Apr 052017

THE AGENCY in charge of economic zones bagged more than $4 billion investment pledges from the US and Middle East, following its “aggressive” investor roadshows conducted during the first quarter. Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director-General Charito B. Plaza told reporters on Tuesday evening that a US-based oil and gas refinery company, OS Petro, pledged to invest a total of $4 billion in 10 onshore blocks for oil and gas exploration, following her visit to the country last week.

Apr 212014
Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare

Department of Foreign Affairs building INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) advised Filipinos in the Middle East to remain calm and not panic amid the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) as well as false rumors regarding it. The DFA and Department of Health (DOH) issued Monday eight reminders for Filipinos on how they can help stop the spread of the virus and urged them to not believe in rumors. “One rumor alleges that ‘UAE health authorities’ have warned people to stay away for 72 hours from places such as malls, beaches hospitals, parks, and other locations that are believed to be ‘hotspots for the new killing virus’,” DFA said. “The Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) subsequently denied issuing this statement,” it said. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not declared any outbreak or epidemic of MERS-CoV in the Middle East. There are also no travel restrictions to and from the Middle East. Recently, one Filipino health worker has died in Saudi Arabia, another who returned to the Philippines from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had tested positive for the virus abroad before he tested negative here. The DFA advised Filipinos to follow these eight reminders to prevent the further spread of the virus: 1.    Practice proper hand hygiene always, by washing your hands with soap or hand rubs with alcohol before and after eating; before and after handling, cooking and preparing food; after coughing, sneezing and using the toilets; Read More …

Apr 192014
Philippines boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare

MANILA — The Philippines said Saturday it was stepping up its defenses against the deadly MERS virus, with the large numbers of Filipino workers in the Middle East seen as potential carriers. “It is important that families, friends and members of their local communities fully understand all that must be known about the MERS coronavirus,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona told a news conference. A male Filipino nurse who had tested positive for the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus in the United Arab Emirates returned to the Philippines on Tuesday, according to the health department. The man was later tracked down and quarantined, along with relatives who picked him up at Manila airport, as part of the increased monitoring procedures, but all of them were subsequently found to be free of the virus, Ona said. Health authorities were continuing to track the rest of the 418 passengers on the same Etihad Airways flight, including 45 foreigners, so they could also be tested, he added. The virus has a two-week incubation period, so all those passengers “are still deemed to be at risk”, Ona said. A total of 119 passengers had so far been contacted by the health department, and all 40 who were tested yielded negative results, Ona said. While the World Health Organization has not declared a MERS epidemic, the Philippines has stepped up monitoring as it has a large number of workers in the Middle East, many of whom work in Saudi Arabia and the UAE which have Read More …

Apr 152014
OFWs in Middle East warned on spread of MERS

By Nestor CorralesINQUIRER.net 1:52 pm | Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 DFA spokesman Charles Jose. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warned Tuesday all Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Middle East on the breakout of the deadly disease in the region that has claimed the life of a Filipino and affected five others. “We are advising all Filipinos not only in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but in the whole of Middle East to take precautionary measures against the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS),” DFA spokesperson Charles Jose said in an interview with Inquirer Radio 990AM. Jose, however,  told  OFWs to “remain calm” amid the spread of the deadly virus. He said OFWs should practice proper hygiene, frequent washing of hands,   follow advisories from health authorities, and those who experience any of the disease’s symptoms are urged to immediately seek medical attention. On Monday, the DFA confirmed the death of a Filipino from the deadly virus and the hospitalization of five others. “The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi has confirmed that one Filipino worker died on April 10 due to MERS, while five others remain under quarantine as a  precautionary measure,” Jose said. The Filipino fatality, according to him, was a paramedic whose identity has yet to be disclosed. “We withhold the name as per request by the family. We also have the name of the five Filipinos who are affected but their family also requested not to disclose their names,” he said. The five Read More …

Jan 052014
Local furniture industry seen to grow 10%

MANILA, Philippines – The local furniture industry is projected to grow by 10 percent this year, largely driven by strong demand expected from both local and export markets. Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. trustee for the furniture sector Myrna Bituin said in a statement there is room for the industry to grow as furniture makers can serve the strong demand from the domestic market. “The local market buys billions of pesos (worth) of furniture overseas… Majority of companies that do researches, are open to the market, invest in design and in their people, (and) they have always survived,” she said. Bituin said there are already some local companies which focus on the domestic market, particularly on hotels and resorts. “You save on your freight cost and you are here… serving your country. For those who are mechanized, for those who know about design, they can serve the local market,” she said. She noted that the export market is still growing despite the slowdown in demand from the US. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 She said the Middle East is one of the growing markets for the local wood sector. In Japan, there is strong demand for prefabricated housing components.

Nov 302013
Local banks urged to prepare for Asean integration

MANILA, Philippines – Local banks should start preparing for the ASEAN 2015 integration to be able to compete with their counterparts in the region, results of a recent survey by Sungard, one of the world’s leading software and technology services companies, noted. “There is a strong potential that local banks may compete with other banks in the region but they have to be prepared for it,” Sungard vice president of product management for retail banking business Dean Young said. Young said it would be best for local banks to jumpstart efforts to improve their customer relations. Though there have been indications based on Sungard’s latest survey that Filipino depositors have strong ties and are loyal to their primary banks, there is  still a possibility that depositors may tap other banks if they are performing better than the existing local banks. Although the Philippine economy has moved up 30 spots in the latest Ease of Doing Business 2014 Report released by the World Bank and International Finance Corp., new consumer research undertaken by Sungard has found that banks in some of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets are still struggling to meet evolving customer expectations.  In the Philippines, Sungard said banks have yet to leverage customer demand for an improved, integrated customer multichannel experience.  Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 “This is negatively impacting the customer experience and driving a trend towards multiple banking relationships, which could affect future profitability and agile growth,” the survey said. “Despite the fact Read More …