Regime changer

No longer is the game of business an exclusive domain of the big, the swift, the strong or those close to the wielder of authority.
A new regime  where all – big or small, weak or strong, rich or poor, obscure or famous, favored or shunned – would have an equal opportunity to compete and succeed has just been established not only as  an executive policy of the current administration but by an operation of law.
This means the new operating principle and its general guidelines would have a long-term or permanent impact on the way business is conducted in the country.
This, would, in turn, foster investor confidence and translate into capital inflows for the country, leading to sustained economic growth and  national development.        
And so we join stakeholders, led by the Department of Justice, in welcoming  the long-awaited approval of the Philippine Competition Act, a landmark legislation that would level the playing field for all types of businesses.
In a statement, Justice Sec. Leila de Lima lauded Sen. Bam Aquino and Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua for their energy and dedication to work for the passage of the bill, which gathered dust for almost 25 years in the legislative mill.
Sen. Bam, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and entrepreneurship, was the main author and sponsor of the measure, which is expected to be signed into law by President Aquino.
“The passage of this landmark measure materialized through the collective efforts of the Senate and House and the full support of private stakeholders,” Aquino said, adding that private stakeholders, such as the PCCI and the ECCP, were consulted in the crafting of the measure to ensure that the bill would be pro-business, pro-poor and pro-consumer.





Senate House reach consensus on Cabotage Law

This developed after lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday reached a consensus and finalized the version of Cabotage Law that will be forwarded to Malacañang for President Benigno S. C. Aquino III’s approval.

“Yes, we were able to finish the bicameral conference committee regarding [the Cabotage Law]…[T]his is quite a landmark bill in terms of opening up our shipping industry to foreign players which hopefully can bring down prices as well,” Senator Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino IV told BusinessWorld after the bicameral meeting.

Logistics costs are expected to go down once the bill is signed into law, as foreign vessels can finally dock in several ports, eliminating the need to employ local shipping companies to transport goods between Manila and other domestic ports.

The Senate has passed their version of the measure last Feb. 23, which was then adopted by the House committees on transportation, trade and industry, and ways and means in their joint March 17 meeting.

“Initially, the House version was only for container vans. And the Senate version was for all foreign cargo. So we had a larger scope than theirs. And we were able to harmonize by accepting the Senate version, which is having a larger scope of foreign cargos,” Mr. Aquino said.

According to Mr. Aquino, the version that will be forwarded to the Palace is identical to the one passed by the Senate.

“Actually nothing [was changed]. There were some cleaning up of language, harmonization of definition of terms, but more or less the same spirit from our [Senate] committee report.”

Mr. Aquino said he expects the bill to be approved into law in the soonest possible time.

“Well this is a landmark bill so we’re hoping it can be signed into law [by the President] as soon as possible,” Mr. Aquino said.

The Cabotage Law amendments is one of five priority reforms committed by Senate President Franklin M. Drilon to see passage from Congress by June in a March forum with business leaders. — Jauhn Etienne Villaruel

Published on BusinessWorld

POEA extends support to professional Dota 2 Team Rave

Team Rave at the office of POEA
L-R: Director Robert Larga (POEA), Officer Norman Cualteros (Office of Sen. Bam), Director Jesus Gabriel C. Domingo (POEA), Hoff Sacobo (Rave), Mark ‘Cast’ Pilar (Rave), Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac (POEA), Djardel ‘Chrissy’ Mampusti (Rave)





The office of Senator Bam Aquino wrote to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration(POEA) after the offloading incident of Filipino professional Dota 2 team, Rave. Senator Bam intends to find out the root causes of the problem and to solve the issues so it would not happen again in the future.

POEA invited the three players of Rave that were involved in the incident for a meeting. In the said meeting POEA was clarified with Rave’s state as a professional gaming team that frequently participates in online and offline gaming tournaments in order to financially sustain themselves with prize money – all this without a salary. Rave’s biggest win so far being their 5th place finish at the Dota 2 Asian Championships at China which netted them at least $150,000 (around P6.6 million).

