News [Archive]: RP firms behind Asian neighbors’ in governance ranking

[Submitted by Dennis D. Estopace, Reporter, to BusinessMirror on Sept. 26, 2010.]

 

A RESEARCH being sold for US$350 tagged Philippine companies as lagging those in eight other Asian nations in governance.

Responsible Research Pte. Ltd. ranked the Philippines as just a notch above the People's Republic of China but at the ninth position according to the research firm's proprietary Asian Sustainability Rating (ASR) for 2010.

"Outside of a few top-performing companies the Philippines universe is characterized by widespread non-disclosure," the Singapore-based company said in a statement.

"Reflecting on the deeply entrenched culture of corporate philanthropy many companies see sustainability as the activities of the company foundation rather than an embedded part of corporate practice," it added.

Responsible Research noted that two companies in the Philippines ranked low among 542 publicly-listed companies it applied ASR with.

Food and beverage conglomerates San Miguel Corp. and Jollibee Foods Corp. were in the 474th and 502nd position, respectively, among the total rated firms. Responsible Research gave a low 11 percent to San Miguel while Jollibee was ascribed nine percent.

The highest is a hundred percent ASR to which no company reached. The highest rating of 87 percent was ascribed by Responsible Research to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. The lowest ASR of three percent were ascribed to five companies, two of which were domiciled in Taiwan and one each in India (Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd.), Indonesia (PT Delta Dunia Makmur Tbk.), and South Korea (GS Holdings Corp.).

South Korea led the ASR per country ranking, followed by India, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

In the statement, Responsible Research said its ASR methodology "is based on a set of 100 sustainability indicators, split into four … categories –General, Environment, Social and Governance, which cover disclosure on the main elements of ESG [environment, social and governance] risk."

According to the report released mid-September, Responsible Research scored all companies "across the same ESG factors based on publicly available information only."

"In order that the end results are as unbiased as possible, there is no engagement or questionnaire of the companies in the methodology."

The firm's statement, however, contradicts this when it said that "few companies in our universe are willing to provide a direct named contact for ESG queries from stakeholders."

"Normally, when a contact is given, it is often someone in the PR or corporate communications office, revealing a commonly held belief in Asia that sustainability reporting is more of a marketing tool to prove a company's 'green' credentials," it added.

Two other companies in the Philippines fared better in the ASR: Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), ranking 15 of the total 532 companies, and Manila Water Co. (MWC) at 64. Both, to note, are subsidiaries of Ayala Corp.

ALI was given a 78-percent ASR while MWC got 61 percent.

The report said that it analysed 20 companies in the Philippines, which got a 29% country ASR, tailing Hong Kong with 33-percent ASR, but ahead of China that was given a 20-percent ASR.

"Outside of the top three or four companies, our Philippines universe is characterised by a widespread lack of disclosure on environmental and social indicators and mostly immaterial reporting in general," the report said.

It added: "Reflecting on the deeply entrenched culture of paternalistic corporate philanthropy, many companies in the Philippines see sustainability as the company Foundations' activities, rather than an embedded part of business practice."

The Philippines, to note, had the lowest free float market capitalization of US$20 billion among the ten countries. China has the highest free float market capitalization at US$1.951 trillion.

Responsible Research said that companies included in the ASR who "would like to access [its] full indicator breakdown" can do so by paying the equivalent of P15,050 (at US$1=P43).

US media titan Bradley asks RP rich help for child protection

[Submitted by Dennis D. Estopace, Reporter, to BusinessMirror Sept. 28, 2010. Published Sept. 29, 2010. Photo here courtesy of CPNFI.]
 
 AMERICAN publisher David G. Bradley has called on the Philippines's wealthiest to sustain programs against child abuse of the group he funded out of his personal pockets since 1997.

"There's an unbelievable concern for children and energy for their protection from the Filipino people. And the Philippines went from student to an authority on child protection," Bradley, currently owner of the Atlantic Media Co., said from Washington via online video feed.

