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Friday, March 1, 2013

Global food aid foundation names Pacquiao goodwill envoy

The Global Village Champions Foundation (GVCF), a world-leader in the humanitarian delivery of meals to starving people in disaster hit areas around the globe, has chosen Filipino boxing champion and Saranggani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao as its goodwill ambassador for Asia.
Founded in 1993 by former musician and professional sports manager Yank Barry and boxing champion Muhammad Ali, GVCF is the philanthropic arm of Vita Pro, a company founded in Montreal, Canada by Barry. Vita Pro distributes soy-based meat protein replacement products.
Barry said GVCF that has already delivered 900 million free meals to starving people worldwide, aims to deliver a total of one billion free meals by December 31 this year. The free meals come in the form of Vita Pro soybean food products.
In 2011, GVCF delivered disaster relief in the form of meals to Haiti, The Philippines, Japan, Thailand and the southern United States. In addition to Vita Pro meals, GVCF also delivered rice and beans, water, medical supplies and other basic needs.
Barry said the GVCF is now preparing to send two million meals to provinces in Mindanao that were hit by storm Pablo, particularly Saranggani and the Compostela Valley. For the past 15 years, Barry said his foundation was able to send 60 million meals to the Philippines.
Recently, GVCF’s global ambassador, boxer Evander Holyfield visited areas in Mindanao that were hit by Pablo.
Storm Pablo (international name Bopha) struck Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley in Mindanao last December 3 and brought devastation to the provinces for almost a week. More than 170,000 people were displaced by Pablo.
“I would like to thank Evander Holyfield and Yank Barry for personally coming to the Philippines, especially to my province to help me feed the typhoon victims and the needy,” said Pacquiao in a video message played during the press conference at the InterContinental Hotel.
Barry said sending food to the starving victims of storm Pablo in Mindanao is but a small step towards recovery.
“I don’t think your country understands the devastation brought by the typhoon. It would take between eight and 10 years to rebuild,” he said.
Barry said GVCF is steadily receiving cash donations from famous professional athletes, musicians, models and movie stars to fund its meal delivery operations around the world. Among the foundation’s sponsors are Celine Dion, Michael Jordan, actress Bo Derek, actor Jon Voight and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
(Story courtesy of the Philippine Star’s Mike Frialde)

US store chain set to expand BPO operations in PHL

One of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States is keen on expanding its operations in the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry said.
Top executives of Safeway Inc. hoped to take advantage of the opportunities in the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.
It said the US company is looking at BPO activities that can add significant value to their global operations.
This February, top executives of Safeway visited the country to conduct due diligence on its plan to expand its business operations in the country.
“A Fortune 100 company, Safeway Inc.’s operating strategy is to provide outstanding value to customers by offering a unique shopping experience with a wide selection of high-quality products at low prices in the US,” the DTI said.
To support its stores, Safeway maintains an extensive network of distribution, manufacturing, and food processing facilities.
It also has business interests in the online Internet grocer, prepaid gift cards and financial services.
The company entered the Philippine market in 2003 through an affiliate, the Safeway Philtech Inc., which serves as its captive technology center.
The affiliate provides services such as application support and maintenance, application development and enhancements, technology and infrastructure support.
According to the DTI, the local affiliate has partnered with the Board of Investments and leaders of the BPO sector in organizing the visit of the top company executives to the Philippines.
(Story courtesy of Nina Calleja of the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Binalot Foods wins International Green Apple Environment Award

Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc. took home a Green Apple Environment Award in the recently concluded search organized by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-profit environment group dedicated to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities.
Binalot, the lone winner from the Philippines, competed with 500 other nominations and was presented with the Green Apple Award in the House of Commons late last year. The recognition named Binalot as one of the International Winners in the Far East Islands. Along with a gold status, Binalot received a plaque and certificate.
The winning entry focused on to the company’s corporate social responsibility campaign, the DAHON (Dangal At Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon) Program. Initiated at the start of 2007, DAHON helps farmers from Barangay Buhanginan and Barangay Liliw in Nagcarlan, Laguna earn more from growing and harvesting banana leaves which are directly purchased directly by Binalot Fiesta Foods to be used in all Binalot restaurants.
DAHON is Binalot’s long-term program to provide a sustainable source of income for Filipino farmers and ensure a steady supply of quality banana leaves at a low price. Binalot is heavily dependent on banana leaves because the meals are served wrapped in banana leaves, which locks in the food’s flavor (Binalot is a Filipino word which means wrapped). The practice helps preserve the environment by promoting the use of organic banana leaves rather than non-biodegradable styrofoam for food packaging.
The DAHON program has also been recognized by several award-giving bodies and has bagged the special prize in 2007’s Global UPS “Out of the Box” Small Business Contest. Binalot received US $10,000 for exemplifying “end-to-end customer service,” besting entries from China, Singapore and other countries in the Asia Pacific. Binalot is the first Filipino company to win the prestigious prize, shattering the myth that CSRs are only for the big multinational companies. The program also received the Intel-Asian Institute of Management Corporate Responsibility Award in Malaysia in 2010 and a Special Citation for Corporate Social Responsibility from Entrepreneur Magazine in 2011.
The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and have become established as the Britain’s major recognition for environmental endeavor among companies, councils, communities and countries. Judges for the Green Apple Awards are drawn from the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies.

