Saturday, April 8, 2017




I urge my colleagues on the House Committee on Justice to urgently tackle, as soon as the summer break is over, the five pending bills seeking either to create a Commission on Immigration or update the immigration law of our country.


The stop gap measures for the current immigration personnel woes at the NAIA are temporary in nature, but the long-overdue updating of the immigration legal infrastructure can address those overtime pay problems, which are symptomatic of or linked to the many ailments of the Bureau of Immigration and the immigration system.


As my colleague Representative Maximo B. Rodriguez, Jr. properly noted in his House Bill 1697, Congress has tried since the Fourteenth Congress to update our immigration law.


This cannot go on for long. The Seventeenth Congress ought to pass a new immigration law and send it to President Duterte for either signing or lapsing into law.


When the Committee of Justice approves the consolidated bill, I ask President Duterte to certify it as urgent. I also ask Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to recommend the consolidated bill for certification as urgent, so it could be approved in time for implementation before the end of 2017 and allow the Justice Department time to approve the implementing rules and regulations.


We need to ascertain and solve the problems that have kept Congress from approving this legislation critical to our national security, mass transport system, and the administration of justice. (END)

QBO launches hub for startup programs

QBO launches hub for startup programs
QBO Innovation Hub, an established partnership between the public and private sector including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), IdeaSpace Foundation, and J.P. Morgan, opened its startup enablement programs to help speed up growth and learning for Philippine startups and entrepreneurs.
"We are excited to create success stories that will inspire Filipinos to start their own companies instead of pursuing opportunities overseas," said QBO and IdeaSpace President Butch Meily.
QBO will start offering programs and services to startups including access to QBO's networking events such as classes, workshops, mentorship, feedback sessions, and use of its co-working space.
Available services also include professional consultations on legal, accounting, marketing and design, corporate and government partner resources referrals, incorporation assistance, business registration, intellectual property filing, and investors and potential partners pitching.
"DTI hopes that with our partners from industry, academe, and other government agencies such as DOST and DICT, our initiatives will help advance the development of our local startup ecosystem and increase the number of high-growth oriented enterprises that will bring the Philippine brand in a global scale," emphasized DTI Trade and Investments Promotions Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.
Through QBO, startups will also have an opportunity to join J.P. Morgan's Incubation Program, a stage agnostic module that will be available to select and high-potential startups all year round. It initially plans to enroll 15 startups by the end of 2017.
"As one of the world's leading financial institutions, J.P. Morgan celebrates new ideas and we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs in the country, especially those with underserved backgrounds. Engaging with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at their early stages is critical and we are excited about the tremendous opportunities they will bring to developing sectors and generating jobs, which are both vital in promoting prosperous and thriving communities," said Roberto L. Panlilio, Senior Country Officer, J.P. Morgan Philippines.
To avail the said services, startups need to have an initial interview with the QBO team and undergo initial assessment. Through this, a customized plan will be designed to match with the resources needed by the startup.
QBO was launched in 2016 with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and PLDT Group Chair Manny V. Pangilinan. It aims to link innovators, explorers, investors, academic institutions, start-up mentors, funders and enablers as well as a broad spectrum of partners and stakeholders from both public and private sectors to convene in constructive interaction.
"The Philippine startup ecosystem is growing incredibly quickly, fueled by a young population engaged in the internet and digital, and more importantly, by entrepreneurs that demonstrate incredible determination and commitment. By continuing to develop ideas into innovative products and technologies, startups can evolve to become great companies that positively impact the future of the Philippines" said DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development, Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.
QBO is the first innovation hub in the country, pioneering the first public-private effort to establish an innovation ecosystem in the Philippines following success stories of Silicon Valley in the United States, BLK 71 in Singapore, and MaGIC in Malaysia.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.

SME Nation conquers Davao
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (1 July) -- Realizing the need for small and medium businesses to go digital, the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) finally partnered to help SMEs develop business through the right access to information and communication technology.

DCCCII President Simeon Marfori bared that businesses in Davao need to be introduced with the latest innovations in technology especially on voice solution, internet broadband, and wireless solution.

"These are services that are not yet offered to and used by our SMEs. This is why we have partnered with PLDT as we share the same goal of making these innovations to Davao businesses and would later redound to binging in more investments in Davao City," Marfori said.

PLDT, on the other hand, has been roaming around the provinces to engage SMEs in taking advantage of simple, scalable, nurturing and enabling end-to-end solutions fitted for their respective businesses.

PLDT SME Group Head Katrina Luna-Abelarde attended the Memorandum of Understanding Signing held at the Apo View Hotel together with DCCCII executive director Conrado Hernaez, PLDT Small and Medium Enterprise for VisMin Business head Nilo Bantilan, and DCCCII President Simeon Marfori.

