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Archive for the ‘Pinoy Business’ Category

According to Pinoy Spy Reporter Playboy is to launch a Philippine edition of the iconic mens magazine.

What’s the catch, and joke of the day you ask?

Call the Philippine’s version Playboy Lite, it will contain no nudity says Playboy Philippines editor Beting Laygo Dolor. “No, Playboy Philippines will not be more daring than FHM,” he says. “We will be adjusted to the local culture and sensibilities.”

BUWAHAHAHAHA!

What marketing “genius” thought this up?

Both FHM Philippines and Maxim Philippines offer nudity that can be seen in the checkout aisle at the local Handyman Hardware & WalterMart outlets among other places.

And it has to be said “local culture and sensibilities” include the Sex Bomb Dancers that shake their hardly covered asses daily on the Eat Bulaga! game show.

Philippines Playboy Lite… BUWAHAHAHAHA!

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US company admits bribing Philippine airport officials.

An American firm, GE InVision, admitted bribing Philippine officials when it sold explosives detection machines to an airport here, Newsbreak magazine reported in its latest issue, which came off the press Monday.

InVision said that its Filipino sales agent paid US$108,000 “to make gifts or pay cash to influence Filipino government officials to purchase InVision products” in November 2001.

Quoting a US Securities and Exchange Commission report, Newsbreak said InVision sold two airport security devices to the subcontractor responsible for building the airport terminal baggage handling system. At the time of the sale, InVision received repeated requests for a commission from the sale from its agent in the Philippines. But the money was used to pay off officials. InVision recorded the payment in its books as a sales commission.

The US SEC completed its investigation of InVision in February this year and said the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits American companies from bribing foreign government officials. InVision will pay more than $1 million to settle with the US SEC.

The US SEC report does not mention the amount involved in the sale and the names of persons or government agencies in the Philippines. In an interview with Newsbreak, Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo said his office will immediately request the US government for information on the parties involved. “We’re confident we will get it and we will prosecute and file charges against those guilty,” he said.

The Philippines is one of three countries in Asia where InVision made improper payments to government officials. The others are Thailand and China.

Yea riiight, Marcelo, dream on. Even if he gets the names the court case will become a race between a guilty verdict and the perps death by natural causes.

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How Can This Be ?

Isn’t the country run by a President that holds a PHD in economics?

The Philippines’ finances are in worse shape than Argentina’s before the South American nation defaulted on its bonds in December 2001, Bloomberg reported.

The government’s debt, now at $75 billion, was equivalent to 525 percent of its revenue last year, almost double the ratio for Argentina before its $95 billion default, a senior sovereign analyst at Moody’s said in an interview,

The government’s payment of $22.3 billion of foreign- currency bonds will hinge on its ability to maintain a surplus in the current account, the broadest measure of money flows across borders, and a ‘fairly comfortable level of foreign-exchange reserves, the analyst said.

The Philippines, the biggest overseas debt seller in Asia, is selling bonds with longer maturities to spread out payments on its record $75 billion in debt. It sold 25- year bonds in January, the longest maturity allowed by the nation’s law, for the first time since 2000.

Guess she should have changed her major to “Competence 101.”

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uring the last two US presidential elections two of the most common meme’s retailed by leftists, Democrats and moonbats of many stripes were the “No War for Oil” and the Cheney/Halliburton connections. Bare with me a minute and imagine this scenario for a moment:

What if Bush had made television, radio or newspaper advertisments for one particular oil company? Suppose Cheney did a TV spot for Exxon stations or Havoline motor oil? The obvious answer is they never would have been elected or impeached if in office.

What that in mind, why is it Philippine President Arroyo is pimping for Petron oil corporation?

A DAY after a nationwide transport strike crippled public transport in key cities, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo urged the public to buy petroleum products from the quasi-government Petron Corp.

“We’re calling on everybody to buy from Petron rather than from rival firms because this is a deregulated environment. It’s demand and supply,” the President said yesterday at a news conference in Malacañang.

Petron, which is 40-percent owned by the government and has a market share of 38 percent, has not raised its prices the past few weeks.

