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Makati News : Sunday, January 20, 2019 -- 'SM Group bares latest dormitory project in Makati : Philippines Urban Living Solutions Inc., a leading dormitory developer majority owned by SM Investments Corp., recently broke ground on its latest rental housing project in Makati. PULS said in .... Full Story»

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SM Group bares latest dormitory project in Makati

By Jenniffer B. Austria

Philippines Urban Living Solutions Inc., a leading dormitory developer majority owned by SM Investments Corp., recently broke ground on its latest rental housing project in Makati.

PULS said in a statement MyTown Los Angeles, which will be the company’s largest building to date, is a seven-story dormitory that will house over 1,000 beds.

Set to rise along Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City, MyTown Los Angeles is positioned alongside the BGC-Ortigas Link Bridge set to be completed by the end of 2019.

“Location is key as we’ll bring much-needed MyTown co-living spaces to Uptown with this project. Moreover, the building is less than 15 minutes away from Makati CBD, 10 minutes from Ortigas, and other MyTown buildings are just a 2 to 5-minute walk from MyTown Los Angeles,” said PULS chief executive Mark Kooijman.

MyTown Los Angeles, which is expected to become a landmark development in the part of Bonifacio Global Ciy, is slated for completion by 2020.

With the launching of MyTown Los Angeles, the brand aims to expand its network and tap the Ortigas central business district.

“We’ve continued to innovate on our product, and that’ll really show at MyTown Los Angeles. This project brings location, an ecosystem for people to live, work and play, and modern facilities and amenities together while giving our tenants the familiar overall MyTown experience. This is one of our most exciting projects yet,” said PULS group director Jelmer Ikink.

PULSto date is the country’s leading owner, developer and manager of purpose-built young professional housing in the Philippines, with 16 dormitories.

Its buildings cater to the BGC and Makati market, serving over 10,000 young professionals, with a total number of 3,000 beds overall.

Each fully-fitted room is rented out at around P17,000 monthly. Two people sharing a room, thus, pay P8,500 each while four people sharing pay P4,800 each.

MyTown buildings also come with retail outlets, such as convenience stores, restaurants, coffee shops, payment centers, laundromats and pharmacies.

SM Investments Corp. of the late tycoon Henry Sy Sr. in 2016 invested in Mytown when it acquired 61 percent stake in the company.

Established in 2012, PULS specializes in the development of rental housing communities under the MyTown brand at walking distance from the central business districts of Metro Manila, where young professionals can live, play and walk to work.

'Makati subway project shows opportunity in Build Build Build'

By Patrick Cooke (Oxford Business Group, /ABS-CBN News)

The Makati subway project being developed by a private consortium should inspire more firms to participate in the multi-trillion peso 'Build Build Build' program of the government, the subway's consortium lead said.

Antonio Tiu, president of Philippine Infradev Holdings Inc., said the unsolicited mega project demonstrated that numerous avenues are open to local and foreign firms looking to capitalize on the government’s determination to address the national infrastructure deficit. Tiu, whose group heads the Makati subway consortium, said this on the OBG Talk segment of Early Edition.

“I believe in every crisis there's an opportunity, and in the Philippines at the moment we are almost in a chaotic transport situation,” Tiu said.

To date, the Duterte administration has shown a preference for using public funds and official development assistance (ODA) to finance big ticket projects under its flagship 'Build Build Build' infrastructure initiative. However, the Makati subway illustrates the key role unsolicited proposals and the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) model can play in delivering major projects, Tiu suggested.

“The private sector can drive things with more flexibility and more accountability and at a faster speed,” Tiu said.

The Tiu-led consortium pitched its proposal for the project directly to the Makati City government.

“My own experience is that talking to a local government is a lot faster than talking to a lot of national agencies. I think directly working with an LGU (local government unit) may be a faster route, and then you evolve to become a national player,” he said, adding that he saw no logistical or regulatory difficulties in integrating the Makati subway project with other transit projects overseen by the national government.

“I would like to really stress that this [national] government is open to foreign investment and our project. We are planning it in a way that it will link directly with the national transport network,” he added.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the USD3.7-billion project was held in December and the Makati City government expects it to be fully functional by 2023.

The 10-station train system spans 10 kilometers with stops in key points around Makati, the business hub of the capital. The system's initial 12 coaches will serve 27,000 passengers per hour, per direction and as many as 40,000 during peak hours.

Meralco unit starts electric jeep service from Makati

By Darwin G. Amojelar

eSakay Inc., a unit of Manila Electric Co., on Friday launched an electric jeep service plying between Makati City and Mandaluyong City.

“Meralco has long been an advocate for the wider use of electric vehicles in the country with the EV shuttling service and electric bike sharing program at the Meralco Center in Orgtigas. It soon became clear to us that electric vehicles were indeed a viable transport solution,” eSakay chairman and Meralco senior vice president Alfredo Panlilio said Friday.

“That’s when we partnered with private companies, government institutions and now, public transport operators who expressed keen interest in utilizing EVs for their transport needs,” he added.

Esakay, an end-to-end electric transport solutions provider, helps address the country’s snowballing transportation concerns and answers the Department of Transportation’s gradual but inevitable shift in its massively ambitious 2017 Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

The company has a provisional authority to operate 15 eJeeps from the Buendia MRT Station-Mandaluyong City Hall via Jupier St. developmental route.

“Beyond supporting transport operators by supplying ePUVs and building charging stations, we realized that we could create a greater impact by being one with them. From this, was born our project to operate an electric jeepney route connecting Mandaluyong to the Makati CBD,” eSakay president and chief executive Raymond Ravelo said.

“This project is just one of many steps in our efforts to spur EV adoption, as we work towards a common goal of nation-building, sustainable growth and inclusive development. With this route, we, at eSakay, hope to prove the viability of electric vehicles and inspire other operators to follow suit,” he added.

The modern eJeeps from eSakay are 100 percent electric and emission free, compliant with PUV innovations for the convenience and safety of the riding public and equipped with side entrances, onboard Wifi and an automated fare collection system.

The Department of Transportation is in the process of replacing all public utility vehicles aged 15 years or more with modern e-jeepney under the PUVMP.

The modern PUVs are designed to be environment-friendly, safe, secure and convenient with due consideration to persons with disabilities.

Makati expands Project FREE

By Joel E. Zurbano

The Makati City government under the administration of Mayor Abigail Binay is expanding its Project FREE (Free Relevant Excellent Education) to increase benefits to more than 90,000 public school students in the city.

Project FREE covers the city´s public schools from preschool to senior high, including enrollees in the Special Education (SpEd) curriculum and Alternative Learning System (ALS).

The program, which has been providing free school supplies and school uniforms to students since 1995, has been expanded and now includes rubber shoes dubbed “Air Binay” by netizens, raincoats and rain boots, anti-dengue kits, and hygiene kits.

Last year, the city started to include ALS learners in its social development facilities as beneficiaries of Project FREE. A total of 43 boys in the Makati Youth Home and 41 girls in the Makati Social Development Center received free supplies, uniforms and shoes from the city.

In her recent State of the City Address (SOCA), Binay announced that the second edition of “Air Binay” is already up for distribution this January to some 49,873 kinder to grade 6 students and SpEd learners, and 40,171 students from grades 7 to 12.

Innovative programs have also been launched in 2018 in line with Mayor Binay´s vision of “globally competitive Makatizens” emerging from the city’s public education system. These include free tutorials in mathematics, work immersion programs for senior high school students and SpEd learners, and free educational trips, among others.

Last September, the city launched Project MILES (Mathematics Intensive Learning Enhancement for Students) aimed at improving the mathematical proficiency of public schoolchildren in the city. It uses worksheets and “KooBits,” a highly personalized Singaporean mathematics software.

With an initial budget of P12.5 million, the project currently provides two programs: 180 MILES offering regular lessons for students struggling in mathematics and 360 MILES with advanced lessons for students who are proficient in the subject.

Two teaching methodologies are being used in Project MILES. One is the worksheet-based approach where students are given worksheets to answer during their study sessions, while the e-learning approach uses KooBits, which provides Mathematics instructions through a series of computer-based interactive lessons.

Also in 2018, the city launched the Senior High School Work Immersion Program, in which senior high school students are deployed to various offices and project sites of the city government, and are provided with training related to their course. Some 410 students from public and private senior high schools in the city have participated in the program since it commenced last January.

The city government also launched SPEED for SpED, a training program for SpEd learners aimed at increasing their productivity and employability. Its first batch of beneficiaries composed of 150 SpEd learners received transportation and meal allowances while attending skills training in Makati’s public senior high laboratories, and during work immersion proper with industry partners and City Hall.

Meanwhile, the city has also allocated P100 million for free educational trips of public schoolchildren in Makati under the Talent Optimization Programs for Students aimed at stimulating their thirst for learning during the early years of their education.

Last November, a total of 3,175 students from various elementary schools went on their free educational trip, while 3,056 elementary students took their turn last December. They visited Kidzania, Manila Ocean Park, and Mind Museum. Historical places will also form part of future educational trips to help students appreciate cultural heritage.

In 2017, through the initiative of Mayor Binay, SpEd learners started receiving educational assistance from the city. All 780 SpEd learners currently enrolled in Makati public school each received P5,000-educational assistance from the city in 2018.

Transforming a Makati landmark

By Tessa Prieto-Valdes (Columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Makati Cinema Square, a uniquely specialized retail mall in Makati City, has been around since the early ’80s. Opening its doors exactly 40 years ago, MCS saw the growth of retail shopping and the decline of movie theater viewers.

From its glory days of massive theaters and local branded retail stores, MCS had transformed into a thrift and hobby mall, which had the only bowling lanes in Makati then.

The diverse selection of merchandise and services offered in MCS is quite exceptional—from an archery range, shooting gallery, affordable toy stores, Feng Shui and crystals store, mobile phone stores and ukay-ukay shops to name a few.

Keeping its grassroots feel of owner-driven stores, local restaurants, and thrift bargain buys, MCS has been going through a major facelift and retrofitting since last year.

The much needed massive upgrade included newer toilets, improved airconditioning system, new ceiling design, more retail space and activity center, elevators and PWD access ramps to adhere to modern code requirements, as well as a new exterior façade.

Among the biggest improvements were those within the mall. Arch. Blanca Senador and I designed new floor and ceiling treatments with wood storefront accents to keep its neighborhood mall peg. The real challenge was to keep the diversity of the individually owned stores while creating a unified mall design. 110CI Construction Inc. is the company in charge of executing this design challenge.

Apart from the retail stores, there are several art galleries and restaurants like Emers, which has been serving Chinese food since the ’80s. The lower ground floor and basement have treasures for anyone who delights in basic everyday treats.

Envisioning the design of the exterior cladding, Arch. Lenny Poco and his son Arch. Leandro Poco created an ’80s version of sci-fi future like “Tron” or “Star Wars” using dramatic colors of gray, blue and red. Duretta Ventures Inc. did the exterior cladding where the new logo of MCS is brightly displayed.

Adworks Graphics designed the new logo and name of this hip mall. MCS is now Makati Central Square and now has more restaurants in its adjacent section called MCS Fernando.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes is the new MCS Fernando section of the mall across the street from Little Tokyo.

It will feature old favorites like Samgyupsalamat (Korean BBQ) and Akitaya (Japanese restaurant from Mile Long) as well as Wabisabi (from The Collective serving vegetarian ramen). Old staples like JT’s Manukan for all night drinking and chicken, along with 7-11, will cater to clients even late into the night. New concepts such as Yakiniku and Izakaya will soon open, along with Dakuan, a steakhouse, and a Japanese concept coffee shop. All these are expected to breathe new new life to the area and complement the Japanese theme along with Little Tokyo.

An Adobe Photoshop training center called Microcadd and more retail stores will round up the upper ground floor tenants.

Makati Central Square, as it is now known, is definitely back in the radar as the newest hot spot to the upcoming rebirth of Makati along with Poblacion.

Visit MCS along Chino Roces Ave. and Amorsolo St. and see what surprises lie in store from this oldie but goodie.

Filipino NGO brings solar tech on int'l peace cruise

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora (PNA)

MANILA-- What started as a project to light up the power-deprived communities in the Philippines with homemade solar-lit lamps, Liter of Light's goal has turned into a Filipino-led "global impact" movement as the Makati-based group sets out on an international cruise to bring its innovation abroad.

"Our vision is to create a documentary and impact tour where you can honestly say that the Philippines was able to make a global impact," said Illac Diaz, executive director of Liter of Light, a non-government organization that visits remote communities to teach residents how to source and produce solar lights with recyclable and cheap materials.

For 100 days, the group will visit countries in the Asia Pacific, Africa, and South America in partnership with Japanese organization Peace Boat, the only cruise line backed by the United Nations in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Diaz said the cruise, dubbed as the Voyage of Light, is the first Filipino global campaign under the SDG, with the Liter of Light focusing on renewable energy.

It is also the first time an action partner is onboard the Peace Boat for a whole three-month long advocacy trip.

"This is the first time that they partnered with an NGO to do a global impact tour. We are the only action partner (onboard) so we will work with the people on the ship to build lights then transfer the technology to people on the ground," he said.

Two of the group's products are the "house lamp," made with an 8-watt solar panel and the "bottle light" made from recycled 1.5 bottle filled with water and an adequate amount of bleach to prevent growth of algae.

The bottle of light, which functions as a deck prism, replaces the common 60-watt incandescent bulb and can light up a room up to 50 square meters during daytime.

'Sharing ideas'

The voyage, which kicked off in Yokohama, Japan on December 26, will be docking in Madagascar, South Africa, Brazil, and Patagonia.

Diaz, who was invited to a press conference at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said he flew back to the Philippines to rally support for the Voyage of Light's inaugural journey.

"This is our first leg that's why we are asking for support to this Filipino (initiative). As I've said we are known with boxing, we're known in entertainment, but we really want to show that we are also giving back to the world," he said.

"It's important for the world to see that the Philippines have technology and ideas that impact the world," Diaz added.

DFA Undersecretary Ernesto Abella, meanwhile, expressed optimism this will become a "global Filipino project."

Noveleta-Makati P2P bus service opens to commuters

By Dennis Abrina (PNA)

NOVELETA, Cavite -- After a month-long delay, the Noveleta-Makati Point-to-Point (P2P) bus service went on its maiden trip Tuesday with embarkation areas in this town going to destination points at the Makati Business District.

In an interview with Philippine News Agency (PNA), Mayor Dino Reyes Chua said the bus operator San Agustin Transport Service Corp. started operating at 6 a.m. Tuesday with a fleet of seven Golden Dragon buses, proceeding from their pick-up terminals in Puregold Noveleta and All Home, Kawit, going to the drop-off point in Trasierra in Makati City.

“This P2P will not only benefit people from Noveleta, but also the nearby towns of Rosario, Kawit, Cavite City, and Tanza,” Chua said.

The new transport service has hourly trips starting 6 a.m., with its last trip leaving at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, vice versa trips from Trasierra to Noveleta starts at 8 a.m. and the last trip taking to the road at 9 p.m.

The P2P transport service charges passengers a flat-rate of PHP120.

"Nagpapasalamat po ako sa Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Bureau (LTFRB) na nabigyan ng aksyon ang aming hiling (We thank the DOTr and LTFRB for acting on our request)," Chua added.

The P2P transport service has scheduled a 15-minute boarding time and its estimated arrival at destination point is about 30 minutes per trip.

The buses will traverse Cavitex to NAIA Expressway to Skyway to Trasierra, Makati and vice versa.

Senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) are entitled to a 20 percent discount and have standard designated seats in the front bus seats, it was explained.

MMDA clears illegally parked vehicles from Traslacion route

By Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas (/BM, GMA News)

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has started clearing the streets that will be part of the route of the procession of the Black Nazarene during this year's Traslacion.

According to a report by Steve Dailisan on GMA's "24 Oras Weekend," the MMDA towed 35 vehicles on Palanca Street in Manila on Sunday morning. Street vendors were also urged to move along.

In the report, MMDA spokesperson Celina Pialogo said that although the clearing operations were partly due to the Traslacion on Tuesday, the MMDA regularly conducts these operations to ease traffic.

"Hindi tayo puwedeng magsagawa rin ng magiging intense 'yung clearing natin kung kailan lang Traslacion," she said.

"Kahit naman talaga nung hindi pa papalapit ang Traslacion, nagki-clearing operations na tayo kasi kadalasan talaga ng mga dadaanan din ay Mabuhay lanes," she added.

In the same report, Pialogo said the MMDA will deploy as many as 1,300 employees during the Traslacion.

"Four hundred doon, naka-deploy para tulungan ang Manila Police District for crowd control sa Andas," she said.

The streets forming the route will be closed to traffic beginning midnight Tuesday, with the procession scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. Starting Monday, large trucks will also not be allowed on Roxas Boulevard.

MMDA all geared up for Black Nazarene procession

By Jimmiley E. Guzman (MMDA/PIA-NCR)

MAKATI, Jan. 7 (PIA)--The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is all set to provide traffic and emergency assistance during the annual procession of the Black Nazarene which is expected to draw millions of participants.

In a statement, MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said 350 personnel will be deployed as early as January 6 for the procession of Black Nazarene replicas on January 7 and traditional “Pahalik” or kissing of the image at the Quirino Grandstand starting January 8.

“On the main event, 850 personnel will be positioned at the vicinity of the Grandstand, Quiapo Church, and along the route of "Andas" for the safety of the millions of devotees expected to join the annual Traslacion on January 9,” Lim said.

The MMDA contingent will come from different units identified to help the local government unit of Manila in maintaining peace and order during the festivity:

The Western Traffic Enforcement Division shall be in-charge of managing traffic in the designated route of the procession and alternative route for motorists while the Road Safety Unit is tasked to install traffic cones and barriers at Luneta and processional route.

The Sidewalk Clearing Group will also provide crowd control personnel during the “Pahalik.”

The Metro Parkway Clearing Group is tasked to manage road clearing of any form of obstruction particularly garbage at the Luneta Parade Ground and roads along the 5.9 kilometer procession route.

“Street sweepers will immediately clear roads of all types of clutter,” said Lim.

Emergency and medical assistance shall be rendered by the Road Emergency Group and Public Safety Division while monitoring and communication will be handled by the Metrobase.

“Emergency teams will be deployed at the Grandstand and along the route of the procession to assist those who would be injured,” said Lim.

Ferry boats of the Pasig River Ferry Service will also be placed on standby at Jones Bridge in Manila City.

Traffic mobile patrols, ambulances, road emergency vehicles, mobile surveillance and communication units and other necessary equipment and vehicles will also be dispatched.

Lim also advised motorists and the commuting public to take note of the roads to be temporarily closed for the grand procession which will start at the Quirino Grandstand and end in Quiapo Church.

The route of the Grand Procession of the Black Nazarene will be from the Quirino Grandstand to Katigbak Drive thru P. Burgos, left Taft Ave. thru Jones Bridge, right to Dasmarinas St., right to Plaza Sta. Cruz St; left Carlos Palanca st. under Quezon Bridge, left Quezon Blvd., right Arlegui St., right Fraternal St., right Vergara St., left Duque de Alba St., left Castillejos St., left Farnecio St., right Arlegui St., left Nepomuceno St. (counterflow), left Aguila St., right Carcer St., right Hidalgo thru Plaza del Carmen, left Bilibid Viejo thru Puyat, left Guzman St., right Hidalgo St., left Baustista (Barbosa) St., right Globo de Oro thru under Quezon Bridge, right Palanca St., right Villalobos thru Plaza Miranda to Quiapo Church.

Meanwhile, the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC), also chaired by Lim, has also asked the local government units of Metro Manila to standby manpower and resources for the religious festivity.

The Manila City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is taking the lead on the first emergency response through coordination and collaboration with the MMDRRMC.

“We expect around 13 to 15 million participants to join the procession since weather is predicted to be good that day,” said MMDRRMC Vice Chairman Romulo Cabantac Jr. who led a coordination meeting held yesterday.

Makati exceeds 2018 revenue goal as of November

By Ted Cordero (/KG, GMA News)

The city government of Makati has exceeded its revenue goal for 2018 as early as end-November.

“We have already exceeded our full-year revenue target last November. Our revenues have mostly come from business and real property taxes, and we are heartened by the strong support consistently shown by our taxpayers,” Makati City Mayor Abigail "Abby" Binay said in a statement issued on Friday.

Data from the city's treasurer showed Makati collected P16,864,458,483.31 in revenues from January to November, 8 percent higher than its full-year 2018 goal.

Business tax remained the top contributor to the city’s coffers, with almost P9.1 billion collected, followed by real property tax with P5.5 billion.

Other local revenue sources include fees and charges with P750.9 million and economic enterprises with P246.9 million.

New business registrants as of the second week of December reached 4,770, with combined capital investment amounting to over P30 billion, the Makati City local government unit said.

Business permit renewals totaled 33,978 in the same period, it added.

"Under the administration of Mayor Abby, the city government has institutionalized the 'Business One-Stop Shop' (BOSS) in line with the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Service Delivery Act of 2018 (RA 11032)," the Makati City government said.

Makati has unseated Quezon City as the country’s richest local government unit, posting total assets worth P196.5 billion, and also became the first LGU to breach the P100-billion mark.

Rookie cops arrest 5 Makati bus pickpockets

By Jel Santos

Five suspected pickpockets who allegedly prey on bus passengers were apprehended by four rookie policemen in Makati City on Thursday night.

Chief Insp Gideon Ines Jr., Makati police assistant chief of police for administration (ACOPA), identified the suspects as Romero Flores, 31; Ramil Bitoy, 34; John Paul Perez, 39; Richie Reyes, 27; and Roel “Kokoy” Rustan, 48, the alleged leader of their group.

The arresting officers were PO1 Eric Martinez; PO1 Norie Galit; PO1 Joven Pindog; and PO1 Gemar Garcia.

Around 10 p.m., the five suspects victimized nine passengers of a bus travelling along EDSA-Buendia.

Two victims, identified as Allen Karl Casin, 20, and Manuel Abediano, 45, reported the incident at the four cops stationed along Buendia.

The policemen stopped the bus and apprehended the five suspects that passengers identified as pickpockets.

Ines said Rustan was arrested in November last year for pickpocketing and was only out on bail.

“They always get away with this because it is a bailable offense. In most cases, they get free because complainants do not attend hearings that leads to dismissal of the cases files against them,” he told the Manila Bulletin.

“This time, nine were victimized by them, but only two people want to pursue a case against them.”

Ines said if people keep on tolerating such abuse, pickpockets will continue their operations.

The Makati police ACOPA head said that Rustan is a veteran pickpocket, saying he has been doing such for years.

“We learned that their group is being protected by former cops. We are now probing this,” he said.

Seized from them were nine cellular phones they reportedly took from the passengers.

Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge closed to motorists starting Jan. 12

By Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

MANILA -- The Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge connecting the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong will be closed starting Saturday (Jan. 12) to pave the way for widening works.

In its advisory Friday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) would demolish and reconstruct the bridge and widen it to four from two lanes.

“The DPWH timeline said that the project will be completed in 2021,” according to the MMDA advisory.

The DPWH has earlier postponed the closure of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, which was originally set in September last year, due to its impact on traffic flow during the holiday season.

Based on MMDA's earlier estimates, around 100,000 vehicles traveling between Makati and Mandaluyong would be diverted to the Guadalupe Bridge.

The reconstruction of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge is one of the two bridge projects on the Pasig River -- the other being the Binondo-Intramuros span in Manila -- that would be funded by China based on development assistance agreements with the Duterte administration.

Makati extending hours for biz listup

By Joel E. Zurbano

Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay has ordered the city’s Business Permits and Licensing Office and other frontline offices to extend working hours and open on weekends to accommodate applications for renewal of business permits and tax payments in time for the Jan. 20 deadline.

“We owe it to our taxpayers who have contributed significantly to the city’s continued financial stability and growth,” Binay said.

Business and License office chief Maribert Pagente said their offices will be open to serve taxpayers beyond office hours on weekdays, and also on weekends until Jan. 20, at the ground floor lobby of Makati City Hall Building II.

On Jan. 3 and 4, the offices will be open until 7:30 pm. The rest of the schedule will be as follows: Jan. 5 and 6 (Saturday and Sunday), 8am to 5pm; Jan. 7 to 11 (Monday to Friday), 8am to 10pm; Jan. 12 and 13 (Saturday and Sunday), 8am to 8pm; Jan. 14 to 18 (Monday to Friday), 8am to 10pm; and Jan. 19 and 20 (Saturday and Sunday), 8am to 10pm.

Pagente urged business owners to beat the deadline and avoid the penalties on late payments, which include a 25 percent surcharge and a two percent penalty per month of delay until the amount due is fully settled.

Meanwhile, the Real Property Tax (RPT) Division has announced that satellite payment centers for real property taxes are scheduled to accept payments in 31 barangays, from 9am to 4pm, as follows: Jan. 3 and 4 (Bel-Air); Jan. 3 (Urdaneta); Jan. 4 and 7 (Dasmariñas); Jan. 7 (Forbes Park); Jan. 8 and 9 (San Lorenzo, Magallanes); Jan. 10 (Bangkal, Pio del Pilar, San Isidro, Palanan, and San Antonio); Jan. 11 (La Paz, Sta. Cruz, Singkamas, Tejeros, and Kasilwan); Jan. 14 (Carmona, Olympia, Valenzuela, Poblacion, and Guadalupe Viejo); Jan. 15 (Guadalupe Nuevo, Pinagkaisahan, Pitogo, Cembo, and South Cembo); and Jan. 16 (West Rembo, East Rembo, Comembo, Pembo, and Rizal). The RPT office at the second floor, City Hall main building will also extend work hours, but will accept payments only until 7:30pm on weekdays and until 4pm on weekends, to allow time for closing and balancing the day’s collections.

From Jan.3 to 4, the office will be open after regular hours from 5:30pm to 9:30pm; Jan. 5 and 6 (weekend), from 8am to 5pm; Jan. 7 to 11, 5:30pm to 10:30pm; Jan. 12 and 13 (weekend), 8am to 5pm; Jan. 14 to 18, 5:30pm to 10:30pm; and Jan. 19 and 20 (weekend), 8am to 5pm.

Under the Makati Revenue Code, discounts are given to non-delinquent taxpayers, as follows: 10 percent for full year RPT payments made until Jan. 20, and five percent discount for prompt quarterly payments (Quarter 1 until Jan. 20; Quarter 2 until April 20; Quarter 3 until July 20; and Quarter 4 until Oct. 20).

Annual RPT payments made after March will incur an eight percent penalty on the first quarter, and two percent on every succeeding month. For late quarterly RPT payments (made after the last day of the quarter, i.e., March 31, June 30, Sept. 30, Dec. 31), an eight percent penalty will be imposed for that quarter, and two percent on every succeeding month.

For miscellaneous fees and taxes, the deadline for professional tax payments is on Jan. 31, while the deadline for payments on Community Tax, both corporate and individual, is on Feb. 28.

SSS to sell condo units in Makati, Pasig

By Ben O. de Vera (Reporter, Inquirer Business /muf)

MANILA, Philippines — To raise additional revenues, the Social Security System (SSS) will sell nine condominium units in the cities of Makati and Pasig worth a total of P79.5 million.

In an invitation to bid, the state-run pension fund said the public bidding on Feb. 15 will involve eight units at Pryce Center Condominium in Makati City, with a total minimum bid price of P51.6 million.

The prices per unit at the Makati property range between P4.8 million for the two 73.3-square meter (sqm) units and P7.9 million for the biggest, 123.9-sqm unit.

The SSS will also sell one condominium unit at Renaissance Tower 1000 in Pasig City, with an area of 384.7 sqm.

The Pasig property has a minimum bid price of P27.9 million.

All of the nine condominium units the SSS will have parking slots, the SSS said.

The terms of reference (TOR) for the bidding were already available since Dec. 28 at the office of the SSS’s Acquired Assets Disposal Committee (AADC) Secretariat in Quezon City, with a pre-bid conference scheduled on Jan. 29.

“Bidding is open to individuals/sole proprietorship, partnerships, corporations and joint ventures authorized by law to acquire properties in the Philippines,” the SSS said.