Abelarde claimed that Philippine SMEs suffer a poor rating on ICT that showed only 10 to 20 percent of the SMEs have stable internet access while 2 to 5 percent have websites of their own.

"How can we go global with this poor appreciation and usage of ICT?" she said.
Thus, PLDT SME Nation partners with different business organizations where they offer tailor-fit solutions such as broadband connectivity, business-enabling devices like computers, wireless access points, wireless card payment terminals, software applications, and contents like sales inventory management software and on-line website builders.

Abelarde explained that inorder to benefit various SMEs, PLDT has transformed its services from cost items into wise investments.

"We are not yet talking about the details of this partnership but definitely we are to bring cheaper technology services to our SMEs since we have partnered with PLDT," said Marfori.

SME Nation wishes to inculcate in the minds of SMEs the importance and value of the digital marketplace.

One amazing offering for SMEs is the PLDT MyDSL Biz where one can instantly launch his virtual outlets worldwide - all of which proudly promote and showcase one's wares. Through this product, one can also accept and respond to inquiries and capture sales from an increasing number of online customers.

Davao business chamber sees growth of ICT, SME sector

Davao chamber sees growth of ICT, SME sector
Davao City (1 July) -- Chamber of Commerce and Industries Inc. (DCCCII) President Simeon Marfori II sees the expansion and growth of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between PLDT and the Chamber on the offering of a wide range of ICT services to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises members of DCCII.

The MOU was signed by Marfori and PLDT SME Group head Katrina C. Luna Abelarde last July 27 at the Apo View Hotel Davao. The MOU is the first in the country where PLDT hopes to help SMEs foster connectivity and access to the latest innovations on ICT.

DCCII will provide the venue, linkage and technical skills to SMEs while PLDT will provide affordable, practical, scalable and managed solutions to these SMEs.
Marfori said that these are the elements needed for the growth of a sector (ICT) which along with agriculture, tourism sectors is where the Chamber will be focusing on for this year.

"The more SME users of ICT the better it will be for the industry as it will be used to increase productivity and efficient allocation of resources.

Marfori said that he hopes to enter into another agreement with another company. He said the DCCCII is looking into IBM which could provide the server, which could be used by the SMEs.

Luna-Abelarde said that the PLDT SME Nation Group was formed in January this year to help provide SMEs and IT platform. She said that of the 300,000 SMEs only 10-20% are connected to the internet of which 2 to 5% have websites of their own.

She said that among the packages offered to SMEs include Voice solutions which include a full PABX solutions package comprising of the switch and line. Also offered are Broadband package and applications for business operations. (PIA/RG Alama)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP)

PGMA lauds AMOSUP on health initiatives
by T. Villavert
Iloilo City (30 June) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lauded the Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) for putting up a hospital that directly impact on the needs of the AMOSUP's members and dependents in Western Visayas.

The President during the inauguration of the Seamen's Hospital Iloilo yesterday (June 30) was happy to note that "our seafarers and their families are well taken care of by the private sector, people's organizations and by the government as well."

The three-storey Seamen's Hospital is a 40-bed capacity hospital constructed at a cost of P42 million and occupying 3,300 square meters in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

AMOSUP President, Captain Gregorio Oca led President Arroyo to the various departments of the three-storey hospital. This is now the third satellite facility of the AMOSUP throughout the country, who count about 55,000 members.

During the activity, President Arroyo that OWWA's scholarship program for the Seafarers' families will soon start on a mass scale.

She said that the program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will now be "backed up by the national government funds coming from the reforms we made in the phase one of our economic agenda."

"With additional revenues", the President said, "we can now fund programs that directly impact on the people including the welfare of the seafarers and their families."

President Arroyo counts on the seafarers to takepart in the economic upliftment of the country, as well as urges them to bring the great quality of the Filipino seafarers through out the world. (PIA)

Philippines to push ASEAN’s bid to engage Japan on innovation and MSME inclusivity

PH to push ASEAN's bid to engage Japan

on innovation and MSME inclusivity—Lopez

MAKATI—As the Philippines chairs the ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting (AEM) and Related Meetings for this year, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez is determined to advance ASEAN's objective to engage Japan on innovation and inclusivity of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),  during the AEM Roadshow to Japan from 6 to 8 April 2017.   


ASEAN economic ministers will also call on Japan's top leaders and government officials in a consistent bid to strengthen bilateral relations between ASEAN and Japan. The AEM Roadshow will include site visits to some Japanese companies in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Wakayama.


"ASEAN is keen to engage with Japan on the theme of innovation and on how this can strengthen not only industries but MSMEs," said Sec. Lopez, chair of AEM, whose domestic advocacy on developing MSMEs through innovation aligns with ASEAN's intention.


The ASEAN delegation with ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh is set to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Minister Hiroshige Seko of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), as well as some public officials.


