants that line Greenfield District’s The Hub and The Portal. The newest dining strip offers various cuisines, a far cry from the usual run-of-the-mill fast food joints.

After its renovation and facelift, the Pavilion is now home to various retail outlets and food kiosks. Looking for bargain finds in the metro is easy in this three-story retail complex. Its recent renovation facelift melds well with the district’s chic vibe.

Weekend warriors on the look-out for a good run or a place to exercise can try the expanse at Greenfield District. Jogging paths surround the area and the firm tufts of grass serves as a better alternative to the gym. At night, the roads are well-lit and constantly patrolled by guards.

And there comes the emergence of sustainable weekend markets around the metro that has inspired Greenfield District’s very own. Local organic produce from the nearby provinces, to sweets, delicatessen, and nifty home décors abound at the Greenfield Weekend Market.

The mixed-use complex has also been used for a number of events – from dog festivals, furniture exhibits, auto shows to jam-packed concerts – making use of the wide open spaces.

Big concerts such as the Cinemajam 2014, San Miguel Oktoberfest, Ateneo Colorama and Bob Marley Day Manila were all held at the Central Park of Greenfield District.

“As more people are becoming lifestyle-savvy, we work harder to provide the perfect hub for every activity, for anyone, all in a lush green oasis at the heart of the metro,” said Atty. Duane AX Santos, EVP and GM of Greenfield Development Corp.

More than the complex around it, Greenfield District will also feature BPO offices and residential towers dubbed as the ‘home of the future.’

Twin Oaks Place, the premier residential offering of Greenfield, will be fitted with fiber optic technology that allows for a ‘smart,’ automated home as well as unparalleled digital interconnectivity.
Veritown Fort brings a different vibe to BGC

February 3, 2015

For today’s urban dwellers seeking a unique and alternative lifestyle at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, Federal Land is opening up a completely different side to this renowned district with a masterplanned development that brings the flair and sophistication of the Big Apple right in the heart of Metro Manila.
Veritown Fort’s structures are poised to transform the BGC skyline.

Veritown Fort is a one-of-a-kind New York–inspired community at the north side of BGC. This mixed-use township brings together a distinctive mix of residential, business, commercial and leisure aspects that make it a destination within a destination.

The gem in this modern city development is the Grand Hyatt Hotel — a hospitality establishment that puts Veritown Fort rightfully in place alongside the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. The 66-story structure bears the hotel brand’s esteemed level of luxury that is recognized across the globe.

Guests can expect the hotel to uphold the Grand Hyatt signature element of “five aces” — dramatic, welcoming lobbies; innovative dining options and F&B outlets; state-of-the-art technology; unique recreational and spa experiences; and comprehensive business and meeting facilities.

Further, the hotel is the cornerstone of one of the most sought-after luxury high-rise residential developments in Manila, which is the Grand Hyatt Manila Residences. Residents of this exclusive vertical community will be afforded the privilege of living the Hyatt brand of hospitality each and every day, with concierge services at their beck and call, as well as complete enjoyment of the hotel’s top amenities and facilities.
The Big Apple mall will be the newest luxury lifestyle hub.

Veritown Fort will also be home to a row of other high-rise residences reminiscent of plush apartments in Upper Manhattan. These are the Park West, Madison Park West, Central Park West and Times Square West — each a showcase of contemporary architecture that exemplifies world-class living standards.

Local and internationally renowned real estate, hospitality service and design masters collaborated to forge these iconic structures that are envisioned to make its own distinctive mark along the BGC skyline.

Completing the New York lifestyle are endless choices for shopping, dining and leisure all to be found at the Big Apple Mall — a commercial complex especially created to complement the distinctive vibe of Veritown Fort.

Taking off from the chic sophistication of the renowned Fifth Avenue retail destination, the Big Apple Mall will be the center of attraction in this modern concrete-and-glass jungle — wonderfully interspersed with greeneries and open spaces, making the entire development a beautiful walkable community.

Veritown Fort is part of Federal Land’s vast portfolio of real estate developments catering across various markets in the country. Over 40 years after its inception, the property arm of GT Capital Holdings has created a deep niche in the real estate industry as one of the most trusted names in property development.
Donald Trump happy with strong sales of Trump Tower in Makati
Posted at 02/02/2015 4:02 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Century Properties Group said sales of residential units at Trump Tower at Century City in Makati have been brisk.

In a statement, CPG said it has pre-sold 94 percent of Trump Tower's units two years ahead of its completion. Trump Tower has over 250 units with a total sales value of P6.13-billion.

"We would like to congratulate our great partners, Century Properties Group, on this very exciting accomplishment. Together, we have done something very special and this fantastic property will set the standard of luxury and quality in the Philippines and beyond," said Donald J. Trump, Chairman & President of the Trump Organization.

Century Properties Chairman and CEO Jose E.B. Antonio thanked Trump for his confidence in the company.

"Putting a Trump Tower in the Philippines is Century's contribution to making Metro Manila an international destination. We are overwhelmed by the response from the market to the Trump Brand and are grateful, as this now affords the city one of the most luxurious buildings in the world, comparable to the city centers of New York, Hong Kong and Singapore," Antonio said.

Most of the buyers of units at Trump Tower are high-net-worth Filipinos and foreign nations, according to CPG Director for Investor Relations Kristina Garcia.

"The successful sales of Trump Tower is a strong indicator of the power of Trump and how Century Properties has maintained its solid position as a key developer of first-class residential developments within the central business districts of Metro Manila, while it continues to diversify into other market segments," Garcia said.

Trump Tower's construction has reached the 27th floor as of early January 2015.
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PHL cites manageable outlook in keeping inflation targets for 2015, 2016

By DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA NewsFebruary 3, 2015 5:57pm
The Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) has set the inflation target at 2 to 4 percent over the next four years as the inflation outlook remains manageable.
In Resolution No. 2015–1, the DBCC kept the current inflation target at 2 to 4 percent (officially put as 3 percent, plus or minus one percentage point) for 2015 and 2016, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said in an e-mailed statement.
The inter-agency economic planning body also approved the same target for 2017 and 2018, the central bank said.
The government’s inflation target is defined in terms of the average year-on-year change in the consumer price index (CPI) over the calendar year.
The Bangko Sentral said the target in 2015-2016 "remains well attuned to the dynamics of the Philippine economy."
"In particular, this target is consistent with the country’s economic growth objective of 7 to 8 percent for both years," it said.
The DBCC kept the 7 to 8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) target in 2015, but cut the 2016 growth target to 7 to 8 percent from 7.5 to 8.5 percent, Budget Secretary and DBCC chairman Florencio Abad said last January 7.
The two-year outlook is understandable, given the weakness in global oil prices which will further spur household consumption, Security Bank Corp. economist Patrick Ella told GMA News Online.
"Oil prices are plunging and will continue for the period. And low oil prices will drive private consumption," he said.
Inflation in December 2014 slowed to 2.7 percent from 3.7 percent in November and from 4.1 percent a year earlier on lower oil and food prices. Full-year inflation averaged at 4.1 percent – within the 3 to 5 percent target set by the DBCC.
In its latest commodity outlook report, Washington-based World Bank foresees oil prices to average between $53 per barrel in 2015 and $57 in 2016.
While inflation outlook remains stable and manageable, the 7 to 8 percent growth target may be "too ambitious" if government will rely only on private consumption to drive the economy, Bank of the Philippine Islands economist Nicholas Mapa said in another phone interview.
"It might be a stretched target without government spending. The consumption side will be able to churn out a 3 to 4 percent growth, but the X factor is government spending and trade balance to meet that target," he noted.
Manageable outlook
Last year, the Philippine GDP grew by 6.1 percent, after accelerated government spending helped the economy recover in the fourth quarter.
The inflation target of 2 to 4 percent for 2017 and 2018, respectively, is "based on the recent assessment of current and prospective inflation trends which indicates a manageable outlook over the medium-term," the central bank said.
"Structural changes in inflation dynamics and improvements in the economy’s productive capacity support a low inflation environment that is consistent with the economy’s growth trajectory," it added.
Ella said uncertainty for those periods come from the movement of oil prices after 2016.
But the central bank has made it possible to stay within-target inflation, thanks to its policy tools, Mapa said.
"The BSP has done well to keep inflation within government targets with its measures," he said.
The Bangko Sentral said inflation has been within target in the last six years and is expected to remain so over the medium-term.
"Moreover, the BSP’s credible commitment to price stability has kept inflation expectations well anchored to the target," it added.
The central bank noted the multi-year target presents a long-term view on inflation and fosters greater predictability which helps economic decision-making by businesses, households, and other economic agents.
It is also in line with the commitment to greater transparency and accountability in its monetary policy.
The Monetary Board (MB), the central bank's policy-setting body, will hold its first meeting this year on Thursday, February 12.
Citing inflation risks, the MB raised policy rates twice in 2014, the overnight borrowing rate to 4 percent and the overnight lending to 6 percent.
It also raised the yields on special deposit accounts (SDAs) twice to 2.5 percent for all tenors.
The reserve requirement for thrift banks was also hiked twice to 8 percent, as well as for universal and commercial banks to 20 percent. – VS, GMA News
Thinking green: Are green developments the norm rather than the exception?

by Amor Maclang - February 3, 2015
IN the time of the new normal, property developers are becoming more and more open to the idea of building green developments to help address business and social concerns.

The worsening natural disasters that hit the country in recent years—attributed both to human activity and the effects of climate change—has crippled not just the landscape of the areas affected, but also development efforts that aim to sustain the growth of local economies. Apart from this, the fact that we’ve just been through the hottest year in recent decades speaks volumes.

In response to the immense challenge we all face in this day and age, we are very thankful to see a greater number of property developers, who devote a significant chunk of their resources to promote green and sustainable-building initiatives.

I spoke to a few key players in the industry and asked them: Is sustainable building a worthy investment for real-estate developers? Is it becoming more of a standard practice rather than just a mere value-adding initiative?
Sustainability as a profitable business model

“The reality of climate change is inevitable and we know that we have to do something about it.” This was the insight shared by Arthaland President and CEO Angie de Villa Lacson.” As a company, we do not claim that what we do will save the planet. What we want to do is to enable our customers to practice an ecologically conscious lifestyle: using energy efficiently, consuming water efficiently, using nontoxic materials, and many others more.”

A solid case in point is Arthaland’s flagship residential condominium in Bonifacio Global City, Arya Residences. The twin-tower property, according to Lacson, is the country’s first and only top-end residential condominium development that is registered under the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).  Apart from this, Arya Residences also stands as the benchmark vertical residential development in the Philippine Green Building Council’s Berde (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence), the country’s National Voluntary Green Building Rating System.

The two towers of the said property are uniquely shaped and architecturally designed to work with nature, thus, reflecting Arthaland’s philosophy of enlightened  luxury.

“We designed and built Arya Residences to seamlessly meld luxury and sustainability,” Lacson noted. “In contrast to the other popularly known office or commercial buildings that are LEED certified in the country today, Arya Residences has to go through tougher standard to be able to receive the certification.” Such an initiative was greatly appreciated by Arya Residences’s market, with Arthaland selling out almost 90 percent of the project’s 507 total units during the past year. “Taking the sustainability route makes potent sense. Our buyers appreciate our product as giving them the most value by creating a sound and livable environment,” she added.
Beyond just going ‘trendy’

Another developer that has championed the idea of green building, long before the rest of the local industry has gone the same route, is Vista Land.

This vision has empowered Vista Land to come up with its “Greenviron” initiative. Aside from helping the company promote sustainable and environment-friendly communities, the Greenviron campaign also aims to instill eco-friendly practices into the daily routines of homeowners in its communities. Among the many elements integrated into the campaign include: 1) the promotion of waste segregation and recycling practices in all Vista Land developments; 2) using woven coco-coir nets to prevent soil erosion; 3) the use of pine trees—one million of which have already been planted in Vista Land communities during the last five years—to create green zones that purify the air, hold the soil and soothe the spirit; and last, 4) promoting vermiculture to nurture the land that hosts its communities. Not only did the campaign effectively strengthen Vista Land’s reputation as a responsible developer, it also reinforced the idea that the company’s methods of community development were both advanced and perfectly sustainable.
Making a difference

For the men behind Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corp. (ITPI), championing the ideals of green, sustainable development is all about a sincere desire to make a difference.

Italpinas President lawyer Jojo Leviste III carries an unparalleled passion about environmental design and urban planning. As one of the companies that he leads, ITPI is built upon the philosophy of making a difference in property development in terms of sustainability and environmental impact. Together with his partner, multiawarded green architect, designer and ITPI CEO and Executive Chairman Romolo Nati, the two developed a unique and innovative design, development strategy and business model that they believe will influence what Filipinos should come to expect of our living environments.

“As the designer-developer, we use passive green architecture. This means that we integrate the green features in the design so they don’t cost additional money,” Leviste noted. “We are not talking about very high technological features which cost money to buy, meaning higher price for clients and also higher maintenance cost. Instead, we build structures where the design performs better.”

This concept is evident in the way Italpinas designed Primavera Residences, the company’s 10-story, twin-tower, mixed-use eco-friendly condominium community in Cagayan de Oro. The development features the best principles of passive cooling technology: shadow and sunlight control, wind cooling, and shape performance—features which, if combined with renewable energy that will be produced from solar panels on the roof deck of the towers, will help reduce the overall energy consumption of the buildings and bring long-term savings to its residents to make Primavera Residences even more desirable as an investment.

Aside from this, the towers were also designed to be disaster-proof, able to withstand strong typhoons and earthquakes.

“In the longer term, I would like our ways of thinking in relation to design, efficiency, and quality of life to spill over and influence what Filipinos should come to expect of our living environments in a wider sense,” Nati shared. “We don’t necessarily want to be bigger than everyone else. We don’t want to quickly supply more than anyone else. We would rather be thought leaders.

We would rather change the way that the role of real estate is perceived.”

All these being said, I can say that the local real-estate sector is truly facing a very promising future. With innovators and emerging industry leaders making a monumental shift toward a more sustainable way of doing business, the Philippine real-estate market can truly emerge as a global leader for developmental initiatives that promote the welfare of its surrounding landscape and beyond.
Hoppler makes property searching a breeze

by Rizal Raoul Reyes - February 3, 2015
TECHNOLOGY plays an important role in the property sector nowadays, especially when the industry is enjoying a good time. With a company like Hoppler, people engaged in the industry can be faster and more efficient in searching, buying, selling, renting, managing and brokering properties.

Ramon Ballesca Jr., chief operating officer of Hoppler, said the company maximizes the role of the Internet in helping their partners and clients conduct their transactions faster. “Hoppler is a tool for getting groups together, namely, property owners and brokers, who we refer to as our partner-agents. We want to help our partners grow, so we can grow with them,” Ballesca said in a recent interview.

Being a user-friendly web site, Ballesca said a searcher just needs to enter the area, city or building that he is interested in. For instance, if a searcher is looking for a house in Makati City, he initially needs to go to the search panel and type in the city of his choice. After choosing the city, he needs to enter what kind of house he or she is looking for, such as a condominium or house and lot. To make it easier, Hoppler has included three criteria—price, floor size and number of bedrooms.

Further, Ballesca said Hoppler gives more options by including in the search other information, such as presence of maid’s room, garden and swimming pool, among others. He stressed that Hoppler’s search engine is so powerful that it enables a user to choose more options than any site in the Philippines. It also shows landmarks, such as the nearest restaurants, cinemas and hospitals, just to name a few. In case it is a Philippine Economic Zone Authority-accredited property, there is a flag indicating it as such.

Ballesca said Hoppler’s infrastructure was designed precisely to make searching and loading results happen faster than any site in the country. Moreover, he said, Hoppler can easily be accessed and viewed on mobile phones. “We plan to launch an app for mobile phones this year,” he added.

Before admitting a broker, Ballesca said Hoppler reviews the application and evaluates his or her performance in the industry. He said they will also check the agent’s choice of assignment if it’s already saturated by existing Hoppler partners.

If an applicant is qualified and accepted, Hoppler will assign a Hoppler services team representative or an account manager to work with, mentor the agent for the long run, and help close deals in the most efficient and effective way possible. “We also don’t encourage our partner-agent to leave his current brokerage firm,” Ballesca said.

The company charges a commission on the gross amount of the rental or sale price of the home, just like all other brokerage companies in the Philippines.

Hoppler features properties in the Greater Metro Manila Area in the Philippines, including Makati City, Bonifacio Global City, Alabang, Ortigas, Quezon City, etc. “We are planning to expand to other regions in the Philippines in 2015,” he said.

Hoppler, which went live in April of 2014, is managed by HousingInteractive, the country’s largest online real-estate brokerage firm established in 2004 by its CEO, John Riad. Further, it received a P30-million investment from entrepreneurs based in Silicon Valley. Other investor in the company is Francor.

It has the most comprehensive database of choice properties, a long list of top buyers and sellers, and the largest network of the finest brokers in the country. It has more than 500 brokers as partners.
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Thursday, February 5, 2015
Drilon: NLEX-SCTEX integration deal to be signed Thursday

By KATHRYN MAE P. TUBADEZA, GMA NewsFebruary 4, 2015 5:09pm
The P600-million deal to integrate the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) will be signed on Thursday.
In emailed an advisory Wednesday, Senate President Franklin Drilon said the deal will be signed at 4:00 p.m. on Feb. 5 at the Senate in Pasay City.
Nena Radoc, Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) financial services group vice president, confirmed the deal will be signed Thursday.
"Yes. The integration agreement is set to be signed tomorrow to be witnessed by no less than Senate President Franklin Drilon," she told GMA News Online.
Manila North Tollways Corp. president Rodrigo Franco also confirmed that the signing is scheduled Thursday.
Drilon earlier set a Feb. 12 deadline for signing the agreement.
"The integration of the two thoroughfare systems is seen to result to a more seamless travel for Filipinos traversing Northern and Central Luzon," Drilon said.
Earlier, the Senate President complained that his trip to Baguio during the height of the holiday exodus in December took 11 hours.
Once signed, the toll integration agreement will be submitted to the Toll Regulatory Board for approval.
NLEX is an 86.70-kilometer expressway from Balintawak in Quezon City to Dau in Pampanga while SCTEX is a 93.8-kilometer expressway that traverses Bataan, Pampanga, and Tarlac.
The SCTEX and Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEX) operations are already partially integrated, with motorists no longer needing to queue separately in La Paz to pay and get new toll cards for each tollway.
There are also discussions between SCTEX and TPLEX to make driving through the two expressways more seamless.
“For the long-term, there will be discussions for a unified radio frequency ID (RFID) and other technologies to make it even more efficient for operators and motorists," BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova said. – VS, GMA News
Efficient local government housing regulations

by Charlie Gorayeb
February 4, 2015
Fourth in CREBA’s “Five-point Agenda for Housing” is the proposed bill mandating the creation of Local Housing Boards in all cities, including first to third-class municipalities, all over the country, amending for the purpose related provisions of R.A. 7160 or the Local Government Act of 1991.

In the 15th Congress, CREBA vehemently opposed the passage of the proposed measure because it merely sought to add another layer of bureaucracy by creating a ministerial body whose only function is to recommend housing-related decisions for dispensation by the local councils or sanggunians.

Such system will be dangerous and counter-productive as it will only become yet another stage of bureaucratic red tape in the local LGUs that will consequently increase development cost. Developers will be left with no other choice but to pass on the extra cost to home buyers.

In the 16th Congress, however, our lawmakers heeded the contention of the private sector and made it a workable measure by allowing all the housing functions and powers of the local councils to be fully taken over by the board and not merely duplicated.

Senate Bill No. 658 authored by Housing Committee chair Senator Joseph Victor “JV” G. Ejercito bestows upon the local housing boards the power to issue preliminary and/or final development permits after due evaluation of subdivision schemes and development plans of all housing projects in a locality, among other powers.

The bill likewise provides for ample consultation with stakeholders including locally-operating agencies, community groups, as well as private developers, with the mayor serving as chairperson, and the vice mayor as vice chairperson.

Since the function of approving development permits for subdivision projects was devolved to the local government units by virtue of the Local Government Code of 1991, also known as Republic Act No. 7160, our development cost has, for some reason, increased, and the development period became substantially longer.

This is not to mention the situation where some, if not most, of our LGUs lack the depth of technical capacity for effective shelter and urban development and management that is present in national agencies such as the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

In all fairness, local officials are required to perform other equally important functions for their constituencies, making it hard to devote the needed time and focus in meeting their respective housing challenges.

The housing industry is no doubt a vital sector in our country’s future. It is a key sector of our economy that addresses not only the problem of homelessness but provides millions of jobs to the unemployed and billions of revenues to government.

However, in order for the private sector to fulfil its Constitutional mandate to assist in government efforts towards implementing a continuing program of urban land reform and housing to serve the underprivileged and homeless, government must harmonize its housing policies and do away with conflicting, unreasonable and overlapping requirements imposed upon an already heavily-taxed and highly-regulated industry.

When passed into law, the bill effectively repeals and amends key provisions of R.A. 7160, particularly the duties and functions of the city/ municipal councils.

With the bill re-aligned towards this direction, we have a workable solution that is win-win for the public and private sectors, and the benefits that will be derived makes home ownership another step closer to Juan dela Cruz.
Porac poised for progress with Alviera development
1,100-hectare in Central Luzon

February 5, 2015
Porac is in for another transformation, one which will propel the once barren land to the topmost of business, leisure, institutional, residential and recreational destinations of Central Luzon. Progress meets the plains in the new 1,100-hectare estate development rising from Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI). The pioneering developer of masterplanned communities has partnered with Leonio Land to unveil Alviera, located just off the Porac Interchange along SCTEX.

“We see it as urban living, embraced by nature as we are building around the area’s scenic natural terrain. Nature plays a strong part of the Alviera experience. Alviera is envisioned to be the growth center of Central Luzon,” said Meean Dy, Strategic Landbank Management Group Head, and VP of Ayala Land.

ALI has built a reputation of keeping its promises. From the high-rises of the Makati Central Business District to Bonifacio Global City’s continuing development and to NUVALI’s sustainability commitments, ALI is a pioneer of masterplanned developments in the country.

An estate development of this size and scale will be the first of its kind for Central Luzon. Alviera is about five and half times larger than the Makati CBD and four times more than Bonifacio Global City.

The property is also accessible from NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX, and is near Clark Airport and Subic Freeport, as well as other developments in Angeles, San Fernando and Tarlac City. Think of a hub for modern living on the Central Luzon map, and all signs will soon point to Alviera.  It will be home, workplace, school and leisure to those seeking a blend of urban development and nature.
The first phase of the development comprises of the residential communities, university zones, business and industrial park, outdoor recreational attractions and a country club, is set to be launched this month.

Property seekers will have a choice of Ayala Land’s residential brands: Ayala Land Premier, Alveo Land and Avida Land. These three promise residential communities of landscaped views and rolling hills.

A destination for Porac leisure visitors will be the Alviera Country Club. Set in a sprawling six-hectare area, it will feature facilities for sports and leisure.

For the university zone, campuses will feature a conducive learning environment by being built around a natural setting of trees and open spaces.

“It is indeed another big bet – not just in peso terms, not just in terms of number of residential units we will construct or size of commercial area we will build. Yes, all that will follow. But first and foremost, today is a bet on a whole new region of our country that we believe has the potential to drive national progress,” added Dy.
Wilcon opens IT Hub in Makati

February 4, 2015
Wilcon Builders Supply Inc., the country’s largest one-stop shop for construction and design materials, opened its 33rd store recently. It opened at the 15-story Wilcon IT Hub building in Pasong Tamo, Makati, which was also inaugurated.

According to Wilcon COO Rosemarie Ong, the new developments are a reflection of the company’s vision for the year which is excellence.

“We strive for excellence not only for profit. We strive for excellence in the service that we give our customers,” she said.

She noted that the IT Hub is suitable for BPO workers and for commuters since it is accessible to the MRT Magallanes Station. Other modes of public transportation are accessible as well.

The IT Hub has three levels designated for parking. There are food and retail establishments on the ground and second floors.

Ong said that their new store is a testament of how the company has evolved from just being a simple hardware store. This project, she noted, is “a dream come true for Wilcon.”

“It was a good start for the year. We feel overwhelmed with the support of our suppliers, customers and friends,” she concluded.
Sonata assures worry-free investment

February 4, 2015
Sonata Private Residences is a twin-tower residential high-rise condominium development of Robinsons Luxuria in the heart of Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong City.

Unit owners who wish to maximize their prized investment in this prime vertical community need not worry about the minute details of managing their property, thanks to the services of Robinsons Luxuria’s dedicated Customer Asset Management Services (CAMS) team.

Homeowners can rely on the group to handle the complex yet vital process of leasing out their units, beginning with the search for prospective tenants and arranging unit viewings.

Once a suitable lessee has been selected, CAMS’ roster of duties then involves preparation of lease documentations and coordinating tenant move-in. The entire lease cycle is supervised closely, including negotiating for renewals and extensions, or termination of contracts and ensuring smooth tenant move-out.

A one-bedroom unit at Sonata can fetch between P17,000 to P35,000 of income per month while a two-bedroom unit can command P40,000 to P55,000 worth of rental. CAMS will open the doors to these potential earnings without much effort on the part of investors.

Ensuring the enduring value of the unit owners’ property is another important aspect of worry-free investment, and in order to achieve this, the condominium community must be run efficiently and always kept in its best condition.

With this in mind, Robinsons Luxuria has tapped seasoned property manager First Pacific Davies Asia Property Services Inc. (FPD Asia) for this responsibility, managing the concerns and welfare of residents and tenants after they have settled in their new homes.
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Friday, February 6, 2015
Toll road integration signed

By Othel V. Campos | Feb. 05, 2015 at 10:45pm
State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority on Thursday signed the toll integration agreement with Manila North Tollways Corp. to speed up the flow of vehicles at the exit plazas of the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway.

Both agencies signed the toll integration agreement a week ahead of the deadline set by Senate president Franklin Drilon.

“The actual integration may even be faster because MNTC will soon be awarded the contract for the SCTEX as well,” BCDA president and chief executive Arnel Paciano Casanova said.

He said BCDA’s board formally approved the toll integration proposal Thursday, clearing all hurdles to toll integration.

The NLEX-SCTEX toll integration project involves the conversion of separate NLEX and SCTEX toll collection systems into a single system that should allow for more efficient toll collection and faster movement of traffic for motorists.

It also involves the installation and removal of temporary plazas and the construction of interchange plazas that will also require the widening of existing entry/exit ramps.
Golfhill Gardens brings posh lifestyle to exclusive Capitol Hills community

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - A peaceful and serene environment in an exclusive posh neighborhood right at the center of bustling Quezon City is an ideal and attractive setting for a home.

This idyllic enclave with lush green scenery awakens zest for life as it smoothly drowns out the noise elements outside the city, while enhancing the sophistication and elegance which a posh village possesses.

Megaworld, the country’s leading real estate developer that pioneered the ‘live-work-play-learn’ township concept in the Philippines,  captures such rare and precious lifestyle at Golfhill Gardens.

The company is bringing in its own pool of expertise to provide future residents of Golfhill Gardens a fresh and secured living space that enchants the rapid pace of the urban lifestyle.

Golfhill Gardens is a six-clustered residential community situated in the known posh neighborhood of Capitol Hills, beside the Capitol Golf Course. The residential community has a low density development, offering studios to two-bedroom units ranging from 30 to 72 square meters. All units come with a balcony that overlooks either the golf course, amenity areas, or the residential village.

Golfhill Gardens is also complete with amenities that family and friends can convene to hang out, have fun, and stay healthy such as  children’s pool, koi pond, sitting areas, jogging path, children’s playground, picnic area with barbecue pits, fitness gym, day care center with outdoor play area, business center, pocket gardens, and function rooms.

For a weekend or weekday break with family or friends, Golfhill Gardens is an address that provides easy access to all destinations. Set along Capitol Hills Drive, Golfhill Gardens has a direct link to Tandang Sora, Katipunan Avenue, and Commonwealth Avenue which leads to various universities, business centers, malls, leisure hubs and 30 government agencies including the Quezon City Hall.

 It is also 15-25 minutes away from Eastwood City, ABS-CBN, GMA, and first-rate academic institutions such as University of the Philippines (UP Diliman), Ateneo de Manila, Miriam College, St. Bridget School, Claret School, among others.
The Signature in QC New condo converges positive feng shui elements

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - A new distinct vertical development blending auspicious design and practical living space will soon rise in the rapidly growing urban landscape of Quezon City.

The Signature, a residential project being put up by Filinvest Premiere, the upscale arm of property giant Filinvest Land Inc., will soon rise on a one-hectare property along A. Bonifacio Ave. in Quezon City and will combine “old-town sensibilities and modern amenities.” 

Inspired by Beijing’s Summer Palace, The Signature offers 60 percent of its area to green open spaces, said Filinvest Land senior vice president Steve Chien.

“Rarely do we find a residential vertical development that devotes 60 percent of its land area to green open spaces. Truly a blissful community, The Signature offers residents and guests large indoor and outdoor amenity areas that promote an upscale, relaxed lifestyle,” he said.

He said through The Signature, Filinvest wants to provide an environment that lets residents rejuvenate at the end of a long day at work or in school.

For one, there is a Signature Lake, consisting of resort-style, Olympic-sized lap and wading pools.

The high-rise project with  three towers will also have a two-level podium commercial hub for its residents.

More importantly, The Signature’s auspicious design – from the units and the master plan to the architectural design and green open spaces – has good feng shui inside and out, feng shui master Hanz Cua told The STAR in a recent interview.

“Good feng shui equals to good energy. The Signature has the positive feng shui elements, which ensure that the property increases its value in the future,” said Cua.

“Inside, there’s very calming energy. Your house should be higher than the front part. In feng shui, the main door is important,” he said.

Furthermore, he said there must be a balcony so that there is space for relaxation.

“The living room must be relaxing. It’s also important that the main door must be solid. The dining table must have mirror so it doubles the effect of the food, which symbolizes wealth,” said Cua.

He said The Signature’s exterior design already nurtures good feng shui.

“The curved panel details highlighting the exterior architectural designs of The Signature inhibit bad feng shui energy also known as the ‘sha chi’ to come in. Good feng shui promotes energy and good health to homeowners,” he said.

Furthermore, he said the architectural design of The Signature promotes the use and flow of natural light that illuminates the unit.

“Thus, creating good feng shui energy, which is the bright, refreshing, uplifting, beneficial to your health and well-being,” he said.

There is also enough space for the residents to fix their units.

“Two bedroom units typically measure 87 square meters, while three-bedroom suites are typically sized 125 sqm.,” he said.

In a separate interview, Marjorie Siao, Filinvest Land’s niche market management group head, said the company has already started construction and expects to deliver in the next two years.

“We can deliver it the next two years. When we turn over in the next two years some of the amenities are already usable. We also have a small commercial area.

The commercial is more for the residents. It’s not a large commercial space but enough to provide you with your needs,” she said.

Construction will start this year, with delivery slated as early as 2016.  There will be three towers with a total of 348 units ranging from two- to three-bedroom units. The two-bedroom units start at P9 million while the three-bedroom spaces start at P14 million.

Siao also said it is a low-density community with only eight to nine units per floor.

Indeed, Siao said The Signature is more than just a home as it represents a convergence of everything a community should be.

 It is in close proximity to Banawe, considered as the Chinatown of Quezon City, and is a short distance to the Guatama Chinese Temple as well as to the Sto. Domingo Church.

With its good feng shui, The Signature is a good place to live in, said Cua.

“Living at The Signature will attract prosperity. If you want your money to grow, you should live in a place where your neighbors are wealthy also. That’s feng shui. That’s positive energy,” he stressed.
Shang Properties showcases luxury condo in Salcedo Village

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Shang Properties brings forth its second luxury development in Makati following the success of the Shang Grand Tower in Legaspi Village.

Shang Salcedo Place is a 67-story residential development, built with Shang’s signature quality of excellent craftsmanship and design. It is a cut above the rest because of its iconic structure and world-class amenities placed in Salcedo Village, one of Makati’s premier lifestyle districts.

Located at the corner of Gil Puyat Ave. (Buendia), Tordesillas, and H.V. Dela Costa streets, Shang Salcedo Place is at the center of both luxury and convenience. This iconic structure is right at the heart of the bustling Makati central business district, yet also close to a wide array of lifestyle choices that cater to every whim and want.

“Shang Salcedo Place was built from the ground up with an exacting eye for detail and design. From the building structure to the interior aesthetics, we made sure that the development would be an extension of the lively Salcedo Village community,” said Susan Yu, Sales director for Shang Salcedo Place.

Steering towards functionality and exclusivity, this signature development is deliberately built with only 749 units. Shang Salcedo Place delivers a balanced number of residential units and amenities, which guarantees that all residents are well-serviced, and all transactions are hassle-free.

Inspired by Shang Properties’ unwavering dedication to deliver its signature quality, a team of experts came together to create and accomplish the landmark’s impeccable build. With a structure designed by Hong Kong-based firm Wong & Tung International Ltd., and timeless interiors created by internationally renowned Filipino designer Manny Samson, Shang Salcedo Place is in every aspect a masterpiece.

Shang Properties is the Philippine arm of Malaysia’s Kuok Group, with core businesses in offices and retail leasing, and residential development such as The Rise Makati, The Shang Grand Tower and The Enterprise Center in Makati, and The St. Francis Shangri-La Place, Shangri-La Plaza, One Shangri-La Place in Ortigas Center, and Horizon Homes, Shangri-La Hotel at the Fort.

 “Shang Salcedo Place is truly a great addition to Shang Properties’ growing collection of premier residential developments in Makati City,” said Shang Properties marketing manager Milen Treichler. “We think that a community as lively as Salcedo Village deserves to be complemented by a residence that mirrors its lifestyle, and Shang Salcedo Place fits that bill perfectly.”

Come 2016, Shang Salcedo Place will officially be part of the vibrant Salcedo Village community, and the high-life will be within its residents’ reach. Interested parties may call the Shang Salcedo Place showsuite at +632 519 0000, email, or visit their showsuite at Level 3 Tower 1 The Enterprise Center, 6766 Paseo De Roxas cor. Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
World-class Filipino design at Anya Resort and Residences

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Real estate developer Roxaco Land Corp. recently joined forces with interior design powerhouse Manny Samson and Associates (MSA) in coming up with a unique take on residential resort living through its flagship development, Anya Resort and Residences.

Located in Tagaytay, this destination residence plays up on the well-known strengths of both partners: Roxaco, with its experience in high-end residential living, as exemplified by its first two luxury projects, Península de Punta Fuego, Terrazas de Punta Fuego, Anya Phase 1; and Manny Samson, with his world-view that embraces both the cosmopolitan and the rustic from his many acclaimed projects here and abroad.

Under Samson’s belt is a long list of luxury developments that can be found in five out of the seven continents. In the Philippines, he is in the forefront of some of the top hotels and resorts, including the first teaching hotel in the country. In the global arena, some of his most notable projects include well-known resorts in Malaysia and Uruguay, and the Four Seasons, an international resort brand with resorts located all over the globe.

 “The natural advantages of Tagaytay’s location played a role in directing our design inspiration,” Samson said. “Its cool weather and spectacular views contributed to the city becoming a weekend destination getaway, and guided our design to bring in the warmth and familiarity of rustic Filipino elements. In order to make it stand out among others as envisioned by the clients, it has embraced authenticity — considering international standards for luxurious design, at the same time retaining the grand quality of rustic traditional Filipino elements.”

Taking Roxaco’s cue to design “from the inside-out,” Samson and his associates adopted a Filipino tropical design direction highlighted by the use of rustic elements that mirrored both the interior and exterior architecture. “The idea is to harmonize both the interior and exterior looks in order to achieve a holistic design that caters to the pegged concept,” Samson explained.

“Plus, the interiors have been planned in such a way that the spaces would maximize the flow of cool breeze. Areas have been laid out highlighting the scenic view of the adjacent landscaping. The sensitivities of privacy and personal space were also incorporated into the design, as elements have been fine tuned to synch with the resort’s lush landscaping.”

By underscoring the key elements of comfort and functionality of the Filipino Aesthetic, the Anya brand takes on the Filipino identity through the unmistakable presence of elements such as bamboo and abaca, among others.

But beyond promoting a Filipino theme in its design and craftsmanship, Anya Resort and Residences fuses international standards into the luxurious design, conveying an exuberant spirit into the modern lifestyle.

“The modern Filipino tropical design is brought to life by the use of indigenous materials blended with modern components, creating wonderful ambiance and aesthetics. The use of natural wood for floors, doors, cabinetry works, and accent ceiling imparts an inviting, warm and cozy feeling of home. The use of mother of pearl (capiz) and special finishes as wall and cabinetry accents presents elegance in the interiors,” Samson noted.

For more details, visit or call +63 917 888 ANYA (2692).
Collapsed high-rise floor kills 2

By Joel E. Zurbano | Feb. 05, 2015 at 12:01am
ONE floor of a 63-story residential tower under construction in the upscale Bonifacio Global City collapsed on Wednesday, killing two construction workers and injuring 11 others.

Nine of those injured were taken to the St. Luke’s Medical Center while the other two were brought to the Ospital ng Makati.

Most of the victims suffered arm, shoulder and back injuries.

It was not immediately clear what caused the floor at The Suites Residential Tower to collapse around 8:15 am, but there were claims the incident happened while cement was being poured into the floor.

“I had just left the building when it collapsed,” construction worker Edwin Suarez said.

Taguig City police chief Arthur Felix Asis said his men were now investigating the construction on 5th Avenue and 28th Street.

Based on its project profile, the single-tower residential building, owned by Ayala Land Premier, will consist of 284 residential suites and limited- edition Sky Collections rendered in two- to four-bedroom configurations.

The project will also feature Triple-A-grade office building and is intended to be home to top local and multinational companies. The Suites is right beside the new Hotel Shangri-La, Mind Museum, and the Unified Philippine Stock Exchange.

In a statement, Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. said it will provide assistance to the victims.

“The Bureau of Fire Protection of Taguig City is currently undertaking search and rescue operations,” the company said.

“We are still awaiting the official report on the number of casualties and currently investigating the cause of the incident. Rest assured that, together with MDC and Fastem, we will assist the families of the workers.”

The Department of Labor and Employment assured the families of the two workers who died and the others who were hurt of financial assistance and to hold the people accountable for the incident.

But the labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa blamed the Labor Department and local officials in the city for the incident. With Vito Barcelo
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PHL among 20 best foreign retirement havens for 2015, according to Forbes

February 15, 2015 8:44pm
With its low cost of living and its leaving foreign income untaxed, the Philippines has been named among the 20 best foreign retirement havens for 2015 by American business magazine Forbes.

"For US retirees the principal appeal of the Philippines is a low cost of living in a tropical environment full of English speakers and outdoor beauty," Forbes said in its article "The Best Foreign Retirement Havens For 2015."

"Foreign income is untaxed, and permanent residency can be had on a minimal showing of retirement income," it further noted.

It noted popular locations such as Tagaytay that are "elevated and therefore cooler" and Subic Bay, with its US navy base infrastructure.

Forbes also noted that there are nonstop flights between Manila and US that take an average of 15 hours.

According to the magazine, it identified the 20 "appealing foreign countries" based on a review of factors such as cost of living, cultural attractions and scenery, safety, tax matters—especially breaks for retirees—local hospitality, weather, availability of adequate healthcare and prevalence of English.

Other countries included in the list are: Australia, Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, France, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, and Uruguay.

Last year, Forbes ranked Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental fifth on the list of best places to retire.

Malacañang welcomed Forbes' assessment and said Filipinos should exert more effort in improving the country's investment climate.

"Siyempre po ikinakagalak po natin ang pahayag na ‘yan ng isang reputable na pahayagan, ang Forbes, at ito ay dapat na maging basehan upang tayo ay higit pang magpunyagi sa pagpapaganda ng investment climate sa ating bansa," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said on government-run dzRB on Sunday.

According to Coloma, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. noted that in 2014, foreign tourist arrivals reached 4.83 million—a 3.25-percent increase from 2013—and tourism revenues hit P214.8 billion.

"At dahil po dito, ibayong pagsisikap pa rin sa bahagi ng pamahalaan sa pangunguna ng Department of Tourism sa paggawa ng lahat ng nararapat para mapanatili ang pagiging attractive destination ng ating bansa," Coloma said.

According to the National Tourism Development Plan, the Tourism department had a target of 6 million visitor arrivals in 2014.

This year, the agency eyes 8 million foreign tourist arrivals. — Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza/BM, GMA News
New brands, slower tourist arrivals to temper Metro Manila hotel rates —Colliers Intl

By DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA NewsFebruary 13, 2015 12:08pm
Metro Manila hotel rates are under pressure amid the influx of hotel brands in the country, as well as the seemingly slower growth trend of tourist arrivals, property consultancy firm Colliers International Philippines said in a report released late Thursday.
Average hotel room rates across major classifications exhibited stable to declining growth by end-2014, Colliers noted in its latest research and forecast report.
Data from the property consultancy firm showed the average five-star room rates grew 0.3 percent, the average four-star room rates continued to decline by 3.8 percent, and the average three-star room rates dropped by 11.5 percent in the second half of 2014.
"As the competition among hotels intensifies, operators are forced to adjust their prices in order to attract more travelers to stay in their hotels," the report read.
In fact, 2,038 new hotel rooms opened in Metro Manila, bringing the total room inventory to 19,373, Colliers said.
Meanwhile, some 3,580 hotel rooms will be delivered annually over the next four years as hotel operators bank on improving economic conditions, it added.
Last year, the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.1 percent, after accelerated government spending helped the economy recover in the fourth quarter.
French-based hotel management company Accor targets to open six new projects across various locations in Metro Manila in the next two years.
The Wyndham group – known for its Microtel brand – will introduce its select-service hotel brand Tryp in the Mall of Asia complex in 2015.

Also, there are openings of hotel developments in Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.'s (Pagcor) Entertainment City pushed back to the first quarter of 2015 due to bottlenecks in construction, Colliers said. These are the hotels opening in the City of Dreams Manila including the Grand Hyatt City of Dreams, Nobu Hotel, and Crown Towers.
In terms of tourist arrivals, the number of tourists that went to the country totalled 3.96 million from January to October 2014, according to the Department of Tourism.
This was a 2.3 percent growth year-on-year, the lowest registered for the country since 2010, Colliers noted.
"If the trend continues, Colliers estimates that 4.8 million foreign tourists visited the country in 2014, far behind the government target of 6.0 million tourists," the report read.
With the influx of new hotel rooms and slower growth of tourist arrivals, occupancy rate in Metro Manila is seen to decline to 65.6 percent, Colliers noted.
"The outlook remains rosy, however, as the country will host two significant events in 2015: the Papal Visit in January and the APEC Ministerial Meetings, both of which are expected to spur demand for accommodations in Metro Manila," it noted.
Pope Francis visited the Philippines last January 15 to 19.
Meanwhile, various APEC meetings will be held across the country starting November 2014 in preparation for the World Leaders’ Summit on November 17 and 18, 2015.
These areas include Pampanga, Manila, Bataan, Albay, Tagaytay City, Iloilo, Boracay Island, Bacolod City and Cebu. —KG, GMA News
Residential property sales, inventory dropping
Market correcting, now back to ‘more rational’ levels

Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:30 AM | Friday, February 13th, 2015
MANILA, Philippines–Metro Manila’s residential property market contracted in 2014 in terms of both additional inventory and sales take-up. But the current levels were, according to property consulting firm Colliers Philippines,  “more rational” compared to the exuberance seen in the previous three years.

In a briefing on Thursday, Colliers Philippines director for research and advisory Julius Guevara said that nearly 40,000 residential units were sold last year, 7 percent lower than the take-up in 2013.

He said the decline might be due largely to a similar reduction in residential unit launches, which fell by 33 percent to nearly 39,000 units last year.

He said the residential property market was only continuing the “correction” that started in 2013 after hitting a high of 51,000 residential units taken up in 2012.

“We feel the market has now returned to more rational levels in terms of home-buying,” Guevara said, noting that Metro Manila’s primary residential condominium market would likely be able to sustain an annual residential unit take-up of 30,000 to 40,000 levels.

Asked to define what Colliers considered a “rational” residential market, Guevara said this was a market driven by real underlying homeowner demand and not investors who intend to rent out these units.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has been tightly monitoring the real estate exposure of the banking industry and mapping out new regulations as a preemptive move against possible property bubbles.

Based on Colliers’ latest report, total residential licenses issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board declined by 4 percent in 2014, weighed down by the slowdown in the following segments: socialized housing (-15.7 percent); mid-income housing (-9 percent) and high-rise residential (-2.6 percent).

Only the low-cost housing segment expanded in 2014, with licenses issued increasing by 6.6 percent. Colliers said this was because more local developers were venturing into the affordable housing segment to meet the still huge supply backlog.

From 2015 to 2018, Colliers expects a total of 30,935 residential units to be delivered in the major business districts of Metro Manila, 40 percent of which are scheduled for completion in 2015. About 75 percent of these units are studio and one-bedroom types with floor areas of 18 to 90 square meters.

“The majority of these units will likely cater to young professionals and investors who are diversifying their investment portfolios,” Colliers’ latest research report said.

“As such, the influx of these smaller-sized units is expected to create pressure on rental rates and resale prices,” it noted.

The larger three- to five-bedroom units, according to the research, would account for 7 percent of the new supply with unit cuts of between 100 and 500 square meters.

In Makati central business district, the research noted that overall vacancy rate declined by 4 basis points to 8.1 percent in the fourth quarter due to the strong take-up of Grade A and Grade B projects.

Leasing activities, however, remained high in the lower end of the spectrum as Makati remained a preferred location, with vacancy rate in this segment declining by 60 basis points, it noted.

In the premium residential market, vacancy rate declined by 17 basis points to 4.4 percent, as there were new projects completed during the period. Colliers expects vacancy rate in this segment to rise by 260 basis points, as more units are slated for completion.

For the rental market, the research noted that rental rates in Makati CBD, Rockwell and Bonifacio Global City (BGC) posted a more stable growth in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Rent, property prices to rise 4-6 pct this year
Posted at 02/13/2015 3:37 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Property consultant Colliers said residential rents and property values in three of the country's priciest areas - Makati, Fort Bonifacio and Rockwell - will grow at a stable pace this year, with enough demand for current and upcoming condominiums.

Colliers said the value of residential rents will grow moderately at 4-5 percent growth, while capital values will grow by 4-6 percent.

Colliers said a 15 percent increase in prices is a signal that an asset price bubble could be forming, but adds that the Bangko Sentral and even developers have been implementing measures to prevent that.

"The developers are well aware of this. They experienced Asian financial crisis, taken prudent measures to address this, pre-selling condo market-- reduced project launches by 33 percent in 2014. it's because they saw that there's been a decline in sales," Julius Guevarra, Colliers director for research and advisory, said.

"The BSP is taking a close look at real estate sector, a lot of measures, looking into real estate shadow banking phenomenon. Developers are lending to borrowers through down payment schemes. These are moves in the right direction," he said.

Meanwhile, Colliers also said the sale of residential units in Metro Manila dropped 7 percent last year which is considered more rational after three years of high sales. - ANC

DPWH to start work on Buendia Tunnel project in April

February 15, 2015 6:53am
Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson announced on Wednesday that work on the 880-lineal meter Senator Gil Puyat Avenue-Makati Avenue–Paseo de Roxas Underpass project will start in April, once pre-construction activities are completed in March.

“As early as now, I appeal for the understanding of the motorists and commuters on any inconvenience the project may cause as I have directed the contractor to maximize project time schedule,” Singson said in a post in the DPWH website.

“The Department is also coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Makati officials for the traffic management within the vicinity.”
The P1.27 billion project will ultimately address traffic congestion within the Makati Central Business District and its surrounding areas. Construction was expected to take 22 months.

The project will see the construction of a four-lane vehicle underpass along the innermost lanes of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, passing through Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas intersections, as well as a covered tunnel portion of about 570 meters. — Joel Locsin/DVM, GMA News
Clark Green City project attracts interest from PH, foreign firms

Posted at 02/13/2015 6:05 PM
MANILA - The Philippines will hold a tender within the first quarter of the year for the right to develop a portion of a 9,500-hectare (23,475-acre) former US base into a masterplanned city north of the capital, a government official said on Friday.

The Clark Green City project has piqued the interest of major Philippine property firms and foreign companies such as Sumitomo Corp, Hitachi Ltd, Farglory Land Development Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Corp, said Arnel Paciano Casanova, president of the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

BCDA will publish on Feb. 19 the auction terms for the development rights of a 200-hectare parcel of the mixed-use project. Both foreign and local investors may submit bids.

"We are also doing parallel discussions with foreign partners who could locate in the special economic zone," Casanova told reporters.

The BCDA, tasked with converting former military bases into masterplanned communities and business districts, also plans to get joint venture partners to develop the rest of the 1,300-hectare phase 1 of Clark Green City.

The agency expects private firms to spend a total of 59 billion pesos ($1.33 billion) to develop the 1,300-hectare parcel, almost four times the size of New York's Central Park, Casanova said.

Clark Green City is targeted to generate 1.57 trillion pesos worth of economic activity annually and create nearly a million jobs when development is complete, government studies show.

Plastic trash at sea: PH, Indonesia among top contributors

In a landmark study, scientists have estimated that millions of tons of plastic waste go into the sea worldwide every year, with middle-income nations – including the Philippines – shown to be among the top contributors. Between an estimated 4.8-12.7 million metric tons of garbage goes into the sea annually, and the top contributors are China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

If the trends the researchers saw in their study hold up in the next few years, we can expect mismanaged waste to increase further.
RLC profit up 35.4%

Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:36 AM | Monday, February 16th, 2015
Gokongwei-led property developer Robinsons Land Corp. grew its net profit for the quarter ending December by 35.4 percent to P1.4 billion.

RLC’s profit was boosted by the growth in its office and hotel portfolio alongside the stable performance of its shopping mall and residential projects.

The increase is also due to some base effects given the extraordinary property losses incurred in the same period in 2014 brought about by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) that ravaged Eastern Visayas.

The three-month period covering October to December is the first quarter in RLC’s fiscal year, which ends every September.

Total revenue rose by 9 percent to P4.79 billion while cash flow as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) went up by 11.2 percent to P2.58 billion.

RLC malls, office and hotels, contributed 83 percent of Ebitda.

The commercial centers division generated 46 percent or P2.2 billion of gross revenue, up by 12.6 percent.

The office buildings division contributed 10 percent or P467.2 million of the company’s revenue, up by 29.1 percent from last year’s P361.8 million. Lease income was derived from 10 completed office buildings with a total occupancy of 99 percent, including Cyberscape Alpha and Cyberscape Beta which opened in fiscal year 2014 and are located in the Ortigas Central Business District (CBD).

Currently, Cyberscape Alpha is 100 percent leased out while Cyberscape Beta has a lease take up of 94 percent.

The hotels division contributed 9 percent or P446.9 million to the company’s revenues, up by 11.4 percent obtained from 13 hotel properties for the period, including the newly opened Go Hotels Butuan as well as hotels opened in fiscal year 2014, namely: Go Hotels Iloilo and Go Hotels Alpha Ortigas.

The company also recently opened Summit Magnolia which forms part of the Magnolia Town Center, its mixed-use development in Quezon City.

Its residential segment contributed P1.68 billion in revenue, slightly up from P1.67 billion in the previous year.

RLC’s financial position remains solid, with 34 centavos in debt for every P1 in equity as of end-December. Net debt to equity stood at 31 centavos to P1 in debt.

This month, the company will issue fixed-rate bonds worth P10 billion.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on March 01, 2015, 12:21:16 PM
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Real Estate / Economy / Infrastructure / Environment / Energy
Monday, February 23, 2015
Why PH needs to improve investment freedom
Posted at 02/20/2015 10:55 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is among the very best performers in terms of improving economic freedom or promoting equal economic equal economic opportunity and prosperity, but it still needs improvement.

The publishers of the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom say while the Philippines has had an 11 percent improvement in economic freedom over the last five years, it must do more in terms of freedom of investment.

"The Philippines' score is 60, no change over the past year. It's not bad, slightly above the world average. But in terms of the countries you are actually competing for investments with, it is not a particularly strong area. Other countries would have scores in the 80 to 90 range," Terry Miller, executive director of The Heritage Foundation, said.

"So this is an area where there are still substantial regulatory burdens in the economy, a number of restrictions that guard selected areas. I am told that perhaps that this is even an area tht some sort of Constitutional change might have to be envisioned to make reforms in this area," he added.

Miller is referring to Charter change to allow more foreign ownership in the country that of course is a very touchy topic, as many still fear lawmakers could use it to abuse their power.

But the Aquino government has done well even without Charter change.

Last year, it grew foreign direct investments to nearly $6 billion, despite averaging just $3.5 billion in the two years before.

But even then, the Philippines still ranked lowest among ASEAN nations.

"You may feel, 'Oh, there is a disconnection, we have this much economic freedom but where is our FDI?' But as we know it will take some time, but in the case of the Philippines, it's not that far away. Already you've been implementing good policies over the past five years, not just a year or two over the past five years," Anthony Kim, senior policy analyst, The Heritage Foundation, said.

Such policies include the opening up of the banking sector to foreign companies, which has so far drawn interest from Japanese banks and other regional players. - ANC
JICA backs study on North-South commuter rail project

by Rainier Allan Ronda, The Philippine Star
Posted at 02/22/2015 11:33 AM
TOKYO – The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide technical assistance for the conduct of a feasibility study on the North-South Commuter Rail project proposed by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

The North-South Commuter Rail is envisioned to have a route length of 91 kilometers and will be an elevated railway with modern, high-capacity trains running from Malolos, Bulacan to Calamba, Laguna.

The feasibility study is for the Malolos to Tutuban, Manila stretch only.

Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya earlier said the Tutuban to Calamba stretch would be offered to prospective investors via the Aquino government’s public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

Jin Wakabaayshi, director of JICA’s Southeast Asia Division 5, told The STAR the agency already expressed its commitment to support the conduct of the feasibility study to Philippine government officials.

Wakabaayshi also said the North-South Commuter Rail and a subway along EDSA were in the list of big-ticket projects recommended in the Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas, which was submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority in June 2014.

According to the roadmap, the EDSA subway is envisioned to serve as the second north-south mass transit, running from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan to Dasmariñas, Cavite.

If pursued, the two railway projects are expected to strengthen connectivity between Metro Manila and adjoining municipalities in Central Luzon and Calabarzon, thereby decongesting the metropolis.
SC asked to halt LRT1 Cavite extension project
The P64.9B mass rail transit project is the ‘most disadvantageous government contract of all time,’ a lawyer ​says in his petition before the High Court
Published 6:30 PM, Feb 20, 2015
Updated 6:30 PM, Feb 20, 2015
MANILA, Philippines – A lawyer is asking the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the implementation of the P64.9-billion ($1.47-billion) Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT1) Cavite extension project for being “the most disadvantageous government contract of all time.​”

The tandem Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) and Ayala Corporation has signed with the government the 32-year concession agreement for the project in October last year.

The LRT extension project will lengthen Line 1 from 20.7 kilometers to 32.4 km, with a new south endpoint in Niog, Bacoor, Cavite. Approximately 10.5 km of the Cavite Extension System will be elevated and 1.2 km will be at grade level.

The consortium of the groups, Light Rail Manila, was the lone bidder for the public-private partnership (PPP) project. The consortium is led by MPIC, with a 55% stake, and Ayala, with 35%. Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte Ltd holds the remaining 10%.

Under the agreement, LRMC will construct the planned extension of rail services to Cavite in exchange for, among others, the takeover of the existing LRT 1 facilities and the right to its daily income of around P7 million ($158,227.87) per day.

In his 21-page petition for injunction​, lawyer Salvador Belaro Jr, said ​that if ​the project is not enjoined, it will result in public debt of unfathomable magnitude, plus violations of the Constitutio​n and the Build-Operate Transfer (BOT) Law.

Belaro said the project is overpriced by at least 300% versus the recently finished North extension project.

The 5.71-kilometer North extension project from Monumento to North EDSA costs only P6.3 billion ($142.37 million), Belaro said.

The Cavite extension project, ​which double that distance, costs P64.9-billion ($1.47-billion), ​P39 billion ($881.29 million) of which is for civil and electrical works.

Belaro said that upon the execution of the concession agreement, LRMC already earned P18 billion ($406.73 million) – the alleged overpric​ing in the project.

​Because of such “income” upon contract signing, the 10% down payment ​made by the concessionaire ​– equivalent to P935,010,390 ($21.13 million) – ​did not ​become a burden to LRMC.

Upon signing, the concessionaire already started to earn approximately P2.53 billion ($57.19 million) yearly from LRT1, Belaro ​said.

On the ​4th year, when quarterly payment on the balance of the total concession price starts, the estimated P2.53 billion ($57.19 million) can already be used by LRMC to pay such quarterly payments.

