Thursday, August 24, 2017

SERIES OF SENATE HEARINGS ON TAX INITIATIVES OF THE DUTERTE ADMINISTRATION

On 24 Aug. 2017, PAGASA was invited once more to the august chambers of the Phil. Senate to attend the extended hearings on proposed tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverage (SSB).  As usual, the room was filled and STC had to stand for two full hours before a medical practitioner vacated her seat after the doctors had attested to the varying but non-conclusive studies relating sugar intake from processed drinks to the incidence of diabetes in the different countries covered by various studies. The lawmakers were in a quandary as whether to tax SSB via the volume of these products per se or whether to do so based on the sugar-content of said products.  Adopting the latter seems more appropriate when attributing the incidence of diabetes to the amount of sugar intake of a patient from SSBs.  However, legislators are not sure whether our good people at the Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) are capable of releasing information about the level of sugar content of any given product as quickly as when a product is approved by them; so these products may be taxed accordingly soon as they are out in the market. Adopting the first approach is easier to implement but less fair given the direct proportion by which a product may lead to incidence of diabetes.

Friday, August 11, 2017

NATIONAL RETAILERS CONF. & EXHIBITION (NRCE) 2017

The annual Retailers Conference at the SMX from 10-11 of August 2017 by the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) was filled with retailers of all sizes, shapes and colors. The Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Assn. (PAGASA) is the food retail segment of the PRA and has been an Associate Member of the PRA for the last twenty years. The Conference had among others Mr. Irwin Lee/CEO of the Rustan Supercenters, Inc. (gray coat; maroon tie) who spoke authoritatively on global retail trends, Ms. Erica Ng/ Senior Editor of WGSN Insight Asia Pacific (HK) in black, Swede Mr. Anders Barlund of Phil. Mackinsey & Co. On its 30th year, PAGASA took care of the Breakout Session for Supermarkets on Day 1 from 3:00-5:00pm.  Guest Speakers were DTI Usec. Teodoro Pascua who spoke on the partnership between the public sector and retailers, Ms. Shirley Zhu of IGD based in Singapore on Asian Retail Trends and A.C. Nielsen’s Managing Director Patrick Cua on “Winning at Point of Sale.”  Songwriter Jim Paredes spoke on the importance of music in Establishments as an officer of FILSCAP. This year’s edition of the Conference was made “memorable” as an earthquake registering 6.1 on the Richter Scale momentarily interrupted the Conference and resulted in an early end for the annual event.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

THIRD QUARTER GENERAL MEETING OF PAGASA

For its 3Q GenMeet, PAGASA took over the whole of Sariwon Korean Barbecue’s 2nd floor at its branch in Promenade Arcade at the Greenhills Shopping Center on 2 August 2017.  Host for the evening was the British American Tobacco (Phils.), Ltd.>makers of Lucky Strike, Pall Mall and other famous brands of smokes. They clarified with PAGASA Members the IRR of the recently-passed Smoking Ban (E.O. 26) by the President.  Some supermarkets were wary of carrying cigarettes because of confusion brought about by this E.O. and the unclear guidelines that went with it regarding smoking areas and fines and penalties.  There were a few new members who joined the group this evening. B.A.T. also informed the group that with the very recent buying of  Reynolds American, Inc. by their Mother Company, they are  now the biggest cigarette manufacturer in the world. They went on to present the thrust of their company regarding the future of smokes worldwide.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

NPCC MEETING TO DETERMINE NEED TO EXTEND PRICE FREEZE IN MINDANAO

On 1 Aug. 2017, DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez called a Special Meeting for the members of the National Price Coordinating Council to determine whether there is need to extend the Price Freeze in Mindanao considering the extension of the state of Martial Law by the President in that southern island.  By law, price freezes last for 60 days and is not necessarily co-terminus with the state of calamity or Martial Law as declared in an area.  Usec. Ted Pascua explained the logic in determining the corresponding price ceiling when a price freeze is called to order.  Dir. Lilian Salonga explains how the field personnel of DTI monitored prices per province/area to come up with the report on price movements in the countryside.  When asked about the stability of the peso versus the U.S. dollar, representatives from the BSP showed their fearless forecast that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the peso should stabilize where it is today and should not negatively affect the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities.  After the NPCC Meeting, PAGASA’s STC was requested to stay behind for the press conference that took place at the BOI Building.

Friday, July 28, 2017

APEC-SPONSORED WORKSHOP ON COMPETITION

PAGASA’s Officer Myke Teodoro attended a 2-day Workshop from 27-28 July 2017 on Capacity Building for SME’s on Competition Policy and Law at the Marco Polo Hotel in Pasig. The workshop aimed to create an action plan for the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) meant specifically for SME's. Foreign delegates who attended this Event flew in from different Asia and Pacific countries like Japan, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Thailand, etc. from both government and

VIETNAM-PHILS. BUS. FORUM & VIET BUS. MISSION

The Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines held a Forum and brought in Businesses from Vietnam keen on supplying the Philippine market.  STC takes a photo with the new Vietnamese Ambassador H.E. Ly Quoc Tuan and his hardworking Commercial Counselor Ms. Vu Viet Nga with a foreign visitor.  After lunch, the program on 28 July 2017 at the Diamond Hotel focused on Business Matching between invited local businessmen and
their counterparts from Vietnam.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

