Feb 232014

MANILA, Philippines – Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC), the property firm of tycoon John Gokongwei, expects its profits to recover in the second half of its fiscal year that will end in September.

The listed property firm is looking to tap the debt markets in the next few months to fund the continuous expansion of its shopping malls and office space, its top executive said.

“I’m very optimistic and positive about the second half of the fiscal year for RLC,” said RLC president and CEO Frederick Go.

“Obviously, we had some challenges in the first half of the year but those are one-off like Typhoon Haiyan and the fire at the department store,” Go said.

The Gokongwei family’s property development arm recorded a 13-percent decline in earnings to P1.03 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 from P1.18 billion a year ago.

RLC incurred losses from Typhoon Yolanda and a mall fire that negatively affected the operations of Robinsons Place Tacloban and Robinsons Galleria, respectively.

Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Non-recurring losses in the first quarter will likely be offset by the property boom.

“The market looks good. Demand is strong across-the-board: for retail, office, condominium units and hotel rooms,” Go said.

New office buildings and the opening of new shopping malls will also boost the company’s rental revenues, he said.

With the opening of Robinsons Place Antipolo and Robinsons Place Las Piñas late this year, RLC will end 2014 with 39 shopping centers.

RLC is jacking up its capital spending by a fifth to P16 billion in fiscal year 2014 to fasttrack the construction of malls, office buildings and hotels.

Go said RLC will tap the debt market in the next 60-90 days to fund around half of the capital expenditures.

“The bulk (of the proceeds) is going to the malls and office buildings. Hotels are smaller part of the pie,” Go said.                               

Feb 182014
Thousands join INC walk for typhoon aid

Hundreds of thousands members of Iglesia Ni Kristo (Church of Christ) participate in a worldwide charity walk for the victims of super Typhoon Haiyan in Manila February 15, 2014. The event also aims to set a Guinness world record for the most number of participants in a charity walk, according to local media. (MNS photo) MANILA (AFP) – Tens of thousands of members of a Philippine sect took to the streets in Manila on Saturday in a charity walk to raise funds for survivors of the country’s deadliest typhoon. Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) poured into the capital’s seaside avenue in response to the politically influential sect’s appeal to help compatriots caught up by Super Typhoon Haiyan’s onslaught. All those taking part bought special white t-shirts, costing 250 pesos ($5.60)to wear during the march, with all proceed from sales of the garment being donated to help those in need, pensioner Laodiseo Santos, 78, told AFP. “I paid for this T-shirt to help our countrymen rebuild their homes…Some of our wealthier members purchased in bulk,” he said. The retired cashier, his five grown-up sons and daughters as well as several grandchildren completed a three-kilometre (1.8-mile) walk on Roxas Boulevard in late morning. Police estimated the crowd at about 200,000, though the figure could not be independently confirmed. Haiyan tore across 171 towns and cities in the central islands on November 8 last year, killing at least 6,200 people and leaving nearly 2,000 others missing according to an Read More …

Dec 202013

A Mercedes Benz 2014 C250 car will be raffled off with proceeds supporting The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Gawad Kalinga and Typhoon Haiyan victims (December 13, 2013 – Los Angeles) – Village Buildah, a non-profit 501(c) (3) foundation, is launching their car raffle fundraising on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6pm at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys. With the purpose of giving hope and shelter to indigents and a mission to pay it forward to help the poor by pooling their resources, Village Buildah supports with Gawad Kalinga in building villages with values formation. Through Western USA, a community of 30 families, living under a bridge for more than 30 years in Barangay Guihing Hagonoy, Davao Del Sur in Mindanao was chosen to be the recipient of the first out reach of 24 homes. This fundraising will complete 6 more homes. “This is a perfect time to be true to ourselves and appreciate all there is to our life. The blessings we have received, we want to pass it on and give back to the community. Village Buildah Foundation will take every opportunity to help and this will be our social responsibility.”, said Gene Gatmaitan, founding member and chairperson of Village Buildah. Credited with the heart to help and an oath of stewardship for mankind, the founding members, all of which are alumni from San Sebastian College, Central Luzon State University, University of the East, UP Los Banos, San Beda College and Silliman University, Read More …

Dec 062013
Farmers in Haiti raise $150 for Filipino farmers displaced by typhoon Haiyan