But despite such, there would still be a balance on such yearly net income of LRT1 of more or less P2.23 billion ($50.41 million) for the concessionaire “to enjoy yearly for the entire duration of 32 years of the concession,” which is also can be extended up to 50 years.

The P2.23 billion ($50.41 million), when aggregated, would earn the concessionaire approximately P80 billion ($1.81 billion) from LRT1 alone, not including the income from the Cavite extension project, as well as income from non-rail services of both LRT1 and the extension project, Belaro said.

Also, if the concessionaire would be spending up to P20 billion ($452.08 million) for the Cavite extension project, the latter would still derive a profit (from LRT1 rail services alone) of at least P60 billion ($1.36 billion or P2.23 billion [$50.41 million] multiplied by 32 years) for the entire concession period or P1.6 billion (36.18 million) yearly, Belaro pointed out.

The P1.6 billion (​$​36.18 million) yearly net income for the concessionaire is said to balloon to a yearly net income of P3 billion ($67.84 million) because of the numerous provisions in the concession agreement.

“In effect, the government stands to shoulder all the burden just to make the project a reality, making it the most one-sided contract of all time,” Belaro said.
Constitutional violation

Belaro also ​said​ the LRT1 Cavite extension project should not have been awarded by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) ​because both ​agencies do not have ​the power to ​do so.

It is only the Congress which can grant such a franchise​. He said the “closed door” negotiations on the project ​also violated the people’s constitutional right to information.

Belaro’s filing of the injunction follows several other cases filed in court questioning the increase in fares of LRT and Metro Rail Transit (MRT). SC asked DOTC to explain its basis for the fare hike.

“Under the concession agreement executed between DOTC and LRTA, and LRMC, the government bound itself to make fare increases,” Belaro said.

LRMC targets to complete the extension project by 2019.

The consortium is committed to deliver a safe, reliable, and world-class rail system comparable to commuter railway hubs in the region, MPIC chairman Manuel Pangilinan previously said. –
Right-of-way woes cancel NIA project

By Ferdie G. Domingo | Feb. 23, 2015 at 12:01am
DINGALAN, Aurora –  A P10-million communal irrigation project in this mountain resort town has been scrapped over recurring road right of way problems, the National Irrigation administration said.

Angelito Miguel, manager of the NIA’s Bulacan-Aurora-Nueva Ecija  division based in San Rafael, Bulacan, said that the prject’s budget  has been realigned to the Umiray CIP although the  original projecthas already been awarded to a contractor.

Bane is one of three divisions under the NIA Region 3 office under regional manager Josephine Salazar. The others are the Tarlac-Zambales (Tarzam) and Pampanga-Bataan (Pambat) divisions.

“The project has not been started although the contract has already been awarded so we resolved to just terminate the contract,” Miguel said.

The project encountered a setback after the owner of the land where the Umiray CIP is set to be constructed, lawyer Romeo Roxas, put up a makeshift checkpoint in the barangay, preventing NIA officials and fieldmen from bringing in construction materials to proceed with the project.

Miguel said the project would have made an impact on the community since it could irrigate 100 hectares and benefit at least 50 farmers. He said the funding had to be diverted because it has already been earmarked under the Fund 101 of the General Appropriations Act.
Rizal wind farm may open in May

By Alena Mae S. Flores | Feb. 22, 2015 at 10:05pm
Alternergy Wind One Corp., a company led by former Energy Secretary Vince Perez, is expected to complete the 67.5-megawatt wind farm project in Barangay Halayhayin, Pililia, Rizal in May.

The $177.9-million project is due for completion in July 2015, Energy Department records showed, but a source said the project might be completed as early as May.

Energy Department director Mylene Capongcol said several wind turbines were now installed in the area.

The Energy Regulatory Commission approved last year the application of Alternergy to develop, own and operate dedicated point-to-point limited facilities for wind farm projects and connect to the distribution network of Manila Electric Co.

The Pililla wind project received confirmation of commerciality from the Energy Department last year.  Once completed, the project is expected to yield around 154 gigawatt-hours annually.

Alternergy Wind One earlier secured a $130-million loan from a syndicate of banks to fund the 67.5-MW Pililla wind farm project.

Alternergy is putting up another wind power facility in Pililla, Rizal, called the Sembrano wind farm, with a capacity of 72 MW and costing $236 million.

The company said power produced from the two wind projects should be connected to the distribution network of Meralco, which owns the franchise to operate in Rizal.

It said connecting to Meralco’s system was the most feasible and least costly means of dispatching power and would put into beneficial use the generated capacity of the two plants.

Alternergy proposed that the Pililla wind farm be interconnected with the distribution system of Meralco through a 10-kilometer, 115-kilovolt sub-transmission line.

The Pililla wind project will be connected to Meralco’s 115- kV Malaya-Teresa transmission line. The project is expected to be commissioned in June this year.

The company also proposed that the Sembrano wind farm utilize another 15-km 115-kV line from the wind farm to the switching station and then be connected to the Malaya-Teresa transmission line.

ERC said it approved Alternergy’s application but the company should undertake measures “to ensure that its proposed interconnection shall not result in the degradation of Meralco’s distribution system.

Alternergy Wind One is a joint venture between Alternergy Viento Partners Corp., Korea East West Power, a unit of Korea Electric Power Co. and Meralco PowerGen Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Meralco.

The 67.5-MW Pililla wind farm is the first renewable power project that has secured full project financing under the feed-in tariff regime.

FIT is a cost-based compensation mechanism assuring certainty of price and designed to encourage renewable-energy producers to invest in the country.  The rate is normally higher than the cost of other power projects.

Alternergy plans to develop renewable power projects with at least 200 MW in generating capacity within three years.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on March 01, 2015, 12:21:32 PM
New tourist attraction to open in Intramuros

By Jennifer Ambanta | Feb. 22, 2015 at 10:45pm
Manila now has a new tourist attraction, after the Bureau of the Treasury agreed to open the restored Ayuntamiento Building in Intramuros to foreign and local tourists and the public in general.

Treasurer Roberto Tan said the agency was still finalizing the details on how it could open the historical building to the public, without disrupting the day-to-day operation of the Treasury, which is in charge of raising funds for the government.

“We will coordinate first with the Intramuros Council and see how it can be integrated in the Manila tour,” Tan said.

The BTr spent P1.3 billion for the rehabilitation and restoration of Ayuntamiento de Manila.  Tan said “with the cost of restoration, we are happy with how it turned out considering how much we spent.”

“It is not cheap to restore a historical building, there are many limitations,” Tan said.

The treasurer said the agency was not allowed to tear any walls or any part of the original building and was also prohibited to change the design of both interiors and exteriors.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad agreed that such “restoration is expensive.”

Ayuntamiento de Manila, located at the corner of Andrés Soriano Avenue (formerly Calle Aduana) and Cabildo Street beside Manila Cathedral, was rebuilt three times over the past four centuries, after being damaged by earthquakes and war.

It served as the office of the American military governor in 1903 and hosted the First Philippine Assembly.  It was destroyed during the Battle of Manila in 1945, with only the outer walls of the first floor standing. The Bureau of Treasurer funded its reconstruction, based on the 19th Century design.  It was completed in 2013.
Belle sees revenue growth from City of Dreams Manila

By Zinnia Dela Peña, The Philippine Star
Posted at 02/21/2015 10:11 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Leisure estate and gaming firm Belle Corp. expects revenues to grow bigger in the near to medium term especially due to the lease and operating agreements with Macau casino giant Melco Crowne Ltd.

Belle CFO Manuel Gana said in the nine months ending September last year, the company booked P1.2 billion in revenue from the lease to Melco of the 6.2 hectare property where the City of Dreams Manila stands. In 2013, Belle realized revenues of P1.3 billion from the lease.

These figures, Gana said, are seen to rise further as City of Dreams is beginning to attract high-rollers and consumers and generate foot traffic.

For this year, lease revenues from the City of Dreams property is expected to hit P1.4 billion.

Apart from the lease revenues, Belle will also be realizing a share in earnings from City of Dreams’ gaming operations through its 78.7 percent subsidiary Premium Leisure Corp., which has an operating agreement with Melco.

City of Dreams Manila soft-opened on Dec. 14, 2014 and had a grand launch last Feb. 2. It covers about two hectares of gaming space, more than 900 hotel rooms operated under three hotel brands (namely Crown, Hyatt and Nobu), the DreamPlay indoor amusement park, and approximately two hectares of restaurant and retail space.

Belle also owns significant real estate assets in and around Tagaytay City, encompassing about 800 hectares of land available for future development.

The Sy family consolidated its gaming assets including its stake in City of Dreams Manila under PLC, formerly Sinophil Corp.

City of Dreams Manila is one of the four integrated resort and casinos licensed to operate in Entertainment City, which is expected to become a prime new leisure destination in the country.

Solaire Resorts & Casino of port mogul Enrique Razon is the first to open among the four licensees. The two others are Travellers International Hotel Group Inc, a venture between Genting Hong Kong Ltd and Philippine conglomerate Alliance Global Group Inc , and Universal Entertainment Corp of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada.
Ayala to triple shopping spaces

By Jenniffer B. Austria | Feb. 22, 2015 at 11:10pm
Ayala Land Inc., a major property developer, plans to triple the size of shopping malls, office space and hotel and resorts businesses over the next seven years to achieve its P40-billon net income target by 2020.

Ayala Land said in a presentation during a recent investors’ briefing it expected the gross leasable area of its shopping malls to reach 3.6 million square meters by 2020 from 1.3 million sq. m. as of end 2013.

The company plans to increase the GLA of office development to 1.8 million sq. m. by 2020 from 600,000 sq. m. as of end 2013.

The hotels and resorts business is projected to reach 6,000 room keys by 2020 from 2,000 room keys as of end 2013.

Ayala Land this year plans to add 147,000 sq. m. of leasable space for shopping centers that will open in Tagaytay, Nuvali, Makati and UP Town Center in Quezon City.

Ayala Land will also add 106,000 sq. m. of office leasable space with the completion of several projects in Bonifaco Global City and Alabang, and open 153 hotel rooms this year with the addition of Seda Iloilo.

The property company plans to be aggressive with the expansion of the retail and hospital business.

The group ended 2014 with 87 FamilyMart convenience stores in operations. It plans to increase the outlets to 500 over the next few years.

Ayala Land as of end 2014 has two QualiMed clinics and one hospital in operations. It aimsw to operate 10 clinics and 10 hospitals in Ayala Land township projects over the next five years.
Megaworld founder recognized for 'live-work-play' concept
Posted at 02/22/2015 5:58 PM | Updated as of 02/22/2015 6:12 PM
MANILA - The Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) will fete Megaworld Corp. founder Andrew Tan for his contribution to the growth of the retail industry.

Board members of the PRA unanimously decided to bestow upon Tan the title “Pillar of Mixed-Use Developments” for his role in promoting businesses in the country.

“Dr. Tan gave retailers premium sites for expansion with ready markets coming from the residential and office components of his integrated developments. His invaluable contribution to the Philippine retail industry truly deserves PRA’s highest recognition,” PRA president and Duty Free chief operating officer Lorenzo "Enchong" C. Formoso said.

Tan is being recognized for his signature “live-work-play” concept in the development of fully integrated locations like Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City and McKinley Hill in Taguig.

Tan will receive the PRA President’s Award during the 18th Outstanding Filipino Retailers and Shopping Centers of the Year Awards at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria on February 25.

Previous recipients of the President’s Award include
Henry Sy (Father of Philippine Retailing),
Fernando Zobel de Ayala (Pillar of Philippine Retail Development),
Jorge Araneta (Pioneer of Philippine Retail Entertainment),
Samie Lim (Pioneering Pillar of Franchising),
Socorro Ramos (Matriarch of Philippine Retailing),
John Gokongwei Jr. (Champion of Retail Entrepreneurship),
Amb. Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. (Father of Luxury Retailing),
Mariano Que (Father of Health and Wellness Retailing), and
Teresita Sy-Coson (Philippine Retailing’s Woman Visionary Leader.)

“Retailers have become more aware of the stringent criteria for evaluating and judging the candidates and they know that when a company is awarded, they are truly world-class. This is why in the many years that we have been presenting the awards, the number of nominees, including self-nominations, has consistently increased,” PRA secretary general Evelyn Balmeo Salire said.
The mysterious sinkhole of GenSan
If the hole keeps growing bigger, it could affect more than 1,000 families living in the area

Edwin G. Espejo
Published 5:46 PM, Feb 20, 2015
Updated 10:12 AM, Feb 22, 2015
See pictures here:

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Residents here who have resisted relocation for more than 30 years now are left with no other choice but to leave the shores where many of them practically lived all their lives.

43-year-old Reynante Desidorio said he was born in Purok Tinago, a community of informal settlers in Barangay South Dadiangas, and has not known any other work but to supervise the loading and unloading of copra and other agricultural products from Balut Island in a makeshift wooden jetty near his house.

But even that quay will soon disappear if the underwater hole continues to eat into the shores and gobble their homes.

Disaster officials are still puzzled why a deep hole – or a suspected sinkhole as the local TV stations here are reporting – has suddenly appeared.

Desidorio said a payaw (FAD or fish aggregating device) deployed some 50 meters away from the shore disappeared on Wednesday at the same time white bubbles emerged from the bottom.

He said a pumpboat operator tried to measure the depth of the hole. After dropping its anchor, only 20 dipa (fathoms) were left of the 350 fathoms of rope.

He fears their homes could collapse as the stilt posts of their houses now appear to be already on the rim of the hole.

From an aerial photograph taken Friday, the hole appears to be a collapsed wall that extended more than 100 meters to the sea. It is now deep blue from above and is distinctively different from the adjoining shores whose bed of sand and silt is unmistakenly black.

The city disaster risk reduction and management council (CDRRMC) said it cannot yet determine what caused the hole.

CDRRMC head Dr Agraprino Dacera said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau will not conduct ground penetrating radar and sounding survey until next week.
Emergency evacuation

Disaster officials have already ordered families living in the area to seek temporary shelter in nearby Ireneo Santigao High School.

On Friday, February 20, General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera met with some 100 families of Tinago and offered immediate relocation for 47 of them whose houses are in imminent danger of collapsing.

“We have set aside 3 hectares of land in Mabuhay for those who are already ordered out of the area. You will each be given 75 square meters,” he told the affected residents.

He assured them that the city will no longer allow any structure to be built in their former homes which will soon be demolished.

“The main priority here is to protect them from danger kasi nasa danger zone na talaga sila,” Rivera said.

If the hole keeps growing bigger, it could affect more than 1,000 families living in the area that stretches more than a kilometer east across the public market. –
STI to foreclose Benitez family’s Davao property
This is the third planned foreclosure in an escalating conflict between STI and the Benitez family over the Philippine Women's University
Published 4:57 PM, Feb 21, 2015
Updated 4:57 PM, Feb 21, 2015
MANILA, Philippines – STI Education Holdings Incorporated of businessman Eusebio Tanco is set to foreclose another property owned by the Benitez family in Davao.

This is the third property of the Benitiez family that STI wants to foreclose in an escalating dispute with the family over the Philippine Women’s University (PWU).

The dispute began when the Benitez family, owners of PWU, and its sister company UNLAD, failed to settle its obligation worth around P1 billion.

“The Davao Petition is the last petition initiated by STI Holdings, on its own or together with AHC, for the satisfaction of UNLAD’s obligations to STI Holdings and AHC in the aggregate amount of P294,073,466.68 ($ 6,645,836.85), and PWU’s obligations to STI Holdings in the aggregate amount of P702,446,308.08 ($15,874,752.70),” STI said.

STI said it filed a petition with the Office of the Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, for the extra-judicial foreclosure of a parcel of land under the name of Unlad Resources Development Corporation, owned by the Benitez group, located in Davao City, and all improvements located therein.

According to STI, the said properties were mortgaged in favor of STI Holdings and Attenborough Holdings Corporation to serve as security under the Omnibus Agreement dated June 8, 2012, executed noting Unlad, as debtor, and STI Holdings and AHC, as creditors.

STI earlier filed a petition with the Manila Regional Trial Court to foreclose Unlad’s property, the site of PWU, located along Taft Avenue in Manila.

It also made similar filing with the Quezon City RTC to foreclose Unlad’s property in Quezon City.

In December 2014, STI issued notices of default to PWU and Unlad after the Benitez Group failed to meet all its obligations, demanding a combined total of P996 million ($22.5 million) covering interest, penalties, lawyers' fees, and value added taxes within 7 days.

The Benitez group, countering with its own figures, argued that STI’s demand – for the family to pay P923 million ($20.83 million) for obligations of P448 million ($10.11 million) – is exorbitant.

The Benitezes will honor its commitment to Eusebio Tanco and STI but stressed that it would only be under “fair and just terms,” PWU media director Lydia Benitez-Brown said previously.

STI bailed out PWU in 2011. It bought the debt paper from BDO Unibank and provided additional funds to pay for salaries and wages, utilities, repair leaks, retirement pay, upgrade of laboratory facilities and learning, and other operational expenses. –
TIMELINE: DECA Homes through the years

( | Updated February 20, 2015 - 9:00am
MANILA, Philippines – DECA Homes started from the vision of three friends who want to offer affordable and good-quality homes to Filipinos through mass housing. Initially, it focused on building residential properties in provinces, particularly in Cagayan de Oro with its first project, Villa Candida.
Through the years, DECA Homes has expanded its borders, constructing more houses in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Cavite and now, developing an urban home in the metro.
The public listing of its mother company, 8990 Holdings Inc., marks another milestone to its journey.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on March 30, 2015, 08:37:45 AM
CCGA Valuation & Advisory
Real Estate News
Real Estate / Economy / Infrastructure / Environment / Energy / Design
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
PH prospects ‘positive’ come ASEAN integration

Most investors have higher than ‘excellent’ expectations about the country’s economic performance – which overall, is still positive

Chris Schnabel
Published 8:16 PM, Mar 24, 2015
Updated 8:17 PM, Mar 24, 2015
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is in such an enviable situation that, in a worst case scenario, it would still do well in an integrated Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

On Tuesday, March 24, the Asian Development Bank's flagship annual economic publication, Asian Development Outlook 2015 (ADO), forecasted the Philippine Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow by 6.4% in 2015, and 6.3% in 2016.

Factors like expanding government expenditure, along with robust private consumption and continued strong investments are expected to continuously fuel growth in 2015, the ADB said.

In the Euromoney Investment Forum session on ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) held also Tuesday, BDO Unibank President and Director Nestor V. Tan said that the country’s biggest enemy at the moment is the non-alignment of investors’ expectations with the actual state of the Philippine economy.

Most investors have expectations that are higher than excellent, Tan said.

Echoing Tan’s sentiment, fellow panelist Suraj Moraje, managing partner of Mckinsey and Company in the Philippines said his experience in the country since he arrived in 2013 has, so far, been positive.

The level of talent present in the country struck him the most, he added.

“The quality of the managers is quite good – the best talent compared with the whole region. I’m surprised the Philippines hasn’t had a more global presence,” Moraje said.
Growth areas

The level of talent present protects the country from competition from other ASEAN countries as there is enough talent to build niches in the international economy, Moraje said.

“Everyone looks at automotive manufacturing but there are other sectors in the country that are [also] interesting,” Moraje said.

Specifically, the country already has a wealth of talent in the areas of seafaring, health care, and consumer goods, and local companies in these areas still have more room to grow.

A strong India and China also bodes well for ASEAN economies as they raised the total volume of trade within the region.

“Everyone thinks of these markets as trade with ‘China or India’ but I think it should be both of them. Both giants will contribute to pulling the rest of the region through trade,” Moraje said.
‘Single ASEAN capital market’

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima agreed with his fellow panelist, and said that ASEAN will eventually become a hub of Asian trade.

But Purisima is not seeing yet the possibility of a unified ASEAN currency.

“I don’t think that a single currency is needed, in hindsight even the European Union is now finding out that it’s not as easy as they thought it would be,” Purisima said.

He instead eyes a “single ASEAN capital market” to develop an ASEAN class of financial products.

Such will allow our industries and corporations to access the best possible financial products at the cheapest possible price because individually, the markets are not deep enough, Purisima explained.

In his speech at the Euromoney Investment Forum, President Benigno S. Aquino III said the country's compliance rate in the AEC scorecard is now at around 86%.

"I have already signed crucial laws that will help us meet our financial integration commitments, including an 'Act Strengthening the Insurance Industry and the Act Allowing the Full Entry of Foreign Banks in the Philippines,'" he said.
DAR eases land conversions for power projects
Posted at 03/24/2015 10:01 AM | Updated as of 03/24/2015 10:06 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The government takes a step that will make it easier to build power plants in the future.

The Department of Agrarian Reform says it will process a land conversion, usually from rural to industrial, even if documents aren't complete, if the Department of Energy certifies it as urgent.

Confirming a BusinessWorld report, DAR Secretary Gil delos Reyes said the processing can proceeds as the applicant works on his requirements, though all documents have to be submitted before a final decision is made.

"We can process, but we still wait for all documents before resolving application for conversion," he said.

Regulatory and environmental issues have held up several power plant projects, contributing to power shortages and blackouts.
Vista Residences turns Manila into one of top investment cities in the world

by Jeahan Virda B. de Barras - March 24, 2015
WITH Manila now touted as one of five key investment cities in the world alongside Tokyo, Shanghai, Jakarta and Sydney, it is clear that the Philippine government and the private sector are pulling their weight in creating a perfect economic environment for stimulating and sustaining investments, locally and internationally.

The rooms being operated by the leasing group are well taken care of and maintained regularly.The rooms being operated by the leasing group are well taken care of and maintained regularly.

While 2015 is looking good for the local real-estate industry, the impending Asean integration that will result in the birth of the Asean Economic Community will boost growth of the country’s real-estate businesses.

In the midst of the positive outlook, Vista Residences (VRI), Vista Land’s subsidiary on top of the group’s condominium developments and the only real-estate in the country that offers a broad selection of leasing options, is set to strengthen the country’s investment possibilities by providing a number of leasing options for those who have, or intend to, invest in a Vista Residences property.    The company’s newly created Leasing Group offers a selection of four proactive solutions for unit owners looking to lease out their units.

The Vista Residences Leasing Group’s mission is to enhance the values and marketability of Vista Residences’s developments, both for its end-users and investors, so as to turn their purchases into working investments.

Vista Land is known largely for its horizontal developments.  As such, investment clients for the group’s condominium properties account for about 40 percent of purchases. The majority are still end-users.  The country’s average for investment purchases is 60 percent to 70 percent.  While not one to follow industry trends, Vista Residences is determined to increase its investment purchases, as the group is currently targeting that particular market.  Among its “weapons,” so to speak, are its four leasing services.  With approximately 30-percent to 40-percent buyers “absentee owners”—accounting for both foreign and local owners—the company expects its Leasing Group will be quite busy.
Enjoy the view of the city at night from this room in Avant Serviced Suites.Enjoy the view of the city at night from this room in Avant Serviced Suites.

A key advantage of the group’s leasing services is hinged on the fact that Vista Residences is an industry pioneer in full-service, property-leasing management.

On the roster of Vista Residences’s leasing services are Asset Management Service (AMS), Leasing Services Only (LSO), Serviced Suites and the Condormitels, specifically created for the “University Series” condominiums.

AMS—This service offers basic housekeeping, which is ideal for fully furnished units with tenants looking for short-term rentals of not more than a year—ideal for owners who are away for long periods of time. Vista Residences currently has 11 towers offering this service, namely, Avant, Mosaic, Symphony, Trevi, Salcedo Square, Wil Tower, Currency, Pine Crest, Madison, Presidio, Pacific Residences and North Point.

LSO—LSO involves the usual leasing or rental of bare units to tenants for long-term rentals.  Usually, this means a stay of over a year.  It is available in the same condominiums that offer AMS.

Serviced Suites—These involve choice units that are operated by the Leasing Group as “serviced apartments” with full-hotel services, including a staff with concierge functions.  The units are preselected, furnished, serviced by the Leasing Group and equipped with hotel amenities—for short-staying guests and for daily or weekly use.  Currently, Vista Residences’s Serviced Suites are available in Avant, Bellini, Salcedo Square, Wil Tower and Currency—all very premier condominiums within the Metro Manila’s business and leisure hubs.

Condormitel—Condominiums, located close to educational institutions and what Vista Residences has dubbed its “University Series,” will offer a number of units called “dormitory-hotels.” With the turnover of five new projects, services and features centered around the needs of the students are in the offing. The condormitel units will be set up like dormitories, with options for two, three or four occupants. The “dormers” will be charged either on a monthly or annual basis.  Curfew hours and house rules will be implemented, as well as whatever other rules the unit owners wish.

The Condormitels will also provide services  such as housekeeping, laundry, water utilities, Internet and cable services, and the like, apart from the e-library, study pod, gym and roof deck with solar panels, which can be used for charging mobile phones and other gadgets. The students will be closer to their schools and will be watched over in a secure environment.

Designed to simplify the lives of customers who intend to invest in Vista Residences’s units, the VRI Leasing Group will be involved in sourcing possible tenants; marketing the service; managing enrollees’ accounts; administering to contracts; payment collection; negotiating renewals, requests for extensions and contract termination; unit housekeeping and maintenance; and assisting tenants with moving in or out.

Beyond all these, investing in a condominium unit for the specific purpose of eventually leasing it out actually offers a safer and better yield than putting one’s money in a bank, mutual funds or stocks.

Interestingly, properties that have a leasing component have been proven to result in a higher rental yield than those without.  Thus, in the industry, there is a heightened awareness of the need to offer a leasing component and, while several property developers have already done so, none have done it to the extent that Vista Residences has.

Vista Residences has assumed responsibility for the portfolio of condominium projects previously held by other Vista Land subsidiaries. Vista Residences carries with it Vista Land’s nearly four decades of experience in building homes, developing properties and creating master-planned communities—integrating into every project an unparalleled expertise in space planning, and flair for finding accessible locations. The company is committed to assuming a chief role in the condominium sector, creating greater awareness of their capabilities, as well as enhancing efficiencies in their resource distribution.

Please visit to learn about our company and how we can serve you.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on March 30, 2015, 08:38:38 AM
SM Cares breaks ground for housing project in Ormoc

by Felix N. Codilla, III
March 24, 2015 (updated)
Ormoc City – SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPH) broke ground for a housing project on a two-hectare land donated by Mayor Edward C. Codilla in Sitio Catmon, Brgy. Concepcion here. Marissa Fernan, SVP of SMPH, led the groundbreaking ceremony last March 18.

The project is undertaken by SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SMPH.

To be constructed are 200 units costing P250,000 each, the most expensive housing project for typhoon Yolanda victims. This is because the concrete houses will be disaster-resilient to withstand 250-km. winds and a magnitude 7 earthquake.

Mayor Edward Codilla lowers the time capsule to mark the groundbreaking of the SM Cares Village in Ormoc. From left: Mayor’s wife Engr. Violeta Codilla, SM Prime Holdings SVP Marissa Fernan, Atty. Christina Frasco, Duty Free Philippines Cares Chairperson Debbie Ongcip, Fr. Isagani Petillos, Councilor Pedro Godiardo Ebcas and ANCOP Operations Manager Elmer Cadiz.

Mayor Edward Codilla lowers the time capsule to mark the groundbreaking of the SM Cares Village in Ormoc. From left: Mayor’s wife Engr. Violeta Codilla, SM Prime Holdings SVP Marissa Fernan, Atty. Christina Frasco, Duty Free Philippines Cares Chairperson Debbie Ongcip, Fr. Isagani Petillos, Councilor Pedro Godiardo Ebcas and ANCOP Operations Manager Elmer Cadiz.

SM Cares will spend P50 million for the construction of the houses alone. Each single-story house has a size of 20 sqm including a three-sqm open area at the back which will also serve as a kitchen. Its high floor-ceiling ratio makes it loft-ready. Duty Free Philippines Cares contributed P6.6 million, good enough to build 12 units.

Total cost of the project is P300 million to include site development that will feature a half-hectare football field, community center, main road and secondary roads measuring six and five meters wide, respectively, to be funded by donations from employees, contractors and tenants of SMPH.

The mayor’s wife, Engr. Violeta Codilla, thanked SM Cares for the project.

“I would like to extend my profound gratitude to the SM Foundation and to the family of Mr. Hans Sy. This is a great contribution to our city,” she said. She also asked her husband to concretize the road leading to the site.

In response, Mayor Codilla addressed City Engineer Ranulfo Oliveros and told him not to forget the road project.

The idea of the project started when Ms. Fernan narrated SMPH’s housing projects in Cebu and Tacloban to Atty. Christina Frasco, the mayor’s niece, when they shared a plane ride.

Atty. Frasco became interested in putting a similar project in Ormoc and hooked up SM Cares with her uncle who is known for his philanthropy. Early this year, Mayor Codilla allowed the use of another 50-hectare land owned by his family for a housing project for 2,000 families.

Priority beneficiaries of SM Cares Village will be families who are forced to live in danger zones because of typhoon Yolanda. They will be required to demolish their old structures to ensure they won’t return and will be made to take part of a livelihood project of “Answering the Cry of the Poor,” a Catholic non-profit organization.

Considering that the units will be equipped with modern amenities like flushing toilets and aluminum sliding windows, the residents will be trained on how to take care of their new homes.

Ms. Fernan hopes they can also get scholars from among the beneficiaries’ children. SM Cares has over 1,000 scholars, 120 of them from Tacloban City.

Ms. Fernan also stressed that the residents will not own the homes; rather, they will just be allowed to occupy the units for 25 years subject for renewal to prevent them from selling their rights or renting out the homes. The project is targeted to be finished in September.
Ayala Land’s ‘Cloverleaf’ aims to become new landmark in Quezon City

by Betheena Kae Unite
March 23, 2015
Balintawak, the gateway to the north, is where Ayala Land Inc., the company behind the Makati Central Business District, Bonifacio Global Taguig, and Nuvali, expands with another premier development project.

Ayala Land has named the project “Cloverleaf” and it is designed to be another addition to its list of products.  It will bear features of exclusivity, convenience, strategic location, and diversity of lifestyle options anchored on a well-thought out blueprint for growth.

Ayala Land broke ground for Cloverleaf March 16, at the 11-hectare mixed-used development site in Balintawak, Quezon City.

“Our vision is to create a pocket urban development. Cloverleaf will give people access to refreshing retail, business, lifestyle and residential possibilities, elements that create an ideal urban lifestyle,” said Meean Dy, Ayala Land SVP.

Cloverleaf, the newest Ayala Land signature project, is a P25-billion development which will be completed within 10 years. It will house a 40, 000 sqm mall, a hospital, two residential towers, and a landscaped pedestrian promenade.

A highlight of the development is the 500-meter long landscaped open area that will connect EDSA to A. Bonifacio and will allow residents, shoppers, and workers to have a safe walking experience.

The 34 percent of the area will be assigned for residential purposes. Avida Tower and Alveo Tower will occupy a 1.4-hectare area.   Avida Tower will have about 2, 000 units and Alveo Tower will house 600 units. Avida and Alveo towers will be completed by 2019 and 2020 respectively.

For the commercial area, 62 percent of Cloverleaf is envisioned to house retail and business developments that will be anchored on the 40, 000 sqm Ayala mall.

The mall, which is set to be opened by 2017, is positioned to be a melting pot for Asian culture offering a diverse array of dining concepts for residents of Balintawak, Caloocan, Malabon, Novaliches, and Valenzuela.

Across the mall will be the Qualimed Hospital that has 250 beds with state-of-the art medical equipment which will be completed by fourth quarter of 2017.

“We always make it a point to locate where our products and services are easily accessible to more people,” said Dy.

Cloverleaf will rise along EDSA and A. Bonifacio, flanked by Metro Manila’s major cities, including Caloocan and Quezon City, with the community being accessible to the LRT1.

Dy said that phase 1 of the project, that includes the mall, hospital, Alveo, and Avida towers will be finished in five years. After that is completed, phase two will start the construction of the retail stores, residential area, and offices, with a target completion date set within five years.
SC issues TRO vs cutting of trees in SM Baguio

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News
Posted at 03/24/2015 5:33 PM | Updated as of 03/24/2015 6:08 PM
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order to halt the cutting and balling of trees on Luneta Hill, where SM Baguio is located.

The order stems from a petition filed by a group called Cordillera Global Network, opposing the uprooting of trees.

The court also ordered Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and other respondents to comment on the petition within 10 days.

SC spokesman Theodore Te said the TRO is effective immediately and until further orders from the Court.

SM Baguio has been under fire from residents and netizens for uprooting 60 trees in Luneta Hill last January.

The trees were uprooted to pave the way for the 7-storey Sky Park project, which SM claims to be environment-friendly.

Back in 2012, an environmental group foiled SM's plan to earthball and cut 182 trees in Session Road's remaining green zone.

A temporary environmental protection order was later issued, but the Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling, effectively lifting it.

SM Prime Holdings Inc., meanwhile, said it has yet to receive a copy of SC order, but noting that it will comply with the court order.

“SM Prime Holdings Inc. has yet to receive a copy of the Order from the Supreme Court as reported in the news. Rest assured that SM will comply with the directive of the Supreme Court,” the firm said in a statement.
ZipMatch raises $2.5M to expand PHL and Southeast Asia operations

Danessa O. Rivera/GMA News
March 24, 2015 6:28pm
Real estate marketplace ZipMatch has raised $2.5 billion from selling shares to a Singapore-based venture capital firm and existing investors to expand further in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.
In an e-mailed statement, ZipMatch said it closed a $2.5 million Series A round with Singaporean Monk’s Hill Ventures and existing investor 500 Startups.
This is one of Monk's Hill's first investments as a firm, and the first in the Philippines.
Kuo-Yi Lim of Monk’s Hill Ventures will join the ZipMatch board following the investment.
ZipMatch said it will use the proceeds to recruit more talent and experts in real estate, computer programming, content creation, product development, and customer service.
The company's business revolves around a process that leads prospective homebuyers into making confident decisions when buying their homes.
Among the growth areas is Philippine real estate, given its growing economy.
Last year, the Philippine gross domestic product grew by 6.1 percent, maintaining its position as the second fastest growing economy in Asia next to China.
“Having updated, reliable data in an online real estate marketplace is a big challenge, and I think we have made strides by putting out a product that is unique,” ZipMatch chief revenue officer and co-founder Chow Paredes said.
Unlike other platforms that focus mainly on classifieds, ZipMatch claimed it presents an array of services that eliminates most of the online research and physical work done when searching for a property.
The startup collects and curates pertinent information about a property, which is accessible by homebuyers in a single, interactive page.
ZipMatch is led by Paredes and co-founders John Dang as CEO and Kyle Wiltshire as chief technology officer.
So far, the team has raised more than $3.5 million, with investments also from Hatchd Digital, Ideaspace Foundation, and IMJ Investment Partners.
Why real-estate development should be about ‘giving back to the land’

by Amor Maclang - March 24, 2015
SUSTAINABILITY, in the context of real-estate development, requires a design that considers and gives back to the land.

As I have always said in the past, the impact of design calculates the iconicity of a development. When a structure presents a thoughtfully designed façade, for example, it immediately becomes a recognizable building—a landmark that stands tall in its location, an enormous signage that pins down directions. Hence, if you are building to establish an image, know that you need to show you are ridiculously good at it. On the other hand, if you are building to preserve your reputation, know very well that you should first have a clear understanding of where your identity as a company is rooted.

The challenge, however, remains huge for developers eyeing to build a reputation through design. Remember that an iconic architecture or design can never be a substitute for trust. Clearly, you will need more than just an innovative design or a highfaluting architecture; you need to earn the confidence of the market you can, indeed, get the job done. The real-estate market has grown wise enough over the years; their needs and wants in choosing a place to work or live in are determined by convenience, safety, and even how the place affects their respective lifestyles. They have learned from the mistakes of the past and are now consciously looking beyond the aesthetics.
Strengthening your core

One institution that has particularly fared well in strengthening their identity is Arthaland. Through Arya Residences, the company’s flagship residential condominium in Bonifacio Global City, Arthaland has solidified its position with the benchmark development of the Philippine Green Building Council’s BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence) Program, and is recognized by global organizations for quality and sustainability.

“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recently called 2015 the year of action on global challenges and the year of sustainability. Additionally, the pope called on us to make our contribution in showing concern for the environment,” Arthaland President and CEO Angie de Villa Lacson said in a recent interview. “What these tell us is that the right thing to do is to be responsible citizens of the earth in whatever small way we can. What we want to do is to enable our customers to practice an ecologically conscious lifestyle—using energy efficiently, consuming water efficiently, using nontoxic materials, among a lot of other options. These may be small and easy steps that we have embedded in the design and construction of our properties but we know that these practices will help alleviate the effects of climate change and resource depletion in the long run.”

What I’d like to share by taking Arthaland as an example is the idea of designing your brand like you were choosing your wardrobe—attractive but unique to you and your company. Strengthening your identity as an institution that champions sustainability is built on communications, visuals, and customer experience, but mostly it’s built on what other people say about you.
Community engagement as the new battleground

In an era when communities of people demand a higher degree of sincerity, marketing has become more about creating greater value for the land and upholding sustainability for your community from all fronts.

This is exactly the reason I have always spoken about stakeholder mapping as the new marketing. While the media remains important, obviously, it’s what everyone says about you—from your employees to your sales force, to your customers, to your brokers, to your competitors, to the government, and industry experts—that ultimately decides your reputation. If only one channel of communications is managed, the others can easily become problematic and may end up countering any good publicity that you get.

How do we ensure that we create programs that improve the greatest number of lives? You need to care about what people say about you. Engagement through marketing calls for the sincere and genuine engagements with members of various communities.

This is one of the many reasons when we do tourism planning for our partners from the local government sector, we just don’t stop with creating a catchy advertisement slogan. It’s about engaging the entire population, the youth, the farmers, the indigenous communities, and the tourism industry to be able to communicate the same way. It’s about ensuring that we promote the interests of all concerned groups without sacrificing those that are of lesser priority.

At the end of the day, our sworn mission as real-estate developers should always rest on making sure that we give the land the development that it truly deserves.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on March 30, 2015, 08:41:21 AM
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Friday to Sunday, March 20-22, 2015
DPWH to award Cavite-Laguna expressway project July 7
Interested parties like San Miguel Corporation are told to submit all the required documents again to bid for the P35.4-billion PPP project
Published 6:43 PM, Mar 20, 2015
Updated 6:43 PM, Mar 20, 2015
MANILA, Philippines – Submit all required documents again and old submissions should not be resubmitted or risk being disqualified, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio L. Singson told interested parties in the rebid for the controversial Cavite-Laguna expressway (CALAX) project.

In a pre-bid conference Friday, March 20, Singson stressed that the P35.4 billion ($7.87 million) public-private partnership (PPP) will be running on a very tight schedule as it is set to issue notice of award on July 7, 2015.

The following are the dates leading to DPWH’s issuance of the notice of award:
    Bid submission and opening of qualification documents – May 19
    Opening of technical proposal – June 2
    Opening of financial proposal – June 15
The draft concession agreement for the CALAX project will be made available on Monday, March 23, DPWH said.

Interested parties were also told to submit new bid security as the agency is set to issue guidelines via a bulletin.

Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) and San Miguel Corporation (SMC) attended the pre-bid conference. Reyes Tacandong & Company representing an undisclosed, interested party, also attended the pre-bid conference.

Singson told the attendees that the agency will make sure that all concerns raised by those who bought the bid documents will be addressed.

SMC has formally expressed interest to rebid for CALAX via a letter of intent.

The CALAX rebid was approved February 16 by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board chaired by President Benigno Aquino III.

The NEDA board also approved the new floor price of P20.105 billion ($447.12 million), the same as the submitted bid of SMC’s Optimal Infrastructure Development Incorporated. The SMC subsidiary was disqualified in 2014 due to a non-compliant bid security.

The SMC said its unit was fully compliant with the bid requirements for CALAX. The diversified conglomerate brought the case to the Office of the President, which later ruled in favor of SMC and offered a rebidding.

Team Orion, the 50-50 joint venture between Ayala’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Incorporated and Aboitiz Equity Ventures, was the highest bidder at P11.66 billion ($259.22 million). Team Orion said it is no longer participating in the rebidding after it expressed disappointment over Malacañang’s decision.

CALAX is a 47-kilometer expressway project which connects Bacoor and Kawit in Cavite and the South Luzon Expressway areas. –
Tutuban Center may become Manila's busiest transfer station
Posted at 03/20/2015 11:14 PM
MANILA – Prime Orion is pursuing plans to expand leasable space in Tutuban Center as competition gets tighter in Manila's famous shopping district of Divisoria.

Yuen Po Seng, president and chief executive of Prime Orion, said around 40,000 square meters (sqm) of leasable space will be added to the complex in the next two to three years.

“With new development coming in, we will probably be having another 40,000 sqm leasable area in the next two to three years. This short term vision would maybe even double revenues we have in Tutuban itself...Right now, we have about 60,000 sqm leasable space,” Seng told ANC on Friday.

Seng said the expansion will allow the company to take advantage of the growing population in the area, which is the site for the proposed common station of the North-South commuter rail and the Light Rail Transit-Line 2 (LRT-2).

Tutuban gets about 1 million visitors every month, but the new railway line is expected to bring an additional 400,000 people per day.

"The DOTC has made some recent announcements that it is establishing the North-South commuter rail. What's exciting is that it will intersect with LRT-2 on Recto. And they are intersecting right where Tutuban is, so right where we are is going to be a major transfer station, the likes of Hong Kong and Japan where you have massive people criss-crossing. The consultants were saying that there could be as much as 400,000 people on a daily basis," Seng said.

He noted that 2014 may have been the “worst year” for Tutuban Center due to the rise of competitors such as the 168 Mall, 999 Mall and Lucky Chinatown Mall.

“We welcome all these new names, really, because it made the area much bigger. Although the pie has been much bigger, our share of it has shrunk a little bit. We think that maybe 2014 could be our worst year,” he said.

However, he is confident that Tutuban’s sales will bounce back this year and grow 10 percent, driven by the country’s economic growth that results to higher spending power.

“Looking forward, and looking at the numbers we have right now, we are coming back up again. Partly because the economy is doing much better, there's more spending power now for the people. So I’m really positive that we will see a much better year in 2015,” he said.

Aside from Tutuban Center, Prime Orion is also the listed firm behind Lepanto Ceramics, FLT Prime Insurance Corp, Orion Maxis, and Orion IT Solutions. -- Report from Michelle Ong, ANC
DILG relocates 135 families from Pasay City waterway

March 20, 2015 6:42pm
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has helped 135 informal settler families in Barangay 201 in Pasay City move to government housing in Cavite.
According to a DILG press statement, the families were moved form Cutcut Creek, which has been identified as a dangerous waterway, to National Housing Authority homes in Trece Martires, Cavite.
Personnel from the Pasay City government and the Philippine National Police helped the families move.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development will give the families P18,000 each to help them adjust to the move.

The relocation is part of a government plan to move informal settler families away from flood-prone waterways while also clearing the canals and streams for flood control projects. — JDS, GMA News
'2015 is the year of townships'
Posted at 03/21/2015 12:55 PM | Updated as of 03/22/2015 2:34 AM
MANILA – Township projects will continue to be a real estate trend across the country this year, with several projects being established even outside Metro Manila.

Michael McCullough, managing director at real estate services provider KMC MAG Group, said major developers such as Megaworld, SM and Ayala are continuing to focus on township projects.

Megaworld Corp. has invested more than P100 billion for its high-end project McKinley West and Uptown Bonifacio in Taguig.
Uptown Bonifacio in Taguig. Photo from Megaworld Facebook page

The Andrew Tan-led firm is also investing P35 billion over the next 10 years to build two townships in Negros Occidental.

It also has townships in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao. Two more townships in Luzon and one in Mindanao are expected to be launched within the year.

Megaworld, Filinvest, and Ayala also have township projects in Cebu.

SM Development Corporation, meanwhile, is looking into reclaiming more land and expanding the Mall of Asia complex in Pasay while Ayala Land is developing the Arca South in Taguig, Makati Circuit in Makati, and Vertis North in Quezon City.
Ayala Land's Arca South development. Photo from Ayala Land Facebook page

Federal Land has also started to build townships in Pasay and Taguig. Vista Land is also spending about P50 billion for the Vista City project that covers Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Cavite, and Laguna.

“The live-work-play lifestyle encapsulated in these townships have resulted into a lot of success for some of the major developers, so it’s no surprise that new players are working to capitalize on this and bring the concept to new areas,” said McCullough.

He also said the big developers are also spending record amounts as capital expenditure programs are now expected to breach the P300 billion mark this year.

The funds will be used for land acquisitions, ongoing projects, and launches.

“The township concept also provides a way for developers to be part of the solution to the congestion in Metro Manila…With developers taking the critical first step and building in other areas within and outside of the Metro, they’re creating new microdistricts and encouraging more Filipinos to live, work, and play closer to home. We hope that this will help reduce congestion and make Metro Manila more liveable,” McCullough said.

McCullough, however, noted that the challenge for government now is in building infrastructure to connect these districts.

“We hope eventually that the Rapid Bus System, which is very easy to put in place, will help connect these cities,” he said.
Manila’s building boom triggers glut concern

By Bloomberg | Mar. 20, 2015 at 05:45pm
By Siegfrid Alegado and Ian Sayson
The capital Manila is in the grip of a building boom, led by developers such as Megaworld Corp. and Ayala Land Inc., that will add a record number of apartments over the next two years. It also threatens to lead to a glut that will weigh on returns for investors.

An estimated 55,000 residential units will come onto the market in Metro Manila this year, slowing growth in lease rates, according to broker CBRE Group Inc. Spending by property companies will rise 18 percent to more than 300 billion pesos ($6.8 billion) in 2015 from last year, according to broker Savills Plc.

Philippine developers have been on a building spree as the nation’s biggest economic boom since the 1950s and rising remittances from Filipinos working abroad spur home purchases. The market may need more time to absorb the expected record supply of new units, according to Macquarie Group Ltd.

 “Some developers may have to slow down in starting new projects because there is a risk of overbuilding,” said RJ Aguirre, an analyst at Macquarie in Manila. “If developers don’t slow down and sales won’t move, we will see a build-up in inventory and receivables that will hurt earnings.”

As inventories increase, investors may find themselves holding assets that are yielding less, said Romeo Arahan, a Manila-based analyst with broker Colliers International UK Plc.

Rental yields will be 3 percent to 4 percent in 2015, said Antton Nordberg, research manager with KMC MAG Group Inc., the local associate of Savills. Yields have averaged more than 5 percent since 2011, he said.
Spending Frenzy

Construction will begin this year on 130,000 condominiums across the Philippine capital, KMC MAG said.

The capital region includes 17 cities and municipalities spread across about 640 square kilometers (247 square miles) sandwiched between Manila Bay to the west, and Laguna Lake and the San Mateo Mountains to the east.

Prices of Metro Manila residential condominiums rose 5 percent to 110,000 pesos to 180,000 pesos per square meter last year from a year earlier, according to Colliers. They may rise as much as 6 percent this year, the broker estimates.

Ayala Land, which developed the Philippines’ main business district of Makati, will spend a record 100 billion pesos this year. Robinsons Land Inc. is boosting capital spending by 20 percent in the current fiscal year to 17 billion pesos, while SM Prime Holdings Inc.’s 2015 budget is 70 billion pesos, 17 percent higher than last year.
Overseas Remittances

The number of residential units already on the market is equivalent to about two years of sales, said Aguirre at Macquarie. He maintains an overweight rating on developers because he said they can delay new projects to rein in the supply. Aguirre prefers residential builders that are cutting or have cut inventory, and those with a relatively higher share of income from office and retail rents.

Megaworld, which is spending 230 billion pesos in the next four years to build townships across the country, hasn’t seen a demand slowdown, said Senior Vice President Jericho Go.

“At least 70 percent of our projects are sold within the first year of pre-selling and that’s still the norm for us; there hasn’t been a change,” Go said.

The 10 million Filipinos working overseas, many of whom can now afford more expensive homes, are underpinning demand, Go said. More than half of the money they send home goes to real estate-related spending, he said.

The Manila metropolitan region is home to 22 million people and the population is forecast to rise to 30 million by 2025, making it the world’s largest urban area after Tokyo and Jakarta, according to forecasts by Belleville, Illinois-based Demographia.

“Developers are spreading outside Metro Manila where they see a growing potential,” Colliers’s Arahan said.
Property Measures

Policy makers last year introduced measures to curb parts of the property market amid concerns prices were rising too fast. They ordered banks to cap the collateral value of real estate mortgages at 60 percent. Lenders were tested to determine if they have enough buffers against an asset price crash.

The central bank has held its benchmark interest rate at 4 percent since raising it by 25 basis points each in September and July last year. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Thursday its current monetary policy stance is “appropriate.”
Megaworld to launch Makati condos in 2015

By Manila Standard Today | Mar. 20, 2015 at 05:55pm
Property developer Megaworld recently announced that it sold 2,346 residential units from its six residential projects in the Makati Central Business District (CBD) over the past six months, namely, One Central, Two Central, Paseo Heights and SalcedoSkySuites in Salcedo Village; and Greenbelt Hamilton 1 and Greenbelt Madison in Legaspi Village.

It plans to launch three more residential projects until 2016. The new residential towers will be part of the company’s efforts to increase the portfolio of property developments in the country’s premier financial hub to more than 30 towers by 2016.

“The official reports the good economic condition since last year is largely felt in Makati CBD,” said Eugene Em Lozano, Megaworld’s vice president for sales and marketing. “The office spaces are getting filled up and the retail industry is on its all-time high. That is why our residential condominiums, all located in premium addresses, are also on high demand,” said Lozano.

Megaworld has around 27 office and residential towers in its portfolio in the country’s financial center.

This year, the company is completing Two Central, a 29-storey residential tower along Valero Street in Salcedo Village, with a total of 408 residential units.

To date, construction of the 30-storey Paseo Heights fronting the Salcedo Park and the 50-storey Three Central along Valero Street, which will house its own podium mall, is on full-swing. Both towers are expected for completion by 2017 with a total of 992 units.

The first tower of Greenbelt Hamilton, which is near Legazpi Park, is also under construction, and is scheduled for completion next year. The second tower, which is now almost sold out, is up for completion in 2019. Both towers will have a total of 601 units.

The 32-storey SalcedoSkySuites is scheduled for completion by 2018 with a total of 241 units.

“As Makati continues to establish itself as the top location for real estate investment, we are poised to expand its residential condominium portfolio in this premiere city,” said Lozano.
Avida targets SMEs with new BGC project

By Manila Standard Today | Mar. 20, 2015 at 05:50pm
Avida Land is drawing small and medium enterprises to Bonifacio Global City (BGC) with its second office development, the 26-storey Capital House. The project is valued at P4 billion, and was designed for professional firms, small agencies, and entrepreneurs seeking a BGC address.

Avida, a subsidiary of Ayala Land, Inc., is launching Capital House as a sequel to the One Park Drive office project also in BGC. One Park Drive, at 20 stories high, is also geared for SMEs, and sold out at a P2.5 billion value on its first year of selling alone.

“We see a good market for businesses seeking a sought-after address like BGC, as evidenced by the success of One Park Drive,” said JoJo Fabricante, Avida’s innovation and design group head. “Capital House positions movers into an area where offices are usually tailored for large-scale operations such as BPOs and multinational conglomerates. Units are not smaller than 100 sqm. with modal offices at around 250 sqm.”

Capital House has 222 units with sizes ranging from 62 sqm to 159 sqm., with special whole floor units at 1,400 sqm. The project sells for P9.9 M to P25.6 M.

“Right now, our buyers are a mix of investors and end-users,” said Herbert Herrero, Avida project development manager. “As the Philippines becomes a booming real estate market, more and more investors are inclined to buy a mix of residential and office developments.”

The property is located in BGC’s “Active North” district, along 34th St. corner 9th Ave., near attractions such as the Turf BGC all-weather football field and Flying Trapeze Philippines. Soon to rise in the area are the BGC Sports Complex and Kidzania, a family “edutainment” center.

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Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on March 30, 2015, 08:41:51 AM
Travellers’ profit hits P5.4b

By Jenniffer B. Austria | Mar. 20, 2015 at 11:10pm
Travellers International Hotel Group Inc., the owner and operator of integrated gaming and entertainment complex Resorts World Manila, said net income in 2014 doubled to P5.45 billion from P2.73 billion in 2013, despite the 5.4-percent decline in revenues.

Travellers said in a financial report with the stock exchange net revenues declined 5.8 percent to P29 billion in 2014 from P30.84 billion a year ago, as a result of lower gaming revenues and reduced contribution from hotel and food and beverage business.

Gross gaming revenues in 2014 reached P28.376. billion, down 5.4 percent from P30 billion  it booked in 2013.

“The decline in gaming revenue is a function of the decline in volume, particularly in the VIP segment as there was a deliberate move in holding less tournaments and focus on growing the core customer base,” Travellers said.

Revenues from hotel, food, beverage business fell 9.5 percent in 2014 to P2.26 billion from P2.502 billion in 2013.

All hotels in the Resort World complex registered higher occupancy rates in 2014.  Maxims posted an occupancy rate of 89 percent; Remington, 91 percent and Marriott, 83 percent.

“Creating shareholder value was our main objective for 2014 which we achieved through quality earnings and operating efficiencies,” Travellers president Kingson Sian said in a statement.

The company’s financial condition, however, remained strong with total assets rising to P63.9 billion from P61.2 billion a year earlier while total liabilities declined to P24.8 billion from P27.8 billion.

The company said it remained on a net cash position at P4.4 billion as of end-2014.

Travellers’ spent P5.9 billion in 2014 for the phase 2 and phase 3 of Resorts World Manila.

The Marriott Grand Ballroom is set to formally open in July this year, while the Marriott west wing, which will add 227 room keys, is due for delivery by the end of 2015.

Phase 3 is slated for turnover by the end of 2017.

Travellers also subscribed to 95 percent of the increased authorized capital stock of Resorts World Bayshore City Inc., the company that will build and operate the Bayshore City Resorts World in Entertainment City in Parañaque.
Anya offers investors 5-year annual yield

By Manila Standard Today | Mar. 20, 2015 at 05:40pm
Real estate developer Roxaco Land Corporation recently offered a guaranteed annual yield for 5 years to all resort unit buyers of Anya Resort and Residences its latest project in Tagaytay, Cavite.

“Investors usually buy into the traditional vacation home mindset, not realizing the hidden costs that come with the purchase, such as periodic maintenance costs,” said Santiago R. Elizalde, executive vice president of Roxaco. “With Roxaco’s business model, the unit is basically paying for its own upkeep.”

Each Anya unit comes with a Certified Condominium Title and earnings are paid out according to square meter ownership. Since the units are considered included in the resort hotel inventory, any additional earnings made are divided in a 45-55 split between the investor and the hotel owner, respectively.

The guaranteed yield program is spread across five years, with the payout pegged at 6% for the first year, 7% for the second year, and 8% each for the remaining three years. Roxaco also sees capital appreciation to reach 10%, compared to the regular rate of 5% to 7% per annum due to future cash inflows. One can buy into this unique investment program for as low as P7.85 million.
How Robinsons Galleria Cebu got its design
Posted at 03/21/2015 7:30 AM
MANILA – Vernacular or native architecture was used as inspiration for Robinsons Galleria Cebu, which is Robinsons Land Corp.'s (RLC) biggest mall outside Metro Manila.

RLC said Robinsons Galleria Cebu incorporates aspects of the local culture in its building design.

“Vernacular architecture is the inspiration for the front retail paseo albeit with a modern interpretation…This is a modern take on the ‘village feel’ that prevails throughout Cebu’s landscape,” said Robinsons Malls general manager Arlene Magtibay.

Magtibay said the layout and architecture of the Cebu mall was suited to match the relaxed, congenial and sociable nature of the Cebuanos.

“Robinsons Galleria Cebu’s design is in keeping with Robinsons’ vision to elevate and create a new shopping experience,” Magtibay said.

“Angular shapes were employed throughout the development to create dynamic spaces and interesting zones. The paseos have indoor and outdoor components. The outdoor component offers an al fresco experience where pedestrians can meander, as well as lounge, dine, appreciate the sights, and breathe in fresh air while under the shade created by the terraces and balconies above,” she added.

Its 4-floor commercial building will house Robinsons Supermarket, Department Store, Food Court, Cinema, True Value hardware, Robinsons Appliance Center, as well as outlet stores of key local and international brands.

RLC said the vernacular design of the mall will be enhanced by stores that carry distinctive Cebu brands and restaurants serving popular local or homegrown favorites.

Robinsons Galleria Cebu is located on a 4.7 hectare lot along General Maxilom Avenue in the North Reclamation Area.

RLC envisions the mall to reinvent, revitalize and increase property values in an area of Cebu City that was previously underutilized.
Shades of gray: Haze in Metro Manila
What's behind the haze episodes in Metro Manila?

