Saturday, September 15, 2007

Philippine Mutual Funds

A mutual fund collectively pools money from individual and corporate investors. These funds are managed by a professional fund manager who invests the money in stocks, bonds, money market instruments, and/or other securities. The mutual fund earns in two ways: from the capital gain (increase in value) of the security and dividend or interest income. These proceeds, net of whatever charges and expenses, are passed along to the shareholders. The value of a share of the mutual fund, called the Net Asset Value (NAV), is calculated daily based on the fund's total value divided by the total number of outstanding shares.

There are mainly four types of mutual funds in the Philippines: stock (or equity), bond, balanced, and money market. Stock or equity funds invest in shares of stock of Philippine corporations listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange. Equity funds offer the highest possibility of growth among all mutual fund types, but they also have a corresponding high amount or risk.

Bond funds invest primarily in fixed-income securities such as bonds or treasury notes issued by the Philippine government and commercial papers issued by reputable Philippine companies. Because these bonds are normally guaranteed, the possibility of loss is very low. Investing in bond funds provide capital preservation while maintaining conservative asset growth.

Balanced fund is a mixture of equity and bond funds. The high potential growth of equity investments is tempered by the conservative growth of fixed-income securities. Obviously, the return of a balanced fund is normally somewhere between the return of an equity fund and a bond fund.

Money market funds are similar to bond funds because they also invest in fixed-income securities and the growth of the fund is conservative. The main difference lies, however, in the term of money market fund investments, which is usually short-term such as one year or less.

Choosing which mutual funds to invest in ultimately depends on the investor's growth goal and risk tolerance. If the purpose is capital growth, equity funds are the way to go. Bond funds are chosen, on the other hand, if the investor prefers capital preservation over risky capital growth. For those who want medium risk and medium growth, balanced funds are the best option. Money market funds are for those who wish to earn a conservative amount of return in the short-term.

According to the Investment Company Association of the Philippines, a duly recognized association of investment companies in the country, there are currently a total of 22 mutual funds. Six (6) of these are bond funds, five (5) are equity funds, ten (10) are balanced funds, while one (1) is a money market fund.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


CONFIDENCE in one’s ability to overcome poverty and be the best, and high hopes for betterment despite adversity are for a priest, a policeman and a teacher the first steps in how Filipinos can learn to be proud of their country.
Rev. Fr. Roger Fuentes, Col. Cesar Binag and Dr. Josette Biyo were speakers on “Be proud, speak well of your country.” The theme is the first in a list of 12 things that lawyer and book author Alex Lacson, a former researcher of former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., suggested that Filipinos do to learn to love themselves, their countrymen and their country.
Fr. Carmelo Diola’s Dilaab Movement started the promotion of Lacson’s views that aimed at encouraging people to follow the examples of ordinary citizens who gained prominence through sincere public service.
Despite the present political turmoil, one can still see enough reasons to say positive things about the country, said Fr. Fuentes, rector of the San Carlos Seminary College.
“Self-confidence and self-knowledge are the keys,” he said.
“In order for us to be proud of who we are, we should have a healthy sense of who we are. We should be able to say ‘I am somebody’ and that we are not afraid or ashamed to be a Filipino,” the priest said.
Dr. Biyo, a high school teacher from Iloilo, said she had to borrow a laptop to make her presentation at a competition held in Kentucky, USA in 2002.“Coming from a poor school taught me to be innovative and creative,” Biyo said.
At the end of the competition, Biyo became the first Asian to win the Intel International Excellence in Teaching Award.
For her feat, a newly discovered planet — planet Biyo — was named after her by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln University in Boston. She was also offered teaching posts in the US which she politely declined. She said she’d return to continue teaching at the Philippine Science High School in Iloilo.
“We may be a third world country but we really can compete globally,” she told the participants who were mostly students, teachers, religious nuns and police officers.
“Be world class in passion and commitment to your profession. Give your best. For teachers it starts inside the classroom. If you do your best you can conquer the world,” she said.
Biyo also won the 2004 Friendship Award from the Philippine-American Foundation on September 25 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Other Fil-Am awardees were Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, the highest-ranking Filipino-American in the US military who was lauded for his courage in the investigation of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Cheryl Diaz Meyer, 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner for Breaking News Photography.Filipinos are not bereft of innovation, she said. “Anywhere can be a classroom and anything can be a blackboard, even sand.”
Col. Binag, the commandant of the Nation Police Academy in Cavite, said the Filipinos’ view of a policeman has been poor that even the word “polis” (police) has become synonymous to corruption and misbehavior.
This can be changed, he said. “Prayers and faith incorporated in the training” would do the trick.
“Kahit malaki ang tiyan i-pray over niyo yan. Liliit din ang tiyan niyan (the big bellies of policemen can be reduced by prayers),” Binag said.
Binag’s group, the Christian Officers Reform the Police Movement, aims to “help build a God-centered, service-centered and family-based Philippines.”
“We ask religious groups, priests and nuns to bless us and pray for us,” he said.



