Friday, October 29, 2010

Businessmen to launch all-out war vs. corruption

MANILA, Philippines - Business executives in the country are fed up with the prevailing corrupt practices in procurement and supply management and have lined up a series of initiatives aimed at stopping unethical dealings that have cost businesses as much as 50% of their investments here.

This, according Charlie Villaseñor, president of Transprocure Asia and chairman of the Procurement and Sourcing Institute of Asia (Pasia), who said the two groups will announce their initiatives with the holding of the 1st Philippine Annual Ethics in Procurement Conference on November 3 at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

Topics in the conference include “Taking Procurement to Higher Efficiency, Transparency and Integrity”; “Business Integrity and the Procurement Profession”; “Best Practices and What the Future Holds on Public Procurement”; “Fraud Detection Techniques/Vendor Integrity”; “Promoting Procurement Integrity Makes Sense”; “Developing and Sustaining Effective Corporate Values and Compliance”; and the “ISM Principles and Standards of Ethical Supply Management Conduct”.

Villaseñor said that depending on the type of industry, he is aware that business cost of unethical practice in the procurement and supply management side even go beyond 50% of the investment.

In his case, he said he receives expensive gifts and “people normally compute it also as an investment. It is very costly.”

Brian Lane of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines said the country also suffers from unethical practices both in the public and private sectors in the amount of foreign direct investments that the Philippines is losing.

“The perception of the Philippines is it is terribly corrupt. But the new government seems to have touched the Filipinos by its slogan, ‘When there is no corruption, there is no poverty.’ I think this is a good time to turn the ship around,” Lane said.

In six years, Lane said he believes the initiatives they are starting now will already be felt, and the Philippines will start improving the rankings of corrupt countries.

Aside from the November 3 conference, Villaseñor said they will also be rolling out several projects that will promote good governance, including keeping a whistle-blowing hot line, a certification program and scorecard system for ethical companies, and circulation of international ethical standards.

Groups such as the Management Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives of the Philippines (Finex), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Joint Foreign Chambers have committed to participate in these initiatives.

Villaseñor said while they will not be identifying unethical companies to put them to shame, they will be constantly releasing to the public the names of firms that have earned the certification of being ethical in their supply-management dealings.

And when they receive reports of unethical practices, Villaseñor said they will bring up the case to the top executives of the companies involved.

“We have to come forward and set the right directions. A lot of people also do things because they don’t know they are unethical,” he said.

Walter Buczynski, senior trainer of Pasia, said the key in making this change to happen is by training the people who are directly involved in the process on a day-to-day basis and make sure that their “day-to-day work is done ethically, and bring it to the levels where decisions are made.”

Greg Navarro, Finex president, said they will also be asking CEOs to sign the “integrity pledge,” and part of this is to educate their people on good governance.

Henry Schumacher, executive vice president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, said the initiatives are consistent with an earlier program of the foreign chambers and the Makati Business Club enjoining companies to adopt the “zero tolerance on bribing.”

Mang Inasal owner shares pain of letting go

MANILA, Philippines – The owner of Mang Inasal Philippines Inc., which was recently sold to giant Jollibee Foods Corp., said letting go of his chicken-based business was “painful.”

In a letter to his “Mang Inasal Family,” Edgar Injap Sia II expressed “deep sadness” like a “father parting with his child” as he hands over the care of the restaurant to the giant conglomerate.

Sia, who is in his 30’s, founded Mang Inasal on December 2003. In a 250-square meter space in the parking lot of Robinsons Place in Iloilo City, he started to offer the tasty vinegar-marinated chicken served in skewers and paired it with unlimited rice, an almost irresistible come-on. Innovating further, he began offering the menu in the familiar fast food dine-in concept. Business grew by leaps and bounds, conquering markets beyond Visayas, including Metro Manila, the make-it-or-break-it city.