"Given Japan's stature as one of ASEAN's worthy trading partners and the continually growing trade between the two, we cannot stress enough the importance of this Roadshow in further strengthening relations between ASEAN and Japan," he added.


The trade chief also noted that during the first Roadshow in 2016, ASEAN economic ministers were impressed at what they witnessed in the showcase of Japanese resilience and human resource development.


Likewise, the ASEAN Member States (AMS) gained a deeper understanding of the importance of regional efforts on disaster resiliency, according to him.


"Japan is regarded as a leader in innovation for the past 50 years and is home to widely-recognized companies. Economic ministers are eager to see this innovation at work in Japan not only to gain new perspectives to be applied in their respective countries, but also to better implement the AEM priority on inclusive, innovation-led growth towards shared prosperity for the region," explained Sec. Lopez.  


ASEAN will also discuss with the Japanese side ways to strengthen ASEAN-Japan economic relations, as well as the ongoing negotiations with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). ASEAN is confident that with the support of Japan, the negotiations on the basic RCEP parameters will be concluded within the year.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DOF eyes March 2017 Philippine inflation rate at 3.6%

DOF eyes March 2017 Philippine inflation rate at 3.6%
By Joann S. Villanueva

MANILA, April 4 (PNA) -- Faster rate of price increases of food and oil in general are seen to further push domestic inflation rate in the Philippines to 3.6 percent in March, a Department of Finance (DOF) official said.

Finance Undersecretary and chief economist Gil Beltran, in his report to DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, said normalization of oil prices from its record-low levels last year is the main factor for the uptick in domestic inflation rate this year.

In February, the country's inflation rose to 3.3 percent from January's 2.7 percent, bringing the average in the first two months this year to three percent, the middle of the central bank's inflation target range of 2 to 4 percent.

Oil prices went down to around USD40 per barrel in the early 2016 due to oversupply but it has so far gone up to a little over USD50 per barrel as major oil producers cut supply to address the low oil price environment.

This development made Beltran consider the faster inflation rate in the third month of 2016, with the food and non-alcoholic beverages sub-index seen to rise to 4.5 percent from 4.1 percent last February. Year-ago level for his index is 1.6 percent.

Housing, utilities and fuels index is also seen to register an increase to 4.1 percent from month-ago's 2.9 percent.

Core inflation, which exclude volatile items namely food and oil, rose to 2.7 percent last February from month ago's 2.6 percent and year ago's 1.6 percent as oil prices continue its climb.

Other sub-indices forecast to post increases are alcoholic beverages and tobacco, from six percent last February to 6.5 percent in March; clothing and footwear, from 2.8 to 2.9 percent; and health, from 2.6 to 2.8 percent.

Beltran however, sees lower contribution of the transport index for the third month this year to 1.9 percent from last February's 2.8 percent mainly due to lower oil prices last March in particular from last February's level.

The restaurant and miscellaneous services sub-index is also seen to post a slower growth of 1.8 percent from month-ago's 2.1 percent.

Inflation of the communication index is seen to remain flat at 0.2 percent and the recreation and culture and education indices both at 1.8 percent.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is scheduled to release the March 2017 inflation report on Wednesday. (PNA)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Philippine strengthens trade and investment promotion efforts in Mexico

Philippine strengthens trade and investment promotion efforts in Mexico

Mexico City – The Department of Trade and Industry´s (DTI) Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Mexico, with support from the Philippine Embassy in Mexico, together with COMCE, the Mexican Business Council of Foreign Trade, Investment, and Technology recently discussed Philippine business opportunities in an organized roundtable on Philippine Business Opportunities in Mexico.

Participated in by over 30 Mexican businessmen from the logistics, autoparts manufacturing, business development, and agro-food products sectors, the event highlighted opportunities for trade and investments between the Philippines and Mexico.

Ambassador Eduardo Jose A. De Vega graced the event by highlighting the history of Mexico-Philippine trade relations and the importance of the current activities of the Philippine government to reactivate them.

Meanwhile, the Embassy´s Commercial Counselor and head of PTIC Mexico, DTI´s Vichael Angelo D. Roaring, presented current bilateral trade relation between the two countries and the opportunities, advantages, incentives and the optimum environment that the Philippines has developed to become a competitive destination for foreign investments and a source of exports of quality products.

"The Philippines continues to be a strategic business location in the Asia-Pacific region, being not only a 100 million market but as a gateway for over 500 million market of the ASEAN," highlighted Roaring. 

Juan Pablo Garcia, Director of Corporate Affairs of CEMEX, gave a testimonial and a case study of CEMEX´s experience of setting up and doing business in the Philippines.  With CEMEX' presence in more than 50 countries, Garcia cited the Philippines as one of its best places for doing business for its manpower and enabling business environment.  Garcia also pointed out CEMEX´s plans to venture in the low-cost housing sector in the Philippines, a preferred business sector of the DTI's Board of Investments 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP). 

