PLDT unveils P180-B spending plan

PLDT

Industry giant PLDT Inc. is flexing its massive financial muscle, revealing for the first time a multi-year capital spending plan as the Duterte administration hopes to select a new telco challenger in the next few months.

PLDT, in a statement over the weekend, announced an unprecedented three-year spending budget of P180 billion from 2018 to 2020—or P60 billion per year—to help double fixed-line and mobile internet capacity in the next year and a half.

The figure is roughly the same amount that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) hopes a prospective third telco player would spend every year for five years to effectively compete with PLDT and its main rival, Globe Telecom.

“This massive effort by PLDT in improving and expanding its networks—translated into historically high capex levels —expresses our firm commitment to deliver better coverage and quality products and services to our customers. This is a conviction program, backed up by statement capex,” PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said in the statement.

The amount largely depends on Mr. Duterte taking concrete steps to ease a multitude of regulatory bottlenecks. Even then, it signals PLDT’s commitment to spend more, potentially at the expense of high profits.

A PLDT spokesperson said the company was targeting to reinvest 30 percent to 35 percent of service revenues from 2018 to 2020, similar to the ratio used by Globe. This suggested annual service revenues of at least P600 billion for the period, or P200 billion per year.

The spending commitment is larger than the roughly 22 percent of service revenues that PLDT allotted from 2011 to 2016, data complied by the Inquirer showed. PLDT has yet to disclose full-year 2017 earnings.

“The net result is that within the next 12 to 18 months world-class internet services on PLDT’s super-charged fixed and mobile networks will be available to many more Filipinos in many more parts of the country,” Pangilinan said in the statement.
Source: http://business.inquirer.net/245345/pldt-unveils-p180-b-spending-plan

Pernia: Infrastructure program to go ahead even with planned federalism shift

Ernesto Pernia

The Duterte administration’s ambitious infrastructure program will go full speed ahead and not even the planned shift to federalism would be a roadblock, the country’s chief economist said Wednesday.

Asked if he sees any impact on the rollout of big-ticket infrastructure projects spanning across provinces and regions, which may be broken down into autonomous states under a federal form of government, Ernesto Pernia told reporters: “If anything at all, federalism will not be implemented in the next two to three years; maybe, towards the end of the administration. So I don’t think it will be a stumbling block.”

He added: “It will take time to implement federalism—lots of preparations are needed.”

The economic team would study the impact of federalism on the economy, said Pernia, who heads the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority.

But for the head of the Duterte administration’s economic team, tax administration and revenue sharing under a federal form of government are expected to be “very challenging.”

“Let’s just say it will be challenging, very challenging because the tendency [will be for] different federal states to retain as much revenue as they can and give the national government as much expenses,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in response to a question during the 2018 inaugural meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) last Tuesday regarding the administration’s plan to shift to a federal form of government.

“There’s potential for it to become a nightmare. We are watching it very closely, particularly the revenue-sharing schemes that are going to be put forward for the [proposed] federal government,” Dominguez added.

In the meantime, Finance Undersecretary Grace Karen Singson said in a statement that the passage into law of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act would help make the “Build, Build, Build” initiative “financially feasible.”

Under “Build, Build, Build,” the government plans to roll out 75 “game-changing” projects, with about half targeted to be finished within President Duterte’s term, alongside spending up to P9 trillion on hard and modern infrastructure until 2022 to usher in “the golden age of infrastructure.”

According to Singson, “the government can afford this massive infrastructure spending, given the ample fiscal space that the economy has right now as a result of the sound fiscal management of the past administrations.”

Singson said the TRAIN, in particular, “will ensure a steady revenue flow for the government totaling P786 billion over the medium term.”

“The TRAIN will partly fund the infrastructure program as 70 percent of the incremental revenues from this tax reform law will be earmarked for infrastructure,” Singson pointed out.

The Finance official added that “Build, Build, Build” would be supported by “prudent fiscal management” amid declining debt service payments.

“The “Build, Build, Build” strategy will be funded in a fiscally responsible and sustainable manner, with the government committed to keeping the budget deficit at 3 percent of gross domestic product so that [the] national government’s debt-to-GDP ratio target of 37.7 percent could be attained by the end of the Duterte administration,” according to Singson.