For Mang Inasal's phenomenal growth—about 100 new stores a year—Sia was recognized this year as the Small Business Entrepreneur awardee in Ernst & Young's annual search for Entrepreneur Of The Year-Philippines. The same group named Jollibee founder Tony Tan Caktiong as its first awardee in 2004. Caktiong went on to win the World Entrepreneur of the Year title at an awards ceremony in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Currently the 6th largest fastfood chain in the country, Mang Inasal was dubbed by a local magazine, almost prophetically, as "the new Jollibee."

Growth was fueled by franchising, which started only in 2005. Of the 303 Mang Inasal branches, only 24 are company owned. Franchise holders of the 279 stores paid P800,000, about the same amount as Sia’s seed money when he started the business 7 years ago.

That Jollibee will be paying P3 billion for a 70% stake in Mang Inasal has made Sia “a very successful businessman,” according to bloggers and online commentators. The buying price of Jollibee, which courted Sia for the transaction, values the entire Mang Inasal business at P4.3 billion. Not a bad deal for a business that has an estimated annual total revenues of P2.6 billion and system wide sales of P3.8 billion.

Since Sia’s holding company, Injap Investments, will continue to hold on to 30% of Mang Inasal, the Jollibee deal actually valued Sia’s remaining stake at a staggering P1.3 billion. By the way, Sia already received a P200 million downpayment.

Still involved

In his letter, however, Sia stressed that the deal will also benefit the intended readers--the employees, franchise holders, and loyal clients.

“I have full confidence that we will reap the benefits of cost improvement of supplies, greater operational efficiency, reliable and response-on-demand servicing, and well structured and professionally managed organization. This will mean increased revenue flow, better margins and limitless opportunities for you—not to mention better service, better quality and “mas sulit” food selection for our loyal patrons.”

He also assured them that, during the turnover process and beyond, their “voice will be heard every step of the way.”

He said two board seats in the new organization have been reserved for him and Ferdinand Sia, the current chief operations officer. Both will also be part of the management committee “for the coming years.”

Global brand

Sia stressed that the deal with Jollibee will strengthen the brand. As the business is on its way to becoming a “Global Mang Inasal,” Filipinos will be “proud,” he said.

“Mang Inasal will have the professional support and vast resource needed to steer the business to the next level,” Sia wrote. “Knowing that [Jollibee’s] Tony Tan Caktiong share the values and business principles I have, I know that my VISION of better quality lives for the Pinoy Diners and Pinoy Entrepreneur will live.”

Growing the business was part of Sia’s goal when he decided to offer the company to the public early next year. Since 2008, Sia has been ramping up interest in Mang Inasal’s success story in preparation for a planned Initial Public Offering. Fresh funds from the capital raising exercise were supposed to finance further store expansion. The aim was to have 500 outlets by 2012. Before the Jollibee deal, it just opened its 300th outlet at the SM Mall of Asia.

Thus, despite the pain and the deep sadness, Sia said he is “ecstatic and in high spirits” since the future of his “7-year old child…is secured and filled with great optimism.”

More "little Jollibee's"?

It is likely that keen watchers of entrepreneurship have not had the last of Sia's genius —or luck.

Aside from Sia's remaining 30% stake in Mang Inasal, Sia's Injap Investments also has a stake in Deco's, another up-and-coming food business that serves "batchoy", a soup made of meat stock, noodles, and garnished with local herbs and spices.

Batchoy was first started by a young butcher called Deco Guillergan Sr., in 1938 in a carinderia at the La Paz public market in Iloilo City. Sia's Mang Inasal also first flourished in the same city.

Just like how Jollibee has grown through brand extensions and numerous acquisitions, Sia has forged a partnership with Guillergan's children. Deco—and its "heavily guarded batchoy secret"—was eventually folded under Sia's Injap Investments.

Deco stores have been slowly expanding to neighboring provinces in Visayas and Metro Manila. Will it be Sia's new "little Jollibee"?

BSP eases forex rules to temper peso

MANILA, Philippines - The Central Bank on Thursday approved new foreign exchange liberalization rules in a bid to encourage dollar outflows and stem the peso’s appreciation as cash seeking higher returns deluges Asia.
The new rules raise the limit on dollar purchases and do away with documentary requirements.