Shaira Panela
Published 8:00 AM, Mar 21, 2015
Updated 8:00 AM, Mar 21, 2015
MANILA, Philippines – Almost every morning, Metro Manila looks like it's under the curse of dementors from the Harry Potter series: a thick blanket of gray haze – sometimes in darker shades – envelops the cityscape, threatening to swallow the metropolis.

While the government's air quality monitoring sites have been reporting "Good" to "Fair" status from its 12 stations, an experimental station at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman recorded at least two haze events since the start of 2015.

The Atmospheric Physics Laboratory of the UP Institute for Environmental Science and Meteorology (UP-IESM) headed by Dr Gerry Bagtasa recorded haze episodes at noon of January 29, and in the morning of March 14.
Post by WeatherManila.
The science of air pollution

Haze episodes happen when fine particles suspended in the air obscure light. Scientists said that the haze seen enveloping Metro Manila can also be called smog, or the combination of smoke and fog, indicating the presence of pollution in the air.

Dr Ronald Macatangay, head of the Climate and Atmospheric Radiation (CARBON) laboratory at UP-IESM, explained in an interview that air pollution is a combination of various gases such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, surface ozone (which is also the main component of smog), as well as particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), among others.

Sulfur oxides, especially sulfur dioxide, come from burning coal and petroleum. Nitrogen oxides are produced during high-temperature combustion. Carbon monoxide comes mainly from the exhaust of vehicles, and from burning coal, wood, and natural gas.

Meanwhile, ozone could be either good or bad, depending on its location in the atmosphere, said Macatangay. The ozone layer that we know is the "good" ozone, as it traps ultraviolet radiation from the sun; on the other hand, surface ozone, or the ones produced by VOCs and nitrogen oxides and is found in the much lower portion of the atmosphere, is "bad."
Measuring air quality

Air quality is usually measured using Particulate Matter (PM) and Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) as indicators.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) monitors PM2.5, PM10 and TSP.

PM2.5, particles smaller than 2 micrometers, are the most dangerous type of pollutant particles. They are small enough to enter the bronchial tubes of the lungs which could lead to severe respiratory diseases, said Tess Peralta, an engineer at the Environmental Management Bureau of DENR, in an earlier report.

PM10, are smaller than 10 micrometers and slightly larger than PM2.5, and can also be inhaled. It is small enough to settle in the bronchial tubes and the lungs, and could also lead to respiratory infections.

Meanwhile, TSP are bigger than 10 micrometers and could also be inhaled. These are the dirt that usually settles in the nostrils.
Haze episodes

The UP-IESM Atmospheric Laboratory recorded a surge in PM2.5 in UP Diliman around noon January 29, while its CARBON Laboratory saw a sudden increase in local carbon dioxide levels.

Their reports said sea breeze pushed the air along coasts inland and produced a westerly wind over Metro Manila. This wind opposed the prevailing amihan (northeast monsoon) at the same time, which led to the stagnation of air; this helped accumulate local emissions in the area.

Another haze episode was recorded Saturday morning, March 14. Bagtasa said on the Weather Manila page on Facebook that it was due to a phenomenon called "inversion," where a layer of warm air overlaps an area of cold air. This causes the temperature to increase in the higher elevations and causes the accumulation of vehicular emissions brought by Friday night traffic.

Inversion usually happens early in the morning, said Bagtasa in an interview.

However, their data deviated from that of DENR-EMB's mainly because of two factors: the IESM laboratories compute the air quality based on an hourly averaging system, while the DENR-EMB computes the average for every 24 hours.

In addition, the DENR-EMB's equipment are very high-precision types, while Bagtasa's equipment was assembled out of low-cost materials and was established for experimentation purposes.

Manila Observatory Air Quality Division head Dr James Simpas said in a separate interview that depending on the location where the monitoring equipment is located, measurements could also differ. When the equipment is on the roadside, the measurement is higher, Simpas said.
Effects of air pollution

Yet, while government data show that the air quality within Metro Manila remains safe, prolonged exposure even to smaller quantities of pollution could still harm people's health. Among the adverse effects of air pollution are cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and even cancer.

Other than health implications, air pollution also affects the weather, said Macatangay.

"Pollution in the atmosphere can delay rain, affect rainfall amount, and atmospheric stability," said Macatangay.

Bagtasa explained further, "Nade-delay ang ulan to later in the afternoon, nagiging mas malakas." (Rain gets delayed to later in the afternoon, and becomes stronger.)

In some areas, the type of precipitation, such as snow or hail, could also be affected.

Haze is more common during the dry season (December to May) as the land has lower moisture content which could lead to more dust present in the atmosphere.

Simpas said that during the dry season, the lowest possible emissions and therefore highest air quality could be measured during Good Friday and during Manny Pacquaio's fights. Records from these days could be used as the baseline data on air quality in Metro Manila.
MACE 2015

Bagtasa also said that Filipinos have a quite low "perception of threat" of air pollution and that the correlation of air quality to weather forecasting is not explored as much.

Simpas and Bagtasa are among the scientists who are part of the Manila Aerosol Characterization Experiment (MACE 2015), a collaborative study to be conducted by the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) based in Leipzig, Germany, UP-IESM, the Manila Observatory, De La Salle University, and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute.

The study, which is set to run from March to May 2015, intends to measure vehicular emissions and find how it contributes to air pollution. Measurements will be done along Katipunan and Taft avenues.

In an earlier report, DENR-EMB said that around 80% of the dirty air in Metro Manila comes from motor vehicle emissions while the remaining 20% comes from stationary sources like construction sites and industries. –
Can $300 billion buy Egypt a new capital?

By Shadi Bushra and Yara Bayoumy, Reuters
Posted at 03/22/2015 8:32 AM | Updated as of 03/22/2015 9:58 AM
CAIRO - It is a project as ambitious as Egypt's ancient pyramids.

Built from scratch to escape Cairo's choking pollution, a planned new capital will feature an airport larger than London's Heathrow, a building taller than Paris's Eiffel Tower and more than 10,000 km (6,200 miles) of boulevards, avenues and streets.

The city, meant to be built within just seven years, was unveiled last week at the Sharm El-Sheikh economic summit, where President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged foreign investors to help Egypt recover from the turmoil triggered by the 2011 uprising.

But the plan was not universally welcomed, with residents of Cairo questioning the need to replace their 1,000-year-old capital with a shiny new city that, if it ever rises from the nearby desert, will rely heavily on Gulf Arab financing.

"If we need to move some buildings and some government employees, that's fine. But buildings don't make a capital, history does," said Amr Karim, a doorman at one of Cairo's art deco buildings in the Agouza district.

A number of countries conjured up new capitals in the last century, such as Brasilia in Brazil, which was founded in 1960, Canberra in Australia, founded in 1913, and Astana, which became the administrative centre of Kazakhstan in 1997.

Egypt's ambitions are on an even larger scale.

Its new capital is eventually designed to cover some 700 sq km (435 sq miles), roughly the size of Singapore, contain 1.1 million homes and create 1.75 million jobs, according to its promotional website.

It will also cost some $300 billion to complete, according to Mohamed Alabbar, the United Arab Emirates real estate tycoon who helped develop the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai and who is leading the mega Egyptian venture.

To put that in perspective, the CIA handbook says Egypt's total gross domestic product in 2013 was $262 billion.

After removing Islamists from power in 2013 and becoming president a year later, Sisi has announced a raft of proposals, including an expansion of the Suez Canal, promising to usher in a new era of prosperity for Egypt's 90-million strong population -- some nine million of whom are estimated to live in Cairo.

With Cairo's roads permanently clogged by bumper-to-bumper traffic and its housing crisis so acute that tens of thousands of people live among the tombs of the city's necropolis, the possibility of starting with a clean slate seems appealing.

But it is not a new idea, and the precedents are worrying.

Ill-conceived 'new cities' have sprung up on the outskirts of Cairo before, only for many to end up largely empty or just housing the super-rich, with a lack of infrastructure and transport deterring ordinary people from relocating.

"This will only be for the wealthy," said electrician Mohamed Hassan, 27, sitting at a cafe in a run-down Cairo neighbourhood. "For us, we will just continue eating fava bean and falafel sandwiches," he added referring to the staple diet for most of Egypt's myriad poor.

Some Cairenes say the cash would be better spent on improving basic infrastructure in a country where more than one in four people live in poverty, according to U.N. data.

"I haven't heard about the new capital. How can we afford a brand new city when we can't afford new roads or schools?" said Mosaab Mansour, a student at a gym in a trendy Cairo district.

"Who's going to pay for it? The Gulf? If they pay for it, then it's their capital. We'll just be renting it."

The glossy images on the project website bear a much closer resemblance to wealthy Dubai than they do to chaotic Cairo, with lots of green spaces promised and a theme park planned that will be more than six times the size of Disneyland in California.

Egyptian officials say the city will be built to the east of Cairo, away from the Nile river and on the road leading to the Suez Canal. An initial phase, costed at some $45 billion, is set to cover 135 sq km.

The authorities have promised to start work within weeks and Sisi, aware that street protests have helped bring down two presidents in just four years, is anxious for swift results in a country renown for its sluggish bureaucracy.

"Not 10 years, or even seven years," the president told Alabbar last week in comments captured on video.

Urban planners say for now the project is fuzzy about what kind of infrastructure will tie the new capital to Cairo -- a major flaw that has doomed other 'new cities' -- and question how many people will actually relocate.

Yahia Shawkat, an urban policy researcher with an independent thinktank, said Egypt had already spent $8 billion on 21 new city projects in the last 30 years with mixed results.

"There has not been any meaningful population movement ... and the average occupancy rate is about 20 percent," he said.

But investment banker Ahmed El-Houssieny, CEO of Planet Investments, disagreed with the many naysayers, arguing that it was "a great cause to rally people around", especially because it was meant to create a large number of jobs in a country where unemployment stands at about 13 percent.

Responding to criticism that moving the capital will take away from the historical significance of Cairo, with its ancient Islamic architecture, mosques, Citadel and bazaars, he said:

"You have lots of great cities that have been able to drive traffic away from the centre and still maintain the capital's glory," he told Reuters, stressing that the new city would be an administrative centre that would not detract from Cairo.

Clothing store owner Rami al-Rafie was also optimistic.

"This is a great idea, it's been a great idea since it was proposed years and years ago," he said, referring to past plans to shift major ministries away from downtown Cairo.

"The Gulf, the Europeans, the Chinese all know that Egypt is a good place to invest... I hope they use some of that investment to make this new capital as beautiful as Dubai, God willing."
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Investors told: Better days ahead for economy

By Sandy Araneta | Mar. 25, 2015 at 12:01am
“YOU ain’t seen nothing yet.”
With these words, President Benigno Aquino III told participants in the 4th Euromoney Philippines Investment Forum that better days are ahead for the Philippine economy.

“Every year, without fail, I receive an invitation to speak at this forum, and every year, without fail, I accept. The first Philippines Investment Forum took place about a year and a half into my presidency. Since then, this has become a valuable opportunity for me to share the progress our country has made. Here, we have been able to trace the success story that is the Philippine economy,” Aquino said.

He again complained that the good news about the economy was often “relegated to the back pages” of newspapers, and said the administration was still trying to change the mindset that “negativism sells.”

The President said 2014 was a banner year for net foreign direct investments, which reached a all-time high of $6.2 billion, 65.9 percent higher than 2013.

From 2010 to 2013, he said, the Philippines averaged a 6.3 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP), compared to the previous three-year period under his predecessor, at 4.3 percent.

Despite the lingering effects of typhoon Yolanda and the uncertainty in the global economy the country still posted a 6.1 percent growth in GDP last year, Aquino added.

The Philippines was also upgraded to investment grade by all three major international credit ratings agencies in 2013, and has continued to receive upgrades since, Aquino said.

“We are indeed making history. All these, and many other factors, have led to even greater optimism for our country’s prospects. Just to give you one example: Bloomberg recently reported, I’m told, that the Philippines is forecasted to be the world’s second fastest growing economy in 2015,” the President said.

He said the tremendous amount of confidence the global community has developed for the Philippines was gratifying, considering that not too long ago, the country was regarded as the “Sick Man of Asia.”

Aquino said his administration continues to work hard to maximize every opportunity available.

“I think many of you will agree with me when I say: You ain’t seen nothing yet,” the President said.

Infrastructure, he said, greatly benefited from the government drive to become more competitive.

Through the efforts of the Department of Public Works and Highways, corruption has been “vastly minimized, if not eradicated,” and projects are now regularly completed ahead of time and under budget, he said.

The department’s budget had tripled, from P165 billion in 2010 to almost P570 billion in 2015, the President said.

“We can expect this to grow even more, as our goal is to have infrastructure spending comprise 5 percent of GDP by 2016,” he said.

The President also highlighted the government’s efforts to spur infrastructure through its public-private partnership (PPP) program, with nine awarded projects, 16 in the process of being bid out, and 30 more in various stages of development.

In contrast, he said, the last three administrations had only completed six PPP projects.

The President also assured investors that his government was persuing ways to address a projected shortfall in power this summer.

He said the government was expediting the rehabilitation of the 300 MW Malaya Thermal Power Plant Unit 1 to help augment power supply in Luzon.

He also said partnerships with the private sector under the Interruptible Load Program would produce an extra 688.67 megawatts during times when power supply is tight.

Aquino said 48 committed power projects would produce 4,693.6 megawatts of power between now and 2018. Out of these, 21 will be from renewable energy, in line with the goal of diversifying the country’s energy mix.

Aquino said these efforts were even more crucial with the expected ASEAN integration later this year. The ASEAN Economic Community, he added, would be a formidable economic force.

In closing, Aquino told potential investors: “I invite you: Bet on the Filipino people, and discover for yourself how it’s more fun and more profitable to do business in the Philippines.”
BSP sees March inflation at 2.1 to 2.9 percent

Posted at 03/25/2015 6:01 PM
MANILA - The Philippine central bank expects annual inflation in March to be between 2.1-2.9 percent, reflecting lower transport, electricity, food and fuel costs, its governor said on Thursday.

"The BSP (central bank) will continue to monitor developments that could affect inflation in line with the BSP's commitment to price stability, conducive to a balanced and sustained economic growth," Governor Amando Tetangco said in a mobile text message.

Annual inflation was 2.5 percent in February.

The central bank meets on March 26 to review policy. It is widely expected to leave interest rates on hold with inflation forecast to fall within its 2-4 percent target this year.
PHL banks, BSP, LRA assure housing lenders and borrowers are protected

By DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA NewsMarch 25, 2015 3:48pm
Housing credit continues to rise, prompting the Philippine banking industry and the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to create a system streamlining loans and mortgages documentation to protect both borrowers and financial institutions.
The final version of the uniform loan and mortgage agreement (ULAMA) is coming up this week, Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB) president  Rommel Latinazo told reporters in a briefing in Makati City.
The agreement was developed in collaboration with banking groups, including the Bankers' Association of the Philippines, CTB, and Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines, together with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the LRA.
"The purpose... is we want to streamline the documentation, taking into account the interests of all the parties concerned in real estate mortgage transactions – the financial institution, the borrower, and the government," Latinazo said.
"We want to make sure that the documents we develop are acceptable to the agencies involved," he added.
Eliminate controversies
Latest BSP data show consumer loans rose 20.94 percent P849.6 billion as of end-September 2014, from P702.6 billion a year earlier, mainly driven by an increase in residential real estate lending.
In October, the BSP announced more relaxed rules on bank lending, noting that the ability of the borrower to pay, and not collateral, should be the basis for loan approvals.
The central bank also intends to cap the value of real estate mortgage as collateral at 60 percent for securing loans.
While there are no foreseen risks in bank lending, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo had said the central bank sees the need for circumspect in monitoring personal credit amid brisk activity in a growing economy.
Latinazo said real estate loan transactions, especially pertaining to housing, are indeed increasing and the ULAMA aims to protect borrowers and also the financial institutions.
"Having a uniform agreement should eliminate most, if not all, controversies or legal questions arising from home mortgage transactions," he said. – VS, GMA News
Firms urge gov’t to maintain PPP momentum as 2016 looms
The private sector is gaining confidence in public-private partnership projects as the government mulls joining a China-led development bank to help narrow the infrastructure gap

Chris Schnabel
Published 1:24 PM, Mar 25, 2015
Updated 1:24 PM, Mar 25, 2015
MANILA, Philippines – The new administration in 2016 would have to learn a lot of the lessons from how the current administration handled public-private partnerships (PPPs), and this would take a few years, said Ramon Ang, president of San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

“To maintain momentum, I hope we bid out as many of the additional PPP projects planned as we can before the current administration ends,” Ang said in an infrastructure discussion at the Euromoney Investment Forum on March 24.

Ang said on March 23 during the SLEX-TR4 project briefing that the conglomerate is setting aside billions to put the country’s toll roads on a par with those in neighboring countries in Asia.

“We look at infrastructure as an opportunity to participate in the growth of our country. Quality infrastructure will change and impact lives,” Ang said.

The Aquino administration was initially slow but the sizes of the projects that are being bid out are growing – 9 are underway with 16 to be rolled out, said Jorge Consunji, president of DM Consunji.

“We welcome this and we hope it will continue,” Consunji said.

Consunji's DMCI was awarded the civil works contract to complete within 18 months the elevated guideway or viaduct for the Light Rail Transit line 2 project.
Vote of confidence

The private sector’s increasing confidence in the PPPs played a significant part in the momentum.

But there are generally no power projects among the PPPs, said Eduardo Francisco, president and chief executive officer of BDO Capital and Investment Corporation.

This is because private firms can do power projects by themselves, supported by merchant banks, Francisco explained.

“Transitioning power projects to PPPs is the same – proponents are bidding without any government guarantees for profit. So the banks have gotten themselves comfortable supporting these projects,” Francisco said.

Banks are also coming up with a “staple financing,” which pre-analyzes a project and finances whoever the winning bidder is as long as it is pre-qualified, he explained.

BDO has done it for some projects and is looking at doing the same for the many projects that are coming along, Francisco confirmed.

The growing confidence the private sector has in the PPP projects was reiterated by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson.

“We offered viability gap funding for all the toll roads we bid out, but no private firm took it so it’s an indication of the confidence the private sector has in these projects,” Singson said.

He also acknowledged that initially, the unsolicited mode as a method of getting PPPs bid out caused some delays, like that experienced in the North Luzon and South Luzon expressways (NLEX-SLEX) connector road project.

The government still needs to address right-of-way issues. But success would be evident if all of the PPP projects that DPWH initially lined up are bid out.

“We hope to have the remainder bid out by the middle of this year. If we close them all, we’re done as far as DPWH is concerned,” Singson confirmed.

To date, DPWH set July 7 for the issue of notice of award to the winning bidder for the controversial Cavite-Laguna expressway project.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

The current administration is also mulling joining the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AAIB) to help bridge the infrastructure gap in the country.

The government is gathering information on the AIIB before it makes its final decision by June, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said at the sidelines of the forum.

"We are part of several meetings, but the President (Benigno S. Aquino III) has not yet made a decision whether we will join or not," Purisima said.

The Philippines, along with other countries, signed in October a non-binding agreement to become a founding member of the $50-billion multilateral institution that would finance infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region.

Switzerland and Luxembourg were the latest nations to declare their intention to join the institution that is viewed by some to be a rival to the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB), as well as the World Bank.

Japanese officials had previously expressed concern about the new bank's transparency standards, while the United States is reportedly fiercely opposed to the AIIB.

Despite such, Purisima believes that the AIIB is “financial and economic in nature," and has no relation with the territorial conflict between China and the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea. –
BCDA readies Clark rail bidding terms

By Othel V. Campos | Mar. 25, 2015 at 10:45pm
State-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority said Wednesday it is preparing the terms of reference for the bidding of the 82-kilometer Clark Rail Transit System that will run from Malolos City in Bulacan to Tarlac City.

BCDA president and chief executive Arnel Paciano Casanova said the joint venture project would link with the North-South Commuter Railway project of the Transportation Department.

“Offhand, BCDA will provide the land needed including substantial areas for commercial development at every station. The private JV partner will plan, design, finance, build, operate and maintain the Clark Rail,” Casanova said.

He said Clark Rail was envisioned be an electric-powered transit system in an 82-kilometer double-back track between Malolos and Tarlac City, with 13 stations. The JV partner will conduct the final alignment study.

“We are considering to put Clark Rail on a new alignment that would allow us to provide the area needed for the commercial development at every station. The Clark Rail will serve as the backbone for the movement of goods, services and people to and from Manila, Clark Green City, Clark International Airport, Clark Special Economic Zone and Tarlac City,” Casanova said.

BCDA will provide 100 hectares of Clark Green City land for use as transport hub and to house the Clark Rail depot.  The bidding is expected to be conducted before the end of the year.

The National Economic and Development Authority board approved in February two projects under the North-South Railway masterplan - phase 1 of the North-South Commuter Railway Project and the North-South Railway Project – South Line.
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Ayala Land launches P8-B mixed-use development in Cebu
Posted at 03/25/2015 1:21 PM | Updated as of 03/25/2015 1:25 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Ayala Land Inc. is building a new P8-billion integrated mixed-use development in Cebu City.

ALI recently broke ground for Central Bloc, a 2.2 hectare development in Cebu IT Park. Central Bloc will have office, retail, and hotel components.

Bobby Dy, Ayala Land President and CEO, said Cebu City was the first area outside of Metro Manila where ALI started developing mixed-use projects.

"It highlights our commitment to support Cebu City. We envision Central Bloc to be a refreshing hub where business and leisure converge," he said.

Ayala Malls Central Bloc will have approximately 43,000 sqm. of gross leasable area, and is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018.

Central Bloc will connect to The Walk with a landscaped open area with dining and retail spaces.

ALI is also opening a Seda Hotel in Central Bloc. The 12-storey hotel, which will have 214 rooms, is expected to open by the third quarter of 2018.

It will also be the first Seda hotel to cater to long-staying guests with its 58 apartment suites.

ALI said it will also build two BPO office towers. Upon completion in 2019, the two buildings are expected to generate about 14,000 jobs in the BPO sector.
Megaworld posts P22-b profit

By Jenniffer B. Austria | Mar. 25, 2015 at 11:10pm
Megaworld Corp., the biggest lessor of office spaces in the Philippines, booked a net income of P21.6 billion in 2014, up 139 percent from a year ago, boosted by a one-time gain from the consolidation of the group’s property units.

Megaworld said in a disclosure to the stock exchange Wednesday the profit included P12.1 billion in non-recurring gain from the consolidation of Global Estate Resources Inc., Empire East Land Holdings Inc. and Suntrust Properties Inc. into the parent firm.

Without the non-recurring gain, Megaworld’s income rose 14 percent to P9.4 billion last year.

Consolidated revenues, excluding non-recurring gain, climbed 15 percent to P41 billion with real estate sales increasing 16 percent to P24.6 billion from a year ago while rental income grew 17 percent to P7 billion.

“Our income growth last year was driven by both real estate sales and rental income. We have a more diversified real estate sales mix that is propelled by our integrated urban township developments in Metro Manila, Cebu and Iloilo as well as tourism-related projects in Tagaytay and Boracay,” said Megaworld chairman and chief executive Andrew Tan.

“In the meantime, our rental income is growing in line with our expectations. Continued growth in our office and mall leasable space will provide the catalyst for exceeding P10 billion in rental income in 2016. Last year also saw the consolidation of Global-Estate Resorts, Inc., Empire East Land Holdings, Inc., and Suntrust Properties, Inc. under Megaworld. This enabled us to strengthen our land bank nationwide,” he added.

Tan expects the company to maintain a double-digit net income growth every year starting in 2015 on the back of a stronger and bigger township portfolio.

Megaworld plans to launch five new township projects in 2015. Two are located in Bacolod, namely the 34-hectare property that used to be Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co,. and the 50-hectare property along the new Circumferential Road on the boundary of Talisay City and Bacolod City.

Megaworld in 2014 launched five townships, namely the Woodside City in Pasig City (12.3 hectares); Southwoods City in the boundaries of Cavite and Laguna (561 hectares); Davao Park District in Lanang, Davao City (11 hectares); Alabang West in Las Piñas City (62 hectares); and Suntrust Ecotown in Tanza, Cavite (350 hectares).

The company is launching at least 20 new malls and commercial centers in its existing and new townships over the next five to eight years to boost rental income.
DoubleDragon books over fourfold rise in 2014 net income

March 25, 2015 6:01pm
DoubleDragon Properties Corp., the property firm jointly owned by Jollibee Foods Corp. chairman Tony Tan Caktiong and business partner Edgar “Injap” Sia II, registered more than a fourfold rise in net income last year.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, DoubleDragon said net income surged by 360 percent to P560.8 million from P122.1 million a year earlier.
Revenues from real estate sales doubled to P1.2 billion from P511 million.
"2014 has indeed been a significant year for DD both financially and through the partnerships that we have formed and through the various property projects that we have recently embarked on," chairman and CEO Edgar 'Injap' Sia II said.
So far, the company has secured 33 hectares of prime land across the country, with approximately 480,000 square meters of leasable space.
DoubleDragon said it is on track to meet its goal of completing 25 CityMalls by the end of 2015 and 100 CityMalls by 2020.
DoubleDragon is the second business venture of Sia and Tan Caktiong after Jollibee Foods bought a 70 percent stake in Mang Inasal for P3 billion in 2010. Sia kept a 30-percent interest in the grilled chicken restaurant chain which he founded.
The company was incorporated as Injap Land Corp. in 2009. It changed its name to DoubleDragon after Sia and Tan Caktiong turned it into joint venture in 2013. It was listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange on April 7, 2014. – Danessa O. Rivera/VS, GMA News
JG Summit spending P35b in ’15

By Jenniffer B. Austria | Mar. 25, 2015 at 11:25pm
JG Summit Holdings Inc., the holding company of tycoon John Gokongwei, said Wednesday it plans to spend P35 billion this year to fund the expansion of its airline, real estate, food manufacturing and banking businesses.

JG Summit chief finance officer Bach Johann Sebastian said in an interview the 2015 capital spending was lower than the P50 billion earmarked in 2014, as the conglomerate had already completed the construction of the naphtha cracker facility in Batangas province.

“Its going to be around P35 billion this year, mainly for airline, property and Universal Robina Corp.,” Sebastian said.

The naphtha cracker facility recently started operations and is expected to start contributing around $800 million to $1 billion in annual revenues to JG Summit next year.

URC, the food manufacturing unit of JG Summit, earlier said it planned to spend P9 billion this year primarily to expand its domestic and international businesses.

The group’s property firm, Robinsons Land Corp. earmarked P17 billion for 2015 capital expenditures, as it plans to build new malls as well as office and residential projects.

JG Summit raised P8.8 billion through overnight placement of shares in January.  It raised the amount from the sale of 145.65 million common shares via top-up offering at a price of P61 apiece.

Proceeds from the fund raising activity will be used to finance various projects, as the company plans to actively bid for the bundled airports the government may bid out under the public-private partnership scheme this year.

JG Summit has substantial business interests in food, agro-industrial and commodities, real estate and hotel, air transportation, banking and petrochemicals.

Its airline unit, Cebu Pacific Air, reported an P853-million profit in 2014, up from P511.95 million in 2013.

The conglomerate also holds an 8-percent interest in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and 27.1-percent stake in power retailer Manila Electric Co.
The business of transforming ordinary to extraordinary space
Hospitality Innovators

March 25, 2015
A hotel and property management company with a vision to break new ground in the industry –Hospitality Innovators, Inc. (HII) – puts character into ordinary space.  Founded 15 years ago, the company is already a leading figure in the field.

HII transforms ordinary properties into concept spaces that distinguish them in the market. With its expertise, HII recognizes a property’s potential to create exciting destinations for guests.

“The big property players are now getting into hospitality space and the reality is that there are smaller guys who also want in. What HII does is partner with these small independents and equip them with our ‘innovision’ to help create distinct concepts to make guests want to come back,” said HII founder and CEO Luis C. Monserrat. “The one-of-kind appeal and first-rate services that we develop for them lead to a property’s unique brand of experience which will allow them to compete.”

According to Monserrat, creating a distinct personality for a property would allow them to face the industry “Goliaths.”

“This is what we offer hotel and property developers who want to get into the lodging space – the impressive combination of a unique concept and great service, which can enhance the value of assets and create attractive returns,” he said.

Leading the successful properties managed by HII is The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences in Salcedo Village, Makati. According to Monserrat, Picasso was transformed into the spacious and stylish serviced residence that it is now after he “re-imagined” the property concept with architect Dom Galicia.

“We got Picasso after it was entrusted to us by a partner who liked what we did with their first property. Picasso was initially an apartment building but we re-conceptualized it to become a serviced residence with walls and rooms that speak of art. When it was time to think of a name for the property, we went back to its core, what it was about – which is transformation. Dom suggested that no other artist better embodies transformation than Pablo Picasso,” Monserrat said.

HII also manages both branches of The Henry Hotel: The Henry Cebu, which features 38 rooms filled with art collected from around the world; and The Henry Manila, which exhibits a nostalgic appeal with its five post-war style houses with rooms adorned with vintage furnishings.

Also in HII’s portfolio are two new properties in Makati: the Y2 Residence Hotel which offers a Zen-like feel with its Oriental design, and the KL Tower Serviced Residences, characterized by clean architectural lines that exude modern and sophisticated style.

HII also takes pride in the exceptional service it extends to guests, which Monserrat believes is crucial to their properties’ success.

“Having attractive and interesting properties is one thing, but what really marks the HII brand is the bespoke hospitality we give each of our guests. We go beyond the standard by making all guests feel that they are truly looked after, so they feel right at home every time,” he stressed.

This approach has allowed HII properties to generate higher occupancy rates than the industry average.  It is also the recipe behind all the awards that its properties have received from major travel websites.
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Construction of Clark airport terminal eyed in 2016
Posted at 03/10/2015 2:47 PM
MANILA – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will be splitting the construction of the Clark international airport passenger terminal building into three phases, with the construction of the first phase targeted to start in the second quarter of 2016.

The first phase of the P7.2 billion project will be submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by President Aquino in May for approval, according to Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya.

“The direction of the DOTC is very clear to develop Clark international airport…[For] the Clark terminal, the initial phase of P1.2 billion has been submitted to NEDA, hopefully we get it up to the NEDA board chaired by the President by May of this year,” he said.

Upon getting approval from the NEDA Board, the project will then be auctioned to prospective bidders by the third quarter of this year.

Abaya said construction is expected to start by the second quarter of 2016. Completion of the first phase is being targeted in 2018.

The first phase aims to increase the capacity of the Clark airport to 8 million from the current 5 million passengers per year.

The second phase, meanwhile, is expected to increase the capacity to 46 million passengers by 2025 and to 80 million by 2032.

“There is not much of an issue except that plans drawn up by the Aeroport De Paris is quite aggressive and on a larger side, but we are sticking to their plans and we will defend the plan before the NEDA board,” Abaya said.

Aeroport De Paris is a French firm that was hired by the DOTC to conduct the feasibility study on design.

Government is expecting the development of both the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the Clark international airport to attract more airlines to fly out of Pampanga.

Clark International Airport Corp. president and chief executive officer Emigdio Tanjuatco III earlier said passengers at the Clark airport is seen to grow 150 percent to 3 million over the next two years from the current 1.2 million passengers per year.
Gokongwei's JG Summit on the lookout for acquisitions

By Neil Jerome Morales, Reuters
Posted at 03/10/2015 2:10 PM | Updated as of 03/11/2015 11:05 AM
MANILA (UPDATE) - JG Summit Holdings Inc, the Philippines' second-largest conglomerate by market value, remains on the lookout for acquisitions following its food subsidiary's $609 million takeover of a New Zealand snacks maker, its president said.

"I know our balance sheet and cash flows would support further acquisitions if necessary or if a reasonable one appears," JG Summit President Lance Gokongwei told Reuters in an interview at his office in Manila on Tuesday.

The conglomerate is biased toward business it is familiar with, he said. JG Summit subsidiary Universal Robina Corp bought New Zealand Snack Food Holdings, the parent of Griffin's Foods Ltd in July.

JG Summit, which started as a corn starch producer in 1957, is also involved in the snacks and beverage, property development, airline, banking and petrochemicals businesses.

Gokongwei said the company would focus on consumption-related businesses that are boosted by low oil prices and higher consumer spending, even as it expanded into power generation and petrochemicals.

"Clearly, we are a very big beneficiary of oil prices going down because oil is 50 percent of my raw material," Gokongwei said.

JG Summit plans to build an up to 600 megawatts coal-fired power facility south of the capital while its almost $1 billion naphtha cracker plant will reach full capacity in the coming months, with the project contributing $800 million to $1 billion in annual revenues.

For its part, property unit Robinsons Land Corp will open three new malls this year while the office segment's gross leasable area will climb to more than 400,000 square metres (sqm) in two years from the current 275,000 sqm, Gokongwei said.

Cebu Air Inc, operator of the country's largest budget carrier Cebu Pacific, is taking delivery of 37 new Airbus aircraft until 2021 while selling old and gas-guzzling models, he said.

On financial services, commercial lender Robinsons Bank will double its capital to P12 billion as it prepares for a long-term expansion program, Gokongwei said.

JG Summit founder John Gokongwei is ranked by Forbes as the Philippines' second richest person with a net worth of $5.8 billion, jumping from fifth place last year.
Ayala Corp's net income surges 46 pct in 2014
Posted at 03/10/2015 2:40 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Ayala Corp., one of the country's leading conglomerates, reported its net income surged 46 percent to P18.6 billion in 2014.

The company attributed the strong profit growth to its real estate, telecom and electronics manufacturing units, as well as a net gain from the sale of its business process outsourcing asset.

Excluding the impact of accelerated depreciation from Globe's network transformation initiative, Ayala's core net income actually went up 25 percent in 2014.

Ayala said its profits have been growing above 20 percent in the last three years.

Equity contributions from its business units jumped 42 percent to P24.9 billion in 2014. Ayala Land's equity earnings rose 28 percent, while Globe's contribution more than doubled and Integrated Micro-Electronics' contribution expanded threefold.

This managed to offset the flat contribution from the Bank of the Philippine Islands, which registered lower trading income during the year.

"We are very pleased with the performance of our business units as they continue to benefit from the aggressive growth strategy they executed a few years ago.... As our business units sustain their growth momentum and the overall business environment continues to be encouraging, we are optimistic we can achieve our net income target of P20 billion this year, a year ahead of the plan," Ayala President and Chief Operating Officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala said.

Ayala Land's net income jumped 26 percent to P14.8 billion year-on-year, driven by its property development and commercial leasing operations.

Globe Telecom posted a record net income of P13.4 billion in 2014, on the back of continued growth of its mobile, broadband, and fixed line data businesses.

Meanwhile, Manila Water's consolidated net income inched up one percent at P5.8 billion, on improved billed volume and higher contribution from new businesses.

IMI's net income soared nearly threefold to $29.1 million from its year-ago level.

However, BPI's profit fell 4 percent to P18 billion in 2014, due to a 5 percent decline in non-interest income as a result of a sharp contraction in trading gains compared to the previous year.

Ayala parent company ended the year with a gross debt of P101 billion and cash of P48.3 billion.

This year, Ayala has set aside P21 billion in capital expenditures at the parent level. The funds will go to its power generation and transport infrastructure projects.

The Ayala group has earmarked P185 billion in combined capital expenditures this year mainly for Ayala Land and Globe's expansion.
Is PHL equipped to build the next generation of cities?

by Amor Maclang - March 10, 2015
I couldn’t contain my excitement the moment I received an invitation to speak at the 17th Worldbex Conference, which will be kicking off next week.

I’m so thrilled and honored to be joining a stellar cast of resource speakers, and I look forward to gaining a lot of fresh ideas from individuals who remain very passionate with their respective crafts.

As the Worldbex celebrates a thriving building and construction industry, I’d like to point out that there seems to be a great number of buildings racing to dot the Metro Manila skyline, as we speak. Interestingly, it’s starting to look like we’re seeing a new generation of high-rise buildings and infrastructure—the elaborately designed ones—that are emerging as icons in various parts of the metropolis.

We know for a fact that these edifices require some specialized, advanced machinery and the adoption of modern architecture ideologies, which prompt me to pose this question: “Is the Philippines on the cusp of building the next wave of modern cities?”

I spoke to a few industry players about their take on the future of modern architecture and how today’s real-estate developers are adapting to global standards of infrastructure and property development.

Matimco Inc. Marketing Director Billy Arrienda: “We observed that with the awakening consciousness for sustainability and lower waste contribution, technology for wood nowadays is geared toward engineering.”
Adaptation is key to innovation

With the rapid pace of urbanization, the technologies and methodologies involved in the design and building of today’s cities are also becoming more complex to adapt to the needs of the modern times.

“In real-estate development, the construction of high-rise buildings in cities and mixed land use, among a few others, have provided developers a cost-efficient way to utilize parcels of land,” said Enrico Micu, national sales manager of Allgemeine Bau-Chemie Philippines. “With the onset of high-rise developments, cities have become more capable of accommodating its expanding population, while lowering infrastructure costs. Mixed-use developments, meanwhile, help enhance the quality of living. As offices, leisure and commercial areas have now become more accessible within the neighborhood, travel time in between places are decreased, thus ensuring a more efficient lifestyle for the inhabitants within the area.”

Another key initiative developers and industry players have championed is the move toward the use of energy-efficient building designs and materials. “Notice that major infrastructure nowadays appreciate and incorporate the use of organic and sustainable materials, all the while actively seeking LEED-certifications or in some cases, the local version, Berde,” shared Billy Arrienda, marketing director of Matimco Inc., one of the Philippines’s leading providers of architectural wood products.

“With the opening of world markets, a rise in number of developments with foreign designer alliances can also be seen, thus, raising demand for complementing building products with understated aesthetics—minimalist designs that effectively combine different materials and efficient use of space contributing to the overall impact of the design.”

Despite this kind of dynamism, the industry has also become used to a certain level of cost and efficiency, as well as market practices that potentially undermine quality. “Here lies the opportunity for willing industry players to infuse innovation into these traditional construction practices by bringing in technologies and expertise that provide advantages to the current systems in cost, efficiency and quality,” Cemex Asia Director for Business Development Arturo Rodriguez added. “The good thing is that some are already being employed in other developing and more developed countries worldwide.”
Global to local

Building the next generation of cities here in the Philippines is no easy task; it requires a great deal of commitment to innovation and embracing a more sustainable approach to enhancing the landscape—a vision that translates to concrete solutions for the needs of the modern world.

“Here in the Philippines, we have already embraced the use of better materials, like concrete for roads, and now taking the next step by adopting the use of roller-compacted concrete [RCC] pavements,”   Rodriguez explained. “This entails the laying of a dry concrete mix placed using an asphalt paver and compacted using a static or vibratory roller. The road is built without forms, dowels or reinforcing steel, while being strong, dense and durable. The RCC pavement is used for select highways with moderate speeds, local streets, parking lots, industrial yards, bus lanes, rural roads and sometimes, as a base for top layers.” The advantage, he adds, includes better cost and a shorter construction time than asphalt and concrete pavements, higher durability than asphalt, and a smoother and more reliable surface than other solutions.

For Matimco, meanwhile, planning for new products goes beyond just coming up with new designs. “We consider factors like the current market demand, anticipated future aspirations, wood supply and sources—whether they are sustainable in supply or sourced responsibly—and whether they reinforce our commitment to delivering superior quality and maximum value to our market,” Arrienda added.
Becoming ‘game changers’

For companies to really champion the idea of innovation, one must be able to  understand the opportunities that are readily present and come up with strategies to maximize their resources toward this objective.

“The key to becoming game changers is by understanding the challenges and needs that the country is facing and the need to respond to them,” Rodriguez explained. “Companies should also be able to promote local research and development, while importing successfully proven products and systems coming from similar markets. Understand that investing in the country and shaking things out of the comfort zone, even though others will eventually adopt the same technologies, will result the growth of the pie for your business and put you in a better position in terms of agility and innovation against our peers.”

Agility and flexibility has also been one of the pillars of success of Matimco. “We strive to constantly listen to our customers, keep an eye on local or global trends, and be highly responsive to change because one cannot afford to be stagnant,” Arrienda said. We, likewise, place a premium on integrity and strive to be a trustworthy name in how we conduct business to our market, our stakeholders and the environment.  We firmly believe it is a prerequisite for business sustainability.”

For the Philippines to really sustain its momentum of building a solid foundation toward the future, industry players must adopt the same mindset that propelled the world’s most successful businesses to the top. As I’ve said in the past, making constant progress, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it is, will still take you one step closer to reaching your goal. And I’m confident to say that, with industry players committed to shaking up things, it seems like we’re on our way toward achieving sustainable progress.
Experience urban resort living at the heart of Newport City

by BusinessMirror - March 10, 2015
NEWPORT City is one of the best world-class tourist and entertainment destinations in the country that offers a perfect “live, work, play, and learn” lifestyle. It offers an indulgence of “all feel-good” activities, such as do nonstop shopping, dine at favorite restaurants, pampering at various leisure and entertainment offerings, or stay at home with family or friends while enjoying freshly brewed coffee over the cool breeze of fresh air.

To experience all these and more, you no longer have to wait for a holiday, as Megaworld, the country’s leading real-estate developer which pioneered the “live-work-play-learn” lifestyle township concept, will bring this kind of lifestyle everyday at 81 Newport Boulevard.

The six-clustered mid-rise residential enclave is designed with unique amenities that will let out the resort fantasies of pleasure-loving people.

Its variety of outdoor amenities include a lap pool, children’s pool, in-water pool lounge, pool deck, sun deck, function areas, green trellis, state-of-the-art gym, day care center, pocket gardens and courtyards.

Another option at 81 Newport Boulevard is the direct access to the township’s very own world-class entertainment complex where future residents can just take a leisurely walk going to the famous Resorts World Manila, home of an upscale shopping mall; international-themed restaurants; a state-of-the-art performing arts theater featuring world-renowned musicals and other productions; and a first-class gaming center.

Aside from living in a tourist destination designed to fully integrate luxury residences, prime office spaces and an entertainment complex, the 81 Newport Boulevard is also right across the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 and 15 minutes away from central business districts of Fort Bonifacio and Makati City.  It also has a direct link to South Luzon Expressway, Edsa and Naia road.

81 Newport Boulevard is a prime address in Newport City where everything you need is within easy reach. Visit the Newport grand showroom at Montecito, the Residential Resort, Newport City (beside Marriott Hotel Manila).

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015
DOT downscales foreign arrival target to 5.5M in 2015

By Ted P. Torres, The Philippine Star
Posted at 03/11/2015 8:07 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) has downscaled its foreign arrivals target this year from the original six million to the “more practical” 5-5.5 million.

In 2014, the number of inbound visitors reached 4,833,368 or 3.25 percent higher than the 4,681, 307 arrivals in 2013. However, it fell short of the target of five million.

Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. revealed one of the challenges that impacted on the full-year target was the negative travel advisories by a number of countries.

“We could have done better but there were some challenges particularly in terms of the advisories issued by some countries,” Bengzon said during the formal launching of Island Philippines Fun Caravan, an aggressive tourism campaign spearheaded by the Philippines Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) and the DOT.

Bengzon said on a positive note, visitors were extending their stay and spending more in the past two to three years.

“Foreign tourists continue to stay longer, and they continue to spend more,” he pointed out.

Total earnings last year from inbound tourism amounted to $4.84 billion, higher by 10 percent against the previous year’s earnings of $4.4 billion. In peso value, inbound revenues totaled P214.88 billion, higher by 15 percent compared to P186.15 billion in 2013.

The month of December also recorded the highest visitor receipts at $597.76 million.

Last year, average daily expenditure (ADE) of international visitors during the year was recorded at $103.55, which is 2.4-percent higher compared to the previous year ADE of $ 101.12.

In peso terms, ADE grew 7.11 percent from P4,292.16 in 2013 to P4,597.12 last year. Again, December pegged the highest at $96.36 (P4,306.12).

Visitors from the Asian region remained the biggest market for the Philippines during the year with 2.83 million visitors or 59 percent of total arrivals. Americas followed with 875,200 for a market share of 18 percent; Europe at 10 percent, Australasia/Pacific (six percent) and overseas Filipinos (four percent).

Tourism officials said that it was significant in lieu of the Asean regional integration, which is making it cheaper to travel in the 10-nation region.

In fact, PHILTOA president Cesar Cruz said they have been holding talks with their counterparts in exchange promotional tours.

“We were in Myanmar recently to promote the Fun Caravan,” Cruz said in the same press briefing.

The Fun Caravan is a year-round activity that will take domestic and foreign tourists in several destinations all over the Philippines.

For this year, it focuses on five major destinations: the Cordillera region, the Southern Tagalog region, the Visayan region, the Bicol region, and Central Luzon. The caravans or tours will run between four to six days.

There will also be minor destinations focused on Palawan, Batanes, the Calamianes Group of Islands and Zamboanga.
BCDA in talks with IFC over Clark Green City plans
Posted at 03/11/2015 11:41 AM | Updated as of 03/11/2015 11:50 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said it is talking with the World Bank's investment arm for possible assistance in developing plans for Clark Green City.

In a statement, the BCDA said it is in discussions with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) over the Clark Green City project.

The Clark Green City project covers some 9,450 hectares in Tarlac and Pampanga, and is envisioned to be the country’s first smart, disaster-resilient and green city.

The BCDA said the IFC is looking at helping the BCDA in determining the business case for key utility services such as power generation, power distribution, water supply distribution and sewerage services and solid waste management.

IFC recently worked on the Clark Water project with the Clark Development Corporation and the Department of Agriculture and Land Bank of the Philippines for the Grains Central project.

Earlier, the BCDA said it is looking for a local or foreign partner to develop a portion of Clark Green City.

The partnership will be in the form of a joint-venture (JV) corporation to be owned 45 percent by the BCDA and 55 percent by the winning bidder.

The winning bidder will infuse the total initial paid-up capital of the corporation in the amount of P2.5 billion.
Shell to review options after SC ruling on Pandacan depot transfer
The High Court denies the oil firm’s motion for reconsideration, but Shell says it will observe the law as it reviews its options
Published 5:16 PM, Mar 11, 2015
Updated 5:46 PM, Mar 11, 2015
MANILA, Philippines – Pilipinas Shell will seek all legal remedies available after the Supreme Court (SC) denied its motion for reconsideration over the transfer of the Pandacan oil depot.

"We shall study the implications of the Supreme Court decision and shall review the options available to Shell. Rest assured that Shell will observe the rule of law,” a company statement read Wednesday, March 11.

The High Court denied the motions filed by Pilipinas Shell and Chevron Philippines on Tuesday, March 10, upholding its November 2014 decision that the oil firms must relocate and cease their operations in the populated Pandacan, Manila district.

The oil firms, including Petron, were given 6 months to relocate based on their submitted and updated comprehensive plan and relocation schedule.

Shell filed a motion for reconsideration also in November before the SC, saying that their own pool of experts is willing to attest that the Pandacan oil depot is safe.
Denied motion

The SC denied Shell’s motion because the reasons given by the oil firm had already been decided and there is no need to rule upon them anew. The SC also stressed it would no longer entertain any pleadings or they will be cited for contempt.

In its November 2014 decision, the SC has given the oil companies 6 months to remove their Pandacan oil terminals after submission of an updated comprehensive plan and relocation schedule. It also gave the oil firms 45 days to submit the relocation plan.

Chevron, meanwhile, said it filed a motion for clarification and not a motion for reconsideration.

“We have yet to receive a copy of the decision hence cannot fully comment on the matter. Finally, we will comply with the final ruling of the Supreme Court on this issue,” Chevron said.

Chevron has already moved out of Pandacan.
No place in populated areas

Petron Corporation did not comment but previously said the company has been preparing to move out of the contested depot since 2010, following its commitment to cease operations in the depot by 2016.

“We made a commitment to stop our operations and we are ready. We have identified several alternative sites in Luzon to absorb our volumes in Pandacan,” Petron President Ramon Ang earlier said.

The SC pointed out that there are overwhelming reasons stated in its previous decision to support its pronouncement that given their nature, depots have no place in a densely populated area.

It cited the history of the Pandacan terminals, where flames spread over the entire city of Manila when fuel-storage dumps were set on fire in December 1942, and another incident involving an explosion – both of which were discussed in an earlier challenge to the oil depots.

The SC added that its decision is clear and that it was City Ordinance 8187 that had been declared unconstitutional and invalid as far as the continued stay of the Pandacan oil terminals is concerned. –
Aboitiz Equity Ventures says 2014 earnings down 13%
March 11, 2015 11:25am
Listed holding firm Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV) saw a 13 percent decline in 2014 net income to P18.4 billion from P21 billion a year earlier on lower contributions from its power and banking businesses.
The power business accounted for 71 percent of the total income contributions followed by banking at 18 percent, AEV said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday.
The food and land development units contributed 7 percent and 4 percent, respectively, to the total income, it added.

Power business
Aboitiz Power Corp. experienced a 10 percent profit decline to P16.7 billion from P18.6 billion, cutting its income contribution to AEV to P12.7 billion from P14.2 billion.
AboitizPower is spending P52 billion this year to expand its generating capacity by over 2,000 megawatts (MW) in five years.
"In the next five years we intend to increase our beneficial capacity by approximately 2,000 [megawatts], providing reliable and competitive power meeting the economy’s increasing energy demands," AboitizPower CEO Erramon Aboitiz said.

In a briefing Wednesday, AEV CFO Stephen Paradies said this includes the 420 MW Pagbilao baseload plant in Quezon which began construction late last year and the 340 MW Therma Visayas baseload plant in Cebu which will break ground within the year.
Paradies said another 300 MW will come from Therma South which will start operations in the first half of this year, while its unit three expansion of 170 MW will also begin within construction within the year.
The 68 MW Manolo Fortich hydropower plant in Bukidnon will start construction within the year, while the 600 MW Subic baseload plant has already recently overcome its Writ of Kalikasan case, according to Paradies.
He said the company has identified roughly 200 MW of potential run of river power projects located across the archipelago for the next five years.

Banking, food and real estate
Earnings of Union Bank of the Philippines decreased by 21 percent to P3.2 billion from P4.1 billion due to lower trading gains earned in the previous year.
Non-listed Pilmico Foods Corp. grew its income by 4 percent to P1.3 billion on the back of a remarkable performance by its feeds and farm inputs production.
“Our food group is leading the pack to integrate into ASEAN with its investment in Vietnam. It is also exploring opportunities for cross-border trade in the region,” he added.

"We should be exporting in the next month or two our first batch of flour to Indonesia," Pilmico Foods Corp. president and CEO Sabin Aboitiz said at a briefing.
He said offices are being set up around the Association of Southeast Asian Nations "to be able to export our flour."
AboitizLand Inc.’s income increased  by 132 percent to P633 million from P273 million due to growth across all its business units.
AEV will continue to seize growth opportunities from infrastructure investments, which the company made as the fifth leg of its business concerns.
“Our strategic growth plans remain intact as we pursue to further strengthen and expand our businesses, keeping pace with the country’s economic growth,” the company president said.
The group has recently formed  the consortium Trident Infrastructure and Development Corp. with Ayala Land Inc., SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Megaworld  Corp. for the P123.8-billion Laguna Lakeshore Expressway and Dike  Project, the government’s biggest PPP project to date.
It is also working on a 300 million liter per day bulk water supply project, through a joint venture with JV Angeles Construction Corp., to support Davao City's growing needs. – Danessa O. Rivera/VS, GMA News
Japan's FamilyMart, UNY to merge in 2016

Posted at 03/11/2015 8:52 AM
TOKYO - FamilyMart Co Ltd and UNY Group Holdings Co on Tuesday said they have agreed to merge in 2016, a move that would create Japan's second-biggest convenience store operator by sales.

Third-placed FamilyMart will be the surviving entity when it merges with the owner of fourth-ranked Circle K Sunkus in September next year, the companies said in a statement.

The pair said it will consider integrating the two convenience store chains under a single brand, though details including the merger ratio have yet to be decided.

FamilyMart and UNY on Friday said they were considering a merger to increase their competitiveness in a saturated market, grappling with a slump in consumer spending since a rise in the national sales tax last April.

Data from the Japan Franchise Association showed same-store sales at convenience stores fell 0.7 percent in January from the same period a year earlier, the 10th straight month of decline.

The merger would see the combined annual revenue of FamilyMart and UNY's convenience stores eclipse that of second-ranked Lawson Inc and close in on leader Seven-Eleven Japan, owned by Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd.

Shares of UNY have gained about 10 percent whereas those of FamilyMart have fallen 3.5 percent since the companies said they were studying a merger.

FamilyMart has a market value of about $4.3 billion, about three times UNY's $1.4 billion.
Experts hike risk of big California quake in next 30 years
While seismic activity in California has stayed mild in the last century, experts expect a big one to strike some time in the future – they just don't know when

Agence France-Presse
Published 9:46 AM, Mar 11, 2015
Updated 9:46 AM, Mar 11, 2015
LOS ANGELES, USA – The risk of a major earthquake hitting California in the next 30 years has risen dramatically, US scientists said Tuesday, March 10, using improved forecasting techniques.

Earthquakes are notoriously hard to predict and while seismic activity in California has stayed mild in the last century, experts expect a big one to strike some time in the future – they just don't know when.

"The likelihood that California will experience a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years has increased from about 4.7%... to about 7.0%," said the US Geological Survey.

A report, known as the Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, acknowledges the complex nature of fault lines and uses new methods to account for future risk.

"The new likelihoods are due to the inclusion of possible multi-fault ruptures, where earthquakes are no longer confined to separate, individual faults, but can occasionally rupture multiple faults simultaneously," said lead author and USGS scientist Ned Field.

"This is a significant advancement in terms of representing a broader range of earthquakes throughout California's complex fault system."

While the risk of a big quake went up, that of a more moderate one actually declined since the last assessment in 2008.

"The estimated rate of earthquakes around magnitude 6.7, the size of the destructive 1994 Northridge earthquake, has gone down by about 30 percent. The expected frequency of such events statewide has dropped from an average of one per 4.8 years to about one per 6.3 years," said the report.

Tom Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center and a co-author of the study, added: "We know that tectonic forces are continually tightening the springs of the San Andreas fault system, making big quakes inevitable.

"The UCERF3 model provides our leaders and the public with improved information about what to expect so that we can better prepare." –
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Thursday, March 12, 2015
DOTC sets bidding for 6 airport PPPs
Posted at 03/11/2015 10:56 PM
MANILA – The timetable for the bidding process for six provincial airport projects has been set, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said.

The deadline for the submission of qualification documents is scheduled on May 18 while the deadline for the submission of bids has yet to be finalized. The Notice of Award is expected to be issued by March 2016.

Government has decided to split the bidding for the operation and maintenance of the six provincial airports worth P128 billion into two packages to ensure that all the projects are awarded to competent players.

The P10.3 billion Puerto Princesa airport project, however, was removed from the two packages.

Transportation Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla said the inclusion of the Puerto Princesa project in the bidding process has been put on hold until further notice.

"Please be advised that the inclusion of the Puerto Princesa airport in the bidding process is being held in abeyance until further notice," he said.

Package A includes the Iloilo, and Bacolod-Silay airports while Package B comprises of the Davao, Laguindingan, and New Bohol airports worth P66.9 billion.

The DOTC said the 30-year concession contract will be awarded through a bidding following the rules and procedures prescribed under Republic Act 6957 as amended by RA 7718 otherwise known as the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law.

The DOTC, through the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, will enter into concession agreements on the operation and maintenance, and possible expansion of the airports to private operators.
Gov't rolls out Metro Manila air monitoring portal
By March 16, at least 12 cities in the capital region will be sending hourly updates on air pollution levels to a website the public can access

Pia Ranada
Published 3:34 PM, Mar 12, 2015
Updated 3:34 PM, Mar 12, 2015
MANILA, Philippines – Starting next week, Metro Manila residents will be able to monitor their city's air quality level at an hourly or weekly basis.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will roll out on Monday, March 16, its hourly air quality monitoring feeds on a website accessible to the public.

Anyone may access the data by visiting the air quality monitoring portal of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). The portal, when launched, should show the air quality levels as measured by the 17 air quality monitoring stations spread out over Metro Manila.

The launch of the portal was delayed due to the difficulty of finding appropriate locations for the stations in some cities, said EMB Director Jonas Leones during a press briefing on Thursday, March 12. All stations were supposed to have been ready last December.

All 16 cities and one town in Metro Manila now have air quality monitoring stations, equipment that resemble a small, metal house that measure air quality using 3 different units of measurement.

Of these, 12 are "automatic" or capable of sending hourly data to the EMB central office in Quezon City via the Internet.

Five are still manual, meaning the data is still transferred by physical documents to the EMB and only at the end of the week.

