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Security situation in Mindanao a bane to banana exporters

President Rodrigo Duterte, who vowed to bring “real peace” to Mindanao, has been urged to support the country’s $1-billion banana industry which growth is now dependent on how the new government will solve the peace and order issues in the region. Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, Inc. (PBGEA) Executive Director Steve Antig said the banana industry, which is highly concentrated in Mindanao, is now at risk because until now, banana exporters based in the region still don’t feel safe and this might affect their decision to expand their operations. Antig said the government should pay more attention to peace and order issues in Mindanao because it is driving the present and prospective investors away from the region. “Insurgency is a more pressing problem of banana exporters. Why are government agencies so focused …

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News in Brief for August 15, 2016

P/$  rate stands at P46.595/$1 The peso exchange rate stands at P46.595 last Friday  at the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp. (PDEx). The weighted average rate stands at P46.699.

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PSALM continues to bleed from IPPA deals

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) is still on financial losses from the privatized supply contracts that it had placed under the charge of Independent Power Producer Administrators (IPPAs), according to a top official of the company. PSALM Officer-in-Charge Lourdes S. Alzona said financial outcome for the IPPAs had remained “negative,” explaining that higher turnovers are expected yet at the latter part of the privatization deals. “The nature of the contracts for the IPPAs is that their payments are back-loaded, meaning, we will earn higher in the latter part of the contracts, so it is only then that we expect to have positive results. But as time goes by, the ‘negative financial turnover’ will also taper off,” she said. Alzona indicated that it was only the IPPA deal for the …

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Catching up in ASEAN agriculture (Part I)

Secretary of Agriculture Emmanuel Piñol is facing a great challenge in the next six years as the Philippines faces more intense competition in the field of agriculture within the ASEAN Economic Community.  Because of decades of neglect and unenlightened policies (e.g. the obsession with rice sufficiency), the Philippines lags way behind some of its ASEAN neighbors in agricultural productivity and exports.  No other economist has analyzed the roots of the failure of Philippine agriculture better than Dr. Rolando Dy, Executive Director of the Center for Food and Agribusiness of the University of Asia and the Pacific (one of his most read books is From the Roots to the Fruits:  The Business of Agribusiness, University of Asia and the Pacific with FIDEI Foundation).  Since he came back from a stint in …

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AMOSUP thanks Duterte for supporting seafarers’ welfare, protection programs

The Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) led by its president, Dr. Conrado F. Oca,  thanked President  Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his consistent support to the welfare and protection programs launched and implemented by AMOSUP and government  agencies. “He is undoubtedly a true, dedicated and down-to-earth leader, in fact one of its kind, and the general  acceptance of his leadership nationwide is well felt,” said Oca, son of the country’s icon in the industry, master mariner Capt. Gregorio S. Oca, the late founder of the more than 55-year-old  AMOSUP,  who also led  in 1998 the establishment of the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) – the leading maritime institution in the Philippines and in the Asia-Pacific region. “He (Duterte) has been supporting AMOSUPs mariners’ welfare cause, …

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Tech firm offers BPOs a way to beat automation

Automation, with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, is the Voldemort of the contact center industry — feared but openly discussed by only a few because of its potential to disrupt the Philippines biggest domestic growth engine. Fears are being allayed though by AI-Pros, a technology firm led by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Diosdado Banatao that will soon be incorporated in the Philippines, as it has developed the solution to the looming problem. AI-Pros has developed an Augmented Intelligence platform for use by the IT-BPM industry players. Aside from Silicon Valley guru Banatao, the people behind AI-Pros include Henry Sy Jr., Chairman of Asian real estate giant SM Prime Holdings, Inc. The firm’s founder and Chief Executive Officer George Yang (not to be confused with the local McDonalds franchisee), Chief Operating Officer …

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DOF’s Dominguez: Now is ‘best time” to invest in PH

Now is the “best time” for investors to put their money in the Philippines, especially in Mindanao, as the country heads for a one-of-a-kind political and economic watershed under the Duterte presidency, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said here over the weekend. Dominguez told top clients of BDO Unibank that while most countries across the globe plod through economic and political uncertainties, the Philippines has been moving onward in the opposite path of a growth streak expected to be sustained at 6.5% to 7.5% over the medium term. Under this rosy scenario, the Finance secretary said investors would do well to venture in Mindanao, which is poised to finally evolve from the perennial Land of Promise to the country’s new “economic promised land,’ not only because the new President …

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Venezuela-Colombia border begins gradual reopening

BOGOTA, Colombia — Thousands of Venezuelans are crossing into Colombia to buy items they cannot purchase at home after the two countries agreed to allow the gradual, controlled reopening of the border. Five pedestrian border crossings opened early morning for the day Saturday in the first step in the eventual full restoration of border traffic. Venezuelans must provide their personal information and explain why they are going into Colombia. Presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia agreed Thursday to the gradual reopening of their border after the Venezuelan government closed crossings to crack down on smuggling. The five checkpoints will now be open to pedestrians from early morning to 9 p.m. each day.

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Net portfolio investments reach $1.1 B in July – BSP

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) yesterday said it registered net foreign portfolio investments inflows of $1.1 billion for the month of July, up from $451 million in June. The July fund inflows or hot money is also up significantly compared to the same period in 2015 of $160 million. The BSP said gross registered investments was 25.4 percent higher to $2.269 billion from $1.809 billion in June, and up by 58.6 percent from the same period last year of $1.43 billion. The increase was attributed to an initial public offering and investors renewed interest in local currency government securities. Outflows, on the other hand, was lower by 11.5 percent at $1.202 billion from June’s $1.358 billion and by 24.4 percent from last year’s $1.59 billion. According to the central bank, the year-to-date transactions …

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IEA sees weak oil demand

LONDON – The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects global demand for oil to grow less than previously expected next year due to a weaker economy. The Paris-based agency, which consults oil-importing nations, lowered its forecast for demand growth next year to 1.2 million barrels a day from 1.3 million barrels a day previously. That would be a slowdown from this year's growth of 1.4 million barrels a day. The price of oil has fallen in recent weeks, and the international benchmark, Brent, was down another 54 cents at $43.51 a barrel after the IEA's report on Thursday.

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