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Business Agenda

Empowering the Filipina in the workforce with ‘Ahon Pinay’

  ​ In celebration of National Women’s Month, Ariel lends it support to the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) in its drive to empower women with "Ahon Pinay," an advocacy program to be launched on March 16 at the Manila Hotel. Ahon Pinay is an advocacy that celebrates the modern-day heroine in every Filipina, aiming to eliminate boundaries in gender professional capabilities and to open dialogue on issues women face in their respective industries.  Part of PCW’s objectives is to include women’s concerns in leadership platforms and the government’s development agenda. To this day, gender equality is still a challenge faced by women in the Philippines. According to a study conducted by the Asian Development Bank, 94% of women contribute to the growth of the Philippines’ economy. Although gender gaps have been reduced in …

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Video games no longer mere distraction

Children would certainly envy this seven-year-old girl in Singapore for having a Filipino father working at one of the largest game development companies in the world – Ubisoft. Normally, parents hate to see their kids spend hours upon hours playing video games as most of them believe that video games do more harm than good when it comes to education. Actually, there are just some children wired to become addicted to the unique stimuli provided by video games at a young age. Take the case of , an IT professional based in Singapore. Vedad is no ordinary father. Unlike other parents, he allows his seven-year-old daughter to play video games, including fast-paced and brutal Assassin’s Creed. He himself started to become a diehard fan of video games at an early age, which his …

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Dado Batanao’s story and my epiphany

Diosdado “Dado” Batanao. a Filipino maverick who proved that one’s origins do not necessarily determine one’s destiny. I’ve never met Dado before, but have heard much about his body of work. The man’s reputation precedes him. During APEC's SME Summit last December, I finally got the chance to meet the technology prodigy, albeit fleetingly, as he related his life story and journey to success. His story was as inspiring as it was enlightening. Dado was born to a rice farmer and homemaker from Malabac, Cagayan. As one would expect, the Batanaos lived humbly, not having much to spare for the frivolities of life. Dado often mentions how he would walk to school on bare feet for much of his elementary years. I guess this paints a poignant picture of his life situation …

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Fukushima rising from the ashes

The reconstruction of Japan has been done at an amazing speed had it not for the nuclear power plant meltdown in the Fukushima prefecture. But even then, progress in its decontamination effort is evident. Reporting on the radioactive contamination, Shinya Fujita, counselor of the press and international affairs of Japan Reconstruction Agency, said the decommissioning of nuclear reactors in Fukushima prefecture takes a longer time. Because of the Fukushima Daiichi Electric plant meltdown, radioactive substances spread all through the prefecture. There were some worrisome levels that could impact product so the government quickly set up teams to remove and reduce radioactive substance. Japan also accepted external experts and advisers. “The situation for Fukushima has been changing drastically in the past five years’ levels. So, there is no need to be anxious about radiation …

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PH analytics industry is born

Some two years ago, I wrote an enthusiastic piece about the birth of the analytics industry in the Philippines. Back then, analytics was being championed by a group called “Analitika”, a consortium of high-level personalities from government, the academe and the private sector. Analitika was an initiative of IBM and its mission was to establish the Philippines as the world’s epicenter of this specialized field. For those unaware, analytics is the study of massive amounts of data to derive insights, patterns and meaning used for decision making. Its applications traverse a whole spectrum of industries. For government, for instance, analysis of tax collections patterns in relation to individual and corporate income, can lead to better policies relating to taxation. For manufacturers, analysis of seasonal buying habits can lead to better inventory management. …

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Competitive tax incentives

Since the green city is located inside Clark Special Economic Zone, it provides investors both fiscal and non-fiscal incentives. Duly registered business enterprises that operate in the special economic zone shall be entitled to tax and duty incentives, among others, as follows: • Five percent special tax on gross income and exemption from all national and local taxes; • Tax and duty-free importation of raw materials, capital equipment, machineries and spare parts; • VAT zero-rating of local purchases subject to compliance with BIR and PEZA requirements; • Exemption from payment of any and all local government imposts, fees, licenses or taxes; and • Exemption from expanded withholding tax. The non-fiscal incentives include: Simplified import-export procedures; non-resident foreign nationals may be employed in supervisory, technical or advisory positions; and special non-immigrant visa with multiple entry privileges for …

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Clark Green City: PH’s next frontier

The country’s big cities, the largest being Metro Manila, are already grossly congested. In fact it is predicted that by 2030 the population will reach a high of 130 million and about 100 million of these are the expected city dwellers. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) estimates that Metro Manila’s traffic jams alone are costing the economy P2.4 billion a day in potential income, a figure that JICA warns could balloon to P6 billion a day by 2030. Given this scenario, JICA recommends spreading economic activities to other potential growth areas in the country and for the government to be more mindful of environmental impact and disaster management in big cities as population increase. It’s not the only solution, as far as state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is concerned. To …

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Academic institutions moving into Clark

Academic institutions moving into Clark Completing the wholesome development of Clark Green City is the academe sector. Clark Green City is envisioned to be the knowledge and innovation capital of the country. Already, two major state-universities have signed agreement with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) for the establishment of their campuses in the new city. These are University of the Philippines (UP) and Technological University of the Philippines (TUP). UP will develop a global campus on a 70-hectare lot while TUP will develop 20 hectares to be the location of its new innovative campus called the TUP Center for Industrial Development and Productivity (TUP – CINDEP). Brain capital With these two premiere state-owned universities leading the academic development in Clark, Central Luzon is poised to become the country’s “Brain Capital”. The UP …

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Malls go for established brands

Any up-and-coming brand longs for mall space to tell one and all that it has finally “made it.” On the other hand, malls need established brands to bring in the crowd of shoppers. Established brands are really well suited for malls and are oftentimes preferred by the mall operators. This was confirmed by Rommel Juan, President of Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc. According to Juan, brands that made it the malls are the more established ones. And these are mostly those with established franchising schemes. “Malls are always on the lookout for established brands that have name recall, a successful following and an established system,” said  Juan. “This ensures the mall operator of higher success rates for their store spaces and at the same time, they entice more mall visitors not just to window shop but …

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Tax and security

In particular, wealthy people are considering the option of acquiring another citizenship for tax purposes and security. As government authorities globally start sharing more financial information than ever, wealthy people are wary of the risk that their personal data may become available to the wrong sources. Steffen, however, clarified that their clients are not seeking shelter through new citizenships to evade the government, saying people look at resident options primarily of fear that their financial information may end up at unscrupulous individuals. He adds Henley & Partners only accepts clients that have good reputation in their home country and they stay away from people who are politically exposed as well as those with tarnished reputation.  “It is very important for us.  Before we accept the clients, we ask them about their background, where their …

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