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Water rates to go up in January

CUSTOMERS served by Metro Manila’s two water concessionaires will notice a slight increase in their bills starting Jan. 1, after the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) approved rate adjustments based on inflation and the movement of the peso against the US dollar.

Malacañang calls lawmakers’ treatment of Diokno ‘unparliamentary’

MALACAÑANG on Friday slammed lawmakers at the House of Representatives for their “unparliamentary behavior” towards Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno.

Software for Comelec’s election management system ready

ONE software program to be used by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for next year’s midterm elections has already been completed, in time before the release of the list of candidates this month.

DICT seeks mandatory unlocking of devices for postpaid users

THE DEPARTMENT of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is seeking to implement a policy requiring telecommunications companies to unlock mobile devices after a lock-in period.

Chinese firms, Steel Asia to build $4.4-B integrated steel complex

CHINESE firms HBIS Group Co., Ltd. and Huili Investment Fund Management Co., Ltd have partnered with Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp. to develop the $4.4-billion Philippine Iron and Steel Project in Misamis Oriental, which will be China’s largest industrial investment in the country so far.

DoubleDragon creates units to woo international buyers

DoubleDragon Properties Corp. will incorporate international subsidiaries that will handle the pre-selling activities of P12.21 billion worth of hotel units in the country starting next year.

Peso plunges to one-month low on BSP decision

THE PESO slipped to a one-month low on Friday, reacting to the central bank’s decision to keep rates steady and as the dollar picked up across the board in reaction to events in China and Europe.

BSP sets additional capital buffer for banks

THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved a new measure meant to boost banks’ capital to equip them further to weather episodes of financial stress.

Comprehensive tax amnesty just a step away from enactment

THE PLANNED TAX AMNESTY program is now up for signing by President Rodrigo R. Duterte after the House of Representatives and the Senate ratified the measure on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Philippines urged to boost cybersecurity amid Huawei concerns

AS several countries start cutting ties with Chinese technology companies particularly Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. due to security concerns, cybersecurity experts in the Philippines urge the government to start improving the country’s defenses to avoid a bigger problem in the future.

Philab sees return to profit growth

PHILAB Holdings Corp. targets to return to profitability in 2019, banking on the wider distribution of its dengue testing kits coupled by higher revenues from its medical laboratory business.

A Star is Born leads film contenders for SAG awards

LOS ANGELES — Musical drama remake A Star is Born led a wide range of contenders for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards on Wednesday, landing four nominations, including best movie ensemble.

BPO industry to offer workers online tech courses

THE Information technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) said it launched a new platform to offer online coursework to industry employees, allowing them to upgrade their skills and prepare them eventually for higher-value jobs.

Manila welcomes Aquaman cast, director

NINETEEN-year-old JC has been a DC Comics fan since grade school. On the afternoon of Dec. 11, he went with his uncle to SM Mall of Asia for the “Aquaman in Manila” fan event where the actors of the film based on the DC Comics title and the film’s director were to meet lucky fans. JC and his uncle stood at the back of the activity center, trying to get a glimpse of the stage across a sea of excited fans. JC clutched a movie poster hoping to get the actors’ autographs.

Hyundai Motor unveils sweeping executive reshuffle

SEOUL -- South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Motor Group shook up its executive ranks on Tuesday and appointed its first foreign head of research and development, raising expectations of a smooth transition of power at the family-run business empire.

RCBC Bankard to grow card base

RIZAL COMMERCIAL Banking Corp.’s (RCBC) credit card arm RCBC Bankard Services Corp. is eyeing to grow its card base next year as it continues to expand its digital channels.

Food safety

MY BROTHER Bong has just returned from the USA and immediately he made sure he had a fill of the many Filipino food that he has missed. After just a few weeks, he complained of stomach sickness which led to a discussion on comparative food safety practices.

Senate presses Palace not to extend session for budget

SENATORS on Thursday asked Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea not to endorse to the President a recommendation to call a special session of Congress next week to complete the budget.

Energy dep’t wants immediate exploration talks with China

ENERGY SECRETARY Alfonso G. Cusi said his office has notified the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to initiate discussions on how to proceed with activity in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea, or South China Sea.

The LNG bill

To have cheaper, stable energy sources, especially in electricity generation, there should be maximum competition and minimum taxation, distortion and government favoritism among players using different technologies and energy sources.

If college degrees are not important, have companies dumbed down?

News cropped up on social media, to the apparent glee of those who hate schooling or were mediocre in academics, that university degrees are no longer considered necessary in the workplace.

Palace stands by Budget chief

MALACAÑANG on Thursday stood by Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno amid calls from lawmakers at the House of Representatives for President Rodrigo R. Duterte to remove him over alleged irregularities in the proposed 2019 national budget.

Duterte to skip Catholic mass for Balangiga bells

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday said he will not attend the thanksgiving mass for the historic bells that are returning home to the Catholic church in Balangiga, Eastern Samar on Saturday.

