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Ed Velasco

Mining company to file case vs Palawan mayor

Monday, 26 February 2018 00:00 Published in Business

Criminal and civil suits will be filed anytime this week against a town mayor accused of massive destruction of mining properties in Palawan recently.
Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC), engaged in nickel extraction, said Mary Jean Feliciano, mayor of Brooke’s Point, Palawan, should not escape from accountability brought by her action.
The mayor led hundreds of armed men when she allegedly destroyed guard houses, gate posts and fences to gain access to INC’s mining compound in Bgy. Ipilan of the town.
“We will file criminal charges and other legal actions to make her accountable for the crimes she committed against us. Our lawyers are doing that at the moment,” Dante Bravo, president of Platinum Group Metals Corp., the holdings firm that operates INC, told the Daily Tribune.
Witnesses described the scene last Feb. 21, 2018 as “ravaging” as the mayor and a group of armed personnel ignored the pleas of guards to wait for court’s decision whether the written order for demolition handed by the mayor can proceed.
Instead, Feliciano, who is a lawyer, and her men allegedly went on to destroy the mining premises. The supposed demolition started at around 10 a.m. and went on until 7 p.m.
INC has been complained for operating without permit, which the mining president denied.
Except for securing the contract area, conducting environment protection measures, and promoting community development programs under the MPSA (Mining Permit and Sharing Agreement), INC has stopped mining operations after it implemented its tree-cutting permit and after its receipt of a directive from the DENR.
INC was not doing anything illegal before and during the raid headed by the mayor. Any claim to the contrary is blatant falsehood and harassment, Bravo said.
The MPSA is still valid and has never been suspended. By its terms, INC has the right “to construct and operate any facility” inside the contract area, and the office building it renovated is owned by the government. Besides, the structures built or maintained by INC are included in its Work Program approved by the DENR.
The law places on the DENR the primary authority to regulate mining operations. Thus, the mayor cannot overrule the national government let alone take the law into her own hands.
Despite all this, the mining firm said the mayor struck down a government project to the prejudice of not just INC but also its ultimate beneficiary which is the community.
The firm said the mayor’s resort to the general powers under the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991 is misleading.
The LGC cannot defeat the Mining Act of 1995, which is a special law governing mining operations, and the MPSA, according to Bravo.
Bravo said the acts of lawlessness committed by the mayor and her cohorts had opened up the entire contract area of INC to various forms of destruction, pilferage and hazards, as total strangers made their way into the area unimpeded. INC is conducting a complete inventory of the extent of damage.
“The mayor has so many cohorts. A lot of armed men. I don’t know the actual damage but our employees are so scared and they were just crying.
They could not believe they have witnessed such brutality from the mayor,” Bravo, who is also a lawyer and professor, explained further.
He added that the barbaric act and brutality of the mayor left hundreds of INC employees “violently hurt emotionally and psychologically.”
“It’s like seeing your loved one being ravaged and tortured in front of you. Would that make any different from physical hurt?” the mining executive said. 

BPI tops in project AsPac finance deals

Monday, 26 February 2018 00:00 Published in Business

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has reached the 20th spot in the global rankings for project finance deals in 2017, and the 6th spot in Asia Pacific, the highest rankings achieved by a Philippine bank so far.
In the recent Thomson Reuters Project Finance International (PFI) annual league tables, BPI, a newcomer in the rankings, was among the top banks in the world who arranged the biggest project financing deals.
This is the first time that a Philippine bank made it to the top 10 in Asia Pacific, besting other strong Asian and foreign houses.
“One surprise (is) the appearance of a Philippine bank in the top 10. Bank of the Philippine Islands, with its investment arm BPI Capital, is ranked sixth (in Asia Pacific), with six deals worth $2.8 billion.
The bank, possibly the oldest lender in the country, is part of the huge Ayala conglomerate,” said the report.
Project finance refers to the long-term financing of infrastructure, industrial, and other big projects where the debt and equity used to fund the project are paid back using cash flow from the project itself.
BPI ranked 20th globally and 6th in Asia Pacific by acting as lead arranger of six project finance deals amounting to $2.8 billion.
These deals include AC Energy Holdings Inc. (Philippines, $437.1 million), Angat Hydropower Corp. (Philippines, $263 million), Atimonan One Energy Inc. (Philippines, $1,056.3 million), SMC Consolidated Power Corp. (Philippines, $880 million), Star Energy Geothermal (Indonesia, $156.3 million) and Unisys Managed Services Corp. (Philippines, $15 million).
“Our global ranking says as much about the strides our country is making in power and infrastructure as it does about BPI’s capabilities. We are very pleased to be an active and meaningful partner in nation building,” said BPI president and CEO Cezar Consing. 

Globe deploys 1,700 LTE sites

Monday, 26 February 2018 00:00 Published in Business

Fully maximizing the use of its spectrum assets, Globe Telecom has deployed to date close to 1,700 LTE sites across the country using the 700 megahertz frequency.
Aggressive deployment of LTE 700 sites has led to improvement in the country’s mobile speeds, the company said.
Speedtest results for January this year showed that mobile download speed in the Philippines improved to 12.55 Mbps from 9.34 Mbps in January 2017, with upload speed increasing to 5.86 Mbps from 4.68 Mbps a year earlier.
Joel Agustin, Globe SVP for program governance, network technical group, emphasized that as more Filipinos shift to LTE-capable devices, Globe Telecom is ramping up network investments to maximize the available spectrum allocated to the company to further improve customer experience.
Last year alone, Globe deployed more than 1000 LTE sites on the 700 MHz frequency.
Aside from the 700 MHz frequency, Globe also acquired additional frequency allocation in the 2600 MHz band following acquisition of San Miguel’s telecommunication assets, enabling the country’s leading telecommunications provider to expand coverage and enhance capacities.
The company also rolled out close to 2,000 sites on the 2600 MHz and 1800 MHz bands.
Majority of the company’s LTE 700, LTE 2600 and L1800 sites were deployed in densely populated areas, mainly in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao where a high number of customers are on LTE-capable devices.
“We are already getting close to providing the entire Metro Manila with seamless LTE coverage amid customers’ growing requirement for bandwidth-intensive multi-media content.
As the need for bandwidth is likely to increase further moving forward, the aggressive use of 700 MHz and other spectrum allocation will enable us to stay ahead of the demand curve,” Agustin said.
Using the 2600 MHz, Globe also fired up around 170 massive MIMO sites. Massive MIMO technology enables a mobile network to multiply the capacity of a wireless connection without requiring more antennas.
The technology thus increases wireless throughput, accommodating more users at higher data rates with better reliability while consuming less power. Massive MIMO is also the fundamental radio access technology for 5G.
The 5G network targets to have higher speeds, lower latency and better capacity, enabling higher density of mobile broadband users and supports device-to-device connectivity and massive machine communications. 


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