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John Eduard Franco

BoP swings to $404-M deficit in June

By | Property News

PIXABAYTHE country’s balance of payments (BoP) registered a deficit in June, as the government made principal and interest payments on its foreign debts, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Friday.
Latest available central bank data showed that BoP — a summary of the Philippines’ economic transactions with the rest of the world for a given period — stood at a $404-million deficit in June from the $1.177-billion deficit in the same month in 2018.
On a month-on-month basis, the BoP position swung from a $928-million surplus tallied in May. The last time the BoP position was in a deficit was in October 2018.
Still, the balance of payments stood at a $4.788-billion surfeit in the first half of 2019, a turnaround from the $3.257 billion deficit during the same period a year ago.
“The substantial outflow in June 2019 stemmed from the principal and interest payments of the National Government (NG) on its foreign exchange obligations. This outflow was partially tempered, however, by the NG’s net foreign currency deposits, and the BSP’s foreign exchange operations as well as income from its investments abroad during the month in review,” the central bank said.
As the country’s monetary authority, the BSP sometimes conducts “tactical interventions” to temper any sharp swings that may cause the peso to appreciate or depreciate.
Meanwhile, the BoP surplus in the first semester was partly attributed to remittance flows from overseas Filipinos in the first five months of the year and net inflows of foreign direct investments (FDI) in the January-April period.
Cash sent home by Filipinos overseas grew 4.5% to $12.349 billion in the five months ended May from the $11.822 billion booked during the comparable period in 2018.
On the other hand, FDI net inflows in the first four months stood at $2.903 billion, 14% less than the $3.377 billion recorded in 2018’s January-April period.
“The BoP position reflects the final gross international reserves (GIR) level of $85.77 billion as of end-June,” the BSP said. “At this level, the GIR represents a more than ample liquidity buffer and is equivalent to 7.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income.”
The GIR level is also equivalent to 5.1 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 3.7 times based on residual maturity, the central bank added.
Michael L. Ricafort, economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. said the BoP deficit in June may “reflect some net foreign selling in the local stock market as well as higher global oil prices that may have increased oil imports.”
The central bank expects the country to post a BoP surplus of $3.7 billion this year versus its previous projection of a $3.5-billion gap.
The Philippines ended 2018 with a $2.306-billion BoP deficit. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal

Super consortium submits revised plan for NAIA rehabilitation

By | Property News

PHILSTARA “super consortium” composed of seven of the country’s top conglomerates submitted a revised proposal for the rehabilitation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), in line with the Department of Transportation (DOTr)’s instructions to pattern the plan after Clark International Airport’s concession agreement.
Jose Emmanuel P. Reverente, spokesperson for the NAIA consortium, said the group submitted hard copies of the proposal to the DOTr’s office in Ortigas and the Manila International Airport Authority on Friday morning.
Copies were also delivered to the transport department’s headquarters in Clark in the afternoon.
“We complied with the instruction to follow the Clark template,” Mr. Reverente said in a text message.
The resubmission comes after Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said that they will require all proponents of airport projects to draft concession agreements patterned after the one signed with the North Luzon Airport Consortium (NLAC) for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the Clark International Airport.
NLAC is composed of Gotianun-led Filinvest Development Corp.; Gokongwei-led JG Summit Holdings, Inc.; Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions, Inc. (PAGSS) and Changi Airports Philippines Pte. Ltd.
The concession agreement for Clark specifies separate government and private sector roles for the project.
The adoption of the Clark O&M concession agreement as a template is seen to make regulatory approvals much faster, since it will include the same terms that regulatory bodies will have already studied.
Under current rules, the DOTr must draw up concession terms for the group awarded with original proponent status (OPS) after negotiations with private sector groups concerned. These are then submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority’s Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) for evaluation.
The project will need final approval from the NEDA Board, led by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, before implementation.
The NAIA consortium wants to rehabilitate and expand NAIA over a 15-year period for P102 billion. This should increase the capacity of the Manila gateway to 47 million in two years, from the current 30.5 million annual passengers. The capacity will further rise to 65 million after four years.
The consortium is composed of Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc.; AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp.; Alliance Global Group, Inc.; Asia’s Emerging Dragon Corp.; Filinvest Development Corp.; JG Summit Holdings, Inc.; and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
Aside from the NAIA consortium, three other unsolicited airport development proposals with OPS are pending with the NEDA-ICC: Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. for the Bohol-Panglao International Airport; Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp. for the Davao International Airport; and Mega7 Construction Corp. for the Kalibo International Airport. — Arra B. Francia

