21 September 2015


President Aquino signs into law the creation of Cebu’s 7th legislative district
President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed into law the creation of the seventh legislative district of Cebu province.

The President signed Republic Act (RA) No. 10684 last September 18, creating the additional legislative district by reapportioning the current Second Legislative District.

The Seventh Legislative District will be composed of eight municipalities: Dumanjug, Ronda, Alcantara, Moalboal, Badian, Alegria, Malabuyoc, and Ginatilan.

The current Second Legislative District of Cebu, which will continue to be designated as such, will be composed of seven municipalities: Argao, Dalaguete, Alcoy, Boljoon, Oslob, Santander, and Samboan.

Under the law, the reapportionment of the Second Legislative District will commence in the next national and local elections after the effectivity of RA 10684.

The Commission on Elections has been tasked to issue the necessary rules and regulations to implement the newly signed law, within 30 days upon its approval. PND (co)

President Aquino signs law establishing a sports academy in Surigao del Norte
President Benigno S. Aquino III on September 18 signed into law the establishment of a sports academy in the municipality of Dapa in Surigao del Norte province.

Under Republic Act No. 10683, the Siargao Island Sports Academy and Training Center will be constituted as the primary sports development and training center for Surigao del Norte and its neighboring provinces.

The province, in coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), was tasked to “take the necessary steps to upgrade, improve and modernize existing facilities, equipment and personnel, and integrate them into the newly created sports academy and training center”.

It was also tasked to “create the necessary training programs and competitions, as well as the system by which the facilities shall be maintained and managed in order to accomplish the objectives and purposes of this Act”.

The construction, establishment and operation of the sports academy will use funds from the provincial government, as well as those that may be granted by the PSC and the Office of the President.

“In addition, grants and endowments may be obtained from local or foreign sources intended for sports development,” RA 10683 stated.

The Secretary of Education will immediately include in the department’s programs the operation of the Siargao Island Sports Academy and Training Center, the funding of which will be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

The PSC, in coordination with the Department of Education, Surigao del Norte’s provincial government, and Dapa’s municipality, was given 90 days to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of the Act after its enactment into law. PND (co)

Palace acknowledges arrest of former Palawan governor, former Coron mayor wanted for murder
Malacañang on Monday acknowledged the arrest in Thailand of fugitive brothers, former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and former Coron mayor Mario Reyes, both wanted for the murder of an environmentalist.

“The arrest of the long wanted Reyes brothers provides an opportunity for pursuing the ends of justice. We acknowledge the efforts of the Interpol and Thai authorities in making this possible,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has confirmed the arrests to Malacañang through a text message to Secretary Coloma.

The text read: “Per BI (Bureau of Immigration), the Interpol-Manila has confirmed info re: arrest of the Reyes brothers last night by Thai police in Phuket. BI immigration now processing their deportation papers.”

According to news reports, the Reyes brothers, wanted for the killing of journalist-environmentalist Gerry Ortega back in 2011, were arrested by Thai authorities on Sunday for overstaying.

Ortega was against large-scale mining in Palawan.

The brothers were put on the Philippines’ “most wanted” list after disappearing in March 2012. PND (ag)

Malacañang welcomes survey results showing administration’s presidential bet in second place
The Palace on Monday welcomed the results of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, which showed Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II taking the second place on the list of preferred presidential candidates.

“His (Roxas’) improvement of 18 percentage points—up from 21 percent last quarter to 39 percent—is the biggest one recorded in the survey, and reflects growing sentiment that he is the best leader to succeed President Aquino in 2016,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

The latest SWS survey, conducted on September 2 to 5 among 1,200 adults nationwide, showed Senator Grace Poe leading with 47 percent, followed by Roxas with 39 percent, and Vice President Jejomar Binay with 35 percent.

Secretary Lacierda noted that the survey results come on the heels of another SWS survey, which showed President Benigno S. Aquino III’s satisfaction ratings rising across all socioeconomic classes and geographic areas, with the exception of Mindanao.

The President’s ratings improved significantly, with satisfaction increasing from 57 percent last quarter to 64 percent, and dissatisfaction dropping from 27 percent to 22 percent.

“These two surveys serve as successive votes of confidence from the public, reflecting the strong belief that Daang Matuwid has led to direct improvements in governance and the economy—and should therefore be continued,” Lacierda said.

