DTI TO ENTREPS: CONTINUE THE ENTREPRENEURIAL REVOLUTION. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez encouraged more than 150 existing and aspiring entrepreneurs to continue the entrepreneurial revolution in the country, during the launching program of the Kapatid Mentor Me and free negosyo seminar in Pasig on 24 April. Said launching, which is in partnership with Go Negosyo, Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Pasig City Mayor Bobby Eusebio, Association of Filipino Franchisers and Philippine Franchise Association, is the newest addition to the already existing 33 Mentor Me Roll-outs in various cities across the country (as of 17 April 2017), participated in by more than 4,300 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). To sustain entrepreneurial revolution, Sec. Lopez asked participants to be “smart entrepreneurs” by welcoming continuous innovation and developing unique selling propositions in their dream businesses, through the business mentoring provided by Negosyo Centers. He also shared government’s initiatives to help MSMEs acquire market access by mainstreaming the best of MSME products through the Go Lokal! stores, as well as access to finance through President Rodrigo Duterte’s Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) as direct response to the “5-6” lending scheme. With know-how and right mindset, an entrepreneurial nation is what will give Filipinos a good chance towards economic prosperity, according to him.

PH startup bags up to $500,000 in equity investments

Acudeen Technologies, a startup that helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) overcome financial constraints, recently bagged equity investments of up to $500,000 after besting other participants from over 66 countries in the SeedStars World Summit in Switzerland.

Founded by a Filipino startup entrepreneur Mario Jordan “Magellan” Fetalino III, Acudeen Technologies is a financial-technology company that provides support for Philippine small businesses coping to make ends meet as they await payments from their clients.

Financial stability is one of the top problems faced by most micro, small, medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. While MSMEs acquire big contracts with larger companies, they find themselves financially disabled while they wait for their invoices to be paid that are usually in 30-60 day cycles. This scheme forces most MSMEs out of business. With this prevailing problem, Acudeen Technologies provides an innovative solution. It transforms SMEs’ invoices into cash through discounting of their receivables providing them with necessary working capital which they fail to get from banks.

“This is an outstanding work of a Filipino entrepreneur which does not just boast of the innovative capacity of Filipino startups to provide solutions to existing problems, but also reflects the bayanihan spirit among Filipinos that continue to help our small businesses in the country to thrive,” said Department of Trade and Industry’s Trade and Investment Promotion Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.

“We hope to encourage more startups like this in furthering our innovative economy. We encourage them to avail various initiatives of the public and private sector such as the QBO Innovation Hub,” added Terrado.

The Philippines, with increasing collaboration between the public and private sector, continues to urge more local entrepreneurs to explore various opportunities that technology offers for businesses. Through DTI, the Philippine government forwards the development of the startup ecosystem in the Philippines through the Startup Ecosystem Development Program (SEDP).

Recently, DTI together with Departments of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Information and Communication Technology (DICT) with Ideaspace Foundation and JP Morgan launched the QBO Startup Enablement Programs that aim to cater to the needs of the growing startup ecosystem in the Philippines.


HALAL: A FOCUS AREA ON PH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Aside from gaining understanding on Halal products, concerned bureaus and offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), several government agencies and non-government organizations had substantial discussions on the potential of Halal products as an area of growth for the Philippine economy in an inter-agency seminar on Halal fundamentals in Ortigas on 20 April. At the policy level, DTI Secretary and Halal Export Development and Promotion Board (HEDPB) Ramon Lopez assured National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Commissioner Analiza Flores-Malayang and the Halal Board Members that Muslim leaders are always welcome in the HEDPB to better execute Halal development policies and initiatives, as well as ensure the voice and interests of Filipino Muslims. NCMF said that the Halal industry can also help the government in its poverty alleviation strategy by involving Filipino farmers in the Halal products production, thus promoting countryside development. The country’s Halal industry currently has 1.3% share of the USD2.6 trillion-worth Halal market worldwide. Commissioner Malayang added that establishing Halal warehouses, dressing plans, freezing areas, transportation mechanisms and other facilities is an area of exploration for investors. A serious and sensitive matter, Halal must be understood both by the consumers and the producers, according to NCMF. Visiting Professor Ustadh. Esmael Ebrahim also lectured on the dynamics of halal in the Philippines. DTI takes similar initiatives to convene dialogues to promote the country’s Halal sector.

Duterte: get remaining  bandits, dead or alive


TAGBILARAN CITY, April 19 (PIA)–To ring the message across that he abhors criminalities, President Rodrigo Duterte issues the order to just anyone: get them, dead or alive.

