Stock investors on wait-and-see

Investors are likely to remain on the sidelines following the surge in speculative buying on third-line oil and mining issues amid the potential impact of the rising oil prices.

Volatility in oil prices has been driven by lower inventory levels in the U.S. on larger than expected drawdowns and potential supply disruptions from tensions over Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil exporter, says AB Capital Securities.

“With the Philippines importing more than 90 percent of its oil requirements and the economy having a reportedly high intensity of petroleum usage to generate each unit of GDP output, our economic growth may be imperiled towards the second half.”

The government has already warned the public about higher crude and refined petroleum prices as oil companies have pronounced plans of successive hikes of as much as 50 centavos per liter on fuel prices over the next several weeks.

With the expected rise in prices, “we won’t be surprised on any upward adjustment in inflation targets by mid-year. This may eventually force the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to adopt a more restrictive interest rate policy in second half of the year.

            BPI Securities has noted that the market corrected following two days of strong gains which saw the Phisix breaching the 2270 resistance.

            Leading the market's decline were Ayala Land, Inc. and SM, both of which had racked up steep inclines last week.

           “While buying sentiment remains strong, we may still see this correction continuing this week particularly if PLDT ADR trades lower,” says BPI Securities.

            Last week, trading mainly focused on commodity-related issues, with selected blue chips such as Ayala Corp. (AC up 5 percent) and PLDT (a record of P2,000 per share) leading the index’s rise.

             AB Capital noted that international oil and gold prices continued to shoot through the roof, fuelling speculative interest on third-liners.

“Index issues moved up slightly on account of better first quarter budget deficit numbers, overcoming fears of higher business costs and adverse consumer spending from rising crude prices.”

 The PSEi gained 39 points up by 1.7 from the previous week’s to close at 2,263 its highest since August 1999.

              “While everybody waited for a psychological resistance at $600 per ounce, gold prices charged without hesitation to reach over $637 per ounce, fuelling a buying frenzy on the biggest local mine players: Philex Mining (PX, PXB), Lepanto Consolidated (LC, LCB), Manila Mining (MA, MAB), Apex Mining (APX, APXB) and Atlas Mining (AT).”(Edu Lopez)

 

Capiz march vs. Charter change

ROXAS CITY– The Capiz March Against Arroyo’s
Charter Change or C-MARCH welcomed the early
issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
by Capiz Regional Trial Court(RTC) Branch 17
Presiding Judge Edward Contreras Tuesday afternoon.

“This is a landmark case. This is the first TRO
issued in the country against the bogus people’s
initiative led by Department of Interior and
Local Government(DILG)-Malacañang,” said C-March secretariat Chris Heredia.

Contreras issued a 20-day temporary restraining
order on Tuesday, directing the poll body to
cease and desist immediately from taking
cognizance of verification of signatures of the
supposed registered voters presented by any people’s organizations.

The order stemmed from the petition for
prohibition filed by former Roxas City Councilor
Rey Antonio Bingo Altavas, a former staunch
critics of the Roxases. Altavas now works as
staff of Sen. Mar Roxas II in the Senate.

The victory is not just for Capizeños but for all
patriotic and nationalist Filipinos as well, she stressed.

The C-MARCH is the first broad alliance of
anti-Charter change in the province of Capiz,
which was launched Friday last week. The group is
composed of various organizations from different
political, socio-civic and church sectors opposing the people’s initiative.

Heredia challenged the other provinces to take
initiatives in order to achieve significant
victory in its legal battle against the peoples’ initiative.

“There is no question for the need to change the
present constitution but this is not the right
time to change it. Personally, I believe that
this will legitimize a regime whose legitimacy is being questioned,” she said.

Atty. Nelly Abao-Lee, Capiz provincial election
supervisor, said she was surprised by the sudden issuance of the TRO.

She said the issuance of the TRO by a local court
was, so far, the first in the country against a
government agency that is tasked by the
Constitution to administer an election.

Lee said copy of the TRO has been forwarded to
the Comelec National Office for immediate comment and action.

In her legal opinion, she stressed, the Comelec
cannot be restrained by the court because they
were merely doing their administrative functions.
She stressed that verifying signatures upon the
request of any individual persons or groups is
one of their primary tasks. She added the Comelec
never wasted the people’s money in doing so.

Except for the first district of Capiz, she said,
the Comelec had issued a certification that
22,372 signatures gathered for the people’s
initiative in the second district had been
verified to be true. The number represented 12.94
percent of the 172,945 registered voters.

Lee said her office cannot issue any
certification on the part of the first district
because the signatures submitted for verification
coming from Roxas City and Pontevedra towns have
yet to be verified when the TRO was issued.