EMB's engineer Tess Peralta said these 5 will be upgraded with automatic monitoring equipment by April.
Caloocan: North Caloocan City Hall, Zapote Street, Barangay 177, Caloocan City
Las Piñas: Rohm and Hass Property, Las Piñas City
Makati: Makati Park, Dr Jose P. Rizal Extension, East Rembo, Makati City
Malabon: Polytechnic Institute, Malabon City
Marikina: Parking Area of Marikina Justice Hall, Marikina City
Mandaluyong: Hardin ng Pagasa, Mandaluyong City Hall, Plainview, Mandaluyong City
Navotas: Navotas City Hall M. Naval St, Navotas City
Parañaque: Don Bosco Barangay Hall, Better Living Subdivision, Parañaque City
Pasay: NAIA Terminal 2, Pasay City
Pasig: Country Lodge, Oranbo, Pasig City
Muntinlupa: Bureau of Corrections, New Bilibid Prison Reservation, Muntinlupa City
Pateros: Pateros Elementary School, Pateros City
San Juan: Pinaglabanan Shrine, San Juan City
Taguig: Technological University of the Philippines, Taguig Campus, Taguig City (on-going installation)
Manila: De La Salle University, Taft, Manila
Valenzuela: Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela, Valenzuela City
Quezon City: Department of Public Works and Highway, EDSA, Quezon City

The monitoring stations measure air quality using 3 indicators: Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5, PM10, and Total Suspended Particulates (TSP).

PM2.5, said Peralta, measures the most dangerous type of air-polluting particles – particles small enough to enter the bronchial tubes of the lungs and cause severe respiratory diseases.

PM10 measures particles which are small enough to enter the nasopharynx in the upper portion of the esophagus.

TSP, meanwhile, measures particles bigger than PM10 – the dirt that usually settles in your nostrils.

The DENR plans to add more monitoring stations in different parts of the country. This year, it is purchasing 37 more stations – 7 for the National Capital Region and the rest to be distributed to other regions.
'Easy access'

To make it easy for the public to understand, an air quality index will be used. Air quality levels will be graded accordingly:
    Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
    Very Unhealthy
    Acutely Unhealthy
The stations are located in areas which give the most "accurate" idea of what the city's air pollution levels are, said Leones.

Thus, they are not located near busy streets since air pollution levels tend to spike during rush hour and dip on holidays or Sundays. These extreme fluctuations will make the recorded air quality level "unnatural and unrealistic," said Leones.

The stations, each costing P3 million ($68,000), are able to measure air pollution within 2 kilometers of its location.

The DENR is in talks with media outlets to include the air quality measurements in weather reports of news programs to increase public awareness on air pollution.

Leones said air pollution is one of the major environmental programs of the Aquino administration.

"This is one of the department's promises to the President. By 2016, Metro Manila must meet international standards on air quality," he said.

From January to July 2014, Metro Manila's air pollution level in terms of TSP was 136 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm). The international standard for safe air is 90 ug/Ncm.

The latest PM10 measurements shows that, in terms of PM10, slightly more than half of 13 stations (7 out of 13) measured "fair" air quality. This means air quality within the range of 55 to 154 ug/Ncm.

The international standard for PM10 is 60 ug/Ncm. For PM2.5, the international standard is 35 ug/Ncm.
Pressure for LGUs

Equipping all Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) with air monitoring stations is an effort to connect pollution with governance, said Leones.

The program was completed in time for the 2016 elections.

"LGUs will see, this is how high their air pollution is. This is already an appreciation and recognition of the problem. By means of informing the public, they will be clamoring for action. This is pressure for the LGUs to act," he said.

Dirty air may turn off Investors, entrepreneurs, and potential residents from making business or putting up their homes in that city.

To reinforce this, the EMB aims to send letters twice a month to LGU officials with worrisome air pollution levels.

This will hopefully mobilize them into action. But he also called on citizens to be proactive in demanding clean air from their mayors and councilors.

Air pollution has been found to cause cancer and increase the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, especially in young children.

Around 80% of dirty air in Metro Manila comes from motor vehicles, said Leones. The remaining 20% comes from stationary sources, like construction sites and industries.

DENR only has jurisdiction over stationary sources, making it difficult for them to fulfill their promise of safe air for the metro. –
Transpo hub for Clark airport passengers to be established
Posted at 03/12/2015 4:55 PM
MANILA, Philippines - A new transportation hub catering to passengers using Clark International Airport will be established at the Robinsons mall in Pampanga.

Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) president and CEO Emigdio Tanjuatco signed the memorandum of understanding with Robinsons Malls general manager Arlene Magtibay and Genesis Transport Service marketing head Loren Zubia.

Under the partnership, a transport hub with a ticketing lounge will be located at the Bus Terminal of Robinsons Starmills Pampanga.

Tanjuatco said the new hub would cater to passengers and travelers using the Clark International Airport, which hosts Asiana Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cebu Pacific, Seair, Tiger Air, Jin Air, Dragonair, Air Asia Berhad and Tiger Air Singapore.

"We all aim to give our customers the best service possible and one of the concerns of the passengers right now is the mobility of the passengers from terminal to destinations, and we are thankful that we have partners such as Robinsons and Genesis to address that concern," he said.

Magtibay estimated there are around 500 buses from various points of Luzon that are ferrying passengers to and from Robinsons Starmills Pampanga.

"Now it will be much easier for passengers to go to Clark Airport by using the Robinsons Transport Hub," she said.

The volume of passengers using the Clark airport is seen to jump 150 percent to three million over the next two years from the current level of about 1.2 million passengers a year.
Filinvest Land 2014 profits jump 16 pct
Posted at 03/12/2015 12:41 PM
MANILA, Philippines - Developer Filinvest Land Inc. reported its consolidated net income rose 16 percent in 2014 to P4.6 billion.

The Gotianun-led company said consolidated revenues jumped 22 percent to a record P16.90 billion, driven by strong growth of its residential businesses and expansion of its office leasing operations.

FLI said it posted P13.2 billion in revenues in 2014 from its residential projects, up 26 percent.

Revenues from rental assets also increased 11 percent to P2.26 billion, as it booked revenues from new office buildings Filinvest One and Plaz@ E at Northgate Cyberzone in Alabang.

In 2014, FLI launched P12.5 billion worth of residential projects, including 100 West in Makati City, and horizontal developments in Tarlac, Rizal, Laguna, Batangas and Palawan.

FLI is looking to launch P16 billion worth of new projects this year.

FLI CEO and President Josephine Gotianun Yap said that the firm is on track with its plans to triple its recurring income portfolio by 2019 to about 970,000 square meters.

"We are targeting to increase our gross leasable area to three times our current office and retail space inventory within the next five years. For 2015, we are adding around 67,506 square meters of office space and 85,034 square meters of retail space to our portfolio," she said in a statement.

"The outstanding performance of FLI in 2014 was brought about by the company’s ability to address the needs of homebuyers as reflected in the consistent growth of residential sales and its ability to execute its plans to increase office as well as retail spaces in key locations nationwide," she added.
Alveo Land eyes P7.5-B in sales from QC condo project

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez,
Posted at 03/12/2015 5:11 PM
MANILA – Alveo Land, the high-end property unit of Ayala Land, is expecting to generate about P7.5 billion in revenues from the second tower of High Park at Vertis North, Quezon City.

High Park Tower Two is a 49-storey mixed-use condominium that has 803 units with a selling price of P140,000 per square meters.

Read more here:
DMCI Homes introduces innovations in condo living

March 11, 2015
DMCI Homes, a pioneer in resort-themed mid-rise residential condominium communities in Metro Manila, continues its successful urban living innovation this time by venturing into high-rise development.

The developer’s newly completed Flair Towers and upcoming Sheridan Towers, Lumiere Residences and Brio Tower are testaments to its product diversification and evolution into a premier developer the past 16 years. They also represent the company’s competitiveness in the growing residential condo market and the continuous appeal of its resort-style residences to homebuyers.

DMCI Homes became synonymous with spacious units, generous amenities, strategic location, affordability and a unique building design called Lumiventt.

The design facilitates natural ventilation and lighting of the building and units through balconies, single loaded corridors, atriums and breezeways.

Read more here:
Suburban living thrives amidst nature in Laguna
Greenfield City

March 11, 2015
It could well be the most complete and holistic community in Laguna. With residential parks, outlet malls, business districts, and economic zones, Greenfield City plays out the suburban lifestyle in a cradle of greens and open spaces.

The 400-hectare masterplanned community by Greenfield Development Corporation is a self-contained community that is a haven for those who opt to have everything – living, shopping, dining, commerce, leisure and play – all at their fingertips.

Greenfield veers away from the norm by setting its community amidst sprawling nature.

“This community is patterned after a park-living concept where much of the space is devoted to lush greens, open spaces, parks and playgrounds. It is a city built within a park,” explained Atty. Duane AX Santos, EVP and GM of Greenfield. “We want those who work and reside here to experience suburban bliss while having modern and upscale conveniences.”

Driving along Sta. Rosa is a leisure hub not to be missed – the Paseo. A retail landmark situated amidst Greenfield City’s vast development, it has become a favorite shopping and dining destination of southerners.

Establishing a firm hold on bargain shoppers, it is dubbed the “country’s largest outlet mall” carrying top brands on sale every day. With pedestrian-friendly atmosphere and an open-air concept, Paseo is a lush alternative to congested malls.

Read more here:
Water features enhance life at Radiance Manila Bay

March 11, 2015

There is something about water that attracts us in a way that enhances our well-being. Understanding the regenerative effects of water in an urban setting, Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC) is building a twin-tower residential condominium that’s a stone’s throw from Manila Bay.

With its North Tower coming in 2018, The Radiance Manila Bay will offer residents an unparalleled lifestyle and experience. The condos not only maximize the view of the famous sunset but also provide water features that soothe the senses.  Moreover, its location in Roxas Boulevard is at the cultural heartland of Manila.

Read more here:
PH must push for new global agreement on disaster risk reduction

The framework must inspire participation of disaster-affected communities in every stage of the process – from understanding risks and their impacts to effective governance and accountability

Alison Kent
Published 5:19 PM, Mar 12, 2015
Updated 5:28 PM, Mar 12, 2015
Read article here:
Tsunami 101: What you need to know about tsunamis

The Philippines is an archipelago located along the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire, making it vulnerable to earthquakes that may cause tsunamis
Gwen de la Cruz

Published 9:00 AM, Mar 12, 2015
Updated 11:49 AM, Mar 12, 2015
Read article here:
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DBS retains Philippine growth forecast

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star
Posted at 07/15/2015 8:37 AM
MANILA - Singapore-based DBS retained its 2015 growth forecast for the Philippines at six percent amid the sharp 17.4-percent decline in merchandise exports last May.

“Overall GDP growth may still come in around six percent this year,” DBS said.

“While a moderation in export growth is widely anticipated this year, the May figure still came as a huge disappointment,” DBS said.

It said export growth could be barely in the positive this year after expanding by an average of 8.7 percent over the last three years.

“High base effects certainly played a part, but the current state of global demand also means it is getting harder to sustain high export growth year after year,” the investment bank said.

The country’s merchandise exports fell the most in three years after contracting by 17.4 percent to $4.9 billion in May from $5.9 billion in the same month last year amid the global economic slowdown.

This translated to a five-percent decline in merchandise exports to $24.77 billion in the first five months of the year from $23.54 billion in the same period last year.

DBS pointed out sustained strength in the overall manufacturing sector would help ease some burden off from services and construction sectors.

“More importantly, note that contribution from net exports to overall GDP growth has been fairly small in recent years Private consumption and investment growth have been pretty much the drivers of the 6.6-percent average growth in 2012-14,” it said.

Last May, DBS slashed the country’s GDP growth forecast to six percent instead of 6.3 percent after the lower-than-expected economic expansion in the first quarter of the year.

The country’s GDP growth slowed down to 5.2 percent in the first quarter of the year from 5.6 percent in the same quarter last year amid weak government spending.

The government expects the economy to grow between seven-and eight-percent this year.

The Singapore-based investment bank sees the country’s inflation falling within the two-to four-percent target set by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Inflation eased to a 20-year low of 1.2 percent in June from 1.6 percent in May.

DBS said the BSP’s Monetary Board would likely keep key policy rates steady over the near term.

“No monetary policy response is likely in the near-term. It is interesting to see, however, if the central bank will spend more time discussing the relative strength of the peso,” the bank said.

The overnight borrowing rate is currently pegged at four percent while the overnight lending rate is at six percent.
PH badly needs key economic reforms

By Ray S. Eñano | Jul. 15, 2015 at 11:20pm
The Philippines may not realize it immediately, but it cannot compete under a free regional trade regime, or in a single market called the Asean economic community.

Philippine lawmakers and President Benigno Aquino III have ignored economic reforms that can make it at par with the advanced economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The local business community believes reforms must be done ASAP to prepare the Philippines for the AEC.

Economist Gerardo Sicat, a former director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority and ex-World Bank senior executive in-charge of its Public Economics Group, said the Philippines could be one of the least prepared for the regional free trade.

“Those countries with the freest and most flexible policy mechanisms will gain the most, while those burdened with domestic restrictions will be slowed down by those restrictions since they could prevent or cause investments from happening,” said Sicat in one of his papers.

The former top economist said the Philippines has not acted on “the most difficult reforms” it needs to capitalize on the free trade regime that will usher under the AEC.

“From personal observation, the most difficult reforms to undertake are often the last to be adopted,” Sicat said in an opinion essay. “I see that the main reforms we have to deal with [for instance, revisions of Constitutional economic provisions, labor market reforms, and investments in critical infrastructure] are stuck in Congress, in our own resistance, within the impasse of bureaucratic processes, and in the politics of wait—and—see.”

The Philippines, for instance, has lagged way behind its Asean neighbors—Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia—in the race for foreign direct investments, and is even having much difficulty keeping up with erstwhile tail-ender Vietnam.

The Philippine Business Group-Joint Foreign Chambers, whose members include 18 of the biggest and most active local and foreign business organizations in the country, has long urged the government to enact economic reforms to advance the Philippine economy.
SONA imperatives

In a May 15 letter to President Aquino ahead of his final State of the Nation Address, the PBG-JFC listed eight proposals that require prompt executive action and seven more needing swift congressional approval to cash in on the “unprecedented improvements in competitiveness, attractiveness to investment, and overall boost in the Philippine image in the eyes of the international community.”

PBG-JFC’s proposals for Palace action, including the formation of a public-private energy council to solve the power crisis, reducing the Foreign Investment Negative List of industries where foreign participation is limited, and speeding up the implementation of critical infrastructure projects, are designed to ensure massive job generation, facilitate trade and boost competitiveness.

The business grouping highlighted the importance of Resolution of Both Houses No. 1, or RBH 1, authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., whose congressional approval “will encourage greater foreign investment as well as prepare the country for high-level plurilateral agreements, such trade as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

TPP is the centerpiece of the US trade agenda of the Obama administration.

“The Philippines possesses immense untapped potential that will be unleashed with the proper environment and policies in place,” said PBG-JFC in its latest letter to President Aquino. “It is our common position that the enactment and implementation of the above measures will accelerate the country toward the progressive nation we all aspire to become.”

Belmonte’s RBH 1 seeks to lift the 60-40 rule—the constitutional proviso requiring Filipinos to own at least 60 percent of local businesses and for their foreign partners to own a maximum of 40 percent—in the 1987 Charter.

The House failed to pass RBH 1 before Congress adjourned in June 12, but there is enough time for lawmakers to clear it in the third and final regular session. They have seven working months to pass the crucial bill from the time both chambers open in July until they close in February 2016 in time for the national elections campaign period.

With the fast-approaching deadline for the creation of the AEC by end-2015, Philippines Inc. president Antonio Lopa called on the Aquino administration to support the calls to amend the economic provision of the 1987 Constitution.

 “By relaxing the limitations on foreign ownership, the Philippines will not only be able to participate in the TPP, but it will also be able to maximize its benefit from the Asean integration, and create much needed jobs for the Filipino people,” Lopa said.

“To realize inclusive growth, the country needs to further accelerate the velocity of growth by instituting a more open policy regime that nurtures a globally competitive investment climate that must be sustained beyond political timelines,” he said.
DOTC rolls out most expensive PPP yet
Posted at 07/15/2015 10:58 AM | Updated as of 07/15/2015 1:10 PM
MANILA – Government's most expensive public-private partnership (PPP) project so far is now up for bidding, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said Wednesday.

The DOTC has published an invitation to bidders for the P170.7-Billion South Line of the North-South Railway Project (NSRP), which involves the designing, constructing, financing, operating, and maintaining of a 653-kilometer rail system.

“This is our biggest project yet: the revival of the oldest rail system in Southeast Asia, beginning with the Manila-Legazpi section plus additional branch lines totaling 653 kilometers,” Transportation Sec. Jun Abaya said.

“Rail systems are a driver for inclusive socio-economic growth. They encourage trade and business activity, and provide access to employment and educational opportunities. The PNR, once a symbol of the country’s economic progress, should be modernized into a safe, convenient, and efficient system by 2020,” he added.

The winning bidder will be awarded the contact to design, construct, finance, operate, and maintain the following services:

• The 56-kilometer Commuter Rail service, for daily riders on the Tutuban, Manila to Calamba, Laguna route

• The 478-kilometer Long-Haul Rail service, for travelers on the Tutuban, Manila to Legazpi, Albay route

The Long-Haul service may also have the following extensions:

• 58 kilometers from Calamba, Laguna to Batangas City, Batangas

• 117 kilometers from Legazpi, Albay to Matnog, Sorsogon

The entire railway is expected to be operational in 2020, with 10 daily trips with seven train sets passing through 66 stations.

“This project will impact directly on a grassroots level. Those who have less in life, especially farmers and fisherfolk, will be given efficient means to expand their livelihood. This is our biggest project yet, and this is for those who need it most,” Abaya said.

The system is expected to yield a demand of 316,000 passengers per day on its opening year, and aims to entice around 44,000 public and private vehicle users to shift their commutes to the modernized railway.

DOTC is inviting both local and international companies to participate in the auction. A two-stage bidding process will be adopted, with the pre-qualification date targeted within the fourth quarter of 2015.

The bid opening is expected to be held in January 2016, and awarding is set in March 2016.
Palace: PH adheres to law on sea

By Sandy Araneta, Vito Barcelo | Jul. 16, 2015 at 12:01am
MALACANANG on Wednesday stressed its adherence to international law and a rules-based resolution to the disputes in the South China Sea in spite of China’s call to drop its arbitration case against it.

“The Philippines affirms its adherence to international law and preference for rules-based resolution of maritime entitlement issues,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said in a text message to reporters.

“The Philippines has presented its position before the UN’s Permanent Commission on Arbitrations [that] we consider to be the proper forum for the resolution of disputes.”

Coloma made his statement even as China on Wednesday said it will not accept any decision of a United Nations arbitration panel where the Philippines has filed a case to solve the dispute in the South China Sea, describing the proceedings as one-sided and involved “a third party.”

“We are the victim in the maritime dispute and China will oppose any move by the Philippines to initiate and push forward the arbitral proceeding,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said in an official statement posted online.

But Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said arbitration was an internationally recognized dispute settlement mechanism, and that it was also provided in UNCLOS.

“The arbitration would have been a good opportunity for china to explain the basis of its nine-dash line claim,” Jose said.

China on Tuesday urged the Philippines to drop its arbitration case over the South China Sea dispute to bring back the good relations between  both countries.

“China urges the Philippines to come back to the right track of resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hua Chunying said in a statement.

The Philippines has asked the United Nations tribunal in The Hague to declare China’s claims to virtually all of the South China Sea invalid, saying Beijing’s actions had trampled on other nations’ rights.

However, China maintained that it “will never accept the unilateral attempts to turn to a third party to solve the disputes.”

China contends the tribunal doesn’t have jurisdiction and has refused to participate in its proceedings.

China offered again to open bilateral negotiations to settle the maritime dispute, which the Philippines rejected.

Hua Chunying said Manila should return to negotiations and consultation with Beijing, which he described as the ‘’right approach’’ of resolving the matter.

Hua said Beijing still opposed Manila’s move to bring the issue to a United Nations-backed tribunal.

“On issues of territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China will never accept any imposed solution or unilaterally resorting to a third-party settlement,” Hua said.

Hua said China was in fact the “victim” in the sea dispute, accusing the Philippines of illegally occupying some of the reefs in the South China Sea that Beijing treats as its territory.

“The origin and crux of the disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea lie in the territorial sovereignty disputes caused by the Philippines’ illegal occupation of some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Islands since the 1970s, and the disputes concerning maritime rights and interests that arose thereafter,” Hua said.
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Post by: PinoyBroker on July 17, 2015, 05:40:34 PM
San Miguel, Megawide group qualify to bid for reg'l prison PPP
The new facility will accommodate 26,880 inmates and will include staff housing, administrative buildings, and areas for rehabilitation

Chrisee Dela Paz
Published 6:45 PM, July 15, 2015
Updated 6:45 PM, July 15, 2015
MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Holdings Corporation and a group led by Megawide Construction Corporation have qualified to bid for the P50.18-billion ($1.11 billion) contract to build and maintain a new prison in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday, July 15, announced the two qualifying bidders among the 3 groups that submitted pre-qualification documents for the Regional Prison Facilities through a public-private partenership (PPP).

The two qualified groups are San Miguel Holdings and Mega Structure Consortium composed of Megawide, Citicore Megawide Consortium Incorporated, and GMR Infrastructure Singapore Private Limited.

The parent firm of construction giant DM Consunji Incorporated (DMCI), however, was disqualified.

“DMCI was disqualified for failure to submit complete required pre-qualification documents,” Rosario Elena Laborte-Cuevas, legal officer of DOJ's Pre-qualification, Bids and Awards Committee, said in a mobile phone reply.

The tentative schedule for the submission of bids by qualified bidders is on August 14, while the signing of the concession agreement is in September.

The tender for the P50.18-billion ($1.11 billion) deal involving the construction and development of a new prison facility, was launched in February.
Modernize prison facilities

Under this project, a new prison facility will be built to “provide adequate living space, facilities, and address the basic needs of inmates incarcerated in existing penal facilities such as the New Bilibid Prison and the Correctional Institution for Women.”

About 21,106 convicts at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City and 2,016 inmates at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City will be transferred to the Nueva Ecija facility once construction is completed some time in 2019, according to the project brief.

According to the project information memorandum, the target date of the issuance of Notice of Award is on September 3. The target date of the contract signing for the winning bidder is on September 30, and of the issuance of Notice to Proceed, March 2016.

The winning concessionaire will be responsible for the financing, detailed design and construction, and maintenance of the prison facility for 23 years, inclusive of a 3-year construction period.

The new facility will accommodate 26,880 inmates, and include staff housing, administrative buildings, and areas for rehabilitation (sports, work and religious activities).

The Aquino administration has already awarded 10 PPP projects since 2010 with a total indicative cost of P189 billion ($4.19 billion). –
Trees in the city make you healthier – study

By Ed Biado | Jul. 15, 2015 at 07:30pm

It’s common knowledge that trees make the air and their general vicinity fresher, more beautiful. But in highly urbanized densely populated areas, there’s not a lot of them and we’ve always “paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” which results in the shrinkage and disappearance of green spaces. And if you need additional reasons to believe that we need more trees in the city, you should know that they may actually have a direct impact on your health and well-being.

Published in’s Scientific Reports, new research from the University of Chicago, Indiana University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Toronto, the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the David Suzuki Foundation found that people who live on city blocks with more trees are likely to be healthier than those who reside in neighborhoods with less trees.

The study took place in Toronto, Canada covering 530,000 individual trees planted on public areas and over 31,000 city residents.
Katipunan_Avenue in Quezon City

“We find that having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being seven years younger,” the researchers wrote.

Meanwhile, an 11-tree difference “decreases cardio-metabolic conditions in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $20,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $20,000 higher median income or being 1.4 years younger.”

Results “suggest that people who live in neighborhoods with a higher density of trees on their streets report significantly higher health perception and significantly less cardio-metabolic conditions.” To experience these benefits, increasing the street tree density by as little as four percent is hypothesized to be significant enough.

The paper acknowledges the “known” positive effects of trees in urban centers, such as improving air quality, reducing energy use for cooling and heating, and making the environments “aesthetically more preferable.” It also cites previous research on the physiological and psychological restorative effects of exposure to green spaces.

It seems that planting more trees is a cost-effective way to improve public health. Based on the findings, “improving health perception and decreasing cardio-metabolic conditions by planting 10 more trees per city block is equivalent to increasing the income of every household in that city block by more than $10,000, which is more costly than planting the additional 10 trees.”

Tree-lined streets and green spaces are common among Metro Manila’s gated communities, including Dasmariñas Village, Ayala Alabang Village and Forbes Park. But outside the subdivision walls, urban oases are hard to come by and the ones that remain are at risk of being completely annihilated. These include the Ayala Triangle Gardens, which tree population is set to be reduced once the northern part of the park gets turned into a mixed-use vertical development.
D.M. Wenceslao plans $250-M IPO

Posted at 07/15/2015 12:46 PM
MANILA - Philippine property firm D.M. Wenceslao and Associates Inc is considering raising up to $250 million from an initial public offering late this year or early in 2016, Thomson Reuters publication IFR reported.

Company director Delfin Wenceslao confirmed the IPO plan but declined to provide additional details.

"We have capital raising plans, which may include an IPO," Wenceslao told Reuters in a mobile text message on Wednesday.

From its beginnings in the 1960s as a general construction firm, D.M. Wenceslao has expanded into land banking, real estate development, land development and mass housing.

Its 204-hectare (504.09-acre) Aseana City project is beside Entertainment City, the Philippines' smaller version of the Las Vegas gaming strip.
Oceanway Residences Luxurious beachside living in Boracay

July 15, 2015

The lifestyle of living beside the world-famous beaches of Miami Beach and Santorini is the inspiration for Oceanway Residences, the first residential condominium cluster inside the 150-hectare Boracay Newcoast township in Boracay Island.

Oceanway Residences is being developed by Global-Estate Resorts, Inc. (GERI), a subsidiary of Megaworld. Oceanway Residences promises to offer amazing views of the Sibuyan Sea, the vast greenery of Fairways & Bluewater Golf Course and Mt. Luho, Boracay Island’s highest peak.

Oceanway Residences is divided into two phases. Once completed, this residential project will boast a total of seven towers with six stories each. It will offer units ranging from studios (up to 40.4 sqm), one-bedroom (up to 41.8 sqm), two-bedroom (up to 63.4 sqm) and three-bedroom (up to 126.8 sqm).

Located along Newcoast Drive, Oceanway Residences also offers first-class community beachside amenities as it is located at the heart of an integrated urban township inspired by the world’s best beach neighborhoods. Each cluster has a viewing deck, outdoor lounge deck and swimming pool.

Soon, residents and guests can also traverse the inclined stone streets in a colorful environment of numerous shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, an entertainment center and mid-rise residences.

Further up the estate are the exclusive residential properties that will give owners the privilege to see the island on a higher and distinct panoramic perspective.

A jetty port where yachts could be exclusively docked will be the start-off point for many of the estate’s guests and stakeholders. Also on both sides of the estate will soon thrive international brand hotels, an exclusive 18-hole golf course and other leisure centers.

With 60 percent of the development for open spaces and greenery, Boracay Newcoast will be the benchmark of environmentally-conscious urban planning with its pedestrian-friendly layout, as well as seamless arrangement of road networks, own sewage treatment plant, siltation tanks, and underground electrical lines.
A Place in the Sun

By Ana Warren González | Jul. 15, 2015 at 07:50pm

For a developing country that’s still trying to surmount economic challenges, this is a rather ironic reality: We have the highest electricity rate in Asia and we are charged exorbitant fees for a basic necessity we apparently can ill afford. Good thing then that the government has placed its support behind renewable energy initiatives, positioning the Philippines as a world leader in the technology with 30 percent of its power generation supported by the renewable energy sector. Looks like there’s hope on the horizon: the day will come when we spend more on ourselves than on our electricity bills.
The Blacks in the sun

Impossibly tall siblings Alex and Sara Black have begun Yes! Solar Cleantech – the local dealership for US-based renewable energy firm Yes! Solar Solutions. During his apprenticeship at non-profit Californian firm GRID Solutions, Alex discovered first-hand how transformative solar power is. “(Filipinos) have gotten so used to the traditional way of implicitly accepting a system where we never had a choice as to where our electricity would come from. We would walk into a home and plug in all our appliances and equipment only knowing that electricity came from somewhere, somehow.”

Dissatisfied with the status quo and recognizing that there were solutions readily available, Alex turned to his sister with a proposal: Change the way that future generations consume electricity. Sara, recognized as one of the country’s most amazing professional photographers, exclaims, “I immediately loved all the possibilities I saw for the product in the Philippines, given how abundant sunlight is here. I immediately told Alex, YES! I am in.”

The backbone of Yes! relies on the values that support the siblings, and their shared vision for the future of the nation. Alex’s vision is massive and worldwide. He quotes Pope Francis’ latest encyclical, Laudato Si, in which His Holiness addresses climate change: “(The encyclical) stressed that developing nations such as the Philippines stand to be the most affected by climate change because of our large dependency on our natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing, and forestry.” It’s a fact: renewable energy will help address climate change. The Philippines is so battered and bruised by mutable weather conditions – climate change is something we all need to think about.

Sara’s values are more close to home. “Participating in solar energy helps each one of us to positively impact the environment by lessening our carbon footprint. Our vision is to create a community of people who live consciously, waste less, and gain more.” In fact, Sara connects the technology of Yes! to the recent movement of sustainable lifestyles. “I’ve been on this journey of wanting to live more consciously, starting with the way I consume food, how I nourish and exercise my body, how I have been developing my spiritual awareness. This technology just gives me another avenue to be more mindful about how I consume and waste, what my individual participation is in the world.”
Money out, benefits in

This renewable energy stuff is a bit of a Catch-22. Lots of people are wary to invest in it because of the steep initial investment. The developing world needs renewable energy more than ever to reduce carbon emissions and to cease the reliance on diminishing fossil fuels – yet by the nature of our economic situation, we’re hard-pressed to afford it. The siblings point out however that solar technology is the most affordable way to address renewable energy – and the easiest way for each individual to participate in the initiative to save Mother Earth.

To participate individually in the change that impacts a nation – this is indeed a worthwhile cause – and empowering indeed. Put it this way: We invest in our appearance, our businesses, in people we care about. We spend money on self-beautification, on commerce, on our loved ones. We might as well spend money on the planet as well.

As their website proclaims, Yes! is all about clean air – clear conscience. It’s been said so many times that it has become cliché, but it still rings true: We really all have a part to play in saving Mother Earth. It’s not enough to expect your neighbor or your government to do something about it; the change starts from within. As with all positive change, it rebounds back to you as well with tangible benefits.
No, Earth is not heading toward a ‘mini ice age’

By Chelsea Harvey July 14
This week, warnings of an impending “mini ice age,” set to hit in the 2030s, have been circulating in the media. It’s a story that has caused shivers among the public, but there’s one problem: Climate scientists aren’t buying it.

The ice age idea got rolling last week when researcher Valentina Zharkova, a professor of mathematics at Northumbria University in England, presented some of her recent research into solar variations at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Wales. The presentation was based on a study she had published last year in the Astrophysical Journal, which presented a technique for understanding variations in solar radiation and made some predictions about how this radiation will change in the near future. Most notably, the research predicts that between 2030 and 2040, solar activity should drop significantly, leading to a condition known as a “solar minimum.”

According to the research, solar activity at this time should resemble conditions last seen in the mid-1700s during a period known of low solar radiation known as the “Maunder Minimum.” The interesting thing about this period was that it coincided with a “little ice age” in Europe and North America — a time marked by unusually cold temperatures and bitter winters. Now that Zharkova and her colleagues are predicting another solar minimum coming up, media coverage has jumped on the idea that a modern “mini ice age” is in store.

It’s a dramatic idea, but it isn’t being embraced by many climate scientists, who argue that anthropogenic global warming — brought on by a human outpouring of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere — will far outweigh any climate effects that might be caused by the sun. As far as the solar variations go, “The effect is a drop in the bucket, a barely detectable blip, on the overall warming trajectory we can expect over the next several decades from greenhouse warming,” said Michael Mann, distinguished professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, in an e-mail to The Washington Post.

However, the issue isn’t so simple for Zharkova, who is openly skeptical about the strength of anthropogenic greenhouse gases when compared to the influence of the sun.

On the one hand, Zharkova maintains that her research was not intended to make assumptions about the effects of solar variation on climate — only to lay out predictions about the solar activity itself. “What will happen in the modern Maunder Minimum we do not know yet and can only speculate,” she says. On the other hand, she adds, her gut assumption is that temperatures will drop as they did 370 years ago.

The reason, she says, is her belief that the sun is a bigger influence on earthly climate than the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. “I am not convinced with the arguments of the group promoting global warming of an anthropogenic nature,” Zharkova says, adding that she would need to examine more research before she could take a clear stance on anthropogenic climate change. Given the right evidence, she says she might accept that human-caused climate change is a bigger factor — but her belief for the time being is that changes in solar radiation are likely to have a bigger influence on temperature changes on Earth, not just during times of solar minimum, but throughout history.

However, this belief is in direct contrast with much literature on the topic. Georg Feulner, deputy chair of the Earth system analysis research domain at the Potsdam Institute on Climate Change Research, co-authored a paper in 2011 specifically examining the effect a solar minimum might have on Earth’s climate. His paper, and subsequent related research has concluded that any solar-related temperature drops would be far outweighed by human-caused global warming. In the case of a solar minimum, such as the one predicted by Zharkova and colleagues, “The expected decrease in global temperature would be 0.1°C at most, compared to about 1.3°C warming since pre-industrial times by the year 2030,” Feulner wrote in an e-mail to the Post.

Complicating the matter further is the idea that the 17th century’s “little ice age” wasn’t even really the result of the solar minimum going on at the time. Feulner also authored another 2011 paper that concluded that volcanic activity was the major cause of a cooler climate during this time, rather than solar variations. The takeaway is that changes in solar radiation are unlikely to hold a candle to the climatic effects being brought about by human-related greenhouse gas emissions.

While Zharkova is one of a small minority of scientists who do not fully accept human activities as the greatest drivers of current climate change, she says she’s surprised at the media response her study has garnered. “I didn’t realize there would be such a strong response from the climate people,” she says, adding that she would need to repeat the calculations of mainstream climate scientists and examine the evidence herself to decide if she can accept their point that anthropogenic influences outweigh those of the sun.

So there may well be a solar minimum in store for the near future — but it’s still probably safe to put your scarves and mittens back in storage for now. Research in the area suggests that greenhouse gas-related warming, not solar variations, will be the dominant climate factor for many years to come.

Still, Zharkova cautions, there’s not much time left until her predicted solar minimum hits. “We have only 15 years to wait, so we’ll learn soon enough,” she says.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on July 17, 2015, 05:43:03 PM
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Thursday, June 25, 2015
PHL among top FDI recipients in East Asia; still below peers

Posted on June 25, 2015 03:29:00 AM

THE PHILIPPINES has emerged anew among top foreign direct investment (FDI) destinations in East Asia, beating global and regional growth rates besides, but value of inflows still paled against those of comparable Southeast Asian peers, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in its World Investment Report 2015 released yesterday.

In a statement accompanying the report, UNCTAD said the Philippines climbed to 9th spot among the top 10 FDI recipients in East Asia (composed of Northeast and Southeast Asia) with $6.201-billion inflows from 10th place in 2013 with just $3.737 billion.

Global FDI inflows fell 16% annually to $1.23 trillion in 2014, dragged by the “fragility of the global economy, policy uncertainty for investors and elevated geopolitical risks.”

Philippine inflows, as tracked by the central bank, grew 65.9% to an all-time high last year, compared to East Asia’s 10% increment and Southeast Asia’s 5%.

The latest ranking, which used data from the Financial Times and UNCTAD’S FDI and Multinational Enterprises Database, showed China at the top of the heap with $128.5 billion last year from $123.9 billion in 2013.

UNCTAD’s report cited among contributors to Philippine FDI inflows last year Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd’s acquisition of an 11% stake in Emperador, Inc. -- a producer of brandy and other alcoholic beverages -- for $390 million, as well as the takeover by Angat Hydropower Corp. -- a subsidiary of Korea Water Resources Corp. -- of a hydroelectric plant in Bulacan for about $440 million.

As a fraction of Southeast Asian inflows, the Philippines grew to 4.7% of the region’s $132.867 billion last year from 3.00% of $126.087 billion in 2013.

In terms of value, however, Philippine inflows were still dwarfed by those of its comparable Southeast Asian peers:

• Singapore added 4% to $67.523 billion last year from $64.793 billion in 2013;

• Indonesia grew 20% to $22.580 bilion from $18.817 billion;

• Thailand lost 10% to $12.566 billion from $14.016 billion;

• Malaysia gave up 11% to $10.799 billion from $12.115 billion; while

• Vietnam gained 3% to $9.2 billion from $8.9 billion.

Latest available central bank data show the Philippines’ inbound FDI flows dropped by half to $851 million last quarter from $1.715 billion in 2014’s comparable three months.

“The common complaint of foreign investors is the state of infrastructure,” said Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) President Gilberto M. Llanto during the report’s launch yesterday in Makati City.

“They are also mostly concerned on the tax regime, policy uncertainty, and regulatory framework,” he added.

“What the government can do is continue the reforms.”

In the same briefing, PIDS Senior Research Fellow Erlinda M. Medalla cited the need to “relax foreign equity restrictions” in various industries. “Imagine if you are a foreign investor and you invest in a country where you have no control of your investments, why would you do that?”

Mr. Llanto added that while the country’s incentives “generally compare well” with others, one problem with the Philippines is that it has seven incentive-giving bodies. “In other countries, investors talk to only one. There is a harmonized investment regime so the rules are very efficient,” he noted.

The report, which is the 25th in the series, noted that countries’ investment policy measures last year continued “to be geared predominantly towards investment liberalization, promotion and facilitation,” with more than 80% aimed at improving “entry conditions and reduce restrictions.”

“A number of countries introduced or amended their investment laws or guidelines to grant new investment incentives or to facilitate investment procedures,” it added. “Several countries relaxed restrictions on foreign ownership limitations or opened up new business activities to foreign investment.
PSEi slips below 7,600 on foreign selling

By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
THE LOCAL stock barometer slipped below 7,600 on Tuesday as foreign investors continued to pare down their position and dump large-cap stocks.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index lost 57.58 points or 0.76 percent to close at 7,551.56. Elsewhere in the region, stock markets were mostly higher on optimism that Greece will strike a deal with creditors to avoid a debt default.

At the local market, the decline was led by the industrial counter, which fell by 1.47 percent. This counter was weighed down by URC, which slid by 5 percent and was the most actively traded stock for the day.

The holding firms, services, mining/oil and property counters also ended lower while the financial sub-index was modestly down.

Some dealers said foreign investors were pocketing gains from local stocks in line with the rotation of funds to North Asia. There was P798 million in net foreign selling in the market for the day.

Value turnover amounted to P6 billion. There were 70 advancers which were edged out by 92 decliners while 50 stocks were unchanged.

Aside from URC, the PSEi was dragged down by selling on Bloomberry (-4.15 percent) and URC’s parent conglomerate JG Summit (-3.62 percent). AGI also faltered by 2.39 percent)

ALI, SMIC, EDC, BPI, SM Prime and Jollibee also slipped.

Outside of PSEi stocks, among the notable decliners were consumer stocks RRHI and Puregold which both slumped by over 2 percent.

Among those that bucked the downturn were utility Meralco and infrastructure    holding firm MPIC which both gained over 1 percent.

PLDT, Metrobank, BDO, GTCAP, AC and Megaworld also gained ground.
Philippines' biggest waste-to-fuel facility opens
Posted at 06/24/2015 5:16 PM

MANILA – The country's largest refuse derived fuel (RDF) facility dedicated to producing fuel from waste was launched Wednesday in Pasig City.

Private construction firm IPM Construction and Development Corp. led the launch together with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Pasig City government.

"We're excited to launch this project and officially start its operation as we celebrate World Environment Day and as the Philippines observes Environment Month this June," Pasig City Mayor Maribel Eusebio said.

The RDF facility, which aims to address concerns on increasing municipal solid waste and disposal, can process 600 tons of trash per day to produce alternative fuel for cement plants.

The co-processing of RDF from municipal solid wastes for cement plants is an environment-friendly technology used in other countries.

The facility is majority-owned by Basic Environmental Systems & Technologies, Inc. (BEST), a subsidiary of listed Minerales Industrias Corp. (MIC), and France-based Lafarge Industrial Ecology International.

IPM will operate and manage the facility. -- With a report from Doris Bigornia, ABS-CBN News
Isko asked to explain zoning policy that favored ‘Torre de Manila’

by Charissa Luci
June 25, 2015

Manila City Vice Mayor Isko Moreno (Franscisco Domagoso in real life) will have a lot of explaining to do in connection with the controversial 49-story Torre de Manila condominium project of the DMCI Holdings, Inc., former Manila City Mayor now Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said yesterday.

Aside from incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and former mayor Alfredo Lim, Atienza said the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, chaired by Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo should also invite Moreno to explain his alleged involvement in the supposed revision of the original zoning policy in the granting of building permit that prodded Estrada and Lim to approve the DMCI project.

“Dapat ang tanungin diyan si Vice Mayor Moreno kung bakit binago ng city council na pinamumunuan niya ang zoning policy sa pagbibigay ng building permit (Moreno should be asked why the city council headed by Moreno changed the zoning policy in granting a building permit),” Atienza said.

Atienza also questioned the implementation of new rules that require contractors and developers to secure clearance from the city council before proceeding with their projects.

“He (Moreno) should be made to answer why there is a need to require developers and construction companies to get clearance from the city council,” he said, noting that such policy is “subject of many complaints.”

“What is the legal basis for that (permit from city council)? There is too much red tape here,” he said.

The DMCI was granted a building permit for its Torre de Manila project after submitting all requirements,

including an approval from the city planning office in the form of a zoning permit and after being cleared of any violations under the national building code and other laws.

Last year, the Manila City Council decided to suspend the building permit of the DMCI for Torre de Manila after the developer supposedly violated local zoning rules and after concerned citizens and heritage conservationist opposed the project.

But, the Manila Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals (MBZAA) granted DMCI’s appeal for exemption from local zoning laws.

Lawmakers earlier pressed on the DMCI to voluntary remove the Torre de Manila that is ruining the Rizal monument. But DMCI still proceeded with construction even if the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) ordered the suspension of Torre de Manila construction since January 13, 2014 through a Cease and Desist Order (CDO).

Last week, the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the DMCI construction.
Ombudsman upholds IBC-13 property deal

Philippine Daily Inquirer
06:45 AM June 25th, 2015
The Office of the Ombudsman has upheld the joint venture agreement entered into by state-owned broadcast network IBC-13 with a property developer as it dismissed the graft case filed against those who signed the contract in 2010.

In a 29-page resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the JVA entered into by former officials of IBC-13 for the development of its idle property in Quezon City was advantageous since the payment to the government helped alleviate the financial condition of the corporation, especially all its employees.

“The JVA, far from being grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government, proved to be in fact advantageous with its intention of alleviating the financial distress of IBC-13 employees, both supervisory and rank and file, through the payment of their long delayed employment wages and benefits,” the resolution said.
The case stemmed from a graft case filed on March 24, 2010 against former IBC officials and Primestate Ventures Inc., the winning bidder.

The Ombudsman stated “thus for all intents and purposes, the transaction between IBC-13 and R-11 Builders Inc./Primestate Ventures Inc. is a valid and legal JVA”.

Upholding the deal, the Ombudsman dismissed the graft case filed against former IBC officials, Jose B. Javier, President and CEO; Joselito G. Yabut, Chairman of the Board; and Conrado A. Limcaoco, Supervising Secretary ; and property developer Nathaniel L. Romero, President and Managing Partner of RII Builders/Primestate Ventures Inc. for lack of evidence. It also ruled that the JVA they entered into for the development of the IBC compound in Capitol Hills, Quezon City was advantageous to the government.

The move was taken to address the decades-long labor problem of IBC-13 brought about by the failure of previous government administrations to pay the long overdue salaries and benefits to its employees due to its financial condition.

However, the Ombudsman said IBC-13 before entering into the JVA, had sought the legal opinion of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, which said the JVA was in furtherance of its primary purpose.

The OGCC stated in its opinion to IBC-13 that “entering into a JV agreement to develop its mostly idle property in order to secure its existence as a broadcasting corporation, support its operations, and continue to provide salaries to its workers, is thus in furtherance of IBC’s primary purpose. After all, if it does not devise creative ways, such as this proposed JV agreement, to raise funds in order to keep it alive, it will not be able to serve its primary purpose at all.”

The Ombudsman noted that even the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and Office of Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) also declared that there was no legal impediment that prevents the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) from giving its consent to the IBC-13 into entering into the JVA which is clearly beneficial to IBC-13.

The PCGG through a resolution interposed no objection in principle to the proposed JVA upon its signing on March 24, 2010.
Developers getting constructive in payment scheme offers

June 24, 2015

Property developers in the country are now offering flexible payment schemes at friendlier price points to push their developments.

Families and buyers are now given more flexible payment schemes that work within their budgets. One such example is Rockwell Primaries that is offering more families the opportunity to find the right home.

“Finding the perfect home for your family is a challenge nowadays, most especially when it comes to the terms of payment. This is why we at Rockwell Primaries are offering an easier way for our homeowners to gain access to the home that they deserve,” said Malou Pineda, senior vice president at Rockwell Primaries Development Corporation.

For its 53 Benitez development in Quezon City, a two-bedroom unit, which already includes a parking slot and a drying cage, is offered at roughly P6.8 million and given at a discounted rate of P6.5 million for cash transactions. Payment terms are made lighter with a minimal reservation fee and a 5-percent down payment on the first month and 15-percent spread out over the next 12 months.

For the 15-percent amortization, owners can opt to choose whether they would like to amortize the whole 15% across 12 months or divide it between a 7.5% amortization for 12 months, and the other 7.5% paid in lump sum on the third, sixth, ninth and 12th months. The balance is to be paid through cash or bank financing upon turnover of the units, which is set in July 2016.

Located within minutes of New Manila, 53 Benitez is very accessible via main roads and is in perfect proximity to the metro’s top schools, hospitals, and commercial and business districts.

Aside from the basic comforts of each unit, thoughtful inclusions such as a maid’s room, an extra bathroom, storage areas, drying cages, and balconies are also offered. The property’s floating corridors and private bridgeways also give homeowners a sense of space and privacy.
Please visit to learn about our company and how we can serve you.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on July 23, 2015, 09:03:37 AM
Good morning!
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Friday, June 19, 2015
Super Mega Manila and urban renewal
The emergence of Super Mega Manila, or GCR, requires inward-looking redevelopment, or urban renewal, programs to complement the outward migration of its people and development

Philip M. Lustre Jr.
Published 8:00 AM, Jun 18, 2015
Updated 8:00 AM, Jun 18, 2015
The concept of Greater Manila surfaced in the 1960s to refer to old Manila and the adjacent cities of Kalookan, Pasay and Quezon. By a mere stroke of the pen, dictator Ferdinand Marcos expanded it to become Metro Manila in 1975 and include Greater Manila and 12 other cities and a town.

The same 17 political constituencies composed the modern-day Metro Manila. In 1989, Congress enacted the law creating the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) as an administrative superbody to provide them with basic services traffic management, garbage collection, and urban planning, among others.

In late 1990s, the Mega Manila concept had emerged to refer to expanded Metro Manila. It was largely used by corporate planners as a conceptual guide to cover areas within the 50-kilometer radius with old Manila as center. In broadcast industry, Mega Manila became a selling point as it referred to areas, which radio signals could reach.

The Mega Manila concept did not take off as a political concept but policymakers, urban visionaries, and corporate planners had nevertheless used it in their works to refer to expanded Metro Manila.

In the late 2000s, the concept of Super Mega Manila emerged to refer to an expanded Mega Manila, which referred to areas that go beyond the 50-kilometer radius.

Since rapid urbanization continues its frenetic pace outside Mega Manila, the Super Mega Manila concept has been lately refined and redefined to become the Greater Capital Region (GCR). It covers areas in the 100-kilometer radius with old Manila as center.

Lately, the creation of the GCR Special Administrative Region (GCR-SAR) by 2030 has been proposed to become a special political body to provide the region with full autonomy.

Even the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the coordinating agency of Japan’s official development assistance to developing countries, has used this concept as reference in its planning works.

As conceived in the 1990s, the Mega Manila concept originally included parts of Pampanga and Bulacan in Central Luzon, and Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and Batangas in Southern Tagalog.

Mega Manila extended to Tagaytay City in the south, Malolos City in the north and the towns of Tanay in Rizal and Angat, and Norzagaray in Bulacan in the east.

The Super Mega Manila concept, or the refined Greater Capital Region, seeks to include Mega Manila and the areas extending to entire Pampanga and Bulacan, parts of Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, and Bataan in Central Luzon, and entire Cavite and Rizal, and parts of Batangas, Quezon, and Aurora in the Southern Tagalog region.
Coherent whole

Studies of urban planners, including JICA, said the GCR concept and the 2030 creation of the GCR-SAR address the rapid urbanization of Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

Its development into a coherent geographical whole is being sought to improve the delivery of the following services: garbage disposal, waste and sanitation, traffic management, flood control, urban renewal and environmental planning, and disaster management.

The proposed GCR-SAR creation has become necessary as development projects keep on sprouting in every nook and cranny of the GCR area.

Several housing projects have mushroomed to shelter the growing population. Industrial enclaves and factories have been relocating there, too.

Also, the government has been building several big-ticket infrastructure projects there.

In fact, development centers have come out in the north, south and east of Mega Manila, or outside of the 50-kilometer radius.

Every development center has specific characteristics to make it distinct and unique.
Super metropolis

The imperative is to connect these development centers into a single, integrated, cohesive, and functional whole to maximize economic growth and development.

Hence, Super Mega Manila, or GCR, is an emerging super metropolis.

It is the perceived result of the integration of at least three development centers outside Mega Manila: the Olongapo-Angeles corridor, the Lipa-Batangas City corridor and the Calabarzon integrated industrial center, which is spread in San Pedro, Canlubang, Cabuyao, Biñan, Sta. Rosa City and Calamba City in Laguna, and Gen. Mariano Alvarez, Rosario, Dasmariñas City, and Silang in Cavite.

The JICA concept paper on GCR-SAR justified its creation because Regions 3 and 4 have to mitigate the increasing growth pressures on Metro Manila.

It has identified interventions on key areas: integrated transport for urban and rural mobility; disaster preparedness and resilience; environment and high quality public space; affordable housing and delivery; and land use management and development control.

The JICA concept paper spoke of a plan to build urban roads and expressways, and urban railways for integration into a coherent public transport system, pursue housing programs to include informal settlers and construct gateway ports and airports, and install traffic management systems.

The overall investment cost could reach P3 trillion, or $58 billion, until 2030.

These are not all. Urban planners have failed to consider that as outward urbanization continues, inward redevelopment emerges as an issue too.
Stop Manila's decay

Hence, the outward trend would have to be complemented by an inward move to stop decay at the aging cities, particularly the very center of growth – old Manila.

Urban planners have to pursue with vigor and dynamism the redevelopment of old Manila to bring back its old glory and stop its decay at its core.

The nation needs symbols. Manila, with all its splendor and glory reminiscent of its past, has to continue to embody its gentle soul and tranquil nature that goes back to the old colonial and postcolonial days.

While growth and development are unstoppable, urban planners have to look at maintaining and strengthening the old symbols of nationhood. Their destruction is criminal.

But the redevelopment of old Manila should not be limited to Manila alone. It has to include Quezon City, the country’s largest city in population.

While the move to make it the nation’s information and communications center is laudable, its planners have to move to make it a showcase of urban redevelopment, primarily to improve the quality of life of its almost two million inhabitants.

In short, the emergence of Super Mega Manila, or GCR, requires inward-looking redevelopment, or urban renewal, programs to complement outward migration of its people and development.

Urban decay has to be stopped too. Hence, redevelopment is a must. –
Construction materials prices slightly higher in May in Metro Manila

June 19, 2015 12:21am
Construction materials were sold at higher prices in the National Capital Region last month, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority on Wednesday show.
The construction materials retail price index rose to 179.6 points in May from over 179.4 points in April, mainly driven by the slight increase in the prices of electrical and painting materials.
Prices of electrical materials, including wires and some wiring devices, generally increased 0.6 percent while painting materials and related products were priced 0.5 percent higher. The price index for masonry materials also increased 0.1 percent in May.
Plumbing and tinsmithry materials, meanwhile, were 0.1 percent and 1.2 percent more costly while prices for carpentry materials and miscellaneous construction materials remained the same.
Construction materials, however, were priced higher in the region during the same month in 2014. The latest index was 0.2 percent lower, on the back of a 2.3 percent and 5.9 percent decline in prices of electrical and miscellaneous construction materials.
The index for plumbing and tinsmithry materials were also slightly lower by 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. The price increase in carpentry materials slowed down to 2.3 percent.
Painting materials and related compounds were 2.5 percent more expensive while prices for masonry materials were 1.6 percent higher in May 2014.  — Keith Richard D. Mariano/ELR, GMA News
New P3-B port rising in Bataan

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star
Posted at 06/18/2015 7:21 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The tandem of Filipino-owned Seasia Logistic Philippines Inc. and London-based Nectar Group Ltd. expects to complete the first phase of a P3-billion development port project in Bataan.

Seasia president Rafael Cosme said in an interview with The STAR that phase 1 of the port development project of Seasia Nectar Port Services Inc. (SNPSI) worth P1.2 billion, covering 5.9 hectares would be completed within the year.

Cosme said the port facility could accommodate two supramax vessels about 120 meters long and would be equipped with a 247-meter quay that could handle a capacity of at least three million tons per year.

Phase 1 would have an operational area of 3.2 hectares as well as truck holding area of 2.7 hectares.

SNPSI is 60 percent owned by Seasia Logistics and 40 percent by the Nectar Group.

The planned dry bulk terminal is designed to handle shipment of coal, clinker, silica sand and other cement raw materials, steel, fertilizer and other dry bulk cargo.

Cosme said SNPSI would be pouring another P600 million for phase 2 that would cover another 1.1 hectares and extending the berth by another 100-meter quay, allowing the facility to handle one supramax or panamax vessels.

Cosme also said that phase 3 is expected to cost around P1.2 billion, covering 4.4 hectares and another 200 meters of quay.

“It will be market driven,” Cosme said referring to the start of the construction of phases 2 and 3.

With the completion of phase 1, he said the company would start handling the clinker as well as coal shipments of Holcim Philippines.

“Right now they are using a handymax vessels carrying between 30,000 and 40,000 metric tons per shipment. We will also handle their coal shipments which comes in by barges,” he said.

For the second phase, Cosme said SNPSI would be looking at steel shipments and even containerized shipments of locators inside the freeport area of Bataan.

Services to be offered by SNPSI include berth management, guaranteed discharge rate as per agreement, proper storage and loading of cargo onto trucks, efficient system of discharging and stacking, truck tires and chassis washing, weighing in and out of trucks, among others.

SNPSI chairman Ramon Atayde said the dry bulk terminal in Mariveles, Bataan would help resolve congestion at the ports of Manila.

Atayde said ports operating in Manila include the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), the South Harbor of Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI), the North Harbor of Manila North Harbour Port Inc., and a private-owned Harbour Center.

He pointed out that Bataan is nearer by sea to Manila compared to the Subic Bay Freeport economic zone.

Deogracias Custodio, chairman of the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), said the proposed facility would allow the zone to attract new locators.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on July 23, 2015, 09:04:38 AM
Aboitiz gets OK to start development of Benguet pla
Posted at 06/18/2015 2:29 PM
MANILA – Aboitiz Power Corp. has received a certificate of registration from the Department of Energy (DOE) as a renewable energy developer.

The permit allows AboitizPower to develop the 45-megawatt Nalatang B hydroelectric power plant project in Kabayan, Benguet.

“With the issuance of the certificate of registration, AboitizPower or its assignee can now start on the pre-development stage of the Nalatang Project, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019,” the company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange on Thursday.

DOE awarded the certificate of registration to AboitizPower following the approval of the assignment of the hydropower service contract of the Nalatang Project from PNOC Renewables Corp., which is the original renewable energy developer.

AboitizPower ended the first quarter with a net income of P3.3 billion, up 4 percent from the P3.2 billion posted in the same period last year.

AboitizPower is the power unit of Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV), accounting for 79 percent of total earnings contribution to AEV.
Largest resort in Panglao opens

By MST Entertainment | Jun. 18, 2015 at 05:20pm
The Henann Group of Resorts breaks another record in the hotel and tourism industry with the opening of Henann Resort Alona Beach, the largest resort in Panglao Island, Bohol.

“We consider Henann Resort Alona Beach a milestone in our company’s 17-year history as this is our first property outside Boracay. It has always been my personal goal to expand nationwide and bring the Henann brand of service to the four corners of the Philippines,” said Dr. Henry O. Chusuey, chairman of the Henann Group of Resorts.

