Mindanao Times » Carmelito Francisco http://mindanaotimes.net Wed, 19 Sep 2018 01:50:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 Aboitiz firm to introduce solar panels to Mindanao http://mindanaotimes.net/aboitiz-firm-to-introduce-solar-panels-to-mindanao/ http://mindanaotimes.net/aboitiz-firm-to-introduce-solar-panels-to-mindanao/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2018 01:28:54 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62234 ]]> An Aboitiz subsidiary is hoping to corner a sizeable market for its solar rooftop solutions to lure more companies and even households to adopt renewable energy sources.

Jose Rafael R. Mendoza, Aboitiz Distributed Energy Inc. general manager, said last week that the company, which has started selling its solar panels in Luzon and the Visayas, is entering the Mindanao market with the optimism of adopting new renewable sources of energy to help preserve the environment.

“There is an increased awareness in environmental issues (like) climate change (that are) very relevant today,” said Mendoza last week when he presented the new power product of the Aboitiz Power Corp. in the annual Mindanao Business Conference in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

In his presentation during the event, Mendoza said with the entry of his company in the local energy market, customers are also provided with another source of power that will make them not rely on the local distributors.

These solar rooftop solutions have a 25-year system and do not use batteries, help customers reduce power needs from the distributors even when their peak demand stays, the smart investors blend well between the power sourced from the distributors and the solutions, and customers can secure net metering if they use less than 100 kilowatts or if more than the 100 kilowatts, grid standards are followed.

Under Renewable Energy Act of 2008, net metering allows a customer to sell to the grid the power that is not being used as a result of the installation of solar panels. This allows customers to save as a result.

Romeo M. Montenegro, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) deputy executive director, told the TIMES that the entry of the Aboitiz group into the solar panel industry “will provide another renewable source for people who want to help rehabilitate the environment.”

“This is a welcome initiative because those who want to install solar panels will now have another source for it,” said Montenegro, also the MinDA point person in relation to power issues.

The agency has been among those pushing for the continued development of renewable sources of energy through its one-stop facilitation and monitoring center, a platform that helps and monitors the implementation of renewable energy projects in Mindanao.

Mendoza added that the new source is “part of our (Aboitiz Power Corp.) commitment to balance our energy mix (between renewable and fossil-fueled sources).”

At present, the group has about 3,000 megawatts in capacity with about 30% of it is sourced from its 30 renewable energy plants.

In Mindanao, the company is expected to increase its renewable energy portfolio late this year to about 130 megawatt with the operations of Hedcor’s 68.8-megawatt plant in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

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More Chinese investors interested in Mindanao http://mindanaotimes.net/more-chinese-investors-interested-in-mindanao/ http://mindanaotimes.net/more-chinese-investors-interested-in-mindanao/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2018 01:27:45 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62232 ]]> More Chinese investors have expressed interest in Mindanao even as a delegation arrived here last week as a leader of the foreign country acknowledged the growth potentials of the island.

Romeo M. Montenegro told the TIMES yesterday that the delegation visited his office last week as they wanted to be briefed about the investment potentials of the island.

“We hope they will eventually invest in Mindanao as they are eager to explore its potentials particularly in agriculture,” said Montenegro, adding that his office has been trying to reply to inquiries from foreign investors, among them those from China.

Also last week, the top official of the Chinese government in the city, Consul General Li Lin, told business representatives that he has been actively inviting investors from his country to look for opportunities in Mindanao.

The Chinese government is setting up its consular office here as it is scheduled to open before the end of the year.

In his speech before the Mindanao Business Conference in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, Mr. Li took note of the improving relationship between his country and the Philippines as their respective leaders, China’s Xi Jinping and Philippines’ Rodrigo R. Duterte, have become friends.

“We have already experienced turn-around (in relationship between the two countries) and consolidation. This year will be a year of improvement,” said Li, pointing out that this enhanced relationship will result in more cooperation between the two countries and their peoples, the investors included.

He said his office has been promoting Mindanao to Chinese companies. “Mindanao is facing a rare opportunity of (economic) growth,” he said, pointing out that the world has paid attention to Mindanao because of the leadership of Mr. Duterte, the first Philippine President to come from Mindanao.

Another good factor in investing in Mindanao is the passage in July of the Bangsamoro Organic Law which, Li said, “will bring the dawn of safety and security of the region (Mindanao).”

The new law will eventually replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as part of the solution defined in the peace agreement that the Philippine government signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in March 2014.

Li added that another added advantage in investing in Mindanao in the future, is the eventual implementation of federalism which may even attract investors, either local or foreign.

Mindanao, he added, must also continue to enhance its role in the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area as Chinese investors are also looking at investing in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation sub-region.


