Category Archives: Real Estate Mindanao Philippines

Japan pledges 3.2-B yen in loans for Mindanao projects

BusinessWorld Online
February 22, 2019

JAPAN has pledged additional grants for the Philippines following a joint meeting held in Osaka this week, which include funding for train simulators as well as projects for healthcare and peace efforts in Mindanao.

In a statement, the Department of Finance (DoF) said the seventh leg of the Japan-Philippines Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation held on Thursday yielded new loans and financial aid for the country.

Japanese officials have pledged a fresh 3.2 billion yen grant for peace and development projects in Mindanao, which came after the ratification of the proposed creation of the Bangsamoro region.

The fresh assistance will cover the following:

• 1.8 billion yen for the construction of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority training centers in the damaged city of Marawi, and the provinces of Basilan and Sultan Kudarat;

• 560 million yen for the provision of well-drilling machines and underground water detecting machines under the Economic and Social Development Programme;

• 200 million yen for the provision of livelihood assistance in agriculture and for fishers through the Food and Agriculture Organization;

• 300 million yen for the development of water facilities in the Bangsamoro region through the International Labor Organization; and

• 340 million yen for the provision of vehicles and equipment through the United Nations Development Programme.

This is on top of the $202-million loan for the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao, which is due to be signed soon after the two nations already exchanged notes for the credit line earlier this month.

Separately, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda also signed the exchange of notes for a 1.2-billion yen assistance for train simulators to support the proposed Philippine Railway Institute. This is projected to train workers who will man the upcoming rail systems under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

Also discussed are feasibility studies for the Circumferential Road 3 Missing Link Project in Metro Manila and the Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project. The Japanese leaders also said that they are considering a “possible supplemental loan” for the Davao City Bypass Construction Project, as requested by the Philippine government.

The two officials also signed a memorandum of cooperation for healthcare, as they look to set up facilities for universal health coverage, elderly care, disease prevention, maternal and child health services and sanitation.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte recently signed the universal healthcare law, which made all Filipinos mandatory members of the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

Mr. Dominguez said the joint meetings stand to improve cooperation and “facilitate project implementation,” with Japan currently the biggest donor to the Philippines via official development assistance.

“Our two countries have entered a golden age of our strategic partnership. In addition to government-to-government relationships, I hope the relationship between our private sectors would also be good,” Hiroto Izumi, Special Advisor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and leader of the Japanese contingent, was quoted as saying.

The Mr. Izumi said they will closely watch out for developments in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, which will kick off the signing of grant agreements involving the new region in Mindanao.

Japan has so far extended P189.92 billion (398.82 billion yen) for local projects since June 2016. Nine loan agreements have been signed so far, which include phase two of the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project, the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Rehabilitation Project; the first tranche of the North-South Commuter Railway Extension Project, and the first phase of the Metro Manila Subway Project. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez

ARMM inaugurates Bangsamoro Museum

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, Feb. 5 (PIA) -– The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) formally inaugurated the first Bangsamoro Museum on Feb. 4 at Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City.

The Bangsamoro Museum is a facility established under Executive Order No. 32 s. 2019.

It serves as a repository of artifacts, works of art, as well as textual and iconographic records relevant to the cultural memory of the Bangsamoro people in the ARMM.

Gov. Mujiv Hataman, who led the opening of the museum, said it was not easy for the regional government to put up the facility.

However, the assistance of a national curator and the competence of the workforce of the Office of the Regional Governor drove him to push for it.

He also noted the importance of the inauguration of the facility for ARMM and for the next generation.

The Bangsamoro Museum was organized under independent curator and institutional critic Marian Pastor Roces.

She said the purpose of its establishment is to collect significant stories of the Bangsamoro people through the exhibition of different artifacts from the region.

Roces said she admires the resiliency of the Bangsamoro people and this is the reason why during the conceptualization of the museum’s theme, her group collected objects that convey stories of courage and survival as their main value.

Curation is a process of organizing and managing artifacts to ensure that they remain tangible and visible for the years to come.

The Bangsamoro Museum has its permanent exhibition which presents artifacts from the different parts of ARMM that have existed for centuries.

Visitors can also appreciate the textiles produced by Maranao women during the Marawi Siege as means of survival, recordings of the Tausug Kissa-chanting of the Bud Dajo massacre, a personal library of Moro Islamic Liberation Front founder Hashim Salamat, and the 2,000-year-old archeological artifacts of Kulaman plateau, specifically burial urns.