Last year, SSS president and chief executive Emmanuel F. Dooc said the pension fund targets to generate P50 billion from investment activities, which include disposition of idle assets.

Higher investment income, coupled with the long-delayed contribution rate hike, were expected to raise revenues to augment ballooning disbursements for pension benefits.

The SSS’s net income fell 38 percent year-on-year to P8.6 billion as of end-September 2018 as the increase in its revenues was outpaced by the faster jump of expenses due to higher pension payouts.

Its fund life was already slashed by 10 years to 2032 from 2042 previously when the additional P1,000 a month were granted to pensioners since 2017.

Implementing the second tranche of pension hike this year, as earlier promised by President Duterte, would further slash the fund life to only until 2026—which means that the SSS will no longer have funds to disburse benefits in seven years’ time, unless its fund is replenished.

Under the current SSS charter, the President can increase the contribution rate, but Mr. Duterte has not done so despite dwindling funds.

As such, the SSS was banking on Congress’ approval of the proposed amendments to its charter, which included granting the Social Security Commission power to hike contribution rates.

Spanish national nabbed for smashing car, punching security guard in Makati

By Christia Marie Ramos (Reporter, INQUIRER.net /jpv)

MANILA, Philippines — A Spanish national was arrested for damaging a car and assaulting a security guard in a condominium parking lot in Makati City early Tuesday.

The Makati City Police Station identified the suspect as Jairo Ruiz Ibanez, a resident of Purok 5 General Luna, Siargao, Surigao del Norte.

Based on initial investigation, Ibanez was seen smashing his motorcycle helmet and breaking the car window of Ed Morales, a tenant of the Makati Prime Tower Suites, at the 2nd-floor parking lot of the building.

According to the police report, the security guard of the building, Allaniel Mayangao, intervened and tried to calm the suspect. However, Ibanez allegedly punched Mayangao and threw a hollow block at his back.

This prompted Mayangao and his colleagues to call the village-based law enforcers, or the Bantay Bayan of Barangay Poblacion, for assistance.

Upon the arrival of the Bantay Bayan at the location of the incident, Ibanez allegedly resisted arrest but was later subdued and brought to the Makati CPS.

Officials of Barangay Poblacion referred the suspect and the complainants–Morales and Mayangao–to the police station for possible filing of malicious mischief, alarm and scandal, assault and resisting arrest charges.

The case was then referred to the station’s Criminal Investigation Department for proper disposition, the police noted.

MMDA to impose higher fines for illegal parking starting January

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

MAKATI, Dec. 28 (PIA)—The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will impose higher penalties for illegal parking and yellow lane violations effective January next year.

In a press briefing held Wednesday, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said, drivers in Metro Manila have few more days to improve their habit of parking just anywhere or face increased penalty for illegal parking starting January 7.

Garcia said penalty for illegal parking for attended vehicles was raised to P1,000 from P200 currently; fine for illegal parking for unattended vehicles was increased to P2,000 from P500 currently; fine for obstructing the road was increased to P1,000 from P150 currently.

He also said that fine for public utility buses caught violating the 'yellow lane rule'—meaning leaving their designated lanes along major thoroughfare was increased to P1,000 from the current P500.

The penalty increase was based on regulations signed by the Metro Manila Council (MMC), the governing and policy-making body of the MMDA, recently.

“We are still fixing our ticketing collection system for traffic violations so we decided to move the implementation,” said Garcia.

Once implemented, Garcia warned vehicle owners that they can be fined for illegal parking plus obstruction, twice a day for the same violations.

He also reminded motorists who park their vehicles in front their houses that they do not own the road.

“Vehicle owners thought that they own the road in front of their houses. They have benefited long enough. It’s time for motorists and the government to utilize the thoroughfare,” Garcia said.

Garcia reiterated that motorists are prohibited from parking their vehicles on all national highways, including Mabuhay lanes.

“This directive covers all public roads except in subdivisions and roads covered by existing parking ordinances,” said Garcia.

Makati eats: Rockwell puts high-end spin to the food hall concept with The Grid

By Jeeves de Veyra

MANILA -- Powering up the foodie scene at Rockwell's Powerplant Mall, The Grid is more than just a high-end food hall.

It looks as if it's patterned after the hawker centers of Singapore where each stall has a limited number, but well-done, entrées. However, the clean white and woody lines of The Grid fits perfectly into the mall’s lavish new wing.

Credit has to be given to the Tasteless Restaurant Group for a well-curated selection of locators. The Grid has something for different palettes and different generations of guests. The food at each store is vastly different.

While the group has a number of its own concepts in The Grid, they happily share the spotlight with other established names in the restaurant industry.

Here’s a taste of what to expect at The Grid :

Upon entering the Grid, you’ll find Happy Barrels, a retail shop with a curated selection of wines, cheeses and Jamon. Wines can be opened inside the Grid to pair with food from the Grid’s purveyors. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
Bucky’s, Poblacion's kid-friendly comfort-food favorite, serves ziti, twister fries, soft-serve ice cream and its trademark Buckys, very dense brownie-like cakes that come in different varieties. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
Flower Boy's curries, pad Thai, pork chop rice, and blue crab omelet bloom with Thai spices and flavors. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
True to its name, Tsuke-Men has one of the best versions of the dipping noodle in Manila. The broth has notes of mackerel with thick rich tonkotsu to dip the thick chewy noodles into. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
In Le Chon, chef Happy Ongpauco-Tiu uses French techniques to create lechon manok, lechon porchetta, and lechon Angus beef belly. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
In Burgers and Bits, The Bistro Group’s executive chef Josh Boutwood serves his imaginative take on gourmet burgers, tater tots, and fried chicken. The Savage Signature Burger puts the patty in the spotlight with just BBQ spiced bacon, lettuce, tomato and ted onion. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
Tapas, Pintxos, Sangria, and special weekend paella are what’s on the menu of Spanish favorite Rambla. Croquetas de Jamon, Gambas, Pulpo, and Chorizo are just some of the savory bites you can find here. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
Making its way from BF Homes down south, Bruce Ricketts’ La Chinesca is The Grid’s Mexican cantina serving flavor-packed tacos, tostadas, and handmade tortillas. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
One of the most popular stalls at the Weekend Salcedo Market, Bun Appetit and its trademark lobster rolls make their way to The Grid. Prepare to wait as the lines to Bun Appetit can get rather long. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
Get your caffeine fix with a shot of the Dark Matter Blend of the Edsa Beverage Company. If Americanos, lattes, mochas, flat whites and cappuccinos are not your fancy, they also have juices and cocktails to quench your thirst. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra
Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla whip up killer desserts at Workshop. Not to be missed are their 17-layer cakes and Basque Burnt Cheesecake. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra

Christmas baby: Cops help mother give birth on Makati street

By Gabriel Pabico Lalu (Reporter, INQUIRER.net /atm)

MANILA, Philippines — Officers from the Makati City Police Station assisted a mother who unexpectedly delivered her baby on P. Burgos Street in Barangay Poblacion in Makati on afternoon Christmas Day.

Members of the Tourist Police — PO1 Evangeline Evardo, PO1 Fatima Manalo, and PO1 Marygrace Lanaja — assigned on Burgos Street were called after a woman identified only as Divine, 22, from Mandaluyong City, went into labor at around 3:00 p.m.

The three police officers assisted the mother in giving birth and called for the Makati Rescue Team to check on the condition both mother and child.

Evardo was the officer who caught the baby boy’s head.

Members of the Makati Rescue Team arrived and brought the woman and her baby to the Ospital ng Makati.

Both were in stable condition.

Police nab 17 drug offenders in Makati bust

By NEIL JAYSON SERVALLOS

A CHASE between police and a drug operation target who tried to evade arrest led authorities to a drug den where 11 more people were caught in the middle of a drug sniffing session in Makati, the city police chief said on Saturday.

Senior Supt. Rogelio Simon said the city’s Station Drug Enforcement Unit was able to arrest six suspects who were the primary targets of the unit’s buy bust operation in Barangay Pio del Pilar last Friday night.

One of the targets fled and went inside a Barocan Compound in Barangay Pio del Pilar where he was followed by police. Upon subduing the target, police were also able to bust 11 people in the middle of a drug session.

Eighteen sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, drug paraphernalia and drug money were seized.

The suspects have been subjected to medical inquest and are under the custody of the SDEU for further investigation.

Simon said they would file charges against the suspects for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 before the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office.

Makati court declares PT&T officially out of corporate rehab

By TED CORDERO (/VDS,GMA News)

A Makati court has denied the appeals of creditors to leave Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (PT&T) in a court-assisted corporate rehabilitation.

In a regulatory filing by PT&T legal counsel Kenneth Joey Maceren on Friday, the company said it received an order on December 21 from Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 66 denying the opposition and motions for reconsideration filed by its creditors on the court’s August 6 order, which allowed PT&T to exit from rehabilitation subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions.

The court confirmed that the company substantially complied with the conditions set under the August 6 decision.

“In view of the ... substantial compliance, the Rehabilitation Court declared that PT&T is now out of rehabilitation and its exit is no longer conditional,” the company said.

In a separate statement, PT&T said its total liabilities have gone down significantly to P1.5 billion as of October this year, the majority of its debt converted into preferred shares.

Under a court-approved 14-year rehabilitation plan, PT&T would settle P8.8 billion of debts by paying creditors with redeemable serial preferred shares of the company. The rehabilitation plan was approved in 2011.

“We have been waiting for this and it is in line with our growth aspirations and vision of turning PT&T into a digital services provider,” PT&T president and CEO James Velasquez said.

PT&T now has the financial muscle to support the company’s existing operations as well as its multi-billion peso capital expenditure to roll-out infrastructure over five years to compete aggressively in the telecommunications industry.

The company’s paid-up capital was also raised to P10.9 billion from P2 billion.

Its assets reached P837.60 million as of October this year, higher compared with P759.46 million in 2017.

PT&T is among the contenders who joined the third telco bid but was eventually disqualified for not having a certificate of technical capability.

In November, the National Telecommunications Commission officially declared Mislatel Consortium as the country’s new major player in the telecom industry.

Mislatel Consortium is composed of Udenna Corporation and its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., franchise holder Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co., and foreign partner China Telecommunications Corp. Both Udenna and Chelsea Logistics are controlled by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy.

“We want to assure the public and the government that we have the financial capability to support our bid to become the new major player and our existing operations,” Velasquez said.

"We were able to cut our liabilities significantly and we posted a profit this fiscal year. What is also relevant to point out is that PT&T met all the financial qualification requirements for the New Major Player bid. The new management promises to sustain our growth trajectory,” he added.

New illegal recruitment, human trafficking raps vs. Makati-based recruitment agency

By Mike Navallo (ABS-CBN News)

MANILA - An alleged victim of illegal recruitment and human trafficking filed a complaint against a Makati-based recruitment agency at the Department of Justice on Wednesday morning.

Twenty-nine-year-old “Amelie,” not her real name, accused Joseline International Manpower Corporation (JIMC), its president Joseline Bañoza and employee Flor Bongcawel of violating the Migrant Workers Act and the Trafficking in Persons Act when they allegedly promised her employment in other countries.

This is the same agency that was subjected to a raid and then sued by the National Bureau of Investigation in November.

Amelie said she was recruited in Zamboanga City in October this year to work as a household service worker in Oman.

With 15 other applicants, they boarded a ship bound for Manila and stayed at a house in Kaunlaran Village in Caloocan City, where, she said, they were subjected to strict security.

In her complaint, she alleged that almost all of their movements were monitored and they were not allowed to leave the house without a companion.

“Sobrang strict. Tapos kapag lumalabas sila, kinukuha mga cellphone namin, baka tatakas kami,” she told reporters before the filing of her complaint Wednesday.

She further alleged that during her stay in the house, 10 applicants left, leading to tighter security.

Some applicants, she said, were not allowed to get their passports and other documents and were also warned about getting blacklisted at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) if they tried to escape.

“These threats made by the agency had sown fear to (sic) me. I was forced to stay at the accommodation building as I know that they have my documents and do not have the money to pay them for their alleged expenses. I likewise feared that I might be blacklisted before the POEA or worse, criminal or civil cases against me,” she said in her complaint.

Amelie said some of the other applicants in the house had been staying there for 9 months.

Labor Undersecretary Jing Paras, the head of the labor department’s task force against human trafficking, said 9 months is too long a time to wait for deployment.

“Kung magrecruit ka parang maximum niyan dalawang buwan madedeploy ka na. Nine months parang masyado nang depriving of the freedom which is not allowed under RA 10364 yung law against human trafficking and illegal recruitment,” he said.

RAID

Amelie left the house only on November 21, after agents of the NBI and personnel of the Caloocan City Social Welfare and Development Office raided the house in response to a complaint filed by an applicant.

Paras said 93 applicants were rescued in that raid.

Of this number, 36 subsequently filed a complaint before the DOJ on November 22. The complaint alleged the agency was not licensed to recruit workers for overseas employment.

Despite the raid, Amelie said several employees of the agency continued to contact her, promising to send her abroad at their expense, in exchange for her signing of a settlement agreement.

She instead approached Philippine Anti-Crime Commission Chair Manuelito Luna who asked the help of Paras in looking into her case.

Paras and Luna accompanied Amelie in filing her complaint.

“We are warning them that sooner or later, the law will overtake them. After Christmas, we will start going after intensifying our efforts against these human traffickers,” he said.

Luna, meanwhile, said he is investigating the alleged involvement of an Isabela-based prosecutor who is supposedly protecting his live-in partner, agency owner Bañoza.

Luna however admitted, he has yet to verify the information.

Makati lifts coding scheme for holiday season

By Faye Orellana (Reporter, INQUIRER.net /je)

MANILA, Philippines — Makati City announced the suspension of its number coding scheme in relation to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

In a tweet, the local government of Makati said that the coding scheme is suspended on Dec. 24, 25, 31 and on January 1, 2019.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority announced on Tuesday that the coding scheme for private vehicles are suspended from December 24 until January 1.

But the MMDA later said the suspension of coding scheme for December 31 has yet “to be announced.”

The public is expected to flock to various terminals around the country to celebrate the holiday season in provinces and tourist spots.

Makati defeats Pasay to tighten grip on No. 4 in MPBL northern division

(fom the wires)

MAKATI defeated Pasay, 67-59, on Wednesday in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Batangas City Coliseum.

The Super Crunch scored their eighth straight win and 14th in 18 games, closing in on third-running San Juan Knights (15-4) in the northern division.

Manila defeated home team Batangas, 80-79.

Chris Bitoon scored 13 points, including the go-ahead lay-up that propelled the Stars to their 15th win in 18 games, just a game behind tournament leader Bataan Risers.

The Athletics saw their win streak end at eight, suffering their seventh loss in 18 games.

Construction of Makati-Taguig skytrain may begin Q4 2019

By Leslie Gatpolintan (PNA)

MANILA -- Infracorp Development Inc., the infrastructure subsidiary of tycoon Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global Group Inc (AGI), targets to begin construction of its proposed Makati-Taguig skytrain monorail by fourth quarter of 2019.

Infracorp President Kevin Tan said the company is now finalizing the concession agreement for the two-kilometer monorail project, along with the proposed rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“If that happens, we will be able to start with NAIA (project) by third quarter and the skytrain by fourth quarter next year,” he told reporters Monday night.

Infracorp is also part of the consortium of seven largest conglomerates which offered to rehabilitate the country’s main gateway.

The first proposed PHP3.5-billion monorail project aims to reduce travel time from Fort Bonifacio to Metro Rapid Transit (MRT) Guadalupe, Makati and vice versa to only five minutes --at no cost to the government. It aims to service some 100,000 passengers daily.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) last May granted the original proponent status for the skytrain monorail project.

Tan further bared that the infrastructure firm is also looking into possibility of constructing another monorail project linking Santolan MRT-3 to Eastwood City.

“That is still being studied right now. We have just been talking, but have not submitted anything at all formally,” he added.

Seda Hotel to invest up to P10-B for portfolio expansion

By Leslie Gatpolintan (PNA)

MANILA -- Seda Hotel is poised to invest between PHP8 billion and PHP10 billion to beef up its portfolio over the next two years and meet the growing demand for hotel rooms across the country.

“With 1,863 rooms now in our portfolio and having achieved most of our annual targets, we are confident that our goal of building 1,405 more rooms in the next two years to hit our target of 3,268 rooms by 2020 is achievable and will be positively received by the market,” Seda group sales of director and marketing Melissa Carlos said in a press briefing on Monday.

Carlos said Ayala Land’s homegrown hotel brand Seda is set to launch next year a second tower in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) with 342 rooms; Seda Residences Makati with 293 rooms, and Seda Cebu IT (Information Technology) Park with 214 rooms.

In 2020, it will complete Seda Manila Bay in Aseana City with 350 rooms, and a second tower for Seda Nuvali with 206 rooms, she said.

“We are also expanding into new categories such as serviced residences, resorts and large city formats as part of our efforts to tap the MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) market and weddings in addition to business and leisure,” she said.

In an interview, Carlos said the robust economy and buoyant levels of investment coming into the country are boosting demand for rooms nationwide.

“If there are demand for offices within the city, it means that there are a lot of business travelers coming in. Like here in BGC, a lot of companies are moving here or setting up offices, so the demand is really strong. Same for Makati, which is our CBD (central business district). Cebu is a very established property, (demand in) Davao is also strong,” she said.

Carlos also cited the strong leisure market, both domestic and international.

“The Philippines is becoming a very, very strong destination in terms of the leisure market internationally. We are getting a very, very good reputation in terms of the natural attractions of the country,” she added.

Makati subway deal lifts Infradev shares

By TYRONE JASPER C. PIAD

Philippine Infradev Holdings, Inc., formerly known as IRC Properties Inc., has seen its share price soar this year, a development analysts have attributed to the property firm’s having bagged a deal to built a subway in Makati.

It hasn’t been all good, however, with a nine-month loss also said to be holding back further gains, although year-to-date the firm is still up 206 percent.

On Friday, Infradev’s shares fell 8 centavos or 3.36 percent to P2.30, bucking a 0.02-percent rise for the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index.

The price has recovered from a year-to-date low of P0.68, hit on February 27, but is still below October 26’s peak of P2.85.

Philstocks Financial, Inc. research associate Japhet Tantiangco said the $3.7-billion Makati subway project was the primary driver of Infradev’s price gains.

“Investors are expecting huge returns from the project,” Tantiango said, particularly noting a June 20 surge when Infradev’s consortium was awarded original proponent status by the Public Private Partnership Selection Committee of the Makati City government.

That day, the firm’s shares gained 20.35 percent to P1.36 from P1.13 on previous day. It has skyrocketed 69.11 percent since.

The firm also decided on the name change as it shifted its primary purpose to infrastructure development, a move that was approved in October by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last Wednesday, following a groundbreaking ceremony that was led by Makati Mayor Abigail Binay for the 10-kilometer project expected to be completed in 2023, Infradev posted a 2.0-percent gain to P2.48 but then followed this with two days of losses.

Regina Capital Development Corp. head of sales Luis Limlingan said this was partly due to “speculation as to the Makati subway project.”

Tantiango noted that “[the firm’s shares] have been on an uptrend, though recently, the slope of its climb has been flattening”.

The firm recorded a net loss of P21.45 million in the third quarter and subsequently saw its nine-month net income dive 95.12 percent to P4.3 million from a year ago amid a 30-percent dip in sales and a 21-percent hike in expenses.

Diversified Securities, Inc. trader Aniceto Pangan, meanwhile, said investors had chosen to take profits last week.

“[With] all those risks that will confront it [developing the Makati subway] some investors decided … that rather than to wait, they took profit,” he explained.

Philstocks’ Tantiangco said it still remained up in the air how Infradev shares will end the year.

“So far, it’s still standing above its 50-day exponential moving average. If it holds ground above then we may still see some upward movement till end of the year,” he explained.

“If it breaches below, then we may see some consolidation with 2.20 as its support level.”

“We don’t have any reliable data yet that could measure [its] capability with infrastructure but if they would succeed with the Makati subway project, then it would be a good starting point [for gains moving forward],” Tantiangco continued.

Iconic, future-ready residential tower to rise in bustling Makati

By Amy R. Remo

The 57-storey Vion Tower is poised to stand out as the tallest residential building along Edsa-Makati

In real estate, one cannot afford to undermine the importance of location, whether it’s for an office building, a mall, dining establishments, or even your own home.

After all, an exceptional location affords one the luxury of unmatched convenience and accessibility, defining that modern, cosmopolitan lifestyle. More importantly however, a strategic location can also affect the future value of your property, allowing you to potentially fetch higher prices once you put it out on the secondary market.

Coveted address

In the Philippines, key cities and central business districts (CBDs) are deemed to be among the most ideal locations even for a home. For instance, Makati City—despite the hefty property price it commands—continues to be one of the most coveted addresses by those who work in the area, or by others who are primarily drawn to its highly modern, sophisticated vibe.

Fortunately, new residential projects offer the luxury of living near a thriving financial and business district that is home to premium offices, upscale lifestyle establishments, and posh residential villages.

Property giant Megaworld Corp. is putting up the 57-storey Vion Tower, which is poised to stand out as the tallest residential building along Edsa-Makati. As it stands tall along Edsa corner Chino Roces Ave. and visible as far as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Manila Bay, this newest high rise is set to become a landmark in this side of Makati with its illuminated tower crown.

“The future is ready at the Vion Tower. Here, we want to offer residents with the basics of condo living plus the convenience of smart technology and design innovation, which can be seen in the lobby and even in the amenities,” explained Eugene Em Lozano, first vice president for sales and marketing of Megaworld Makati.

Premium location

Much can be admired of the Vion Tower, particularly its strategic location. And for any urbanite, such accessibility is considered a luxury nowadays, given the metro’s mad, infernal traffic.

It’s worthy to note that the Vion Tower is just within walking distance from the proposed Magallanes transport hub; less than 10 minutes away to and from NAIA via Skyway; less than 15 minutes away from the bustling Entertainment City and Manila Bay area; and only 20 minutes away from Quezon City via MRT. The MRT Magallanes station is just a two-minute walk from the tower.

And within a five-kilometer radius, one can easily reach the CBDs of Makati and Fort Bonifacio, sprawling commercial complexes, internationally branded hotels, premium grade offices, a hospital, schools, and churches, among other institutions. Clearly, there are benefits to living right within one of the most dynamic cities in the country.

Key features, amenities

But if you don’t fancy a walk or commute to shop or dine out, you can simply go down to the two-level retail area of the Vion Tower. A multi-level podium parking is also available for use of both residents and guests.

Meanwhile, the Vion Tower also features generous amenities that will enable residents to achieve a more holistic, well-balanced lifestyle. Exclusive to their use are the 25-meter lap pool and wading pool, function hall, fitness center, outdoor fitness area, children’s playground, day care center, relaxation lounge and a library.

The residential tower, scheduled for completion in 2024, will also be highlighted by future-ready facilities such as a Smart Parcel Delivery System, which allows an automated receiving, claiming and storage of parcels.

On offer are units with cuts ranging from studio (up to 31 sqm), one-bedroom (up to 51 sqm), to two-bedroom (up to 71 sqm)—some of which have their own balconies.

To date, Megaworld has already launched a total of 28 residential towers in Makati City alone, with a total inventory of around 6,500 units, making it among the biggest condominium developers in the country’s premier financial district.

And with the addition of the Vion Towers, Megaworld will not only offer a new residential tower, but also a future-ready, iconic landmark that will redefine Makati’s skyline anew.

Makati subway to be finished on time — Binay

By Christia Marie Ramos (Reporter, /cbb)

MANILA, Philippines — The Makati subway system project, which is hoped to help alleviate traffic congestion in the country’s financial district, will be completed on time, Mayor Abby Binay said during the ceremonial drilling for the project on Wednesday.

“I believe the Makati Subway will be a very valuable legacy, and I am fully committed to its timely completion and operation,” Binay said.

The subway system has been set for completion in 2025.

“It will make a lasting positive impact on the lives of our residents, and contribute significantly to the city’s sustainable development and economic growth,” she added.

The subway system is eyed to ease traffic congestion as well as parking woes in the city.

It is also seen as a way to increase work productivity by cutting down the daily commute or travel time of workers.

According to Binay, the intra-city subway system is expected to create around 6,000 new jobs during its construction and when it starts operations.

The subway stations will have at least 30 station entrances linked to destinations across Makati.

The subway line will connect business districts along Ayala Avenue, Makati City Hall, Poblacion Heritage Site, University of Makati, Ospital ng Makati, and other business zones in the city.

She noted that the subway system will serve up to 27,000 passengers per hour per direction and will have an 18-hour operational cycle.

It is expected to have a three to six-minute train arrival interval on the first year of its operations with 12 operational trains, Binay added.

The entire system will span 10 kilometers with a train yard, maintenance depot, and central command center at ground level.

The subway project is a joint venture between the Makati City government and a consortium of local and foreign investors.

Soil tests begin for $3.7-B Makati subway project

By Daxim L. Lucas (Reporter, /jpv)

MANILA, Philippines–Publicly listed Philippine Infradev Holdings Inc. — formerly known as IRC Properties Inc. — has begun the first physical phase of its proposed Makati City subway by undertaking soil testing ahead of the $3.7-billion project’s actual construction.

The six-month geo-testing involves boring small holes and getting soil and rock samples for analysis from at least 200 points along the proposed subway alignment. The process will last for six months and is part of preliminary works prior to official groundbreaking.

The ceremonial drilling in front of the old Makati City Hall was witnessed by top IRC executives along with Makati Mayor Abby Binay, Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo, former Vice President Jejomar Binay and other city officials.

Earlier, Mayor Binay and IRC chair Ren Jinghua also led the unveiling of a scale model of Makati City highlighting the proposed subway route. The detailed scale model is open for public viewing at the city hall lobby.

The ceremonial drilling in front of the old Makati City Hall was witnessed by top IRC executives along with Makati Mayor Abby Binay, Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo, former Vice President Jejomar Binay and other city officials.

Earlier, Mayor Binay and IRC chair Ren Jinghua also led the unveiling of a scale model of Makati City highlighting the proposed subway route. The detailed scale model is open for public viewing at the city hall lobby.

READ: Work on Makati subway to start in December –Binay

She said the proposed subway would be a valuable legacy to the country’s premier financial district.

“I’m fully committed to its timely completion and operation. It will make a lasting positive impact on the lives of our residents and workers, and contribute significantly to the city’s sustainable development and economic growth,” Mayor Binay said.

Last October, Makati’s public-private partnership selection committee gave IRC the green light to proceed with the subway project after the firm hurdled a 30-day competitive Swiss challenge process.

The project will involve no cash outlay from the Makati City government which will, instead, allow the land it currently owns to be used for the subway system as part of the joint venture deal.

IRC’s plan calls for the subway to connect key points in Makati such as the current Central Business District along Ayala Avenue, the Makati City Hall, the Poblacion Heritage Site, the University of Makati, Ospital ng Makati and the other new business districts within the city.

The proposed dual track subway system will have up to 10 air-conditioned, underground stations that can accommodate up to six car trains, with a room for over 200 passengers per car. Over 700,000 passengers per day will be accommodated and served by the proposed mass transport system.

During the construction phase, the project is expected to generate more than 6,000 jobs, according to IRC.

The planned intracity subway is expected to complement the mass transport projects of the national government, since it would be connected to the MRT stations, the proposed Metro Manila Mega Subway and the Pasig River ferry.

$3.7- B Makati subway MOU signed, 2023 completion eyed

By Jel Santos

The Makati City local government on Wednesday inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Makati City Hall with Philippine Infradev Holdings Inc., formerly IRC Properties Inc. for the US$3.7billion subway project.

Mayor Abigail Binay and city officials signed the MOU with officials of Philippine Infradev Holdings Inc. before a ceremonial drilling rite in front of the old City Hall building.

Mayor Binay said the MOU signals the start of preparatory works for the subway project, which is being targeted for completion by 2023.

“I believe the Makati Subway will be a very valuable legacy, and I am fully committed to its timely completion and operation. It will make a lasting positive impact on the lives of our residents, and contribute significantly to the city’s sustainable development and economic growth,” she said. Makati subway system The subway project is expected to generate 6, 000 jobs during its construction and when it start its operation, the mayor said.