RETAILERS OF THE YEAR AWARDS NIGHT 2017

On the night of 26 July 2017, the PRA held the Retailer of the Year Awards at the Grand Ballroom of the Solaire Hotel and Casino.  At the audience were the Who’s Who of the Retail World in the Philippines including past PAGASA GenMeet hosts (L-R) Patrick Cua/A.C. Nielsen, Victor Javier/e-Ripple and Bernard Chua/formerly of Hewlett-Packard and now with Amazon Web Services (in pic with PAGASA Dir. Robert Go/Prince Retail Group and STC).  Special Guest of Honor is DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez who urged retailers in Mindanao to provide displaced Maranaw businessmen with some store space to do business with at favorable rates and asked retailers to look into the Halal Business. Invited Presenters of the Awards that evening were Robert Go who is also currently the President of the Cebu Retailers Association&gt an affiliate of the PRA and STC who is partnered with DTI’s Dir. Lilian Salonga. The evening ended with a bang to celebrate the winners for the year.

Friday, July 21, 2017

POSITION PAPER ON QC ANTI-JUNK FOOD ORDINANCE

On 21 July 2017, the local Government of Quezon City published on a daily regarding an Ordinance banning food stores located a hundred meters from public or private schools (from pre-school to high school) from selling and/or promoting “junk foods and sugary drinks.” The Association itself received a soft copy of the local Ordinance only on 31 July.  As such, PAGASA wrote the City Mayor and primary sponsor of the Bill Councilor Irene R. Belmonte a Position Paper regarding this Prohibition and the fact that stakeholders were not invited to comment on the Bill.  Position Paper was submitted to the office of the good Councilor and received at 1:30pm on 16 August 2017 by her staff Ms. Rose Lapada.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

AL JAZEERA INTERVIEWS PAGASA REGARDING STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Qatar-based Al Jazeera visited one of the supermarkets of PAGASA Pres. Steven T. Cua to interview him regarding the state of retail economy on 20 July 2017 just four days short of President Duterte’s State of the Nation address in Congress.  They wanted to feature in their news how local business people are taking to the rather radical approach of the current administration to solving the perceived ills of society.  Of course, STC told it like it is both with the good and the bad; how the President is coping given his campaign promises with unorthodox solutions yet finding difficulty to rid society of age-old menaces.  At the same time, unwelcome remarks as well as perceived security problems are hindering foreign tourists from finding the Philippines to be the safe heaven it used to be before the strife in Marawi and the drug issue in the urban centers. Foreign investors are focusing on how the economy is holding up a year into the administration of President Duterte.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

2Q GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING OF THE PRA

Representing PAGASA at the PRA GMM for the 2nd Quarter at Novotel Hotel at the Araneta Center on 29 June 2017, STC listened to PRA’s Legal Counsel and a partner at the Bengzon, Negre, Untalan Intellectual Property Attorneys Office, Atty. Ferdinand Negre (in coat) present very clearly “How to Use Intellectual Property to Create Value for your Retail Business.” He was aptly joined by the very informative Atty. Jesus Ros-Division Chief of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines>an entity under the DTI.  They gave very fine examples of how understanding Intellectual Property Rights can make your brands earn strong equity.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

PUBLIC HEARING ON DTI’s SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE

On the afternoon of 28 June 2017, the Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB) of the Department of Trade Industry invited stakeholders to a public hearing on the guidelines in the implementation of SRP under the jurisdiction of the DTI.  PAGASA, under its President Steven T. Cua, stated its objection to the implementation of the SRP by the DTI under normal economic conditions.  He states that it is best for laissez faire and the normal market forces to dictate on the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities. Competition keeps retailers (and manufacturers/suppliers for that matter) in check. You may find PAGASA’s position on this in the following link:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

PAGASA AT NPCC MEETING WITH DTI SEC. RAMON LOPEZ

In the morning of 15 June 2017, the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) held its second meeting under the Duterte Administration generally to discuss the food supply and price situation in the City of war-town Marawi.  As tension continuously mounts in said City and Martial Law is declared over the whole of Mindanao, price freeze for basic necessities in this southern island takes effect.  Also discussed is the potential increase in food prices with the proposed excise tax on sugared beverages and the new tax on salted foods.  As is with every NPCC Meeting, the DTI invites the press for a conference to clarify matters and issue statements for the public to be aware of the on-goings in the economy and the plans of government to address certain concerns.  Almost always, PAGASA is invited to this Conference headed by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and Usec. Teodoro Pascua. STC mentions when questioned that fundamentally, price is a function of supply and demand but that pricing/price positioning, on the other hand, is a strategic business decision regardless of macroeconomic factors; that suppliers may opt to increase/decrease prices as a consequence of anticipated conditions which may be favorable or adverse to their business.  As in the case of anticipated taxes on prime commodities, some manufacturers have already opted to increase prices for some of their sku’s even before taxes are put in place so they don’t have to do so when competitors adjust their prices.