Rave also clarified with POEA that the players do indeed have a contract but does not make them employees because of the absense of a salary clause. Rave’s Korean manager, Pyung Kwon, provides them a place to stay (gaming house) with a fast and stable internet connection at South Korea. Because of the country’s location and internet, training at Korea enables Rave to scrim with teams all over the world which includes North America, Europe, and China – a very unique and sizable advantage.

POEA extends their support towards the professional Dota 2 team, and clarified with them what are the right documents and processes for convenient travelling especially with The International Dota 2 Championships (the biggest annual Dota 2 tournament, last year’s prize pool reached $10,930,698 or P486 million) closing in this August 2015 at Seattle, USA.

The offloading incident caused Rave to perform poorly in various qualifiers for international tournaments:

  • online SEA qualifier for Starladder 12, main event in Bucharest, Romania (pulled out due to schedule conflict with US visa appointments for Major League Gaming)
  • online SEA qualifier for ESL ONE, main event at Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany (lost to Underminer at the quarterfinals)
  • online SEA qualifier for Redbull Battlegrounds, main event at Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, California (lost to Team Malaysia at the finals)

Rave however managed to qualify for The Summit 3, a $200,000 tournament at Los Angeles, California which is set this coming May 2015. Their performance in this tournament will weigh heavily towards their chance of a direct invite to The International 2015.

The office of Senator Bam thanked POEA for their willingness to extend their help towards the Filipino professional Dota 2 team.

Bam Aquino then addressed the questions as to why he is in full-support to esports.

“Malaki kasi ang potensiyal ng nasabing industriya na makakatulong sa paglago ng ekonomiya ng ating bansa.

Marami nang kumpanyang Pilipino ang pumapasok sa industriyang ito, mula sa paggawa ng animation hanggang sa pag-develop ng software.

Ang katumbas nito ay daan-daang bagong trabaho at kabuhayan para sa ating mga kababayan.
Ang pagratsada ng industriyang ito ay katulad din ng paghataw ng business process outsourcing industry sampung taon na ang nakalipas.

Ito’y puno ng potensiyal para sa papasimulang negosyo at kayang magbigay ng magandang trabaho para sa mga artists at developers.

Sa galing ng mga Pilipino sa pagdidisenyo ng software, ang Pilipinas ay nagiging isa na sa mga paboritong destinasyon ng online video gaming companies para sa paggawa ng bagong produkto.

Maliban pa rito, kilala na rin ang mga Pilipino bilang isa sa mga aktibong manlalaro ng online games sa mundo.

Sa ngayon, mayroon nang halos 29 milyong Pilipino ang naglalaro ng online games. Sa nasabing bilang, nasa dalawampung milyon ang casual gamers habang nasa siyam na milyon ang tinatawag na midcore at hardcore gamer.

Kung mabibigyan ng sapat na suporta, lalo pang lalago ang potensiyal ng video gaming industry bilang pagmumulan ng trabaho at kabuhayan, maliban pa sa mga karangalan na gaya ng bigay ng Team Rave!”





Is crowdfunding the future of businesses in PH?

MANILA, Philippines – How does crowdfunding work? What solutions can it offer business startups and social enterprises in the Philippines?


According to Senator Bam Aquino, the current banking system makes it very difficult for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and business startups to get the financing they need. But for large corporations, it is very easy to get loans – in fact, banks knock at their doors with offers.


“If you’re a micro to pre-medium business and you need around P500,000 to P5 million but you don’t have collateral – even if you have a contract, idea or a business model – you still won’t get the financing you need,” the senator added.


This is why Filipinos need to look for alternative finance sources like crowdfunding, Aquino noted.


During the 1st Philippine Crowdfunding Conference in Manila on Wednesday, March 18, business experts and successful entrepreneurs discussed crowdfunding and crowdsourcing and how these concepts can be applied in Philippine businesses.


Crowdfunding for small businesses


Crowdfunding is the thriving practice of funding a venture through raising monetary contributions from a group of people. The advancement of social media has particularly made this practice successful for business startups in other countries.


