PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .
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Developers urged to tap short term lease market

Developers urged to tap short term lease market
By Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 15, 2017 - 12:00am

Real estate developers with large inventories of ready-for-occupancy (RFO) units are urged to tap the short term lease market to avoid the deterioration of the project’s value, a property consultancy firm said. File

MANILA, Philippines - Real estate developers with large inventories of ready-for-occupancy (RFO) units are urged to tap the short term lease market to avoid the deterioration of the project’s value, a property consultancy firm said.

In its first quarter 2017 property market report, Colliers International noted of an oversupply of studio and one-bedroom units in the Metro Manila market, caused by the aggressive

launching of these unit types over the past three to five years.

“For companies that have significant ready-for-occupancy (RFO) units, Colliers believes that leasing out these units either individually or even as shared units makes sense, as long as the leasing schemes do not go against the market positioning of the properties and do not lead to a deterioration of the projects’ perceived value,” Colliers said.

At present, studio and one-bedroom units account for about 70 percent of the Metro Manila residential market supply, according to the property consultancy firm.

Colliers Deputy Managing Director Richard Raymundo said in a briefing Thursday, that about 20 to 25 percent of completed residential buildings remain unsold.

“In terms of inventory, when  you look at the average of those that are finished already, they’re probably close to 75 percent sold to 80 percent sold.,” Raymundo said.

“So there’s this 20 percent that remains in the inventory-- it’s still a problem for a developer particularly if it’s a big development,”he added.

To address this problem, Colliers suggests that developers offer their properties for short term lease, given the present demand in the said market.

Among factors driving demand for short term lease properties is the rise of both foreign and local tourists.

The property consultancy firm said about 60 percent of international visitors make a pit stop in Metro Manila before going to their respective destinations in the Philippines, while an average of 500,000 domestic tourists visit the country’s capital each year.

Colliers also mentioned the working millennial and OFWs on vacation as possible target markets for the short term lease market.

Moreover, Colliers cited the Century Properties Group as a developer that has already tapped the short term lease market, particularly with its Siglo Suites project, which helps owners effectively lease out units to short-,medium-, and long-term guests and tenants.

“The scheme also strengthens and enhances the security of owners and residents,” Colliers said.


Furthermore, the property consultancy firm recommends developers to offer RFO through rent-to-own schemes and be more aggressive in providing flexible and extended payment terms, to be able to entice more consumers to acquire these units.
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Tighter credit standards for comm’l real estate loans

By Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 24, 2017 - 12:00am


The results of the BSP’s Senior Bank Loan Officers’ Survey showed that credit standards for commercial real estate loans registered a net tightening for the fifth consecutive quarter using the diffusion index approach. File

MANILA, Philippines -  Banks continued to tighten their credit standards for real estate loans to companies, while maintained those for housing loans of individuals during the first quarter, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported.

The results of the BSP’s Senior Bank Loan Officers’ Survey showed that credit standards for commercial real estate loans registered a net tightening for the fifth consecutive quarter using the diffusion index approach.

“The tighter overall credit standards for commercial real estate loans reflected respondent bank’s wider loan margins, reduced credit line sizes, and increased use of interest rate floors,” the BSP said in a statement.

Results of the survey also indicated that some banks saw increased demand for real estate loan from enterprises in the first quarter on the back of increased working capital and accounts receivable financing needs, higher investment in plant and equipment of borrowers, and clients’ improved economic outlook.

Some banks anticipate this demand for commercial real estate loans to continue to increase over the next quarter.

On the other hand, results based on the diffusion index approach also showed that credit requirements for housing loans of individuals remained unchanged during the first three months.

“The unchanged credit standards for housing loans was attributed by respondent banks largely to their sustained tolerance for risk and steady profile of borrowers, as well as stable economic outlook,” the BSP said.