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http://mindanaotimes.net/62198/ http://mindanaotimes.net/62198/#comments Sun, 16 Sep 2018 16:21:50 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62198

P&A Grant Thornton recently presented its 6th Grant Thornton Growth Series forum last September 13 at the Makati Diamond Residences. Matt Cooksley, associate director for Digital at Grant Thornton International, talked on the importance of digital marketing and shared the latest marketing and technology trends. In the photo (from L to R) are P&A Grant Thornton Tax Advisory and Compliance Principal Lina Figueroa, Kiyoe Fujisawa of Grant Thornton Japan, P&A Grant Thornton Audit and Assurance Partner and Head of Markets Mai Sigue-Bisnar, P&A Grant Thornton Chairperson and CEO Marivic Españo, Grant Thornton International Associate Director for Digital and guest speaker Matt Cooksley, Grant Thornton International Associate Director for Marketing and Insights Carol Briggs, P&A Grant Thornton Tax Advisory and Compliance Group Head Lea Roque, P&A Grant Thornton Tax Advisory and Compliance Partner Wowie Roguel, P&A Grant Thornton Audit and Assurance Partner Chris Ferareza, and P&A Grant Thornton Audit and Assurance Partner Nelson Dinio.

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Mindanao seen as fastest growing market for cement http://mindanaotimes.net/mindanao-seen-as-fastest-growing-market-for-cement/ http://mindanaotimes.net/mindanao-seen-as-fastest-growing-market-for-cement/#comments Sun, 16 Sep 2018 16:00:04 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62105 Read more ›]]> TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte – Building materials company Holcim Philippines is expecting Mindanao to become its fastest growing market as the government has identified the island as among the biggest beneficiaries of its infrastructure program.

In her speech at the Mindanao Business Conference here, Jesusa Natividad L. Rojas, company chief financial officer, told the business sector that the company, which has two plants in Mindanao, is focusing on the expansion of the infrastructure industry in the island.

Among the key facts that support the projection, said Ms. Rojas, is the announcement of the national government that of the 60 big infrastructure projects a fourth are to be implemented in Mindanao.
One of the key projects that are expected to be implemented in Mindanao is the first phase of the Mindanao Railway System, the P85-billion 102-kilometer railway that will cover the length between this city and Digos City in Davao del Sur with Davao City as the linking point.

However, based on the information from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the National Economic and Development Authority Board has yet approve the project as what was previously approved was a single-track diesel-fueled system which has been modified to a two-track electricity-run railway system.

Based on the initial timetable, the approval of the project would have been last month so that the identification of the winning bidder would be in December as the target to start the implementation is January next year.

Rojas added that based on the report of the Philippine Statistics Authority, six of the regions in Mindanao outperformed the country’s growth in 2017 with the Davao Region, its largest economy, registered a 10.9.% growth its economy.

The report added that the construction sector was the key growth driver of the region’s economy as it registered a growth 38.2% last year, even higher than the 24% growth the previous year.

“This rapid growth and robust construction activity is expected to hold in the medium term as the public and private sectors roll out their projects here,” said Rojas, adding that the company is ready for the growth in the industry as “with our plants in Davao and Misamis Oriental.”

She pointed out that its Davao plant, which is located in Davao City, is expected to more than double its production next year to 2.2 million metric tons from 1.4 million metric tons at present as it has invested about P1.5 billion in expanding the plant.

Aside from the regular cement products, the company has also introduced new building solutions that can help construction companies improve their efficiency, shorten the period of construction and minimize costs.

Among these new technologies, said Rojas, is its “soil stabilization technology, which improves the existing soil condition in areas where the available ground is less than suitable for road projects.”
This new technology, she added, “helps contractors manage costs as it removes the need to replace existing ground with materials from another location.”

This new technology, which was tried in Davao City early this year, also “helps improve durability of roads by making the base sturdier and less prone to erosion that can damage the structure,“ she said.

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Biz group eyes Davao City as Mindanao int’l gateway http://mindanaotimes.net/biz-group-eyes-davao-city-as-mindanao-intl-gateway/ http://mindanaotimes.net/biz-group-eyes-davao-city-as-mindanao-intl-gateway/#comments Sun, 16 Sep 2018 16:00:03 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62107 Read more ›]]> TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte – The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has pushed for the identification of Davao City as the main international gateway to Mindanao with the setting up of a bigger international airport.

At the sidelines of the Mindanao Business Conference here last week, Samie C. Lim, PCCI vice president for retail and tourism, said it is important that Mindanao has an identified main gateway to ensure that there is an anchor in the promotion of tourism.