Haiti Farmers Donation. Eliette Pierre (in white shirt) and members of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance in Gonaives, Haiti, present a check for $150 representing their assistance for farmers in the Philippines displaced by Typhoon Haiyan. WASHINGTON, D.C. – Knowing how difficult it is to recover from a cataclysm, small farmers in Haiti pooled together what little they had to raise $150 for fellow farmers in the Philippines who were among the more than 10 million Filipinos displaced recently by Typhoon Haiyan. In his report to Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., the Philippine Honorary Consul in Haiti, Fitzgerald Brandt, said the kindhearted farmers belong to the Smallholder Farmers Alliance based in Gonaives in the northern part of Haiti who were themselves victims of Hurricane Sandy last year. “These farmers are very poor, but the gesture from country to country, from farmer to farmer, from human to human, is 1,000,000 times stronger than the actual amount of the transaction,” Honorary Consul Brandt said.  “In this planet full of not so good news, such gestures are priceless.” Ambassador Cuisia said Filipino farmers were badly affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which dealt more than P17 billion in losses to the agriculture sector during its violent rampage across the Central Philippines last month. “The Filipino people truly appreciate the kind gesture of farmers in Haiti who went out of their way to extend a helping hand to their fellow farmers in the Philippines,” said Ambassador Cuisia. “Our people will always remember this.” The President and Co-Founder Read More …

Dec 042013
Power restored in parts of Leyte and Iloilo; Yolanda death toll at 5,235

Rescue workers carry a body bag containing the body of a five-year-old boy as they walk past houses destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in the town of Tanauan November 20, 2013. The Philippines and international armed forces and aid agencies are struggling to get help to devastated areas due to the extent of the destruction, which has left four million people displaced, threatening Aquino’s reforms that have helped transform the country into one of Asia’s fastest-growing emerging economies.(MNS photo) MANILA (Mabuhay) – The death toll from Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) continued to climb and has reached 5,235 as of Saturday morning even as power has been restored to some parts of Leyte and Iloilo, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. In its 8 a.m. update, the NDRRMC also said at least 23,501 people were injured while 1,613 are still missing. At least 2,157,529 families or 10,009,000 people were affected in 10,724 villages in 44 provinces. Of these, 74,842 families or 347,426 people are staying in 1,382 evacuation centers. The NDRRMC said at least 552,419 houses were destroyed while 560,312 were damaged. Meanwhile, the NDRRMC said power was restored to Ormoc City in Leyte, one of the areas hit hard by Yolanda. Power was also restored in Anilao, Banate, Barotac Viejo and Ajuy in Iloilo. (MNS)

Nov 292013
CBCP to distribute 1,000 bibles to areas affected by ‘Yolanda’

Residents, who survived Super Typhoon Haiyan, receive holy communion during Sunday mass inside the Redemptorist Church in Tacloban city, central Philippiness November 17, 2013. Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan flocked to ruined churches on Sunday, kneeling in prayer under torn roofs as the Philippines faced an enormous rebuilding task from the storm that killed at least 3,681 people and displaced 4 million. The Philippines is facing up to an enormous rebuilding task from Typhoon Haiyan, with many isolated communities yet to receive significant aid despite a massive international relief effort.(MNS photo) MANILA (Mabuhay) – After sending 3,000 rosaries, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) through the Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) will be sending 1,000 copies of Tagalog Bibles to the survivors of typhoon “Yolanda” that ravaged the Central Philippines. Dr. Natividad Pagadut, ECBA executive secretary, said they hope to help those affected in the different dioceses in the Visayas to stand-up again and strengthen their faith by giving them the Bibles. “The distribution of the Bible will hopefully help them to stand up again, to strengthen their faith, and to improve as persons. So it is best to couple it with formation, counseling and to guide them on what to read in the Bible during this time. With this, they will be consoled, challenged, they will gain hope to move on, and get up from this terrible experience,” she said in an article posted on the CBCP news website. Pagadut believed that the giving out of Read More …

Nov 282013
Binay appeals: Stop mudslinging amid relief efforts

An aerial view of houses devastated by Typhoon Haiyan is seen at Barangay San Antonio, Basey Samar November 25, 2013. Typhoon Haiyan, the biggest storm ever to make landfall, struck the central Visayan islands on November 8, killing more than 5,200 people, displacing 4.4 million and destroying about 12 billion pesos in crops, property and infrastructure.(MNS photo) MANILA  (Mabuhay) – Vice President Jejomar Binay appealed for a stop to the mudslinging amid the relief and rehabilitation efforts being done for the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda. “This is not the time for disunity and mudslinging. Let us not allow selfish personal agenda from tainting our efforts to help the affected families. Likewise, let us rise above partisanship and the narrow, emasculating confines of politics, and render service to those in need, regardless of political affiliations,” Binay told the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Senate during their induction ceremonies in Bacolod City. Binay was earlier lambasted for distributing packs with his office’s stickers on them. He denied, however, that he had approved it. In his speech, he asked that the public instead focus on the issue at hand. “Yolanda has issued the sternest and most tragic of warnings. And the chilling truth is that it may only herald the coming of larger and fiercer typhoons. We cannot change the whims of weather, at least not overnight. But we can change the way we build, the way we live, and the way we move after the winds and the waves calm down,” the Read More …

