Grab takes over Uber in the Philippines

27 March 2018 – Uber Technologies Inc. has announced that it has sold its stake in the South East Asian Region to regional competitor Grab of Singapore.  In the said deal, Grab will take over operations of Uber in around 8 countries in the region where the 2 companies compete.

With this deal, Uber has bought in 27.5% stake in Singapore based Grab. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowhshahi will be seating in the Board of Grab based on the deal that was struck between the two transport giants.  Of the merger, Khosrowshahi said: “One of the potential dangers of our global strategy is that we take on too many battles across too many fronts and with too many competitors.”  The merger is touted as one of the biggest in the South East Asian region, leaving Grab as the dominant player in the market.  For Uber however, it is part of the efforts to streamline its costs in view of an upcoming public listing.  Currently, the deal between Grab and Uber largely affects the SEA region where Grab will be the predominant Brand.  But overall, Uber globally now owns a significant stake in Grab.

In the Philippines, both companies had been competing toe-for-toe in a market that lacks the modern amenities of modern mass transportation system. Recently, both operators were slapped with heavy fines and suspensions by the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for operating without any franchise in the Philippine market.

In August of 2017, Uber had to pay a total fine of $10 Million dollars or Php 190 million in order to be able to operate its ride sharing transport model.  The fine was a result of Uber’s non compliance and ignoring an LTFRB order while Grab had complied with it.  This partly led to the resignation of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and the assumption of the position by Khosrowhshahi.

Sadly for the Philippine market, Uber was the more preferred brand due to its signing up private car owners as compared to Grabs taxi drivers who have been known to abuse passenger fares. Formal announcements in the Philippines have yet been made by both the franchisees of Uber and Grab and how the merger will take effect. There will be a two week period for the adjustments to take place as announced by Uber.

In a letter to the SEA Uber team, Khosrowhshahi congratulated the team for the growth they achieved and wished them well in the period of adjustment.  Philippine Uber app owners received emails stating that all legal obligations and contracts of Uber in the Philippines shall now be addressed to the legal department of Grab.

This news has been verified by NewsmePh



Boracay CLOSEDOWN looms

March 7, 2018 – Closedown of world famous island resort of Boracay is looming based on the pronouncement of President Duterte during the oath taking ceremonies of PACC officials last night at Malacanan Palace.

Duterte said that the closure will be for the good of the island and is inclined to approve the suggestions of DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano.  He said that this would be for the benefit of the residents and owners as well.  The President also warned against the filing of Temporary Restraining Orders against the move as he will just simply not follow it.

Senate President Coco Pimentel also backs the move for a 60 day closure to hasten the repair on the islands infrastructure and facilities.  Senator Cynthia Villar has however opposed the move in defense of the resort owners and residents saying that the move would affect the livelihood of the residents and the local economy.

Based on DOLE records the island directly employs over 17,000 workers and a significant amount more is employed by service providers from Aklan which include fishermen, farmers, drivers etc.  The whole local economy will be affected by the closure according to the DOLE official who asked not to be named pending an official position from the main office on the matter.

The DENR has been actively inspecting the facilities on the island the past 2 weeks and have cited various violations. (See previous report)

Boracay faces closure, hotel owners appeal

Violators of the 30m easement have been targeted and demolished as exemplified by the DENR action on West Cove “Pacman” Resort as owned by Crisostomo Aquino.

This Report is verified by NewsmePh


PAO -liable for immunization scare

March 4, 2016 – The Public Attorney’s Office or the PAO should be held liable for causing the reduction in immunization according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III “irresponsible comments created unnecessary panic and scared the public from getting children immunized”. Former Secretary Janette Garin also said that the investigations are being muddled and that instead of helping the government and the population, PAO has created hysteria and panic among the public resulting in the lowering of government offered free voluntary vaccinations.

