Category Archives: Real Estate Philippines Updates

Asean, Mindanao sea links pushed

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is pushing for the development of sea linkages between ports in Mindanao and three neighboring Asean countries to boost regional trade.

In a speech at the Second Mindanao Shipping Conference last Wednesday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel F. Esguerra said that since Mindanao played a critical role in the Asean Economic Community, the following commercial routes should be established or improved: Davao and General Santos to Bitung and Manado in Indonesia; Tawi-Tawi and Tarakan, Indonesia; Zamboanga and Muara in Brunei; and Zamboanga and Sandakan in Malaysia.

Esguerra, who is also Neda Director General, said there were still concerns on Mindanao’s sea transport sector that needed to be addressed.

Among the issues included the seaports’ limited capacity in terms of berthing structures, transit/cargo shed areas for non-containerized cargo, container yards for containerized cargo and passenger terminal buildings.

Esguerra said there was also a need to slash local cargo rates since prevailing rates in Mindanao are more expensive than foreign cargo rates.

The Neda chief said the government was ramping up infrastructure development to support economic growth across the country.

“The growth-enhanced fiscal space has allowed major investments in infrastructure, with spending on public infrastructure more than tripling. The bulk of investments were slated for transportation, covering 43 percent of total infrastructure investments from 2013 to 2016 and beyond, which was estimated to reach more than P7 trillion. This should be complemented by private investments in public infrastructure amounting to about P1.5 trillion based on the status of PPP (public-private partnership) projects as of April,” Esguerra said.

The Neda chief was also bullish about the planned implementation of the Three-Year Rolling Infrastructure Program (TRIP) starting July.

The Trip for the period 2017 to 2019 was aimed at “[meeting] investment targets for public infrastructure” while “[promoting] the optimal use of public resources for infrastructure development by assuring fund allocation for well-developed and readily-implementable projects,” Neda earlier said.

“The multiyear rolling program for infrastructure would assure us that once an infrastructure program has been planned, and it is rolled out, it is going to continue to receive funding from the government. This was one of our efforts to synchronize and tighten the link between the programming and budgeting functions of the government for infrastructure projects and programs,” Esguerra had said.

According to the Department of Budget and Management, “the policy of dispersing the investment/infrastructure spending toward growth regions in the Visayas and Mindanao (such as Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao) was pursued [under the Trip] to provide the physical infrastructure support for the promotion and development of business and industries.” Ben O. de Vera, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Wao-Maguing road now open to traffic, Lanao sur guv sees boost in agri trade

LANAO del Sur – Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto Adiong, Jr. of Lanao del Sur officially traversed the now passable Wao-Maguing road, also known as “The Dream Road”, in the morning of April 4, 2016 and seen to boost the agricultural sector and trade between Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur.

It took him and his convoy two and half hours to reach the municipalities of Amai Manabilang and Wao from Marawi City using the said road. In the past, residents of mainland Lanao del Sur would travel eight hours to go to the towns of Wao and Amai Manabilang of the same province and had to first pass through Lanao del Norte, Iligan City, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon.

According to Engr. Mikunug Macabantog of DPWH Region 10, 11.3 kilometers of the 75-kilometer national road is still being concreted and shall be completed once the funds allotted for it from the 2016 budget is fully released.

Macabantog also said that DPWH has already requested for the inclusion of additional funds in the amount of P255 million in the 2017 national budget to fully concretize the remaining 6.5 km unpaved portion of the Dream Road and another P152 million for the construction of five permanent bridges necessary to connect the road.

Plans for the Wao-Maguing road, now jointly constructed by Fiat Construction and CDH Construction, started in the later part of the 1950s when Senator Ahmad Domocao Alonto, Sr. lobbied for the approval of the allotment of funds for the said project when he was a member of the Senate Committee on Public Works and Highways. Because Alonto was not re-elected, the budget was diverted to another province in Mindanao. When his son-in-law, Congressman Mamintal Adiong, Jr., was elected into office, Alonto urged Adiong to continue the plans for the Dream Road.

