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Philippines Today

Philippines Today

HAINAN, China — The Philippine envoy to Beijing has expressed concern over the possibility of a trade war between the United States and China, urging both countries to try to “go back to the negotiating table.”

 

Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana made this remark after reports about a possible trade war that could adversely affect the Philippines circulated. Some of the country's exports are part of the supply chain in the Chinese exports to the US.

 

“There is gonna be a negative impact on us and that’s why we’re very concerned about it,” Sta. Romana told reporters in Bo’ao, Hainan in China.

 

Sta. Romana said if a trade war breaks out, it would be a challenge to the Philippines and all parties involved since “there are no winners and it is hard for any winner to emerge.”

 

“What we need to do is to call for restrain -- on the US and China to go back to the negotiating table, to open talks and to try to resolve it through negotiations, to trade talks so as to avert a trade war and so as to prevent any fallout on the Philippines,” he added.

 

Meanwhile, the ambassador said that the officials attending the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in China, including Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping, are expected to stress the importance of working together towards common trade interests.

 

“So President Xi will make a policy speech, from what I understand, summing up the experience as well as his own policy direction in terms of economic reform and opening up,” Sta. Romana said.

 

“And I think we’ll have a strong reaffirmation of the need for globalization. So because of this and because of the threat of the trade war, expect a lot of interest in tomorrow’s speech as well as the speeches of the top leaders, including President Duterte,” he added.

 

Duterte is in China to advance the Philippines’ interests in trade expansion and investments promotions at the BFA this week.

 

Sta. Romana said the BFA will be significant in terms of attracting international attention to keep markets open and the need for globalization, among others

By MELANDREW T. VELASCO

 

QUEZON CITY — In line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) call on the need to improve the collection and treatment of wastewater and safely reuse it, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco cited the Philippines’ largest conglomerate, San Miguel Corporation (SMC), for leading the way on its water sustainability project dubbed as “Project 50X2025.”

 

SMC President Ramon S. Ang announced recently that it has already saved four billion liters of water equivalent to the daily use of about 137,000 households a year after the project was launched. It aims at reducing its water consumption across its entire operations by 50 percent by the year 2025. 

 

“It is laudable that among its future goals would be to reduce its operational water use by 50 percent across its business, employing measures that include water recycling, conservation and rainwater harvesting to meet its target by 2025,” Velasco said. 

 

Coinciding with the World Water Day last year, SMC started to reduce its water consumption by 14 percent across its food, beverage, packaging, power, fuels and petrochemicals, and infrastructure businesses.

 

According to SMC president Ang, the first year of implementing the project has been about instilling a culture of conservation among the employees, and improving water systems and processes, where possible. “From now through 2020, our goal is to cut as much as we can by improving water management, utilizing rainwater harvesting, and increasing the amount of water we recycle and re-use,” he added. 

 

Ang said that the company is also studying new water technologies that it could invest in, after 2020, in order to fully realize its ambitious 2025 goal.

 

Velasco cited San Miguel Corp. (SMC) for heeding the call of the World Health Organization (WHO) to improve the collection and treatment of wastewater and safely reuse it.

 

Earlier, Ramon S. Ang, SMC president, announced that the program, dubbed as “Project 50X2025”, had already saved four billion liters of water, equivalent to the daily use of about 137,000 households a year following the project’s launch.

 

The program is also aimed at reducing water consumption by 50 percent by the year 2025.

 

“It is laudable that among its future goals would be to reduce its operational water use by 50 percent across its business, employing measures that include water recycling, conservation and rainwater harvesting to meet its target by 2025,” Velasco said.

 

Coinciding with World Water Day last year, SMC began to reduce its water consumption by 14 percent across its food, beverage, packaging, power, fuels and petrochemicals, and infrastructure businesses.

Ang also said that the first year of implementing the project has been about instilling a culture of conservation among employees, and improving water systems and processes, where possible.

 

“From now through 2020, our goal is to cut as much as we can by improving water management, utilizing rainwater harvesting, and increasing the amount of water we recycle and re-use,” he added.

Ang said the company is also studying new water technologies that it could invest in, after 2020, to fully realize its ambitious 2025 goal.

 

In addition, part of the long-term sustainability project is to stop the usage and production of plastic bottled water to help reduce the plastic waste.

 

SMC is expected to completely get rid of this business in the middle of the year, when excess inventory in the market would have completely depleted.

 

“No effort is too small. In many of our facilities, we’ve fitted things like pre-rinse spray taps and low-flush toilets or percussive taps. We regularly monitor for leaks and we’re educating our employees on the importance of conservation. We’re looking to building cisterns and systems to collect rainwater,” Ang added.

 

Meanwhile, Velasco also lauded the Luzon Clean Water Development Corp., a consortium of San Miguel Holdings and K-Water Resources Corp., for being ahead of schedule in its project implementation in the North Zone sector.