“Our country’s upward trajectory makes it clear, that what used to be impossible is now possible. Approaching 2016, it is once again up to us to decide our country’s fate—whether we will take a U-turn or continue along the straight path, and continue reaping the fruits of transparency and good governance,” he said. PND (ag)

PHL pushes MSMEs’ compliance to global standards at APEC SME Ministerial meet
(ILOILO CITY) Philippines will underscore the need for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to comply with global standards during the 22nd Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) SME Ministerial Meeting.

In a press briefing here on Sunday afternoon, Philippines’ Head of Delegation for APEC SME Ministerial Meeting Jerry T. Clavesillas said MSMEs’ compliance to global standards is one of the major constraints for this sector to participate in the global value chain.

However, he mentioned that most of the country’s legislation eyes to exempt MSMEs in complying processes critical to ensure standards.

He cited that one of complaints of MSMEs in the food industry is the strict requirements of the Food and Drug Administration.

“There are many things required for them to issue the license to operate and certificate of product registration. But unfortunately that is not just only a requirement by our agency but rather compliance or complying with the international requirement,” said Clavesillas, who is also the executive director for the Bureau of MSME Development under the Department of Trade and Industry.

“Most of our legislations now are focusing on making businesses — by our MSMEs — more conducive by exempting them from various requirements. But that is not the solution,” he said.

“The solution really is to facilitate them with their compliance to these requirements,” he stressed.

Clavesillas noted that the government plays a critical role in enabling MSMEs to participate in the global value chain, aside from assisting them in meeting the standards of the global market.

Clavesillas added that the government should also facilitate MSMEs by helping them in formalizing their businesses.

“There are so many MSMEs now that are not registered because they find it cumbersome to register to the government with those requirements,” he said stressing that government can facilitate MSMEs to comply with various regulations.

“These should be given emphasis, not really by exempting them from regulations, but by compliance with the global standards,” said the country’s head of delegation for the APEC SME Ministerial Meeting.

Clavesillas added that with the increasing number of free trade agreements and economic integration in the region, there is also the proliferation of non-tariff barriers which include stricter policies on safety and standards that now becomes a challenge for local MSMEs to trade with the global market.

“So that’s what we are trying to push: to comply with the requirements and easily they become a part of the global value chain. Not really by exempting some sectors, because we are sacrificing the safety of our consumers, particularly for the food products,” he added.

Meanwhile, Iloilo City is currently hosting the 22nd APEC SME Ministerial Meeting which will conclude on September 25. PNA (kc)

Taiwan championing ‘accelerator network’ to help MSMEs
(ILOILO CITY) Taiwan is establishing the so-called “accelerator network” within the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region so that each network member can share ideas with other economies and make those ideas commercially viable, a trade official said on Sunday.

Taiwan, which is participating in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) dialogue here, is into the promotion of “accelerator”, a kind of incubation facility but higher than incubation in terms of project development.

“They (Taiwanese) provide intervention to business ideas, which is already marketable,” Trade DirectorJerry Clavesillas said in a press conference here.

“And they are already linking these entrepreneurs, especially the young ones, who have good ideas that can be commercialized by big companies like Microsoft and Intel,” added Clavesillas, who also heads the Philippine delegation for the APEC SME working group.

These big companies are partner organizations that an accelerator organization can facilitate.

The current trend is not merely incubation, because incubation may sometimes take a long time for an enterprise or for a project idea to be developed, Clavesillas explained, noting that an accelerator is one step higher than incubation.

Taiwan, which started its accelerator program a few years ago, is already supporting organizations from the Philippines in project and idea development.

Usually, Taiwan finances projects developed by Philippine organizations that are engaged in information and communication technology (ICT), he said.

The Department of Trade and Industry will host the 22nd APEC SME Ministerial Meeting at the Iloilo Convention Center this week.

Under the theme “Mainstreaming Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Global Economy” the APEC ministers will hold discussions on different sub-themes, like Promoting Inclusive Growth through Sustainable and Resilient MSMEs, Advancing Modernization and Standards and Conformance of MSMEs, and Removing Barriers to Facilitate MSMEs’ Entry to Markets. PND (as)

APEC: PepsiCo says it has many women managers because its ‘value chain’ is made up of women
(MANILA) Beverage giant PepsiCo has many women managers because its “value chain” is also made up of women, a company official disclosed during a recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting here.

Sharing her experience as a woman executive in a top global company, Umran Beba, senior vice president and chief human resources officers of PepsiCo Asia, Middle East, and North Africa, said she was promoted twice in PepsiCo while she was pregnant — a pro-women company policy.

Beba also said that 30 percent of PepsiCo’s board of directors consists of women.

Its China office alone has 58 percent women representation while its Philippines office, 33 percent.