"These changes are a result of the continuing efforts by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to keep the foreign exchange regulatory framework responsive to and attuned with the current economic conditions and to align it with the policies of neighboring countries in the region to maintain the competitiveness of the Philippines FX regime," central bank Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. said in a statement.

The announcement came as a Malacañang official said the Philippines and Thailand had agreed to push for stronger cooperation among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members to address the issue of capital inflows.

President Benigno C. Aquino III and Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva met yesterday before the opening of the 17th ASEAN meeting in Vietnam.

"The two leaders agreed there should be more talk between the central bankers and finance ministers of the two countries and of ASEAN so we can coordinate more closely our actions because of the strong currencies we are seeing right now," Presidential Communications Group Secretary Ricky A. Carandang said in a radio interview.

"While our exports numbers are still strong, there are some concerns from our exporters that profit margins are getting squeezed and revenues are getting smaller," he added.

Thailand, in stemming the surging baht, has imposed a 15% withholding tax on interest and capital gains earned by foreign investors on Thai bonds.

The BSP has declared that it does not want to impose capital controls and prior to yesterday’s announcement said it would make it easier to take dollars out of the country.

As part of the new rules, the central bank raised the limit on over-the-counter foreign exchange purchases by Filipino residents from accredited banks to $60,000 from $30,000.

Tourists and Filipinos residing abroad may reconvert their pesos into as much as $5,000 -- from $200 -- at airports and other ports of exits without needing to show proof they sold their dollars for pesos when they first arrived.

Importers may purchase as much as $1 million, from $100,000, at accredited banks to make advance payments for their purchases.

Foreign currency loans of the private sector that are registered with the central bank may be prepaid without prior BSP approval, subject to the following requirements:

  • a notice of intention to prepay that is submitted to the BSP at least one month before the target payment date;
  • presentation to the selling bank of a BSP registration letter, ID card and original BSP letter acknowledging receipt of notice of prepayment; and
  • foreign exchange purchases not exceeding $50 million per day

Banks can also act on requests for peso conversion by foreign investors that want to remit abroad.

The amount that each investor may purchase each year for outward investments or investments in debt papers was also raised to $60 million from $30 million.

"These proposed amendments are expected to encourage greater FX outflows at this time the domestic currency has been appreciating against the US dollar," Mr. Tetangco said.

He said the new rules are expected to have only a minimal impact on domestic liquidity and inflation.

The new rules, which make up the fourth phase of foreign exchange reforms, will take effect 15 days after their publication in a newspaper.

In January last year, the BSP approved the "third wave" of foreign exchange reforms with banks no longer required to submit to the central bank reports on their sale of foreign currencies to entities wanting to invest abroad.

The peso has appreciated by around 7% since the start of the year. It is presently trading at around P43 per dollar from around P46 per dollar in January.

Funds have been flowing to Asia, attracted by the region’s robust growth while Europe and the US continue to slump.

San Miguel shipping unit receives tax perks

MANILA, Philippines - The shipping arm of diversifying conglomerate San Miguel Corporation has qualified for tax incentives, the Board of Investments said on Thursday.

SMC Shipping and Lighterage Corp will be allowed a duty-free importation of equipment for its P113 milion venture to operate a barge to transport cement and coal.

San Miguel controls Petron Corporation, which has an oil refinery and a coal-fired power generation plant in Limay, Bataan. Last October 20, Petron's power plant was also granted tax incentives.

Sixty-one percent of the output from Petron's power plant will provide power to the refinery while the balance will be sold to electric cooperatives and Manila Electric Co., where San Miguel is the second biggest shareholder.

Aside from SMC Shipping, the other firms that received tax perks from the BOI on Thursday are:

  • Gloria De Dapitan, Inc (expanding a theme park in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte)
  • Jentec Storage, Inc (development of a cold storage facility for farm crops)
  • Feranti Shirt Factory, Inc. (expansion of a garment's factory in Caloocan)
  • Hardware Labs Performance Systems, Inc. (production of equipment for cooling down electronics)

PNoy speechwriter in hot water over Twitter posts

HANOI—A Palace speechwriter has been told be more careful what she posts on the Internet after some of her status updates in the social networking site Twitter stirred controversy.