Atty. Michael Camiña, City Legal officer and spokesman, said the subway is a joint venture between Makati City and the consortium of local and foreign investors, with no cash out on the part of the city.

“The 30-year concession with the consortium includes maintenance and repair of the coaches and the control hub,” he said.

Over 27, 000 passengers per hour will be served by the subway system once completed.

Furthermore, it also promises an interval of three to six minutes between trains on the first year, with 12 operational trains.

The subway system will have two tracks, up to 10 underground stations, and air-conditioned coaches which can accommodate 200 persons per car.

It spans 10 kilometers with a train yard, maintenance depot, and central command center at ground level.

The stations will have aroubd 30 station entrances linked to destinations across Makati.

As such, the system will also be connected to ferry transport, interchanges to the existing MRT 3 line, as well as potential links to the future Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-funded Metro Manila subway, and to future parking structures and transport feeders outside the existing business districts.

The local government eyes to have at total of 18 trains with two to four minute interval by 2024.

“The city is also prepared to accommodate as many as 40,500 passengers per hour during peak hours. The train system will run on an 18-hour operational cycle.”

Also, the subway system expected to increase work productivity by diminishing the daily commute or travel time of workers. “Feasibility studies project 270,000 fewer cars in the streets of Makati by 2048. This makes the Makati Subway a more eco-friendly and sustainable solution as well, with a projected reduction of 2.3 million tons of CO2 annually in greenhouse gas emission by 2048,” the local government said.

The project, the mayor said, will allow for an additional 320,000 residents in Makati City. “Besides enjoying a walkable city with considerably less pollution, residents will also enjoy 20 percent higher land values because of the new transport system. The figure was based from the experience of other Asian cities like Bangkok and Hong Kong,” she said.

Binay said neighboring cities of Makati are also expected to benefit from its subway project, saying it will help decongest traffic, particularly in major thoroughfares used by millions of commuters and motorists every day in the metropolis.

Subway system groundbreaking rites held in Makati City

By Dona Magsino (/BAP, GMA News)

The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the P200 billion-worth Makati subway system was held in front of the Old City Hall building on Wednesday.

Lei Alviz reported on 24 Oras that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the city government of Makati and its private sector partners, after which the scale model of the subway was unveiled.

The 10-kilometer subway will run from EDSA-Ayala to Ospital ng Makati.

The transport system will have 10 underground stations located at key destinations in the busy city such as the Ayala Triangle, Makati City Hall, and University of Makati.

There are also plans of integrating the Makati subway to MRT 3, Pasig River Ferry System, and the proposed Metro Manila Mega Subway. The target completion date for the project is 2025.

The project is seen to significantly ease the traffic congestion in Makati by providing alternative transport services for up to 700,000 commuters and to reduce the number of vehicles plying on Makati roads by 270,000.

A private consortium composed of local and foreign investors will fund the entire infrastructure project.

Makati blasts Mandaluyong, 79-63

  • Source: By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018 8:53 am
By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno (PNA)

MANILA -- Makati Skyscrapers put up a strong finish to maul Mandaluyong El Tigre, 79-63, in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Datu Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City on Tuesday night.

The Skyscrapers ended the third quarter with a 11-2 run, before stretching their lead to as high as 23 late in the fourth to pull away from the El Tigre.

Jeckster Apinan made 22 points, four rebounds, four assists, and four steals off the bench for Makati, which is now 1.5 games behind Bataan at the top of the Northern Division standings.

Ced Ablaza added 12 points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

Jojo Cunanan made 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists for Mandaluyong, which fell to a tie with Navotas for sixth place in the Northern Division.

Megaworld building tallest condo along Edsa Makati

By VG Cabuag

PROPERTY developer Megaworld Corp. said it is building a new residential tower along Edsa in Makati, which it hopes will become the tallest residential development in the area.

The 57-story Vion Tower will rise along Edsa corner Roces Avenue, within walking distance from the proposed Magallanes transport hub.

“We want to offer residents with the basics of condo living plus the convenience of smart technology and design innovation, which can be seen in the lobby and even in the amenities,” said Eugene Em Lozano, first vice president for sales and marketing of Megaworld Makati.

It will offer units ranging from studio of up to 31 square meters, one bedroom of up to 51 square meters and two bedroom of up to 71 square meters, with some of them having their own balconies.

The project features amenities exclusive to its residents that include a 25-meter lap pool and wading pool, function hall, fitness center, outdoor fitness area, children’s playground, day-care center, relaxation lounge and a library.

The residential tower will also have other facilities such as a system that allows the automated receiving, claiming and storage of parcels.

Since it stands tall along Edsa and visible even as far as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) and Manila Bay, the tower is set to become a landmark in this side of Makati with its illuminated tower crown, the company said.

The project is less than 10 minutes away from Naia via Skyway, less than 15 minutes away from Entertainment City and Manila Bay area, and only 20 minutes away from Quezon City via MRT.

The MRT Magallanes station, where Megaworld also has a project, is a two-minute walk from the tower.

Makati village declared drug-cleared

By Dhel Nazario

Barangay Bel-Air in Makati City was recently declared drug-cleared by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) during the Makati Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC) regular meeting held at the Makati City Hall.

Bel-Air joins four other Makati City villages earlier declared as drug-cleared – Forbes Park, Urdaneta, Dasmariñas and Magallanes.

The MADAC meeting was presided by Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo.

P2P buses to ply Noveleta-Makati route next week

By Dennis Abrina (PNA)

NOVELETA, Cavite -- Point-to-Point (P2P) buses will start rolling anytime next week from this town to the Makati Business District, Mayor Dino Reyes Chua said Friday.

Chua said bus operator, San Agustin Transport Service Corp., will start operating seven yellow buses on its terminal in Puregold Noveleta going to Makati.

"This is the answer to the daily agonies of Caviteño commuters, especially the Noveleteños. This will not only benefit people from Noveleta, but also the nearby towns of Salinas, Kawit, Cavite City and Tanza," Chua said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The Noveleta-Makati route would be the sixth P2P terminal in the province. The other routes are the Alabang-Bacoor, Alabang-Dasmariñas, Bacoor-Makati, Dasmariñas-Makati via Daang-hari (operated by Metro Express Connect, Inc.), and Imus-Makati routes operated by San Agustin Transport service.

"Maganda po ito para sa mga mananakay ng Noveleta. Hindi na po stop-and-go ang bus. Diretso na po pa-Makati kaya mapapabilis po ang kanilang mga travel time (This is good for Noveleta commuters. The buses will no longer be stop-and-go, but will go straight to Makati)," Noveleta resident Donide Villareal said.

Makati to donate P22.7 million to Ompong-ravaged areas

By Jel Santos

The local government unit (LGU) of Makati City will extend P22,750,000 cash assistance to 18 provinces and 34 cities and municipalities which were placed under “state of calamity” when Typhoon Ompong hit the country.

According to Mayor Abigail Binay, the City Council recently passed City Ordinance No. 2018-102 to appropriate the said amount.

It intends to support the ongoing rehabilitation and recovery programs of the cities, municipalities and provinces in six regions badly devastated by the typhoon in September.

“We would like to help out fellow local government units with their efforts to recover from the severe damage inflicted by Ompong. We hope our donations can somehow alleviate the plight of the victims,” she said.

Under City Ordinance No. 2018-102, the LGU has allocated P8,250,000 for selected provinces in Regions I, II, III and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Meantime, for the 34 cities and municipalities in the said regions, the city has appropriated P14,500,000.

Under the guidelines for financial assistance to disaster-affected areas in the country, adopted through City Ordinance No. 2017-006, the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) approved a maximum of P500,000 financial assistance to affected provinces with at least 5,001 or higher number of affected families. For those with at least 2,000 to 5,000 affected families, P250,000 will be given.

Through Presidential Proclamation No. 593 issued on September 25, Regions I, II, III, and CAR were declared under the state of calamity due to “widespread destruction and substantial damages and deaths.”

Makati schools to get P100 million

By Joel E. Zurbano

Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay has allocated P100 million for free educational field trips and other off-campus activities of thousands of public school students in the city.

The city chief executive said the local government gave its full support to the project falls under the Talent Optimization Programs for Students of the Department of Education-Makati (DepEd-Makati) as part of continuing efforts to develop “globally competitive Makatizens.”

“As I have vowed from the start of my term as mayor, my administration will strive to provide cutting edge and relevant education for the youth of Makati, at no cost to them or their parents and guardians,” said Binay.

She noted that students have different learning curves, and outdoor activities such as educational field trips help stimulate their thirst for learning at their young age.

“I believe that the early years of education is the ideal time for children to be allowed to explore and learn from the things they discover firsthand outside the classroom and school grounds. By creating a link between the concepts taught to them and how these apply in the real world, we will optimize their potential for learning,” added Binay.

“We only need to ensure their safety during the entire trip, and that the places they visit are safe and wholesome,” she underscored.

Last Nov. 26, Binay together with Makati City Rep. Luis Campos joined some 3,175 students from various public elementary schools on their trip to Kidzania Manila at Bonifacio Global City.

Kidzania is a play city built to scale for children aged four to 17, complete with paved streets, transport system and a functioning economy. It is designed to provide realistic role-play experience to children to develop their life skills and explore their potentials.

Schools that visited Kidzania on the same day included F. Benitez Elementary School- Main, East Rembo Elementary School, Fort Bonifacio Elementary School, Bangkal Elementary School I, Bangkal Elementary School-Main, Cembo Elementary School, Comembo Elementary School, F. Benitez III Elementary School, Guadalupe Viejo Elementary School, Hen. Pio Del Pilar Elementary School- Main, Hen. Pio Del Pilar Elementary School I, Jose Magsaysay Elementary School, and La Paz Elementary School.

In the coming weeks, students will also visit historical places such as Luneta Park, Intramuros, and Barasoain Church and Museum in Bulacan. Other popular sites lined up for the educational tours include Mind Museum and Manila Ocean Park.

Earlier, Mayor Binay presented her State of the Children Address before some 2,400 students and youth from different barangays, reiterating her commitment to the protection and promotion of their rights and welfare.

In her report, she enumerated the new additions to the free items being provided by the city to public schoolchildren under Project FREE (Free Relevant Excellent Education), including a brand new pair of rubber shoes, raincoats, and rain boots. She also announced that starting next school year, the city will also provide them free school socks, which elicited loud applause from the audience.

The mayor assured them that the city will continue to seek ways to ease the burden of their parents in sending them to school, so they can instead spend on their other essential needs.

DOTr allows buses to travel from PITX to Lawton, Ayala

By Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

MANILA -- The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has granted special permits to buses that will traverse from the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) to Plaza Lawton in Manila and Ayala Avenue in Makati.

The additional buses are intended to serve areas which have high passenger demand, DOTr officer-in-charge Undersecretary for Road Transport Mark de Leon said.

“The buses started operating last Monday thus we were able to ease the concerns of passengers which are asking transportation for these areas,” de Leon said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday.

The following are the bus units that will operate along these routes:

A. PITX-Lawton Loop:

DNS Transport -- 6 bus units
Worthy/HM Transport -- 20 units
Jumbo Transport -- 10 units
San Agustin Transport Service Corp. -- 10 units

B. PITX-Ayala Makati Loop:

RRCG Transport -- 25 units

“These bus units will be operating until we have released new city bus franchises,” de Leon said, as he urged bus operators to comply with the authorization given for them to provide transport services to the commuters.

He also stressed the issuance of a memorandum circular by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that allows certain bus franchises based in provinces to go beyond the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) and traverse through Metro Manila to ensure ease of travel among commuters.

LTFRB Memorandum Circular (MC) 2018-022 converts the franchises of buses in selected areas in the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna into city operations to ensure ease of travel among commuters going to and from Metro Manila.

“The DO (department order) of DOTr only had daily commuters in mind. It covered not only PITX but future ITX (integrated terminals) projects in the South and North. For example in Laguna, people coming from San Pedro and Sta. Rosa are already considered commuters to Metro Manila,” de Leon said.

The franchises of buses bound for Metro Manila from the following areas will be converted into city operations:

• Bulacan (north) -- Bocaue, Meycauayan, Marilao, Obando, and San Jose del Monte City;
• Cavite (southwest) -- Imus, Bacoor, Dasmariñas, General Trias, Silang, Kawit, Noveleta, and Cavite City; and
• Laguna (south) -- San Pedro, Biñan, and Sta. Rosa City

Public utility buses beyond these areas, including those from Batangas (Nasugbu, Calatagan and Balayan) and long-haul Cavite routes, end at PITX.

The PITX aims to become a transfer point for passengers alighting from provincial buses from Cavite and Batangas and transferring to in-city modes of transportation.

The terminal is expected to reduce the number of provincial buses plying Metro Manila, especially along Roxas Boulevard, Pasay, and EDSA-Taft area.

DMCI Homes eyes 2nd project in Makati

(BusinessWorld)

DMCI Homes is planning to launch a second residential development in Makati City, following the success of its Brio Tower project.

“We’re looking at our property in Chino Roces Avenue as potential site of the next project,” DMCI Homes Assistant Vice President for Project Development Dennis Yap was quoted as saying in a statement.

This comes as the property unit of DMCI Holdings, Inc. began turning over residential units at its first Makati project — Brio Tower — a little over a year ahead of schedule.

DMCI Homes said it started the turnover for the first batch of unit owners at Brio Tower in late October, ahead of the committed occupancy schedule of November 2019.

Located on a 5,760-square meter lot in Guadalupe Viejo, Brio Tower is a single-tower resort-inspired development.

The 30-storey building offers 746 units have been presold, with reservation sales reaching nearly P3 billion.

Brio Tower boasts of an “Asian contemporary” architectural design, and offers an extended sky lounge, where residents can admire the cityscape. It has the Lumiventt design technology, which allows for natural flow of air and light through the Sky Patios and “breezeways.”

Among its amenities are a lap pool, kiddie pool, lounge area, jogging path, children’s playground, audio-visual room, gazebo, game room, and fitness gym.

Field trips for Makati public school students now free

By Jel Santos

Field trips can now be enjoyed by public school students for free as the local government of Makati recently added it to their expanded benefits.

Mayor Abigail Binay said thousands of students will now benefit from it, saying she pushed for the allocation of P100 million in this year’s city budget to cover the cost of implementing off-campus activities.

The project, she said, is under the Talent Optimization Programs for Students (TOPS) of the Department of Education-Makati (DepEd-Makati), as part of continuing efforts to develop “globally competitive Makatizens”.

“As I have vowed from the start of my term as mayor, my administration will strive to provide cutting edge and relevant education for the youth of Makati, at no cost to them or their parents and guardians,” Binay said.

Students have different learning curves, and outdoor activities such as educational field trips help stimulate their thirst for learning at their young age, she noted.

“I believe that the early years of education is the ideal time for children to be allowed to explore and learn from the things they discover firsthand outside the classroom and school grounds. By creating a link between the concepts taught to them and how these apply in the real world, we will optimize their potential for learning.”

Meanwhile, she said that the local government will ensure the safety of students, and that places they will go to are very educational.

On November 26, the mayor together with Congressman Luis Campos joined some 3,175 students from various public elementary schools on their trip to Kidzania Manila at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Kidzania is a play city built to scale for children aged four to 17, complete with paved streets, transport system and a functioning economy.

The students, in the coming weeks, will also visit Luneta Park, Intramuros, and Barasoain Church and Museum in Bulacan. Other than Kidzania, other popular sites lined up for the educational tours include Mind Museum and Manila Ocean Park.

Makati remains most coveted prime address in the Metro

By Charles Buban

In the stock market, “buy low, sell high” is the golden rule. In Philippine real estate, the same principle applies but with one big difference: prices of land almost certainly will not be going down again. So if you are looking to invest, that time is now.

Land values are expected to appreciate further, especially with the scarcity of developable land in major Philippine cities. Data from real estate services and investment management company Colliers International reveal that as of the third quarter of 2018, the value of prime land in Makati reached PHP701,000/sq.m, with Fort Bonifacio not far behind at PHP 601,500/sq.m. The third on the list may come as a surprise to those not closely watching the property market, as values in the Manila Bay Area have already overtaken those of Ortigas Center, at PHP280,000/sq.m versus PHP250,000/sq.m.

According to Colliers’ forecasts, all these areas are still expected to rise in value, with Makati projected to achieve a growth of 26 percent by the third quarter of 2019.

Historical highs

In the residential arena, luxury condominiums within the Makati central business district still command the highest prices according to Colliers International.

“We’re seeing historical highs now in real estate, particularly in office and residential developments. Land values continue to go up, and developers are increasing their prices. There is demand and there are people buying at those prices,” said Richard Raymundo, managing director of Colliers International Philippines.

Premier address in Manila

Despite newer developments all over Metro Manila, the City of Makati still holds a certain kind of prestige. On paper, it certainly has a lot of things going for it.

“First, it is seen as the premier business district in the country. The top companies are still here. It is still a well master-planned development,” Raymundo said.

Makati’s busiest thoroughfare, Ayala Avenue, is often called the Wall Street of the Philippines for good reason. Along this stretch are five-star hotels, entry points to the main commercial centers, and headquarters of multinational companies, banks, and other financial institutions. Also found on an ultra-prime parcel of Ayala Avenue is Apartment Ridge, which houses some of the most desirable residential developments in the city.

“Second, with traffic getting worse in the Philippines, there are a lot of people who want to be strategically located where they live. You could be stuck in traffic for one or two hours going to work, so you want to be in an area with a strategic location. Third, there are the supporting facilities, amenities, and institutions. You want to be in an area which is close to corporations or work, close to schools, close to retail centers. All these make Makati a viable location,” Raymundo further explained.

First in the country

You might also add to this list the appeal of holding on to a “limited edition” property. Rising soon is an ultra-luxury project that will stand on the very last vacant plot of land on Apartment Ridge—this is as prime as it gets.

SMDC and Federal Land—the real estate companies of two of the most respected business families in the Philippines—joined together to bring in the first Foster + Partners project in the country, which promises to be the crowning jewel of Ayala Avenue’s already stunning skyline and is expected to push land values to record-breaking levels.

Befitting a project of such grand stature, Foster + Partners, one of the world’s most renowned architectural firms, was brought into the picture. With Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Norman Foster at the helm, the firm’s reputation rests on such feats of architecture including Hong Kong’s HSBC Building, London’s 30 St Mary Axe—popularly known as The Gherkin, New York’s Hearst Tower, and countless others.

The prestige that comes with having a Foster + Partners designed property comes with a price. Its soon-to-be-completed project in New York, One Hundred East Fifty-Third Street, has studio units (about 96 sqm) priced at $2.25 million, or $23,437 per sqm. Over in Hong Kong, the firm designed the sprawling Residence Bel-Air complex, which was completed in the mid-2000s. On the secondary market, unit prices remained impressive at HK$43.8 million for a 1,682 sq.ft unit (156.26 sqm.)—that’s around P1.9 million per sqm.

Design philosophy

“The quest for quality embraces the physical performance of buildings—how well will they endure in a volatile world? Will they survive or become obsolete? Does the thinking behind their design anticipate needs that might not have been defined when they were created? Only time will tell, and so we design buildings that are flexible and able to accommodate change,” Foster once wrote, summarizing his design philosophy.

All these elements are expected to be evident once the first Foster + Partners Philippine project is complete, rising above all else along Ayala Avenue.

Inside, the pursuit of science and architecture will be on display, as each unit will be column-free and will make use of double-slab floor construction, allowing residents to design and furnish their homes as they please. Designed with privacy in mind, no two units will face each other, with the best units offering sweeping 270-degree views of the city.

In keeping with Foster’s hallmark of designing structures with the ecology and environment in mind, the first Foster + Partners project in the Philippines will be equipped with efficient AC and lighting systems, exterior horizontal fins that will provide natural ventilation and shade, as well as an outer shell of high-performance glass to maximize insulation benefits. Also meriting a closer look is the generous green spaces that residents can enjoy.

“Cities are defined by their architecture,” Raymundo said. With Foster + Partners coming in with its first project in the country, the metro is getting a bold statement. “It’s something that Filipinos can crow about, that we will have a very prestigious architect with a work in the country. That’s something to watch out for.”

Makati Medical Center now open to Yellow Card-bearing Makati folk

By Dhel Nazario

Specialized diagnostic and medical services at the Makati Medical Center (MMC) are now open to residents of Makati after Mayor Abby Binay signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Ospital ng Makati (OsMak) and MMC on Wednesday.

According to Mayor Binay, the MOA now allows patients from OsMak to be referred to MMC for specialized diagnostic exams, treatment, and even surgery. This will give beneficiaries of Makati Health Plus (MHP) Program or “Yellow Card”, full access to the best treatment and health care services in the city at no cost to them, she said.

“By allowing OsMak doctors to refer cases to MMC, we are tapping their equipment, technology, and expertise. We are making the latest and most advanced diagnostic tools available to our Yellow Card holders. More importantly, they can avail themselves of life-saving surgical procedures and treatments which have yet to be made available at OsMak,” said Mayor Binay said.

Under the MOA, a patient from OsMak will be accommodated by MMC only if he has a referral or endorsement letter from the city-run hospital. This means that patients must still go to OsMak for initial assessment before they avail themselves of the procedures from MMC.

The agreement also includes emergency procedures, but must still be properly endorsed by the city-run hospital. The Osmak to MMC referral program will be implemented initially for a year, subject to extension or renewal.

MMC President and CEO Dr. Maria Corazon Consunji signed the MOA in behalf of MMC. The accord was witnessed by OsMak Officer-in-Charge and Hospital Director Dr. VergelBinay, Makati City Administrator Claro F. Certeza, and MMC Medical Director Dr. Johnny Sison.

Mayor Binay said that while the city continues to improve and modernize OsMak’s facilities, it is inevitable that some equipment like CT Scan or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines may need repair or replacement. During this time, doctors from OsMak can send patients to MMC for the procedure. Once they have received the results, the patient will come back to OsMak for diagnosis and treatment.

5G services to be available next year: MVP

By Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

MANILA -- Telecommunications firm PLDT, Inc. and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications expects subscribers of its Home and Enterprise business segments to be able to avail of 5th generation technology (5G) capable services by next year.

PLDT acknowledged that no 5G-capable mobile handheld device is available in the market yet while it pursues efforts to install WiFi connectivity across the country.

“We continue our testing and we should be ready because the device, there's no cellular device. I suspect it will be the Enterprise and the Home that might benefit first from the 5G until the handheld device is introduced,” PLDT-Smart Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of its on-site 5G network demonstration held at its office in Makati City on Wednesday.

“We expect it as early as 2019. By 2019 because we are installing WiFi,” he added.

Pangilinan said he expects mobile devices that can connect to 5G cell sites and provide WiFi connectivity to be available by the second half of 2019.

“You might see it late second half 2019, but it trickles then 2020 might be,” he said.

PLDT-Smart has activated its 5G cell site in Makati by making its first video call to its other 5G site in Clark Freeport Zone at Pampanga through 5G Radio and Core equipment of Smart’s technology partners Huawei and Ericsson.

Smart will start up additional 5G cell sites across the Makati Central Business District in the next few months.

Makati subway to make 6k jobs

By Joel E. Zurbano

Mayor Abigail Binay on Monday assured that the Public Rail Transport in the City of Makati will generate 6,000 jobs and new economic opportunities for residents once this subway system project is completed as planned in 2023.

The subway system, the first of its kind in the country, is a joint venture of the city government and a consortium of local and foreign investors, with no cash out on the part of the city.

The 30-year concession with the consortium includes maintenance and repair of the coaches and the control hub.

“The project will create around 6,000 new jobs for Makatizens and numerous economic opportunities just for the construction and operation of the train system alone. This does not include additional jobs which will be created as a result of the efficient transport system in the city,” Binay said.

The city chief executive expressed her full commitment to the project’s completion within five years, which she envisioned to be her lasting legacy to the people of Makati.

“I want this to be my legacy. It is time for a better and brighter future for everyone in Makati. I want the city to be truly livable, sustainable, inclusive, and resilient not just today but for the generations to come,” said Binay.

Binay also assured the public that the five-year construction period will not have adverse effects on traffic within Makati. This, she said, is one of the advantages of constructing a subway system. Since most of the work is done in tunnels underground, the disruption to daily traffic will be minimal.

“In just five years, Makati City, and the rest of the country will reap the benefits of having a reliable and efficient mass transport system. We are laying the groundwork for more advanced infrastructure and projects so our children can continue to be proud of the city they live in,” she emphasized.

The PRT system, which is scheduled to break ground before the end of the year, will have two tracks, up to 10 underground stations, and air-conditioned coaches which can accommodate 200 persons per car.

The entire system spans 10 kilometers with a train yard, maintenance depot, and central command center at ground level.

The stations will have at least 30 station entrances linked to destinations across Makati, which will spur the growth of small and medium businesses.

It will also be linked to ferry transport, interchanges to the existing MRT 3 line, as well as potential links to the future Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-funded Metro Manila subway, and to future parking structures and transport feeders outside the existing business districts.

Once completed, the PRT will be able to service up to 27,000 passengers per hour per direction. The system also promises an interval of three to six minutes between trains on the first year, with 12 operational trains.

By 2024, Makati City is eyeing to have 18 trains with a two- to four-minute interval. The City is also prepared to accommodate as many as 40,500 passengers per hour during peak hours. The train system will run on an 18-hour operational cycle.

Binay stressed that the PRT will leave cumulative positive impacts, not only in Makati but in neighboring cities as well. Current statistics estimate that there are five million employees in Makati during work days.

Since there are only around 500,000 city residents, this would mean millions of commuters and drivers entering the city every day.

The PRT will not only decongest major thoroughfares, but it is also expected to increase work productivity by cutting down the daily commute or travel time of workers.

According to JICA’s congestion valuations, the Philippines will gain at least US$600 million annually in GDP just for enhanced productivity.

Interestingly, the project will allow for an additional 320,000 residents in Makati City.

Besides enjoying a walkable city with considerably less pollution, residents will also enjoy 20 percent higher land values because of the new transport system. The figure was based on the experience of other Asian cities like Bangkok and Hong Kong.

More importantly, a reliable, comfortable, and highly-efficient mass transport system will result in less traffic congestion and parking woes in the country’s premier financial district. Feasibility studies project 270,000 fewer cars in the streets of Makati by 2048.

This makes the PRT a more eco-friendly and sustainable solution as well, with a projected reduction of 2.3 million tons of CO2 annually in greenhouse gas emission by 2048.

In pushing for the subway project, Mayor Binay cited Hong Kong’s MTR system which was introduced in 1979. It helped usher in a period of unprecedented urban mobility and economic growth. Now, 90 percent of Hong Kong residents and workers commute without a car, translating into more hours a day for business and family.

The MTR also makes US$7 billion and serves 1.7 billion riders. The system is so successful that they advise and manage rail systems in countries around the world.

On the other hand, Bangkok’s subway system was launched in 2004 and now serves 100 million riders per year across 35 stations. Mayor Abby noted that like the Bangkok line, Makati’s PRT will be operational even during floods.

Binay also pointed out that other cities like Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, and Jakarta are now experiencing less congestion in their financial centers after a mass transport system has been introduced.

Going to Makati from Parañaque? Avail of free ride with P2P bus

By Faye Orellana (Reporter, INQUIRER.net /kga)

Free rides await people who plan to go to Makati City from Parañaque City?

The DNS Point-to-Point (P2P) Bus company announced Monday it is giving free rides from Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) to Makati Central Business District (CBD) in line with the soft opening of the pioneering land port in the country. In an advisory, the DNS said free rides will be available from November 12 up to 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 14.

Good news! Today will be the start of dry run for our P2P operations for PITX to Makati CBD. Libre pa para susunod na tatlong araw! Every hour starting at 530am. Sakay na! 😊 - Posted by DNS P2P Bus on Sunday, November 11, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte led the inauguration of the PITX last November 5.

Poland poised to hire more Pinoy workers

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor (PNA)

MANILA -- Poland is eyeing to hire more workers from the Philippines, a country executive announced Thursday.