The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) was tasked by the DOJ to legally assist the parents of the alleged victims of Dengvaxia. PAO had insisted on their own findings that Dengvaxia was the main cause of the 40 patients they had autopsied. It was unclear whether the DOJ order allowed PAO to conduct medical proceeding on the victims. PAO Chief Acosta also showed the distribution of doses administered by the 2 previous and current secretaries in Congress. PAO showed that most of the alleged victims were injected second and third doses during the time of Secretary Paulyn Ubial who continued and expanded the Dengue immunization program. Congressmen chided the PAO chief for refusing to cooperate with the DOH-PGH team despite her public agreement to cooperate as requested by Senators. “Nagbago ang isip ko” (I changed my mind) was her reply in congress.

Congressman Jorge Banal questioned the expertise of the PAO’s forensic team led by Dr. Erfe, echoing the same sentiments as Senator J.V. Ejercito, and said that what PAO has been achieving is the erosion of trust and confidence of the public in the Department of Health and the UP-PGH investigative task force set-up by Secretary Duque.

Immunizations are down by 30% according to DOH data. “ Our programs are suffering as people are scared to have their children vaccinated even for preventable diseases like measles and polio according to Undersecretary Enrique Domingo.

Dr. Juliet Sio -Aguilar of the DOH –UP PGH established dengue task force of 10 specialists and pathologists who examined 14 cases that were referred to the DOH, all of which underwent tedious and meticulous study, stated that based on their findings there is no medical evidence linking the deaths to Dengvaxia. In fact 9 of the fatalities were known to have died from other causes, not related to Dengue. The 3 other cases were inconclusive.

PAO in its most recent public pronouncements made by Dr. Erwin Erfe said that there may be links to Dengvaxia of the alleged victims they autopsied, but admitted that these are inconclusive.

In a recent meeting between the DOJ, DOH and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque , Secretary Aguirre said: “Erfe’s opinion on the Dengvaxia deaths should not be considered an “expert” opinion as he is not a qualified pathologist. We will get an international expert to help the government.”

The Philippines is now considered the leader in Dengue incidence in the Western Pacific Region with over 200,000 yearly cases and average of upwards of 500 deaths yearly from mostly children aged 4 to 15 years based on WHO and DOH data.

#Dengate #Dengvaxia #denguevaccine

This news was verified by NewsmePh


Boracay faces closure, Hotel owners appeal

March 4 2018 – Over 200 cases of environmental violations have been filed by the DENR (Department of Natural Resources) against Resort and Hotel owners in the world famous vacation spot of Boracay Island, Philippines.

It was found that about 190 plus establishments were dumping untreated sewage directly into the sea causing massive pollution along the shorelines.  The water treatment facilities in Manoc-Manoc and Balabag were found to have exceeded their capacities promting DENR Secretary Cimatu to order their rehabilitation.

Violations include among others: violation of the Philippine Clean Water Act, violation of the Philippine Clean Air Act and operation of establishments without any environmental compliance certificate.

Over 578 establishments on and near shore were inspected by the DENR with most violations being given to on-shore resorts and establishments.

According to DILG Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III, some areas of the island will be closed to tourist as structures would need to be demolished in order to fix the sewage problem.  DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano stated that Boracay cannot be rehabilitated under normal circumstances.  One of the options is to totally close down the island to tourists for 60 days.

Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo proposed the creation of the Boracay Development Authority as a long term solution to the island’s incessant problems and violations of the environmental laws.  The authority to manage Boracay was given to the Local Government Unit in 1991 and this is the result she added. Last Monday, the Department of Tourism (DOT) stopped the processing of new and expiring accreditation certificates of establishments in the island which were not complying with environmental laws.

Senator Cynthia Villar has opposed the total closure of the island and instead told the DENR and LGU to close down the erring and violating establishments.  “Close only those that are violating laws, those operating without ECC’s, those that are not compliant.”

The closure of the island would be a drastic solution to years long problem of pollution, over crowding and environmental problems.  But would have a big effect on the Labor situation in the Region.  Department of Labor Western Visayas Director said that 17,000 workers in Boracay would be affected with a total closure. “The suggested closure will increase the unemployment in the region and will have an impact on related businesses that supply and provide services for the island.  It’s a domino effect.”