Dengue deaths reach 94 in Western Visayas

By | Property News

OFFICERS and members of the Department of Health-Center for Health Development Western Visayas office hold a video conference with Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque on July 15, the same day that a national dengue alert was issued. — BW/E.R.S. SANTIAGUDONINETY-FOUR people have died of dengue in Western Visayas — the region with the highest number of cases — as of July 19, according to data from the Department of Health-Center for Health Development-Region 6 (DOH-CHD-6).
A total of 18,834 cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been recorded between January and July 19 in Western Visayas, up 259% from the same period last year.
Among those reported to have died from the disease is the only daughter of former Janiuay town mayor Jose L. de Paula. The two daughters of Maasin Mayor Francis A. Amboy and Iloilo City Councilor Ely A. Estante were among those who tested positive for dengue.
Gyms in the towns of Maasin and Banate have been converted into temporary medical facilities for dengue patients to augment the 590 beds in the 11 district and provincial hospitals around the region.
DoH-6 Regional Director Marlyn W. Convocar announced earlier this week that all the private hospitals in Iloilo have agreed to accept dengue patients endorsed by government hospitals.
Moreover, 229 healthcare personnel have been deployed in the region to monitor the dengue cases.
Amidst the outbreak, the West Visayas Regional Blood Center of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has assured that there is a sufficient supply of blood for dengue patients.
“We have sufficient blood supply mainly because of the continuous blood donation activities conducted recently, but we have to sustain it to replenish the blood supply,” Dennis Roy M. Pasadilla, PRC-Iloilo Chapter director and manager of the blood center, said in a phone interview.
In Iloilo City, a massive clean-up drive will be conducted on July 20 in all the 180 barangays to address mosquito breeding grounds.
As of July 13, the four regions with the highest number of dengue cases aside from Western Visayas are: Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) with 11,474 cases; Central Visayas, 9,199; Soccsksargen (South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-General Santos City, 9,107; and Northern Mindanao with 8,739. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo

DoJ panel formed to look into sedition charges vs. Robredo et. al.

By | Property News

BW FILE PHOTOTHE Department of Justice (DoJ) has formed a panel of prosecutors to look into a complaint against several prominent figures who are supposedly involved with a series of videos that linked President Rodrigo R. Duterte and his family to illegal drugs.
On Friday, Justice Undersecretary Markk L. Perete said that the DoJ has created a panel of special state prosecutors to look into the charges filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) against 35 people including senators, church leaders, lawyers, and Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo.
“Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra has formed a panel of three state prosecutors to conduct a preliminary investigation on the complaint filed by the PNP-CIDG in relation to the alleged Project Sodoma,” he said in a message to reporters.
In the DoJ’s Department Order 366 issued on July 19, Mr. Guevarra assigned Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia L. Torrevillas, Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John M. Humarang, and Assistant State Prosecutor Gino Paolo S. Santiago to handle the preliminary investigation.
“The Order shall take effect immediately and shall remain in force until further orders,” the Department Order said.
On Thursday, the PNP-CIDG filed a complaint that recommended charges of sedition, inciting to sedition, cyberlibel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal, and obstruction of justice be filed against 35 people allegedly involved in the so-called Project Sodoma.
Peter Joemel Advincula, the self-confessed drug dealer who was featured in the videos, is among the 35 charged. He is also the witness in the case. — Gillian M. Cortez

IBP dropping petition for West Philippine Sea Writ of Kalikasan

By | Property News

THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday announced that it is withdrawing its petition made on behalf of Palawan-based fisherfolk which asked the Supreme Court (SC) to issue a Writ of Kalikasan to protect the country’s shoals in the West Philippine Sea.
On Friday, IBP National President Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa said that the motion was set to withdraw the petition. “With due regard to the plight and position of the fishermen petitioners, the views and recommendations of the handling lawyers and the IBP Chapters involved, and the matters raised and guidance by the Honorable Supreme Court, a motion has been filed for the withdrawal or discharge of the counsels for the fishermen and for the withdrawal of the petition,” said Mr. Cayosa in an IBP update regarding the petition.
The petitioners are members of the Kalayaan Palawan Farmers and Fisherfolk Association who said that the respondents, including Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, and Philippine Coast Guard Admiral Elson E. Hermogino, refused to take legal action against violators of environmental laws and thus they sought the Court to compel the government to protect Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) and Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef).
Representing the IBP are lawyers Andre C. Palacios and Jose Manuel “Chel” I. Diokno.
Last week, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo claimed in a Palace briefing that the IBP Lawyers representing the case “manipulated” the fishermen into filing the petition. Around the same time, Solicitor General Jose C. Calida said that some of the fishermen has backed out of the petition. — Gillian M. Cortez

