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Thursday, September 29, 2022

President Marcos U.S. Trip Yields At Least $3.9 billion in Investment Pledges; Thousands of Job Opportunities Seen

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s visit to the United States last week could generate close to $4 billion in investments from multiple sectors, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

According to investment data released by the Palace, business agreements and commitments secured during the President’s visit have an estimated investment value of $3.9 billion, with a potential employment generation of 112,285 jobs.

These investments will come from different sectors such as Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM), data centers, and manufacturing.

Palace said, however, that the estimates do not reflect the full potential of future investments from several companies that the President and the trade department met while in New York.

It said some companies had expressed interest in considering new or further investments in the country, but their plans have yet to be firmed up.

At the grand opening of the New Terminal Building of the Clark International Airport in Clark Freeport in Pampanga, Marcos reiterated that the Philippines is open for business, and the government is ready to go the extra mile to nurture strong partnerships with potential investors.

 “And this facility is essentially a very strong signal that yes, indeed, we are open for business,” he said during the event.

The Philippines, he said, is a good investment destination being probably the most vibrant economy in Southeast Asia.

He said his administration understands potential investors’ requirements and needs, and it will do everything to build strong partnerships.

According to him, he carried this message when he traveled to New York last week to attend the United Nations General Assembly and as he met American business leaders and heads of corporations.

Wednesday’s opening is also a perfect example of a positive outcome of public and private sector collaboration as both sectors leverage their assets through strong partnership, the President said.

The newly opened facility is also important as the country strives to become Asia’s logistic center, he added.


The 2022 International Travel Show Strengthens Its Pipeline of Exhibitors to Inform and Enlighten Travel Trade, Media and Consumers About Travel Opportunities Around the World

NEW YORK, NY – Excitement is building for the International Travel Show, with travel industry players flocking to showcase their offerings and innovations on the exhibition floor. The International Travel Show will celebrate “The Future of Travel” from Friday, Oct. 28 to Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, with lively presentations, exhibits and cultural performances from global destinations, cruise lines, hotels, travel products and services to entice and inform consumers, travel trade, and media alike. 

The three-day event’s unique format features travel trade and media exclusive sessions on Friday before opening to consumers the following two days. 

A headline session for travel trade day will be a panel discussion on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism from high-level topic experts who have been leading major initiatives to mitigate negative impact of travel on the planet, including Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism for Jamaica; Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Group; Shannon Guihan - Chief Sustainability Officer & Head of TreadRight-The Travel Corporation; Asta Lassesen, CEO Hurtigruten Expedition and Terry Dale, President and CEO of U.S. Tour Operators Association. 

Among major travel industry players set to enliven the International Travel Show with interactive, entertaining, and informative exhibits: 

Hotels & Resorts 

An international benchmark for sustainable tourism, family-run Iberostar Hotels & Resorts offers unforgettable experiences at more than 100 properties in the best locations around the world. With all- inclusive resorts in Spain and Mexico, Sandos Hotels & Resorts strives to be unique and taps widespread community practices for efficient use of energy and natural resources to reduce its ecological footprint. Mexico-based Palace Resorts offers all-inclusive luxury at nine properties and low-carbon tourism that goes far beyond sustainability. Le Blanc Spa Resorts in Cancun and Los Cabos are adults-only gems, as evidenced by recent awards from Trip Advisor and a Readers’ Choice from Condé Nast Traveler. 

Cruise Lines 

The world’s third-largest cruise line, MSC Cruises is the leader in many corners of the globe, including Europe, South America, the Gulf, and Southern Africa, and boasts a strong presence in the Caribbean, North America, and the Far East as well. Celebrity Cruises aspires to impress, providing the best vacations possible and opening the world to make lives better while inspiring others to do the same. Known for driving innovation at sea, Royal Caribbean International has been redefining cruise vacationing for more than 50 years and still proudly pushes envelopes. The leading small ship travel company, Viking offers river, ocean, and expedition voyages on every continent and has 250+ awards, including a 2022 Travel + Leisure “World’s Best” and 2021 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice. 