Also, “aid and investment pledges from China and Japan—the result of the President’s foreign policy rebalancing toward Asia—has this far yielded $7.3 billion in soft loans and grants from Beijing and another $1.2 billion from Tokyo, which would be spent on infrastructure, the rebuilding efforts in Marawi City and on reinforcing the country’s maritime capabilities,” the Finance official noted.

“Though ambitious, every penny is worth spending for. The ‘Build, Build, Build’ program will create 1.7 million jobs by 2022 as well as secure our country’s fast-paced growth in the medium term,” Singson said.

“With economic studies showing that every peso invested in infrastructure yields two pesos and four centavos in economic activity, we can expect this stimulus to cause a surge in our growth,” Singson added.

Last Tuesday, Pernia said the “Build, Build, Build” is expected to boost overall construction growth this year as the government targets a higher GDP growth range of 7-8 percent.

“The Build, Build, Build program will continue its momentum in providing more opportunities to our country such as investments, job creation, connectivity, and dependable delivery of public services,” according to Pernia.

Last week, Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungalan said the government would break ground for 34 or almost half of the 75 flagship infrastructure projects under the build program this year.

 

Source: http://business.inquirer.net/244733/infrastructure-program-go-ahead-even-planned-federalism-shift

Lost perks under TRAIN force regional HQs to shelve Philippine entry

TRAIN

MANILA, Philippines — About five multinational companies are shelving plans to set up regional headquarters in the country due to concerns on the removal of their special tax rate.

The Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc. (PAMURI) said four to five regional operating headquarters (ROHQs) have “refused to enter the Philippine market due to the threat of removal of the said incentives.”

Pamuri was referring to the 15 percent special tax rate on the gross income of employees of ROHQs.

According to the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) of the Philippines believes the status quo on the subject of ROHQ incentives should be maintained, with the 15 percent preferential tax rate retained for existing ROHQs.

“Preferential tax rate is one of the biggest incentives for ROHQs. The removal of this incentive will reduce operations and employment, decrease spending and incur losses in terms of income tax, and lower competitive advantage,” the ECCP, a member of the JFC, said.

ECCP said ROHQs are now awaiting the issuance of revenue regulations within this month for “final word and basis of next steps.“

The JFC and the government, through the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, have different interpretations to the ROHQ provisions related to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said last week the 15 percent special tax rate on the gross income of employees of ROHQs is no longer applicable after President Duterte vetoed the provision granting the preferential rate under the TRAIN.

Duterte vetoed the provision in the tax reform law granting a special tax rate of 15 percent on the gross income of employees of regional headquarters, regional operating headquarters, offshore banking units, and petroleum service contractors and subcontractors.

The President said the provision violates the Equal Protection Clause under Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, as well as the rule of equity and uniformity in the application of the burden of taxation.

PAMURI, however, said there were two citations in the TRAIN law regarding the preferential tax rate.

The group pointed out that the President’s veto only applied to the second citation, which stated the tax perk would only be applied to ROHQs already existing before 2018.

The Tax Management Association of the Philippines, for its part, said the President’s veto on the preferential tax rate of ROHQ employees does not automatically remove the perks they enjoy as it does not amend Section 25 (C), (D), and (E) of the Tax Code.

Foreign businessmen have earlier warned that regional headquarters of multinational companies in the Philippines may shut down or relocate to other countries once looming changes in the ROHQ tax rate are implemented under the first package of the tax reform program, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/business/2018/01/25/1781013/lost-perks-under-train-force-regional-hqs-shelve-philippine-entry

Lucio Tan’s Eton ventures into hotels

Eton Properties

MANILA, Philippines — Taipan Lucio Tan’s Eton Properties Philippines Inc. will venture into the hotel business.

In a recent interview, Eton Properties chief operating officer Josefino Lucas said the company would launch two hotel projects.

One will be in Pasay City near the Entertainment City, while the other will be in Quezon City within the company’s sprawling 12-hectare Centris development.

In Pasay, Eton plans to build a 160-room hotel within a two-tower development on a 4,000 square meter property across Heritage Hotel.

The other tower will be a mixed-use project on a property acquired by the company from Philippine National Bank.

Eton expects to spend about P2 billion for the mixed-use development.

The company’s planned hotel in Pasay will not compete with the five-star hotels in the 100-hectare Entertainment City such as Enrique Razon’s Solaire Resort & Casino and Melco Crown’s City of Dreams.