“We warned her to be more careful with her tweets,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang said of Mai Mislang, a speechwriter of President Aquino.

“We’ve told our people not just Mai but our people in our office, whether they like it or not, they are government employees and that they should be a little bit more circumspect,” he added.

Mislang reportedly tweeted, “The wine sucks” after the state banquet hosted by Vietnam President Nguyen Minh Triet in honor of President Aquino Tuesday during a state visit.

She also tweeted: “Sorry pero walang pogi dito #vietnam.” (Sorry, there are no handsome men here.)

She also posted: “Crossing the speedy motorcycle laden streets of Hanoi is one of the easiest ways to die.”

But the Palace was quick to downplay the incident, saying they have dealt with the issue, and that Mislang had already deleted her tweets on her own.

Carandang also came to Mislang's defense.

“She has been one of the hardest working people in our office. She’s trusted by the President and this is just a minor issue. So I don’t think it’s going to become anything more. As far as we are concerned, tapos na ‘yun. Nawala na ‘yun. She’s being more careful now,” he said.

Carandang said the President has been informed about the incident. “The President knows about it and he knows I have taken the appropriate action.”

The communications secretary said Mislang has been apologetic but added, no public apology is forthcoming. “Absolutely, she was [apologetic],” Carandang said.

“There was no offense meant to anybody. That was something that was spontaneous. We talked about it and we are being more careful now about tweeting.”

Halloween things

MANILA, Philippines - Halloween, to my knowledge, is actually a subordinate term compared to how Pinoys primarily call the season. Ask randomly and they’ll tell you: “Undas” or “Araw ng mga Patay” (All Souls’ Day).

Though I personally do not practice this, I know that most of my kababayans make trips to their respective provinces or cemeteries where their dead loved ones are buried.

However, I’ve noticed that we’ve become a little bit different in the past few years. Although I personally know some families who have long been holding Trick or Treat and costume parties in their own homes and villages, I see more and more people nowadays who adopt foreign traditions.

Left and right, on Facebook and Twitter, I see Pinay celebrity moms who come up with creative ideas on how to make Halloween a memorable one for their children. Cheska Garcia-Kramer, beautiful host of Us Girls on Studio 23, actually dressed up her little girl Kendra as a cow. Indeed, the most adorable cow I’ve ever seen!

Kendra, the most adorable cow I've ever seen!

I also don’t doubt the prediction of my dear friend Nikki Valdez (also an effective comedienne and a great singer), that her daughter Olivia will be the cutest bee this Halloween. Nikki actually plans to attend a party that will be thrown by Noah star Jodi Sta.Maria, who’s got a little boy herself. And definitely different from the little cuties, Jodi’s son Thirdy wants to be a toughie and wear Iron Man to his own party.

But who says costume parties and gimmicks are just for kids? On Umagang Kay Ganda, adults refused to miss out on fun times like this!

Costume and props galore

On Monday, we had Mr. David Chan Hwan, Product Development Officer of Unique Novelties and Toys Corporation, who brought Halloween stuff with him.

Donita chose to wear the “furry monster costume” with which she effectively frightened the audience, while Andrei wore that scary mask made infamous for the movie “Scream.”

Halloween fun with Rica Peralejo, Donita Rose, Andrei Felix, and David Chan Hwan of Unique Novelties and Toys Corporation

I personally thought my hair band, with its two little skulls held up by two spring antennas, lit and powered by AA batteries, was cute. On the other hand, the lamp I chose to carry around was hilarious. On the outside it seemed like any other plastic pumpkin lamp, but give it a slap and it’ll start laughing crazily like a witch! Believe me, it was funny more than it was scary!

