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Customs seizes P10-M high-end cars in Subic

Saturday, 29 April 2017 00:00 Published in Nation

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) has seized three high-end used vehicles worth P10 million in Subic, Zambales province.
In a statement, the BoC said the vehicles – 1 used BMW 745 Sedan, 1 used BMW 745 Li Sedan and a Hyundai Equus JS350 Sedan – arrived at the Port of Subic on board M/V SITC Osaka 1636S from Korea in January.
The shipment was consigned to freight forwarder Sea Star Express Corp.
Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon had issued an alert order on the cargo upon the recommendation of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Intelligence Group (CIIS-IG), Port of Subic through its Office of the District Collector.
The vehicles were seized after its shippers were found to have violated a provision of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act in relation to Section 3 of Executive Order 156 prohibiting the importation of used motor vehicles.
The cars are now in the bureau’s custody for further examination and evaluation.   

Asean backs Duterte’s infrastructure program

Friday, 28 April 2017 00:00 Published in Business

Government officials said yesterday Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries are keen in partnering with the Philippines to build infrastructure projects in the country.
In a press conference of the Build Build Build Program on the sidelines of 30th Asean Summit and Related Meetings, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DoTr), and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said Asean neighbors and other Asian countries expressed interest in supporting Duterte administration’s infrastructure program.
DoTr Secretary Arthur Tugade cited Indonesia and Malaysia, saying  the duo were aggressive to partner with the country for transport projects.
On Sunday, the Davao-General Santos-Bitung, Indonesia Roll-On Roll-Off (RoRo) ferry service will be launched.
Tugade said there have been initial talks with his counterpart in Malaysia to replicate the RoRo service, linking Palawan to Sabah or other parts of Malaysia.
He also said Malaysia indicated interest to build a railway system connecting University of the Philippines in Quezon City and Quiapo in Manila.
“It tells you that our Asean neighbors are really keen and interested in the developments that are ongoing within the country,” he said.
“On top of this, our two major trading partners, which is China and Japan, are aggressively pushing on participation, not only on railways and roads, but also on airports,” he added.
The DoTr chief will also meet Thursday evening Russian delegation from public and private sectors to explore opportunities in the country.
“It shows a very keen and aggressive interest to do business in the Philippines and with the Filipino people,” said Tugade.
For the part of BCDA, its president and chief executive officer Vivencio Dizon said BCDA’s projects receive “tremendous interest” from Asean countries, particularly Singapore and Malaysia.
Dizon said Singapore and Malaysia were keen on urban development projects like the Clark Green City or now called as New Clark City.
“These two countries in the Asean are leading, not only in Asean but the world, in development of new cities,” he said noting the success of Singapore and Malaysia’s Putrajaya, where it moved in its entire government offices.
“We are very excited about this, because I think, we can learn a lot from our Asean partners, Asean neighbors in terms of how to really develop and plan new cities,” Dizon added.
“We can learn a lot from them and avoid the mistakes we have done in the past and avoid the situations, the once we have here now in Metro Manila,” the BCDA chief said.
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said partnership with the other Asean countries would help the department in transfer of technology and capacity building crucial for the country’s infrastructure program.
“We have a long-standing relationship with Asean countries, and we hope to improve that even further. Our most ambitious project will require transfer of technology, capacity building, and this I think, is consistent with the theme of these Asean summit, which is engaging the world,” said Villar.
“I think this infrastructure program, all of these things are symbol of engagement with the Asean, and a symbol of how we could use the Asean for the mutual benefit of all the member nations,” he said.                               

Palace business adviser pushes cut in CCT funds

Friday, 28 April 2017 00:00 Published in Business

The business sector is now studying to formally propose for the gradual cut of the funds allocated for the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program “maybe in a span of 10 years” and shift this as loans for small businesses, according to Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship Jose Concepcion.
In a briefing yesterday at the sidelines of the on-going 30th Asean Summit,Concepcion said providing funding to small businesses, which accounts for 97 percent of all registered businesses in the Philippines, would be a sure way to help lift people from poverty compared to the cash transfer (CCT) program.
”I’m not against the P80-billion (fund for the CCT) because that is what it has to be done today. Until we have a firm program on how you shift then it can happen. So we’re still working on that firm program,” he said.
The government has allocated some P78.2 billion this 2017 alone for the CCT program to help ensure that the poor are lifted from poverty since beneficiaries are required to send their kids to school and pregnant mothers are required to have regular maternity check-ups, among others.
Concepcion said the poor are lifted from poverty under the CCT but only for a time.
He said members of the present Cabinet know about the proposal and “they are thinking about it.”
“Some Secretaries feel that that should shift. If you were to talk to many of the economic managers, to them that has to shift down the road to help those who help themselves,” he said.
He said this change “should start within the Duterte administration.”
He said giving the MSMEs collateral-free or collateral-friendly loans is important because by “then you’re giving them a better chance.”
To date, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)’ share on domestic output is only about 36 percent despite the fact that the sector employs about two-third of the country’s labor force.
Concepcion said this proposal will increase the share of MSMEs on domestic output but he declined to give any figures.
“They have to scale up. Right now many of the micro (entrepreneurs) are what you call survival. We have to take them to sustainability and then we will see more microentrepreneurs to small then that is a big indication,” he said.
The Philippines’ CCT program has been cited by the World Bank (WB) as an effective way of lifting the poor from poverty.
Concepcion said he had nothing against the program but pointed out that “it is not something that you can continue to do forever.”
“Yes I know there are lots of poor people but why don’t we help the poor entrepreneur who is helping themselves so that they can employ more people,” he added.                                     

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