‘Splain something to me. How does the theory of supply and demand work if, 1. A company is partially owned by the government, and 2, that company is under undue pressure not to raise prices due to item number 1. And last but certainly not least, what is the Filipino definition of “deregulated” if the President can pimp one company over all others in the press?

It should be noted President Arroyo has a doctorate in economics. She must have been ill on “supply and demand” day. The “deregulated environment” she refers to is Republic Act No. 8479, the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998. A section of that act allows oil firms to raise prices without seeking government approval.

Eeegads, just like a free market supply and demand system.

As if this absurdity wasn’t enough, the other oil companies are threathened with jail sentences for not reading their mail.

Officials of oil firms may face two-year prison sentences if they refuse to explain to the Department of Energy (DoE) by 5 p.m. today why they raised fuel prices by 75 centavos a liter over the weekend despite dropping world oil prices.

Energy Undersecretary Peter Anthony Abaya said the DoE yesterday sent another letter to the oil firms, seeking an explanation for the price increases, as the first letter went unheeded.

He said Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla had asked oil companies, through a letter sent Monday, to explain under oath their latest price increases, which came at a time when world prices had gone down by more than 10 percent from all-time highs.

Let me preface this by saying, I in no way defend any oil company. To believe their pricing methods are on the up and up is delusional. But these idiots are about a liter short of a full gallon of gas. Do they really believe as the Mid-East oil ticks raise or lower the price of oil – as a result of world demand – it would by some type of petroleum magic be reflected at the pump? Have they never heard of the futures market? Have they no understanding that the gas pumped today was bought at a price set months ago and is unrelated to what is quoted in today’s papers?

RP Oil Cartoon

I don’t believe it for a minute, I don’t believe they are as dumb as a box of rocks. This is just another case of knee jerk politics practiced to perfection by the Arroyo administration. Not to be out done by the Palace members of Congress have weighed in with proposals to cease purchasing oil from OPEC and only buying oil from China and Russia. The most incredulous idea comes from a militant transport group (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan) and one of the organizers of Monday’s transport strike that crippled Manila. The groups secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said “scrapping of the Oil Deregulation Law and the nationalization of the oil industry were the solutions to the crisis.”

Yea that’ll work. The government owns the biggest electric producer in the country that is billions of dollars in the red and charges the highest electricity rates in Asia,. These children need to go back to their sandbox and fight the real issues of the country. Over population, a sky high unemployment rate and federal deficit reduction.

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As the rest of the world, the Philippines labors under the thumb of the oil ticks that run OPEC. As a result of the recent spike in the price of crude the Arroyo Government has a plan. A scheme. Ah…, well… something, and press reports claim it will save $2.6 million dollars.

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has ordered most Philippine government offices to go on a four-day workweek in April and May to conserve energy.

From April 4 to May 31, government employees in the executive branch will work four days of 10 hours each instead of five eight-hour days from Monday to Friday, according to an administrative order signed by Arroyo Wednesday.

She said it was imperative for the government to lead the way in energy conservation, without jeopardizing the delivery of public service, in order to mitigate the impact of the oil price increases on the government’s fiscal position and the country’s U.S. dollar reserves, Business Times online reported.

I’m confused. But wait let me refresh my 2nd grade math skills. Hmmm. 2 plus 2 = 4, 4 plus 8 = 12. OK I’m up to snuff, 4 x 10 = 40, 5 x 8 = 40.

Nope.. still confusing, to me at least. But never let it be said I won’t give Ate Glo (Pres. Arroyo) the benefit of the doubt. She and the “experts” that concocted this plan have most likely considered less energy will be expended because of one less travel day. A fair assessment, wouldn’t you say?

But there is one thing these calculation wizzards didn’t account for (or… maybe they did!). The countries schools begin their summer break this week. And as “luck” would have it the kiddies will be able to partake of summer fun til June. Also this week has seen an enormous increase in advertising for the many resort areas in country. Hmmmm… I wonder!

As they say, “you do the math,” political math that is.

