Saturday, 26 September 2009

Video: Metro Manila skyline

Video update: Metro Manila Skyway

By marksquall777

Update photos: Manila railway commuter line


Laguindingan Airport Update

By Mike Banos

The Department of Transportation and Communication is considering Laguindingan Airport for future international traffic following the expected upswing in international tourists come 2011.

Doroteo A. Reyes II, Undersecretary for civil aviation, said the DOTC is looking at Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao and Cagayan de Oro (Laguindingan) airports to pick up the slack for the anticipated growth in air passenger traffic, especially from abroad.

“Ang problema lang natin, maski matapos ang airport na ito in 2011, the demand for exchanges of passengers will be very great,” Reyes noted following a site inspection of the Laguindingan Airport Development Project (LADP) July 3. “The next problem is tourism that’s why right now, the DOTC is in tandem with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to bring about more passengers to this airport.”

The Regional Project Monitoring Committee of the Regional Development Council for Region X (RDC-X) reported that as of June 30, 2009, LADP is 47.92% accomplished, or around 10.26% ahead of schedule. In fact, the next meeting of the RDC-X has been scheduled at the Laguindingan Airport administrative building this September.

Reyes revealed that this early, the DOTC is already evaluating other points in the Philippines where international flights can be directed to decongest the present gateways in Metro Manila and Cebu.

During the 76th meeting of the Regional Development Council of Region X (RDC-X) held November 16, 2007, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano committed to arrange direct flights from emerging tourist markets like Russia and China as soon as the Laguindingan Airport is commissioned for international flights.

Officially, NAIA is the only airport serving the Metro Manila area although both NAIA and Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) at the Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga serve the metropolis.

From the 72nd busiest airport in the world in 2006 with 17.7 million passengers, NAIA rose to 59th with 20.5 million passengers in 2007. In 2008, NAIA handled just under 22.3 million passengers. DMIA showed a similar increasing trend in its international passenger arrivals from January-May 2009 with a 21% increase to 251,719, records at the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) Corporate Planning Department show.

Tourist arrivals in the Philippines rose by 1.5 percent to a record 3.14 million in 2008, the Tourism Department said recently.

It attributed the rise partly to a big increase in arrivals from European markets such as Russia (+34%), and France (+18.7%) and the opening of chartered flights from four points in China (Shanghai, Nanning, Guangzhou and Kunming) and two in Taiwan (Taipei and Kaohsiung). South Korea topped the number of arrivals with 611,629 in 2008 (+19.48%) followed by the US 578,246 arrivals (+18.4%).

Air travel within the Philippines was the third fastest growing market in the world in 2007 after India and Mexico. India’s domestic market grew 33%, followed by Mexico at 27%, Philippines at 23%, and China at 16%. The Philippines domestic air travel market grew with almost 10.4 million travelers in 2007 versus almost 8.5 million in 2006.

The Laguindingan Airport was originally conceived as the anchor project of the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor (CIC) to eventually replace the Cagayan de Oro (Lumbia) Trunkline Airport. The latter’s high elevation and terrain constraints precluded all-weather operations and the use of higher capacity wide-body aircraft needed to service the growing domestic passenger traffic to and from Northern Mindanao (including Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte).

Comparative data from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) show air passenger traffic through the Cagayan de Oro (Lumbia) Airport growing by a hefty 66% from 544, 936 in 2004 to 902,671 in 2008 despite the same approximate number of flights.

This was attributed to the fielding of the Airbus A320 and A319 aircraft by Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) which enabled the competing carriers to move more passengers with lesser flights.

For the first quarter of 2009, air passenger traffic at Lumbia increased 32,901 or by 16% over the same period in 2008 to 242,731. The number of flights also increased 188 (+10%) after both PAL and CEB increased flight frequencies to accommodate the increasing passenger traffic.

Although growth in air cargo throughput was relatively flat over the period, this was attributed more to the present composition of outgoing air cargo (consisting mostly of fruits and vegetables) which are highly dependent on the effects of weather on Northern Luzon and Metro Manila.

“Civil aviation is the theme of every thought of the day,” Reyes said. “It must grow and there is no stopping. That’s why we have to continue improving our airports.”

Budget constraints have limited the first phase of the LADP to a 2.1 kilometer runway, though Reyes assured this is already big enough to accommodate the 302-passenger Airbus A330-300.

“Once we expand this runway to 2.5 or 3 kilometers we can already accommodate larger aircraft like the Boeing 747 due to the excellent approach from both east and west which will enable big aircraft to maximize the runway,” Reyes added.