Jorge Barbosa of ProMexico, a trade promotion agency of Mexico, presented opportunities that Mexico offers to the Philippines in terms of investment, as well as the potential of the Philippine market for Mexican companies in the fields of processed food, beverages, frozen fruits and vegetables, auto parts, home appliances and creative industries, and the potential for investments in ports, infrastructure, auto parts, call centers and entertainment industries.

Also present to discuss the strengthening relations between the Philippines and Mexico are Ambassador Enrique Michel Santibáñez, former Ambassador of Mexico in the Philippines, and current COMCE president for the ASEAN; and Alberto Varelo of AMEXCID, a Mexican government agency for International Development Cooperation. On the other hand, Philippine Embassy Vice Consul Mikhail de Dios discussed cultural ties of the two countries.

The event served as an avenue for networking between Mexican businessmen and Philippine officials. PTIC Mexico held one-on-one consultations with the participants to work on their specific business interests with the Philippines.

World’s largest Halal event to showcase Philippine products

World's largest Halal event to showcase Philippine products
The Philippines, through the Department of Trade and Industry's Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) – Kuala Lumpur, is set to take part at the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) 2017 on 5-8 April in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
After years of absence at MIHAS, the Philippines is back with 30 Philippine companies that will showcase Halal-certified products at the Philippine Pavilion. Joining the business delegation are companies from the food (27) and non-food (3) sectors.
Products to be showcased will vary from food and beverage, processed meats and snacks, to cosmetics and personal care. With its Philippine Export Industry development program, Philippines' participation at the said trade show is the biggest to date. 
"The Philippines takes this opportunity to introduce itself as a major supplier of Halal compliant products to the world.  We are here to take part in the global Halal initiative and to bring about innovative products that will complement the global Halal ecosystem. The Philippines brings together the strong collaboration of Halal stakeholders in the Philippines with the deliberate approach under the recently passed Philippine Halal Export Promotion and Development Law (Republic Act 10817),"  said DTI EMB Director Senen M. Perlada.
DTI-EMB confirmed the participation of San Miguel Purefoods Company, Inc., Mega Global, Century Pacific Food Inc., and Palmstore, among others.
The PTIC – Kuala Lumpur has also expressed confidence in the success of the Philippine's participation, especially with the keen interest shown by businessmen in Malaysia to visit the Philippine Pavilion and meet the companies.
"We have gained recognition in the industry with businesses and business organizations, culinary schools, hotels, food manufacturers, and wholesalers alike, expressing excitement to  see what the Philippines can offer in terms of Halal," said PTIC Kuala Lumpur Commercial Attache Katrina Banzon.
Philippine Halal products to Malaysia is estimated to be around USD 86.7 Million in 2016, with a five year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.80%.
MIHAS is considered the world's largest Halal event. It offers networking and business proposition for Halal exhibitors and buyers. According to its records, it welcomed over 22,000 trade visitors from more than 70 countries and generated record sales beyond RM1 Billion for 600 exhibitors.
MIHAS is hosted by Ministry International Trade and Industry, organized by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) in association with Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) and Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM).
Philippines' DTI EMB and PTIC-Kuala Lumpur invite everyone to visit the Philippine Pavilion at MIHAS 2017.
Other participating agencies include the Department of Agriculture, Mindanao Development Authority, Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority & Freeport and DTI Regions 5 and 9.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


I.        Revised Schedule Of Compromise Penalty
II.       Violation In Bookkeeping Rules And Regulations
III.      Registration Requirements
IV.      Keeping Of Books Of Accounts
V.       Preservation Of Books Of Accounts And Other Accounting Records
VI.      Printing Of Receipts Or Commercial Or Sales Invoices
VII.      Machine Control Specifications Features
                A. For Cash Register Machines
                 B. For Pos Machines:
VIII.     Reporting Of Monthly Sales
IX.       Deductible Expense
X.        Itemized Deduction
XI.       Expenses In General
XII.      Minimum Corporate Income Tax
                A. Minimum Corporate Income Tax On 
                     Domestic Corporations
                          (1) Imposition Of Tax
                          (2) Carry Forward Of Excess Minimum Tax
                B. Minimum Corporate Income Tax (MCIT) On Resident Foreign 
XIV.    Withholding Tax Violations
XV.     Duties & Obligation Of A Withholding Agent
XVI.    Value Added Tax Violations
XVII.   Requirements On Input Tax
XVIII.  Invoicing Requirements

Ruperto Pacis Somera
Tax Consultant, Professor/Lecturer
Former Member of the Board of Accountancy
Former Director, Bureau of Internal Revenue
Fellow TAX Management
Fellow TAX Research

For More Details / Inquiry / Reservation, Please call us
Mimi San Pedro
Tele Fax: 470-1273
 or Call/Text: 0927-8263175
                        Date       :    March 31, 2017
                        Time      :    9:00am - 5:00pm
                        Venue    :    RCBC Plaza Makati

Saturday, March 25, 2017




Restricting land ownership and the practice of professions "make no sense in this century," House Assistant Majority Leader Salvador Belaro, Jr. said Friday morning as he made his case for amending the 1987 Constitution before the 16th Annual Convention of Lawyers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).