Skull headband all lit up

Of course, dressing up and buying props can be costly. So if you really don’t have a budget and yet refuse to miss the fun of “dressing Halloween,” Mr. Hwan said that they have masks for as low as P18 only.

He also assured me that these masks are nothing like the ones made out of cheap plastic. Instead they use EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate), a non-toxic material, “widely accepted as safe for use of teethers,” apparently. (Got the information from

Mr. Hwan also mentioned that they’re open all year round, and they also have products for other occasions like Valentine's and Christmas. Here’s the website if you want more information:

Looking crazy

Now if you want a less tedious, minimal or subtle Halloween look, your best bet would be “crazy contact lenses.” Among the bottles and bottles of assorted lenses that Hazel Bartolome of Glamme Shop brought to the studio on Tuesday morning, these are only 4 from which you can take your pick: Soccer Ball, Smiley Face, Dolly Black (my favorite of all) and Zombie Lens (most saleable, she said). And yup, as described, so your eyeballs shall be!

Contact lenses with smiley face, soccer ball, dolly black, and zombie lens designs

Prices would be P750 for the plainly colored ones and P850 for those with crazy, wacky designs. Quite pricey for someone kuripot (thrifty) like me. But I also can’t deny that those flimsy things are actually able to achieve maximum effect.

To know more, you can visit their website: or call 0917-6684833.

Clean Halloween

There’s nothing scary about our guest yesterday, except I guess if she challenged me to match her acoustic prowess. Now that would be a real horror for me.

But I did ask Pop Acoustic Sensation Aiza Seguerra what she’d be doing for Halloween, and it appears that she’s off to Cebu to do a clean-up dive with her friends.

Aiza does not cease to surprise me. Talking to her another time on the show, I learned that she wanted to take up Criminology. Now I hear that she’s been recently certified as an Advanced Open Water Diver, which I think is amazing! Humbly though, Aiza would rather call herself as a “newbie,” who had fallen so in love with the sport and the marine life enough to turn her into an “activist.”

What’s more is that aside from being a passionate diver, she’s also gone past the craft of playing and making music through singing and plucking the chords of her trusty old guitar. Aiza is now into the business of producing and is doing so with no less than Carol Banawa as her first ever artist.

Aiza Seguerra now a record producer too

Almost gushing, Aiza told me how wonderful it is to be entrusted with such a project. Proudly she added that she was even able to get the Filharmonika Strings to play for Carol’s soon to be released album. And though she also did not fail to mention how demanding this new endeavor can be, working all day and sacrificing nights of precious sleep, Aiza said that all’s well because Carol is such a brilliant singer and firmly believes that, “She’s worth it.”

Just the same, Carol Banawa is all praises for her producer. She shared that “Aiza wants nothing but the best for her artist. From the instrumentation, arrangement, vocals and mixing--I learn a lot from her.” But of all, Carol values the new friendship and she’s praying that it will last a lifetime. She’s convinced that aside from being a genius, her producer is a very good person inside and out.

Carol will be watching Aiza at the Metro Bar on the 29th to show gratitude and support to her producer. She said she will bring her daughter Chelsea in her princess costume. Aside from that, she plans to go home to Batangas for Halloween. Funny how this picture represents how cross-cultural Pinoys have been in recent years. (For more of Aiza’s schedule, click here.)

As for me, I’m relatively stuck packing my things away as my husband and I get ready to move into our new home. The other thing is that I have to go up north to shoot yet another exciting adventure for the show.

So, what’s your plan by the way? Well whatever it is, I just wish you all a good loooong weekend!

Globe Asiatique execs face syndicated estafa raps

Charges of syndicated estafa were filed on Friday by the Pag-IBIG Fund and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against 16 officers and employees of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp (GA) and Pag-IBIG over a housing loan mess.

The criminal cases arose from the investigation of Pag-IBIG, formally called Home Development Mutual Fund, on the alleged bogus loans of its members who bought houses in GA's Xevera housing project in Pampanga. The syndicated estafa cases constitute economic sabotage.

