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MAJOR BUSINESS GROUPS in the country have made a last-ditch call for President Rodrigo R. Duterte to veto a measure now awaiting his signature that imposes tighter controls on labor contracting and which would lapse into law sans any Executive action by the end of next week.

In a July 16 joint press statement e-mailed to journalists on Wednesday, 13 local and foreign business chambers asked “the president to veto the security of tenure bill” since it “is redundant as there are previously approved laws that already protect workers from ‘endo’ (end of contract scheme), it impinges on management prerogative anchored on the constitution… it excludes contract workers hired by government agencies” and “could have a negative impact to the Philippine economy and to the workers whom the bill aims to protect.”

Groups that issued the call were the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc.; Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines, Inc.; Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc.; European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; Foundation for Economic Freedom, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Inc.; Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc.; Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines; Makati Business Club; Management Association of the Philippines; Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc.; Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; as well as the Semiconductor & Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc.

The proposed law, “An Act Strengthening Workers’ Right To Security of Tenure”, bans the practice of hiring workers for five-months stints in order to circumvent the requirement that they be automatically granted regular status on the sixth month of employment. It also provides that workers performing jobs directly related to the principal business of or are under the direct control and supervision of a contracting party “shall be deemed regular employees of the contractee… retroactive to the date they were first deployed to said contractee…”

There are four types of employment status allowed under the measure: probationary, regular, project and seasonal. Project-based and seasonal workers “have the rights of regular employees for the duration of the project (e.g. construction) or season (e.g. agriculture or where there are periods of increased demand or inherent industry fluctuations)… termination of which has been determined and made known to the employee at the time of engagement.”

The Senate approved the measure on third reading on May 22, while the House of Representatives adopted Senate’s version on May 28, thus doing away with the need for a bicameral conference committee to harmonize different versions as well as ratification.

The bill was transmitted to the Office of the President on June 27, and will become law by July 27 if Mr. Duterte — who had made a 2016 campaign promise to ban labor contracting — either signs it or at least does not veto it.

In their joint statement, the business groups argued that Department Order No. 174 which the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) issued in March 2017 and Executive Order No. 51 which Malacañang issued in May last year “already expressly prohibit the practice of labor-only contracting or the so-called ‘endo’ and other illegal forms of contracting.”

“More than a new law that could adversely affect the country’s global competitiveness, stronger enforcement of the current [laws] and policies is essential,” they said.

The groups also recalled that DoLE had estimated in late 2016 that there were 670,000 contractual employees in the private sector and more than 700,000 in the government, and that Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III announced last May that some 500,000 private sector contractual workers had been granted regular status.

Hence, they said, “regularization of the remaining workers can be achieved through the continuous implementation of both laws.”

The chambers also said that job contracting is “an exercise of management prerogative and business judgment” that “is anchored on two constitutional rights: right and freedom to contract and right to property,” as upheld by the Supreme Court.

They also noted that the tighter rules on contracting do not cover contractual workers hired by government offices “due to the potential severe fiscal challenge it may pose, as well as uncertainties over whether the contractual workers will be regularized, given Civil Service Commission requirements,” noting that there are state workers who have been on temporary status for “up to 15 years already” under the so-called “job order” scheme.

“On the other hand, equal opportunity is not given to private employers as it isolates them by increasing the cost of doing business that could hinder their operations and slow down growth,” the groups said.

Finally, the new measure may contradict the very purpose it was supposed to serve, since it “can have the opposite effect on job creation and security of tenure” as businesses may step up use of automation and artificial intelligence to eliminate jobs requiring low skills or even move “to more investor-friendly foreign destinations.”

Sought for comment, Benjo Santos A. Benavidez, DoLE assistant secretary for Labor Relations, Special Concerns and Regional Operations, said in a telephone interview that “[t]he bill is not only for the protection of workers but also the protection of businesses.”

Moreover, he added, EO 51 and DO 174 do not penalize violators, whereas, under a legislated law, “the secretary has power to issue a penalty and close establishments.”

Legislated laws are also more permanent than executive measures, since the former go through both houses of Congress while the latter can be scrapped overnight by a succeeding order. — with Gillian M. Cortez

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GIN IS a drink that transcends classes and space. It could be found in the hands of cosmopolitans sipping classic G&Ts, or spilling on the streets from shots taken after work. A new gin called Archipelago by Full Circle Craft Distillers Co. shows off the full breadth of the Philippines, from all classes and spaces, distilled in a single bottle.