For the second quarter, credit standards for individual housing loans are expected to register a net easing as banks anticipate an improvement in the profitability and liquidity in their portfolio, an increase in their tolerance for risk, and less strict financial system regulations.

Banks said they experienced an increased demand for housing loans in the first quarter, and expects this momentum to persist over the next three months.


Meanwhile, results of the survey using the modal approach showed that credit standards both for commercial and individual real estate loans were maintained during the first quarter. Demand was also unchanged, and is seen to continue being at the same level over the next quarter.
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Real estate price growth slows

By Melissa Luz T. Lopez, Senior Reporter
Posted on April 03, 2017 [ bworldonline.com ]

HOUSING PRICES stood barely changed by the end of 2016, with lower costs tallied within Metro Manila against minimal upticks recorded in the provinces during the fourth quarter, latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.

Residential property prices went up by a mere 0.3% between October and December 2016 from a year ago, which is the slowest pace ever seen under the central bank’s residential real estate price index (RREPI). The rate slowed down from a 2.2% increase in the third quarter and a 5.2% uptick during the comparable year-ago period, and is the slowest since the earliest available data from the second quarter of 2015.

The RREPI is the BSP’s tool that measures the average change in the home prices across building types and locations, allowing regulators to assess overall real estate and market conditions and monitor any looming bubbles in the property sector.

It was cheaper to acquire housing units within Metro Manila during the last three months of 2016 with average prices down by 1.1% from the previous year, edging lower than a 0.2% decline posted during the third quarter.

This was partially offset by a 1.7% increase in the cost to acquire homes in the provinces, even as it also slowed down from a 4.9% rise logged during the third quarter.

By structure type, duplex units sustained a drop in prices for the second straight quarter as it slipped by 12.3%, coming from a 5.1% decline seen during the July-September period and a 5.8% slide during the last three months of 2015.

Duplex prices dropped by 8.8% within Metro Manila, against a 5.5% rise recorded in other regions, according to BSP data.

Price tags on single detached and attached houses also went down by 1% from a year ago, reversing from a 2.4% increase in the third quarter and an 8.2% jump seen during the comparable period in 2015 as prices within Metro Manila and the provinces dropped by 8.6% and 0.2%, respectively.

Meanwhile, rates for townhouses rose by 6.2% nationwide, led by a 16.3% jump in the provinces where it is considered as the most popular option, the BSP said in a statement. Townhouse prices stood steady within Metro Manila, clocking in a mere 0.1% increase from the past year.

Condominium units also saw a small increase in prices by 1.8%. It posted a mere 1.3% climb in Metro Manila -- where it is the most common purchase -- against a 6.4% jump in rates outside the capital.

BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said the movements in housing prices largely reflected growing demand, allaying fears that a property bubble is in the offing.

“There is a strong domestic demand in the Philippines for both residential and commercial properties. We have a large shortage of housing units supported by a big base of young, employed people especially in the services sector. As the economy continues to grow, demand for commercial space will be sustained,” Mr. Guinigundo said in a text message to reporters, while pointing out that real estate developers have grown more “prudent” in building new projects in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.

A bubble forms due to a perceived rising demand in housing units that drive developers to build more, and is said to “burst” as demand stagnates, which will lead to an abrupt drop in property prices that could potentially jolt the banking system.

Mr. Guinigundo added that provinces like Cagayan de Oro and Iloilo are seeing a construction boom, which stand as “very strong signs” of economic growth.

By location, Metro Manila accounted for over half of the property loans during the quarter, followed by Calabarzon with 25.6% of the total. Other regions with the biggest share are Central Luzon (5.8%), Central Visayas (4.7%), and Western Visayas (3.9%).

Meanwhile, about 70.5% of property loans booked in the fourth quarter were incurred to buy new housing units, the central bank said. Nearly half of the debts were used for condominium purchases, followed by single detached units at 43.9%. Townhouses took a 7.6% share, although the BSP said that loans across all housing types grew from a year ago.

