UK advisory on the Philippines

  • We advise against all travel to central, southern and western Mindanao, and the Sulu archipelago including Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo, where there are ongoing military and police operations against insurgent groups. On 23 June 2006, a bomb exploded in Maguindanao Province, Western Mindanao. Reports suggest that five people were killed and a further 10 were injured. On 27 March 2006, an explosive device was detonated in Jolo Town killing five people and injuring at least 27. You should take particular care and maintain high levels of vigilance when travelling to the rest of Mindanao, including Davao.
  • There has been an increase in volcanic activity at the Mount Mayon Volcano in Albay Province, south east Luzon. The Philippines Institute of Vulcanology and Seismology has warned that a hazardous explosion is possible. A Permanent Danger Zone of six kilometres has been established around the summit of the volcano. There has also been an increase in volcanic activity on the Bulusan Volcano in Sorsogon Province, which could lead to an eruption. A Permanent Danger Zone of four kilometres has been established around the summit of the volcano. You should avoid the areas surrounding both volcanoes, as sudden explosions may occur.
  • There is a threat of kidnapping throughout the Philippines. We continue to believe that terrorists and criminal elements plan to kidnap foreign tourists from islands and coastal areas in the southern Philippines – ie Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. Kidnappings from other parts of the Philippines cannot be discounted. Boats travelling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are possible targets.
  • There is a high threat from terrorism throughout the Philippines. We continue to receive reports that terrorist groups are planning further attacks and believe that they have the capacity and the intent to mount indiscriminate attacks at any time and anywhere in the country. These attacks could be against civilian targets in public places, including those frequented by foreigners.
  • A week long state of emergency declared by the President of the Philippines following the arrest of three people for an attempted coup was lifted on 3 March 2006. However, public protests remain likely. You should avoid political gatherings or demonstrations.
  • Penalties for illegal drug importation and use are severe and can include the death penalty.
  • Around 50,000 British tourists visit the Philippines every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The main type of incidents for which British nationals require consular assistance in the Philippines are replacing lost or stolen passports, running out of money or overstaying their visa. You should be alert to the risk of street crime.
  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Please see: Travel Insurance.
  • There is a high threat from terrorism throughout the Philippines. We continue to receive reports that terrorist groups are planning further attacks and believe that they have the capacity and the intent to mount indiscriminate attacks at any time and anywhere in the country. These attacks could be against civilian targets in public places, including those frequented by foreigners.
  • A week long state of emergency declared by the President of the Philippines following the arrest of three people for an attempted coup was lifted on 3 March 2006. However, public protests remain likely. You should avoid political gatherings or demonstrations.
  • Penalties for illegal drug importation and use are severe and can include the death penalty.
  • Around 50,000 British tourists visit the Philippines every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The main type of incidents for which British nationals require consular assistance in the Philippines are replacing lost or stolen passports, running out of money or overstaying their visa. You should be alert to the risk of street crime.
  • Advertisements

    Stocks to consolidate

    Share prices are likely to trade within a narrower range with an
    immediate support level at 2,200 and immediate resistance at 2,300.
           Jitters from geo-political  issues and persistent inflationary concerns
    will keep investors on the defensive, says AB Capital Securities.
           “We have had a nice technical rebound after the market tumbled from its
    year high, however volumes have been thin, indicating that investors are still
    concerned,”says AB Capital.
           One development to watch out for is the Bank of Japan's policy board
    meeting on July 13-14.  It is expected to result in a 25-basis-point rate
    increase in Japans benchmark interest rates, Japan's first since 2001. 
          “After the market gets a clearer picture on interest rates, attention
    will shift to corporate earnings.  Among the sectors to watch out for is the
    commodities sector.  Oil and mining stocks are expected to generate some
    interest in the coming weeks,” says AB Capital
            Gold has recovered nicely, surging back above the $600 per ounce level.
     Meanwhile, crude oil prices have slowly but surely been inching up to new
    record high levels.  
           AB Capital expects commodity prices particularly energy to rise as a
    strong summer cooling season coupled with hurricane-related supply fears are
    conspiring to keep oil prices high this summer. 
           BPI Securities noted that the market corrected following several days of
    gains, down by almost 35 points. Major index losers were PLDT, Ayala Corp.,
    Globe Telecom and BPI.
           The correction was not unexpected given that the market's rise has been
    relatively steep.  Friday’s session was an indication of a possible pullback
    although the index still managed to end in the black, says BPI Securities. The
    market is still within the new consolidation range of between 2170 to 2270.
           2TradeAsia expects another cautious tone in the stock market as fund
    managers weigh participants' reaction to North Korea's test missile.
           “Speculative shares could dominate the limelight, as some investors
    switch to gold as alternative haven in view of the latest geopolitical events.”
           Possible upsides might still occur, as sentiment get a boost from tamer
    inflation data in June, supporting local monetary authorities' move to retain
    interest rates, says 2TradeAsia as it advised investors to trade prudently.(Edu
    Lopez)
    
