Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pinoy vinegar as alternative to Japanese vinegar

Philippine coconut vinegar received interest from Japanese buyers in the recent ASEAN Food & Beverage Exhibition 2007 held at the Permanent Exhibit Hall of the ASEAN–Japan Centre in Tokyo, Japan.

“The Japanese drink vinegar for health reasons,” says Ms. Linda Corsiga, owner and general manager of Sorsogon Foods Enterprises. “But it was the first time they tasted our coconut vinegar with wild honey—they loved it!”

Other top-selling food products were Escaba Food Products, Inc.’s fruit mix and macapuno strings, and Frescomar Seahelm Corp.’s tuna ham and tuna fish.

CITEM organized the Philippine participation through the invitation of ASEAN–Japan Centre, forming a delegation that featured local food companies bringing along their specialties: Sorsogon Foods Enterprises (specialty vinegars), Escaba Food Products, Inc. (tropical sweet preserves) and Frescomar Seahelm Corp. (value-added tuna products).

The food fair featured 29 manufacturers from nine member countries—Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore and the Philippines—and catered to 172 trade visitors including representatives from 122 companies.

The Philippine delegation ranked among the top Asean countries in terms of number of business meetings with a total of 91, more than double the original target of 45 inquiries.

“Before we left for Tokyo, we had three scheduled business meetings,” Ms. Corsiga says. “But, when we got there, I was surprised that inquiries kept coming in. We had 26 in three days.”

While the Japanese are nationalistic when it comes to their choice of products, Ms. Corsiga is optimistic about the acceptability of Philippine exports especially their own coconut vinegar with wild honey. She sees Japan as a feasible market and was elated in saying: “We could provide an alternative to their Japanese vinegar. Even the younger ones who visited our booth liked our vinegar with wild honey—that’s a good sign.”

Ms. Corsiga continued: “one Japanese buyer had already bought a box of our products and have scheduled a visit to our factory at the end of the November.”

Japan has a high buying power for food and beverage market worth US$225 billion. Japan presently imports 60% of its food supply of US$44 billion annually. Last year, total food imports to Japan reached ¥226 billion, of which, 11.6% was the total import from ASEAN member countries. (End)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Free Financing Lecture and Consultation for SMEs

The Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (BSMED), in partnership with the Entrepinoy Volunteers Foundation, Inc., (EVFI), will conduct a lecture entitled “Creative Financing for SMEs”. It will be held on November 28, 2007 (Wednesday) from 2:30 to 5:00pm at the BSMED Briefing Room, 3rd Floor, Oppen Building, 349 Sen. J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City.

The contributions of SMEs to economic growth cannot be overemphasized considering that they account for 99.6 percent of all registered firms in the country and employ 70 percent of the labor force. However, the ability of SMEs to grow depends highly on their potential to invest in restructuring, innovation, and skills improvement. All of these investments need capital and therefore access to finance.

The lecture is aimed at increasing awareness of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on the alternative ways of sourcing their financial requirements, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each financing alternative. It will also help them enhance their understanding on collaterals and financial statements.

Mr. Napoleon T. Cabello, who is an expert in financial management, will be the resource speaker on the topic. EVFI volunteers will be available for consultations after the lecture.

Interested parties are requested to pre-register with BSMED. Call Ms. Mhel Gabriel or Ms. Carissa Sapera at 897.1693 and 897.7596 to inquire or register. (end)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

RP electronics sector a winner in JPEPA deal

Greater opportunities await the Philippine electronics industry with the implementation of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA.

JPEPA, which was signed in September 2006 in Helsinki, Finland by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, is expected to bring positive developments and growth of the electronics industry, which has been, for over a decade, the primary driver of Philippine exports.

In 2006, the electronics industry accounted for almost 63 percent of total Philippine exports, equivalent to about US$29.5 billion. Of this value, Japan accounted for 14 percent or US$4 billion in export receipts. This makes Japan the second biggest export destination of Philippine-made electronic goods. The Netherlands is the top export market of electronic products from the Philippines.