DBCC cuts inflation, trade assumptions

By | Property News

STATE BUDGET PLANNERS on Thursday slashed inflation, trade and foreign exchange assumptions for this year, even as they kept overall economic growth targets intact.
The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) — which consists of the Department of Budget and Management, the Finance department, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Office of the President and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas — in its 176th meeting slashed its inflation rate assumption for 2019 to 2.7-3.5% from 3-4% previously due to the slowing general increase in prices of widely used goods and services after last year’s successive multi-year highs.
At the same time, inflation assumptions for next year up to 2022, when President Rodrigo R. Duterte ends his six-year term, have been maintained at 2-4%.
It also revised the peso-dollar exchange rate assumption to a stronger P51-53 against the greenback for 2019, compared to P52-55 previously “projecting the possible appreciation of the peso with easing inflation pressures and positive market sentiment with the recent sovereign rating upgrade of the Philippines,” the DBCC said in a statement, referring to S&P Global Ratings’ April upgrade of the Philippines’ credit score to “BBB+” from “BBB” — two notches above minimum investment grade, a notch below “A” grade and the country’s best debt score so far.
Assumption for goods export growth was cut to two percent for this year from six percent previously “due to slower global growth” and maintained at six percent from 2020 to 2022.
Similarly, the assumption for goods import growth was reduced to seven percent for this year from nine percent previously, but kept at eight percent from 2020 to 2022.
Service export growth assumption was cut to nine percent for this year from 10% and set also at nine percent from 11% previously for 2020-2022, while service import growth was cut to three percent this year from five percent, to four percent for 2020 from six percent, and to five percent for 2021-2022 from seven percent previously.
The assumption for dollar price of Dubai crude oil — used as a benchmark for local fuel products — was maintained at $60-75 per barrel for 2019-2022.
At the same time, gross domestic growth targets were maintained at 6-7% for this year, at 6.5-7.5% in 2020 and at 7-8% in 2021-2022.
State budget planners also maintained projected revenues at P3.15 trillion for this year, equivalent to 16.4% of GDP, while disbursements are targeted at P3.77 trillion (down slightly from P3.78 trillion as of March projections), or 19.6% of GDP.
For next year, state revenues are projected to increase to P3.54 trillion (down from P3.676 trillion in the previous projection), equivalent to 16.7% of GDP, while disbursements are programmed at P4.21 trillion (down from P4.313 trillion), equivalent to 19.9% of GDP.
Given this fiscal picture, the budget deficit ceiling will be kept at equivalent to 3.2% of GDP this year, and slightly raised to that level from 2020 to 2022 from three percent as of March projections. — with Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio

ADB pares Philippine growth projection

By | Property News

BW FILE PHOTOTHE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB) has slashed its Philippine economic growth forecast for this year, citing impact of the four-month delay in 2019 national budget enactment and slowing export of goods and services — although the country will still be the region’s third-fastest growing economy behind Vietnam and China.
The Asian Development Outlook Supplement released on Thursday showed that the ADB’s projection for Philippine economic growth at 6.2% this year, compared to the previous forecast of 6.4% given in September 2018 that was maintained last April.
The reduced forecast matches the Philippines’ pace of economic growth last year and compares to a downgraded official 6-7% 2019 target adopted by state economic managers in March, down from 7-8% originally.
“Growth moderated in the Philippines from 6.3% year-on-year in Q4 of 2018 to 5.6% in Q1 of this year as the delayed passage of the national budget held back government spending. Public construction contracted by 8.6% while growth in government consumption eased from 12.6% year-on-year in Q4 of 2018 to 7.4% in Q1 of 2019,” the ADB said.
“Growth in exports of goods and services also slowed as a result of lackluster global trade and economic activity and the downturn in the electronics cycle. These effects were partly offset by higher household consumption and private investment,” it noted.
“As a consequence of these developments in Q1, the growth forecast is revised down to 6.2% for 2019, though maintained at 6.4% for 2020.”
President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law the P3.662-trillion 2019 national budget last Apr. 15 with nearly a third of the year over. Reenactment of the 2018 budget on Jan. 1 had prevented new projects from being funded until then.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III had said that the government will be hard-pressed to catch up with its P3.774-trillion spending program for this year, equivalent to 19.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) — of which infrastructure expenditures are programmed at P1 trillion, equivalent to 5.2% of GDP (with the national government accounting for P808.7 billion) — especially since the second semester is usually beset by heavy rains and storms that disrupt infrastructure work.
“Public investment is expected to rebound in the second half of 2019 following budget approval in April and to pick up next year as more infrastructure projects come on stream,” ADB said of the Philippines in its latest report, a prospect shared by Philippine monetary authorities, who believe that “catch-up fiscal spending is expected to buoy the growth momentum in 2019,” according to highlights of the June 20 policy review which the central bank published on Thursday.
ADB’s downgraded projection for the Philippines this year will still be the region’s third-fastest after Vietnam (6.8%) and China (6.3%), and will be faster than Southeast Asia’s 4.8% and the 5.7% penciled for “Developing Asia”, a group that consists of 45 of ADB’s 68 members (49 of which are from within Asia and the Pacific).
Inflation will be supportive of growth in the Philippines, which had seen successive multi-year-high rates culminating with a nine-year-high 6.7% in September and October. The overall price increase for goods and services has since been on a general downtrend, averaging 3.4% last semester against the central bank’s 2-4% target range for 2019 and 2018’s decade-high 5.2%.
“Slowing inflation, low unemployment, and steady remittances will continue to support household consumption,” read the report, which showed the Philippines’ inflation projection at three percent this year, down from 3.8% previously — “reflecting lower food prices” — and maintained at 3.5% in 2020 “with an expected pickup in global commodity prices.” — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio

Villar firm applies for P20.7-B IPO

By | Property News

The home furnishing chain is looking at a Sept. 18-24 maiden share offer.By Arra B. FranciaSenior Reporter
THE PHILIPPINES’ richest man, Manuel B. Villar, Jr., is taking his home improvement chain public this year in a bid to raise up to P20.7 billion to finance its expansion.
In a preliminary prospectus posted on its Web site Wednesday, All Home Corp. said it will offer up to 1.125 billion shares priced at up to P16 each, consisting of 750 million primary shares held by the company and up to 375 million shares to be offered by a selling shareholder, All Value Holdings Corp.
The initial public offering (IPO) will also include up to 168.75 million shares as part of the over-allotment option.
Considering only the primary shares in the offer, All Home expects to net P11.46 billion from the IPO. The company said it will not receive proceeds from the sale of shares held by All Value Holdings.
Of projected net proceeds, All Home plans to use P6.858 billion for capital expenditure and initial working capital for store expansion.
It plans to disburse the funds from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2020.
The company has 19 new stores lined up for this semester, in addition to 19 new stores in 2020.
It will also expand AllHome Alabang to boost its net selling space to about 12,340 square meters (sq.m.), from 5.845 sq.m. currently.
About P4.565 billion will be used for debt repayment by the fourth quarter of 2019, as the company has P4.603 billion in loans from several local banks.
The remaining P37 million will go to general corporate purposes.
On the other hand, All Value Holdings could net up to P5.635 billion from the sale of its shares in All Home, and up to P8.198 billion including the over-allotment option.
The company looks to finalize the IPO price on Sept. 16, then offer the shares to investors from Sept. 18 to 24 in time for listing at the Philippine Stock Exchange on Oct. 1 under the ticker “HOME.”
All Home engaged UBS AG, Singapore Branch as the offer’s sole global coordinator and joint book runner, while CLSA Limited and Credit Suisse (Singapore) Limited were tapped as joint book runners.
PNB Capital and Investment Corp. will act as local lead underwriter, while China Bank Capital Corp. will be a co-led local underwriter.
Incorporated in 2013, All Home has since established 25 stores with a net selling space of about 196,327 sq.m. Nineteen of these are in Mega Manila, three in Luzon and three in the Visayas and Mindanao.
It operates three formats, namely large mall-based store, large free-standing store and small specialty store.
All Home booked a net profit of P207.1 million in the first quarter of 2019, almost five times the P43.6 million it recorded in the same period a year ago. This came on the back of a 68% uptick in revenues to P2.38 billion in the same period.
If approved and should it proceed, All Home could be the first company to go public this year after drought in maiden offerings last semester. This comes amid a recovery in the benchmark PSE index, which is now trading at the 8,200 level.
“I think it is perfect timing for them to do this IPO. Market has started to go up. Villar stocks have very good performance which is a good sign for investors,” AAA Southeast Equities, Inc. Research Head Christopher John Mangun said in a mobile phone message when sought for comment.
Mr. Mangun also noted that news of the firm’s IPO could be the reason why its competitor, Wilcon Depot, Inc., has dropped by a total of seven percent in the last four trading sessions to P15.70 on Thursday.
Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco also noted that the company’s IPO comes alongside the PSEi’s rally, which could boost its debut.
“The company has bright prospects. At the same time, we have a market that’s already trying to hold its ground in the bull territory,” Mr. Tantiangco said in a separate text message.
“Given these, I believe there will be appetite from investors if the IPO pushes through.”

