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January sees third straight month of BoP surplus, biggest in seven...

THE PHILIPPINES’ external position remained in surplus in January, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Tuesday, marking the biggest surfeit in six years amid sustained dollar inflows.

Cell phone number portability now a law

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed into law the Mobile Number Portability Act that allows cell phone users to switch networks without changing their numbers.

POPI to change name to Ayalaland Logistics

PRIME Orion Philippines, Inc. (POPI) plans to change its name to Ayalaland Logistics Holdings Corp., in line with the firm’s diversification into the property logistics sector.

Workers at Sudan terminal strike over ICTSI deal

KHARTOUM -- Workers at Port Sudan’s southern container terminal went on strike on Monday to protest against a deal with Philippine port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI), port employees and a union official said.

Denise Weldon: Taking a meditative pause over taking pictures

AS THE golden hour approaches, sunlight enters through the large glass windows of Denise Weldon’s airy living room in Urdaneta Village. Abstract shapes made by light and shadow caper on the ceiling and slink onto walls occupied by sprays of flowers and atmospheric canvases by Betsy Westendorp, translucent photograms from Neal Oshima’s Saya Series, textured black-and-white paintings by Gus Albor, and frenetic pops of green and yellow by Keith Haring. Silhouettes made by the surrounding foliage gambol down to the white couch, and flit to the floor. Ms. Weldon, a photographer who does both commercial and fine art photography, is enamored of this afternoon dance.

Lectures at Art Fair Philippines

ASIDE from the gallery shows and special exhibits, Art Fair Philippines presents ArtFairPH/Talks, a series of lectures to provide fair visitors opportunities to deepen their exposure to various topics that will enhance art appreciation. The talks will be held at the 5th floor of The Link car park, Ayala Center. Following is the schedule of talks.

Philam Life appoints new chief executive officer

THE PHILIPPINE American Life and General Insurance Co. (Philam Life) has named its new chief executive officer (CEO) effective next month after its current head announced his retirement.

Foreign contractors ruled out of Marawi rehabilitation projects

TASK FORCE Bangon Marawi chairperson Eduardo D. del Rosario on Tuesday confirmed that all Marawi City reconstruction contracts will be awarded to domestic construction firms in the absence of a joint venture with foreign companies.

Senators call for safeguards to bank secrecy easing

SENATORS signaled caution on easing bank secrecy laws, one of the issues that led Malacañang to veto parts of Republic Act 11213 or the Tax Amnesty Law, noting that safeguards are needed to prevent the use of bank account inquiries to harass taxpayers.

How to avoid being sued for libel

The libel case that caused the arrest of Maria Ressa of Rappler has had a chilling effect on journalists who post their hard-hitting anti-government columns online, as well as folks who love to expose other people’s dirty laundry on social media.

The business of art

PRIVATE BANKERS have included investment in art (paintings and sculptures, and now installations) as an asset class. Diversification of the investment portfolio beyond fixed-income securities and equities may include art pieces as a component. The dynamics of art as an investment, with its characteristics of scarcity and greed, can best be observed at an art auction.

High Court upholds extension of martial law in Mindanao

THE SUPREME COURT (SC) upheld the constitutionality of the third extension of martial in Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2019.

US Marines commander to push for joint activities with PHL

UNITED STATES Commander of the Marine Forces Pacific (US MarForPac) Lt. Gen. Lewis A. Craparotta met with top military officials in his three-day visit to the Philippines from Feb. 16 to 18, to discuss opportunities for collaboration with the Philippine Marines Corps (PMC).

The Queen’s gambit:Hyundai’s new Reina subcompact sedan gives a royal tour...

FILIPINOS are used to having women lead the way. We’ve already had two female presidents, two vice-presidents, and two chief justices. And then there are the countless other female civic leaders and corporate captains of industries.

Lamborghini Urus takes top Robb Report award

THE Lamborghini Urus was named the 2019 Robb Report Car of the Year. In a statement Lamborghini Manila quoted the American luxury-lifestyle publication as saying the super SUV is a “class-defying breed.”

Peso rises ahead of Fed minutes

THE PESO strengthened further against the dollar on Tuesday on heavy greenback selling ahead of the release of the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting.

Excitement, determination for Gilas heading into last FIBA WC window

FACING what could be the biggest games in its current iteration, Gilas Pilipinas is heading into the sixth and final window of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup (WC) Asian Qualifiers with excitement and determination.

Tennis player Djokovic, American gymnast Biles win top Laureus awards

MONACO -- World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic crowned a winning return to the courts after surgery with the Laureus sportsman of the year award on Monday, while American gymnast Simone Biles won the sportswoman of the year prize.

Third telco’s start awaits Congress’ green light

MOVES to usher in the country’s third major telecommunications service provider could face a slight delay, as the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) awaits legislative clearance of the Mislatel Consortium’s franchise.

House primed for final OK of retail trade bill

THE BILL seeking to reduce the required minimum paid-up capital for foreign entrants to the country’s retail sector is likely to secure third and final-reading approval at House of Representatives when legislative sessions resume after the May 13 mid-term elections, a senior lawmaker said on Monday.

Toyota PHL targets 5% sales growth for this year

TOYOTA Motor Philippines (TMP) Corp. expects vehicle sales to bounce back this year as it targets a 5% growth after an industry-wide slump in 2018.

Megaworld expects P1.5 billion in sales from Bacolod tower

MEGAWORLD Corp. targets to book P1.5 billion from the sale of units in its second residential tower within The Upper East township in Bacolod.