The runway extension was endorsed by the RDC-X November 27, 2008 through Resolution No. 67.

The first phase of the LADP will only develop 153 of its total area of 393 hectares, with provisions for future expansion, said LADP project manager Della Capicenio.

“As promised to the President, we will be completing the runway and the major buildings by March 2010,” Capicenio said. Runway concreting is scheduled after the rainy season later this year, she added. A four-lane concrete access road links the LADP to the Iligan-Cagayan-Bukidnon Road (ICBR).

The Php7.853-billion LADP can handle all-weather and night landing operations with its Instrument Landing System (ILS), VOR/DME, Meteorological Observing System, Precision Approach Lighting System and Precision Approach Path Indicators.

Its apron can handle two wide body and three light aircraft at any one time and two air bridges would whisk arriving commercial passengers straight to the 7,184 sq.m. terminal building without exposing them to the weather. The terminal building has an annual capacity of 1.2 million passengers while its parking area can accommodate 240 vehicles.

For its part, The Regional Development Council through NEDA, Region 10 (RDC/NEDA-10) and the province of Misamis Oriental has pushed for the soonest implementation of the development works to accommodate the expected passenger traffic, especially from abroad.

The ICBR is being rehabilitated and expanded including the Sayre Highway (Bukidnon-Davao Road) and construction has started for coastal and mountain bypass roads, with the assistance of the Dept. of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The LGU will be constructing the all-new Misamis Oriental Provincial Hospital-Alubijid just a few kilometers from the LADP before the end of the year.

“We are ready,” said Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno. (RMB with a report from Joe Felicilda)

- 30 -


The construction of Laguindingan Airport is on-going and is rescheuled to be completed by the third quarter of 2011, based on the instructions of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. PMO revised the construction schedule and vital facilities of the airport such as runway, taxiway, passenger terminal building, control tower building and other key facilities are now targeted to be completed by 2010. The airport development project, approved by the National Economic and Development Authority - Investment Coordinating Committee (NEDA-ICC) will cost about PhP 7.85 billion with funding sources from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of the Republic of Korea, KEXIM Bank, and the Philippine Government. The over-all progress status of the project is over 45% as of June 2009. On the other hand, access roads are already 100% complete.


Thursday, 24 September 2009

SM Prime sees 9% hike in 2009 income

Jennifer A. Ng
Business Mirror

LISTED SM Prime Holdings Inc. expects its net income to grow by 8 percent to 9 percent this year, according to company president Hans Sy.

“We’re targeting [earnings to be] the same or a little better—maybe about 8 percent to 9 percent for the whole year,” said Sy, at the sidelines of the kickoff ceremonies of the Green Film Festival at SM North Edsa in Quezon City.

Last year, SM Prime’s net income went up by 7 percent to P6.4 billion, from P6 billion recorded in 2007.

Unlike companies belonging to other industries, Sy said SM Prime is not feeling the pinch of the global financial crisis. The company is even banking on its China operations to boost the company’s net income growth.

He said the company is opening another mall in China. At present, there are three SM malls operating in the cities of Xiamen and Jinjiang in southern China and Chengdu in central China.

“Shopping centers is one area that will do well in China because there are second-, third-tiered cities that do not have shopping malls,” said Sy.

Meanwhile, the SM Prime chief said the company has not put on hold its P12-billion expansion plan despite slower domestic consumer spending.

The shopping mall developer and operator is also continuing its environmental initiatives and other environment-friendly practices in its daily operations.

Yesterday, SM Prime launched the country’s first Green Film Festival at the Block Cinema in SM North Mall. The festival was staged in partnership with the French Embassy and Japan Foundation.

SM North will hold the event for one week and then will be transferred to SM Megamall next week, and then to SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

The Green Film Festival includes a collection of films and documentaries that showcase the urgency of addressing global climate change and how people can help in mitigating global warming.

Outsourcing urgency

John Mangun
Outside the Box
Business Mirror

If current trends in the call-center business are any indication, 2010 is going to see the second wave of outsourcing expansion. The first wave took place in 2005 to 2007.

Earlier this week, the administration released a statement predicting that by 2010 this industry would be employing some 1 million Filipinos in the business from around 400,000 now. While the projection for 2010 might be on the high side, there is no doubt that this sector is entering another booming period.

