Unemployment in the Philippines falls down further, the lowest in more than two years

As the Philippines continues to keep on recovering from the damage of COVID-19, the national authorities reported that unemployment in the country fell down further achieving a 2-year low, according to a news article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). This is really good news because economic growth and continued employment are very essential right now. It should also be stated that immunity from COVID-19 is better now that many millions of Filipinos have gotten vaccinated and/or boosted.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA news article. Some parts in boldface…

Unemployment rate in September 2022 stood at 5 percent, the lowest in more than two years, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Tuesday.

In a press conference, PSA chief and national statistician Undersecretary Dennis Mapa said the number of unemployed Filipinos in September fell to 2.5 million, or 183,000 lower than the 2.68 million citizens with no jobs the previous month.

The number of jobless Filipinos during the month was also lower by 1.78 million from 4.28 million unemployed a year ago.

“This means 50 out of 1,000 individuals in the labor force have no job,” Mapa said in Filipino.

On the other hand, employment rate in September 2022 was at 95 percent, which translates to 47.58 million Filipinos who have jobs.

This is higher than the August 2022 employment rate of 94.7 percent, and also higher than the September 2021 rate of 91.1 percent.

He identified sectors with largest month-on-month increase in employment. These include manufacturing, up by 780,000 jobs; education, up by 159,000 jobs; public administration and defense, compulsory social security, up by 128,000 jobs; transportation and storage, up by 56,000 jobs; and real estate activities, up by 13,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, underemployment rate also increased to 15.4 percent in September this year from 14.7 percent in its previous month. This means 296,000 more employed Filipinos want to have additional hours of work in their present job or an additional job.

Despite challenges concerning inflation, Mapa is optimistic that the country will sustain unemployment rate near the 5-percent level for the remaining months of the year.

He added the average unemployment rate for this year is close to the pre-pandemic level, which is at 5.1 percent in 2019.

Mapa said the average unemployment rate for the first nine months of the year stood at 5.8 percent.

The above article ended stating that the Philippines had an unemployment rate of 17.6% in April 2020 or shortly after the first COVID-19 lockdown. For the year 2020, the average unemployment rate was at 10.4%

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent announcement about the state of unemployment in the country? Do you feel confident that 2023 will be a better economic year and that more of the unemployed will be able to find new jobs?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: President Marcos says the economy of the Philippines will go beyond pre-pandemic level

Things are looking bleak economically. Recently the Philippine Peso reached another record low to the United States Dollar on the foreign exchange market. The local stock market lost a lot of points as well. Regardless, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos stated that the economy of the Philippines will not just recover but grow higher than what was achieved before the COVID-19 crisis affected everyone, according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) article.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA article Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine economy will go beyond its pre-pandemic growth, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Friday (Manila time), as he confidently talked about progress amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

During his meeting with members of Asia Society at The Carlyle Hotel in New York City, Marcos said his administration has laid out measures that will help reinvigorate the economy.

We don’t want to just catch up. We want to go beyond that. We have no interest in going back to pre-pandemic levels. What we are interested in is to flourish further and to position the Philippines in such a way that we can take full advantage of the new economies and the new industries that have come to light,” Marcos said in his speech.

Sustained cooperation and collaboration with the private sector and other governments would lead to the realization of his administration’s bid to make the Philippines a new and transformed country, the President said.

He said the Philippines is a “viable and smart” investment destination, given its macroeconomic fundamentals, enabling policies, and human capital.

“They recognize the Philippines, our country, for its business-friendly policies, a very competent workforce, and a network of economic zones,” he said. “These are interesting times and there are many things to accomplish. The far-reaching ill-effects of the pandemic compel us to reinvigorate our economies in a spirit of sustained cooperation and collaboration.”

Marcos noted that the Philippine economy expanded by 5.7 percent in 2021 and 7.8 percent in the first half of 2021 because of government spending, household consumption, and investments reinforced by consumer and business confidence.

He also cited “investor-friendly” laws that seek to “leverage game-changing reforms.”

Marcos told the group about the “young, educated, hardworking, and English-speaking” Philippine workforce that is globally competitive.