"In the 21st century the sources of wealth are no longer the traditional notion of land, labor and capital. Now land could be of little value, but paramount are capital and labor also," Belaro, 1-Ang Edukasyon Party-list Representative, said at the sidelines of the IBP convention, which tackled the role of lawyers in ASEAN integration.


Belaro filed House Bill 4257 calling for an ASEAN Integration Plan that will guide national efforts to interface the Philippines with its immediate regional neighbors.


Other speakers at the convention include President Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senate President Koko Pimentel and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.


Belaro said, "wealth today is generated by entrepreneurship and expertise or a combination thereof. The specific situation of our country is that we don't have capital so we must attract it."


He is the author of a bill (HB 4227) aiming to attract investments in education and another bill (HB 4234) on public-private partnerships in education.


Belaro added that, "since economics is a function of supply and demand, the Constitution should be flexible to the vicissitudes in the market."


At least seven sections of the Constitution are on Belaro's list for "updating to 21st Century realities."  These are: Sections 2, 7, 10, 11, 14 of Article XII on the national economy and patrimony, Section 11 of Article XVI, and Section 4 of Article XIV. (END)

DTI, Robinsons Department Store launch first Go Lokal! store for MSME dev’t

DTI, Robinsons Department Store

launch first Go Lokal! store for MSME dev't

MANILA—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in partnership with Robinsons Department Store, launched its first Go Lokal! store in Robinsons Place Manila on March 24. 


Go Lokal! is a public-private collaboration between DTI and local retailer partners. Among its partners, Robinsons Department Store, an affiliate of Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc.,is the first to launch the project in a mainstream outlet. It serves as incubation, marketing, and branding platform for the best of Philippine micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) products including next generation One Town One Product (OTOP) offerings.


Go Lokal! stores showcase modern and indigenous quality products crafted, designed, and created by innovative Philippine MSMEs. It can be found in consumer-frequented locations as a mainstream distribution channel for world-class Filipino products while offering value for money for targeted consumers and tourists.


"DTI is excited to open its first mainstream Go Lokal! store with Robinsons Department Store as its dynamic partner in this effort of maximizing market access and providing exposure to our MSMEs. Go Lokal! is truly a vibrant model for MSME development and inclusive business. We are happy that committed partners like Robinsons have taken on this challenge. We look forward to opening more outlets in their malls and department stores across the country," said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.


The trade chief also said that aside from providing market access for MSME products, the Go Lokal! program is a platform for new entrepreneurs to test the marketability of their products without the fear of losing rental and commercial costs because their experience is free of charge.


The market access platform is set to revolutionize the way hard-to-find and artisanal Filipino products are sold in the local market. The design-led concept store will bring together a specially-curated line-up that ranges from food, apparel, accessories, home décor, gadgets and gift items.


"This is Robinsons way of featuring world-class locally-made quality products by our MSMEs. Go Lokal! supports Filipino entrepreneurs into their initial foray into more mainstream markets making them more accessible to both local and foreign consumers. The diverse product line of Go Lokal! brings together the best products that the Philippines has to offer," said Mr. Johnson Go, General Manager of Robinsons Department Store.


"Ultimately, it's all about accessibility and opportunity for MSMEs, both of which you need to be successful in retail. Go Lokal! is one way for DTI and Robinsons Department Store to give assurance to these business owners that they have support from both the government and the private sector so they may profit from ventures that they are passionate about," Robinsons Department Store President and COO Robina Gokongwei-Pe said.


Portion of Go Lokal! revenues will go to various corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects of Robinsons Department Store including the government's drug rehabilitation program. 

DTI, SM’s Kultura sign deal to operate Go Lokal!

DTI, SM's Kultura sign deal to operate Go Lokal!

 MAKATI – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Kultura, the country's largest retailer of homegrown products, signed an agreement on 24 March to open Go Lokal! stores in SM Makati.


DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, together with Industry Promotion Assistant Secretary Rosvi Gaetos and DTI 4-B Regional Director Joel Valera signed the agreement with Kultura represented by its Senior Vice-President for Operations Ivy Frances Yap and Merchandising Head Fatima Uy. This partnership allows Kultura to operate and manage Go Lokal! in order to provide greater market access to micro, small, and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs).


Go Lokal! is a design-led concept store and market platform showcasing modern and indigenous quality products crafted, designed, and created by innovative Philippine micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). It is mostly found in consumer-frequented locations as a mainstream distribution channel for world-class products while offering value for money to consumers. Go Lokal! is a public-private collaboration and serves as avenue for incubation, marketing, and branding for the best of Philippine MSME products including the next generation One Town One Product (OTOP) offerings.