Bradley spoke to reporters days after facilitating the 90-minute audience of US-based media with President Benigno Aquino III in Washington, D.C., United States, where the 56-year-old media titan also lives.

He said the work of the Philippines to curb child abuse has brought it the responsibility to raise the issue to the regional level.

Bradley referred to the group he established 13 years ago, the Child Protection Unit, now Child Protection Network Foundation Inc., which he said has the largest database of cases at 7,505 for 2009 only.

"It's the first professional society on child protection and offers a lot of research that can address this problem."

Lawyer Katrina Legarda said that the problem of child abuse is compounded by the spike in cases of gang-rape that the CPNFI is currently documenting.

These, she said, usually involves drug abuse and bullies in schools.

"So if you have daughters, warn them on their friends, especially if these are boys," she said adding that parents should also guide children on online social networking sites.

Bradley also noted that most of the cases of abuse his group recorded show seven of 10 are children of overseas Filipino women workers.

"That this monstrous crime is happening to a country with lots of good people, to a Catholic country, is incredulous."

CPNFI board president Irene Martel Francisco said that their CPU in the Philippine General Hospital receives an annual average of 1,145 children.

Legarda said ten percent of 114 comes from Cavite.

The Foundation has 34 centers across the country and Francisco said they want to have one in each province or a total of 81 within the next five years.

She added that they are targeting to raise P4 million in a charity ball in November to start working on this goal.

Francisco said that only P9,576 is needed a year for a child to survive abuse once he or she is brought to one of their centers.

The amount would cover medical check up and medicines, legal fees, psychological counseling, and home visits by social workers.

"It's a small amount considering the big effect the services provided to a child."

Francisco, however, clarified that Bradley wouldn't stop from funding the Foundation's work.

"I'm doing this because of the relationships I've nurtured with the Filipinos since I was there when I was 21," Bradley said.

Schneider Electric reaction on blog entry

[The press relations agency tapped by Schneider Electric Philippines Inc. sent an electronic mail seeking corrections on my previous entry titled "Schneider re-enters data center market." Am publishing the mail, with some editing, to wit:]
 
"Dear Dennis,
 
Thanks so much for accommodating my call and my request. As discussed on the phone, we would like to make the following corrections on your blog:
 
1. The …more appropriate title would be "APC by Schneider Electric strengthens their position in the data center market." APC [American Power Corp.] never left the data center market. APC however merged with MGE UPS and eventually the proper rebranding is "APC by Schneider Electric" – with Schneider Electric being the mother company of MGE UPS. The company should always be referred to as Schneider Electric because there is another company called Schneider – and more popularly known in the pen and writing equipment business.
2. Eastern Telecommunications is just among the recent data center case studies that agreed to a press announcement. As a proof point that this does not commence their re-entry into data center, they have also previously made joint announcements with RCBI, CIGI, and IP-Converge, among others.
3. We commend you for being resourceful and getting the SEC figures for Schneider Electric. However, just to clarify we would like to point out that the SE tag does not yet include APC, which is still under MGE tag. While your source maybe an official SEC paper, we think this should be pre-qualified since the announcement last Friday comes from Schneider Electric's IT Business Unit – or what we officially brand as "APC by Schneider Electric".
 
Perhaps not having the Schneider Electric Philippines financial figure in the article would be most appreciated since the business unit you are interested in is still undergoing the restructuring, which we are not privileged to access....if you would consider.
 
Again, many thanks for your continued support. We appreciate your taking time to attend our events, coming up with the most intelligent and challenging questions and for taking time to initiate your own researches.