He expressed hope to get more investments for his administration’s priority sectors, which include agriculture; nuclear energy; health systems; information technology and business process management; digital connectivity; and manufacturing, including the critical sectors of semiconductors, green metals, and electric vehicles.

We must use public and private resources effectively to encourage the expansion of trade, investment, technology transfers, all to accelerate our development,” Marcos said.

Despite the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the global economic crisis, Marcos said the Philippines remains on track to “graduate to upper middle-income-country status” by 2023 and become a “high-income country” by 2040.

With steady investments in infrastructure, agriculture, food security, public health, education, and other social services, we seek to become a high-income country, with zero extreme poverty by the year 2040,” he said.

“Certainly, the world continues to be faced by enormous challenges, but I am confident in the future because I have 110 million reasons for being so. Such is my faith in the Filipino people and the relationship we hold with the United States and our other allies and partners and friends,” Marcos added.

Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to build bridges of understanding between the East and West.

Let me end this by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this latest development? Are you eager to see the socio-economic plans of the Marcos administration to be implemented as soon as possible so that the national economy will be reinvigorated? Do you think that the pandemic  may have opened up new opportunities for business innovations and e-commerce to transpire nationwide?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

Better than Streaming: My first time in two whole years to watch a movie inside the local cinema

I finally did it! After two years of living with the COVID-19 crisis, I finally returned to the local cinema at Commercenter in Alabang recently where I saw The Batman on the big screen. The day was March 5 (Saturday) and it was a very notable experience for me personally and I can say that the theatrical experience is still better than watching movies via streaming.

To be very clear, it has been months since the cinemas all over Metro Manila reopened and as the months passed by, moviegoers have gradually returned in relation to what films were screened, what the local Alert Levels were and what health protocols were implemented. The reopening of cinemas went a long way since the 1st quarter of 2021 (for references click here, here, here and here) and the Philippine cinema industry as a whole is trying to recover what was lost over the past two years. At one point, the movie theaters employed over 300,000 employees nationwide.

On my way to watching The Batman at the cinema with my ticket!

Going back to my return to the local cinema, I want to make clear that currently the cinemas will only accept people who have been fully vaccinated (meaning two doses of most COVID-19 vaccine brands were injected) which is why vaccination cards/passes are required for verification BEFORE any ticket will be sold. As such, I showed to the theater ticket seller my vaccination card and eventually I was allowed to purchase a ticket for The Batman which was P320 (more than US$6). I should state that it was also there at the Commercenter cinema where I last saw a movie in 2020…just before the first lockdown happened.

More on rules, it has been declared already that food and drinks are prohibited in Commercenter’s cinemas and that moviegoers are to wear their masks on as they watch a movie. Again, the prohibition on food and drinks at the said cinema were in effect when I viewed The Batman on March 5. According to a March 9, 2022 report by the Manila Bulletin, some theaters allowed their moviegoers to have food while watching.

For transparency, these are the rules for you to see.

While having no food and drink was a bummer for me as a paying moviegoer, I decided to just let things be and focus strongly on the narrative of The Batman which has a running time of almost three hours! That being said, as the movie went on, I was compelled to really focus on the story, the details and the dialogue (note: I turned my smartphone off as soon as I sat down). I also realized something that movie theaters can instantly provide that streaming apps and the home-based theater cannot – complete privacy and immersion.

In other words, there no distractions from external forces (examples: smartphone updates through the Internet, in-home telephone ringing, a noisy neighbor, someone knocking on the door, the house doorbell ringing, a motorist driving a car with an overly loud sound outside the house, etc.) and as such I experienced this strong engagement in watching the Matt Reeves-directed Batman movie. I also noticed that not only does Colin Farrell looks truly unrecognizable as the new cinematic Penguin, there were two moments I noticed he sounded and spoke like Robert de Niro!

I should also state that there were several other moviegoers who occupied seats on rows behind and in front of me. Clearly the attendance of that very screening was below 50% which only reminds me that the pandemic is still ongoing here in the Philippines. Fortunately, everyone was well behaved and in-theater noise and distractions were non-existent.

After waiting until the very end to see the very short and cryptic end-credits scene, I finally left the cinema satisfied and entertained. I found The Batman a worthy movie to watch on the big screen but to judge its quality and emphasized my observations about it, I would do that in a possible movie review.

