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13
Aug

Several plans exist for saving Manila Bay

Several plans exist for saving Manila Bay

Despite being one of the most polluted bodies of water in the Philippines, there is still hope among several organizations that Manila Bay can be saved, albeit under different circumstances.

A number of people working abroad send money back home to the nation, and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada believes that a new reclamation project for the bay has the potential to boost the economy and create new jobs, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The plan to turn 148 hectares into a commercial hub named "Solar City" was put in place before Estrada became mayor, but he still supports the proposal and believes it can work.

"What would be my reason to go against it?" Estrada told the news source. "It will provide jobs and income for the city. I want to attract investors to Manila."

The reclamation project hit a bump in the road when environmental advocates spoke out against the plan, but in 2011 the Manila city council authorized the mayor to move forward with the proposal, the news source noted.

However, multiple environmental groups have an alternate solution for Manila Bay, and these other ideas might be a reason why some are against the reclamation project.

Instead of converting the body of water into a commercial center, Greenpeace and scientists from the University of the Philippines believe it can be cleaned, according to Philstar.com.

"With strong political will, the comprehensive rehabilitation of Manila Bay is not impossible," said Greenpeace southeast Asia oceans campaigner Vince Cinches. "Government agencies and local government units should not lose sight of fulfilling this goal."

People who send money with an online money transfer can help the Filipino economy, and Greenpeace believes that the pollution of Manila Bay is actually costing the city money.

In turn, there are significant profits to be gained from cleaning the water around Manila. Recent economic valuation estimated more than P5 billion earned from aquaculture and P2 billion from tourism in the area, according to Philstar.com.

13
Aug

Creative projects tackle a number of social issues in the Philippines

Creative projects tackle a number of social issues in the Philippines

At the beginning of August, several groups of graphic designers met at the Ayala Museum in the Philippines to put their heads together and address a number of social issues facing the island nation.

Many people send money to the country, and similar to those efforts to assist loved ones and help boost the economy, the designers of Plus63 Design Co., Inksurge and Team Manila intend to help problems facing a number of Filipinos.

The people involved believe that this unique approach to education, culture and health care might be able to change how specific components of those sectors function, according to Rappler.com. 

Berns De Leon-Yumul, co-founder of Plus63 Design Co., recently talked to the website about poverty and corruption in the Philippines, and how his company, as well as others, might be able to do something about many social issues.

"It started with the typical frustration about the current state of affairs," said De Leon-Yumul. "We thought design can help bring about solutions."

The members of Plus63 also stated that design can illustrate the goals many Filipinos envision, such as a healthy and happy society, according to Rappler.com.

The topics of the August 3 museum meet-up were education, health and culture. For example, possible problem-solving solutions included home-schooling aids and re-designed education materials, using social media to find blood donors, and changing design elements of the Ayala Museum to better help visitors appreciate the exhibits. 

Another organization similarly attempting to improve social issues in the Philippines is IBM, which recently flew over volunteers to assist on projects in the country, InterAksyon.com reported.

The Corporate Service Corps program included topics of interest such as education, traffic and government. One fix included mapping cities highly susceptible to flooding, in order to better protect citizens. 

Additionally, an online money transfer can help many people living in the Philippines, and many programs also look to improve daily life in the nation. Overall, the more people who attempt to make a change, the better the odds of success.

5
Aug

Xoom Wins Another “Telly Award” for “Captain Xoom” Television Commercial

telly_awards

“Captain Xoom” campaign garners Xoom Bronze Award for Second Straight Year

SAN FRANCISCO, August 5, 2013 – Xoom Corporation, (NASDAQ: XOOM), a leading digital money transfer provider, has won the 2013 Bronze Award prize in this year’s Telly Awards for the Philippines “Captain Xoom” campaign, under the Regional TV and Multi-Market Category for TV commercials.

The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring the finest film and video productions, groundbreaking web commercials, videos and films, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs. The 33rd Annual Telly Awards received more than 12,000 entries from all 50 U.S. states and five continents.  For over a quarter century, the Telly has been a symbol of creative excellence.

“Captain Xoom” is the transformation story of a bumbling husband into a superhero whose mission is to make money transfers easier for senders.  His transformation came about when he first used Xoom.com to send money to the Philippines.  As a superhero on the side of the sender, Captain Xoom educates senders on all the great benefits of sending money with Xoom, namely convenience, speed and safety.

