Article by John Maxfield

There are lots of indicators the investors use to decide whether they will be putting their money in a particular company or not. The firms’ good reputation, high financial stability and good qualities of goods and services are some examples the investors are looking into. Above all, good financial record is the most essential which JP Morgan Chase has been struggling with. J.P. Morgan has been one of the top outsourcing industries around the world and begun operating in the Philippines since 1961. However, the financial stability of their organization in London has not been in good condition that can affect their other organizations extended in different part of the world.

In the news, the company CEO bought shares with an average price of $34.27 using the 75% (17 million dollars) of 2011 compensation funds, a strategically approach to attract more investors. As result, there would be lots of investors putting their money in J.P. Morgan and this will decrease the loss incur for the past 2 months.  The reporter, John Maxfield said that insiders’ purchases of stock would be a powerful tool for the JP Morgan to somehow compensate the damages of the London Scandal.

 Even though Dimon's money would put into a great risk, he still the bought stock for the sake of the company. If this would become successful overtime, J.P. Morgan specially its CEO would be able to gain large outputs.Furthermore, there would be lots of investments continuously coming in and as a result, technological developments and innovations in its extended organizations would be possible.


Authors:
Candelaria, Abegail
Gonzales, Leonard
Nepomuceno, Gian Josel
Parale, Veronica

 

News article from Mb.com.ph by James A. Loyola

Vista Land is the Philippine’s leading homebuilder and presently ranks among the top listed property firms in the country in terms of total assets, earnings, and market capitalization. Vista land is also well known for its plans of further expansion into new areas in the country and is known to have the most extensive geographical reach among all property developers in the Philippines. This wide geographical scope of Vista Land is an advantage towards its major competitor such as Ayala Land and Rockwell since Vista Land is able to develop not only the industrialized places like Metro Manila but also other remote places.

Vista Land’s P5-B Residential Projects along “Tourism Highway” Sites which includes Vigan, Ilocos Sur; Tagbilaran, Bohol, and Puerto Princesa, Palawan has positive effects not only to Vista land but also to these three tourist spots. Through this project, Vista Land will not only provide jobs for the local residents of these places during the construction of the residential units but can also attract more tourists who will serve as the market for the short-term rentals. These tourists will also be a big help for the local businesses in these places.

Furthermore, Vista land has a market share of 22 percent of the 80,000 units of reservation sales in 2011. Given this, it can be assumed that this P5-B residential project will have a positive effect in the real estate industry. Moreover, this project is a good step for Vista Land to achieve their projected 20 percent increase in their revenue and earnings in 2012.


Authors:
Sacbibit, Mary Grace
Altuna, Gilleane
Villacorta, Charles

 

News article from Mb.com.ph by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The news is about the appeal of the Philippine Petrochemical Industry (PPI) to the government to prioritize the protection of revenue collection instead of pushing for more tariff liberalization. In accordance with PPI’s strategic roadmap, this will promote more productivity and investments in the industry besides the current $1.4-billion worth of projects.

Tariff and revenue collection are key factors that affect the development of the petrochemical industry in the Philippines. Since 2011, Executive Order 61 implements the tariff structure on petrochemicals and currently maintains a 10 percent tariff rate on polymers. Higher tariff rates will be beneficial to major players of the PPI such as JG Summit since this will limit the imports on petrochemicals which mean competition for the company. However, higher tariff could endanger the local plastic manufacturers (downstream players) since they heavily depend on imports. Applying this to PPI’s petition, lowering the tariff will be beneficial for the local plastic manufacturers and the industry as a whole but remarkably, the petrochemical industry favors revenue collection protection over tariff liberalization. This implies that the tax that the government collects produce higher costs for the industry than the tariff on petrochemicals. This means that the PPI would profit more if they would be protected from revenue collection of their businesses. Given the protection from tax collections, it will encourage more local investments in the industry and further result to productivity. The PPI’s appeal suggests that the tax that the government collects from it has more negative effects than the tariff and it would be more favorable and beneficial for the players of the petrochemical industry to be protected from such revenue collection.