“We can’t compete with the bigger ones in Entertainment City so it will be something like Midas or Jen Hotel,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Quezon City, Eton is building a 200-room three-star hotel, which will also be under its own brand.  This will cater to BPO workers and other commuters who live in Bulacan or farther north.

Developing its own hotel brand will enable the company to boost its recurring income.

At present, Eton Properties operates a high-end 368-room serviced apartment in Makati City called Mini Suites.

Eton Properties is also expanding its BPO portfolio in Centris with Centris Cyberpod, a 25-storey tower that offers an ideal working space for BPO professionals.

The tower will be accessible to various transport systems and will also have sufficient elevators, ample parking space, 100 percent emergency back-up power and full security system.

Eton’s other projects include a BPO office space in Ortigas with a  net leasable area of 16,000 sqm and the Courtyard in Eton City in Laguna which will have 33,000 sqm of leasable space.

The company aims to double its leasing assets to 300,000 square  meters by 2020 from 147,000 sqm as of October last year.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/business/2018/01/25/1780995/lucio-tans-eton-ventures-hotels

Gov’t gives 3rd telco wannabes some wiggle room

Now Corporation

The Duterte administration will extend its March 2018 target to name a new telco industry player as potential bidders balked at the tight deadline during the first of a series of public consultations on Wednesday.

Private sector bidders, including listed NOW Corp. and privately-held satellite broadband operator G. Telecoms Inc., expressed worries about the timing, given that the new telco player selection guidelines would only be out Feb. 19—or about a month before their proposals should be submitted.

The March 2018 deadline was set in line with President Duterte’s orders for a new challenger to compete with the PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom duopoly at the soonest possible time.

“We will certainly adjust the timetable,” said Eliseo Rio Jr., acting secretary at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), during the event yesterday.

He noted, however, the DICT could only extend the deadline by one to two months, or no later than May 2018.

“We could not wait for one year. I’m sure the President will not only ask us to resign, but actually kick us out,” Rio said. These concerns, he said, would be raised in a Cabinet meeting on Feb. 5.

Sundance Apolinario, chief information officer of G. Telecoms, said the March 2018 deadline was not feasible at all.

“I don’t think anybody can [meet that schedule], otherwise they are telling a lie,” he said, citing the time it would take to form a consortium and finalize a detailed rollout plan to effectively compete against PLDT and Globe. “Maybe we would need another month.”

The DICT estimated that a new player could spend anywhere from P150 billion to P300 billion in its first five years of operation.

Apolinario said they were currently in talks with partners and would likely tie-up with a US-based telco.

For its part, NOW Corp. said it would also need more time as it negotiates with domestic and foreign partners.

“Definitely we will participate, that’s for sure,” Kristian Pura, NOW’s head of business development, said.

NOW, whose shares gained about 14.7 percent yesterday, is one of three local groups that have expressed interest to become the country’s third telco, according to Rio.

The other two were Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. and Converge ICT Solutions Inc. Telcos from China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea also made known their intentions to join.

 

Source: http://business.inquirer.net/244712/govt-gives-3rd-telco-wannabes-wiggle-room

Ayala Land nets P17.8B in Jan-Sep

Ayala Land

AYALA Land, Inc. (ALI) said net income for the first nine months of the year jumped 18 percent to P17.8 billion backed by the strong performance of its business units.

Consolidated revenues amounted to P98.9 billion, an increase of 16 percent from last year, driven mostly by brisk real estate sales.

Exceeding target levels, real estate sales rose 12 percent to P94.2 billion. Meanwhile, combined revenues from shopping centers, offices, hotels and resorts grew by 10 percent to P21.1 billion.

“We have seen a marked increase in our residential property sales in the first three quarters of 2017. Together with the continued build-up of our leasing assets, this has led to a strong top and bottom line growth for the company,” ALI President and Chief Executive Officer Vincent Dy told the local bourse on Tuesday.

“Moving forward, we remain committed to introducing market-responsive products that will better serve our customers and sustain the business results of the company,” he said.

To date, ALI has 23 mixed-use developments nationwide, 14 of which are outside Metro Manila. The company has so far launched Evo City in Cavite and Azuela Cove in Davao, and is poised to introduce Seagrove in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu this month to complete this year’s offerings.