Tours and Expeditions 

Australia-based Aurora Expeditions has been a leader and innovator in a competitive travel genre for 30 years, and it has a World Travel Award as “World’s Leading Polar Expedition” to show for it. The Travel Corporation provides travel experiences of a lifetime from a family of 40 award-winning travel and hospitality brands across 70 countries all over the globe. Psssst Secret Italia Tours is a family boutique tour company offering a range of tours throughout Italy and Europe, from small group and private tours, to gulet cruises and custom itineraries. The Travel Bureau of Nepal organizes treks, expeditions, canyoning, culture tours, Shaman tours, and trips to Tibet, Bhutan, and Ladakh in India. 


I Love New York (ILNY) is proud to be a Sponsor of the travel show and to present and support destinations within the state of New York. Located in one aisle and showcasing NY locations, destinations featured include Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council who offer hiking, biking, wine tasting and more; and locations nestled in the Catskills such as Sullivan County Visitors Association which was named one of the best small towns to visit in 2022 for hiking, boutique hotels, and breweries by Travel + Leisure.


Florida will be all over the International Travel Show with Visit Tampa Bay, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Visit Central Florida, which promotes Polk County, working to drive tourism to the Sunshine State. Sweet Home Alabama is the Alabama Tourism Department’s effort to promote the state nationally and internationally. And across the Hudson River, the New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism makes sure the Garden State blooms with visitors, vacationers, and tour groups. Farther afield, Visit Estonia represents a small country that can make a big impression on travelers, with over 2,000 islands and Tallinn, its capital, as the best-preserved medieval city in Northern Europe. 

The Caribbean will be widely represented at the International Travel Show. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism communicates for all of the islands – close to 30 inhabited – of the unique and exciting destination. St. Martin and St. Maarten will promote the many unique, diverse, and friendly experiences waiting on “the Friendly Island” in the northeast Caribbean Sea. The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism is making the islands the premier island destination by delivering distinctive and diverse experiences while enriching the lives of residents and visitors. The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board has much to promote about its breathtaking islands surrounded by the sparkling sea, including Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke. The Jamaica Tourist Board is positioning the island nation as the preeminent tourist destination in the region. 

Asia is represented by Tourism Malaysia, a melting pot of cultures offering urban exploration in one of its major cities, relaxation on the beaches, hiking in Borneo, or scuba diving around one of 800+ islands. And the name Wonderful Indonesia says it all, with a commitment to promote destinations in an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, and no end of experiences for local and international travelers to jump into between them. 

About the International Travel Show 

The International Travel Show (ITS2022), presenting sponsor Travel + Leisure, is a world-class travel industry trade and consumer travel event in New York City featuring educational seminars and activations, a major exhibition with cultural and regional pavilions showcasing hundreds of travel companies and destinations from around the world. ITS2022 brings together the travel industry to address issues that are key to the future of travel and tourism, provide educational and informational seminars to travel professionals and the traveling public and serve as a platform for emerging solutions for the global tourism marketplace. For more information, visit 

About Travel + Leisure Co. 

Travel + Leisure Co. is the world’s leading membership and leisure travel company, with nearly 20 travel brands across its resort, travel club, and lifestyle portfolio. The company provides outstanding vacation experiences and travel inspiration to millions of owners, members, and subscribers every year through its products and services: Wyndham Destinations, the largest vacation ownership company with more than 245 vacation club resort locations across the globe, and the world’s foremost membership travel business that includes the largest vacation exchange company and subscription travel brands, featuring top travel content and travel services including the brand’s eponymous travel club. We put the world on vacation. Learn more at 


On the Eve of Martial Law Anniversary, Filipino Americans Denounce Philippine President Marcos Jr. in New York

Photo by Ari Zeneli

New York, N.Y.
– On the eve of the declaration of Martial Law, Filipinos and allies in solidarity throughout the Northeast rallied and marched the streets of New York City to protest the participation of Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. at the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations. This demonstration was part of a National Day of Action across the U.S. to remember the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law by then-Filipino president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. (father of Marcos Jr.), whose 14-year period of brutal state repression (1972-1986) led to tens of thousands of Filipinos being unlawfully imprisoned and tortured, and thousands more being executed without fair trial.

Led by the Northeast Coalition to Advance Genuine Democracy (NECAGDP), the crowd of 300 marched from the Philippine Consulate across 42nd Street to the Dag Hammarskjold UN Plaza, bearing images of victims and survivors of Marcos Sr.’s martial law and a banner that read, “Hold Marcos-Duterte Accountable! No to Fascist Dynasties in the Philippines!” Educational teach-ins, songs, and a guerilla theater were also part of the program. Individuals from a large range of organizations spoke at the action, uncovering the truths that Marcos Jr.’s own speech in the United Nations sought to conceal. 

