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Environmentalists to build ‘green home’

on Aug 4, 2014

Environmentalists to build ‘green home’     By Reynaldo G. Navales (Sun Star) Sunday, April 27, 2014 ANGELES CITY – Environmentalists have started building the city’s first “green home” which is made of bricks and equipped with power-saving devices. The environment-friendly house, which will be erected at the Heritage Place Phase 2 along the Circumferential Road in Barangay Cutcut here, is the first residence in the country which bears the Philippine Green Building Initiatives (PGBI) rating, said former city councilor and the home’s owner Louie Reyes. Reyes, head of the Green Youth Brigade, said he wants to promote “green architecture” in Angeles City and in the province by constructing his own energy-efficient house. “This is the first in Heritage Place. That is why we are very excited about it,” Reyes said. Architect Rosette Santos said they tapped RL Agtekpin (Agham at Teknolohiyang Pinoy) IMRF Corporation, makers of eco-bricks for the construction of Reyes’ residence, which will be completed in three months. During the launching, environmentalist and Agtekpin president Jesus Pring showed the durability and easy installation of his eco-bricks. He said that houses that are made of his bricks can withstand high- intensity tremors and strong typhoons. Brick is one of the world’s oldest building materials. It is pest and weather-resistant, and fire-proof. Brick homes built hundreds of years ago are still standing, according to Pring. “These environment-friendly bricks have low embodied energy and are thermally efficient that save enery consumption cost,” Pring said. He said that the bricks will be fabricated on the construction site and materials which will be used will be purchased from local suppliers to ensure that the carbon footprint of the project is minimal. “The Agtekpin eco-bricks do not involve any burning and are water cured. It can be made in site reducing transportation cost and carbon footprint. They are made using indigenous lahar silt deposits from waterways, rivers, and recyclable coal combustion products from coal-fired power plants,” Pring said. Reyes, who also heads the Metro Angeles Real Estate Board or Mareb, said there is a market for green buildings in the city. “There is a boom in the real estate and construction industry. The economic outlook of the country is positive. The demand for green...

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San Miguel set to start work on Boracay airport

on Jul 30, 2014

San Miguel set to start work on Boracay airport By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) Updated April 20, 2014 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines – Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) will start work on the Boracay airport within the first half of the year to allow the country’s seventh busiest airport to accommodate larger aircraft amid the growing number of tourists to the world-renowned beach island. In its disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, SMC said the extension of the runway of the Boracay airport, also known as Godofredo P. Ramos Airport, is on schedule as preparatory work at the site are ongoing. The company said construction is targeted to start within the first half and preparatory work for the new terminal is scheduled to proceed in the fourth quarter of the year. “Once the project is complete by 2016, the Boracay airport will be able to accommodate larger aircraft, boosting tourism not just to the country’s top tourist destination, but also to the rest of the Visayas region,” SMC said. Data showed that tourist arrivals in Boracay Island in Aklan jumped 13 percent to 1.363 million last year from 1.206 million in 2012. SMC has a 99.72 percent interest in Trans Aire Development Holdings Corp. (TADHC) that holds a 25-year concession to operate the Boracay airport. It holds the exclusive rights, obligations and privileges to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the airport by virtue of a concession agreement with the DOTC and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines...

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DOTC eyes bus rapid transit, more walkways, car-less cities

on Jul 30, 2014

DOTC eyes bus rapid transit, more walkways, car-less cities Pia Ranada Published 5:00 PM, Apr 17, 2014 Updated 5:45 PM, Apr 17, 2014 Bus rapid transit, improved walkways and car-less cities are plans that may just see road-sharing become a reality in the Philippines       MANILA, Philippines – The citizens’ call for government to devote half of the road to commuters instead of reserving the entire road for private car owners isn’t falling on deaf ears, says the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). According to DOTC Assistant Secretary for Planning Sherielysse Reyes-Bonifacio, the Share the Road concept may be realized by government plans to build bus rapid transit systems and walkways in the country’s urban areas. “The goal is for the private car owners to use public transport. How do you do that? By improving public transport systems so hopefully you’ll get less cars on the road. We’re pretty confident that it would work,” she told Rappler last Wednesday, April 16. Supporters of the Share the Road Movement have filed a case in the Supreme Court holding 8 government agencies, including DOTC, accountable for not developing public transport systems and perpetuating a system that gives private car users dominion on the roads. They called on government to physically divide all roads in half – one half for private motor vehicles, the other for collective transport systems like trains, bus rapid transit, covered walkways and bike lanes. Proponents of the campaign also argued that motor vehicles are responsible for the air pollution that continues to plague many Philippine cities. According to the DENR, 80% of Metro Manila air pollution comes from motor vehicles. (READ: Outdoor air pollution a leading cause of cancer – WHO) Benefits of BRT The DOTC is aware of the movement and plans to discuss with the movement’s leader, renowned environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr, how the agency can implement road-sharing. The bus rapid transit (BRT) systems planned for Metro Manila and Cebu is one way road-sharing can become a reality. Putting up BRT will physically divide the roads because it requires a dedicated bus lane. Here are the key features of a BRT system: Bus-only lanes that make travel time faster because buses are not delayed by other vehicles on...