Through this article, the group learned more about the industry players of the PPI and how much these contribute to the industry through investments. Considering this, the government should study and consider the appeal of the Philippine Petrochemical Industry to ultimately aid its development. 



Authors:
Cunanan, Danielle
Liscano, Elaine
Garcia,  Kenneth Irvin 

 

News article from Mb.com.ph by Chito A. Chavez

SSS national benefit payouts went up by five percent from P34.10 billion (during the first five months of 2011) to P35.74 billion for the same period this year.As claimed by the SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros Jr., Southern Mindanao’s increment by 8 percent is higher than the national average of 5 percent[1].This could be rooted from the increase of maternity benefits by 11% (which is the highest rate of increase posted) as well as the increase in retirement claims by 6%. On the other hand, due to the enhancement of the ACOP, better known as the Annual Confirmation of Pensioners and the cancellation of 584 accounts, savings of P18.63 million annually for the pension funds is guaranteed.

Generally, the increase in the disbursements of SSS highlights the improvements being taken by the institution which includes electronic and internet-based transactions, intensified collection efforts, and robust investment income to name a few . These little developments provide exposure to the members which play a vital role in the introduction of annuities market in the country.

Furthermore, it could be claimed that the total contributions of the members outpaced the total amount of benefit payouts. As of March 2012, SSS’s total contribution amounted to P23,740.50 (in millions), whereby an amount of P 39,567.5 (in millions) can be expected by May and its total benefits paid as of the same period is P21,638.29 (in millions)[2]. This difference could help in the improvement of Social Security System’s objectives of building up its Investment Reserve Fund and lengthening the actuarial life of Social Security fund. The increase in the benefit claims will continue to be beneficial to its members as long as the SSS contributions are enough to pay the benefits—contributions exceed benefit payouts. 

However, the collection of SSS contributions faces a possible threat of being lesser than what it can pay out to its beneficiaries because the population growth rate of the Philippines is expected to diminish through time. As forecasted, from the annual growth rate of 1.81 (2010-2015), this will go down to 1.63 by the end of 2015 until 2020 and 1.44 by 2025[3]. This implies that in the future, there will be a lesser number of young people paying their SSS contributions and a much larger number of beneficiaries (elderly) claiming their pensions. Thus, an increase in claims of benefits (elderly) but a decrease in the contributions collected (youth) by SSS would result to a shortage in the funds.This also implies that each worker will have to support more retirees under public pension and health care systems.This shortage would give adverse effects in the future such as the increase in the implicit pension debt (IPD)[4]. It is forecasted that the IPD would reach up to P42.76 trillion in 2025 as opposed to 2010’s figure of P6.91 trillion[5]. It implies that the shortage of funds will be added to the burden of the current and future workers.

In conclusion, the SSS at present is at a good situation because the contributions they received is enough to sustain their benefits payout. However, the institution must not ignore the threats such as  demographic change in the country because it poses very adverse consequences if not addressed properly. In order to combat population aging, the country must either sustain a strong economic growth over the next several years or at least develop a strong social system that can provide economic security to the growing number of elderly[6]. With this, SSSshould already think of ways to combat such a threat.


[1] SSS members from Southern Mindanao is 2,170,002[2] Social Security System, Facts and Figures: Contributions, 2012, https://www.sss.gov.ph/sss/index2.jsp?secid=849&cat=6 (accessed July 25, 2012)
[3]NSO and Inter-Agency Technical Working Group on Population Projection,Population projection statistics index, 2004, http://www.census.gov.ph/data/sectordata/popprojtab.html (accessed July 25, 2012)
[4] Implicit pension debts refers to when pension obligations exist but there are no reserved funds to pay them thus the present value of these promises become a liability of the state or government. The state is committing future stream of revenues in order to pay these IPDs.
[5] Pineda, E. (2006). Lessons of the Chilean Pension Reform for the Philippines.
[6] Lee, S., Mason, A. & Park, D. (2011). Why Does Population Aging Matter So Much for Asia? Population Aging, Economic Growth, and Economic Security in Asia. ADB Economics Working Paper Series.




