Connect with us


AirAsia resumes international flights

Anthony Ching



The airline's flights to Kuala Lumpur start this month.

Following the resumption of its domestic flights in the Philippines last 5 June, AirAsia is resuming its international flights starting with Kuala Lumpur.

The airline’s flights to Kuala Lumpur start this month. The destinations Don Mueang and Taipei will be added in August.

Select flights are open for booking via AirAsia’s official website and mobile app. Passengers may use their credit accounts to redeem the flights.

Additional routes and flight schedules will be posted on AirAsia’s official website and mobile app. All flights are subject to approval from authorities.

As AirAsia gradually resumes services, all passengers are informed that the operations for domestic flights will be temporarily moved to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 from Terminal 4.

The Terminal 4 operations are temporarily suspended until further notice by airport authorities. The safety and well-being of the passengers remains the airline’s top priority.

According to the management of AirAsia, its staff comply with the advice and regulations from local government units, civil aviation authorities, and global and local health agencies, including the World Health Organization.

Passengers can expect enhanced safety measures throughout the entire journey, including pre-flight, in-flight, and arrival processes. These include the mandatory wearing of face masks to be permitted to travel. Passengers are also advised to check and comply with measures implemented by local airport authorities for a smooth travel experience.

p: wjg



NLEx to hire 1,500 workers

Maria Romero



North Luzon Expressway Corporation is hiring more than 1,500 technical and skilled workers to accelerate the construction of its 8-kilometer NLEx Connector road project.

NLEX President and General Manager J. Luigi L. Bautista shared the good news on Tuesday as it emphasized its effort to aid the government in its economic recovery programs.

Bautista said NLEX would prioritize the hiring of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been displaced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Being a government partner in infrastructure building, NLEX Corporation and the entire Metro Pacific Tollways group is keen on helping the economy recover from the adverse effects of the pandemic.

With our ongoing projects, we can create more opportunities for people thus propel growth in the country,” Bautista said.

The tollways company is also mobilizing more construction equipment to improve productivity at the site and speed up the construction of the project.

The Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Labor and Employment (DOLE) has previously instructed companies involved in the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program to extend employment assistance to repatriated OFWs especially those who were previously employed in construction.

Public Works Secretary Mark Villar reiterated that the government’s massive infrastructure projects are key employment generators. 

In his previous statement, Villar pointed out that the yearly increase in infrastructure budget has generated 6.57 million jobs in four years.

According to Bautista, NLEX is currently working on the first five-kilometer section of the NLEX Connector from Grace Park in Caloocan City to España St., Sampaloc, Manila.

The all-vehicle class elevated expressway project will traverse the Caloocan Interchange, 5th Avenue/C3 Road in Caloocan City pass through España, and eventually link up with the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 at PUP Sta. Mesa in Manila.

Targeted for completion in 2021, the P23-B NLEX Connector aims to cut travel time from NLEX to South Luzon Expressway from two hours to about 20 minutes.

It is also expected to provide improved accessibility for cargo trucks bound for the Manila Ports and the international airports.

Once completed, some 35,000 motorists will be spared from using Metro Manila’s congested city roads daily as they will traverse their routes mostly above the alignment of the Philippine National Railways.

Continue Reading


‘Can you do a better job?’; Telcos told to improve services

MJ Blancaflor



President Rodrigo Duterte has appealed anew to telecommunications companies to improve their services as the Philippines gears up for blended learning in public schools.

In his speech Monday night, the President said it “pisses him off to no end” that the Internet service in the country remains “very poor” despite his repeated requests to address the matter.

“I don’t know how to go about this but may I just appeal to iyong mga telecommunications to — can you — can you do a better job? Is there life after this kind of service that you are delivering to the public?” Duterte asked.

“If only I can address this problem in just one word, this problem has long been over,” he added.

The President noted that Filipinos have been complaining of not getting their money’s worth from the country’s telco services.

Duterte also renewed his appeal to local government officials to fast-track the approval of permits that would enable companies to build the structures or towers they need.

President Duterte, in his recent State of the Nation Address last July, threatened PLDT-Smart and Globe that he would take over their operations if they would not improve their services until December.