“Poland is one of the most progressive economies in Europe but the decrease in our workforce cannot meet the needs of continuous progress in our country. We hope to attract Filipino workers, even if it’s cold there during winter but you can expect our warmest welcome,” Polish Deputy of Mission Joanna Wasiewska told reporters in Makati City.

Citing that the Philippines is a huge market that could be a window of opportunities in the ASEAN arena, Wasiewska said the Polish government wants to increase people-to-people contacts, boost tourism, promote exchanges in education and culture with the Philippine government.

“We also want to stimulate economic cooperation. The main export categories are industrial spare parts and food and we import mainly electronic products,” she added.

Wasiewska said Polish investments had been present in the Philippines since 2005 when Salamanca, a resort and tour operator, opened in Pamatican, Mindanao.

“Then, a call centre and consulting company launched by Cinnovation in Manila in 2008. New investments followed in 2014 and 2015 Information Technology-Business Process Management center by Lingaro, and factory by Grupa Pietrucha in Mariveles,” she said, adding that there is a growing number of Polish brands in the Philippine market like Belvedere, Wedel, Bell Hypoallergenic and Inglot.

Meanwhile, Baltic Container Terminal is the only investment of the Philippines in Gdynia, Northern Poland since 2003.

The diplomatic relations between Philippines and Poland were established on September 22, 1973.

“Currently, we are preparing the full operationalization of the Embassy, getting ready for the visit of our Foreign Minister at the beginning of the 2019,” she said.

Wasiewska said Poland has recently reopened its embassy in the country after 24 years of closure. It is situated at the 9th floor of Del Rosario Law Centre in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

She added they had to close their embassies in some countries including Philippines due to financial constraints.

PLDT eyes to allocate over P50B capex for 2019

By Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

MANILA -- Telecommunications firm PLDT Inc. is eyeing to spend around PHP58-PHP60 billion in capital expenditures for next year, which will be mostly allocated for the rollout of its broadband services in the country, its chairman and CEO Manuel Pangilinan said Thursday.

“Our growth is coming mostly from the fixed line. Our sense of the third player is that it’s likely to focus on the mobile side of the business. On the fixed line side, this is where the marked strength of PLDT lies as we speak,” Pangilinan said in a press conference in Makati City.

Pangilinan expects that the new telco player will not cause significant impact on PLDT’s revenues during the first year of its operations.

“Our read of the 3rd telco is a mobile player. A significant part of our revenues are fixed. We think the impact on the baseline revenues will be modest. On the mobile side this, will depend on how the 3rd telco can rapidly build on its infrastructures and services,” he said.

PLDT’s fiber broadband coverage for the first nine months of 2018 reached 5.75 million homes, surpassing its full year target of 5.3 million homes due to the expansion of its fiber optic cable network.

Its total capacity reached 2.25 million ports, which is more than its target of 2.20 million ports for 2018.

Meanwhile, Smart has installed 5,700 new LTE or 4G base stations, which raised its total to 14,400 LTE base stations nationwide.

“The accelerated roll-out of PLDT’s fiber network has placed us in a good position to provide all PLDT customers with fiber-powered broadband services within the next 12 to 18 months. In addition, Smart’s stepped up deployment of LTE, LTE-Advanced and 3G facilities will enable us to fulfill our commitment to the government to provide mobile broadband services to over 90 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities by end-2018,” said Mario Tamayo, Senior Vice President for network planning and engineering for PLDT and Smart.

The core income of PLDT for the first nine months of 2018 has increased by 5 percent to PHP19.1 billion, compared to PHP18. 1 billion for the same period a year ago.

Its net income for the January to September period has declined by 25 percent to PHP16.5 billion from PHP21.9 billion a year ago.

Consolidated service revenues went up by 4 percent to PHP 117.9 billion from PHP 113.4 billion last year.

The combined revenues of its Home, Enterprise and Individual business segments increased by 8 percent to PHP101.2 billion, which contributed to 90 percent of its consolidated revenues.

Data and broadband revenues grew by 36 percent to PHP66 billion, which is equivalent to 59 percent of its consolidated revenues.

PLDT has allocated PHP58 billion in capital expenditures this year for the rollout of its fixed and mobile networks.

Churches light up Makati Christmas

(The Manila Times)

As Christmas draws near, Philippine churches come alive with their altars covered in magnificent lights to proclaim the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ.

With Filipinos still very attached to the long cherished tradition of Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo, Ayala Land has chosen the symbols that make the Filipino Christmas memorable and meaningful, by lighting up the heart of the country’s prime commercial and financial district with dazzling installations, that depict the altars of the Philippines’ most iconic churches this year.

Crafted by the masterful hands of Zenas Pineda, seasoned interior designer specializing in visual merchandising and who has been designing the street lights of Ayala Land for seven years now, the light installations surely capture the historic and cultural richness of the altars of selected Philippine churches across the archipelago.

Among the altars featured are those of the iconic San Sebastian in Manila; the San Miguel Archangel Parish, Cebu and Molo Church, Iloilo in the Visayas; the Immaculate Conception Church of Jasaan, Northern Mindanao; and the Santuario de San Antonio of Makati.

Capiz shells installations are likewise wrapped around the trees that line the main street to complement the altars. To lend more color and whimsical elements to the overall design, totem poles symbolizing the 12 days of Christmas are installed between the altars.

“Christmas is always special for Filipinos because it’s about bonding with family and loved ones. We realize that for many Filipinos, experiencing Makati’s holiday displays have become part of their Christmas celebrations, alongside revered Filipino Christmas traditions such as the Simbang Gabi, family reunions, and Noche Buena. This is why Ayala Land ensures that our Christmas celebrations in Makati are truly inspiring and memorable,” Ayala Land Makati Project Development head Shiella Aguilar said.

“We’d like to bring the community together and give them all the opportunities to create new and wonderful memories,” she added.

Makati City’s streets bring Christmas cheer through its dazzling lights starting November 5 until January 8.

A toast to Filipino traditions, the street lighting also ushers in a spectacular Christmas celebration by Ayala Land, including Reimagine the Magic: Festival of Lights, anticipated novena masses at Ayala Triangle Gardens, holiday bazaars, and a whole range of cultural events that Filipinos anticipate during the season.

Makati five renamed Super Crunch

By Peter Atencio

Team Makati has a new player in the team and is shedding its moniker in Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

Formerly known as the Makati Skyscrapers, they will now be known as the Makati Super Crunch.

The change comes at a time when the squad just took in Meralco Bolts player Joseph Sedurifa to replace one of their key cagers Philip Paniamogan.

The Super Crunch lost Paniamogan after he got a call up to join the NLEX Road Warriors in the Philippine Basketball Association.

They are currently running fourth in the team standings of the ongoing MPBL Datu Cup.

And with Sedurifa coming in, the team manager Paolo Orbeta said they are now a complete team.

“We are doing well, and we are happy that we are a complete team,” said Orbeta during a team gathering in Dasmarinas Village.

The Super Crunch team is now backed by snacks company Trifoods, Inc., will carry the brand for a year following an agreement with marketing executives led by Enrique Yap.

“We see a lot of potential here,” said Yap, on the team which is also co-owned by Martin Arenas.

Coach Cholo Villanueva is tasked to bring the squad to a successful campaign in the ongoing cagefest which has 26 teams participating.

With their 8-4 win-loss card, Villanueva hopes to improve on their record in fourth spot.

“We are in a good position. Na overcome na namin ang mga adversities namin,” said Villanueva.

The team boasts of good players like Rudy Lingganay, an ex-pro, and PBA aspirant Cedric Ablaza.

Companies hiring PWDs to join Makati job fair

(Rappler.com)

Mayor Abigail Binay says even non-residents of Makati can come to the job fair on November 9

MANILA, Philippines – At least 26 companies are participating in the job fair organized by the Makati City government for Friday, November 9, and some of them are intent of hiring persons with disability (PWDs).

In a press release, Makati Mayor Abigail Binay said the job fair is also open to non-residents of Makati. It will open at 10 am Friday at the Activity Center of the Ayala Malls in Circuit Makati.

“There is no age limit, and persons with disability are also welcome to apply, as we have some partner-companies who have expressed their desire to hire PWD applicants, including the deaf-mute,” Binay said.

The Makati Public Employment Service Office (PESO) will be providing free printing and photocopying services to applicants at the job fair.

“Applicants may bring their flash drive and have their resume or biodata printed out and photocopied for free at the activity venue,” said Vissia Marie Aldon, the PESO chief.

The following companies have confirmed participation in the job fair:

• George Optical
• Samjin Amook
• Mi Department Store
• The Burgery Inc
• Torch Circuit Lane
• Fox Box
• China Bank
• Regalong Pambahay
• Rustans SuperCenter Inc
• Uniqlo
• Bench
• Dunkin Donuts
• Andok’s Lechon
• Nail-A-Holics
• Mirof Resources Inc
• More Than Jobs
• Group Perspective Inc
• CNT
• Guill Berns
• Rackshack Circuit Makati
• BFL Bookstore
• Market Place Christian Church Transport & Multi-Purpose Cooperative
• Philippine Survey Research Center
• Receivers and Liquidators
• Serenitea
• Mesa Restaurant

Government agencies that provide employment-related services will have their booths too:

• Department of Labor and Employment
• Government Insurance Service System
• Pag-Ibig
• PhilHealth

The Makati City government said it had also invited the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Social Security System.

Makati slates mega job fair on November 9

(BusinessMirror)

MAKATI City Mayor Abby Binay on Monday announced that the city government will hold its 2nd Mega Job Fair for the year on November 9 from 10 a.m. onward at the Activity Center, second level of Ayala Malls in Circuit Makati.

In a news statement, the mayor encouraged job seekers, both Makati residents and non-residents, to participate in the event, which will offer a variety of employment opportunities to everyone, including persons with disability (PWDs).

“The job fair is open to Makatizens and all job seekers. There is no age limit, and persons with disability are also welcome to apply, as we have some partner-companies who have expressed their desire to hire PWD applicants, including the deaf-mute,” Mayor Abby said.

The mayor thanked the participating firms and establishments for supporting the efforts of the city government to create more employment opportunities for all, especially Makati residents. “We gratefully appreciate the staunch support of our partners in the private sector for one of our major thrusts toward promoting inclusive progress in Makati,” Mayor Abby said.

Based on her directive, the Makati Public Employment Service Office (PESO) has also made arrangements to provide free printing and photocopying services to applicants at the job fair. “Applicants may bring their flash drive and have their resume or biodata printed out and photocopied for free at the activity venue,” PESO chief Vissia Marie Aldon said.

Aldon said companies that have confirmed their participation in the mega job fair include George Optical, Samjin Amook, Mi Department Store, The Burgery Inc., Torch Circuit Lane, Fox Box, China Bank, Regalong Pambahay, Rustans SuperCenter Inc, Uniqlo, Bench, Dunkin Donuts, Andok’s Letchon, Nail-A-Holics and Mirof Resources Inc.

Also on the list are More Than Jobs, Group Perspective Inc., CNT, Guill Berns, Rackshack Circuit Makati, BFL Bookstore, Market Place Christian Church Transport & Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Philippine Survey Research Center, Receivers and Liquidators, Serenitea and Mesa Restaurant, among others.

Similar to previous job fairs held by the city, national government agencies involved in providing employment-related services will also participate and extend their services to jobseekers. These include the Department of Labor and Employment, Government Insurance Service System, Pag-Ibig and PhilHealth.

COA: Makati overtakes QC as PHL's richest city

By JOSEPH TRISTAN ROXAS (/KBK, GMA News)

Makati City has earned the distinction of being the country's new richest metropolis, replacing Quezon City, after more than quadrupling its total assets in 2017, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in its report.

Based on the 2017 COA financial report on local governments, Makati City raked in total assets worth P196.57 billion, or an increase of more than P141 billion, compared to its 2016 record of P54.85 billion.

Makati City management explained in its financial statement that its assets ballooned by 258 percent when it included public infrastructure projects in the computation of its assets last year.

"All public infrastructure projects such as road networks and other public infrastructure projects were no longer transferred to the registry of public infrastructure," the statement read.

This forced Quezon City to fall into second place after years of being the richest city, with total assets worth P68.33 billion. It topped COA reports in 2016 at P59.56 billion and in 2015 at P51.64 billion, with Makati City always a close second.

Manila City, meanwhile, remained in third place with P38.68 billion worth of assets, or around P2.5 billion compared to its P36.1 billion haul in 2016.

Cebu and Pasig cities also retained their spots in the top five with estimated assets around P33.86 billion and P33.7 billion, respectively.

Taguig City (P19.6 billion) still came in sixth place, while the cities of Caloocan (P17 billion) and Pasay (P16.66 billion) switched places at the seventh and eight spots compared in 2016.

President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown of Davao City, meanwhile, went up to ninth place after it entered the top 10 list in the previous COA report. The total assets of the city rose from P8.9 billion in 2016 to P13.18 billion last year.

Calamba City in Laguna displaced Iligan City in Lanao del Norte in tenth place with assets worth P12.41 billion.

Cainta still richest municipality

Cainta, Rizal, meanwhile, retained its hold as the richest town in terms of assets, with a haul of around P3.99 billion. Sual, Pangasinan climbed to second place last year with assets worth P2.53 billion, displacing Limay, Bataan, which fell to third place at P2.45 billion.

Sto. Tomas, Batangas, and Binangonan, Rizal, completed the top five with P2.15 billion and P2.1 billion, respectively.

Other municipalities included in the top 10 are Mariveles, Bataan (P2 billion); Tanay, Rizal (P1.79 billion); Carmona, Cavite (P1.66 billion); Narvacan, Ilocos Sur (P1.63 billion; and Silang, Cavite (P1.6 billion).

Makati as the ‘Digital City of the 21st Century’

(The Manila Times)

Excerpts from Mayor Abby Binay’s speech on launching the Makatizen Card:

“We entered into a landmark agreement with Globe Telecom which led to the launching of the Makatizen Card in time for our 347th founding anniversary. Powered by the digital platforms of G-Xchange, the card is a unified, multi-purpose government-issued citizen ID that consolidates all health and social benefits for over 500,000 residents and city hall employees.

“We took the first step towards building a cashless ecosystem, through which Makatizen Card holders can enjoy the convenience offered by a variety of digital and mobile services, including cashless transactions.

“Features found on the card’s front card include an EMV chip which ensures security of transactions, the card holder’s photo and name, 16-digit card number, Makatizen number, and the MasterCard logo indicating it can be used in MasterCard enabled terminals.

“At the back of the card is a magnetic stripe that allows swipe transactions; CVV or Card Verification Value which is an added security feature required for online transactions; the card holder’s address, gender, blood type and emergency contact numbers, and logos of our corporate partners.

“To better illustrate to you how the card works, let me use as an example one of over 2,000 city employees who have been issued a Makatizen Card.

Makati sets emergency meet in wake of gas leak

By Joel E. Zurbano

Makati City government officials on Monday will hold an emergency meeting with operators and owners of all gasoline stations in the city to prevent a repeat of the potentially disastrous gas leak in Barangay Bangkal.

Mayor Abigail Binay tapped acting city administrator Michael Camina to call for an urgent meeting scheduled at 1 pm Monday in City Hall to discuss preemptive measures and security matters to ensure public safety.

Camina said Binay wants the gasoline station owners to ensure regular inspections of their fuel line and tanks, and to promptly notify City Hall should there be any problem.

“We need to reiterate safety guidelines for gasoline stations to prevent any more gas leaks in the future. Business owners should see to it that their fuel line and tanks are regularly and thoroughly inspected. Their managers must also keep track of daily sales volume versus inventory to detect any large discrepancy that may indicate a leak,” Camiña said.

Binay, meanwhile, commended the Makati Fire Department and city officials comprising the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council for their immediate response to contain the leak from Phoenix Gasoline Station located at the corner of Estrella and Evangelista Streets that flowed into the drainage system in the barangay.

The gas leak was verified Wednesday evening by an investigation team from the fire bureau and was subsequently traced to the Phoenix Gasoline Station.

Binay said within 24 hours after Makati Fire Marshal Roy Quisto first notified MDRRMC members about the gas leak, it was effectively resolved without causing any damage to lives and properties.

“A potentially disastrous incident has been averted, thanks to the fast action and effective collaboration among key officials of the local DRRM Council from the protective and administrative sectors,” said Binay.

The mayor attributed the successful resolution of the incident to the close coordination between key officials of City Hall and the fire bureau, who maintained constant communication and exchanged real-time and accurate information on the ongoing operations at the site of the gas leak.

“From the wee hours of Nov. 1 until daybreak of Nov. 2, they closely monitored the status of operations and gas levels at the affected area. Key decision-makers were able to issue appropriate directives with dispatch, resulting in the timely implementation of precautionary measures to ensure public safety,” Binay said.

The city government also formed a task force on the incident and a command center was immediately set up at the site last Thursday.

BFP ‘hydrotests’ gas station after reported fuel leak in Makati

By Consuelo Marquez (Reporter, INQUIRER.net)

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Makati has conducted “hydrotesting” of a gasoline station to determine the reported gas leak in Barangay Bangkal, Makati, Radyo Inquirer reported on Friday.

The gas leak was reportedly coming from the Estrella Street outlet of the gasoline station Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc.

Hydrotesting is a process that removes fuel from its underground storage tanks and replaces it with water to determine if the tanks have leakage, without the danger of gas explosion.

Police Supt. Rogelio Pablo Simon, officer in charge at the Makati City Police Station, said a gas leak was reported after seeing what appeared to be a mix of fuel and sewer water at the sewerages of Estrella Street near Phoenix Petroleum gas station on Thursday.

Simon added that “water flushing” was immediately conducted on the canals to avoid danger of explosion.

“Mag flushing ngayon then after mag bubuga sila ng foam on top of the canal para walang danger of explosion while sinisipsip nila ang diesel,” he said in a text message to reporters on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Phoenix Petroleum said on Thursday that the reported gas leak was an “isolated case,” however, the management has still taken steps to address the incident.

“Please know that the incident at one of our stations in Makati is an isolated case and we have already taken steps to address the matter. And as the safety of the community is our utmost priority, we will continue to take strides to ensure that the issue gets resolved ASAP,” it said in a tweet.

Please know that the incident at one of our stations in Makati is an isolated case and we have already taken steps to address the matter. And as the safety of the community is our utmost priority, we will continue to take strides to ensure that the issue gets resolved ASAP. — Phoenix Petroleum (@phoenixfuels) November 1, 2018

Makati brings A-game to outlast Bulacan in battle of crack squads

By Rey Joble

BATANGAS CITY — Be it north or south, Makati proved it’s difficult to deal with and on a rainy Tuesday night, the Skyscrapers were able to outlast the Bulacan Kuyas, 99-94, in the MPBL Datu Cup at the Batangas City Coliseum.

The Skyscrapers outworked their rivals and their second unit were also able to outplay the Mighty Sports-backed Kuyas on their way to scoring their eighth win in 12 games to move up to fourth spot in the tough northern division of this tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with PBA legend and former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.

Makati scored 26 points off Bulacan’s 20 turnovers, something which Cholo Villanueva wanted to see from his troops.

“We wanted to see consistency from our squad, particularly on defense,” Villanueva told FOX Sports Philippines. “The good news, we were able to make it back to the upper half of the standings.”

Their hustle on the defensive end was complemented by the second unit’s solid production as the Skyscrapers drew 43 points from their second unit, 21 more than their rivals.

Jeckster Apinan led the rampage of the second stringers as he unloaded 10 of his 16 markers in the second half, but the Skyscrapers also drew much firepower from their starters led by the dynamic duo of Rudy Lingganay and Cedric Ablaza, who combined for 37 points.

The loss was the second straight for Bulacan, once the hottest team in the tournament, but suddenly ran cold the past two games. The Kuyas dropped to fifth place after losing their fifth match in 13 games.

Makati Subway builder hopes to boost property business with infrastructure

(ABS-CBN News)

MANILA -- The builder of the Makati Subway, IRC Properties, said Wednesday it was looking at synergies between its core real estate business and its infrastructure foray.

The company plans to build communities around the $3.7-billion subway, which is envisioned to connect the Makati financial district to other mass transport systems in the capital, said IRC Properties president Antonio Tiu.

"We have several areas identified for acquisition and expansion. Primarily, we will be using infrastructure as a way to develop new property," Tiu told ANC's Market Edge.

RC Properties is looking at areas where construction can begin after the groundbreaking at the end of the year. It is also fulfilling regulatory requirements, Tiu said.

"There's a lot of things to do," he said. "Connectivity is a must. Our objective is to make this subway really efficient."

MMDA suspends number coding Oct. 31-Nov. 5

By Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

MANILA -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will suspend the implementation of the number coding scheme in Metro Manila in line with the exodus of motorists to the provinces for the All Saints' and All Souls' Day break, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 5.

In text message to the media, MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, however, said the suspension of the number coding scheme will not apply in the cities of Makati and Las Piñas.

Meanwhile, the MMDA will be deploying more than 3,300 personnel consisting of traffic enforcers and members of the Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group to ensure orderly observance of the All Saints' and All Souls' days.

They will be deployed at the Manila North Cemetery, Manila South Cemetery, Bagbag Public Cemetery in Quezon City, Loyola Memorial Park and San Juan Public Cemetery. They will supervise cleaning the vicinities of these cemeteries and clearing roads of illegally parked vehicles and other obstructions.

The MMDA oversees the traffic rerouting in these cemeteries.

The agency is also implementing its “no absent, no dayoff” policy for its traffic enforcers from October 27 to November 3.

Big Boss Idol takes 3x3 Golden League title

(Manila Standard Sports)

Big Boss Idol defeated Dasma Ballers 2, 21-16, to capture the 3x3 Golden League Manila 2018 crown on Sunday at the Ayala Circuit Mall in Makati City.

The team of Cedrick Ablaza, Rhoy Cayanan, Jhapz Bautista, and Bhabap Sta. Maria took home $3,000 for winning the championship, while also earning the right to represent the Philippines in the SINA 3x3 International Elite League slated Nov. 13 to 17 in Beijing, China.

The Dasma Ballers went home with $2,000 for finishing first runner-up, while Metro Star Realty took second runner-up honors for a $1,000 cash prize in the tournament with Allan Caidic as commissioner and Mediapro Asia and SINA as organizers.

Big Boss Idol reached the finals after beating guest team Aba Prefecture of Tibet, 21-13, to arrange a championship match against Dasma Ballers 2, which defeated Metro Star Realty, 20-11, in the other semifinal bracket.

League organizers are now looking forward to staging another edition of the tournament with plans to also bring the event in major cities outside Manila.

Makati LGU Gives out hygiene kits to students

By Joel E. Zurbano

The city government of Makati has started distributing free hygiene and dental kits to 46,763 students in 23 public elementary schools in line with the mission of Mayor Abigail Binay to promote health and intelligence among the youth in the city.

Each kit contains a toothbrush, toothpaste, bath soap, face towel and a comb.

Binay underscored the importance of good hygiene to ensure that they stay strong and healthy to be able to do well in their studies.

The mayor thanked the students for being present at the distribution ceremony, and reminded them of basic hygiene habits to avoid getting sick.

“First, wash your hands frequently. Second, brush your teeth regularly. Third, take a bath everyday. Because health is wealth. It is easier to be clean than to be sick,” she said.

Binay pointed out that she only had one child, but as mayor of Makati, she considers all the schoolchildren as her own. Thus, she said she wants them to go to school looking presentable, clean, healthy, pretty and handsome, just as she wanted for her own daughter.

Accompanied by Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo and Congressman Luis Campos during the distribution, Binay vowed that they will be back to distribute the promised rain coats and rain boots to students sometime this November.

The city chief executive also revealed plans to go back again to distribute anti-dengue kits in December and the much-anticipated new rubber shoes this coming January.

For the next school year, she said, the city government will be providing free school socks to the students.

The anti-dengue kit includes an arm band/bracelet with citronella capsules which can be used up to 90 days, and an anti-mosquito repellent lotion.

The distribution of hygiene kits from Oct. 23 to 25 was made in the following public elementary schools: Fort Bonifacio Elementary School, West Rembo ES, Guadalupe Viejo ES, Rizal ES, Pembo ES, Comembo ES, East Rembo ES, Cembo ES, South Cembo ES, Pitogo ES, Nemesio I. Yabut ES, and San Jose ES in District II.

In District I, recipient schools included Maximo Estrella ES, Francisco Benitez ES (Main), Jose Magsaysay ES, Makati ES, La Paz ES, Francisco Benitez ES (Singkamas), Bangkal ES I, Bangkal ES (Main), Palanan ES, Hen. Pio del Pilar ES (Main), and Hen. Pio del Pilar ES I.

Arnis Open under way in Makati

(The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines — After scouting for national athletes in Baguio and Bacolod recently, the Arnis Philippines Inc. (ARPI) continues its search for arnisadores in Makati.

Dubbed as Makati Arnis Challenge, the event will have its championship round tomorrow at the University of Makati gym.

The featured events are Anyo, Labanan Isahan and Labanan Kampihan, said head coach JR Baldos of UMAK arnis team.

“As the national martial art of the Philippines, arnis continues to expand its horizon as it influences more and more citizens in the country,” said ARPI president Raymond Velayo.

ARPI, the 33rd member of the Philippine Olympic Committee, has embarked on a program to further develop the sport through tournaments. In partnership with the Province of Capiz it has now expanded to the Visayas.

With the help of Gov. Antonio del Rosario, ARPI is formally announcing an upcoming tournament Oct. 29-30 at the Capiz Gymnasium Villareal Stadium in Roxas City.

Lingkod Bayan Caravan benefits over 60,000 Makatizens; Mayor Abby urges residents to avail selves of free services

(Makati City Government Official Website)

Makati Mayor Abby Binay today said some 60,209 residents of Makati’s 33 barangays have availed themselves of various services offered for free through the Lingkod Bayan Caravan held every Saturday in a designated barangay, from its launch in August 2016 until September 2018.

The mayor called on residents, whom she fondly calls ‘Makatizens’, to keep track of the caravan schedules in their respective barangays so that they can receive the benefits intended for them.

“I initiated the Lingkod Bayan Caravan in 2016 right after I assumed office, out of my desire to make basic services more accessible to our dear Makatizens. Our service caravan is doing the rounds of all 33 barangays, including the villages, to ensure that we reach as many residents as possible,” Mayor Abby said.

“All they have to do is bring themselves and their family members to the venue to get the free services, which include free hot meals, medicines, reading glasses, toys and children’s storybooks,” the mayor pointed out.

Mayor Abby also pointed out that the caravan has fostered the “bayanihan” spirit between the city government and the private sector. Aside from basic services, participants in caravans can also pay their electric and water bills through authorized utility payment centers set up at the venue.

The caravan is one of the twin programs established by the current administration in line with the mayor’s thrust of inclusivity, where “everyone partakes of the city’s robust economic growth.”

The Ugnayan sa Barangay weekly dialog has drawn thousands of residents who were able to ask questions and express their concerns directly to the mayor herself, who made sure to be always present. Early this year, she directed department heads to report on their accomplishments and upcoming projects prior to the dialog proper, to promote transparency and keep Makatizens well-informed.

“Our weekly dialogs have helped us gain first-hand accounts of our constituents’ prime concerns and suggestions on how we could improve our services. We have also been able to explain to them how and why we are implementing a certain measure or action, which can get them to cooperate and support our initiatives,” Mayor Abby said.

The twin activities of the city government have reached all six Makati villages from July to September, with a total of 2,347 Makatizens served by the caravan in Bel-Air, Dasmariñas, Forbes Park, Magallanes, San Lorenzo, and Urdaneta.

Since the caravan’s launch in 2016, social and medical services have consistently been “bestsellers” for Makatizens. From August 2016 to September 22 this year, a total of 71,987 clients were listed under various social services, while 53,107 were given medical services.

Social services offered include free massage, haircut, and feeding, as well as acceptance of applications and inquiries on benefit cards, such as the Blu Card (Elderly Card), Makati Health Plus Card (Yellow Card), White Card, PWD Card, Solo Parent Card and PhilHealth Card.

Medical services include free consultations, nutritional assessment, checking of blood pressure and blood sugar, height and weight, ECG, blood typing, and chest x-ray examination.

Dental services were given to some 5,917 clients, of whom 4,033 had tooth extraction and 2,334 were fitted for free dentures. A total of 9,388 Makatizens also underwent free eye consultation.