Petron, F2 Logistics dispute PSL All-Filipino title

FAMILIAR foes Petron Blaze Spikers and F2 Logistics Cargo Movers get tangle again as they dispute the 2018 Philippine SuperLiga (PSL) All-Filipino crown beginning this weekend.

Allianz Conquer Challenge:Promoting growth and social inclusion through OCR

COMMITTED to promoting personal growth and development as well as social inclusion, global insurer Allianz continues to find ways to get the message across through various programs and activities.

Inflation mars ADB’s economic picture of PHL

THE ASIAN Development Bank (ADB) has retained economic growth estimates for the Philippines that made the country one of Asia’s best performers, but at the same time upped its projected inflation rate this year to one of the region’s fastest.

VAT refund claim deadline extended; PERA rules clarified

THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue (BIR) has extended anew the deadline for processing value-added tax (VAT) refund claims affected by a 2014 rule that had initially denied many of them.

Preparatory work on Makati City subway begins

THE Makati City government and the consortium led by Philippine Infradev Holdings, Inc. (formerly IRC Properties, Inc.) broke ground on Wednesday the $3.7-billion Makati City Subway Project which aims to build an intracity railway system in the business district.

2GO-Nenaco merger gets SEC go signal

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved 2GO Group, Inc.’s merger with parent company Negros Navigation Co., Inc. (Nenaco), the listed logistics company told the stock exchange on Wednesday.

Lazada sees better 2019 after record year

THE YEAR 2018 might be a record one for Southeast Asian e-commerce site Lazada but according to its Philippine CEO, 2019 is shaping up to be an even better year for the platform as it focuses on introducing tools for its growing seller base.

Gov’t raises another P2.5B in bonds via tap facility

THE GOVERNMENT raised another P2.47 billion via the seven-year bonds on Tuesday after it opened its tap facility to accommodate excess demand from investors.

Facebook says instant messaging an emerging tool for transactions

FACEBOOK PHILIPPINES said its messaging platform Messenger is starting to gain credibility as a channel for business transactions, noting it is recording more than 10 billion messages between individuals and businesses on the platform every month.

Flavors of the season

THE PERFECT companion to 22 Prime’s Christmas menu, called The Nature of Christmas, is a lot of holiday cheer, beltless pants, and maybe a hefty winter coat.

Inflation seen staying above target next year

INFLATION will likely remain above target in 2019, a global bank said, which will prompt further rate hikes from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to keep local yields competitive.

The 50 Best Wines of the Year

THIS YEAR, I’m happy to report, it’s easier than ever to buy great wines without spending a fortune. From my tastings, I’ve chosen 50 wines that cost under $50 a bottle — and deliver both value and sheer deliciousness for the price.

DENR flags Manila Bay shoreline as next target for rehabilitation

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) warned of the potential closure of establishments along the shores of Manila Bay that do not comply with environmental regulations, Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.

Agus rehab estimate lowered to P37-40B

THE National Power Corp. (Napocor) expects the rehabilitation of the Agus hydroelectric power plant complex to cost between P37-P40 billion, lower than the P50 billion previously anticipated by the government.

Intrinsic value

Buy when the price is low. Sell when the price is high. This is the prescription given to those who are interested to invest in the stock market. But the underlying question is: when is it low or high? Fundamental analysts will prescribe comparing observed price versus intrinsic value. If the intrinsic value is higher than the price, buy the stock. If it is less, sell it. And if it is equal to price, hold it.

How to solve Asia’s waste crisis

IF there’s one item that epitomizes our modern world, it’s plastic. It’s easy to make and use but does untold damage, especially in Asia where rivers, lakes and oceans are literally choking on it.

Successful 2018 serves as inspiration for Agatha Wong moving forward

CRAFTING a successful season in 2018 amid a myriad of challenges that she had to face, wushu veteran Agatha Wong has only become more determined and inspired moving forward with her career.

Alaska takes Game Four to level series at 2-2

THE best-of-seven Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup finals series is now tied at 2-2 after the Alaska Aces took Game Four, 90-76, over the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Majority of Filipinos trust US will come to the rescue in...

MAJORITY OF Filipinos, at 61%, believe that the United States will defend the Philippines in case of an invasion by another country, according to the Second Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Congressmen want Diokno out; Palace says he still has President’s trust

THE HOUSE of Representatives on Wednesday adopted a resolution urging President Rodrigo R. Duterte to reconsider the appointment of Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno over alleged irregularities in the budget system.

S&P, Nomura expect GDP growth to pick up in 2019

ECONOMIC GROWTH should pick up in 2019 following a slower-than-expected climb this year, according to two analyses issued on Tuesday, boosted by election spending and strong domestic demand.

FDI net inflows fall in September

FOREIGN direct investment (FDI) net inflows to the Philippines fell in September to their lowest level in over a year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Tuesday, at a time of faster inflation and global trade tensions.