Photo by Marion Aguas

Although Marcos Jr. focused much of his speech on the historical impact and injustice of climate change on the Philippines (and suggested foreign investments as a form of reparations by developed countries), Jon Bonifacio, an activist with Kalikasan (a Philippine-based coalition of environmental organizations), described the devastation the Marcos family – with their “well-oiled disinformation machine” – has inflicted upon the environment of the Philippines.

“Under the dictator Marcos [Sr.], 8 million hectares of Philippine forests were cut down by Marcos cronies, while farm lands were degraded under the auspices of the so-called Green Revolution,” Bonifacio explained. “With the political return of the Marcoses, we can expect all of this to happen again.” 

Photo by Ari Zeneli

A group of Marcos-Duterte supporters were present at both the Philippine Consulate and the UN Plaza to counter-demonstrate, holding placards calling for free education and economic sovereignty (promises made by the Marcos-Duterte administration) – but speakers from NECAGDP explained how the Marcos dynasty’s policies in practice have always contradicted those desires. 

One such personal testimony came from Shaira Cruz of Migrante New Jersey, who recounted her family being forced to leave the Philippines due to the implementation of the 1974 Labor Export Policy (LEP), a botched attempt by Marcos Sr. to fix the economy that ultimately led to the mass migration of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos. She condemned it as “a system made to profit from Filipino labor overseas, in order to pay the debt of the Philippines and grow his family’s wealth.” Almost 50 years later, millions of Filipinos remain jobless, the value of the Philippines peso continues to drop, and Marcos Jr. continues to slash the budget for social services.

Photo by Ari Zeneli

Beyond the Filipino diaspora, allies from other movements expressed the importance of international solidarity against state violence and imperialism. Basil from Palestinian Youth Movement identified that “the U.S. imperial core is the lifeblood of both of our people’s subjugation… and our freedoms are connected today by joint struggle.”

In fact, after 09/20, coalition members took initiative and launched quick response mobilizations and actions to directly counter the narratives and rhetoric that Ferdinand Jr peddled in other engagements through the rest of the week. 

Photo by Ari Zeneli

“That is why we’re here today, and that is why we’ll be here tomorrow, and the day after that, until all of our peoples are free,” he declared.

What was displayed outside of the United Nations is the unwavering determination of the Filipino diaspora for genuine democracy, freedom, and sovereignty for their home country.  For the Coalition members, the September 20 protest is a community action “to right and to write history” by rejecting the Marcos-Duterte regime. To quote the final words of human rights lawyer Ruben Carranza’s speech, “We can fight, we can win again, and the Marcoses will be defeated.” 


Philippine Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco Tackles Plans to Revive Industry, Entices Foreign Investors in New York Briefing

NEW YORK — Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco laid down the holistic and comprehensive plan, objectives, as well as the strategies of the Department of Tourism  (DOT) to revitalize the tourism sector that has been greatly affected  by the Covid-19 pandemic.

During  the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in New York, United States of America, Frasco joined  the economic team of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. where she projected the readiness of the Philippines as a tourism destination, and the critical role that the industry plays in spurring economic opportunities across the country.

“The President has clearly identified tourism as a major tool for the economic resurgence of the Philippines, stating that it can be the economic driver upon which we herald the Filipino Brand and at the same time create economic opportunity and livelihood all over the country,” Secretary Frasco said in her opening statement.

Belonging to the panel discussion on Philippines’ Infrastructure Agenda and Investment Opportunities, Secretary Frasco recapitulated the Department’s 7-point agenda and the 3 strategies of connectivity, convenience and E(q)uality as part of the DOT’s strategy for tourism development.

The  Tourism Chief  bared the agency’s plans to enhance the visitor experience through various programs and  initiatives such as the  slated ground-breaking of 10 tourist service areas in the country allocating 3 in Luzon, 5 in Visayas, and 2 in Mindanao.