Meanwhile, under the sponsorship of Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo, a total of 14,386 city Makatizens availed themselves of free reading glasses.

Veterinary services were also provided to some 6,306 dogs and cats.

Residents can also file applications for civil registry documents at the caravan while individuals completing requirements for job applications can process their police clearance, and obtain free ID pictures from installed photo booths. Free legal and marriage counselling services, as well as assistance to OFWs, are also available at the caravan.

Households can conveniently pay bills and conduct cash transfers through mobile Bayad Centers, MERALCO, and Manila Water booths.

OsMak opens mammography and X-ray services

By Dhel Nazario

The Ospital ng Makati (OsMak) may now offer mammography and portable X-ray services to its residents, Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay announced Thursday.

A Digital Mammography Machine and Portable X-ray recently acquired by the city government have been cleared for use by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Device Regulation, Radiation Health, and Research, based on the Radiation Protection Survey and Evaluation (RPSE) checklist.

“We have made these modern diagnostic equipment available to our residents in line with our thrust of preventive health care. We want our residents to have access to quality health care provided by competent doctors and medical staff who are equipped with advanced and reliable diagnostic tools, without having to spend a fortune,” Binay said.

This year, the city government has allocated P4.1 billion for the Health sub-sector out of its P8.4-billion total budget for the Social Development sector, which also includes P2.8 billion for Education and P1.5 billion for Social Welfare.

The lady mayor also noted that the clearance given by the said government agencies was very timely, as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She said she has directed the hospital director, Dr. Vergel Binay, to ensure that patients will be properly accommodated and scheduled for a mammogram.

“We encourage Makatizens, especially those in their 40s and older, to have themselves checked at Ospital ng Makati where the new digital mammography machine is ready for use,” she urged.

The Radiology Department has advised that the said equipment can accommodate up to 15 patients daily, from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Last year, OsMak opened its very own Eye Center under the Department of Ophthalmology, eliminating the need to refer patients to other specialized hospitals for treatment of various eye problems.

Makati Football Club brings young Filipinos to international stage

(Manila Standard Sports)

The local football scene is gaining more popularity as Filipino teams continue to strive in the international playing field. With several young Filipinos becoming more interested in the sport, Makati Football Club commits to promote football in the country while developing little champions on and off the field.

Since 1976, MFC has been helping children who are passionate for football through proper training and guidance in their endeavor. The club also puts emphasis on every child’s development outside of the sports academy. “We are using football as a tool for child development. We’re not just teaching them the skills to become better at the sport but we’re also guiding them in their academics so they can become better individuals,” shares Selu Lozano, MFC Chief Operating Officer.

MFC sponsors football scholars who are given opportunities to excel in their education and the sport. As part of their training, the players are also sent abroad to compete in international games. “You’re only as good as the competition you play against. That’s why we diligently train our kids and expose them to tournaments,” said Lozano. “We’ve also been fortunate to organize trips abroad where they can compete in international leagues to help them reach the next level.”

Some of the major awards that the club has won are the Gothia Cup and Helsinki Cup in 1985; and more recently, the Yellow Cab Cup, Powerade Cup and Alaska Cup in 2016; and the Zobel Cup, Manila Japanese Cup, Ceres Cup, Singapore International Tournament, Summer Youth League, Gothia Cup, and Powerade Cup in 2017.

This year, MFC also bagged the Paul Parker Trophy, the highest recognition given at the 2018 JSSL Tournament 7s in Padang, Singapore. The C2 Cool and Clean-sponsored football organization bested the competition with their skills and was declared as the overall champions after accumulating a total of 32 points.

Since 2016, C2 Cool and Clean, the leading ready-to-drink tea brand in the Philippines, has been actively supporting MFC in its endeavors to help give the children who love football an opportunity to learn and improve their skills.​

IRC gets nod to proceed with $3.7-B Makati Subway project

By Jon Viktor Cabuenas(/VDS, GMA News)

IRC Properties Inc. has received the nod from the Makati City government to proceed with the planned $3.7-billion subway project, and has generated nearly P5 billion from selling shares.

In a regulatory filing submitted by accounting manager Keinth Roger Castillo on Tuesday, IRC said it received the necessary requirements from the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Selection Committee of the Makati City Government to proceed with the Makati Subway System.

“The company received today from PPP Selection Committee of Makati City Government a Notice of Award for the construction and operation of the Makati Subway System to be implemented through a joint venture agreement,” the filing said.

“The project has been awarded to the original proponent, IRC Properties Inc., as the lead proponent of a consortium,” it said.

IRC earlier submitted an unsolicited proposal for the $3.7-billion project which seeks to provide an intra-city rail transport system in Makati City.

The consortium will build, operate, and maintain an 11-kilometer intra-city subway mass rail transport system with up to 10 stations connecting key points in Makati’s two districts. The project entails no cash out on the part of the city government.

The mass rail system is expected to accommodate 700,000 passengers a day and link to the Metro Rail Transit and the Pasig River Ferry, as well as the anticipated Metro Manila Subway.

Several companies have indicated their intention to be part of the IRC consortium, including Greenland Holdings, Jiangsu Provincial Construction Group, Kwan On Holdings, MingTu Investment Holdings, and China Harbour Engineering Construction Ltd.

“The city government will only contribute land it currently owns and which will be used in the subway system,” Makati Mayor Abigal Binay said in August, noting that the company is scheduled to break ground for the project in December.

In a separate filing, IRC said it generated nearly P5 billion from the stock subscriptions of Aggregate Business Group Holdings Inc. and Auspicious One-Belt-One-Road Fund.

The company received some P4.562 billion from the sale of 4,148,105,000 common shares to Aggregate Business, and some P404.992 million from the sale of 368,175,000 shares to Auspicious One-Belt-One-Road. Both transactions were priced at P1.10 per share.

“The shares will be issued out of the increase from P1.5 billion to P19.5 billion as previously approved by the board of directors and stockholders of the Corporation,” according to IRC.

IRC president and CEO Antonio Tiu told GMA News Online that the company is looking at other funding options, but details have yet to be finalized

“Yes [we are looking at other funding options]. Will advise you soon,” he said on Tuesday.

As an unsolicited proposal, the project was subjected to a Swiss challenge in June. This entailed inviting other firms to make competing offers, while giving the original proponent the right to match. —Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News

Bodega is where creative twists to Filipino food favorites are done right

By Steph Arnaldo (Rappler.com)

Curious to see how Greek Chicken Inasal and Jalapeno Sisig would taste like?

MANILA, Philippines – A bodega, defined by most as a storage room of hardly-used belongings from one’s house, usually contains a childhood’s oldest memories and the family’s earliest possessions.

As we grow older, the bodega then becomes a time-traveling portal of nostalgia, warm memories, and a reminder of happier, simpler times, all in one room. This is exactly what Bodega Kitchen & Bar, a cozy resto-bar tucked along the busy street of Valero Street, Makati City, aims to be for its diners.

The kitchen-slash-bar provides a comforting refuge from jam-packed days, being that Bodega is designed to act as a cozy, little nook to enjoy with friends over ambiance and food that feels just like a tiny piece of home.

Owners Orville Zosa and his friends seemed it fit to keep Bodega young and targeted to the – excuse the misused and overused word – "millennial." How? By juxtaposing the feel-good appeal of nostalgia with a twist of "new" through a uniquely creative spin on Filipino food and drink.

It was the team's vision to still serve up the reliable comfort of Filipino food, but in a way that’s both fresh and new to them – not necessarily by veering away from the usual, old-time Filipino fare favorites, but rather, by just elevating them in terms of flavor, creativity, and presentation, in a simple yet impactful way.

Fan of the all-time Bacolod chicken inasal favorite? What about the flavors of Mediterannean cuisine? Yes? Great, because apparently, Bodega's owners are fans of both, too. Hence, the birth of their Greek Inasal Gyros (P350).

Head chef Andric Clemente features the local chicken favorite in all its smoky, juicy, and tender glory and takes it on a fresher journey by incorporating the tangy, citrusy herbs and spices Greek cuisine is known for, as well including some Mediterranean elements into the dish.

The well-cooked chicken thighs come with toasted pita bread (a rice substitute is also available), a tabbouleh salad, a refreshing tzatziki cucumber yogurt dip, and a side of harrisa pepper paste for those craving for a kick of spice. Definitely no umay here.

The dish is good for 2 people. But if you're flying solo with an unapologetic appetite to match, go right ahead.

The resto’s resident best-seller and tongue-twister, the Sinarabsab (P320), is a best-selling, mouth-watering combination of everything right with Filipino cuisine – tender Ilocano grilled liempo, tortang talong, green mango ensalada, and bagoong – all lovingly co-existing in one single platter.

Recommendation: Pile on every element of the dish on your spoon and experience a spoonful of different flavors and textures bursting in your mouth in one bite.

With the tenderness of the grilled liempo, the silkiness of roasted eggplant, the crunchiness and asim zing of green mango, plus the saltiness of bagoong, you’ve got yourself a delicious foodie medley you won't help but sing along to. Simply put, everything works.

What's a Filipino feast without a deadly dose of sisig? The Bodega version, its Jalapeño Sisig (P330), serves up a Mexican twist to the famed pulutan, adding a cilantro-lime dressing on top and a little bit of spice, thanks to the slices of jalapeño peppers. Of course, the iconic bits of crunchy chicharon on top weren't forgotten.

Definitely no diets allowed here – just cheat days.

Surprisingly, this meaty dish wasn’t heavy on the taste buds at all. Do we owe it to the tangy dressing or its peppery pals? Who knows; all we know is that it’s a sisig worth many spoonfuls.

Assuming that there's still room for dessert, last but not least is Bodega's version of a Chinese-Filipino sweet treat: the Kung Hey Fat Choi (P185).

This exquisite-looking dessert consists of fried tikoy rolls, two scoops of vanilla ice cream, “lang-karamel” syrup (yes, that’s langka and caramel combined), and crispy sugar strings.

You get crunchy, and then a little bit of chewy, and then just the right amount of sweet, which ultimately leads you to the trifecta of an interesting yet delicious dessert.

"With our dishes, we prioritize flavor and presentation. We also made sure that the menu is really for sharing with the barkada and generally affordable," co-owner Orville said. He also shared that the vision for sharing is not only evident in their menu, but also in their lineup of weekly activities and deals.

"Before we just wanted it to be Filipino food and drink. But we decided to expand it to modern Filipino culture," Orville said. From hosting Quiz Nights for companies, Throwback Hits playlists, Acoustic Nights every Thursday, Unli-Cocktails Wednesdays, Unli-Gin Saturdays, and even Improv Comedy shows by local talents, Bodega always has something new for hungry, fun-loving crowds to enjoy.

Unleashing the power of music

By Tina Arceo-Dumlao (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Maestro Joshua Dos Santos leads the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth during a recent performance at Rockwell Power Plant in Makati City.

If there is one obvious and incontrovertible truth about Filipinos, it is that they love music.

And for the Lopez Group, that love for music is more than just a source of entertainment, but more importantly, a powerful force for social change.

That belief drove cousins Eugenio Lopez III, ABS-CBN Corp. chair emeritus and Federico R. Lopez, chair and CEO of First Philippine Holdings Corp., and internationally recognized concert pianist Jovianney Emmanuel Cruz to establish in 2012 Ang Misyon Inc.

Patterned after Venezuela’s El Sistema music education program, Ang Misyon’s mission is “to nurture talented, less privileged youth through the transformative power of orchestral music.”

This through such programs and services as instrument support; opportunities for local and international performances; opportunities to serve as junior mentors to younger scholars; values formation and counseling and professional music lessons and materials.

The younger Lopez said it was heartwarming to realize that since 2012, nearly a thousand lives have been touched by Ang Misyon, primarily through the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth.

OFY seeks to nurture talented, less privileged youth through the transformative power of orchestral music.

The OFY is Ang Misyon’s main performing arm, an ensemble of young musicians, most of whom come from less-privileged families.

All were chosen based on their talent, passion and need.

The orchestra, with 45 pioneer members, held its first rehearsal in September 2012 with Beverly Shangkuan-Cheng as conductor.

Since then, it has performed in various venues in the capital and in the provinces.

Among its notable performances are: Department of Foreign Affairs Auditorium for members of the Diplomatic Corps (2018), Lyceum University – Cavite (2017) for FrancisFest at the Sanctuario de San Antonio Parish (2016), Luce Auditorium, Silliman University in Dumaguete (2015), University of San Agustin Auditorium and Nelly’s Garden in Iloilo City (2014).

In 2015, the OFY collaborated with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra for a music concert and conference at the Cultural Center of the Philippines with Jamie Bernstein and Tricia Tunstall.

In 2016, OFY was also a featured performer in the ChildAid Asia Concert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

On Oct. 25, the OFY celebrates another milestone with the first international performance of the full orchestra of 69 members under Venezuelan Maestro Joshua Dos Santos.

P109-million cash gift set for 1,090 centenarians

(BusinessMirror)

THE national government has awarded P468.8 million in cash to 4,688 Filipinos who turned 100 years old since 2016. It has also set aside another P109 million to pay for the P100,000 cash gift of 1,090 Filipinos who will turn a century old next year, said Makati City Rep. Luis N. Campos Jr., House appropriations committee member.

“The fresh funding is already in the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development [DSWD] in the proposed General Appropriations Act for 2019 that we passed,” Campos said, as he applauded all centenarians for “lives well lived.”

Under the law, every Filipino who reaches 100 years old, whether residing in the Philippines or abroad, is entitled to a P100,000 one-time cash gift, a letter from the President of the Philippines congratulating the centenarian for their longevity and a plaque of recognition.

The entitlements are on top of other rewards and benefits that centenarians may receive from their local governments.

“In Makati, for instance, the city government has been paying tribute to every centenarian with a one-time P100,000 gift and a plaque of recognition since 2013—long before the passage of the Centenarians Act,” Campos said.

Thus, the lawmaker said Makati residents who turn 100 years old actually receive a one-time cash gift of at least P200,000­—P100,000 from the national government through the DSWD plus P100,000 from the city.

Makati set to hold 'Palengke Day' to give residents better access to affordable basic commodities

(Makati City Government Official Website)

Makati Mayor Abby Binay today announced that the city government will be holding a "Palengke Day" (Market Day) where rice, meat products, farm produce and other manufactured basic commodities will be sold at affordable prices to residents on October 23 at the La Paz Covered Court for District 1 residents, and on October 24 at the Comembo Covered Court for District 2 residents. The market will be open from 8am to 5pm or until supplies last.

The mayor said the activity is part of the Producer-2-Consumer (P2C) Market Program being implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which aims to mitigate the effects of rising inflation on consumers. Earlier, the city government held a three-day rice caravan from October 9 to 11 in three barangays in partnership with DTI to mark Consumer Welfare Week.

“The initial rice caravan we held in three barangays last week drew hordes of residents and we sold out 300 sacks of rice in record time. In response to a growing number of requests we received through Facebook, we are now aiming to bring more basic food products within reach of more residents,” Mayor Abby said.

The mayor said mounting clamor from Makatizens, mostly through Facebook (My Makati), prompted her to pursue the expansion of the rice caravan in order to give residents access not only to rice, but to meat products, vegetables, and other basic commodities sold at affordable prices.

Last week, some 3,000 residents from barangays West Rembo, Pio del Pilar and Rizal were able to buy five kilos each of good quality rice at P27 per kilo during a three-day rice caravan held by the EEMO in support of the P2C Market Program of DTI, in partnership with the National Food Authority (NFA). The activity formed part of the city’s observance of Consumer Welfare Week 2018.

Also on the orders of Mayor Abby, the EEMO is preparing for a special caravan for teachers, to be scheduled sometime this November.

Meanwhile, a number of residents have expressed their appreciation of the caravan and other initiatives of Mayor Abby that have helped them cope with rising inflation.

Felly Pasiwagan, 43, a resident of West Rembo, said the activity was beneficial especially to residents who can only afford to buy low-priced rice, and praised the mayor for directly engaging residents in the barangays.

“Sa katulad naming naghahanap ng mas mura-mura pang bigas, sapat sa amin yun, pabor sa amin ‘yun. Talagang tama lang na bumaba ng diretso si Mayora sa mga barangay, maganda talaga, at saka maganda yung quality ng bigas, ‘di ka mag-sisisi,” Pasiwagan said.

A senior citizen, 66-year old Bonifacio Briones from West Rembo, expressed his appreciation for the mayor’s efforts, especially for prioritizing the welfare of senior citizens. He said he wished Mayor Abby will stay longer in her post so that Makati will continue to stand above other localities in the country because of good governance.

“Talagang priority pa rin ang senior citizen dito sa Makati. Malaking bagay sa aming mga senior citizen ang may pa-bigas na mura, sa iba nga wala naman. Dito lang sa Makati kasi magaling ang mayor natin dito,” Briones said.

“Sana mag tagal pa siya sa Makati kasi pinakamaganda talaga sa buong Pilipinas, Makati lang talaga ang pinakamaganda. Maraming bagay na libre tulad ng Yellow card ng mga senior citizen na mga taga-rito sa Makati. Kaya sabi ko talaga, ang mga Binay talaga hindi malalaglag dito sa Makati,” Briones stated.

A resident of Pio del Pilar, Roberto Manulat, said he had no complaints on how Mayor Abby has been running the city government, and complimented her on the rice caravan.

“Para sa ‘kin, maganda yung ginawa ni Mayora. Kasi unang una, hindi na kami maghahanap kung saan saan. Kasi unang una, first time lang na nagkaroon ng NFA dito. Kasi pumunta ako ng Pasay, wala pang bagsak na NFA dun. Magandang programa ni Mayora. Wala akong masabi sa pamamalakad niya,” Roberto said.

A housewife named Teodora Macalinao of Pio del Pilar also narrated her story and thanked Mayor Abby for her initiative to bring low-priced yet quality rice down to the barangays.

“Pasalamat na lang kami kay Mayora kasi nilapit sa amin yung programa, nakatulong nang sobra- sobra. Kasi ang bigat kasi ng bigas pag bigas ang nawala e. Yun lang po, thank you po sa Mayora natin, yung programa niya nakarating dito,” Macalinao said.

Vendor Riza Quinto, 34 of Brgy. Rizal, also expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Mayor Abby for her meaningful service to Makatizens through such programs.

“Syempre nagpapasalamat po kami kasi sa mga simpleng mga ano niya, mga tulong niya sa amin. Malaki po kasi mga mahihirap lang po kaming mamamayan. Eh napakamahal naman po talaga ng bigas ngayon, malaking tulong po sa amin yan lalo na po ngayong krisis ang bigas. Maraming-maraming salamat po kay Mayora Abby Binay!” Quinto enthused.

The P2C Market Program was launched last September 28, 2018 at the Makati City Hall Quadrangle. DTI officials who were present included Usec. Ruth Castelo of the DTI Consumer Protection Group, Director Domingo Tolentino, and Asst. Director Ferdinand Manfoste.

Castelo said the P2C program aims to make products that are cheaper than the SRP (suggested retail price) accessible to consumers by removing the middle man or the traders.

Budget for Senior Citizens increases by 86.5 percent

By Christel Castillo

Makati City remains sincere in their commitment on the welfare and well-being of their Senior Citizens.

A City Councilor confirmed today that the city government put a 86.5 percent increase in this year’s city budget compared to the 2014 budget.

“Since she assumed her post, Mayor Abby has been constantly seeking ways to enhance existing programs with the addition of innovative programs and processes, especially for the benefit of the elderly Makatizens,” Councilor Armand Padilla, Liga ng mga Barangay president, stated.

“For over two decades, no local chief executive had thought of easing the registration process for the Yellow Card. It was Binay who had the foresight to push for the extension of the validity period and even grant lifetime membership to qualified Makatizens,” Padilla underscored.

See also: Mayor Abby Binay lauded for ending "Palakasan" system in cash distribution

He also noted that since 2017, the city’s senior citizens have been able to avail themselves of free vaccination against influenza and pneumonia because of Binay’s initiative to earmark P4.7 million to fund the citywide free vaccination program. Based on records of the Makati Health Department (MHD), 4,097 senior citizens received free flu vaccine, and 2,437 received free pneumococcal vaccine last year.

Binay, he said, pushed for the increase in the bi-annual cash gift distributed to Blu Card members, which was approved and implemented starting last year. Compared to 2014, this year’s budget allocation of P326.7 million is 89.9 percent higher.

The city official said this October until November, the city government has laid out a series of activities honoring the elderly to mark the Elderly Filipino Week observed nationwide. This, together with related events such as Senior Citizens Week, have been allotted over P2.8 million this year, or 236 percent more than the allocation in 2014.

The senior citizens of Makati under the BLU Card program are entitled to cash gifts ranging from P3,000 to P5,000 a year, based on age brackets. Since 2012, 51 centenarians have been awarded with P100,000 cash gift.

From January to September this year, 248 senior citizens were given mobility aid as follows: 150 wheelchairs; 33 quadcores; 13 walkers; 10 crutches; and 42 canes.

Other privileges accorded to Makati seniors include unlimited free entrance to premier cinemas in Makati, free tours in Metro Manila and other parts of the country through ‘Lakbay Saya’, free salon and spa services, cakes on their birthday and golden wedding anniversary, free medical care/hospitalization, and free medicines for maintenance and various illnesses. They are also exempted from the city’s number coding scheme, and upon their death, their beneficiaries are entitled to P3,000 burial assistance.

MMDA to deploy more than 2K traffic personnel for 'Undas'

By Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

MANILA – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will be deploying more than 2,000 traffic personnel to ensure smooth flow of traffic along major thoroughfares in Metro Manila during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, an official said Tuesday.

“We leave the responsibility of cleaning inside cemeteries to local government units. We are also calling on the public to keep cemeteries clean and tidy,” MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said during a press briefing.

He also advised the public to be aware of the traffic rerouting schemes that local government units will implement in their respective localities.

The MMDA will also implement a “no day-off, no absent” policy for its traffic enforcers from October 27 to November 3 as part of its "Oplan Undas 2018".

Members of the agency’s Special Task Force Operations will be clearing roads along the cemeteries while the Metro Parkway Clearing Group will be cleaning up the vicinity of major cemeteries in Metro Manila, Garcia said.

The Manila North Cemetery in Manila City, Manila South Cemetery in Makati City, Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, Bagbag Public Cemetery in Quezon City and Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City are among the major cemeteries being monitored by the MMDA.

The Road Emergency Group will install tents for Public Assistance Centers at these cemeteries and dispatch ambulances to provide emergency medical services to cemetery visitors.

The Metrobase Command Center will also keep track of the traffic situation as well as emergency operations during the observance of "Undas."

The number coding scheme will be suspended on November 1 and 2 as these were declared special non-working holidays.Insert non-formatted text here

Metro Manila malls to adjust ‘operating hours’ starting Nov. 5

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

MAKATI (PIA)--Shopping mall operators in Metro Manila agreed to adjust mall operating hours starting Nov 5, 2018 to January 14, 2019 to alleviate heavier traffic particularly along EDSA, during the holiday season.

In a consultative meeting held at the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) headquarters Monday (Oct. 8), General Manager Jojo Garcia and representative of shopping mall operators have agreed to implement the following action plans: Shopping mall operators located on major thoroughfares in Metro Manila will begin their operations by 11 am, an hour later from the usual 10 am opening time, during weekdays; shopping mall operators to deploy additional security personnel to facilitate long lines of vehicles going inside mall parking areas that cause traffic gridlock; removal of obstructions on loading and unloading stations in the vicinity of shopping malls; limiting deliveries of non-perishable goods only at night-time or from 11 pm to 5 am; and no weekday sale policy.

“Traffic is already bad and we expect it to get worse as the number of vehicles increases,” said Garcia.

Garcia said shopping malls are considered traffic generators during the holidays and delaying their operating hours by an hour could help ease traffic situation in Metro Manila.

There are at least 15 shopping malls located on EDSA alone.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), water utility and telecommunication companies also agreed to defer road works, including road diggings and repairs, except government flagship projects and or during emergency cases.

The moratorium on road works aims to lessen the impact of ongoing infrastructure projects to heavy traffic situation until holidays are over.

The moratorium covered any diggings in the road right-of-way, including passageways and sidewalks, within the cities or municipalities of Metro Manila for the installation, repair, or improvement of water pipes, telephone or telegraph wires or cable conduits, sewers and drainage systems, communication and power line improvements being undertaken by any government agency, public and private contractors.

Among those who attended the meeting are representatives from SM Supermalls, Ayala malls, Robinsons, Meralco, Globe, PLDT, Maynilad, and Manila Water Company.

Makati gives SPED pupils P5k each in allowances

By Joel E. Zurbano

The city government of Makati has distributed P5,000 in allowances to each of the 780 Special Education or SPED students enrolled in 10 public elementary and high schools in the city.

Mayor Abigail Binay led the distribution on Tuesday coincided with the launching of “SPEED for SPED,” a work immersion program she initiated for SPED learners aged 18 years old and above.

At the ceremony held at Makati Science High School, Binay said even when she was still in Congress, she had recognized and sought to address the needs of children with special needs, as well as those of their parents and guardians.

“I realized that parents or guardians of special children need all the support they can get in bringing them up, including financial assistance. This is why we started giving out P5,000 cash as educational assistance for SPED learners in 2017,” she said.

The city chief executive is pushing for the immediate implementation of the SPEED for SPED program because she believed SPED learners have great potential to be productive workers.

“Aside from supporting the education of our children with special needs, we would like to help them become employable by equipping them with life skills that will enable them to be gainfully employed,” added Binay.

She also said that given the right opportunity, special Makatizens can join the labor force and contribute to the country’s socioeconomic growth.

“We would like to give them a fighting chance at becoming productive and self-reliant members of society,” the mayor said.

During the launching, Binay also mentioned her plans to hire a group of occupational therapists and developmental pediatricians to look after the health and development of children with special needs in the city.

“Besides educational support, we also need to provide these children with medical support. The services of an OT and DevPed are expensive. Parents who are jobless or with small income cannot afford it, but their children need to be assessed regularly. Thus, we will make a way to find a group of OT and DevPed to look after the health and development of children with special needs,” said Binay.

Based on the memorandum of agreement signed by the mayor and DepEd Makati, represented by Superintendent Rita Riddle, the SPEED for SPED program will have two phases: the school-based training and the work immersion proper. Its beneficiaries will be SPED students enrolled in Makati public schools either in elementary or in high school and who are at least 18 years old.

During the first phase, SPED students will be trained on life skills in the city’s public senior high schools with adequate training facilities and with teachers who have TESDA national certifications.

Life skills that will be taught to them will include drawing, cooking, table setting, massage, hairstyling, floral arrangement, carpentry, housekeeping, sales, filing, encoding, and computer or IT skills, among others.

In the second phase, which is the work immersion proper, trainees will render a total of 50 hours of work immersion in various offices and departments in the city government of Makati. Trainees will be provided by the city with daily transportation and meal allowances during their work immersion.

According to Riddle, the school-based training for the first batch of trainees consisting of 49 SPED students started last August. She said they are expected to be ready for employment by March next year.

The city government, in partnership with DepEd-Makati, is also set to scout for private establishments and companies to partner with for the trainees’ work immersion and possible employment opportunities which are suited to the life skills they have acquired.

The P5,000 educational assistance has been distributed to the 780 beneficiaries as follows: 121 SPED students at Nemesio Yabut Elementary School; 55, Tibagan High School; 45, F. Benitez Elementary School (Main); 62, San Antonio High School; 146, Hen. Pio del Pilar Elementary School (Main); 73, Fort Bonifacio High School; 78, Gen. Pio del Pilar High School; 38, Palanan Elementary School; 33, Makati Elementary School; and 129, Pembo Elementary School.

In 2017, some 557 SPED students enrolled in Makati public elementary and high schools each received P5,000 in educational allowance from the city.

Mandaluyong-Makati bridge reopened, construction moved to 2019

By NEIL JAYSON N. SERVALLOS, LIEZELLE ROY (The Manila Times)

THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) suspended the closure of the bridge connecting the cities of Mandaluyong and Makati following “public demand” prompted by traffic concerns, a spokesman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Tuesday.