Nothing like looking at what films are being shown before you reach the ticket counter.

My return to watching a movie in the local cinema was a really interesting experience. It was also my first time in many years to watch a movie on the big screen without consuming any drink or food. Still, I got my money’s worth overall and I really hope that what I paid will keep helping not just Commercenter cinema but the entire movie theater industry to achieve economic recovery with the pandemic still ongoing. The more people who get fully vaccinated, and the more fully vaccinated people who get boosted, the better it will be for movie theaters in terms of qualified moviegoers.

When it comes to spending time inside Commercenter, be aware that the mall has really nice places to enjoy delicious meals before or after you watch a movie at their cinema. You love ramen and Japanese meals, go to Sigekiya Ramen. You want to try Greek cuisine? Visit Akrotiri. You like good food and wine? Visit The Black Pig.

To those of you reading this, if you have the means and if your local cinemas are allowed to operate, I encourage you to buy tickets and watch your desired movie on the big screen inside the cinema. I suggest you stop streaming temporarily and help the movie theaters achieve economic recovery from this pandemic. For The Batman, I say screw HBO Max and HBO Go!

Remember this: Streaming will NEVER match the grandeur and immersion of the cinema! The cinema is always better than streaming. What you pay for movie tickets will help not only the cinema operators and their respective employees, you will also help the local authorities by means of tax collection and keeping the local area in order.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

COVID-19 Crisis: Alert Level 1 status in Metro Manila takes effect today with amended guidelines

Thanks to the Lord who listens to the prayers of the faithful and will never abandon them, Alert Level 1 is now in effect all over Metro Manila which will last until March 15, 2022. Along the way, the national authorities amended the guidelines for Alert Level, according to the Philippine News Agency (PNA). There will still be specific rules that need to be followed and things like face masks and vaccination cards are still required. As such, pay close attention to the details about the amended guidelines.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Sunday approved the amendments to the guidelines on the nationwide implementation of the Alert Level System for Covid-19 response.

This, after the IATF also approved on Sunday placing the National Capital Region and 38 other areas under Alert Level 1 from March 1 to 15.

Under Alert Level 1, the IATF said there are no restrictions in terms of indoor and outdoor capacities. Everyone can undertake intrazonal and interzonal travel without regard to age and even comorbidities.

All establishments, persons, or activities are likewise allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at total on-site or venue seating capacity, provided these are consistent with minimum public health standards.

Meanwhile, face-to-face classes for primary education shall be subject to prior approval of the Office of the President.

Below are some of the protocols to be observed under Alert Level 1:

*Well-fitted face masks shall be worn properly at all times, whether outdoors or in indoor private or public establishments, including in public transportation by land, air or sea, except when eating and drinking, participating in team and individual sports in venues where ventilation standards can be maintained, and practicing outdoor sports/exercise activities where physical distance can be maintained;

*All private offices and workplaces, including public and private construction sites, may operate at full 100 percent capacity, consistent with national issuances on vaccination requirements for on-site work. However, they may continue to provide flexible and alternative work arrangements as deemed appropriate based on function or individual risk.

*Agencies and instrumentalities of the government shall likewise adhere to 100 percent on-site workforce. Off-site work shall be under such work arrangements subject to relevant rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the President.

*On the other hand, public transportation in areas under Alert Level 1 shall be at full seating capacity. For intrazonal and interzonal travels involving public land transportation between an area with a higher alert level classification and an area under Alert Level 1, the passenger capacity shall be that which has the lower passenger capacity rate between the point of origin and point of destination. For aviation, maritime and rail public transport operating in and out of Alert Levels 1 areas, the passenger capacity will be at 100 percent. The use of acrylic and/or plastic dividers in public transportation shall not be required. The use of the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) travel management system shall likewise not be required for interzonal travel to areas under Alert Level 1.

*On contact tracing, the use of health declaration forms/paper-based contact tracing shall not be required for all the agencies and establishments under Alert Level 1. On the other hand, the use of digital contact tracing such as the StaySafe.PH application is optional for all the agencies and establishments.