Authors:
Aguila, Philip
Bufi, Pamela
Dimaano, Lorylie
Roces, Lannie


 

News article from Inquirer.net

Philippines is one of the few countries in the world richly blessed with mineral resources. It has large mineral reserves that are potent tools for economic development most especially when mined responsibly. Benefits derived from mining must balance its costs on the country, people and the environment, however, there are people who do not observe and consider this.

Like in Sta. Cruz, Zambales, Mayor Luisito Marty seemingly misleading the public on his illegal activities in the area. He actually wanted not to allow anybody to establish ports integral for nickel mining operation so that anyone who needs one will be forced to use his ‘favored’ port which will benefit him by commanding a very high price. This merely showed an abuse of authority and oppression.

It is a good thing that the administration monitors such kind of activity. This shows how serious they are in mining industry especially as President Benigno Aquino III defended the new mining policy he signed, saying it was for the benefit of the Philippines. Also, it is important to consider that the industry is a good foreign investments earner, particularly now that there are news reports proving that there is a strong demand for nickel. Zambales, being one of the good sites for nickel mining, should be protected and monitored.  Further research showed that mining industry had higher foreign direct investments or FDIs relative to agriculture and services sectors over the past decade. On the average, mining had 65.95% FDI’s in comparison to 0.59% and 15.85% FDIs of agriculture and services sectors respectively.

Minerals are non-renewable resources. Therefore, mining operations should be limited because overutilization of resources would actually lead to the depletion of resources that would eventually incur an increase in cost of production which is associated with productivity decline. Yes, Philippines is unique when it comes to mineral deposits. But then, minerals have no significant value if left underground, however they should be mined responsibly.


Authors:
Cabangbang, Grace Key
De Luna, Francis Noah
Rimando, Larissa


 

News article from Bworldonline.com by K.A. Martin

The Makati Business Club Vice-Chairman Roberto Ocampo said that public-private partnership (PPP) program would be a channel for the government to acquire better investment. He emphasized that PPP projects particularly in infrastructure would aid in achievingsustainable growth. Hence, the 21 projects which are related to transit lines, expressways, roads, airports and school infrastructure projectare already lined up for PPP.These projects have already received approval from Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) Cabinet Committee and only awaitsfor President Aquino III’s final approval.1

From this news, the relation of iron and steel industry may not be known initially. However, steel is highly utilized in this type of projects. Sincethe output of this industry is mainly used as a key input by other sectors such as automotive, shipbuilding, electronic, packaging, and in the constructionof buildings, railroads and bridges, it suggests that steel is one of the basic industries that contribute significantly to achieving development and industrialization.

The record of Sectoral Breakdown of Philippine ASC (2008) showed that 74% of total supply of iron and steel products is accounted by construction, 19% for light and heavy fabrication such asautomotives, and 7% packaginglike tin plating for canned goods. Recently, from 2011 record, consumption of construction increase to 81%, light and heavy fabrication decrease to 14%, while packaging and others constitute to 5% of the total demand for steel. As of now, the government continues to enhance performance of iron and steel indirectly through recent projects similar to 3 million units backlog from housing development, and public-private partnership (PPP) program for infrastructure development. And because of the continuous increase in demand for iron and steel in construction, the industry acknowledges the need to produce more billets locally. These semi-product billets are then casted as structural, bars, rails mills, pipe and tubes used for construction.

In the article, it was also stated that Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras said that more energy investments are needed to support the growth of the economy and that there is a need to find as much energy sources in the Philippines. The efforts to be done to address electricity issues would highly affect iron and steel industry.  One of the industry’s Achilles heel is identified to be energy consumption because it generally accounts for 20-45% of the entire industrial energy demandsince it requires a huge amount of heat to cast steel into different forms.

Nevertheless, with a generally optimistic macroeconomic outlook because of the vibrant real estate sector that is supported by sustained OFW remittances, an additional 3 million units backlog from housing development, and most speciallythe public-private partnership (PPP) program of the government on infrastructure development, there is an optimistic outlook towards steel consumption.