“The eternal complaint ever since telco came into being, it has been the agony of the Filipino people why until now our telcos are very poor,” he said.

The Department of Education is implementing a blended learning scheme, an alternative learning modalities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This means educational materials are coursed through the Internet, television, radio, and printed modules distributed by schools.

Private schools have started the school year while classes in public schools are slated to begin on 5 October.

Continue Reading


More funds to produce more seamen officers pushed

Raffy Ayeng



The country’s premier maritime institution, the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA), has sought more than P1 billion budget next year to fund the development of more officers to man international ships.

In an interview, MARINO Party-list 2nd Representative Macnell Lusotan said he is pushing for additional funds for the PMMAso the country could produce more officers than ratings, which will eventually bring the country back to its good old image as a top supplier of seafarer officers in the world’s fleet.

Lusotan said the Philippines presently holds the post as the top supplier of Ratings, or the lowest crew position in vessels, and only number two when it comes to officership, next to China.

“We have an oversupply of seaman on rating position. We have to help those Ratings to upgrade into officers to fill the shortage of officers in international shipping, based on BIMCO 2015 Manpower Report. Aside from upgrading ratings to be officers, we have to allocate additional funds to PMMA to double the volume of graduates of officers. Kasi pag-graduate ang isang seaman sa PMMA, pagsampa ng barko officer ka agad,” Lusotan told the Daily Tribune.

Once graduated in the PMMA, a Deck cadet will automatically gain the position of 3rd officer, while for Engine cadets, he will hold the 4th engineer rank.

Lusotan said the PMMA that in 2019, has only produced 220 graduates, and not all of these ventured to seafaring, as PMMA graduates can also serve in the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard.

“We have to produce more graduates from the PMMA. We have to allocate more funds to the premiere maritime institution to grant more scholarships,” Lusotan added.

PMMA Superintendent Commodore Joel Abutal, in a separate interview, said they eyed P1.3 billion budget for next year, “because they are anticipating that the government will provide them the training ship” that will start its utilization by next year.

Continue Reading


Amazon sets global mega-sale

Agence France-Presse



The company has played a crucial role during lockdowns around the world. (GeekWire image)
WASHINGTONUnited States — Amazon on Monday announced the new date for its annual global mega-sale, which it said aims to promote small and medium-sized businesses despite accusations by numerous lawmakers and trade associations that the retail giant is trying to crush competition.

“Prime Day,” named for the Amazon subscription service that offers users free delivery and other perks, will be held on October 13-14, the company said.

Launched in 2015, the wildly popular sale is normally held in July but had to be pushed back this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of lockdowns, Amazon has faced a huge surge in demand for online shopping and delivery of household goods, forcing its warehouses and supply teams into overdrive.

In its statement, the group said it would spend more than $100 million in new promotions to benefit small and medium-sized businesses and help them win new clients.

The company has played a crucial role during lockdowns around the world, enabling people to stay at home by providing them with food deliveries, cloud services and entertainment on their screens.

In the second quarter, Amazon pulled in $5.2 billion in net profit, double the previous year, and in spite of the $4 billion it invested in managing the crisis.

“During the Covid-19 crisis, we hired an additional 175,000 employees, including many laid off from other jobs during the economic shutdown,” Amazon chief Jeff Bezos said in July.

“Third-party sales now account for approximately 60 percent of physical product sales on Amazon, and those sales are growing faster than Amazon’s own retail sales,” he said.

“Selling in Amazon’s stores has enabled hundreds of thousands of smaller companies to sustain and even grow their sales despite the Covid-19 crisis,” Amazon said in a statement.

Amazon’s dominance has been questioned by some lawmakers.

During a hearing in July on big tech companies including Amazon, Democratic congressman David Cicilline argued that Amazon’s dual role as both platform operator and a seller on the very same platform was essentially anti-competitive.

“These companies as they exist today have monopoly power,” Cicilline said.

p: wjg

Continue Reading


Wall Street ends volatile week on positive note

Agence France-Presse



The Nasdaq to close 2.3 percent higher. (Dorval AM image)

NEW YORKUnited States — US stocks finished a choppy week solidly higher as tech stocks outperformed, though the cheer did not extend to Europe where investors were spooked by surging virus infections.

