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Vista Land, UP tie up to develop Silicon Valley model

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 29, 2016 - 12:00am
  

 A memorandum of agreement signed by the University of the Philippines with Vista Land on June 27 at The Peninsula Manila formally established the partnership that will make the new technology innovation campus a reality. Sen. Cynthia Villar/Released

MANILA, Philippines – Vista Land & Landscapes Inc., the listed integrated property developer of the Villar Group, is allocating a five hectare property in its Vista City in Metro South for the development of the Philippines’ version of Silicon Valley.

The University of the Philippines, the state-owned premier educational institution, will develop what will be known as the country’s first School of Technopreneurship in Vista City’s University Town.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Vista Land said the Villar Family donated the land where the facilities would be built as part of its chairman’s, Manuel Villar Jr., vision to develop local start-ups in the Philippines.

“A UP campus in Vista City is envisioned to become the birthplace of local tech start-ups that will ensure the Philippines will remain competitive in today’s global economy,” Villar said.

The idea of having such facility came from a “think paper” published by the UP.

According to the paper, investment in knowledge capital development is one way to ensure a nation’s economic progress and to sustain inclusive growth.

The Philippines, the paper argues, needs to begin investing not only in education infrastructure, but also in a “knowledge suprastructure” which allows the development of multi-disciplinary experts, trained specifically in technology and business – individuals more popularly known as technopreneurs.

This suprastructure requires investment of both public and private sectors in smart classroom facilities, business incubation spaces, tech innovation zones, located within modern university towns that allow technopreneurs to thrive in a supportive ecosystem – think of Silicon Valley in California, it said.

“The UP Technopreneurship Campus in Vista City’s University Town can give its student- technopreneurs a better shot at bringing discoveries, inventions, and designs to the innovation stage and competing on the bigger world stage,” UP president Alfredo Pascual said.

Villar said Vista City is an ideal location because of the area’s rapid development as an extension of Metro Manila. Nearby are several industrial zones whose technology companies can support the further development of the UP campus and its programs.

Under the agreement, Vista Land will build the initial campus facilities on the donated five hectare property, while UP will design the programs to be offered in the campus.

The initial development involves the construction of an enterprise center and classroom complex that will offer postgraduate and undergraduate programs in technopreneurship and design engineering for UP students.

“With the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between UP and Vista Land, doors are opened to aspiring technopreneurs and big tech industry players alike”, said Vista Land president and CEO Paolo Villar.

He said the Philippines takes one step closer to making this economically progressive future a reality.

Last March, UP also unveiled a partnership with SM Investments Corp. (SMIC), the conglomerate of the Sy Group, for a nine-level building inside the University of the Philippines (UP) Professional Schools at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

SM donated P400 million to construct the building.

Pascual said post graduate classes would be held at the BGC Campus, which has a total floor area of 12,000 square meters and would house 29 classrooms, three computer laboratories, a study area called a learning commons, faculty lounges, an auditorium, a moot court or a venue for simulated court proceedings for law students, a multipurpose hall; discussion rooms, conference rooms, office spaces and an executive lounge.
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BIR clears tax treatment on non-profit firms

By Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 28, 2016 - 12:00am




Outgoing Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares has been hit for her slew of regulations issued weeks before she steps down by June 30. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines - There’s no stopping outgoing Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares.

More than a week before she steps down, Henares has institutionalized regulations on tax exemptions for non-stock and non-profit corporations.

Issued June 20, Revenue Memorandum Circular 64-2016 clarified that being registered as a non-profit organization with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) does not guarantee an automatic income tax exemption.

The circular then laid down “characteristics” which would make an organization qualify for tax relief, covering educational institutions, religious and labor organizations, mutual savings associations, agricultural organizations, among others.

“There is nothing new there. That is already being practiced. What we are doing is merely to institutionalize the rules so that everyone knows it,” Henares said in a phone interview.

“It does not mean that you are registered as non-stock, you will be tax-exempt. The SEC registration is different from tax treatment,” Henares added.

Under the circular, non-stock, non-profit companies were reminded that only their income in their operations is tax-exempt, and that assets earned from other means are levied.

It said since granting tax exemption results into revenue losses, it will be up to the corporation to prove it is worthy of such relief.