The newspapers are constantly highlighting international companies that are setting up or expanding operations in the country. From “The world’s largest provider of outsourced customer care, Convergys, believes the Philippines could overtake global leader, India, in call-center operations in the next few years. Convergys has 12 contact centers in the Philippines, compared to eight operating sites in India.” And from The Manila Times-McClatchy-Tribune Information Services: ” India’s biggest contact center will be opening its second facility in the country in Eton Properties Philippines Inc.’s mixed-use development in Quezon City, a company official said Wednesday.”

But that is only the surface of what is happening throughout the business. Although the major companies get the headlines, the underlying strength of this business is much, much greater. This is the kind of press that the Philippines is getting in the United States. From, a website devoted to news in the mid-western region of the United States: “A General Motors supplier in the Great Lakes Technology Center has put the state on alert that it is moving from its Flint location and will lay off 100 workers. Morley Companies Inc. said IBM—which is a GM supplier—subcontracts with Morley to operate its call center. One employee, who asked her name not be used, said she and other employees a few weeks ago were training people from the Philippines. “Basically we’re training them to go back and train people to do our jobs,” said the Flint resident, who described the process as uncomfortable.”

Yeah, I bet it is uncomfortable.

However, as I say, the newspapers only capture a small portion of the business that is literally flying to the Philippines. Companies that are now looking for locations include the largest anti-virus software company, the largest US high-definition television company, the largest US cell-phone provider, and the largest US broadband provider now all moving to or expanding operations in the Philippines.

The conventional wisdom says that during a time of great economic turmoil in the United States, these companies would not be spending money to move operations 12,000 away from home. That is why conventional wisdom is very often wrong.

All these firms know they must continue, if not upgrade, their level of customer service in order to keep their share of an ever-shrinking market. What we do not understand in the Philippines is that Americans rely on call- center customer service nearly on a daily basis. Can’t figure out why the sound is not working on your TV? Pick up the telephone. Not able to send a text message? Call someone. Wonder why your computer has a virus? Someone on the phone will tell you exactly what buttons to push. And more often than not, it is a Filipino that supplies the answer.

However, the Filipino workforce does not account for the urgency that these companies are showing to set up shop quickly in the country. They do not have to be told that there is a great likelihood that the peso will appreciate strongly against a falling dollar over the next six months. The million dollars that they bring to the country for operations will buy significantly less in 2010 than it does today due to dollar devaluation.

I do find it somewhat dishonest when that government official or this administration spokesperson attempts to take credit for the boom in the call-center business. The only real accomplishment, aside from fiscal incentives, that the government provided to this industry was to allow individual buildings to be designated at Philippine Economic Zone Authority sites. Although the government claims credit for allotting P350 million for a training program called PGMA-Training for Work Scholarship Program through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), I have yet to see any numbers validating that anyone got a job at a call center because of this training. While call centers require a minimum of two years of college, the Tesda program requires only a high-school diploma. Seems like a mismatch to me. However, I suppose some government support is better than none.

Nonetheless, business is booming and it is not going to stop soon.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009

GMA bringing home 120 distressed Saudi-based OFWs

Manila Bulletin

Apart from bringing home fresh investments from the oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, President Arroyo will be returning to Manila on Wednesday, along with 120 distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said.

In a radio interview, Remonde, who is accompanying the President in her Saudi visit after the Turkey and London trips, announced that the President will bring home 120 troubled Filipino workers who have been involved in various cases in Saudi Arabia where there are about 1.5 million Filipinos.

“Iuuwi namin diyan sa Pilipinas ang 120 OFWs mula dito sa Saudi Arabia. Sila ay may kaso at iba't-ibang problema rito. Ang Pangulo mismo ang mag-uuwi sa kanila ngayong Miyerkules,” he said.

In 2006, Mrs. Arroyo had a working visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where she secured the release of 200 Filipino workers languishing in Saudi jails. Her visit this year is her second to the oil-rich kingdom.

Her 2006 visit also paved the way for the release of 500 more Filipino prisoners in 2007 and 2008.

Remonde also disclosed that Mrs. Arroyo ordered Acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera to send a team of investigators from the National Bureau of Investigation to hunt after a group of illegal recruiters called “Taguig Mafia” that has been victimizing a number of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia.

“Initusan po ng ating Pangulo si Acting Secretary Agnes Devanadera na magpadala ng isang team ng NBI na pamumunuan ni NBI chief Nestor Mantaring para imbestigahan ang operasyon ng Taguig Mafia. Ito daw ay nagooperate ng illegal recruitment agency at sila ang responsable sa pambibiktima ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.

