Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 is mix of good, bad news for biz sector

..EACH passing month of the year 2012 has relevant stories to tell, good or bad, they all convey significant facts that either brought people with great delight or dismay, as some facets of the business sector were pulled down the slope. As the year comes to a close, let’s take a look back what the business community has been going through in this year. For instance, highlighting those industries which experience a great run-over like the real estate, business process outsourcing (BPO), and tourism while looking back to the agriculture which has been traversing a bumpy road as of yet. Tourism First is the opening of Davao-Clark connecting flights by the country’s budget airline Phillippine Air Asia early this year. The Air Asia has been servicing Dabawenyos and the tourists in Clark since its inaugural flight on March 28, 2012. The airline initially poured out P468 million for the acquisition of two brand new aircrafts - the Airbus320 - flying back and forth from Davao City to Clark, Pampanga for months now. Right after the inaugural flight, the signing of sister-airport pact agreement at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao followed later on. With this, tourism officials in Davao City, as they went a notch higher in promoting city as a premiere tourism destination and as gateway to Mindanao, are expecting an influx of tourists. But there’s still more to tourism promotion. The initiative of the three firms, two of which are Davao City-based, to carry the official tourism slogan of the country; “It’s more fun in the Philippines” was also a boon to the city. The South East Asian Airlines (Seair), Mabuhay Taxi and Blugre Coffee took the initiative of bearing the DOT slogan to help the department promote Davao and the country in general as a tourism haven in Asia. Seair launched its airbus 320 carrying the Department of Tourism (DOT) slogan on its fuselage during the inaugural flight of Davao City-Metro Manila connecting flight last August 19, 2012. The airline bared support for the country’s tourism thrust in order to promote the must-see destinations of the country here and abroad. Another is the DOT-bearing slogan high-end Black Taxi. There’s no one in Davao who has not heard of it yet. Of course, it created the most buzz in the third quarter of this year, its inception to the public. These Black Taxi units are equipped with the so-called swiper or the point-of-sale (POS) device, which allows any passenger to make use of the debit card to pay for the fare. Mabuhay Taxi, the company who spearheaded this initiative, initially emblazoned DOT slogan on each of the 25 Black Taxi units. Next is another homegrown coffee shop Blugre Coffee, which carries the DOT slogan on the coffee cups. Launched on the same day when Black Taxi units were inaugurated with no less than Tourism Secretary Ramong Jimenez Jr. Business process outsourcing The BPO has also been taking great strides in 2012, with the arrival of new and prospect foreign investors eyeing Davao as the primary next wave city for information and communications technology (ICT) hub where to house their facilities, given the available of pool of talents and infrastructures. In the ON3 Pitching Competition this year, Segworks, a local developer and a system development firm, emerged as winner with its product; “Tracer;” in the regional leg of the competition. It can be recalled that two of Davao’s local developers, Ric Dayot of Radgreen Solutions and Eric Su of Piclyf, emerged champions of ON3 Pitching Competition in 2011. Property Development Who would ever forget the opening of SM Lanang Premier, an upscale and the first of its kind mall in Mindanao, last September 28? Indeed, its opening had drawn much attention from Dabawenyos. Apart from this good news, SMX Convention Center Davao, the second in the country next to SM Mall of Asia in Pasig City, also opened its doors. Several events have been held there since its opening, including the 14th Davao Trade Expo (Date), spearheaded by the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Incorporated (DCCCII) for the small entrepreneurs, highlighting mostly poultry and hog raisers on October 25 to 27, this year. This year also Avida Land, a fully-owned subsidiary of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), also launched a latest infrastructure project in the city Avida, a high-rise twin tower condominium that will sit along C.M. Recto St. The first tower will be comprised of 23 floors, housing a total of 431 residential units. The second tower will be much taller with 28 floors with a total of 621 units. ALI is earmarking some P1 billion for the condominium project. Another homegrown real estate developer broke ground last September 19, for its new venture of a mall and BPO hub, Felcris Centrale, sitting in a 5.9 hectare land along Quimpo Boulevard, Barangay Bucana, this city. Felcris Hotels and Resorts is earmarking some P1 billion for this project. 2013 Ad Congress The latest of those good news is the victory of Davao City over the hosting rights for the AD Congress 2013. With convention facilities -- enough hotel rooms and a big convention center -- now in place, the city finally made it to host the biggest gathering of advertising stakeholders. Agriculture There's good news and bad news in agriculture industry in the previous month. The good news is the reawakening of initiatives to revive the cacao industry in not only in the city but also in the region. Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Incorporated (Cidami) was formed with the help of United States Department of Agriculture (Usda) and ACDI/VOCA. In fact, early next year Davao cacao farmers will start exporting roasted cacao to Singapore. This is apart from the demand of the world leader in chocolate making Mars of about 100,000 metric tons of roasted cocoa annually by year 2020. The bad news, however, is the temporary ban on the entry of Philippine bananas due to the stricter sanitary measures imposed by China on the agricultural products from the country in May 2012 that resulted to about millions of losses every week in banana sector. Economic pressure was initially seen behind the banning because of the long-standing dispute over the mineral-rich Scarborough Shoal between Philippines and China. It can be recalled that least 41 exporters were severely affected from Mindanao had their cargoes held in China’s major ports - Dalian, Tianjin, Beijing, and Qingdao - after finding insects in the boxes of bananas. There’s some truth indeed that; in every cloud there’s a silver lining;” as major players of the banana sector have each learned their lesson from the ban and are now raising the standards of the packing facilities with the support of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and local governments. But fresh from China’s recovery, farmers' hope was then again steeped to the lowest level with the aftermath of Typhoon “Pablo;” that hit Mindanao early December, this year. In a report of Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) recently, a total of 36,755 hectares of agricultural land planted to bananas were devastated by the typhoon. This translates to about $350 million in losses from export revenues. Banana is one of the export winners of the Philippines’s agricultural products. ..