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Updated: 1 hour 8 min ago

Toyota Financial auto loans rise 53%

8 hours 29 min ago
Toyota Financial Services Philippines Corp. (TFSPH) has posted a 53 percent growth in auto loans in the first semester of the year due to the country’s strong economic growth which drove consumer spending. In a statement, TFSPH said yesterday that the company’s total financing amounted to P7.5 billion in January to June, equivalent to 10,399 additional new customers. As a result, TFSPH said its loan portfolio during the period grew by 41 percent year-on-year to P24 billion. “Rest assured that as Toyota continues to offer quality vehicles that cater to each market segment’s needs, TFSPH will keep on tailor-fitting services to make owning a Toyota vehicle affordable for our customers,” Mototaka Sato, TFSPH president said.

Typhoon 'Henry' weakens

8 hours 30 min ago
Typhoon "Henry" (international name: Matmo) has slightly weakened as it moves towards Taiwan area, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Tuesday afternoon. The state weather bureau however said that public storm warning signal no.2 is still up over Batanes Group of Islands and signal no. 1 over Babuyan and Calayan Group of Islands. According to latest PAGASA bulletin, "Henry" is at 170 kilometers North of Basco, Batanes. ...

DA implements P27.5-B rural dev’t program

8 hours 30 min ago
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to implement the P27.5-billion (US$670-million) Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) that aims to establish modern, climate-smart, and market-oriented agriculture and fishery sector in the country. The six-year program, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said, also complements DA’s major initiatives particularly in reducing poverty, creating broad-based or inclusive growth and creating more jobs and livelihood opportunities. DA said PRDP is the "biggest foreign-assisted program" in the country. ...

Cebu Pacific and Tigerair make progress with interline agreement

8 hours 30 min ago
Cebu Pacific and Tigerair, the two largest low-cost carriers in the Philippines and Singapore, respectively, have made further progress on their interline agreement with the first interline flights available for sale on the Tigerair website from 23 July 2014. Tigerair flights will be available on Cebu Pacific’s website from September 2014.  With the interline agreement facilitating both domestic and international collaboration between both airlines, Cebu Pacific and Tigerair have created the biggest network of flights from Philippines to the region.

Gov’t to launch fiber optic network linking 160 offices

8 hours 31 min ago
The government is formally launching its fiber optic network linking up 160 public offices this week at the National Science and Technology of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on July 25, 2014 at the SMX Convention Center. Public corporations expect a significant improvement in their operations and the delivery of their services with the use of fiber optic technology and systems currently being developed under the Integrated Government Philippines (iGovPhil) project of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICT Office) and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the DOST. DOST Undersecretary Louis Napoleon Casambre, executive director of ICT Office, said a fiber optic network connecting 160 government offices in Metro Manila is now ready and will be operational in a few weeks.

Illicit Tobacco Indicator report debunked

8 hours 31 min ago
The Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) based in Thailand has debunked the Asia-11 Illicit Tobacco Indicator report published by the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) and Oxford Economics (OE). The report was the subject of a media briefing on the tobacco industry led by Peter Wallace of the Wallace Business Forum held at Fairmont Hotel in Makati last month. SEATCA, a multi-sectoral group, focuses on improving tax systems for tobacco control in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Vietnam. SEATCA Director Bungon Rithiphadee of the Bangkok said that “higher taxes on tobacco lead to higher prices for tobacco products which immediately discourage non-smokers from starting and current smokers from continuing with their harmful habit.” He revealed that the authors of the report have done road shows to release the report in individual countries to provide greater publicity to the findings and reach policy makers.

San Miguel Pure Foods mulls new flour mills

8 hours 31 min ago
San Miguel Mills Inc. (SMMI), a unit of San Miguel Corporation food subsidiary San Miguel Pure Foods Company Inc., is talking to “a number of European firms” for possible partnership in the firm’s plan to expand its milling facilities nationwide. SMC President Ramon S. Ang said SMMI is set to break ground in September for the expansion of its flour milling facility in Batangas. He said this is part of a 1,800-metric ton-per-day capacity expansion program that will also involve construction of two new milling facilities in other parts of the country. Now we are approaching a capacity level that will trigger a planned expansion program,” explained Ang.

