Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFW) went up in July, which was an improvement for the second consecutive month, latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.
Personal remittances went up by 7.5 percent to $3.08 billion in July 2020 from $2.86 billion in the same month a year ago mainly as a result of a 12.6 percent increase in remittances from land-based OFW with work contracts of one year or more.
“Most analysts had expected remittance flows to contract given the challenging labor market conditions in host countries and given the fact that more than 170,000 OFW have returned to the Philippines over the course of the past few months,” Nicholas Mapa, senior economist at ING Philippines said.
He explained the surprise jump in remittances can be traced to the lifting of strict lockdowns in host countries, which allowed OFW to return to work and remit funds after being trapped in their homes for an extended period.
However, Mapa cautioned a possible return to weakness owing to job market challenges following layoffs and business operation cuts.
On a cumulative basis, total remittances for the first seven months of the year settled at $18.65 billion, 2.4 percent lower than the registered $19.11 billion in the same period last year.
Still, cash remittances coursed through banks in July 2020 grew by 7.8 percent to $2.78 billion from $2.58 billion last year.
“This growth was mainly due to the 12.6 percent increase in land-based workers remittances, but was slightly tempered by the 9.2 percent decrease in sea-based workers’ remittances,” the BSP said.
MAP: EU sanction to hurt economy
Such sanction will increase the number of the unemployed among our countrymen at the time when they most need jobs.
The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) aired its concern on the imminent revocation of the Philippine export tariff incentives by the European Union (EU), saying such sanction will seriously hurt many enterprises, especially in this trying times.
MAP president Francis Lim said they are hoping that the removal of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) by the EU countries will not materialize.
“It will make our products less competitive and will seriously impact several industries. Such sanction will increase the number of the unemployed among our countrymen at the time when they most need jobs,” Lim said in a statement sent to the Daily Tribune.
Last week, the EU Parliament voted overwhelmingly 626 against seven, with 52 abstentions, to approve a resolution to remove the Philippines’ trade benefits, due to the “seriousness of the human rights violations in the country.”
Lim noted that the Philippine economy is at stake if the EU will continue to impose its sanction.
“Our economy will suffer more damage, especially given the contraction we are already experiencing with the pandemic,” Lim said, as he calls on the government “not to take the matter lightly for the sake of our people.”
“We hope it will be discussed and addressed by both parties in a mutually satisfactory manner,” Lim noted, who heads 1,051 MAP members.
MAP is a 70-year old management organization whose members represent a cross-section of CEO, COO and other top management practitioners from the largest local and multinational companies operating in the Philippines.
Just recently, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines also aired uncertainty, as the mulled sanction will aggravate the situation for the low-income sectors, its members, and the country’s economic situation.
While the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. also raised alarm as the looming sanction might affect up to 20 percent of its exports to the EU, including the industries on coconut, marine products, semiconductors, leather goods and tuna.
The GSP+ status privilege of the Philippines was enjoyed by 6,274 locally-made products, including those manufactured by the micro, small and medium enterprises.
Siomai King offers seasonal food items
The seasonal products offered by Siomai King now comes with ‘easy to prepare’ cooking instructions that will turn your dining room into an authentic Chinese restaurant in no time.
Online franchise sensation Siomai King is now ready to deliver authentic all-time Chinese food favorites thru its online ordering portal, providing you with more choices to enjoy.
Experience the unique taste of its Taiwan Beef Noodles, Pork Gyoza, Vegetarian Kuchai and regular Pork Dumplings, the oriental zesty taste of Spicy Chicken, Spicy squid and Spicy pork.
Also included in the Siomai King Express seasonal mouth-watering food line up are the unique Taiwan Asado and Bola-bola siopaos that boast of rich taste, and its four Manthou line up, namely Regular, wheat, brown and Ube that everybody can enjoy anytime of the day.
The seasonal products offered by Siomai King now comes with “easy to prepare” cooking instructions that will turn your dining room into an authentic Chinese restaurant in no time.
Siomai King is the country’s first food franchise brand that introduced an innovative “Online” franchise business approach that provides its franchisee and the public with a better and safer alternative way of earning an additional income.
In these most challenging times where most people need to earn, especially those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, Siomai King came up with more food choices for its franchisees and its customers.
As the demand continues to grow, Siomai King is committed to innovate its services to meet the demand of its growing number of customers by adding more quality food products in its menu.
So, the next that you crave for the distinct taste of Chinese food, but cannot travel outside the country or leave the comfort of your home, just grab your phone to Order Online and let Siomai King satisfy your oriental appetite.
