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PH infra program gets boost from bilateral deals with China
by Philippine Resources - January 09, 2023
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno (PNA photo)
The infrastructure program of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. got a boost following the signing of six bilateral agreements and one project implementation between the Philippines and China on Wednesday.
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who signed the agreements and completion documents on behalf of the Philippine government, said they welcome China’s support to the government’s "Build Better More" infrastructure agenda.
“The signing of these agreements demonstrates the strong commitment between China and the Philippines to deepen bilateral cooperation through infrastructure development,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
The signing event, held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, was witnessed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of Marcos’ three-day state visit to the world’s second-largest economy.
The Department of Finance (DOF), on Thursday, said four of the loan agreements have an aggregate amount of USD201.8 million (around PHP11.3 billion) and were co-signed by Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) Chairman Wu Fulin.
These agreements will fund the Priority Bridges Crossing Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway, it said.
The latest financing from China brought to USD1.06 billion its total loan commitments for ongoing projects in the Philippines, it said.
Relatively, DOF said the Framework Agreement for the implementation of the Priority Bridges Crossing Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway under Chinese Government Financing, which was co-signed by China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) Chairman Luo Zhaohui, is a precursor agreement that gives the Philippines access to the Renminbi (RMB)-denominated government concessional loan (GCL) facility portion of the loan.
The Finance Department said Diokno and Luo also inked the agreement on economic and technical cooperation between the two governments, worth 1.5 billion renminbi (around PHP12.2 billion) for projects to be determined by both countries “based on the development plan and specific needs of the Philippine government.”
Also, Diokno signed along with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao the handover certificate for the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge – both of which were financed by the Chinese government and were completed on April 13, 2022 and Sept. 17, 2021, respectively.
“The two bridges, spanning Manila, Makati, and Mandaluyong, seek to improve the capacity and efficiency of the road transport network in Metro Manila,” the DOF said.
Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
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Marcelle P. Villegas - December 16, 2020
Test runs at max speed and other development for MRT-3
By Marcelle P. Villegas The newly overhauled MRT-3 train was tested by running it at a maximum speed of 50 kph. Here is a view from the driver’s compartment on MRT-3 during test run last 29 October 2020. (Screenshot from Department of Transportation video) MRT-3 or the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 conducted test runs on its first newly overhauled train. The train was tested to run at a maximum speed of 50 kph. According to Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran, the train is composed of three cars which was overhauled by Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The company is the maintenance provider of MRT-3. The test run was documented in a video blog of DOTr. Libiran said, “As part of the massive rehab and maintenance of Sumitomo from Japan, we can now overhaul train cars that have been long neglected and now, we are repairing them under the Duterte administration.” According to MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael Capati, aside from the three newly overhauled train cars, the MRT-3 also plans to overhaul the remaining 72 cars by July 2021. “In the past years, our trains broke down plenty of times. Now, one of the things Sumitomo is doing is to rehabilitate and do a general overhaul of our trains.” Capati mentioned that the MRT-3 management wants its trains to run at 50 kph by November 2020.  He said, “We have already increased our train operating speed to 30 kph to 40 kph in October. Now we are using this train to simulate a 50 kph operating speed, which we are hoping to implement by November.” Capati noted that the improved train speed was made possible by the overhaul of train cars and the rail replacements that were completed last September. He also said that MRT-3 increased the number of its trains running daily to a maximum of 22. “Our maintenance program is doing well and at the same time, this is the effect of our rail replacements.” MRT-3 tested the train operating speed at 40 kph last September. This reduces the average waiting time of passengers from nine minutes to seven minutes. Reference:  Dela Cruz, Raymond Carl (29 October 2020). Philippine News Agency. “MRT-3 conducts test runs on overhauled train at 50 kph”. Article and photo credit retrieved from - https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1120153
Marcelle P. Villegas - December 14, 2020
Right-of-way ordinance for Makati Intra-City Subway project