News: Schneider re-enters data center market

[Submitted by: Dennis D. Estopace, Reporter, for BusinessMirror
September 27, 2010]

FRENCH firm Schneider Electric (Phils.) Inc. has re-introduced its
power support products in the Philippine data center market after
sales and income dropped last year.
Schneider re-launched on Friday the upgraded version of its product
targeting businesses relying on computer servers.
According to Kevin Hughes, the company's manager for cooling products
in Asia-Pacific and Japan, the decision to reintroduce products
launched in January is based on results of a June 2009 survey that
revealed majority of chief information officers prioritize modular
cooling as a design for data centers.
It's still relevant because the technology we have in the United
States "relate to what's happening here and is also applicable,"
Hughes said.
Cooling has been a requirement for power-hungry computers used by many
data centers that rely on continuous operation of their equipment.
According to Hughes, a high-density data center requires more air and
more cables.
"Power usage is the number one issue for most large-company IT
executives over the next two to four years," Hughes's colleague Sim
Chia Wei said.
Wei, business development manager for Asean, added that another market
trend is that "physical infrastructure costs will equal, and then
surpass, [information technology] equipment costs."
"Market conditions are perfect for introducing management tools to
effectively manage the physical environment," he told reporters in a
press conference.
Schneider introduced an upgraded version of its infrastructure
products after the company entered the new year with a 19.89-percent
drop in net sales to P601.5 million from P750.94 million in December
2008. The drop in sales was despite cutting cost of sales by 22.9
percent to P392.6 million from P509.2 million in 2008, according to
the firm's latest report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Schneider's Philippine office also saw its net income drop by 17.43
percent in 2009 to P57.21 million from P69.3 million in the previous
year.
The company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of France-incorporated
Schneider Electric SA, also said in its financial statement to the SEC
that it reduced its employees in 2009, slightly increasing its
miscellaneous expense to P3.748 million.
But while costs for salaries, wages and benefits to employees went
down by 16.59 percent to 70.27 million, only 0.82 percent or P203,229
was cut for its management fees from P27.57 million in 2008.
Schneider is banking on a new deal by its business unit American Power
Conversion Corp. (APC) with Eastern Telecommunications Philippines
Inc. to support the company's re-entry into the data center market.
A statement said APC would supply solutions for the data center and
manage and oversee the project. IBM Philippines Inc. will implement
the project, the statement added.
Country sales manager Ian de la Rosa said during the press conference
the products would be imported from a Schneider manufacturing unit in
other countries.
"There are still no indications when these will be manufactured in our
plant [in Rosario, Cavite]."

Archive News: Despite low cash, Lenovo exec upbeat on RP

[Submitted by Dennis D. Estopace, Reporter, to BusinessMirror
September 01, 2010]

THE local executive of the world's fourth-largest computer maker is
upbeat Lenovo will expand its Philippine operations, despite beginning
the year with low cash.
"The double-digit [10.2-percent] market share that we now enjoy is
very important. As you gain more market share, you see you're on the
road to profitability and you can scale up the business in terms of
other avenues," Lenovo (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. Philippine Representative
Office executive Maria Victoria Agorrilla said.
Agorrilla, Lenovo country general manager, spoke to BusinessMirror
after Lenovo announced year-over-year sales of US$5.1 billion in its
first quarter ended June.
The Beijing, China-headquartered manufacturer that bought the computer
segment of US firm International Business Machine (IBM) Corp. said in
a statement dated August 19 that the volume of its computer shipments
during its first fiscal quarter was double than industry expectations
at 48.1 percent worldwide.
"Net cash reserves as of June 30 totaled US$2.2 billion," the statement added.
The company's Philippine sales office, on the other hand, began its
operations with 96.29-percent lower cash at P0.662 million compared to
when it began with P17.895 million in 2009, the company said in its
financial report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Lenovo said in its report to the SEC that its representative office
"doesn't earn or derive income from operations in the Philippines."
All of its expenses are financed solely by its head office in
Singapore, it added.
To note, remittance from the Singapore head office to the Philippines
for fiscal year 2010 went down by 48.90 percent to P11.04 million from
P21.62 million in the company's previous fiscal year that begins
April.
But while Agorrilla said company policies restrict what she can
announce, she noted that Lenovo has identified the consumer and small
businesses segment as "growth areas" in the Philippines.
"In the enterprise segment, we already have a foothold because of the
IBM heritage, so we have to look into new markets for growth. The
consumer and small business are growth areas for us, that's why we're
putting a lot of efforts to capture those two markets."
Currently, Lenovo is selling computers in the Philippines under its
Think and Idea series that begin above US$500 each. The company's
laptop computers segment remains its biggest source of revenue with a
60.5-percent share in worldwide sales.
After re-purchasing the mobile business it sold, Lenovo said it has
launched its smartphone business in China during the first quarter
that began April this year.
"We're part of the brands that really saw the influx of mobile users
in the Philippines. More people are tuning up to mobile internet
devices and eventually there will be phones like these," Agorrilla
said.
However, she added there's "no specific date for this part of the
world" for the launch of Lenovo's smartphone.
"But if we're doing well, then we should be there [in the smartphone market]."
Lenovo's Philippine business is operated by ten employees, according
to its filing with the SEC. It is also tax-exempt being a
non-generating revenue enterprise.