He also said that in her three-day stay in Saudi, Mrs. Arroyo will be meeting with Saudi business executives in Dammam to encourage them to pour in investments in the country.

Among them are Jassim Mohammed Al-Suwaidi, group chairman and chief executive officer of the Kingdom's leading Plant Construction and Maintenance Company, M.S. Al-Suwaidi Industrial Services, Co. Ltd.; Sheikh Albdulrahman Ali Al Turki, chairman of the A.A. Turki Group of Companies involved in construction and chemical industries; Sheikh Abdulaziz Abdullah Hamad Al Zamil, director and president of the Zamil Group Holding Company.

Mrs. Arroyo is due to depart Dammam for Jeddah at 1 p.m. on Tuesday (Saudi time) where she will meet with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud on Tuesday . She will also grace the inauguration of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Rabigh, Saudi Arabia.

International flights soon at the new Iloilo airport


ILOILO CITY — Two commercial airlines plan to launch international flights from the new Iloilo airport, according to the Department of Transportation and Communications.

Transportation Secretary Leandro R. Mendoza announced the plan during the ground-breaking of the P124-million secondary access road to the new airport in Cabatuan-Sta. Barbara area last week. "The Iloilo Airport is now complete. Darating na ang international flights [There will be international flights soon]."

He said Cebu Pacific plans to launch its Iloilo-Hong Kong flights while Korean Airlines will mount the South Korea-Iloilo service. The new airport can accommodate aircraft as large as the Airbus A330.

Mr. Mendoza said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the establishment of an international desk that will be manned by Customs, Immigration and quarantine inspectors.

The Regional Project Monitoring Committee of the Regional Development Council for Western Visayas has said the Iloilo airport can generate P280,000 from terminal fee collections daily from international flights.

The airport currently serves 16 outgoing domestic flights daily, with an average volume of 90 passengers per flight.

Two Western Visayas airports already accommodate international flights, namely: Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan, Malay, Aklan and the Kalibo International Airport. — FALA

Why the Philippines is different and better

John Mangun
Outside the Box
Business Mirror

The leaders of the Group of 20 (G-20) nations are meeting in the United States to discuss the world economic situation. It is an opportunity for leaders from the United States, Germany, Australia, and all the other “top” countries to tell each other what a great job they are doing and to tell everybody else what they should be doing.

The most recent comments from one of the G-20 “experts” comes from Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Mr. Rudd is obviously “the” expert since Australia is the only major country that has not fallen into a recession.

Mr. Rudd said the following: The world needs a “new, sustainable growth model for the future” to reduce “massive financial imbalances” between consumer-driven economies in the West and developing economies in the East. Rudd said world leaders must “develop a new model for long-term growth that rebalances the consumer-led purchases of developed nations like the US and surplus export trade from developing nations like China.”

I believe that these comments accurately summarize the thinking and the solution-finding mindset of the “experts” and clearly show why the global economy is a catastrophe and why there will not be an adequate solution for some time to come.

On face, Rudd is correct. China manufactures goods and the United States buys those goods. There is nothing wrong with that except the United States has been borrowing the money to make those purchases. And that economic system is what Rudd says is wrong and must be changed.

The problem with Rudd’s analysis is the system he describes is exactly the global economic model that the world has been following for the last 200 years.

In the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution created a very large manufacturing sector in England employing hundreds of thousands. One important industry was textiles. But England needed the raw material, cotton, to keep that industry going. The British East India Company sails to India, setting up trading posts to purchase locally produced Indian cotton. The cotton is shipped back to England, manufactured into cloth and then the cloth is sold back to the Indians. When the Indians decide that maybe the company had a little too much control of the cotton business and decide to revolt, the company calls in the British government and the government eventually takes over political power and makes India a colony.

The Indians provided low value-added cotton produced by a cheap labor-intensive sector and the British provided high value-added textiles provided by a capital/technology-intensive industry.

That is how the colonial system worked and political and military power was used to support economic interests.

The system has only changed slightly in 200 years. In the 21st century, China provided low value-added goods produced by a cheap labor-intensive sector and the West provided high value-added “money” to fund the Chinese economy.

As England and India came to be dependant on each other, so, too, has China and the United States come to rely on each other’s economies. The United States needed Chinese goods; China needed US money.

That sounds like a colonial system to me. The interesting question in this case is, which country is the master and which is the servant?

Although China has billions of dollars to support its displaced workers, they do not and will not have income-producing jobs for some time to come. The United States still needs Chinese-made shoes and clothes, but cannot afford to buy as much as before.