Revenues from property development rose 30 percent to P68.4 billion in the first nine months. Meanwhile, a total of P53.9 billion worth of residential and office for sale projects were launched in that period.

Shopping centers posted revenues of P11.8 billion with total gross leasable area (GLA) increasing to 1.70 million square meters. Office spaces generated P4.47 billion in revenues for the company.

The hotels and resorts business churned revenues of P4.83 billion as the number of rooms rose to 2,509 from 2,477 in the first half with the opening of new rooms in Balai Adlao, Lio and Balay Kogon in Sicogon.

ALI is scheduled to open the 154-room Seda Capitol Central in Bacolod and 20-room Hotel Covo in Lio this year.

Source: http://www.manilatimes.net/ayala-land-nets-p17-8b-jan-sep/361420/

2 SSS execs in stock trading scandal resign

Amado Valdez

MANILA, Philippines — Two top executives of the Social Security System (SSS) have resigned while under investigation for their alleged involvement in a stock trading controversy.

In an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel, Social Security Commission (SSC) chairman Amado Valdez said equities investment division chief Reginald Candelaria and chief actuary George Ongkeko Jr. have tendered their resignation.

“Before the break, the commission received (Candelaria’s) resignation and we approved it,” Valdez said. “Even Mr. Ongkeko tendered his resignation a month ago.”

He said the former’s resignation was already approved by the SSC, while the latter’s was held in abeyance due to pending duties.

“The Commission has approved the resignation of Candelaria. We have held in abeyance the resignation of Mr. Ongkeko. He has some other things where he has to complete some advisory work. It has to do… with the change in our Charter,” he said.

Asked for the reason they resigned, Valdez said, “I don’t know, but perhaps they want to pursue other opportunities.”

Candelaria is one the SSS officials accused of buying shares with the help of a stockbroker accredited to manage the state fund, according to a complaint filed by SSS commissioner Jose Gabriel Laviña.

Ongkeko’s involvement in the controversy stemmed from his alleged negligence in performing his duty of ensuring compliance with transparency safety net rules in the SSS, Valdez said.

The chairman said SSS executive vice president Rizaldy Capulong and equities product development head Ernesto Francisco Jr., two others mentioned in the complaint, would be assigned to the office of president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Dooc.

Valdez said the allegations suggest conflict of interest on the part of the officials, which the SSS would not tolerate. He, however, gave assurance that money from the state fund was not used in the questionable stock trading transactions.

According to Valdez, an investigation on the issue was ongoing even before it was exposed in the media.

He said the SSS has issued show cause orders to the involved officials, but only Francisco has submitted his counter-affidavit so far. The others have requested for extension, he said.

If the officials are proven guilty, Valdez said the penalty could range from reprimand to suspension, even dismissal from office.

The SSS is authorized to invest in shares of stocks listed in the stock exchange provided that such investment shall not exceed 30 percent of its Investment Reserve Fund.

According to Valdez, the SSS is heavily reliant on paper assets such as stocks to generate revenue to fund its future liabilities.

He said as part of reforms, the SSS is shifting its portfolio balance to direct investments, such as real estate and properties.

Lookout bulletin

With an investigation ongoing, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II should direct the Bureau of Immigration to include the officials in a lookout bulletin order to “prevent them from evading criminal or administrative liability.”

An Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order is issued against a crime suspect not yet charged in court. It can be upgraded to a hold-departure order to be issued by a court if an indictment is made.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone earlier said his committee would investigate the SSS controversy.

“Congress, in the exercise of its oversight functions, will investigate – through the committee on banks and financial intermediaries – the alleged anomalies in SSS on trading of its stocks,” Evardone said.

“I will file the necessary resolution Thursday (Nov. 2) for this purpose,” he said in a Viber message to reporters.

“Aside from the issue of corruption, we will try to find out if SSS funds, which are owned by millions of members, were not lost in the transactions, especially in light of the proposed increase in member’s contributions,” he added.

“We should safeguard the SSS funds to ensure its viability and enable it to pay its obligations to its members,” he pointed out.

Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, lauded Laviña for coming forward to expose irregularities in the agency, and urged more government officials to act as watchdogs of public funds.

The SSS manages almost P500 billion in assets, accumulated through the mandatory monthly contributions of its 35 million members who are employees in the private sector.