“What must be done is for Mindanao to have a single international gateway, not each city vying to have one because, if that is the case, government budget will be split (among those cities that want to become an international gateway),” said Lim.

He said there is a need for Davao City to have a bigger airport to accommodate more local and international flights as he pointed out the clamor both of the local business sector and some government officials for the identification of a property for the project.

He said the airport will serve as the main entry point to Mindanao and may even be bigger than the bigger airports in the country.

Local government officials and business sector must work on this project because between identifying the property and the planning is a “very long process.”

On who will invest on this huge infrastructure project, Lim said it does not “have to be government as there are private companies willing to do it.”

He pointed out that several companies that have been active in the bidding for government projects, particularly airports, in Metro Manila may express their interest in building it. “There are companies that cannot bag projects in Metro Manila and that these companies, which are awash with money, can be invited to invest here,” he said.

As a gateway, the city should be prepared in becoming the center of attention for tourists and that flights must be on regular and predictable basis, Lim said.

Upon arriving, tourists should be provided with a seamless connectivity between the city and other local destinations in Mindanao with the development of roads, railways and tunnels as well as enough power supply and reliable telecommunications facilities.

Accommodation facilities like hotels and other similar establishments must also be set up and that attractions, either natural or man-made, must be identified. Another facet of tourism that must be prepared, Lim added, is the development of activities like medical facilities, shopping, festival and other similar events.

At present, Lim said his group is raising $20 million that will be invested in 20 destinations in the country with both the cities of Tagum and Davao as among those identified to be included. He, however, did not mention how much has been raised as the money will be set up to enhance the tourism facilities of the destinations.

The local business sector, through the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has been pushing and the eventual setting up of a bigger airport as well as the creation of the body that will manage both the present and the upcoming airports.

Arturo M. Milan, president of the local chamber, said the body is important because the planning for the development in addressing the growth of the airport will not be left to the national government, through the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines which at present is the main body running the airport facilities of the country.

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Business sector optimistic despite rising inflation rate http://mindanaotimes.net/business-sector-optimistic-despite-rising-inflation-rate/ http://mindanaotimes.net/business-sector-optimistic-despite-rising-inflation-rate/#comments Thu, 13 Sep 2018 16:00:02 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62055 Read more ›]]> TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte—The business sector has allayed fears on the impact of surging inflation.

Although considering surging inflation as among the vulnerabilities of the country which threaten its economic growth, Ma. Alegria S. Limjoco, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said 6-8 inflation rate “is not really alarming” based on a previous study.

Limjoco, however, said there must be steps to ensure that the inflation rate will go down.

The administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte has been criticized for the failure of its economic team to taper off the surge in the inflation rate.

Last month, the country’s inflation was at 6.4% or 2.6% higher than what was reported in the same month last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported.

Speaking during the Mindanao Business Conference here Thursday, Ms. Limjoco added the sector is looking at the provisions of the second package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train 2).
She said among the key salient points that the sector is “keenly looking at” at the lowering of corporate taxes and rationalization of fiscal incentives even as the House of Representatives passed its version this week.

She said most of the members of the business organization have not been granted business incentives for their investments.

She pointed out that being among the most prominent business organization in the country, her organization believes “in the importance of open, constructive and objective dialogue in pursuing long term and sustainable programs to pursue inclusive growth.”

“Our mantra is to solicit viable and pragmatic solutions to support more businesses to thrive – through focused advocacy, market support linkages and direct interaction and assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises,” she added.

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Tax incentives pushed for Mindanao investors http://mindanaotimes.net/tax-incentives-pushed-for-mindanao-investors/ http://mindanaotimes.net/tax-incentives-pushed-for-mindanao-investors/#comments Thu, 06 Sep 2018 16:00:18 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61838 Read more ›]]> The Mindanao business sector is urging the national government to craft a package of incentives for businesses to locate in the island.

Arturo M. Milan, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on Wednesday said that there is a need for the government to include in the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program preferential tax incentives for those businesses that are willing to invest in Mindanao.

The national government has sought congressional approval on the second package of the CTRP, this time intended for businesses.

Milan said coming up with these incentives “is a way to encourage investments to come to Mindanao and be extended preferential tax incentives,” as he added that the issue will be brought up during the upcoming Mindanao Business Conference in Tagum City, Davao del Norte next week.

He said Mindanao, with its vast resources, can become the driver for the economic growth of the country because allowing it to be left behind “will hinder the growth of the whole country.”

Milan pointed out that although some local government units have their respective incentives codes, they can only offer fiscal incentives like holidays on real property and business taxes.

“What we want are (holidays) income taxes taxes on importing goods (for starting businesses) and other similar incentives that can be offered,” he said.