News: Newly-independent software firm says RP still Asia base

[Submitted by Dennis D. Estopace, Reporter, to BusinessMirror, August 26, 2010.]

HAVING exited from Emerson Electric Co., business software-maker
LANDesk Software Inc. said Thursday it will retain the Philippines as
its operations base for Southeast Asia.
"We see areas where we can grow faster in Southeast Asia and Asia,
particularly China. We see there's a right staff in the Philippines to
be the headquarter for Southeast Asia," LANDesk vice-president for
Asia-Pacific Andrew Ruse said three days after the company announced
its purchase by Thoma Bravo LLC.
The Salt Lake City, Utah, US-based LANDesk makes software to manage
computers in a business like doing an inventory of its machines or how
many computers it has as well as the software installed in these
computers. Ruse said they also make and sell security products running
on a network of computers. Some of these security features are
installed as part of laptop computers made by Lenovo Corp., a Lenovo
executive said.
LANDesk was originally with Intel Corp. when its a hundred or so
employees put up a separate company in 2002. It was bought by Avocent
in 2006, which was subsequently bought by Emerson in October last
year.
The company has been operating in the Philippines through Avocent
subsidiary Touchpaper and then through Emerson.
Ruse said that after the Emerson purchase of Avocent, they asked
management to help them spin off.
"There were many options but we settled the best would be tapping
private equity," Ruse said adding they saw Alabama-based firm Thoma
Bravo as a "good fit."
While Ruse said they can't disclose the purchase amount, LANDesk
claims to have contributed to the 20-percent annual revenue growth of
Avocent.
He said they are still targeting a 20-percent growth this year but may
have to "wait for the expectations of our new bosses [in Thoma
Bravo]." Ten of its 800 employees worldwide are in the Philippines.
Ruse also shares the optimism the firm's operations Philippines can
carve a share in the US$2.1-billion global enterprise management
software market and the US$2.5-billion business security management
software market.
A statement quoted LANDesk chief executive Steve Daly as saying that
the company eyes the "500 million personal computers with five billion
Internet-protocol connected devices in the corporate environment
today."
"When you make money and have a good product, everybody wants you,"
Ruse said on the day he flies to Hong Kong to check on LANDesk's
operations there.
He said the company has filed incorporation papers to the Philippine
Securities and Exchange Commission but the Thoma Bravo acquisition
will still be completed end-September.
No figures were disclosed.

Demolition

[Blogger's Note: The post below was based on an email sent by Urban
Missionaries-AMRSP on September 23, 2010, citing Rommel Yamzon as
source.]

