Nov 302014
Benigno Aquino III

President Benigno Aquino III. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–President Benigno Aquino III will lead the kick off ceremony of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) 2015 on Monday.

Aquino, together with his Cabinet secretaries, will attend the launching ceremony at the Green Sun Hotel in Makati City on Monday evening.

As the host of next year’s Apec CEO summit, the Philippine government is set to hold a series of meetings in preparation for the conference.

Among the officials who will be present at the launch are Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr.

Domingo said local businessmen will also be present.

“While the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has lined up several activities as the country chairs Apec in 2015 and hosts the 23rd Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting, we aim to spur greater private sector participation and generate new prospects for local and foreign businesses to flourish,” Domingo said in a statement.

He said next year’s series of summits will offer opportunities for local enterprises.

“In the country’s hosting next year, we seek to underscore the significance of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country’s economy, and their role and integration in global supply chains,” Domingo said.

The Apec is a forum for 21 member economies with coastlines along the Pacific Ocean. It aims to promote free trade and economic cooperation in the region.

The Philippines is among the founding members that acceded in November 1989.

The other members are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China,

Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand,

Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.

The last time the Philippines hosted the Apec was in 1996.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer’s Reader’s Advocate. Or write The Readers’ Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94

Nov 302014
Lazada reels in $250M funding led by Temasek, bringing total to $736M

Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek has shown a great amount of interest in the ecommerce scene this year, investing in India’s Snapdeal and China’s JD in May and August respectively. Over the weekend, it added Rocket Internet-backed ecommerce store Lazada to its portfolio by taking the lead in a massive EUR 200 million (US$250 million) funding round, which included a number of existing investors such as Rocket Internet, Kinnevik and Verlinvest. This new investment matches Lazada’s last round of funding, and brings the total amount it has raised so far to roughly US$736 million. The Amazon-esque site now joins the unicorn club, with its value standing at EUR 1 billion (US$1.25 billion). According to Lazada CEO Maximilian Bittner, the fresh funds will be used to “enhance the shopping experience” for its customers. Specifically, they will go towards expanding and improving its logistics infrastructure, payment solutions, and IT systems across the six countries in which it operates – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The company claims that sales, or gross merchandise volume (GMV), on its websites and mobile apps have doubled since June 2014. Given that Lazada saw GMV of EUR 71 million (US$91.4 million) in the first half of 2014, this means its GMV from July to December would be around EUR 142 million (US$182.8 million). It attributes the growth to its recent shift to a marketplace model for third-party merchants, which apparently accounts for approximately 70 percent of Lazada’s overall monthly sales. See: Rocket Internet’s earnings: small Read More …

Nov 302014
Passports for OFWs to take a little longer

popular Why recall poll was withheld in Puerto Princesa Mayweather warns Pacquiao might ‘bite the dust’ Tacloban workers cry discrimination Black Friday sales fall as US sales start earlier Fine football form Filipino teachers getting over discrimination Spoilers and endings Texters turn back Elite videos Good mix of cineastes turns up at Indie Bravo! festival in Fully Booked Sharapova and Mladenovic have fun in Manila International tennis stars discuss rules and their difficulties on first day games in the IPTL SC launches Justice Zone in QC New brand of tennis hits PH as IPTL comes to shore MANILA, Philippines–Because its newly purchased passport printing machines are not yet up and running, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) last week launched a temporary express processing schedule for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in its regional consular offices. OFWs can avail themselves of express processing for P1,200 which would get them their passport after 15 working days. For those not in a hurry, they can avail of normal processing for P950 and get their passports after 30 working days. Once the DFA gets its new machines “properly installed and working,” express processing shall take 10 working days while regular processing will take 20 working days. There is no change in the passport processing schedules in the DFA Aseana and satellite offices in the National Capital Region, DFA said.–Christine O. Avendaño Tags: Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) ofws Overseas Filipino workers passport processing Passports Philippines Related Stories: Australia investigates ‘paedophile’ father in Thai baby Read More …