Meanwhile, labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) yesterday asked the SSS to stop the planned increase of its members’ contributions amid the investment scandal involving some of its officials.

“SSS must first clean its house and implement internal reforms before any additional burden is imposed on more than 32 million workers who are its members and beneficiaries,” said PM chairman Rene Magtubo.

He noted the planned 1.5 percent yearly increase in contributions starting next year up to 2020 will have a “significant cut into workers’ take-home pay.”

Magtubo added that instead of raising contributions, SSS must cut the perks and privileges of its officials and increase the fund coverage by running after employers who do not remit contributions.

“All these must form part of internal reforms that should include firewalls against corruption and illegal transactions,” he said.

The SSS had announced that it is proposing hike in contributions from 11 percent to 12.5 percent of workers’ monthly pay starting next year.

“The conflict of interest and illegal transactions of the three SSS executives is probably just the tip of the iceberg as far as immoral profiting from the workers’ fund is concerned. Back in 2013, performance bonuses of more than a million each for SSS commissioners and top officials generated much outrage,” he added.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/02/1754819/2-sss-execs-stock-trading-scandal-resign

Office locators prove Makati as enduring business district

Brighthall Realty & Development Corporation

Makati is widely regarded as the country’sfinancial district and Metro Manila’s primary central business district. In fact, its land values soar up to P1 million per sqm. going by the latest transactions. Its rents are also almost twice that of other business centers.

“Makati will remain a prime business area for many years to come,” according to Miguel Manipol, Associate Director of Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC). LPC was established in 2015 and has since established itself as one of the preferred providers of real estate services.

Brighthall Realty & Development Corp.’s Ricardo Lim and Nena Genoveva Sy-Lim (3rd and 4th from left) joins Leechiu Property Cosultants (from left) Francis Coching, Joan Tan, David Leechiu, Miguel Manipol and Paolo Ortigas at the M1 Tower topping off. The 16-storey building is attracting more corporate occupiers seeking a high-energy location like Makati.

Brighthall Realty & Development Corp.’s Ricardo Lim and Nena Genoveva Sy-Lim (3rd and 4th from left) joins Leechiu Property Cosultants (from left) Francis Coching, Joan Tan, David Leechiu, Miguel Manipol and Paolo Ortigas at the M1 Tower topping off. The 16-storey building is attracting more corporate occupiers seeking a high-energy location like Makati.

Notwithstanding the emergence of the BPO industry in the 1990’s and other business districts catering to this industry, the Makati CBD continues to be dominated by a mix of global companies and local medium scale enterprises.

Unlike the smaller districts that have grown largely from BPO patronage alone, Makati is favored by a broad range of occupiers from various industries. Thus, projects like M1 Tower along HV Dela Costa Street in Salcedo Village and other soon-to-be-completed towers benefit from a robust office market.

Many inquiries are from corporate users now located in Makati but in buildings over 20 years old, according Manipol. They are seeking advantages offered by M1 Tower and other new office spaces like energy saving VRF air conditioning, 100 percent backup power and large column-free floor plates that allow efficient layouts.

“All these features result in lower operating costs and less business interruptions,” he said.

Potential corporate locators are also drawn in particular to M1 Towerbecause of its location between two major thoroughfares, HV Dela Costa and Sen. Gil Puyat. They also cite that Makati remains accessible to most employees, it being only “one van ride away” for those in the northern as well as the southern fringes of the metropolis.

In addition to accessibility, Makati offers many after-hours entertainment options attractive not only to millennials but across the spectrum of employees. Consequently, its high energy location aids not only in employee attraction but also in retention.

The 16-storey M1Tower is a development of Brighthall Realty & Development Corp. It offers 8,726 sqm of gross leasable space and seven parking levels to occupiers convinced that Makati’s growth potentials continue to be excellent.

Source: https://newsbits.mb.com.ph/2017/11/01/office-locators-prove-makati-as-enduring-business-district/

SMDC eyes P6b in sales from Las Piñas project

SMDC

SM Development Corp., the residential unit of property developer SM Prime Holdings Inc., said Thursday it expects to generate P6 billion in sales from the four-tower residential condominium project along Alabang-Zapote Road in Las Piñas City.

SMDC assistant vice president for project development Therese Sonsing-Fernando said in a news briefing the four-tower residential project called South Residences would have a total of 2,010 units, of which 60 percent were sold.