“The Xoom experience is truly magical and transformative,” says Julian King, Xoom’s Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Development. “Xoom offers senders a service that is safe, convenient, fast and fairly priced, and people can send money to their loved ones any time, anywhere from their desktop, mobile or tablet device.  Xoom continues to build and deliver a great service with the sender in mind.  With Captain Xoom, we were able to deliver that message, and we are thrilled that the commercial earned us another Telly Award.”

Xoom won a Telly Award in 2012 for “Better Way,” a light-hearted story of the bumbling husband who figures out that Xoom is indeed a “better way” to send money to the Philippines.  Last fall, Xoom won the gold from the ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards for “Save the Pigs,” as best campaign developed to reach Hispanic consumers.

About Xoom
Xoom is a digital money transfer provider, focused on helping consumers send money in a secure, fast and cost-effective way using a smartphone, tablet or computer. During the 12 month period ended June 30, 2013, Xoom’s more than 915,000 active customers sent more than $4.3 billion to family and friends in 30 countries. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and can be found online at Xoom.com.

5
Aug

Philippines’ Department of Tourism creates plan to help citizens, local economy

Philippines' Department of Tourism creates plan to help citizens, local economy

The Philippines have long been a desirable location to visit, and a recent boom in tourism has created an influx of visitors to the nation. Several government organizations have decided to find a new way to help low-income citizens, and turn some of that tourism revenue into direct profit for the local economy.

The One-Step Project
People send money from all across the world to benefit loved ones in the Philippines, and the program – called The One-Step Project – has similar intentions. The Department of Tourism and the Department of Social Welfare and Development intend to use tourists to help stimulate local markets, and buy arts, crafts, agriculture and other goods provided by the Filipino people, according to the Philippine Star.

Many low-income workers struggle to attract customers to their businesses, and the new program would work in conjunction with local agencies to direct tourists to the smaller stores unique to the area. The goal is to improve the welfare of many people in the country. Tourism is a big source of income for many nations, and The Philippine Star stated that the One-Step Project has the opportunity to help as many as 13 million Filipinos.

Low-income workers might see an improvement in sales if their products and services are marketed toward tourists.

Homegrown twist on art
One artist in the Philippines is trying his hand at improving sales for an uncommon piece of art. Online money transfers can help stimulate small businesses and improve the daily lives of many people in the Philippines, and Don Kishin Figueroa Javier's interesting wire sculptures are worth taking a look at.

Javier started his own company, Kartwheel Creations, and he sells arts and crafts typically made from the run-of-the-mill metal wire, according to Malaya Business Insider.

"I never enjoyed working eight-to-five jobs," Javier told the news source. "What I do enjoy is making and creating things. When I joined an arts and crafts fair, I got inspired by the artists and artisans there who made a business out of their craft."

He first attempted selling his goods online, and then brought them to many local markets and fairs in 2012. Frequently, buyers are art lovers from all over the world and sections of the Philippines, the news source noted.

Artisans like this are some of the people who the One-Step Project wants to help, and those who send money to the country might assist by purchasing local arts and crafts. Javier's company is doing well, and he sells between 10 and 20 art pieces a month, according to the Malaya Business Insider.

11
Jul

The Filipino economy, Bosch Philippines strengthen

Filipino economy, Bosch Philippines strengthen

The Filipino economy is expected to continue its strong growth, according to the International Monetary Fund. While some of Southeast Asia is experiencing a reduced rate of growth, the Philippines could be headed in the opposite direction. 

A growing economy in the Philippines
According to the Philippine Star, projections are high for the country. This can be good news for many people who send money to friends and family there, and a revitalized economy can have a positive effect for a large number of citizens. The numbers indicate a faster growth rate than the previous two years, which saw an increase of 6 percent and 5.5 percent. 

"The economic growth momentum here is higher," said Shanaka Peiris, of the IMF. "The region has been softer than expected. Most countries' (forecasts) were reduced but the Philippines is an outlier." 

He added that growth for the Philippines could reach 7 percent this year, but might eventually slow down to only 6 percent in 2014.

The rate of growth is positive for several other regions of Southeast Asia, with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – in addition to the Philippines – potentially experiencing positive gains of 5.6 percent in 2013, with an increase to 5.7 percent for 2014. While these numbers are slightly less than expected, they are still indicative of a strengthening economy in the region. 

One major reason for the strong Filipino economy is good state spending, on items like the country's infrastructure, according to the IMF. This can help the boost growth in the short term, but steps need to be taken to ensure that the future isn't bleak.