"Kultura and Go Lokal! are complementary avenues to help our local MSMEs gain retail foothold in the Philippine domestic market. We are pleased to open a Go Lokal! together with Kultura as a testament of our collective thrust of inclusive growth and development of our MSMEs." said Secretary Ramon Lopez.  


The trade chief also said that aside from providing market access for MSME products, the Go Lokal! is a platform for new entrepreneurs to test the marketability of their products without fear of losing out on rental and commercial costs because their Go Lokal! experience is free-of-charge.  


Kultura is the leading brand for uniquely Filipino products. 


"Kultura has become a showcase of local artistry and craftsmanship and furthers its advocacy by partnering with the DTI for its Go Lokal Project, providing a venue for the distribution and promotion of products sourced from MSMEs," said Ms. Ivy Yap.


Its Go Lokal pop-up store opens in April and will run throughout the year at the 2nd  level of SM Makati.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Philippines’ hosting of the ASEAN and its Business and Investment Program (ABIP)

PH and SG push for greater trade cooperation within ASEAN. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Philippine Trade & Investment Centre (PTIC) – Singapore Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda talks about the Philippines' hosting of the ASEAN and its Business and Investment Program (ABIP) with the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC). SICC invited Peñaranda in its March 2017 ASEAN Committee meeting. Peñaranda further shared the agenda of steering the ASEAN to full economic integration through greater trade and investment among member countries and detailed the DTI's ABIP events that will complement the country's priorities under the ASEAN Economic Community pillar. Peñaranda covered as well the latest investment climate and opportunities in the country, highlighting the strong presence of Singapore businesses in various sectors. The SICC is the first business chamber in Singapore. Its key themes are on ASEAN, innovative collaboration, realities of the present and sustainability of Singapore. The Chamber celebrated its 180th in February of this year. In photo: (L-R) Philip Pang, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC) Director for Government Relations; Philippine Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda; Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Antonio Morales; Victor Mills, SICC Chief Executive.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Cesar Montano still goes to work at TPB amid complaint

Cesar Montano still goes to work amid complaint
By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, March 16 (PNA) -- It's business as usual for Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Chief Operating Officer (TPB) Cesar Montano who continues to work despite a complaint filed against him by his staff on alleged irregularities.

Tourism Secretary and TPB Chairman Wanda Teo, who recently arrived from an expo in Berlin, Germany, said that Montano remained as chief of the DOT's marketing arm.

"He still goes to the office," Teo told reporters on the sidelines of the 2017 ASEAN-China Year Tourism Cooperation held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Thursday.

She refused to comment when asked if she still "trusted" Montano as Pres. Rodrigo Duterte previously stated in a speech.

The Secretary previously admitted that Montano was not her first choice to head the TPB.

On Monday (March 13), Pres. Duterte said that he still trusted Montano amid allegations and urged officials to file a case.

The Secretary reiterated that the agency would await results of the investigation being conducted by the Presidential Action Center (PACE) where the complaint was filed.

She said that she had no plans for her agency to conduct its own investigation as the Senate also eyed its own probe on the issue.

Asked if she was aware of the allegations even before the complaint was filed, Teo said that she has read them in the newspapers.

In the seven-page letter of complaint filed at the PACE, Montano was accused of irregularities including entering into multimillion peso deals without approval from the board, hiring his own staff whose functions were redundant with current employees and the questionable use public funds.(PNA)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Japanese Companies investment interests in the Philippines

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez met with senior executives of Japan's seven major trading houses in Tokyo recently (March 1, 2017) to discuss President Rodrigo Duterte's economic programs and Japanese Companies investment interests in the Philippines, conservatively valued at Php198.5B.


During a breakfast dialogue, Lopez—together with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and PH Ambassador-Designate Jose Laurel V—got together with representatives of the sogo shoshas or Japanese companies with a broad range of business activities. Companies present at the meeting were Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui and Co., Ltd., Sumitomo Corporation, Itochu Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Toyota Tsusho, and Sojitz.


"Through sound and consistent macroeconomic policies, the country continues to attract serious investments. The fundamentals are there in terms of a fast-growing economy, a 109-million population base, standing trade agreements, and a young, talented, and dedicated work force," Sec. Lopez said on the Japanese companies' willingness to investment in the Philippines.


"All these—plus political will and focused trade and investment policies—act as a magnet for foreign investments," Sec. Lopez added.