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Manila now a top real estate investment market in Asia – survey

on Jul 30, 2014

Manila now a top real estate investment market in Asia – survey by Cathy Rose A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 01/10/2014 11:53 AM | Updated as of 01/10/2014 12:03 PM MANILA, Philippines — Manila has emerged as one of the top real estate investment markets in Asia for 2014, according to a new survey by the Urban Land Institute and PwC. In ULI and PwC’s “Emerging Trends in Real Estate Asia Pacific” report, Manila ranked fourth out of 23 Asian cities in terms of city investment prospects. Tokyo, Japan regained its status as the region’s most popular investment destination, followed by Shanghai and Jakarta. Manila outranked Sydney (5th), Guangzhou (6th), Singapore (7th), Beijing (8th), Osaka (9th) and Shenzen (10th). The report attributed for the Philippine capital’s rapid rise in the survey to its fast-growing economy, as well as its increasing popularity as a destination for multinational companies for outsourced services. Also cited were the perceived improvements in transparency and governance issues that have long plagued the country. “A big mover is Manila, which is up to 4 from 12 last year… We’ve been hearing for a couple of years now the success and impact of the BPO sector, as well as the positive demographics and GDP growth,” John Fitzgerald, ULI Asia Pacific chief executive, said during a presentation on Thursday evening. Fitzgerald said the survey showed investors are increasingly willing to look at emerging markets such as Manila and Jakarta, as alternatives to traditional markets. Manila, which ranked 8th in city development prospects in the survey, was also cited for its young demographic, strong capital inflows from overseas workers, and a workforce with a cultural affinity with the West. “Despite the impact of super typhoon Yolanda and the expected withdrawal of the US Federal Reserve’s economic stimulus, there are other factors going for us, such as the record-setting remittances from OFWs, increased number of investments and the lower cost of borrowing,” Alexander Cabrera, chairman and senior partner at Isla Lipana & Co., PwC member firm in the Philippines, said. But the report noted that Manila can be a difficult place to invest in due to “laws that prevent foreigners from majority ownership of land and partly because there is...

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Obama says US-Philippines military pact will improve Asia’s security

on Jul 30, 2014

Obama says US-Philippines military pact will improve Asia’s security Published April 28, 2014 - Fox News April 28, 2014: U.S. President Barack Obama reviews the honor guard at Malacanang Palace ahead of his bilateral meeting with Philippines President Benigno Aquino III in Manila. Obama is on the last stop of his four-country Asia trip. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) MANILA, Philippines –  President Barack Obama said a 10-year agreement signed Monday to give the U.S military greater access to Philippine bases will help promote peace and stability in the region and that he hopes China’s dominant power will allow its neighbors to prosper on their own terms. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed as Obama arrived in the Philippines will give American forces temporary access to selected military camps and allow them to preposition fighter jets and ships. It is being seen as an effort by Washington to counter Chinese aggression in the region, and Obama said his message to China is, “We want to be a partner with you in upholding international law.” “Our goal is not to counter China. Our goal is not to contain China. Our goal is to make sure international rules and norms are respected and that includes in the area of international disputes,” Obama said at a news conference with Philippine President Benigno Aquino at the Malacanang Palace. Obama’s overnight visit to the Philippines is the last stop of a weeklong Asia tour that also included Japan, South Korea and Malaysia. At each stop along his tour, Obama reaffirmed the U.S. treaty commitments to defend its Asian allies, including in their territorial disputes with China. “We don’t even take a specific position on the disputes between nations but as a matter of international law and international norms we don’t think that coercion and intimidation is the way to manage these disputes,” Obama said. He added that when the U.S. has disputes with its neighbors, it works them out through dialogue. “We don’t go around sending ships and threatening folks.” With its anemic military, the Philippines has struggled to bolster its territorial defense amid China’s increasingly assertive behavior in the oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, which Obama flew over on his way here, according to...

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#ForKeeps: Why premium property is a good investment

on Jul 30, 2014

#ForKeeps: Why premium property is a good investment Why are premium properties a good investment Published 1:39 PM, Mar 10, 2014 Updated 9:29 AM, Apr 02, 2014   MANILA, Philippines – If there’s one thing that the wealthy has learned from the global financial crisis, it is to diversify and manage their risks. They’ve turned to real estate as a safe haven for their wealth. Among markets, the Philippines has become one of the most attractive, largely due to its stellar growth performance. Despite a string of disasters, the Philippine economy grew 7.2% in 2013, making it the fastest growing in the region, next only to China. Property consultancy firm Colliers International reported that luxury condominium sales in the Philippines more than doubled over the last two years, driven by both overseas and local investments. According to Colliers, overseas investments in premium properties are divided into several waves: foreign investors buying properties because they have business interests here, investors buying for permanent residency outside their native countries, and wealthy Filipinos working abroad buying for their families. Locally, high net worth investors looking to earn windfalls and end-users also fuel demand. While some purchase these properties as “trophy assets,” others “realize that the yields are attractive and the volatility of returns much lower than other investment classes,” said Julius Guevara, director and head of research and consultancy at Colliers. High condo sales Guevara said luxury condominium sales in the country priced at more than P7 million surged over 300% to 3,900 units in 2013 from 1,300 units in 2011. He said demand for local premium properties continues to rise as the economy expands. Locally, this is demonstrated by the robust performance of the services sector, which is largely accounted for by the BPO industry. Due to low labor costs and English proficiency of the workforce, more outsourcing companies are choosing to locate their offices in the Philippines. This surge, in turn, brings in more expats looking to buy or rent premium properties near their workplace, noted Romeo Arahan, one of Colliers’ research analysts. Foreign investors banking on the Philippines’ prospects are also buying properties here. Under the law, foreigners are not allowed to own private land in the Philippines but...

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