Power supply critical starting next year

8 hours 31 min ago
For power supply especially in the biggest grid and economic center of Luzon, it will get worse before it gets better and the peak of blackouts may happen next year and at the tail-end of Aquino administration in 2016. Such then raised worries that the dilemmas of power supply may hit unwarranted proportions on higher demand months. Finally, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla is now acknowledging the “very critical situation” in the country’s electricity supply and that is also giving him leverage to recommend emergency powers for President Aquino. He indicated that in his meeting with the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association Inc. (PIPPA) on Tuesday, the power generators can no longer give assurance of capacity additions between now until early part of 2016.

Four business groups support third-party cigarette monitor

8 hours 31 min ago
Foreign and local business groups have called on the Department of Finance (DOF) to adopt a third-party auditor for cigarette manufacturers to ensure their tax compliance and address the issue on smuggling. In a joint letter to Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima dated July 1, 2014, two local and two foreign business associations said that they are concerned about the alleged smuggling and tax evasion by some tobacco entities. The letter was signed by the leaders of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc., The American Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Philippine Industries, The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Philippines, Inc. “This issue is of such enormity because it not only places investor companies at a disadvantage when competitors do not pay the correct taxes,” the letter read.

Early shootout seen in ICTSI Negros Classic

8 hours 31 min ago
Cassius Casas drew 2011 champion Robert Pactolerin and 2012 winner Zanie Boy Gialon while Tony Lascuna, Elmer Salvador and Orlan Sumcad slug it out in two of the featured groups in today’s start of the P1 million ICTSI Negros Occidental Classic at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club course here. “The key is to have a strong start and try to keep the pressure on them,” said Casas, who will start at 7:40 a.m. at No. 1 with Pactolerin, the local favorite who flashed vintage form to rule this event three years ago, and Gialon, who nipped Lascuna in a playoff to top the rain-shortened edition two years ago.

Local shares

8 hours 31 min ago
Local shares closed slightly lower yesterday following a weak overnight closing in New York stocks in Wall street. The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) finished 4.94 points or 0.07 percent lower at 6,869.94 with moderate volume. A total of 908.76 million shares valued at P8.11 billion was traded. Decliners swamped gainers, 88-69, with 65 issues unchanged.

The parable of the sower

8 hours 31 min ago
MATTHEW 13:1-9 One day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around Him that He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And He spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. ...

San Lorenzo gas plant resumes operation

8 hours 31 min ago
The 500-megawatt San Lorenzo gas fired power plant of First Gas Power Corporation has been synchronized back to the grid on Monday, the operator firm has announced. The Lopez company, in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), has noted that both units of the combined cycle gas power facility “have resumed operations.” First Gen earlier apprised relevant stakeholders that its gas power facilities had been affected by flooding at last week’s onslaught of typhoon Glenda. Many power plants have been out from the system last week – fundamentally Luzon and Visayas grids – either due to operational strain or damages induced by the typhoon’s strike. This prompted distribution utilities like Manila Electric Company (Meralco) to schedule six-hour long of rotating brownouts up to Friday last week on deficient supply.

News in brief

8 hours 31 min ago
Yields on government securities were expected to rise after recent monetary policy tightening by the central bank to curb strong liquidity growth. Metrobank mandated ING Bank N.V., Manila Branch and Standard Chartered Bank as Joint Lead Arrangers and Selling Agents for this transaction, while Metrobank itself is a limited Selling Agent.