Adiong died during his second term as governor and the continuation of the Wao-Maguing Road was shelved. His sons, Bombit and Ansaruddin, continued the plan to construct the project when they got elected as governor and congressman respectively.

Governor Bombit Adiong said he was overjoyed seeing the Dream Road becoming a reality in his administration because of the history behind the said project which involved his family. He added that the Wao-Maguing Road shall make it easier for farmers of Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur to sell cheaper fresh agricultural crops to one another thereby enhancing the economy and livelihood opportunities in his province. He also added that monitoring the implementation of his programs in Wao and Amai Manabilang towns would be easier.

Congressman Ansaruddin Adiong said he shall continue doing everything he can for the Dream Road to be fully concrete by 2017 should he win the Lanao del Sur first district congressional seat once more on election day this year.

Mindanao Goldstar Daily

Added value pushed in Northern Mindanao research congress

BusinessWorld Online
Mark D. Francisco
April 1, 2016

Small-scale farmers in Northern Mindanao continue to expand into value-added products as they recognize the need to diversify income sources.

The farmers and agriculture officers of 16 local government units (LGUs) in the region took part in a two-day congress this week on Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR).

Under CPAR, crops and technology packages for making value-added products are introduced to farming communities by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The program was introduced to the farmers in 2005.

At the congress that opened on March 28, the LGUs exhibited their existing processed products from rice, corn, soybean, different potato varieties, and vegetables.

Their goods include food crisps, native cakes, milk, and soap.

There was also a demonstration of potato-based farming systems and an introduction of alternative crop varieties.

DA — Region 10 Director Lealyn A. Ramos said she was elated to see how the communities have developed their own value-added food and non-food products.

“We are backing our farmers up through trainings and support in production, post-harvest, technologies, [and] market linkages, among others,” Ms. Ramos said.

The outstanding farmers groups, agriculture workers, and LGUs were given recognition during the event.

JOBS DRYING UP
Employment in Northern Mindanao’s agriculture sector, which makes up about 23% of the regional economy, has been declining due to the dry weather brought about by El Niño, according to the National Economic and Development Authority in Region 10 (NEDA-10).

In NEDA-10’s latest quarterly report released this week, the number of agriculture workers dropped to 725,000 as of October 2015, fewer by 13% than the year before.

The agriculture sector covers agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing.

Cecilio Y. Clarete, NEDA-10 chief economic development specialist, said the decline could be attributed to the erratic weather phenomenon.

The country’s weather bureau started logging a significant sea surface temperature anomaly in April 2014, and the prevailing El Ninõ is expected to last until the middle of this year.

Inflation could have fallen below 1% in July — BSP

Mr. Tetangco said in a text message that July’s inflation rate “could remain low and settle within 0.5%-1.3% range.”

“Downward pressure could come from the lower local pump prices and power rates for the month,” Mr. Tetangco said.

If realized, the lower end of the central bank’s estimate would mark another record low for the increase in prices of widely used consumer goods based on 2006 prices.

The higher end, meanwhile, is slightly faster than the 1.2% pace seen last month.

“The BSP will continue to monitor domestic and global developments to ensure that the policy stance remains supportive of price stability conducive to a balanced and sustainable economic growth,” Mr. Tetangco said.

Inflation in June brought the average rate last semester to 2%. The Monetary Board last June 25 cut its inflation forecasts this year and next to 2.1% from 2.3% and to 2.5% from 2.6%, respectively, within a 2%-4% inflation target for both years.

The Monetary Board last June 25 also kept policy rates unchanged for the sixth time in a row given well-anchored inflation expectations and strong domestic demand. Overnight borrowing and lending rates remained at 4.0% and 6.0%, respectively, special deposit account rates at 2.50%, while banks’ reserve requirement ratios were left unchanged.

Policy rates will be up for review when the Monetary Board meets for the fifth time this year on Aug. 13.