Late Breaking Update: As the local temperature soars near the 90 degree mark, with humidity hovering around 80% the Department of Finance is considering a proposal to tax water consumption as another means of raising revenue.

I’ll let you all decide what this means to those that now enjoy a 3 day weekend for the next two months. Just make sure you figure into your calculations they will avail themselves of the opportunity to travel to the previously noted resort areas. Areas where the potential tax will be paid by the owner, not those participating in the weekend revelry.

In other late breaking news, President Arroyo’s approval rating is at it’s lowest level since first assuming office in 2001. With the exception of the 99% of the population that will be working a 5 day work week during the broiling summer heat I just can’t imagine why. What’s wrong with these ingrates?

Cross posted On the Third Hand

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he last few years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of call centers operating out of the Philippines. Adrian S Cristobal Jr director general of IPO Philippines has called it the fastest growing industry in the country.

“The call center industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, along with the information technology industry,” said Cristobal. “Call centers’ strict compliance to IPR [intellectual property rights] is important if we want to expand and become the IT [information technology] hub of the region.”

Note the reference to intellectual property rights. Not related to the business of providing help/complaint line services you say. Not so.

Software piracy is so pervasive even the call centers are running on pirated software.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) here has urged members of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) to use only licensed software in their computers.

IPO director general Adrian S Cristobal Jr reiterated this call to CCAP following its members’ poor compliance with an agreement that contact centers will conduct software audits of all their computer systems as part of their corporate social responsibility and industry self-regulation.

Under the agreement, (signed eleven months ago) CCAP members were to conduct software audits of all their computer systems. At present only two of the hundreds of centers have complied with the agreement. Why such poor response? One clue is in the article, (I should say not contained). No mention is made of enforcement efforts. Granted, an editor may have done a slash and burn on the authors original copy. Or maybe not, impossible to tell. But I can relate a small but representive example of the prevailing attitude here.

This morning while running a few errands I happened upon a makeshift stall (built of used 2×2 boards and covered by a corrugated tin roof) selling pirated CD’s, Video CD’s and DVD’s. It has been there for a few weeks but other than the location (which I’ll get to in a second) I hadn’t paid much attention to it. Because it’s one of dozens located within a 2 mile radius of the house only it’s location makes it stand out.

The stall is setup inside of City Hall’s parking lot and within 50 feet of the front door. But wait, there’s more. The kids have been on a “Robot rant” this week. The movie Robots opened Wednesday and that has led to hearing the title in my sleep. As I passed by the stall this morning a DVD of Robots was front and center (even pirates understand product placement). Out of curiosity I picked it up and was admiring the quality of the copy, (chapters, extra features, all zone coding, the works) All for the low, low price of $1.50 US.

Are you still waiting? There is still more you know.

As I was looking, out strolls the Mayor of this fine city. He also did a little “home entertainment” shopping. He looked at the Robots DVD, and a couple other American movies. He finally selected a local “copy” of a Filipino movie and went about his business.

Now if asked, you know why enforcement of intellectual property rights is a joke here. Even at the lowest, and easiest level of compliance a blind eye is turned. Including “Mayor Pirate.” And no, before you ask. I didn’t buy the Robots DVD. The kids and I stuffed our faces with buttered popcorn at the local cinema.

Cross posted On the Third Hand

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Poor enough the government floats [no pun intended] the idea of leasing the Philippine Navy’s Headquarters.

Defense officials plan to lease out to private investors several military properties, incuding the Philippine Navy’s own headquarters along Roxas Boulevard, to raise more money for modernizing the armed forces.

Also to be leased out are the Navy golf course in Fort Bonifacio as well as part of the 76-hectare Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, Defense Secretary Avelino J. Cruz Jr. told the Commission on Appointments (CA) yesterday.

During his confirmation hearing at the Senate, Mr. Cruz also said that the operational plan for proposed lease program would be ready for implementation in two weeks.

On a brighter note, some progress is being made tracking down those suspected to be involved in the Valentine’s Day bombings. Four have been arrested, including 3 believed to be members of Jemaah Islamiah.

