Kuhlin Ceslie Gacula

OF remittances 6.1% higher

From only $2.35 billion in April, overseas Filipino (OF) cash remittances ramped up to $2.47 billion in May this year, which was 6.9 percent previous, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on Monday. “On a cumulative basis, personal remittances for the first five months of the year grew by 4.4 percent year-on-year to reach $13.2 billion,” BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. said in a statement. The $2.75 billion in personal remittances during the period was driven by steady inflows from land-based OF with work contracts of one year or more, which totaled $10.2 billion, and compensation of sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts. Likewise, cash remittances from OF coursed through banks rose by 6.9 percent year-on-year to $2.47 billion in May. In particular, cash remittances sent by land-based workers ($1.9 billion) and sea-based workers (US$0.5 billion) grew by 5.3 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively. Of the 6.9 percent cash remittance growth in May 2018, 2.6, 1.6 and 1.3 percentage points were contributed by the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Singapore, respectively, the main contributors of the growth in cash remittances. On a year-to-date basis, cash remittances registered a 4.2 percent increase to reach $11.8 billion. Cash remittances coming from the US, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (UAE), UK, Japan, Qatar, Hong Kong, Germany and Kuwait accounted for 78 percent of total cash remittances.

Making dreams a reality for men in uniform

The men and women of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) are sacrificing a lot for the country to provide protection to the most powerful man (or woman) in the country. Most often, they put the country and flag first before their own safety. But they have needs too, particularly medical attention and health services to keep their body healthy and their minds sound to accomplish their tasks. Melco Resorts (Philippines) Foundation Corporation (MRP Foundation), the charity foundation of the City of Dreams, quickly answered the call and signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of National Defense (DND) for the construction of the PSG station hospital in the vicinity of Malacañang Palace. The proposed hospital will be constructed in support of the Philippine Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) directive to the integrated resorts to implement and fund projects to support environmental and health programs. “The support for the construction of the PSG hospital is also part of MRP Foundation’s long-term and sustainable corporate social responsibility undertakings to support environmental and health programs. Last year, the foundation upon the agreement with PAGCOR committed to a monthly donation of P1 million or a year’s donation of P12 million to the government of Parañaque City’s health program to procure medicines, medical supplies and equipment for the city’s government-maintained hospitals,” MRP said in a statement. “This responsibility to create a positive impact in society is deeply ingrained in every employee through active volunteerism. More than 4,000 of its employees or 80% of its workforce have participated in the resort’s sustainable corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Various CSR activities are held at least twice a month during which employees regardless of rank work hand in hand to help those in need and conserve the environment,” it added. Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana signed the agreement with MRP Foundation’s Kevin Benning, chief operating officer of City of Dreams Manila representing Clarence Chung, president; Armin Raquel Santos, vice president; and Marissa Tomacruz-Acadamia, corporate secretary. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Brig. Gen. Lope Dagoy, until recently the Commander of the Presidential Security Group; Department of Health Undersecretary Herminigildo Valle; Jose Memorial Medical Center’s Chief II Emmanuel Montaña, Jr., Antonio Mariano Almeda; and from the Department of National Defense, Jesus Rey R Avilla, Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions, Installations and Logistics and Norman Daanoy, Chief Legal Affairs. City of Dreams Manila’s year-round outreach programs include providing for basic needs, social and learning activities for orphans and the elderly; annual blood donations for Red Cross; donating relief goods for those affected by disasters, and participating in tree-planting and coastal clean-up drives.

Manila Water wins P173-M project in Pagsanjan

Manila Water holds the exclusive right to provide water and used water services Manila Water Company Inc., a subsidiary of Ayala Corporation, the oldest conglomerate in the country has secured an 18-year contract for the development of a P173-million water supply project in Pagsanjan, Laguna. In a regulatory disclosure, Manila Water said it received a notice of award from the Pagsanjan Water District for the implementation of the joint venture project estimated to deliver a potential billed volume of 9.57 million liters per day, The project involves the design, construction, expansion, rehabilitation and financing of water supply and sanitation facilities in the service area of the Pagsanjan Water District. It also covers the management, operation and maintenance of water supply and sanitation facilities, in addition to the provision of needed services. “Upon completion of the conditions precedent specified in the notice, Laguna Water and the Pagsanjan Water District shall enter into a joint venture agreement for the implementation of the project,” Manila Water said in a statement. Laguna Water is a subsidiary of Manila Water Philippine Ventures, Inc. (MWPV), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manila Water. Last year, MWPV also received a notice of award from the Obando Water District for the implementation of a joint venture water project to rehabilitate, operate and provide water and sanitation services to the municipality of Obando in Bulacan. MWPV also previously signed an asset purchase deal with Asian Land Strategies Corporation – one of the largest real estate developers in Bulacan – for the provision of water and used water services in its residential subdivisions in Bulacan. Manila Water holds the exclusive right to provide water and used water services to more than six million customers in the East Zone of Metro Manila and Rizal, encompassing 23 cities and municipalities.