(THE PHILIPPINES' Patricia Evangelista, won the International Public Speaking competition conducted by the English Speaking Union [ESU] in London in the year 2004. She was just 19 years old at that time when she beat 59 other student contestants from 37 countries, with her five-minute talk on the theme, "A Borderless World." )

WHEN I was little, I wanted what many Filipino children all over the country wanted. I wanted to be blond, blue-eyed and white.

I thought -- if I just wished hard enough and was good enough, I'd wake up on Christmas morning with snow outside my window and freckles across my nose!

More than four centuries under western domination can do that to you. I have 16 cousins. In a couple of years, there will just be five of us left in the Philippines, the rest will have gone abroad in search of "greener pastures." It's not an anomaly; it's a trend; the Filipino diaspora. Today, about eight million Filipinos are scattered around the world.

There are those who disapprove of Filipinos who choose to leave. I used to. Maybe this is a natural reaction of someone who was left behind, smiling for family pictures that get emptier with each succeeding year. Desertion, I called it. My country is a land that has perpetually fought for the freedom to be itself. Our heroes offered their lives in the struggle against the Spanish, the Japanese, the Americans. To pack up and deny that identity is tantamount to spitting on that sacrifice.

Or is it? I don't think so. Not anymore.

True, there is no denying this phenomenon, aided by the fact that what was once the other side of the world is now a 12-hour plane ride away. But this is a borderless world, where no individual can claim to be purely from where he is now. My mother is of Chinese descent, my father is a quarter Spanish, and I call myself a pure Filipino -- a hybrid of sorts resulting from a combination of cultures.

Each square mile anywhere in the world is made up of people of different ethnicities, with national identities and individual personalities. Because of this, each square mile is already a microcosm of the world. In as much as this blessed spot that is England is the world, so is my neighborhood back home.

Seen this way, the Filipino Diaspora, or any sort of dispersal of populations, is not as ominous as so many claim. It must be understood. I come from a Third World country, one that is still trying mightily to get back on its feet after many years of dictatorship. But we shall make it, given more time. Especially now, when we have thousands of eager young minds who graduate from college every year. They have skills. They need jobs. We cannot absorb them all.

A borderless world presents a bigger opportunity, yet one that is not so much abandonment but an extension of identity. Even as we take, we give back. We are the 40,000 skilled nurses who support the United Kingdom's National Health Service. We are the quarter-of-a-million seafarers manning most of the world's commercial ships. We are your software engineers in Ireland, your construction workers in the Middle East, your doctors and caregivers in North America, and, your musical artists in London's West End.

Nationalism isn't bound by time or place. People from other nations migrate to create new nations, yet still remain essentially who they are. British society is itself an example of a multi-cultural nation, a melting pot of races, religions, arts and cultures. We are, indeed, in a borderless world!

Leaving sometimes isn't a matter of choice. It's coming back that is. The Hobbits of the shire traveled all over Middle-Earth, but they chose to come home, richer in every sense of the word. We call people like these balikbayans or the "returnees" -- those who followed their dream, yet choose to return and share their mature talents and good fortune.

In a few years, I may take advantage of whatever opportunities that come my way. But I will come home. A borderless world doesn't preclude the idea of a home. I'm a Filipino, and I'll always be one. It isn't about geography; it isn't about boundaries. It's about giving back to the country that shaped me.

And that's going to be more important to me than seeing snow outside my window on a bright Christmas morning.

Mabuhay and thank you।