FOUR residents were injured after government employees attempted to
evict informal settlers on a land near a shopping mall in the former
Philippine capital.
According to a document sent by Church-based nonprofit group Urban
Missionaries, the four were: Nita Estabillo, 47; Florebi Agasita, 30;
Teody Gacer, 54; and, Alberto Cavosa, 60.
The four were residents of a plot of land named after a French
Catholic saint in a village called Bagong Pag-Asa (New Hope) where
violence reportedly ensued when employees of the National Housing
Authority (NHA) attempted to evict around 600 families living there,
according to the documentation of the Task Force Detainees of the
Philippines (TFDP).
The report said these employees carried mallets, pickaxes and crowbars
apparently as tools to demolish the self-built houses of these
families who "refused" the demolition.
The report added that the four suffered bruises when the settlers and
the demolition team members threw stones and debris against each
other.
The UM document noted that a firetruck's water cannon was also used
against the settlers.
The report noted that "the demolition team was able to enter the area
and destroy several shanties located at the northern side of the
community."
While the document cited about 300 police were in the area, it didn't
say what action these personnel used to prevent, stop or encourage the
violence.
The UM report suspects that Ayala Land Inc. moved to demolish the
informal settlers' homes because it plans to develop a business and
commercial district on the property, which is owned by the NHA.
The report claims the publicly-listed company of the Zobel de Ayala
clan will spend about
P22 billion project to develop the 29.1-hectare property.
"Residents have refused an offer to be relocated at a resettlement
site in Montaban, Rizal citing poor living conditions, high
transportation costs and lack of amenities, such as water and
electricity. Community leaders demand an on-site relocation since
their source of livelihood is only within the metro. They insist that
the government should instead build a medium or high-rise building
where they would all live in. Moreover, community organizations are
currently lobbying to have a moratorium to suspend all demolition and
evictions against informal settlers."
The UM document is asking fellow Filipinos to write to government
authorities "urging them to:
Call upon competent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective,
thorough, independent and impartial investigation into these events,
and ensure that adequate, effective and prompt reparation, is granted
to the victims;
Strictly observe the Urban Development and Housing Act or UDHA
(Republic Act 7279) that lays down the mandatory requirements for the
valid execution of eviction and demolition orders;
Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms
throughout the country in accordance with international human rights
standards."
Government authorities named included President Benigno Aquino III,
who is in the United States for top-level meetings as well as to grace
a fund-raising event organized by the Ayala Foundation Inc.
For additional information, please contact: Task Force Detainees of
the Philippines (TFDP) / 45 St. Mary Street , Cubao, Quezon City 1109,
Philippines / Telephone: (632) 4378054 / facsimile: (632) 9113643 /
email: tfdp1974@yahoo.com / website: www.tfdp.net

Media coverage of 2010 Philippine polls

video

Video of University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication former Dean Luis Teodoro citing points of study of media coverage of the Philippine national elections last May 2010. Video by Dennis D. Estopace, September 22, 2010, JV del Rosario Conference Room, Asian Institute of Management Conference Center, Makati City.

Journalism: Looking at the Roof from the Basement

MONDAY will be the last of two lectures I and fellow BusinessMirror
newspaper reporter Villy Cabuag would give to a class of junior
journalism students of the University of Sto, Tomas.
It is, indeed, ironic since just when I was beginning to like giving a
lecture, it had to end. Some good things never last, as the cliché
goes.
It's not the money that makes giving the lecture a good thing. The only payment we get is booze and food paid out of the hallowed pockets of UST Professor Jeremaiah Opiniano.

[Photo shows Professor Opiniano and reporter Cabuag preparing slide presentation at Rm. 204 of the UST. Photo by dde/Sep. 15, 2010.]