“We   plan to address the most basic aspect of travel across the Philippines: clean restrooms. I’m very pleased to inform you that in the first week of October, under the directive of the President, we are breaking ground on no less than 10 tourist rest areas across the Philippines. Three in Luzon, five in Visayas, and two in Mindanao. These tourist rest areas will have clean and decent restrooms for our tourists, a lounge for them to rest in, a complete information on tourist destinations, as well as pasalubong centers for them to be able to purchase local products and delicacies,” Secretary Frasco said.

Frasco likewise announced the prioritization of tourists’ safety and security through a partnership with the Department of National Defense (DND)  and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG); establishment of wifi in tourism destinations through a partnership with the Department of Communications, Information and Technology (DICT); an improved digital platform that will provide information to tourists, and even the establishment of a tourist assistance call center.

The Forum was made specially interesting with the President of the Philippines giving the keynote address. President Marcos gave special mention to the tourism industry as one of the prime movers of the Philippine economy.

“We will also reinvigorate the tourism sector by investing in travel infrastructure and the promotion of the Filipino brand. With the Department of Tourism leading our efforts to revitalize both domestic and foreign tourism, we will ensure the safe reopening of tourist destinations and develop the Philippines’ yet to be discovered attractions,” remarked the President during his speech.

The PEB forum was organized to entice businesses from the United States and other countries to invest in the Philippines, a first of its kind done by a country’s economic team in North America.

During the forum held at the final leg of the President’s visits to the United States and United Nations, the Philippine Team highlighted the current economic status and accomplishments of the country.

The country’s economic managers strategically illustrated the aspirations and plans of the current administration in its aim to bring the Philippines to an upper middle income status economy by 2024, earlier than the administration’s end of term in 2028.

Together with the Tourism Chief at the economic briefing were Department of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel Bonoan, Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, Ayala Corporation Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, and Aboitiz Equity Ventures President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz.


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Governor Hochul Announces First Long Island Investment Fund Award of $10 Million to Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research

Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the $350 million Long Island Investment Fund awarded its first grant to the The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research to construct 40,000 square feet of new state-of-the-art labs to support medical and infectious disease research. The $10 million Long Island Investment Fund grant complements an additional $30 million in State support previously awarded to the Feinstein Institutes to modernize 20,000 square feet of its Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine, which Governor Hochul opened today. New York State's assistance is part of an $85 million modernization effort at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset, Nassau County, and a broader initiative to highlight the growing life science industry on Long Island. The Feinstein Institutes is the research arm of Northwell Health and is one of the leading laboratory and research centers in the country, conducting cutting-edge studies that seek to cure diseases.

"New York is leading the way in medical innovation, and the Long Island Investment Fund will support life-saving research on the cutting edge of the life sciences industry," Governor Hochul said. "Our investment in the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine is already improving the lives of everyday New Yorkers, and the additional Long Island Investment Fund award announced today reaffirms our commitment to remaining a national leader in the health and medical research fields. I am proud to support the Feinstein Institutes and their research, which will lead to life-changing medicine and treatments that will improve the lives of New Yorkers on Long Island and across the State."

Included as part of Governor Hochul's FY 2023 Enacted Budget, the Long Island Investment Fund focuses on projects that will support and grow the regional economy, enhance communities, and have lasting economic impacts across Long Island. The Fund's $10 million award to the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research will support the renovation and construction of 26 new state-of-the-art research labs on two floors as well as the hiring of 10 new principal investigators and 60 research employees. These modernized labs will advance research efforts to develop novel therapies for cancer, diabetes, obesity, lupus, and other conditions

The Feinstein Institutes is the global scientific home of bioelectronic medicine, a growing scientific field that uses technology to read and modulate electrical activity within the body's nervous system. The new, modernized labs at the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine will support discoveries to find cures that will reduce the need for drugs, reduce painful side effects, and give life back to people who are suffering. Early discoveries have emerged from its labs, opening new treatment options for patients with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, paralysis, and even cancer. Clinical studies in bioelectronic medicine have already yielded results with those who are paralyzed: recent research utilizing an over-the-skin spinal cord stimulation patch has allowed participants to regain their ability to move and feel. 

The Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine's renovation includes wet-lab bench space, multiple tissue culture rooms, cold storage rooms, workstations for researchers, and a brand-new Biosafety Level 3 facility to allow new research into infectious diseases and other complex viruses, such as COVID-19. The expansion also supports the hiring of 13 new principal investigators and 100 new research employees.

