Lito U. Gagni

31 posts

Will the drums of war beat in the Pacific too?

THE statement of Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a presser during a summit of the alliance in Madrid has apparently validated the assertions of Russian leader Vladimir Putin about the group’s intention. This is what, after all, started the special military operation that Russia made in Ukraine.

Korean scenario in Ukraine war projected

The possibility of a Korean scenario in the ongoing Ukraine war now loomed large as pundits see a war that Russia and Ukraine cannot claim to win. Korean scenario refers to an armistice that brought hostilities to a halt in 1953, but there’s never been a treaty to end the conflict between North Korea and South Korea.

Is Russia to blame for food and energy crisis?

WE are seeing attempts to place the responsibility on Russia for developments in the global food and energy markets and the growing problems there. But the situation with the global food market did not become worse yesterday or even with the launch of Russia’s special military operation in Donbas, in Ukraine. And it was well explained by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin on June 3, 2022 who answered questions from Rossyia 1 TV channel.

Diplahan ‘lechon’

column-gagniA DIFFERENT kind of lechon (roast suckling pig)—slow-cooked on charcoal for two hours after being marinated in secret herbs and spices; and served, not with the usual liver sauce, but with homemade vinegar—is catching the imagination—and whetting the appetite—of Christmas revelers after it was learned that the lechon reputedly contains less fat and that the enterprise making this very tasty food item uses only native pigs.

Healthy competition engenders growth

column-gagni-market filesTHE healthy competition between “frenemies” Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) and Ramon S. Ang (RSA) has taken part of the slack in government spending that partly caused the Philippines’s economic growth to decline in the third quarter. This competition, which is an occasional point of interest in the media, was what actually saved the day for the huge decline in the government’s pursuit of infrastructure projects.

MVP group owes Ejap P0.2M

column-gagniIT seems the Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) group has overlooked its obligation to pay P200,000 to the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (Ejap) for the organization’s Christmas event last year and its sportsfest this year.

Tax leakages in cigarettes

column-gagni-market filesAN exhaustive study by the Senate Tax Study and Research Office (STSRO) has yielded “interesting” findings that could provide the so-called smoking gun in the perceived tax leakages in cigarettes. Plugging the leakages seems easy: Just follow the STSRO’s recommendations. After scrutinizing several data on tobacco-leaf and acetate-tow imports, the STSRO underscored the need to harmonize the forms, procedures and filings from cigarette manufacturers in order to seal those leakages.

Senate office pins down Mighty Corp.

THE Senate Tax Study and Research Office (STSRO) has found out what could be an improbable pricing of tobacco-leaf imports by Mighty Corp. as compared to those imported by Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) and Associated Anglo-American Tobacco Corp.

Filipinos’ happy disposition

‘I DO not know why—is it [because of] the water you drink?” author and innovation expert Guy Kawasaki asked aloud during a roundtable discussion at Globe Telecom’s packed Enterprise Innovation Forum at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City last week. “Everywhere I [went] to, I [saw] happy faces,” said Kawasaki, who was in the Philippines for three days to talk about how companies should “jump to the next curve.”

Greenpeace’s overrated status

column-gagni-market filesA THAI Supreme Court ruling that was issued against Greenpeace in mid-October shows just how overrated the European pressure group is. In junking Greenpeace’s suit to stop field trials on genetically modified papaya, that nation’s highest court strongly underscored the misguided thrust of the Amsterdam-based environmental organization, which has also been raising similar noises over the Philippines’s food-security preparations through its efforts to adopt biotechnology, which has been proven to raises farmers’ income.

P-Noy eyes tax-evasion schemes of cigarette firms

column-gagniMALACAÑANG is dead serious about collecting the right amount of taxes from unscrupulous cigarette firms that sell their products at a loss by using all sorts of tax-evasion schemes. President Aquino emphasized this during a lull in the proceedings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, where he displayed his mastery of economics, which was his field of study at the Ateneo de Manila University.

8990 Holdings’s growth strategy

column-gagniLEADING mass-housing firm 8990 Holdings Inc. has come up with an enviable growth strategy that, if successful, could partially solve the Philippines’s housing backlog, which now stands at 4 million units. This strategy involves a “halfway house” concept, which seeks to uplift the living conditions of working people in Metro Manila who are either renting bedspaces, living in dormitories or sharing apartment rooms.

PLDT versus Bayantel

column-gagni-market filesTHERE is an interesting subtext in the opposition of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) to the corporate rehabilitation of financially strapped Bayan Telecommunications Inc. (Bayantel), and its subsequent petition for the auction of certain frequencies of the latter. Interestingly enough, the ongoing courtroom battle over it has spawned a host of other issues that were unwittingly exposed and which unerringly showed a better perspective of the real issues at hand.

Bayantel’s rehabilitation hangs in the balance

column-gagni-market filesJUST when the corporate rehabilitation of Bayan Telecommunications of the Lopez Group of Companies was about to start and effectively assure its 1,128 employees of their security of tenure, a temporary restraining order (TRO) has put the company’s existence in limbo. Not only that, the possibility of having a third player in the telecommunications industry that could ensure healthy competition is similarly put in jeopardy.