Half-dragging us out of the beer table, Jeremaiah –the only one sober among a pack of hungry, beer-thirsty, and fat-packed reporters– thought our experience as journalists is credible enough to subject
third year students to the whimsical wisdoms of two dork-looking guys.
Though mistaken, we avoided giving Jeremaiah a heartache, so we indulged him, foolishly believing that journalism professors are half-serious in teaching.
What we shared last September 15 to his Wednesday evening class we generally would repeat tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Villy is expected to cite his experience in covering the beat –the routine and the lack of it, as well as offer some tips for those who are crazy enough like us to tread the path we've taken.
Villy's lecture would hopefully prepare the students who will go on an internship prior to their climb to senior year.
I also plan to make the students answer three multiple-choice format questions I asked the students the other night. To wit:

1. I want to become a journalist because: (a) I want to be famous; (b)
It's the easiest way to earn; (c) It looks like a cool job; (d) I want
to change society; (e) all of the above; and, (f) none of the above.
2. I'll be good in journalism because: (a) I have the looks; (b) I'm
talented; (c) I'm gung-ho; (d) I have the heart for it; (e) all of the
above; and, (f) none of the above.
3. A successful journalist is (a) famous and well-known; (b) rich;
(c) hard-working; (d) ___________ (place any name here); (e) all of
the above; and, (f) none of the above.

Basically, the questions provide a self-exercise (a) to allow students
to check their motivation; (b) to see their views on journalists; and,
(c) as a segue to my discussion points.
These discussion points became more relevant at the gab fest of
journalists called MediaNation at the Taal Vista Lodge, Tagaytay, over
the weekend.
Sponsored by the Asia Foundation and the US Embassy in the
Philippines, the conference was participated by journalists of all
shapes and sizes, types of media, and stature: from the diva to the
deviants; from the old hands to the heading old; and, from the
Manila-based to the barrio-mastered.
The point I emphasized, which Atty. Raul Pangalangan thanked me for
expressing, is the power structure involved, regardless of new or old
media.
Filipino journalists, based on my experience in the field, are at the
mercy of their owners and the market.
Aside from keeping faithful to their profession, Filipino journalists
have to strive harder to avoid getting co-opted by the system or,
because they refuse to do so, getting axed.
As I recommended to Jeremaiah's students, journalists have to develop
their market value to at least have leverage in achieving the lofty
levels of professionalism.
Nonetheless, there were two good points raised during the 2-day
MediaNation Conference that I may add in my lecture Monday: developing
the collective market value of journalists at the bottom of the
pyramid and getting by with the cards dealt.
By doing so, I hope, our professionalism will save us and ultimately
save the profession.

NASA says Cebu astronomer records Jupiter flash

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(http://www.nasa.gov) said an amateur astronomer from Cebu was one of
several enthusiasts able to record objects that burned up in Jupiter's
atmosphere on Aug. 20.
A statement dated September 10 said that Christopher Go of Cebu
"confirmed the flash also appeared in his recordings."
"Professional astronomers, alerted by email, looked for signs of the
impact in images from larger telescopes, including NASA's Hubble Space
Telescope, the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in
Chile, and Gemini Observatory telescopes in Hawaii and Chile."
Go was one of the amateur astronomers using backyard telescopes who
NASA said were the first to detect a small object that burned up in
Jupiter's atmosphere on Aug. 20.
Professional astronomers at NASA and other institutions followed up on
the discovery and gathered detailed information on the objects, which
produced bright spots on Jupiter.
It was the second fireball that amateur astronomers detected. The
first was on June 3.
The June 3 fireball released five to 10 times less energy than the
1908 Tunguska meteoroid, which exploded 4-6 miles above Earth's
surface with a powerful burst that knocked down millions of trees in a
remote part of Russia. The second, on Aug. 20, was first detected by
Japanese amateur astronomer Masayuki Tachikawa.
"It flashed for about 1.5 seconds and left no debris observable by a
large telescope," the statement said.
It added that "scientists continue to analyze the Aug. 20 fireball,
but think it was comparable to the June 3 object."
"It is interesting to note that while Earth gets smacked by a
10-meter-sized object about every 10 years on average, it looks as
though Jupiter gets hit with the same-sized object a few times each
month," the statement quoted, JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office
manager Don Yeomans as saying.
The statement added that "scientists saw no thermal disruptions or
typical chemical signatures of debris, which allowed them to put a
limit on the size of the object."
"Based on the data, the astronomers deduced the flash came from an
object - probably a small comet or asteroid - burning up in Jupiter's
atmosphere. The object likely had a mass of about 1-4 million pounds,
about 100,000 times lighter than another object that hit Jupiter in
July 2009."
Images and videos of the two impacts can be viewed at:
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/jupiter20100909.html

