The SMDC International Sales Team led by director Norberto Layug Jr. at their recent courtesy call to Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana (middle) at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Overseas Filipinos (OFs) including from the UAE and other parts of the Middle East have been noted to engage in real estate/property development investments back home.

This was from two separate remote Monday interviews with officials from two of the Top 5 Philippine property developers (as of March 2020), namely SM Development Corp. (SMDC)-Operations vice president Joseph Anthony Teves and Freedom Sales Corp. partnered with Filinvest-Europe/Middle East/Asia Maynard Portugal.

Meanwhile, Filipinos have given the thumbs up for the Duterte administration’s determination to participate—despite the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic—at the ongoing “Gulfood Hotel & Exhibition and Salon Culinaire” in Dubai World Trade Centre, combining in-person and online presentations of globally-approved halal food products to both regional and international middlemen/distributors.

Honorary Consul of Hungary in Mindanao/Davao Tourism Association past president Mary Ann M. Montemayor Facebook Messenger-ed: “This is a very laudable move by our government. It is time to move forward and adapt to the new way of conducting business for economic growth. Our country’s participation at ‘Gulfood’ is a testament of our firm resolve to get our economy going and improve on our trade relations with the UAE. We commend the UAE for hosting the exhibition, a very noble undertaking in this pandemic. We wish it the very best of blessings. Mabuhay to all our fellow Filipinos in the UAE.”

Marie Manalo-Cabrera from Aberdeen, New Jersey (USA) whose family has been in the food and restaurant business in Pasig, Metro Manila, wrote: “It is nice that the Philippines is at Gulfood, promoting our products globally and helping our manufacturers through these rough times and new normal. Thank you UAE for organising Gulfood, a big booster to international businesses.”

UAE resident from 2002 to 2010 Mangco Vanjo Andig II lauded the efforts of the Philippines to continually take part in the annual event dedicated to food sustainability: “Cheers to the UAE for not backing down. I am extremely happy that the Philippines is actively promoting our halal food; halal food preparation having to start from the farm to the table without any haram like underpaid or exploited labourers.”

The update on the un-waning real estate/property investments of OFs in their home country came about as the SMDC International Sales Team led by director Norberto Layug Jr., paid a courtesy call on Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana recently.

Quintana advised the team to also start looking into possible joint ventures in the UAE: “Given SMDC’s stature as a key player in residential real estate development, SMDC can start looking into opportunities from the current housing needs of the large Filipino community in the UAE.”

Quintana cited the UAE as among the first few economies poised to recover immediately from the pandemic. She cited favourable business-related UAE legislations as added impetus for looking into possible partnerships with leading UAE companies.

Telephone interviewed on Monday, SMDC’s Teves said they are setting up another sales office in the UAE—the first having been inaugurated in 201 situated at Al Ghurair Mall in Dubai—this time in Abu Dhabi as answer to the increasing demand. Next target for offices are Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

WhatsApped, Filinvest’s Portugal supported SMDC’s Layug’s information to the ambassador regarding the robust performance of the real estate/property development sector, primarily driven by overseas Filipinos: “This pandemic has not stopped them in investing. They have realised the importance of buying and investing. Something they had overlooked, pre-COVID19.”

In a related news, the Philippine Consulate General, with its Financial Literacy Programme for Filipinos in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, in partnership with Manila’s Bureau of Treasury and the Overseas Filipino Bank, is hosting an online roadshow via Zoom https://forms.gle/hZbCe4r1fan2Nr5u5 (Meeting ID2455754526, Passcode RTB25), 11 a.m. on Feb. 26 (Friday) for the “25th Tranch of Retail Treasury Bonds (RTBs).

In his invitation to the community, Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes wrote: “In this time of economic uncertainties, RTBs present a good opportunity for investment in low-risk and affordable government securities.





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Amihan Manalo

By Amihan Manalo

University of the Philippines Diliman – Quezon City UP is the national university of the country. The public research university offers 27 degree-granting units, making it one of the most diversified programs in the Philippines. The UP Diliman campus is also home to the country’s National Science Complex, which has pioneered research and development in the Philippines.