First off, when we say class, COO Matthew Westfall includes Filipino farmers in the story. While the juniper berries are imported from Northern Italy, the botanicals that go into the gin, which includes pomelo, dalandan (a Philippine citrus fruit), local flowers, Benguet pine, are all sourced from farmers from North to South. Mr. Westfall comes from a development background, so he was sure to source these ethically and sustainably, paying above-market prices for the farmers’ labor (which he is able to do due to the gin’s upmarket distribution, costing about P2,800 per bottle; 50% of the products are exported).

Speaking about the advantages of distilling gin here (their site is located near Mt. Makiling), Mr. Westfall said, “We have the freshest botanicals. We have the best and most flavorful citrus.”

“Everything grows in this country. That is fantastic.”

The distillery’s name comes from Mr. Westfall’s legacy. His grandfather was a White Russian émigré who landed in the Philippines and joined a beverage company in 1918, right after the Russian Revolution. Mr. Westfall, stepping out of stints in the Peace Corps, USAID, and other such organizations, set up his own beverage company 100 years later in 2018. “That’s full circle,” he said.

Mr. Westfall’s previous life influences his current one as a distiller, bringing a genuine spirit into the, well, spirit. “You think outside yourself. You think about sustainable impact. You think about bringing change to our environment.” This is why Full Circle operates on a zero-waste basis, composting the ingredients after they have been used for extraction, and, as mentioned above, pays above-market value for their ingredients.

While the distillery can only boast of a few months in operation, it has already won the Gold Medal at the World Gin Awards 2019 in London, as well as the World Spirits Awards 2019 in Austria. As a Philippine Economic Zone Authority-registered export-oriented entity, Full Circle is fully licensed and certified by the Food and Drug Administration, and has been granted a License to Operate and Certificates of Product Registration for each of its artisanal spirits. The company is registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue with a license to manufacture alcohol, and with the Bureau of Customs for export and import activities.

Asking about the advantage of being new, Mr. Westfall said, “We’re allowed to innovate… we’re not in an industrial conglomerate where we’re looking at costcutting.”

BusinessWorld took a sip of the gin during its BGC launch earlier this month, and its scent was almost as fine as perfume, as well as a smoother mouthfeel and a livelier taste, competitive with finer gins available abroad.

“The Philippines deserves everything this good,” said Mr. Westfall. “It’s long overdue.” — Joseph L. Garcia

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WWW.ASIAKREDIT.COM
WWW.ASIAKREDIT.COM

DIGITAL consumer lending firm AsiaKredit expects 50% growth in its disbursed loans this year as it banks on responsible lending practices.

Michael Ashwin S. Singh, co-founder and chief executive officer of AsiaKredit, said in an interview that the online lending platform eyes to end the year with 100,000-150,000 in loans issued.

“We process 100,000 applications a month and we expect to grow this year by about 50% versus last year in terms of loans issued or disbursed,” Mr. Singh told BusinessWorld.

AsiaKredit issues short-term consumer loans ranging from 30 days to six months through its mobile application “pera247,” targeting the low- to middle-income market segments with no formal credit or banking history.

The digital lending platform started doing business in October 2017 after receiving its license from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Singh said the firm launched its operations banking on the country’s high smartphone penetration rate, robust economic fundamentals, and large unbanked population.

“This population needs access to credit, and they’re using their digital devices. That was perfect for us because we do our credit underwriting based on digital usage or footprint,” he said.

The mobile lending platform eyes to capture more clients by partnering with more merchants and relying on positive reviews from clients.

“To access larger markets, we need to reach out to more partners and treat our customers with respect. We rely on word of mouth and by treating them with respect, we will become one of the preferred digital lenders,” Mr. Singh said.

He added that AsiaKredit separates itself from other lending companies by adhering to responsible lending and collecting practices.

In May, the National Privacy Commission begun looking into 48 online lending applications that have been subject to harassment complaints of allegedly shaming clients with delinquent accounts. These loan platforms supposedly required access to a user’s contact information and data stored on their smartphones.

“We want to be in the market, and the way to be successful in doing that is to make sure you take care of our reputation…by doing things right. Everything we do is aboveboard,” the chief executive said.