Ten films for 15th Cinemalaya

By | Property News

A SURPRISING turn of events as a midwife applies to work abroad, a student’s act of theft turns into viral video, a robot’s friendship and adventure with a young boy, are among the diverse stories that will be told in this year’s Cinemalaya films.
Celebrating 15 years of independent Filipino movies, this year’s film festival will be held nationwide on Aug. 2 to 11.
Since 2005, the film festival has showcased over 1,000 works by independent filmmakers including short and full-length features, documentaries, and art films.
“[This year] political, environmental, social, technological upheavals find their way into the changing phase of independent films,” Cinemalaya President Laurice Guillen said in her speech at the film festival’s launch on July 8 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The festival will open with Lav Diaz’s Ang Hupa (The Halt) on Aug. 2 and close with Kerwin Go’s Mina-Anud on Aug. 11.
As a way of bringing the films to a wider audience, Cinemalaya has partnered with the following micro cinemas to show the films: Cinema Centenario in Quezon City; Cinema ‘76 in Anonas, QC and San Juan; Black Maria in Mandaluyong, the CBRC-Dream Theater in Manila; and the FDCP Cinematheques in Manila, Iloilo, and Davao.
Aside from screenings at various venues in CCP and Metro Manila, the country’s biggest independent film festival will be simultaneously be held on Aug. 7 to 13 at selected Ayala Cinemas and Vista Malls in Pampanga; Naga and Legaspi in Bicol; Bacolod; Iloilo; and Davao.
Ten full-length movies will be shown during the festival. They are:
• Ani (The Harvest), directed by Kim Zuniga and Sandro Del Rosario. Set in Bicol in 2050, a 14-year-old orphan boy and a malfunctioning robot go on an adventure to search for magical grains that may cure the boy’s sick father.
• Belle Douleur (Beautiful Pain), directed by Joji V. Alonzo. Liz, a 45-year-old clinical psychologist and Josh, a young antique dealer have both recently suffered the loss of family members. When Liz decides to downsize and meets Josh, their loneliness draws them close.
• Children of the River, directed by Maricel Cabrera-Cariaga. Inspired by the 2017 Marawi siege, Elias and his three best friends promise to look out for each other even through difficult times.
• Edward, directed by Thop Nazareno. Edward is looking after his ailing father in the public hospital. Estranged from the rest of the family, he makes the hospital ward into his own playground. Then he meets Agnes, a young patient with whom he finds comfort.
• Fuccbois, directed by Eduardo Roy, Jr. Two beauty pageant contenders’ images and celebrity status online are threatened when an ex-lover exposes a secret on social media.
• Iska, directed by Theodore Boborol. Iska is a loving grandmother who looks after her 10-year-old autistic grandson despite being deemed an unfit guardian by the media and government.
• John Denver Trending, directed by Arden Rod Condez. An 8th grader’s life is threatened when a video of him stealing an iPad in school is uploaded online.
• Malamaya (The Color of Ash), directed by Danica Sta. Lucia and Leilani Cruz. Nora, a 50-year-old single artist, embarks in a May-December affair with a young photographer, failing to realize how the man has invaded her privacy, body, and art.
• Pandanggo sa Hukay, directed by Sheryl Rose M. Andes. The film explores the role and voice of women in society and follows a midwife who prepares for her application to work in Saudi Arabia when she finds herself in unfamiliar territory.
• Tabon, directed by Xian Lim. Ian returns with his wife and step-daughter to his hometown after the murder of his father, and seeks the help of a senior inspector to investigate the murder as three suspects have their own versions of the truth.
Aside from the full-length films, the festival will also show several short features, namely: Glenn Lowell Forneste Avera’s Disconnection Notice; Harold Lance Pialdal’s Gatilyo (Trigger); Julius Renomeron, Jr.’s Heist School; Norvin De Los Santos’ Hele ng Maharlika (Lullaby of the Free); Gilb Baldoza’s Kontrolado ni Girly ang Buhay N’ya (Girly is in Control of Her Life); Don Senoc’s Sa Among Agwat (In Between Spaces); Francis Guillermo’s Sa Gabing Tanging Liwanag ay Paniniwala (Belief as the Light in Darkness); Shaira Advincula’s Tembong (Connecting); Sheron Dayoc’s The Shoemaker; and, Josef Gacutan’s ‘Wag Mo ‘Kong Kausapin (Please Stop Talking).
OTHER REASONS TO WATCH
The Cinemalaya Film Festival will also be hosting the 31st edition of the Gawad Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video which will screen and select films to compete in various categories. The selected participating entries will be shown on Aug. 3 to 5 at the CCP Dream Theater. The awarding rights for the competition is on Aug. 5, 7 p.m.
Cinemalaya is also introducing the Mini-Versity, a new component envisioned to spur interest about filmmaking among the youth. Interested participants may engage with industry practitioners from Aug. 2 to 11 at the CCP’s Silangan Hall.
Meanwhile, a selection of films will also be screened at the CCP as tribute to the late actor Eddie Garcia, actress Armida Siguion-Reyna, and production designer Cesar Hernandez.
The Cinemalaya Awards Night will be held on Aug. 11, 7 p.m. at the CCP Main Theater.
For more information on the festival, visit www.cinemalaya.org, www.culturalcenter.gov.ph, and the Cinemalaya Facebook page; or contact the CCP Film and Media Arts Division at 832-1125 local 1704 and 1712. Tickets and festival passes are available at the CCP Box Office (832-3704). — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

