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Feb 18, 2016




  • PARISEuropean Union (EU) countries are preparing tougher new sanctions against Russia that they could impose by Monday. EU governments are divided about how fast, and how far to go, to punish Moscow for its military incursion into Ukraines Crimean peninsula. British and French diplomats told the Associated Press on Tuesday that officials are preparing a second round of sanctions on top of an initial round imposed last week. Those deemed re-sponsible for undermining Ukrainian territorial integrity and promoting

    By Bianca Cuaresma

    ThE Philippines ranked last in terms of the quality of its infrastructure as compared against that of neighboring countries, a study made by an international bank showed. In a briefing in Makati City, hong-kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (hSBC) said in its analysis on the quality of infrastructure in the re-gion, the Philippines showed up as having the worst among 13 other countries in Asia. We made some analysis on infra-structure, and we have come up with a measure on the quality of infrastruc-ture in Asian countriesit is summa-

    rized in one index of infrastructure, and, unfortunately, the Philippines ranks last in this particular index be-hind Vietnam and India, said Frederic Neumann, co-head of the hSBC Asian Economic Research. The index involved in the analysis were hong Kong, Singapore, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Viet-nam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. Neumann also said it measured the quality of roads, telecommunications, electricity, water supply and everything understood about infrastructure. Although other details of hSBCs Asia infrastructure measure have yet to be made available by the bank,

    See Infra, A8 See EU, A2

    See BSP, A2

    PESO ExchangE ratES n US 44.4840 n jaPan 0.4323 n UK 73.9324 n hK 5.7315 n chIna 7.2447 n SIngaPOrE 35.1070 n aUStralIa 40.2170 n EU 61.6771 n SaUDI arabIa 11.8617

    tOUrISm InDUStry SEEn tO gaIn mUch frOm Phl PartIcIPatIOn In bErlIn faIr

    Loopholes in sin tax law cutincome, abetted smuggling

    bSP ISSUES WarnIng OnbItcOInSThE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipi-nas (BSP) warned the public of Bitcoins, or virtual curren-cies currently being exchanged in the country, saying monetary authorities were still studying the appropriate regulatory measure on the new tech-nological innovation. The central bank said Bitcoins were a form of unregulated digital money that allows purchase of both virtual goods, such as those in online gaming environments and social network, as well as real goods and services, such as retailers, restaurants and other es-tablishments. This type of currency is not issued by a central bank. Also, un-like electronic money that is backed by cash for the entirety of its value, Bitcoins are not backed by any com-modity but by the mere ability of its holder to exchange them for goods. It has recently come to the at-tention of the BSP that virtual currencies like Bitcoins are now being

    By Recto Mercene& David Cagahastian

    ThE sin tax law can be consid-ered a success because it has added P65 billion to the countrys coffer, but law-makers said the earnings could have been bigger if loopholes in the law that allowed the smuggling of tobacco were plugged. Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, chairman of the ways and means committee, which conducted a joint hearing with its house counterpart on Wednes-day, said, We must not be happy that we got P65 billion if we could collect P85 billion. he said proper government agen-cies, like the Bureau of Customs, were not able to provide the necessary data when they noted loopholes in the law. Tobacco production had increased but consumption had decreased, he said, and this could mean that some

    By Ma. STella F. ArnaldoSpecial to the BusinessMirror

    THE Philippines successfully par-ticipated in this years ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Brse Berlin), considered the worlds leading tourism and trade fair, which could give massive European exposure to tourist destinations. In an interview, Domingo Ramon Enerio III, chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DOT), said the Philippines booth had a bigger space this year at 270 square meters, allowing more Philippines tour operators and travel participants to join and sell more to German and European buyers. Though the booth was smaller in size compared to Thailands and Malaysias, it attracted so much more

    positive feedback for being spacious, fresh looking and conducive to busi-ness meetings, he said. Enerio headed the 50-man Philip-pines delegation to ITB Berlin held from March 5 to 9. The delegation was composed of 27 tour and travel com-panies, including Philippine Airlines, which participated in the tourism event for the first time. It also included hotels and resorts, representatives from the local government of Bohol, the Philippine Embassy in Berlin and members of the House Committee on Tourism, headed by its chairman, Rep. Rene Lopez Relampagos of Bohol. The TPB chief said other prov-inces and major Philippines destina-tions were strongly represented and promoted at the ITB, such as Palawan, Boracay, Cebu, Manila, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Banaue. Enerio said he also met with five