Long Island is at the forefront of the life sciences industry as new research and discoveries in bioelectronic medicine - a new scientific field born and bred on Long Island - will attract the best and brightest researchers and world-leading strategic partners to create the cures that can transform lives. The life sciences industry has become a powerful engine of economic growth and innovation for New York, turning key regions of the State into dynamic life science hubs. Investing in life sciences is crucial to identify the next scientific or medical breakthrough that will develop new life-saving technologies. Through its support of the Feinstein Institutes' growth, New York is expanding its ability to commercialize research and spur the growth of a world-class life science industry on Long Island and across the State.

Investing in the Future of Long Island

The $10 million Long Island Investment Fund grant announced today complements historic initiatives and investments for Long Island:

  • $157 million investment -- repaving 300 lane miles of state highways to date.
  • More than $457 million for school aid - a 12.7 percent increase compared to FY 2022.
  • $63 million for addiction treatment, recovery and prevention services.
  • The homeowner Tax Rebate Credit, with an average benefit of $1,300 for 494,000 Long Island homeowners.
  • $500 million to develop New York's offshore wind infrastructure and supply chain - ultimately creating more than 2,000 green jobs.
  • Completing Long Island Rail Road's historic Third Track project, allowing trains to run more often and creating a smoother ride for LIRR commuters.


Opinion: Marcos US Trip Busy, But Seems Unproductive; Pursued by Demonstrators in NY Activities

Photo by Lambert Parong © KMC 2022




'Pres.' Bongbong Marcos 7-day trip to  New York last week was busy with meetings and speeches, but he has not announced concrete results nor investment pledges from US business groups unlike in his recent trips to Indonesia and Singapore.

In a story published by Manila's GMA News, Mr. Marcos assessed his trip as "successful".

No story about his activities was published by the two leading international newspapers in NY, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal nor aired by any NY TV station.

Instead, the New York Times published a story about the 50th Anniversary of Martial Law under Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Nine former Filipino victims of Martial rule, who are now in their 70’s, were featured in the Times story.

The Washington Post, on the other hand, featured the sideline meeting at the UN between Pres. Biden and Mr. Marcos. Although, the highlight of the story was what the US president said, not what the PH president said.

It was interesting to observe that in all the president's events, the address in an empty UN Hall, the speech in the New York Stock Exchange, the talk in Asia Society, the meet and greet with Filipino Americans, Mr. Marcos was followed by demonstrators who were mostly Fil Ams, either college students or recent graduates. 

The rallyists, who keenly analyzed the Marcoses, denounced the president for supposedly being an election cheat, corrupt and for lying and revising history in order to get votes. They also accused the Marcoses of bankrupting and plundering the coffers of the PH during Marcos Sr. years. Human rights abuses were also among the leading denunciations.

The Marcos travel entourage, composed of cabinet members, as well as, members of his nuclear and extended families, have reportedly returned to Manila.


Monday, September 26, 2022

Mayor Adams, SBS Announce NYC Surpasses Target, Ahead of Schedule to Award $25 Billion in Contracts to M/WBEs

2022 Annual Procurement Fair Held at Barclays Center Marks 30th Anniversary of New York City’s M/WBE Program and Supports Mayor’s ‘Blueprint for Economic Recovery,’ Offering Contract Opportunities to Small Businesses Certified as M/WBEs.

– New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim announced that the city has surpassed its 10-year OneNYC goal to award $25 billion in contracts to minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE) by Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 — three years ahead of schedule. This achievement comes amid a strong focus on expanding the pool of contracts subject to the M/WBE program and creating more opportunities for M/WBEs to win procurements.

“Economic inequality isn’t going to solve itself, and as mayor, I am committed to expanding opportunities by building economic on-ramps for our minority- and women-owned business owners,” said Mayor Adams. “We are creating jobs and improving the way government provides services to New Yorkers, and I am thrilled that we have achieved the city’s 10-year goal of awarding $25 billion in contracts to M/WBEs three years ahead of schedule. These billions of dollars will build equity, boost recovery, and create opportunity for M/WBEs. This is how we ‘Get Stuff Done’ and fight inequality right here in our own city.”