Aside from the artifacts, the museum also has ample space reserved for receiving important documents in the future.

The museum currently exhibits documents related to the peace process, including the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Along with the launching of the Bangsamoro Museum was the formal opening of the ARMM Regional Library which it has already been open to the public. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/PIA10)

Original source: https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1018114

Malaysian palm oil firm planning to invest $1 billion in Agusan del Sur

BusinessWorld Online
November 22, 2016

A MALAYSIAN COMPANY is planning to invest an initial amount of $1 billion to build plants to process palm oil in Agusan del Sur, according to an official from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza said Alif Agro-Industrial, Inc. is looking for 128,000 hectares in Agusan del Sur which would be used as agricultural economic zones.

“$1 billion ang initial nila kasi (is their initial investment because) they’ll put up refinery plants to process the palm oil,” she told reporters on the sidelines of a Nov. 17 event.

Ms. Plaza said the land will be in ancestral domain areas, which is “good” for indigenous people who have been fighting for their rights.

“What we are doing now to accommodate the 128,000 hectares is we talked to the Department of Trade and Industry, and the local government and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. We are talking with the clans of these owners of these ancestral domains. They already signed a contract or a memorandum of understanding that these will be converted to special eco zones for the palm oil industry.”

Ms. Plaza noted the Philippines is currently importing around five million tons of cooking oil.

She said that they are currently studying the country’s imports with an emphasis on looking for possible crops that could be planted in the economic zones. This would contribute to minimizing the country’s overseas purchase of goods while boosting its export capacity.

Ms. Plaza, who took over the post after former PEZA Director-General Lilia B. De Lima retired earlier this year, is a former representative of Butuan.

PEZA is preparing to introduce changes in the way the government seeks investments, as it explores opening up economic zones for other sectors such as that of national defense.

Moreover, Ms. Plaza said PEZA is making a pivot towards attracting Middle Eastern investors that represent a lot of untapped potential.

This new focus, she said, is because PEZA has previously been occupied with seeking investments from Western and non-Muslim states, when in fact, the Middle East is “where the money is.” — Roy Stephen C. Canivel

BIR to expedite tax exemptions for socialized-housing land transfers

BusinessWorld Online
November 04, 2016

CERTIFICATES of Tax Exemption (CTEs) covering the transfer of land intended for use in government socialized housing projects will be prioritized by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), under an agreement signed with housing regulators.

The memorandum of agreement (MoA) was signed by the bureau, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the National Housing Authority (NHA).

BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, Vice-President and HUDCC Chairperson Maria Leonor G. Robredo and NHA Acting General Manager Marcelino P. Escalada, Jr., signed the MoA on the availment of tax incentives for government socialized housing projects, the BIR said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.

The MoA is pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 7279, or the “Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992,” which mandates that the NHA be exempted from the payment of fees and charges of any kind, including income and real estate taxes.

The BIR, as the agency that enforces tax laws and collects all national internal revenue taxes, fees, and charges, will streamline and prioritize the processing and issuance of CTEs for the transfer of raw land intended for socialized housing projects to the NHA.

Sought for comment, the BIR said that this would entail the simplification and reduction of documentary requirements, and that Mr. Dulay would write a subsequent administrative issuance to implement the MoA.

The HUDCC, as the oversight and coordinating housing agency, will regularly submit to the BIR an updated list of government housing projects that are qualified for tax incentives.

The NHA, which is tasked to develop and implement government housing programs, will endorse to the BIR the CTE applications of housing contractors and assist in the evaluation, verification and certification of documentary requirements.

In a statement, HUDCC flagged scarce residential land supply vis-a-vis land demand as a great challenge in providing affordable housing to the poor.

“The challenge that we face now is setting in place a stronger land use policy that is efficiently administered through an integrated land and ISF information system,” Ms. Robredo said.

“This will be complemented by providing innovative housing solutions through the Key Shelter Agencies (KSAs) and Public-Private Partnerships to address opportunity gaps facing the homeless and low-income families.” — Lucia Edna P. de Guzman

Focus: Property sector’s prospects seen boosted by infrastructure drive

July 27, 2016
By Krista Angela M. Montealegre
National Correspondent

THE AGGRESSIVE infrastructure drive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte has boosted the prospects of the property sector, easing concerns of an overheating market and accelerating the development of residential, office, retail and hotel projects in the countryside.

