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Baguio offers investors new profit opportunities

BAGUIO CITY—Rains have pounded the summer capital again and, for a city that lives off rationed water, each unused drop could be money down the drain.

Rainwater could become a commodity that might be sold to neighboring provinces in the future, if Baguio and like-minded towns in the Cordilleras were to spend on a network of reservoirs in the region’s forests that would be treated for potable water use, experts said.

Rainwater is but one of many unconventional business options that investors may consider as residents push for the reshaping and improvement of Baguio, which turns 105 years old on Sept. 1.

The Baguio Heritage Foundation (BHF) is promoting a sustainable urban mobility program (SUMP) that invites investors to develop environment friendly mass transport systems, such as the electric jeepney suited to mountain terrain.

Heavy traffic in the city has forced the Baguio government to seek out investors who are accomplished in parking management systems. Green architecture is also in great demand here, given the construction projects around the downtown area.

Raining profits

But Baguio’s exposure to heavy rainfall grants it a resource that could quickly be developed.

During the National Competitiveness Council roadshow here in March, the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines) said rainfall could be a profit center for Baguio, which receives the highest rainfall in the country.


WET WINDFALL Apart from the cool weather, Baguio is also the city that receives the highest rainfall in the Philippines, which Baguio and national businesses could consider developing. EV ESPIRITU/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON


The mountain resort has a population of 325,000 (as of 2010), taxing the city’s aquifer and watersheds, records showed. The city has been living off rationed water since the 1980s.

“But why depend on watersheds when rainfall is your prime source of water?” asked Moncini Hinay, WWF-Philippines project manager, who spoke at the roadshow.

A WWF-Philippines business risk assessment report urges cities like Baguio to “steer new investment toward climate-appropriate technology, skills, infrastructure and systems that deliver on both current and future needs.”

“At 3,914 millimeters (mm) a year, Baguio City already has the highest average rainfall in the Philippines. In 1910, it established a Philippine record for highest annual rainfall at 9,006 mm. In 1911, it garnered the world record [at the time] for highest rainfall in 24 hours at 1,168 mm. In 1950, it posted another world record for rainfall in 48 hours, at 2,009 mm,” the study said. “And more recently, in 2001, Baguio City registered the Philippine record for highest rainfall in one hour, 1,085 mm.”

This means that the mountain resort city has substantial water resources that may be harnessed, Hinay said.

The Baguio Water District (BWD) operates only one rain reservoir on Mt. Sto. Tomas, which it built in 1985 using a government loan.

Recently, four water distribution companies expressed their interest in supplying Baguio water, among them businessman Manuel Pangilinan, who chairs the Philex Mining Corp.

According to Edilberto Carabbacan, Cordillera regional director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), towns or cities can invest in P10-million small impounding dams, or share in building a common rain reservoir that may cost up to P100 million.

Selling potable water outside the region is a viable idea, he said, considering that the Cordillera has yet to see any economic windfall from being Luzon’s watershed cradle. The headwaters of many Luzon rivers are in the upland Cordillera provinces.

Home filtering

Water harvesting also opens up a potential side business in water filtration systems, which investors could design for single household use.

Baguio households have been collecting rainwater each time the monsoon season sets in. Owners of houses and buildings in the city invest in water tanks, recycled containers and plastic drums, which they use to collect water that they can use in cleaning and toilet flushing.

Four drums, a resident said, may cut down his family’s water delivery expenses by as much as P1,000 a month, when rains pour daily in Baguio.

Carabbacan said water treatment to convert rainwater into potable water has been the expensive stage of water distribution for many utilities.

Investors, however, can tap into new filtering technologies being developed for a mass-based clientele.

The Cordillera Studies Center of the University of the Philippines Baguio (UP Baguio) has been studying various home filtration processes to draw out a cost-effective filter that uses indigenous materials.

One study focuses on a filtering device developed by the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU). The device reduces the bacterial content of rainwater before it undergoes the conventional treatment process.

UP Baguio is piloting a three-stage rain water filtration process for its campus.

Green mobility

Baguio groups have also been seeking technology to clean the city’s air and unclog its jammed streets.

Last year, Toshio Harashima of the Baguio-based Japanese Association in Northern Luzon set up a booth at the Benguet State University in La Trinidad town in Benguet province to popularize electric vehicles.




This year, BHF began drawing signatures to a petition that calls for the institutionalization of SUMP. This urban renewal plan proposes to use battery-powered shuttles, instead of the conventional jeepneys and taxi cabs, on the side streets of downtown Baguio.