And by everyone, his order did not just mean for the government operatives, he also addressed to civilians willing to finally end the terror and hunt down the remnants of the group of armed Abu Sayyaf bandits contained in the fields of Inabanga.

Coming to Bohol not on his official, but on his personal schedule, President Duterte who just came in from a state visit in the middle east immediately flew to Bohol to be briefed on the Inabanga incident that left 3 military, one police and 4 deaths from the notorious kidnap for ransom group.

Two of those who died were a couple identified as relatives of the local guide of the bandits are still under investigation, explained Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of Staff, General Eduardo Año.

Government troops sweeping the war zone also recovered bomb making tools and electronic parts that can be used to manufacture bombs.

The Abus Sayyaf incursion to Bohol, over 600 kilometers from their strongholds in Basilan, happened in time for the international gathering of leaders of the countries in southeast Asia in Panglao.

“I am here just to warn everybody, my order is to demolish them,” Duterte spoke to Bohol and national media after an hour and 45 minutes of briefings of the Inabanga incident and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Trade meetings set from April 18-21, at the Hennan Resort in Panglao.

“To civilians interested to fight and kill, my order [to them] is dead or alive,” the President was again fearless of the repercussions of his hard and unwavering stance against criminality.

He also announced he is raising the one million pesos bounty for every member of the Abu Sayyaf stragglers hiding in the vicinities of Napo, in Inabanga, Bohol.

Earlier, the provincial government posted a P100,000 bounty per head for anyone who could share information leading to the capture any one of the 7 bandits.

Now led by a local recruit Joselito Melloria, the bandits could not go far as three of them were wounded, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines Intelligence officer Lt. Col Adolfo Espuelas Jr,.

Espuelas, who head the Intelligence Service of the AFP said Melloria nurses a wound in the left back shoulder and left foot, another young fighter with a wound in the right leg and yet another fighter with wound in the right butt.

The strugglers have only 3 M16 rifles, one fitted with  an M203 grenade launcher, one M14, a depleted ammunition supply, an analog cell phone with spare batteries, no food, no local support, have been sleepless and are on the run without any more capacity to fight, Espuelas added.

In rounding up the citizens as well as the government troops to account for the fleeing bandits, the apparently tired president who earlier came to the security briefing on the Inabanga incident and the Bohol said, he wants them dead, not alive to skip from the trouble of feeding criminals.

The President also clarified that the order also applies to drug personalities and terrorists. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Get the bandits, dead or alive, commands President Rodrigo Duterte, when he came to Tagbilaran Bohol to get briefed about the clash that happened between government troops and the Abus Sayyaf group. Duterte’s coming in, off his official schedule has boosted the resolve of government to hit on the remaining bandits. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Unobstructed Alona beaches greet Bohol ASEAN delegates



TAGBILARAN CITY, April 19 (PIA)–Delegates to the trade meetings of the Association of South East Asian Nations at the Hennan Resort in Panglao arrive at gorgeous sight mostly new to Boholanos and some national guests.

Then a view seldom fully appreciated due to the obstruction caused by disorganized boat parking, dangerous swimming area due to indiscriminate dropping of boat anchors and crisscrossing dive boats, the more than a kilometer stretch of the gorgeous white fine sand beach of Alona is finally cleared of the hazards.

A stretch of beach accordingly got its name from the starlet Alona Alegre, who, with another Filipino movie icon Fernando Poe Jr., starred the 1978 film Esteban.

In one of the movie scenes, Alona Alegre would frolic in the pristine sand before marauders lad by Max Alvarado would run to capture her.

The chase scene would then introduce the gorgeous beach to national and international audiences.

The shooting would accordingly take days and during the entire duration, residents of Tawala in Panglao would troop to the beach to see the shooting.

When asked where they are going, people would accordingly respond: to see Alona, thus the name stuck to the beach.

Now a home to some of the best beach resorts in Bohol, Alona has lately seen the proliferation of dive boats and island hopping ferry boats anchoring just right in the beach front, obstructing the gorgeous sunset and the splendid blue horizon.

Recently however, the local government unit of Panglao, the beach resorts and the Philippine Coast Guard partnered to clean up the beach front, according to Tagbilaran District Commander Lieutenant Junior Grade Jimmy Berbo.

Along this, citing Headquarters of the Philippine Coast Guard Memorandum Circular 03-14 dated April 2014, the government asserts safety of beaches in front of resorts.

The MC ruled out that resort owners must put up adequate number of buoys attached with a safety net to be spread in an area where there is an abrupt change in depth, and if there are none, the same buoys shall designate the boundaries for safe swimming.

