PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .

NEDA seeks World Bank loan to fund 7 projects

Thursday, January 01, 2009 [ ]

By Darwin G. Amojelar, Reporter

THE Philippines seeks a billion-dollar worth of foreign aid from World Bank next year to fund social and infrastructure projects, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

Documents from the agency showed that official development assistance will be needed to implement seven projects.

The needed loans are $200 million for the Food Crisis Response Development Policy Operation; $390 million to $400 million for the National Sector Support for Social Welfare and Development Reform Project; $260 million for the Light Rail Transit Line 1 south extension project; $70.36 million for the Participatory Irrigation Development Project; $40 million in additional financing for Rural Power Project; $10 million in additional financing for Second Agrarian Reform Communities Development Project, and $17 million in additional funds for Judicial Reform Support Project.

“Three projects may be dropped from the list if there are no developments by the end of the calendar year” NEDA said.

These are the $250-million development policy project 2; the $63-million support for the National Transmission Corp.’s concession, and $18 million in additional financing for the Manila Third Sewerage Project.

Three other loans will be maintained on the list for processing in 2009, but this would depend on further developments, NEDA said.

These loans include $50 million for the Local Government Support for Local Government Units Through Performance Grants; $50 million for Support for Regional and Local Water Supply and $15.12 million for Bicol River Basin Watershed Management Project-Watershed Management and Development.

As of last year, the country’s cumulative ODA financed 125 ongoing projects for a total $9.28 billion of which $8.17 billion were project loans and $1.31-million program loans.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation continued to be the largest source of ODA, accounting for $2.5 billion of the total, followed by ADB with $2 billion, other foreign donors at $1.9 billion, and the World Bank at $1.8 billion.

The government’s total donor aid disbursement last year fell 17.9 percent to $1.62 billion from $1.97 billion in 2006.


Discovery Leisure seeks properties to acquire throughout Asia

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña Updated January 01, 2009 12:00 AM

[ Manila Bulletin Online ]

Discovery Leisure, a member of the Tiu Group of Companies, is scouring for acquisition deals within Asia, particularly China, to take advantage of investment opportunities amid a global economic downturn.

“We’re looking at properties throughout Asia, possibly a hotel with a beach resort,” said John Tiu Jr., director for corporate planning at JTKC Land Inc.

Tiu said the company is also keen on acquiring serviced apartments.

On the homefront, the group is allotting P200 million for the refurbishment of the Discovery Hotel in Ortigas to attract more clients in view of the stiff competition in the tourism industry.

He said the rooms will be renovated to make it more appealing to the public as consumers reduce spending due to the economic crisis.

Tiu said the group recently acquired 20 hectares of land in San Vicente, Palawan which will later on be converted into a high-end beach resort. Construction of the project will begin only after the necessary infrastructure has been put in place.

The expansion is in line with the group’s optimistic outlook for the hotel or lodging sector in spite of tough business conditions.

The group also owns Discovery Shores in Boracay and Discovery Tagaytay.

JTKC also owns the Mansiongroup, a pioneer in the serviced apartments industry. It owns five of the finest and coziest hotels and residential suites in Manila and Makati City.

Within the Manila tourist belt are the Boulevard Mansion, the Dakota Mansion and the Mabini Mansion. In the Makati commercial district are the Gilarmi Apartments and the Amorsolo Mansion.

Apart from this, the Tiu family has investments in various companies involved in a wide range of industries, from logistics to finance, real estate, manufacturing, and hotel and resort properties.

Among them are Kent Vinyl Tiles, and iRemit Global Remittance.


Foreign traders to stay in RP

December 31, 2008 05:31 PM Wednesday [ ]

PHILIPPINE visa policy for foreign investors has been relaxed and foreign investors can now indefinitely stay in the Philippines provided they will employ at least 10 Filipinos in the company they intend to establish in the country.

This, after President Gloria Arroyo recently signed Executive Order (EO) No. 758 allowing foreigners to stay indefinitely in the Philippines provided they will employ 10 Filipinos.

The move is considered very timely to help mitigate that negative impact of the current global economic meltdown that could also affect the Philippines.

EO No. 758, which has the effect of a law, prescribes guidelines for the issuance of a special visa to non-immigrants for employment generation.

“It would be easier now for foreigners to do business in the country as EO No. 758 waives the requirements for visa applications and encourages them to bring their investment into the Philippines,” commented Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan.

“A foreigner who employs 10 Filipinos must invest at least P200 million (around GBP 1.8 mn) because one job creation costs P10 million. This would be an active investment because foreign investors pay monthly compensation to their employees, thus it revolves the economy,” he added.

Under the guidelines, the Bureau of Immigration shall issue Special Visa for Employment Generation (SVEG) to a foreigner engaged in viable and sustainable commercial enterprise, trade or industry that has in its employ at least 10 Filipinos.

Foreigners who acquire the visa are considered special non-immigrants with multiple entry privileges and conditional extended stay, without need of prior departure from the Philippines.

The same visa may be extended to the visa applicant’s spouse and dependents under 18 years of age, whether legitimate, illegitimate, or adopted.

The guidelines also provide that aside from investing in a particular business, the visa applicant must have a genuine intention to remain in the Philippines and that he or she must not be a risk to national security.


Cebu eyed as haven for retirees

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] December 31, 2008


CEBU CITY — Tourism stakeholders in Cebu are advised to look into the potentials of the retirees market as plans for infrastructure facilities for medical tourists are now in the pipeline.

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. (CBRE-Philippines), a commercial and real estate services firm, said Cebu should begin cashing in on the market for retirees, who are described as adventure and leisure enthusiasts with ages ranging from 40 to 60.

They are deemed to belong to the high-spending segment.

"Active retirees want to be mobile. They want to see places and have fun," said Victor Asuncion, CBRE-Philippines head of research unit.

He said that Cebu’s golf course facilities are not enough to accommodate this market, considering that retirees would also be needing medical services, which are being offered by world-class hospitals and clinics in Cebu.

Citing his company’s survey, Asuncion said that an integrated retirement village in Cebu is needed in the next two years to capture the growing retirees market. This is in preparation for the time when they seek proper retirement community that will offer everything they need in one place, he said.

Golf course facilities in Bantayan and Bogo towns, for instance, are always fully packed by the active retirees who come from different parts of the world, including Japan and Europe.

To date, he said, there are only five golf courses in Cebu, and these are not enough to host the growing market for active retirees.

Once Cebu attracts a significant number of active retirees, Asuncion said, there would be a high demand for resort residences or sea-side condominiums. Eventually, he added, the retirees would invest in real estate properties here.

Earlier, the Department of Tourism launched the "Live Your Dream" campaign, an investment-tourism strategy to attract foreigners, such as active retirees, to invest in vacation homes in the Philippines.

If the campaign attracts at least 1,000 foreign buyers, and each buys at least 0,000 worth of vacation home, the program would easily generate 0 million for the Philippine economy, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said.

Durano said this concept was developed following the high satisfaction rate of the Philippines, as a destination for foreign travelers.

Record shows that Philippines scored 87 percent satisfaction rate among foreign tourists last year.

"We have a high rate of repeat visit. At least 60 percent of first-time tourists come back to the Philippines," he said, adding that the campaign is sure to generate tourism income and encourage tourists to stay longer.


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