“It (company) must thus demonstrate that its earnings or assets shall not inure to the benefit of any of its trustees, organizers, officers, members of any specific person,” the circular said.

Henares said the BIR would evaluate companies if they are worthy of exemption during their regular audits.

The outgoing BIR chief has been hit for her slew of regulations issued weeks before she steps down by June 30.

But Henares reiterated she is merely putting in black-and-white what is already being practiced “I am only putting everything on paper,” she said.
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Filinvest envisions Mimosa renaissance

posted June 25, 2016 at 11:10 pm by
The Standard Business [ standard.com.ph ]

The former Mimosa Leisure Estate is primed for a renaissance as Filinvest Land Inc. lays out its plans for a dynamic, mixed-use development on the sprawling 201.64-hectare property.

As the winning bidder in the privatization of the estate, Filinvest recently signed the lease agreement with Clark Development Corp. to develop, manage and operate the estate for 50 years, renewable for another 25 years.  

“We are excited to implement our plans for the Mimosa estate. We envision this to be an urban renewal—the rise of a highly livable city that will offer countless opportunities for generations to come,” says Josephine Gotianun-Yap, president of Filinvest Mimosa Inc., the new company formed by the consortium of Filinvest Development Corp. and Filinvest Land.

To bring its vision to life, Filinvest has tapped the services of Broadway Malyan, an expert master-planner known for its portfolio of world-class and fully-integrated cities across the globe. “With its global perspective and extensive experience, we know that Broadway Malyan is the right firm to entrust with our vision for the Mimosa project,” says Gotianun-Yap.

The award-winning firm is behind projects such as the Emprasa Startup Valley in India, dubbed the City of the Future; and East Village in Calgary, which won the Canadian Architects/Town Planning and Landscape Architecture Institutes’ joint award for Best Urban Design Plan in 2012. Broadway Malyan also created the master plan for Erith Park in London, which was recognized as London Regeneration Project of the Year 2016 by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Forward-looking master plan

For the Mimosa estate, Broadway Malyan will apply its expertise in creating future-proofed, next-generation urban areas. Integrating Quest Hotel (formerly Holiday Inn) and the existing 36-hole golf course, the Mimosa project will be designed as a community-centric, year-round destination with varied offerings for both day and night users and visitors.

Current and future developments will be harmonized utilizing a cohesive architectural theme with various elements and spatial experiences that will increase the value of the development. The entire project will be implemented in accord with Clark Economic Zone’s overall objective of a green, smart and disaster-resilient development.

“We want the development to be leisurely walkable so the master plan will pay close attention to the vehicular and pedestrian circulation,” Gotianun-Yap says.

She says environmental impact will be minimized through sustainability strategies such as preservation of the existing ecosystem and respecting the natural topography of the land.

Balanced components

The Mimosa project centers on a balanced mix of components including hotel and leisure offerings, offices, a retail and commercial district, a residential section, as well as amenities and open spaces that can attract a year-round market.

The initial program is to add at least two more hotel locators, a retail area and numerous parks, bike paths and outdoor amenity areas. “With these in place, we will be in the best position to take advantage of the expected influx of guests with the rise in the meetings, incentives, conferences and events  tourism market,” says Gotianun-Yap. 

Planned mid-rise office buildings will target multinational BPO companies while the retail and commercial district will cater to hotel patrons, tourists, office workers, the surrounding local communities and the transiting market.

To encourage people to stay longer, the project will offer a good mix of residential offerings, rental units clustered around the hotels and golf course to achieve a resort village atmosphere. These will be complemented by public recreation facilities and open-space amenities that can be experienced all year round.

“We are looking forward to carrying out these plans to fruition,” says Gotianun-Yap. “We will draw on our expertise in large-scale township development and our experience in the hospitality industry to realize our vision for the Mimosa estate.”

Filinvest is the developer behind the 244-hectare Filinvest City in Alabang, the 677-hectare Timberland Heights and 300-hectare Havila in Rizal and the 350-hectare Ciudad de Calamba in Laguna.

It also signed a joint venture agreement with tBases Conversion Development Authority for a 288-hectare, mixed-use development in Clark Green City, Tarlac. The Filinvest Group, through Chroma Hospitality, currently manages over 1,000 hotel rooms under the Crimson and Quest hotel brands.
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