Inheriting a fast-growing economy plagued by gridlocked roads and congested airports, the new administration vowed to ramp up infrastructure spending to account for up to 7% of economic output. This is in line with a broader effort to decentralize the Philippine capital and boost economic activity outside Luzon in order to achieve inclusive growth.

“Additional spending would increase the demand for money. That could ease the liquidity going into the real estate industry and in the process mitigate any possible formation of an asset bubble,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa C. Gunigundo said in a mobile phone message last week.

Policy makers have repeatedly downplayed concerns of an overheating property market.

The results of the central bank’s maiden residential real estate price index in June bared a 9.2% housing inflation in the first three months of 2016 from a year ago, indicating a “vibrant” housing industry.

The government’s accelerated infrastructure spending and proposed income tax cuts — which are expected to increase the spending power of consumers — have improved the outlook for the property sector. Brokerages have issued “buy” calls on real estate firms with strong recurring income and exposure to tourism.

“It [government spending on infrastructure] will somehow ease the fears of a property bubble, as we noted excess capacities/build-up can also be seen now in second-tier areas outside of Metro Manila. With improved infrastructure condition, new demand can be generated to absorb these new build-up,” said Claro dG. Cordero, Jr., head of Jones Lang Lasalle’s research, consulting and valuation advisory services.

Rising disposable income due to a robust outsourcing industry and steady remittance inflows from overseas Filipino workers have been fueling consumer spending, driving the rapid expansion of the property market.

A bubble forms as property developers scramble to build more units in a bid to meet a projected rise in demand and is said to “burst” when purchases do not increase as expected, triggering a steep drop in prices.

“What we had was a soft landing; developers have held back on launches. In the next few years, the completed units will come to the market so we may see a more difficult leasing market,” said Julius M. Guevara, head of advisory services at Colliers Philippines.

UNLOCKING VALUE
For property giants Ayala Land, Inc. and Megaworld Corp., the new government’s thrust means townships incorporating residential, office, commercial and hotel components in new sites and enhanced values for their properties in traditional markets.

“When you have more mass transit systems and farm-to-market roads, it unlocks the value of the property. How can you price properties in far-flung areas at a premium when you have no way to get there?” Megaworld Corp. Senior Vice-President Jericho P. Go said.

For most developers, the diversification outside the Philippine capital has been happening for some time now because of the expansion of the business process outsourcing industry, with real estate companies venturing into other key urban centers such as Cebu and Davao and the fringes of Metro Manila such as Pampanga, Cavite and Laguna.

“We always had that impression that these are markets that weren’t served in the past,” Ayala Land Chief Financial Officer Jaime E. Ysmael said.

“But when infrastructure and connectivity improved significantly, we were surprised with the kind of demand they generated. We’re seeing signs of significant demand and economic activity in these new areas.”

Metro Manila’s contribution to Ayala Land’s business is now down to 80% from 90% in 2009 when it kicked off its aggressive diversification. This may go down to as much as 70%, depending on how fast these regions develop, Mr. Ysmael said.

NEW HUBS SPROUTING
In the last five years, land values in Cebu and Davao cities — which have become the centers of activity in the Visayas and Mindanao, respectively — have risen at a compounded annual growth rate of 10%, faster than the 7.5% expansion in Metro Manila.

Mall developers SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and Filinvest Land, Inc. have joined Ayala Land and Megaworld in moving to non-traditional locations, building more than 1 million square meters of retail space in areas like Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Dagupan, Cavite, Rizal, Bacolod, Laguna, Iloilo, Tacloban, Ilocos Norte and Naga, Mr. Cordero said.

Likewise, DoubleDragon Properties Corp., Robinsons Land Corp. and Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. are pioneering the development of community malls in the countryside, he added.

Even foreign-branded hotels are setting their sights beyond Metro Manila, with Hilton Hotels & Resorts opening Hilton Clark Sunvalley Resort in 2017, Starwood Hotels and Resorts launching Sheraton Mactan in 2019 and Dusit International rolling out Dusit Thani Davao in 2018 and Dusit Princess Hotel Cebu in 2019, JLL Country Head Lindsay Orr said.

So far, the President and his economic team have been saying all the right things, but the trick is getting all plans off the ground as quickly as possible.

“There is a gestation period for these [infrastructure] projects to take off so the government must act fast, make an early decision — be it the airport strategy, the Angat [Dam] alternative or an energy supply chain — and build the momentum from the previous administration’s work,” AC Energy Holdings, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer John Eric T. Francia said.