Just browse online to contact any of its Online Franchisees and have your Siomai King and Siomai King Express frozen food products delivered right to your doorstep.
NGCP intensifies construction of transmission projects
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) intensified the construction activities of all vital transmission projects affected by the coronavirus lockdown.
The power grid operator on Tuesday said grid management and critical maintenance activities, including various operations that were critical to the provision of power, continued despite strict lockdowns.
“We started the resumption of critical projects as early as May. Preparations for this resumption began weeks before that. Compliance with IATF and LGU-specific guidelines needed to be in place before we could ramp up our project activities.
Among the most challenging compliances were the RT-PCR COVID testing of our critical project personnel, and securing the COVID test results of our contractors, as well as facilitating the permits to enter of key personnel to and from hotbed areas,” NGCP said in a statement.
NGCP said it continues to encounter issues including testing and quarantine variations among local government units, contractor and supplier delivery problems, the inability of foreign experts to conduct necessary inspections due to travel clearance requirements, the slowdown of manufacturing of equipment and materials from other COVID-19 affected countries and other limitations.
The staggered relaxation of quarantine regulations, even those related to essential industries and construction, has hampered NGCP to fully “return to work” for its construction projects.
Construction works also stopped due to health and safety protocols, and new normal standards such as COVID-19 testing of all manpower, access to transport and mobility issues and government-mandated manpower limitations.
NGCP is continuously assessing the impact of the global health crisis on transmission projects, particularly to the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project, Western Luzon Backbone project, and San Jose-Quezon 230kiloVolt (kV) Line 3 project.
“NGCP is eager to finish its critical projects as close to the original timelines as possible. We are also fully cognizant of the need to restrict movement and activities to help stem the spread of the virus,” NGCP said.
“Project schedules are continually reassessed as varying degrees of community quarantine remain in effect. The time lost is not a simple 1 is to 1 conversion.
Rate spike disregards T-bond bids
Such sanction will increase the number of the unemployed among our countrymen at the time when they most need jobs.
The ultra-high rate witnessed in the Bureau of Treasury’s (BTr) reissued 10-year Treasury bond prompted a full rejection from the agency, despite strong market demand.
“(Investor) appetite remains on the immediate part of the curve (as they) see policy rates will remain steady for the rest of the year,” National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said.
Should be awarded in full, the 10-year IOU will fetch an average rate of 3.329 percent, a 60.5 basis point increase from the reissued 10-year T-bond in August 2020.
“Nevertheless, the auction was oversubscribed with total bids reaching P44.5 billion, more than 1.4 times the P30 billion offering,” the BTr said.
The Treasury chief earlier said that ample liquidity remains in the financial system following the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) salvo of easing measures including the reduction on both its key interest and reserve requirement (RR) levels.
As such, investors continue to flock towards the BTr’s security issuances given its low-risk nature amid market uncertainty due to the health crisis.
To recall, the BSP launched its own securities last week, which received an oversubscription of 2.2 times the original volume coupled with a low rate, hence, the decision to award the IOU in full.
Travel in the time of COVID-19
Incheon Airport was nearly empty so distancing was visible, and I trusted that the Korean virus prevention guidelines would be strictly imposed.
I give way to my daughter who shares with you her family’s recent travels in the time of COVID-19.
Travel in the time of COVID-19
By Priscilla Anne Matoto-Sznaper
While most people probably prudently opted to stay put for the summer, my family and I took a leap in the dark and did the opposite. We used the home leave to return to the south of France and spent two weeks feeling that life was back to normal despite needing protective masks and proper hand hygiene. How could we have embraced this return to normal social life in a country whose daily confirmed cases was estimated at 1,500 in early August, as compared to the 20 cases of South Korea, our country of residence?
The biggest hurdle was the voyage involving airports and the exposure to fellow travelers coming from all parts of the world. As you might expect, we were complete with protective gear: extra masks, antibacterial wipes, alcohol spray, face shields, goggles and impermeable jackets. Did we use everything? Yes and no. Incheon Airport was nearly empty so distancing was visible, and I trusted that the Korean virus prevention guidelines would be strictly imposed. Our fears were on hold for the time being as we saved the face shields for CDG Paris airport, where a whole new ballgame awaited.
Onboard Korean Air, this 11-hour journey only had 90 passengers, giving each of us access to a row of seats — for me, the only upside of traveling at the time of a pandemic. When my giddy 5-year-old caught sight of the Eiffel Tower from her window, I was on vigilant mode knowing that CDG airport would be unlike Incheon.