    companies that do digital and social- media marketing, like iAmbassador, which networks with travel bloggers; and FVM, a German travel trade pub-lication. My meetings, in particular, focused on how the Philippines can maximize the digital and social me-dia to engage more Europeans and encourage them to talk about Phil-ippines tourism. This is in line with TPBs No. 1 strategy to maximize the digital format and utilize the social media in various platforms, including mobile apps. He also met with eight European tour operators to discuss possible areas of cooperation. According to a news statement, ITB Berlin received a 4-percent increase in trade visitors and a larger business vol-ume, estimated at 6.5 billion this year. The TPB, formerly known as the

    The Philippines made a splash at the recent ITB Berlin, the worlds leading travel fair, held from March 5 to 9. A 50-man Philippines delegation attended the event. It was led by the Tourism Promotions Board, various tour and travel operators, hotels and resorts, as well as representatives from the Bohol local government and members of the house of Representatives Committee on Tourism. This years Philippines pavilion was 270 square meters and allowed more Philippines sellers to promote their respective establishments and the Philippines as a destination. Photo courtesy of tPB

    See Sin tax, A2

    Pinoy infra quality worstamong Asian neighbors

    A broader look at todays businessBusinessMirror n Thursday, March 13, 2014 Vol. 9 No. 154 P25.00 nationwide | 6 sections 30 pages | 7 dAys A week

    thrEE-tImE rOtary clUb Of manIla jOUrnalISm aWarDEE2006, 2010, 2012

    U.n. mEDIa aWarD 2008

    KnocK onWood

    How to make your FLIGHT

    ATTEndAnT like you




    C1 | Thursday, MarCh 13, [email protected] Jun Lomibao

    By Doug FergusonThe Associated Press

    ONE lesson Jack Nicklaus imparted on Tiger Woods a decade ago in South Africa was to always be part of the conversation. They were talking that day about rivalries. The problem now for Woods is its hard to have any conversation about him without mentioning his health. The biggest rival for Woods at age 38 might be a body that by his own account appears to be breaking down. Woods was a big part of the conversation in back-to-back weeks on the Florida swing, and it had little to do with this golf. He withdrew from the Honda Classic after 13 holes in the final round with lower back pain and what he said were spasms. He showed up three days later at Doral to walk a practice round on the new Blue Monster with wedges and a putter. He shot 73 in the wind on Friday (a very good score), and he shot 66 on Saturday (a great score) to get within three

    shots of the lead. And then his back flared up and he had the worst Sunday score (78) of his professional career. His year is starting to sound like one big soap opera. Was he working out too much in the offseason? Was he playing too little? Should he have played Doral? Will he be at Bay Hill next week? Just how bad is his back? Is rest and treatment enough? What kind of shape will he be in when he gets to Augusta National? And the question that has yet to be askedshould he even play the Masters? No other player from his generation has spoken more to the media than Woods. Few have given up so little. Part of thatmost of thatis his desire to keep what he considers private matters just that. And that includes his health. Consider a sampling of Woodss injuries in recent years. At The Barclays in 2012, he said he felt a twinge in his lower back the morning of the second round and showed great

    discomfort around Bethpage Black. Must have slept funny on it. Soft beds at the hotel, he said. The next year at the same tournament, he played only nine holes of the pro-am, and then chipped and putted on the back nine. My neck and back are a little stiff...after a soft bed, he said. And just one of those things, sleeping in hotels and I didnt want to push it. By the end of the week, he dropped to his knees after one shot on the back nine from what he said were back spasms. Woods said it was unrelated to the tightness he felt in his back two weeks earlier in the final round of the US Professional Golfers Association Championship. He showed up at Boston the next week, thankful for the Friday start of the Deutsche Bank Championship. He played with a left elbow injury in the US Open last summer at