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Business Agenda

Citizenship for sale

Filipinos move to other countries to find better life opportunities, believing the Philippine prospects remain uncertain despite recent economic gains that the government is trying to accent. Analysts agree economic progress is not yet being felt by many as poverty incidence in the Philippines remains high, while income gap between rich and poor keeps widening. But despite economic inequality, the Philippines still attracts much a ttention from foreign companies that have a niche business model that primarily targets the country’s ultra wealthy individuals and families. According to Henley & Partners, a global leader in residence and citizenship planning, there is a growing number of wealthy Filipinos who want to acquire another citizenship to allow their children study overseas and travel the world without applying for a visa. Residence and citizenship planning is no ordinary service …

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Search for best agriculture stories kicks off

The 10th year of Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards is kicking off in its search for the best agriculture stories for 2016. Launched in 2007, Bright Leaf invites journalists from all over the Philippines to submit their stories and photos for a chance to bring home the prize for the following categories: Agriculture Story of the Year, Agriculture Photo of the Year, Tobacco Story of the Year, Tobacco Photo of the Year, Best Television Program or Segment, Best Radio Program or Segment, Best Agriculture News Story National, Best Agriculture News Story Regional, Best Agriculture Feature Story National, Best Agriculture Feature Story Regional, and The Oriental Leaf Award. These stories should have been published in print media or aired on radio and television. The awards also celebrate the best photojournalists in the industry – …

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Filipino tourists flock to Japan

The relaxation of the Japan visa has given Filipinos an opportunity to explore the country that once was a source of sadness among Filipinos, who suffered during the war, but has so far turned out to be a good neighbor. Yasuaki Shimada, section chief international tourism division of Japan Tourism Agency, told visiting ASEAN journalists that the number of Filipinos visiting Japan has been was rapidly growing in recent years.   Of the estimated 19.740 million tourists in Japan in 2015, ASEAN countries account for 10.5 percent or 2.07 million. Among ASEAN countries, Thailand has the biggest share with 800,000 tourists or 4 percent of total ASEAN followed by Malaysia and Singapore with 310,000 each. The Philippines is fast catching up with 270,000 or 46.7 percent higher than 184,000 in 2014, which was 70 …

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Continuity at the DTI

The resignation of DTI Secretary Greg Domingo last December 31 has left a leadership vacuum  at a time when most projects at the DTI’s pipeline should be wrapping up. Secretary Domingo was replaced by Atty.  Adrian Cristobal Jr., a man hand picked by Domingo himself. To many,  Cristobal is  dismissed as a mere  bench warmer  considering  his tenure as DTI secretary is co-terminous with that of President Aquino.  With just six months remaining in his term, many doubt if anything of significance can still be accomplished at the DTI. Those outside government and corporate circles may not know who Adrian Cristobal is, let alone his body of work.  I sat down for an earnest chat with the man a few weeks ago and was quite impressed with what I discovered.  As first …

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Two tales of bitter sweet recoveries of Japan SMEs

The world has witnessed how the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated Japan’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs). But with all-out and quick government response, SMEs were also quick to recover. Two Japanese SMEs Mizuno Suisan Co. Ltd. and Yamamoto Strawberry Farm are real examples of businesses becoming bigger and stronger after a storm. Mizuno Suisan Co. Ltd., on of Japan's leading fish paste cake (Kamaboko) manufacturers, was among those heavily damaged facilities in the Miyagi prefecture. With its main office and production facilities located near the pier in Shiogama City, the company can never be spared from the wrath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and its ensuing tsunami. Had it not for some barriers and small islands, the area could have sustained heavier damages. Still, a 2-meter tsunami managed to barge into …

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Is Grace Poe good for business?

In the Pulse Asia survey conducted between January 24 to 28, Grace Poe broke away from the pack with a seven-point lead over Binay and a ten-point margin over Roxas. Having achieved this despite the specter of being disqualified speaks volumes about her mass appeal and how she resonates with the electorate. Why is Grace Poe such a compelling candidate to many? I have thought about it in earnest and have put it down to five propositions she offers: 1. As a candidate running under an independent ticket, Grace offers independence (and freedom) from the political agenda of the major political parties. 2. She offers a continuation of “Daang Matuwid” but without the same cast of incumbents who are either downright incompetent or operate for the interest of their political benefactors. 3. She offers …

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There are jobs in PH

Job openings are becoming aplenty in the country as new job specializations opened up new opportunities. The abundance of new job offers are both from the private and the public sector. Not only that, salary rates are also improving to its highest level in three years. Salary rates grow highest in 3 years Salary rates in the country have increased by 7 percent on the average across all job levels in 2015, the highest salary increase in the past three years, an online talent and employment marketplace. Philip Gioca, country manager of Jobstreet.com Philippines, said the results of its National Salary Report showed the increase in salary rates in 2015 averaged 7 percent with the IT industry posting the highest growth at 10 percent growth. "This is the highest growth in the past three years," …

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8 of 10 Filipinos check their smartphones upon wake up

More Filipinos are connected or becoming slaves of their smartphones. Within 15 minutes of waking up, 79 percent or nearly 8 out 10 Filipinos have already checked their smartphones, compared to more than half of mobile phone users in Southeast Asia. Filipinos also glance at their screens repeatedly, using their phones most frequently when commuting on public transport. It’s also worth noting that compared to other SEA countries, in the Philippines there is a significant proportion of users – 31 percent – who listen to online radio via their smartphones. This is according to Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey, which was released by Navarro Amper & Co., the local member firm of Deloitte Southeast Asia Ltd. Conducted in the third quarter of 2015, the survey covered 49,500 consumers across 31 countries to …

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PDRF, private sector partners broaden access to quality healthcare in Haiyan-hit areas

To address the continuing demand for inclusive access to healthcare, the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) and its private sector partners Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), the Makati Medical Center Foundation (MMCF) and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) unveil pioneering units of e-health facilities in the Haiyan-hit areas of Tacloban, Leyte and Biliran Province. Using a ‘telemedicine’ and video conferencing platform, these e-health units target to serve communities within the disaster-stricken region by offering daily free medical check-ups, diagnosis, and early treatment of diseases. As the lead implementing partner, PDRF President Rene S. Meily explains that this endeavor successfully marries HP’s cloud-based information systems, Smart’s connectivity services and MMCF’s pool of top-tier physicians and medical specialists. “With the support and expertise of our partners, these e-health centers will function like mobile clinics, providing communities with …

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Formal sector full coverage needs PhilHealth attention – PIDS

Gauging the efficacy of enrollment in PhilHealth’s Employed Program will help policymakers in the health sector determine a more effective approach in achieving the goal of universal coverage. Last year, PhilHealth officials iterated their commitment to achieving universal coverage by 2016. President Benigno Aquino III signed an amendment of the National Health Insurance Act highlighting the responsibility of the national government to cover the health insurance premiums of Filipinos in the informal sector. However, full coverage in the formal sector also needs due attention and improvement. Thirty percent of PhilHealth’s members come from the formal economy where enrollment is mandatory. But based on a study by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), “full coverage” is “yet to be achieved.” The private sector coverage is at 95 percent, while the government employed sector …

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