MMDA Spokeswoman Celine Pialago said the closure of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge and its construction was moved to January 2019 instead of this week. The bridge was closed at 8 a.m. last Sunday but the Makati Safety Department (Mapsa) opened it on Tuesday at 5 a.m. on orders of the DPWH.

Pialago said the DPWH allowed the use of the bridge since there were no construction activities in the two days it was closed and due to “public demand.”

“So far literally speaking no construction happened, it is their (Mapsa) discretion. They coordinated with the DPWH but I think they should have informed us so we could conduct traffic management much earlier and for public advisory,” Pialago told reporters.

The agency previously said that the DPWH has secured all permits and necessary documents for the construction to start.

In a letter to the MMDA, Virgilio Castillo, project director of the bridge reconstruction, said the DPWH ordered the postponement because of public clamor and pressure from businessmen who would be affected by the project.

“[Due] to public clamor and apprehension of the business circle that the timing and closure will cause possible huge economic loss specially this coming holiday season, we are constrained to defer the implementation of the project,” Castillo said.

MMDA on Thursday said the closure of the bridge would bring about the worst traffic “ever” as several bridges were undergoing construction, together with the expected gridlock from the Holiday season.

About 100,000 vehicles pass through the 10-year-old bridge, which extends to the posh Rockwell village. It will be demolished and replaced by a four-lane bridge that will take 30 months to finish.

Makati Boyz represent PHL in Asean leg of AWS competition

By Micah Hatulan

TEAM Makati Boyz composed of four tech whizzes represented the Philippines in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Hackathon’s Asean grand finale held in Jakarta, Indonesia on September 19 and 20, 2018, after defeating 17 teams during the 12-hour AWS Hackdays 2018 on July 19 in Manila.

The team is composed of Raphael Francis Quisumbing, Gonzalo Relova III, Marco Valmores, and Joseph Nathaniel Segovia.

Quisumbing, from Cebu, has been an AWS Community Hero since 2015, notably the only Filipino among AWS roster of heroes. Also the coleader of the AWS User Group Philippines, a role he has held since 2013, he regularly answers questions, gives advice and organizes events for the AWS community.

Relova is a Data Scientist, an expert in guiding strategy and designing systems. A scholar of the Department of Science and Technology, he took up his data science specialization at John Hopkins University. He graduated cum laude for his degree in BA Anthropology from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2016.

Valmores is the founder of MacAppsLab and Chief Executive Officer for CrowdNet Project. His career in the information-technology industry spans several years, previously serving as the lead developer for several projects under Ntek Communications and senior software developer for Smart Telecommunication Inc. from 2006 to 2011.

Valmores earned his Bachelor of Science Major in Information Technology from De La Salle University in 2005 and his Masters in Business and Administration from Manila Business College in 2011.

Segovia is the President of Segovia Development Corp., a privately owned firm in the real-estate industry, and the vice president and business development officer of WL Segovia & Associates, which specializes in construction and interior design.

The solution developed by the Makati Boyz for the Philippine leg of the AWS Hackathon competition sought to leverage image and video recognition to improve business insights for customer retention.

AWS Hackdays is an annual education and hackathon event held across six countries in Southeast Asia, which saw competing teams build artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-based solutions around the themes of transportation; media and entertainment; e-commerce; and fintech.

The Philippine leg of the competition gathered a total of 18 teams comprising 61 participants, who used AWS services including Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Polly, Amazon Rekognition, and Amazon Lex, to build their solutions within 12 hours. These solutions were then evaluated by a judging panel based on their innovation, business impact, implementation and user experience.

Team Makati Boyz impressed the AWS judging panel with their intelligent customer-relations application. It aims to help the local e-commerce sector to improve their customer experience through inclusive in-store technology.

“We wanted to touch on certain aspects that not a lot of retailers are working on. We call it in-store analytics,” Segovia said. “Retailers ordinarily don’t know how many people are coming in their store. What they are sure of is how many people are buying and how much they are spending. That is all captured through their point-of-sale system. But you don’t really know if people coming in your store are interested or just looking. That actual event is an opportunity for the retailers.”

“Retailers can study how to optimize interest then actually convert it to more sales. The solution that we proposed is an AI-driven camera. The moment people come in your store, there is a foot-traffic count. Every time people move from one section of your store to another, we can generate heat maps. Essentially, we can determine which sections are being visited by people more,” he said. “With smart cameras in place, we can determine how many people are coming in 365 days a year. By giving the retailers these kinds of analytics, we can tell them if their store layout or flow is actually working well.”

For now, the group’s focus is preparing for the upcoming competition in Indonesia since it is expected to be more challenging than the Philippine leg.

“The level of competition in Jakarta is a bar higher because their science and engineering schools there is really top-notch,” Segovia said. The solution they built in under 12 hours using Amazon Artificial Intelligence and Amazon Machine Learning services impressed the judges the most.

“AWS seeks to educate developers across the region on the opportunities to build innovative solutions with AI and ML. By harnessing AWS technologies, especially Amazon SageMaker to build, train, and deploy ML models; Amazon Polly to build speech-enabled applications; and Amazon Lex to build chatbots, these solutions can help contribute to ongoing advancement of Southeast Asia in the region, and inspire the next generation of talented developers,” said Nick Walton, AWS managing director for Asean.

“When considering our project, we first had to identify the top issues and trends facing the e-commerce sector in the Philippines. We realized that while virtual stores are growing in popularity, in-store locations still provide valuable insights to customer experience. The idea banks on using the stores’ CCTV cameras that capture images and moods of walk-ins to enhance data on customer behavior through improved demographic and psychographic matching. With AWS technologies, such as the Amazon Rekognition, we were able to build our solution by adding image and video analysis to our application. We expect to develop it even further after this competition,” Quisumbing said.

At the AWS Hackdays 2018 grand finale in Jakarta, Indonesia, Team Makati Boyz competed with the winners from Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand for the coveted grand prize—an all-expense paid trip to attend the world’s top cloud conference, AWS re:Invent 2018 in Las Vegas on November 26 to 30, 2018.

When asked what their strongest asset is, Quisumbing said, “We have a data scientist,” then added. “We hope the five other teams competing in Jakarta will not be as prepared as we are.”

Mayor Abby fetes 2 Makati centenarians

(Manila Standard)

Makati Mayor Abby Binay has personally awarded a check for P100,000, a plaque of recognition, and a bouquet of flowers to each of the two newest Makati centenarians as part of the city’s grateful tribute to its elderly citizens.

The mayor visited Mrs. Mamerta A. Aquino of Barangay Cembo and Mrs. Cipriana J. Caballero of Barangay Bel-Air in their homes on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

“It is always an honor to meet our beloved Makatizens who have been around for a century now. That is why I make it a point to visit them personally to be able to convey to them how grateful we are for all their contributions to our city’s progress and development,” Binay said.

The mayor was accompanied by Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo and other city and barangay officials during the home visits to the 25th and 26th centenarians feted during her term.

Mrs. Aquino was born on May 11, 1918. She was married to Vivencio Aquino and had six children, who are now all retired professionals.

Mrs. Caballero was born on September 21, 1917. She finished a degree in education and was married to Carlomagno Caballero, a chief chemist. They had three children who are all professionals. To date, she has six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The latest awardees were able to meet the criteria set by the Makati Social Welfare Department, lead implementer of the Blu Card Program, as follows: 1) must be a Filipino citizen; 2) must be a bonafide resident of Makati; 3) must have reached 100 years old between January to December of the current year; and 4) must be a Blu Card and White Card holder for at least five years.

To date, 51 Makati centenarians have been awarded the P100,000 cash gift since 2012 following the passage of City Ordinance No. 2012-099.

Makati school to offer courses on cyber security, cloud computing

By Nathalie Grace Adalid and Rhosedel Grace Gabac

A school in Makati City unveiled its plan to offer courses on network engineering, cyber security and cloud computing to prepare their students to become “game changers” once they join the job market.

Founded in 2002, iAcademy is a college in Makati City’s central business district. It describes its students as “game changers” as they undergo an experience and outcome-based training to become versatile individuals who are prepared to dive in professional industries with competency and knowledge.

“Meaningful learning is attained when there is a purpose behind it; more so when students discover that purpose themselves. We challenge the students to solve real-world problems in our community through our project-based learning,” assistant principal for senior high school Mel Obedoza said.

While it is primarily known as an IT school, iAcademy also offers courses in computing, business and design which are primed to prepare students for the demands of the professional world with a variety of facilities and resources specific for every program.

“Next year, we’re gonna’ be offering Bachelor of Science in Computer Science [with] specialization in Cloud Computing...We’re gonna’ be offering specialization in Cloud Computing because we have a partnership with Amazon Web Services,” Mitch Andaya, dean of School of Computing, said.

“We’re gonna’ be certifying our students for ethical hacking. We’re gonna’ teach them about the network engineering, cyber security,” Andaya said.

“The best preparation [for the students] is to really involve the industry. iAcademy is strong in terms of our industry partnerships. And majority of our faculty members are industry workers,” he said.

The school, which also offers academic and technical vocational tracks for senior high school, is equipped with computer laboratories boasting of the latest softwares to further determine their students’ growth especially in the field of business. It also has other specialized rooms such as a lightbox room and fashion design and sewing room for the design students.

“There is a study that 80 percent of the careers that our students will be having for the next 10 years have not yet been invented. So how do you teach that not yet been invented?” Mark Meily, dean of Arts and Design, said.

The school is known for being the first IBM Center of Excellence in the Asean region. It is a partner of Solar Entertainment for Project Runway Philippines that showcases their fashion design and technology program.

“We decide to offer courses based on what the world economy demands. Courses offered in iAcademy are responsive to the needs of the times in the sense that it provides real-world training and authentic learning experiences to students, so that they are not just merely consumers but makers, designers, and leaders of the different industries,” iAcademy vice president for academics Francis Jacob Aragon said.

Emergency ‘go bags’ given to 500 houses in Makati

By Joel E. Zurbano

Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay led the distribution of emergency “go bags” to over 500 households in the city whose properties are situated near the West Valley Fault which, according to seismologists, is already ripe for movement and could generate a magnitude- 7.2 earthquake in Metro Manila.

The recipients came from four barangays transected by the fault: East Rembo, Comembo, Pembo, and Rizal. The distribution for the first two was done at East Rembo Covered Court, and for the latter two at Pembo Barangay Hall.

Binay said the provision of “go bags” to at-risk households was aimed not only to equip them with basic survival tools and essentials in preparation for any untoward incident, such as a strong earthquake but also to emphasize their perilous location.

A “go bag” is a portable survival kit recommended by emergency response experts for every household or facility. It is meant to help an individual or a family survive at least in the next 72 hours after a disaster, and contains essential needs such as food and drinking water, aside from handy tools.

“While our main objective is to help them survive should the dreaded magnitude-7.2 earthquake finally happen, we also intend to drive home the fact that they are in grave danger while they remain within the declared danger zones,” she said.

In March last year, Binay initiated a series of dialogs with affected residents in the four barangays to raise their awareness about the dangers of living within the five-meter easement on both sides of the fault.

She urged them to relocate and offered financial assistance from the city government.

The city chief executive said her administration had been aggressively promoting a “culture of preparedness” among Makatizens in line with its thrust of building resilient and sustainable communities.

“We envision Makati as a city where the entire populace is in a constant state of preparedness for any kind of calamity or emergency. We would like to make resilience a way of life among Makatizens,” she said.

Binay pointed out that the city government had prioritized the distribution of go bags to vulnerable sectors in the community to promote the “self-help approach” which aims to make them self-reliant, particularly during the first 72 hours after a disaster when outside help may not be immediately provided.

Each bag contains 91 items, including a hygiene kit and various tools for light and communication, first aid, and protection, as well as emergency tools. It also contains emergency tools such as an emergency rope, 13-function folding pocket knife, thermal blanket, tube tent, and a hand crank radio with a flashlight.

The city government initially rolled out “go bags” to public schools in Makati in February this year.

Records of the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office show that 944 large “go bags” have been distributed to 21 elementary schools, six high schools, 31 barangays, and various City Hall offices to date.

Meanwhile, 10,498 individually-packed go bags have also been distributed to public schoolchildren, including 4,500 bags for day care pupils. Each of the bags contains 14 items including food bars, emergency stick (glow-in-the-dark), thermal blanket and N95 respiratory mask for kids.

According to MDRRMO, the WVF-transected properties were identified through the Walk-the-Fault activity jointly conducted by the city government and PHIVOLCS.

These were subsequently validated by the city government through the use of Global Positioning System.

Simultaneous with the said activity, paint-marking on the properties were done to raise the awareness of residents on the actual track of the WVF and increase survival rate when “The Big One” occurs.

The WVF in Makati has an approximate length of almost three kilometers and transects four barangays in the city, as follows: Comembo-0.16 km; East Rembo-1.07 kms; Pembo-0.82 km; and Rizal-0.83 km.

Last year, Binay presented Makati’s initiatives at a conference on “Building a Multi-Stakeholder and Integrated Approach to Disaster Resilience” organized by the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation for Peace and Development together with other partners.

In his invitation letter, Ambassador Roberto Romulo, chairman of the foundation, acknowledged Binay for being the “first mayor” among six cities directly affected by the WVF to launch relevant initiatives since the Valley Fault System Atlas was released in 2015.

MMDA to close Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge starting Sunday

By Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

MANILA -- The Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge connecting Makati City to Mandaluyong City will be closed on Sunday, September 23, an official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Thursday.

The Department of Public Works and Highways will start the demolition of the bridge to pave the way for its replacement, a new four lane bridge spanning more than 500 meters for a period of 30 months.

“At 8 a.m. on Sunday, the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic,” MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia told a press briefing.

“From two lanes, the replacement bridge will have four lanes,” he added.

The MMDA estimates that around 100,000 vehicles traveling between Makati and Mandaluyong will be diverted to the Guadalupe Bridge, which would further worsen traffic congestion on Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa).

The agency will be conducting clearing operations and issue traffic citation tickets to owners of illegally parked vehicles on alternate routes.

“Please bear with us. This is just one project under the government’s effort to address traffic in Metro Manila,” Garcia said.

It is one of the two bridge projects on the Pasig River -- the other being the Binondo-Intramuros span in Manila -- that would be funded by China based on development assistance agreements with the Duterte administration.

Makati City Jail inmate wounded by guard in escape try

By Dexter Cabalza (Reporter, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

A 20-year-old inmate of the Makati City Jail was wounded on Monday after he was shot by a guard while trying to escape.

Carlgie Restillero sustained gunshot wounds on the left leg and right arm after he tried to break out by scaling the four-meter-high prison walls on Lawton Avenue at Barangay Northside Proper at 2:40 p.m.

In an interview, Supt. Emmanuel Bang-asan, the city jail warden, said that Restillero, from “out of the blue,” asked for permission to throw some trash in a dump near his office which was a single-story structure.

Jail Officer 2 Jeffrey Bueno said that after Restillo climbed on the roof of the warden’s office, the inmate started scaling the prison wall.

Warning shots

Bueno said he shouted at Restillo to come down but the latter ran away, prompting him to fire warning shots.

Another guard, Jail Officer 1 Miguelito Turaray III, ran outside the jail compound and spotted Restillero.

According to a Makati police report, Turaray ordered the inmate to lie down on the ground, but the latter attacked him with an improvised knife.

This prompted Turaray to draw his 9-mm service pistol and shoot Restillero.

The inmate was taken to Ospital ng Makati although he was released and returned to the city jail on Tuesday.

Bang-asan said that Restillero could not be returned to his old cell because he had stabbed a fellow inmate before his escape.

It was learned that he owned money to the victim and had refused to pay his debt.

Restillero was committed to the city jail on Aug. 22, pending his trial on charges of illegal possession of bladed weapon, malicious mischief and grave threats.

Guards commended

Bang-asan, meanwhile, commended Bueno and Turaray for stopping the escape.

“They will not be suspended because they just did their jobs accordingly. In fact, they should be recognized for their feat,” he said, adding: “If these were other officers, the escaping detainee could have been shot dead.”

Makati hits 90.4% of ‘18 income goal

By Joel E. Zurbano

Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay on Tuesday announced her administration has already met 90.4 percent of its P15.67-billion full-year revenue goal for 2018 after collecting P14.17 billion as of August.

“We are still in the third quarter and yet, we have already attained 90 percent of our full-year revenue target. I am pretty sure we can collect much more than the P1.5 billion remaining balance by yearend,” said Binay.

Last year, the city government met 100 percent of its P14.25 billion revenue goal by collecting P14.26 billion in just 11 months, and in December, the city got a total of P16.97 billion collection, 12 percent higher than the actual collection in 2016.

For this year, Binay attributed their accomplishment to the 3,378 new business registrants recorded by the Business Permit and Licensing Office from January to September 10. She also noted a significant increase in the number of permit renewals with 33,729 posted as of September 10, which topped by more than 900 last year’s total of 32,790 renewals.

“We are very thankful to our new investors for choosing to locate in Makati. We welcome the opportunity you have given us to help your business thrive, knowing that the people of Makati—our beloved Makatizens—stand to benefit directly from your prosperity,” added Binay.

The city chief executive pointed out that with more income earned from tax collections, the city government can continue to invest in highly beneficial and responsive programs on public health, education and social welfare. “By making quality public services freely accessible to everyone, we are turning the oft-repeated phrase ‘inclusive growth’ into a reality,” she said.

The latest report of Acting City Treasurer Jesusa Cuneta showed a seven percent increase in total revenues for eight months, January to August, compared with revenue collection for the same period last year.

During the said period, the city collected almost P7.5 billion in business tax, which is 10 percent higher than last year. From real property tax, earnings reached almost P4.8 billion, or an increase of two percent over last year.

Other local revenue sources in the report included Fees and Charges, P633.3 million, and Economic Enterprise, P170.8 million. From other sources, the city collected P178.3 million in Interest Income; P758.7 million in Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA); P185.5 million in Share from Economic Zone; and almost P3.5 million in share from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Makati is among a few local government units in the country that are not dependent on the IRA.

Since Mayor Binay took office in July 2016, the city government has implemented reforms at City Hall to facilitate business registration and promote transparency, including an aggressive campaign against fixers.

She also ordered the strict monitoring of businesses for compliance with relevant laws, in line with her thrust to restore discipline and respect for the law in the city. The tough stance on errant establishments and violators of the revenue code has resulted in the closure of several establishments over the past two years, reaching 392 as of September 10.

Under her leadership, Makati earned the first-ever ‘unqualified audit opinion’ of the Commission on Audit in the latter’s audit report for the calendar year 2017. It meant that the financial statements of the city government conform to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and that they fairly represent the city’s financial accounts.

It was also in 2017 that the city posted, for the first time in 12 years, a two-digit increase in revenue collections.

SC dismisses PGMC’s complaint vs PCSO; Makati court chided

(Manila Standard)

The Supreme Court has junked a complaint by the Philippine Gaming Management Corp. that stalled a multi-billion online lottery project of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office even as it also chastised a Makati court for “grave abuse of discretion” in favor of the systems provider.

“Finally, the high tribunal allowed PCSO to proceed with the public bidding for the Nationwide Online Lottery System in Luzon,” PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan said.

Balutan was referring to the P10.9-billion project that was hit by an injunction last year while PCSO was in the middle of a bidding process.

“Premises considered, the petition is granted. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes may proceed with the bidding process for NOLS for Luzon,” read the 20-page decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

The SC 3rd Division granted the government corporation’s petition to set aside the Aug. 3, 2017 writ of preliminary injunction issued by Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 143 Judge Maximo de Leon.

“This court finds that the Regional Trial Court committed grave abuse of discretion in granting respondent Philippine Gaming Management Corporation [PGMC] application for injunctive relief. A Writ of Preliminary Injunction is issued to ‘prevent threatened or continuous irremediable injury to some of the parties before their claims can be thoroughly studied and adjucated,” the decision read.

SC ruled that the PGMC, the current private contractor, can not claim that it has alleged exclusive rights to be protected.

The lease agreement was extended only until August 21, 2018 and PGMC failed to provide proof that the Amendments to Equipment Lease Agreement was extended beyond that date.

“This is a welcome development for the agency. Although we have to start all over again with the preparation of terms of reference, technical specifications, and the bidding, which has already been started early this year, kung natapos ‘yun last year, nasa transition period na tayo. Kaya lang na-delay. Nawala completely ang momentum. But with this new development, at least we can now proceed with the bidding process,” said Balutan.

Bidding process usually takes six to eight months; while the transition period from the old to a new system usually takes another eight to 10 months.

Since the start of lotto games more than 20 years ago, it was only in 2017 when PCSO opened for the first time the public bidding for the supply and delivery of its Nationwide Online Lottery System, wherein 17 bidders properly secured bid documents.

However, De Leon granted on Aug. 3, 2017 a temporary restraining order filed by PGMC against the bidding for the five-year lease of the NOLS with an approved budget for the contract (ABC) amounting to P10.906 billion.

In February this year, the International Chamber of Commerce-International Court of Arbitration rendered a ruling favorable to PCSO declaring that PGMC does not have an exclusive contractual right to supply an online lottery system for Luzon.

“The Tribunal thus dismissed PGMC’s P7.6-billion claims for damages against PCSO. The agency was awarded reasonable costs and expenses amounting to P53.5 million. PGMC will also reimburse US$ 200,000 for our share of the advance costs,” said Balutan.

Balutan said that the NOLS has a lower rate compared with the existing lottery system. The system will be implemented nationwide and it will be accessible to the public.

PCSO had two lottery systems. For Luzon, it’s with PGMC, owned by Berjaya, a foreign company from Malaysia allegedly backed by a former president, which ended on Aug. 21, 2018; while for Visayas-Mindanao, it was held by Pacific Online System Corp., which expired on July 31, 2018.

NOLS has only one system and can validate all tickets bought from all over the country. The new ticket system will have added security features. One can easily check if it’s authentic or not to prevent players from counterfeiting or faking winning lotto tickets.

“Meaning, kapag binili mo ‘yung ticket mo sa Visayas o Mindanao, pwede mo i-validate dito sa Luzon. Unlike in the old lottery systems, when one buys in Visayas, the person cannot validate the winning ticket in Luzon because it uses a different system. He has to go to PCSO main office where all validating machines are available to validate his ticket,” explained Balutan.

PCSO is strictly implementing a policy that winners can only claim jackpot prizes at the main office, while consolation prizes of P10,000 and below can be claimed at any Lotto outlets. Meanwhile, prizes amounting to P200,000 or P300,000 can be claimed at its branch offices.

Makati police braces for typhoon ‘Ompong’

By Cathrine Gonzales (Reporter, INQUIRER.net /jpv)

The Makati City Police has prepared its search and rescue team to respond to emergencies brought about by the possible effects of typhoon “Ompong,” which is expected to make landfall in Isabela-Cagayan on Saturday.

The Makati City police will be at its “highest level of readiness” for the typhoon, it said in a statement issued Friday.

Members of the search and rescue team are also on standby and will be deployed to areas of concern when necessary, it added.

Related equipment and other tools have also been readied, according to police.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration earlier announced that “Ompong” will bring thunderstorms over Metro Manila on Friday until the entire weekend.

Signal No. 1 has been raised in Metro Manila on Friday morning.

Makati eats: 3 off-menu dishes from Jasmine that you can order in advance

By Joko Magalong-De Veyra

MANILA -- Jasmine at the New World Hotel Makati is best known for its dimsum and Cantonese specialties, created by renowned Hong Kong chef Wong Kam On. But did you know that it offers off-menu items that are only available by reservation, a day before?

With its Chinese art-deco décor, spacious and luxurious appointments, dining at Jasmine sets to impress. Take it one step further by ordering any of these off-menu items.

1. Wintermelon Soup

Served table-side in a whole melon, this wintermelon soup is refreshing in the mouth, especially good in Manila’s hot humid days. Full of seafood, this dish makes a great first impression.

2. Beggar’s Chicken

This legendary dish is steeped in stories. This author’s favorite though is the one about the beggar stealing a chicken and having to hide it underground while fleeing. He returns later in the day to dig the chicken up, and in a bout of laziness (and hunger), just placed the clay-encrusted chicken directly onto the fire to cook, the accidental process resulting in making the chicken juicy and delicious. The beggar began selling this delicacy, gaining prestige far and wide, with the emperor including the dish in the imperial menu.

This dish never fails to impress. There’s showmanship involved, as it comes to the table having to be “opened’ with a small mallet. Underneath the pastry hides a sumptuous feast of chicken – juicy and delicious meat, wrapped in lotus leaves, and flavored with different types of mushrooms and spices.

3. Kong Pao Squid with Taro

Squid, tender and succulent—spicy and delicious! This dish gets extra points in texture and presentation, as the stir-fried squid with vegetables and nuts are served on top of a taro "nest."

To celebrate mid-autumn, Jasmine also offers specialty mooncakes in distinctive gift boxes. Enjoy the white lotus, red lotus, red bean, and the five seed mooncakes for the whole month of September.

Bank of Makati’s loan growth surpasses 20% target

By Karl Angelo N. Vidal

BANK OF MAKATI (A Savings Bank), Inc. (BMI) has exceeded its target loan growth for the year driven by strong demand for motorcycle loans.

In an interview, BMI President Luis M. Chua said the savings bank has surpassed its target loan growth for this year by 20%.

“We have grown our loan portfolio. Short of saying we have surpassed our target for 2018 by 20%,” Mr. Chua told BusinessWorld at the sidelines of Chamber of Thrift Banks meeting on Friday.

He added that the spike in the bank’s loan growth this year was driven by motorcycle loans, which comprise the bulk of its lending portfolio, as demand for these vehicles expand amid growing traffic problems in key cities as well as rising fuel prices.

“The higher fuel prices would enhance purchasing of motorcycles because the fuel consumption of motorcycles is far lower than that of the automobile,” he said.

Fuel prices continue to climb this year due to higher global rates and the excise tax under the new Tax Reform on Acceleration and Inclusion law which was enacted this year.

Mr. Chua added that demand for motorcycle financing is growing for both retail and business segments.

“[Our retail clients would be] those people who shifted to motorcycles simply because they want to avoid traffic and it will be cheaper and more efficient for them,” the bank president said.

On the business segment, more firms are looking into using motorcycles for better mobility versus cars.

“You have seen the emergence of Foodpanda and Lalamove. All of them are geared towards using motorcycles.”

BMI netted P507 million in the first quarter supported by loans for motorcycles and small businesses.

The lender was originally established as a rural bank in 1956. It was bought by the Ongtengco family, owner of motorcycle dealer Motortrade, in 2001 and became a savings bank in 2015.

BMI currently has 62 branches as well as 703 Motortrade branches which serve as collection agents.

Makati enforces road right-of-way; 282 encroachments along sidewalks, streets demolished

(Makati City Government Official Website)

The city government of Makati, through its Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW), has demolished 282 encroachments along sidewalks and streets in both districts of the city in the past few months in line with its thrust of promoting walkable and safe streets for pedestrians and motorists.

Makati Mayor Abby Binay said as early as last October, the DEPW had issued notices of violation to concerned residents asking them to remove objects and structures extending beyond the property line.

“We have given the concerned residents more than enough time to comply with the notices of violation issued to them. We have made it clear to them that we intend to enforce the law for the common good,” Mayor Abby said.

The mayor said her administration remains firm in its commitment to public welfare and safety, especially for ordinary Makatizens who have the right to walk on clean and unobstructed passageways.

In his report to the Mayor, DEPW head Engr. Lauro Reyes said that during the Road Right-of-Way (RROW) Demarcation Project they undertook in October last year, they had identified 1,113 private properties with encroachment along sidewalks and streets in the city.

Reyes underscored that all of the identified violators were issued an initial notice of demolition, which was followed by a final notice when they failed to comply with the former. The concerned residents’ failure to comply with both notices has prompted the DEPW to commence the demolition of the above-mentioned encroachments.

In District 1, DEPW has demolished 68 encroachments in Brgy. Olympia; 42 in Sta Cruz; 35 in Pio del Pilar; 29 in Tejeros; 23 in Palanan; 19 in Valenzuela; 16 in Poblacion; nine in Carmona; eight in La Paz; seven, San Antonio; five, Bangkal; three, Singkamas; and one each in Kasilawan and San Isidro.