iflix partners with Viva on content, development deal

By | Property News

VIVA produced movies now show on iflix.KUALA LUMPUR-based video-on-demand (VOD) service, iflix, has announced its partnership with Philippine media and entertainment company, Viva Communications Inc., which includes “a substantial” investment in the streaming service and plans to launch several films and series within the next three years, according to an iflix executive.
“[The Viva investment] includes co-producing 30 movies within three years and nine TV shows,” Sherwin dela Cruz, country manager of iflix Philippines, told BusinessWorld during the July 10 event at Common Ground in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
The partnership, which took three years of meetings to put together, is line with Viva’s direction of going regional.
“We’re happy because we’re bringing our content on the platform and we’re even happier we’re getting our stars exposed in an international platform… and hopefully some of them can break through,” Vincent G. del Rosario III, COO and President of Viva Communications Inc., said during his speech.
“Viva is now looking at expanding regionally and I think what better way to execute a dream is to enter a partnership with iflix,” he added.
The deal with iflix also includes Viva’s entire library which Mr. Dela Cruz pegged at 9,000 hours worth of content.
Mr. Dela Cruz said that the first film to be co-produced with Viva has a tentative December release date but that their plans for producing films are being adjusted to comply with the recent Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) memorandum released in June that states that a film which has had a theatrical release will have to wait 150 days before being shown in other screening platforms.
The FDCP memorandum noted that the policy is to “maximize the movies’ revenue opportunity in local cinemas.”
“We were eyeing to release it sooner after the theatrical release,” Mr. Dela Cruz said before admitting that the new policy threw a spanner into their plans. He said that five months is too long as the audience may have already forgotten about the film before it drops in screening platforms.
“I’m not complaining about it. I understand the pros of the new policy but it does have its cons,” he said.
The first film off of the partnership is a comedy, though he said that they are planning to release films of various genres “every month or every 45 days” for three years.
Currently, the Philippines has 3.2 million monthly active iflix users, a number Mr. Dela Cruz said will be bolstered by the Viva library and the slew of original content to come as he noted that Filipinos are fans of local content.
iflix is currently available in 22 countries in Asia and North Africa including Morocco, the Sudan, Egypt, Southeast Asia, the Maldives, Kuwait, and Bahrain. In March this year, the company reported that it has more than 25 million subscribers on the service, 19 million of whom are monthly active users, according to a presentation made during the launch.
Last year, iflix launched a free tier where users can watch content without paying although it does include advertisements. — Zsarlene B. Chua