PHL says H1 metals output value up 31%

THE value of the country’s metallic mineral output in the first half of 2011 jumped 31% from a year earlier as miners ramped up production to take advantage of higher prices, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

With the first half output, the Southeast Asian country was on track to hit an estimated 24% rise in value of metallic mineral produce to P137.6 billion ($3.3 billion) this year, the highest in at least four years.

The country produced metals valued at P63.9 billion in January to June, compared to P48.7 billion a year earlier, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) director Leo Jasareno said.

“Higher prices are encouraging miners to increase their output,” Jasareno told Reuters in a phone interview. “For 2011, we are still looking at a 24% rise in output value from last year.”

PHL share prices end higher amid gains in the region

PHILIPPINE share prices closed higher on Wednesday, reflecting the gains in the region and shrugging off another dismal overnight Wall Street trading.

The bellwether 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange index rose 12.13 points or 0.28 percent to 4,315.21 while the all shares jumped 12.63 points or 0.42 percent to 3,041.48.

Gainers narrowly beat losers, 78 to 75, while 28 stocks closed unchanged.

Except for the Mining & Oil index, which plunged 4.01 percent, all other five sectoral indices posted gains led by Services 1.48-percent climb.

Asian stocks rebound but Europe fears still linger

SINGAPORE – Asian stocks rebounded on Wednesday as investors hunted for bargains after the latest market slide, while the euro edged up against the dollar as traders covered some bets against the common currency following a sharp overnight fall.

The Swiss franc was nursing 10 percent losses against the single currency after the country’s central bank said it would buy foreign currencies in “unlimited quantities” to enforce a limit of 1.20 francs to the euro.

Global equity markets had tumbled in recent days — following a sharp slide in August — on fears of renewed recession in the United States and Europe’s worsening debt crisis, boosting “safe haven” assets such as gold and the Swiss franc.

“The stock market is rebounding after steep declines in recent days, but the situation has not changed and volatility remains high,” said Korea Investment Trust Management fund manager Kim Young-il.

Waste pickers’ group gets sewing machines

AN organization of waste pickers in Calajunan dumpsite at Mandurriao, Iloilo City received 10 sewing machines from the city government as means of providing more livelihood alternatives.

The sewing machines were turned over to members of Uswag Calajunan Livelihood Association (UCLA), Inc. during Monday’s flag raising ceremony at City Hall.

Funds for the purchase of sewing machines were sourced out from the Social Development Program of the General Services Office (GSO).

Established sometime in 2005, UCLA now has already around 300 members who literally turn waste into income for them and their family. Currently, the organization has a center near the dumpsite where they hold their meetings, training and artisanal recycling activities.

Inflation slows down in August – NSO

CONSUMER prices grew slower in August owing to the “continued deceleration in the annual increment in the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index.” The National Statistics Office reported on Tuesday that headline inflation rate moved up at slower rate of 4.7 percent in August from 5.1 percent in July, reflecting 2006 as the base […]

CEB gets ready for peak season with 50% off system-wide sale More than 300,000 seats available

THE Philippines’ largest national flag carrier, Cebu Pacific (PSE:CEB) encourages travelers to book flights in advance with a 50% off system-wide seat sale from September 6 to 8, 2011 or until seats last. More than 300,000 seats are up for grabs, for travel from November 1 to December 31, 2011.

“As we add more flights in preparation for the peak period, we hope travelers can plan in advance too. This seat sale is one of the few timed perfectly with the All Souls Day and Christmas peak travel seasons. Guests will save more on airfare by booking their flights earlier, compared to booking at the last minute,” said CEB VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog.

CEB slashes 50% off its lowest year-round fares to 16 international destinations: Bangkok, Beijing, Brunei, Busan, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Incheon, Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Osaka, Singapore, Shanghai and Taipei.

Renewable energy law may be revised

MANILA – Energy Secretary Rene Almendras said it is possible that President Aquino will move to revise the Renewable Energy Act, which is drawing attention now that regulators are posed to raise rates to support it.

The Energy egulatory Commission is currently holding hearings to decide how much all power users will have to pay to subsidize the development of wind, solar, hyro and biomass. Proponents say the subsidy is needed if the Philippines wants to be less dependent on oil whose prices are bound to rise.

Critics say any renewable sources are expensive but becoming cheaper fast so it is better to wait.

On ANC’s “A Sustainable Future: A Forum on Renewable Energy” on Monday, Almendras said the President is looking for a balance between present prices and future energy independence.

Employers’ group rejects 4-day workweek proposal

THE Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) is not in favor of the proposed four-day workweek, saying it will hurt productivity in the country which already has one of the most number of non-working holidays in the world.

ECOP president Ed Lacson said the proposal’s objective to achieve a work-life balance for workers is “very noble” but it will not help the country’s overall competitiveness.

Lacson made the comments in reaction to Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo’s proposed “Four-Day Work Week Act of 2011” that will require workers to work 10 hours a day from Monday to Thursday, from the current 8 hours a day, five days a week.

“You know the road to hell is paved with good intentions… We have 21 national, legal and special holidays, already one of the highest in the world. If you add the local government foundation days plus the 52 more non-working days that will be added with the bill, then you will have half of the year to be non-working for the employees,” Lacson said.

Local car firm creating e-car prototype

LOCAL vehicle company Michel Motorsport is working on a sport GT (grand tourer) design for an electric car that will soon be seen in European countries, in hopes of making the Philippines an Asian auto design hub.

A GT is a high-performance automobile intended for long-distance driving.

According to a statement from the company, a British investor tapped Michel Motorsport to create the prototype of the e-car, which is seen to compete against cars like the Porsche Carrera in the European market.

Company president Jan Keirulf said the country has the potential to be the auto design capital, just as it has been touted as the “Milan of Asia” in the furniture industry.

Farmers urged to go organic

By: T. A. Gerafil

LOCAL government units which have plans to implement projects supportive of the Organic Agriculture Act of the Philippines can avail of funds from the Department of Agriculture, according to Engr. Remelyn R. Recoter, regional technical director of the Department of Agriculture, during the launching of the Kahariam-Sagrado Eco Farm in Oton, Iloilo September 2.

Recoter urged the LGUs to submit project proposals to hasten the implementation of the Organic Agriculture Act so that consumers can avail of safe and healthy food.

She said the Organic Agriculture Act is in line with the Agri-Pinoy framework which ensures food security and sustainable agriculture.

TESDA strengthens dual training system to lessen job mismatch

IN A bid to lessen the job mismatch in the country, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority steps up its campaign for the dual training system (DTS), this time, involving players in various industries.

TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva on August 31 welcomed a total of 250 delegates from major industries in Central Luzon, who attended the first-ever forum on how to implement the DTS effectively.

“We expect that through industry consultations, the DTS will be effectively implemented throughout the country to lessen the job mismatch,” Villanueva said at the forum.

The industry forum, held at the Hotel Stotsenberg in Clark Freeport Zone, is the first leg of the nationwide consultations with industry players on the DTS.