“We are working to reach the level of (our) China office,” she added.

Beba explained that PepsiCo’s particular focus on gender equality and women empowerment springs from the fact that their value chain starts with their suppliers and distributors, and ends with their consumers — both of which happen to be women.

Culture, she said, plays a “very big role” in the company’s sales and marketing strategies.

“(We) need to have tailor-made solutions as a company — family solutions. But this can only happen with insights we get from women,” she added.

Even in corporate social responsibility projects

Beba noted that these insights have enabled PepsiCo to identify the needs of a community for their corporate social responsibility.

The Liter of Light project and WaterHope organization were results of the company’s policy of listening to women’s insights, she said.

PepsiCo is these projects’ global partners.

Liter of Light, a global movement that started in the Philippines, seeks to bring eco-friendly bottle light to communities without electricity.

Its projects have already illuminated 28,000 homes and helped 77,000 people. In the Philippines, these projects include the Pier One Seafarers Dormitory, the Design Against the Elements Competition, and the Bottle School Project.

On the other hand, WaterHope is a non-profit organization that brings clean water to communities living without it.

Globally, the organization has already provided access to clean and potable water to more than three million people.

In the country, WaterHope has been present in areas in Metro Manila, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, and Iloilo since 2007.

Beba said 90 percent of Liter of Light’s and WaterHope’s dealers are women.

APEC sharing

During last week’s Public-Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy, PepsiCo said its women-friendly work policies have underscored the importance of collaboration between the government and the private sector in empowering women to become “prime movers of inclusive growth”.

The dialogue highlighted inspiring stories of women and their role in strengthening the economy.

Women leaders in APEC member economies called on stakeholders “to continue pursuing a women’s economic empowerment agenda to create new opportunities for women, highlighting in particular the need for collaboration between the public and private sectors”.

In a joint statement, women leaders and experts during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Women and the Economy Fora 2015 said they would continue to work toward ensuring “women’s equal opportunities, participation, and benefits in innovative development, economic reform and growth”. (acg)

APEC forum in Iloilo to focus on region’s high-growth small and medium businesses, start ups
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Until recently, the Philippines did not have a startup scene, owing to the difficulties encountered by local entrepreneurs in getting support for their ideas.

But now, while the startup ecosystem in the country is still at its infancy stage, a nationwide interest in this sector is emerging.

Just recently, the Department of Science and Technology launched the “Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups”.

The roadmap aims to achieve at least 500 Philippine startups by 2020, with a cumulative valuation of US$2 billion (roughly P93 billion), resulting in the creation of 8,500 high-skilled jobs; 1,250 startup founders; 15,166,684 users; and 719,737 paying customers.

In spite of the development and dynamism of the local startup scene, the government, together with the local movers and shakers of this sector, realizes a lot of things need to be developed and improved, as the country prepares to be a global startup hub.

This is about to change as Iloilo hosts on Monday (September 21) the 2nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Accelerator Network (AAN) Forum for Early-Stage Investment that will focus on startups, sometimes referred to as innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The AAN Forum was established in March 2014 and has 44 members from 14 APEC economies. It offers mentoring and training sessions with well-known speakers who provide startups valuable advice and understanding of global business trends.

This year, the AAN for Early-Stage Investment will serve as the connector and catalyst to keep deepening the engagement and participation of all related stakeholders, so as to enhance the business matching for the startups and high-growth SMEs in the APEC region.

This platform will be kept sustainable by intensively cooperating with the well-known accelerator networks through information exchanging, platform sharing and startups co-incubating.

As a result of the AAN initiative, a number of startups have received venture capital funding or have been acquired by big companies — for instance, Gogolook was acquired by Naver, the Korea technology giant, for US$18 million. Several startups have also received accolades at the AAN.

A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not make a company a startup. Many consider startups to be only tech companies, but this is not always true as the essence of startups has more to do with high ambition, innovativeness, scalability and growth. The only essential thing for a company to be considered as a startup is growth. Everything else associated with startups follows from growth.

Innovative startups and high-growth SMEs are regarded as the driving force behind structural changes and sustainable economic growth and prosperity, especially in their stronger propensity to generate employment than average firms, as well as technological and social innovation.

However, they usually have great difficulties in accessing the early-stage investment, and in promoting their profitable and outstanding idea or product.

The AAN Forum, which is co-organized by Chinese Taipei and the Philippines with about 100 participants, will be one of the three workshops to be held during the weeklong 22nd APEC SME Ministerial meeting here. (acg)

Monday’s APEC workshops to help improve market potential of small businesses
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Delegates to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are meeting on Monday in different workshops to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) penetrate the global market and join the value chain.