“In meeting the city’s goal of $25 billion in contracts to minority and women-owned business enterprises three years ahead of schedule, New York City has demonstrated its commitment to tackling income inequality and promoting fairness in economic opportunity and we know we have to go even further,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres Springer. “As New York City continues its economic recovery, we remain laser-focused on ensuring M/WBEs can succeed in doing business with the city. Today’s procurement fair will connect hundreds of M/WBE firms with city agency staff and has the potential to result in tens of millions of dollars in contracts for companies that have been unfairly overlooked in years past. We are proud of the progress we have made and continue to do the work to create more opportunities for M/WBEs.”

“The city’s annual procurement fair is the perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs certified as M/WBE to come and tap into the contracting opportunities available to them with the City of New York,” said SBS Commissioner Kim. “With dozens of city agencies and hundreds of businesses ready to work, this fair will result in millions of dollars in contracts for minority and women-owned businesses. SBS is proud to put this event together and excited to be at the Barclays Center with Mayor Adams.” 

“As the author of both the city and state laws on M/WBEs, I take great pride in the city passing its goal,” said New York State Senator James Sanders Jr. “It speaks to the hard work and persistent commitment of agencies and individual involvement in this noble undertaking. However, more work needs to be done to increase the percentage of government contracts awarded to M/WBEs in this minority-majority city. We also need to ensure that all M/WBE communities fairly benefit. Until government contracts are awarded in proportion to the city’s population and the number of M/WBEs, our work is not done.”

New York City’s M/WBE program was created to address the disparity between city contracts awarded to certain ethnic and gender groups as compared to their availability in the relevant marketplace. New York City believes that contractors should reflect the diversity of our city, and that diversity provides opportunities for all of our communities, helps spark innovation, strengthens engagement, and drives continuous improvement.

In total, city agencies and authorities awarded more than $6 billion dollars to M/WBEs in FY22 — an increase of approximately 50 percent compared to FY21. This included approximately $1.4 billion dollars in FY22 contract awards under Local Law 1, which governs the city’s M/WBE program. This marked an increase of 18 percent compared to FY21.

Meanwhile, the city continues to surpass its annual goals to certify and recertify M/WBEs, reaching 10,768 certified firms at the close of FY22. Furthermore, 1,605 individual M/WBE firms were awarded a contract in FY22, up from 1,416 in FY21 — a 13 percent increase.

The city is set to have an even more impressive year in FY23, with a handful of major legislative reforms and new programs introduced over the last year:

  • The new M/WBE-only pre-qualified list (PQL) at New York City’s Department of Design and Construction.
  • Expanded curricula and access to a larger city pipeline for ConstructNYC — a training and technical assistance program that readies small-to-midsized M/WBEs in the construction trades to bid on city capital projects.
  • SBS has established an M/WBE Mentors program, the first peer mentorship program for New York City’s M/WBEs.
  • Important reforms to PASSport to increase transparency, better track M/WBE spending, and increase compliance with M/WBE subcontracting requirements.
  • The New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the New York City Police Department, and the New York City Housing Authority have developed M/WBE-prioritized PQLs to provide more opportunities to M/WBEs that can deliver the goods and services the city needs.
  • New York State Bill A10459/S09351 passed in Albany to raise the M/WBE discretionary cap from $500,000 to 1,000,000. The city has made significant progress leveraging this contracting method, with total award values rising from $12 million in FY18 to $109 million in FY22. The passage of the recent legislation — which is expected to be signed by Governor Hochul — will be implemented within the city, further increasing the value of awards to M/WBEs even more rapidly in the years to come.

Hosted at the Barclays Center, New York City’s Annual M/WBE Procurement Fair was attended by more than 1,500 city-certified minority- and women-owned businesses, and over 80 city and state agencies, public authorities, and prime vendors.

This year is the 30th anniversary of New York City’s M/WBE program, an initiative created under Mayor David Dinkins, the city’s first Black mayor, in 1992.

New York City has made a commitment to use its enormous purchasing power to support M/WBEs. The annual procurement fair demonstrates that commitment and the many opportunities that exist in contracting with the City of New York. The fair also works to connect potential buyers and useful services with the right agencies.

Firms interested in starting the M/WBE certification process or participating in M/WBE programming can learn more by calling 311, visiting, or visiting one of the city’s seven New York City Business Solutions Centers located in all five boroughs.