    ___________________

    UK travel advisory on RP

    • We advise against all travel to central, southern and western Mindanao, and the Sulu archipelago including Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo, where there are ongoing military and police operations against insurgent groups. On 23 June 2006, a bomb exploded in Maguindanao Province, Western Mindanao. Reports suggest that five people were killed and a further 10 were injured. On 27 March 2006, an explosive device was detonated in Jolo Town killing five people and injuring at least 27. You should take particular care and maintain high levels of vigilance when travelling to the rest of Mindanao, including Davao.
    • There is a threat of kidnapping throughout the Philippines. We continue to believe that terrorists and criminal elements plan to kidnap foreign tourists from islands and coastal areas in the southern Philippines – ie Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. Kidnappings from other parts of the Philippines cannot be discounted. Boats travelling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are possible targets.
    • There is a high threat from terrorism throughout the Philippines. We continue to receive reports that terrorist groups are planning further attacks and believe that they have the capacity and the intent to mount indiscriminate attacks at any time and anywhere in the country. These attacks could be against civilian targets in public places, including those frequented by foreigners.
    • A week long state of emergency declared by the President of the Philippines following the arrest of three people for an attempted coup was lifted on 3 March 2006. However, public protests remain likely. You should avoid political gatherings or demonstrations.
    • There has been an increase in volcanic activity on the Bulusan Volcano, Sorsogon Province. On 8 June 2006, the status for the Bulusan Volcano was raised to Alert Level 2. A Permanent Danger Zone of four kilometres has been established around the summit as sudden explosions may occur.
    • Penalties for illegal drug importation and use are severe and can include the death penalty.
    • Around 50,000 British tourists visit the Philippines every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The main type of incidents for which British nationals require consular assistance in the Philippines are replacing lost or stolen passports, running out of money or overstaying their visa. You should be alert to the risk of street crime.
    • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Please see: Travel Insurance.

  • There has been an increase in volcanic activity on the Bulusan Volcano, Sorsogon Province. On 8 June 2006, the status for the Bulusan Volcano was raised to Alert Level 2. A Permanent Danger Zone of four kilometres has been established around the summit as sudden explosions may occur.
  • Penalties for illegal drug importation and use are severe and can include the death penalty.
  • Around 50,000 British tourists visit the Philippines every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The main type of incidents for which British nationals require consular assistance in the Philippines are replacing lost or stolen passports, running out of money or overstaying their visa. You should be alert to the risk of street crime.
  • SSS wins convictions of footwear presidents

    The Social Security System (SSS) recently won court convictions against the president of two footwear manufacturing companies based in Bataan, and the president of a Muntinlupa-based bus company who were found guilty of defying the SSS Law by failing to remit their employees’ contributions to the SSS and the Employees Compensation (EC), this was reported by Atty. Santiago D.R. Agdeppa, Assistant Vice President of the SSS Cluster Legal Support Group.

    AVP Agdeppa said that last May 11, 2006, the Regional Trial Court of Balanga, Bataan decided on two criminal cases filed by the SSS against employer Sae Chae Lee, president of Lotus Footwear, Inc. and Prince Footwear, Inc. – both companies based in the Bataan Export Processing Zone. In its decision, the Court found Sae Chae Lee guilty beyond reasonable doubt for “willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously” failing and refusing to remit the SSS and EC contributions of employees of the two companies. Atty. Gerardo M.S. Jacobo, Head of the Luzon Central Cluster Legal Unit based at the SSS Tarlac Branch, was the handling lawyer in the two cases.