Moreover, for safety purposes, in thses designated areas, no boats, bancas or other crafts are allowed to enter.

The policy however remains unimplemented until recently, Lt. Berbo shared.

While the memorandum also allows the resort owners to designate a portion of the beachfront for loading and unloading resort guests,  the LGU under Mayor Leonila Montero has designated a single pick up and drop off station for guests on to dolphin and whale watching tours, dive tours as well as for island hopping tours, Coast Guard sources revealed.

The Coast Guard said the new pick up and drop off station for boats is the municipal port behind the Panglao Church Complex, and authorities have started to implement the changes recently.

The disappearance of the eyesores in Alona beach elated observers who agreed, having boats in front of the resorts is waiting for an accident to happen.

As of the second week of April, the beach fronts started to be cleaned of boats, while the town also caused the tables set up by resorts near the beaches moved, following the policies on public access.

When these changes would allow the ASEAN guests to marvel at the beaches, police regional director PCSupt Noli Taliño has said they would implement a no-sail, no-flight zone in front of Hennan Resort.

This is for the safety of ASEAN guests having their meetings at Henan from April 18-21.

General Taliño said they would coordinate with the PCG, Maritime Police and the Philippine Navy to put up the demarcation lines to mark the no sail zones and guard it.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Air Force would monitor compliance of the no-flights over Hennan and hail any pilot who breaks the command. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

500 yards, boats are now banned to dock here, an area that used to be crowded by dive and tour boats, as the government implements beach safety along Bohol showcase window of its world class beaches. (foto by Ric Obedencio)

Key Construction Players Gather at 2nd CIAP Dialogue



MAKATI CITY- The Department of Trade and Industry-Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (DTI-CIAP) held its 2nd dialogue with the key players in the industry to keep up with the latest in the Philippine construction scene.


The dialogue also served as a venue for the participants to identify matters that arise and resolve these issues as one unit.


According to Atty. Ruth B. Castelo, Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business Group (CEODBG), the dialogue aimed to seek updates on the first CIAP dialogue held last February 16, 2017, had there been changes and new pronouncements on the provisions for tax clearance as part of bidding requirements, DPWH issuance of Civil Works Registry, hotline for contractor complaints, simplified procurement process in infrastructure building, 2017 investment priority plans, and flagship projects.


The dialogue was also geared to encourage more local and smaller contractors to participate in future government projects.

Atty. Ruth B. Castelo (seated 5th from Left), Undersecretary for CIAP and Presiding Chairperson, with major industry players in a round table discussion.


Participating in the 2nd dialogue at the BOI Boardroom, Makati City on April 5, 2017 were representatives from Department of Transportation (DOTr), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Board of Investments (BOI), Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA), Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PHILGEPS), Philippine Contractors Association (PCA), and the Chairmen of the different Implementing Boards of CIAP.


To strengthen Public-Private Partnerships (P3), DTI-CIAP provided the platform for all industry sectors to exchange notes and express intent to ramp up the Infrastructure agenda in the Golden Age of Infrastructure.


On the issue of timely and complete payment of taxes prior to joining the bidding, Ms. Grace Lacerna of BIR suggested that to avoid difficulties in entering a bid, contractors must duly accomplish a tax clearance. She also clarified that the effectivity of the clearance is now extended to one year.


DPWH stated that there are 6,000 contractors enrolled in the registry but only 2,000 were participating in P3 projects. Ms. Nimfa Potante of DPWH wants to capacitate smaller contractors and encourage them to participate in the biddings. Contractors who will secure projects with the government may opt to upgrade their category in the registry.


DPWH has also emphasized the dedicated hotline for contractor’s complaints. The information can be viewed in the DPWH website and is currently being disseminated through e-mail and SMS.


To simplify the procurement process, GPPB advised implementing agencies to get training every 6 months for knowledge updates. They also consolidated alternative methods of procurement to allow for faster and more convenient acquiring of infra services.


According to Assistant Secretary Bernardo of DPWH, there are projects rolled out by the department that are currently out on bidding. He also encourages contractors to participate and submit documents through PhilGeps.


“Despite the hurdles, there is no doubt that the construction industry is more than ready, and excited to build, build, build.” said Undersecretary Castelo in confidence.


Also according to the Undersecretary, now that the issues have been pointed out and the implementing agencies are actively taking part in bringing resolutions, the industry is evidently entrusting the local contractors to handle major infrastructure projects.


The CIAP is the central authority of the construction industry mandated to promote, accelerate, and regulate growth and development of the construction industry in conformity with the national goals.