President Duterte had issued an order to “SHUT THEM DOWN” to the DENR referring to those that have been violating the environmental laws.  Upon hearing this, some resorts owners voluntarily ceased operations to comply with the DENR.  Crisostom Aquino whose West Cove Resort had been in the media for several years for building structures on natural rock formations was surprised by the speed of the demolition team brought by former AFP General and now DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu who ordered the immediate demolition on site of the violating structures.  Aquino has been using the courts to delay the demolition of the structures since 2014.

West Cove stands on leased government land under a 25 year Forest Land use Agreement for Tourism which was cancelled in September 12, of 2014 for violating the agreement.  West Cove built structures outside of the allowed area and built them on natural formations.

Cimatu warned that if the establishments do not comply with the laws, they will be closed down. “We have to strictly enforce environmental laws in order to protect the country’s tourism sites so that the future generations will be able to enjoy them as well.”

Compliant resorts and hotel owners have appealed against the total closure of the island as it will affect the economy of the Province.

This report has been verified by NewsmePh



A Sugar Baron that supported the Presidential candidacy of former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas in the last elections warned Pepsi Cola Philippines. Manuel Lamata, President of the United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines said that they will launch a Boycott against Pepsi Cola for its use of HFCS or fructose sugar.

“We will attack Pepsi, they are not innocent! They (PEPSI) are idiots! Their product contains HFCS. If they do not sit and talk with the Sugar Alliance, we will launch a boycott and protest against their products”, threatened Lamata.

In a separate meeting in Malacanang Palace, Lamata shouted at several government officials claiming that the government is not protecting the sugar monopoly by allowing the entry of fructose sugar which is being used as an alternative sweetener for powdered coffee, powdered juice and softdrinks by multinational beverage companies like Pepsi.

In response, Secretary Pinol called the Negros Sugar Baron and his associates “spoiled brats” for how he acted during the meeting, and for accusing him of accepting bribes from beverage manufacturers which he denied. Lamata and his group gave the DA Secretary the moniker “Money Pinol”.

Pinol had held in abeyance the issuance of Sugar Order No. 3 which was released by the Sugar Regulatory Administration which is under the Department of Agriculture.

Because of the protection of the sugar cartel in the Philippines, sugar remains in the “protected list “ of Philippine products which hampers ASEAN Economic Integration. All members of ASEAN under the pact will engage in free trade across its borders and sugar is hampering its implementation.

Secretary Pinol stated that there is a need for change and modernization in how the sugar business is conducted in the Philippines. Philippine remains one of the highest priced in the world market. Former SRA head Rafael “Lito” Cosculluela said: “We need to accept the reality that Philippine sugar is highly priced. And if additional taxes are imposed on those who use it, the prices of products will increase resulting in less buyers and even lesser demand for the Sugar industry.

The Senate is now hearing the proposed excise tax on sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) which is seen to increase the cost of basic goods for blue collar and poor Filipinos who are the patrons of instant coffee, softdrinks and powdered juice drinks.

This news was verified:
People’s Tonight

Manuel Lamata threatens Pepsi Cola Philippines

Sugar Baron Manuel Lamata shouts at Duterte officials in Malacanang

Pepsi Cola Philippines threatened by Sugar Baron Manuel Lamata

GAOC Dental Centers expand clinics

The Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center (GAOC) recently expanded to 2 more locations in the Philippines. According to its President and CEO Dr. Steve Mark Gan, the 2 world class clinics are in the S Maison at the Conrad Hotel in Manila and at the SM Seaside City in Cebu City.

gaoc-s-maison-taxGAOC’s Conrad Center will be the new hub of modern dental services in Manila.

Over its 15 years of existence since its founding in 2001, GAOC has been a paragon of dental innovation and a champion in uplifting the dental profession. It has built a client base of over 10,000 patients. “We value our relationship with our patients and provide them the best care and world class products. It is a taxing task that we adhere to at all times!” says Dr. Gan.