Aquino believes it can work for the Philippine economy.


“As we go around different areas, we find that putting up a small enterprise is becoming the best solution for Filipinos. But they need the right support to be able to turn their ideas into fruition. Crowdfunding might be the best way to move this sector forward,” Aquino said.


The senator, who authored the Go Negosyo Act of 2014, emphasized the importance of empowering social enterprises and SMEs in promoting inclusive growth in the country.


“If we will support our SMEs, who’s to say that we can’t enter the next phase of where the Philippines should be – a middle income economy where opportunities are (available) for more Filipinos?” Aquino said.


He added: “Each part of the chain of our countrymen should be able to get that opportunity to put up their business and turn their ideas into fruition. This is the best place for crowdfunding to come in.”


Crowdfunding and social media


Crowdsourcing Week Founder Epi Nekaj says crowdsourcing and crowd funding are causing disruptions in the world’s finance systems.

Epi Ludvik Nekaj, founder of Crowdsourcing Week, said crowdfunding started because of two major factors – social media and the world financial crisis in 2008, which gave birth to crowd companies.


“Millions of people right now are becoming bankers. That’s why banks right now are trying to figure out if their business model is broken or outdated,” he said.


The Internet continues to contribute to the growth of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. According to experts, everyone will be connected to the Internet by 2035.


“This means the future of content is human-powered content. Who runs the Internet? There’s no single entity that runs it. You are the Internet. We are the Internet,” Nekaj said.


He added: “Crowdsourcing is about passion. It’s about talents, skills, and resources. When we talk about crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, we need to make sure that we’re really tapping the resources that the crowds have.


Crowdsourcing spawns innovation and social media spawns connection.”

Nekaj said that there are 4 types of crowdfunding platforms. These are:


  • Donation – the crowd gives money or other resources to support the cause.
  • Reward-based – the crowd gives money in exchange for a reward (a product or service) that the company will provide or produce
  • Equity-based – the members of the crowd become part-owners of the company raising funds
  • Lending – the company merely borrows the money from the crowd with a legally binding contract that the loan will be repaid


In Asia, Nekaj noted that crowdfunding is more inclined toward equity and lending. This is because these systems challenge founders to finish the project – since 70% of crowdfunding programs do not deliver on time.


“There is so much potential in Asia. By 2025, the volume of investment crowdfunding will be $92 billion, according to experts,” he added.


Harnessing the power of the crowds


Crowdsourcing efforts have actually been used in past projects in the Philippines. Rappler’s investigative desk editor Chay Hofilena discussed how the news website has utilized crowdsourcing in its past efforts.


In Football for Peace, Rappler and the Philippine marines were able to raise 2,400 indestructible balls for kids in conflict areas through donations.

Meanwhile, Project Agos constantly calls out for volunteers who help scan social media for calls of help during disasters.

All these campaigns were amplified by social media.


“We’ve seen that social media has the potential for social change. It’s a mobilization tool we can use to harness the good in people,” Hofilena said.


Crowdsourcing has also democratized the way media organizations cover news.

“It’s no longer a top-down editorial approach. Now, the public can set the news agenda by stating the issues that concern them and issues that matter to them. It has allowed the media to become real agents of change,” she added.


The way of the future


Nekaj believes crowdfunding will continue to change the world’s finance systems in the future.


“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it. Alternative financing is developing because of this. We don’t need more banks. We need more banking,” he added.


While social media has become a powerful tool in crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, people still need to wield it carefully he said.


“There’s nothing wrong with social media, but we have to be socially productive. You should be that entity that thinks forward. We need to be part of a socially productive ecosystem in crowdsourcing,” Nekaj stressed.


Source: Rappler



Most Filipinos can fill 275,000 jobs for World Expo 2020 in Dubai – Emirates country manager

MANILA – The World Expo 2020 set in Dubai will create an estimated 275,000 jobs and Filipinos will expectedly fill up a lot of these vacancies, said Abdalla Al Zamani, country manager of Emirates in the Philippines.