[1]K.A. Martin, “Power, factory, infrastructure ventures sought for growth,” Business World, July 25, 2012, Economy Section, http://
http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=Power,-factory,-infrastructure-ventures-sought-for-growth&id=55772 (accessed July 26 2012).



Authors:
Agas, Tyrone Dale
Molleno, Paolo Miguel
Panganiban, DanicaLeane

 

News article from Philstar.com by Zinnia B. Dela Peña

Now that everything is about to be fulfilled, the Pangilinan group of companies draws closer to the acquisition of GMA Network, Inc. via their current assets through Mediaquest Holdings, Inc. and Associated Broadcasting Co. (TV5). Pangilinan even mentioned last week that his group is willing to acquire GMA-7 at a much-higher price than the network’s capitalization, which amounts to P33.95 billion (as of July 20).

According to the article, Pangilinan’s acquisition of GMA Network will catapult his group up into the top position of the competition, thus, garnering the advantage of having the majority market share in the television broadcasting industry. Furthermore, it asserts that this will cause a virtual duopoly within the structure of the industry - a rivalry between GMA Network + ABC (TV5) and ABS-CBN. However, there is a high possibility that this deal might turn GMA7-TV5 merger into a monopoly in the television broadcasting industry, which could greatly affect the advertisers through higher advertising rates. This also leads to the fact that barriers to entry for the said industry increased, which will have a great impact on the structure of the market - whether it will become more or less free. With less competition, the leading companies in TV broadcasting industry could greatly control the said rates. MVP’s acquisition of GMA 7 is also a threat to existing competitors as the merger strengthens the incumbent’s diversification of products and services. This implies the possibility of the merger engaging in a cut - throat competition strategy, primarily speculating upon the aggressive investment approach of Manny Pangilinan. With these circumstances in mind, we can zero in on the underlying goals of the merger. Is the acquisition of GMA Network seen as a channel of innovation development between the TV broadcasting industry as well as the technological advances of the telecommunications sector? Or is it another profit-driven measure by the Pangilinan group of companies to acquire further monetary gains?


Authors:
Collamar, Mark Lester
Lavapie, Jestine Dale
Pinto, John Rudolph

 

News article from Philstar.com by Pia Lee-Brago

Quezon City Vice Mayor Ma. Josefina “Joy” Belmonte signed, on July 12, 2012, a Sister-City Agreement to renew its ties with the island of Guam.

This can be a good opportunity for the Philippines to further promote and establish internationally the medical tourism offered by the country.  Given that this is a new industry in the Philippines, which only started in 2005, the renewal of this Sister-City Agreement between Quezon City and Guam may help boost Philippine medical tourism in the sense that it may establish some sort of partnership with the said country.  

Guam is a strategically attractive market for Philippine medical tourism. The air travel distance from the Philippines to Guam is only 1548 miles.  If we travel with an airplane, it only takes 2 and a half hours, which means, people in Guam can easily come to the Philippines.  Consumption of people in Guam is relevantly high due to stable economic status. Nonetheless, it has very few dominant hospitals located in its region. The Philippines is nearer than mainland US, and of course, price of medication if much cheaper. Therefore, Philippines would be more attractive spot for patients from Guam.

Based on the group’s research, compared to other countries which offer medical tourism, the Philippines has not yet reached its peak and is still climbing its way up the ladder because as mentioned it only started in 2005.  It was stated in the article that many of the people of Guam are now going to the Philippines for their medical treatment, especially in St. Luke’s Hospital Quezon City.  

Guam and the Philippines have the potential to share their medical tourism markets to allow them to progress together. Essentially, Guam is predominantly a tourist hotspot primarily focusing on vacation tourism. Guam, being a colony of the United States, allows ease of access travel to the Philippines due to their diplomatic relations. By renewing their ties, Philippines and Guam’s Medical tour packages could coincide with one another to support each other’s country by adding to their potential market share. Imagine people who’ve always wanted to vacation in Guam and get cheaper surgical services as well. With this, people who live in Guam or are planning to visit Guam can stop by the Philippines, have surgery, and enjoy a painless trip to Guam due to its close proximity to the Philippines.