BHF said the SUMP would free up downtown Session Road for purely pedestrian traffic, which would benefit local businesses based on an urban behavioral study that showed that less stressed residents are more prone to spend.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan has a different mass transport solution, having commissioned a feasibility study for a light rail transit system that would accommodate people from neighboring Benguet towns who travel to Baguio to work or to study.

Domogan had also asked the private sector for ideas concerning parking in the central business district.

On July 23, Kim Peter Glassborow, Parkwise Philippines chief executive officer, and Brian Cole, CW Developments Inc. president, discussed a proposal to dig the Melvin Jones football grounds in Burnham Park to build underground parking spaces, on the suggestion of Domogan.

But Glassborow said a feasibility study would have to be done to ensure the project would not affect Burnham Park’s aquifer.

Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/176835/baguio-offers-investors-new-profit-opportunities#ixzz3Ad071GLv 
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‘Calibrate your scales,’ business establishments urged

Friday, May 30, 2014

Giovanni Joy Fontanilla

THE Department of Science and Technology-Cordillera Administrative Region is calling the public to have all weighing instruments calibrated.

CAR Regional Metrology Laboratory manager Engr. Angel Maguen emphasized there is need for calibration of weighing scales, balances, test weights, buckets and other weighing instruments used in businesses, laboratories and even in health facilities.

Maguen told Sun.Star Baguio although it is public knowledge that weighing instruments must be calibrated for fair trade of goods in the market, he stressed even the ones in laboratories especially manufacturers must be for accurate scaling of chemical substances and ingredients; and in hospitals or medical clinics for proper measurement of dosages to be administered to their patients.

He said the Regional Metrology Laboratory located at Benguet Science and Technology Center in Km 6 La Trinidad, Benguet has added services in mass and volume calibration of weighing instruments.

He added the advantage of calibration in RML is that it has established traceability of the calibration of any equipment to internationally accepted standards.

The RML offers calibration in test weights, weighing scales, buckets and even dispensing pumps.

Engr. Rodel Inga-an, RML analyst, said they can now cater to more clients because of their quality calibrating equipments such as electronic platform balance, electronic balance, analytical balance, mass comparator, M3 test weights and F1 series test weights.

Since its opening on November 26, 2013, the RML has so far rendered calibration services to 36 test weights, 7 calibrating buckets and 20 non-automatic weighing instruments, which include spring and analytical balance.

He disclosed they are targeting to reach 600 calibrations to enable the agency to qualify for the ISO 17025 accreditation conducted by Philippine Accreditation Office.

The DOST-RML will hold trainings on calibration for LGU treasurers and on-site calibrations across the region starting in Kalinga on June 25-27; Mt. Province at the end of June; and Ifugao and Apayao on August.

They will also have an-onsite calibration booth in Abra on July simultaneous to the celebration of the Cordillera Day. The DOST recently conducted a calibration training in Baguio City May 22.

The RML is open for calibration services from Mondays to Fridays 8AM to 5PM. Calibration services ranges from P80 to P930 depending on the kind of the weighing instruments to be calibrated.

Source: Sun Star Baguio





DTI-Baguio presents areas for investment


Sunday, March 2, 2014

AS THE Philippines' summer capital celebrated its annual Panagbenga flower festival in February, Baguio City was also host to a trade mission led by Honolulu Mayor Kirk William Caldwell and members of the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce.

DTI Baguio-Benguet Provincial Director Freda Gawisan, during the joint Honolulu and Baguio Chamber of Commerce forum, presented Baguio City’s Investments and Incentives Code (BCIIC).

With DTI’s active involvement with the private public partnership or PPP program, Gawisan discussed various incentives that will be provided to new businesses and expansion and diversification projects for investment in the city.

Of the 13 major considerations, Baguio City prioritizes green manufacturing and exporting industries that are practicing waste minimization, pollution prevention and clean technology with environmental management systems.

Referred to as "Green Buildings" that follow accepted standards for green engineering, Gawisan stressed the need to have an efficient use of energy, water and materials in the investment architecture to bolster the citizen’s right to a balanced ecology.

With the growing creative industries that are based in Baguio, Gawisan likewise presented to both chambers the business process outsourcing plan for IT and IT-enabled services, film and performing arts production.

Tourism-oriented and related establishments like a convention center, retirement villa, five-star hotel, health-care and wellness programs to cultural preservation centers are among the potential areas for investors to look into, according to the DTI head of Baguio and Benguet.