One of the discussions is the APEC Workshop on Facilitating SME Trade through Better Understanding on Non-Tariff Measures in the Asia-Pacific Region for the Agriculture, Food Processing and Handicrafts Sectors (NTM Workshop).

The two-day workshop, organized by the Philippines, gathers key regulatory agencies, and MSME agencies.

The discussion aims to develop greater understanding of non-tariff measures imposed by APEC economies and existing platforms that often hinder small businesses and producers from selling their products in the global market.

In response to the food industry’s complaints about the difficulty of getting permits to operate, from the government, Trade Director Jerry Clavesillas said during a press conference here on Sunday that the government issues stricter rules because it wants to align government regulations with international standards.

“Most of our legislations are now focusing on making MSME businesses more conducive by exempting them from various requirements, but that is not the solution,” Clavesillas said.

“The solution really is to facilitate compliance to these requirements. So, that is what we are trying to push,” he said, explaining that exempting small businesses from these requirements sacrifices the quality of their products, at the expense of the consumers.

“Our purpose is for them to comply to the requirements so they can easily become part of the global value chain. And there are so many things that the government is doing to facilitate this compliance,” he pointed out.

Aside from the issue on non-tariff barriers, the delegates will also discuss on Monday the APEC Accelerator Network, being spearheaded by Taiwan, and the National SME summit, to be attended by local participants.

An artisan exhibit, organized by the Department of Trade and Industry, is also slated to open on Monday. The weeklong promotional event aims to encourage regional trade by showcasing the craftsmanship of local producers. PND (as)

Iloilo city mayor hopes national summit would boost small, medium businesses and entrepreneurs
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog on Monday said he hopes that the national micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) summit being held here would enable leaders of the national MSME community to do what is right.

In his opening remarks during the National MSME Summit 2015, Mayor Mabilog highlighted the important role micro, small and medium enterprises play in the development of every economy.

He said MSMEs are key to inclusive growth as they produce jobs and generate income in an economy.

Iloilo City, he said, has a fair share of MSMEs, which have boosted the city’s economy, reduced poverty, and helped develop the city’s business environment and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Ilonggos.

Over the past five years, the city encouraged entrepreneurship, believing that through a vibrant MSME sector, economic development could be sustained, Mabilog said.

To encourage entrepreneurship, the city government trimmed the time to process permits, he said.

Mabilog recalled that in his first year as mayor, it took the city government 10 months to approve all the permits submitted since the start of that year.

He recounted that processing time was brought down to 15 days in his second year in office, three days in his third year, and 30 minutes at present.

“To create and nurture a steady stream of Ilonggo entrepreneurs, our city is also providing appropriate free livelihood, technical and vocational trainings to unemployed youths and adults through our Iloilo City Technical Institute,” the mayor said.

The institute has two campuses, and offers food processing, automotive, and carpentry courses.

Many of the graduates have already put up their own MSMEs that are helpful to the city today, he said.

Mabilog noted that the city government continues to partner with both the private and public sectors in helping MSMEs become more competitive in the global market

“Right now, we are focused on maintaining the growth of the MSME sector because we believe that the sector is not only an important constituent of our economy but it is also playing a crucial role in realizing our goal to make Iloilo City one of the top destinations and one of the most livable cities in the Philippines,” he said.

He expressed hope that the meeting in Iloilo City would further boost the MSMEs’ potentials and guide leaders to do what is right instead of focusing on issues that only can benefit them politically. PND (as)

APEC accelerator network pushes more small, medium businesses to tap digital economy
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Accelerator Network (AAN) pushes more micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to utilize new technology and innovation and benefit from the opportunities offered by a digital economy.

“The digital economy is continuing to reshape the way the MSMEs (have been) doing business in the recent years,” Chinese Taipei Ministry of Economic Affairs Deputy Director General Mei-Hsueh Lin said during the AAN Forum on Monday, held in line with the 22nd APEC SME Ministerial Meeting at the Iloilo Convention Center here.

“We should leverage the opportunity in the digital economy and cooperate to set the stage for our APEC members and MSMEs to participate in the new pool of global economy,” she added.

The AAN is the SME initiative of Chinese Taipei in 2013 with the goal of encouraging business startups to go global by giving them access to accelerator programs and resources.

Like business incubators, which help startups to survive in the vulnerable early stages of development, accelerators focus on startups with the potential to grow both in the domestic and global markets.

To date, Lin said, the AAN has 50 accelerator partners from 15 APEC member economies.

