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Non-renewal of franchise ‘speculative’ – ABS-CBN

ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. said news on the non-extension of its franchise to operate and maintain its TV and radio broadcasting stations are “purely speculative.” In a statement from Kane Errol Choa, head of ABS-CBN’s corporate communications, he said ABS-CBN Corporation’s franchise will expire in 2020. “ABS-CBN opted for an early renewal application in September 2014 and went through the normal legislative process. But due to time constraints, ABS-CBN later decided to withdraw the application with the intent of seeking renewal in the 17th Congress,” Choa said. “Claims that the franchise will not be extended are purely speculative.” He added that “we believe that our government will uphold the ideals of democracy including the rights to freedom of speech and expression.” News report noted that the Lopez-owned firm is currently in a bind after it …

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NLEX-SCTEX ready for school opening

The Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC)said NLEX-SCTEX is prepared for the expected surge in traffic volume on the opening of classes on Monday, June 13, as traffic and toll collection management plans are in place in both expressways to ensure faster, safer and convenient travel for motorists. In an advisory, MNTC said that NLEX-SCTEX Traffic Operations will extend working hours and intensify patrol coverage from Sunday, June 12 to Monday, June 13. Additional traffic personnel will be fielded to promptly assist motorists and efficiently manage the anticipated heavy volume of traffic. They will closely monitor traffic in Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue, Dau and Bocaue. Patrol visibility will be increased at the southbound portions of Sta. Rita to San Fernando. One patrol vehicle and one tow truck each will be dedicated to the road widening …

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JGS plans $600 M for petrochem plant expansion

JG Summit Holdings, Inc., the flagship of the Gokongwei group, is planning to invest $500 million to $600 million for the expansion of its petrochemical plant which is turning out to be a major cash cow. In an interview after the firm’s annual stockholders’ meeting, JG Summit president Lance Gokongwei said they are looking at expanding capacity from 320,000 tons a year to 500,000 tons a year which is the ideal size for the supporting utilities they have already built. He explained that while the 320,000-ton plant of the JG Summit Petrochemicals Group cost them about $1 billion to build, this had already included utilities and support facilities that can efficiently handle capacity of up to 500,000 tons a year. “Beyond 500,000, the plant will become more expensive to operate because the utilities …

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Manufacturing sector sustains growth in April

The manufacturing sector continued to grow as both production and net sales posted vast improvements in April this year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said. Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries for April, 2016, the Volume of Production Index grew by 10.5 percent, a significant improvement from the 1.8-percent growth posted in the same month last year. Also, the Value of Production Index recorded a 6.8-percent growth in April, 2016, a huge turnaround from a 6.4-percent decline in April, 2015. “Manufacturing output grew stronger at the onset of the second quarter, driven by robust domestic activities during the election season,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel F. Esguerra said in a statement. Likewise, the Volume of Net Sales Index posted a growth of 5.3 percent in April 2016 from …

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Weak global demand dampens April exports

The country’s exports declined anew in April this year as global economy continued to remain weak, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said yesterday. The Philippine Statistics Authority reported Friday that total export earnings reached $4.3 billion in April, lower by 4.1 percent compared with $4.4 billion recorded in the same month last year. “The country’s export performance remains subdued by external conditions but this period is also an improvement from last month’s year-on-year drop of 15.1 percent,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel F. Esguerra said. “The recovery in the sales of manufactured products, which grew by 2.1 percent in April 2016, is worth noting,” he added. Manufactured products are the country’s largest export commodity group which composed 90.9 percent of total merchandise exports during the period. Meanwhile, agro-based, mineral, forest, and petroleum products recorded revenue …

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Peace in West Philippine Sea to boost growth

Philippine business leaders and international think tanks said that a peaceful scenario in the West Philippine sea will boost economic growth under President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. The Philippine delegation included businessmen belonging to the Philippine Trade Foundation Eminent Persons Group, led by Philippines Inc. Chairman Antonio “Tony Boy” Cojuangco, as well as Dindo Manhit, president of local think tank Stratbase Albert Del Rosario Institute (ADRi), which helped arrange the meetings with Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). “The group agrees that a peace scenario that promotes development in the region will have a very positive impact to President-elect Duterte’s agenda of shared growth,” said Dindo Manhit, President of Stratbase ADRi. Manhit said perspectives on the security and economic issues in the Asia Pacific region were discussed  such as forecasts on how …

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BSP’s rediscounting total P10.64 billion end-May

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) yesterday said it released P10.64 billion worth of rediscounting loans to banks, higher than the previous month’s P10.42 billion. Rediscounting loans in the same period in 2015 only reached P179 million. BSP officials said that in recent months, the rediscounting facility climbed to the billions because it was being tapped by commercial banks for liquidity needs. In 2014 and 2015, only the smaller thrift and rural banks were getting rediscounting loans. Banks, particularly the large lenders, turn to rediscounting loans as standing credit facility for their temporary liquidity requirements by refinancing the loans they extend to their clients. Based on BSP data – which since March this year no longer discloses year-on-year data – about 76.8 percent of these funds went to credits consisting of capital expenditures and …

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Consumer outlook steady – BSP survey

Filipino consumers’ confidence index (CI) was at -6.4 percent in the second quarter from -5.7 percent in the first three months of the year, but the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said it is still “broadly steady.” Based on the BSP’s latest Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) there are more pessimists than optimistic consumers. The CI measures respondents’ take on the overall condition of the economy, household finances and household income. Still, the BSP thinks the CI index is “broadly steady” and the “sustained outlook” were due to households’ increased number of employed members and increased family income because of better salary. Consumers also said that in the second quarter, they experienced lower household expenses and lower debt payments, and they are encouraged by the “peace and order situation”. The government’s “4Ps” program or conditional transfers also …

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Bidding for P1.6-B CRS-ITP 2 starts

The government yesterday started to bid out the P1.6 billion Phase 2 of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) Civil Registry System-Information Technology Project (CRS-ITP), a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) meant to replace the existing system to meet higher specifications and service level requirements. CRS-ITP Phase 2 is expected to take two years to develop and involves constructing a new building and developing a completely new IT system. Its precursor, CRS-ITP Phase 1, began in 1999 and is set to expire on March, 2017. Hence, the government started discussions on the CRS-ITP Phase 2 as early as 2012. The almost 4-year timeline consistent with the BOT Law’s prescribed period for the procurement process includes a deadline for the commencement of the bidding process yesterday (June 10, 2016) and concessionaire onboarding by September 2016 allowing for a …

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Net FDIs surge 52% in Q1

The country’s net foreign direct investments (FDIs) reached $1.3 billion at the end of the first quarter, up 52.1 percent from the same period last year of $850 million. FDI inflows as monitored by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) covers actual investment inflows as equity capital, reinvestment of earnings and borrowings between affiliates. As of end-March, gross equity capital placements amounted to $599 million, 81.6 percent higher than the previous year’s $330 million. The BSP said equity capital infusions came from investors in Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, the Bahamas and Taiwan. Net investments in debt instruments increased by 50.1 percent in the first quarter to $617 million from $411 million last year, while reinvestment of earnings dropped 2.1 percent to $181 million. For the month of March alone, FDI net inflows went up by …

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