For Australian Rudd to talk of a new global economic model is a joke. Australia vitally depends on that model as a major exporter of minerals and foodstuffs. Australia is a “colonial” supplier of raw materials.

Rudd says that an alternative must be found that “rebalances the consumer-led purchases of developed nations like the US and surplus export trade from developing nations like China.” If that happened, the Australian economy would regress a hundred years into the past. Forty percent of Australia’s exports are minerals, much of which is used directly or indirectly to manufacture goods eventually sold to those Western consumers. Unless Rudd can figure out how to make 20 million Australians eat copper, gold, and iron ore, then he needs the current global economic system to continue.

Rudd is correct, though, that the future will be different. China will change its domestic economy and learn to live without Western consumers. And the West will adapt to higher priced locally produced shoes, toys, and clothes. It will not be easy and it will take many years.

The Philippines (and a few others) are different and better. We do not rely on exports for our wealth-building and we do not rely on imported manufactured goods. Yes, the Philippines does import too much. However, this country has the capability to reduce its imports of goods at any time. Local businesses are able to compete in price and quality with almost any imported consumer goods, given government incentives and trade protection. Unfortunately, the administration has been more interested in acting enlightened and “progressive” on the world stage. Fortunately, the agricultural sector, rice, sugar sectors most notably, have kept the government from killing the agri sector due to too much unfair free trade.

I am a strong advocate of free trade. But no matter how good Manny Pacquiao is at 140 pounds, he does not stand a chance against WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev at 323 pounds.

On a personal note, I do answer all e-mail. If you have not received a reply, check your junk or spam folder. Mine might be there.

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Monday, 21 September 2009

Pinoys lead the world in use of phone features

Manila Bulletin

A new report by global market research firm Synovate has found that Filipinos lead the way in the use of many mobile features among 11 countries covered by the survey.

Aside from being the world’s heaviest senders of SMS or text messages, Filipinos can now claim another title in the mobile space: Most savvy users of a mobile phone.

In the study, 87 percent of the local population use the phone’s alarm clock as against the global average of 67 percent. There were 8,000 total respondents.

Sixty-three percent of Filipinos also play games regularly, 48 percent listen to or download music, 44 percent watch video clips, and 13 percent even watch TV (versus an overall 5 percent).

Carole Sarthou, Synovate’s managing director for the Philippines, said in a statement that the high numbers of the country can be attributed to “cultural” and “circumstantial” factors.

“It’s part of the national psyche to love social connections, music and entertainment. How the Filipino love affair with the mobile is different compared to developing nations is that, in many cases, a mobile is all people have,” she said.

“It’s the only way they can listen to music, the only way they can play games and the only way they can communicate from afar. Many Filipinos use this instead of the Internet and computers and it’s not surprising that it has become such a multi-purpose, multi-tasking tool,” Sarthou added.

The survey also found that the Philippines was the closest market to being split on the issue when asked, “If lost, which would be harder to replace... your mobile phone or wallet/purse?”

Respondents from the Philippines said 47 percent of them said their mobile phone would be harder to replace while 52 percent chose the wallet/purse.

Synovate’s Sarthou said this result shows Filipinos would find the mobile difficult, or even impossible, to replace.

“The connection to other people stops when the phone is lost. It’s a storehouse for photos and videos, but most vital are contact details. Filipinos seek constant connection,” she said.

The survey also showed the Philippines coming out on top in using text in conveying potentially bad news:

• 12 percent have broken up with someone via text, led by 23 percent of Filipinos and 22 percent of both Malaysians and Russians.
• 35 percent agreed that they have hidden behind text to say no or send a difficult message, led by 49 percent of Filipinos, 48 percent of Malaysians and 47 percent of Singaporeans. Least likely to hide behind SMS are Canadians (79 percent disagree) and Americans (71 percent).
• 31 percent agreed they have lied about why they were running late or where they are, led by 57 percent of Filipinos and 44 percent of Singaporeans.

Least likely to lie via text (or so they say) are the Dutch (84 percent disagree) and the Americans (79 percent).

Synovate’s global head of media, Steve Garton, said mobile phones have become so ubiquitous that by last year, more human beings owned one than did not.

“In the Philippines and Africa,” millions of dollars have been transacted via mobile. The telco has effectively become a bank, allowing even those in rural areas to send and receive mobile money.

This is just one of the huge benefits which are changing lives in developing nations,” he said.