    In the criminal case involving Lotus Footwear, Sae Chae Lee was sentenced to suffer imprisonment of six years and one day, and assessed to pay a fine of P20,000. In addition, Sae Chae Lee was ordered to pay the unremitted SSS contributions of Lotus Footwear employees amounting to P5,845,095.50, plus the three percent (3%) accrued penalty per month. The amount covers the delinquency period of December 1995 and October 1997 to March 1998.

    In another case, this time involving Prince Footwear, Sae Chae Lee was again sentenced to suffer imprisonment of six years and one day, and assessed a fine of P20,000. In addition, he was assessed the amount of P8,670,201.50, plus penalties, representing the unremitted SSS contributions of Prince Footwear employees. This amount, which was computed as of December 1998, covers the periods January to March 1993, and December 1997 to November 1998.

    Another delinquent employer that the SSS successfully prosecuted is Dennis T. Gabionza, president of Manila City Bus Corporation (MCBC), based in Muntinlupa City. In a decision promulgated by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City last March 28, 2006, Gabionza was found guilty of “willfully and unlawfully failing, neglecting and refusing” to remit the SSS and EC contributions of MCBC employees. Gabionza was imposed the amount of P1,652,330.10 representing the SSS and EC contributions of his employees, and penalties amounting to P541,417.87, computed as of September 10, 1992. These penalties are in addition to the Court’s sentence for Gabionza to suffer imprisonment of six years and one day, and to pay a fine of P20,000 to SSS and P5,000 to the EC. Atty. Leandro X.M. Villoria, Jr. of the NCR-South Cluster Legal Unit was the handling lawyer in this case.

    In 2005, the SSS also claimed legal victories against delinquent employers, Atty. Agdeppa recounted. One of these victories is the criminal case filed against Rene Anthony Nicolas, Ester C. Nicolas, and other officers of Haribon Development Corporation, a construction company. In this case won by Atty. Stella B.V. Inacay of the NCR-South Cluster Legal Unit, the Regional Trial Court of Makati City found the company officers guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of the SSS Law (RA 8282, or Social Security Act of 1997).

    In their defense, the accused argued that they had no direct hand in managing the company’s operations. However, the Court ruled that they (the officers) were not being sued in their personal capacities but in their capacities as directors of Haribon Development Corporation, which is the SSS-registered employer found remiss in their SSS and EC obligations. They were thus, ordered to pay the fine of P20,000 and were sentenced to imprisonment of six years and one day in case of their failure to pay to the SSS jointly and severally the total amount of P5,075,023.03. This amount consists of SSS and EC contributions in the amount of P4,140,703 and penalty of P934,320.05.

    Finally, Atty. Jomar C. Catabay of the NCR-Central Cluster Legal Unit successfully prosecuted employer Mildred Acena of MVA Printers. In the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City promulgated last May 12, 2005, Acena was found guilty of failing and refusing to remit the SSS and EC contributions of MVA employees amounting to P150,833.45 for the period January 1993 to July 2000. A 3% penalty amount of P209,979.44, computed as of January 30, 2001, was also imposed on Acena. Moreover, the Court sentenced Acena to suffer imprisonment of two years, 11 months and 11 days, to four years and two months, and to immediately remit payment to SSS the total amount of P360,812.89.

    AVP Agdeppa noted that while going through the legal and judicial system may seem lengthy and complicated, the SSS will not let up in its efforts to bring erring employers to justice to ensure that workers are given their due and proper social security protection.

    PLDT provides DSL Internet access to Phil courts

    The efficiency and productivity of the country’s legal system has gotten a boost through broadband Internet access.

     In an agreement signed with the Supreme Court, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. will provide BizDSL (digital subscriber line) Internet to 400 sites all over Metro Manila to connect judges and their respective courts to the Supreme Court.

     Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban said this was spearheaded by the high court in order to take advantage of technology in improving the performance of the country’s legal system.

     “This addresses the need for Internet connectivity and the growing demand for access by the judges to the Court’s E-Library and for the court clearance system,” said the Chief Justice.

     This will also help in the facilitation and submission of reports to the Office of the Court of Appeals.