Chinese Taipei and the Philippines, as the host of this year’s APEC SME Ministerial Meeting, co-hosted the “AAN Forum II: From Start-up to Scale-up”.

The forum aims to underpin the regional networking of accelerator and startup communities and to encourage the young generation to start businesses with a global vision.

It focuses on four areas — leveraging the digital economy to take startups global; facilitation of early-stage investment to accelerate startups’ high growth; best practices on the establishment and effect of startup communities; and networking of the top accelerators, venture capital, business angels, and innovative startups.

“Chinese Taipei and the Philippines share a common vision for promoting innovative startups and helping them to accelerate into greater heights,” said the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya.

“Cross-border connections between businesses and other stakeholders are more common and much easier to access. MSMEs must be equipped for taking on the challenges and making the most of their opportunities in today’s digital economy,” Maglaya noted. PNA (kc)

APEC initiative to pitch startups to big firms
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Accelerator Network (AAN), the small and medium enterprise (SME) initiative of Chinese Taipei, aims to enable startups in the Asia Pacific to collaborate with large companies in the region.

Chinese Taipei Ministry of Economic Affairs Deputy Director General for SME Administration Mei-Hsueh Lin said the AAN will be holding the AAN Summit and Global Challenge 2015 from October 19 to 20 at the Taipei New Horizon.

Lin announced the APEC Challenge during the AAN Forum at the Iloilo Convention Center here on Monday, in line with the Philippines’ hosting of the 22nd APEC SME Ministerial Meeting.

Launched by the AAN in 2013, the APEC Challenge gathers representatives of high-profile international venture capitalists, angel investors, and corporate executives, who can help startups expand their businesses.

The APEC Challenge is also a competition that enables innovative startups to pitch their businesses to multinational companies in the region.

Lin noted that a number of startups were able to gain access to funding after participating in the APEC Challenge and were able to launch their businesses in the global market.

Multinational firms Intel and Siemens have been supporting the APEC Challenge since 2013.

This year, the APEC Challenge’s grand winner will receive US$100,000 and will have the opportunity to collaborate with Siemens.

“The APEC Challenge is more than just a competition. It provides a great platform for regional startups to connect for mentorship and investment and to show our creation to all parties and economies,” Lin said.

“In APEC, we all recognize that MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), especially the high-growing MSMEs and startups, are very important. They are engines of economic growth, new job creation, and innovation,” she added.

Lin said that in the past two years, the APEC Challenge attracted more than 800 participants, among them 60 startup teams from the APEC’s 21 member economies, as well as representatives of business incubators, accelerators, and large firms in the region. PNA (kc)

Philippines focuses on assisting small, medium enterprises in food processing, agribusiness
(ILOILO CITY, Iloilo) The Philippine government aims to help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) engaged in food processing and agribusiness so the country could achieve inclusive growth.

The Philippines’ head of delegation for the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) SME Ministerial Meeting, Jerry Clavesillas, said on Monday that the government should make interventions to help MSMEs in the food processing and agribusiness sectors participate in the global value chain.

Clavesillas, who is also an executive director at the Bureau of MSME Development under the Department of Trade and Industry, made the statement during a press conference here.

“Why focus on food processing? Because more than 60 percent of our MSMEs are in the processed food (business),” he said.

“We have already impacted about 60 percent of the total MSMEs in the country, including their workers, and other dependents of this particular sector,” he added.

Since the Philippines is an “agriculture economy”, he said, MSMEs in agribusiness should be provided assistance to enable them to comply with global standards.

“There are so many things that they have to comply with, now that the market is becoming more selective. For agricultural products, the preference of the market is organic products,” he noted.

“These are the things you also have to be aware of. Just a little intervention in your production process can already increase a lot, in terms of the value of your product.”

Clavesillas emphasized that facilitating MSMEs so they could meet the global market’s requirements will empower more MSMEs to participate in the global value chain and help the country achieve inclusive growth.

The 22nd APEC SME Ministerial Meeting, which carries the theme “Mainstreaming MSMEs in the Global Economy”, is being held at the Iloilo Convention Center, which was recently inaugurated by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Among the sub-themes of the APEC SME Ministers are promoting inclusive growth through sustainable and resilient MSMEs; advancing modernization and standards and conformance of MSMEs; and removing barriers to facilitate MSMEs’ entry to markets.

In line with the SME Ministerial Meeting, the Philippine government will also hold workshops for MSMEs in food processing, agribusiness, and handicrafts to help them understand and meet trends in the global market. PNA (kc)