With Baguio’s limited land resource, the investment code also includes investment for housing that covers the development of low-cost mass housing that will benefit the city’s homeless residents.

Also presented to the Aloha delegation are potential areas for investments like water and energy resources development and research and development that covers activities and establishment of testing laboratories, centers of excellence (COE) and skills development institutions.

Since Baguio is an educational center with majority of its populace composed of students, the BCIIC gives preference to mass transportation facilities and multi-level parking to include sports facilities that complies with international standards.

The localized public-private partnership programs of the City of Baguio recognize the value of historical and heritage sites, thus the code covers any preservation and development projects towards these landmarks, Gawisan said.

Before ending her presentation, Gawisan mentioned other services being undertaken by her agency like the programs under the Board of Investments, a branch of DTI that grants tax holidays and other administrative assistance. (Art Tibaldo)

Source : Sun Star Baguio





Capili: Taxes in the Sale of Real Properties (I)


By Roberto A. Capili

Real Estate Updates

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I HAVE often been asked, what are the tax obligations to be paid or settled in the sale of real properties? To start with, we have to be clear about the kind of asset (real property) we are referring to. Is it a capital asset or an ordinary asset?

Capital Asset applies only to real property which is not used in the trade or business of the vendor/transferor, while Ordinary Assets apply to real property which, in the hands of the vendor/transferor, was used or offered for sale or for lease in the course of his trade or business. The former is subject to the payment of capital gains tax while the latter shall be liable under the Ordinary Income Taxation regardless of whether the Seller is a corporation or an individual.

For this article, we shall discuss the sale of real properties considered as Capital Asset. The first thing that has to be cleared before any sale is made is to know whether the owner/seller of the real property subject of the sale had updated or currently paid all real estate taxes. Unless exempted, all real property owners are required to pay real estate (real property) taxes annually to the local government unit (city or municipality) where their properties are located.

Assuming that the real property taxes had been updated, the next tax obligation to be paid is the capital gains tax. Such final tax shall be imposed if:

1. The real property was a “Capital Asset” in the hands of the vendor/transferor.
2. The said real property subject of sale in located in the Philippines.
3. The vendor/transferor is either an individual, estate or trusts. However, corporations are subject to capital gains tax if the sale, exchange or disposition of lands and/or buildings are not actually used in business and treated as “Capital Assets.”

The tax of six percent (6%) shall be based on the gross selling price (GSP)/contract price (CP) or prevailing fair market value (FMV)/zonal value (ZV) of said real property at the time of sale, whichever is higher. Where the consideration of sale is cash and property, the basis is the amount realized which consists of the money received plus the FMV of the property received by the seller. Interest included in installment payments shall not form part of the amount realized but shall be treated as Ordinary Income.

Exceptions in the payment of the CGT: capital gains realized from the sale or disposition of their principal residence by natural persons, the proceeds of which is fully utilized in acquiring or constructing a new principal residence within 18 months from the date of sale or disposition provided:
1. That the historical cost or adjusted basis of the real property sold or disposed shall be carried over to the new principal residence built or acquired;
2. BIR shall be notified by the taxpayer within thirty (30) days from the date of sale or disposition which can only be availed of only once every ten (10) years; and
3. If there is no full utilization, the portion of gain realized from the sale or disposition shall be subject to capital gains tax.

Payment of capital gains tax must be made within 30 days from sale or disposition, return filed and payment made to an Authorized Agent Bank (AAB) in the Revenue District Office (RDO) where the property being sold or transferred is located. If the Seller avails of the exemption from Capital Gains, no payments shall be required. However, in case he is disqualified, the tax due on the gains realized shall immediately become due and payable and subject to applicable penalties.

If the Seller, having paid the tax, submits proof of intent within six months from registration of the document, he shall be entitled to a refund if found to be qualified for the exemption. In case the taxpayer elects and is qualified to report the gain by installment, the tax due from each installment shall be paid within 30 days from the receipt of such payment.

Upon presentation of the CGT Return with a bank validation evidencing full payment of the capital gains tax due on the sale or disposition of real property classified as “Capital Asset,” as the case maybe, the Revenue District Officer (RDO) of the revenue district where the property being transferred is located shall issue the corresponding Tax Clearance (TCL) or Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR) for the registration of the real property in favor the transferee.