In District 2, 12 encroachments have been demolished in Brgy. Guadalupe Nuevo; three in West Rembo; and one in Comembo.

The road demarcation project of Makati is pursuant to Municipal Ordinance No. 93-330 and the National Building Code.

Municipal Ordinance No. 93-330 prohibits the parking of motor vehicles and installation of business stalls or similar objects which restrict, impede or obstruct the free flow of pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks of all streets in Makati.

Under the ordinance, all business stalls and other similar objects found on or along sidewalks of all roads and streets shall be penalized. On the first offense, a notice of warning will be served to the owner/operator of the stalls to remove their stalls within two days. On the second offense, a grace period of two days is given for the removal of the stall, after which the city government has the authority to demolish and confiscate the said stall.

Illegally parked vehicles will be subjected to towing and impounding, and will only be released to the driver, owner, or operator upon the payment of its towage fee and penalties as provided by the city traffic code.

On the other hand, Chapter 10, Section 1002 of the National Building Code states that (a) No part of any structure or its appendage shall project into any alley or street, national road or public highway except as provided in this Code. (b) Footings located at least 2.40 meters below grade along national roads or public highway may project not more than 300 millimeters beyond the property line.

(c) Foundations may be permitted to encroach into public sidewalk areas to a width not exceeding 500 millimeters; provided, that the top of the said foundations is not less than 600 millimeters below the established grade; and provided further, that said projection does not obstruct any existing utility such as power, communication, gas, water, or sewer lines, unless the owner concerned shall pay the corresponding entities for the rerouting of the parts of the affected utilities.

Meanwhile, the DEPW has issued a memorandum to all owners, contractors, and implementing agencies of all on-going constructions issued with excavation permits in District 1, requiring them to assign or maintain a sufficient number of personnel during non-working hours/days, time of calamities and holidays.

Reyes said this is to ensure and maintain safety at all times in their respective job sites and to avoid any untoward incidents that may compromise the safety of Makatizens.

Makati vet office closely monitors, inspects meat products

By Jimmyley E. Guzman (PIA-NCR)

MAKATI CITY, Sept. 12 (PIA) – The Makati City Veterinary Service Office is closely monitoring and inspecting slaughterhouses in the city.

An advisory was issued by the Office for all slaughterhouse operators in the city to thoroughly inspect the shipping permit and health certificate of the all the hogs for slaughter.

The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) released a technical advisory on August 31, 2018 regarding the current outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in South Africa, Europe, Russia and China.

Although the outbreak has not reached the country yet, the Bureau has issued a temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild pigs and their products including pork meat and semen coming from Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and China.

Slaughter operators were advised to report to the MVSO any swine shipment coming from said countries.

The MVSO also required other meat establishments to display the Certificate of Meat Inspection (COMI) of all imported pork in their businesses/stalls. Failure to present a valid COMI will result in the confiscation and condemnation of all questionable pork products.

They also advise consumers look for a valid COMI before buying any imported pork meat or its by-products.

Inquiries or concerns may be directed to the Makati Veterinary Services Office at telephone numbers 889-7949.

African Swine Fever is a highly contagious hemorrhagic viral infection of domestic and wild pigs but is not transferrable to humans. However, the mortality rate from ASF could reach 100 percent in pig farms and can cause a huge economic loss in the swine industry.

Demand from Chinese drives up rental rates in Makati, Bay Area

By Arra B. Francia (Reporter)

CHINESE employees of offshore gaming companies are pushing rental rates by 30% to 50% higher in some residential condominium properties in the Bay Area and Makati City, as the offshore gaming sector continues to expand in the country.

This is according to the Philippine unit of real estate consultancy Colliers International, which noted that rental rates of residential units near offices of offshore gaming firms are commanding higher rents compared to the average rates in Metro Manila.

“In fact for a number of buildings, previously lease rates would be P1,000 per square meter (sq.m.) a month, but for the second quarter we saw one building in the Bay Area already charging P1,500, so that’s a 50% increase. That’s one sub-location that really recorded the fastest (increase),” Colliers Philippines Research Manager Joey Roi Bondoc told BusinessWorld in an interview.

In contrast, Colliers Philippines said average rents in prime three-bedroom units in Makati Central Business District (CBD) went up by 0.9% to P540-1080 per sq.m each month, while rents in Fort Bonifacio rose by 0.4%, according to its second quarter property report.

The company also reported that vacancy of condominiums in Metro Manila declined to 11.3% from 12.4% in the previous quarter. Vacancy in the Makati CBD alone went down to 11.5% from 12.3% quarter-on-quarter, while Fort Bonifacio’s dropped to 15.8% from 17.3% in the same period.

Colliers Philippines said it observed that condominiums in the fringes of business districts are attracting Chinese employees of offshore gaming companies. Gaming firms accounted for 25% of the total office space take-up in the first half of 2018 at over 180,000 sq.m., making it the second largest driver for office spaces during the period.

Mr. Bondoc said the confidence of these Chinese companies is tied with the country’s improving relations with China under President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s term.

“A number of offshore companies that closed with us are actually tied with the duration of the term of President Duterte. I’ll have to say that we’re good for the next three to four years,” Mr. Bondoc said when asked how sustainable the market for Chinese tenants is.

Even with a change in administration come 2022, Mr. Bondoc said the government should not change its openness toward Chinese gaming firms given their potential contributions to the property sector.

“There’s a spillover impact in residential, even leisure and retail. We’re seeing condo buildings near offshore gaming companies diversifying their retail mix, offering Chinese restaurants. It has tremendous multiplier impact, almost all properties are growing from a single sector,” Mr. Bondoc said.

With the entry of Chinese gaming firms, Colliers Philippines is recommending companies with ready-to-occupy units to target Chinese nationals.

“Condominium projects in the Makati fringe are particularly popular among these employees. Hence, developers with completed projects in the area should zero in on this opportunity,” the company said.

Kulelat no more! Makati gov’t launches free math tutoring program for grade school students

(Politiko Metro Manila)

The local government of Makati City has launched a free tutoring program designed to improve the competency in mathematics of grade school students.

Officially launched on Saturday, the “Mathematics Intensive Learning Enhancement for Students” or Project MILES is available to all Grade 1 to Grade 10 students in public schools in the city.

The knowledge enhancement program is composed of 10 sessions, with each session lasting four hours.

The sessions, which will be held at a day set by the school administrators, will involve students answering worksheets and learning through online modules.

The local government of Makati City is implementing Project MILES in cooperation with the Department of Education.

Abby Binay rekindles Makati’s ties with China

(Politiko Metro Manila)

It’s timely to restore the bond with this Chinese city now that the national government is getting cozy with the foreign country.

Mayor Abigail Binay and Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo made sure to personally welcome politikos from Suzhou, China who flew all the way to the Philippines to pay a visit at the Makati City Hall.

“Today’s visit re-establishes the friendship and cooperation between Makati City and Suzhou which began 10 years ago,” Binay said, noting that these sister cities want to cultivate business, culture and education together.

49 firearms with expired registrations surrendered in Makati City

By Jel Santos

A total of 49 firearms with expired registrations were surrendered to the Makati City police on Sunday, Southern Police District (SPD) director General Tomas Apolinario Jr. said on Monday (August 27).

The SPD director itemized the guns as 26 pieces of cal .38 revolver, and 23 pieces of 12 gauge shotgun.

The 49 firearms, Apolinario said, were voluntarily surrendered to Makati police by the Cavisa Security Agency, Inc.

As per the data of the Makati police on “Oplan Bilang Boga,” the registration of the said firearms were already expired.

The firearms are now under safekeeping of the Makati police while waiting for all the necessary documents that are being prepared for their turn over to Firearms and Explosive Division (FED) in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Apolinario expressed gratitude to the Cavisa Security Agency for surrendering the firearms with expired licenses. “This only shows how sincere our security partners in adhering to the laws on firearms and ammunitions,” he said.

Meantime, the SPD director is urging other gun holders with expired licenses or unlicensed firearms to give up their firearms to the nearest police stations for safekeeping while waiting for the amnesty program of the PNP.

“Such is one way to help the PNP to account all loose firearms in the country,” Apolinario ended.

Mayor Abby pushes for job security, career advancement at City Hall to promote excellence in public service

(Makati City Government Official Website)

Makati Mayor Abby Binay today said that the city government has granted regular status to 383 City Hall employees and promoted 116 since she took office in July 2016, giving emphasis to the importance of providing job security and career advancement opportunities in promoting excellence in public service.

She said that other applications for regularization and promotion are lined up for review and evaluation by the Human Resource Development Office (HRDO), and will be subsequently turned over to the Human Resource Merit Promotion and Selection Board (HRMPSB).

“I envision a professional, highly competent city government work force that is capable of delivering excellent public service. We need to strengthen our drawing power as an employer to be able to compete with the private sector for the recruitment of the best and brightest,” Mayor Abby said.

The mayor said she has ordered the HRDO to prioritize the processing of proposals for regularization and promotion endorsed by the different heads of office to ensure that those who are qualified under Civil Service guidelines are given permanent employment status and promoted.

Aside from a competitive compensation package, the mayor also cited the need to keep the morale of employees high to optimize their work performance, and to retain high performers for the long term.

“The city government must aspire to be a preferred employer for talented and highly-driven individuals. At the same time, we must make sure to retain current employees who have consistently delivered outstanding service by rewarding them with security of tenure or a promotion,” Mayor Abby said.

The mayor also pointed out that her administration took the initiative last year to grant loyalty incentives to long-time city employees who have been in the service for ten straight years and longer as of end-2016. Called the Loyalty Cash Gift, the program covers regular, casual and contractual employees. “We take pride in having started the first-ever incentive program for loyal civil servants who have served Makatizens for at least a decade,” she said.

Based on HRDO records, the city government spent almost P80 million for the pioneer batch of loyalty awardees, which consisted of 3,208 regular employees (P67,730,000); 814 casual employees (P11,870,000); and 12 contractual employees (P125,000).

The cash incentives were given as follows: at least 40 years in service and above, P20,000; at least 35 years up to 39 years in service, P17,500; at least 30 years up to 34 years, P15,000; at least 25 years up to 29 years in service, P12,500; at least 20 years up to 24 years, P10,000; at least 15 years up to 19 years, P7,500; and at least 10 years up to 14 years, P5,000.

According to the HRDO, the 499 city employees who have been made permanent and promoted come from several city offices, departments and institutions. Among these are the Makati Social Welfare Department, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Urban Development Department, Department of Environmental Services, Makati Health Department.

Ospital ng Makati, University of Makati, Youth and Sports Development Department, Makati Action Center, Information and Community Relations Department, Public Employment Service Office, Economic Enterprise Management Office, Public Safety Department, Museum and Cultural Affairs Office, Human Resource Development Office, General Services Department, Veterinary Services Office.

Office of the Building Official, Department of Engineering and Public Works, Business Permit Office, Accounting Department, Assessment Department, Budget Department, Finance Department, Law Department, Office of the Mayor, Office of the Vice Mayor, Office of the City Administrator, Office of the Secretary to the Sangguniang Panlungsod, various offices of City Councilors, and Liga ng mga Barangay.

Hilmarc’s officials not off the hook in Makati Science High School Building charges

By Czarina Nicole Ong

Efren Canlas and Julius Ramos from Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation are not yet off the hook as the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division denied their motion for reconsideration seeking to quash charges involving the reportedly anomalous P1.3 billion procurement done for the Makati Science High School Building.

They are two of the several co-accused alongside former Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay and his son, former Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay, who were charged with graft and falsification.

Canlas and Ramos filed an MR to the court’s resolution on July 12 denying their separate motions to quash. They stressed that only public officers may be charged with graft and they denied allegations of conspiracy.

However, the Sandiganbayan denied their MR for lack of merit. “The arguments raised by the accused-movants are rehashes of their previous arguments which have been passed upon by the court in the questioned resolution,” the resolution read. “For this reason alone, the motion for reconsideration fails.”

Their claim that only public officers can be held liable for graft is “misleading,” according to the court. “It is quite evident that the accused-movants are being charged as private individuals who allegedly conspired with public officers,” the court explained.

The Sandiganbayan added that the allegation of conspiracy does not serve as a mode to convert their status from private individuals to public officers, and it is quite evident that they are being charged as private individuals who reportedly conspired with public officers.

The said building, which is located along Kalayaan Avenue in Makati City, was supposed to boast of 10 storeys with a four-storey dormitory. However, it was only completed as a 10-storey building.

It was on September 26, 2007 when the elder Binay, who was still mayor of Makati, entered into a P17.37 million contract with Infiniti for the Architectural & Engineering (A&E) consultancy services for the design of the Makati Science Building.

The contract was rigged with irregularities, such as the decision to go with negotiated procurement instead of competitive bidding, non-compliance with the required posting of the invitation to bid, and several misrepresentations regarding the alleged bid negotiations, submission and opening of bids.

Even though seven companies were invited to submit proposals on September 18, 2007, it appears the decision has already been made by Binay since the meeting with bidders only lasted for an hour before the bids and awards committee (BAC) decided to go with Infiniti. The following day, Binay officially awarded the contract to Infiniti.

Two witnesses from the architectural firms who were reportedly part of the conference even denied joining the bid negotiations and submitting proposals for the said project.

After the A&E phase of the project, Binay and several officials of Makati City Hall once again rigged the procurement processes for the construction of the Makati Science Building, which was divided into six phases from 2008 to 2013.

All of the phases were awarded to Hilmarc’s Construction at a total net cost of P1.33 billion by falsification of bidding documents, suppression of information to prospective bidders, and undue haste in the award of the contracts.

Makati police hikes up anti-crime drive

By Gabriel Pabico Lalu (Reporter, /muf, INQUIRER.net)

After the recent bombings in Sultan Kudarat, the Makati City Police has vowed to intensify its anti-crime operations, including target-hardening measures in the city’s central business district.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Makati police said personnel have been ordered to conduct constant checkpoint operations and increase police visibility. “The checkpoint operations are also taking place randomly on a 24-hour basis in selected areas of potential targets. Additionally, police visibility operations especially in places of convergence are also being implemented to prevent any occurrence of crime and terrorist attacks,” the Makati police said.

“Considering that Makati City is the center of economy in the Philippines, the chief of police has reminded all operating units and police community precincts to secure vital installations in order to protect it in the event of any terrorist attack,” they added.

The Makati police also doubled its personnel deployment in areas with high populations during daytime and rush hours.

To ensure that deployed officers would not leave their posts, the Makati police said inspectors will be inspecting beat areas. Police officers assigned in the field are required to notify headquarters of their their activities on a real-time basis.

Two bombings rocked the city of Isulan, capital of Sultan Kudarat in less than a week, just as it was celebrating a local festival. At least four were killed and more than 40 were reported hurt.

Redefining 'Hope and Expectation' for staycations

By Philip Cu-unjieng

It is perhaps no coincidence that the New World Makati Hotel lists its address as Esperanza St., Makati, as the name Esperanza connotes 'Hope and Expectation,' two things that are enthusiastically fulfilled each time one visits the hotel.

For our staycations, it would certainly be hard to find a Makati deluxe hotel more conveniently located -- right in the heart of the city.

Whether creating that staycation with the children, or making it a romantic getaway weekend for two; the New World Makati is that perfect retreat, where convenience, comfort and privacy are provided in equal measure by the hotel's great amenities and personalized service.

It's a modern hotel with marked Oriental influences -- 580 guest rooms and suites, and the Residences Club Deluxe Rooms are a joy as you can avail of their in-room check in and check out services. I know for those staying with kids, that feature of not having to watch over the children while checking out at the lobby is a godsend.

One of the great things about the New World Makati is its proximity to most of what you'd want to indulge in while in Makati. It's a stone's throw, or walking distance from, the major malls, museums, parks, and other places of interest.

During the weekend stay, you'll want to go shopping at Rustan's, SM Makati, Landmark, Greenbelt or Glorietta, and they're all at your doorstep -- Greenbelt just across the street.

There are the Legaspi and Salcedo Markets on the weekend; and the Ayala Museum stands just beyond Greenbelt. The Washington Sycip Park and its Japanese-inspired Garden beckons if you're looking for a place of quiet meditation. And there’s the Yuchengco Museum at the RCBC Tower on Ayala Avenue.

And when you're back in the hotel and feeling hungry, do head to Jasmine on the 2nd floor. It offers some of the very best in Chinese Cantonese cuisine. Their Dim Sum is a must, and I highly recommend their Beggar’s Chicken - you won’t get a hearty, healthy, home-cooking styled dish much better than this.

The Lounge is one exciting alfresco food and drinks outlet; and ask the friendly staff for tips on their specials, like their Gin Fest at Bar Rouge, and the rainy day 'hilot' specials at the Spa. There'll always be something going on to make your weekend stay that much more special and one-of-a-kind.

Because ultimately, these staycations are predicated on our hopes for making these weekend stays truly enjoyable, and that where we choose to go meets all our expectations. New World Makati Hotel aims to satisfy on those counts.

Makati clears 251 streets of obstructions; 607 violators apprehended

(Makati City Government)

In line with the directive of Makati Mayor Abby Binay to maintain safe and walkable streets in the city, the Makati Department of Environmental Services (DES) had cleared 251 streets in 27 barangays in six months while conducting continuous sidewalk recovery operations.

Mayor Abby said she ordered the conduct of continuous sidewalk clearing operations to maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of the streets in Makati.

“Our paramount goal is to promote safety and mobility in our city not only for the benefit of Makatizens, but for all who come here to work, do business, shop and dine, or do any leisure activities,” the mayor said.

Among the things removed or confiscated during sidewalk recovery operations from January to June this year were scrap materials, metal bars of tents, tires, woods, debris, chairs and tables of eateries which served as their sidewalk extensions, food stalls and food carts obstructing the streets, among others.

Based on the report of DES head Engr. Leopoldo Parumog to the mayor, its Solid Waste Management Division had cleared a total of 251 streets and sidewalks during the said period, with 148 in District 1 and 103 in District 2.

Parumog said in District I, DES cleared a total of 148 streets in 15 barangays from January to June. These were in Pio del Pilar, 31 streets; Poblacion, 23; Olympia 19; Tejeros, 13; San Isidro, 11; Palanan, nine; Bangkal and Singkamas, seven each; Magallanes and San Antonio, six each; San Lorenzo and Valenzuela, four each; Bel-Air and Sta. Cruz, three each; and La Paz, two.

In district II, DES conducted clearing operations in 11 barangays, covering a total of 103 streets during the said period. These were in Guadalupe Nuevo with 25 streets; Cembo and Pembo, 15 each; West Rembo, 12; Guadalupe Viejo, 11; Rizal, eight; Pitogo, seven; Comembo, four; East Rembo, three; Pinagkaisahan, two and South Cembo, one.

Parumog also reported that in the same period, deputized environmental enforcers apprehended a total of 607 individuals and issued violation tickets to 73 errant establishments for violating relevant provisions of the Makati Solid Waste Management Code and other environment-related city ordinances.

DES enforcers accosted 71 persons and nine establishments in both districts for violating the provision of the code on sidewalk maintenance. For littering, 352 individuals were apprehended; non-segregation of wastes, four individuals and 59 establishments; dumping, 12 individuals and five establishments; smoking, 107 individuals; drinking intoxicating beverages in public, 49 individuals; and spitting/urinating, 12 individuals.

The code, also known as City Ordinance No. 2003-095, requires all owners, lessee, tenants, and the like of residential houses, commercial establishments, buildings and other entities within the City of Makati to separate, sort-out their solid waste, refuse, garbage materials into bio-degradable (nabubulok) and non-biodegradable (hindi nabubulok).

It further requires household owners, caretakers, tenants, establishment owners, managers or any person responsible for the operations of establishments within Makati to maintain their frontage and immediate surroundings clean and sanitary.

Other prohibited acts under the said ordinance include the dumping, placing, throwing, scattering of waste, refuse or garbage matters, papers, cigarette butts and the like, in any place in the streets or public building or property, including waterways, riverbanks not otherwise designated as garbage dumping place.

Individual violators face a P1,000-fine or imprisonment between five days to 30 days, or both at the discretion of the court. For errant establishment owners or managers, the ordinance imposes a P5,000-fine or imprisonment from 30 days to one year, or both at the discretion of the court.

Under the antismoking ordinance, violators face the following penalties: first offense, P1,000; second offense, P2,000; and third offense, P3,000 or imprisonment from three days to six days, or both at the discretion of the court.

Drinking intoxicating beverages in public places such as sidewalks, streets and playground is also prohibited pursuant to Ordinance No. 31 series of 1988 which was amended to increase the penalties for violation through City Ordinance 2005-069.

For first time offenders, a fine of P1,000 or three days imprisonment; second offense, P1,500-fine or one week imprisonment; and third offense, P2,000-fine or one month imprisonment, or both at the discretion of the court.

Meanwhile, Ordinance No. 99 penalizes spitting, urinating and/or defecation of human waste in open vacant lots, sidewalks, streets, plazas, public landmarks and in all other public places.

For the first offense, a fine of P100 and/or one day imprisonment; P200 fine and/or two days imprisonment for the second offense; and P300 fine and/or three days imprisonment for the third and succeeding offenses.

Makati pushes for increased awareness, screening for TB

By Jerome Carlo R. Paunan (PIA-NCR)

MAKATI CITY (PIA) -- Makati Mayor Abby Binay has directed local health officials to step up their information and awareness campaign on Tuberculosis (TB) while intensifying screening for TB cases among vulnerable groups in the community.

The directive is in line with the nationwide observance of Lung Month this August. Earlier today, the Makati Health Department (MHD) conducted the kickoff activity at the West Rembo satellite treatment center. Simultaneous TB awareness classes were also held in several barangays including Rizal, Pembo, East Rembo, Pitogo, Tejeros, Guadalupe Viejo, Pio del Pilar and Singkamas.

“The Philippines is one of 30 countries in the world with a high prevalence of tuberculosis. While cases in Makati are very few compared to other cities, we must not be complacent. The vulnerable sectors like the urban poor, elderly and inmates are still susceptible to the disease, often because of lack of awareness and inadequate monitoring,” the local chief executive said.

The mayor expressed the city’s firm commitment to the goal of the Department of Health (DOH) to eradicate TB in the Philippines by 2022. By eradication, the DOH means detecting all active TB cases and reducing the prevalence rate to 10 in every 10,000 patients.

Studies show that poverty, malnutrition, poor housing and sanitation can put patients at heightened risk of TB and make it harder for them to access care. The mayor, however, said she believed that stepping up awareness campaigns and lectures in urban poor communities will help prevent the spread of TB. She also called for increased screening for TB and active monitoring of patients undergoing treatment.

Mayor Binay also appealed to residents to have themselves checked for TB at the nearest barangay health center. “Coughing for more than two weeks should already be a reason to go to a health center and get screened,” she pointed out.

In line with the mayor’s directive, MHD, in coordination with the Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD), re-launched Project HEAL, which stands for Healthy and Active Lungs, last August 20. This time, the mass screening for TB is aimed at urban poor communities all over Makati. MHD chief Dr. Bernard Sese said health workers are targeting to screen 150 patients per day until August 31 in each of the barangay health centers located in vulnerable areas in the city identified by the MSWD.

Project HEAL began in February 2018 at the Makati City Jail for the benefit of inmates.

Meanwhile, Dr. Christy Sales, national coordinator for the TB program in the city, reported 971 TB cases in Makati City for the first and second quarters of the year. Of the number, 941 are drug susceptible TB cases while 30 are drug resistant TB cases.

According to MHD, health workers closely monitor TB patients especially when it comes to taking their medication. The regular treatment is for six months, and patients are required to go to the health center every day to get their medicines. While there, the health workers keep a close eye on them to see if they are really taking the drugs.

Drug-resistant TB cases on the other hand, are referred to satellite treatment centers since their medication is different.

Elderly patients and diabetics who come in for checkups are also screened for TB even if they do not show any symptoms. This is because they fall under the recognized vulnerable groups, according to the city health department.

Local health officials also conduct regular lectures on TB at community health centers. They explain how TB is transmitted and how important it is to follow the treatment protocol for the prescribed period.

MMDA eyes HOVL implementation on EDSA next week

By Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

MANILA -- The dry run for the high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOVL) policy along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) begins Wednesday (August 15) and may be implemented on August 23, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said.

The dry run will end on August 22.

"Target po ma-implement ng August 23. Pero open for possible adjustment magde-depende po sa resulta ng one week dry run (The dry run is tomorrow, target is that this will be implemented on August 23. But this is still open for possible adjustment depending on the result of the one-week dry run)," MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Tuesday.

The policy allows vehicles with two or more occupants including the driver to traverse EDSA from North Avenue, Quezon City until Magallanes, Makati City on both northbound and southbound directions from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. during weekdays, according to MMDA Regulation No. 18-005 released to the media.

Crossing at intersections along the thoroughfare are allowed while a fine of PHP1,000 shall be imposed against the violators once it is fully implemented.

The MMDA has likewise advised motorists that there will be no apprehensions yet for the duration of the dry run period. They will be directed instead to use the first exit intersection/right or left turn to get out of EDSA.

The agency hopes that the HOVL policy will help encourage motorists to use carpooling as a means to ease the traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

Around 60-70 percent of vehicles that pass along EDSA have only single occupants, according to data from the MMDA.

There are 367,738 vehicles traversing the major artery daily, 67 percent of which are private vehicles based on EDSA’s annual average daily traffic on 2017.

Makati court orders arrest of Peter Lim

(Inquirer.net)

The Makati City Regional Trial Court has already ordered the arrest of Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim who is accused of violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Makati RTC Judge Gina Bibat-Palamos has also set the arraignment on Aug. 28.

Lim, together with self-confessed drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa, Marcelo Adorco, and Ruel Malindagan, is accused of violating Section 26 (B) in relation to Section 5, Article II (conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading) of Republic Act No. 9165, a non-bailable offense.

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UMak Pharmacy, Radtech board passers hailed

By Jerome Carlo Paunan (PIA-NCR)

MAKATI CITY, Aug 13 (PIA) -- The local government today lauded 77 graduates of the University of Makati (UMak) who passed the recent licensure examinations for Pharmacists and Radiologic Technologists held in August and July, respectively, where the city-run institution obtained passing rates that surpassed the national passing rate.

“My warmest congratulations to our latest board passers from the UMak College of Allied Health Studies (COAHS). Your city salutes you for exemplifying the values of diligence and perseverance in learning in order to achieve your dreams,” Makati Mayor Abbigail Binay said.

The mayor also congratulated COAHS led by its Dean, Dr. Maria Fay Nenette Cariaga, for the remarkable outcome of the recent board exams.

Based on official results released by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), 26 out of 28 Pharmacy board examinees from UMak passed, posting a 92.86 percent passing rate which is higher than the national passing rate of 69.21 percent.

On the other hand, 51 out of 65 UMak Radiologic Technology (Radtech) graduates passed the board exam last July, which translates to a 78.46 passing rate higher than the 47.23 percent national passing rate.

According to the list released by Prof. Justine Marie Ocampo of the UMak Center of Pharmacy, the 26 new board passers include Ariel Abancia, John Alindayu, Denice Alto, Devine Joy Baillo, Karen Baylin, Lea May Bea, Camille Bernabe, Jerico Bernal, Abegail Bulos, Princess Calpito, Ma. Vendela Carrasco, Lee-ra Anne Gregorio, Jamie Mae Intia, Faustine Aleisah Lucero, Rose Ann Maaño, Shalom Ian Rose Mojares, Rudy Leo Quiniquinto, Angel Grace Reyes, Geramae Sagario, Roselle Saludaga, Claire Soronio, Mark Vryane Sulit, Angela Mae Tehano, Via Toreja, Ruel Tumaca, and Maruja Usi.