Philippine banks granted P529.904 billion in total home loans in 2016, nearly a fifth higher from a year ago and accounted for 34.9% of the approved property loans.


The BSP collects RREPI data from the mandatory reports submitted by banks, which cover the amounts and profiles of the home loans which they hand out every quarter.
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DM Consunji bags P9-B infra projects

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 24, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  DM Consunji Inc. has bagged P9 billion worth of infrastructure projects comprising tollway, power and water from public and private proponents.

Jorge Consunji, president of DM Consunji, said the projects have provided the company a strong start for the year.

“We started the year strong with these newly-awarded contracts. Hopefully, this will be the start of the aggressive rollout of mega-infrastructure projects across the country. We really need the additional roads and facilities,” he said.

In January, the company won the contract for the P1.3 billion Bued Viaduct at Section 3B-3 and roadway construction of Section 3B-4 Bued to Rosario, La Union of the Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway of Private Infra Development Corp.

It also secured a P7.2 billion contract for the Laguna portion of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway project from MPCALA Holdings Inc.

National Power Corp. likewise awarded three projects to DM Consunji. These are the remedial work of San Roque MPP Spillway Plunge Pool Area in Pangasinan; construction of Mansalay switching station and expansion of Bansud and San Jose substation projects in Oriental Mindoro, and the rehabilitation of the Calapan-Bansud 69KV transmission line project, also in Oriental Mindoro.

DM Consunji also won the bid to construct three projects for Maynilad Water Services. These include a pipe replacement project in Parañaque City, the construction of a 30ML Reservoir and Pump Station in Imus, Cavite and the Putatan 20MLD Reverse Osmosis facility in Muntinlupa City.
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Banks given one-month extension to comply with e-processing of checks

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 20, 2017 - 12:00am


BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. issued Memorandum Order M – 2017-010 granting an additional 31 days for participant clearing banks of the Philippine Clearing House Corp. (PCHC) to be fully compliant with the Check Image Clearing System (CICS). File photo

MANILA, Philippines -  The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has given big and small banks a one-month reprieve to fully comply with the electronic processing of checks that kicked off last January.

BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. issued Memorandum Order M – 2017-010 granting an additional 31 days for participant clearing banks of the Philippine Clearing House Corp. (PCHC) to be fully compliant with the Check Image Clearing System (CICS).

Espenilla said the Monetary Board issued Resolution No. 417 granting an additional 31 days for PCHC clearing participant banks to fully comply with the CICS standard by April 21 this year.

Data obtained from the website of the PCHC showed 68 big and small banks are CICS compliant as of March 10. There are 613 universal and commercial, thrift as well as rural and cooperative banks operating in the country.
  
The PCHC implemented the clearing of checks via electronic presentment through its CICS last Jan. 20.

Under the CICS, only the digital images of checks and their electronic payment information would be transmitted to the paying bank, allowing a shorter turnaround time for funds to be credited to the depositors’ accounts.

Depositors who transact with CICS-compliant banks or branches may already withdraw on the next banking day against their validated check deposits.

Meanwhile, banks that are still on paper-based check processing would continue to render the service under existing timelines.

To achieve faster transition to the new process, the BSP has enjoined the remaining non-CICS-compliant banks to take necessary measures to meet the technical requirements of CICS.

The implementation of CICS forms part of the reforms espoused by the BSP to achieve a more efficient and safe payment system as this is critical to the promotion of the country’s financial stability.

The BSP earlier urged banks to remain prudent in implementing the new check clearing process, but at the same time not too rigid in accepting checks.

The central bank upholds consumer protection and promotes efficient payment system to maintain financial stability.

PCHC issued Memo Circular No. 3306 which states that checks that are folded or have staple holes should be accepted by banks as long as the image and the information on the check are still clearly visible upon unfolding or inspection.

Further, checks without the word “only” after the amount written on the check, with empty spaces not ruled out, or information not written in dark-colored ink should not be reasons for non-acceptance by banks.