After a see-saw of a week in which indices repeatedly closed sessions in the red, the Dow finished up 1.3 percent on Friday while tech stocks, which had a banner August but have struggled for much of this month, pushed the Nasdaq to close 2.3 percent higher.

The dollar climbed against its main rivals, while oil prices dropped.

However both the Dow and S&P were lower for the week overall, and Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, said the day’s gains were not indicative of broader momentum.

“The market has been under pressure for a while and is just catching a bit of a bargain-hunting Friday,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.

Investors remain disquieted by the continued failure of Washington lawmakers to agree on more stimulus for the battered US economy.

The side effect of that deadlock were felt in European trading, where Frankfurt and Paris ended lower though London eked out a small gain.

“The same old issues are holding these markets back, considerable economic and political uncertainty — particularly in the US — worrying Covid trends in Europe and a lack of new fiscal and monetary support measures in Washington,” said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

The need for a new stimulus deal was highlighted by data that showed jobless claims rising rather than falling last week in the United States, perhaps indicative of a stumbling recovery as the November presidential election nears.

US durable goods orders posted tepid growth of 0.4 percent in August, according to data released Friday, well below the revised level in July of 11.7 percent.

Aneta Markowska at Jefferies LLC said it was “a close call” on whether new stimulus would be agreed, adding: “While still possible, there is a high risk that it does not happen this year.

“Without it, we would expect the economy to hit a major speed bump in the fourth quarter.”

Europe is in the midst of a surge in coronavirus infections that has resulted in governments imposing partial lockdowns and social restrictions.

Two British supermarket chains are also now rationing certain products to avoid the panic-buying seen earlier this year.

“At this point in the recovery, a return to the Covid-19 abyss due to stricter lockdown measures is quite frankly something the global economy cannot afford,” said Stephen Innes at AxiCorp.

Key figures around 2030 GMT

New York – Dow Jones: UP 1.3 percent at 27,173.96 (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP 1.6 percent at 3,298.46 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: UP 2.3 percent at 10,913.56 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 5,842.67 points (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 1.1 percent at 12,469.20 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.7 percent at 4,729.66 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,137.06 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 23,204.62 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 percent at 23,235.42 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,219.42 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1626 from $1.1667 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2739 from $1.2743

Dollar/yen: UP at 105.59 yen from 105.41 yen

Euro/pound: DOWN at 91.23 pence from 91.54 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.5 percent at $40.12 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.2 percent at $41.86 per barrel

p: wjg

Continue Reading


Group protests reopening of suspended mines

Francis Wakefield



ATM said mining and river dredging should not be part of the economic stimulus for recovery. (ATM photo)
Environment and human rights groups trooped to the main office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Quezon City on Monday to protest the reopening of 13 cancelled and suspended mines.
The groups led by Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) said mining operations endanger the health of local residents in mining communities. 
They added that DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu’s decision to revoke the cancellation and suspension orders of 13 mining companies will worsen these conditions.
Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of ATM, reiterated their group’s position that “the DENR’s recommendation to re-open these mines should be rejected as DENR is unwilling to disclose the basis of this decision”. 
Garganera explained that mining and river dredging should not be part of the economic stimulus for recovery as a response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that has severely affected the country’s economy. 
“Mining is part of the problem because it is directly linked to deforestation and climate change, which are both drivers to the evolution of new diseases and pandemics,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice Energy Officer Larry Pascua, said a report from the International Council on Mining and Metals revealed that the global mining industry is a significant contributor of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
“Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of climate-related disasters. With COVID-19, the urgency of addressing this threat increased rapidly,” Pascua said.
On the other hand, Sanlakas Secretary General Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, said economic activities that lower the resiliency of communities have no place in a pandemic. 
“Mining for recovery is only counterproductive. Government have to hold these companies accountable of the livelihood and natural resources they destroyed,” Pedrosa said,.

“These mining companies continue to operate with impunity because the government lets them,” he added.