Henann Resort Alona Beach is also set to formally unveil this month a three-storey, 2,160 square-meter convention center that can house up to 1,000 guests.

Henann Resort Alona Beach boasts the longest and widest beachfront along Alona Beach, a one and a half kilometre tropical paradise famous for its pristine, white sand and overlooking, rocky cliffs. The 6.5 hectare property will initially operate 100 rooms. Once completed, an additional 300 rooms will be available. It has room types ranging from deluxe, premier and suites to family, premier with pool access, Presidential and beachfront villas.

The rooms feature coastal-inspired modern interiors. Each has a private terrace, wireless internet access, bath tub with separate shower area (for Premier Room only), individually-controlled air conditioning, cable television, direct dial phone, in-room safe, coffee and tea-making facilities and personal refrigerator.

 “We build resorts with our clients first in our minds. We make it worth their stay whether they are with us for short or long-term. We always give our guests the best possible service as the goal is to make them happy from the moment they check in until they leave,” said Chusuey.

 Henann Resort Alona Beach has three massive pools with sunken bar in each. Other amenities include an open air venue for weddings, VIP lounge, fitness and business centers, and a mini shop. Famous Henann brands that will be operational by second quarter of the year are Kai Spa, Sea Breeze Cafe (an all-day buffet restaurant), and Christina’s (Western fine dining).

Bohol is centrally located in the Visayas region and is only an hour away by plane from Manila. Land transfer from provincial capital Tagbilaran City to Henann Resort Alona Beach takes about 30 minutes.

 To attract more travelers both here and abroad, the Bohol Tourism Board launched “Visit Bohol 2015” where they highlight the province’s heritage and culture and eco-adventure activities.

 Apart from the Chocolate Hills and the Philippine Tarsier, Bohol is also famous for landmarks and attractions such as the Dauis Church, Baclayon Church, Blood Compact Shrine, and Loboc River. Popular tourist activities include bird spotting in Rajah Sikatuna National Park, diving in Panglao Island and whale and dolphin watching in Bohol Sea.

The Henann Group of Resorts manages Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Spa (which will be renamed Henann Regency Beach Resort and Spa), Henann Garden Resort, Henann Lagoon Resort and four more newly acquired properties in Station 1 in Boracay. The company will be operating a total of 1,400 rooms in Boracay alone by 2016 and 2017.

 Henann Resort Alona Beach extends its soft opening promo of 40 percent cash discount on room rates until June 30. Travel period is until October. Enjoy first-rate accommodation in the following room types: superior, deluxe, premier, premier with direct pool access, and family room. Bookings are good for four persons for the family room and two persons for other room types. The promo is inclusive of daily buffet breakfast.

 For reservations and inquiries, please call Henann Resort Alona Beach, Bohol at (632) 2303000 to 02, email, or visit
Resorts World operator eyes more hotels, mall with P8-B spending
Posted at 06/18/2015 3:41 PM | Updated as of 06/18/2015 8:00 PM
MANILA (UPDATE) – Travellers International Hotel Group Inc., the owner and operator of Resorts World Manila, has said it is spending P8 billion in capital expenditures this year.

This year’s budget is higher than the P5.9 billion spent by the firm in 2014.

Travellers President and Chief Executive Officer Kingson Sian said the company is still completing the final phase of Resorts World Manila.

The fourth and final phase of the project, which involves the construction of a four-star hotel on top of a shopping mall, is expected to be completed between 2019 and 2020.

Travellers also has ongoing constructions for its new hotels, namely Hilton Manila Hotel, Sheraton Hotel Manila, and Belmont Hotel as it eyes to quadruple its hotel capacity in the next four years.

"In anticipation of more visitors and as part of its long term plan, Travellers will increase its hotel capacity to approximately 4,200 rooms in the next four years from the existing 1,226 rooms," the company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange on Thursday.

The firm is also pursuing the ongoing construction of extensions to the Marriott and Maxims Hotels in Resorts World Manila.

Construction work on Phase 1 of Bayshore City Resorts World at the Entertainment City in Paranaque City is also ongoing.

"Our ongoing improvements and expansion continue, and much remains to be done...we made significant progress and built momentum last year which has put the company in a good position in 2015 and beyond," Travellers president and chief executive Kingson Sian said.

Bayshore City Resorts World is expected to open by 2019.

Sian said the firm's ongoing expansion also complements the growth of Philippine tourism which remains bullish, with around 1.4 million international visitor arrivals for the first quarter of 2015.

Government has set a target of 5.5 million foreign arrivals for the year.

In the first quarter of 2015, Travellers posted profits of P1.7 billion, driven by revenues from the operation of Resort World Manila.

Travellers is a joint venture between Andrew Tan's Alliance Global Group Inc. and Genting Hong Kong.
Amaia launches third project in Batangas

(The Philippine Star) | Updated June 19, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - After a couple of projects launched last year, Ayala Land’s economic housing arm, Amaia Land Corp., is launching another   community in Lipa City, Batangas as part of its mission to give every Filipino the opportunity to have better homes.

Its newest development, Amaia Scapes Batangas, is the third horizontal development of Amaia in the province.

With the identification of Lipa City as an industrial growth center in the Calabarzon region resulted in the increasing number of business establishments in the city’s central business district as well as numerous industries operating at the province’s industrial parks.

With these facts to consider, it is very ideal to purchase an Amaia Scapes Batangas property since it offers not only a safe and secure community but also a location that will open doors of opportunity for you and your family.

This new Amaia development is very beneficial to its future residents because of its strategic location. It is home to some of major commercial establishments which are essential to day-to-day living. Other establishments such as government offices, hospitals, and restaurants are also near Amaia.

Aside from the good location, Amaia Scapes takes pride of its unique community concepts, innovative house designs, and spacious area.   Each Amaia community is designed with guarded entrance and exits, a perimeter fence, and tree-lined spine road for ensuring the safety of its residents.

Continuing its promise of combining affordability and quality, the project occupies approximately 10 hectares of land with 630 residential units. Buying an Amaia home is made easy with various payment schemes such as cash payment, deferred, Pag-IBIG, bank and in-house financing.

Amaia Scapes Batangas is of top quality since it is backed by Makati Development Corporation BuildPlus and by Ayala Property Management Corp., both trusted for securing a livable community.

For inquiries, visit or like www.facebook/AmaiaLand.
The Beaufort raises the bar in ultra high-end living

(The Philippine Star) | Updated June 19, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Nowhere near the size of the mid-income residential condominium segment, the high-rise luxury market is thriving with monthly rentals for a three-bedroom unit, some with full views of the golf course at The Beaufort in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) going for as high as P180,000 per month.

Expatriates, returning residents who have lived abroad and high-income households continue to drive this rental market concentrated in BGC and in Makati, according to Maita Herce Siquijor, a licensed realtor who recently sold units at the project carrying the Filinvest Premier brand. She has a wide client base of multinational firms.

With units ranging from P8 million for a one-bedroom up to P30 million for a three-bedroom at the East Tower, The Beaufort’s units and others in this segment account for an estimated 7,000 units only in Metro Manila. The supply of luxury condominiums is limited for now and new projects that have been completed and ready for occupancy capture greater interest from both lessors and investors compared to other ultra high-end developments still in the pre-selling stage.

Siquijor explains that tenants of luxury units actively seek innovations in residential projects that mean more comfort and conveniences for them. For tenants with housing allowances between P100,000 to P200,000, changing residences is worth the effort of moving if it means they will enjoy benefits like having only three neighbors on a floor, amenities like a mini theatre for private screenings  or plush seating areas at the lobby that have the feel of a hotel. These features offered by the 43-story The Beaufort are departures from the usual offerings of ultra-high end condos.

Compared to other listed developers, Filinvest is relatively new to the luxury segment, says Siquijor, and investors are noticing that its units offer them more value which they in turn can use to attract lessors.  Completed in 2013, units at The Beaufort have already appreciated in the secondary market perhaps because of this perception.

For lessors closely affiliated with the diplomatic corps, who also seek out high-end units to rent,  security is a primary concern. The Filinvest Group addressed this at The Beaufort with a sophisticated building management system that provides real-time monitoring, command and control, automation and report management – all from one platform. Each resident is issued a pre-programmed card that gives him elevator access only from his parking floor to his residential floor, and from the ground floor lobby to the seventh floor where amenities are located.
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Govt set to finalize MRT 3 acquisition next week — Abaya

By Darwin G. Amojelar | Jul. 22, 2015 at 11:45pm

The Transportation and Finance Departments are set to meet next week to finalize the plan to buy out the private sector’s interest in Metro Rail Transit Line 3.

“The meeting is about the apprehension of the DBP  [Development Bank of the Philippines] and LBP [Land Bank of the Philippines] because they might take a hit. They might take a loss in the execution of the buyout,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told reporters Wednesday.

“We have to address their concerns,” he said.

State-run LBP and DBP hold a combined 80-percent economic interest in MRT 3, while the remaining stake is held by creditors of MRTC.

President Aquino issued Executive Order No. 126 in 2013, directing the Transportation and Finance Departments to buy Metro Rail Transit Corp. out of MRT 3, pursuant to the build-lease-transfer agreement.

Abaya said the government was still pursuing the MRT 3 buyout, even after Congress did not approve the P53.9-billion allocation in the 2015 budget for the government’s takeover of MRT.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. earlier proposed a $524-million expansion of MRT 3, which was lower than the government’s $1.13-billion buyout plan. MPIC’s proposal is still pending before the Transportation Department.

Metro Pacific signed a cooperation agreement in 2011 with various groups holding rights and interests in MRT 3, including MRTC, Metro Rail Transit Holdings Inc., Metro Rail Transit 2 Inc. and Monumento Rail Transit Corp., giving the Pangilinan-led company an option to acquire 48 percent.

Metro Pacific has yet to exercise the option.

MRT 3, which runs along Edsa from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, serves 500,000 passengers a day, beyond its rated capacity of 350,000 passengers.

The line has a fleet of 73 Czech-made air-conditioned rail cars.
State Dept: US not neutral in dispute

By Sandy Araneta | Jul. 23, 2015 at 12:01am

THE United States warned  Tuesday  that it will come down forcefully against any country that violates international laws, particularly in the South China Sea.

US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel also said the US would ensure that all parties adhere to the rules.

“We are not neutral when it comes to adhering to international law. We will come down forcefully when it comes to following the rules,” Russel said during a keynote speech delivered at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Washington’s top diplomat for East Asia said the United States has repeatedly stated that while it takes no position on competing sovereignty claims over disputed areas in the South China Sea, it does want these maritime claims to be advanced in accordance with international law and without the use of coercion.

Russel also reiterated the US position that the South China Sea disputes wasn’t over rocks but about rules for the Asia-Pacific region.

“It’s about the kind of neighborhood we all want to live in,” he added.

In response to a question by a Chinese participant, Russel said the US was neutral only to the extent of competing claims, not the way these disputes were resolved.

He said the US was encouraging the parties involved to creae an atmosphere and conditions needed to manage the disputes peacefully, diplomatically and lawfully, despite the escalating tensions partly caused by China’s reclamation of disputed areas in the South China Sea.

“We’re pushing the parties to revive the spirit of cooperation,” Russel said.

Russel also encouraged all participants, not just China, to cease actions that run contrary to this spirit, including reclaiming land, building facilities and militarizing features.

Russel said that US Secretary of State John Kerry would push for progress on this front at the upcoming ASEAN Regional Forum, which will be held next month in Malaysia, this year’s chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

On the first peaceful path to resolving disputes, which is bilateral negotiations, Russel acknowledged it was challenging to pursue this course under the current atmosphere.

While not directly mentioning China by name, he noted that “absolutist” statements by certain countries that their claims were “indisputable” made going down this path even more challenging.

H also said there were several cases in the region where this had worked, including disputes between Indonesia and the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, and Bangladesh and Myanmar.

On the second path, which is arbitration, Russel specifically referred to the Philippines’ ongoing case against China at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, Netherlands.

Russel saidthat regardless of the outcome, both Beijing and Manila had to abide by the court’s legally binding decision as they were both signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Meanwhile, Russel said that the United States would safeguard its own interests in various ways, including honoring its alliances and security commitments and aiding the development of effective regional organizations.

This included investing in maritime domain awareness for coastal states and carrying out freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.
Semirara stops coal exports

By Alena Mae S. Flores | Jul. 22, 2015 at 11:35pm

Semirara Mining Corp. said Wednesday it suspended coal exports to prioritize local consumers following the suspension of its mining operations in Caluya, Antique.

“Effective today [Wednesday], we are suspending our coal export shipments in response to the directive of the Department of Energy to prioritize the requirements of domestic coal consumers, pending the investigation of the cause of the landslide at North Panian last July 17, 2015,” the company said.

The Energy Department said it welcomed the decision of Semirara Mining to prioritize domestic coal consumption. It said given the potential impact on the power sector of any coal supply disruption, the agency was inclined to issue a directive for SMPC to limit for domestic use its current coal stock to service local power plants.

“We are coordinating with power plants to determine the inventory of existing power plants and cement plants serviced by COC [coal operating conctract] No. 5. data indicates that COC No. 5 supplies 1,593 MW of grid connected power [Luzon and Visayas]” said acting Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada.

Semirara said it had notified foreign customers that it could not schedule further shipments until the department reached a decision on the suspension of its mining operations.

“The concerned government authorities have our full cooperation, and we will do everything we can to manage our limited coal inventory to avert possible supply disruptions to our local power plant and cement customers,” Semirara said.

So far, eight of the  nine fatalities have been recovered from the North Panian mine.

“Search and retrieval operations at the site have continued 24/7,” it said.

The Energy Department earlier ordered the immediate suspension of the operations of Semirara’s coal operating contract no. 5 due  to the incident.

The department also ordered the formation of an investigation committee to look into the matter.

Monsada, who led an investigation committee that inspected the site of the July 17 incident, said a preliminary report showed the incident was due to a slope failure characterized by the slumping of back fill materials with a height of 61 meters.

The continuous rainfall of two weeks prior may have also played a factor, the committee said.

Semirara received on Wednesday a copy of the Department of Environment and Natural Resource’s cease and desist order dated July 21, 2015 directing the company from undertaking any activity in the Panian mine except for search and rescue and rehabilitation in the area until the company had implemented the approved mitigation measures to prevent future incidents.

“The company shall abide with said order and fully cooperate with the DENR in this regard,” it said.

Semirara earlier said the needs of the families of the victims remained its priority.

“We have sought the assistance of religious nuns and professional counsellors to help the bereaved cope with their loss,” Semirara said.

“We are facilitating the life and accident insurance claims of the victims. On top of the immediate release of additional funds to cover their transportation costs and other incidental expenses, we are providing P1 million to each of the nine grieving families,” it said.

The company also assured it would shoulder all the education expenses all the way to college of the children of the victims.

“If they are already of employment age, we are prepared to provide them with jobs,” Semirara said.
SMC bares Liberty tender offer

By Darwin G. Amojelar | Jul. 22, 2015 at 11:30pm

The telecommunications unit of San Miguel Corp. is making a bid to purchase all the publicly-held stake of Liberty Telecom Holdings Inc. at a price below the market.

San Miguel said in a report to regulators it was earmarking P491 million to purchase 223.15 million, or about 17.25 percent, of the issued and outstanding common stock held by the public.

The purchase price was P2.20 per share, lower than the market price of P2.80 apiece.

The tender offer will begin on July 23 and end at the closing of business hours of August 20.

San Miguel is making the offer in connection with Vega Telecom’s acquisition of 51.01 percent of the total outstanding common and preferred shares in Liberty Telecom from Qtel West Bay Holdings S.P.C., White Dawn Solution Holdings Inc. and wi-tribe Asia Limited.

Qtel West Bay as of end-March owned 29.89 percent of Liberty, while White Dawn Solution and wi-tribe held 18.44 percent and 2.68 percent, respectively.

The shares were valued at an estimated P3.75 billion based on Vega’s tender offer price.

Vega Telecom held a 35.73-percent stake in Liberty Telecom.

Liberty Telecoms expects to break even after exiting corporate rehabilitation a year ahead of schedule.

“The management really wants to have a break even as soon as possible,”  said Liberty Telecoms president and chief executive Bienvenido Bañas said.

The company, a joint venture of San Miguel and Qatar Telecom, reported a total comprehensive loss of P210.16 million in the first quarter of 2015, down 32 percent from a P307.59-million net loss recorded a year ago.

Revenues declined to P42.17 million in the January-to-March period from P78.38 million year-on-year.

Liberty Telecoms also aims to launch mobile phone services as early as January  next year.

San Miguel earlier announced Vega Telecoms bought Express Telecommunications Inc. and Vega’s investment in High Frequency Telecommunications Inc.

Extelcom, owned by the Ongpin Group and UK-based Ashmore Investment Management Ltd., is the country’s first mobile telephone operator

San Miguel will now have four telecommunications companies under its portfolio, namely Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc., Bell Telecommunications Philippines Inc. and Liberty Telecoms Holdings Inc.
PH secures 142,160 tons of sugar quota

By Anna Leah E. Gonzales | Jul. 22, 2015 at 11:20pm

The Philippines has secured a deal to export 142,160 metric tons of raw sugar to the United States at a low tariff rate in fiscal year 2016, the US Trade Representative said Wednesday.

The USTR said the sugar quota allocation for the Philippines in fiscal year 2016 was the same as last year’s. The volume translates into more than 136,000 metric tons in commercial weight.

Tariff-rate quotas allow countries to export specified quantities of a product to the United States at a relatively low tariff, but subject all imports of the product above a pre-determined threshold to a higher tariff.

The in-quota quantity for the TRQ on raw cane sugar for the said fiscal year is 1.117 million metric tons raw value, representing the minimum amount the United States committed under the World Trade Organization agreement.

Based on the list, the Dominican Republic got the highest allocation of 185,335 MTRV while Brazil was given an MTRV of 152,691. The Philippines got the third biggest allocation for the fiscal year.

USTR said other countries which received quota allocation were Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’lvoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Gabon, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Madagascar and Malawi.

Other countries with allocations are Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique,Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, St. Kitts & Nevis, Swaziland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

USTR said the allocations were based on each country’s historical shipments to the United States.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration removed last month the allocation for the US sugar quota and further increased the supply in the domestic market for sugar crop year 2014 to 2015.

The directive will cover production in the week ending May 31, 2015 and crop year 2014 to 2015.

The sugar crop year begins in September and ends in August of the following year.

SRA administrator Regina Martin said in a directive the agency slashed the US sugar quota to zero from 5 percent, and raised the domestic allocation to 100 percent from the previous 95 percent.

“The domestic sugar market remains as the priority for the locally produced sugar, and it is to the national interest that a comfortable buffer or carry over volume of domestic sugar during the end of season and for the start of the next crop year for stable supply and prices,” Martin said.

She said the adjustment in sugar allocation was due to the expected drop in production caused by the intense heat that had affected most of the sugar-producing provinces.

“Expected sugar production for the current crop year will be 2.31 million metric tons from the original target of 2.5 million metric tons at the start of the crop year. We have to make sure that we have enough buffer stock for the domestic market which will be good for two months of consumption,” Martin said.
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MetroPac’s gamble and MWSS anomaly

By Ray S. Eñano | Jul. 22, 2015 at 11:25pm

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the infrastructure arm of the Hong Kong-based First Pacific Group, has expected itself to crunch numbers given the huge cost of constructing the 45.5-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway project, or Calax.

But one obvious factor made it easy for Metro Pacific to bid higher on the biggest Public-Private Partnership project of the government to date. Cavite and Laguna have a big growing population that will support the traffic volume of the new expressway

MPIC president Jose Maria Lim told the media earlier the conglomerate decided to offer a much higher premium after carefully studying several factors, including the volume of traffic and higher population growth of Cavite and Laguna, which have 3 million and 2 million people, respectively.

“So we did expect that because of the delay, the traffic would probably start off at a higher level because of the population growth,” Lim says. “There have also been commercial establishments and developments that helped traffic start off at a higher rate.”

Lower oil and steel prices have also favored the construction of the infrastructure project and prompted Metro Pacific’s unit, MPCALA Holdings Inc., to submit an aggressive offer of P27.3 billion against San Miguel Corp.’s bid of P22.2 billion

Metro Pacific chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said his company would spend no less than P50 billion to build the tollway from Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway, or Cavitex, to Laguna.

“This will spur growth in NCR [Metro Manila] and Calabarzon [Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon corridor], and create jobs,” said MVP. “It will improve traffic, and property values. Tourism will rise in the area. Overall, we become a better nation.”

Calax, meanwhile, is a logical project for Metro Pacific because of its interests in other toll roads. Metro Pacific through its subsidiaries is operating the North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and Cavitex.

It has proposed the construction of a connector road linking NLEx to the South Luzon Expressway and is aiming to bid for other PPP road projects on the auction block, like the Central Luzon Link Expressway that will extend SCTEx eastward to Nueva Ecija province.

MPIC’s Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. is embarking on simultaneous ventures to expand NLEx from Bulacan to Caloocan and Manila’s port area through several Harbor Link sub-projects; a separate one extending NLEx to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City; and another project integrating NLEx and SCTEx with the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway of San Miguel in the north.

“Once completed, CALAx will integrate with Cavitex and will feature the same modern facilities of MPTC’s existing toll roads,” said MPTC president Ramoncito Fernandez. “This is in line with our vision of eventually linking all our expressways—including the soon to be integrated NLEx-SCTEx, Harbor Link—providing seamless travel experience to motorists.”

“The project [Calax)] is expected to directly generate more than 3,000 new jobs during the construction,” said Fernandez. “This does not include the thousands of new jobs from the expected new investments along the Cavite-Laguna corridor from the improved infrastructure.”

MPCALA Holdings on July 10 handed over to the Public Works P5.46 billion representing the 20 percent upfront payment of the premium offer of P27.3 billion. The balance of the concession fee is payable over nine years from the contract signing, or until July 2024.

Metro Pacific is set to spend a total of P62.7 billion on the project connecting Cavitex to SLEx, which is operated by the consortium of San Miguel with Citra Metro Manila Tollway Corp.
Water mess

In contrast with Calax, the water sector is a case of privatization going awry.

Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc. are grappling with what appears to be a convoluted policy from the  Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Authority.

An arbitration panel upheld Maynilad’s position that it would remain a contractor and agent of MWSS be allowed to recover its corporate income taxes.

Manila Water, meanwhile, was classified a public utility, like Manila Electric Co., and barred from including corporate income taxes in the computation of its tariff.

The ruling on Manila Water marked a big change in the rules and regulations in the concession agreement, which both parties agreed upon prior to the bidding in 1997.

“By the very nature of their partnership with the MWSS, both companies were true to their promise—Manila Water and Maynilad have assumed their positions as contractors and agents for the operation and maintenance of water within their respective service areas with MWSS remaining as the public utility,” a lawyer said.

“Such situation not only questions Manila Water’s new accountabilities and obligations, but now questions the new mandate of MWSS as the government agency in charge of the regulation and water source development,” he added.

Maynilad also cannot implement its new tariff because MWSS must exercise regulatory equality between its two providers.

The sudden change of rules in the midst of the concessionaires’ progressive state challenges the credibility of the government’s PPP program and the sanctity of its contracts.
Banana farmers told to use drones for spraying

By Anna Leah E. Gonzales | Jul. 22, 2015 at 11:10pm

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Wednesday advised banana growers to use unmanned aerial technology or drones in their banana plantations.

“I will meet with the members of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association to discuss the possible use of drones in their aerial spraying,” Alcala said.

“Even if they say that they are using organic ingredients, the main concern of the lawmakers is the ‘excessive’ amount of chemicals being dumped during overhead spraying, which may allegedly cause respiratory illnesses,” Alcala said.

Alcala said aerial drones could hover as close as two meters from the ground which would lessen the amount of chemicals being dumped.

“Some congressmen expressed their concern because the distance of aerial spraying from the plant to the height of the plane is 10 to 15 meters. The drone technology is readily available and is cheaper. It is just a matter of adopting what is better for our industry,” he said.

Several civil society groups earlier urged Congress to immediately pass a bill which aims to ban the use of aerial spraying.

Under consideration by the House committee on ecology chaired by Rep. Amado Bagatsing is House Bill 3857, entitled ‘An Act prohibiting aerial spraying as a method of applying chemicals and similar substances on agricultural crops.’

The bill is authored by Gabriela Women’s Partylist Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus; Bayan Muna Reps. Neli Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate; ACT Teachers’ Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio; Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap; and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon.

PBGEA, however, said aerial spraying was a generally accepted agricultural practice by the World Trade Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations under certain limitations which the banana industry was strictly adopting, otherwise importers might stop buying from them.

PBGEA said a multi-sectoral monitoring team that focused on banana plantations was overseeing the compliance of these regulations.

The Philippines is the world’s second largest exporter of fresh bananas.

The top major export destinations for fresh Cavendish bananas are Japan, China, Korea, the Middle East and New Zealand with stringent policies on food product.
SMC to build 500-MW dam

By Alena Mae S. Flores | Jul. 22, 2015 at 11:40pm

Strategic Power Development Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of San Miguel Corp., will pursue the construction of a 500-megawatt pumped storage hydro power plant in Aurora province.

Strategic Power sought the approval of the Energy Department for the 500-MW Dingalan pumped storage hydro plant in Dingalan, Aurora.

The project is a part of the company’s plan to develop up to 3,000 MW of hydro power projects in the country, a source said.

The Energy Department approved last year the application of Strategic Power  for a 200-MW pumped storage hydro project in Aklan.

The hydro service contract was signed on Jan. 30, 2014.

“It’s now in pre-development stage of the hydro service contract,” the source said earlier.

Strategic Power currently trades the capacity of the  345-MW San Roque multi-purpose hydroelectric power plant in Batangas province.

Strategic Power won the bidding as the independent power producer administrator of San Roque in 2009 with its offer of $450 million.

Meanwhile, San Miguel’s subsidiary SMC Global Power Corp. is eyeing the construction of a total of 2,100 megawatts of coal-fired capacity in Limay, Bataan and Malita, Davao from 2016 to 2020.

San Miguel also plans to put up coal plants in Cebu, Batangas City and Mariveles, Bataan.

The company presently trades the capacities of the Sual coal plant in Pangasinan and the Ilijan natural gas power facility in Batangas.

San Miguel has become one of the largest independent power generation companies in the country.

It also forayed into power distribution by taking over Albay Electric Cooperative.
Rail ticket firm sells 6,000 beep cards

By Darwin G. Amojelar | Jul. 22, 2015 at 11:05pm

AF Payments Inc., the winning bidder for the new fare collection system in Metro Manila’s three overhead rail lines, said it sold more than 6,000 beep cards, indicating a high takeup for the modern ticketing system.

“We sold between Monday and Tuesday over 6,000 beep cards, a very high rate of takeup of stored value cards.  More than 80 percent of tickets sold were beep cards. That’s a very high percentage,” AF Payments chief executive Peter Maher told reporters Wednesday.

The trial of the contactless beep card and the new single journey tickets piloted at the Legarda Station of the LRT Line 2 early this week.

“We’re very pleased that the public has confidence and were willing to purchase the card and use it immediately,” Maher said.

AF Payments said of the 2,586 beep SVCs sold, 1,521 cards or roughly 59 percent were purchased via the new ticket vending machines.

The company said of the 486  SJT  sold, 103 cards or 21 percent were bought from the vending machine. The average load for the stored value cards were at P110, not counting the P20 onetime card fee.

Following the positive outcome of the public trial in Legarda station, AF Payments Inc. is set to implement a similar trial at the Betty Go Belmonte station within the week.

AF Payments, a consortium led by Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., won the P1.72-billion contract for the automated fare collection system project.

The new system uses contactless smart card technology to upgrade and integrate the ticketing infrastructure for the country’s major railways, including LRT Line 1 and 2 and Metro Rail Transit Line 3.

Maher said the common ticket system for LRT Line 1 and MRT Line 3 would go live by September.

Under the concession agreement, the ticketing scheme will be fully integrated by September.

AF Payments will install 731 gates, 138 ticket vending machines, 221 point of sales devices and 44 station computers across the three rail lines.

The company’s new smart card ticketing system replaces the existing magnetic stripe system.  The new system or the “beep card” can also serve as an electronic micropayment solution in day-to-day payments, or as identifier for loyalty schemes, facility access and location-based services.

The tap-and-go system, which the winning bidder will operate for 10 years, will also enhance fare collection efficiency by reducing leakage and fraud.

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Friday, October 2, 2015
SSS sees P1.2-B earnings from property sale, leases this year

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Social Security System expects to earn P1.2 billion from the lease and sale of its properties this year.

SSS senior vice president May Catherine Ciriaco said SSS has already raked in P274.5 million in the first half from the lease and sale of some of its real estate properties such as residential and commercial lots, condominium units, buildings, and parking lots.

The state-run pension fund expects another P289 million in the second half from the lease of the same assets, she said.

Together with an estimated P696.5 million in earnings from the sale of the fund’s properties scheduled later this year, Ciriaco said SSS stands to earn an additional P1.2 billion for 2015.

“Contrary to recent news reports, SSS assets for the most part have not remained idle (because) about 70 percent of our P17.9-billion investment properties have been on lease and are bringing in regular income for the SSS,” Ciriaco said.

“The rest of SSS assets are either for sale, or are retained as SSS property due to their expected increase in value,” she said.
The fund will be auctioning off more condominium units, parking lots, and acquired lots before the year ends. SSS has also scheduled other properties worth a total of P253.6 million for bidding next year. “Meanwhile, as part of the pension fund’s long-term strategy, the SSS intends to maintain its ownership of select prime properties such as Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City and East Triangle in Quezon City, given the expected appreciation in their real estate value,” Ciriaco said.

The Commission on Audit earlier this month said SSS could have earned at least P198.1 million more if it has rented out idle assets.

“Measures intended to maximize SSS income from its real estate properties are already underway. Even if the SSS has not rented out certain properties, the SSS has already registered gains from their appreciating value,” Ciriaco said.
DOTC starts upgrade of MRT signal system

By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to start the P53.37 million upgrade of the signalling system of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), a move expected to minimize the train system’s glitches.

The seven-month contract awarded to Bombardier Transportation Signal, Ltd. will involve replacement of the existing local control system called MAN 900 with the more contemporary EBI Screen 900, a software with the same functionality as MAN 900, but enables the use of modern personal computers and fiber optic technology.

The signalling system maintains safe distances between trains and controls their speed.

Issues with the signalling system’s components may result in less operating trains and slower travel.

Apart from modernizing the software components, the upgrade will also ensure the availability of spare parts needed for the uninterrupted and efficient operation of the train system.

Within the first month of the contract, Bombardier will provide the required hardware upgrades and software licenses.

The firm will, likewise, install, test, and commission support of the new system; carry out the migration of existing data and functions and train MRT-3 personnel on proper operation and maintenance.

Bombardier holds exclusive proprietary rights to supply new components, as it designed, developed, and implemented the entire MRT-3 signalling system when it was constructed.

“This upgrade of an obsolete signalling system, which should have been done by the private sector owner years ago, is crucial in minimizing operational disruptions. This will improve reliability and efficiency of the rail system for the benefit of our passengers,” DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya said.

The conditions of the MRT-3 covering North Avenue station in Quezon City until Taft Avenue station in Pasay City, have worsened over the years with the train system breaking down and leaving several commuters stranded in stations.

Aside from the upgrade of the signalling system, other improvements are being undertaken in the MRT-3.

Beginning Saturday, the MRT-3 will use the new beep cards or tap-and-go ticketing system to shorten the queuing time for passengers.

The beep cards are already being used in Lines 1 and 2 of the Light Rail Transit.

The ongoing refurbishment of 12 Schindler-brand escalators of MRT-3 meanwhile,  is expected to be completed before the year ends.

The rehabilitation of MRT-3 toilets is also being carried out and six facilities are already open for public use.

Over 7,000 linear meters’ worth of new rails are also set to be installed within the year to replace worn-out tracks in order to ensure safer and smoother rides.
Japanese bizmen urged to invest in Philippines

By Rosette Adel (
Updated October 1, 2015 - 5:20pm
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) encouraged the Japanese business community to invest in the Philippines as the country’s economy expands and to establish positive trade relationships.

“Seize opportunities in the Philippines to create, wealth, generate jobs and improve the lives of our peoples,” DTI Undersecretary for Industry Development Adrian Cristobal Jr. said during the Philippine-Japan Business Investment Forum held in Tokyo last week.

“Now is the right time for our Japanese friends and partners to come and do business in the country, and for those all ready operating there, expand your business,” he added.

Cristobal enticed the Japanese business community by describing the country’s economy as “bright spot in the region.”

The DTI undersecretary also elaborated the benefits the Philippines gains from trade preferences from the world’s largest importing countries under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP.)

Late last year, the Philippines became a beneficiary to the European Union’s (EU) GSP-plus granting the country a duty-free access to two-thirds of tariff lines.

Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
The United States (US) also reauthorized its GSP grant to the country last June since the authorization expired mid-2013. The reauthorization of GSP grant gave Philippines duty-free access to 3,500 US tariff lines.

Cristobal cited that among the Japanese firms which already took advantage of the preferences is Shimano, large Japanese bicycle manufacturer, which invested 3.5 billion yen to access the EU market through the Philippines.

“By setting up manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, Japanese companies may avail of the duty-free market access to the EU and the US, including products which are key export interests of Japan,” Cristobal added.

“We are in fact the only country in ASEAN to enjoy this preferential treatment,” Cristobal said. “In addition to these product categories, exporters in footwear and textile, preserved fruits, pineapple juice, jams and jelly who are targeting the European market may find a wealth of opportunity in the Philippines’ GSP+ status,” he added.

DTI said the government also seeks to uphold the competitiveness of its automotive industry to seize bigger share of the regional automotive manufacturing industry in the near future and to keep up with the growing market.

To enhance the automotive industry, Cristobal met with the car and car parts manufacturers to discuss to them the country’s Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP) and the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program.

The CARS program covering motor vehicle production, auto parts manufacturing and shared services and testing facilities currently produces estimated 80,000 to 90,000 units annually. It still aims to increase its production to a competitive scale of 200,000 yearly. .
Metro Pacific seeks majority control of Davao Doctors Hospital for P1.6 B
By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. (MPHHI), the healthcare unit of industrial conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), is seeking a majority stake in Davao Doctors Hospital Inc. (DDH).

The Manuel V. Pangilinan-led hospital firm commenced yesterday a general offer to acquire the remaining shares of stock in the Davao-based hospital through law firm SyCip Salazar Hernandez and Gatmaitan Law Offices.

The hospital subsidiary currently owns 313,655 shares or 34.82 percent of the outstanding capital stock of DDH and wants to acquire the remaining 587,154 shares of stock in the medical institution for roughly P1.614 billion.

MPHHI  acquired its stake in DDH for P500 million in 2009 and has since poured in P400 millionin 2009  in investments to improve the facility.

MPHHI is offering a higher price per share if it would be able to acquire a higher number of shares. It laid down three conditions as basis for the offer price.

In its offer, MPHHI said if as a result of the tender, it will acquire less than 136,747 DDH shares, the offer price shall be P2,300 per share.

On the other hand, if as a result of the tender MPHHI acquires at least 136,747 DDH shares but less than 286,881 shares, the offer price shall be P2,600 per share.

Finally, MPHHI said if it acquires at least 286,881 DDH shares, the purchase price shall be P2,750 per share.

The offer period will be until Nov. 19, MPHHI said.

As of  end-June, the Metro Pacific Group has nine hospitals with a total bed count of 2,245: Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Asian Hospital & Medical Center and De Los Santos Medical Center in Metro Manila; Central Luzon Doctors’ Hospital in Tarlac; Riverside Medical Center in the Visayas; and Davao Doctors Hospital and WMMC in Mindanao; one mall- based diagnostic and ambulatory care center located in SM Megamall; and two healthcare colleges – Riverside College Inc. in Visayas and Davao Doctors College in Mindanao.

The hospital group’s first half net income this year rose 23 percent to P565 million.
PLDT creates investment arm to connect with Silicon Valley
Chrisee Dela Paz
Published 5:54 PM, October 01, 2015
Updated 5:54 PM, October 01, 2015
MANILA, Philippines ­– Telecommunications giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has created a new investment arm that will connect its group of companies with leading Silicon Valley startups.

The new investment arm, called PLDT Capital, is investing up to $50 million this year to support its business units, which include Smart, ePLDT, Digital5, and Voyager. This is part of its digital services portfolio expansion in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and Asia-Pacific, PLDT told the local bourse on September 30.

PLDT Capital will be supported by a team of strategists, engineers, and product managers who will also be identified from the PLDT group.

PLDT Capital has formally started operations in El Segundo, within Los Angeles County, California, and has presence in Silicon Valley.

"The PLDT Group serves more than 70 million mobile and Internet customers in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region," Winston Damarillo, managing director of PLDT Capital, said in a statement. (READ: PH telcos, TV networks ride double-edged digital wave)

"In addition to investments, PLDT Capital aims to become the gateway for the most promising startups to expand their opportunities to the fast growing digital consumers in the ASEAN region,” he added.

The PLDT group has made investments through its corporate development initiative, notably in Rocket Internet, among others. PLDT Capital is specifically created to focus on investments that support the PLDT core businesses.

"PLDT Capital serves as an important pillar to sustain our digital pivot," PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan said.

"To provide the best possible digital experience to our customers, we must collaborate with world-class companies. We look forward to bridging the best of Silicon Valley talent with our own Filipino innovators to expand the opportunities of PLDT,” Pangilinan added. –
Bank lending expands 14% to P4.67 T
By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The growth in bank lending picked up in August amid the higher loans extended for production activities particularly for construction as well as accommodation and food services.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the outstanding loans of commercial banks expanded 14.1 percent to P4.67 trillion in August from P4.09 trillion in the same month last year.

The expansion in August was faster compared to the 13.6 percent growth in July.

Together with reverse repurchase placements with the BSP, lending rose 14.3 percent to P4.96 trillion in August from a year-ago level of P4.34 trillion.

The BSP traced the increase in bank lending in August to the rise in loans for production activities which account for more than 80 percent of banks’ aggregate loan portfolio.

Data showed loans for production activities grew 13.8 percent to P4.16 trillion in August from P3.66 trillion in the same month last year.
Loans extended to manufacturing companies grew 5.8 percent to P711.89 billion from P672.7 billion followed by the wholesale and retail trade that grew 15.5 percent to P655.61 billion from P567.49 billion.

Lending for financial and insurance activities expanded 15.3 percent to P411.5 billion from P396.36 billion followed by loans for agriculture, forestry, and fishing that grew 15.5 percent to P149.7 billion from P129.61 billion.

In terms of growth rate, accommodation and food services activities booked the fastest growth with 50.4 percent followed by arts, entertainment and recreation with 45 percent as well as human health and social work activities with 42.5 percent.

On the other hand, loans for real estate activities grew 14.9 percent to P809.4 billion from P704.43 billion. The growth rate was slower compared to the 16.4 percent expansion booked in July.

In the latest Senior Loan Officers Survey of the BSP, the credit standards for loans to households and enterprises by banks were unchanged in the second quarter after a net tightening in the first quarter.

This is the 25th consecutive quarter since the second quarter of 2009 that the majority of banks reported broadly unchanged credit standards.

On the other hand, about 86.4 percent of the respondent banks in the second quarter indicated a net tightening of overall credit standards was noted for commercial real estate loans for the 12th consecutive quarter due to perceived stricter oversight of banks’ real estate exposure along with banks’ reduced tolerance for risk.

The BSP also noted the growth in lending for household consumption including credit card loans, auto loans, and salary also eased to 14 percent in August from 14.3 percent in July. Bank lending for household consumption amounted to P360.6 billion in August from P316.43 billion in the same month last year.
Asia Pacific carriers post lower air freight volume in August
By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - AsiaPacific-based airlines continue to experience weakness in air freight volumes in August as China’s manufacturing industry slows down, a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

Latest data from IATA showed AsiaPacific carriers’ freight ton kilometers (FTKs) fell one percent in August even as capacity expanded 4.9 percent.

Although the contraction was less severe than in July, IATA noted it is hard to say if the decline has bottomed out considering the continued drop in export orders for Chinese manufacturing.

“Some of the key reasons for the earlier weakness – for example, downgraded growth expectations in emerging Asia, and the re-balancing of the Chinese economy toward domestic consumption – are still there,” IATA director general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said.

Meanwhile, global freight markets have stabilized in August after two months of decline wherein air cargo volumes rose 0.2 percent compared to the same period in 2014, an improvement from the July performance where freight demand contracted 0.6 percent year-on-year.

“After declines in June and July, signs of a stabilization in air cargo are welcome. But all is not well. Total volumes are down two percent compared to the end of 2014. Even though world trade volumes have slightly picked up, the industry will have to work hard to match the strong finish to 2014,” Tyler added.

Furthermore, airlines in the Latin American region reported a large decline in demand of 7.3 percent year-on-year, reflecting the continued economic struggles of Brazil and Argentina, while regional trade activity has not created stronger air freight demand.

North American airlines experienced a decline of 3.3 percent year-on-year and continue to see significant falls in FTK volumes since the boost from modal shift due to sea port congestion earlier in the year.

“Some of the conditions that led to the decline in world trade this year – a combination of weaker than expected global economic growth, particularly in emerging markets, as well as shifts toward the domestic market in China – are persisting. There are some tentative signs that things won’t get worse – export orders have stabilized – but if the current trend were to continue, we would see negative year-on-year comparisons in the coming months,” IATA said.

On the other hand, Middle Eastern carriers saw the strongest growth with demand expanding 10.4 percent and capacity rising 14.3 percent. Although some economies in the region have suffered a slowdown in non-oil growth, overall expansion remains robust enough to sustain solid growth in air freight

European carriers, likewise, reported a rise in demand in August of 0.7 percent compared to a year ago and capacity rose 3.9 percent with the recent improvements in eurozone manufacturing business activity seen to support air freight demand.

African airlines which carry a small part of worldwide FTKs, recorded a 2.3 percent in August with regional trade activity supporting demand for air transport of goods.
Tax reform is about fairness
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on October 12, 2015, 09:25:12 AM
DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00am
Mar Roxas simply does not get it. That is not surprising because Mr. Roxas is from the traditional moneyed class. He knows nothing about making ends meet, something those of us in the middle class struggle with all the time.

The most Roxas would concede is that he would study the tax reform proposals. We all know what happens when Mr. Roxas studies something. Nothing happens. We saw that movie at DOTC when he was on top of it.

While I was in Singapore over the weekend, an OFW posted this complaint on Facebook which I posted on my wall. It expresses the unfairness of our current income tax system in plain peso terms:

“My tax in Singapore for earning P1 million would only be P6,000 for the whole year. If I stayed in the Philippines earning P20,000/month or P240,000/year, my tax would be P48,000 vs P6,000.

“Working in the Philippines is a scam worse than Emgoldex. You are paying a premium for a very poor quality of service. It’s like paying for a luxury hotel but sleeping in a hammock in a dumpsite.”

We need income tax reform now. Aside from being fair to taxpayers, Citizen Watch points out we also have to be regionally competitive. Because of the “more lenient, reasonable income tax rates elsewhere in the region, some talented Filipinos have chosen to live and work abroad, breaking families apart and contributing to brain drain… an employee who earns P500,000 a year is subjected to a 32-percent income tax. The same income merits 10 percent in Thailand and two percent in Singapore…  With the º looming Asean integration and national borders disintegrating, this becomes a real issue.”
Of course because the exasperated Filipino professional goes abroad and is now exempted from paying Philippine income tax as an OFW, the short sighted greedy government gets nothing. We lose the investment on their education and training, specially for UP graduates. And if they brought their families with them, we get little or nothing by way of remittances.

As educated as Mr. Roxas is, he fails to see tax reform beyond the perspective of the tax collector trying to meet a target set out of thin air. Citizen Watch Philippines puts it in perspective:

“It should also be noted that while lower income tax rates would briefly affect the country’s coffers, it will further strengthen our already booming consumer economy, which would consequently result to higher government revenues, this time through the expanded value added tax (EVAT). The more cash that moves around the market, the livelier the economy becomes in the long term.”

Yet, Mr. Roxas and the folks at DOF insist tax reform will imperil vital expenditures on education, health and welfare, as well as the country’s investment credit rating. That’s sheer bullsh#t.

It is all a matter of setting good priorities. The BIR estimated a tax revenue loss of about P30 billion in a national budget of P3 trillion. Where is the Liberal Party’s sense of proportion here?, a blog, computed a tax savings for a middle income couple earning about a million pesos a year in the vicinity of P230,000 if they were working in Singapore instead of the Philippines. That translates to about P19,000 a month, an amount which is loose change for Mar Roxas.

But lists down what that P19,000 monthly tax savings can buy for a struggling middle class family:

“This could mean, they can now afford to buy a HOUSE with a monthly mortgage of P5,000-P10,000/month, perhaps this could lower the informal settlers around the Philippines. Some middle-income families are also informal settlers, especially those earning P328,000/year with more than five family members.

“This could mean an EDUCATION PLAN that can be used to plan for their child’s education up to college, causing less drop-outs in school… 

“This could mean they can start investing/saving for their RETIREMENT PLAN. According to a SSS survey, out of 100, only two percent of the population can retire comfortably and the remaining 98 percent depends on either: their family, charity or the government.

“Contrary to what the government believes, this could mean MORE TAX COLLECTION for the government. Lower taxes could mean better compliance and greater purchasing power for an ordinary person like me and you. Greater VAT collection for the government. All goods, services and consumption are taxed with 12 percent VAT.

“This could mean more business money that could be put up. Making each of us ENTREPRENEURS, thus creating more jobs for our fellow citizens…

“This could mean more people buying LIFE INSURANCE and HEALTH INSURANCE, thereby, reducing Filipino dependence on corrupt government officials. In cases like a death of a family member or major sickness, people won’t go to a politiko asking money “pampalibing” or “pampagamot” – which could even push these politikos to corrupt practices, justifying their acts as what they get, they are given to people too.”

I am sure Mar Roxas knows we don’t have to sacrifice education, health or even national security by making our tax rules fair. There is a bit of intellectual dishonesty when he asked rhetorically “what projects do we have to stop?”

There is that P30 billion in the proposed budget to increase capitalization of the DBP and the Land Bank. How urgent is that? Indeed, why should government even own a bank, much less two banks? Actually three if we include UCPB.

These government banks should be privatized. They are just piggy banks for corrupt national officials. We all know how the PNB, when it was still government-owned, was abused by a succession of administrations to fund losing projects of their cronies. Our taxes were used to clean its books so it could be privatized and saved from bankruptcy.

Government does not need to own a bank. We may even save a lot of money by asking private banks to bid for services that government requires. GSIS is using private banks. I know about the lofty objectives for having a development bank and for a bank that will serve agrarian reform. But I doubt if the track record of these banks justify their continued existence as government banks.

Being a supposed investment banker trained in Wall Street, it is easy to expect someone like Mar Roxas will have bold new ideas on how to manage our nation’s finances. But then, given his track record in the last five years, it would be silly to expect any innovative idea from Mr Roxas.

I can think of one more source to cover that P30 billion tax revenue loss with tax reform. It had been reported that tax losses due to oil smuggling is P30 billion. There you are… and add the losses from rice and sugar smuggling too and there is more than enough to provide relief to middle class taxpayers.

We need tax reform now because the rates and the brackets have become totally unreasonable. The peso when the tax schedule was drafted 19 years ago is only worth 43 centavos now. Because the tax rate remained the same, the working class is effectively being robbed by its own government.

“Tax brackets should be adjusted to make (these) more sensitive to current salaries of Filipinos. Because at present, a person who makes P50,000 a month -- who is considered middle class -- is already in the top tax bracket and is also paying the same tax rate as the billionaires in our country,” Sen Sonny Angara points out.

Unless these rates and brackets are adjusted to reflect inflation, government is stealing from its own people. That is an untenably immoral situation demanding immediate relief.

The other thing that needs reform is the complexity of filing a tax return. There was a time when I could do my own tax return. Now, it is so complicated I need to get an accountant.

How much can a retired senior citizen writing a column earn these days? Why do I have to file a VAT return every month and an income tax return quarterly? I just choose to do standard optional deduction because it is too complicated otherwise. Yet, I need an accountant to help me navigate the rules and the forms.

Making it easy to pay taxes should help increase tax collection. Making it too complicated not only makes it expensive for taxpayers to comply, it also allows more room for corruption at the ground level.

One more thing… whatever happened to the recommendations of the DOE Task Force to “Review whether or not the government is ‘overtaxing’ the energy sector”?

As Citizen Watch pointed out, “like the high income taxes, overtaxing results in unnecessarily high electric bills and heavily affects all sectors and is a major factor affecting our country’s competitiveness.”

Paying taxes is never painless but do we have to make it the bureaucrat’s equivalent of torture?
CAAP: Only 41 of 82 PH airports operate commercially
Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News
Posted at 10/01/2015 5:39 PM
Updated as of 10/02/2015 2:29 AM
MANILA - Senators told officials on Thursday not to let certain idle airports in different parts of the country remain unused and instead work to generate economic activity and income from them.

At a hearing on the proposed 2016 budget of the Department of Transportation and Communications, Director-General William Hotchkiss of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said his agency owns and operates 82 airports all over the country.

However, only about 41 have commercial operations. The rest are either idle or are used as flying schools and for military flights.

"What a waste," Senate finance committee chair Loren Legarda said. "Is this customary…or are we wasting infrastructure which can be upgraded so we can have more domestic flights?"

Hotchkiss told the committee that airport authorities are now on a "catching up" mode, developing some airports for commercial purposes while upgrading others for military use.

However, he said having commercial airlines use some of the airports is beyond CAAP's control.

"Getting commercial flights into an airport is an economic and business decision of the airlines themselves," Hotchkiss said. "We cannot force them to fly to particular airports."

Senate President Franklin Drilon said not every airport in the country was built with commercial viability in mind. Still, he advised CAAP to explore how to do business out of them.

"Maybe you can start looking at converting them into some high-value usage," he said.

Drilon, who hails from Iloilo, cited the example of the city's old airport, which has been turned into a business center by a private developer.

Legarda agreed. "When you keep and maintain the whole 82, there's so much capital outlay or good money that can be used elsewhere," she told airport officials.

Hotchkiss said CAAP is already heading towards that direction, with a plan "geared towards maximizing the full potential of the airports we have."

He said five airports will be upgraded under government's public-private partnership program, while a number have been selected for use by some 45 flying schools all over the country.

"We can maximize our potential as a flying school capital in the ASEAN region," Hotchkiss said.
How NFA is preparing for El Nino 'worst case scenario'
Jamaine Punzalan,
Posted at 10/01/2015 5:30 PM
Updated as of 10/01/2015 5:32 PM
MANILA - The National Food Authority (NFA) on Thursday said it has secured 750,000 metric tons of rice as buffer stock as the country braces for the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

NFA administrator Renan Dalisay said the agency opted to increase rice importation even before the effects of the El Niño can be felt in order to keep local prices stable.

"Ang ginawa natin, dinagdagan na lang natin ang insurance kasi ang ayaw natin mangyari ay kung kailan huli na saka pa tayo magre-react at wala nang panahon at mataas na ang presyo," Dalisay said.

The first 250,000 tons of rice will arrive in the country by November or December while 750,000 more tons will follow in the first quarter of 2016.

State weather bureau PAGASA earlier said that the effects of the El Niño are expected to last until 2016, and has projected the rise in temperature to be higher than those experienced during the last El Niño season in 1997 to 1998.

Harvest production in the 1997 El Niño dropped by almost 25%, a scenario the NFA has taken precautions against.

Dalisay added that to keep a lid on prevalent rice smuggling, the NFA has also tightened the application process for private companies and cooperatives seeking importation permits.

Aside from an import committee, a pre-qualification team was also formed to inspect the documents, warehouse and office of all companies interested in importing rice.

The NFA has also started imposing electronic submission of requirements to speed up coordination with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) which will both ensure that the applicants hold clean records.

The NFA also abandoned the first-come, first-served basis it had employed in processing permit applications.

"Ngayon, pinapasok na muna lahat ng application from August 1 o August 30. Inevaluate po namin ito lahat sabay-sabay at inilabas po namin lahat ng nakapasa ng first week of September para wala pong usapin na nauna ito nabigyan ng mas malaking allocation," Dalisay said.

(All applications were collected from August 1 to 30. These were processed all at once to prevent allegations of favoring one company or granting larger import allocations.)


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), meanwhile assured assistance to local farmers in the advent of El Niño intensification.

DTI Undersecretary Vic Dimagiba said that should a state of calamity be proclaimed in a province due to drought or dry spell, the agency will offer aid to farmers under the Expanded Government Internship Program (GIP).

The GIP is comparable to the cash-for-work program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Twenty-eight provinces will most likely experience drought by the end of December 2015.

Likewise, 27 provinces are likely to experience dry spell, while seven others are likely to experience dry condition. -- With a report from Henry Atuelan, radio dzMM
Budget rolls into P15-B surplus in August, trims 8-month deficit to just P3.4 B
By Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration’s budget balance rolled back into surplus in August even as expenditures continued to rise following dismal performance in early months.

The government posted a surplus of P15 billion in August, the Bureau of Treasury reported yesterday. A surplus indicates more revenues were earned than spent.

Broken down, revenues amounted to P176.7 billion, while disbursements totaled P161.6 billion. Both indicators recorded growth rates of four percent and 15 percent, respectively.

From January to August, the budget deficit was further trimmed to P3.4 billion, way below the P197.2-billion program for the first eight months. The government has capped deficit at P283.7 billion this year.

“Sound fiscal management burnishes our credentials as one of Asia’s safest and strongest, a boon for our investment and growth prospects,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.

“We refuse to turn back the clock on our reforms,” he said.
August marked the third time this year that monthly revenues fell in excess of what was disbursed, following similar results in April and May.

This was after state disbursements lagged behind – and sometimes, even contracted – behind program during the early months. It seemed to have turned a corner in July, when it posted its fastest expansion in 13 months.

This was reinforced by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad last Monday, saying double-digit growth in disbursements would likely continue throughout the rest of the year. Spending rose 25 percent in July.

Emilio Neri, Jr., lead economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands, however have mixed reactions on the latest budget numbers.

“We would have wanted to see a much stronger print for government outlays for August, to help compensate for the El Nino’s drag on over-all output,” Neri said in a note e-mailed to reporters.

“While lower than what we wished for, (expenditures) will still contribute positively to growth in the Philippines in the third quarter,” he added.

Revenues in August came mostly from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which collected P138.5 billion, up nine percent year-on-year.

The Bureau of Customs, meanwhile, took in P26.9 billion in August, down seven percent. BIR and Customs missed their monthly targets by 14 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

From January to August, BIR raked in P962.6 billion, while the BOC collected P235.6 billion. Both bureaus account for more than 80 percent of state revenues.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on October 26, 2015, 11:48:40 AM
Banks further tighten rules on property loans

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 26, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Banks continued to tighten the lending standards for commercial real estate loans in the third quarter or a year after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) introduced stricter rules on bank’s real estate exposure.

Dennis Lapid, deputy director of the BSP’s Department of Economic Research, said results of the third quarter 2015 Senior Bank Loan Officers’ Survey showed a net tightening of overall credit standards for commercial real estate loans for the 13th consecutive quarter.

Lapid explained respondent banks attributed the net tightening of overall credit standards for commercial real estate loans to perceived stricter oversight of real estate exposure of banks by the central bank.

“In particular, respondent banks reported stricter collateral requirements and loan covenants along with wider loan margins, reduced credit line sizes, shorter loan maturities, and increased use of interest rate floors for commercial real estate loans,” he said.

The survey showed about 86.4 percent of respondent banks indicated unchanged overall credit standards for commercial real estate loans using the modal approach.

However, based on the diffusion index approach, a net tightening of overall credit standards was noted for commercial real estate loans in the third quarter.

For the next quarter, Lapid said most of the respondent banks expect to maintain their credit standards for commercial real estate loans.

In the survey, a number of banks indicated increased demand for commercial real estate loans on the back of clients’ improved economic outlook and increased customer investment in plant or equipment.

Although most of the respondent banks anticipate generally steady loan demand, a number of banks expect demand for commercial real estate loans to continue increasing in the fourth quarter.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. earlier said there are no macro-prudential risks stemming from the real estate market as the growth in the property sector continued to be demand driven and banks have learned their lessons during the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

The BSP stepped up its watch over the real estate sector as early as 2012 by ordering banks to disclose more comprehensive reports on their exposures to property industry.

The pre-emptive macroprudential policy measure approved by the Monetary Board required stress tests for banks to determine if their capital will be enough to absorb credit risk that may arise from their exposure to the property sector.