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The last few months have been a struggle for many of the Philippine transportation companies and many independents due to raising world oil prices. This week has brought another protest in the form of a “transportation strike.”

Transportation workers led by jeepney drivers held a nationwide strike yesterday [Thursday] to protest, among others, the successive increases in the prices of fuel, but the protest action waned in the afternoon following government assurances of discounts in petroleum products, particularly diesel oil.

Director General Edgar Aglipay, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said yesterday that the conduct of the nationwide transport strike was “generally peaceful,” adding that there was no major untoward incident monitored by police in Metro Manila and other urban centers in the country.

Leaders of the various transport groups who joined the strike decided to call off their protest in the afternoon after government agreed to give 50 centavos per liter discount on the prices of diesel products for public utility vehicles [i.e. jeepneys].

Note the boldfaced passages. As profiled earlier, the politicians are scrambling to find new sources of tax revenue to pull the country out of fiscal crisis. In a move that is truely “as dumb as a box of rocks,” (the box being the size of a 40 foot seagoing shipping container) the local Department of Energy (DoE) is set to increase the import duty on imported crude and all refined petroleum products effective January 1, 2005.

In a statement, the DoE said it has issued a certification dated November 26 to implement adjustments in the import tariff to 5% from 3%.

Energy Secretary Vincent S. Perez, Jr., said the trigger level for implementation of Executive Order No. 336 “Modifying the Rates of Import Duty on Crude Petroleum Oils and Refined Petroleum Products” signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on July 23 had already been reached.

“The Bureau of Customs (BoC) will now start imposing a 5% import duty on imported crude and finished petroleum products beginning January 2005,” Mr. Perez said.

In another development, oil refiner Petron Corp. said it will start giving a 50-centavo-per-liter discount on diesel to its customers today. The firm will grant discounts at 74 service stations nationwide. Independent oil player Seaoil Petroleum Corp. and Unioil Philippines have also decided to offer fuel discounts.

Oil majors Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., and Caltex Philippines, Inc. earlier announced they will give public transport groups a 50-centavo per liter discount on diesel products starting December 1.

Again, note the boldfaced passages.

Let’s review the current situation. As a result of raising oil prices the transportation sector of the economy has suffered. Thursday a nation-wide strike was called in protest. As a result of the governments “promise” to offer a 50 centavo discount on diesel fuel the strike was abandoned in late afternoon. Yet less than 24 hours later news breaks of a rise in import duties for petroleum products that will surely trigger a further rise in fuel costs.

And what of that “promise?” Shell and Caltex announced their roll back of diesel prices on Tuesday, 48 hours before any governmental “promise.” The only other discount has been attributed to Petron and the independent players that followed the governments announcement today.

Dumb, DUMB, as a very large box of rocks.

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As a result of the Angelo dela Cruz crisis the Philippine government placed a ban on allowing Filipinos to travel to Iraq in search of work. The ban also excluded Filipinos from seeking employment with companies that would require them to enter Iraq. According to this report there are plans to lift the ban this week.

Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas said the suspension of the deployment is likely to be lifted anytime this week, and she is awaiting the final draft of the measures ensuring the safety of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) once authorities resume deployment in Iraq.

“As I said, you can’t give a price tag on life so at the moment we are really working on putting protective mechanisms before we allow to let them leave again,” Sto. Tomas told reporters in a press briefing.

But she stressed that the government decision to lift the ban is not premised on the jobs availability in Iraq but on the safety of the workers.

“Let me reiterate to you that the decision will be made not on the basis of whether there are available jobs but whether it is safe for our people to go to Iraq at this particular point,” she said.

At present there are 800 Filipinos awaiting their deployment to Iraq while some 124 OFW are now in Dubai waiting for clearance. I fully understand why the ban was put into effect, although I believe it was only window dressing. At no time did they make any effort to remove the approx. 4 thousand Filipino workers already in country. I also refuse to believe this little bit of spin.

While she admitted that the ban had a negative impact on the financial angle, Sto. Tomas pointed out that the significant loss in remittances mostly affected the families, not the government.