Charged at the Department of Justice (DOJ) for this non-bailable offense are

  • Delfin Lee, GA board chairman
  • Dexter Lee, GA Executive Vice-president
  • Cristina Salagan, chief finance officer, treasurer and board member
  • Christina Sagun, heads of the company's Accounting/Finance Department and Documentation Department

The following GA employees/agents are included in the suit for soliciting and allegedly paying off "special Buyers" and/or creating "ghost borrowers":

  • Lerma Vitug
  • Tintin Fonclara
  • Geraldine Fonclara
  • Revelyn Reyes
  • Atty. Rod Macaspac
  • Marvin Arevalo
  • Joan Borbon
  • Christian Cruz
  • Rodolfo Malabanan
  • Nannet Haguiling
  • Hon Tungol

An employee of Pag-IBIG's Legal Department, Atty. Alex Alvarez, was also charged for notarizing majority of the fake and/or fraudulent loans submitted by GA to Pag-IBIG.

Alvarez reportedly admitted to the NBI that he received a monthly salary of P30,000 from GA "in exchange for notarizing its documents without the need for the borrowers to personally appear before him as the documents are brought to him for such notarization in batches.

"In securing funding for the Xevera Projects... the respondents actually conspired with each other, with malice and evident bad faith, by willfully and feloniously employing a grand fraudulent scheme to deceive HDMF into releasing the aggregate amount of at least P6,653,546,000 directly to Globe Asiatique, to the damage and prejudice of HDMF and its contributing members," the complaint said.

The complaint further said Lee made false representations, submitted falsified documents (such as ID, ITRs, birth certificates, TINs) allegedly manufactured by GA as supporting documents for the loan applications, and paid for the immediate Pag-IBIG membership of these fictitious and fraudulent buyers for them to qualify for loans.

Pag-IBIG claims that in order for GA to induce the mutual fund to release more funds to pay for the housing units supposedly acquired by these individuals, Lee paid the amortizations of the non-existent borrowers in order not to alert Pag-IBIG to the scheme.

300 affidavits obtained

The NBI said it was able to obtain some 300 affidavits confirming that Lee, through GA, "was actually engaged in a grand fraudulent scheme to swindle Pag-IBIG of its funds, which funds are contributions solicited from its members and the public in general."

During the investigation conducted by Pag-IBIG and the anti-graft division of the NBI, its was found that some units taken-out by PAG-IBIG through these loans, were actually occupied by 3rd parties or buyers who brought directly from GA.

Pag-IBIG said, "More shocking is the fact that of the randomly sampled 20 units taken out by Pag-IBIG that are occupied by 3rd parties, 16 properties are being occpuied by in-house buyers (buyers who bought directly from GA without loaning from HDMF, 2 of whom have fully paid their purchase to GA), 3 units are leased out by parties other than the Pag-IBIG borrowers, and 1 is being occupied by a replacement borrower."

Again, in a post-take-out validation, it was revealed that at least 644 of borrowers endorsed by GA were not genuine buyers of Xevera homes.

At least 802 of the borrowers cannot be located, 3 are actually deceased, and 275 were not around during the visit, all of whom are presumed to be totally fictitious buyers, Pag-IBIG said.

This case carries with it a penalty of life imprisonment.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

‘Little President’ denies trysts with celebrities

MANILA, Philippines - Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa Jr. on Thursday denied rumors that he has midnight trysts with female celebrities at a plush hotel in Metro Manila.

In an interview with Anthony Taberna at Studio 23’s primetime nightly newscast “iBA-BALITA,” Ochoa said his position sees him meeting a lot of people and attending various work-related events.

“Sa dami po noon, hindi ko maintindihan kung saan nanggaling iyang balita na iyan,” he added.

Shown a photo of singer Pops Fernandez, Ochoa said, “Na-meet ko po yata siya minsan.”

He was poker-faced, meanwhile, when the photo of singer-actress Vina Morales was shown on television.

“Siya po yata iyong pinag-uusapan natin. Na-meet ko rin po siya,” said Ochoa, who is married.