The investment interests of the sogo shoshas would cover the period spanning late 2016 to 2020, and include:

  • Marubeni willing to invest in additional coal power plants worth Php75B over the medium term;
  • Itochu and Sumitomo (through PH subsidiaries Dole and Sumifru respectively) willing to invest an additional Php12.9B through 2018 to expand their integrated farming projects in Mindanao;
  • Sumitomo, Sojitz, and Mitsui jointly invested in Coral Bay Nickle Corporation and Taganito High Pressure Acid Leaching (THPAL) Nickle Corporation in Surigao and Palawan, at a cost of Php80B;
  • The CARS program, under the DTI-driven Manufacturing Resurgence Strategy, enjoying the support and participation of Mitsubishi, Sojitz, Mitsui, and Toyota Tsusho; and, 
  • All 7 trading houses expressing interest in the Philippines' "Golden Age of Infrastructure," i.e. the Railway and Subway Projects, the Clark Green City Project, the Expanded Port and RoRo Building Programs, and the Airport Development Projects.

"With DTI's inclusive business model, our resource-based country has the potential to become a major supplier to the world by fostering value chain linkages and partnerships between the MSMEs as suppliers of goods and services, and the large enterprises as buyers," Sec. Lopez said.


When asked about the Philippine government's mining and tax policies, Secretaries Tugade and Lopez responded that government reforms are being crafted along balanced and fair consideration of both industry and consumer interests.


They also assured investors that with public sector agencies rigidly adhering to President Rodrigo Duterte's zero corruption dictum, projects would receive adequate protection and fair treatment.


The two officials likewise encouraged the Japanese trading houses to use their expansive business systems to help in planning an efficient set of economic infrastructure, such as farm-to-market roads, bridges, seaports, airports, railways for cargo, passengers and RORO vessels, and service providers. 

Philippines hosting ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting

MAKATI—The Philippines successfully advocated its trade priorities in ASEAN as the country's hosting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting (AEM) Retreat and Related Meetings ends (10 March), laying the groundwork for the 49th AEM in September.


The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) led by Secretary Ramon Lopez secured endorsements from ASEAN Economic Ministers on the timely realization of Philippine priority deliverables for 2017.


"Aside from championing our trade agenda as a country, we are also able to advance the economic agenda of our fellow ASEAN Member States (AMS); thus, bringing our domestic interest to the regional platform," said Sec. Lopez, who chaired the AEM Retreat and Related Meetings, adding that AMS' endorsements will strengthen the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025.


"Our objective is to make AEC work and to make AEC felt in the day-to-day experience of Filipinos," said Philippine lead Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, who presented before the Meeting the summary of priority deliverables.


Innovative, inclusive growth


"The Philippines is taking the lead in seeking new policy interventions that are expected to contribute towards helping MSMEs harness the opportunities presented by open and increasingly integrated markets," said Sec. Lopez.


A self-certification scheme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will allow the sector to partake in the benefits of the free trade agreementswhile the action agenda on investment, inclusive business and women and youth entrepreneurship will strengthen the investment linkages between MSMEs and Multinational Enterprises (MNEs)—a thrust that Sec. Lopez has been pushing in the domestic front to foster inclusive development towards shared prosperity for all.


Aligned with the inclusive growth agenda is the endorsement of the ASEAN Declaration on Innovation, which advocates for an enabling ecosystem that supports entrepreneurial activities in technology and innovation.

"Inclusive business will allow companies to engage the poor and low-income communities as partners, customers, suppliers, and employees in their supply chains because it makes good business sense," added Usec. Rodolfo.


Connectivity, services, private sector


The AEM Retreat also touched on the launching of the Davao-General Santos-Bitung route of the ASEAN Roll-on Roll-off (RORO) Network, a system that will both enhance intra-regional connectivity and bolster socio-economic growth in the regions.


On the services sector, the endorsement of the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA) means fostering a more transparent trade in services, boosting further contribution and competitiveness of the services sectors in ASEAN.


The meeting also explored on convening regular dialogue with the private sector to highlight its business priorities and recommendations, as well as identify ways to complement existing public efforts toward taking full advantage of opportunities under the AEC.


"Public-private sector engagement not only reduces the gap of understanding of the private sector and the general public on ASEAN, it also promotes intra-ASEAN and global trade and investment and reduces current and future impediments faced by business enterprises," Sec. Lopez added.




The AEM Retreat discussed preparations for the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN, which coincides with the Philippines' ASEAN chairmanship.


An equally relevant element of this chairmanship is the push to achieve considerable progress on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), showcasing ASEAN's headship in bringing about a regional partnership that integrates major economic players China, Japan, India, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.


The shared optimism on RCEP will mean more foreign investments and more dynamic trade and business alliances. As noted by DTI, RCEP will expand the ASEAN market of 600 million to 3.5 billion as it will include ASEAN's six Dialogue Partners—that accounts for almost half of the world's population, representing a huge integrated market base.


This expanded economic partnership is seen to shape the future of trade and economic liberalization in Asia. At the backdrop of recent economic uncertainties and rising protectionism, RCEP is poised to keep the momentum of trade as an engine for regional and global economic growth.


