All posts by Xavier Sampang

About Xavier Sampang

Xavier Sampang lives, eats, and breathes in Pampanga. He now writes for KlippTV

Optimism in PH-DEU Economic Relations

Philippine Department of Trade & Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez and German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel joined a panel discussing German-Philippine business relations and their outlook for the future.

Germany has been a consistent trading partner to the Philippines. Currently, it is the country’s eight leading trading partner and its largest export market in Europe, Lopez reported. To further strengthen economic ties, a Joint Economic Committee (JEC) between the Philippines and Germany, formalized in Berlin last August 2019, will be held in Manila later this year.

CITIRA or the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act, which seeks to lower corporate income taxes but will also limit income tax incentives, came into the discussion once again as a top concern for foreign investors. The bill was met with mixed reactions, with some foreign companies threatening to pull out of the country if passed. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte placed the passing of CITIRA law a top priority for his administration. The bill was originally written to make Filipino Small to Medium Enterprises more competitive as well as increasing foreign direct investments.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Reiffenstuel says that Germany can use more news about the Philippines. According to the Reiffenstuel, most news about the Philippines that reach Germany are about drugs and human rights violations, Germans must also learn about positive news like initiatives and reforms being taken by the Philippine government. Lopez suggested the Philippines should conduct more awareness campaigns and showcases about the country.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez (3rd from left) and German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel (4th from left) are joined by Filipino and European executives during the panel meeting.

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Preventing COVID-19 at Home and at the Workplace

COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have risen to a total of 64. A case of local transmission or spread of COVID-19 even without travel abroad has been confirmed and multiple deaths have been reported. Large events and gatherings have been cancelled and government offices adapted a 4-day work week. School has been suspended in multiple urban areas and Metro Manila has been placed on community quarantine. Continue reading Preventing COVID-19 at Home and at the Workplace

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New Airport Inaugurated to Ease NAIA Woes

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte inaugurated the newly opened Sangley Point Airport in Cavite City last Feb 15. The airport will start operations with small commercial flights with light cargo while the rest of the constructions continue.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade headed the development of the airport formerly known as the Danilo Atienza Air Base. Like other airports outside of Metro Manila, the Sangley Point Airport will help reduce air traffic and congestion in the country’s primary airport, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Development of the Sangley Point Airport was spurred by the continuous problems at NAIA which has operated beyond its capacity for years. The president admitted his frustration with NAIA in his speech.

The proposed Sangley Point International Airport has four runways planned as well as a terminal capable of handling 100 million passengers annually. The construction which started in 2018 is slated to finish in 2023.

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Strengthen Your Immune System

A strong immune system for you and your family is the best investment you can make. With the strew of new strains of diseases and viruses popping up all over the world, health is more important than ever.

There is no single solution for a strong immune system. It is composed of different parts of the body, so the healthier you are and the better you take care of yourself, the stronger you will find yourself as well.

Here are some tips from us! Find a balance of these activities for a holistic approach. Remember that overcompensating with supplements and vitamins is harmful for your body and will not offset other unhealthy activities.

TIP #1

Proper diet always comes up when human health and wellness is being discussed. What we take in affects our bodies in so many ways. To strengthen the immune system, eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Doing so will ensure that your body has the right amounts of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Eat appropriate servings, too. Overeating even when it’s fruits and veggies is still unhealthy and don’t try extreme diets without consulting your doctor first. A proper diet nixes the need for supplements. If you prefer taking vitamins, start with vitamin C which is vital for immune system functions.

TIP #2

The second thing that always comes up when it comes to health is exercise. Exercise has well known physical health benefits especially with the cardiovascular system and a healthier heart. It also releases endorphins that give us a positive feeling. If you are new to it, start with light physical activity like stretching or brisk walking. Stretching is advisable for all ages and helps with flexibility well into old age. Brisk walking meanwhile is good for the lungs while being a low-impact activity on the joints.

TIP #3

Manage your vices. We are all aware of the very dangerous effects of smoking avoid it at all costs, or if you already smoke, consider an exit strategy now.
Consume alcohol in moderation

TIP #4

Proper handwashing goes a long way. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing. Most diseases are spread through touch and fluids so avoiding them can stop them from spreading. According to a study from 2012, the average human touches their face 3.6 times per hour, increasing the risk of contamination. Lessen hand-to-face contact and keep yourself safe.

TIP #5

Sleep is so vital to human wellness that so much research is still being done on it. But one thing is for sure, get enough sleep. 7 hours is the recommended amount of sleep for adults. You may hear a lot of people say that they function properly with less than the recommended amount of sleep, it may well be true but don’t make a habit out of it and play it safe. Regular lack of sleep has been linked to poor memory, poor mental health, obesity, and many more.