No standard format on the date on the checks is required.
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ALI to raise P 7 B from 10-year bonds

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 13, 2017 - 12:00am


Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), the property and mall developer of the Ayala Group, is raising P7 billion through the issuance of 10-year fixed rate bonds, which is part of the company’s P50 billion debt program registered under the shelf registration facility of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). File photo

MANILA, Philippines -  Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), the property and mall developer of the Ayala Group, is raising P7 billion through the issuance of 10-year fixed rate bonds, which is part of the company’s P50 billion debt program registered under the shelf registration facility of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Proceeds of the transaction will be used to partially fund some of ALI’s projects including upcoming developments worth P49.9 billion, documents submitted to the SEC showed.

These include the development of Ayala’s Intercon property where the company is putting up retail, business process outsourcing offices, hotels and a transport hub. The capital expenditures for the Intercon development is P17.5 billion, according to documents filed with the SEC.

Other projects of ALI that may also use the proceeds from the bond offer include the Ayala Triangle Garden 2, with a capex of P8.6 billion and its Vertis Mall development in Quezon City with a capex of P3.5 billion.

“The completion of the company’s projects will be financed through the net proceeds of the offer and net cash flows from operations. Costs related to the projects, in general, include various construction-related materials and services. Construction materials are procured in bulk and are paid for by thecompany as delivered materials are billed by suppliers. Construction-related services are measured based on percentage of work completed and are billed to and paid by the company based on such progress billings. The net proceeds from the offer, which are expected to be fully utilized in 2017, will be disbursed accordingly,” ALI said.

ALI tapped China Bank Capital Corp., PNB Capital and Investment Corp. and SB Capital Investment Corp. as joint lead underwriters for the P7-billion bond offer.

The company has allotted P87.6 billion for capital expenditure this year, an increase from the P85.4 billion disbursed in 2016.

Of the total amount, bulk or P40.7 billion will be used for residential projects, while ?11.8 billion will be for malls; ?10.6 billion for land acquisition, ?9.2 billion for offices, ?5.5 billion on estates, ?4.8 billion for hotels and resorts and ?4.9 billion for other costs.

Last year, ALI launched 43 new projects worth ?87.8 billion composed of 12 residential projects / office for sale, five shopping centers, four offices and six hotel and resorts.

Furthermore, the company also opened new shopping centers like Ayala Malls South Park, UP Town Center, Solenad and Ayala Malls Legazpi and addition of Tutuban Center, Manila.

These projects expanded the gross leasable area (GLA) of shopping centers to 1.62 million sqm as of end 2016 document showed.

The company also opened new offices such as Vertis North 1, Ayala Center Cebu, Bonifacio Stopover BGC, UP Technohub Building P, and UP Town Center BPO.


These projects, meanwhile, expanded the GLA of offices to 836,000 sqm.
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CA’s decision giving BGC to Taguig lacks basis –Makati exec

Published March 11, 2017 9:26am [ http://www.gmanetwork.com ]

A Makati City legal officer said that the decision of the Court of Appeals to award to Taguig City ownership rights over the disputed Bonifacio Global City lacks basis.

"The Court of Appeals did not rule that Taguig is the rightful owner of BGC. The dismissal of Makati's appeal was based on a technicality and did not overturn its earlier decision upholding Makati as the rightful owner of the disputed territory," Atty. Michael Arthur Camiña, Makati City's legal officer and spokesperson said in a statement last Friday.

In a 17-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon, the appellate court granted a motion from Taguig City that sought to dismiss Makati's appeal invoking its ownership over the disputed areas.

In July 2011, the Pasig Regional Trial Court had already ruled in favor of Taguig and awarded to the city all areas comprising the Enlisted Men's Barangays, or EMBOs, as well as the area referred to as Inner Fort in Fort Bonifacio.

Camiña, meanwhile, said that it is too early for Taguig to celebrate over the recent decision.

Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano in a statement released on Wednesday said that CA's decision is a "victory for Taguigeños."

Cayetano, however, extended her hand of friendship to Makati City and its residents.

"Taguig desires to work with its neighbors. We have common challenges with massive urbanization. People need our services in planning, infrastructure, health and education programs, as well as anti-crime and anti-drug campaigns. We can only solve these problems if we work together," Cayetano said.

Camiña also cited CA's ruling dated July 2013, in which it reinforced Makati's jurisdiction over BGC. It ordered Taguig to "immediately cease and desist from exercising jurisdiction within the disputed area and return the same to Makati."


"The last CA decision expressly granted Makati jurisdiction over BGC based on historical facts and evidence. To nullify that ruling based on mere technicality is robbing the Makati citizens of what is rightfully theirs," Camiña said. —Marlly Rome C. Bondoc/LBG, GMA News
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Court of Appeals: BGC belongs to Taguig

(philstar.com) | Updated March 9, 2017 - 9:37pm


The CA Special Former Sixth Division upheld Taguig’s rightful ownership of the hotly contested estate, Bonifacio Global City. BGC/Facebook

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled that Taguig City is the rightful owner of Bonifacio Global City.

In a 17-page resolution penned by CA Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon, the CA Special Former Sixth Division upheld Taguig’s rightful ownership of BGC.

The CA  granted Taguig’s motion to dismiss filed last August 23, based on Makati City's violation of the forum shopping rule, or pursuing simultaneous remedies in different venues.

It took notice of the Supreme Court’s decision on June 15 that found Makati City guilty of “willful and deliberate forum shopping.”


"[It] cannot but draw the conclusion that Makati's simultaneous availment of the aforementioned reliefs is not a by-product of mere thoughtlessness or negligence but willful and deliberate act of forum shopping [which] has sowed conflicts between the courts,” the CA said.

The CA cited that Makati City has been twice found by the SC to have committed violations of the forum shopping rule on this specific dispute. However, it still ruled that the appellate court has to give effect to the "legal consequence of dismissal" of Makati's petition.

 The appellate court also dismissed Makati City’s petition on the earlier decision of the Pasig Regional Trial Court that originally ruled in favor of Taguig City.

The dispute on the ownership of BGC started in 1993 when Taguig filed a case against Makati before the Pasig Regional Trial Court contending "that the areas comprising the Enlisted Men's Barangays, or EMBOs, as well as the area referred to as Inner Fort in Fort Bonifacio, were within its territory and jurisdiction."

The RTC ruled in favor of Taguig in July 2011.



Makati subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration with the Pasig RTC and at the same time also filed a petition for annulment of judgment with the CA. However, the MR was eventually denied, which led to filing of an appeal with the CA , where its petition for annulment of judgment was already pending.

In a released statement on Thursday, Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano hailed the CA decision and considered it a victory for Taguigeños.

Despite the CA ruling, she extended friendship to Makati City.


"Taguig desires to work with its neighbors. We have common challenges with massive urbanization. People need our services in planning, infrastructure, health and education programs, as well as anti-crime and anti-drug campaigns. We can only solve these problems if we work together," Cayetano said. —Rosette Adel
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DMCI, MetroPac sign Calax contract

posted March 10, 2017 at 08:10 pm by  Darwin G. Amojelar [ manilastandard.net ]

A unit of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. and DM Consunji Inc. on Friday signed a P7.2-billion contract to build the Laguna segment of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax) project.

“We plan to break ground next month, three months ahead of schedule. By the end of 2020, when we inaugurate the expressway, Calax will be the most modern expressway in the country with state-of-the-art operation and tolling systems and environment-friendly features,” Luigi Bautista, president and chief executive of the MPCALA Holdings, said.

He said the Public Works Department already delivered 16 percent of the entire right of way, enough to start the construction of Calax.