The BSP explained that universal, commercial, and thrift banks would need to meet a capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent of their qualifying capital following the stress test results.
Metro Manila as gates of hell

DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 26, 2015 - 12:00am
The other week, P-Noy and Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno led the groundbreaking ceremonies for a new SC building in the Bonifacio Global City. They must have realized that the justices cannot work in the congestion and chaos of its current Padre Faura address. A recent INC demonstration paralyzed traffic in the area shutting down offices for days.

Moving out of Manila is a good idea but they did not carry it out far enough. BGC will soon be as crowded and chaotic as Padre Faura, if not more so. The afternoon rush hour traffic on 5th Avenue and 32nd street is already unbearable.

What the government needs to do is to have a coherent plan to move out not just from Manila but from Metro Manila. They are going to spend good money, P1.2 billion, on a new building for the SC, might as well build it far away from the metro area, possibly in Clark.

The justices need to have a quiet environment away from the hustle of the metro area. They need a place where they can think as calmly and as dispassionately on the cases they are deciding. Being harassed by traffic jams and noisy demonstrators all the time puts undue pressure on justices.

A Justice Square in Clark where we can have the SC, the Appeals Court and the Court of Tax Appeals among others would be a good start to shifting government offices out of crowded Metro Manila. Indeed, even the Justice Department and the PNP HQ can be moved to Clark.

An observation was made in one of my e-groups that “Metro Manila is concentrated on a narrow neck of land between Manila Bay, the foothills of the Sierra Madre, and Laguna Lake. It looks like a neck being throttled. Evidently, population expansion should lie outside this neck.”

Former Press Secretary Buddy Gomez, now a resident of San Antonio, Texas, recently visited Manila and was appalled at the extremely crowded conditions we now have. “I had to cut short my last visit... being a taxi-rider, I was stranded several times...

“Pasig and then Fort Boni/Bayani....the congestion has worsened to a trauma! Taxi queue for at least one hour for a two-hour ride over a 10 kilometer stretch!!! I simply could not handle the traffic. I never thought I’d miss San Antonio this much. But being a Quiapo-born / Sampaloc-bred Waray-waray, I am also an inveterate masochist…”

Buddy then wrote a blog for where he pointed out the numbers that we and our leaders should see to realize that our Metro Manila is fast becoming unlivable, if it is not already.

“The ‘Distinguished and Ever Loyal City’ of Manila now possesses the startling record of being the No. 1 city in the world with the highest population density! This is on the basis of people per square kilometer. Hooray! Manila is Number One!

“In fact, of the world’s tightest 30 cities, of planet earth’s first thirty cities with the highest population density, 8 are in Metro Manila. They include Pateros and Caloocan being number 2 and number 3, respectively; Malabon and Pasig are number 16 and 17; while Pasay, San Juan and Makati are designated at position numbers 24, 25 and 30. And if this still does not jar your sanity, sense and equanimity, to the world’s 30 tightest, India contributes only 6 cities. Mabuhay! We beat India!”

Buddy goes on to cite more numbers:

“To highlight this demographic anomaly, here is a perspective offering for you to mull over. The national average density for the entire Philippines is 334 persons per square kilometer while Manila’s No. 1 status is bolstered by the presence of, fasten your seatbelts, 42,857 persons!

“Manila’s area is almost 30 sq. km. (My hometown of Calbayog in Samar, with an area of 900 sq. kms.+ has a population density of 181.”

The failure of our officials to do something about “Metro Manila’s sad and presently irretrievable misfortune” should be a big election issue but it won’t be. Sadly, as Buddy pointed out, “the threat of numbers and utter unconcern for genuine people’s dismay were never accorded logical attention much less imbued with a sense of urgency.”

The most that the last MMDA chairman did was to complain when novelist Dan Brown described Metro Manila as the “Gates of Hell.” Laughable indeed! As Buddy observed, “we have been at the ‘gates of hell’ and for so long now, it has been staring us in the face.

“Relevant public policy has been in an immobilized stupor and trance…  Yet, absolutely nothing has been done to address the ultimate cause. All these talk and blabbering, all the walk and strutting go around interminably in circles dwelling on whatever is politically visible, concentrating on the effects: vehicular congestion, flooding, informal settlements, infrastructure enhancement.

“Indeed, all that we have seen are band-aid-brained! Why the fear to publicly address and admit what that principal cause staring us, 24/7, really is? It is the population, stupid!

“What lighting from the gods of nature must first strike our leaders for them to finally wake up and accept that the ultimate solution to Metro Manila is decongestion and population dispersal. Only then when all else will fall into areas and levels of manageability. Without decongestion and population dispersal/redistribution, Metro Manila is beyond salvation.”

Rufo Colayco, a former head of BCDA agrees that we need to decongest Metro Manila. “It’s literally a no-brainer that Metro Manila has become unfixable. The only solution is to decongest it by creating other urban centers.”

But Rufo thinks moving the government center to Clark may prove to be a distraction. He wants to move employment opportunities away from Metro Manila as the more effective way of decongesting it.

“There aren’t employment opportunities elsewhere than Manila. For decades, Metro Manila has sucked the lion’s share of the budget, thus starving the rest of the nation of development funds. That has resulted in a vicious spiral -- as people have crowded into Metro Manila looking for jobs (and becoming squatters), the escalating congestion calls for even more infrastructure spending. . . and the vicious cycle goes on and on.

“Lately, there’s talk of building subways, skyways, an airport in Sangley and massive land reclamation around it. That will easily run up to a trillion pesos, and will only exacerbate the already excessive population density.

“By spending a fraction of that, we could have a new metropolis along the SCTEx corridor. If planned and administered properly, it should provide a venue by which our businesses would be much better able to compete with other economies. It would provide a much better quality of life, especially to the working classes.

“The deep-water port at Subic, coupled by the SCTEx with Clark, would provide an efficient multi-modal logistics hub that is in tune with current international trade movements.

“Region 3 is ripe for this role. It is sufficiently urbanized, such that competent supervisory and professional persons would readily move there if offered a new job there. And come to think of it, that would potentially reduce Metro Manila’s population and make it less of a hell-hole than it has become at present.

“BCDA proposed such a scheme to Gloria Arroyo in 2003, but I guess she was beset with other urgent concerns at the time.

“The key to jump-starting the emergence of a new center is to bring employment generating investments there. In concrete terms, create affordable industrial venues in the Clark sub-zone in partnership with entities who had done it before in China, Singapore, Taiwan, etc.

“Create a major tourism center on the Zambales coastline where it joins the hills of Tarlac and Pangasinan.

“Stop SBMA and CDC from farting around, filling up what ought to be sea and airports to be tourism and what-have-you centers. Get the Subic-Clark intermodal logistics complex going by partnering with the Singapore Port Authority and/or the Dubai entity that has successfully made Dubai into THE hub for Asia-Europe travel.

“I get breathless thinking of the explosive growth development that could result from an intelligent approach driven and coordinated by government.”

Obviously, we cannot accomplish all these things in one presidential term. But the work must be started. Rufo tried it during GMA’s term and got nowhere. I doubt if P-Noy even thought of it.

The thing is, we may just wake up one day to find out it is too late to do anything at all. In the meantime, our quality of life suffers and a serious drag on economic growth arising from these problems happens.

We have enough competent city planners. Indeed they have planned cities abroad. It is time to harness them to develop an alternative to Metro Manila.
Philippine infra 8th of 10 in Asean

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 26, 2015 - 12:00am
SEOUL – While being touted as the second strongest economy in Asia, the Philippines is near the bottom when it comes to quality infrastructure among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This was revealed during the 3rd ASEAN Connectivity Forum held here last week, which was attended by Ambassador Raul Hernandez and other ASEAN officials. The Korean government sponsored the event at the FKI Tower.

In a press kit provided to ASEAN journalists, Manila ranked eighth – ahead only of Vietnam and Myanmar – compared with other ASEAN member states in terms of overall quality of infrastructure.

Singapore topped the list, followed by Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia and Cambodia.

The source of information, according to the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia (Eria), was the World Economic Forum Report in 2013-2014.

As for “regulatory framework” on public-private partnerships in the region, Manila was fortunately lumped with Jakarta and Bangkok in the category where there is “certainty and specific law(s).”

Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei, on the other hand, had “uncertainty” and “unspecific” laws when government infrastructure projects are bidded out.

The Asean Connectivity Forum came about as the 10 member nations, with the help of Korea, wanted to introduce infrastructure projects and policy directions in the fields of transport, energy and information and communications technology.

It is a concept that envisions a well-connected Asean to bring the people, goods, services and capital together. It was adopted at the 17th Asean Summit in 2010.

The forum consisted of two sessions – the Master Plan for Asean Connectivity and secondly, Financial Solutions for Asean Connectivity – participated in by experts from the Asean secretariat, Asian Development Bank, ERIA and Korea Exim Bank.

A press release for the event disclosed that the amount of investment required for Asean infrastructure projects is the second largest in the world next to the Middle East.

Global consulting firm McKinsey projected that US$3.3 trillion in investments will be required in transport, water, energy and ICT areas in the Asean countries in the next 15 years, or until 2030.

“When the Asean Economic Community consisting of 6.4 billion people and a combined total GDP of US$2.4 trillion is established, enormous opportunities for large-scale infrastructure projects will be created,” a portion of the press release read.

“Against this backdrop, the forum will be the only venue in Korea where the latest information related to Asean Connectivity are shared and one-on-one business meetings take place,” it added.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on October 26, 2015, 11:51:35 AM
400-year-old watch tower destroyed

By Jun Elias (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 25, 2015 - 12:00am
LUNA, La Union, Philippines – A watch tower here built during the Spanish era and considered a national treasure was damaged by Typhoon Lando.

The Baluarte of Luna in Barangay Victoria Luna was split in half after it was hit by big waves and strong winds spawned by the typhoon, said Mayor Vic Marron.

The National Historical Institute (NHI) earlier approved and considered Baluarte as one of the national treasures.

“We will coordinate whenever the NHI wants it rehabilitated because it’s a national treasure,” Marron said.

The 5.6-meter tall watchtower is among the province’s tourist attractions. The Luna Tourism Council said the Baluarte was a fortress used by the Spaniards to warn its residents against pirates.

There are three other Spanish-era watchtowers here: the Balaoan at Darigayos point, San Juan and Carlatan in San Fernando City.

Marron said there are plans to strengthen the foundation of the Baluarte, but it should be first declared a historical landmark before funds can be allocated for its construction and preservation.

Two years ago, the Luna municipal council passed Resolution 68-2013, requesting the National Historical Commission to declare the watchtower a national historical landmark to enable government agencies to fund the preservation project and Resolution 69-2013, which asked the National Museum to also declare it a national treasure.

The Luna watchtower, which is facing the West Philippine Sea, is also a haven for pebble or stone pickers, a major livelihood of the province. Various colored pebbles, which are often used for decorations, are collected here.
SM honors top partners in gala night

(The Philippine Star)
Updated October 24, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - In celebration of its 30th anniversary, SM Supermalls held its very first Partners Summit at the SMX Convention Center.

The two-day event “Bricks Click, Creating the New Marketplace” featured a retail forum on the first day and a gala night, where it awarded its top partners, on the second.

The event was SM’s way of thanking those who have been part of the SM Family – some since it opened its first mall in SM City North EDSA, some in later years and some as part of a new generation of corporate leaders.

Fifty-four companies were honored in the Top Partners, Most Innovative Store Design, Green Retail and Best in Marketing categories during the gala night. There were also awards for the Most Popular Brand through an online poll.

“Much has happened since we opened our first mall 30 years ago,” said SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy in his keynote speech during the forum. “The retail landscape has become more global and competitive, technology has forever changed the way we live and do things, and customer tastes have changed along with the times.”

Challenged by online formats and social media, Sy, who is an engineer, cited the qualities which brick and mortar companies like shopping malls share – strength, durability, value, sustainability and the ability to withstand the test of time. He also noted how companies and relationships are built one brick at a time.

By working closely together, SM and its partners have changed the Filipino lifestyle forever.

“Our malls are indeed called cities, places where families and friends gather together to eat out, have fun, and even do their business transactions, and hear Sunday Mass,” said Sy. “We have become part of the lives of millions of Filipinos.”

Reinforcing the bricks click concept were Francis Kong in his talk on Retail Innovations, the Disney Institute’s Wing-Hoe Tan on Surprising and Delighting Customers, and Samsung’s David Kang on how on-ground and on line can work together.

A panel discussion featuring Google’s Aitor Maguregui, Samsung Philippines’ Heirbert Dimagiba, the Max Group of Companies’ Mark Gamboa and McDonald Philippines’ Margot Torres shared insights on key experiences and best practices in navigating the digital and in-person landscape in the Philippines.
Lafarge shareholders ok name change

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 25, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Shareholders of Lafarge Republic Inc. Friday approved the change in name of the company to Republic Cement and Building Materials Inc.

The company called a special stockholders’ meeting Friday to approve the new name as well as the management agreement between Lafarge Cement Services Philippines which is now Republic Cement Services Inc. and Lafarge Republic.

The change of the name followed the acquisition by AEV CRH Holdings Inc., a joint venture between Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Ireland-headquartered CRH International of Lafarge Republic Inc. for P24 billion.

The concerned parties announced the deal in August.

AEV-CRH said it would delist Lafarge local bourse following the conclusion of a mandatory tender offer last month.

Tanada said the delisting has not been concluded yet as the company is still waiting for the requirements from the local bourse.

Under the rules of the PSE, a public company should have a minimum public float of 10 percent.

The joint venture now has 99 percent control of Lafarge Republic, Inc. following the end of a mandatory tender offer to minority shareholders in September.

It accepted from the public a total of 596.49 million shares representing 10.24 percent of the outstanding shares of Lafarge.

Swiss-company Holcim Ltd. and Lafarge S.A., a French company, have merged and launched a $43.2 billion combined building materials company.

The merger of global companies Lafarge and Holcim provided the opportunity for AEV and CRH to acquire the cement assets of Lafarge as the two global companies had to dispose off their assets to win regulatory approval for the merger.

Lafarge Philippines has a nationwide manufacturing network of four cement plants in Norzagaray, Bulacan; Teresa, Rizal and Taysan, Batangas, one grinding station in Danao, Cebu, and thru a subsidiary, Lafarge Iligan, Inc., a cement plant in Iligan City; and an aggregates quarry in Angono, Rizal, thru a subsidiary Lafarge Republic Aggregates, Inc.

CRH, which has operations in 34 countries, is a manufacturer, supplier, and distributor of building materials with headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. Its shares are listed on the London and Dublin stock exchanges, and its American Depositary Shares are listed in the New York Stock Exchange.

AEV’s entry into the lucrative cement business is seen to complement the conglomerate’s big-ticket infrastructure ventures and enable it to diversify its business currently consisting of power generation, real estate, banking and agribusiness.
DENR Cordillera approves 7,000 land patents
DENR-CAR declares it was able to meet its target number of processed and issued land patents for 2015 under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program

Jessa Mardy Polonio
Published 8:38 AM, October 23, 2015
Updated 10:38 AM, October 23, 2015

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has processed a total of 7,172 land patents covering over 3,307 hectares of agricultural properties in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

With this, the DENR-CAR declared that it was able to meet its target number of processed and issued land patents for 2015 under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program or CARP.

The agency said in its October newsletter that the province of Abra has the most issued patents at 3,030 with an aggregate land area of 1,562 hectares.

Of these, 751 were processed and issued by the Provincial Environment Office of Abra; 1,005 by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Bangued; 412 by the CENRO-Lagangilang; and 862 by the Regional Task Force.

Benguet, which includes Baguio City, has issued 1,400 patents covering 492 hectares. Both CENRO Baguio and Buguias processed and issued 625 patents each, while PENRO Benguet has 150.

Kalinga processed 1,050 patents covering more than 511 hectares. Of these, 150 were processed by PENRO Kalinga, 350 by CENRO Pinukpuk, and 550 by CENRO Tabuk.

Meanwhile, there were 1,000 patents processed and issued in Apayao covering over 569 hectares. Half of the patents were processed by CENRO Calanasan while the other half were processed by CENRO Conner.

Mountain Province had 404 patents covering more than 82 hectares processed. Of the number, 203 were processed by CENRO Paracelis while 201 were by CENRO Sabangan.

Ifugao had the least issuances of patents, with only 288 covering a land area of 89.9 hectares. CENRO Alfonso Lista processed 125 patents of these while the other 163 were processed by CENRO Lamut.

CARP is the redistribution of public and private agricultural lands to farmers and farm workers who are landless, irrespective of tenurial arrangement. Its vision is to have equitable land ownership with empowered beneficiaries who can effectively manage their economic and social development to have a better quality of life.

One of the major programs of CARP is Land Tenure Improvement, which seeks to hasten the distribution of lands to landless farmers, as in the case of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.

But the government's agrarian reform program is beset by challenges, chief of which is its current inability to place more land under its distribution program.

The deadline for the Department of Agrarian Reform to cover all distributable land passed more than a year ago, on June 30, 2014.

A bill to extend this deadline is still pending in Congress. More than 41,500 hectares of land await CARP coverage. –
Aquino gov't looking to award 14 PPPs worth $11.2-B
Posted at 10/23/2015 4:55 PM
Updated as of 10/23/2015 7:30 PM

MANILA - With less than a year before President Aquino steps down from office, 14 infrastructure projects worth an estimated $11.2 billion are still up for bidding under government's public-private partnership (PPP) program.

PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said 13 out of the 14 projects will likely be awarded before the end of the Aquino administration, excluding the $3.79 billion North-South Railway Project, which she said may require more time because of the cost.

“We’re hoping that we’d be able to award the ones we are currently bidding, and for the new projects, push it as far as pre-qualification so that the new administration will not experience what we experienced, and they can really just hit the ground running,” Canilao told ANC's "Market Edge" on Friday.

“We need these infrastructure projects and it shouldn’t stop just because there is a change in leadership,” she added.

Ten PPP projects have been awarded since so far since 2010, including the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway and the Cavite-Laguna Expressway.

Canilao said seven more projects are still up for approval.

"Included in that list is the NAIA operation and maintenance as well as the Batangas-Manila pipeline, road connector, Plaridel toll bypass, and two tourism projects,” she said.

She also noted that the bidding process will continue as PPP projects are not subject to the election ban set to begin early next year.

A recent study showed that most Filipinos are not sold on PPPs, but Canilao said it is because "the public has yet to feel the full impact of the PPP projects."

"If you ask the users of Daang Hari toll road, which was the first PPP project to be completed, and the 500 students who are now benefiting from the classrooms that were constructed using PPPs, the story might be a little different from what has been shown,” she said.
Notice of award to ALI ready for ITS-South Terminal project

By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 26, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is looking to issue the notice of award to Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) for the Integrated Transport System (ITS) - South Terminal public private partnership (PPP) project within the month.

DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya said the government hopes to be able to award the project to ALI “within the month.”

He said the DOTC has to secure necessary documents from the Department of Budget and Management for the purchase of the National Food Authority’s property covered by the project. 

ALI beat Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) during the August bidding for the project as it offered P277.89 million annual grantor payment (AGP), lower than the latter’s P1 billion bid. AGP refers to the payment to be made by the government to the concessionaire.

When AGP offers are made, the lowest bid wins, subject to evaluation.

The ITS – South Terminal Project covers the construction of a terminal within a 4.7-hectare area in the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) Compound in Taguig City.

The terminal would connect passengers com- ing from the La- guna or Batan- gas to transport systems such as the future North- South Commuter Railway project, city bus, taxi, and other public util- ity vehicles serv- ing inner Metro Manila.

The project would include passenger terminal buildings, arrival and departure bays, public information systems, ticketing and baggage han- dling facilities, as well as park-ride facilities.
LT Group invests in wind farm

By Danessa O. Rivera (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 26, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - LT Group Inc., the listed holding firm of the Lucio Tan Group, is teaming up with renewable energy firm led by former Energy Secretary Vince Perez to expand a wind project in Rizal.

LT Group CFO and SVP Nestor Mendones said the company has partnered with Alternergy Wind One Corp. for a possible expansion of its existing wind farm in Pilila, Rizal.

“They have a project there and it just so happens we have an adjacent property so they asked us if we are interested to partner,” he said.

Mendones said the partnership was “approved in principle by LT management.”

The timetable for the implementation and corporate structure is not yet finalized but LT Group would only be a minority partner in the project, he added.

“Alternergy is the lead company, so we are just an investor,” Mendones said.

Alternergy has completed the 67.5-megawatt (MW) Pililla wind power project in Rizal, which has applied to receive incentives under the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme in the second round for wind.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has approved a FIT rate of P7.40 per kwh for the next batch of wind projects.

Earlier this year, Alternergy said it is putting up another wind power facility in Pililla, Rizal, named Sembrano wind farm, with a capacity of 72 MW and costing $236 million.
LT Group seeks FIT incentives for Batangas project

By Danessa O. Rivera (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 25, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Lucio Tan Group (LTG) hopes to join the race for feed-in tariff (FIT) incentives with its solar power project in Batangas.

The group, through Absolut Distillers Inc., is working on a FIT certificate of compliance for its two-megawatt  solar plant in Batangas, plant manager Jojo Tan said.

“NGCP (National Grid Corp. of the Philippines) told us build a remote terminal unit to feed to them,” he said.

Tan said they filed for a FIT application as soon as the plant started running and they expect to meet the deadline for the second round of FIT for solar.

The Department of Energy has given solar developers until March 2016 to complete and produce power from their projects to be able to receive the set of incentives under the FIT mechanism.

For solar, eligible developers can get P8.69 per kilowatt hour FIT rate, among other incentives, for an installation target of 500 MW.

Last March, ADI inaugurated its P189-million solar plant in its Batangas facility, the first to operate in the province, which can supply up to 60 percent of the alcohol distillery’s power requirements. It can also sell the entire output to the Luzon grid.

The solar plant’s capacity currently supplies 40 percent of the alcohol distillery’s power requirements.

The solar plant is LTG’s first project under its renewable energy (RE) development plan.

ADI is planning to invest at least P500 million to put up a sugar mill and co-generation plant in its Batangas facility.

Asian Alcohol Corp. another liquor unit of LTG under Tanduay, is also looking at the possibility of putting up a wind project in its facility in Negros Occidental.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on October 26, 2015, 11:51:53 AM
Napocor to reauction P314-M worth of contracts

By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 25, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – State-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor) is re-auctioning off a total of P314.12-million worth of contracts that will help improve the electricity supply in far-flung areas in the country.

In a bulletin published yesterday, Napocor is soliciting new bids from private suppliers for the supply of 13x600 kilowatt (kw) modular gensets in Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) areas.

The state-run firm has allocated a budget of P292.25 million for the auction.

A pre-bid conference was set on Nov. 4. Interested bidders have until Nov. 24 to submit their respective proposals.

The winning bidder will supply, install, test and commission the diesel gensets, which have a total capacity of 7.8 megawatts (MW).

Napocor is also re-bidding the contract to construct a 2x150 kw Pandami diesel power plant in Sulu. It has allotted a budget of P20.45 million for the contract.

The winning bidder will have a period of 240 days or roughly eight months to complete the project.

For this undertaking, a pre-bid conference was set on Nov. 10 with the bidding scheduled on Nov. 24.

Lastly, Napocor is looking for a new bidder for the renovation of the Romblon diesel power plant. It has set a budget of P1.42 million for this contract. The pre-bid conference was scheduled on Nov. 4 while the bidding would be held on Nov. 23.

These projects are in line with Napocor’s goal to ensure blackouts will not take place in off-grid areas.
Ayala expects power generation business to shore up profitability

by Myrna Velasco
October 25, 2015

It is a gradual climb when it comes to “significant contribution” to its bottom line, but the energy arm of Ayala Corporation expects its power generation business to already start contributing favorably this year.

“Around two-thirds of our portfolio just started operations. It takes a couple of years before your assets stabilize. But this year, we expect it to be contributing already,” AC Energy Holdings president and chief executive officer Eric Francia has told reporters.

The biggest addition in their operating portfolio this year would be the second phase of their South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation’s (SLTEC) coal plant in Batangas.

The 135-megawatt power facility is now on commissioning process. This is an expansion of the initial phase that was also at 135MW installed capacity.  This is the conglomerate’s joint venture with the Del Rosario-led Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation.

“The second unit of SLTEC is already being commissioned, so any time now, we should be in commercial operations,” Francia said. At this stage, their power business contribution to bottom line is still at single digit level.

But the real significant profit impact that AC Energy Holdings would come around 2019 with the targeted commercial operation of new power projects in Mindanao as well as the expansion of its coal plant in Mariveles, Bataan – both are tie-up ventures with GNPower.

This will then complete the 1,000MW portfolio that the company has set on blueprint. After that, Francia indicated that they would already take a more cautious approach on investment expansions given forecasts also of probable oversupply beyond 2019.

“Once GN Mindanao stabilizes, call it 2018-2019… hopefully sooner, given that we hope to start in 2017, then we’ll be able to see stable earnings by 2019,” the Ayala group’s energy executive
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on November 24, 2015, 05:53:11 PM
Friday, October 23, 2015
Ayala to open 10 new hotels
Posted at 10/22/2015 7:54 PM
Updated as of 10/22/2015 9:58 PM
MANILA - Ayala Land will open 10 new hotels over the next five years to reach its target of 6,000 rooms.

Nine of the hotels will operate under Ayala's Seda brand while one is the Mandarin Hotel in Makati.

"Right now, we have 2,000 rooms. Under construction is another close to 2,000 rooms and in next five years, we expect to have 6,000 rooms," Ayala Land Hotels and Resorts Corp. chief operating officer Al Legaspi said.

Legaspi added that the company will open a hotel resort under the Seda brand in El Nido, Palawan and serviced apartments in Makati, Cebu and Bonifacio Global City.

A 152-room Seda hotel opened early this month in San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo City, the first Seda hotel in the Visayas.

There are four other Seda hotels at the Bonifacio Global City, Cagayan de Oro, Davao City, and Nuvali, Laguna.

Ayala Land also earlier announced that the 46-year-old Hotel InterContinental Manila will be closing down by year-end.

The closure allows Ayala Land to move forward with its plan "to transform the entrance of Ayala Center Makati into a modern gateway, with a first-of-its-kind intermodal transport facility designed especially for the commuting public."
Robinsons to open 10 new malls in next 2 years
Posted at 10/22/2015 6:01 PM
Updated as of 10/22/2015 6:17 PM

MANILA - Robinsons Land Corp. is planning to open 10 new malls outside Metro Manila in the next two years as it boosts expansion nationwide.

In 2016, the property unit of the Gokongwei group will open five malls in Tagum, Jaro, Iligan City, Cebu and General Trias.

The firm will also expand existing malls in Ilocos Norte and Tacloban City.

"We hope to increase our gross leasable space by 10 to 11 percent. We're about 1 million gross leasable area now," said Robinsons Land vice president of corporate lease department Lourdes Alano.

Five other malls will be opened in 2017 in Ormoc, Tuguegarao, Naga City, Valencia, and Cabancalan.

Alano said Robinsons Land is planning to open three to five malls annually in the coming years.

"We are doing land banking activities not only in Metro Manila but Visayas and Mindanao area. But there is challenge in acquiring big parcels of land in Metro Manila," Alano said.

Robinsons Land earlier said that by 2019, it is looking to double its net income to P9.4 billion from P4.7 billion in 2014.

Currently, Robinsons Land is the country's second largest mall operator with 39 malls with total gross leasable area of 1.08 million square meters.
Henann Group marks milestone with Bohol project

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 23, 2015 - 12:00am

PANGLAO ISLAND, Bohol, Philippines – If one is looking for a luxury resort where one can enjoy the amenities without bumping into a mammoth crowd of tourists, the Henann Group of Resorts offers its latest project here, the Henann Resort Alona Beach, the largest resort in the province.

The resort is never empty since its soft opening in May but the place is big enough — with 400 rooms — to accommodate a swath of local and foreign visitors alike.

Indeed, its architecture and design is well thought of that any visitor does not have to bump into the crowd, with its deluxe, premier and suites to cater to families of all sizes. It has direct access to pools and has presidential and pool villas for private comfort.

It has three different pools with sunken bars. Other amenities include open air venue for weddings, fitness and business centers and a shop. It also offers a buffet of international cuisine in its Coral Café, the Kai Spa, an all day buffet at the Sea Breeze Beach Club, and Western fine dining restaurant Christina’s.

The rooms are well designed that one does not hear the crowd outside or those swimming in the different pools below.

“We consider Henann Resort Alona Beach a milestone in our company’s 17-year history as this is our first property outside Boracay. We had our soft opening in May of this year and we have been getting positive feedback since,” said Henry Chusuey, chairman of the Henann Group of Resorts.

Chusuey said the resort has the longest and widest beachfront along Alona Beach, a one-and-a-half kilometer beachfront.

More than the earnings, Chusuey said the group also takes pride in being able to provide local employment to the community. The resort currently has a staff of 450 people, most of whom are Boholanos.

Furthermore, the group utilized local materials such as laminated shells and coconuts to showcase the natural beauty of the Philippines. The rooms feature coastal-inspire interiors of aqua blue and beige.

As part of the hotel, the group also launched a convention center that can accommodate up to 1,000 people for sit-down events and up to 1,500 for cocktail set-up. It is a three-story convention center located just across the hotel resort.

Karl Chusuey, vice president for marketing of the Henann Group of Resorts, said the convention center also has 13 break-out rooms that can accommodate 30 to 390 persons per room while the meeting rooms can host 30 to 70 persons.

“We are riding on the growing popularity of Bohol as the next, best location for seminars, official business functions and conferences. Panglao Island’s idyllic ambience is perfect for brainstorming, team building and knowledge sharing,” the younger Chusuey said.

Since its soft opening in May, the hotel resort is regularly fully booked.

When asked about the resort’s popularity, the older Chusuey said it also has to do with strategic pricing.

“We offer five star service but our rates are relatively lower. Our end goal is to make our guests happy by letting them experience the Henann brand of service,” he said.

The Henann Group — named aptly as a combination of the names of Henry and his wife, Ann — opened its first hotel in Boracay in 1998.

“From 43 rooms, Boracay Regency now has 302 rooms. We have acquired and build the following properties as well: Henann Garden Resort, Henann Lagoon Resort, plus four more upcoming resorts totalling to 1,289 rooms in Boracay alone by end of 2017,” Chusuey said.

The company will also open four new properties in Boracay.

“We’re currently constructing Henann Prime Beach Resort in Station One. Soon to rise also in Station One is Henann Crystal Sands Resort, which is designed by the architectural firm Palafox Associates. We are also developing Henann Palm Beach Resort in Station Two and on the planning stage is another property along the main road,” he said.

There’s no stopping the Henann Group, indeed, from making its brand accessible to as many local and foreign tourists as possible.
Cirtek plans more acquisitions overseas
Posted at 10/22/2015 6:06 PM
Updated as of 10/22/2015 6:18 PM
MANILA - Semiconductor manufacturer Cirtek Holdings Philippines Corp. is looking to acquire high-value technologies overseas.

“We’re looking at technologies that are outside ASEAN—the high technologies and cutting edge technologies are found in US, Europe and Canada. It makes sense, we can acquire the technology and use the Philippines or ASEAN as manufacturing base,” Anthony Buyawe, chief financial officer at Cirtek, told ANC's "Market Edge" on Thursday.

Buyawe said the company may close an acquisition in the next 12 months as it looks at companies in the communications space as well as satellite technologies.

"It would be in the hotspots of microwave radio, which would be the Bay Area," he said.

Buyawe said Cirtek is banking on "mega trends" such as mobile data and the Internet of Things, which is expected to increase demand for bandwidth.

“That is leading towards greater demand for bandwidth and speed and we have that experience in terms of providing the radios and infrastructure to make that happen,” he said.

He added that the planned acquisitions will be funded by a follow-on offering that is expected to raise up to P2.8 billion.

“We’re looking at acquisitions that make sense to us, acquisitions that give us new markets and new products, and higher value technology,” he said.
DOTC: NAIA runway to be decongested

By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 23, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is now working to decongest the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as part of efforts to make further improvements at the country’s main international gateway.

While some improvements have been undertaken at NAIA, DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya said in a statement yesterday the government is now looking to ease congestion at the runway of the airport.

“Having fully opened Terminal 3 and substantially refurbishing Terminal 1 after decades of neglect, our next focus is decongesting the runway,” he said.

British air traffic management expert NATS Services Ltd. which was tapped by the DOTC for its NAIA Runway Optimization Project, has started gathering data at the airport this week.

Under the 12-month contract, NATS is tasked to increase the hourly air traffic movements to 60 from 40, by determining the optimal configuration for the airport’s intersecting runways.

Over a period of six months, NATS will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the airport’s current airspace, runway, and terminal capacities; air traffic and surface operations; runway access points; and ATC training.

For the succeeding six months, the Manila International Airport Authority and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will implement NAT’s recommended improvement measures.

The latest survey for travel website The Guide to Sleeping in Airports showed the NAIA was no longer in the list of the 10 worst airports in the world given rehabilitation efforts undertaken to decongest and clean up Terminal 1.

While NAIA was not part of the latest 10 worst airports in the world list, it ranked eighth worst airport in Asia.

NAIA was tagged the worst airport in the world from 2011 to 2013.

In a related development, the DOTC has received the pre-feasibility study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the location of the country’s new international airport.

Abaya said the study which considered five locations, has narrowed down the options to two: Sangley Point in Cavite and Central Manila Bay.

The estimated cost for putting up the airport in Sangley Point is $10 billion, while locating in Central Manila Bay would amount to $13 billion.

Abaya said the DOTC expects to get the full feasibility study after the first quarter of next year and present it to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board for approval.

“We’ll merely reiterate what the JICA study says…Whatever the JICA study shows, we’ll present to NEDA Board,” he said.
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After NAIA-1 rehab, what's next?
Posted at 10/22/2015 3:32 PM
Updated as of 10/22/2015 3:44 PM
MANILA - After the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA-1), what's next for the country's main gateway?

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said it will now focus on decongesting the runway, which has been the cause of many flight delays daily.

“While we are pleased to hear that international travelers no longer rate NAIA among the world’s worst, there is obviously still a lot for us to do. Having fully opened Terminal 3 and substantially refurbishing Terminal 1 after decades of neglect, our next focus is decongesting the runway,” Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya.

NAIA is no longer among the world's "worst" airports according to the recent list of online travel site Guide to Sleeping in Airports, citing the airport's rehabilitation efforts and the introduction of a lounge in Terminal 3.

The DOTC has tapped world-renowned air traffic management expert NATS Services Limited for its NAIA Runway Optimization Project, which is aimed at maximizing the use of the runway and increasing hourly air traffic movements from 40 up to 60.

NATS will submit its recommendations on NAIA’s current airspace, runway and terminal capacity, air traffic and surface operations, runway access points, and Air Traffic Controllers’ training within the next six months.

Meanwhile, the DOTC said it is firm on bidding out NAIA to help improve the infrastructure and capacity of the airport.

According to Abaya, proposals to build a third runway and a new terminal at the airport will not really bring much improvement.

"On the third runway, we've seen through a study made by a runway consultant, it wouldn't really improve our efficiency in runways because essentially we need to cross our main runway and that, if you net that out there wouldn't be much improvement," he told ANC's "Business Nightly" in an interview Wednesday night.
International airport in Pangasinan not practical – Roxas

By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 23, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II does not think the proposal of independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe to have an international airport in Pangasinan is practical.

“I think spending should be in the right place. If nobody will ride, no airplane will land so there’s no need. We will just be wasting money,” he said in Filipino.

He was reacting to reports that Poe is pushing for the construction of an international airport in Pangasinan, the home province of the senator’s late father Fernando Poe Jr.

Roxas explained that a big infrastructure project like an international airport has to undergo thorough study and assessment of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the country’s social and economic development planning and policy coordinating body.

He said NEDA studies all projects to make sure that government money is spent on projects that would benefit the majority of the people.

In a statement, the LP said each candidate coming out to sow intrigue and assail the integrity of their rivals should take a step back and honestly assess if they are ready to walk their own talk.

Roxas had tried to woo Poe to become his runningmate in the 2016 elections. But the latter rejected the offer and instead opted to run for president with Sen. Francis Escudero as her runningmate.

Recently, senatorial candidate Richard Gordon claimed that an LP member approached him to file a disqualification case against Poe.

Roxas then challenged Gordon to name names, vowing to investigate and even expel from LP those who would be found engaged in black propaganda against party rivals.

“How we campaign is an indication of how we will govern,” said Roxas, as he promised that he and runningmate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo would never engage in personal attacks against their rivals.

“Part of integrity is being ready, willing and able to put yourself up for public and legal scrutiny, whether it is in facing up to corruption charges or in forthrightly answering questions relating to your qualification for office,” said LP in a statement.

The LP issued the statement after Roxas and Robredo received more than their fair share of unfair attacks over the past few weeks.

The LP said everything from photoshopped pictures supposedly showing “epal” tarps along EDSA, to deliberate misquotes attached to memes circulated on social media, to five-year-old news stories rehashed as “current events,” to the filing of a certificate of candidacy for president by a man named Manny “Mar” Roxas, to the unending barrage of unfounded accusations that Roxas is behind everything from Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s cancer rumors to Poe’s disqualification case to Vice President Jejomar Binay’s legal problems.
ASEAN integration: PH energy sector OK, sugarcane industry in trouble
The energy sector stands to benefit from the integration, while the sugarcane industry is seen to be adversely affected, a former energy undersecretary and lawyer says

Chris Schnabel
Published 8:31 PM, October 22, 2015
Updated 8:32 PM, October 22, 2015
MANILA, Philippines – The integration in process as part of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) brings both opportunities and challenges, and domestic firms will have to prepare for them.

The energy sector, which has already been opened to outside investors should do fine, but the sugarcane industry is in trouble, said lawyer Jose M. Layug, former energy undersecretary and senior partner at Puno and Puno Law Offices, at a conference on ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) competitiveness on Thursday, October 22.

“The sugarcane industry will definitely be adversely affected. If you compare the cost of producing sugar domestically compared to our ASEAN neighbors, it’s really far. Theirs is much cheaper and if we don’t help the industry and the farmers they’ll be in trouble,” he said.

“Already, there are people importing sugar illegally and at some point that will be legal pursuant our ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) obligations,” Layug said.

ASEAN neighbors like Thailand and Vietnam have provided subsidies for their sugarcane industries which has resulted in them grabbing a much larger share of the global market, while in the Philippines, sugarcane is “probably the only industry that is not receiving any subsidy from the government,” he added.

What the government has done in response is to pass the Sugarcane Development Act which aims to promote competitiveness of the industry and help small sugarcane farmers. Passed in April of this year, it will provide infrastructure support, farm to mill roads, and a block farming scheme.

Still, Layug said, other ASEAN neighbors have been providing this kind of support for years and will continue to boost their sugarcane industry while the Philippines is only starting.

One of the intitiaitives that help, he added, is a co-generation scheme to develop biomass plants that uses sugarcane to produce power to give farmers an additional market to sell to.

Energy sector would be fine

The energy sector on the other hand, he said would not be affected by the integration and in fact stands to benefit from the new cross border opportunities.

Since the passage in 2001 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, the sector opened to private investment, and thus have seen an influx of new players, he said.

Although it is dominated by 3 major players namely Aboitiz, Lopez Group, and San Miguel Corporation, there are a lot of smaller players who have come in, particularly in renewable energy, he said.

The challenge is to make the sector more competitive as the integration will no doubt attract more foreign investments.

Renewable energy projects are often too small in terms of output for the "Big 3" to touch, so they tend to focus on more big ticket projects and that is where other players come in. Unfortunately, it takes about 200 signatures to get permission for a new plant so that needs to be improved, Layug said.

The Energy department reported on October 22 that it has already awarded 686 renewable energy contracts, 7 years since the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 was enacted into law. As of end-September 2015, the agency said that these contracts have a potential generation capacity of 13,650.29 megawatts (MW) as against a total installed capacity of 2,937.06 MW.

Also, the 60-40 law limiting foreign ownership is another hindrance as it discourages foreign investment that can provide much needed capital for renewable energy projects.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a measure that allows for foreign investors to provide 80%-90% of the capital, but are only allowed to have 40% of the voting rights to determine the direction of a firm, Layug said.

"It’s a struggle to find a foreign firm that will put up a majority of the capital without having a majority share in the firm’s decisions," he said.

At the same time, regional integration will make it easier for the Big 3 firms, and for financially strong conglomerates like Ayala Corporation that are new to the energy industry, to invest regionally.

Indonesia has a shortage of power and the government has signaled its intention to sell some coal power plants, Layug said, while Myanmar has massive shortage and presents a lots of opportunities.
Regional mergers

Panelists at the conference organized by the Futuristics Center and the Asian Institute of Management also delved into the legal hurdles of corporate mergers, both domestic and regionally with the ongoing integration.

This comes at a time when business leaders foresee many potential regional mergers, as well as domestic consolidation to happen in order to improve a firm’s competitiveness as regional players enter the market.

"We’ve seen many industries begin to consolidate in the past few years in preparation for more competition," said Philippine Chamber of Commence Industry (PCCI) Trade and Services Chairman George Barcelon.

For example, the retail sector and in particular wholesaler, Puregold, has been buying up small markets in order to accrue economies of scale.

Rural banks have also been merging along with a lot of private schools in preparation for the K to 12 reform, along with real estate firms and holding companies, he added.

In the immediate future, Barcelon said that cement and steel industries will see some consolidation due to China’s slowdown and the slowing global demand.

“The integration also provides a great opportunity to attract more foreign investments, and yes, there will be more competition for local firms,” he said, “but it will be healthy competition.” –
Search for a home to call his own ends at Mayfield Park Residences

(The Philippine Star)
Updated October 23, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Twenty-nine year old Luther John De La Cruz have lived in the slums for almost three decades before finally achieving his dream – a home that he could finally call his own.

Luther’s story is a testament to how many Filipinos today still looks back to the place they called their home no matter where their journey in life takes them to. For him, home is where the family can stay together even if they have to share a crowded room or change residence many times over.

But like everyone else, Luther also dreamt of a better life. He wanted to live in a house that he, his mother and his father can call their own. “I wanted it to be my gift to my parents. I saw how hard they struggled to make both ends meet for our family and let me finish my studies.”

Luther eventually graduated from college and found a job at a shipping company that transports cattle across the Atlantic Ocean. After working for three years, he was then recruited in the youth activities department onboard the Disney Magic – one of the four ships of the Disney Cruise Line, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Co. that takes its passengers on a fantasy voyage in different destinations around the world.

But the glamour of the job has not been able to cure him of his homesickness. He just held on to the promise that someday, he will be able to save enough money to buy his dream home which he’d like to give to his parents.

One day, while browsing the Internet, he chanced upon a spacious, resort-type condominium in Pasig that was then being sold at a very affordable rate. This was DMCI Homes’ Mayfield Park Residences which is located along Felix Avenue in Pasig City.

The Zen-inspired condominium complex consists of nine mid-rise buildings and boasts of premium amenities such as a swimming pool, gym and a clubhouse for the entire family. About 60 percent of the total land area is allocated for wide open spaces, gardens and koi ponds that promote wellness and comfort. Moreover, the development is close to schools and shopping hubs like the Araneta Center, Greenhills and Libis Commercial Center.

“It was both an answered prayer and a dream come true,” he says. “Mayfield Park Residences offered a quiet, safe and relaxed environment with lots of nature. It’s really perfect for my ageing parents. I immediately bought a unit online. After that, everything seemed like a breeze and the next thing I knew, I was already dreaming of going back home and looking forward to the new home I could finally call our own.”

For over two years now, Luther and his mother had been enjoying the comforts of their two-bedroom unit. “It has always been my sanctuary where I get peace of mind knowing that this is the promise I have delivered well.”
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Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Seiko Epson investing $28 M for new factory

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 27, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Japan’s Seiko Epson Corp. is investing $28 million for the construction of a new factory to triple its production capacity of printheads for inkjet printers.

Epson Philippines said the new plant in Japan would commence construction next months and is expected to begin operations next year.

Epson Philippines said the new factory would manufacture and assemble inkjet printheads, the core devices used in Epson’s high-capacity ink tank printers and business inkjet printers.

“We make a significant contribution to the manufacturing capability of the entire Epson Group, sharing with Epson’s overseas manufacturing plants the technical expertise we have gained from manufacturing core devices. By using Epson’s original production equipment and automating and rationalizing production lines, the new plant will further raise our production capability,” said Takashi Mitsui, president of Akita Epson, a group company of Seiko Epson.

In the Philippines, Epson said its ink tank system printers are instrumental in propelling the digital imaging leader to a market leading position.

“Our ink tank printers provide the best value in the market — with a printing cost of only seven centavos per page, unmatched durability and reliability, and unequalled print quality, Epson is the undisputed brand of choice of Filipinos,” Epson Philippines product manager Russer Cabrera said.
Noy: Philippines overflowing with infra projects

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 27, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino took exception to reports on the lack of infrastructure projects in the country, saying these are overflowing under his administration.

He issued the statement amid reports that the Philippines ranked eighth among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in terms of overall quality of infrastructure.

In his speech during the thanksgiving celebration and national transformation assembly of the First Baptist Church in Tarlac on Sunday, the President said  he couldn’t help asking what more needed to be constructed.

“Tumakbo sa isip ko nang tinanong ako ukol sa kulang na kulang daw ang ating imprastruktura. Natukso ako tuloy itanong sa kanya: Ano pa bang imprastruktura na pwedeng gawin ang hindi pa natin ginagawa?” he said.

He cited Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson’s statement that the government even exceeded the limit in some provinces, such as in Apayao, where there is presently a dearth of cement, steel and even high-skilled workers like carpenters, electricians and plumbers.

“But how can we lack in gravel and sand? That’s how many infrastructure projects going on simultaneously that eventually there was shortfall in supply,” Aquino, quoting Singson, said.

He said at least two governors from Mindanao who used to beg for projects are now saying their problem is providing the counterpart funding.

In Central Luzon, the President directed Singson to coordinate with local government authorities for the immediate repair of the Pura-Guimba Road.

Aquino said he noticed cracks along the 11.44-kilometer provincial road when he visited Nueva Ecija recently to distribute relief goods for the victims of Typhoon Lando.

He said repair of provincial roads is not covered by the budget that Congress has enacted for the DPWH.
MPIC-Ayala consortium mulls bid for LRT-6 PPP

By Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 27, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC), the concessionaire for the Light Rail Transit (LRT)  Line 1 Cavite extension project is looking to participate in the bidding for another public private partnership (PPP) deal.

LRMC president and chief executive officer Jesus Francisco said the company is interested in the P65-billion LRT Line 6.

 “Of course we are interested because it will enhance the economics of our line (Line 1), if that line (Line 6) were to be built,” he said.

The LRT Line 6 covers the construction of a proposed 19-kilometer (km) railway from Niyog, Bacoor (the terminus of the LRT 1 Cavite extension) to Dasmariñas City.

The LRT Line 6 project was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Board last month.

PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said the government is looking to issue the invitation to bidders for the project by December.

LRMC, the joint venture company of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp.’s Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., Ayala Corp.’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte Ltd., bagged the P65 billion LRT 1 Cavite Extension, Operation and Maintenance PPP project.

The company assumed operations of the LRT 1 which spans Roosevelt station in Quezon City up to Baclaran station in Pasay City, last Sept. 12.

Under the 32-year cooperation agreement for the project, the LRMC will undertake the construction of the 11.7-km extension from the present end point of LRT 1 at Baclaran to the Niyog area in Bacoor, Cavite.

Francisco said the company would start the construction of the extension of the LRT 1 once it takes substantial delivery of right-of-way.
British firm bags deal to build biggest solar project in Southeast Asia

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 27, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in Manila said British-based solar energy company Proinso has bagged the engineering, procurement and management (EPM) contract for Southeast Asia’s largest solar power project in Subic.

UKTI said Proinso is already one the largest integrators of solar components and solutions globally and its involvement in the project is set to further boost its business.

“The Subic Bay engagement is a complex project demanding a high level of capability support across many disciplines provided via our EPM program. Our EPM model is based on a collaborative approach working with local partners.  This way, Proinso is able to deliver world class renewable assets and also invest in the development of a strong local industry,” said Stuart Macfarlane, regional head for Asia Pacific of Proinso.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority last month said it would host a $200-million combined solar and wind farm that would generate a total of 150 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to be undertaken by Emerging Power Inc.

The project will include a 100 MW solar farm project, eyed to be the largest in Southeast Asia.

UKTI Manila said it extensively supported Proinso’s entry into the Philippine market and British Embassy events have been key to the company securing the Subic Bay contract.

“The UK is committed to action on climate change and Proinso is a great example of our business expertise in renewable energy and low carbon initiatives. A project of this scale will utilize the abundance of solar energy in the Philippines and help the country develop a cleaner energy mix,” British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad said.

UKTI Manila said the Subic Bay project would be one of biggest for a UK business in the Philippines this year.
Philippines in spotlight as host of AsPac aviation conference

By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 27, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s hosting of the 52nd Directors General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Conference for Asia-Pacific is a manifestation of the renewed trust of the global civil aviation community in the Philippines, local aviation officials said.

“It is opportune that the conference is being held at a time when the Philippine civil aviation has rebounded from the doldrums of sanctions and restrictions since 2008,” Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director general William Hotchkiss III said during yesterday’s opening ceremony.

For his part, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the Philippine aviation industry has regained its stature as a reliable authority after it surpassed the challenges in the recent years.

The significant safety concerns imposed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was lifted in March 2013 and Philippine carriers have been delisted from the European Union (EU) blacklist.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) was removed in July 2013, Cebu Pacific in April 2014 and other local carriers were allowed to fly in EU air space since June this year.

“The Philippine aviation has also regained its Category 1 aviation safety rating in April 2014 after years of being downgraded at Category 2,” Abaya added.

He noted that the aviation industry is experiencing tremendous growth that will help economies thrive.

“Air transportation supports the major growth drivers, namely tourism, agriculture and job generation,” Abaya said.

The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) projected that by 2034, passenger traffic may reach 7.3 billion on a 4.1 percent average annual growth rate. The Asia-Pacific region alone will make up 42 percent of total global passenger traffic and an average annual growth rate of 4.9 percent.

Abaya added a recent study revealed international passenger demand in the country will reach 41.7 million by 2030, hitting an average annual growth rate of 4.9 percent.

The DGCA Conference is an annual engagement where civil aviation officials from 31 countries come together to discuss technical issues in civil aviation safety and security. This year’s conference revolves around the theme “Evolving the New Generation Aviation Professional towards a Harmonized, Safe, Secure and Green Asia Pacific Sky.”

“We shall emphasize the vital importance of compliance to the standards and practices of ICAO, ensure the safety and security of Asia-Pacific and explore mutually beneficial approaches in the different facets of civil aviation,” Hotchkiss said.
After disappointing H1 results: Budget chief sees growth accelerating in Q3

By Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 27, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Despite lingering financial volatility, economic growth could have accelerated in the third quarter from the previous six months on the back of sustained domestic demand, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

“I can say with confidence that third quarter growth will be better than first half growth,” Abad told The STAR in a text message yesterday.

Economic growth – as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) – slowed to 5.3 percent in the first semester even after it picked up to 5.6 percent in the second quarter from five percent in the first three months.

Abad, the chairman of the interagency Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC), earlier said the government is sticking to its seven to eight percent growth goal this year even as he admitted reaching it is a “challenge.”

The third-quarter GDP data will be reported next month.

Asked what could have driven the July-September growth, Abad particularly cited stronger government spending during the period. Treasury data showed state expenditures rose nine percent year-on-year in the first half.

This paled in comparison with an average of 20-percent expansion in July and August. The fiscal performance for September has yet to be released.

Private spending could have also contributed, Abad said, pointing to traditional drivers of overseas Filipino remittances and receipts from business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

From January to August, remittances grew 4.01 percent to P16.21 billion, central bank data showed. Large dollar inflows and BPO earnings give Filipino families more money to spend and invest, helping boost growth.

On the flip side, Abad said exports and imports, which are also “significant drivers” of GDP, likely dragged growth. For the first eight months, exports were down 4.4 percent, while imports inched up 0.1 percent as of July.

 “I’m not too sure how these sub-sectors performed in the context of global slowdown and uncertainties, but with a low inflation regime…, third quarter still should be better than the first half,” the budget chief explained.

Earlier, Abad said economic managers are no longer meeting this year to review macroeconomic targets and would likely wait until full-year growth data is available.

Budget Undersecretary Laura Pascua said yesterday preparations have “not yet” been made for a DBCC meeting. Pascua is the chair of the Executive Technical Board, which recommends targets to DBCC.

When asked what could be ETB’s recommendations, Pascua said in a separate text message: “We have not seen the technical working group recommendations yet.”
Tokyo Logistics Market Vacancies Rates Decline Further in Q3

Commercial News » Tokyo Edition
By Miho Favela
October 26, 2015 8:30 AM ET

According to CBRE, vacancy rates for large multi-tenant logistics facilities (LMTs) in the Greater Tokyo area remained low in Q3, 2015, declining a further 0.1 points q-o-q to 3.5%.

There was just one facility completed during the quarter, which was not fully let on completion. However, a substantial volume of space taken up in new buildings completed in previous quarters contributed to the decline in the vacancy rate.

Vacancy rates in Greater Tokyo displayed considerable variation across different areas. Gaikando reported no vacancies for the second consecutive quarter, while Route 16 vacancies stood at 3.1%. Gaikando was also the only of the four areas that saw an effective rent index increase. Vacancy rates in central Tokyo Bay and the outermost Ken-O-do area rose to 8.4% and 7.4% respectively.

"Asking rents for facilities yet to be completed are rising due to inflation in construction costs," said Maro Kobayashi, senior director of CBRE's Industrial Services group in Japan. "While this is making it more difficult for tenants to justify relocating, there is plentiful supply of properties, implying that the choice for tenants is widening. Ken-O Expressway connecting the Tomei and Tohoku Expressways at the end of October, may induce them to become more active."
In the Greater Osaka area, one facility was completed during the quarter, with around 70% occupancy. Vacant space in other new properties was also taken up, and the vacancy rate fell to 4.5%. More tenants are likely to sign leases towards the end of the year, and it is already hard to find large spaces for rent.

"Although there is some variation in the length of leases, the supply of new facilities is helping to bring tenant demand to the surface," said Kenji Kitamura, senior director of CBRE's Kansai Industrial Services group in Japan.

"Demand in the Greater Osaka Region is strong, with numerous medium to large-scale requirements from tenants across a wide variety of industries looking to expand or consolidate their logistics operations."

In other regional cities, tight markets are showing some signs of activity, as tenants relocating to their own new developments give rise to vacancies in the leasing market, and new development plans are announced. However, there is still a shortage of good quality facilities for rent, and more new supply is needed.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on November 24, 2015, 05:56:41 PM
Property values in Alabang West soar 19% in less than a year

by James Loyola
October 27, 2015 (updated)

Megaworld Corporation reported  yesterday that property values in the 62-hectare Alabang West, a Beverly Hills-inspired township development of subsidiary Global-Estate Resorts, Inc. (GERI), have already soared 19 percent, just 11 months after its launch.

From P47,000 per square meter in October last year, land prices in Alabang West have increased to P56,000 per square meter as of September 30 this year. To date, around 80 percent of the total 788 residential lots  have already been sold out.

Megaworld Global-Estate Resorts, Inc. vice president for sales and marketing Rachelle Peñaflorida said the fast take-up of village lots in the township can be attributed to the township’s strategic location and brighter prospects for fast value appreciation of the property.

“There has been a sharp rise in the demand for residential lots in Alabang West in the past six months. As far as location is concerned, Alabang is not just an option but top-of-the-mind to many property buyers especially those who are looking into the south,” explained Peñaflorida.

Earlier this year, independent research firm Cuervo Far East identified the Southern Manila West Growth Area (WGA), which includes Alabang, to be experiencing a remarkable average annual appreciation of property values by 10 to 15 until 2019 due to new developments by the biggest real estate developers in the Philippines such as Megaworld.

“We have even exceeded the average annual appreciation forecast, which is a good indication of the property market in Alabang, especially for Alabang West. The entry of our township into this booming side of  southern Metro Manila is a perfect timing,” said Penaflorida.

Alabang West integrates a Beverly Hills-themed lifestyle into its commercial, retail and residential developments. Aside from a shopping strip inspired by the famous Rodeo Drive in Hollywood, Alabang West also offers an upscale residential community with lots ranging from 250 to 800 square meters.

Alabang West Village offers first-class amenities that include badminton and basketball courts, function halls, cabanas, game room, café and al fresco dining areas, a fitness center, pocket gardens, open parks and infinity pool, among others.

“In the next five to ten years, we envision Alabang West to be the next big thing in southern Metro Manila,” said Peñaflorida.

