CORPORATE ROUNDUP

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    Vista Land readies P25B capex

    Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc. looks to spend P25 billion as capital expenditures this year.

    The Villar-led developer said of the amount, 90 percent will be allocated for construction and land development and the remainder for land acquisition and payment of land payables.

    The company has spent P6.5 billion in capital expenditures in the first quarter of the year.

    Vista Land, however, still closely monitors the situation and changes in the consumer behavior as a result of the ‘new normal’,” said Manuel Villar Jr., Vista Land chairman.

    “We are revisiting our planned project launches as well as the expansion program of our leasing business for the rest of the year. And as previously mentioned, we have the capacity to fast track construction if we deem it necessary,” Villar said.

    He said Vista Land is optimistic of its residential business as it sees pick up in activity as well as improvement of its reservation sales.

    According to Villar, June sales alone are at about 70 percent of pre-COVID level with sales in July tracking better than June.

    “These sales are predominantly online, a solid response to the company’s aggressive shift to digital platforms for its marketing initiatives,” he said.

    “We are hoping these encouraging signs in our residential business will continue. With the growing importance of staying at home, we are also seeing an increased preference for our housing products especially in the provincial areas. We are now taking advantage of Vista Land’s geographic reach, being present in 147 cities and municipalities across the country,” added Manuel Paolo Villar, Vista Land president.

    Meralco July sales volume likely flat

    Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said its sales volume for July was likely flat compared to last year due to lower demand from commercial and industrial customers.

    Victor Genuino, Meralco first vice president and head of customer retail services and corporate communications, said sales last month looked higher on paper as some collections from previous months were credited recently.

    “Our July sales, if you look at it on an NSI (net system input) level, we’re actually flat compared to June. The reason why our billed sales for July was high is because this included unbilled portion from previous months when we were not able to render bills from March, April and May which were added in June,” Genuino said.

    Ray Espinosa, Meralco president and chief executive officer, said forecast capacity requirement s unchanged.

    “Our plans have not significantly changed resulting in reduction of capacity. The CSP (competitive selection process) of 1,800 megawatts (worth of power) that we had announced will push through. We need that supply in the year 2024 and 2025,” Espinosa said.

    Paymaya gov’t volume of transactions jumps 900%

    PayMaya Philippines said the volume of transactions from government partners surged in just one year by accelerated efforts to adopt digital payments for fees and services.

    From June 2019 to June 2020, the volume of transactions processed by PayMaya from partner government agencies increased by 900 percent, indicating the government’s heightened efforts to encourage digital payments for fees and services by accepting debit, credit, and e-Wallet payments through their online portals or branch offices.

    “In the span of one year, government agencies have stepped up their efforts in digitalizing their processes and enabling Filipinos to transact with them online. Because of this, many agencies have been able to continue offering relevant services despite the current crisis, said Orlando Vea, Paymaya founder and chief executive officer.

    PayMaya has partnered with over 50 national government agencies and local governments include Social Security System, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Home Development Mutual Fund or PAG-IBIG, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Science and Technology, the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of the Treasury through the Bonds.ph platform, the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council, the Professional Regulation Commission, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, and the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp., among others.

    PayMaya also supports calls for the passage of an Internet Transactions Act that will help build trust and confidence of Filipinos as they transact online, whether for government or other purposes.

    PayMaya has launched its LGUs Embracing and Accelerating Digitalization (L.E.A.D.) program that will help local governments offer digital transactions for their various constituents.

    The company has so far enabled digital disbursements for the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Caloocan, Pasig, and Quezon City, particularly in delivering financial aid to beneficiaries severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    PayMaya was also tapped by SSS and the Department of Social Welfare and Development in helping distribute financial aid to qualified beneficiaries of its Small Business Wage Subsidy and Social Amelioration Program , respectively. It has also powered the digital payment facilities of LGUs such as Valenzuela and Taguig.

    Through its app and wallet, PayMaya has over 40,000 Add Money touchpoints nationwide, more than double the total number of traditional bank branches in the Philippines combined.

    Paymaya is the financial technology arm of Voyager Innovations, the leading technology company in the country backed by PLDT, KKR, Tencent, World Bank’s IFC and the IFC Emerging Asia Fund.

    First Gen securing permit for 100 MW hydro project

    First Gen Corp. Corp. is securing the remaining permits needed to develop the 100 megawatts (MW) Lake Aya hydro pump storage project in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.

    “(The project) is envisioned to be the country’s first pioneering, viable speed pump storage facility. The preliminary assessment and feasibility studies have been completed, the project is now securing all of the national permits for it. Local permits have been granted, in fact as we speak, access roads are being built,” said Richard Tantoco, First Gen executive vice president, at the company virtual stockholders’ meeting last Friday.

    Last December, the Department of Energy granted the company with a hydropower service contract for the exclusive development of the project which aims to provide energy during peak periods and ancillary services to the electricity grid.

    Subsidiary First Gen Hydro Power Corp. owns and operates the existing 132 MW Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric power plant project in the area.

    “Most other renewable sources suffer from variability. While we are optimistic that these will eventually be addressed given the speed of innovation of battery storage technology, we cannot wait until then. Part of the hydro platform’s expansion involves the development of the 100 MW Aya pumped-storage facility capable of providing energy during peak periods and storing energy during off-peak periods,” said Francis Giles Puno, First Gen president and chief operating officer.

    28 firms to rehab Mahiga River

    The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has signed agreements with 28 companies and organizations for the rehabilitation of the heavily-silted Mahiga River in Cebu under the adopt-an-estero program.

    Among the private entities include Aboitiz Power Oil Visayas, A.D. Gothong Manufacturing Corp., Archdiocese of Cebu, ARN Central Waste Management Inc., AWG Development Corp., Banilad Town Center and Cebu Business Park Association Inc.

    The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cebu Golden Restaurant, Cebu Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Cebu Land Masters Inc., Cebu Rolling Hills Memorial Chapels Inc., Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines-Cebu Wilkins Plant, Dynamic Power Adoptor, Ginebra San Miguel Inc. and Global Business Power also joined.

    International Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Jollibee Foods Corp., Jomara Konstruck, Medclean Management Solutions Inc., Mezzo Hotel, New Millenium Petron Service Station, Pollution Abatement Systems Specialists Inc., Pollution Control Association of the Philippines, Inc. Foundation, Sarrosa International Hotel and Residential Suites, SM City Cebu and the Lucky Group Management and Development Corp.-Gaisano Country Mall were also signatories.

    Under the agreements, the parties will develop a comprehensive rehabilitation program to reduce the pollution load of the Mahiga River and its tributaries as its deterioration has already became a threat to the safety and health of the communities along its banks.

    Expected interventions to be introduced are the improvement of solid, hazardous and wastewater management of the river as well as a surface clean-up apart from an information, education and communication campaign.

    The Cebu local government units where the 9.1-kilometer river traverses shall ensure the establishment of integrated solid, healthcare and household hazardous waste management pursuant to existing environmental laws at the barangay level.

    The DENR shall intensify the monitoring of industrial and commercial establishments, and undertake regular water quality monitoring of selected points within Mahiga River and its tributaries, to determine improvements in water quality.