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Business Agenda

How inclusive are PH businesses?

Inclusive business has been a mantra of the government, but it is not really certain if Philippine companies really embraced the idea that looking after the micro and small suppliers, their host communities, employees, or consumers is a good business proposition. To have a clearer understanding, the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), the industry development and investments promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines for the conduct of a baseline survey on Inclusive Business (IB) among Philippine companies. This is important because the BOI has to justify its move to include IB models in the granting of government tax incentives to private investors. Dubbed as Business+ Philippines, the baseline survey on IB was developed by …

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WTO urges tech companies to make e-commerce a force for inclusion

WTO  Director-General Roberto Azevêdo has urged technology companies to make e-commerce force for inclusion. The WTO head of the multilateral trade body made this call at the  recent roundtable event organized by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley attended by tech companies, ranging from start-ups, represented by Allied for Startups, to industry leaders including Facebook, Google, Alibaba, PayPal and eBay. The discussion focused on the role of trade policy in accelerating the growth of e-commerce and the digital economy around the world. In a speech after the discussion, the director-general stressed: “E-commerce is a transformative force in global trade, supporting growth, development and job creation." By reducing the trade costs associated with physical distance, Azevedo said, "e-commerce allows businesses to access the global marketplace, reach a broader network …

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Banana industry reels from security concern

Peace and order issues may have been the biggest bane to one of the country's top agricultural commodities: banana. This is because while stakeholders can always find a way to deal with weather phenomenon like El Niño, the worst thing that atrocities can make is drive our banana investors away. Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, Inc. (PBGEA) Executive Director Steve Antig said the banana industry, which is highly concentrated in Mindanao, is still at risk because exporters no longer feel safe. "The greatest challenge of the industry is of course the peace and order situation. This is a government concern. All the industry can do is ensure good relationship with the workers and the communities where we are operating," Antig told Business Bulletin. Antig said the impact of peace and order issues …

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Higher US, PH de minimis to benefit local businesses

Greater opportunities await local businesses in the country as both the United States (US) and the Philippines have recently increased their respective de minimis thresholds on inbound shipments. De minimis refers to the minimum currency value of qualifying goods, below which no formal Customs procedures are required and no duties or taxes are collected. For the US, the low value exemption rate has been raised to $800.00 (approximately P37,755.00), a huge leap from the previous de minimis rate set by the United States Customs and Border Protection at $200.00 (approximately P9,440.00).US PH flag For the Philippines, the Customs Modernization and Tariff Law has increased the de minimis rate from P10.00 ($0.21) to P10,000.00 ($212.00). What does this mean for local businesses? “This is a key step in facilitating trade, particularly at a time when the …

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Duterte’s first 50 days and oldest business group

I would give the Duterte administration a rating of 6 out of 10 for its first 50 days in office. It gets a passing score in my book for the following reasons: First, its 10-point economic plan hits the mark on multiple fronts. Done right, it can put the economy on the fast track of growth; Second, the Department of Finance is clearly working on overdrive to carry-out fiscal reforms at the soonest possible time, primary of which is the rationalization of income and corporate taxes; third, I applaud the passage of the Executive Order on Freedom of Information; fourth, moves towards social reform are decisive and immediate what with the purging of tax evaders, political power players and inequitable oligarchs; finally, the war against illegal drugs and criminality is clearly …

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Fueling dreams through education

For a developing country like the Philippines, education is a critical engine in powering progress. For most Filipinos, it may be the only key to survival and getting better prospects in life. Since 2007, Shell’s nationwide scholarship program “Gas Mo, Bukas Ko” (GMBK) aims to enhance the skills of forecourt service attendants as well as dependents of its Pepeng Pasada drivers’ club. More than just providing motorists with smarter products for clean and efficient transport, Shell has undertaken such innovative methods in developing the potential of its people that enable them to provide cutting-edge services as well. With over 1,600 scholars, GMBK continues to provide learning and capacity-building training programs that enhance employment and livelihood opportunities, as well as develop their values and character. In fact, 85 percent of these scholars have …

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EDC reaches out to community

Lopez-run Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is expanding the capacity of its Southern Negros Geothermal Plant (SNGP) by 60 megawatts, but as a responsible corporate citizen, it has been flexing muscles first to explain and clarify environmental issues thrown against the project. The company thus opened its doors to a site visit by various stakeholders raising concerns on the planned power facility expansion – including those that will be directly affected at its project site in Valencia, Negros Oriental. EDC said it arranged the site visit for the affected constituencies “to dispel erroneous environmental allegations about its 60-megawatt expansion plan.” Most of the invited stakeholder-visitors have been local and international non-government organizations (NGOs), including Green Convergence, The Climate Reality Project–Philippines, Haribon Foundation, Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment, SEED4COM, Let’s Do It Philippines, EcoAgri, Climate …

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Lower income tax in three years

Lessen the tax burden on wage earners and businesses while removing the unnecessary tax exemptions being enjoyed by some enterprises and individuals, that’s how the Duterte administration envision its tax reform proposal to Congress. With this directive, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III in a series of public speeches also trumpeted the administration’s economic plans. In President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s first State of Nation Address, the chief executive pointed out that his administration will pursue tax reforms toward a simpler, more equitable, and efficient tax system that can foster investment environment and jobs creation. The ultimate goal is to stimulate businesses and let Filipinos have more money to spend on their families. Filipino workers currently pay the highest income tax in the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Now, the administration plans …

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Philippine Airlines’ 5-star aspiration

My work requires me to do a lot of travelling. In the last three months alone, I’ve been to five countries across three continents. When you travel as much as I do, the excitement of it all escapes you. It’s no longer fun dealing with airports and living out of a suite case. I’ve been a frequent flyer of Philippine Airlines since the ’90s. I fly PAL not because they are anything special but because they have the most direct connections from Manila. PAL, to me, is like a Toyota purchased 15 years ago. While fundamentally reliable, it is not as efficient, luxurious nor as prestigious as the newer kids on the block like Qatar or Emirates. I have become accustomed to PAL’s 3-star service and have learned that demanding for …

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At 25, SM Megamall ushers a new mall revolution

Two of the country’s most respected taipans–Henry Sy Sr. and John Gokongwei–have been engaged in a healthy competition in business. At one time, they had to settle their interest in a very simple way: toss coin. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of SM Megamall, one of the earliest shopping complexes built by the company patriach, Henry Sy Jr. recalled his father’s unique business acumen. According to Sy Jr., his father saw business opportunities in the aftermath of a coup d’etat, an energy crisis, an earthquake and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo between the 1980s to the 1990s. At that time, the family patriarch was keenly interested in a five hectare property located on the corner of Ortigas Avenue and EDSA that belonged to the Ortigas family. The elder Sy just opened …

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