By Marcelle P. Villegas Last 21 October 2020, Makati City government passed and approved an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of right of way covering the underground portions of nine roads that are affected by Makati City government’s subway project. As per Ordinance No. 2020-204, the roads that will be affected by the project are: Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, South Avenue, J.P. Rizal Avenue, J.P. Rizal Extension, Pablo Ocampo St. Extension (Vito Cruz Extension), Kalayaan Avenue, EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue), C-5 Road (a.k.a. Carlos P. Garcia Avenue), and San Guillermo Avenue. The city ordinance mentions of subsurface right of way need to be acquired for the “staging, construction, operation, maintenance and development of the Makati Subway Project.” The nine roads mentioned above are in the road and bridge inventory of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Therefore, they fall under the jurisdiction of the department. “Considering the importance of acquiring the easement of the right of way of the subject roads for the benefit of the citizens of Makati, the City Government of Makati is constrained to acquire, through voluntary agreement or expropriation proceedings, an easement of right of way of the subject roads.”  Section 19 of the Republic Act No. 7160 or Local Government Code of 1991 stated the authorizing of expropriations if needed. The City of Makati has entered into negotiations with and made a “valid and definite offer” to the DPWH for the acquisition of right of way. Philippine Infradev is building a subway that is worth $3.5 billion that shall traverse the central business district of Makati City. There will be 10 stations across the 10-kilometer line. Last September, Philippine Infradev signed a $1.21-billion contract that covers engineering, procurement and construction with China Construction Second Engineering Bureau Co. Ltd. For the subway project. The subway project is expected to accommodate 700,000 passengers daily in order to reduce the traffic congestion in the city. They are targeting the subway’s completion in 2025.  About the Makati Subway Project The Makati Intra-city Subway is a planned underground rapid transit line in the City of Makati that spans out to 11 kilometers or 6.8 miles. This is designed to link establishments across Makati’s business district. The project is a partnership between the Makati City Government and a private consortium led by Philippine Infradev Holdings. The subway line’s stations will be connecting the existing Line 3 (Guadalupe Station), the Pasig River Ferry Service, and the approved Line 9 (Metro Manila Subway). It was on 12 December 2018 when the preparatory work was commenced. On the same day, ceremonial drilling took place in front of the Makati City Hall. The Makati City Hall is near the site of one of the proposed stations of the subway. On this day, the signing of the memorandum of understanding also took place. The memorandum was signed by Makati City Government and a consortium consisting of Philippine Infradev and Chinese firms Greenland Holdings Group, Jiangsu Provincial Construction Group Company Ltd., Holdings Ltd. and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. Soil testing and feasibility studies of the proposed locations for the subway line’s stations were done as part of the preparatory work. By June 2019, 8 out of the 10 proposed stations have been finalized. The two proposed stations along Ayala Avenue are yet to be finalized due to “non-response” from its owners. The proponents said that they may divert the subway towards PNR Buendia Station or the Mile Long property in Legaspi Village instead. For now, the first station will be located at the Makati Central Fire Station. The fire station will be demolished. From there, the line goes towards a Lucia Tan owned property near Circuit Makati and Makati City Hall. The remaining stations will be located near Rockwell Center, Makati Bliss Housing in Guadalupe, Century City, University of Makati, Cembo and the final station will be near Ospital ng Makati. In July 2019, soil testing related with the subway project was completed. Philippine Infradev and the Makati City Government signed a joint venture agreement for the subway project. By October 2019, the plan to move the terminus of the line to the Mile Long property has been finalized. The area is being redeveloped by the national government along Amorsolo Street. The soil test results were favourable and the route diversion meant that the cost of the project might be reduced to as low as $2.5 billion. Moreover, a joint venture with Megaworld Corp. was made to build a common station in Guadalupe for the subway system and for the planned SkyTrain. Based on a disclosure to the stock exchange, the Philippine Infradev’s subsidiary, Makati City Subway Inc. (MCSI) received the term sheet from Megaworld Corp. This joint venture will build access to the Line 3 Guadalupe Station and the Pasig River Ferry. Philippine Infradev has an agreement with China Construction First Group Corp. Ltd. (CCFG) to build a transit-oriented development. Based on this agreement, CCFG is responsible for the construction, materials, manpower, equipment and other requirements to complete the project. The construction is expected to last for 42 months.  References:  Balinbin, Arjay L (25 October 2020). Business World. “Makati passes right-of-way ordinance for subway project”. Retrieved from - https://www.bworldonline.com/makati-passes-right-of-way-ordinance-for-subway-project/  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makati_Intra-city_Subway (Photo credit: IRC Properties Inc.)
