Help from the Dutch

SPYBITS - The Philippine Star

The damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda has reached over P24 billion according to the latest figures released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council or NDRRMC, while some 3.5 million people have been displaced. Hundreds of thousands have been placed in evacuation centers, but the task ahead is massive, which is why we are just so gratified to see the continued outpouring of help from our friends from the international community.

Among those who have been quietly helping are the Dutch whose government donated the equivalent of P350 million, with the Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht) flying in relief items and medical supplies for the survivors of the destructive typhoon (shown in photo). Dutch radio and TV networks also wasted no time in conducting a special 24-hour charity telethon, with the amount hitting about 25 million euros (approximately P1.5 billion). Our Dutch friends tell us the amount may have increased since fundraising is still being conducted by private citizens, including children like the Fil-Dutch siblings who not only went around their neighborhood selling cupcakes but also gave up all their savings to help the victims.

Not many Filipinos may know much about the Netherlands, a small country with 17 million people, but those who get to know the Dutch discover that they are among the most charitable. According to the Charities Aid Foundation’s “World Giving Index” that compiles information from Gallup’s WorldView World Poll, the Netherlands has consistently ranked in the Top 10 of countries whose people display charitable behavior. The latest 2012 World Giving Index revealed that 73 percent of the Dutch donate money to charitable organizations, 51 percent help a stranger in need, while 34 percent also volunteer their time to charitable activities. The country ranked No. 6 (Australia topped the list) among 160 countries that were surveyed in the latest Index. Compared to the US or other larger donors, the contribution of the Dutch may perhaps be easily overlooked but for sure, they have one of the biggest hearts when it comes to giving.

Buy rating maintained for SMC Pure Foods

San Miguel Corp.’s food manufacturing division Pure Foods is looking to increase its public float by as much as 49 percent, with plans to sell shares early next year. Despite the slowdown in agro-industrial sales that weakened performance this third quarter, aggravated by foreign exchange losses that resulted in a drop in earnings by some 30 percent, analysts are maintaining their “buy” rating, forecasting Pure Foods operating income to go up by 16 percent in 2014.

Pure Foods inaugurated its newly built P3-billion fully automated terminal in Batangas two weeks ago, and sources say this new facility will provide substantial cost savings through reduction of freight and handling costs for the feeds and flour milling businesses. The new facility, located beside the company’s two flour mills, can handle 150,000 metric tons of assorted grains through its eight silos and a couple of warehouses. Pure Foods is expected to recover its investment in the new terminal facility in seven to eight years, with average annual savings estimated at about P400 million or equivalent to seven percent of operating income in 2013.

NAIA’s sorry state

One of our regular Spy Bits readers wrote us saying he was pleasantly surprised to see that the boarding areas of NAIA have been spruced up. However, he was equally dismayed at noticing the unsightly loose fillers between panels in many boarding areas. “They should have somebody with sharp eyes whose job is to get little things like this fixed right away before they multiply or get worse,” the reader said, also noting the sorry state of the carpets that look disgusting with chewing gums sticking on them.

The airport is the first thing that visitors see when they arrive and the last one when they leave, and it’s not hard to guess what kind of impression this will make if they see grimy walls and dirty floors, not to mention leaking toilets and faucets with no running water. DOTC chief Jun Abaya said the structural rehabilitation of NAIA (Terminal 1) will start this December – right smack during the holiday season – so you can just imagine the kind of inconvenience that this could pose. Instead of being “onion skinned” over surveys that rank NAIA as one of the world’s worst airports, officials should take it as a challenge to improve facilities not only through major projects like retrofitting and other structural rehabilitation work but in terms of cleanliness of facilities for the comfort and convenience of arriving and departing passengers, not to mention efficiency when it comes to customer service.

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Email: spybits08@yahoo.com


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