Friday, September 23, 2022

PBBM, Biden Hold First Bilateral Talks; Put Premium on Bolstering Ties, Maintaining Peace

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday expressed commitment to improving ties with its longstanding ally, the United States, in a historic meeting with US President Joe Biden in New York City.

“We are your partners, we are your allies, we are your friends. And in like fashion, we have always considered the United States our partner, our ally and our friend,” Marcos told Biden in a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Marcos noted the Philippines and the United States’ “very strong foundation of a very long relationship and strong relationships on various facets.”

He also expressed hope that the two countries can further strengthen their bid to maintain peace despite all the complexities that have arisen in the past few months.

“And I hope that we will be able to discuss further the roles that our two countries will play together and individually as we continue down that road,” Marcos said.

Biden, for his part, sought strengthened ties with the Philippines after what he described as “rocky times” in the past.

“The relationship between the United States and the Philippines, to state the obvious, has very deep roots. We’ve had some rocky times but the fact is it’s a critical, critical relationship from our perspective,” he told the Philippine leader.

Biden also noted that the Philippines was one of the United States’ allies to quickly condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“And we also thank you for your position on the war against Ukraine and — by Russia. And how it’s impacting energy prices and food prices. And we are working very hard to be able to do something about that,” said Biden.


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Governor Hochul Announces Four Gigawatts of Distributed Solar Installed in New York and Largest Single-Rooftop Solar Array in Manhattan

As part of Climate Week, Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced four gigawatts of distributed solar—community, residential, small commercial and industrial projects—have been installed across the state, enough to power more than 710,000 homes, underscoring New York's leadership in growing one of the strongest solar markets in the nation. Since the launch of the NY-Sun initiative, the cost of solar in New York has declined by 70 percent as solar deployment has grown nearly 2,900 percent statewide, all while helping to drive $6.4 billion in private investment and foster more than 12,000 jobs across the state. When combined with the projects that are under development and moving toward commercial operation, achieving today's milestone puts New York on track to exceed its goal to install six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025 and progress toward 10 gigawatts by 2030. Governor Hochul was joined by U.S. Climate Alliance leaders to make the historic announcement today from the roof of the Javits Center, where they applauded progress in the installation of the largest single-rooftop solar array in Manhattan. A video of the installation overview can be viewed here. A time-lapse video of the installation can be viewed here.   

"We are laser-focused on the battle against climate change, and our nation-leading advancement of renewable energy is supercharging New York's economy while creating an equitable and healthier future for all New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "This achievement is a testament to our successful partnership with communities and industry alike to get these projects built in every corner of the state and ensures more families and businesses will benefit from clean affordable solar power for years to come. I am proud to make today's announcement from the Javits Center, which is now home to Manhattan's largest single-rooftop solar array with an accompanying battery storage system and is setting an example for other urban commercial buildings of how to be on the cutting-edge of our clean energy future."   

New York's progress from three to four gigawatts of distributed solar installations across the state was the fastest gigawatt-to-gigawatt increase to date, taking just more than a year to achieve. It has been grounded in the state's productivity coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic—with more than 1,200 megawatts of capacity installed through the first half of 2022, enough to power nearly 217,000 homes. The majority of the new distributed solar has been supported with more than $289 million in NY-Sun incentives that leveraged $1.5 billion in private investment.  

The 1,400 solar panels on the Javits Center's green roof, which also serves as a habitat for area wildlife, will be supplemented by a 3.5-megawatt battery storage system. The project is the result of a public-private partnership between the Javits Center, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and Siemens Industry, Inc. The system is the largest single rooftop solar project and will include one of the highest-capacity battery energy storage systems in Manhattan. The completion of the solar installation also coincides with the resurgence of event activity at the Javits Center following the height of the pandemic, when it served as an emergency field hospital that treated nearly 1,100 New Yorkers, and then as the largest vaccination site in the United States that distributed more than 646,000 vaccines to New Yorkers in less than six months.  