Marcelle P. Villegas - January 12, 2021
Dept. of Energy: Moratorium on New Coal Power Plants
By Marcelle P. Villegas A moratorium on the endorsements of greenfield coal power plants was issued by the Department of Energy (DoE). This announcement was made while allowing foreign investors to now have full ownership of geothermal plant projects in the Philippines. DoE’s decision to stop the endorsements of coal power plants is the result of an assessment that showed the importance of focusing on a “more flexible” power supply mix. According to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi while at a virtual conference with world leaders held in Singapore, “This would help build a more sustainable power system that will be resilient in the face of structural changes in demand and will be flexible enough to accommodate the entry of new, cleaner and indigenous technological innovations.” DoE is currently updating their Philippine Energy Plan for the next 20 years. Mr Cusi mentioned that DoE is committed to accelerating the development of the Philippines’ resources while “pushing for the transition from fossil fuel-based technology utilization to cleaner energy sources to ensure more sustainable growth for the country.”  According to Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella of DoE, the ban on endorsing new coal-fired power plants will not affect those power plants that have received endorsements in the past. He said, “We need to prepare for the influx of RE (renewable energy) under the recent policies issued by the DoE. Hence, the need for more flexibility.”  On note, 3,436 MV of committed coal-fired power projects in Luzon are ongoing as of August 2020. This includes the Meralco Powergen Corporation and GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co. which is a joing venture of the Ayala and Aboitiz groups. Additionally, a 135 MW coal-run power projects in Visayas and 420 MV in Mindanao have been endorsed by DoE. Overall, there are around 10,000 MV indicative coal-fired power plant projects in the Philippines which may receive government endorsements. Mr Fuentebella said these will need to be sorted out. The ban will continue until the country will require additional baseload power, according to DoE official.  In relation to the ban, Center of Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) pointed out that there are still environmental concerns about the existing coal-run power plants in the Philippines. CEED Director Gerard C. Arances said, “That is still concerning and alarming vis-à-vis pollution, climate imperative, and costly electricity in the country.” Another important announcement made by DoE is the upcoming open bidding round of renewable energy service contracts that will now allow foreign companies to own large-scale geothermal projects. This includes exploration, development and utilization. Last 20 October 2020, DoE released a circular providing the guidelines for the third Open and Competitive Selection Process (OCSP3) in the awarding of renewable project contracts. Cusi said, “From an investment perspective, OCSP3 allows for 100% foreign ownership in large-scale geothermal exploration, development and utilization projects.” DoE clarified that big geothermal projects are those with an initial investment cost of about $50 million and are under Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements, signed and approved by the Philippine President. Reference:  Ang, Adam J. (27 October 2020). Business World. “DoE bans new coal-run power plants”. Retrieved from - https://www.bworldonline.com/doe-bans-new-coal-run-power-plants/
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Philippine Resources - January 30, 2023
PHILEX MINING GEARS UP FOR EXPANSION, SIGNIFIES INTEREST IN MACAWIWILI
In photo at the signing of the term sheet between PMC and MGMDCI were: (seated, left to right) Felicisimo A. Feria, Jose Ma. S. Lopez, and Michael L. Escaler, all representing MGMDCI; Manuel V. Pangilinan, Philex Chairman; and Eulalio B. Austin Jr., Philex President and CEO; (standing, left to right) Atty. Katrina Janine Sta. Ana, Associate, Migallos & Luna Law Offices; Atty. Bryan George Manzano, Associate, Migallos & Luna Law Offices; Atty. Michelle Carisse Balois, Partner, Feria Tantoco Daos Law Offices; Atty. Daneia Isabelle Palad, Partner, Migallos & Luna Law Offices; Atty. Winston Cruz, Vice-President and General Counsel, Philex Mining Corporation; Romeo B. Bachoco, Senior Vice-President and Chief Finance Officer, Philex Mining Corporation; Atty. Marilyn A. Victorio-Aquino, Director, Philex Mining Corporation; Atty. Barbara Anne C. Migallos, Director and Corporate Secretary, Philex Mining Corporation and Partner, Migallos & Luna Law Offices; Atty. Raymond Francis Jamora, Associate, Feria Tantoco Daos Law Offices; and Atty. Michael John Tantoco, Jr., Associate, Feria Tantoco Daos Law Offices. (PMC photo) Philex Mining Corporation, one of the oldest and largest copper and gold producers in Southeast Asia, recently set into motion its plans for expansion with the signing of a Term Sheet with Macawiwili Gold Mining and Development Co., Inc. (“MGMDCI”) in simple ceremonies in Makati City. Macawiwili Gold Mining and Development Co., Inc. is a 90-year old company engaged in mineral exploration and production in Itogon, Benguet. With over 800 hectares of contract area under its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement, the Company has been exploring various mineral deposits, including gold and copper, for several decades. The Term Sheet outlines the parties’ clear intentions to explore commercial, financial, and technical avenues in preparation for