*On testing prioritization, testing protocols shall be implemented, consistent with national guidelines, for individuals who are unvaccinated or have higher exposure risk pursuant to IATF Resolution No. 148-B and No. 149, s. 2021. In addition, testing using RT-PCR shall be recommended and prioritized for: Priority Groups A2 (persons above 60 years old) and A3 (persons with comorbidities) and Priority Group A1 or healthcare workers. Testing shall be optional for other groups not stated above. It shall not be recommended for asymptomatic close contacts unless symptoms will develop, and should immediately isolate regardless of test results. Instead, symptom monitoring is recommended. Should testing still be used, testing should be done at least 5 days from the day of last exposure. Testing shall also not be recommended for screening asymptomatic individuals. Meanwhile, testing using antigen tests shall be recommended only for symptomatic individuals and in instances wherein RT-PCR is not available, consistent with previously issued guidelines.

*The Hospital Infection Prevention and Control Committees (HIPCC) may implement testing protocols in health facilities for health workers and patients based on their assessment of risk and benefit.

*On isolation and quarantine, updated quarantine protocols for incoming international travelers shall be consistent with IATF Resolution No. 160 A/B, and updated isolation and quarantine protocols for general public and healthcare workers and authorized sectors shall be consistent with DOH Dept Memo No. 2022-0013.

*Under Alert Level 1, establishments are no longer required to set-up isolation facilities within the workplace.

*On treatment, close contacts, asymptomatic confirmed cases and mild to moderate confirmed cases shall be managed at the primary care level, such as health centers, private clinics thru face to face or teleconsultation, while confirmed cases with severe and critical symptoms shall be managed in the appropriate health care facility.

*In the case of reintegration, isolation can be discontinued upon completion of the recommended isolation period, provided that they do not have fever for at least 24 hours without the use of any antipyretic medications, and shall have improvement of respiratory signs and symptoms.

*For the purpose of claiming sick leave, health benefits or other relevant processes wherein the proofs of Covid-19 management are necessary, a medical certification may suffice provided it should include the following minimum information: name of patient, severity of symptoms, diagnosis as probable or confirmed COVID-19, and date of end of quarantine and/or isolation period.

Meanwhile, individuals 18 years old and above will be required to present proof of full vaccination before participating in mass gatherings or entry into indoor establishments, such as but not limited to:

*In-person religious gatherings; gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment and funerals for those who died of causes other than Covi-19 and for the cremains of the Covid-19 deceased;

*All indoor dine-in services of food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants and eateries. For outdoor or al fresco dining and take out channels, no proof of full vaccination is required;

*All indoor personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas, and those offering aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, make-up services, salons, spas, reflexology and other similar procedures including home service options;

*Fitness studios, gyms and venues for exercise and sports;

*All indoor cinemas or movie houses operating at full capacity;

*Meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibition events and permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut and birthday parties, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers;

*Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls and theaters;

*Indoor ancillary establishments in hotels and other accommodation establishments; and

*Venues for election-related events.

Proof of full vaccination shall be required before entry in the list of establishments identified under the principles of 3C’s strategy against Covid-19.

Children ages 17 and below shall not be required to present proof of vaccination status.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this new development? If you are a Metro Manila resident, do you feel very relieved about Alert Level 1 in effect for the next two weeks?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

San Miguel Corporation’s P14-billion SLEX Elevated Extension Project Inaugurated

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is back in the news again as its ambitious South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Elevated Extension Project was inaugurated recently by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, GMA Network reported.

For the newcomers reading this, SMC under the leadership of CEO and President Ramon S. Ang is the same corporation behind the improvements made to the Metro Manila Skyway which ultimately benefited many travelers with improved accessibility and reduced travel times. Ang was present during the inauguration of the SLEX Elevated Extension Project which is worth P14 billion and is almost 4 kilometers long.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA Network news report. Some parts in boldface…

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday led the inauguration of the newly completed South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Elevated Extension Project, which is seen to ease traffic and boost economic growth in Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces.

In his remarks during the inauguration ceremony at Alabang Northbound Entry in Muntinlupa City, Duterte lauded the formal opening of the SLEX Elevated Extension Project “at a time when our economy is slowly opening up and recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“I am personally excited of this expansion projection which is expected to promote greater mobility, help ease traffic, and redound to the economic growth and productivity in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas,” the President said.