Other environment and human rights group who joined the protest action and call to end destructive mining and climate change, and to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases include Bantay Kita, AKBAYAN, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, IDefend, Lilak, and Green Thumb Coalition, and Masbate-based organization Ang Aroroy Ay Alagaan.
The protest was a part of Mining Hell Week, an annual series of activities parallel to the International Mining Conference organized by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines. It aims to represent and amplify the voices of mining-affected communities and marginalized sectors.
p: wjg

Continue Reading


Marino urges DFA to waive 9 (c) Visa for foreign seafarers

Raffy Ayeng



THE seafarer’s lone representation at the Lower House, MARINO Party-list, has asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to waive the 9(C) visa of foreign nationals performing crew change in the country’s designated ports.

MARINO Partylist Representative Macnell Lusotan, in a statement, asked the DFA to revisit its implementing guidelines when it comes to disembarking foreign seafarers in the country, as it is deemed to be “counterproductive” to the Philippines’ ambition to be an international hub for a crew change.

Lusotan explained that the measure was enjoyed by Filipino seafarers performing crew change in two Asian countries – namely Singapore and India – and said the two had become lenient as to disembarkation of foreign nationals on their home turf.

“The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore enhanced their crew change by considering compassionate grounds for allowing seafarers to disembark, while India allowed disembarkation as long as the seafarer presents a temporary landing permit,” according to Lusotan.

Based on the current DFA guidelines, the foreign seafarer must possess a valid 9(C) Philippine-issued visa upon arrival in the country. Acquiring this Visa requires stringent requirements.

Lusotan said the current measure is impossible to comply, given the situation that some ship owners decide to divert their ships to Philippine waters for a crew change on abrupt notices.

Lusotan added the arrival of foreign seafarers will as well open employment opportunities to Filipino seafarers and will be a win-win for both the seafarer and the country’s economy.

“The advantage of this is when the foreign seafarers disembark, it will give way for Filipino seafarers to replace the posts of foreign seafarers. In addition, crew change will give the Philippines the much-needed revenue. For 90 ships per month to be diverted to our country, for example, Japan, it will generate at least P 67.9M in regulatory fees alone, so it will help our economy grapple with the effects of the COVID-19,” the lawmaker added.

Lusotan, MARINO’s 2nd nominee, expressed hope that his request will be pondered and considered by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, as the country’s economy will be benefited from the measure’s retweaking.

“Sana maconsider natin ito lalo na at nangangailangan tayo ng revenue at tsaka ‘yung employment [ng mga marinong Pilipino] at ‘yung remittances,” Lusotan averred.

Continue Reading


Ovialand: Pioneering the premier living experience




It has been over six months since the pandemic has shaken the global economy, including realty business.

While many organizations have chosen the path of caution, Ovialand Inc., one of the fast-growing property developers in the country, has chosen the path of grit and courage.

Led by their promise of “Premier Living you Deserve,”  Ovialand Inc. is not slowing down even at the height of the coronavirus pandemic as it has a strong determination to deliver its commitment to its clients.

“We made commitments to our clients that we will provide their dream homes this year. We decided as a team that we will not let a pandemic prevent us from fulfilling our promises. Especially now that more families are deciding to stay home to keep their loved ones safe, we realized that we had to find safe ways to help them move to their new homes as soon as possible,” shares Pammy Vital, President of Ovialand Inc.

Merely five years since Ovialand launched its first premier project in the heart of Sto. Tomas, Batangas, Terrazza de Sto. Tomas, Ovialand has strived to keep its promise to provide its clientele with a premier living experience.

Since the Company launched its first project in 2015, Ovialand has launched four more premier residential projects during the first half of 2020, all located in the south of Luzon.

“To say that it has been a busy past five years is an understatement, but we are enjoying every minute of this journey. We are proud of our developments that provide more than adequate space not just inside the living spaces but the community as a whole. Our developments have wide-open spaces and each family unit has more than enough space to feel comfortable and secure especially during the times of the stringiest quarantine guidelines,” shares Vital.