"We can't sustain growth without doing anything… so structural reforms are very important…," said Peiris. "Looking at other countries, what we found is that for this growth take off to be sustained, what you need is growth in investments."

Domestic demand is another key reason for the increased strength, which contributed to gross domestic product growth of 7.8 percent in 2013, according to the Philippine Star. The IMF also reported that the rate of money transfers in the Philippines rose by 5 percent.

A booming industry, and an increase of jobs
One large company in the Philippines is using the strengthening economy to grow as well. Bosch Philippines expects double-digit growth in 2013, and its numbers are rising alongside IMF predictions for the country as a whole.

According to GMA News, the multinational engineering and electronics company is predicting the increase in sales and production because of an introduction of several new products and services, as well as a new facility in Cebu. 

Joseph Hong, managing director of Bosch Philippines, mentioned that another reason for its growth has been the strong Filipino economy, and the positive statistics overall are helping his company thrive. 

"The economy is quite strong, all economic indicators are positive," said Hong. "Based on this backdrop and internal activities, such as introduction of innovative products and services going forward,  these are the key drivers for our growth."

The Cebu location is the first for Bosch Philippines outside of Manila, and the company saw a 30 percent increase in sales in 2012, up to $28.8 million. The executives still intend to expand further into the country, with the goal of adding more service centers for their booming automotive industry. That business grew by 11 percent in the last year.

"We're still expanding this service workshop concept," said Sangjo Park. "We are targeting nine more across the country this year."

Bosch Philippines also wants to expand its security system and thermotechnology sections as well, according to GMA News. Thanks to the overall Filipino economy strengthening, there is little reason to doubt that growth will continue. This is a positive sign for everyone who sends money to the Philippines.

10
Jul

Film Festival celebrates Philippines-Japan friendship month

Film Festival celebrates Philippines-Japan friendship month

The month of July is Philippines-Japan friendship month, and many locations across the Philippines are celebrating in various, unique ways.

One of them involves the Eiga Sai film festival, which began at the beginning of the month, and is being held at cinemas in different parts of the Philippines. Sponsored in conjunction with The Japan Foundation, the Embassy of Japan, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the festival was the jumping off point for a month-long celebration of improved Japan and Philippines relations. An online money transfer to the Philippines is a great way to support loved ones, and watching one of the twelve films shown at Eiga Sai can be a fun way to take a break from daily life.

According to the Embassy of Japan, the film festival is a way of celebrating the 56 years of friendship and cooperation between Japan and the Philippines, and while Eiga Sai started the fun, there will be great festivities and cultural celebrations for the remainder of July. July 23 was named Philippines-Japan Friendship Day in 2006. Starting in 2012, the month-long events were expanded to other provinces in the Philippines, including Baguio, Cebu, and Davao.

The Eiga Sai film festival
As the starting point for the month, Eiga Sai featured 12 Japanese films, made between 2005 and 2012. This year marked the 15th year for the festival, and each time it provides a unique glimpse into Japanese culture for many citizens of the Philippines.

"With a wide variety of genres from action, to animation, family drama, to mystery, we want Filipinos to understand the current situation in Japan through this select Japanese cinema," said Shuji Takatori, director of the Japan Foundation. "Most of the festival films tackle current pressing issues that confront the Japanese people and society, both in the cities and rural areas."

Held at the Shrangri-La Plaza Mall, the festival is scheduled to run from July 4 to July 14, and the films are shown with English subtitles. Each movie is open to the public on a first-come first-serve basis. 

In addition to films, Eiga Sai will have other events, like photography, cultural exhibits and music concerts.

2013 is the 40th year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, and the month-long celebration helps commemorate the milestone. Many cinemas are showing films for Eiga Sai, including the Shang Cineplex Cinema at the start of July, then the FDCP Cinematheque in Davao City July 19 to the 28, Ayala Center Cinema 4 in Cebu City in August, and the UP Film Institute in Quezon City in late August.

The films being showcased
Out of the 12 films shown for Eiga Sai, the highlight will be the trilogy Always Sunset on Third Street, by director Takashi Yamazaki. The films are comedy-dramas, and revolve around the daily lives of residents of a working-class Tokyo neighborhood. Part one takes place in 1958, the second film in 1959, and the final installment is set in 1964. The films have resonated with audiences because of the hope of better times, according to Takatori.