For his part, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and CEO Ramon Ang said the northbound and southbound lanes of the P14-billion SLEX Elevated Extension project can accommodate 200,000 cars per day.

The four-kilometer project connects Skyway in Sucat, Parañaque to SLEX at Susanna Heights in Muntinlupa, bypassing the Alabang viaduct and providing motorists a direct access to Skyway 1, 2, and 3.

“With this, travel time between Muntinlupa and Balintawak will now be reduced from two hours to just 30 minutes. This will go a long way in addressing traffic congestion,” Ang said.

“Since we soft-opened the southbound SLEX Extension last December 10, 2021 motorists in the south have seen a major improvement in the traffic situation. It has provided relief to thousands of motorists who go home every day to Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas. With both the southbound and northbound section of the SLEX Extension now fully operational, travel to and from the south is easier and faster than ever,” the SMC chief said.

Originally, the project was set for completion by December 2020, a little over a year since it began.

However, this was pushed back when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the Philippines in March 2020, necessitating quarantine restrictions which slowed work progress.

And here is the related video about the inauguration…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you often travel on the Skyway Elevated Extension? How was your travel experience on the Skyway and the elevated extension going north or south? Do you hope to see San Miguel Corporation keep funding and improving major infrastructure projects in the years to come?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Deadline for payment of business permits and licenses in Las Piñas City extended to March 31, 2022

If you are running a business in Las Piñas City and you need more time to settle your dues with the City Government, then you should be delighted to know that the deadline for paying business permits, licenses, taxes, fees and charges has been extended all the way to March 31, 2022 as a result of a move done by the City Council with the approval of Mayor Imelda Aguilar, according to a Manila Bulletin news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in boldface…

The Las Pinas City Council, headed by Vice-Mayor April Aguilar, has extended the deadline for the payment of business permits, licenses, taxes and other commercial and industrial fees and charges until March 31 without interests, penalties, and surcharges.

Mayor Imelda Aguilar immediately signed the resolution passed and approved by the City Council to give local businesses relief, ease their burden, and help them to recover from the severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aguilar endorsed the letter of Wilfredo Gaerlan, chief of the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO), requesting for the extension of the deadline of the payment of business permit and licenses.

The vice-mayor, upon receiving the endorsement of the mayor, convened the City Council to pass a resolution after learning of the decrease in business permit and license renewal due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) due to the Omicron variant.

The City Council heeded the call of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) for local government units to extend the period of renewal of business permits and payment of real property tax until the end of the first quarter given the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are managing a business in Las Piñas City, what is your reaction to this recent development? How helpful is the extension for you and your business?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Antitrust notification for Robinsons’ full takeover of Ministop not needed according to Philippine Competition Commission (PCC)

If you have been living here in the Philippines, have you visited any branch of the Ministop chain of convenience stores lately? Did you notice that the term acquisition was more prominent recently in business news as of late mainly due to the Microsoft-Activision-Blizzard deal?

The point here is that another acquisition happening in the Philippines – Robinsons is set for a full takeover of Ministop (which itself is already majority owned by the said corporation) and an antitrust notification is not needed according to the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC). This was reported lately by GMA Network news.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said Tuesday Robinsons Supermarket Corp. does not need to notify the antitrust watchdog of its full takeover of the Ministop franchise in the country as the company already has majority control over the convenience store franchise.

“Based on PCC’s merger rules, the Commission acknowledges that Robinsons’ current majority stake in Ministop already affords them control, and Robinsons is no longer required to notify the proposed acquisition to the antitrust commission,” the antitrust body said in a statement.

On Monday, Robinsons Supermarket —a wholly-owned subsidiary of Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI)— announced it will acquire the 40% share of Ministop Japan in Robinsons Convenience Stores Inc. (RCSI), effectively taking full ownership of the business.

RCSI is the exclusive franchisee of Ministop in the Philippines, with Robinsons Supermarket Corp. holding a 60% stake in the firm. It will continue to operate the stores with the Ministop brand, within a prescribed transition period agreed upon with the Japanese counterpart.

RRHI said the stores will continue to operate as Ministop until they are repurposed and appropriately rebranded, in consideration of its ready-to-eat offerings such as Uncle John’s Fried Chicken and Kariman.