On the part of the government, particularly the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), there is a need for the national government to increase the budget of the island particularly in addressing its infrastructure inadequacies.

MinDA, said Romeo M. Montenegro, its deputy executive director, has been lobbying before the national government to increase budget for Mindanao by P1.2 trillion within four years on top of its regular budget.

At present, the budget for Mindanao is just about 12% of the national government budget even when both political and business leaders of the island have been pushing for a 30% slice for the island.

Montenegro said the additional fund is necessary to propel the island economically so that it “will be able to catch up with the rest of the country.”

Montenegro said it is “very easy to justify the increase in the budget for Mindanao” because it has exhibited huge growth its gross regional domestic product.

Based on the data from the agency, the share of Mindanao in the gross domestic product between 2013 and 2016 was between 14.8% to 15, and the growth could be had had more resources were invested in the island.

Last year, the agency reported that Mindanao’s gross domestic product went up by 7.1%, way above the 6.5% of the national growth.

Also to be discussed in the conference next week, said Milan would be the call of the local business sector and some government officials to create bodies independent from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to manage Mindanao airports with potentials to grow like those in the city, and the cities of Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Zamboanga.

Although a congressional bill has been filed for the creation of the body for the airport in the city, the proposal has been placed in the backburner.

The creation of the management body, which is intended to spur growth in the tourism industry, is part of the Mindanao growth agenda, said Milan.

Establishing independent bodies that will manage the airports will pave the way for initiatives that will help it grow as these will be implemented to attract more airlines to use them.

He added that another issue that the business sector in Mindanao is to ensure that key projects that have been identified for the growth of Mindanao must be pursued.

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SMDC finalizing project in the city http://mindanaotimes.net/smdc-finalizing-project-in-the-city/ http://mindanaotimes.net/smdc-finalizing-project-in-the-city/#comments Mon, 20 Aug 2018 16:00:35 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61226 Read more ›]]> The SM Development Corp. (SMDC), the real property arm of the Henry Sy group, is looking at launching its first condominium project in the city within the year, a top official said over the weekend.

The project will be integrated into the company’s mall, the SM Lanang Premier, as the company has started its preparations, said Clarinda Luna-Magtulis, vice president for marketing of the company as the company launched its showroom for the project last week.

Without providing the details of the project as the company is still finalizing it although the target is to is to build a project of about 3,700 units, Luna-Magtulis is confident that the market will get attracted to what it can offer. “People here know city living but without losing the touch of being more relaxed,” she told the TIMES in an interview after the event.

She said the project has also the label of the SMDC which establishes projects that “are communities that are self-contained” as the project is within the 10-hectare area that the mother company, the SM Prime Holdings, acquired from the Dacudao family.

She said the company always makes sure to ensure premium convenience to its buyers by putting their projects near the company’s malls and transport terminals.

Although she said the company cannot make predictions in relation to the local market, Luna-Magtulis said that based on the experience of the company, “our developments are usually taken up in three years and that by that time the units are turned over to their owners immediately.”

The good thing, she added, some of their buyers in their Metro Manila projects are those from the city and that because, they “know what to expect and that these people might be the first to buy in this project.”

Although the company has yet to launch the project, it usually launches the project per phase and builds simultaneously all the towers in the phase.

The company has also started venturing into other places outside Metro Manila, its first base, as it has a horizontal project in Pampanga and a condominium project in Bulacan, although it “will not let go Metro Manila (as project location),” she added.

“We have definite plans for other areas, but we are just waiting for the right time,” said Luna-Magtulis, adding that the company is looking at the result of its first project in the city and it will continue exploring other projects in Mindanao.

In Mindanao, the company has two malls in the city and two others in the nearby Cagayan de Oro City.
The project, she said, is to target middle-income buyers who are both end-users or those who buy as investments. Buyers can always buy two or more units that they can collapse into one bigger unit, she added.

On those buying as their way of investing their money, most of them go into buying units intended for the middle market because they believe their money earns better than when they place it in their bank accounts.

When the company was just starting 12 years ago, most of the buyers of its projects were the end-users, but at present, the ratio between end-user and investors has become 50:50 as the end-user “is still a strong market,” while many also want to invest their money for bigger returns.

On the expectation of a good market in the city for the project, Luna-Magtulis said buyers usually look for “better home maintenance, security, convenience and practicality” which the project can offer as it is just beside the mall.

The company also provides a condominium management unit that both maintains the upkeep of the building, including the setting up of gardens, and provides better security and that the project also offers amenities that buyers can use.

Based on its briefer, the company has so far built about 30 projects, sold about 85,000 units, about 50,000 of them turned over to the buyers.