So far, only 6,105 of the 14,371 signatures
gathered were verified to be true. The first
district, composed of six towns and Roxas City, has 203,208 registered voters.

By FELIPE CELINO AND ERWIN BONIFACIO 

Estafa vs. Pacific Plans

On April 26, 2006, aggrieved planholders filed Syndicated Estafa Charges
against the Directors and Officers of Pacific Plans, Inc. before the Office
of the City Prosecutor of Manila. The named Respondents in the Criminal
Complaints are Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco, Helen Yuchengco Dee, Alfonso
S. Yuchengco III, Alfonso S. Yuchengco, Jr., Yvonne S. Yuchengco, Susanne
Yuchengco Santos and others. Syndicated Estafa, a non-bailable offense which
carries the penalty of life imprisonment to death, is punishable under P.D.
1689, in relation to Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code.

In their Criminal Complaints, Philip Piccio and other planholders alleged
that Pacific Plans, Inc., through its Directors and Officers, misrepresented
to the general public that they will pay, irrespective of cost at the time
of availment, the tuition and standard school fees for enrollment of their
Traditional Pacific Educational Plan scholars. Through such
misrepresentations, they pretended that they had the capacity to honor their
contractual obligations and assume the risks inherent in their open-ended
plans and were able to induce members of the general public to part with
their hard-earned money to purchase them.

In said Complaints, the Complainants averred that Pacific Plans, through its
Directors and officers, self-engineered and artificially contrived their
state of "financial distress" by transferring the funds and assets of
Pacific Plans to Lifetime Plans, Inc. Complainants further stated that
Pacific Plans subsequently filed a Petition for Corporate Rehabilitation
with Suspension of Payments with the Regional Trial Court of Makati City in
order to evade its contractual obligations to its planholders, despite the
fact that the findings of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and
its own audited financial statements showed that the company is liquid and
solvent. In said case, Pacific Plans proposed a mandatory swap of all
open-ended plans with fixed-value plans which offers a refund of their total
payments with a lower yield of 7% per annum to be paid out in the year 2010.

Philip Piccio is the President of PEP Coalition, Inc., a coalition of
aggrieved planholders of Pacific Plans, Inc., who have joined together in
their concerted effort and crusade to promote the protection of consumers,
good corporate governance, and a morally responsible pre-need industry. *The
PEP Coalition, Inc. has spearheaded the holding of a National Convention of
Pre-Need Victims to be held this coming Saturday, April 29, 2006, 8:00 A.M.
to 12:00 noon at the St. Paul's Pasig Gym. Expected to attend the National
Convention are planholders from Pacific Plans, CAP, Platinum, Capitol and
TPG. *Some 1,000,000 students who are the beneficiaries of these
educational plans face the imminent prospect of not enrolling in school
because of this controversy hounding the pre-need industry.

Insensitive corporate comm manager

A corporate communications manager of a large software company got a flak from local reporters who covered an event in Singapore.  This lady manager had her own way and insensitive to the concerns of the reporters. She even went into a shopping spree, forgetting her role as a facilitator instead of taking care of the reporters.  “It was a traumatic experience,” says one reporter who promised never to cover any future event of that software company with the same lady communications manager who used to be with a large global IT services and software firm and then moved to a German company. The shabby treatment by this lady communications manager on the reporters may affect her credibility.  If that’s the way she handles the press, then reporters would think it thrice before covering any of the company’s event.

            IT execs and employees come and go.  Michael Jabillo who used to be with Microsoft Phils. for four years is now with a local company Saklolo.net, the ABC of m-Commerce.  Mike is cooking up a project with a major daily paper.  Ariel Roda, ex-ePLDT executive who left the company in August 2005 is a consultant, helping Mike on some projects.

            Cris Magallona joined Dell Phils. as a business development manager.  He left HP Philippines in November 2004. Barry Bunyi heads the Dell Phils. as the country manager.

            The recent results of the PhilNITS certification exams was a disappointing one.  The number of passers in the recent exams was way below compared to the previous exams.  PhilNITS Foundation led by Maricor Akol would certainly re-examine and evaluate its procedure and processes to raise the number of passers in future certification exams. PhilNITS-certified IT professionals are in big demand in Japan and in Japanese companies operating in the country.—Edu Lopez

Fil-Ams to conduct medical mission in Jimenez

 

 

 

A group of Filipino Americans based in California and New York will conduct a

medical mission in the three towns of Misamis Occidental in June to July this

year.

