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Saturday, February 28, 2015

PH breaks Guinness world record for tree planting

uinness World Records has officially declared the Philippines as the new record holder for the most number of trees planted simultaneously in multiple locations, all done in one day.
The Philippines’ “Treevolution: Greening MindaNOW” tree planting project in Mindanao broke the record previously held by India with 1.9 million trees.

Guinness recorded 2,294,629 trees planted by 122,168 participants at 29 locations across Mindanao on September 26, 2014.
Organized by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the tree planting event saw Muslims and Christians, local officials, policemen, government soldiers and Moro armies temporarily stopping the armed conflict to plant trees in Regions 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The DENR counts among trees planted, cacao, coffee, mahogany, rubber, and timber. Rubber, coffee and cacao are listed as priority crops in the National Greening Program of the Philippine government.

In an official government release Secretary Luwalhati Antonio, chairperson of MinDA, revealed that 4 million trees were actually planted in over 7,800 hectares of Mindanao that day but then the stringent verification process of the Guinness committee only tallied the official record at over 2 million.
The 4 million seedlings that were planted aimed to add 1 percent to Mindanao’s forest cover by 2016 and supply oxygen to around 16 million people of the total Mindanao population daily, that could eventually minimize impacts of climate change.
Secretary Antonio adds that although the world record was a motivating factor for the project, “TreeVolution has showed one overwhelming reaffirmation—that Mindanawons can unite for a common good, and that, we, c, can truly become one for the environment.”

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Forbes ranks PHL one of Best Foreign Retirement Havens

The Philippines is one of the “20 Best Foreign Retirement Havens for 2015,” considering factors such as taxes and the cost of living, according to US business magazine Forbes.
In a recent article, Forbes said the country was best for US retirees since “the principal appeal of the Philippines is a low cost of living in a tropical environment full of English speakers and outdoor beauty.”
It further noted how foreign income in the country is untaxed, and permanent residency can be had on a minimal showing of retirement income.
“Popular locations include Tagaytay, a suburb of Manila, the ca
pital, that is elevated and therefore cooler and Subic Bay, with an infrastructure from the old US Navy base,” Forbes said on its website.
It also mentioned the ease of return to the US with non-stop flights between Manila and the US averaging
15 hours.
Aside from Philippines, other countries on the list include Australia, Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, France, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, and Uruguay.
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Business confidence eases in Q1

source: The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Business sentiment declined in the first quarter of 2015, dampened by the seasonal moderation in economic activity, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported yesterday.
The latest Business Expectations Survey showed a confidence index of 45.2 percent, down from 48.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
The central bank said the less upbeat sentiment was due to the usual slowdown in activity and moderation of consumer demand after Christmas and also because of the typhoons that hit the country late last year.
Moreover, firms cited “concerns over the backlog in deliveries caused by the port congestion problem, and lack of supply of fish due to Indonesia’s stricter new marine laws which limit the fishing ground of local fisherman and closed fishing season for sardines” for the weaker outlook this quarter.
The survey showed firms involved in international trading had optimistic outlook this quarter, while domestic-oriented firms and importers had less favorable expectations versus the previous three months.
“The less sanguine outlook of the wholesale and retail trade sector stemmed from expectations of a slack in consumer demand and business activities after the Christmas season, their concern over the continued effects of past natural calamities, particularly on agriculture, and stiffer domestic competition emanating from the construction of new malls,” the BSP said.
The service sector, meanwhile, was less optimistic this quarter due to the seasonal slack in demand for hotels and restaurants especially after the holiday season.
But the industry sector was more upbeat in the first quarter especially the manufacturing subsector due to continued projects and bookings and the sustained decline in pump prices that cut their costs.
The BSP added the construction sector was the most bullish this quarter due to the falling oil prices and sustained demand for their services with new projects in the pipeline in the private and public sector.
For the next quarter, the confidence index climbed to 58.2 percent, suggesting acceleration in domestic growth, the BSP said.
The “anticipated increase in demand during the secondary harvest and open fishing seasons, graduation and enrollment periods, and summer seasons with the expected influx of both local and foreign tourists,” were among the reasons the bullishness.
Moreover, the central bank said the sustained increase in orders and projects, expansion of business, enhanced strategies and processes were also cited by local firms for the upbeat outlook in the second quarter.
The latest BES, conducted from Jan. 5 to Feb. 10, surveyed a total of 1,523 firms.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Who are the 3 Filipinas on Forbes' Power Women list?