     Chief Justice Panganiban added that PLDT’s broadband access will definitely enhance the functions of the Supreme Court, which has supervisory power over all trial courts, the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals. The Supreme Court also shares supervisory power with the Department of Interior and Local Government over the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

     PLDT Corporate Business Group Head Eric R. Alberto said PLDT is committed to help the Supreme Court in tapping technologies that will enhance their services and thereby benefit people who conduct business with the courts.

     “The Supreme Court’s E-Library is just one potentially powerful tool in improving productivity. It facilitates the exchange of information like never before. PLDT BizDSL will definitely enhance that tool by providing high speed access to the E-Library as well as to the wealth of information over the Internet,” said Alberto.

     PLDT Corporate Business Solutions Head Nerissa S. Ramos also said PLDT broadband Internet is the way to go for government agencies which serve millions of Filipinos.

     “With the increasing demand for fast and efficient service from government by a continuously increasing number of Filipinos, technology plays a very important role. PLDT aims to deliver the advantages of technology not only to businesses but also to the government,” she said.

    On Boxing

    by Lita Miguel

    go!!! ‘pinas go!!!
    congratulations filipinos!!!

    My husband works in a company that design and install kitchen custom
    made cabinets, and some of his collegues are mexicans whom
    (according to my husband) would bet who’ll gonna win in the fight of
    our contender against theirs. With humility, my husband would
    decline, not because he doesn’t trust pacquiao but will rather
    say “both of them are good in a way”.

    I’ve been out of the country since I was 22 years old in search for a
    greener pasteur but never changed my taste of food. A very Filipino
    in taste, I feel sad that real Pinoy foods are not well known to
    other countries I’ve travelled like Mid East, US, and some asian
    countries. Anyway, in our own little way we can always introduce Phil
    products to help boost our own market and support our economy. I may
    sound funny here but I am always proud to bring extra home cooked
    foods like adobong manok, lumpia, puto, etc at work to introduce our
    very own food to others. I won’t be surprised the next day they saw
    me, they said, “I saw and bought some Filipino stuff from an
    English/American store” .Like what? Dried mangoes, guava juice and
    mango juice in can, it’s soooooo gooooddd my kids love it!!!!!! I’d
    always pack extra food for my husband too so he can share and
    introduce it at work like polvoron or whatever!!!

    Don’t be afraid to introduce our own products, we have quality
    products too!

    I just had my interview to a new hospital as my second job here in
    the US when the Human Resources Recruiter told me that they prefer
    Filipino Nurses because of the QUALITY.

    BE PROUD YOU’RE PINOY!!!SEND HOME GREEN MONEY!!!DON’T BE HAPPY WHEN
    CONVERTION RATES ESCALATE BECAUSE THAT INDICATES OUR ECONOMY IS
    GETTING BAD!!!

    Aussie travel advisory on the Philippines

    • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines because of the high threat of terrorist attack. We continue to receive credible reports that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners. Some reports suggest that terrorists could target sites in Metro Manila, Mindanao including the Sulu Archipelago, and Cebu Province. If you do decide to travel, you should exercise extreme caution when you are in the Philippines.
    • In February 2005 there were terrorist attacks in Manila and further attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in the Philippines. Places frequented by foreigners, such as bars, pubs, shopping malls, fast food outlets, and places of worship may be targeted for attack.
    • The state of emergency declared on 24 February was lifted on 3 March 2006 though the potential for street demonstrations and other civil unrest activities remains. You should avoid any demonstrations and protests given their potential to turn violent.
    • There is a danger of kidnapping throughout the Philippines, including in Manila and around coastal and island tourist resorts throughout the country. Terrorists have kidnapped tourists from these areas.
    • We strongly advise you not to travel to Mindanao, including the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Sulu Archipelago because of the very high threat of terrorist attack, including kidnapping. Recent credible reporting indicates terrorists may be planning to attack places frequented by foreigners such as restaurants, shopping malls, bars or clubs in major population centres, including but not limited to Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, General Santos City, Cotobato and Pagadian. If you are in these areas you should consider leaving.
    • The alert level for the Bulusan volcano in Sorsogon Province is currently at level 2, indicating an increase in volcanic activity. A Permanent Danger Zone of four kilometres has been established around the summit by the Philippine Institute of Vulcanology and Seismology. Australians in the area should take precautions as the ash, dust and toxic fumes emitted from the volcano represent a significant health risk.