G-W@PS cuts loan processing time

THE use of Government Service Insurance System Wireless Automated Processing System (G-W@PS) kiosks has cut the loan processing time of its members.

The precious time they saved also results to their increased productivity.

Members also said the G-W@PS has made their individual records accessible 24/7.

Roniel Tanguan, audio-visual equipment operator, and Alaine Noelle Borja, assistant information officer, both of the Provincial Information Office, shared they only had to wait for two days for their Consolidate Loans to be released which they applied for this month.

“And the good thing was, I didn’t have to leave the office and set aside my work just to go to the GSIS office to process this loan,” Borja said.

PSALM seeks fresh rate hike

As if the current petitions are not enough to hurt the pockets of consumers, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) has filed another petition seeking to raise power rates by P0.1059 per kilowatt-hour in Luzon and P0.1157 in Visayas.

In a petition filed at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Wednesday, PSALM sought a “true up adjustment” for Luzon of P0.1059/kwh, P0.1157/kwh for Visayas and a reduction of P0.0258/kwh for Mindanao.

This is on top of the stranded contract cost and stranded debts petitions amounting to an increase of P0.39/kwh. It also has a pending petition for generation and foreign currency adjustment which translates to a hike amounting to P4.99/kwh for Luzon, P4.04/kwh for Visayas and P0.79/kwh for Mindanao.

Another petition from PSALM is an adjustment of the National Power Corp.’s base rate where it asked for a P4.72/kwh for Luzon, P4.26/kwh for Visayas and P3.17 for Mindanao. The ERC has given them a provisional authority to increase but the full amount sought in the petition has not yet been approved.

Growing energy demand adds stress to water supply

SINGAPORE – A Google search for “world water shortage” will produce more than four million results in 0.17 seconds. It will also use a tenth of a teaspoon of water, experts say.

Given water’s role in power generation, the impact of about 300 million Google searches a day is around 150,000 liters (40,000 gallons) daily — in a world where water supplies are increasingly a major concern.

“These two things — water and energy — come together and that’s a big thing for the world to understand,” says Len Rodman, a US-based water and energy expert.

“If you squander water, if you indiscriminately use power, then in the long run that will have implications for the world,” the chief executive of Black & Veatch, a major global water and energy company told AFP in an interview.

Water is used not only to generate power through dams and steam but also as a coolant for nuclear, coal and gas-fired power plants, which are competing with agriculture, industry and urban consumption for water supplies.

BSP forecast: August inflation at 3.9%-4.8%

LOWER prices of world crude oil and local fuels will cushion the increases in the cost of rice, vegetables and electricity on inflation this month, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a text message to reporters Wednesday the inflation forecast for August ranges from 3.9 percent to 4.8 percent.

Inflation last July was at 4.6 percent was recorded at 4.3 percent in the first seven months of the year.

Tetangco also assured that the BSP is keeping close tabs on the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and the economic health of the United States and Europe.

“These impact on global aggregate demand and international prices of oil,” he said.

China open to joint mineral exploration in Spratlys

DESPITE the brewing geopolitical tensions over the disputed Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), China is open to having joint mineral exploration projects in the area with the Philippines.

“The Chinese government is willing to negotiate with the Philippines and other claimant countries for joint exploration activities in the Spratlys,” said Chinese Ambassador to Manila Liu Jianchao during a press briefing Wednesday at his residence in Makati City.

“We have to reach consensus. We need to have further dialogue and consultations on how to go about it,” said Liu.

Two major groups of islands — namely Spratlys and Paracels — are being claimed in whole by China while some parts are being claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

“We do hope that this [joint activities] will materialize as soon as possible,” he said. “We believe this is the best way for claimant countries to have an opportunity for cooperation.”

US financial problems also an ‘opportunity’-PSE investor

FROM an initial investment of P5,000, retail stock investor Catherine Estacio has earned at least P150,000 since she started investing in the stock market in 2007.

She thus remains positive amid the United States’ financial problems, Estacio said in an interview with GMA News TV’s “News to Go” newscast Wednesday.

“Ang nakikita ko sa market ngayon, it’s a huge buying opportunity,” Estacio said. “As long as mababa ‘yung market, it’s time to buy.”