Led by Leaders

Ovialand takes its success from its people who are mostly composed of disciplined managers and supervisors who are goal-driven and put the Company’s mission of giving its clients the “Premier Living Experience” as the center of all their tasks. Led by Vital, its president, OLI’s recipe for success includes the Company’s strong emphasis on working with values and consciously being aware of the company culture that every member is laying down.

“We know that the culture we build today will dictate the success of our company in the years to come; that is why our team strives to work together to give you the Premier Living Experience you deserve,” Vital added.

The COVID-19 pandemic truly put the team’s commitment to a test without sacrificing the health and safety of everyone.

The company set up a work-from-home for its employees. Team members who have to report to work are taken care of through provided daily shuttles as well as comfortable staff housing for easy and safe access to their offices and communities.

As for the construction workers, the Company provided free COVID-19 testing as well as additional allowances to ensure their and their families’ health and safety during the pandemic.

“We were surprised that even during Enhanced Community Quarantine, we received online inquiries about our developments, and we believe this is because the pandemic has reminded almost every one of the importance of having a safe, secure and relaxing home, and they think that this is something they can have within the areas of our premier developments,” Vital shared.

Further Delivering Premier Living to Every Family

Ovialand launched its fourth premier housing project in the Province of Quezon, bringing the Company’s total to 28 hectares of developments with 1,688 house and lot units.

The Company has sold 1,100 of these units and has completed 661 houses and lots over its five years of its operations.

These projects are Terrazza de Sto. Tomas in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, which is 100% completed and turned over as committed; Sannera in San Pablo Laguna, which currently stands at 70% completion for Phase 1 and 15% completion for Phase 2; Caliya Phase 1 in Candelaria, Quezon, with the initial turnover scheduled this coming October.

In the coming months, Ovialand will be launching as scheduled the second phase of its Caliya project in Candelaria, Quezon, as well as two more premier projects in Laguna and Quezon Province. These two new projects are expected to add eight hectares to the Company’s sprawling premier residential projects, which will provide an additional 650 house and lot units. More houses mean that more families can enjoy Ovialand’s Premier Living Experience.



Continue Reading


PCCI urges IATF to allow more jeepneys to operate

Raffy Ayeng



THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI), tapped by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to be its consultant with regards to COVID 19 pandemic response, has suggested opening more routes for jeepneys to aide more employees that are going to their workplaces during this general community quarantine (GCQ).

In a virtual media conference for the launch of the 46th Philippine Business Conference and Expo, slated to happen on 7-8 October this year, PCCI President, Ambassador Benedicto V. Yujuico urged the IATF to allow more jeeps to operate and open more routes to drivers and operators.

“The IATF should allow jeepneys to ply routes from secondary roads so our people can be brought to the main arteries like EDSA so that they can take buses. That will also help the jeepney drivers who, for more than 6 months without income,” according to Yujuico.

Yujuico added that besides jeepneys, their group is also asking the IATF to consider increasing the percentage capacity of buses to allow more workers to report to their respective workplaces.

A total number of 64,512 public utility jeepneys (PUJs) plying Metro routes are allowed to operate by the IATF as of June, with 50 percent passenger capacity, to augment for the gradual reopening of the economy amid COVID 19 pandemic.

“The IATF should consider the business aspect and the economic recovery and part of the economic recovery is we must allow employees to report to their workplaces for businesses to make money, otherwise they are going to close down. Baka pwede in accordance with what they think what’s right,” according to Yujuico.

He said the PCCI was allowed by the IATF to be observers of what the IATF is doing, and perhaps “little backdoor channeling in terms of some of their suggestions.”

Last August, the PCCI in a resolution, asked the IATF to include private sectors to its pandemic related decisions, as they will be able to use their on-the-ground experience to come up with a holistic approach that will make businesses easier to resume operation and for workers to return to work.

Yujuico maintained that they hope the government would recognize the vital role of businesses in creating jobs and providing income, as well as the need to address the issue of livelihood and poverty to avoid social unrest.

Subsequently, Malacañang had welcomed the group’s inclusion as resource persons and their inclusion, but only on matters related to trade, business, the economy, and policy discussions with regards to the country’s coronavirus response.

Continue Reading