These new jobs will be in the areas of medical services, engineering, and information technology, he said at a press briefing that included journalists Emirates flew in from the Middle East for a familiarization tour of the Philippines.


This increase in employment of Filipinos to Dubai necessitates the increase of the number of flights to the Middle East commercial and aviation hub, Zamani said, calling on the Philippine government to start the bilateral air talks so that this would become possible.


Until January this year, Emirates used to fly three times a day between Manila and Dubai. But the Civil Aviation Board cut the number of Emirates flights down to two a day.


Zamani said as it is, with almost 800,000 overseas Filipino workers in Dubai, many of them going back and forth for vacation and work, the number of flights is not enough to accommodate the demand.

The ideal number of flights is 40 per week, he said.


Aside from Emirates, Philippine Airlines also flies twice daily to Dubai.

Zamani said that even with more airlines servicing the route, there is still room for more flights.


Source: Interaksyon



PH social enterprise covers 2.5M poor Filipinos – study

MANILA, Philippines – Social enterprises in the Philippines have covered at least 2.5 million people living below the poverty line, according to a study commissioned by Oxfam.

The number, which is more than half of the total government count of poor Filipinos in 2012, could double if government lends a hand in promoting social enterprise, said Marie Lisa Dacanay, president of the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia.

The study, called “Poverty Reduction and Women Economic Leadership: Roles, Potentials and Challenges of Social Enterprises in Developing Countries in Asia,” covered Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines and was presented at the 1st Social Enterprise Advocacy and Leveraging Conference in Asia on November 25 to 27.

“Social enterprise should be a complimentary poverty-reduction strategy of the government,” Dacanay told Rappler on Thursday, November 27.

Social enterprises are businesses of traditional capitalism models but with solutions that seek to address long-term goals such as poverty.

In the Philippines, social enterprises can be classified as cooperatives, microfinance institutions, (MFIs), fair trade organizations, trading development organizations, and new-generation enterprises.

MFIs alone made the highest impact in reaching poor Filipinos, according to the study, with more than 90% of contribution among other social enterprises.

As of December 2013, the study cited that MFIs had 23,672 cooperatives, with a total combined assets at P266.80 million ($5.94 million*). Cooperative members were at least 12.6 million, although not all of the members can be considered “of the poor” and “serving the poor.”

Out of the 12.6 million members, about 2.5 million Filipinos are clients of non-governmental organization-linked MFIs.

“Microfinance therefore plays a significant role in providing business,” the study said.

The Philippines does not have an official count of social enterprises though, but researchers estimate at least 30,000 institutions have been providing programs and services in the country.

Government support not enough

Government statistics said there were 4.2 million of poor Filipinos in 2012, an increase from 3.8 million 2006.

The Asian Development Bank explained such was caused by a dearth of poverty reduction measures and insufficient job generation.

To address this pressing concern, the country needs to enhance its public-private partnerships (PPP), develop capital markets, and boost access to finance, said ADB Philippines country director Richard Bolt.

At present, government’s role in social enterprises is manifested through the Department and Trade and Industry, People’s Credit and Finance Corporation, Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Other state-sponsored microfinancing programs also include the Livelihood Credit Assistance Program and the SME (small and medium enterprise) Unified Lending Opportunities for National Growth program.

But government efforts to support social entrepreneurship are not enough, Dacanay said.

At Thursday’s social enterprise conference here, stakeholders from different Asian countries urged lawmakers to pass bills supporting the industry which are pending in the Senate and Congress.

Two versions of the “Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship” bill aims to provide a backbone for institutions that are engaged with such business practice.

The bills are inspired by South Korea’s Social Enterprise Promotion Act which was put to law in 2007. (READ: Developing social enterprise: Lessons from Korea)

Current government regulations, such as taxing small cooperatives while giving tax holidays to big-ticket investments, do not jive well with the country’s bid to take the poor out from their predicament, Dacanay said.


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