Both the Conrad Hotel/S Maison and SM Seaside City Clinics in Cebu are now open. “The Conrad Center was initially set to open last September, but I wanted to make sure that all the equipment and fittings are even better than those of our existing clinics and that the staff and Doctors are fully prepared to provide GAOC’s type of world class dental service. The Cebu Center will also feature the highest standards in medical dental care!” according to Dr. Gan.

gaoc-sm-seaside-taxesGAOC’s SM Seaside City Center expands the reach of the world-class dental service to the Premiere City of the South

GAOC has always been positioned as a premier dental center with known celebrities, politicians and socialites as its clientele. What has been unknown to many is its active Corporate Social Responsibility that provides dental care for indigents in partnership with corporations and organizations like JCI & Operation Smile Philippines. The expansion, according to Dr. Gan, also aims to extend its reach across the nation to further strengthen its CSR Program that focuses on educating people on oral hygiene and provides free dental services to specific target communities.

From a 1 room, single chair clinic in Binondo, GAOC has grown to 9 world class, one stop shop dental centers made possible with the latest addition of the above-mentioned 2 locations with a complement of over 40 highly qualified Dental Doctors across all centers. Dr. Gan says the expansion will no longer tax our patients in terms of traffic and travel time. Client convenience was a big factor in the expansion decision where we could establish a GAOC clinic that will be near their location!

gaoc-binondo-clinic-birThe First Dental Clinic of Dr. Steve Mark Gan was founded in Chinatown 18 years ago and started with his savings of 3,000 pesos. In 2001 he started GAOC.

The outlook of Dr. Gan on the continued growth of Dental services in the Philippines remains bullish and positive. Gan, a former Chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Dentistry of the Professional Regulatory Commission, made sure that the level of professionalism of Filipino Dentists was raised to world class standards that allowed them to compete globally during his stint.

GAOC is one of the biggest chains of Dental Centers in the Philippines that adheres to these world-class standards in both its Doctors and facilities. Its services include: Dental implants and related surgical procedures, Cosmetic Dentistry and General Dentistry.

No to Cheap Energy -Philippine Catholic Church

Sept. 1, 2016, MANILA – The Philippine Catholic Church, specifically Balanga Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos has opposed the opening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.  In a statement he said: ” The BNPP damages life, livelihood and nature.  The BNPP is not the answer to the present needs of the people.  No one is safe from the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.”

The church has stiffened its position stating that reviving the BNPP puts the public at risk, most specially the residents of nearby provinces.

Government however has seen potential in the powerplant alleviating the rising cost of electricity. Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi says that opening the BNPP will provide additional 620 MW of electricity which will stabilize the whole grid in the long term.

“It is safe to use! It is an unpopular option but it is a cheap and long lasting option that will be good for our country” said Cusi during a hearing conducted by the Senate.

The Philippines has been lagging behind its neighbors in electric power generation, making it one of the countries in Asia with the highest electricity cost per kilowatt hour.  This high cost in power has been a factor why the Philippines has been sidelined by foreign investors who have opted to go to China, Vietnam and even Indonesia.

Other sources of power are depletable according to Cusi who identified Malampaya as a source that will be depleted by 2024. He said that it is the role of government to look for alternative sources that will lower electricity cost.  The Church has countered that alternatives can be found in renewable energy sources like the wind and the sun.

The benefits of opening the BNPP will be lower electricity rates for the consumer both private and business sectors; a stable supply for the whole grid and more investors coming to the Philippines which in turn creates more jobs.

Extensive studies are now being conducted on the BNPP and its viability and will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for his approval. The government has been paying 27 Million pesos for the maintenance and upkeep of the mothballed plant.

This news is verified by Newsme Philippines


Friday’s Holdings Tax Declaration does not exist – Provincial Assessor


Breaking news by Newsmeph

The Provincial Assessor of Aklan has issued a certification that the Tax Declaration Document numbered 2014-12-003-01-01441 of Fridays’s Holdings Inc./FHI claiming the lot of Mila Sumndad  does not exist.