An economist said the market can expect the BSP to keep rates steady next month.

“The BSP can possibly afford to keep interest rates on hold for the course of the year even if the Fed (Federal Reserve) begins its rate hike cycle, possibly in September,” Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa, Bank of the Philippine Islands Research Officer for Market Research and Strategy, said via e-mail.

“Of course, the BSP remains flexible to adjust monetary policy in the future, if conditions warrant. Just like the Fed, [Mr.] Tetangco knows any good monetary policy is crafted based on latest economic data,” he added.

“But one thing we can be certain of is that these adjustments will be communicated effectively to the market when the BSP will indeed need to adjust monetary policy.”

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said this month overall power rates will go down by around P0.0225 per kilowatt-hour (/kWh) as the 0.20/kWh hike in generation charge was offset by the lower distribution tariff approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

ERC said it granted Meralco’s request to implement lower tariff on distribution, supply and metering, allowing the distributor to adopt an average rate of P1.3810/kWh starting this month, 11.26% lower than the current P1.5562/kWh and was likewise below the P1.3939/kWh proposed by Meralco in June.

Thus, households consuming an average of 200 kWh per month — which comprise around 75% of Meralco’s customer base — will pay P4.50 less. Those consuming 300 kWh, 400 kWh and 500 kWh will see P19, P42 and P89 bill reductions, respectively.

Oil firms have also slashed pump prices four times this month as of today. Gasoline prices went down by P2.05-P2.20 while diesel and kerosene prices were likewise reduced by P3.20-P3.25 and P2.90, respectively.

The Philippine Statistics Authority is scheduled to report official July inflation data on Aug. 5. — Mikhail Franz E. Flores

View the original article here

Tablon power plant to use coal: official

Goldstar Daily News
Lito Rulona

IS it going to be a coal-fired power plant or not?

When the city council gave the Cagayan de Oro Corn Products Inc. the green light to construct and operate a power plant in Tablon, it was because of a supposed assurance that the firm would not be using coal.

But a barangay councilor in Tablon said the six-megawatt power plant would be coal-fired in times when the supply of biomass are insufficient or not available.

Tablon barangay councilor Angelo Pomar revealed this on local radio even as he vouched that a public consultation was made in his village before the barangay council gave the firm the go-ahead.

Pomar’s pronouncement contradicted Councilor Zaldy Ocon’s claims.

Ocon, chairman of the city council’s environment committee, said he endorsed the project before the city council after the firm’s lawyer Arnold Barba assured in writing that the power plant would not be coal-fired.

A biomass-fired power plant generates fuel from scrap wood, forest resources, and other waste residues while coal-fired power plants generate electricity through burning coal.

The opposition to the Cagayan Corn Product’s project is snowballing. The environment watchdog Sulog said it was preparing a petition even as it questioned the city council’s nod on the controversial project.

Sulog has also questioned the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau for supposedly giving the Tablon project the green light.

Environmental activist and Cooperative Development Authority chairman Orlando Ravanera, Sulog chairman, said the group met over the weekend, and agreed to release a petition to question the city council, and the DENR-EMB for giving the firm an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

Ravanera said the group that include representatives of Xavier University, Task Force Macajalar, various religious organizations, farmer, fisherfolk, indigenes, and other stakeholders, would also seek a Writ of Kalikasan from Court of Appeals.

“It is a question of money and conscience,” Ravanera said. “We are wondering why, despite the position papers sent to the city council and EMB, they still approved it.”

Ravanera said it was clear the firm would operate a coal-fired power plant in the middle of a residential area, adding that the firm “has a history of violating environmental laws.”

He said massive protest actions were being planned against the project, and officials who favor it.

“Kamo diha sa city council and barangay pamati-on sab nato ang demand sa mga mag-uuma and fisherfolk,” Ravanera.

EMB regional director Sabdullah Abubacar however said the firm submitted all the required documents. He said an ECC was issued because the firm complied with all the requirements.