Located beside Alabang’s high-end communities and golf course, the township is accessible through major access points in South Luzon Expressway, including Alabang Exit, Filinvest Exit, and the newly opened Daang Hari Exit.
RLC acquires rights over 8.5-ha China property

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 28, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Robinsons Land Corp., the property development arm of the Gokongwei  family’s JG Summit Holdings Corp., has acquired the right to use an 8.5-hectare property in Chengdu, China.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), RLC said its offshore subsidiary Robinsons Land China would convert the property into residential projects with a commercial component.

“This acquisition is in line with the normal course of RLC’s real estate business and its plan to explore opportunities internationally,” the company said.

Robinsons Land China’s business includes providing residential, office and commercial mall destinations in Shanghai, Xiamen, Chengdu, Taicang and soon in other key cities.

Its goal is to become the leader in mixed-use developments in the Chinese market.

Robinsons Land China’s projects include Robinsons Galleria Jiading Mall, a prime mixed used development with 60,000 square meters of commercial mall space.

It features a wide array of dining, entertainment, wellness and shopping choices for shoppers in Shanghai.

For residential projects, Robinsons Residences has the Lakeshore Place in Chengdu, which is a large residential and business community.

Located in the center of Cha Dian Zi in the western City of Guobin region, next to Chengguan road and Huangzhong main street in the South, the development is within the region’s most popular site for real estate.

The property is highly accessible to transportations routes, business facilities, sports, entertainment and dining destinations

Lakeshore has a large-scale water concept situated within a residential area that ensures a relaxing environment.
Mergers between local developers, international hospitality brands fuel real estate boom

By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 28, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The merging of international hospitality brands and Filipino property developers is contributing to the growth of hotel residences real estate market in the large part of the Southeast Asian (SEA) region.

A new research by Asia-based hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks showed SEA hotel residences market has topped the P749 billion level, while the Philippines alone has P158 billion worth of properties for sale.

“The historic pattern of hotel and real estate marriages has moved away from the beach and leisure destinations and is gaining traction in urban city offerings. Traditional lifestyle buyers are being supplanted by end users, with Asian’s representing the largest transaction segment,” C9 Hotelworks managing director Bill Barnett said.

C9 Hotelworks revealed that there are over 28,000 hotel branded residential units for sale across seven SEA nations represented by nearly 120 projects.

In the Philippines, market size is reflected in a supply of over 11,000 residential units with Metro Manila and Boracay as the top two locations. Average price for urban properties is at P196,547 per square meter (sqm) and P189,276 per sqm for resort destinations.

Barnett added that one key catalyst for the rising tide is the increasing number of mixed use projects that contain hotel and real estate components.

“What is clear in looking at the landscape is that rapidly escalating land prices are driving developers to embrace mixed-use projects in increasing numbers, and often add in commercial, sporting and tourism attractions as part of broader lifestyle offerings,” he said.

The report highlighted a refocus by global hotel chains who have realized that in order to spur growth, there is an essential need to partner with property developers in hotel residence offerings.

“Asia and the Philippine property cycles have typically seen these type of investment driven projects at the top of markets in the mid 1990s and again in the mid-millennium, hence history is recreating itself, yet this time out at a considerably higher scale,” Barnett said.

A growing number of new projects coming into the Philippines will include hotel brand alliances such as AppleOne Properties that will sign with global Starwood Group for a new Sheraton in Cebu.
Aside from the hotel component, the mixed-use development has 182 condominium units with one, two and three-bedroom types.

“It’s clear that a significant number of projects now contain both traditional accommodation elements and real estate components. It’s forecast that a large push into resort properties will occur in the next two to three years in the sector,” Barnett noted.
New NAIA to be operational in two decades

The Philippine government is looking at two possible sites for the new NAIA: the reclamation area in Manila Bay and the naval station in Sangley Point in Cavite

Chrisee Dela Paz
Published 7:16 PM, October 27, 2015
Updated 9:40 PM, October 27, 2015
MANILA, Philippines — It will take two decades before passengers coming in and out of the country can experience the planned Manila’s new international airport.

This is what Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said on Tuesday, October 27, when asked for updates on plans to replace Manila’s dilapidated Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

"Based on the latest discussions with JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), it will take two decades from feasibility study to actual operations of the New NAIA," Balisacan said in a media briefing in Ortigas district.

JICA is being commissioned by the Philippine government to explore possible locations for the New NAIA project.

The chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) added that JICA is targeting to come up with the full feasibility study of the new Manila airport "by early next year."

During a forum in Manila last week, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said on the sidelines that his department could endorse to the NEDA Board two possible sites for the new NAIA: the reclamation area in Manila Bay and the naval station in Sangley Point in Cavite.

"The difference between the two is that Sangley will cost about $10 billion, while the Manila Bay area is at around $13 billion," Abaya told reporters last week.

For Balisacan, "Cost is one of the major considerations. But what we are really pushing is for Metro Manila to become more livable through projects like this."
A mix of financing options

In a copy of JICA’s discussion paper on its New NAIA proposal obtained by reporters in June last year, the agency said "there will be 3 sources of funds — the public sector, ODA and the private sector" to "arrive at a workable project package."

JICA told the local Transportation department that "the national government should consider availing of official development assistance (ODA) loans" from the Japanese agency.

These loans, according to JICA, would have preferential terms, such as an interest rate of from 0.55% to 1.40% denominated in Japanese yen (inclusive of government guarantees and foreign exchange risk cover), 40-year repayment, and 10-year grace period on the principal repayment.

JICA added in its discussion paper that the applicable interest rate will be 1.4% as there will be no need for an intermediary as the Japanese government will be dealing directly with the Philippine government.
A segment under PPP

The Japanese agency said that another source of financing for the project could be a private sector proponent under the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

The private sector partner "should have substantial financial resources at its disposal" due to the huge capital requirements of the project, JICA said.

Another source of project financing, JICA proposed, is through a combination of national government funds in the form of viability gap funding, a special infrastructure allotment, and funds from the implementing agencies and select stakeholders.

Viability gap funding in a PPP project means the government would fund the gap and give the money to the concessionaire.

For beyond 2025, the transportation department said that the government will have two options: to close NAIA once the new international airport is expanded into a four-runway airport or retain the dual-airport system and develop NAIA into a two- to three-runway airport. –
Century Pacific acquires coconut producer

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 28, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Century Pacific Food Inc. has acquired a 100 percent interest in Century Pacific Agricultural Ventures Inc., an integrated coconut producer of organic coconut products. for P4.5 billion.

Half or about P2.25 billion of the total investment will be sourced from existing cash and bank borrowings while the remaining P2.25 billion will be made via the issuance of 18.2 million Century Pacific shares at a price of P17.55 each.

“This acquisition is in line with Century Pacific’s priority to cement itself as a leading player in growing food markets. Global food companies have seen an increased appetite to search for acquisition targets in this higher growth, health-conscious, and organic product categories,” said Century Pacific president Christopher Po.

He said the new business will be a great addition to Century Pacific Food’s portfolio and another leg to sustain and drive the company’s future growth.

The P17.55 issue price is equivalent to a 4.41 percent premium from Century Pacific’s 30-day volume weighted average price of P16.81 per share as of Oct. 16 and a 3.85 percent premium from Monday’s closing price of P16.90 per share.

Century Pacific engaged Evercore Asia Ltd. as its financial advisor.

It has also tapped Cayetano Sebastian Ata Dado & Cruz Law Offices to conduct legal due diligence, and BDO Capital & Investment to provide a third party fairness opinion.

Century Pacific is the largest canned food company in the country. Its brands include Century Tuna, Argentina Corned Beef, 555 Sardines, Angel, and Birch Tree, which have established market leading positions locally.

The company also provides private label tuna products for export overseas.

Established in 2012, Century Pacific Agriculture operates an integrated coconut facility, whose primary products are organic-certified, and conventional coconut water, desiccated coconuts, and virgin coconut oil.

The subsidiary’s coconut water and virgin coconut oil are sold to global brands and retailers in their respective categories. Other current products include copra, coco meal, and coco shells, which are sold to the domestic market.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on November 24, 2015, 05:59:51 PM
MNTC takes over SCTEx

By Louella D. Desiderio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 28, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), a unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), has assumed operations of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) after receiving the Toll Operation Certificate (TOC) from the government.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday, MPIC said the MNTC received the TOC covering the operation and maintenance of the SCTEx from the Toll Regulatory Board on Oct. 23.

The MNTC was awarded the contract to manage, operate and maintain the 94-kilometer SCTEx traversing the provinces of Bataan, Pampanga and Tarlac, during a price challenge in January.

The business and operating agreement gives MNTC the right to operate and manage SCTEx for 33 years, while BCDA would be relieved of payment of the P34-billion debt to the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the construction of the tollway.

For the price challenge, MNTC offered an upfront cash payment of P3.5 billion, inclusive of 12 percent value-added tax to the BCDA in addition to the 50-50 sharing of gross revenues.

MNTC, the tollways arm of infrastructure giant MPIC, is the concessionaire of the North Luzon Expressway.

Aside from tollways, MPIC is involved in other businesses such as healthcare, power generation and distribution, and water utility.

“Our team looks forward to implementing world class seamless travel for our NLEx and SCTEx motorists. We remain committed in delivering safe, convenient travel to our motorists,” Ramoncito Fernandez, president of MNTC’s parent firm Metro Paci-fic Tollways Corp. said.

He added that the concession further solidifies Metro Pacific’s leadership in the Philippine toll road industry.
Ph, Japan set to sign loan deal for North-South rail project in November

by Philippine News Agency
October 27, 2015 (updated)
MANILA — The Philippines is set to sign next month an Php89-billion loan agreement with Japanese government to partially finance the North-South commuter rail project (NSCRP) meant to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

“The loan agreement for the project will be signed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Philippines for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meet next month,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a press briefing.

Balisacan, also the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general, said the Php89 billion, which will be sourced from a concessional loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), represented Japan’s biggest official development assistance to the Philippines to date.

The Philippine and Japanese governments held Tuesday the first Ministerial-Level Steering Committee meeting for the “Cooperation Roadmap for Quality Infrastructure Development in the Transport Sector in Metropolitan Manila Area.”

Balisacan said following the loan agreement signing was the detailed engineering design phase for the Php105.31-billion NSCRP project,which will take at least 12 months.

He said bidding would precede project construction.

“The project will be completed in 2021; some couple of years,” he added.

For his part, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson considered the rail or the mass transit as the more important component of the transport roadmap.

Singson said part of this roadmap component were the Mega Manila Subway project and the NSCRP that would connect all the existing Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems.

“So I’m really pushing for an early implementation on the decision on the rail components. As far as the DPWH is concerned, … what we really need at this time for Metro Manila to become more livable is mass transport,” he said in the same event.

The NSCRP project is designed to provide an efficient alternative mode of public transportation for commuters traversing between Bulacan and Manila.
Kennon Road reopens October 28
Kennon Road has been closed since late August after the onslaught of Typhoon Ineng (Goni)
Published 8:27 PM, October 27, 2015
Updated 8:34 PM, October 27, 2015
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Kennon Road officially opens again at 8 am Wednesday, October 28, after being closed to traffic for about a month, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Cordillera announced on Tuesday.

"Please take all necessary precautions especially along slide prone area," said Danilo Dequito, DPWH Cordillera head.

Kennon Road had been closed since late August after the onslaught of Typhoon Ineng (Goni). –
PPPs growing in ASEAN, but corruption risks are high

Conflicts of interest and political influence are high-risk areas in public-private partnerships, speakers say in the ongoing ASEAN Responsible Business Forum

Lynda C. Corpuz
Published 4:19 PM, October 27, 2015
Updated 4:19 PM, October 27, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Public-private partnerships projects (PPPs) are growing in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with new laws being approved in countries with lots of potential for PPPs.

"Investor and lender feedback shows they are more likely to draw comfort if a country is committed to a PPP program, rather than a one-off transaction," Asian Development Bank's (ADB) PPP specialist Pratish Halady wrote early this year.

But as these countries open their markets for PPPs, so do opportunities for corrupt practices arise.

PPPs involve a contract between a public sector authority and a private party, in which the latter provides a public service or project, and assumes substantial financial, technical, and operational risk in the project.

"Not many companies are capable [of engaging in PPPs]. So I'm not surprised there's not a lot of companies participating in [such projects]," thus conflicts of interest and political influence arise, said Francesco Checchi, Southeast Asia and the Pacific for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) regional anti-corruption adviser during a consultative workshop on the 2015 ASEAN Responsible Business Forum, Tuesday, October 27.

Generally, it is difficult to regulate services that are both state- and privately-owned, he added.

"Promoting interests that are not aligned with the public interest, that's the problem. Political interference is a special challenge in PPPs. If not addressed in advanced, that [would] be very difficult to [manage]. In a worst case scenario, companies don't develop integrity framework," Checchi said in an interview with Rappler.

According to the PPP Infrastructure Resource Center, "PPPs can be susceptible to corrupt activity if not carefully planned and designed, as with general public procurement. Prevention of corruption requires the integration of anti-corruption approaches during project design."

The UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) have requirements for member-states to produce and implement regulations for prevention of corruption in the private sector, including PPPs.
Addressing regulatory gaps

In the Philippines, PPPs have become the thrust of the Aquino administration, particularly to improve infrastructure in public education, public works, mass transportation, and airports.

PPP Center's executive director Cosette Canilao told Rappler in July that the government targets to award 21 projects more before Aquino steps down in 2016.

"ASEAN has a healthy PPP ecosystem in the Philippines. Here, neighboring countries can take a cue from the Philippines, whose large and publicly viewable pipeline signals a clear long-term commitment to its PPP program," Halady wrote.

Jose Cortez, executive director of Integrity Initiative Inc in the Philippines said in an interview Tuesday that the country's decades-old Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law is exempt from some of the provisions of Republic Act No. 9184 or the Procurement Reform Act.

"What the BOT Law requires is that the private sector (should be) part of the bidding process, which some point out as clear conflict of interest. In the Procurement Reform Act, third-party observers come from independent groups like civil society organizations," Cortez cited.

Thus, passing the revised BOT Law would really be helpful to improve the PPP activities of the government. "PPPs are here to stay as better options than taking out loans from multilateral organizations that would only put the burden of paying those loans to the taxpayers," Cortez said.

Competing interests of politicians themselves are also another high-risk area in PPPs. "We have anti-corruption laws that are enforced, like the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Code of Ethics for public officials, and the Constitution itself. But what we're missing at this point is the corporate liability of individuals," Cortez said. He added that a big gap exists in terms of compliance by the private sector with the provisions of UNCAC.

Cortez said that PPP activities in the country are at risk of being jeopardized since "the Philippines has no existing law that defines corporate liability or that would criminallize corruption in the private sector, but some ASEAN countries have laws that prohibit bribery [of] national and foreign officials."

Overall, accountabillity, commitment, trust, integrity, openness or transparency, and network are musts in the fight against corruption, he said.

"Corruption has eroded the integrity of almost all institutions. Now, we're on the trust-building mode where our institutions are trying to win the trust of the public," Cortez said, adding that if transparency is prevalent in the company's culture, then it is easier to detect corrupt practices. –
DOE greenlights Trans-Asia stake in geothermal project

By Danessa O. Rivera (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 28, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Energy (DOE) has cleared the 25 percent buy-in of Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. in the geothermal service contract (GSC) in Mabini, Batangas.

Trans-Asia said it was informed by Basic Energy, the GSC operator, that the farm-in agreement was approved by the DOE.

“Please be informed that Basic Energy Corp., operator of Geothermal Service Contract No. 8 covering a certain area in Mabini, Batangas, notified us that the Department of Energy approved the assignment of 25 percent participating interest in the Mabini GSC from Basic to Trans-Asia,” the company said.

Trans-Asia said the consortium is preparing for the drilling of one exploratory well in the area by the third quarter of 2016.

Both parties signed in December 2013 an agreement for the exploration and development of geothermal service contracts.

Under the deal, Trans-Asia acquired a 10 percent stake in Basic Energy’s Mabini GSC, with the option to boost its stake to up to 40 percent.

Furthermore, it also has the option to acquire up to 60 percent of Basic Energy’s other geothermal service contracts in Mariveles Bataan, East Mankayan in Benguet, West Bulusan in Sorsogon and Mt. Iriga in Camarines Sur.

In February this year, both firms approved the 25 percent participating interest of Trans-Asia in GSC 8.
Maynilad taps US consultant for wastewater design

By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 28, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Metro Manila west zone water concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc. has hired a US-based company to help improve its wastewater services in its service area.

Engineering firm Black &Veatch has been tapped to draw up a set of guidelines and performance standards for Maynilad’s sewage collection network and treatment systems.

“We are assisting Maynilad in crafting wastewater design standards and guidelines for them to efficiently implement their wastewater roadmap. Having the right standards in place ensures consistency and efficiency to enable Maynilad to progressively expand Metro Manila’s wastewater service coverage as cost effectively as possible,” said Tse Yau Shing, project director at Black  &Veatch.

In crafting wastewater design standards for Maynilad, Black & Veatch will draw upon its experience in designing and building water and wastewater facilities in Singapore, Hong Kong and other densely populated urban centers worldwide.

Yolanda Lucas, head of program management division of Maynilad, said the collaboration with Black & Veatch would enable the company to conform with global standards in water and wastewater system design.

“The work will help us focus first on our near term expansion objectives, without losing sight over the longer term of being able to upgrade the assets to more advanced systems,” she said.

The project would cover the development of specifications for construction, testing and commission, as well as design guidelines and standards.

Maynilad provides water and wastewater services to residents in most of Manila, parts of Quezon and Makati cities, as well as the cities of Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Valenzuela, Navotas, and Malabon in Metro Manila. Its franchise area also covers the cities of Bacoor and Imus and the municipalities of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario in Cavite province.

Black & Veatch first delivered water service solutions in the Philippines in the 1960s. Its first major project was a study commissioned by the World Health Organization to produce a masterplan for Metro Manila’s sewerage system.

The company also developed the deep tunnel sewerage system in Singapore and Hong Kong’s entire sewer and drainage system

BSP sees October inflation still below 1%

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 28, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) sees inflation still falling below one percent in October amid the minimal impact from the damage caused by Typhoon Lando that battered provinces in northern and central Luzon.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said inflation is likely to remain low and settle within 0.1 percent to 0.9 percent for October as the impact of Lando would be wiped out by lower gasoline prices and cheaper power rates.

“Transitory uptick in food prices in Lando-affected areas, higher LPG and diesel prices could be offset by downward adjustments in power rates and regular gasoline prices,” Tetangco said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) earlier placed the cost of damage to agriculture and infrastructure caused by Typhoon Lando at more than P9 billion.

“We haven’t really gotten the final report but based on some preliminary numbers that we have heard it doesn’t look like the impact is going to be very significant,” he told reporters.

Inflation eased to a new record low of 0.4 percent in September from 0.6 percent in August on the back of stable food prices and cheaper utility rates. This brought to 1.6 percent the average inflation in the first nine months from 4.4 percent in the same period last year.

The BSP has set an inflation target of between two and four percent for this year.

“Besides we have significant room in our inflation target because we are below the lower bound of the target. I don’t see any concern at this point,” the BSP chief said.

ING Bank Manila senior economist Joey Cuyegkeng said the impact of the damages caused by Typhoon Lando on inflation is minimal but the government should brace for the impact of the severe El Niño weather condition.

“Inflation impact is also limited. The risk to inflation remains with El Niño. The low global commodity prices especially oil prices would offset the impact of the typhoon on food prices,” he said.

He added October or November inflation is likely to capture the higher food prices for Metro Manila, while declaration of state of calamity in the directly affected areas in north Luzon would likely result to mild inflation pressures.

“We expect October inflation to hover around 0.5 percent to 0.6 percent. El Niño implication to prices remains the major concerns for BSP,” Cuyegkeng said.

Meanwhile, Tetangco said the BSP is set to tweak its forecasts for various streams of foreign income particularly trade and investments amid the volatility caused by the global economic slowdown as well as the impending interest rate hike in the US.

“We will look at all components but changes might be at trade and maybe portfolio investments,” he added.

According to him, the revision to the projected $2 billion balance of payments (BOP) surplus is still being finalized.

“We are finalizing the revisions. Trade might be changed because of the actual performance in the first nine months. The overall trend will remain, there will be a current account surplus and the overall BOP position will be positive,” he said.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on November 24, 2015, 06:00:03 PM
nternational hotel consultant nixes new star rating

By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 29, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The new star rating system for hotels and resorts to be implemented by the Department of Tourism (DOT) is impractical and unnecessary, a global hospitality consulting firm said.

In an interview, Asia-based hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks said the sentiments of hotel and resort owners against the star rating system are acceptable.

“It’s an antiquated system. It’s a system that is defunct,” C9 Hotelworks managing director Bill Barnett told The STAR.

Barnett said assets of individual resorts and hotels are being downgraded and should just let the market decide.

The DOT has been firm in its position the star rating system will help the Philippines and the tourism sector move forward. It is in line with the efforts of the department to raise the bar for Philippine hotels and resorts and align them with global standards.

“This is a system by which we are able to come up with a standard that will make us competitive. A set of standards that the international community will understand,” DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said.

The announcement of the new star rating system to more than 700 accredited tourism accommodation providers will push through on the third week of November.

The formal classification comprises of five levels that range from one to five stars, based on a point system focusing on inventory, availability, condition and quality of facilities. The previously used “deluxe,” “first-class,” “standard,” and “economy” classification will soon be dropped.

On the other hand, Barnett does not believe the Samal Island kidnapping case last month is unlikely to affect the local tourism sector. The DOT has earlier expressed confidence there would be no significant changes or decline in tourist arrivals for the remaining months of the year.

“I don’t think you can expect to sustain with such disruptive events. But these are just probably short-term damage,” he added.

Furthermore, Barnett emphasized the target five million tourist arrivals for 2015 is feasible considering the recent economic slowdown in China, but transportation is still an issue.

Latest data from DOT showed inbound visitors for the January to August period totaled 3.6 million, with total revenue amounting to P152.19 billion.

“It seems doable. It is beneficial because the Philippines is becoming a valued destination, but then again, infrastructure here continues to be the problem,” he said.
Lingayen Airport to temporarily halt operations Oct. 31 – Nov. 2

by Philippines News Agency
October 28, 2015
MANILA, Oct. 28 — Passengers travelling to Lingayen, Pangasinan for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day were advised on Wednesday to start booking flights early as the Lingayen Airport is scheduled to temporarily close this weekend.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said that operations at the Lingayen Airport will be suspended from Oct. 31, 7 a.m. to Nov. 2, 4 p.m.

There will be a temporarily runway closure over concerns that the safety of residents visiting cemeteries near the airport is at risk.

Regular operations, however, will resume immediately on Nov. 4.  (Ed Ciby)
MMDA suspends number coding scheme on Friday

by Philippine News Agency
October 28, 2015 (updated)

MANILA, Oct. 28 (PNA) — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced on Wednesday that the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVV RP) or the number coding scheme will be suspended on Friday, October 30, in time for the observance of All Saints Day on November 1.

MMDA Officer-in-Charge Emerson Carlos decided to lift the number coding scheme for both public and private vehicles to allow people in Metro Manila more mobility as they start an exodus to the provinces.

The UVVRP is a road space rationing program to reduce traffic congestion, particularly during peak hours in Metro Manila, by restricting the types of vehicles that can use major public roads based on the final digit of the vehicle’s license plate.

However, Carlos said the UVVRP implementation would resume on November 2, which falls on a Monday, a regular working day.

Carlos added that provincial buses would be exempted from the number coding scheme on November 2 in anticipation of the large number of people returning to Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, traffic managers of local government units in Metro Manila who were present during MMDA’s Oplan Kaluluwa meeting have presented their respective road re-routing plans for All Saints Day commemoration.

Traffic division heads of Quezon City, Makati City, Mandaluyong City, Pasig City, Pasay City, Valenzuela City, Las Pinas City, Muntinlupa City, and San Juan City have put in place necessary directional signs and personnel in critical areas, particularly on roads leading to cemeteries and memorial parks.

MMDA also advised the motorist to take alternate routes as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will undertake road reblocking on Edsa southbound lane between Estrella to Buendia Avenue.

The repairs will begin from October 30, Friday at 11 p.m. up to November 2, Monday at 5 a.m. (PNA)
Road closure, alternate routes for APEC leaders’ meet

by Tessa Distor
October 28, 2015

Motorists were reminded in an official advisory released by the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) that certain roads in Metro Manila will be closed for the Economic Leaders Meeting from November 18 to 19, 2015.

From November 16 to 20, only APEC vehicles will be allowed to use the innermost lanes of EDSA, the southbound lane of Roxas Boulevard, and the roads around the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex Area.

Starting 6 a.m. onwards of November 18,  roads around the Mall of Asia Arena — Diokno corner Seaside Boulevard, Diokno corner Aseana, EDSA corner Macapagal, Macapagal corner Coral Way, Macapagal corner Bradco, Coral Way corner Seaside Boulevard — will be closed.

Alternate routes were suggested for the motorists’ convenience:
See photo in this link:

According to the advisory, the northbound lane of Roxas Boulevard will be made two-way for non-APEC vehicles.
See photo in this link:

Earlier, President Benigno Aquino III declared November 18 and 19 as special non-working days.

The Department of Education (DepEd) also suspended classes on November 17 and 20 for schools in Metro Manila.
PH sees bigger role for gas, renewables in new energy plan
Posted at 10/28/15 12:47 PM

SINGAPORE - The Philippine government is working on a new energy plan it hopes the next administration will adopt to curb the expanding share of coal in its fuel mix for power generation, an official said.

The plan could see the Philippines generating a third of its electricity each from natural gas, coal and renewables between 2016 and 2040, Loreta G. Ayson, undersecretary at the Department of Energy said late on Tuesday.

Ayson said the energy department was finalizing a fuel mix policy that pushed for an increased share of cleaner fuels, hoping the successor of President Benigno Aquino, who will step down next June, will support it.

"Right now, we're heavily dependent on coal for power generation. If we continue (at current rates of coal power expansion), we will be 70-percent dependent on coal by 2040-2050," she told Reuters on the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week.

"That means we really have to do something about it in consideration of our concern for climate change."

The Philippines currently generates 42.5 percent of its electricity from coal, with that share likely to increase in the short-term as projects that will boost coal-fired power capacity by more than 25 percent in just three years are already in place.

Investments in power generation from clean fuels such as gas and renewables have lagged coal as the latter is cheaper and quicker to build to meet growing electricity demand in the Philippines.

"There's nothing we can do to stop (projects that have already been approved), so by all means they have to go, they have to proceed," Ayson said.

"When we have the fuel mix policy, we can be more discriminating when approving service contracts after 2020."

About a quarter of Philippines' power comes from natural gas produced at the giant Malampaya field and 26 percent comes from renewable sources geothermal and hydro energy. The country is the second largest geothermal power producer in the world after the United States.

"By 2024, our Malampaya gas will be depleted so we just have to find another gas source or hopefully we will have another gas find in the Philippines," Ayson said.

Still, projects to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) have been delayed.

"There are some committed projects ongoing in various stages, except that somehow they haven't be able to meet the targets they have set," Ayson said.

"Hopefully by 2016, we can have some in operation."

Energy World Corp Ltd has said it does not expect the Philippines' first power plant fired by LNG to be ready for commercial operation until the first half of next year.
PH drops to No. 103 in World Bank Doing Business report
The fall is due to a drop in a number of indicators and the increasing competitiveness of other countries, but the results are disputed by the National Competitiveness Council

Chris Schnabel
Published 5:59 PM, October 28, 2015

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has slipped to 103rd place among 189 economies in the latest edition of the World Bank-International Finance Corporation (IFC) Doing Business Report released on Wednesday, October 28.

The Philippines was at 95th place in last year's report, but after adjusting for data revisions and the changes in methodology, the World Bank ranked the Philippines 97th in 2015.

The fall in ranking is reflected in a drop in a number of indicators:
See indicator here:

Despite this, the Philippines experienced a slight improvement in the Distance to Frontier (DTF) baseline, which rose to 60.07 from 59.94 last year.

DTF represents the best performance observed in each of the indicators across all economies in the report since 2005. It is graded on a scale of 0-100, with a higher number indicating improvement.

The drop, despite the improvement in the DTF score, indicates the improvement of countries around the Philippines, World Bank officials pointed out.

The Doing Business Report aims to show how easy or difficult it is for a local entrepreneur to open and run small to medium enterprises (SMEs) when complying with relevant regulations.

The report, however, does not measure all aspects of the business environment including macroeconomic stability, proximity to markets and regulations specific to foreign investment or financial markets, stressed Roberto Galang, operations officer at IFC.

World Bank Country Director for the Philippines Motoo Konishi also noted that despite the drop, the Philippines "is increasingly characterized by strong economic growth, low inflation, healthy current account surplus, more than adequate international reserves and a sustainable fiscal position – a combination never before seen in its history."

Drop in ASEAN rankings

The latest survey also shifted the country’s position in ASEAN, dropping it one place to 6th behind Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, and Vietnam.

Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand also experienced a drop in rankings.

Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos all improved, while Brunei experienced the the biggest rise in the region, allowing it to leapfrog the Philippines.

Room for improvement

Galang pointed out that slight improvements can go a long way as it would only take an increase of 7 DTF points to get into the top third of countries.

He said one area that can be improved is tax collection. The country's low score is due to the required 36 payments a year, costing SMEs 193 hours of work, Galang said.

This is because agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) require monthly payments.

“Without reducing any taxes, we could make life easier for SMEs by simply asking for annual payment for VAT or for Philhealth,” Galang said.

He also pointed out that it takes 16 steps to start a business in the Philippines which is more steps than the ASEAN average, but the number of days it takes to start a business – 29 days – is faster compared to its neighbors.

Cutting down on procedures by combining them would help the Philippines become among the top performers in this indicator, Galang said.
Losing relevance as a diagnostic tool

This was disputed by National Competitiveness (NCC) Council Chairman Guillermo Luz who pointed out that the report failed to accurately reflect some of the on-going changes due to reforms in business regulations announced earlier this year.

He said the report puts it at 16 steps and 29 days – an improvement of 5 days over the 2015 report – yet it does not show any change in the number of steps.

“In order to cut down on the amount of days, you will definitely need to eliminate some steps, yet the World Bank doesn’t recognize a change in that area,” he said.

This was part of Luz’s larger argument that the constant changing of methodology used in the Doing Business Report is comprising its credibility.

“What get’s me about the report is this: Every year they make a change and apply it retroactively,” he said.

Luz continued: “You can’t change the rules later in the game, it doesn’t make sense. You’re losing the reference point that tells you whether you’re getting better or getting worse."

This is why on the NCC website, the numbers shown are the original ones and not those that have been modified with new metrics.

For instance, NCC’s put the country’s ranking at 95 instead of the World Bank’s adjusted ranking of 97.

"We put up the original numbers to accurately reflect the changes on the ground from the previous year," he explained.

Luz compared this to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index which has seen less than 5 changes over 20 years. Every time the WEF makes a change, it also notifies the countries a year in advance to allow for adjustment, he added.

"They’re shooting themselves in the foot because the report loses credibility as a result because the numbers and the rankings keep changing," he said, adding that even countries on the top, such as Malaysia, are complaining.

Luz added that "it’s a serious problem because while they may be just changing measurements, we are in fact instituting reforms in order to improve based on these metric which takes a lot of effort and time."

“We have a lot to fix, and we will continue to do so, but how do we measure what to fix? This tool is starting to become unreliable and maybe we need a different tool,” he said. –
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on November 24, 2015, 06:00:32 PM
Phl slams World Bank after slipping in Doing Business survey

By Prinz Magtulis (
Updated October 28, 2015 - 5:03pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines slammed the World Bank on Tuesday after its ranking in an annual gauge of business environment slumped to one of the lowest in Southeast Asia, calling the measure an “inappropriate” reflection of the country’s business climate.

Calling the World Bank-International Finance Corp.’s Doing Business (DB) Report “erratic” and “unsound,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima expressed dismay on the country’s five-notch slip to 103rd from 97th in the survey.

Singapore topped the annual rankings.

“The Philippines firmly believes that the Doing Business survey methodology of collecting sample data from one or only two cities makes it inappropriate to present the report as reflective of the state of doing business for an entire economy,” Purisima said in a statement.

“Countries, especially developing ones like the Philippines, will have bright spots of promise in some areas and not in others,” he added.

A case in point is the country’s special economic zones, which the finance chief said are not being captured by the survey. These locators, managed by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), are granted numerous fiscal incentives in their operations.

The World Bank, for its part, has recognized this as one of the “limits” of the survey, which focuses only on each economy’s “largest business city.” Survey questionnaires were sent to businesses in covered areas.

A total of 14,233 respondents participated in the global survey in the latest report. In the Philippines, the survey was conducted in Quezon City.

“With this methodology, the DB survey should be more aptly titled as ‘Doing Business Across Cities’ to provide a better representation of the results of the report,” Purisima said.

Purisima, who is the country’s governor in the World Bank Group, also criticized the survey’s “erratic methodological changes year after year” which tended to affect even the previous years’ results.

An example is the Philippines’ place last year, which changed to 97th in the current report from 95th when it was first reported. The country ranked 134th in 2011, the first full year of the Aquino administration.

For her part, World Bank country director Motoo Konishi said in a briefing the multilateral agency is working with the government to improve the survey’s coverage.

“We continue using the DB program to identify priority areas for reform. Next year’s DB report on the Philippines will expand to include a second city apart from Quezon City,” Konishi said.

“Moreover, we plan to conduct local studies to see how firms not covered by the DB methodology— such as firms in PEZA zones— are able to register, expand and operate in the Philippines,” she added.

This was not the first time Purisima criticized the DB report. During this month’s World Bank meetings in Lima, Peru, the finance chief already called attention to what he called was the survey’s “poor” data gathering.

In contrast to the DB report, the Philippines has posted sustained improvements in another business climate gauge, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. It consistently rose from 75th in 2011, 65th in 2012, 59th in 2013, 52nd last year and 47th this year.

“We will persevere in rolling out more reforms to boost our competitiveness in various indicators,” Purisima said.
Economists looking for ways to cushion El Niño effects

(The Philippine Star)
Updated October 29, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s economic managers are assessing the possible effects of El Niño on the country and finding ways to cushion its impact on the people, President Aquino said on Tuesday.

“I think the primary discussion has centered on El Niño and the potential effects it will have on the Philippine economy and our people’s lot,” Aquino said during the annual presidential forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.

He said the government has put in place measures to address this weather phenomenon.

With the flooding caused by Typhoon Lando, the President said it was difficult to imagine the effects of El Niño come December, January and February.

“We want to ensure that there will be sufficient supplies of the staple at reasonable prices,” he said, adding that the government has yet to decide whether it would augment the 500,000 metric tons of rice that it would import to ensure stable rice supply.

Aquino said he would leave it to National Economic and Development Authority director general Arsenio Balisacan to come up with the prospects of the third-quarter gross domestic product.

The President noted that while Lando inundated rice-producing areas in Central Luzon, the typhoon also filled the dams in Luzon that would help farmers cope with the dry spell.

Aquino enumerated the government’s programs to protect the environment and curb climate change during the 2015 Community-Based Forest Management National Greening Program Congress at the World Trade Center in Pasay City yesterday.
P1-B climate fund

The climate change adaptation and mitigation projects that will be funded using the P1-billion People’s Survival Fund (PSF) will not be tainted with corruption, an official of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) said.

CCC assistant secretary Joyceline Goco said the fund, which is available for poor and vulnerable local government units in the country, would only be released following a stringent evaluation of the proposals submitted to the board.

“It will be difficult to taint the process with corruption because it’s transparent,” Goco said during the launch of the PSF in Makati City yesterday.

She said the funds are subject to audit by the Commission on Audit based on documents submitted by the Municipal Development Fund Office (MDFO) of the Department of Finance.

The PSF Board, chaired by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, tapped the MDFO to facilitate the disbursement of funds for approved proposals and validation of the projects.

Created in 2012 through Republic Act 10174, the PSF provides an annual funding of at least P1 billion to finance climate change adaptation projects that will be implemented by LGUs or community organizations.

“The LGUs will now have the means to realize the plans they have set up to insulate constituents against climate change-induced disasters and exploit the benefits that climate change may bring,” Goco said. – Aurea Calica, Janvic Mateo
Investment banks forecast GDP growth above 6% in H2

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 29, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - ING Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, and ANZ Bank see the country’s economic growth picking up and exceeding six percent in the second half on the back of higher government spending.

Joey Cuyegkeng, senior economist at ING Bank Manila, said the gross domestic product (GDP) growth of the Philippines would accelerate to 6.3 percent in the second half from 5.3 percent in the first half.

 “We expect economic activity to remain favorable and we forecast a second half GDP growth of 6.3 percent,” he said.

He pointed out government spending jumped 93 percent in July and rose by 29 percent in August.

“Government infrastructure spending in July and August is quite strong,” Cuyegkeng added.

Weak global demand and lack of government spending pulled down the GDP growth to 5.3 percent in the first half from 6.4 percent in the same period last year.

The economist also explained that strong imports in July also reflect strong domestic demand in the country.

He said higher domestic liquidity and increasing bank lending point to the improving economic growth.

Standard Chartered Bank regional economist for Asia Jeff Ng said the country’s GDP growth is likely to settle at six percent this year from 6.1 percent last year.

“We expect GDP growth at six percent in the second half from 5.3 percent in the first half,” he said.

Ng explained raw material imports jumped 41.2 percent, while consumer good imports rose 19 percent in August despite the slowdown in import growth to 4.1 percent in August from 23 percent in July.

 “We expect the solid raw material imports to translate into some improvement in export growth in the coming months. At the same time, consumer goods imports imply that domestic consumption likely remain resilient. This will remain an anchor for growth,” he said.
UN report sees Asia Pacific as world’s most disaster prone region

October 28, 2015 (updated)
By Lyndal Rowlands

UNITED NATIONS (PNA/Xinhua) — The Asia Pacific is the world’s most disaster prone region and needs regional cooperation to address cross boundary disasters, said a UN expert here Tuesday.

“Asia (has) particularly high vulnerability to multiple hazards not least because of the ring of fire — and the volcanic and earthquake activity along it — but also because of the path of tropical typhoons,” said David O’Connor, chief of the policy and analysis branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), at the launch of Disasters Without Borders the 2015 Asia Pacific Disaster Report.

Ninety percent of the world’s seismic activity originates in the ring of fire, a region in the basin of the Pacific Ocean, said O’Connor.

Other disasters affecting the region include floods, tropical storms and droughts, which O’Connor described as a silent killer.

He said China was also vulnerable to both earthquakes and tropical storms.

“China …has suffered both from tropical storms in recent years but also from earthquakes that have devastated large cities and parts of China,” he said.

Many of the disasters in the Asia Pacifc region are cross boundary in nature and therefore need a regional response, said O’ Connor.

“Regional cooperation will be particularly important in addressing many of the disasters faced by the Asia Pacific region because many of them are in fact trans-boundary in nature,” he said.

“You have major river systems in the region where flooding spills over borders, earthquakes clearly can be trans-boundary in their impacts, as with the earthquake that caused the huge tsunami in Asia about a decade ago,” said O’Connor.

While progress has been made in the area of disaster risk reduction since the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, there is still room for improvement, he said.

“There was a major effort to install early warning systems in the region (including) a number of sea level gauges and tsunameters (equipment used to detect tsunamis),” said O’Connor.

But he said that after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013 it became apparent that more work need to be done to ensure that warning messages make it all the way to people in danger.

“There are critical gaps remaining in getting the information in a timely fashion to the last mile to the people on the ground, to the communities that are most exposed and most effected,” said O’Connor.

The Philippines has increased significantly the number of people it evacuates before tropical storms, with 750,000 people evacuated before a recent storm compared with just 125,000 before Haiyan, said O’Connor.

According to him, disaster risk reduction has been proven to be an effective way to tackle disasters but that addressing climate change is now likely the most important way to reduce the risk of disasters.

“Urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts is likely to be one of the most important disaster risk reduction measures that the international community can take,” he said.

“Disaster risk will be considerably exacerbated in the region and in the world as a whole in coming decades by climate change,” said O’Connor, adding “we’re already seeing that in the mega storms that have hit countries like the Philippines.”
Office tower’s value rises with PEZA accreditation
Century Spire

October 28, 2015
Occupancy is hardly a challenge for well-located office towers these days. Proof of this is the consistently low vacancy rate registered in Metro Manila, particularly in the central business district of Makati at 1.8 percent as of the second quarter of 2015. Developers continue to add to the inventory as projections of an industry-growth remain high.

But with the quantity or a range of options growing in ideal locations, values that greatly benefit the locator are fast becoming in demand. And for many of them, a Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) accreditation just might offer the clincher.

Businesses located in a PEZA-accredited building are entitled to a wide range of perks and advantages beneficial to the company and consequently, to its employees.

Developer Century Properties has taken advantage of this by having its latest office development, Century Spire, PEZA-accredited.

The office tower has a prime location — Century City in Modern Makati, the growing residential and commercial district north of the CBD. It also has groundbreaking architecture — by globally-acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind.

It also has amenities that range from a retail section, a food hall, a fine dining restaurant, an auditorium with pre-function room, and a grand office lobby designed by Armani/Casa.

Century Properties has opted to add to them with an accreditation that many investors are finding attractive.

“The challenge we gave ourselves this time is to make an already Grade A building even more attractive,” Marco Antonio, Century Properties COO, said.

The PEZA’s aim is to bolster the flow of foreign investments in the Philippines by rewarding them with fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.

Chief of these is an income tax holiday. For a certain number of years, businesses in a PEZA-accredited zone enjoy tax holidays allowing companies to save up on tax fees and operational costs.

The exemption from corporate income tax is at 100 percent for four years for non-pioneer projects, six years for pioneer projects, and three years for expansion project (the income tax holiday applies to incremental sales).

Meanwhile, importations of equipment, capital equipment and parts, machineries, etc. are also tax and duty free in PEZA-accredited companies in a Special Economic Zone.

Other privileges include VAT zero-rating of local purchases of goods and services such as land-based telecommunications, electrical power, water bills, and lease on the building, subject to compliance with Bureau of Internal Revenues and PEZA requirements; exemption from payment of any and all local government imposts, fees, licenses or taxes; and exemption from expanded withholding tax.

Upon the expiry of the Income Tax Holiday, a five percent Special Tax on Gross Income and exemption from all national and local taxes shall be applicable.

“The reduction of levies imposed on businesses can result in anything from a reallocation of funds to equipment or services upgrade or even additional employee incentive programs,” Antonio said.

PEZA-accredited foreign entities in a PEZA-accredited location are also entitled to exemptions through PEZA’s non-fiscal incentives.

Century Spire will be one of Makati’s office towers with Grade AA features.  It is also adhering to sustainability standards targeting a LEED Certification focusing on energy efficiency.
Office buildings need to ‘stand out’

October 28, 2015

The current property development boom has resulted in the growing number of high-rise office structures being built. With this, there is now a growing need for such projects to stand out from among dozens of high-rise buildings in the metropolis.

With urbanization and climate change, there is an emerging need for structures to adapt or risk falling behind. Office buildings no longer simply provide a space to work, but are now about incorporating multiple facets of design and function into creating the ideal space.

The ones to stand out are those that can effectively incorporate these needs into one sleek and sustainable design.

“Office development projects need to stand out by injecting creativity and innovation, simplicity and function, and nature and technology,” said Eric Manuel, VP for Business Development of Daiichi Properties. “Indeed, much is required of buildings today in order for them to excel among a field of thousands.”

Manuel knows what he is talking about. Earlier this year, Daiichi Properties bagged the prestigious Five-Star Best Office Development plum at the Asia Pacific Property Awards, which recognizes the finest in property, architecture, and interior design. The company won for World Plaza, a 27-storey, premium Grade A office building located at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC).

For one thing, World Plaza was designed by the award-winning American design and architecture firm Gensler. Its all-around design allows the building to maximize natural lighting during the day, but will also give it a seamless look against a darker night sky.

Aside from its external design, World Plaza has been designed and tested to stand against natural calamities, an important factor for a country that stands not only along the Pacific Ring of Fire, but also welcomes in a number of typhoons annually.

World Plaza also received above-standard credits in performance-based seismic evaluations, which tested the building’s structural performance and reliability, especially in the case of earthquakes and strong winds.

World Plaza is already the developer’s second office development that won an international property development award. In 2013, another of Daiichi Properties’ projects – One World Place — was also recognized and awarded as the Five-Star Best Office Development by the Asia Pacific Property Awards.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on November 24, 2015, 06:02:25 PM
Alabang West almost sold out, says GERI

By Zinnia B. dela Peña (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 30, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Global Estate Resort Inc.’s 62-hectare masterplanned community Alabang West is about 80 percent sold, less than a year after its launch.

In a statement, GERI said more than two-thirds of the total 788 residential lots offered had been sold, due to the strong demand for the project.As a result, land prices in Alabang West rose 20 percent to P56,000 per square meter from P47,000 in October last year.

Rachelle Peñaflorida, vice president for sales and marketing at Megaworld Global-Estate Inc., said the fast take-up of village lots in the township could be attributed to the project’s strategic location and brighter prospects for fast value appreciation of the property.

“There has been a sharp rise in the demand for residential lots in Alabang West in the past six months. As far as location is concerned, Alabang is not just an option but top-of-the-mind to many property buyers especially those who are looking into the south,” Peñaflorida said.

Earlier this year, independent research firm Cuervo Far East said the Southern Manila West Growth Area, which includes Alabang, has been experiencing a remarkable average annual appreciation of property values by 10 to 15 percent until 2019 due to new developments by the biggest real estate developers in the country.

“We have even exceeded the average annual appreciation forecast, which is a good indication of the property market in Alabang, especially for Alabang West. The entry of our township into this booming side of  southern Metro Manila is a perfect timing,” Peñaflorida said.

Alabang West integrates a Beverly Hills-themed lifestyle into its commercial, retail and residential developments. Aside from a shopping strip inspired by the famous Rodeo Drive in Hollywood, Alabang West also offers an upscale residential community with lots ranging from 250 to 800 sqm.

It first-class amenities that include badminton and basketball courts, function halls, cabanas, game room, café and al fresco dining areas, a fitness center, pocket gardens, open parks and infinity pool, among others.

“In the next five to ten years, we envision Alabang West to be the next big thing in southern Metro Manila,” Peñaflorida said.

Located beside Alabang’s high-end communities and golf course, the township is accessible through major access points in South Luzon Expressway, including Alabang Exit, Filinvest Exit, and the newly-opened Daang Hari Exit.
Honoring tenant partners in the first SM Partners Summit

Updated October 29, 2015 - 4:30pm
MANILA, Philippines – SM partners and tenants gathered together to celebrate SM Supermalls’ 30th year leading the retail industry through the first ever SM Partners Summit.
Participants were treated to a forward-looking conference for retail industry players and business owners that provided practical and inspiring knowledge through discussions of new and innovative ways to elevate the customer experience into a memorable one. The two-day summit included a Retail Summit forum and SM Partners Awards Night, and was held at the SMX Convention Center of the Mall of Asia Complex.
With the market’s adaptation to digital shopping, traditional retail businesses find it important to keep with the consumer’s growing needs and demands for shopping experience beyond the brick-and-mortar concept. To create a venue for deep discussion among retailers and business partners, SM leveraged on this big idea for the forum “Bricks Click: Creating the New Marketplace".
Invited retailers and tenants had the opportunity to gain insights from esteemed guest speakers including entrepreneur and inspirational speaker Francis Kong, Disney Institute Regional Business Development Manager Wing-Hoe Tan and Samsung Electronics Vice President for Online David Kang. Panel discussions further elaborated the topics, with executives and veterans of known companies such as Samsung, Max’s, McDonald’s and Google contributing their insights and business experiences.
Kong explained that a business should learn to utilize social media and technology not to compete with the traditional way of retail, but to enhance and further develop its reach. Technology, according to Kong, is not the competitor of traditional retail, but its complement.
Tan stressed in his speech that positive results and customer delight root from company culture, from how they treat their customers to how they treat their own employees.
“An organization must cultivate the same internal customer service within their employees, gauged with the same intentionality as how they do with their external ones. It is not written on any handbook; rather, it is already imbibed in the employees’ hearts and minds to provide exceptional service,” Tan said.
Kang ended the session with his emphasis on how technology heavily influences consumers’ decisions, but in the end, the brick-and-mortar shops are still their preferred way of shopping for their desired products.
There were over 1,000 participants who attended the summit, hailing from businesses in the Philippines and abroad, all pioneers and heads of SM’s valued tenant companies.
On the second day of the summit, key partners and tenants have been recognized by SM for their exemplary performance in the SM Partners Awards Night. There have been 54 brands honored with the Most Innovative Store Design Award, SM Green Retail Award, Most Popular Brand Award, Best in Marketing Award and Top Partners Award. 
SM congratulated the award recipients, and invited its retail partners to join them in facing the challenges and opportunities of the evolving retail landscape.
The Partners Summit gives honor to the excellent performance of well-loved brands in the retail industry. SM thanks and recognizes its retail partners and tenants for their continuous support in the years to come, taking the customer experience to greater heights.
Holcim profit more than doubles in Q3

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 30, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Listed construction materials company Holcim Philippines Inc. reported a more than two-fold jump in its third quarter profit on the back of sustained activity despite the rainy season.

Net income in the July to September period surged to P1.53 billion from P721.96 million in the same period last year.

Holcim Philippines attributed the growth to effective cost management coupled with improved plant and logistics performance.

Eduardo Sahagun, Holcim Philippines CEO, said the company’s plants could now operate longer before undertaking maintenance activities.

“Demand usually dips during the rainy season but this time, we experienced even stronger demand in the third quarter. Under these conditions, it is critical to sustain operations to support the market and we did so due to the steady investments for better plant performance,” Sahagun said.

Sahagun said logistics operations also improved with more flexibility to supply the National Capital Region through its newly acquired Holcim Manila Terminal.

Net sales rose by 23.2 percent to P10 billion in the third quarter.

The company said cement demand was healthy nationwide but was strongest in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Sahagun said the company expects to continue the positive momentum in the fourth quarter but declined to give specific net income and sales targets.

Holcim Philippines operates four cement plants in La Union, Bulacan, Misamis Oriental and Davao along with several ready-mix concrete plants nationwide.
More state firms expected to turn the corner

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 30, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Governance Commission for Goverment-owned and controlled corporations (GCG) expects further improvement and enhancement of state-run firms given the recent reforms implemented in the last four years.

GCG chairman Cesar L. Villanueva said the future for the GOCC sector “looks promising” amid the policies and guidelines being put into place since President Aquino signed RA 10149 or the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 into law.

“We have evolved the governance commission to what it is today, an effective tool in order to pursue and institutionalize corporate governance in the public sector,” Villanueva said.

Since the GCG’s creation in August 2011, the agency has introduced various policies and procedures from regulatory compliance to ethical standards for GOCCs, except economic zone authorities, those under the central bank, and research institutions.

Villanueva stressed the GCG has espoused strengthening the role of the government in the governance of state-owned firms.

“In the past year alone, the governance commission has undertaken the basic steps for the oversight over the GOCC sector by establishing a tier framework and concrete structure for oversight of GOCC operations,” he said.

Villanueva said the GCG is also in its third year of implementing the performance agreement structure, which mandates the GOCCs to submit concrete and time-bound action plans and which would be used to for their own evaluation.

“All these we have done to well position the GOCC sector for sustained long-term success,” Villanueva said.

The GCG to date has abolished and privatized more than 20 state-owned firms found inactive, non-operational, and whose functions are no longer relevant to the state.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on November 24, 2015, 06:02:54 PM
Hitachi strengthens PH presence, sees role in planned Manila subway

by Bernie Magkilat
October 29, 2015
Tokyo — Hitachi Ltd., world’s leading social innovation company, yesterday said it has started discussions with the Philippines for the planned Mega Manila Subway as it eyes opportunities in other areas including power to bring its social innovation business thrust to mega cities in newly industrialized economies like the Philippines.

Hitachi Chairman & CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi revealed at a press conference for the Hitachi Social Innovation Forum 2015 here that there has been discussions on the planned Metro Manila subway.

With its expertise in the railway business, Nakanishi cited the company’s advantages to participate in a railway project.

“We’ve already started discussions making feasibility studies. In the case of the railway system, Hitachi has a clear advantage on all facilities not just in terms of locomotive vendor, but  locomotive signal, electric supply and train management,” he said.

There were no details yet as to the extent of their planned participation in this ambitious subway project, but Nakanishi said next step would be the formulation of a feasibility study for the project.

In reviving its interest in the country, Nakanishi cited the rapid growth of the Philippine economy and the leadership of the current administration.

“The current momentum of the Philippine economy is very strong so we changed our view of Philippines almost five years ago,” he said citing  new opportunities to make “more clear partnerships.”

He recalled that during his earlier trips to the country, the Philippines was just a simple manufacturing site but which has been transformed into a bustling economy with rapid  industrialization.

He also cited of the flexibility of the domestic industries and the booming construction sector.

Other than the transportation sector, Nakanishi cited other areas of interest particularly the power grid in the country.

“I am very much interested in the future grid of the Philippines because of the specific structure of the country as it is composed of so many islands and this need some kind of infrastructure . . . this is one area we are vey much interested in,” he added.

For its other businesses, Nakanishi said that it has just started its white goods business like the refrigerators and air conditioners or the lifestyle business with the aim of strengthening its presence in this segment. These products are imported from its manufacturing sites in other ASEAN countries.

On Tuesday, the Philippines and Japanese governments have advanced their cooperation efforts to improve transport infrastructure in Metro Manila through a roadmap aimed to establish a modern and efficient transportation network taking off from the NEDA Board-approved Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metropolitan Manila and its Surrounding Areas.

The Cooperation Roadmap for Quality Infrastructure Development in the Transport Sector in Metropolitan Manila Area is intended to steer the development programs and projects, as well as harmonize efforts on transport projects in Metro Manila.  It is also meant to guide the development of policies, design, and prioritization of transport-related projects in the short-, medium-, and long-term.

As part of the Joint Declaration for Strengthened Strategic Partnership signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during President Aquino’s state visit to Japan in June 2015, a “Cooperation Roadmap” called for the convening of a Ministerial-Level Committee, which held its first meeting today, to review the progress of projects assisted by Japan.

The meeting, co-chaired by Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa, specifically involved discussions on studies being undertaken by Japan International Cooperation Agency for the possible implementation of the Mega Manila Subway and New Manila International Airport projects.

Also tackled were the Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project, the Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreement for which were signed on 25 August 2015, and the North-South Commuter Railway Project (Malolos- Tutuban), the Exchange of Notes and Loan Agreement signing for which are expected to be signed in the near future.

In an earlier interview, Atsushi Konno, Hitachi’s General Manager for Corporate Communications Group, said Hitachi is keen on participating in the Philippines railways with special interest on the planned monorail project of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) that will connect the neighboring business districts in the metropolis.

Konno said they have a good advantage in the planned monorail because Hitachi has a good track record in the railway business.

“We are keen in the Philippines. We are looking at railways because that is one of our core businesses and the Philippine  government has some railway projects,” said Konno. Konno cited opportunities in the existing railways and the new ones. The Philippines has identified railway projects in the country for implementation under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.

According to Konno, Hitachi’s thrust is to do more business outside of Japan because the local economy is not doing very well.

So far, Hitachi’s business is 50 percent Japan and 50 percent overseas. He expects, the share of Asian business to grow more as the company puts more focus especially in the southeast Asia region.

He cited that countries in the region are improving existing infrastructure and building new ones.

“We can contribute to their growth and they have young population,” he said.

Hitachi has been doing business in the Philippines since the 1930s when it first deliver a 60HP hydro turbine to a power station in Davao. In 1960, the Japanese firm started to bring its other business units into the Philippine market.

At present, Hitachi has 11 companies or business units and affiliates in the Philippines employing a total 2,733. Its biggest ASEAN operation is in Thailand with 35 companies and 12,900 employees followed by Indonesia with 20 companies and 4,980 employes, Malaysia with 35 companies and 4,182 employes, Singapore with 29 companies and 3,563 employees, Vietnam with 9 companies and 1,541 workers and Myanmar with a lone company with 80 employes.
Meralco digs deeper into renewable energy

By Danessa O. Rivera (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 30, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distributor, is actively pursuing renewable energy (RE) projects as part of plans to diversify its power generating portfolio.

Meralco president Oscar S. Reyes said they are in discussions with developers of RE projects which include solar, wind, run-of-river, other hyro projects and gas.

“We have various talks on project proponents with wind, solar, on run-of-river, other hydro projects and potentially on gas,” he said.

“These are the things that we are looking at because we do not want to be a one fuel generator, we would like to spread the risks from different types of plants,” he added.

Last July, Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan bared plans of spinning off new unit for RE investments, a separate entity from the group’s power generating unit Meralco Powergen Corp. (MGen).

MGen is building a portfolio of up to 3,000 megawatts (MW) of new power capacity, mainly from baseload power plants, to address the growing energy demand in the country.