Cavite–Laguna Expressway (CALAX) (Photo from wikipedia.org)

Calax, one of the largest public-private partnership projects, involves the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of a four-lane, 47-kilometer closed-system toll expressway connecting Cavitex and South Luzon Expressway.

The P35.4-billion expressway will start from Cavitex in Kawit, Cavite and end at the SLEx-Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna.

The project will have eight interchanges and one main toll barrier.

MPCALA also tapped Leighton Holdings of Australia to build the Cavite side of Calax.

Bautista said the company was in talks with several banks to finance the Calax.

“We are raising about P17 billion for the project,” he added.

When the project is completed, travel through the Calax will take only about 45 minutes from Kawit, Cavite to Biñan in Laguna.

Aside from Calax, the Metro Pacific group is constructing Segment 10 of NLEx Harbour Link, a 5.6-km elevated expressway costing P10.5 billion and running from Valenzuela City to C3 in Caloocan City. The project is  expected to be completed in the second half of 2017.

Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. earlier signed a joint venture agreement with the city of Cebu and the municipality of Cordova in April 2016 to build the P27.9-billion Cebu-Cordova Bridge project.


The 8.25-km bridge project, set to be completed by 2020, will connect Cebu City to Mactan Island via Cordova.
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SEC approves shelf offerings of Megaworld, STI

Posted on March 10, 2017 [ bworldonline.com ]

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the shelf offering of Megaworld Corp. and STI Education Services Group, Inc. in the bond market.



In its en banc meeting on Thursday, the corporate regulator approved the registration of the listed property developer of fixed-rate bonds and commercial papers cumulatively worth P30 billion for issuance in three years.

Megaworld will initially issue Series B bonds due 2024 amounting to P8 billion and P4 billion more, in case of oversubscription. Philippine Rating Services Corp. (PhilRatings) assigned its highest rating of “PRS Aaa” to the debt papers.

The company intends to launch the first tranche of the debt securities program within the month, Public Relations and Communications Head Harold C. Geronimo said in a mobile phone message.

Megaworld looks to net P11.88 billion from the maximum offer. It intends to disburse the proceeds within three years to bankroll four ongoing developments in the cities of Iloilo and Taguig: Iloilo Business Park, McKinley Hill, McKinley West and Uptown Bonifacio.

The company is known for developing townships with office buildings, commercial and retail spaces, residences and institutions. It also develops integrated tourism estates through subsidiary Global-Estate Resorts, Inc.

Megaworld is mainly expanding its portfolio of leasable properties to ensure a steady income stream. By 2020, the company expects to have grown its rental income to P20 billion with the completion of nearly 1 million square meters of new offices, lifestyle malls and commercial spaces across 22 townships.

Aside from the shelf registration of Megaworld, the corporate regulator allowed the subsidiary of listed STI Education Systems Holdings, Inc. to offer P5 billion worth of fixed-rate bonds within the next three years.

STI Education Services will initially issue Series 7Y bonds due 2024 and Series 10Y bonds due 2027 with a cumulative face value of P3 billion. PhilRatings has assigned a “PRS Aa” rating on the debt securities.

The company known as STI College earmarked the proceeds of the entire debt securities program for the expansion of its campuses and other general corporate purposes, according to the latest prospectus submitted to the SEC on March 3.

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CALAX groundbreaking expected in April

Posted on March 11, 2017 [ bworldonline.com ]

THE METRO Pacific group will break ground on the P35.43-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) project next month after signing the construction contract on Friday with D.M. Consunji, Inc. (DMCI).

MPCALA Holdings, Inc., a unit of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the tollways arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), is set to start construction of the Laguna segment of the CALAX, one of the largest public-private partnership (PPP) projects, which it expects to finish by July 2020.

“We plan to break ground next month, three months ahead of schedule. By the end of 2020, when we inaugurate the expressway, CALAX will be the most modern expressway in the country,” Luigi L. Bautista, MPCALA President and CEO said on Friday.