The terminal where we were directed had no thermal cameras, traditional temperature checking nor medical questionnaires, simply mask-wearers (many of whom had their noses exposed), making it a perfect scene from a dystopian nightmare of the KCDC (Korea Centers for Disease Control). Since July, much to our relief, the French government had just made mask-wearing compulsory in all enclosed public spaces, but how serious was this mandate being followed? Several passengers onboard our domestic flight to Cannes had non-mask wearers or masks worn incorrectly, leading to several airplane announcements and reproaches from the flight attendants. Thankfully, the flight ended on a good note with the exit of passengers being done in batches to avoid overcrowding. Relieved that we were a step away from our destination, our last mode of transport was the taxi. The driver was maybe too considerate, inviting us to remove our masks inside his air-conditioned vehicle. While taking off his own mask, he said reassuringly that there was distance between us anyhow. Again, another no-no in South Korea.
Elle est belle la France (France is beautiful), and indeed she still was even amid COVID. The relaxed vibe in the south of France was the escape that I did not know I needed after months of ineffable pain and anxiety caused by the pandemic. From the outside, this resort town along the French Riviera looked as if life had returned to normal with the exception of masks and hand sanitizers showing the only traces of change. Cannes is driven by tourism and annual international events, such as the Cannes Film Festival. And with a pandemic like COVID leaving world economies at a major loss — France forecasts a $40 billion decline in revenues in the tourism sector for 2020 — it is no wonder that cities like Cannes are actively trying to reverse the crisis with boosted on-the-ground marketing initiatives and events.
This rapid return to “normalization” was evident. The beaches were packed with unmasked sunbathers and families. (Side note: We attracted many stares with our masks during our first visit to the beach) Several events were held at beachfront hotels like the Majestic. The popular children’s sailing classes — which we were too frightened to pursue this year — were visibly ongoing. Parking lots were reaching full capacity. There were the ubiquitous daily outdoor markets showcasing Provençal delicacies to antique treasures teeming with crowds. Rue d’Antibes, a shopping street, was congested all throughout the day. The queues in bakeries were long and the outdoor evening dining scene was bustling. With a nationwide estimate as of August of 1,500 daily cases, mask-wearing was only compulsory in enclosed spaces, allowing people to step outside unmasked, whereas in South Korea, it is unacceptable. However, as of this writing, the spike of cases reaching 13,500 is suddenly painting a different picture in France. Currently, in Marseille, public gatherings exceeding 10 people in parks and beaches are restricted, and an alcohol ban has been imposed starting 8 p.m. France 24 TV channel reported that even with a nationwide rise in cases, the French Prime Minister’s goal is to “avoid a general lockdown and succeed in living with the virus through social distancing, mask-wearing and ramped-up testing.” Sadly, this road to normalization, “in living with the virus,” comes at the expense of risking thousands of lives on a daily basis, and it brings me to vehemently question if this non-rigid approach is and (has been) really worth embracing.
Speaking of rigid, our flight to Seoul was empty, giving us some down time before a four-hour rigorous COVID control at the airport — health forms to fill up, interviews with quarantine officers, temperature checks, downloading of a mobile tracing application — including designated taxis for travelers under quarantine. We each got tested, quarantined for 14 days, reported our daily self-diagnosis checks, and had a surprise inspection from a government officer. Believe it or not, even our trash remained quarantined (and frozen) with us. With utmost gratitude, Annyeonghaseyo, South Korea!
Until next week… One big fight!
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Globe signs UNGC statement on renewed global cooperation
Globe Telecom joins over 1,200 private companies from 100 countries in supporting the call of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), for an inclusive alliance among all stakeholders across different nations, sectors, and generations to address the various challenges the world is facing.
The “Statement from Business Leaders for Renewed Global Cooperation”, including the full list of CEO supporters, was presented to the UN Secretary-General during the UN Private Sector Forum on 21 September as part of the official UN 75th anniversary commemorations.
It states: “We, the business peoples, recognize that peace, justice and strong institutions are beneficial to the long-term viability of our organizations and are foundational for upholding the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now is our opportunity to learn from our collective experiences to realign behind the mission of the UN and steer our world onto a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable path. We are in this together — and we are united in the business of a better world.”
“The Statement is a resounding endorsement of inclusive multilateralism. In no uncertain terms, it says that cooperation must cross borders, sectors and generations for us to adapt to changing circumstances,” said Sanda Ojiambo, UNGC CEO & Executive Director.