Authors:
Advani, Hermant
Macapagal, Louine
Olinares, Grace
Park, Jong Hwan


 

Article from Inquirer.net by Tarra Quismundo

One of the non-traditional advertising channels used by advertisers are the social networking sites. Facebook is one of the many sites thatuse targeted advertising as a way to promote products, services, or ideas. This strategy is one of the fastest growing ways to advertise here in the Philippines since more than 94% of Filipino Internet users have Facebook accounts. A new study conducted by PhD students Edson Tandoc Jr. and Heather Shoenberger showed the relation between the Facebook habits of Filipino users and their personality types and inclinations.

Targeted advertising is a strategy that makes use of the Internet to keep track of the websites that a certain user visits the most. This is done to determine what type of products will appear on a user’s account. If done correctly, this will be an effective way of promoting products and ideas because the advertisers are confident that the user is interested in their products.Targeted advertising in the Internet will work only if there is a high click-through rate. Whether it be in “like” pages where brands can technically sell and advertise for free or go through the process of online paid advertisements, the whole strategy depends on the company as to how they are going to maximize online advertising.

Although in the short term this may be considered a difficult strategy because the advertisers would need to find a way to check each user’s interests, this will no longer be a problem later on. This is because they know the interests of the user. They are assured that future advertisements about the same line of products will be interesting to the user. However, this poses a problem due to the fact that people have changing preferences so they would always have to keep track of the users’ latest interests.

While there is an expansion of digital media, the traditional forms of advertising, such as radio, newspaper, magazine, and television, will be affected as demand can decrease when advertisers resort to lower costs of advertising. This will give the advertising agencies another challenge to face. The internal rivalry may intensify the competition within the industry.

Authors:
Adriano, Angela
Galang, Gianne
Rivera, Carmina


 

News article from Mb.com.ph

News Summary:
The Department of Agriculture has allotted P502.310 million for the planting and replanting program and P336.187 million for the fertilization program of the Philippine Coconut Authority. It is with these funds that PCA aims to plant and replant coconut trees in a total of 138,125 hectares through the Accelerated Coconut Planting and Replanting Project. Furthermore, there are four projects under the said program.  First is the Participatory Coconut Planting Project (PCPP), second, the Coconut Seedlings Dispersal Project (CSDP), third, is the Indigenous People Outreach Program (IPOP), and lastly, the Hatid Punla (HP).


News Commentary:
Given that most news articles related to the coconut industry is about coconut exports, the group would have to say that this news articleis a good sign for it shows that the social problems in the coconut industry are now given more attention. This news article corrects assumptions made by people, which was what the group assumed prior to this article, that Non-government Organizations (NGOs) were the only ones taking initiative to create projects that help in the betterment of coconut farmers’ welfare. This article shows that the government too, allots funds for such programs and this support will help the farmers remain motivated to stay in the coconut industryand give them the capability of improving their aging coconut farms, given that at present, their average income is only about P10,000/ha/year.

However, setting aside the initial reaction that the article is a good indicator for the social aspect of the industry, the group has determined that the article still needs to be more precise in its statements as it raises questions. Some of these questions are concerned with the Participatory Coconut Planting Project wherein a monetary incentive averaging P31.40 per tree (that is established and at least 3 years old), equivalent to P3,140 per hectare will be given to farmers who raise and plant their own coconut trees.There are a lot of confusions that arise simply from this statement and lead the group to ask: Will PCA giveincentives to farmers with trees that are 3 years old now or will they only start monitoring those who raise their own seedlings and in effect, start giving the incentive only 3 years from now? The article lacks information that will give its readers a better understanding of how much help the program can give to farmers.

Furthermore, these investments by the government on the coconut industry—on various programs and projects—help address the increasing demand for coconut products. Planting and replanting programs will improve the industry in the long run byensuring that the problem of low coconut productivity (43 nuts/tree/year—which is only 53% of potential yield of 80 nuts) is resolved.


Authors:
Alvarado, Regine
Balmes, Jenalyn
Cerrer, Ysabel
Villanueva, Virgil