"There is nothing like the shared experience of watching a film that unites people together," he added. "Cinema has the capability to connect us, to push the creativity and the capacity of our human spirit, to move us continuously to strive and to do better – to be better."

The first film shown at Eiga Sai was (About Her Brother) Otuoto, by famous filmmaker Yoji Yamada. The themes of the movie are unconditional love and family tensions, and the film was featured at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival as well.

Many people send money to the Philippines, and engaging in some of the Philippines-Japan friendship month activities can be a unique way to experience some culture and heritage of both countries.

9
Jul

Xoom and Tancinco Law Offices Announce a Special Offer for Filipino Remitters

Pia Guter, Director of Xoom Marketing, Philippines, and Lourdes Tancinco, the principal at Tancinco Law Offices, APC.

 

Send first money transfer of $100 or more to the Philippines and receive a free U.S. immigration law consultation with Tancinco Law Offices

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 9, 2013 – Xoom Corporation (NASDAQ: XOOM), a leading digital money transfer provider, today announced it is offering a promotion with Tancinco Law Offices, a professional law corporation based in San Francisco.  First-time Xoom customers who send money to the Philippines from now until August 15, 2013 will be able to schedule a free U.S. immigration law consultation with Tancinco Law Offices.

“We are excited to offer customers a free U.S. immigration law consultation, as a means to discover how convenient, safe and fast it is to send money home with Xoom,” says Julian King, Xoom’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development. “Tancinco is an established full-service law firm  specializing in immigration law for the Filipino community in the United States.”

Filipino customers can visit Xoom.com/law, click the designated link, and then send their money transfer of $100 or more to the Philippines.  Xoom will email the customer a code (usually within one hour after the transaction is complete), along with information on how to schedule one free U.S. immigration law consultation with Tancinco Law Offices.  A consultation is up to 30 minutes long and can be done via phone, Skype or in person at Tancinco’s San Francisco location.  Consultations must be scheduled by September 30, 2013 and completed by December 31, 2013.

About Xoom
Xoom is a digital money transfer provider, focused on helping consumers send money in a secure, fast and cost-effective way using a smartphone, tablet or computer. During the 12 months ended March 31, 2013, Xoom’s more than 840,000 active customers sent more than $3.6 billion to family and friends in 30 countries worldwide. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and can be found online at Xoom.com.

About Tancinco
Tancinco Law Offices (TLO) is a professional law corporation based in San Francisco, California, with satellite offices located in Vallejo, California and Makati, Philippines.  Established in 1992, TLO is a full service law firm assisting clients in their business and immigration matters.  The firm has been providing services for more than 20 years and prides itself on providing efficient and dependable legal solutions in all areas of U.S. immigration law.  TLO specializes in family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, temporary work visas, removal/deportation proceedings and naturalization.

21
May

Investments in Filipino bananas increase

Investments in Filipino bananas increase

In the Philippines, bananas are not only tasty treats for many residents, but these fruits also provide significant support to the local economy. In fact, banana plantations around the Philippines have noticeably impacted the republic for years and will continue to deliver substantial assistance to several of its businesses and residents.

According to BusinessWorld Online, AgriNurture, an importer of various fruits, will invest up to $24 million in Filipino banana plantations. AgriNurture’s announcement came at the International Food Expo Philippines in May 2013, and the investment could help the company increase its profits. Additionally, AgriNurture president Antonio Tiu said that his firm takes an aggressive approach in its operations and expects a significant return on its Filipino banana plantation investment.

More Filipino banana shipments are coming to the U.S.
Filipino residents who live in the U.S. and send money to family members back home may soon have plenty of opportunities to enjoy Filipino bananas. BusinessMirror reports that more Cavendish bananas are expected to be shipped to the U.S. in 2013, which could significantly impact the Philippines and its citizens. By sending more bananas overseas, the Philippines may increase its revenue and attract additional investors from around the globe.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) representatives noted that sending Cavendish bananas to the U.S. may help the republic’s economy for the next few years. Emmanuel Esguerra, NEDA deputy director general, stated that Filipino officials are also exploring opportunities to export sugar to more nations as well.

Overall, Filipino exports totaled $343.9 million in February 2013, up 43.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Filipino leaders consider myriad ways to manage expenses
Esguerra told Malaya that new processes and policies are necessary to help the Filipino economy, particularly for banana and sugar exporters.