Meralco will initially target solar, particularly solar rooftops, in its thrust in the RE sector, Pangilinan said. “Not just utility grade solar but we will start probably with rooftops,” he said.

Solar-powered rooftops are seen as a big threat to the distribution business of Meralco, which counts over 5.7 million customers within its franchise area.

Pangilinan noted entering the solar market will allow Meralco to disrupt its own business, a more preferable scenario than other companies doing so.

“We think of it as a future threat so we will be the first to disrupt ourselves because if we don’t do it, others will do it for us. So rather than have somebody kill us, we might as well kill ourselves because it will be more fun,” he explained.
Customs collections decline to P32.6B in September

By Prinz P. Magtulis (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 30, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Depressed import prices pulled down the Bureau of Customs’ revenue collections by more than a fifth last month, although the agency remained optimistic it could meet its target by year-end.

In a statement, Customs said it collected P32.65 billion in September, down 0.8 percent from last year’s P32.9 billion and was also 20.6 percent lower against the P41.109-billion target for that month.

The figures are based on the final tally for September. Last week, preliminary figures obtained by The STAR showed the bureau collected P32.1 billion in September.

 “Over-all the decline in collection was driven by a drop in the total value of imports,” Customs commissioner Alberto Lina said.

According to BOC data, total import values dipped 1.8 percent, which offset the increase in import volumes by 17 percent.

By value, oil import values fell 32.4 percent, while those for non-oil shipments grew 5.5 percent. By volume, the former increased 20.6 percent, while the latter rose 16 percent.

Import costs and volumes are directly proportional to Customs revenues, whereas higher valued and number of goods are charged higher levies and vice-versa.

The increase in import volumes were not enough to offset the lower values, data showed. For oil imports in particular, revenues plummeted by almost a third in September.

For the first nine months, oil collections decreased 32 percent from last year, but breached the target by 11.7 percent as Customs adjusted targets in light of price developments.

Global oil prices have tumbled by an average of 48 percent over the past 12 months on the back of weak demand and supply glut. Specifically, the Dubai crude price, the benchmark for the Philippines, has decreased to $46.14 per barrel from $97.

Meanwhile, non-oil collections rose 11.3 percent in September and 13.2 percent in the first three quarters. Against its nine-month goal, the non-oil segment was behind 18 percent.

The bureau did not provide absolute amounts on oil and non-oil collections.
World Bank recommends: Open up shipping, rice, telecommunications sectors

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 30, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The World Bank is urging the country to open up its telecommunications, shipping, and rice industries to more competition locally and internationally to increase competitiveness and attract more foreign investments.

Karl Kendrick Chua, senior country economist of the World Bank Philippine Office, said the three industries have the potential to create more jobs if only the country could improve the quality of their service and lower prices.

“These are the sectors wherein the costs are somehow prohibitive, negative to the quality of service you get,” Chua said.

In the telecommunications sector, Chua said the country’s Internet costs are among the highest in the region but consumers also get the lowest speed.

In shipping, it is currently way more expensive to ship between local destinations in the Philippines than if one were to ship from a foreign port, Chua noted.

“This is one reason why agriculture produce from Mindanao are having a hard time getting to the markets in Luzon or Visayas,”  he said.

The World Bank likewise believes the country’s  agricultural  sector  has  been underperforming  for  over  30  years now,  characterized  by  low  growth  and  productivity,  and high  food  prices.

Chua said calamities like typhoons have further emphasized the vulnerability of the country’s rice industry.

“We have to pay for that through the very high price of rice. This high food cost translates of course to high minimum wage, translates to high cost of manufacturing, and high cost of inputs for agribusiness or food manufacturing, therefore eroding the competitiveness of Filipinos,” he said.

For his part, National Competitiveness Council co-chairman Guillermo Luz said there are five areas -- energy and power, infrastructure, agriculture, education, and regulatory processes – that need special attention to further boost the country’s competitiveness.

“We are still stuck in a lot of red tape, we are still stuck in a bureaucratic maze as far as regulations are concerned,” Luz said.

“I think  we need to look at more opportunities to streamline e-governance, for more automation, for more business-friendly and user-friendly ways of interacting with customers, investors, and with citizens,” he added.

Luz also underscored the country’s need to revisit existing laws and regulations.

“I think we have far too many. We probably need to sit back, assess them, and do a regulatory impact assessment so we can begin to repeal some laws which are no longer necessary,” Luz said.
Revisiting the rustic charm of Tagaytay Highlands

By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 30, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - In the highest elevations of temperate Tagaytay City lies a premier living and leisure destination that speaks of exclusivity and luxury – Tagaytay Highlands.

Just an hour’s drive from Metro Manila, residents and visitors get to experience the cool winds, misty mornings and the countryside charm of Tagaytay Highlands. Located 2,500 feet above sea level, the breathtaking view of the lush mountain ranges and the renowned Taal Lake and Taal Volcano make it a cut above the rest.

Tagaytay Highlands homes are divided into three parts: Highlands, Midlands and Greenlands. The Highlands is a network of exclusively themed residential communities set amidst the stunning views of the Taal Lake and cool atmosphere of Tagaytay lush mountains. The Midlands is a variety of themed communities inspired by architecture and culture from different countries while Greenlands stands for the shade of abundance, hue of vibrancy and the color of the highlife.

In terms of residential establishments, Tagaytay Highlands offers Katsura, a 14-hectare Japanese-themed residential community inspired by the great Katsura Palace of Kyoto which speaks of elegance and simplicity.

This exclusive sanctuary nestled within the lofty peaks of Tagaytay Highlands combines traditional and contemporary Japanese homes with steep angled roofs.

Located at the Midlands, Katsura has 241 lots with sizes ranging from 250 square meters to 538 sqm and price ranging from P4 million to P9 million with one of its best features, the Koens, which are pocket gardens scattered throughout the area.

Meanwhile, in one of Tagaytay’s highest elevations lies the Woodridge Place which embodies Tagaytay Highlands’ trademark of exclusivity. Woodridge Place offers mountain top condo living in its 2.26-hectare land where two 11-story towers, Mahogany and Linden, can be found.

Both towers have one to four bedroom units with sizes ranging from 41 sqm to 253 sqm and cost P5 million to P33 million. Mahogany Tower has three parking levels and 64 units while Linden Tower has 113 units and one parking level.

The towers boast of the facets of design from elegant mountain resorts around the Colorado Rockies, its east-west axis angle that maximizes natural daylight and ventilation, high-speed elevators, 100 percent emergency power supply, fire alarm, smoke detection system, and water heating and sprinkler system.

On the other hand, a contemporary hilltop haven, an idyllic community and laid-back charm of living is what residential village Aspenhills provide. The 27-hectare neighborhood inspired by the happy and colorful summer of Aspen in Colorado is located at the Highlands.

The low density community follows the ranch and mountain lodge type of architectural designs with a combination of the rustic charm of wood and the contemporary touches of glass and stone. Lots are available from 300 sqm to 800 sqm sizes worth P4 million to P11 million while construction costs a minimum P4 million.

Residents and owners of properties in the Tagaytay Highlands get to enjoy exclusive perks such as membership at the Tagaytay Highlands Country Club and amenities including two golf courses, sports center, horseback riding ring, animal farm, cable cars, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rides, among others. It also boasts a wide array of more than 20 restaurants that offer cuisines from almost all parts of the globe.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on November 24, 2015, 06:04:04 PM
Belle profit jumps 80% to P1.1B

by James Loyola
October 30, 2015
Belle Corporation reported a net income of P1.1 billion for the first nine months of 2015, higher by about 80% compared to recurring net income of P631.1 million in the same period last year.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Belle said this is excluding a non-recurring P1.2 billion reversal of provisions for probable losses by its Premium Leisure Corporation (PLC) subsidiary in 2014.

Belle realized operating revenues of almost P4.0 billion due to its strong operating performance; the Company has already paid a total of Php 2.9 billion in cash dividends to its shareholders during 2015.

Belle’s operating revenues of P4.0 billion for the first nine months of 2015 were approximately 150 percent higher than its operating revenues of P1.6 billion for the same period in 2014.

The firm’s operating growth in 2015 was attributable to higher revenue from its lease of the City of Dreams Manila property to Philippine entities controlled by Melco Crown Entertainment Limited (MCE), higher income from sales of real estate and increased income contributed by its listed subsidiaries – PLC and Pacific Online Systems Corporation.

PLC’s operations during 2015 were highlighted by the grand opening of City of Dreams Manila on February 2, 2015. PLC has an operating agreement with MCE that accords it a share of gaming revenues or earnings at City of Dreams Manila.

Belle’s principal assets include land and buildings located at PAGCOR Entertainment City in Paranaque City, which are being leased on a long-term basis to MCE.

This property is the site of the City of Dreams Manila gaming and resort operations, which encompasses 6.2 hectares of land and more than 30 hectares in building gross floor area.

Belle also realizes a share in earnings from City of Dreams’ gaming operations through its 78.7 percent-owned subsidiary, PLC.

Belle also owns significant real estate assets in and around Tagaytay City, consisting of premium residential properties for sale and approximately 800 hectares of land held for future development.
Meralco eyes Pampanga distribution utility

By Danessa O. Rivera (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 31, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Electic Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest electricity retailer, is eyeing another distribution utility (DU) in Pampanga continuing the expansion of its distribution network in other areas of the country.

“We’re looking at DUs in the provinces. [It’s] quite a number we’re looking at,” Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said.

“Probably another Pelco (Pampanga Electric Cooperative),” he added.

Securing a new DU will likely take place next year, Pangilinan said.

Data from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) showed there are four electric cooperatives (ECs) in Pampanga, namely: Pampanga Rural (Presco), Pelco I, Pelco II and Pelco III.

In 2014, Meralco slowed down on acquisitions to focus on the rehabilitation of a debt-ridden electric cooperative in Pampanga, Pelco II.

Last year, it signed a technical services agreement with Comstech Integration Alliance Inc. for the investment and management contract of Pampanga Pelco II as authorized by the NEA.

Comstech manages and operates the said Pampanga EC.

Meralco has been tapped to upgrade the power distribution system of Pelco II, distributor of electricity to the city of Mabalacat and towns of Guagua, Bacolor, Sta. Rita, Lubao, and Porac.

Meralco’s entry into Pelco II was firmed up after it acquired 60 percent of Comstech last February.

Last Sept. 30, Pelco II has settled its outstanding obligation with state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) amounting to P1.095 billion.

Following this development, Meralco resumed exploring opportunities and talks with potential DUs and ECs, company president Oscar S. Reyes said earlier.

The power distributor has been scouting for opportunities on growing its electric distribution area in North Luzon and South Luzon through acquisitions of ECs and private DUs.

Currently, Meralco’s franchise area covers over 5.7 million customers in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal, as well as certain areas in Batangas, Laguna, Pampanga and Quezon.
Local firm bids out contract for P1.2-B hydropower development

by Myrna Velasco
November 1, 2015 (updated)
Local firm United Holdings Power Corporation (UHPC) has auctioned the project contract for the electro-mechanical equipment of its proposed P1.2-billion hydropower development in Bukidnon that will yield a capacity of 8.4 megawatts.

UHPC business development officer Marti Sandino Espenido has noted that they cornered four European bidders, namely: Andritz Hydro; Wasserkraft GmbH; Global Hydro Energy; and WKV (Wasserkraft Volk AG).

“Proposals are being reviewed. The target for awarding is December (this year).” Espenido has told reporters.

For the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract of the project, those eyed for tenders are: Sta Clara International; JV Angeles Construction; Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corporation (Miescor); and Phesco Incorporated.

“Bidding will be next month (November), awarding is targeted by December or latest by January,” Espenido stressed.

The blueprinted hydropower facility will draw its water usage from the Maladugao River in Kalilangan, Bukidnon province.

Company officials have so far noted that the detailed engineering design (DED) of the project was completed earlier this month by Meadowland Developers, Inc.

The project already had its financing arrangement closed with BDO, hence, paving the way for a construction timeframe that may kick off by the first quarter of next year.

UHPC has emphasized that for the electricity output of the hydro plant, it already has provisional authority from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for its off-take agreement with First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative.

Espenido noted that beyond augmenting Mindanao’s power supply, the project will also “benefit a big part of the local community” in terms of livelihood and other economic opportunities.

The proposed hydro plant is also envisioned for expansion of 15.7MW to which the project sponsor intends to firm up after the completion of the Upper Maladugao hydropower venture.
There is hope

HIDDEN AGENDA By Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star)
Updated November 1, 2015 - 12:00am
The monster traffic jams that Metro Manila residents are subjected to every single day result from our government’s failure to prioritize infrastructure investments.

And slowly, this traffic problem is scaring away foreign investors. After all, traffic means lower productivity, and which investor wants that?

With less than a year remaining for the Aquino administration, this government seems to have had a realization that if it wants to leave a legacy, it cannot be this.

And so for 2016, the budget department is asking 28 percent more for infrastructure spending. Meanwhile, the finance department is looking at tapping the domestic capital market to finance the various public-private partnership (PPP) projects, 10 of which have already been awarded since 2010 while 14 are up for bidding, of which 13 are expected to be awarded before June next year.

 With the huge backlog in the implementation of the PPP program, many seem to have given up on this supposed flagship program of the Aquino administration.

But as they say, better late than never.

Just recently, the last hurdle preventing the turnover of the operation and management of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway to the private sector has been overcome when the President finally signed last Oct. 16 the supplemental toll operations agreement for SCTEX.

According to reports, SCTEX has already been turned over by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) to the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC), which has been operating SCTEX for a number of years now, albeit on a temporary and short-term basis. But formal turnover will still be on Nov. 5.

The turnover came after MNTC was declared the winner of the price challenge conducted by government and following the company’s upfront cash payment of P3.5 billion.

Under the agreement, MNTC will operate and maintain SCTEX for 31 years up to 2046, while sharing on a 50-50 basis with government the gross revenues from toll fees.

Following the formal turnover, MNTC will take care of all the O&M expenses while BCDA will continue to shoulder the debt-servicing requirements of the JICA loan.

MNTC plans to spend P1.5 billion for the rehabilitation of SCTEX over the next three years, which is on top of the P700 million it will spend for integrating the tollroad with the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), which MNTC also operates.

It has been reported that MNTC has acquired new top-of-the-line equipment to make the toll road’s systems up-to-date. The company also plans to improve the traffic management system, to install CCTV cameras, to upgrade signages, and to put up a state-of-the-art traffic control center.

All these have been affirmed by Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) president Mon Fernandez, who said that the signing by the President of the STOA will enable MNTC to modernize SCTEX and integrate it with NLEX, to allow for “world-class seamless travel” for Luzon motorists and commuters, and will shore up Metro Pacific Investment Corp.’s leadership role in the domestic toll road industry. MPTC is a wholly owned subsidiary of MPIC while MNTC is owned by MPTC.

MNTC’s O&M contract for SCTEX was approved as far back as during the Arroyo administration, but was not implemented because the BCDA wanted a renegotiation. MNTC submitted a much improved offer in 2013 but it was only last February when government finally signed the contract to turn over the toll road to SCTEX.  But actual turnover was delayed because of the failure by President Aquino to immediately sign the STOA.

According to MNTC president Rodrigo Franco, SCTEX’s integration with NLEX is expected to be finished by March of next year. He explained that the P700-million integration project would simplify the two expressways’ toll collection system and reduce the number of toll collection plazas between them.

 Let us hope that the President’s act in finally signing the STOA for SCTEX will mean that other delayed projects will finally be implemented.

 MNTC’s much-awaited NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, which is expected to reduce travel time from NLEX to SLEX to just 15 minutes, is still awaiting a Swiss Challenge, which must first be approved by the NEDA ICC and the NEDA board. And then there is also this need to redesign the road’s alignment after it was found out that the North-South Railway Project which just got NEDA board approval will use the same PNR tracks.

 Why the ICC keeps shelving the matter of the Connector Road project’s Swiss Challenge is a big mystery.

 Imagine, all these trucks that use up all our roads to get from the South to the North disappearing because they have an alternative route. And of course, the resulting Manila port decongestion as other ports such as those in Batangas and Subic can be easily accessed.

That is how important this project is.

And of course, there are the other projects of the Metro Pacific group, which will also help ease traffic congestion such as the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) and

the NLEX C-5 Link Project or Segment 8.2 Road, a 7.85-kilometer road extension from Mindanao Avenue to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, both of which are awaiting full delivery by government of the road right of way.
Separate wheat from the chaff

Just last week, we reported that former House Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella and his wife, Sangay Mayor Evelyn, have found themselves facing the same issues against them all over again after a certain organization has filed a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman for plunder in connection with alleged ill-gotten wealth.

But the issues raised in this new complaint are old. In fact, in 2004 and in 2012, the Tanodbayan and its successor the Ombudsman dismissed complaints filed against the Fuentebellas involving exactly the same issues.

Presentacion, Camarines Sur Mayor Jimmy Delena was quoted as saying that this new case is obviously politically motivated and aimed at destroying the reputation of the Fuentebellas.

With the elections just around the corner, expect cases upon cases being filed with the Office of the Ombudsman against public officials, many by their political opponents.

The Ombudsman, and of course, media should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

As I have said, while the Supreme Court has already ruled that double jeopardy does not apply where the Ombudsman dismissed a case during preliminary investigation against respondent public officer, preliminary investigation not being part of trial, rehashed complaints should be treated like garbage and thrown into the dustbin.

Not all complaints/complainants are the same. The Office of the Ombudsman should not allow itself to be used as an instrument for witch-hunting as well as for harassment because it would be a waste of time and resources.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on November 24, 2015, 06:10:46 PM
Subic Bay port revenues up 55% to P99M in September

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
Updated November 2, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said revenues from its port grew 55 percent in September to P99 million from P63 million in the same month last year due to higher port leases and buildup in its number of ship calls.

SBMA reported a 126 percent year-on-year surge in port leases and rentals in September, while it posted a 53 percent growth in its number of ship calls.

As an alternative port to Manila, SBMA said the Subic Port’s number of domestic and foreign vessels grew by 56 percent and 47 percent, respectively, during the month.

SBMA chairman and administrator Roberto Garcia said the Subic Port also showed improvements in cargo volume in September as containerized cargo shipments swelled by 50 percent in terms of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

“As of last month, we have already broken our 2014 yearend record of 77,000 TEUs,” Garcia said, adding the volume handled has already reached 93,757 TEUs from January to September this year.

Non-containerized cargo volume also rose by 48 percent in terms of metric tons in September, as compared to the same month last year.

SBMA said these cargoes largely consisted of liquid bulk and petroleum shipments,  bulk and break bulk, and heavy equipment and ro-ro shipments.

Garcia attributed the port’s positive performance to several factors such as Subic’s one-stop shop, which is the only one of its kind in Luzon, SBMA’s port marketing programs and the formation of a maritime technical group.

“All these initiatives plus the fact that Subic Bay is the only port in the Philippines western seaboard that still has enough capacity to handle additional container volume have further sharpened our port’s competitive edge,” the SBMA chief said.
Lower exports seen this year

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
Updated October 31, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s merchandise exports will not only be missing growth targets this year but will also likely end in the red, an industry official said.

Philippine Exports Confederation (PhilExport) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said the country would be fortunate to see exports finish on the same level as the previous year.

“Right now, I think we can hope for a little positive or flat but it’s very possible that it can be negative,” Ortiz-Luis said.

“We’re already in the nine months of the data and we are still negative,” he added.

Latest data from the government showed merchandise exports for the first eight months of the year contracted 4.4 percent to $39.34 billion from $41.13 billion in the same period in 2014.

Electronic products remained to the country’s top export with total receipts of $2.353 billion, accounting for 45.9 percent of total exports revenue in August.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan earlier gave up on the seven-percent exports growth target of the government this year, saying growth may be flat this year compared to the 2014 levels.

Merchandise exports last year stood at $61.8 billion, nine percent higher from that recorded in 2013.

In an interview last month, Ortiz-Luis was still optimistic the country’s exports will manage to grow three to four percent this year despite a few setbacks experienced early on.

Exporters are still awaiting for a proposed support fund worth P1.7 billion from the government to boost the country’s export growth.

Once issued, the budget which will be used to help finance exporters promotional activities which will be handled by the Department of Trade and Industry.
World Bank urges Philippines to simplify business regulations

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
Updated November 2, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines could rake in additional investments of at least P5 billion to P10 billion from the private sector annually should it simplify business regulations, according to the World Bank.

In a briefing last week, World Bank Philippine office senior country economist Karl Kendrick Chua said business regulations in the Philippines tend to be cumbersome and limit the growth of innovative entrepreneurship and investments.

“Indicative estimates suggest the high cost of doing business is clearly a toll on the country’s inclusive growth agenda. We don’t have exact numbers, but if we have simpler regulations, we are seeing anywhere from at least P5 billion to P10 billion in new investments that can come in,” Chua said.

Chua said current Philippine business regulations also contribute to large scale informality which prevents the country from creating more and better jobs that could reduce poverty at a faster rate.

He said simplifying business regulations could unleash the potential of the private sector, particularly the small and micro businesses which are important contributors and beneficiaries of inclusive growth.

“They not only have to pay legitimate fees between P21,000 to P45,000 a year when they open a business, they also spend a considerable amount of time moving from one agency to another, and waiting in line to process their documents, often resulting in significant loss of productive time and income. In some instances, businesses report they need to pay bribes to obtain various permits and licenses,” Chua said.

“After a business commences, numerous annual regulatory and tax requirements are needed, which can take many days in a year. Moreover, there are tax and contribution payments that have to be paid frequently every year,” he added.
President Aquino rebrands PHL as “Asia’s New Darling”

by Philippines News Agency
October 30, 2015
Upon being elected as the “Salesman-in-Chief” of the Philippines in 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III has conducted an aggressive marketing campaign to revamp the old brand of the Philippines, from being known as “the Sick Man of Asia” into “Asia’s New Darling.”

In his remarks during the 17th Asia Pacific Retail Convention and Exhibition (APRCE) on Thursday at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the President shared that the Philippines had once been among the least performing countries in many aspects as the country was “plagued” by “rampant corruption and impunity” in the past.

“Establishing a new brand is already a challenge. A different one altogether is reworking an “old brand”—rejuvenating and reviving the image of something that may already have negative associations with its name,” said Aquino.

The Aquino administration had to revamp the system, undertake radical reform, and effect transformation so that “the Philippines was once again open for business under new management.”

Some major overhauls done by the current administration include instituting transparency and accountability, pursuing after the corrupt, leveling the playing field, and investing massive resources into the Filipino people, among others.

“Our campaign has been extremely successful. We did not only revamp our image, we also effected true change,” Aquino said.

“Since 2010, we have climbed the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Rankings: When we started, we were at 85th; now, we are at 47th and we have every intention of being ranked even higher in the near future,” he added.

Aside from the leap in rankings, the country’s GDP growth has been one of the region’s fastest with a 6.2 percent average over the last five years.

Furthermore, the country also broke its record for the largest ever net foreign direct investments in 2014.

“Now that we have so many successes under our belt, now that we are realizing our aspirations, we cannot allow ourselves to backslide. This is the time to work even harder, and even more closely with one another, to build on what we have achieved,” Aquino noted.

The APRCE is a major activity of the Federation of Asia Pacific Retailers Association (FAPRA), which is composed of 18 member economies including China, Japan, Korea, Turkey, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, India, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mongolia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

This biennial event, slated Oct. 28 to 30, is considered the largest and longest running retail industry event in the Asia Pacific and has attracted over 3,000 foreign and local retailers and executives throughout the region.

Also present during the occasion were Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) President and Chief Operating Officer of Duty Free Philippines Lorenzo Formoso, PRA Overall Chairman Frederick Go, FAPRA Chairman Melmet Nane.
Abu Dhabi investors keen on doing business in Philippines

(The Philippine Star)
Updated November 2, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Abu Dhabi businessmen have expressed strong interest to invest in the Philippines, according to the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), the export promotions arm of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Citem executive director Rosvi C. Gaetos said the board members of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) indicated clear intent to do business  in the Philippines during a recent meeting with the Philippine Business Council and the representatives of interior design and furniture export firms, hotels and real estate developers.

“The report on the OBMM (outbound business matching meeting) from our embassy in Abu Dhabi underscored the sincere intent of the ADCCI to expand the scope of joint industry cooperation, increase the trade figures and find ways to help the UAE (United Arab Emirates) investors benefit from the investment incentives in the Philippines,” Gaetos pointed out.

“Organized by the DTI and its Export Marketing Bureau, the OBMM had 10 of the Philippines’ furniture exporting firms represented at the meeting – six from Luzon and two each from the Visayas and Mindanao – all witnessing how officials from concerned government agencies were working together for their welfare,” Gaetos said.

“A major player in the regional economy of the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates is not only an oil-rich member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, but is also the region’s premier upscale tourism destination, generating huge demand for high-end furniture products that the Philippines can supply,” Gaetos stressed.

Moreover, Abu Dhabi reportedly has the bulk of UAE’s oil reserves, whose income has long been flowing into tourism, construction, technologies and other non-oil ventures.

UAE’s attribute as a strategic export marketing venue and investment source is highlighted by Citem’s forthcoming participation in the Dubai International Brand Licensing Fair on Nov. 3 and 4.

Commercial News » Hong Kong Edition
By Michael Gerrity
October 30, 2015 11:20 AM ET 

Rise of Asian Institutional Investors, Fund Managers Drives Market
According to CBRE, cross-border property investment in Asia accounted for 36% of total turnover year-to-date - rising 36% quarter-on-quarter to $10.6 billion - marking this the highest total recorded since 2008.

Based on CBRE's preliminary Q3 2015 figures, investment turnover grew 20% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 2015 to $25.6 billion, despite the year-to-date investment volume being down 24% compared to the same period in 2014. Sustained investor interest remained upbeat in Australia and Japan, with these two markets accounting for 56% of total regional turnover in the quarter. Asian capital was particularly active in the Pacific, lured by high yields. Australia--especially in Sydney and Melbourne--attracted strong investor demand from Asian investors due to stable fundamentals being relatively affordable in these markets, compared to assets in their own domestic markets.

Ada Choi, Senior Director, Research, CBRE Asia Pacific, commented, "the region's investment environment saw solid activity this quarter driven by renewed interest from western investors and the rise of Asian institutional investors and fund managers. International institutional investors continued to expand their real estate portfolios in the region as they're seeking long-term investments to generate profit above inflation."

"With cross-border investment gathering pace, Asian investors still continue to be drawn to offshore opportunities, looking abroad to diversify a growing pool of domestic wealth globally."

"Investment volume in Q3 was mainly boosted by big-ticket transactions across a variety of asset classes, which included the sale of the InterContinental Hong Kong hotel to GAW Capital for $940 million and CIC's acquisition of a $1.7 billion office portfolio from Investa in Australia. This reflects the strong investment appetite among large-scale institutional investors for big-ticket deals," added Ms. Choi.

Furthermore, findings also revealed that India saw an increase in capital inflows from major international investors, underpinned by a faster GDP growth than China and having one of the strongest business sentiments in the region. Markets in India show healthy activity in the occupier markets, particularly supported by a solid office demand from the e-commerce and BPO sector.

However, despite strong investment activity in the quarter, the region generally saw weaker rental growth in the occupier markets.

Dr. Henry Chin, Head of Research, CBRE Asia Pacific, commented, "in Q3 2015, occupier markets saw slower rental growth on the back of weaker fundamentals such as weaker business and consumer sentiment. In the office sector, new office supply of 20 million sq. ft. NFA is expected to complete in Q4 2015, and this will make it more challenging for landlords to retain tenants. The bulk of leasing activity is taking place in decentralized areas in key markets and major business process outsourcing destinations such as India. Cost saving relocation has surpassed flight-to-quality as the primary driver of decentralization."

In the retail sector, overall rents fell 0.3% quarter-on-quarter as Hong Kong suffered its sharpest decline since 1998 (-9.1% quarter-on-quarter) due to the shift in mainland Chinese tourist spending patterns coupled with slower tourist arrivals. In contrast, Hong Kong's office market sentiment remained positive with vacancy in Central CBD staying at less than 1%.

"Tourism still remains an ongoing factor, impacting the retail sector in several markets with a change in tourist consumption and traveling patterns, especially by mainland Chinese tourists. Hong Kong and Singapore's retail markets were mostly affected by the weaker tourism industry, and retailers are slowing down expansion plans in China due to concerns on China's economic growth. Most Chinese cities recorded very little rental growth in Q3. In contrast, visitor numbers continued to increase in Japan on the back of the cheap Japanese yen, resulting to more leasing demand in Tokyo--mainly driven by upmarket retailers. Demand for prime space from international retailers also remained strong in Australia, particularly from premium brands and F&B retailers," says Dr. Chin.

Elsewhere, the recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is expected to increase trade flows, lower the cost of goods, and improve employment prospects for participating Asia Pacific countries. The major beneficiary will be the industrial sector, with favourable support for Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand. There is still some way to go for implementation of the TPP, therefore, these benefits will emerge in the longer-term.
Other key Asia market highlights:
In the office sector, overall corporate sentiment deteriorated in the quarter due to stock market volatility and renewed fears over a China slowdown. Net absorption contracted by nearly 30% quarter-on-quarter to 11.2 million sq. ft. NFA as demand weakened in most markets, with the exception of Bangalore, New Delhi, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Seoul. CBRE continues to expect 10% year-on-year increase in net absorption in 2015.
Office rents edged up by just 0.3% quarter-on-quarter. A rental correction in Singapore (-3.5% quarter-on-quarter) offset solid growth recorded in Hong Kong (+3.0% quarter-on-quarter) and Auckland (+2.2% quarter-on-quarter).
F&B remained the most active sector in retail but previous upbeat markets such as Shenzhen and Singapore are now approaching saturation.
Retail rents in the Pacific continued to rise--2.3% quarter-on-quarter--amid solid demand from overseas retailers.
In Q3, leasing demand for logistics warehousing space was stable and continued to be driven by third-party logistics, e-commerce and retailers; however, the supply side dictated rental movement in many markets.
Overall logistics rents decreased by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, weighted down by oversupply issues in Melbourne (-2.4% quarter-on-quarter), Tokyo (-2.2% quarter-on-quarter) and Singapore (-1.6% quarter-on-quarter), leading to a 0.7% quarter-on-quarter decline in capital values, the first drop since Q3 2009.
The strong supply pipeline and rising operation costs will continue to pull down regional logistics rental growth in the short-term, however, markets with tight supply, such as Hong Kong and South China, will have a base for stable rental growth, in spite of the subdued retail environment.

Vista launches P3.5-B condotel in Cebu, its biggest Visayas project

by James Loyola
November 1, 2015 (updated)

Vista Residences, Inc. (VRI), the condominium subsidiary of top homebuilder Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., has launched its biggest project in the Visayas called Vista Suarez Cebu, a condotel project estimated to cost P3.5 billion.

The mixed-use project will have retails spaces, offices, residential units and a hotel – a first for a Vista Residences development. Located right in the heart of Metro Cebu, it is the most ambitious vertical project yet of VRI in the Visayas.

The 32-story, twin-tower development will rise on Gorordo Avenue, right in the middle of the metro’s key hubs:  Fuente Osmeña Circle, the Cebu Provincial Capitol, and the Cebu Business Park.

Designed for both work and sanctuary, Vista Suarez Cebu stresses space: It offers a minimal 27 units per floor in Tower 1, and only 14 units per floor in Tower 2.

This will allow more privacy, much less crowding in the public areas, and more breathing space – a huge premium in condominium living.

At the street level, the building will house retail and commercial shops and restaurants for the residents’ and guests’ convenience and enjoyment. The next two levels will be allotted for offices and business centers.

Vista Suarez will both be a hotel and a residential development. The sixth to the 14th floor will be run as a hotel.  The rooms – offering both studio and one-bedroom selections – will be outfitted and run with the same professionalism, expertise, and customer care as are the world’s top hotels.

Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on January 04, 2016, 10:41:58 AM
Daily News
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Monday, January 4, 2016
Elections to affect real estate activity; oversupply in vertical residential segment

By: Tessa R. Salazar
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:25 AM January 2nd, 2016
(First of a series)

AS THE PHILIPPINES “goes bananas” in an election year—in the year of the monkey at that—property experts see a number of challenges, and likely trends, flavoring and coloring the real estate industry in 2016. Here’s their fearless forecast:

    There will be an oversupply in the mid-market vertical residential segment.

“I expect 2016 to be the most challenging year for the residential property sector. A looming oversupply in the mid-market vertical residential segment in Metro Manila is developing, and developers should expect a slowdown by as much as 10 percent in the average annual take-up rate of 50,000 units. Several developers are already holding back sales of new projects until supply balances out in 2018,” said Enrique M. Soriano III, Ateneo program director for real estate and senior adviser for Wong+Bernstein Business, in an Inquirer Property interview.

Soriano said that with this oversupply scenario, “we will naturally anticipate vacancy rates to go up in 2016 to double digits in the Makati and Ortigas CBD (central business district) area.”

    The 2016 presidential elections will affect the market. Soriano said the presidential and national elections “is likewise expected to freeze any major real estate activity in the first two quarters of 2016. Naturally, investor sentiment will be on a wait-and-see attitude. This will not bode well for the property sector and the economy as a whole. Hopefully, after the elections, it will be followed by a possible uptick in transaction levels in the last two quarters of 2016,” said Soriano.

    Business process outsourcing (BPO) growth continues. BPO companies, according to property portal Lamudi Philippines, will continue to buoy Metro Manila’s commercial real estate.

“Experts do not foresee the supply of office space surpassing demand soon, meaning commercial properties (and offices in particular) remain a beneficial investment for 2016,” said Lamudi

Philippines in a statement.

Soriano said that in 2016, Grade-A office rents in prime areas is expected to increase 5 percent, given strong demand for office space and low vacancy rates. Meanwhile, rents in non-CBD areas may slightly drop by 5 percent due to available supply in Makati and Bonifacio Global City.

    Metro Manila land values will go up. Lamudi Philippines said that despite slower gross domestic product growth in 2015, land values still continue to appreciate, albeit at a slower pace.

Colliers International said that growth rates of land values in Metro Manila accelerated in the second quarter of 2015. In addition, land values in the Makati CBD, growing at only 0.85 percent during the first three months of the year, rebounded in the next three by growing at a rate of 2 percent. This raised the area’s average price to P452,704 per square meter. Values similarly rose in the business districts of Fort Bonifacio and Ortigas Center, increasing at 1.97 and 2.1 percent, respectively.

    Retail property market will face a slowdown. Soriano said “the challenging retail environment is likely to persist next year due to diminishing inbound tourist arrivals. We expect prime rents outside of the shopping centers to slide by 10 percent in 2016, while shopping mall spaces are expected to escalate.”

“We can also expect a decline in premium retail market rents due to the expected drop in tourist arrivals as a result of the national elections happening in the first half of 2016. The mass retail market is expected to remain resilient as domestic consumption continue to grow, fueled partly by election spending nationwide,” said Soriano.
Office rents seen easing

By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
01:53 AM January 1st, 2016

Office rental rates are seen to soften this 2016 as new office buildings come into play and start to overshadow demand, property consulting firm Colliers said.

As new supply has started to outpace demand, office property vacancy rates are seen to rise until 2017 but remain within manageable levels. Capital values are also projected to grow in some categories and areas, albeit at a slower pace.

By the third quarter of this year, average rental rate on premium buildings in the Makati central business district is seen to slip by 2.96 percent year-on-year to P1,076-P1,350 per square meter per month.

Monthly grade A and B rents in Makati are likewise seen to decline year-on-year by 2.48 percent and 0.56 percent, respectively, to P698-P1,067 and P569-P807 per square meter.

“The demand has been constant so far but supply is overcoming the demand already,” Colliers Philippines associate director Brian David, Colliers associate director for office services, said in an interview.

But citing feedback from the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry—a key driver of the local property market over the years—David said this industry was not expecting any slowdown.  In fact, he said big new BPO entrants were still coming to the Philippine market, banking on economic stability and the country’s educated and English-speaking workforce.

“The only difference is that developers are building more compared to 2014 and 2015. That’s why we’re expecting a slowdown at some point,” David said.

Colliers’ latest research suggested that the strong leasing activity experienced throughout most of 2015 would taper as the huge influx of new supply could increase vacancies.

The Makati vacancy rate is expected to rise to 4.4 percent by end-2016 from an average of 4.06 percent at end-2015. Vacancies in Fort Bonifacio—where 43 percent of the new stock for the year will be located—are seen to rise to 10.8 percent.

“We’re still at a good stage from 2012 till now. The vacancy rate is below 5 percent for the whole property market.  It will increase because of new supply to 6-7 percent but this is still a manageable range,” David said.

Some developers had been closing leasing deals for new buildings in the fringe areas with net effective rents that were significantly lower than their headline rates and likewise cutting on common area chargers, based on Colliers data.

“This is likely due to the developers’ recognition of the high levels of upcoming supply in the next couple of years, and they would rather put contracts in place at lower rates today than risk having their spaces vacant for an extended period of time,” the latest Colliers research said.
SM takes malling to higher level

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
Updated January 3, 2016 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – The SM Group will implement changes in its malls to bring “malling experience to a whole new level” for its customers.

SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy said for instance, SM’s Mall of Asia will break boundaries with an expansion plan that includes a rooftop botanical garden, a football field, a Galleon Museum and a theater for the performing arts.

Similarly, The Podium in Ortigas, which is a venture with SM Keppel Land Inc., will provide customers more premium retailing and dining options.

“All in all, we plan to develop four to five new malls in the Philippines each year, with our long- term goal of having 100 malls around the country.  That sounds like an impossible dream, but with your support we know we will be able to achieve this,” Sy said.

The SM Group would also be exploring e-commerce to provide its shoppers with more choices and convenience.

Even with the onslaught of online formats, SM continues to enhance its lifestyle malls to provide shoppers a more exciting and educational experience, Sy said.

He is optimistic that malls, which belong to the so-called “brick-and-mortar” businesses, will continue to “click” despite the evolving retail landscape characterized by the explosion of digital formats.

“As you all know, much has happened since we opened our first mall 30 years ago – the retail landscape has become more global and competitive, technology has forever changed the way we live and do things, and customer tastes have changed along with the times,” Sy said.

According to Sy, brick-and-mortar businesses like shopping malls have evolved with the times, surviving major and economic political shifts and changing the Filipino lifestyle.

“When we started building SM City North EDSA in 1983, people thought my father was crazy.  There was a political crisis, interest rates were as high as 45 percent, and the location of the mall was in the middle of nowhere.  They said SM City would not succeed, but the mall was an instant success.  And the rest, as they say is history.  And that is why we are all here today after 30 years,” Sy said.

SM soon opened SM City Cebu in November 1993, its first provincial mall, which was followed by an aggressive expansion program in key cities around the country.

In 2006, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City was opened, SM’s premiere mall destination in the region. It soon introduced more upscale projects like SM Aura Premier in Taguig and expanded Megamall in 2014 with the Mega Fashion Hall.

“We have seen changing lifestyles in a world that is more global in perspective, and more technologically advanced and environmentally concerned. But together, we have changed the Filipino lifestyle forever,” Sy said.

The SM Group has also noticed a new breed of shoppers who want a total experience in malls.

In order to cater to this new breed and to enhance the shopping experience, SM has introduced more international retail brands, more interesting food concepts as well as services geared towards enhancing wellness and providing greater convenience. These include spas, dental clinics, and waxing salons, to name a few.

“You have to make sure that your brands are competitive. There are still people who want to see and feel what they’re buying. You have to make sure that your malls are lifestyle centers. You have to be ready. Change is going to come. You just have to be fast and quick in evolving,” Tan said.
Procurements, permits process slow Yolanda housing developments

By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star)
Updated January 2, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – More than two years after the massive destruction brought by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), only 13,335 housing units have been completed, with construction of 79,219 houses ongoing and scheduled for completion by December 2016.

In a report released by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), it attributed the slow pace of building resettlement sites to policies on procurement and land acquisition and the many required permits and clearances needed to start certain projects.

“NEDA is intensively coordinating efforts to address these policy and implementation issues with the concerned agencies,” Arsenio M. Balisacan, Economic Planning Secretary and NEDA director general, said.

Last April, President Aquino transferred the coordination, monitoring, and evaluation of all disaster-related programs projects and activities (PPAs) from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery to NEDA.

Balisacan noted that resettlement of the survivors from the danger zones remains the most challenging among the recovery efforts.

“Nevertheless, the Philippine government – working closely with its development partners, the private sector and non-governmental organizations – continues to see steady progress in the Yolanda recovery and rehabilitation efforts,” he said.

The overall weighted physical accomplishment (OWPA) of completed and ongoing Yolanda PPAs now stands at 63.2 percent – or 30.3 percent completed and 33.1 percent ongoing. Most of the ongoing projects are scheduled for completion by 2016.

“The government is making strides in rebuilding resilient communities in the Yolanda corridors in the Visayas regions, as well as in Mimaropa region, particularly through sustainable infrastructure development and responsive social services,” the report noted.

The reconstructed roads, bridges, ports, telecommunications facilities, as well as health and education facilities, are now subscribing to more stringent structural standards, NEDA said.

Many Yolanda survivors now have better prospects with the help of government’s various livelihood assistance programs, it added.

The Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) benefited 788,747 households or 76.3 percent of the targeted 1,033,827 families whose houses were damaged by the typhoon.

The families with partially damaged houses received P10,000 worth of cash or materials; while families with totally damaged houses received P30,000 worth of cash or materials. The ESA was intended to help affected families build sturdier houses provided they are away from the danger zones. Distribution of ESA is still ongoing.

A total 48,995 Yolanda survivors, or 89.4 percent of the targeted 54,825 beneficiaries, have had their fishing boats repaired or replaced.

Meanwhile, thousands more received fishing gears and paraphernalia than originally targeted: 76,598 sets were distributed while the original target was 68,636; distribution of an additional 4,779 sets is ongoing.

The distribution of rice and corn seeds is also nearing completion, with 94,020 or 85.7 percent of 101,708 targeted bags distributed to beneficiaries.

In addition to restoring the livelihoods of farmers and fishers, the government has also undertaken to provide new livelihood opportunities to survivors; an example of this is the entrepreneurship training – majority (80.22 percent) of the targeted 364 trainings have already been completed.
Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
Post by: PinoyBroker on January 04, 2016, 10:44:22 AM
7 Metro Manila areas offer next wave of property development

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star)
Updated January 1, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Aside from the Makati business district and Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila will be heading into 2016 with seven more investment-worthy areas to further beef up the country’s real estate sector, local portal said.

In its latest report, MyProperty identified seven neighborhoods in Metro Manila which are just as promising in terms of offering real estate opportunities as the Makati business district and BGC.

These are Alabang in Muntinlupa, Bay City in Pasay, BF Homes in Parañaque, Kapitolyo in Pasig, New Manila in Quezon City, Poblacion in Makati and Sikatuna Village in Quezon City.

The property portal said Alabang is an ideal place for young professionals being close to offices located at Madrigal Business Park and Filinvest City, while up-and-coming townships such as Alabang West and South Park District would establish the area as a legitimate real estate hotspot.

Bay City is also expected to remain busy next year with SM Mall of Asia and continuous development of the Entertainment City which houses the City of Dreams Manila, Solaire Resort and Casino, and two more integrated resorts to open until 2018.

BF Homes and Sikatuna Village, meanwhile, had grown from being a largely residential area to thriving gastronomic hubs with different restaurants lined up along Aguirre Ave. and Maginhawa St., respectively.

Another investment-worthy area in Quezon City is New Manila which is perfect for families for its proximity to schools such as St. Joseph’s College, St. Paul University, and Xavier School, and shopping centers like Robinsons Magnolia and Greenhills Shopping Center.

The proximity of Kapitolyo to Ortigas Center, meanwhile, makes the area a magnet for both young professionals and starter families, MyProperty said.

After the Makati Business District, the property portal said Poblacion is the city’s most significant neighborhood, housing several commercial centers, various businesses, and government offices.

“The Philippine economy’s continued rise is apparent in the real estate front, notably as evidenced by the condo projects, commercial centers, and office buildings that are being built one after the other in the Metro Manila area,” MyProperty said.

“While the business center of Makati and the Bonifacio Global City will constantly remain hot commodities for both investors and end-users, there are a few areas within the metro that are looking just as promising,” it added.

MyProperty early last year was acquired by global property portal Lamudi, making the latter the biggest online property portal in the Philippines to date.
Zamboecozone OKs projects worth P9.7B

Philippine Daily Inquirer
02:14 AM January 4th, 2016

THE VALUE of the investment commitments approved by the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority in 2015 surged to P9.7 billion from only P9.8 million a year ago due largely to a proposed 300-megawatt solar farm.

In an interview, Alfonso Basilio A. Marquez, head of corporate relations at the Zamboecozone, said the biggest investment pledge for 2015 was that of Ecoglobal Inc., a monocystalline solar power firm that had committed to invest P9.2 billion in the planned solar facility.

Zamboanga Coffee Co. is meanwhile pouring out some P420 million for a seed production center, nurseries, coffee mills, and plantations, while Phil Union Canning Co. (PUCCI), which is engaged in the manufacturing, processing, buying, selling and dealing in pasteurized crab meat, frozen crab meat and canned seafood products, is expected to invest P35.9 million.

Other approved investments were those of Seaoil Philippines; Development Bank of the Philippines; AHS Agri Aqua Ventures; Aces Technical Services Group; RPH Enterprises; Zamboanga Hemp Agro-Resources; and Ecosystem Technologies Inc.

“We are targeting 20 additional locators (at the Zamboecozone) for 2016. The agriculture sector will still be the (main) driver of growth for Zamboeocozone for the next few years,” Marquez said.

According to Marquez, the Zamboecozone offers opportunities for investors to set up their respective processing plants for Halal chicken, tea, fish, coffee, cassava, mango, and coconut water; plantations for coffee, cacao, rubber, abaca, and tomato; and production facilities for tomato paste and abaca.

Other locators that are being eyed were operators of fishponds, poultry and livestock, and piggery; companies wanting to set up warehousing and cold storage facilities; fish quality control laboratory; and business process and outsourcing (BPO), among others.

The Zamboecozone is also being eyed as a Halal hub, with the government already allocating some 100 hectares for the establishment of the halal processing zone.

“One of our missions is to bring the Halal Certifiers and establish a one-stop office inside the zone. We are also in close coordination with the Department of Science and Technology for the establishment of Halal Laboratory inside the zone. We also conducted a study visit to various Halal Parks in Malaysia,” Marquez added. Amy R. Remo
Gaisano property unit invests in Cebu waterfront project

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz
Inquirer Visayas
12:07 AM January 3rd, 2016

CEBU CITY—An idle 20-hectare waterfront property at the reclamation area in Mandaue City will soon be transformed into a mixed use community aimed at becoming a lifestyle destination.

Mandani Bay will be a mostly residential project but with commercial and office components.

Project director Theodore Gilbert Ang said that on the property will rise 25 towers with podiums, a marina and a 450-meter long by 50-meter wide Green Strip, a park and playground area what will also serve as an activity area for special events like sports and concerts.

The towers will be built on top of the podiums but these will be set back so as to have a clear view of the skyline.

The presence of offices, around 10 percent of total buildings space, will support the commercial locators and make their businesses viable, Ang said.

Robert Wong, executive director of Hongkong Land, explained that the project was named Mandani Bay after Mandaue’s former name.

“[The name] is fitting for our project because it links Mandaue’s heritage with its bright future,” he said.

The Mandani Bay project will be implemented by HT Land, a joint venture between Hong Kong Land and Taft Properties.

“Hongkong Land and Taft Properties intend to transform this part of Mandaue into a modern, yet culturally sensitive lifestyle destination,” Wong said.

The Mandani Bay is the first real estate development in Cebu of Hongkong Land, a $30-billion business that was established in 1889.

“Hongkong Land has strong confidence in the future of Cebu and the Philippines and we believe this project will contribute positively to the city,” Wong said.

The company, a member of the Jardine Matheson Group, holds 40 percent of Northpine Land Inc., which has ongoing horizontal developments.

These include Greenwoods Village and Kohana Grove in Cavite, Forest Ridge in Antipolo City and Southampton in Laguna. Its partners include Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. and San Miguel Properties.

It also owns 40 percent of the Roxas Triangle Towers in Makati, in partnership with Ayala Land and the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

Jack Gaisano, chairman of Taft Properties, pointed at the unique design features, its strategic location and extensive water frontage as the key attractions of the project.

“The project will also be built around several distinctive characteristics aimed at creating an attractive community in line with international standards,” Gaisano said in a statement.

Taft Properties forms part of the Vicsal Development Corp., along with the Metro Gaisano group, Wealth Bank, Vicsal Investments and AB Capital.

The project, which will be implemented in eight phases, will have a total of 25 towers.

The first phase will include the construction of two tower buildings, a show gallery, a commercial strip, some office spaces and a park and playground, he said.

The two towers would cost around P4.5-billion and would have 27 and 25 floors, with a total of 1,200 residential condominium units. The construction of the show gallery, located at the property, is ongoing and will be completed by January 2016.

The commercial strip will be composed of 15-20 stand-alone structures of one or two stories. However, Ang said they could not give any budget for the commercial strip, which was still on the planning stage. After eight years, the company will tear down the commercial strip structures as soon as the podium would have enough retail locators to sustain the community, he said.

The first phase is expected to be completed in three and a half years while the target date of completion for the entire project is between 10 to 15 years, Ang said. The 450-meter-long Green Strip will be implemented per phase.

The commercial strip will be completed towards the end of the third quarter or early fourth quarter.

Ang said the plan was to begin the second phase of development after two years.
Xurpas eyes more acquisitions, regional expansion

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
Updated January 4, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Xurpas Inc. is targeting to conquer Southeast Asia through more acquisitions possibly this year as it seeks to expand in the region, its top official said.

“Our goal really is to create, at minimum, a regional footprint,” said Xurpas chairman and CEO Nico Nolledo.

Nolledo said the company is eyeing to expand in Malaysia, Bangladesh and Indonesia and eventually to the rest of the region. “The objective is to be in as many markets in Southeast Asia as we can,” he said.

The Philippines, he added, is just one of the countries that Xurpas wants to operate in.

Nolledo said there are more than 600 telcos in the world. A big part of them are operating in emerging markets and some of them are in Southeast Asia.

“There aren’t too many players, it’s easier for us to build our presence that’s why we are in a rush. We don’t want to be a laggard where the competition will be very stiff already by the time we expand,” Nolledo said. “For you to become global, you need to fly,” he added.

Less than six months after its successful initial public offering in December 2014, Xurpas has acquired a number of companies.

These include a $500,000 convertible note investment in Einsights Pte, which comes with an option to receive interest income or convert the note into equity at a discount; a $76,136 investment in Xeleb Inc. which expands Xurpas’ product portfolio through celebrity branded games, content and services and a $1.4 million investment in Matchme Pte. Ltd, which enhances the company’s mobile game development capacities with MatchMe’s real-time, multiplayer online games tournament platform.

With its aggressive expansion mode, Xurpas is looking to tap the market again to raise funds, possibly through a follow-on offering.

“There’s nothing that we’re really planning for. If ever we raise capital, it will be because there is a very promising investment or acquisition,” Nolledo said.
Metro Retail starts expansion

By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
02:00 AM January 2nd, 2016
Newly listed Visayan retailing giant Metro Retail Stores Group Inc. (MRSGI) is riding on the buoyant consumer spending in the country by expanding its delivery fleet and distribution infrastructure.

“We aim to be a leader in retail supply chain management and meet our customers’ demand for world-class services,” MRSGI chair and chief executive officer Frank Gaisano said in a recent statement.

Gaisano recently led the turnover of 37 new delivery trucks from Isuzu Philippines Corp. and 30 new delivery trucks from Hino Philippines to MRSGI’s logistics facility in Silangan, Laguna.

In line with MRSGI’s objective to improve logistic capabilities, the company teamed up with Isuzu Philippines for the acquisition of 13 units of Isuzu FVM 10-wheeler trucks with aluminum wing van, 12 units of NKR71 with refrigerated van body and 12 units of NKR71 with aluminum body.

The company also teamed up with Hino Philippines for the acquisition of 16 units of SH1E tractor head and 14 units of WU342L 6-wheeler truck with aluminum van body.

The new fleet will be deployed to MRSGI’s 46-store network that serves over 250,000 customers daily, the company said.

To ensure timely delivery of goods and improve overall cost efficiency, MRSGI plans to equip all its in-house delivery trucks with tracking devices that will enable real-time monitoring from the company’s control center. “Employing the latest technology is a key innovation that will drive our business forward,” said Gaisano, highlighting the company’s commitment to continuously upgrade its infrastructure.

Alongside its investments in technology and equipment, MRSGI also plans to hire 130 personnel to join its team of engineers, mechanics, customer service representatives, traffic controllers, and cost and transport specialists who support the company’s growing logistics and supply chain network.

MRSGI has also committed to train its drivers on safety, driving efficiency, and customer service delivery in line with its thrust to provide friendly and responsive service to its customers. “We have a comprehensive approach to improving service delivery,” said Gaisano, who explained that “good customer service does not stop with store associates, but is reflected in every aspect of the company’s operations, including supply chain management and back-end services.”

Armed with fresh capital for expansion, MRSGI—which listed back in November—planned to open 50 to 70 new stores to double its nationwide retailing footprint in the next five years.  The group currently has around 400,000 square meters of gross floor area across its 46 stores, making it the largest retailer in Visayas and the fourth largest nationwide.
Metro Pacific adds Manila Doctors to its growing hospital network

Philippine Daily Inquirer
01:46 AM December 30th, 2015

The Metro Pacific group has sealed a deal to buy into the 300-bed Manila Doctors Hospital in Ermita, Manila, the 10th hospital in its growing healthcare portfolio.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday, infrastructure holding firm Metro Pacific Investments Corp.  (MPIC) said its hospital unit had completed the acquisition of a 20-percent stake in Manila Medical Services Inc. (MMSI), owner of Manila Doctors Hospital, for P368 million.

Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. bought a total 388,932 common shares of stock, the disclosure read. The stake was purchased from Metrobank Foundation Inc., the controlling shareholder of MMSI.

Manila Doctors Hospital is currently a 300-bed tertiary hospital located in the city of Manila with annual revenues of about P2 billion. The hospital is constructing a new 18-story building that will house new doctors’ clinics, patient rooms, outpatient diagnostic services and additional parking facilities. The new tower is targeted for completion at end-2016, expanding the hospital’s capacity to around 500 beds.

“While we will try our best to contribute whatever we can to MMSI and Manila Doctors, we also look forward to learning from this esteemed medical institution,” Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings president and chief executive officer Augusto Palisoc Jr. said.

Palisoc is one of two directors from Metro Pacific who will be appointed to the MMSI board. The other representative is Jose Ma. Lim, president and chief executive officer of MPIC.

Metro Pacific also recently signed an investment agreement to acquire a 51-percent stake in Sacred Heart Hospital of Malolos (SHHM) in Bulacan. Including SHHM, all 11 hospitals under its network have a capacity of 2,700 beds.

Other hospitals under the Metro Pacific group include five in Metro Manila: Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Asian Hospital and De Los Santos Medical Center. Four others are in the provinces: Davao Doctors Hospital, Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod, Central Luzon Doctors Hospital in Tarlac and West Metro Medical Center in Zamboanga. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
PTT expansion shifts to rollout of small stations

By Danessa O. Rivera (The Philippine Star)
Updated January 1, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - PTT Philippines Corp., the local unit of Thailand’s largest petroleum company, will push through with the rollout of smaller stations as part of its aggressive expansion in the country.

Announced in May, the original plan was to introduce a couple of compact stations in Luzon to penetrate smaller communities.

However, plans for the compact stations were revised and were green-lit for rollout this year, PTT marketing director Thitiroj Rergsumran said.

The revision mainly involved the costing of the stations.

“When we tested the market, we found something to correct. We sent back the comments back to PTT Bangkok and made the correction. We just got approval earlier this month so we can kick off next year,” Rergsumran said.

The mini stations will range between 800 to 1,000 square meters to meet the head office’s standards for fire safety and fuel tanks, PTT Philippines president and CEO Sukanya Seriyothin noted.

This compares with the 1,200 to 1,800 sqm. land area of a regular station. The company also has a 2,000 sqm. property in Pampanga, its biggest station.

Seriyothin noted a regular station will take three months to build while a compact station can be constructed in only 15 to 20 days.

Putting up compact stations will depend on the location, like cities with small roads and communities.

“Later on, we will have in some areas compact stations. But we will still go with the big station (for our expansion),” Seriyothin said.

For 2016, PTT Philippines will open 15 new stations across the country, which does not include the compact stations.

Rergsumran noted investment for the compact stations will be through dealership.

“We will go to dealer-owned stations to help the dealer save on costs, and then operate the station eventually,” he said.

Title: Re: CCGA Realty sponsored Real Estate News
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