Mr. Singh added that AsiaKredit abides by ethical practices in terms of handling delinquent accounts.

“We tell our customers — we make you tick several boxes — that if you are delinquent and unreachable for up to 72 hours, you give us the right to locate you through one of your contacts,” Mr. Singh said. “We give the delinquent customers some time to return our call. We notify them.”

He noted that when the company calls third-party contacts, they refrain from disclosing the purpose of the call and from using aggressive language.

“Our policies are simple and logical: treat the customer with respect; do not use aggressive, threatening or coercive language; develop a relationship with the customer that are in a delinquent phase, because that is the best way to make them come back,” Mr. Singh said.

AsiaKredit targets to capture unbanked and underserved Filipinos by gradually introducing services to them.

“For example, our short-term loan with a high interest rate. If you pay that product and prove to be a successful player, we graduate you to a cash loan product, which carries a more mainstream interest rates similar to credit card rates,” Mr. Singh said.

He added that this credit history will help clients access other banking services so they can eventually be included in the formal financial system.

According to the latest Financial Inclusion Survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 2017, only 22.6%, or some 15.8 million Filipino adults, maintain formal bank accounts, citing lack of money and lack of need to have an account as the main reasons.

Over the next five years, AsiaKredit targets to capture a million customers and grow its portfolio to $500 million, as it aims to exit the pilot stage as early as the fourth quarter of this year.

“Right now, we’re still very small since we’re on pilot. We’re still building our scorecard and partnerships,” Mr. Singh said.

“Probably by Q4 of this year, (we’ll be out of the pilot test) since we’re still testing our two new products. But definitely in 2020, we’ll be rolling out and scaling.” — Karl Angelo N. Vidal

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The new Galaxy Tablets are now available in Samsung stores.

SAMSUNG has launched its newest lineup of Galaxy tablets in the Philippines, aimed at individuals constantly on the go.

The Galaxy Tab A with S Pen, A 10.1, and S5E are now available at Samsung authorized stores nationwide, the company said in a statement.

The Galaxy Tab A 8.0 with S Pen has an eight-inch screen and is equipped with a 1.8GHz Octa-core processor, 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, expandable up to 512GB via microSD. It also has an eight-megapixel (MP) rear camera and 5MP front camera. The tablet is likewise LTE-ready and has a 4,200 mAh battery.

The tablet is available in the colors black and grey at a suggested retail price of P15,990.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Tab S5e is the slimmest, lightest tablet in its class, weighing at 400 grams and measuring 5.5 millimeters thin, Samsung said. The tablet has a 10.5-inch sAMOLED display with a quad-speaker system by AKG and Dolby Atmos’ surround sound.

The tablet has a 13MP rear camera and a 8MP front camera, and a battery life of 7,040 mAh with a fast charging feature.

The Galaxy Tab S5e comes in black and gold colors and is priced at P26,990.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 has a 10.1-inch IPS display and runs on a 1.8GHz Octa-core processor. It has 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, which also expandable up to 512GB via a microSD card.

The tablet has an 8MP rear camera with LED flash, a 5MP front camera, and is 4G LTE ready. It also features has a dual-speaker system with Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound and is equipped with a 6,150mAh battery.

The Galaxy Tab A 10.1 also comes in black and gold and has a suggested retail price of P16,990.

Samsung has also partnered with Netflix to deliver thousands of hours of content for its tablets, the firm said.

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By Charmaine A. Tadalan
Reporter

LEGISLATIVE measures that will open the country to more foreign investments, increase jobs and further reform the tax system top local and foreign businesses’ wish list for the 18th Congress that convenes for its first of three regular sessions on July 22.

’Yung [needed amendments to the] foreign investment law and also the public service (act), I think that should be addressed, so that we can attract more foreign investments,” Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Chairman George T. Barcelon said in a mobile phone message on Monday when asked on what new measures lawmakers should work on.

Mr. Barcelon was referring to the proposed amendment to Republic Act No. 7042, or the Foreign Investments Act of 1991, which will remove restrictions on foreigners from practicing their profession in the Philippines; and to the 82-year-old Commonwealth Act No. 146, or the Public Service Act, which will lift foreign ownership limits in utilities.

He added that easing land conversion and labor law restrictions — in order for the latter to “be more flexible and fair for us to create more jobs” — are also “relevant concerns” for business.