No registration of any document transferring real property shall be effected by the Register of Deeds (R of D) unless such transfer has been reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and taxes, if any, has been paid. (Other taxes to be paid in the sale of real property shall be discussed in the next installment of this article. For questions, comments and more updates you can email me at bert_capili@yahoo.com)


Source: Sun Star Baguio



Council wants city as forced intervenor in water permit applications

BAGUIO CITY – The city council wants the city to become the “automatic forced intervenor” in all applications for water permits before the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).
The body approved on Monday the proposed resolution of Councilor Faustino Olowan for the purpose.
Olowan in his measure stressed the need for the city to serve as intervenor in such applications in view of its “authority to safeguard and protect all natural resources within its imminent domain such as water which is very essential to life.”
He said there is a growing concern over the “continued increase of private individuals or entities engaged in unregulated operation of privately owned deep wells (which affect) the groundwater resources and water security of the city.”
He noted that as required by law, all applications are posted in the bulletin boards of the city council for any person or entity to file protest against the application and for the issuance of certification by the city secretary.
“Some protests were filed against some applications of Water Permit before the (NWRB) citing the Water Code of Baguio but most of the time, the protest was always denied,” Olowan said.
He said that under the Local Government Code of 1991, the city is empowered to adopt measures to safeguard and conserve its (natural resources) and the Baguio City Water Code or Ordinance No. 13 series of 2007 was one of the measures adopted by the city council.
“It is just and proper that before the NWRB will issue water permits, the Board must consult first with the (city council) for its favorable approval to any water permit application,” he said noting that there is no provision under the NWRB prohibiting the move.
The council committee on public utilities chaired by Councilor Joel Alangsab recommended approval of Olowan’s resolution noting the need for the city to request the NWRB to deputize the City Water Resources Board (CWRB) as its local agent.
The committee said the City Water Code particularly sections 73 and 74 provides for the creation of the CWRB and among its functions are to assist the city council in assessing water-related projects for endorsement and in regulating excavation and drilling of the ground for laying of water.
The city is also poised to create the CWRB soon. – A Refuerzo

Source: Baguio.gov.ph




PNP readies charges vs Pulag despoilers

by Harley Palangchao with reports from Redjie Cawis 

Charges will be filed against individuals or groups behind the destructive human activities that threatened portions of Mount Pulag National Park at Ekip, Bokod, Benguet.

This was the stern warning issued by the provincial and municipal Task Force on Anti-illegal Logging after its members made a grim discovery that a vast track of pine and mossy forest covers of Mount Pulag at  Sitio Naubanan, Ekip were destroyed to pave the way for an expansion of commercial vegetable farms.

Like what happened at the side of Mount Pulag in Kabayan, trees were cut and burned while forest covers were cleared for commercial vegetable farms in Bokod.

The continued denudation of the pine and mossy covers of Mount Pulag was brought to the fore while the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is drafting a memorandum of agreement that outlines the different roles of agencies and people in protecting Mount Pulag.

Police operatives in the province, meanwhile, seized close to 2,000 board feet of pine lumber and arrested an illegal logger in line with the government’s bid to protect the remaining green patches.

Police operatives led by the Benguet Police Public Safety Company also seized two units of chainsaw during the month-long anti-illegal campaign in the 13 towns of the province.

BPPSC head Lambert Suerte reported the seized pine lumber with an estimated value of over P60,000 were turned over to the respective field offices of the DENR.

The latest anti-illegal logging operation led by C/Insp. Marlo Evasco happened on May 20 where operatives arrested a 33-year-old suspected illegal logger at Sitio Buas, Bangao, Buguias.

Charges will also be filed against the suspect, who is a native of Bauko, Mountain Province.

Police also seized a chainsaw with defaced serial number while 52 pieces of pine lumber in various sizes were discovered on site.

Two teams led by Insp. Jeffrey Vicente also recovered 139 pieces of sawn lumber abandoned at Sitio Bilis in Barangay Caliking, Atok on May 19.

A day earlier, Evasco led a team from PPSC in the recovery of 160 pieces of pine lumber after receiving an information of illegal logging activities at  Sitio Akiki, Amgaleyguey in Buguias, Benguet.

Suerte warned those involved in illegal logging activities that they have alerted police units in the province to sustain their campaign on laws protecting the environment.

He added Police Regional Office and the provincial government are prioritizing the anti-illegal logging campaign.

Going after individuals involved in illegal logging was one of the orders of Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan to members of the Benguet Provincial Peace and Order Council.

Earlier, the governor said there seemed to be problems within the local level in terms of action from concerned agencies like the police, and recording and eventual filing of cases against suspects for violation of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Reform Code.


Source: http://www.baguiomidlandcourier.com.ph/





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