Documents came to light during the Auction in Quezon City where Friday’s Holdings Inc. presented it to bolster their claim.  Upon checking and verification with the Provincial Assessor of Aklan, a certification was issued by the said office that the said tax declaration does not exist and that the property is lawfully registered under the name of Mila Sumndad.

Competing claims have been made by Panlilio owned Boulevard Holding’s Inc. which owns Friday’s Holdings Inc. which in turn operates Friday’s Boracay Beach Resort.  The resort is located partly on the property of Mila Sumndad.

According to Sumndad, this vindicates me and my claim that the property is truly mine and this cannot be disputed. It is only by the use of money that BHI/FHI is able to sustain their claim to my land.

While the Court in Quezon City stopped the auction proceedings because of the pending cases where BHI and FHI are claiming ownership of the property, Mila Sumndad said that the Court also ordered both parties to show their respective certified documents.  BHI and FHI were unable to present any certified true copy of their documents. In fact it was the Provincial Assessor of Aklan who said that their Tax Declaration is non-existent further bolstering claims and reports of forgery on the part of BHI and FHI said Sumndad.

I have in turn filed a libel case against Jose Marcel Panlilio for insulting the name of my family in the news reports he has released.  It is time that Panlilio pay for the very unfounded public accusations and his made up fairy tales to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

This article is validated and verified by Newsmeph.




QC Court decision temporary says Boracay landowner

Quezon City RTC Presiding Judge Edgardo B. Bellosillo of Branch 95 has stopped the auction of the property of Mila Sumndad.

In his decision, the honorable judge acknowledged the presence of the Court of Appeals ruling and the current case being held in Makati RTC 146 which issued an injunction order pending resolution of the issue of ownership.

“It is undisputed that the property which is the subject of the sheriff’s sale is also the subject of a pending case in Makati City Regional Trial Court where the injunctive order of the Court of Appeals is the subject of a pending petition before the Supreme Court. For this Court to allow the Sheriff’s Sale to proceed as scheduled on March 7, 2016, would render moot and academic whatever outcome of the pending petition in the Supreme Court.”

Mila Sumndad said she was saddened of the decision simply because she is the true owner of the property, but also said that at least the Judge recognized the Court of Appeals order and the current trial being conducted at the Makati RTC 146 which BHI has always denied in its reports.

“Na ignore ng Judge yung certification issued by the Provincial Assessor that the Tax Declaration of Friday’s does not exist, it is Fake, and that it was issued without his knowledge by the Aklan Municipal Assesor. I still hold the only and true tax declaration covering the property being claimed by BHI.”

Sumndad also asserted that at least the QC Court acknowledged the Court of Appeals order whereas the Aklan Courts did not which resulted in my loosing possession of the property. “inamin nga ni Panlilio na nagbabayad siya sa mga lawyers at Pulis in his news reports and PSE disclosures eh!”

Sumndad said she inherited the property from her parents who had entered into a long term 25 year lease with William Lutrell, the Australian who created Friday’s Boracay. The lease ended in February 14, 2014 so we took back what was rightfully ours according to Sumndad.  Panlilio who entered the picture the same year Lutrell was murdered in 1994, did not want to let go of the property so he filed cases against me.- Sumndad added.

Multiple cases have been filed by each party resulting in a protracted media war. “Panlilio initiated all of this in media, sumasagot lang ako dahil unfair naman na side lang niya ang naririnig ng tao. Kami yung aggrieved party being the landowners. Yung ibang news media fair naman pero yung mas marami eh misleading.” Sumndad further added that Panlilio has been including many prominent people in his announcements like Congressman Haresco, Congressman Singson and most recently the owner of AMA Colleges just to make them come out in the news.

The Court said: “All Premises being considered the Court resolves to suspend the scheduled Sheriff’s Sale on Monday, March 7, 2016 in deference to whatever the outcome of the pending petition at the Supreme Court.”

This news has been verified by Newsmeph. See our earlier coverage and links on this issue.