Private initiative on energy crisis

column-gagniWHILE government negligence is rearing its ugly head in next summer’s anticipated energy crisis, a laudable private initiative is expected to increase supply in Metro Manila’s power grid. This initiative, called the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), is spearheaded by the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), and supported by huge mall chain SM and other firms.

Nlex-Slex connector roads needed

column-gagni-market filesTHANKS to the port congestion that exposed the Philippine economy’s vulnerability to disequilibrium—in this case, the limit imposed on the number of trips that trucks can make—the need for more roads has become more urgent. This was what the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), an umbrella group of Philippine manufacturers, and the European Chamber of Commerce emphasized when they called on the government to allow the construction of two North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway (Nlex-Slex) connector roads.

Traffic costs to soar to P6B daily

column-gagniTHE economic costs of traffic in Metro Manila are going up every single day, and unless the government implements the solution offered by the exhaustive one-year study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), the horrendous traffic jams bedeviling motorists will cost a staggering P6 billion a day in 15 years, as opposed to P2.4 billion today.

Public-private partnerships: Boon or bane?

column-gagni-market filesWHEN President Aquino returned from his working visit to Europe and the United States last month with $2.3 billion in investment commitments, with $904 million already in the bag, the buzz they created was more about the Philippines’s public-private partnership (PPP) projects, and how they could become a game-changer for a nation dealing with potholes, floods and other problems in the economy. This is the reason the President made a pitch for PPPs that would mean the entry of much-desired foreign direct investments (FDI).

Economic renaissance

SKEPTICAL Filipinos may continue to delude themselves into believing that the Philippines is still a backwater nation plagued by traffic problems, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 breakdowns and heavy rains that caused even the famous Ayala Avenue-Makati Avenue intersection to be inundated, but economic figures continue to show that the country’s economy is still vibrant.

Biotechnology increases farmers’ income

column-gagni-market filesIT would do well for the government to adopt biotechnology crops and be wary of the propaganda being spread by supporters of the environmental group Greenpeace, which has revived the debate on such crops by using the organic-food groups in the country as its proxies. In the United States, where Greenpeace’s loud opposition to biotech crops was silenced by the big income that farmers there are earning and by the decreased use of environmentally harmful pesiticides, that debate has been clearly resolved.

Bench on a leash

THERE is a lot of talk—and a petition—on the Internet about “the naked truth” that clothing company Bench (named after owner Ben Chan) had revealed with its hugely popular fashion show, which had ruffled the feathers of a lot of people, especially women. According to the online petition, a female model wearing skimpy clothing, walking on all fours like a dog and on a leash held by actor Coco Martin, who had played her “master”, is dehumanizing.

In search of long-term solutions to port woes

When the government came up with its plan to decongest the ports due to overstaying cargoes that resulted from the attempt by Manila’s city government to solve the traffic woes, the traffic snarls cost much more economic damage than when the lumbering container trucks were allowed to ply the roads during the so-called window hours.

Port congestion: All about trade

WHEN Malacañang asked for patience from the citizenry for the traffic snarls that hit the metropolis some weeks back as lumbering delivery trucks with container vans took out overstaying cargoes, it said a solution is being put in place to address the issue of port congestion.

$3-billion project in Clark to finally proceed

column-gagni-market filesA $3-BILLION infrastructure project in the bustling Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga province can now proceed without delay, after the Court of Appeals nullified an order from a lower court that had barred the project owners from entering the project site. This project involves a 50-year lease agreement that the Clark International Airport Corp. signed with owner Global Gateway Development Corp. (GGDC) for the development of the 177-hectare Global Gateway Logistics City (GGLC).

Big bet on casinos

column-gagniWITH a cash payment of P4.04 billion out of a total purchase price of P16.15 billion, Resorts World Manila (RWM), owned by taipan Dr. Andrew L. Tan, is acquiring 95 percent of Resorts World Bayshore City, the third integrated resort complex that is set to rise in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s Entertainment City complex in Parañaque City, as the Philippines aspires to steal business away from regional gambling mecca Macau, which has monthly revenues of over $3 billion.

Digital-TV shift to benefit consumers

column-gagni-market filesCONSUMERS can expect exciting times ahead when the shift from analog to digital television takes place. This shift, which the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will make within the year, would offer countless possibilities to consumers and let the government pursue its social agenda. The shift would also enable TV networks to make more money out of their content libraries and let new players come in with huge investments, which would augur well for the economy.

Political noise drowns out consumer sentiments

column-gagni-market filesTHE political noise over the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which have drowned out consumer confidence in the third quarter of this year, has revealed the link between politics and the economy. According to the results of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s (BSP) Third Quarter 2014 Consumer Expectation Survey, consumer confidence received a beating because of four factors, one of which was the political noise generated by pork-barrel issues.

GAGNI’S GLEANINGS: BanKO reaches out to the unbanked

column-gagniFOR the government and private sector, undertaking financial-literacy programs for the country’s unbanked sector, made up of about 40 million Filipinos, is a daunting task. But an initiative by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Globe Telecom could provide the necessary push for the unbanked to get a handle on the need to save their money in a bank. To be more specific, BPI and Globe are doing this initiative through BanKO, a savings bank that makes use of a cellular phone.