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Apo View mgt. adding P15-M for renovation http://mindanaotimes.net/apo-view-mgt-adding-p15-m-for-renovation/ http://mindanaotimes.net/apo-view-mgt-adding-p15-m-for-renovation/#comments Mon, 13 Aug 2018 01:26:58 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61033 ]]> The renovation of Apo View, which turned 70 this year, has continued as the company behind its operations is adding another P15 million this year to the P140 million it has spent since 2014 when the company took over its management, a top official said.

Cesar C. Canabal, assistant general manager of the hotel, said the company has added 25 new rooms to the hotel to bring its number of rooms to 182 and that the new amount will be used to renovate 36 rooms to suit the needs of its expanding clientele.

“We are turning the rooms of the hotel into new-themed rooms,” said Canabal last weekend even as he pointed out that the management has taken notice of the new requirements of clients, like they wanted modern rooms that highlight online connectivity.

The company behind the operations of the hotel is behind the Eurotel and Icon hotel brands even as its sister company, the Euro Towers International Inc., is also building a condominium tower just about 200 meters away from the hotel.

Because of the new renovation, the hotel has averaged about 65% monthly occupancy rate, prompting the hotel management to also look into increasing the rates, depending on the demand for rooms particularly on the newly-renovated rooms.

Although he did not mention the additional amount to be spent next year, Mr. Canabal said the company will continue until end of next year to renovate the remaining rooms as well as other amenities like the restaurants and the swimming pool.

The hotel will also add an additional Halal kitchen as the management has recognized the demand of the Halal market, or those visitors who adhere to the demands of the Islamic way of travelling from amenities such as food, although Mr. Canabal could not quantify the volume of this market at present.

He said that at present, local functions remain the source of 60% of the hotel revenues, while foreign travellers account for about 10% of the total revenues.

The company is also planning to build a three-building condominium, with the first building will become the first condominium, while the management will look into converting into what would eventually become the new hotel.

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Wage hike okayed Businesses fear additional burden to micro-entrepreneurs and SMBs http://mindanaotimes.net/wage-hike-okayed-businesses-fear-additional-burden-to-micro-entrepreneurs-and-smbs/ http://mindanaotimes.net/wage-hike-okayed-businesses-fear-additional-burden-to-micro-entrepreneurs-and-smbs/#comments Thu, 02 Aug 2018 07:17:33 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=60825 ]]> The implementation of the P56-increase on the daily minimum wage is feared to result in a mass retrenchment in the micro and small and mid-sized business (SMB) sector.

In a text message yesterday, Arturo M. Milan, Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, said the micro and SMEs make up about 95% of the total number of businesses. Aside from the wage adjustment, they are also grappling with the impact of the new 10% increase in local business taxes as well as the impact of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train).

“I really hope this will not result in retrenchment just for businesses to survive,” said Milan, after the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in the Davao Region approved the P56 increase in minimum daily wage, which will be implemented in two tranches.

Approved on July 27 and released Wednesday, Aug. 1, the RTWPB said Wage Order No. 20 was the result of the deliberation of the board and the consultations of stakeholders.

The result of these events “has determined the need to restore the lost purchasing power of minimum wage earners in Davao Region for them to cope with the rising cost of living without impairing the productivity and viability of business and industries,” the board said in the order.

The board said it is implementing a two-tiered wage order, “which prescribes poverty threshold as the floor wage and productivity-based scheme for the second tier, the regional board deemed it necessary to raise the lowest statutory wage rate in the region to a level above the poverty threshold.”

“There is a need to build the capacity of business enterprises to be competitive through productivity improvement and gain-sharing programs,” it added.

Under this new wage order, by Aug. 16, workers in companies that are non-agriculture, industrial, commercial and retail and services with more than 10 workers are set to receive P370 daily and that by Feb. 16, 2019, will increase to P396.

Those in similar companies but are employing 10 or fewer workers will receive P355 a day by Aug. 16 and this will increase to P381 by Feb. 16, 2019.

Those in the agricultural sector will receive P365 starting Aug. 16 and that this will increase to P391 a day starting Feb. 16, 2019.

Early last month, the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, which was informed of the impending increase, said that the new wage order would drastically hit the banana industry.

In a press statement, Stephen A. Antig, branded the increase as unreasonable, pointing out that it was not “well thought of” as the industry has been reeling from the impact of the Train, a government tax package designed to generate more revenues for government to sustain its infrastructure programs.

Claiming that the board did not thoroughly conduct consultations on the wage adjustment, Antig said the industry “has been experiencing market and production problems, which makes the adoption of a new wage order anti-productive and threatening.

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