“The other item that we feel that is important is focus on agri[culture] and fisheries. We have to use technology and investment on human skill to increase our productivity,” Mr. Barcelon added, referring to a sector that accounts for about a fourth of jobs in the country but has historically contributed just a tenth to national output.

Improving agriculture’s productivity, he said, will help keep prices of basic goods like rice, sugar, fish and meat — and hence overall inflation which hit multi-year highs last year — in check.

Also needed are long-term solutions to the current water crisis, he said, which hits not just households but businesses as well.

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc. (JCCIPI) will likewise push for measures to increase competitiveness of the Philippines, including the proposed tax reform that will reduce the corporate income tax rate gradually to 20% by 2029 from 30% currently.

“Amendments to the Public Services Act, Foreign Investment Act and Retail Trade Act are on top of ECCP’s advocacy priorities. The Chamber is convinced that the aforementioned economic reforms will further facilitate more FDIs (foreign direct investments) and consequently, spur job creation in the country,” ECCP President Nabil Francis said in an e-mail, Monday.

“TRABAHO (Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-quality Opportunities via reduced corporate income tax rates and streamlined fiscal perks) is also high on our agenda and we will continuously monitor further developments on this front.”

IN THE PIPELINE
The TRABAHO Bill is among the remaining packages of the government’s comprehensive tax reform program, along with packages three and four, which will centralize real property valuation and assessment; and simplify taxes on financial instruments respectively. Also pending is the proposal to increase the government’s share in mining revenues and the excise tax rates on alcohol products, which form part of the so-called package two-plus.

“We… urge the government to move towards a competitive fiscal regime as quickly as possible to dispel any uncertainties. This will send a positive signal to potential and existing investors who are looking for a stable and favorable destination to do business,” Mr. Francis added.

JCCIPI Executive Director Nobuo Fujii said via mobile phone message on Wednesday: “We prefer PSA, Retail Service Act, FIA (amendments) first. TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) 3&4 next. Re Trabaho, we do, but except incentive matter.”

Business chambers have cautioned government on moves to change the tax incentive system, warning such uncertainty could dissuade prospective investors from coming in and existing ones from pursuing expansion plans.

The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) also backed the proposed tax measure, sans the move to change the incentive system.

“The business committees are fine with it and support the TRAIN law overall; but would like refinement of incentives for some industries that might lose competitiveness, especially export industries,” FFCCCII Trade and Industry committee chair George T. Siy said via telephone interview on Wednesday.

Tax reforms that have already been enacted are Republic Act No. 10963, which slashed personal income tax rates and increased or added levies on some goods and services, and RA 11213, which grants estate tax amnesty and amnesty on delinquent accounts that remained unpaid after being given final assessment; while a bill that will gradually increase excise tax on tobacco products to P60 per pack by 2023 from P35 currently awaits President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s signature.

Mr. Siy also said the FFCCCII also asked Congress to review laws protecting labor and cumbersome requirements for setting up businesses.

“Labor needs to be protected but some protections are no longer economical and viable. It’s excessive already,” he said.

“The requirements for business are becoming excessive that are not even present in other countries — like requiring seismographs or excess fire protection for every building, even warehouses,” he added.

Mr. Siy also cited the need to promptly address discrepancies between national and local laws that make it more difficult to do business.

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Infrastructure like widely distributed electric car charging stations -- such as this one in London -- are needed for increased use of such vehicles. -- REUTERS

ELECTRIC VEHICLES are here to stay because China is investing heavily in the manufacture of these cars and the production of their batteries, but the Philippines needs to do more to encourage greater adoption of EVs.

This is the belief of some members of the industry as well as government officials, who shared their view on the status of “green” car usage locally during the 7th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit held on Wednesday at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City.

“China is going into the electric vehicle space in a big way,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian told participants of the conference to answer what he said were persistent questions on whether EVs in the Philippines are just a fad.

He said China has been driving the growth of EVs and is projected to corner one-fourth of sales by 2040.

With that country’s influence in the global market, others will be in a good position by preparing for wider adoption of EVs, as Mr. Gatchalian narrated contents of a bill he plans to push when Congress is back in session.

He said pricing would also be a factor in the greater use of these vehicles. He expects parity with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, or those powered by fossil fuels, to be reached by 2024. “In the next five years, the prices will be the same,” he said. “The [price] component for battery will also shrink.”