MANILA, Philippines - Three businesswomen from the Philippines were included in Forbes magazine's list of 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia.
Teresita Sy Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Unibank, was included in Forbes Asia's Power Businesswomen list for the fourth time in a row.
Sy-Coson, daughter of the Philippines' richest man Henry Sy, was cited for her vision for the family company.
"Under her lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap," Forbes noted.

The 2015 Forbes Asia Power Businesswomen list includes 50 women from various industries in the region, including venture capitalism, construction, malls, telecommunications and retail.
Helen Yuchengco Dee, chairman of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., also made it to the Forbes list. She was cited for leading the Yuchengco group of companies which includes RCBC, non-life insurance firm Malayan Insuance and construction firm EEI.
Yuchengco-Dee, the eldest of 8 children of tycoon Alfonso Yuchengco, was quoted by Forbes as saying she is "more conservative than her risk-taking father, now 92."
The Yuchengo family ranks 23rd on the Forbes Asia rich list for the Philippines, with an estimated net worth of $685 million.
Zenaida Rustia-Tantoco, chairman and CEO of SSI Group and Rustan's Commercial, is the third Filipina in Forbes Asia's Power Businesswoman list. SSI, which listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange last year, is the specialty retail arm of Rustan's group.
"With more than 700 sales outlets in 69 malls nationwide, including the upscale Rustan’s department stores, Tantoco is poised to build further on what her parents founded 60-plus years ago," Forbes said.
Among the top businesswomen on Forbes Asia's Power Women list are Singapore’s Temasek executive director and CEO Ho Ching, MGM China co-chairman Pansy Ho, Huawei Technologies chairman Sun Yafang, Australia's Hancock Prospecting executive chairman Gina Rinehart and Thailand's Central Department Store Group CEO Yuwadee Chirathivat.
On the cover of the Forbes Asia issue is newcomer to the list Noni Purnomo, the president director of Blue Bird Group Holding, the largest taxi company in Indonesia.
Businesswomen from China and Hong Kong once again dominated the list with 14, followed by India with six, Thailand with five and Singapore with four. South Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia each have three, while Japan and Vietnam each have two.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

PH to be world's 2nd fastest growing economy in 2015 - report

MANILA, Philippines - A Bloomberg survey of economists shows the Philippines will be the second fastest-growing economy in the world this year, second only to Chna.
Bloomberg's survey says the Philippines and China will be the only two economies out of 57 included in the report that will grow 6 percent or more this year.
The report is based on average economists' estimates.

Various analysts have said the Philippines is one of the biggest beneficiaries in the world from lower oil prices.
"The world is expected to grow 3.2 percent in 2015 and 3.7 percent next year after expanding 3.3 percent in each of the past two years, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. China, the Philippines, Kenya, India and Indonesia, which together make up about 16 percent of global gross domestic product, are all forecast to grow more than 5 percent in 2015," Bloomberg said.
Malaysia, an oil producer that is being hit by lower oil prices, will see growth slow from 6 percent to less than 5 percent.
Also in the top 5 are Kenya and Nigeria. Many economists are pointing to Africa as the next fast-growth region after Asia. - ANC

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Miss Saigon’s Filipino actors dominate London stage awards

The Filipino actors of the West End revival of Miss Saigon led the record haul of awards at the 15th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards.
The Cameron Mackintosh production was the night’s big winner at the audience-votes only major theatre awards with lead Eva Noblezada winning the Best Actress in a Musical, Jon Jon Briones for Best Actor in a Musical, and Rachelle Ann Go for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.
Miss Saigon also won four other individual awards for Kwang-Ho-Hong, Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, Best Direction for Laurence Connor, Best Choreography for Bob Ayian and Geoffrey Garratt, and Best Set Design for Totite Driver and Matt Kinley.

The Miss Saigon dominance of the awards night was clinched by the Best Musical Revival and Best West End Show awards, giving the production a total of 9 WOS trophies.
The show at the Prince Edward Theatre led every category in the nominations process.
Mackintosh, who produced the original stage production at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane in 1989 said of the show’s big win, “”I’ve always known that the public knows best so I am delighted that the new Miss Saigon has swept the board with a record breaking nine awards including Best Musical Revival and Best West End Show and I’m thrilled for all our other winners as well, especially the extraordinary achievement of our four leading Asian performers winning the top acting awards.”
Miss Saigon is the story of an American marine and an orphaned Saigon lass-turned-prostitute who find comfort in each other during the Vietnam war.
The West End revival of the show marked its 25th anniversary since Lea Salonga first enthralled the theatre world as Kim.
Noblezada, picked by Mackintosh straight out of high school in North Carolina, took over the lead role of the Vietnamese teenager’s tragic character.
Manila-born actor Briones was with Salonga in the original 1989 West End production of Miss Saigon, returning to play the lead role of the engineer in the revival.
Filipino singer Rachelle Ann Go left a successful Philippine career to join the West End production.
Mackintosh said Miss Saigon’s exploration of cross-cultural relationships and misunderstandings remained more pertinent than ever.
“I always knew that this show would speak to this audience and it’s marvellous it has drawn in such a diverse audience,” said Mackintosh.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