MPCALA received the notice of award for the 35-year contract to build, operate, and maintain the planned expressway on June 8, 2015. Right of way issues for the project site have delayed the start of construction.

The CALAX project involves the construction of a 44.6-kilometer four-lane toll road between the Cavite Expressway in Kawit, Cavite and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx)-Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna. It will have eight interchanges and one main toll barrier and is expected to ease road congestion south of the capital.

“The actual construction (will involve) clearing works and preparatory works before April 4. So by the time we break ground, there will be equipment working on the ground,” Mr. Bautista told reporters on the sidelines of the construction contract signing on Friday, noting that so far, an initial seven kilometers of the project has cleared right-of-way hurdles, or approximately 16% of the total.

“It’s enough for DMCI to work on for maybe, six months,” the MPCALA chief added.

A project timeline released in December showed that construction starting at the Laguna segment is scheduled for the first quarter, with construction to start by the third quarter for the rest of the project sections. A project brief from the Department of Public Works and Highways said that detailed engineering design was prepared beginning July 2015, while right of way acquisition started in the same month.

During the signing ceremony, the timeline presented showed that construction of the Cavite section will start on July 2017 and its targeted to end by July 2020.

The contract with DMCI to build the 18-kilometer road amounts to P7.2 billion and MPIC is currently in talks with “several banks” to raise about P17 billion for the CALAX project.

The Metro Pacific group won the auction for the project after submitting a P62.72-billion bid -- P27.3-billion premium it offered to pay the government on top of the project’s P35.42-billion construction cost.


MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. -- Imee Charlee C. Delavin
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Megaworld pours P2.5 B to double office space in Iloilo Business Park

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 18, 2017 - 12:00am


In a briefing yesterday, Megaworld SVP Jericho Go said the company would add 55,000 square meters to its office space inventory in the Iloilo Business Park. File photo

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Megaworld Corp. is pouring in P2.5 billion to double its office space in its township here by 2020.

In a briefing yesterday, Megaworld SVP Jericho Go said the company would add 55,000 square meters to its office space inventory in the Iloilo Business Park.

The company currently has an inventory of 45,000 sqm in its five office towers, One Global, Two Global, One Techno Place, Three Techno Place and Richmonde Tower, which have all been leased out.

Go said the company would add two more towers - the Festive Walk and Two Techno Place.

Two Techno Place is a five-level office building with an estimated leasable area of around 10,000 square meters. The tower is seen to generate around 3,000 jobs once completed.

Festive Walk Office Tower, on the other hand, is a four-level office building with around 12,000 square meters of leasable space. It will be able to generate around 4,000 jobs upon completion.


“During the last three years, we have experienced a spike in the demand for office spaces in Iloilo Business Park.  Thus, we expedited the construction of our first four towers and we have decided to build more to meet the demand,” Go said.

Megaworld’s Iloilo Business Park is host to around 15,000 office workers from the five BPO companies.

The 72-hectare township, which Megaworld started to develop in 2011, has been positioned to be Iloilo City’s central business district.

Among its locators include StarTek, Transcom, Reed Elsevier, WNS and IQor, among others.

Go said prospects for the country’s BPO industry remain positive despite concerns on US President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies.

“We continue to see bright prospects for Iloilo’s BPO industry. Several companies, most of them are first-timers in Iloilo, want to come in and expand here,” Go said.


Last year, Megaworld mapped out the so-called ‘Visayas BPO Triangle” that will  focus on expanding office developments in its three townships in the Visayas, particularly The Mactan Newtown in Cebu, The Upper East in Bacolod and Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao, Iloilo.  
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Remittances rise 5% in 2016, hit record $26.9 B

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 16, 2017 - 12:00am



 “Cash remittances in 2016 continued to increase on the back of improving global economic conditions,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo  said. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Remittances from overseas Filipino workers went up by five percent to a new record high of $26.9 billion last year from $25.61 billion in 2015, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

 “Cash remittances in 2016 continued to increase on the back of improving global economic conditions,” BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo  said.