Ferdinand I. Raquelsantos, chairman emeritus of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines, said Chinese companies were among the participants in this year’s summit. Some are in talks with local companies for possible partnerships, he said.

“For me, right now we are already in parity with ICE. If you’ve seen some of the vehicles inside, like the passenger cars, they’re very much competitive as far as their pricing right now,” Mr. Raquelsantos said in an interview.

“What more once the bill gets passed,” said Mr. Raquelsantos, who is also president of Philippine Utility Vehicle, Inc. (PhUV).

He was referring to Mr. Gatchalian’s Senate Bill No. 2137, which seeks to address the challenges to the development of the EV industry by instructing the Department of Energy (DoE) to draw up a “road map” and for distribution utilities to include charging infrastructure in their power development plan.

Mr. Raquelsantos said new charging stations should include standards or protocols being used in China, which he said could be the source of possible EV parts that could be assembled locally.

“Our charging stations should have those combinations,” he said, referring to the different standards being used in Japan, United States and Europe.

DoE Assistant Secretary Leonido J. Pulido III agreed that the prospects for EVs in the Philippines have never been better.

“I believe there will come a period or a time when electric vehicles would be the most prevalent type of vehicle on the road,” Mr. Pulido said.

“And it’s a matter of time — it will happen — the question is when.”

“But for it to happen sooner, the government and the private sector have to be more aggressive,” Mr. Pulido said.

Recent initiatives introduced by the government include an order of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for the issuance of “tourist franchises” for electric tricyles.

“[DoTr] signed a department order allowing e-trike as tourist franchise in environmentally critical zones or tourism areas, for example Boracay, Intramuros, as defined by Department of Tourism,” DoTr Undersecretary Mark Richmund M. De Leon said.

He also said the government is looking at requiring a percentage of its fleet to be electric vehicles. He said numbers were being finalized by the Department of Budget and Management. — Victor V. Saulon

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CEBU Landmasters, Inc. (CLI) continues its expansion in the Visayas and Mindanao region with a proposed university town project in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) and the launch of two residential projects worth P1.26 billion in sales.

In a statement Wednesday, the listed property developer said it has received a notice of interest from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan (XU) for the development of the latter’s 63.5-hectare property known as Manresa. The property is located near XU’s 12-hectare basic education campus in Pueblo de Oro.

CLI is looking to acquire a 14.3-hectare portion of the Manresa property to develop commercial, residential, office, and leisure projects next to the university town. The company also looks to acquire part of XU’s campus along Corrales Avenue and transform it into a central business district.

These acquisitions will finance the development of the Manresa campus, which will feature modern school buildings, dormitories, a main plaza, interconnected courtyards, an amphitheater, and a university forum with a museum, theater, and gallery.

It will also fund the redesign of the Corrales campus for XU’s School of Medicine, College of Law, and most of its graduate programs.

The Cebu-based developer noted that its masterplan was chosen over proposals from other nationwide property players. The company will need final approval from the university’s central leadership before proceeding with the project.

CLI noted that XU has been mulling a move out of its six-hectare main campus in downtown CDO. The Corrales campus has been able to accommodate up to 11,000 students prior to the implementation of the K12 program. The new Manresa campus is seen to increase its student population to 25,000.

“This possible venture with Xavier University will potentially be our second estate project in Mindanao after our Davao Global Township (DGT),” CLI President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Soberano III said in a statement.

CLI is currently spending P33 billion to develop the 22-hectare DGT in Matina, Davao City, with the first phase seen to be completed by the third quarter of 2023. Meanwhile, CLI said it launched Casa Mira Towers CDO in Barangay Kauswagan. The project will feature two towers consisting of 986 units ranging from 20-36 square meters for studio and one-bedroom units, respectively.

For Casa Mira Towers CDO, CLI is spending P824 million for the project which will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The company also unveiled Velmiro Uptown CDO that houses 396 house and lots in a 14-hectare gated subdivision in Upper Canitoan area of Uptown CDO. The company is investing P437 million for the horizontal project scheduled for completion by the fourth quarter of 2021. CLI’s net income attributable to the parent grew 23% to P598.54 million in the first quarter of 2019, after gross revenues jumped 49% to P1.88 billion.

Shares in CLI rose 0.39% or two centavos to close at P5.20 each at the stock exchange on Wednesday. — Arra B. Francia

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THE expanded Uniqlo shop at the SM Lanang Premier in Davao City opens on July 19. — BW/LEAN S. DAVAL, JR.