News: QC court rules vs. firm of Noynoy’s uncle

THE Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) ruled to dismiss the case
filed against MRT Development Corp. (MRT Devco) by Trackworks Rail
Transit Advertising, Vending and Promotions Inc., an advertising firm
chaired by President Benigno S. Aquino Jr.'s uncle.
In a copy of the court's decision given to BusinessMirror, Assistant
City Prosecutor Reuben Ritzuko T. Veradio said that it recommends the
case filed by Trackworks "be dismissed for lack of probable cause and
for lack of evidence."
The decision last month by the QC-RTC is the fifth loss in a string of
lawsuits filed by Trackworks against executives of MRT Devco and its
new advertising manager Media Puzzle Inc. (formerly Progressive Global
Trading Services Inc.).
The court document said the complaint of Trackworks, which is chaired
by Herminio S. Aquino, began when government employees "brought down
its giant billboards on the extreme sides of EDSA" when typhoon
Milenyo struck Metro Manila in September 2006.
That time, Trackworks is on a second contract lasting ten years
beginning December 2005 with MRT Devco.
This contract renews the first that granted Trackworks "the exclusive
advertising rights to undertake activities related to the
conceptualization, design and sale of advertising space, media and
promotion events in and outside the premises of the MRT," the company
said in its recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company's SEC filing added that "the contract covers the interior
and exterior areas of all 13 stations and railway structured owned by
the MRT DevCo, as well as the interiors and exteriors of 73 trains
cars."
In its latest financial report to the SEC, Trackworks posted
advertising revenue of P265.25 million in 2004, which was higher by
50.32 percent than the advertising revenue in the previous year of
P176.45 million.
Its net income also zoomed by more than 200 percent to P39.69 million
in 2004 from P12.36 million the previous year.
That time, Trackworks had a total of eight officers, 66 rank and file
employees and 74 manpower complement.
Aquino, which owns 251,660 common shares of the total 11,554,009
shares, is the half brother of the President's late father Senator
Benigno Aquino Jr.
The company filed its complaint after Media Puzzle reportedly
installed its own tarpaulin ad on Trackworks' advertising structure or
billboard on April 30, 2010.
To note, Media Puzzle is owned by five shareholders owning 20 percent
each of the company that had a paid up capital of P625,000 when it
registered with the SEC in 2008.
Based on court documents, Trackworks said it "lost possession of the
billboard in the amount of" P5 million "and was deprived of its right
to obtain advertising income" in the amount of P1 million a month.
However, the QC-RTC court said that since MRT DevCo terminated its
"lease-advertising" contract, the company "was within the bounds of
the law."
"Respondents could not be charged for grave coercion since their acts
are not "without authority of the law" even assuming …that their acts
have resulted in 'preventing Trackworks from doing something.'"
The court added that the respondents could also not be held liable for
robbery or malicious mischief, as Trackworks alleged, "since they did
not take any personal property by means of violence nor did they
deliberately caused damage to the property of another due to hate or
revenge."

[Originally submitted September 02, 2010, to BusinessMirror. Text and
photo by Dennis D. Estopace, Reporter. Photo of MRT Quezon Avenue
station stairs after a heavy downpour.]

News: RP realtors join foreigners in LEED bid

[Submitted to BusinessMirror newspaper September 05, 2010. Photo by:
Dennis Estopace of Greenbelt 5, Makati City.]