“Not government but possibly that’s a foregone income in so far as the families are concerned,” the Labor chief said, adding the potential income lost due to the ban is significant since about $14 million had not been remitted monthly.

Workers bound for Iraq are receiving an average of $700 to as high as $1,000 in monthly salary.

Let me reiterate for those of you that may have missed it. This woman is the Secretary of Labor, head of the Department of Labor and Education (DOLE). One would think this job would come with the most basic knowledge of economics. Yet she believes that a Filipino family that is being supported by an OFW in Iraq will hoard that cash cow. They won’t spend it on food, gas, housing and various other commodities. Many of those items come with a value added tax (VAT) imposed on them, by the government. In any case whatever they spend will boost the revenues of any and all companies where they purchase goods and services. End result – higher income taxes paid, to the government.

Excuse my while I prepare to RANT………………

This womans eyes aren’t brown because she is Filipino; Her eyes are brown because she is full of shit past her eyebrows!

I feel better now.

Too bad the Philippines will continue to suffer under the watchful eye of this moron.

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Dream on Purisima

File this under good idea, but clueless about automotive reality. “Purisima bats for smaller cars.”

Trade and Industry Secretary Cesar Purisima is urging local automotive manufacturers to bring in cars with an engine displacement of 1,000 cc or less to help lessen the country’s fuel consumption and provide an alternative to cheap second hand imported cars.

According to Purisima, using small cars with an engine displacement of 1,000 cc or less consumers [sic] less fuel, is cheaper than the two-liter car models and is easier to maneuver in traffic.

The smaller cars, Purisima said, would also cost much less at around P300,000 to P400,000. Using small cars, Purisima pointed out, are the trend in other countries.

To help encourage local automotive manufacturers to bring in the smaller, Purisima said, the government could look at possible incentives.

Great idea, I agree. Smaller cars, lower price points, less petrol consumption, less polution. It all sounds great, as far as it goes, but lets look at the business side.

Traditionally, and almost without exception, the smallest cars in a manufacturers lineup are “loss leaders.” A company is willing to produce certain models (the smallest and cheapest) that lose money. Decades of market research shows it is rare a customer that leaves a showroom with a “barebones” vehicle. Any profits on compact vehicles are derived from the long list of options the salesmen entice your ego with and you ultimately get suckered into buying. What’s that? You say you have will power and can resist the machinations of a sleezy salesman. You say that now, before you hear that P8,000 CD player, that cost the dealer P2,000. Or the trendy P20,000 leather interior at a cost to the dealer and manufacturer P12,000.

I have to wonder what countries are trending to smaller cars that Purisima refers to. Damm sure isn’t the US or Canada. Europe has always had a mostly small car market, same for Japan, Korea ( the two bigest Asian markets) and most other Asian countries. I think Purisima is useing a little “salesman machination” himself.

What type of “incentives” are we talking about? Tax breaks? Not a good idea when the budget has a soaring deficit, and a BIR tax collection rate that borders on the absurd.

This is a nice press release Cesar, but its connection to any automotive reality is minimal at best.

Upon further review: Of the four major importers of automobiles to the Philippines, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Mazda, only the Honda City equiped with a 1.3 litre diesel comes near to meeting Purisima’s acceptable criteria for engine size and price point. All do offer many models with 1000cc engines for Japan’s domestic market, but fail to meet the price range by a fairly large margin. And from 7 years experience dodging these rolling shoeboxes on the streets of Tokyo, I can tell you they are not suited for the pothole infested roads of Manila and other Philippine Cities.

This raises the question, what will Purisima do to convince them to import these models to the Philippines? And before you answer consider this; The Philippine auto market is very small, somethng less than 50,000 a year divided among the four Japanese companies the US, and a few European makers. Of those, only the US offers autos with left-hand drive. All the others would have to be convinced it was worth the effort to convert a very small percentage of their model lineup to left-hand drive and import them to the Philippines as a “loss leader.”

I have already answered the question, “Dream on Purisima,” anyone have a better answer?

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