Meanwhile, UMak Center of Imaging Health Sciences (RadTech) Director Myna Marie Nero has provided a list of its 51 board passers, which include Jill Brigitte Alastre, Irene Kaye Ardona, Trixcy Balderama, Ma. Jestissa Bassig, Ron Samuel Cabigao, Ruffy Rose Ann Cacho, Justice Mark Casilao, Patricia Shane Chavez, Arben Dela Cruz, and Laura Del Mundo; Rhobela Gasataya, Celline Gatdula, Remalyn Glore, John Paolo Jumarang, Alexandrea Legarteja, Maureene Mabanag, Leo John Malicdem, Carlo Malihan, Celwin Anne Mariano, Alison Piquero, John Robert Raz, Angelica Rivera, Mylene Rivera, Joyce Anne Roa, Eloiza Sagales, Allan Joy Salva, Mora Amor Samindih, Rhealyn Sampelo, Cherry Mae Verastigue, and Celfa Mae Adan; Khimverlie Anos, Harriet Anu-ay, Angie Baroman, Jyessa Mae Cruz, Mae-Ann Dalisay, Shermaine Gacusan, Ma Alexandra Lerma, Mayvellene Lopez, Elica Mundo, and Orlando Orbigo, Jr., Fritz Partuza, Sean Ivan Pastrana, Jericha Rivera, Nikkah Robedillo, Prumil Sabuero, Mariel Tansiongco, Joachim Mari Tolentino, Jessi Lord Narag, Robenette Ann Malitao, Angelica Martirez, and Honey Mae Tan.

Last June, UMak-COAHS Center of Nursing (CON) obtained a 75 percent passing rate in the nursing board exam, remarkably higher than the 43.82 percent national passing rate, after 21 out of its 28 board examinees passed.

At present, UMak COAHS offers bachelor’s degrees in Nursing, Radiologic Technology, Pharmacy with Pharmaceutical Marketing, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine. It also offers master’s degrees in Nursing, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and doctorate in Pharmacy.

Police nab 123 bar patrons in Makati anti-drug raid

By Joel E. Zurbano

Police busted 123 customers, 57 of them foreigners, and 31 workers at a high-end bar in Makati City during Saturday’s dawn undercover raid aimed at the alleged widespread sale of illegal party drugs at the establishment.

Joint operatives of the Southern Police District and Makati City police force swooped down on Time Dance and Nightclub located along Makati Avenue in Barangay Poblacion around 4:30 am after one of its employees sold drugs worth P22,500 to an undercover police operative.

“During initial search, several pieces of evidence were recovered at the tables, chairs of some of the guests while 31 employees of the said establishment are currently held for investigation,” said SPD spokesman Jenny Tecson, citing the initial report sent by the Makati City police station.

“More or less 125 foreign and local guests were invited for questioning and were released later,” she added.

Tecson said some of the evidences seized from the establishment were 315 grams of cocaine worth more than P1.5 million, 19 tablets and capsules of ecstasy worth P142,000, a small plastic of sachet with a high-grade marijuana called kush, one .38-cal revolver and five live ammunitions, drug pharaphernalia and the P22,500 marked money used in the buy-bust.

“The result of the buy-bust operation showed that when a customer asked for [a drug] the employee will get and provide,” said National Capital Region Police Office director Guillermo Eleazar.

Eleazar said other areas of the establishment will be placed under a search warrant to check the vaults where bulk of cocaine is suspectedly being kept.

The police are also coordinating with the city’s Business Permit Licensing Office to check on the licenses and permits of the eatablishment.

“We have coordinated with the Business and Permit Licensing Office. They will be closing the establishment effectively today,” said Eleazar.

The raid came following intelligence reports that employees of the bar allegedly acted as distributors and suppliers and the ones directly selling drugs to its customers, who are mostly foreigners.

Among the 31 employees now being held at the Makati City police station are bartenders, waiters, receptionists, bouncers, cashiers and security personnel of the establishment.

Authorities said ecstasy is a Class-A drug, which is an artificial stimulant, popular among clubbers. They added those who take the drug can have a rush of energy which makes them alert, excited and happy.

Those taking the drug can feel anxious or getting panic attacks, and developing confused episodes, paranoia or even psychosis.

There were 200 ecstasy-related deaths reported in the United Kingdom since 2006.

In June 2016, actress Alma Concepcion appeared to the National Bureau of Investigation to shed light on the party concert in Pasay City where five people collapsed and later died reportedly due to alcohol and illegal drugs intake.

The actress wrote on her social media account about what she saw before and during the May 21, 2016 Close Up Forever Summer concert event at the SM Mall of Asia.

Based on the histopathology and toxicology test results, party drug ecstasy is among the substances found in the bodies of two fatalities -- American national Eric Miller and Ken Miyagawa.

PNP Crime Laboratory chief deputy director Emmanuel Aranas said Miller and Miyagawa died of multiple organ failure caused by drug and alcohol intake. He added the two tested positive for ecstasy.

Late last year, authorities revealed that criminal syndicates still dared to smuggle illegal substance despite the ongoing drug war in the country initiated by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

They said the international drug syndicates are also using the Philippine postal system to transport contraband including cocaine, cannabis and party drug ecstasy.

Customs agents assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport seized in October a contraband at the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) in Pasay City. Some of the parcels which arrived at CMEC are from USA.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said that the country’s drug problem can now be classified as national security threat.

The authorities vowed that the government’s crackdown on drug dealing in the country will continue with the goal of catching protectors and financiers of the illegal drug trade.

Makati checkpoint intercepts ‘shabu’ carrier

Dexter Cabalza (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Thanks to a police officers’s sharp eyes, a man carrying over P90,000 of crystal meth or “shabu” was arrested in Makati City on Tuesday afternoon.

A report to Senior Supt. Rogelio Simon, city police chief, said that Rembrandt Tanchico was on a motorcycle when he was flagged down at a checkpoint manned by the Makati Special Reaction Unit at the corner of Kalayaan Avenue and N. Garcia Street around 2 p.m.

As PO1 Araman Vincent was checking the motorcycle’s registration papers, the 26-year-old Tanchico “took something out [of] his left front pocket and discreetly threw it [away].”

The policeman, however, saw what happened and recovered the discarded item which turned out to be two packets of shabu weighing 18.122 grams with a street value of P90,610.

Tanchico, a resident of San Andres Bukid in Manila, was detained at the Makati police station for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Makati expands baby program via OsMak

By Joel E. Zurbano

Makati Mayor Abigail Binay has moved to ensure the health and safety of mother and child through the expanded Baby Makatizen Program, which pushes for regular pre-natal checkups at the city-run Ospital ng Makati and health centers under the supervision of the Makati Health Department.

On Tuesday, Binay awarded Baby Makatizen starter bags to 30 expectant mothers as well as those who have just given birth at OsMak and Barangay Pembo Health Center, who made up the first set of beneficiaries of the expanded program.

Each bag contains a swaddle blanket, washcloth, booties, belly binder, rattle, poly bag, tie side and pajamas, baby cap, mittens, baby wipes, diapers, and reusable baby bag.

“I am encouraging all expectant mothers to diligently go to our health centers and OsMak for regular pre-natal visits. These periodic checkups not only make sure that the baby is healthy, but also monitor for possible complications like diabetes and high blood pressure on the part of the mother,” she said.

“If left unchecked or untreated, these conditions could seriously endanger the life of both mother and child,” said Binay.

The city chief executive said each pregnant woman should undergo at least eight pre-natal checkups. Two during the first trimester; two in the second trimester; and four in the last trimester.

The frequency of checkups increases as the due date or delivery date draws near, she noted, as close monitoring of mother and baby’s progress lessens the likelihood of complications during delivery.

The Baby Makatizen program was first launched in May 2018 to promote the welfare of both mother and child through timely birth registration and adequate prenatal care.

The first recipients of the starter bags were 100 mothers who registered their babies within 30 days after giving birth between January to March this year.

After the launch, the MHD rolled out the program to all barangay health centers, OsMak, and partner-private hospitals and clinics in the city.

The program is open to all expectant mothers who are registered voters of Makati City. They must also have their White Card from OsMak or Pink Card issued by the barangay health centers.

Mothers who enter the program are issued a “Baby Makatizen Pre-natal Passbook” which must be presented each time they go to OsMak or the barangay health center for their pre-natal checkup. The attending doctor, midwife or nurse must sign the pre-natal passbook after the visit.

For mothers who are not considered “high risk” patients, they are required a minimum of eight pre-natal checkups.

High risk patients are required more than eight pre-natal checkups depending on what their doctors require. Incidentally, high risk pregnancies in the barangays are referred to OsMak for expert medical care.

After completing the required number of pre-natal checkups, the Mommy Makatizen must submit the pre-natal passbook to OsMak or the barangay health center to claim her Baby Makatizen starter bag.

Binay said she hoped that with the Baby Makatizen program, more mothers would be encouraged to come for pre-natal checkups.

She added that Makati health centers are also open to give mothers post-natal care as well as vitamin supplements after they have delivered their baby.

At the same time, infants are given free vaccines for common childhood diseases as well as other special vaccines.

The Expanded Immunization Program of Makati under MHD covers several common childhood diseases, namely, measles, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, and haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) for newborns and babies up to 48 months.

Upon birth, the BCG (Bacillus-Calmette-Guerin) vaccine, which prevents tuberculosis among newborns up to 12 months, and the Hepa-B vaccine are administered for free in the city-run lying-in centers.

Provincial bus ban on EDSA begins Aug. 15

By Jimmyley E. Guzman (PIA-NCR with reports from MMDA)

MAKATI (PIA)--The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will start the enforcement of provincial bus ban along a portion of Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) on August 15.

“We are pushing through with the provincial bus ban starting August 15, only during rush hours,” MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia announced during the inspection of Valenzuela Interim Terminal on Thursday.

Under the policy, buses coming from the north shall end their route in Cubao in Quezon City while those coming from the south shall end their route in Pasay City. Those without terminals in Pasay City can use the agency-operated Southwest Interim Provincial Terminal (SWIPT).

The policy takes effect from 7 am to 10 am and from 6 pm until 9 pm, from Monday to Friday. Violators will be fined with P2,000.

Garcia said the five-hectare terminal in Valenzuela City has yet to comply with the LTRFB standards, such as installation of waiting sheds, comfort rooms, walkways, among others, before provincial buses can fully utilize the terminal.

Once operational, provincial buses coming from the north can drop off their passengers inside the terminal located on Paso de Blas Road. Metro Manila-bound passengers can transfer to city operating buses that will take them to their destination in Metro Manila.

Garcia led the terminal inspection with Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Department of Transportation (DOTR) Assistant Secretary Mark Richmund De Leon, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chief Transportation Development Officer Joel Bolano, and other MMDA officials.

Garcia said they envision the facility as intermodal transport terminal that can provide interconnectivity of different modes of transportation like provincial buses, city operating buses, Asian utility vehicles (UV Express), jeepneys and even tricycles.

The operation of the terminal is at no cost to the government.

Gatchalian said the private owner of the terminal vowed to hasten the construction of facilities of the terminal for the safety and convenience of the passengers.

He expressed optimism that the terminal can be part of the solution to address traffic problems in the metropolis.

“If this terminal could help reduce volume of vehicles on EDSA, then we can accommodate the buses,” said Gatchalian.

Garcia said this development is part of the agency’s long term plan to move out provincial bus terminals along EDSA to decongest traffic in the metropolis.

Makati court allows PT&T to exit corporate rehab

(VDS, GMA News)

A Makati court has allowed Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (PT&T) to leave a court-assisted corporate rehabilitation seven years earlier than the scheduled 2025 deadline.

PT&T’s petition to exit corporate rehabilitation is in line its bid to go for the third telco slot in the telecommunications industry.

The Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 66, granted on August 6 PT&T’s request to exit from rehabilitation “subject to certain requirements in line with the approved Rehabilitation Plan,” the company said in a regulatory filing submitted on Wednesday by legal counsel Kenneth Joey Maceren.

Zamora-led PT&T asked the Makati court on July 30 for permission to leave its rehabilitation.

Under a court-approved 14-year rehabilitation plan, PT&T would settle P8.8 billion in debts by paying creditors with redeemable serial preferred shares of the company. The rehabilitation plan was approved in 2011.

“It is the conversion of debt into preferred shares,” PT&T chief operating officer Miguel Bitanga told GMA News Online.

“It is on the agenda in our upcoming annual shareholders’ meeting and we are ready to fulfill this key task,” Bitanga said.

PT&T is holding its annual stockholders’ meeting on September 14.

“The grant is an exciting milestone for PT&T as it means once we issue the preferred shares to the creditors, we will have effectively exited rehab,” Bitanga noted.

“It is a priority goal we stated in August of last year when the new management took over and a key step in our quest to unlock the true potential of PT&T as a fixed and wireless broadband player,” he said.

Leaving corporate rehabilitation will supposedly allow PT&T to further grow its operations, participate in the third telco bidding , and invest in existing fixed broadband business.

In August 2017, Menlo Capital Corp., jointly owned by Nickel Asia Corp. founder Salvador Zamora II and businessman Benjamin Bitanga acquired substantial interests in PT&T from Republic Telecommunications Holdings Inc.

PT&T holds a 25-year congressional franchise to establish, maintain, and operate both wired and wireless telecommunications systems for domestic and international communication in the country.

Its scalable network and infrastructure spans over 1,000 kilometers of pure fiber optic cables and meet the network demands of customers in the Greater Manila area, northern and southern Luzon, and Cebu.

Abby Binay receives ‘Outstanding Local Chief Executive of the Year 2018’ award

By Dhel Nazario

Citing her exceptional support for the projects of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and her commitment to improve the logistics of the Makati police, Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay was named by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) as one of the outstanding local chief executives for 2018.

NCRPO Acting Regional Director, police Chief Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar awarded the plaque of recognition to Binay during the culminating ceremony of the 23rd Police Community Relations (PCR) Month Celebration held at the NCRPO grandstand at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

The chief executive thanked the NCRPO for the recognition, reiterating her continued support for the local police force.

“I am deeply grateful to the National Capital Region Police Office for honoring me with this rare achievement in my journey as a public servant. We in the city government of Makati are inspired all the more to provide our full support to national agencies like the PNP that are our indispensable partners in keeping Makatizens safe and sustaining our city’s progress and development,” said Binay.

The mayor underscored the importance of strong LGU support in continuously building up the capability of national government agencies in the protective sector to promote safe and resilient communities where citizens are truly empowered.

This is the second recognition received by Binay for her support for the protective sector. Last August 2, Thursday, she also received recognition from the Bureau of Fire Protection for her remarkable support for the national agency.

During the 27th anniversary celebration of the fire bureau held at the Camp Aguinaldo AFP Commissioned Officers Club, Quezon City, Mayor Abby was awarded the Medalya ng Pambihirang Paglilingkod – Degree of Lakan Award.

Undersecretary Eduardo Año, officer-in-charge of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), together with BFP Chief, Dir. Leonard Bañago, presented the award to Binay.

She said that the provision of modern DRRM (disaster risk reduction and management) equipment to peacekeeping agencies is part of the city’s thrust towards disaster readiness, resilience and sustainability.

4 exclusive Makati City villages are drug-free

By Dexter Cabalza (Reporter, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Four exclusive villages in Makati City have been declared cleared or free of drugs.

As announced last week by the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug Clearing Program, Barangays Urdaneta and San Lorenzo were “drug-free” while Barangays Forbes Park and Magallanes were pronounced “drug-cleared.”

The committee is chaired by the regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and cochaired by the regional director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Its members are the Philippine National Police, Department of Health (DOH), local government units, DOH-accredited treatment and rehabilitation centers.

Drug board requirements

According to the Dangerous Drugs Board’s Regulation No. 3, Series of 2017, for a barangay to be considered cleared of drugs, there should be an absence of drug dens or laboratories, as well as zero drug users, pushers, dependents, protectors and financiers, among others.

Barangays should also have antiillegal drug programs, including drug awareness, preventive education and information campaigns, and voluntary and compulsory drug treatment and rehabilitation processing desks.

Barangays initially validated by PDEA as drug-cleared will receive a drug-free certification once they consistently show zero illegal drug incidents.

In a statement, Mayor Abby Binay commended the chairs of the four barangays for accomplishing “a difficult task that calls for genuine commitment to duty and strong leadership.”

These officials were identified as Leonard Alandy-Dy (Urdaneta), Ernesto Moya (San Lorenzo), Evangeline Manotok (Forbes Park) and Armando Padilla (Magallanes), who is also an incumbent Makati councilor and president of the Liga ng mga Barangay.

Binay said she was hopeful the city’s other 29 barangays would be “motivated to replicate their achievement.”

Initial resistance

In the early days of the government’s campaign against illegal drugs in July 2016, Makati’s exclusive villages refused entry to policemen who wanted to carry out “Oplan Tokhang” operations.

Barangay officials also did not submit a list of drug suspects in their respective areas as required by the police. Instead they issued a certification that there were no drug personalities in their barangays.

Their actions prompted Binay to admonish them to be “more cooperative” with the police.

Don Bosco Makati: Seized Porsche cars were for technical training

By Michael Bueza (Rappler.com)

The Bureau of Customs, however, says the two second-hand luxury cars were improperly brought into the country

MANILA, Philippines – The Don Bosco Technical Institute of Makati said that two luxury cars seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) were for their technical training program.

In a 24 Oras report by GMA News on Thursday, August 2, the Don Bosco Makati administration explained that the two second-hand Porsche cars would be used in a training program for the underprivileged.

Students who complete the said two-year technical training would be given jobs in Porsche in the Middle East, the school said.

Don Bosco Makati added that Porsche had previously donated 9 cars to them, and that these units are "destroyed" after the training program is done, as part of a contract.

The BOC, however, said that the two cars were improperly brought into the country.

In a statement on Thursday, the BOC said that the importation of the two used Porsche vehicles violated sections 117 and 1113 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act in relation to Executive Order No. 156.

The vehicles – a Porsche Boxster S and a Porsche Panamera 4S – have a combined estimated street value of P28 million.

The agency added that Don Bosco Makati "has no authority" to import second-hand vehicles. Such authority is "still required even if the intention is for training purpose of any school."

BOC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said that only special purpose vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances "can have exemptions."

The used cars were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on August 5, 2017.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Import Regulations Division ruled on July 9, that the importation violated EO 156.

BOC-NAIA district collector Carmelita Talusan then issued a warrant of seizure and detention against the cars on Wednesday, August 1.

Makati engineering dep't steps up declogging operations

By Jimmyley E. Guzman

MAKATI CITY (PIA) – Mayor Abby Binay directed Makati's Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) to step up its declogging operations after recent flooding in some parts of the city due to heavy rains brought by typhoons and the Southwest monsoon.

“I have directed the DEPW to continuously implement maintenance and massive declogging operations to ensure that our drainage system flows freely, especially at this time of the year, to prevent flooding,” the mayor said.

Binay, however, noted that floods cannot be prevented altogether in low-lying areas in the city, particularly those that are near creeks and other waterways.

“We can only do so much with flood-prone areas that serve as catch-basins when creeks overflow. Our waterways are connected with those of other localities, so even as we continuously clean up our waterways, we cannot stop the influx of solid waste from outside sources,” said the local chief executive.

The mayor has directed the DEPW, together with the Department of Environmental Services and other city offices, to religiously clean up waterways and clear out illegal structures along easement areas and sidewalks. Through their combined efforts, floodwaters have been noted to recede faster after a downpour.

Based on data from the DEPW, the average receding time for floodwaters in District 1 is 30 minutes, while for District 2 it is 15 to 20 minutes.

DEPW Chief Engr. Lauro Reyes, in his report to the mayor, said they have hauled out 1,056 metric tons of solid waste and silt in declogging operations conducted from January to June, or roughly equivalent to 26 garbage trucks filled to capacity. A total of 107,454 linear meters long of drainage in 27 barangays in the two districts were declogged during the said period.

Through its declogging operations conducted since January, the DEPW has hauled 620 metric tons of debris and silt from a total length of 72,610 linear meters of drainage in 15 barangays in the first district. These included Pio del Pilar, Olympia, Bangkal, Tejeros, San Antonio, Palanan, Sta. Cruz, La Paz, Poblacion, Bel-Air, Valenzuela, Carmona, Kasilawan, San Isidro, and Singkamas.

In District 2, its operations on around 34,844 linear meters of drainage in 12 barangays have yielded about 435 metric tons of solid waste. Covered were barangays Pembo, Rizal, Comembo, West Rembo, Guadalupe Viejo, Pitogo, Cembo, Pinagkaisahan, Guadalupe Nuevo, East Rembo, South Cembo, and Guadalupe Nuevo.

Meanwhile, DEPW also repaired and restored 357 manholes and their covers, 536.35 square meters of curb and gutter, and 352.9 square meters of concrete pavement and top slab.

Last May, DEPW also conducted clean-up operations in Calatagan Creek in Brgy. Palanan (250 l.m.), Sta. Clara Creek in Brgy. Tejeros (100 l.m.) and Sanzibar Creek in Brgy San Isidro (294 l.m.).

Aside from the three creeks mentioned, DEPW also monitors the following creeks: Amorsolo, Maricaban, Medina, PNR, Makati Diversion Channel, Tripa de Gallina-Bangkal and Calatagan, Camachile, Balisampan, San Jose, Pateros, Pinos, Ayala, and San Lorenzo.

Also being monitored are waterways in Brgys. Singkamas, Kasilawan, and Carmona in District I. In District 2, under close watch are the streets Maya, Zyris and Paloma in Rizal, Charlie and Target Range in Pembo, and 21st Avenue in East Rembo. (PIA-NCR with reports from ICRD Makati)

DTI develops process, forms to streamline gov't processes on starting a business

By Susan G. De Leon (PIA-NCR)

MAKATI (PIA)--The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as the temporary secretariat of Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) is developing an end-to-end business registration and unified application form, heeding the President’s directive to implement Republic Act 11032, also known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte, during his third SONA directed all local government units and national government agencies to faithfully implement this law and simplify government process.

“I particularly call the attention of the agencies with the [most] number of red tape-related reports from the public, make your services truly customer-friendly. Our people deserve efficient, effective, and responsive government services. They deserve nothing less.” said the President

As the temporary secretariat of the ARTA, DTI is now focusing on streamlining government procedures for business registration.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, concurrent chair of the Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Advisory Council (EODB-ARTAC) said the Agency is now focusing on streamlining government procedures for business registration, saying it is a subject of frequent complaints by the public.

“It takes 16 steps and 28 days to start a business in the country, compared to three steps and 2.5 days in Singapore according to the World Bank Doing Business Report,” Lopez said.

“In Singapore, because of online procedure, an applicant will be able to register, do a company search, incorporate and register with the inland revenue authority, in less than one day. We need to improve and be the number one," Lopez added.

To make it easier and shorter, Lopez said the ARTA is now implementing Project One: One Form, One Number, One Portal.

“This aims to develop innovative systems that will drastically streamline business registration process and will provide a pleasant business customer experience that is easy, not confusing nor cumbersome,” Lopez said.

“Project One promotes bureaucratic singularity through whole of government approach and addresses governance concern on data sharing, data accuracy, access to data, and privacy issues,” Lopez added.

Lopez also said that one of the three outputs of Project One is an application for an end-to-end business registration that allows business owners to complete their registration using a unified form via mobile application.

“We will see in the near future that one can register their business online— using mobile phone. All the entrepreneur need to do is fill up one form upload the requirements and let technology do the rest. We want to do away with the several forms an applicant need to accomplish. You need to concentrate more on your business than get stressed by your business permit,” said Lopez.

The DTI Secretary said the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will greatly benefit from end-to-end business registration.

Makati lawmaker bares P2-billion plan to revive Pasig River ferry system

(BusinessMirror)

The national government has allotted P2 billion to revive the Pasig River ferry system, this time with smaller boats moving through more stations at a faster pace, Makati City Rep. Luis N. Campos Jr. said on Tuesday.

The P2 billion is already in the proposed P3.757-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2019, the lawmaker, who has been pushing for the ferry service’s restoration, said in a news statement.

“The new funding will be spent to build 17 new stations along the 25-kilometer river in the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Makati, Taguig, Pasig and Marikina,” Campos said.

He added the new stations will be on top of the 12 previously built under the old ferry system which had ceased to operate.

Once fully operational, the new ferry service is projected to transfer some 76,000 commuters every day on water buses—24 air-conditioned boats with 50 seats each moving through 29 terminals in 15-minute intervals, according to Campos.

The previous ferry service ran aground after the private operator insisted on deploying bigger boats with 150 seats each that took a long time to fill. This caused a decline in ridership due to delayed departures and arrivals.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has since been running an improvised ferry service with a limited capacity.

The new Pasig River Ferry Convergence Program is being carried out by 10 agencies led by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“The program is assured of continuous funding since it is led by the DBM no less, which is good,” Campos said. “We expect the government itself to run the new ferry service, should private firms be unwilling to come in,” he said.

The lawmaker said P328 million has also been allotted to help the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) renew the river to its historically pristine condition conducive to transport, recreation and tourism.

“The PRRC is getting P150 million for the Pasig River Esplanade-Lighting of Bridges Project, plus P178 million to revitalize the river’s esteros and creeks,” he said.

The targets for rehabilitation include the Estero de la Reina in Manila; the East Bank Road, Manggahan Floodway in Barangay Santa Lucia in Pasig City; Ermitaño Creek in San Juan City and the Taguig-Pateros River in Barangay San Pedro in the municipality of Pateros.

Mandaluyong, Makati keep rolling in MPBL

By Norman Lee Benjamin Riego

Mandaluyong and Makati have only stayed hot in the 2018 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

The El Tigre followed the lead of Ray Parks Jr. to outclass luckless Rizal, 65-51, last Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

The ABL champion and MVP scored 22 points while also collecting six rebounds and three assists as the visitors outplayed the home team by a score of 36-22 in the first half.

JP Cauilan and Thomas Torres only joined in on the fun with eight and seven points, respectively, to help Mandaluyong improve to 4-1.

In the day’s other game, Makati continued its rise with an 86-71 rout of General Santos.

Philip Paniamogan turned in his best outing in the season with 28 points while fellow ex-pro Jeckster Apinan also had 11 markers and nine boards as the Skyscrapers rose to a similar 4-1 slate.

Their respective losses dropped the Crusaders and the Warriors to 1-4.

PNR reopens Caloocan to Makati route

By Darwin G. Amojelar

The Philippine National Railways said it reopened its train service from Caloocan City to Dela Rosa Street in Makati City, 20 years after it was closed to the public.

“This is a good initiative from PNR. We will not just add, but also rehabilitate,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

The Caloocan-Dela Rosa line is the fastest and most cost-efficient means of transportation along the 13-kilometer route, with running time of 37 minutes. It was shut down in 1997. A part of it was supposed to be utilized for the Northrail project, but much of the rail tracks were unused.

PNR general manager Junn Magno said the revival of the line segment was through the effort and cooperation of several agencies.

“The Caloocan line segment was a departmental track used by PNR between the Tutuban and Caloocan workshops. It was heavily damaged because of water intrusion, so we embarked to repair the track back to common carrier grade. The LRTA [Light Rail Transit Authority] offered old ballast material in May 2018; we used that to rebuild the track. Then the MNTC [Manila North Tollways Corp.] offered to haul it out of LRTA Pasay Yard. When things were in place, we began refurbishing the old stations,” Magno said.

Magno said the original intent of rebuilding the track was to slowly transfer material away from the Caloocan workshops, in preparation of the North-South Commuter Railway or the PNR North 1, which will run from Tutuban in Manila to Malolos in Bulacan.

The project broke ground in January this year. Meanwhile, the Transportation Department decided to use the remaining track time to generate revenues at the same time serving the Caloocan-Makati corridor.

Six trains with a total capacity of 700 to 800 were deployed during the soft-opening today, to accommodate an expected 10,000 passengers.

The first trip from Caloocan to Dela Rosa leaves at 5:45 a.m., while the last trip from Caloocan is at 5:15 p.m. From Dela Rosa to Caloocan, the first trip leaves at 6:28 a.m., while the last trip is at 5:58 p.m.

The initial 13-km route run will stop at 10th Avenue (Macario Asistio), 5th Avenue, Solis, Blumentritt, España, Sta. Mesa and Dela Rosa stations. Minimum fare is P12 (non-aircon) and P15 (aircon).

The Caloocan-Dela Rosa, Makati Line will remain operational until the construction of the PNR Manila-Clark Railway line goes at full blast.

Makati City Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.