“News to Go” explains the process of buying and selling shares of stock in the following video.

Retail stock investors are those who buy minimum lots of shares of stocks at relatively lower prices compared to institutional investors that trade by the volume, according to “News to Go.”

DA, Capitol distribute goats and sheeps

THE Department of Agriculture (DA-6) partnered with the Iloilo provincial government for the distribution of breeder stocks of small ruminants such as goats and sheeps.

Ernie Rosendo Villanueva, small ruminants’ coordinator of DA-6, said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed between the DA and the provincial government on the project.

Based on the agreement, the DA through the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) will provide 300-500 imported breeder stocks while the provincial government will establish the housing facilities.

The distribution will not be limited to Iloilo but also in Antique, Aklan, Capiz and Guimaras provinces with stocks to be taken from the offspring of the breeders that will be released to Iloilo.

‘Spend, trade coins in piggy banks’

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is appealing for Filipinos to spend the coins in their piggy banks amid a perceived coin shortage, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo said Monday.

Gunigundo urged Filipinos to use coins more frequently in paying for goods and services to help disperse the coins, the circulation of which is hampered by the practice of saving in piggy banks.

He also urged Filipinos to trade their coins for paper bills in commercial banks, thrift banks, and rural banks, among other establishments.

Gunigundo explained that the perceived shortage is not a problem of supply but of circulation. “Hindi sapat ‘yung umiikot sa ating ekonomiya,” he said.

In fact, Gunigundo said the financial system in theory has enough coins for each Filipino to possess 198 pieces of these based on a population of 94 million. More or less 17 billion coins, worth P18 billion, are supposed to be circulating in the system, Gunigundo said.

BSP sees inflation abating; eyes on flows

THE balance of risks to inflation now appear to be more neutral, with the central bank mindful of the impact of future policy actions on growth given weaknesses in the global economy, a central bank official said on Tuesday. “At the very top of policy agenda continues to be inflation management, but we are mindful […]

PSE to introduce new online trading facility for brokers

THE Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) is planning to introduce a new service to Trading Participants (TPs) that will promote online trading.

Dubbed as the Online Service Bureau (OSB), the project aims to offer online trading services for TPs that can in turn, be offered to investors. The project is currently in the process of soliciting proposals from local and international solution providers.

In the Philippines, the most common modes of stock trading are via phone calls or physical interaction with stockbrokers or agents. The OSB will take advantage of the internet and the continuous growth of online transactions by allowing investors to place their orders to brokers online.

“The PSE is at the forefront of improving trading infrastructure and services to our trading participants. With the implementation of extended trading in the fourth quarter, we hope that this new service will further expand brokers’ reach to investors and boost activity in the stock market in a significant way,” said Hans B. Sicat, PSE president and chief executive officer.

ADB: Asia needs more high quality jobs to maintain growth

SINGAPORE — Developing Asia needs to create more high quality jobs if the region is to sustain the rapid economic expansion seen over the past two decades, the Asian Development Bank said on Tuesday.

“Asia has outstripped other regions in growth and employment creation since 1990,” ADB chief economist Changyong Rhee said at a press conference in Singapore. But “Asia still remains home to most of the world’s poor.”

“I don’t want to downplay the importance of economic growth, but on the quality job front, progress has been less impressive,” he added.

Citing figures compiled by the Manila-based development bank, Rhee said the two-thirds of workers in developing Asia, which excludes Japan, were employed in the informal sector in 2008, little changed from 1990.

It’s Diwal season in Roxas City

By: Alex A. Lumaque

ROXAS CITY, Capiz – It’s diwal or angel wings shell season here.

Based on the City Agriculturist Office (CAO) records, about 9,561 kilograms of the sweet taste and tender mussel texture bivalve were gathered during the August 10, 12 and 15 diwal harvest at Barangays Cogon and Punta Cogon.

The Roxas City Diwal Diver’s Association (ROCDDA) members who have secured permits from the CAO – Licensing Division are only allowed to gather diwal during the harvest period.

“Harvest will continue until there are diwal shells that measure three inches and over in the coastal waters,” said CAO – coastal resource management community organizer Gilda Chavez.

She said that about 135,035 kilograms of the most sought after shellfish of the city were harvested from July 2009 to December 2010.