SAP: No go to Senate run

Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go ended speculations yesterday over his possible Senate run, saying he is definitely not a candidate for the mid-term elections next year. Go said the only way that his decision will change would be a direct order from President Duterte. “I really do not want to run. I am not interested. Only President Duterte can order me to become a candidate. Period,” Go said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN South Cotabato. No idea on billboards Go denied that billboards with his face printed on them seen in parts of Metro Manila, North Luzon Expressway (Nlex) and some provinces have something to do with the senatorial election or an indication of his plan to run. He reiterated he doesn’t know the intention of those who set up the posters. “I’m calling out private individuals who put up the billboards, especially in Manila and Nlex. I became the subject of attacks by my critics and opposition groups about my face being included in [tarpaulins and streamers]. I don’t know anything about it,” Go said. Go, however, still thanked his supporters for encouraging him to aspire for the Senate despite the uncertainty of his political plan. Despite the series of surveys on the senatorial race, Go also said he remains unconcerned regarding the result of the Social Weather Station (SWS) survey wherein he ended up in 23rd spot. “Any survey spot or ranking doesn’t matter to me,” Go said. “I don’t consider myself as part of the race,” he added. “My only job is to help the Filipinos and I am happy to do it since I am able to help a lot of them. So I don’t need to run for an elective post,” Go added. “To all my supporters, thank you for your support. I love you all,” he said.

Brexit will have little impact on PH

Despite early anticipation and serious concerns, “Brexit” is unlikely to register any retrospective changes and offer a faint blip on the Philippines’ trade stance, an economist said on Thursday less than a year before the United Kingdom (UK) bids the European Union (EU) farewell. IHS Markit Chief Economist for Asia Pacific Rajiv Biswas said the Philippines, along with other Asian nations, have lessened their trade dependence on EU markets over the years. “The importance of the UK as an individual export market for Asian countries has declined significantly over the past 20 years. Fast-growing Asian markets, notably China, have become increasingly important export markets for many Asian nations, while the significance of EU trade partners has declined relatively,” Biswas said. The Philippines’ growing trade with Asian countries has also prepared the country for any foreseeable negative impact of Brexit. Early this week, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that UK is scheduled to depart at 11pm UK time on Friday 29 March, 2019 “Eight of the top 10 trade partners of the Philippines are Asian countries, with the US and Germany being the only two non-Asian countries among the top 10 trade partners of the Philippines,” Biswas added. For the Philippines alone, the country’s exports to UK account less than one percent of its total export revenues. Although the UK is not one of the country’s biggest trade partners. It is still anticipated that the country should strive to improve the situation. Having an FTA with UK gives the country an opportunity to build the relationship in a stronger fashion and enhance trade arrangements because of these concessions. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority likewise showed that exports to UK and Northern Ireland in 2017 declined by 5.4 percent to $473.94 million from 501.06 million in 2016. The combined markets were also the top 20th destination for Philippine exports last year. “The UK is not even in the top 10 global export markets for the Philippines. Germany, Netherlands, and France are the top three EU export markets for the Philippines exports,” Biswas reiterated.

Boracay bridge can be built in 2 years — SMC

By Kuhlin Ceslie Gacula Diversified multinational San Miguel Corp. (SMC) submitted on Wednesday an unsolicited proposal to the government for the construction of a P3 billion bridge linking Boracay island to Caticlan. Weeks before the six-month closure of Boracay island, SMC President and COO Ramon S. Ang already explored the likelihood of building a bridge connecting the two islands, with an actual gap of 1.1 kilometers. “We are going to submit the proposal for the unsolicited offer to build the bridge of Caticlan-Boracay (today)” Ang said after Tuesday’s annual shareholders’ meeting of Top Frontier Investment Holdings, Inc. Top Frontier is the majority owner of SMC with 66.09 percent shares. He said the project could be completed within two years after securing approval from the government. The proposed bridge will be made of concrete and high enough to allow ships to pass underneath and include a pipe that can carry the sewage and waste from Boracay. He added the Boracay-Aklan bridge would alleviate the congestion problem in Boracay as well as increase the supply of fresh water and electricity to the resort island. Ang also said the 1.9-kilometer bridge would reduce the need for tourists and tourism workers to stay on the island and provide an option to relocate in Caticlan where there cost of living is cheaper. There will also be less pressure on the island’s resources, he added.
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