The five percent growth in cash remittances was also faster than the  four percent growth target of  the BSP.

Remittances from land-based Filipino workers went up  by  7.6 percent to $21.3 billion while money sent home by sea-based workers declined   3.8 percent to $5.6 billion due to stiffer competition in the supply of seafarers particularly from East Asia and Eastern Europe.

Guinigundo said remittances from the Middle East went up  more than  12  percent last year due to  higher inflows from   Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

Remittances from Filipinos based in Asia rose 7.4 percent, buoyed by transfers originating from Singapore, Japan, China, and Taiwan.

According to Guinigundo, money sent by Filipinos from the Americas expanded 3.8 percent, fueled by the 6.2 percent rise in remittances from the US.

Guinigundo said the increases were enough to offset the 8.4 percent decline in the amount of money sent home by Filipinos from Europe particularly the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Netherlands.

The pound sterling weakened against the dollar after the UK decided to leave the European Union through a referendum last June 23.

Data released by the BSP showed about 80 percent of the total remittances last year came from the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Germany.

For   December alone, remittances climbed 3.6 percent to a new monthly record of $2.56 billion from the previous month high of $2.47 billion recorded in December 2015.

Major source of remittances last December were the US, Qatar, and Japan. Remittances from the over 10 million Filipinos deployed abroad account for about 9.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

On the other hand, personal remittances increased 4.9 percent to a new record high of $29.71 billion last year from $28.31 billion in 2015. For   December alone, personal remittances increased   3.6 percent to $2.82 billion from $2.73 billion in the same month in 2015.


Personal remittance is computed as the sum of gross earnings of overseas Filipino workers with work contracts of less than one year, including all sea-based workers, less taxes, social contributions, and transportation and travel expenditures in their host countries.
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No cushion from QC’s realty tax increase



By Danica M. Uy
Posted on January 05, 2017 [http://www.bworldonline.com ]

TWO MEASURES meant to ease the impact of Quezon City’s hefty real property tax hike on senior citizens and solo parents have been struck down by the local chief executive, who said the bills were tantamount to class legislation and were not published on time.

Mayor Herbert M. Bautista last week vetoed proposed ordinances 20CC-175 and 20CC-176 which sought to grant 10% and 5% discounts on the annual real property tax payments of senior citizens and solo parents, respectively.

“I am constrained to return proposed Ordinances 20CC-175... and 20CC-176... without affirmative action...,” read Mr. Bautista’s Dec. 27 letter to the city council, which received it last Tuesday.

The start of 2017 saw the fair market values of residential, commercial and industrial properties in the city surge 400-733.33%, leading to a 39-131% spike in real property tax due.

“[O]ur authority to grant tax relief and exemptions may only be extended when there is calamity, civil disturbance, failure of crops or adverse economic conditions. These conditions are absent in Quezon City,” Mr. Bautista said in his veto letter, explaining that “[b]oth... are class legislations which discriminate against some and favor others -- which is clearly prohibited.”

He added that both measures “also failed to comply” with the requirement of Republic Act No. 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, for publication in order to become law.

“The ordinances were vetoed by Mayor Bautista allegedly on grounds that they constitute class legislation and were not published on time. Our lawyers are drafting a counter statement...,” Vice-Mayor Ma. Josefina G. Belmonte, the city council’s presiding officer, said in a text message.

“As of now, the proponents decided to write the mayor a formal letter first appealing to him to reconsider the veto,” Ms. Belmonte said, even as she explained that the council can still override the veto via three-fourths vote of all its members, “but this may be considered an antagonistic act and is not often done, especially since most of us in the council are political allies of the mayor.”

“[W]e also urge the sectors involved to lobby with the mayor for reconsideration of his veto.”
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