 

The Luzon Clean Water is the third MWSS concessionaire. It is undertaking the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, which will provide safe and reliable water supply to some 541,000 households in 24 water districts or 569 barangays in Bulacan, the north zone—at the lowest cost per cubic meter anywhere in the country.

 

The project is proceeding ahead of schedule with the expected completion of the first phase, amounting to P24.4 billion in October. 

PHL's T-bond rate up on high demand

Published in Business

MANILA — Rate of the Philippines’ three-year Treasury bond (T-bond) rose but the Bureau of the Treasury’s (BTr) auction committee made a full award on the back of strong demand for the debt paper.

 

It averaged at 4.632 percent, up from 4.256 percent during the auction last Jan. 23 but lower than the 5.2625 percent in the secondary market after the morning session on Tuesday.

 

BTr offered it for P10 billion and banks submitted a total of P20.006 billion worth of bids.

 

National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said during the auction that they made a full award because the three-year paper seems to be “a happy spot for the market”.

 

She, however, noted that “inflation continues to be a persistent and a nagging concern for the market”.

 

In the first two months this year, rate of price increases averaged at 3.7 percent on the rebased 2012 index, within the government’s 2 percent to 4 percent target for 2017-2019.

 

However, the figure last February registered a big jump to 3.9 percent, the highest since September 2014, from the previous month’s 3.4 percent on account of faster inflation rate of the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index as well as the double-digit rise of the alcoholic beverages and tobacco index in line with the hike in sin taxes.


De Leon said the hike of debt papers’ rates in the past months can be attributed partly to concerns on the path of interest rates in the US as well as in the domestic market due to inflation developments, among others.


BTr will have weekly auctions for both the T-bonds and Treasury bills (T-bills) in the second quarter of this year unlike in the past quarter wherein it was held twice a month.

 

De Leon said this “leaves more room for us to accept” bids and more leeway for banks to offer more meaningful bids instead of offering bids that would be turned down by the auction committee because of high rates.

Celine Dion to go on with first Manila concert

Published in Entertainment

Photo from Instagram | @celinediion

 

Yes, Virginia, famous singer Celine Dion is performing in a concert in the Philippines on July 19.

 

Venue of the Celine Dion’s first concert dubbed Live 2018 Tour in Manila is the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

 

The singer herself confirmed her show in the Philippines in her Facebook post.

 

Her promoter in Manila, the Ovation Productions, later also confirmed Celine’s Facebook announcement.

 

The appearance of the five-time Grammy winner was earlier in peril after the singer cancelled her March and April shows in Las Vegas, Nevada due to certain ailment.

 

With her announcement, fans of the singer were once again enlivened by the thought that they would be able to see their favourite singer in person soon.

 

The singer made the post on her 50th birthday last March 30.

 

“Happy 50th birthday to the legendary Celine Dion. Manila is more than thrilled to see you in July for the very first time,” Ovation Productions wrote.

 

In her post, Celine thanked her fans for sharing the milestone with her.

 

“Dear friends, I want to thank you all for the wonderful birthday messages and videos. They touched me deeply. I celebrated this day surrounded by family, while feeling the spirit of your presence. Thank you for your love and support and for being such a big part of my life for all these years,” the Canadian singer wrote in French, translated in English for her fans worldwide.

 

In the letter, the singer hinted that she is still not 100 percent well. “I can’t wait to get back to being 100% and see you all again!” she wrote.

 

In a Facebook post earlier, Celine said: “Hello Manila! This is Celine Dion and I’m coming to sing to you for the very first time in my whole life!”

 

On March 22, Celine’s team announced in her Facebook page that she is cancelling her March and April shows in Vegas due to a middle ear condition.

 

“We regret to inform you that the performances of Céline at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace scheduled for March 27 through April 18 have been cancelled. Céline has been dealing with a condition in her middle ear known as Patulous Eustachian tube, which causes hearing irregularities, and makes it extremely difficult to sing,” the singer’s team explained.

 

According to the post, the singer has been experiencing this condition for the past 12 to 18 months, but it has been successfully treated with various ear drop medications.

 

“During the past couple of weeks these medications have no longer been working to treat the condition, so she will undergo a minimally invasive surgical procedure to correct the problem,” the team added.

 

“My luck hasn’t been very good lately... I’ve been so looking forward to doing my shows again and this happens…. I just can’t believe it! I apologize to everyone who planned to travel to Las Vegas to see my show. I know how disappointing this is, and I’m so sorry,” Celine said in the same post.

 

She is expected to resume performances at The Colosseum as scheduled on May 22. Ticket holders for the cancelled performances have been granted refunds through cash and credit card.

 

Filipino fans feared Celine would cancel her Manila show as well. But just like the lyrics of her popular “Titanic” soundtrack goes, the show will go on.

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