possible shares acquisition by the Company in MGMDCI. Activities to kick off this partnership will include conduct of due diligence and scout drilling activities on the property of MGMDCI covered by Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) in Itogon, Benguet Province., located adjacent to the existing Padcal Mine of the Company. Signing the Term Sheet on behalf of the Company were Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman, and Eulalio B. Austin Jr., President and CEO; while representing the shareholders of MGMDCI were Michael G. Escaler, Jose Ma. S. Lopez, and Felicisimo A. Feria. The signing was also witnessed by directors and officers of the Company as well as counsel for both parties. “Our interest to pursue investments in the Macawiwili property” according to Eulalio B. Austin, Jr., President and CEO, “is part of our business direction for this year to broaden interest in ‘green metals’ through mergers and acquisitions.” “We need to hit the ground with this at the soonest possible time,” Austin adds, “considering that this property is adjacent to our Padcal mine and would go a long way in fulfilling company plans for expansion and extension of the life-of-mine of Padcal. “This is a good addition or extension to the Padcal Mine,” according to Manuel V. Pangilinan, Philex Chairman. “I hope that this is the start of something good and that it would ride the wave of higher metal prices in gold and copper.” Pangilinan emphasized that “any addition, expansion, or extension to the Padcal Mine would greatly benefit not just our employees and their families, but also our host and neighboring communities, and our nation as a whole.” Article courtesy of the Philippine Stock Exchange
Philippine Resources - January 30, 2023
DMCI Holdings, SMPC among best governed PLCs
Photo caption (left to right): SMPC Corporate Governance and Compliance Manager Joseph D. Susa, DMCI Holdings Board Advisor and SMPC Independent Director Honorio O. Reyes-Lao and SMPC SVP, Chief Risk, Compliance and Performance Officer Junalina S. Tabor. Diversified engineering conglomerate DMCI Holdings and its energy subsidiary Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) were among the Philippine listed companies recognized for their corporate governance performance by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). DMCI Holdings received the 2 Golden Arrow recognition while SMPC was awarded the 3 Golden Arrow recognition. Both have been ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard (ACGS) Golden Arrow awardees since 2019. The awards were conferred after the two companies exhibited observable conformance with the Philippine Code of Corporate Governance and internationally recommended corporate governance practices as espoused by the ACGS. The ACGS measures the performance of the companies in the areas of facilitating the rights and the equitable treatment of shareholders, how they relate to their different stakeholders, ensuring transparency and accountability through timely disclosure of material information, and how the board guides the company strategically, monitors the management, and ensures the board’s accountability to the company and the shareholders. Over 80 Philippine listed companies were feted during the in-person awarding ceremony in Sheraton Manila Hotel last January 20. Article courtesy of the Philippine Stock Exchange
Philippine Resources - January 30, 2023
DOTr to prevent more delays in PNR Clark Phase 2 project
Photo credit: DOTr The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will work closely with the contractor of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Clark Phase 2 project to ensure that issues are addressed after its projected completion date was delayed by eight months. In a statement on Monday, the DOTr said the project, initially slated for completion in June 2024, has been delayed until June 2025 due to the delay in the turnover of the land to project contractor POSCO Engineering & Construction. “Before the 36-hectare site was turned over by the government to POSCO, several fruit-bearing trees were cut down, causing the delay,” it said. About 48 buildings and facilities are expected to be built by POSCO at the project site, meant to be the Clark Depot of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR). “As of December 31, 2022, more than 33% of the planned construction has been completed,” it said. In addition to buildings and facilities, the Clark Depot will have 33 stabling tracks to serve as the parking areas for the trains and 12 other tracks to access maintenance facilities. During a site visit at the project site, DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista said the Clark Depot is where the operations control center will be located which will serve as the “heart of operations” of the rail service. “It is important that we complete this as planned and on time. I know that there are issues that need to be resolved. The DOTr will work closely with [the contractor], so we can fix problems and address issues,” Bautista said. The 53-kilometer PNR Clark Phase 2 is the second leg of the NSCR and will link multiple cities and municipalities in Central Luzon with Metro Manila. Funded by the Asian Development Bank, the project is seen to cut travel time between Malolos City in Bulacan province and Clark, Pampanga province from 1.5 hours to 30 minutes. This part of the NSCR also includes the Airport Railway Express Service that will connect Makati to the Clark International Airport through a 55-minute train ride. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
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