With JPEPA in place, the Philippines will enjoy freer flow of trade with Japan, thus opening more opportunities for our local industry in the Japanese market. A study facilitated by the Universal Access to Competitiveness and Trade (U-act) anticipates an additional export value of up to US$1.26 billion in the semiconductor sector once this agreement comes into effect. Moreover, this deal will boost export growth and will serve as a vehicle for job creation for Filipinos thru the additional streams of investment flows it will create. The same study says that 135,549 new jobs in the semiconductor industry will be generated by JPEPA.

JPEPA goes beyond liberalization of trade in goods and services. It covers measures that promote cooperation in fields such as human resource development and technology transfer.

As global technology development and innovation progresses at a fast rate, this kind of technical cooperation is a welcome opportunity for the industry to further upgrade the skills of Philippine workforce to achieve global competitiveness. Japan, known for its expertise on high-technology activities, can aid, through this cooperation, the government and the private sectors’ joint efforts to move the industry up the production value chain by engaging in Integrated Circuit design/testing and increasing research and development activities.

This endeavor is in line with some of the programs that are proposed to be undertaken in the JPEPA. These programs include basic research programs that leads to new products development, engineering and technical academic support programs, and programs that promote greater, closer and constant interaction among academe, industry, and the government. (end)

La Union's FAIRest, Year 7

The 7th La Union's Fairest sa Festival Mall… an OTOP Trade Fair will open on November 16, 2007, 3 p.m. at the Mini Trade Hall, Level 2, Festival Supermall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. As part of the commitment of the Provincial Government of La Union, the City Government of San Fernando, and the Department of Trade and Industry La Union Provincial Office to continuously assist the SMEs in the Province, they mounted this Fair until November 30, 2007.

It shall showcase the creative flair of the Ilocano craftsmen and the One Town One Products (OTOP) of the city and municipalities of La Union. Products in focus include home furnishings, baskets, holiday decors, woodcarvings, antique furniture, processed foods, loom woven items, cut flowers, and ornamental plants.

A conservative sales target for this event is P17 million, from the 38 participating SME exhibitors.

The first ever La Union OTOP Brochure will also be launched during the opening ceremonies on November 16, 2007. (end)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Protect yourself from abusive MMDA officers

1. MMDA officers are not allowed to group together in order to apprehend. They are not even allowed to stand together in groups of 2 or more. The only time they are allowed to work together is for special operations (probably when they apprehend groups of buses for smoke belching)

2. Swerving IS NOT a traffic violation. Moving one lane to the left or right is not swerving, no matter where on the road you do it. And it is even less of a violation when you do it with a signal. Swerving is defined as shifting 2 or more lanes very quickly. So you can argue your way out of this, and call the Metro Base for help.

3. Sadly, using the yellow lane is a traffic violation and will get you a ticket. However, buses are really not allowed to go out of the yellow lane, so if you see selective apprehension of private cars only, you may complain.

4. MMDA has confirmed that your license MAY NOT BE CONFISCATED at a traffic apprehension. The only time they can do so is if you are part of an accident, or it is your third violation and you have not settled your fines yet. They are only allowed to give you a ticket, which you can contest. He recommends actually receiving the ticket in some instances, so that you can report the officer who did it.

5. Also, you are free to ask any of these officers for their "mission order", which is written by their supervisor. If they apprehend you for a violation that is not in their mission order for the day, you can report them and they will receive disciplinary action.

If any of these abuses seem familiar to you, call either the MMDA hotline (136) or call the METRO BASE at 0920 9389861 or 0920 9389875 and ask for an Inspectorate. They will send inspectors to the place where these MMDA officers are extorting, even while you are arguing out of your apprehension.

So go out and fight for your rights if and when the occasion arises!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Filipino Value: Caring for the elderly

One good thing about us Filipinos is the way we treat our elderly relatives. Unlike people from other countries who place their elders in a nursing home, we take care of our old relatives. I have no problem about nursing homes but I believe that taking care of our elderly is our way of repaying all their hardships in raising us. Some even leave their jobs in order to focus full-time on taking care of our parents/grandparents. Others also take nursing assistant/caregiver courses when their old relatives get sick so that they are better equipped in caring for them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Photo of the Day: Pari(wara)

I've always dreamed of being a "Father", but not this kind of "Father." Sure, I was an acolyte when I was younger, but I don't think being a priest would fit my personality. This photo was taken November 5, 2007 during the opening of IMPAKABSAT 2007, a showcase of Cordillera's best products at the Festival Supermall in Alabang.