DAVAO CITY — Japanese global apparel retailer Uniqlo has expanded one of its two branches in Davao, making this its largest shop in Mindanao.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to showcase a wider range of Uniqlo Life wear clothing… So we are doubling the shopping space,” Uniqlo Philippine Marketing Head Camille Rose Pacis said in an interview during the media launch Wednesday.

Located at the ground level of SM Lanang Premier, the new store that is opening on Friday (July 19) will have a 1,414-square meter (sq.m.) area from the previous 767 sq.m.

“Since we opened here two years ago in May 2017, we really see the potential and we appreciate it because we are seeing a lot of Davaoeños who are wearing Uniqlo Life wear,” she said.

Uniqlo has four branches in Mindanao, two in Davao and one each in the cities of General Santos and Cagayan de Oro.

Ms. Pacis said they are looking to open more stores in Mindanao as well as in other parts of the Philippines, where they currently have a network of 57 since launching Uniqlo in the country in 2012.

“We don’t have information in terms of the areas yet but we will announce once we are ready. We really see the economic potential and growth of Mindanao,” she said. — Maya M. Padillo

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WORK on the expansion of the Subic Bay Freeport Expressway (SFEX) has started, according to the NLEX Corp. and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

The P1.6-billion SFEX capacity expansion project is expected to make it easier for motorists to go in and out of Subic Bay Freeport.

In a statement, NLEX said the project involves adding two new expressway lanes, including a tunnel and two bridges in Jadjad and Argonaut, to the eight-kilometer SFEX.

Expressway-standard LED lights will be installed along the SFEX as well.

“Our company believes that good infrastructure is necessary to expedite delivery of products and boost tourism. These SFEX improvements, which are expected to be completed by September 2020, all aimed at supporting trade and commerce in Subic and enhancing the travel experience of our motorists,” NLEX Corp. President and General Manager Luigi L. Bautista was quoted as saying in the statement.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the expansion of the SFEX will help Subic maintain its position as a premiere business and leisure hub, and complement its infrastructure development program.

The project also includes raising the Maritan Highway-Rizal Highway-Tipo Road junction and improving the drainage system to address flooding in the area. Phase 1 is expected to be completed by October, in time for the Southeast Asian Games in November.

To give way for the construction activities, one part of the Maritan-Rizal-Tipo junction has been closed to traffic since July 13. Motorists are asked to use alternate routes along the Causeway Road and the Argonaut-Kalayaan Access Road.

“While there will be occasional lane closures for the entire project duration, SFEX will remain passable to all types of vehicles as most construction activities will be done at the roadside,” Mr. Bautista said.

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Cirtek facility in Biñan — CIRTEK

CIRTEK Holdings Philippines Corp. (CHPC) on Wednesday said its subsidiary has bagged a deal with a US chipmaker, which is expected to generate $3 million in annual revenues.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange, the listed company said Cirtek Electronics Corp. (CEC) has been tapped by a US-based chipmaker and technology firm to make modules and chipsets that will be used in 5G wireless systems.

The unnamed company, which is based in Silicon Valley, specializes in telecommunications e-band ceramic modules and chipsets.

“The 5G products, which will be used for data traffic control and for high bandwidth, high speed transmitters, are expected to generate revenues to Cirtek of up to $3 million per year starting 2020,” CHPC said.

CHPC said the chipmaker “will transfer their assembly, pre-cap text and RF (radio frequency) final test line” from the United States to CEC’s facility in Laguna Technopark, Biñan, Laguna.

CEC will invest in upgrading its surface mount technology or electronic board assembly, capabilities and capacity.

At the same time, CHPC said another subsidiary Cirtek Advanced Technology and Solutions, Inc. (CATSI) is looking to boost revenues from its RF board module assembly business by 33% to $4 million this year.

“A major customer is consolidating its business and aims to capitalize on CATSI’s vast experience in RF, microwave and millimeter wave manufacturing,” the company said.

CHPC reported its net income attributable to the parent slumped 98% to $14,500 in the first three months of 2019, from $968,371 during the same period a year ago.

Consolidated revenues dropped 19% to $21.02 million in the first quarter, due to lower revenue contribution from Quintel, a US-based company it acquired in August 2017.

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