Sleep quality is also important. Start with good air circulation and sleep with good posture. Bad sleep quality will leave you tired even after an entire night of slumber.

TIP #6

Manage and minimize stress. Stressors or stress-inducers are not fixed for everyone. What can be stressful for someone may not be a stressor to someone else so be empathetic as well. Take breaks and remind friends and family to do the same. Stress is can manifest itself further through physical diseases and can affect your job performance, too.

Those are our 6 tips for a stronger immune system. Make these a habit and we’re sure you’ll reap the benefits immediately and more in the long run. Stay healthy these days is equal to keeping you and the people you care about safe.

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ECCP Clark Business Council Meeting Held featured image

5th ECCP Central Luzon Business Council Meeting Held

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) wrapped up their 5th Central Luzon Business Council Meeting at the Clarkton Hotel in Angeles City last January 31.

ECCP Executive Director Florian Gottein and Central Luzon Business Council Chair Dr. Andreas Klippe led the first meeting of the year joined by other Clark-based companies in different fields. Gottein briefed everyone with a short primer on the status of Philippine business landscape. He also presented the upcoming challenges of the year including pending laws, which would significantly affect foreign businesses and investments.

ECCP Clark Business Council Meeting Held
ECCP Cebu joined the meeting via web conference at the 5th Clark Business Council Meeting.

ECCP’s Cebu Chapter also joined the meeting via web conference. Cebu Business Council Chair Valeiry Flores and ECCP Cebu Branch Manager Jillian Sitchon shared their experiences in establishing the chamber’s presence in the Visayas to help do the same in Clark.

Attendees were updated on activities the ECCP has held so far in 2020 and invited Clark companies to join upcoming events.

The ECCP Central Luzon Business council regularly holds meetings to foster discussion of business ideas and help overcome challenges.

The ECCP has nearly 800 member companies throughout the country. It has helped Filipino and European enterprises do business on both continents for 40 years. The ECCP has continually cooperated with other local and foreign chambers of commerce and has been a consistent instrument in encouraging European businesses to invest in the country.

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Coronavirus Safety Tips

Coronavirus Safety Tips

THE 2019-nCoV SO FAR
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV was first observed in Wuhan, China late-December 2019. So far, it has infected 570 people with 17 people dead, while fears of its spread alerted international entryways.

Airports, train stations, and seaports have been on high alert due to the worldwide celebrations of the lunar new year. The virus has been confirmed in nine other countries: Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, and the US.

Symptoms of the 2019-nCoV include:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing

TRANSMISSION

The origins of the 2019-nCoV was suspected to have been transmitted from wild animals to humans, though nothing has been confirmed or substantiated. Human to human transmission however has been documented and confirmed. The 2019-nCoV can be transmitted through:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Contact with mouth, eyes, and nose;
  • And very rarely, fecal contamination

PREVENTION

The spreading of 2019-nCoV is very preventable. Medical experts recommend standard practices anti-bacterial practices like:

  • Handwashing with antibacterial soap for at least 20 seconds, then rinsing thoroughly with running water.
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with sick.
  • Do not travel if sick;
  • and avoid crowds, if it is unavoidable use facemasks.

2019-nCoV is a worse threat to people with weakened immune systems. So far, all deaths concerning the disease have been with people who had pre-existing medical conditions.

No vaccine currently exists for the 2019-nCoV. If you suspect that you are infected, do not self-medicate. Stay hydrated and stay at home. If fevers persist for more than 48 hours, consult a doctor.

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Aid Pours in for Taal Victims

Relief Pours in for Batangas

The Philippines’ Taal Volcano erupted on January 12, 2020 prompting the evacuation of more than 25,000 people and counting.

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Taal has been under close monitoring since March 2019. Phreatic eruptions or steam blasts started on January 12 and further flung ash upwards 15 km. Heavy ashfall occurred around the lake while a large area of National Capital Region (NCR) and Central Luzon was placed on alert for ashfall.

Flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the Clark International Airport (CRK) were grounded during the day of the eruption. CRK was quick to resume normal operations and NAIA took care before going back to full operating status.

Lava fountains were sighted in the early morning of January 13. Earthquakes persisted around the area since the eruption, a normal occurrence during volcanic activity.

Government and non-government organizations were quick to provide assistance and relief. Evacuation was started before Alert Level 4, signalling imminent eruption, was raised.

Neighboring provinces also corralled relief goods to be brought to affected areas. Cough medicine, anti-allergens, diapers, and clean water are being prioritized.