Nov 232013
UN: More funds for ‘Yolanda’ victims

U.S. Marines provide safe drinking water to typhoon survivors Thursday Nov. 21, 2013 at Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded, slammed into central Philippine provinces Nov. 8, leaving a wide swath of destruction. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations appealed for more aid for typhoon victims in the Philippines on Friday, increasing the original amount it sought to raise by $47 million (P2 billion) to $348 million (P15 billion). UN Undersecretary General Valerie Amos, the world body’s humanitarian chief, made the announcement at the UN headquarters in New York after seeing for herself the situation in the hardest-hit areas of the Visayas, including Tacloban City, which she visited twice in two weeks. “A massive disaster like this requires a massive response,” a UN press statement reported Amos as saying at a news conference in New York on Friday. “Much more needs to be done. Food, clean water and shelter remain the top priorities. Vast numbers of vulnerable people are still exposed to bad weather and need basic shelter. Families who have lost their homes will need substantial longer-term support from the international community to ensure they have the means to rebuild their houses,” she added. The UN launched on November 12 an action plan seeking to raise $301 million (P13 billion) from the international community to support six months of relief and recovery operations in Eastern Visayas, including the provision of emergency food, shelter and water Read More …

Nov 212013
Battered church offers shelter from the storm

By Jason Gutierrez TACLOBAN(AFP) Santo Nino church stands battered but tall in the ruins of its typhoon-shattered parish, a 124-year-old beacon of physical and spiritual sanctuary for a devout, traumatised community. A priest (left) invites evacuees staying in the church after surviving Super Typhoon Haiyan, to attend Sunday mass inside the Redemptorist Church in Tacloban city, central Philippines November 17, 2013. The Philippines is facing up to an enormous rebuilding task from Typhoon Haiyan, which killed at least 3,681 people and left 1,186 missing, with many isolated communities yet to receive significant aid despite a massive international relief effort. (MNS photo) At the height of the super typhoon that laid the Philippine city of Tacloban to waste last week, 250 men, women and children were sheltering inside the walls of the Catholic church. As the storm waters rose, Father Oliver Mazo, 37, said he led them to the cramped living quarters on the second floor. “I blessed the room and we all huddled together,” Mazo told AFP. “The wind was devastating, really terrible and we could hear trees falling and crashing against the walls. There was a lot of screaming,” he recalled. “Fortunately, all those who were here were saved, and I believe what saved us is our prayer,” he added. The Philippines is the Roman Catholic Church’s most important outpost in Asia, with Catholics making up nearly 80 percent of the country’s 100 million people. In the aftermath of the storm that destroyed their homes, shattered their livelihoods, and Read More …

Nov 162013
Drilon wants to use funds for unfilled gov’t posts for Yolanda rehab efforts

A resident holding an umbrella walks on ruins of houses which were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, near a coastal town in Tacloban city, central Philippines November 13, 2013. Desperation gripped Philippine islands devastated by Typhoon Haiyan as looting turned deadly on Wednesday and survivors panicked over delays in supplies of food, water and medicine, some digging up underground water pipes and smashing them open. Five days after one of the strongest storms ever recorded roared over cities and towns in the central Philippines, survivors in remote regions complained they had yet to receive any aid.(MNS photo) MANILA, Nov 14 (Mabuhay) – Senate President Franklin Drilon on Thursday proposed the use of funds for unfilled government posts next year for rehabilitation efforts in areas hit by recent natural disasters, including super typhoon Yolanda. In a statement, Drilon proposed that the Senate realign P15 billion from the proposed Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) next year to create a calamity assistance and rehabilitation effort (CARE) fund. The MPBF is a stand-by allocation for the filling up of unfilled government posts, and for the creation of new positions in the bureaucracy. “The 2014 national budget must provide for funds badly needed by our countrymen, who suffered the misfortunes brought about by the series of massive natural and man-made disasters,” the Senate leader said. He added that allocations for rehabilitation efforts in next year’s spending plan, such as the P7.5-billion calamity fund, seem not enough considering the extent of the damage caused by Yolanda and Read More …