“In the course of just one month after we issued the Statement, it has been signed by 1,294 CEOs from large, medium and small enterprises in virtually every industry and region. We deeply appreciate their commitment to global cooperation at a pivotal time for the UN and the world at large.”
By signing the Statement, Globe, through its President and CEO Ernest Cu, demonstrates the company’s commitment in upholding the 10 UNGC principles and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).
“As a responsible organization which strongly supports the UN’s sustainability missions, Globe believes in the importance of working together and uniting the efforts of businesses worldwide to make significant inroads in the UN’s goal of creating a better world where no one is left behind,” said Cu.
In 2019, Globe became a signatory to the UNGC, committing to implement universal sustainability principles.
With this, Globe commits to demonstrate ethical leadership and good governance through values-based strategies, policies, operations and relationships when engaging with all stakeholders as well as invest in addressing systemic inequalities and injustices through inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels of its business.
Globe also pledged to continue to partner with the UN, government and civil society to strengthen access to justice, ensure accountability and transparency, provide legal certainty, promote equality and respect human rights.
At the same time, the company joined the call for governments to protect human rights, ensure peace and security, and uphold the rule of law so that businesses, individuals and societies can flourish; create an enabling environment to serve the interests of people and planet, prosperity and purpose, through strengthened international cooperation and national legal frameworks; and enhance multilateralism and global governance to combat corruption, build resilience and achieve the SDGs.
To learn more about Globe’s sustainability efforts, visit https://www.globe.com.ph/about-us/sustainability.
Global stocks tank on fears of second coronavirus wave
NEW YORK (AFP) — World equity markets suffered heavy losses Monday as investors reacted to mounting fears of a second coronavirus wave and diminishing odds of another US stimulus bill as partisanship intensifies ahead of the presidential elections.
Crude oil prices plunged, owing to expectations for less demand just as more supply from Libya becomes available, traders said.
The banking sector was also rocked by an international media probe that claimed massive sums of allegedly dirty money had flowed for years through some of the world’s largest banks.
London stocks fell by 3.4 percent after Health Minister Matt Hancock warned Britain’s coronavirus crisis was at a “tipping point”, fueling expectations of more restrictions aimed at curbing Covid-19 as government experts said cases could mushroom.
“Virus fears have come back to haunt investors today, as concern rises that the consumer-led recovery is going to falter if lockdowns are re-introduced,” noted Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst at ThinkMarkets.
“Stocks have tanked, the dollar has jumped, and the pound has been pounded,” he added.
Wall Street also had a losing day, although equities clawed back from session lows in apparent bargain-hunting.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 27,147.70, down 1.8 percent or around 510 points, but more than 400 points above session lows.
Hopes of another round of US stimulus spending took a hit with the death of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which has sharpened already significant partisan differences in Washington ahead of the US presidential election on November 3.
Ginsburg’s death “means the political scene now seems more hostile, decreasing the possibility of a stimulus deal getting done,” said TD Ameritrade’s JJ Kinahan in a note.
Russ Mould, at the online broker AJ Bell, added that “travel stocks again faced severe turbulence amid the rising fears over new (government) restrictions.”
Most Asian bourses had already fallen sharply earlier in the day.
Shares in major banks dived after BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published findings over dirty money allegedly flowing through the banking system.
“Profits from deadly drug wars, fortunes embezzled from developing countries and hard-earned savings stolen in a Ponzi scheme were all allowed to flow into and out of these financial institutions, despite warnings from the banks’ own employees,” according to the probe.
Banks replied that they have been working for several years with national regulators to address many of the issues raised in the report.
Also, the industry noted that law enforcement sometimes request banks keep a client relationship ongoing to support further investigations.
Key figures around 2130 GMT
New York – Dow Jones: DOWN 1.8 percent at 27,147.70 (close)
New York – S&P 500: DOWN 1.2 percent at 3,281.06 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent at 10,778.80 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 3.4 percent at 5,804.29 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 4.4 percent at 12,542.44 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 3.7 percent at 4,792.04 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 3.7 percent at 3,160.95 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 2.1 percent at 23,950.69 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 3,316.94 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1777 from $1.1840 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2817 from $1.2917
Euro/pound: UP at 91.85 pence from 91.67 pence
Dollar/yen: UP at 104.66 yen from 104.57 yen
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 4.4 percent at $39.31 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 4.0 percent at $41.44 per barrel
Neutral stance prompts full award on T-bills
Lack of uncertainty over the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) policy horizon contributed to the oversubscription of the Bureau of Treasury’s (BTr) Treasury bills (T-bills) on Monday.