The Philippine economy to remain strong over the next 2 years

Government economic planners have remained optimistic the Philippine economy will remain strong in the next two years, as the country is determined to maintain its sound macroeconomic fundamentals and continue improving its investment climate throughpolicy and regulatory reforms and infrastructure development.
“For this year, we expect the economy to grow six to seven percent. For next year, the growth is expected to accelerate to 6.5 to 7.5 percent,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.
Amid some possible external risks, he said, the government is confident to meet these economic growth outlooks.
“Notwithstanding the positive economic outlook in the near-term, the government remains vigilant of the global and domestic risks to growth,” he said in the same forum.
Global risks to growth, he said, include the uncertainty in the Euro zone and the fiscal problem in the US, which can adversely affect the global economy.
“We are also mindful of the possibility of oil price increases due to a higher global demand for petroleum products,” said Balisacan, also director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
But given the fiscal space and business confidence the past year, Balisacan said 2013 opens opportunities to sustain the growth momentum and achieve inclusive growth.
“As we have underscored in the Philippine Development Forum, these two objectives need not contradict each other. Inclusive growth is not only a goal but a growth strategy. To sustain the growth of our economy, we must ensure that economic growth benefits everyone, regardless of location or social status,” he said.
In 2012, the Philippines posted a 6.6 percent growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), higher than that of Thailand (6.4 percent), Indonesia (6.2 percent), Vietnam (5.0 percent), and Singapore (1.2 percent).
For this year, economic growth target is expected to be driven by agriculture, industry and services sectors.
“Agriculture will be buoyed by the government’s conscious efforts in pursuing programs and projects that will increase the efficiency of producing staples and high-value commodities and crops,” Balisacan said.
He said the positive agriculture outlook benefits from improvements in infrastructure, logistics, and the reduction in price volatilities.
Balisacan said the industry is also set to expand faster in 2013 and beyond, mainly driven by manufacturing and construction.
“Construction is expected to grow robustly due to strategic public and private infrastructure projects. Likewise, manufacturing is expected to be more vibrant, particularly semiconductor and electronics, food manufacturing, and light manufacturing industries,” he said.
The services sector is also expected to remain robust due to the upsurge in the number of domestic and local tourists, domestic trade, real estate, renting and business and BPOs.
“We need to create new drivers of growth which have the potential of creating high quality jobs, particularly manufacturing, BPO, tourism and agribusiness,” he said.
“Our initial estimates suggest that US$3 billion in investments in these sectors will create 621,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly through multiplier effects. This represents an average investment of roughly about P200,000 per worker. The amount needed to create jobs would be much less in rural areas, particularly in agriculture,” he added.
(Story courtesy of Nelson C. Bagaforo of SunStar)

The Philippine economy to remain strong over the next 2 years

The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) was the third best performer among the 50-member exchanges of the World Federation of Exchanges in 2012.
Based on the 2012 Market Highlights report released by the WFE, the PSE was ranked third after it posted a 38.9 percent expansion in market capitalization last year, outpaced only by the stock exchanges in Turkey and Thailand.
“Ranking among the top markets around the world is a feat which I think all Filipinos can be proud of as we are pitted against the best of the best markets in these global rankings,” said PSE President Hans B. Sicat.
He noted that “this is a testament to what we have been saying that the Philippines is now indeed in the global radar for investments and these numbers prove our worth as a viable investment destination.”
In the WFE report, the 25.3 percent growth in the PSE’s value turnover last year was also the third best after the Saudi Stock Exchange and the Bermuda Stock Exchange.
The PSE also claimed the fourth post in terms of expansion in number of trades and registered the fifth highest increase in broad market index for 2012.
In 2011, the PSE likewise posted impressive rankings against other stock exchanges worldwide as the growth rates of its broad market index, domestic market capitalization and trading turnover ranked first, third and fourth, respectively, among 51 exchanges globally.
Among the top performers in 2011, only the PSE made it to the list of top performing markets again in 2012 across all the same growth metrics.
“For two consecutive years, our stock market has been recognized among the fastest growing markets. This just shows that our growth has been sustainable particularly as it founded on the increased economic activity in the country,” said Sicat.
He added that “we are excited about the outlook in 2013 as we also undertake new programs and introduce new products in our stock market to keep the growth momentum in the coming years.”
(Story courtesy of the Manila Bulletin’s James Loyola)