Nov 302014
Obama immigration order – what you need to know

SAN FRANCISCO — Following President Barack Obama’s November 20 announcement of his executive action shielding millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, New America Media hosted a national telephonic press briefing for ethnic media reporters. The following speakers answered phoned-in questions: Marielena Hincapié of National Immigration Law Center, Marshall Fitz of Center for American Progress and Sally Kinoshita of Immigrant Legal Resource Center. More than 75 reporters from around the country called in to ask questions about the executive action’s impact on their communities. Here are the answers to some of their most frequently asked questions. Who will benefit from Obama’s executive action? There are three main groups that will benefit under Obama’s plan: parents of U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents; undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before the age of 16; and spouses and children of Legal Permanent Residents. Parents: If you are a parent of a U.S. citizen or a parent of a Legal Permanent Resident and you have lived in the U.S. continuously since Jan. 1, 2010 and can pass a background check, you may be eligible to apply for Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and a work permit. The program should be up and running by May 20, 2015. Those who arrived before age 16: Obama is removing the age cap from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), so if you were too old to qualify before, you may be able to qualify under the new DACA if you came to the U.S. before the Read More …

Nov 302014
Black Friday protests hit Walmart stores all over the US

Walmart workers and union members marching in Milpitas to demand better wages and working conditions from the giant retailer. MILPITAS, California — For the third straight year, Walmart workers, including Filipinos, staged protests all over the country on Black Friday, a much-awaited shopping day of the year. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the protest in Milpitas on Friday, November 28, saw union workers joining Walmart employees who demanded a $15/hour wage and full-time employment, among others. A hundred protesters who wore green and blue union shirts carried placards signifying their support for the Walmart strikers. They gathered in a parking lot across the Milpitas branch and held a rally before proceeding to the main Walmart outlet where they marched around the compound’s parking lot area. Daz Lamparas, president of the Asian Pacific Labor Alliance (APALA) San Francisco, explained that about 30-40 percent of Walmart workers in the Bay Area are Filipinos, and their common complaints besides low wage are that they don’t have health benefits, no sick and vacation leaves and that their schedules are always changed, resulting in having less time to be with their families. “When they are sick, they have to go to the county hospitals. In effect, Walmart is being subsidized by the taxpayers because taxpayers are subsidizing our country public health clinics. Although they are saying that it is better to have a job, it is nothing much because of their very low wages,” Lamparas rued. In the rally, Mary Kay Henry, national president of Read More …

Nov 302014
33 overseas Filipinos and groups to get presidential awards

SAN FRANCISCO – Philippine Presidential Awards will be conferred on 33 outstanding overseas Filipinos and foreign-based organizations from 13 countries on December 5 at the Malacañang Palace. President Benigno Aquino will personally give the awards, assisted by Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas, the Chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. The president commended the 33 individuals and organizations not only for their personal and professional achievements, but also for what they’ve contributed to the development of the Philippines and the welfare of their fellow Filipinos everywhere. “I congratulate the Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino, Kaanib ng Bayan, Banaag and Pamana ng Pilipino Awardees for their efforts to better the conditions of our kababayans here in the Philippines and abroad, and representing the Filipino talent and industry in their adoptive homelands,” President Aquino stated. Institutionalized in 1991 through Executive Order No. 498, the Presidential Awards is a biennial search for overseas-based individuals and organizations that have dedicated their work in the service and improvement of lives of Filipinos worldwide, selflessly supported relief, rehabilitation and development programs in the home country, or who have excelled in their field or profession. The awardees were thoroughly screened from a total of 157 nominations from 29 countries by three different committees with representatives from the government, civil society, media, academe, religious and business sectors, and finally the President of the Philippines. The Presidential Awards has four categories – Kaanib ng Bayan Award, Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino Award, Banaag Award, and Pamana ng Pilipino Award. Kaanib ng Bayan Read More …

Nov 302014
‘Time Out of Time’ at SM Mall of Asia

From left: Buds Convocar’s “We All Need More Time” , Ram Mallari’s “The Voyager” , Salvador Ching’s “Orasyon” MANILA, Philippines – Axis, a watch brand that allows the wearer to transcend trends and celebrate his own style, presented “Time Out of Time,” a collection of mixed media works that incorporated Axis watches, at SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City. Participating artists were Ram Mallari, Buds Convocar and Salvador “Buddy” J. Ching. The artworks will be sold through a bidding process and the proceeds will be donated to Children’s Hour. The exhibit highlights the brand’s belief in self-expression and meaningful style. The artworks are on view at the Axis pop-up store on the ground floor of SM Mall of Asia, near National Book Store. Axis watches are available at Watch Republic Shops and leading department stores nationwide.