SONA still a work in progress – Palace

8 hours 34 min ago
Malacañang yesterday said President Aquino’s speech for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday is still a work in progress. Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that just like the previous SONAs, Aquino has a personal touch on what he would say to his bosses, the Filipino people. Coloma said the SONA on Monday would anchor on the Philippine Development Plan (PDP). “Just like before, the President wants the people to know and understand what the government has been doing in various aspects,” Coloma said in Pilipino.

Luzon Newsbits for July 23, 2014

8 hours 34 min ago
P46-M AGRICULTURE BUDGET FOR ORMIN Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro — The city government here has allocated a P46-million budget for agriculture this year, a big jump from last year’s P1.8 million fund, which Mayor Arnan Panaligan describes as one way of giving importance to the toiling sector. In his annual State of the City Address (SOCA), Panaligan said that the city will distribute subsidized hybrid and inbred varieties of palay seeds as part of their new program for agriculture. FACTORY FIRE Meycauayan City, Bulacan — One person was injured as a six-hour fire razed a plastic factory in Barangay Libtong, this city, overnight since Monday.

No SOMO in East Mindanao

8 hours 34 min ago
The military’s Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) is not declaring a suspension of military operations (SOMO) in the provinces of Surigao and Agusan as demanded by the National Democratic Front (NDF) for the possible safe release of four police officers captured by the communist rebel group last July 10. Captain Alberto Caber, EastMinCom information officer, said yesterday that the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (PA), headed by Major General Ricardo Visaya, has no intention to stop its combat operations in the area against the New People’s Army (NPA). Caber was referring to the recent simultaneous attacks staged by NPA rebels in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur that resulted to the death of 18 persons, including four members of the Manobo tribe.

Shell Bitumen paves Dubai, world’s second busiest airport

8 hours 34 min ago
In 2013, the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) reported that air passenger traffic surpassed 3.1 billion people.  With more frequent flights and larger, more sophisticated aircrafts such as the Airbus A380—which weighs almost 400 tons or the equivalent of over 400 cars—airport runways at major international hubs need to withstand an enormous amount of weight, friction, and heat. So when Dubai International Airport, the world’s second busiest airport, put its 4,000-meter long northern runway up for resurfacing in May, Shell Bitumen was tapped by contractor Al Naboodah Construction Group to provide its bitumen solutions for the project. Shell’s bitumen solutions have been used in airports since 1968, backed with Shell Bitumen’s technical expertise and supply base spread out across the globe. “Our top-notch bitumen solutions and expertise in the airport sector has been stellar for over four decades.  Our dedicated Shell Bitumen Solution Centres work with our customers to develop solutions that suit their needs, not only in airports but also in other infrastructure projects,” stated Nick Chong, vice president of Shell Bitumen.

Rizal Memorial Stadium, hoopla, fraternity

8 hours 34 min ago
An ill wind blows at Vito Cruz…with tidings of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) pushing for the sale of the 80-year-old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. It hosted the 1934 Far Eastern Championship Games and 1954 Asian Games (when we lorded it in the region).  It was the venue for the Beatles concert in 1966; In March this year, when the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium hosted the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers, cracks on the bleachers revealed the state of dishabille.  When PH played Cambodia, the pitch flooded after heavy rains, drawing criticism from players and officials.  (Only golf courses of the well-heeled are all-weather.) Philippine Olympic Committee president “Peping” Cojuangco will meet with the Philippine Sports Commission  to expedite the sale of the 10-hectare property.

Hands off, POC

8 hours 34 min ago
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has been trying for years to force Go Teng Kok, the president of the Philippine Track and Field Association (Patafa), to leave office. The POC leadership under former Rep. Jose Cojuangco Jr. has tried nearly every tactic in the book to make GTK disappear from the sports scene. The most memorable blow was sometime in 2011 when, fed up with GTK’s grandstanding, the POC board, on the urging of Cojuangco, declared GTK “persona non grata” as though he was a diplomat and would then be recalled by his government never to be seen here again. He reportedly has agreed to step down and has thrown his support behind former Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Popoy Juico to succeed him.