PHILIPPINE businesses have joined the band-wagon in getting certified
by the United States' Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
standard for new and existing buildings, according a LEED consultant.
Dean Barone, president of Barone International Inc., cited the
buildings vying for LEED certification include that of Zuellig Pharma
Corp.'s in Makati City; Aegis People Support in Cebu; and, Ayala Land
Inc.'s Nuvali Evotech One in Laguna. Likewise, three buildings in
Taguig City – Fort Bonifacio Development Corp.'s The Mind Museum,
Megaworld Corp.'s One Campus Place, and Sun Life Center– are also
seeking certification.
Others that submitted LEED certification checklist to the US Green
Building Council include the Asian Development Bank for their
headquarters in Manila, SM Development Corp. for its Aria building
project, the Centennial Hotel in Baguio City, the Arya Residential
Towers in Taguig, for its Shangri-la at the Fort also in Taguig, and
Makati Place in Makati.
According to Barone, a 100,000-square feet (sf) LEED building saves
US$1.50/sf in energy costs or US$150,000 annually in savings.
He said that an owner who invested US$400,000 in green technology and
standards to get the US$1.50/sf energy savings gets a US$4/sf premium.
The payback of investment is approximately 29 months, he said.
"Commercial real estate properties are valued as a multiple of 'net
operating income', or dividing the income by the capitalization rate
by roughly six percent. If the building reduced its annual energy
costs by US$150,000, the capitalized rate of 6% would result in an
incremental increase of property value by US$2.5 million," Barone said
in his presentation Thursday.
He added that the result of investing US$400,000 in annual savings of
US$150,000 would be to yield a return on investment of 625 percent.
"With a 6-percent annual capitalization rate, the green investments
add US$2.5 million to the value of the building (US$150,000 savings
divided by 6% rate) or an increase of US$25 per sf with an investment
of US$4/sf. This is equivalent to a net increase value of US$21sf,"
Barone claims.
He added that the value of the LEED project when completed would
increase from US$27.5 million to US$30 million.
"If the building owner or developer decided to sell their LEED
building, it is the norm for green buildings to command 30% premium
price over similar non-LEED buildings."
Already LEED-certified are the Texas Instruments' building in Clark,
Pampanga (gold) and the shared services building of Shell Shared
Services (Asia) B.V. in Makati City (silver).
The USGBC has four levels of LEED certification. A basic LEED
certification garners 40+ points, silver 50+, gold 60+, and platinum
80-100 points.
These points are given to buildings after scoring in key categories:
site sustainability (26-30 points possible); water efficiency (10-11
points possible); energy and atmosphere (35-37 points possible);
materials and resources used (14 points possible); quality of indoor
environment (15-16 points possible); and, innovation and design
process (6 points possible).
There are prerequisites, though, Barone said citing these as reducing
water use and energy consumption by 20 percent each, including
commissioning services for building systems, eliminating the use of
all CFC refrigerants, establishing a recycling program, and improving
the indoor air quality. Likewise, the building must ban cigarette
smoking in the area.
Citing USGBC data, Barone said green buildings are healthy because
"occupants are healthier and more productive."
"In the US, people spend, on average, 90% or more of their time
indoors. So since green buildings typically have better indoor air
quality and lighting, these, on average, save US$58 billion of sick
time from work annually and add US$180 billion in increased worker
productivity annually."
Barone said that existing buildings can be applied for certification.
Likewise, the USGBC, he said is piloting a certification of
neighborhood and communities.

Philippine Columbian Association

Got this message on September 7 from my good friend Lourdes Berin,
executive director of the Urban Missionaries, missionary arm of the
Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines.

"Welga na po ngayon ang phil.Columbian union dhil sa dismissal ng 56
regular na mggwa pati opisyales. UNION BUSTING. 1 welgista kanina ang
sinagasaan ng 1 sasakyang ngpumilit pumasok sakay ang mga eskirol.
Anumang suporta ay maari nating ipaabot sa unyon upang patatagin ang
picketline."

Urban Missionaries can be reached at 7215916.