The units, comprising of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, are being sold at an average price of P111,000 per square meter, or for P2.5 million to P3.8 million per unit.

Fernando said South Residences would be a part of an integrated lifestyle complex including the SM Southmall, two mid-rise office towers catering to the business process outsourcing companies and a 200,000 sqm. commercial space for retail, food and beverage establishments.

Fernando said the first two residential towers are ready for turnover the residential by first quarter 2018 while the last two towers were slated for completion by the second quarter of 2019.

Fernando said the completion of two BPO office buildings by end-2017 boosted sales of South Residences, providing potential buyers an option to lease out their units to BPO employees to generate rental income.

The BPO office buildings are expected to generate 3,000 to 4,000 jobs.

The property firm said buyers who would want to rent out their units may do so at monthly rates of P15,000 to P25,000, which could be sufficient to cover the monthly amortization for their units.

“We have been selling 50 units a month for this project. We hope to sell all the remaining units by next year,” Fernando said.

He said given the strong takeup of the project, the company was now studying plans to build three to four more residential towers within the SM Southmall integrated lifestyle district.

Fernando said the company also planned to develop more residential projects within SM group’s integrated lifestyle complex.

“Our future developments, particularly in areas outside Metro Manila will be situated near SM malls and BPO buildings,” Fernando said.

Source: http://thestandard.com.ph/business/banking-report/250344/smdc-eyes-p6b-in-sales-from-las-pi-as-project.html

Ayala expands coworking space network, opens BGC unit

BGC Clock In

A new coworking space under Ayala Land Inc.’s “Clock In” brand has opened in Bonifacio High Street, offering flexible office address to freelancers, start-up entrepreneurs and corporate teams who do not want to be tied to long-term leasing contracts.

This is the third of Clock In coworking space to rise while three more are expected to open by next year, offering up to 1,400 square meters (sqms) split into its small offices, meeting rooms, individual desks, and adaptable open spaces. This hub can seat 307 people, whether doing a quick writing gig or embarking on a full-scale app development.

At the opening of the newest hub in BGC, Ayala Land Offices head of project development Patricia Gail Samaniego said the footprint of Clock In would expand to 6,600 square meters next year once branches in Vertis North (Quezon City), Ayala Malls The 30th (Ortigas) and the forthcoming mixed-use complex Ayala North Exchange near Makati Medical Center are opened,

Clock In Vertis North will have a footprint of 800 sqms and The 30th will have 1,000 sqms. The hub at Ayala North Exchange is the biggest in the pipeline with 1,800 sqms, Samaniego said.

Last March, the first Clock In hub opened in a 400-sqm space at the Makati Stock Exchange building in Makati.

In October 2016 or prior to the launch of Clock In, BGC developer Fort Bonifacio Development Corp.—which is likewise spearheaded by Ayala Land—opened its own 1,200-sqm coworking space under the brand Square One in Bonifacio Technology Center. This business has been rebranded to Clock In.

The merger of the two brands, Samaniego said, “creates more impact and more benefit to our clients.”

Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. (FBDC) assistant manager Christine Novera said about 900 sqms of office space in the newest branch in BGC had been activated, covering 27 rooms and 139 seats.

The growing chain of Clock In coworking space also allows clients who get an office account or subscribe to one-month membership to access other locations.

For as low as P2,000 a month, a start-up entrepreneur can get a virtual address to register his or her business at Clock In and get access to coworking space.

“We’re going to standardize our packages,” said Carol Mills, vice president and head of Ayala Land Offices. She estimated the highest package—one that gives seats in dedicated rooms—at around P10,000 per month. “It’s flexible. You don’t have to sign a long-term lease and you don’t have to fit out,” she said.

“It’s quite good,” Mills asked, when asked about the clients that Clock In has so far been attracting. “It’s a combination of start-ups and subsidiaries of companies coming up with new business lines which temporarily (set up) office with us. Basically, (we attract) small and medium enterprises and even big companies.”

Coworking, a growing trend in the office market, is also designed to allow people who are self-employed to share not just an office and equipment but also ideas and knowledge with like-minded people. It seeks to provide freelancers and digital nomads a more conducive workplace than what traditional cafés offer. They enjoy extra perks like free meeting room and hot desk use every month alongside reliable and fast internet connection, free-flowing coffee, printing and other amenities.