"The chairmanship is an event to strengthen the enduring ties that bind us all and an important occasion to reaffirm the shared aspirations and values which will lead us to our envisioned integration come 2025," Usec. Rodolfo concluded.


The Philippine hosting of the ASEAN Summit to be chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte will be held next month, while the bigger meeting 49th AEM is scheduled in September 2017. 

ASEAN Economic Ministers' Retreat Meeting and Related Meetings

PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE ASEAN ECONOMIC MINISTERS' RETREAT MEETING. Senior trade officials from 10 ASEAN Members States (AMS) met on 8 March 2017 to refine points of discussion and agenda items for the ASEAN Economic Ministers' Retreat Meeting and Related Meetings to be held tomorrow, 9 March. Increasing trade and investment, integrating the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the global value chains and developing an innovation-driven economy are the identified measures to complement the thematic priority on inclusive, innovation-led growth, as the Philippines chairs ASEAN this year on its 50th anniversary. From Left to Right: Lao PDR - Ministry of Industry and Commerce Deputy Director General Sayakone Saysana, Malaysia - Ministry of International Trade and Industry Deputy Secretary General Datuk Isham Ishak, Myanmar -  Ministry of Finance Htun Zaw Deputy Director General, Thailand - Department of Trade of Negotiations Deputy Director General Ronnarong Phoolpipat, Vietnam - Ministry of Industry and Trade Deputy Director General Nguyen Thi Quynh Nga, Philippines - Department of Trade and Industry, Assistant Secretary Anna Maria Rosario D. Robeniol, Singapore - Ministry of Trade and Industry Director Sulaimah Mahmood, Brunei - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Assistant Director Narussa'adah Muraharram, Cambodia - Ministry of Commerce Deputy Director General Prasith Suon,Indonesia - Ministry of Trade Director Donna Gultom, ASEAN Secretariat Deputy Secretary General Hong Hin Lim.

ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in the Philippines

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is poised to champion the Philippine trade agenda as it takes helm of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM) Retreat and Related Meetings on 8-10 March 2017 to be participated in by the 10 trade ministers from ASEAN Member States (AMS).


As lead agency for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Pillar, DTI led by Secretary Ramon Lopez will promote one of the current thematic priorities of ASEAN on "inclusive, innovation-led growth" for shared prosperity. The other two pillars touch on politico-security and socio-cultural.


Increasing trade and investment, integrating the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the global value chains and developing an innovation-driven economy are the identified measures to achieve said priority.


"Our strategic measures are consistent with our current agenda to promote employment and entrepreneurship. The AEM is an excellent platform to push for the country's core thrusts on trade and investment, MSME development and innovation," said Sec. Lopez, who will serve as the chair of AEM Retreat and Related Meetings.


The trade chief, however, ensured that his meeting's chairmanship will be "fair, workable, rational and inclusive" among AMS. 


The AEM aims at strengthening partnership with stakeholders to expand knowledge and utilization of ASEAN-related free trade and economic agreements, provisions and initiatives, including the benefits that an ASEAN national can receive.


The trade chief aims to give meaning to these highly-technical engagements, in a manner that ASEAN nationals, including the Filipinos, can identify how they can benefit from the opportunities posed by regional integration without fear and hesitation.


"It's time for us to make people feel that their membership in ASEAN is relevant to their day-to-day experience," he said, adding that DTI's hosting also presents good opportunity to raise awareness, to promote understanding on the AEC and the Philippine participation in it, and to re-tell the country's growth story.


On increasing trade and investment, Sec. Lopez emphasized that the creation of a sound policy environment and the right mix of support programs are crucial to improve the capacity of businesses to expand, upgrade and diversify. He mentioned that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an agreement involving the 10 AMS and the six Dialogue Partners will expand the ASEAN market from 600 million to 3.5 billion. DTI will be pushing for the substantial conclusion of RCEP by year-end at the AEM, according to him.


On MSME development, Sec. Lopez said that the thrust continues for instituting an enabling environment that allows the sector to develop and internationalize through e-commerce, as well as policies that ease the cost of doing business and provide skills and business training and facilitate the link with the global value chain. 


The country will also prod ASEAN to embrace the evolving digital technology as leverage to enhance trade and investment, to provide an e-based business platform and to promote good governance and green technology.


"We hope to gather, harmonize and mobilize public-private efforts towards taking full advantage of opportunities under the AEC," he concluded.


ASEAN 2017 bears the theme, "Partnering for Change, Engaging the World", which is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte's objective to enhance cooperation with global partners, ensuring that ASEAN citizens, including the Filipinos, can live in peace, stability, security and growth, despite cultural diversities.


Following the AEM Retreat and Related Meetings is the ASEAN Summit in April to be chaired by President Duterte. The bigger meeting 49th AEM, meanwhile, is scheduled in September 2017.