Korean educational firm pours in P100M for ’e-learning’ venture in the Philippines


A SOUTH KOREAN educational services firm has invested an initial P100 million to put up an online English school and an international high school, and is expecting to hire up to 1,000 workers.

The Ubiquitous English Network of Avalon International or U-ENAI, Inc., the Philippine unit of Avalon English+, has obtained perks from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority as an information technology-based "e-learning" education company.

In a statement, Avalon English+ said it expects to exceed its initial investment when it completes by the end of 2010 an international high school in the country with a projected capital of $3.5 million or roughly P170 million.

The firm said it would put up other business ventures such as an international education program covering the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, as well as English camps.

Avalon English+ said its investment was in "response to continuous efforts of the Philippine government in encouraging foreign investments and providing new job opportunities to its highly competent knowledge-based Filipino work force."

U-ENAI pointed to the country’s "highly competent English teachers and technically skilled work force, favorable economic environment, and business-friendly government policies."

"This will help us aggressively pursue our vision of becoming the leading company in providing home school education to native English speakers as well as English as a Second Language to non-native English speakers through breakthrough e-Learning programs using state-of-the-art systems to every household and learning institution around the world," said Richard Hong, chief executive officer.

Avalon English+ said it serves more than 50,000 students mostly in South Korea, but estimates its potential market to be "at least one million students worldwide."

U-ENAI will offer teacher-led, group and one-on-one "interactive cyber classrooms," with information technology solutions allowing students to get an unlimited number of sessions for the same monthly fee.

U-ENAI said it would hire up to 750 more employees in its Mandaluyong office to increase its work force to 1,000 early next year.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Philippine President calls for overhaul of global financial regulations

LONDON (PND) --President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday called on the world’s leading economies to move for tighter financial controls to avert a repeat of last year’s market collapse that led to the global economic downturn.

In an interview by Bloomberg’s Laura Cochrane at the sidelines of the Emerging Markets Summit hosted by The Economist at the Intercontinental Park Lane here, the President cited the need for a coordinated approach by industrialized countries in overhauling global financial regulations.

“Governments the world over must insist that we come to grips with what happened and make sure to put in place rules so that it doesn’t happen again,” she said. “We cannot expect the poor in places like the Philippines to lose their shirt because someone on Wall Street made a bad debt.”

In stepping up her call for a new global financial regulatory regime, the President moved for not only a G-20 but even a G-30 meeting among leaders to include developing and emerging economies, saying they too have a stake.

She said the big difference between the 1997 world financial crisis and that of last year’s is that the latter shows much more dramatically the interdependence of the world and therefore, she said, the response must also be coordinated.

The President stressed that as a whole, Asia has benefited from the experience of the 1997-98 financial crisis. Because of that experience, she said, Southeast Asia became better prepared, its prospects for growth strong and signs of recovery are all over.

She warned however that if the global financial system does not learn from its mistake and embrace reforms, “all of us will lose even more than we have already.”

“And that is why I’m stepping up the call for a reform of the global financial regulatory regime,” she said.

The President stressed that one of the things that gives her confidence is the fact that foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Philippines posted an 86 percent increase in the first seven months of this year. There is also, according to her, the overall business confidence index computed by the central bank that has gone to positive territory for the first time since the third quarter of last year.

“We expect this trend to continue for the rest of the year,” she said. “Our stock and bond markets are growing. but the majority is from domestic investors so that shows confidence.”

Asked what she would still want to accomplish for the remainder of her term, the President said there is much yet to be done. “There’s a lot of things that we should do between now and when I leave the presidency because there is much to do to keep our nation moving forward, to keep our economy growing, to make sure our people are employed and our democracy is vibrant,” she replied.

The Chief Executive said that she will continue to invest in what she calls the 3Es – the economy, the environment and education, including pro-poor programs such as access to health care, job creation, and housing.

“In order to do all these we therefore have to translate our economic and fiscal achievements into real benefits for the people, we have to have the revenues to invest in a healthy economy so we have to continue with our fiscal reforms,” she said.

Intermission: William Kamkwamba: How I built my family a windmill

When he was just 14 years old, Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba built his family an electricity-generating windmill from spare parts, working from rough plans he found in a library book.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes -- including speakers such as Jill Bolte Taylor, Sir Ken Robinson, Hans Rosling, Al Gore and Arthur Benjamin. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, politics and the arts. Watch the Top 10 TEDTalks on, at


Philippine Coast Guard August 2009 exam results out