Thousands of horses, cattle, and domestic animals were left behind during the hastened evacuation. Rescue efforts have been organized by different animal rights organizations.

As of January 21, ground-level volcanic activity has lessened but PHIVOLCS maintained that Taal is still active, citing continued underground magma activity. Earthquakes have also caused kilometer-long fissures. Alert level 4 is still raised but some local government units have expressed their insistence to go back to their homes.

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Baguio City

Baguio Rehab Kicks Off

BAGUIO CITY, PHILIPPINES — Residents were urged to prepare themselves for the city’s rehabilitation. Touted as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio is a major tourist destination which has been suffering from a growing population and congestion.

Rehabilitation will start with its sewer system which has been operating past capacity. The Baguio Sewer Treatment Plant (STP) which was finished in 1986 was designed to process 8500 cubic meters of sewerage, as it currently stands the STP processes 12,000 cubic meters.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong has repeatedly made the rehabilitation of the city a priority to prepare itself for the future. Magalong even went so far as asking for the support of President Rodrigo Duterte, who ordered similar rehabilitation programs on Boracay and Manila Bay.

Unlike Boracay which was shut down to tourists in 2018, Magalong reassures the public that no shutdown for Baguio will be necessary owing to its economic activity and as a gateway to North Luzon.

The first phase of the Baguio City rehab will also include the cleaning of the city’s rivers and waterways. Burnham Park and other tourist traps are slated to be rehabilitated next. Costs are estimated at P500 million coming from the local and national government. Magalong envisions Baguio as a walkable smart city with increased greenery. The mayor also has put a halt on construction of new homes and buildings, as well as a total prohibition of tree cutting.

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Averse Holiday Weather Hit SEA Image

Averse Holiday Weather Hit SEA

Inclement weather hit multiple countries in the Southeast Asian region during the holiday season. Disasters have displaced thousands while causing millions of dollars in damages. The early weeks of January are expected to be free from typhoon systems but monsoon rains are to continue per weather forecasts.

PHILIPPINES

Damage caused by Typhoon Phanfone, locally known as Ursula in the Philippines, are still racking up despite leaving the country last December 28, 2019. Phanfone defied weather predictions, maintaining its strength despite making landfall 7 times.

The typhoon entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) before Christmas Eve, continuing along the Visayas and Southern Luzon region. At least 50 people have been reported dead including fishermen who were caught by the storm while at sea. 143 were injured while damages to agriculture and crops have been estimated to reach up to $46 million.

Phanfone exited the PAR after Christmas Day, and totally weakened and dissipated before affecting Hainan, China and Vietnam.

INDONESIA

Casualties reach 20 in the worst flooding in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta since 2013. Monsoon rains have battered the city and is expected to continue for the next three days. Power has been cut to some areas for safety concerns while the Halim Perdanakusuma airport was forced to shut down due to weather.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo reported prioritization of evacuation and safety procedures as well as coordination between city administration and the central government.

Casualties, missing persons reports, and injuries are expected to rise despite thousands of evacuees.

MALAYSIA

The Malaysian State of Sarawak is currently suffering from multiple flash floods and mudslides. Water up to half a meter, currently rising, is flooding the town of Sibu. Meanwhile, the City of Miri is hit by mudslides.

Schools continued classes for the first school day of the new year, with evacuation boats at the ready. Authorities are currently monitoring structural integrity of residential houses affected by mudslides, especially areas near hills. No casualties have been reported and all concerned agencies are reported to be on site.

The Sarawak region is Malaysia’s largest state known as a tourist and cultural destination.

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President Roa Rodrigo Duterte

S. Korean Investments Pouring In

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in attended the 2019 Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Commemorative Summit and deliver good news on the business front for both countries.

Duterte and Moon both vowed to elevate the level of their countries’ relations to strategic partnership by 2020, allowing the two nations to engage in greater cooperation to achieve common prosperity.

The two governments agreed on mutual social security for their citizens benefitting tens of thousands overseas Filipinos and S. Koreans; cooperation between the Philippines’ Department of Tourism and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; advancements on the Philippines-Korea free trade agreement; and other developments on the cooperation in the fields of education and fisheries. President Duterte also gave thanks to President Moon for the ROK’s $100,000 donation for the earthquake victims in Mindanao.

“Clearly, at no other time in our shared history have the bonds between our people this strong,” President Duterte said in thanking the South Korean leader during their bilateral meeting here.

In 2018, South Korea was the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner, with total trade amounting to over $13 billion. It was also a valued source of foreign direct investments, ranking 13th in the same year.

The Philippines and South Korea celebrate this year 70 years of bilateral relations.

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