Ilocos Norte’s Tan-Ok festival and its stories of greatness

A LITTLE boy is eager to wear a colorful costume for the first time; a new mother who recently returned as a festival dancer, is dedicating her performance to her daughter; and last year’s best female performer from Badoc hopes to bag the same award for a second consecutive year. They have been preparing their routines, props, and costumes since November, and rehearsing along with 49 other performers for a month.

Beyond Bangkok: Thailand promoting secondary cities

THE Tourism Authority of Thailand is expecting that more visitors from the Philippines will be visiting the Land of Smiles in 2019 after a good showing in 2018, with an executive from the tourism authority said that they will be promoting secondary cities this year in order for tourists to discover more of Thailand.

Cathay Land’s Ng sees strong demand for industrial lots

CATHAY LAND, Inc. is expanding its industrial park in Silang, Cavite to address growing demand in the area.

Filipino architect infuses his projects with ‘metamodern’ elements

ARCHITECT John Ian Lee Fulgar’s metamodern approach to design is apparent in his projects -- the soon-to-be-built Mars Ravelo Museum in Tagaytay City, The Fortress hotel in Angeles, Pampanga.

Amended SSS charter allows hike in monthly contributions

MEMBERS OF the Social Security System (SSS) will have to pay more for their monthly contributions after President Rodrigo R. Duterte enacted the bill amending its charter.

European bank eyeing foray into local market

A EUROPEAN BANK has expressed interest to venture into the Philippines, a senior central bank official said, amid growing interest among foreign lenders to set up shop here.

Senate backs franchise for Leviste solar firm, limited to 13 provinces

THE SENATE committees on public services and energy have recommended the approval of a “non-exclusive” franchise for Solar Para sa Bayan Corp. (SPSBC) subject to the adoption of amendments from the chamber.

Truckers, brokers call for urgent action on container re-export

TRUCKERS and customs brokers called on the government to enforce the rules on re-exporting empty containers as an urgent measure to address congestion in the Port of Manila, with stakeholders claiming that port utilization is already at 100%.

Global Prosperity Rankings: Where is the Philippines?

The Legatum Prosperity Index (LPI) offers unique insights into how prosperity is changing across the world. The LPI defines prosperity “as more than just the accumulation of material wealth, but also as the joy of everyday life and the prospect of being able to build an even better life in the future.” The Legatum Institute is a London-based think-tank with a global vision: to see all people lifted out of poverty (https://www.prosperity.com/).

Growth and electric cooperatives

On the Philippines’ GDP growth rates, the good news is that from 2010 to 2018, the Philippines has been growing above 6% yearly except in 2011. High growth was experienced in 2010 with 7.6% (recovery from 2008-2009 global financial turmoil) and 2013 (election year) with 7.1%.

Team LeBron tops Team Giannis

CHARLOTTE -- Kevin Durant scored 31 points and won MVP honors after outdueling Giannis Antetokounmpo to lift Team LeBron to a 178-164 win Sunday night in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.

Pro gaming team ‘Omega’ of PLDT, Smart launched

THE growing Esports scene in the country has added another player after PLDT and Smart jointly launched their own official professional team called “Omega.”

Another retired general appointed to DSWD

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has appointed another retired official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Malacañang announced on Monday.

Business angle eyed in Yulo’s murder

POLICE are considering business as a possible motive in the killing on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 17, of businessman Jose Luis “Sel” J. Yulo, and his driver, Allan Nomer Santos, 51, at the beltway EDSA.

Finance dep’t still open to general tax amnesty

THE DEPARTMENT of Finance (DoF) said it will push for a new measure that will provide a general tax amnesty, after such a provision was vetoed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte when he signed into law last Friday the reprieve for estate tax liabilities and national tax delinquencies in specific circumstances.

BSP takes heart from rice tariffication, charter change

TWO NEWLY ENACTED LAWS are seen to strengthen operations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), with monetary officials noting they will now have a better handle on inflation as well as on the financial system.

NAIA consortium hopes to start Swiss challenge by mid-2019

THE SUPER consortium seeking to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is still hopeful the Swiss challenge for the project can begin by mid-2019 as it continues negotiations with the Department of Transportation (DoTr).

Bloomberry stock price gets lift from PSE index inclusion

BLOOMBERRY RESORTS Corp. was the second most actively traded stock last week following the announcement that it will be included in the 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) starting today (Feb. 18).

Love (local) in the time of K-pop

FILIPINO fashion brand, Bench, has mastered the art of fostering nationalism while keeping up with the trends. Its mantra, “Love Local,” has a unique twist in that while Bench is a homegrown line, it has partnered with Asian superstars to beef up marketing. The formula has worked -- and continues to work -- making Bench the brand of choice in its target segments.

SKorea-backed Panay terminal cuts out the middleman for farmers

SAN MIGUEL, ILOILO -- Upland farmers in Panay now have a direct link to consumers with the completion of the P11.8-million Local Food Terminal (LFT) here, which also has a solar-powered cold storage facility.

Style icon Lee Radziwill, 85

WHAT A life it must have been, to be as fabulous as the world can allow, and still become just a footnote in somebody else’s story. Caroline Lee Radziwill, style icon, and one of the characters of the great Kennedy panoply, died in her New York home on Feb. 15, aged 85. Yet for everything she had been (socialite, writer, interior designer, PR executive, actress; princess, even), it is both a blessing and a curse that she will enter history known primarily as being the younger sister of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

Peso likely to climb on US data, Fed minutes

THE PESO is seen to strengthen against the dollar this week following the release of weak US data before the weekend as well as the anticipated dovish signals from the US Federal Reserve.

Corn growers call new rice policy unrealistic

THE Philippine Maize Federation (PhilMaize) said the abandonment of the policy goal of rice-self-sufficiency does not reflect reality, with Filipinos still favoring rice over other staple carbohydrates.