As such, the BTr decided to award its T-bills in full despite a slight increase on the 182- and 364-day tenors.
National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said the increment on the T-bills can be traced to the market’s view that the BSP will continue to hold out on its neutral stance for the rest of the year.
“Full award for all tenors as rates for 182- and 364-day slightly pushed up with expectations (that) BSP will keep policy rates steady for the remainder of the year,” De Leon said.
“Demand remains strong with oversubscription in all tenor buckets,” she added.
Rates for the 91- and 182-day benchmarks fetched an average of 1.156 and 1.615 percent respectively, a 0.6 and 2.6 basis point increase from the posted 1.150 and 1.589 percent week-ago.
Yield for the 364-day IOU stood at 1.850 percent, which is 11.9 basis point improvement from the fully rejected 1.969 percent last week.
The BTr was able to raise its full P20 billion offer after attracting P72.8 billion worth of tenders, oversubscribing the original amount by more than 3.6 times.
The Treasury chief noted that they are currently monitoring market developments in terms of their foreign issuances for the rest of the year.
DTI assures support for Filipino franchisers
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) assured Philippine franchisers of its continued support to help businesses thrive and survive under the “new normal.”
In his keynote address during the opening of the Franchise Asia Philippines (FAP) Virtual Conference on Monday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said “the DTI has always believed in franchising as a tried and tested business model.”
“DTI will continue to support the franchise sector by spousing the continued reopening of our economy,” Lopez added.
Also during the opening of the five-day virtual conference, themed “Pivoting to the Golden Age of Franchising,” Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) founder and chairman emeritus Dr. Sammie Lim says he “believes that from the ashes of the mediocre and fake franchises will emerge a new breed of strong franchisor and franchisee to serve the pent up demand of the consumer,” as franchisers enter the golden year of franchising starting next year, hitting the peak by 2025.
“I couldn’t be prouder of how franchises in the Philippines pivoted under the circumstances. As entrepreneurs, we always believe that there are opportunities in the midst of adversities but we need to decide and act fast,” Lim says.
He noted that the coming years will be a boom for the franchising community for a number of reasons such as the growing number of people, especially those who lost their jobs looking at starting a business, the availability of retail spaces and the new opportunities in the new normal.
“But the best reason, perhaps, is that franchising continues to be the best model to grow your business and, if you are a new into business, the safest way to open a business is to franchise, rather than starting a business from scratch,” says PFA chairman Richard Sanz.
He revealed that based on EGS, a US-based franchising think tank, the Philippines still ranks among the best destinations for international franchises and garnered an average of 2.1, with 1 as the highest, 2.5 as fair and 4 as the lowest.
Sanz said the ranking was based on a number of indicators, namely, GDP growth, market size, Intellectual Property (IP) protection, ease of entry, ease of starting a business, corruption index, political situation, economic factors, long term investment level risk and projected COVID-19 recovery.
“The Philippines ranked high in market size, IP protection, ease of entry, economic factors, long-term investment risk and even in the projected COVID-19 recovery,” Sanz said.
While PFA president Sherill Quintana, franchising, before the pandemic, contributed 7.8 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“The employment that we generate, both direct and indirect, is about two million. And if we talk about taxes, the sector’s direct and indirect taxes can go up to eight percent of the total taxes collected by the government and help fund the nation’s progress. At least, this is how it was before the COVID-19 crisis. But by changing mindset, this can also mean that this is the potential of the franchising sector if we are able to manage the difficulties of the said crisis,” Quintana said.
The FAP’s conference was originally slated last March, but was cancelled when the entire country was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Organizers said the week-long event was designed to help attendees transcend the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and take advantage of the opportunities under the “new normal.”
Among the topics to be discussed include Shaping the Next Normal: Trends and Outlooks; Pivoting Towards Resiliency and Sustainability; Leading Organizations Amidst Disruptions; Embracing Digitalization in a Disruptive World, among other matters.
The event will also feature franchise and business leaders like Dr. Vicki Belo of Belo Medical Group, Hans Sy Jr. of SM Engineering Design and Development, Josiah Go of Mansmith and Fielders, Robert Trota of Max’s Group Inc., Jose Victor Paterno of 7-Eleven, Jose P Magsaysay, Jr. of Potato Corner, Kenneth Yang of McDonald’s and other sector leaders.