ARKO mobile app triumphs in Abu Dhabi summit

A Philippine-made mobile application for tracking weather was adjudged as one of the world’s best mobile producers at the recent World Summit Award Mobile (WSA-mobile) in Abu Dhabi.
The ARKO mobile application, developed by Project NOAH of the Philippine
government’s Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in collaboration with Filipino IT company Pointwest Technologies, was a winner in the m-Inclusion & Empowerment category.
The Filipino innovation is one of the 40 winners recognized at the 3rd WSA-mobile Global Congress. Over 500 mobile applications from 30 United Nations member states from North and South America, Western Europe, Africa, Russia, Middle East, South and East Asia vied for the recognition.
The finalist recognition is the first time in 10 years that the Philippines reached the top 40 list.
The official WSA-mobile announcement on the ARKO win presented the unique value and relevance of the app for the Philippines which experiences an average of 20 typhoons yearly.

The app hopes to address the need for more information during major rains and flooding, giving the user access to extensive Project NOAH and DOST databases through the ARKO mobile app and the Project NOAH website.

With ARKO, the user can receive minute-by-minute updates on rainfall warnings and other weather conditions such as flooding. The app provides floor hazard maps and safe locations for evacuation.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund Liboro presented the ARKO app before the Filipino community. Liboro said that with the Internet and technology, overseas Filipinos can provide information to alert their families in the Philippines.
Dr. Alfredo Mahar Francisco Lagmay, Executive Director of Project NOAH, noted the value of the information provided by the ARKO app, “Awareness is the first step towards disaster preparedness.”

The Pointwest Technologies delegation was led by its President Ma. Cristina Coronel and Executive Director Ma. Josefina Reyes.
The World Summit Award Mobile (WSA-mobile) is a global initiative to select and promote the world’s best in mobile content and innovative applications within the framework of, and in cooperation with, the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 2003-2015, mandated by the WSIS Plan of Action and executed in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and United Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development (UN GAID).

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

PH emerges as ideal market for growing life science sector


Philippines is now emerging as an ideal market for the growing life science sector, which involves business venture in both local and worldwide health care industry.

“Aging populations, chronic and lifestyle diseases, emerging-market expansion, and treatment and technology advances are expected to spur life sciences sector growth in 2015,” an international professional service firm said.
In a research done by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, it was mentioned that major life sciences companies in the world are expected to continue expanding their presence in emerging markets through acquisitions and joint ventures.
Leading organizations have also began looking beyond the traditional emerging markets of Brazil, China, India and Russia for opportunities to establish or increase their presence in next emerging markets, which includes the Philippines.
“Innovation is becoming the spearhead for life sciences companies looking to enter, grow and thrive in today’s market,” said Mohit Grover, Life Sciences and Health Care Leader for Deloitte Southeast Asia.
In the past, Southeast Asia was generally viewed by life sciences companies as secondary to traditional mainstay markets due to lower purchasing power and overall health care system maturity.
Just this month, a United States medical trade mission arrived in the Philippines, bringing with it some eight US companies in the healthcare industry that met with potential distributors and visited local hospitals and healthcare facilities to learn about their operations.
“Considering that we have more than 100,000 people graduating annually in medical fields, our healthcare professionals are well-regarded for their excellent bedside manner, and the country is becoming increasingly popular as a retirement and medical tourism destination, the local healthcare sector is in a very good position to make significant expansions in terms of market and service offerings,” said Deloitte Philippines chief executive officer Greg Navarro.
This year, infrastructure improvements and foreign investment are also expected to jump-start local innovation in the sector in numerous forms, including locally based clinical trials to improve market access, shorten licensing approval periods, or produce a genuine pioneering product.
Moving forward, Deloitte emphasized that life sciences companies will need to demonstrate that they have active and comprehensive compliance programs across their business and clinical operations, including commercial, research and development, and supply chain.
Deloitte is a UK private company that provides audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, tax and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries.

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