The PCC said it received reports of Ministop Japan’s sale to Lotte, including its sale of its joint venture stake in the Philippines.

Nikkei Asia reported that the Japanese convenience store operator will sell its South Korean and Philippine businesses, after unloading a Chinese subsidiary in Qingdao.

The PCC, however, noted that it will look into Robinsons’ portfolio in the consumer retail sector which includes supermarkets, department stores, and community malls, among others.

Merger reviews are focused on the effects and changes of market behavior in the hands of new owners or stakeholders,” it said.

“This transaction may result in a change in ownership of a significant portion of equity but it is not likely to have an effect on the economic behavior of the target firm,” it added.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this business development? If you are a regular customer of Ministop, what do you think will happen once the full takeover by Robinsons happens? Do you think that the quality of the customer service and store facilities will improve? When it comes to convenience store competition here in the Philippines, how do you rate Ministop with the likes of 7-Eleven, FamilyMart and Lawson? Are you personally attached to Ministop’s branch?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

COVID-19 Crisis: Philippine economy expected to grow 6% to 7% this year

Even though there are lots of news reports and social media updates about the current COVID-19 surge here in the Philippines, there is still the expectation that the national economy will grow 6% to 7% this year, according to an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency article. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine economy is expected to return to its 6 to 7-percent growth trajectory in 2022 after nearly two years of grappling with the pandemic despite the threat of the Omicron variant, according to the investment banking arm of the Metrobank Group.

First Metro Investment Corporation (FMIC) said this year’s economic growth will be driven by sustained domestic demand, easing inflation, election expenditures, and accelerated government spending on infrastructure projects.

“Notwithstanding the ongoing pandemic, and Omicron sparking the third wave of infections, we are still optimistic that Philippine growth will further accelerate and get back on its trajectory of 6-7 percent in 2022,” FMIC president Jose Patricio Dumlao said in a virtual briefing Tuesday.

Dumlao said the economy registered a 4.9-percent growth in the first three quarters of 2021 and the growth momentum likely spilled over in the fourth quarter given further economic reopening and easing mobility restrictions.

He added business and consumer confidence are also cautiously positive given wider availability of vaccines and relaxation of lockdowns, quarantine measures, and mobility restrictions.

University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) economist Dr. Victor Abola said the 6 to 7 percent gross domestic product (GDP) projection this year will be led by the industry sector –both construction and manufacturing.

Abola said services will still be the lagging sector as the pandemic measures hit hotels and restaurants.

“The Philippine situation is that there is recovery but still on the way to reach the pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

The country’s GDP posted a -9.5 percent full-year growth rate in 2020 compared to its 5.9 percent pre-pandemic performance in 2019.

Abola said the business process outsourcing (BPO) is a major contributor to the resiliency of the economy amid the pandemic.

“And it’s not the same as usual call centers, etc. You can see there are new, emerging segments and that is what companies are focusing on,” he said, citing insurance, life sciences, healthcare, and data analytics, among others.

Aside from BPO revenues, FMIC chairman Francisco Sebastian said the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) remittances are boosting the economy.

It would be nice to see such economic expectations come true because the Philippines still has yet to recover the massive economic loss of 2020 (the first year of the pandemic). Apart from COVID-19 infections, there is also the factor of governance linked with declaring restrictions that can get in the way of economic recovery and make things harder for everyone. Do not forget the August 2021 sudden ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) declaration (additional reference here) and the ban on outdoor exercise within the national capital region that the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are responsible for. There was also the national government’s flip-flop on declaring quarantine statuses of September 2021. Think about all the economic damage caused by those three developments!

With the May 2022 national and local elections coming, we can only hope that those in government – especially the Metro Manila local government units – will set aside their egos and make decisions wisely. The nation’s economy cannot afford another massive lockdown as well!

With regards to the Omicron variant that was believed to be a factor behind the current COVID-19 surge around the country, the authorities should seriously consider acquiring a lot more Sputnik vaccines (for more on Sputnik vaccines effectiveness against Omicron variant, click here and here).

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you think that the Philippine economy will grow 6% to 7% this year even though there is a COVID-19 surge of new infections happening? Do you believe that government officials will do better in making hard decisions related to the current surge?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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