            Raul Maghuyop, co-founder of the Greater Jimenez Association-USA who is

coordinating the mission said that more than 20 volunteers including doctors

and nurses will be coming to treat patients and give $3,000 worth of free

medicine to indigents in the towns of Sinacaban, Jimenez and Panaon on June 25,

2006.

            “This is our humble contribution to help our constituents who are in need of

medical assistance,” says Maghuyop.

            To ensure the success of this endeavor, the group will be tapping the local

doctors and nurses to volunteer and assist the medical mission.

            Maghuyop says that another US-based group, the Misamisnon USA will conduct a medical mission in July this year.

            The Greater Jimenez Association-USA was established in 1991 in California

where its first officers were elected in Sept. 1993.  Raul Maghuyop was the

first president and a co-founder which was then called the Greater Jimenez

Association of Southern California.

            The association had initiated several projects in the past such as

construction of waiting sheds in Jimenez, Sinacaban and Panaon towns;

distribution of food, rice, sardines, noodles, soap and other items; donation

of books in the libraries including sports equipment.

 

Prices ease up in Metro

Prices of construction materials in Metro Manila have slightly dropped
as shown by the whole price index of 0.6 percent in February, lower than the
previous month's 0.9 percent.
         The National Statistics Office (NSO) said that prices of GI sheets
have declined to -0.4 percent in February.   Prices of cement and interior
electrical fixtures and devices decelerated to 0.6 percent in February from 6.3
percent and 2.1 percent in January.
         Prices of lumber dropped slightly to 0.4 percent from 4.5 percent;
wood products, 1.7 percent from 2.6 percent; and electrical rough-in materials,
0.7 percent from 2.5 percent. 
         On the other hand, prices of sand, stone and gravel were higher at 0.4
percent from -3.0 percent; plywood, 0.6 percent from -0.3 percent; fuels and
asphalt, 4.3 percent from 0.3 percent; glass and glass products, 1.0 percent
from 0.5 percent; hardware, 1.9 percent from 0.6 percent; paints, 1.4 percent
from -0.2 percent; reinforcing steel, 0.9 percent from -2.3 percent; and
exterior electrical equipment and supplies, 2.1 percent from 0.5 percent. 
          Prices of the rest of the commodity groups generally remained stable
as they posted zero growth during the month.
          The annual inflation of the construction materials in NCR was at 8.6
percent in February, the same rate recorded in January. 
          Higher annual positive rates were seen in the prices of the following
commodity groups: cement, 10.1 percent from 10.0 percent; lumber, 12.3 percent
from 12.1 percent; wood products, 18.5 percent from 17.1 percent; fuels and
lubricants, 33.8 percent from 31.4 percent; glass and glass products, 9.0
percent from 7.9 percent; hardware, 7.4 percent from 5.4 percent; metal pipes,
15.4 percent from 15.3 percent; paints, 4.8 percent from 3.7 percent; and
exterior electrical equipment and supplies, 9.7 percent from 7.4 percent. 
          NSO noted a slower annual movements in the prices of sand, stone and
gravel, concrete products, plumbing fixtures, reinforcing steel, G.I. sheets,
interior electrical fixtures and devices, tileworks and electrical rough-in
materials. 
          The annual corresponding price decreases in plywood and structural
steel were at -1.0 percent and -3.1 percent from -1.3 percent and -2.9 percent,
respectively. 
          The rest of the commodity groups retained their previous month's
rates while inflation for blasting materials and machinery and equipment rental
was zero.(Edu Lopez)

SEC to probe MMC

 The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has asked
the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate Manila Mining
Corporation (MMC) for disclosing to the public that its exploration permit has
already been approved.
        DENR Sec. Angelo Reyes said: "MMC’s false announcement and the
subsequent speculative effects in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) is
therefore misleading and irresponsible for a publicly-listed company and does
not blend well with the government’s efforts to revitalize the mining
industry."
        He stressed that the renewal of the MMC's exploration permit (No.
XIII-014) covering its Kalaya-an Gold Project is still pending with his office
awaiting clearance and final approval.
         Reyes said this is contrary to the recent published reports  that
MMC’s exploratin permit had already been approved and that DENR Undersecretary
for Mining Demetrio L. Ignacio had given the company clearance to inform the
stockholders about its supposed approval during its annual stockholders meeting
recently.
         Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Jeremias L. Dolino for his part
said that as required under DENR Memorandum Order No. 2005-20 “all applications
for Exploration Permits filed prior to August 26, 2005 shall be cleared with
the DENR Secretary.” 
          MMC’s application was filed 16 July 2004 but encountered opposition
from the community of Barangay Anislagan, Placer, Surigao del Norte.(Edu Lopez)