Nov 302014
Saving father’s library

In the age of social media where people spend hours in front of computers, cell phones and other gadgets, it might be wise to reacquaint oneself with the feel of a good book, still the best cure for a lingering attention deficit disorder. Paging all scholars of the late Franz Arcellana, from Francis Quina to Pia Benosa and a couple of others whose names presently escape me. You might be interested to join a gargantuan yet momentous cataloguing of books from his library at the old residence in Maginhawa Street, UP Village by February 2015, and to turn over the first tranche to the Arcellana Reading Room at the Institute of Creative Writing in Diliman around the time of the annual writers’ workshop. True, though the workshop is now held in Baguio only a symbolic turnover may be done there, but actual transfer will be in Quezon City lowlands. This is considered to be a race against time, elements, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which seeks to collect tax arrears from the estate and has issued threats of garnishment of a potential national shrine. In the age of Internet and fast-food streaming and collection targets, who needs books? My poor mother, may she also rest in peace, thought the world of those books and so never sold the house that contained them, all three floors of them. She was practically hounded to her grave, aside from cirrhosis, by tax demand letters as the original amount of six figures perhaps Read More …

Nov 302014
Baked holiday treats at Richmonde’s Lobby Café

MANILA, Philippines – Savor the warm, fuzzy feeling of the Christmas season with every bite of The Richmonde Lobby Café’s divine, freshly-baked holiday creations. The oh-so-yummy cakes, breads and pastries make a sweet gift for friends and a lovely inclusion to your celebration feasts at home.  This year’s collection includes cakes and desserts such as the classic Holiday Fruit Cake (P450), Oreo Mint Mousse (P550) and Turtle Cheesecake (P580); assorted breads like Pistachio Double Cream Cheese Bread (P210), Salted Swirl Bread (with bacon and cream cheese) (P250), Dark and White Chocolate Bread (P220) and Chocolate Banana Pecan Bread (P285); pastries such as the frosted Holiday Donut (P80), Fried Cinnamon Donut (P80), Craquelin Cream Puff (P80) and Choco Chip Hazelnut Cookies (P220/35pcs); plus the hotel’s signature Richmonde Ensaymada, which comes in plain (P110), ube (P120), salted egg (P130) and queso de bola (P130) variants, the sweet and chewy Nutty Fudge Square (P80) and the lusciously moist Richmonde Chocolate Cake, which comes in four sizes — 4” (P170), 6” (P520) and 8” (P650). Visit the Lobby Café of Richmonde Hotel Ortigas to see the complete collection. For details, call 638-7777.

Nov 302014
Top Avon performer says: ‘Recruitment is the lifeblood of the business’

Avon sales leader and President’s Club member for 31 years Era Taroc is proof that a clear goal paves the way to success.   MANILA, Philippines – She remembers it very well, like it only happened yesterday. The year was 1982 and Era Taroc was just starting out as a franchise dealer in Avon. The event was the Quarterly Sales Meeting at the Manila Hotel and it was there that Era first glimpsed the prestige of being a President’s Club member. “I was amazed by the exclusive gifts and offers extended to President’s Club members,” she recalls. “From that moment, all I wanted was to be invited into that elite group.”  Then 22-year-old Era did everything to reach the sales target needed to be included in the President’s Club. Not content with the number of people in her small neighborhood in Antipolo, she went to different cities in Metro Manila to gain more customers. Her goal — to be part of the President’s Club — took her to Quezon City, Novaliches, San Juan, even Alabang. To further grow her business, Era also re-enrolled in school at the National College of Business and Arts. “I wanted to learn about business because I knew it would be useful in my career with Avon, and since our neighborhood had a few people to sell to, I figured that I could grow my network by enrolling in school.”  While it seemed impossible to juggle school, her Avon business, and taking care of her husband and two kids, Era was able to do it and managed to enter the President’s Club the following Read More …