Since August 2021, soon after construction of the Javits Center's 1.2 million square-foot expansion was completed and event operations resumed, 40 events have been held in the expansion, known as Javits North. Activity is continuing to grow, with 49 events booked at the iconic venue on Manhattan's West Side from September to December 2022 -- a 14% increase compared to the same period in 2021. From new corporate galas and fundraisers to trade shows and conventions, the increase in event activity can be attributed to significant infrastructure investments across the region, including a major expansion of the Javits Center, as well as the recent transformations of LaGuardia Airport and the Moynihan Train Hall. Events held at the Javits Center can attract up to 39,000 companies from around the world each year, generate up to $2 billion of annual economic activity and support up to 18,000 jobs statewide, directly and indirectly.  From West 34th to West 40th streets between 11th and 12th avenues, the expanded Javits Center features more than 200,000 square feet of new meeting and pre-function space, including The Overview, a 54,000 square-foot special event space, as well as a glass-enclosed rooftop pavilion and terrace overlooking the Hudson River. A one-acre rooftop farm and greenhouse also was constructed, creating a roof-to-table experience for convention center guests. Below the rooftop event spaces is a four-level truck marshaling facility that houses up to 200 tractor-trailers at any one time, reducing neighborhood congestion and pollution while improving traffic safety. All of the spaces are equipped with the latest technology in lighting fixtures, heating and cooling systems and wireless connectivity. The expansion has been certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.   

New York's success has been driven largely by community solar, an innovative business model designed to deliver the benefits of solar, including no upfront costs or participation fees, to New York consumers who are often unable to install solar on their property. Earlier this year, Governor Hochul announced New York became the top community solar market in the United States with more than one gigawatt installed, enough to power more than 200,000 homes, ensuring continued access to clean affordable solar for all New Yorkers for years to come.  

The state's NY-Sun initiative has helped support the installation of solar for 166,088 New York homes or businesses spanning every county in New York with Long Island, Mid-Hudson, and the Capital Region having the most installed solar. Consistent with the Climate Act's mandate for 35 percent and a goal of 40 percent of clean energy benefits going towards Disadvantaged Communities, NYSERDA is dedicating over 1,600 megawatts, enough to power 280,000 homes, to low- to moderate-income (LMI) households, affordable housing, and disadvantaged and environmental justice communities as part of its Solar Energy Equity Framework.


In addition to the four gigawatts of distributed solar installed statewide, there is another 3.2 gigawatts of solar, enough to power 560,000 homes, that have been awarded NY-Sun incentives and are now under development across the state. These projects are expected to come online in the next two to three years with enough capacity to power an additional half million or more homes, which will bring New York State even closer to achieving the state's six-gigawatt goal. Achieving the state's solar goal of six gigawatts is expected to generate approximately $5.4 billion in private investments, and up to $500 million per year in statewide energy savings.  

The rapid deployment of distributed solar across New York will be further accelerated with the extended and expanded federal Investment Tax Credit for solar and other clean energy technologies that was included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. This progress is also complemented by NYSERDA's large-scale renewables program, which has active contracts with over 85 utility-scale solar projects totaling nearly seven additional gigawatts of solar under development throughout the state - enough to power nearly 1.2 million homes once completed. Together, these projects will result in more than $7.5 billion invested in New York and over 9,000 jobs in development, construction, and operations and maintenance.   

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.  


President Marcos, Japan PM Kishida Hold Sideline Talks; Tackle Security Threats, Economic Challenges

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation in tackling challenges and opportunities under the current regional security and economic landscape, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a statement on Wednesday.

The two heads of government met in person for the first time on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York to discuss the developments in Philippines-Japan bilateral relations.

Four months ago, Kishida called Marcos to congratulate him on his electoral victory.

The Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership, spanning 11 years, has witnessed tremendous growth and deepened cooperation in addressing the two countries’ security and defense priorities, particularly in maritime security, maritime domain awareness, maritime law enforcement capacities, and peace in Mindanao.

Marcos noted that 66 years since the normalization of bilateral ties, the Philippines and Japan “have fostered one of the closest partnerships in the region,” Cruz-Angeles said quoting the President.

“He shared his administration’s priorities, particularly in the field of agriculture and food security, energy security, infrastructure development, and cybersecurity,” she added, noting both sides exchanged views on bilateral, regional, and international concerns.

According to the press secretary, Kishida reiterated Japan’s commitment to supporting the Philippines’ economic development to become an upper-middle-income country.

The two leaders expressed confidence that bilateral cooperation in the next years will lead to the further realization of the two countries’ common aspiration for regional peace and stability and a better life for their peoples, she said.