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

BPI Family offers low 8% interest on housing

by Roderick T. dela Cruz

[ ] March 31, 2010

BPI Family Savings Bank, a unit of Bank of Philippine Islands, has offered an industry record low of 8 percent for residential projects of Robinsons Land Corp.

“This is the lowest rate that we have offered for residential projects,” said Jocelyn Sta. Ana, senior vice president of BPI Family Savings Bank.

Sta. Ana said the rate applied for the first year of amortization for Robinsons residential projects, with value of at least P1.1 million, on a 20 percent down payment.

The rate is lower by 1.5 percentage points than BPI’s regular rate of 9.5 percent for the first year of amortization. Interest rates on housing projects in the Philippines normally have interest rates of 9 percent to 20 percent, depending on the developer and partner banks.

BPI Family Savings Bank president Alfonso Salcedo Jr. said buyers should take the opportunity to acquire houses, before interest rates go up in the second half of the year.

BPI Family Savings Bank and Robinsons Land teamed up for Housing Madness, a promotional campaign offering low interest rate and discounts on thousands of Robinsons residential units.


Number of foreign tourists in Cebu drops

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 [ ]

By Rinnah B. Flores

THE number of foreign tourists arriving in Cebu dropped in 2009, government figures showed.

Only 625,098 foreign tourists arrived last year, compared with the 649,593 foreign travelers in 2008, according to data of the Department of Tourism 7 (DOT).

Domestic tourists, however, increased 4.89% to 993,172.

There was a large drop in the number of tourists from Taiwan, Brunei and Myanmar. But the number of tourists from Vietnam, China, and the Middle East especially Saudi Arabia increased.

Most of the tourists go to Cebu to either travel or study. The acceptance of foreign students by the different universities and colleges in the province was also credited in helping attract more tourists to Cebu.

In Cebu Doctor’s University (CDU), 254 foreign students were enrolled in the second semester of 2009. Most of them came from Korea, Iran and Africa. According to Anthony Paul Ancit of the Student Affairs Office in CDU, these students enroll in different courses offered by the university but the top courses are dentistry and medicine.

For Cleverlearn English Language Institute (CELI), a Bigfoot company located in Mactan, there was a 20% decrease in their number of English students by the end of 2009. Most of the enrollees in CELI come from Korea and Japan. In Korea, the decline was mostly due to the fluctuating currency.

Last month, Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano projected a 15% increase in tourist arrivals in the country this year, led by Cebu. In 2009, Cebu topped the list of the 14 most visited Philippine destinations. The DOT attributed Cebu’s tourism growth to the adding of flights, opening of new hotels and entrepreneurs offering organized packaged island tours.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 1, 2010.


No land titles yet for Sumilao farmers

Thursday, April 1, 2010 [ ]

TWO years after San Miguel Corporation (SMC) awarded 50 out of the 144 hectares to the Sumilao farmers, land titles are yet to be received by the farmers.

Peter Tuminhay, spokesperson of the Sumilao farmers, said representatives of SMC and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) just kept on promising to give the land titles to them.

“We have met with the representatives of SMC and DAR and they have promised the land titles every time we met. Deadline after deadline came and went but the promised land titles failed to materialize. Even the title of the 50 hectares we are now tilling remains an unfulfilled promise,” Tuminhay said.

He added that the lands offered to them by SMC have various problems since some of the lands are still leased to Del Monte while some had titles that were not surrendered by the landowners.

On March 29, 2007, the Sumilao farmers signed an agreement with SMC represented by its president Ramon Ang in the presence of Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

In the agreement, SMC ceded 50 of the 144 hectares being claimed by the Sumilao farmers and committed to acquire 94 hectares of land outside the disputed property for distribution to the farmers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp).

The agreement marked the end of the farmers’ campaign which started with their historic 1,700-kilometer march from Sumilao in Bukidnon to Malacañang in Manila.

The march prompted President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to revoke the conversion order covering the contested property in December 2007 and ordered the distribution of the property under Carp forcing SMC to the negotiating table with the farmers.

After the signing of the agreement, the Sumilao farmers returned home, occupied and began to cultivate the 50 hectares covered by the agreement.

However, after two years, the Sumilao farmers are yet to receive the land titles of the 50 hectares within the contested property and the 94 hectares outside the 144-hectare disputed land.

Tuminhay said last February, SMC legal counsel lawyer Fred Peñaflor committed to distribute the titles for the 50 hectares they are now tilling and the 94 hectares outside the 144-hectare property on the second anniversary of the agreement’s signing.

“After waiting for two years and listening to promises several times, this will be the last deadline. Should they fail to distribute the titles today, as they have promised, we take it that SMC is not serious about fulfilling its commitments to us. It is almost a year since our leader, Rene Peñas, was gunned down here in this land. We can no longer wait for more promises. We will to return to our original claim. Should they again break their promise today, we shall begin to occupy and cultivate portions of the original 144 hectare land,” said Yoyong Merida, another spokesperson of the Sumilao farmers.

With this, Merida called on those who have supported their struggle to once again join them in their cause.

“We will not stop until we cultivate the land that belongs to us,” Merida added.

During Monday’s second anniversary of the signing of the agreement, Malaybalay Archbishop Honesto Pacana celebrated a Mass with the farmers at their camp outside the gates of SMC in San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon.

Pacana has joined the farmers in demanding the distribution of the Sumilao property. (PR)


Land titling rules rushed

Posted on 09:12 PM, March 30, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources targets to issue by next week the guidelines for a recently signed law that makes it easier for those living on untitled lands to apply for residential titles.

Environment Secretary Horacio C. Ramos said in a briefing yesterday that he has directed the Land Management Bureau to rush the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10023, or An Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands. "Hopefully, it [the IRR] will be completed by first week of May so that our field offices can start the processing and issuance of free patents covering residential lots," Mr. Ramos said.

The law, signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last March 9, states that Filipinos who live on untitled residential lands for at least 10 successive years -- down from the previous requirement of 30 years -- may apply for titles. Only alienable, disposable land -- not those owned by private individuals -- are covered. -- KJRL


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