He also downplayed reports on alleged factions among President Benigno Aquino III’s men.

“Iyong Samar kasi, iyon iyong headquarters na tinatag ko noong kampanya na ang principally, ang trabaho, doon ko nilagay ang legal team para kay Pangulong Aquino sa kanyang eleksiyon,” he said. “Lumaki nang lumaki ang operations noon, kaya may tinatawag na Samar headquarters.”

“Iyong Balay naman po, ay iyon iyong orihinal na headquarters po yata noong vice-presidential candidate natin noon na si Mar Roxas,” he added.

Ochoa said there is no truth to reports that the 2 groups are fighting each other to control the Palace.

He likewise shot down former Sen. Ernesto Maceda’s allegation of a “midnight Cabinet” in Malacañang.

“Palagay ko po, wala pong katotohanan iyan. Dahil nagtatrabaho po kami doon, ginagabi kami kadalasan. Pero wala naman po kaming… basta wala po na akong naiintindihan na midnight Cabinet,” he said.

No time to learn the ropes

Ochoa said he is earning around P45,000 a month as executive secretary.

“Salary grade 31 ako eh,” he revealed.

He said he had no time to learn the ropes after Aquino got elected.

“Dito po, antimano, right away, first day pa lang, ay game na. Kumbaga, walalang panahon para mag-practice,” he said.

He urged opposition Sen. Joker Arroyo to understand his situation.

“Well, malaki ang respeto ko okay Sen. Joker Arroyo, especially so na mahusay siyang abugado at galing din naman siya sa posisyon na ito. Siguro naman ay maaari niya kaming bigyan ng kaunti sa mga nangyayari ngayon, na sa kaniyang pananaw ay para nga kaming student council,” he said.

“Masisiguro ko pa na ang taumbayan na hindi naman po kami ganoon, na ang lahat ay sinisiguro namin na karapat-dapat an gaming nape-perform na trabaho, na hindi po namin pinapabayaan ito, na ang dapat naming aralin ay pinag-aaralan namin.”

“Maaari po nating masabi na bago kami… kaya lalo naming pinagbubuti ito,” Ochoa stressed.

Pacquiao: Give PNoy a chance

MANILA, Philippines – World boxing champion and now Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao told critics of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to go easy on the chief executive when assessing his performance during his first 100 days in office.

Pacquiao said the new president should be given the chance to lay out all his plans, and that 100 days are not enough to make significant headway in implementing his promises.

The boxing champion challenged Aquino’s critics to support the president instead of disapproving every move he makes.

Pacquiao said too much negativism won’t do the country any good.

The Sarangani congressman, however, said he does not favor the Department of Education’s (DepEd) plan to add 2 years to the country's basic education.

Pacquiao said the added years will solve the deficiencies in the Philippine educational system since the government has yet to address the lack of classrooms, meager salaries of public school teachers, and rising tuition in state colleges and universities.

Stocks breach 4,200-mark

MANILA, Philippines - Stocks advanced for the second session in a row Thursday, breaching the 4,200-mark, on rosy economic outlook.

The key Philippine Stock Exchange index rose 1.1% or 48.46 points to a record high of 4,245.05.

The broader all-share index climbed 1.4% or 35.91 points to 2,676.

Except for the mining and oil sector, all subindices finished in positive territory.

But market breadth was negative as decliners beat advancers, 72 to 57. There were 51 issues unchanged.

Value turnover came in at P5 billion.

Traders said the International Monetary Fund's upward revision for its growth forecast for the Philippines boosted investor sentiment.

Expectations of robust second-half corporate earnings also spurred buying.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. was the most actively traded stock by value, adding 1.2% to P2,760. This brings the stock's total gains to 4.1% in the last 3 trading sessions.

Second most active was SM Investments Corp., which picked up 1.1% to P535. SM said it would issue $400 million of new 2017 bonds, including $213.7 million in an exchange for shorter-dated bonds to lengthen its maturity profile.

Third most active was Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. It rose 2.2% to P75 on net foreign buying.