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Philippines Today

Playing with numbers

Published in Editorial & Other Articles
The Philippines unemployment rate for April 2014 has eased to 7.0 percent from April 2013’s unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, and April 2012’s 7.5 percent, according to the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). In that report, highest number of unemployed population in April was in Metro Manila with unemployment rate of 10.4 percent and this is followed by Ilocos Region with 9.2 percent unemployment rate; Central Luzon with 8.6 percent unemployment rate; and Calabarzon with 9.0 percent unemployment rate.
The same report stated that majority or 61.7 percent of the total unemployed persons in April were male and the remaining 38.3 percent were unemployed women. In terms of age group, ages 15 to 24 years old contributed 49.8 percent of the total unemployed population in April followed by ages 25 to 34 years old at 30.5 percent. “By educational attainment, one-fifth or 22.4 percent of the unemployed were college graduates, 14.5 percent were college undergraduates, and 32.7 percent were high school graduates,” PSA added.

SRA diverts 90,000 MT world market sugar to domestic use

Published in Business
QUEZON CITY -- The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has converted the outstanding stocks of world market sugar to domestic market sugar to arrest the increase of sugar prices in the country and provide enough buffer stocks at the end of the crop year.
SRA Administrator Maria Regina Bautista-Martin  said the agency has implemented the policy after due consultation with sugar stakeholders such as the sugar millers, traders and planters federations/associations.
She assured that all stakeholders will get their fair share of the benefits from the conversion program at their discretion.
This will allow "free market forces to prevail in the marketing of sugar," she added.
Martin said that SRA will not intervene in the negotiation process between the sugar producers (millers and planters) and the sugar traders.
Certificates of conversion rights will be issued by SRA to the sugar mills and planters associations based on verified world market sugar figures, she said.
As of May 25, total sugar supply is a bit higher than the previous crop year. However, domestic consumption for raw and refined sugar increased by 1.02 percent and 10.66 percent, respectively, while both exports of raw sugar to the US quota and world market climbed by 22 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
Martin said the consumption figures manifested the real sugar demand figures of the domestic market which is the outcome of the joint efforts of the government (the Bureau of Customs in coordination with SRA), and the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines in curbing sugar smuggling.
MANILA -- Empire East Land Holdings Inc. has seen robust domestic residential sector that will push the company to have a double-digit growth this year.
Anthony Charlemagne C. Yu, Empire East president, said during the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting  that the Philippines offers bigger opportunities for residential sector developers compared to other neighboring countries.
“The residential sector is booming in comparison with neighboring Asian countries. The Philippines has a lot of room for growth for residential development,” Yu said.
He cited three factors that will push demands in the residential sector.
According to Yu, the Philippines – unlike other neighboring Asian countries – has no massive government housing projects; hence an opportunity for the private sector to tap the residential sector.
“Because of that, when we speak of housing it is really private sector-driven industry. Because of that, there was a huge gap that has to be filled by the private sector,” he added.
He also mentioned that the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) phenomenon which the Philippines sustained for decades will back demand in the residential sector.

CHED lifts moratorium on 3 courses

Published in National News
QUEZON CITY -- The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has lifted its moratorium on the opening of undergraduate and graduate programs on three common courses effective on Academic Year 2015-2016.
Based on CHED Memorandum Order 17, the three courses which had its moratorium lifted by CHED are Business Administration, Hotel and Restaurant Management, and Information Technology.
The three courses were ordered a moratorium by CHED last November 2010, which became effective since School Year 2011-2012.
CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said these courses were labeled as "oversubsribed" and must be granted moratorium to address the growing mismatch in the number of graduates.
The order covered courses offered by the country's 109 SUCs, private HEIs, as well as local universities and colleges (LUC).
According to the current memorandum, the lifting of moratorium is in accordance with the pertinent provisions of RA 7722 or the "Higher Education Act of 1994" and by virtue of Commission en banc Resolution No. 272-2014 dated May 5, 2014.
The continuous recruitment and hiring of graduates or professionals in the said courses by the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), the tourism industry, and both local and international IT industry has been considered by CHED to lift the moratorium on the said courses.
Other factors considered are: the market uptrend and leadership position of the Philippines in ITBPO; regional and global increase in labor mobility; emergence of new demand for competencies such as Business Analytics; and international agreements on borderless economy.
The CHED has been conducting a stepped-up monitoring starting 2011 until 2013 on higher education institutions (HEIs) offering the said courses if they are complying with CHED's minimum requirements.
CHED allows the opening of programs for HEIs which shall possess the following qualifications: autonomous/deregulated status for private HEIs and SUC Level III status for SUCs; Center of Excellence/Center of Development (COE/COD) in the aforementioned courses; and at least Level II accredited status in any of the said programs from CHED recognized accrediting agencies.
CHED advises HEIs with the above mentioned qualifications to submit their application to CHED Regional Offices following the prescribed timeline for submission.

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