“Exporters have been affected negatively by the strong peso,” Esguerra told the news source. “This can be overcome by better infrastructure, efficient logistics, lower power costs and other measures to reduce the cost of doing business.”

The Philippines Bureau of Plant Industry noted that 3 million kilograms of bananas were scheduled to be shipped to the U.S. in April. Between February 2012 and February 2013, Filipino banana exports rose 96 percent, and refined sugar exports also increased 27 percent. By providing new exports to the U.S., the Filipino economy could further boost its profits.

10
May

Mexican leaders eye banking sector reforms

Mexican leaders eye banking sector reforms

A banking sector overhaul could provide a wide variety of benefits to Mexico, and the nation's leaders are discussing several options that may help the country's economy.

According to The Associated Press, Mexican officials are actively pursuing solutions to make credit readily available to residents. Additionally, these administrators are studying ways to make credit cheaper, which could affect Mexican citizens who currently work in the U.S. and send money to family members in their homeland. 

While the economic recession of the late 2000s affected many nations, Mexico's financial crisis of 1995 had far-flung effects that still impact the country today. During the crisis, many of the nation's banks nearly went bankrupt, but federal leaders provided short-term financial assistance. Several larger Mexican banks were later sold to foreign investors, and five of these financial institutions have dominated the nation's banking segment since that time. 

"When the banking sector was opened to foreign firms, [Mexican leaders] thought it would increase competition, but [these banks] didn't compete," economic analyst Rogelio Ramirez told the news source. "What we need is a reform to have them compete more and make the market more attractive, but the banks are happy to just issue credit cards."

Banking sector changes could provide additional support to the Mexican economy
Agustin Carstens, Mexico's central bank governor, told Reuters that banking sector reforms could have immediate effects on Mexican residents. In fact, boosting credit across the nation may add 0.5 percentage points to the Latin American economy within two to three years. 

Increasing competition among banks could also encourage these financial institutions to provide additional loans to Mexican citizens. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that these banks may develop incentives for mid-sized businesses that list their shares on the stock market, which could deliver a substantial boost to the nation's economy. 

"The [objective] is … for banks to lend more, and more cheaply," Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto told the news source. "Credit is a key input for growth."

Mexican Bankers Association officials said that they would need to study the proposed banking sector reforms to determine exactly how Mexican residents would be affected. However, these leaders stated that they agreed with the goals of the reforms, but specific measures must be followed to ensure that Mexican residents will enjoy the benefits of various economic changes.

3
May

Philippines’ economy continues to improve

Philippines' economy continues to improve

The Philippines' economy is on the rise, and several financial experts have recognized the republic's recovery from the economic downturn of the late 2000s. According to Bloomberg, Philippine stocks recently earned an investment grade from Standard & Poor's, a positive sign for the republic's economy. 

S&P officials said that the Philippines' economy appears stable, which bodes well for the republic over the next several years. As many Filipinos accept jobs in the United States and send money to their families back home, the republic could watch its economy grow in the near future. 

Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said that republic leaders are frequently searching for ways to improve the area's economy. S&P's investment grade could have long-term effects on the Philippines, and Purisima noted that numerous opportunities are being explored to further assist the republic and its residents.  

"We're continuing to address constraints to growth," Purisima told the news source. "We're fast tracking our infrastructure projects. We're looking at areas we can open up to foreign investors."

Benigno Aquino, the Philippines' President, has significantly assisted many republic citizens by launching a variety of economic improvement campaigns in the past. With S&P's investment grade, Philippine officials could lay the foundation for future economic growth that may help the republic enhance its global reputation. 

"For the Philippines, this is yet another confirmation that Aquino's reforms have borne fruit, which would help in attracting not just short-term flows, but long-term direct investments," Santitarn Sathirathai, a Singapore-based economist at Credit Suisse Group AG, told the news source. 

Philippine leaders help reduce the republic's total debt
While economic recovery from the global downturn has been slow in many areas of the world, ambitious initiatives from Aquino and other Philippine leaders have helped the republic's economy improve in a short period of time. 

BusinessWorld Online reports that Philippine officials have lowered the republic's total debt by 14 percent over the past 10 years. However, Philippine administrators stated that plenty of work lies ahead, and these leaders will review various options to help republic residents. 

Purisima said that S&P's investment grade is a vote of confidence for the republic, but there are many areas where the republic could improve. Thankfully, Philippine officials are dedicated to supporting the local economy and will invest the necessary resources to help citizens.