December 1, 2020

Opportunity

STATE AGENCIES will have to significantly ramp up spending in December to boost fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP), after the government continued to underspend amid the coronavirus pandemic.   

“The agencies were asked to implement catch-up plans to meet their original spending plans for the year. The catch up [spending plan] is intended to shore up the economy this Q4,” Budget Undersecretary Laura B. Pascua said via Viber on Friday.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told various departments to ramp up spending in the remaining weeks of 2020, during a meeting of the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) two weeks ago.

Representatives from the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Transportation (DoTr), Education (DepEd), Tourism (DoT), Trade and Industry (DTI), and Agriculture (DA) attended the EDC meeting, said Ms. Pascua.

Anemic government spending was blamed for the 11.5% GDP contraction in the third quarter, which was worse than most analysts … Read the rest

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What crucial roles do patients and health professionals play in diabetes management?

With diabetes remaining as one of the leading causes of death among Filipinos, it is vital for patients to have constant access to quality healthcare and information. At the same time, many should be made aware of this chronic disease and of how it can be diagnosed and prevented. 

Achieving these goals requires strong collaboration among patient and their families, health professionals, and government agencies. As highlighted in a recent BusinessWorld Insights online forum, held in partnership with Mercury Drug Corporation and health care company MSD in the Philippines, interprofessional collaboration among physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals is likewise vital in managing diabetes.



Dr. Cecilia Jimeno, FPCP, FPSEDM of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (PSEDM), discussed the burden of diabetes on persons who already have it or might have it if the Read the rest

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By Michael Angelo S. Murillo

The TNT Tropang Giga booked a spot in the finals of the PBA Philippine Cup following their 91-81 victory over the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in their semifinal rubber match on Friday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.

The steadier team throughout the match, TNT frustrated Phoenix on its way to barging into the championship of the Philippine Basketball Association All-Filipino Cup, where it was last in seven years ago.

Ray Parks Jr. led the way for the Tropang Giga in the win, churning out all-around numbers of 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

The contest got off to a competitive start, with the teams knotted at 10-all midway into the opening quarter, before TNT sprinted to build a 25-20 lead at the end of the first 12 minutes.

In the second quarter, offense tapered off a bit as defense … Read the rest

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Rakuten Viber is introducing new features such as Chatbot Payments, through a partnership with Google Pay and Apple Pay, as part of its tenth anniversary. The service allows users to purchase products and services, and to accept payments directly through the app, marking Viber’s move towards fintech. 

In the Philippines, this feature will be rolled out soon through partnerships with telcos like Globe. Filipino users will be able to check out and order from small food businesses through the soon-to-be-launched FoodPH bot. Users will also be able to pay for their orders via in-chat payments. 

“Small businesses that don’t have money and knowledge to create a mobile app can go to Viber and create chatbots to serve their customers,” said Anna Znamenskaya, the platform’s chief growth officer. 

Sending money through Viber is as simple as sending messages, said Viber Chief Executive Officer Djamel Agaoua. “We want to democratize and Read the rest

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The Philippine peso, which lagged its peers in Asia this quarter, may get a boost in December with millions of Filipinos abroad set to send record amounts of money home to help families suffering from the pandemic and the recent typhoons.

December is a seasonally strong month for the peso, with the currency gaining in the period in five of the past six years. It is also the month when remittances, which totaled more than $30 billion in 2019, reached their highest levels for the year since 2009.

“With increased unemployment as a result of the pandemic and the impact of the typhoons, we expect extra remittances in order to support families at home,” said Wouter van Eijkelenburg, an economist at Rabobank in the Netherlands. “This would support the strength of the peso.”

The peso will edge higher to 48.08 per dollar over the next three months, according to Read the rest

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TOKYO — Sixty-year-old Yashiro Haga is folding his Tokyo noodle ramen shop after 15 years in December, unable to overcome the prospect of a lasting customer slump due to the coronavirus crisis.

“The flow of people has changed due to the coronavirus,” Haga said, standing behind the counter of his ground-floor shop, Shirohachi. “Customers aren’t coming in and queuing up outside shops any longer.”

The pandemic is damaging Japan’s “mom-and-pop” restaurants—including noodle shops like Haga’s—at a growing rate, despite evidence the government’s massive effort to stave off bankruptcies is working in other sectors of the economy.

Hurt by deflationary pressures and growing competition in the run-up to the now-delayed Tokyo Olympics, noodle bars are particularly prone to the economic malaise the pandemic triggered in the service sector.

Small and mid-sized businesses like Haga’s noodle bar employ about 70% of Japan’s workers and account for 99.7% of the total number of Read the rest

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LONDON — Dividend payouts by the world’s biggest firms in 2020 will fall by 17.5%–20%, equivalent to some $263 billion, as a result of the coronavirus crisis, a report on Monday forecast, but could rebound strongly next year.

Although the prediction by investment firm Janus Henderson represents a smaller dividend drop than some had feared at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be the biggest since at least 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Dividends are a major source of income for both public and private pension funds, but companies trying to cope with the coronavirus cut them by $55 billion, or 11.4%, in the third quarter after a $108 billion 22% plunge between April and June when uncertainty over the course of the pandemic peaked.

“Our best case now sees a fall of -17.5% to $1.20 trillion on an underlying basis. Our worst case Read the rest

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Coca-Cola Philippines has extensively scaled up its e-commerce presence to better respond to consumers whose needs and shopping behavior have altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With transportation and mobility affected, the Company has ensured that it can continue to serve people with its portfolio of beverages just a few clicks away.

Coca-Cola’s e-commerce website www.CokeBeverages.ph was first launched in 2015. To meet the constraints of the pandemic and to adapt to homebound Filipinos’ needs, the Company accelerated its digital and e-commerce roadmap—strengthening existing infrastructure and opening new channels to connect with the market. Thus, demonstrating agility as a total beverage company, with consumers always top of mind.

Coca-Cola products have been accessible online through its e-commerce website — www.CokeBeverages.ph — since 2015. With the constraints of the pandemic, the Company ensures that its products remain available within a click’s reach by strengthening its existing platform and partnering with food
Read the rest ...

AT least half of the population needs to be vaccinated for the country to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a health official said.

"If we are talking about herd immunity, we need to reach 50% to 60% across the population so it's really important we expand the coverage," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said in an interview with ANC on Friday.

Herd immunity is when most of the population becomes immune from an infectious disease, either through vaccination or a previous infection, thus indirectly protecting those without immunization.

A Social Weather Stations survey released late Thursday indicates 66% of Filipinos are keen to get experimental COVID-19 vaccines.

The mobile phone survey, conducted September 17 to 20, shows that of the 66% Filipinos who are "willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine if it is available now” consists of 32% who would “definitely” get it and 34% … Read the rest

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Passive engagement on social media is just as important as active engagement when it comes to quantifying success, according to Hootsuite, a social media management platform. 

Passive engagement is defined as a consumer’s consumption of online content, such as reading a post or watching a video. Metrics for this form of engagement include video completion rates, link clicks, and website traffic. Active engagement, on the other hand, is often more popular among marketers, who measure success by the number of a post’s likes, shares, and comments. 

“[Marketers are] still chasing virality and vanity metrics like retweets, comments, and shares, when the data tells us that the majority of online content is consumed passively,” said Sarah Dawley, content manager at Hootsuite. 

Ms. Dawley cited Hootsuite’s digital data for October 2020, which found that the average Facebook user shared only one post a month and that Twitter’s unique website traffic was Read the rest

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