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Biz Buzz: Lobbying for the Philippines

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Former US ambassador to the Philippines John Negroponte, who co-chairs the US-Philippine Society think tank with businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, is coming to town to discuss with key policymakers and the business community recent local developments affecting economic, political and security ties between the two countries.

This includes issues on foreign ownership in partly nationalized companies like utilities and real estate, an offshoot of a recent Supreme Court ruling on PLDT’s foreign ownership. At present, this has become less of a concern given pronouncements from the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would not impose the 60-40 percent local-foreign ownership cap on all classes of shares.

Another juicy topic that Negroponte’s visit will touch on is the West Philippine Sea conflict, which has been a hot issue in both the Philippines and China for several months now. He is also expected to discuss developments in the mining industry as well as the country’s major infrastructure programs.

Negroponte, who will lead an American delegation made up of top business and government officials, is set to meet with President Aquino Wednesday morning before the chief of state leaves for Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum (for the first time under his presidential term).—Doris C. Dumlao

Speaking of which…

After meeting with the President, the Negroponte-led delegation will also meet with Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno for the American businessmen to get a feel of how legal issues will play out in the Philippines over the next few years (something foreign businessmen have always complained about in the past).

The kickoff dinner will be hosted by US-Philippine Society board member Washington Sycip, while dinner for the following evening will be hosted by MVP.

On the final day, Friday, the business delegation will be given a tour of the Clark special economic zone in Pampanga to highlight its prospects as an investment site and as an attractive alternative to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Apart from Negroponte, other former US ambassadors to Manila will also be present, including Thomas Hubbard (the Philippines traditionally being a post given to rising stars in the US State Department).

Speaking of which, word on the street is that current US Ambassador to Manila Harry Thomas will be heading back to Washington, D.C., soon (slightly ahead of schedule) to make his presence felt in Foggy Bottom. No word yet on who will replace the capable, affable and Tagalog-speaking diplomat.—Daxim L. Lucas

 

Bias in defense contracts?

The drive to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has now been delayed by a year, no thanks to a Department of National Defense official and his vested interests, according to our source.

To recall, no less than Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin in January of last year committed to “ensure the approval and signature of the contracts for all the 138 projects for the AFP modernization and capability upgrade program not later than July 31, 2012.”

Well, the last thing we heard is that in early December, the negotiation for the acquisition of 21 UH-1 helicopters failed. A separate deal for the purchase of 10 helicopters also failed to advance.

The military is supposed to acquire fighter jets, helicopters, support aircraft, radar and communications systems and modern equipment to monitor the country’s vast territorial waters and effectively coordinate defensive forces such as the navy and air force.

Our source says the delay is caused by a DND official who behaves more like a “commissioner.” The official’s preference for certain suppliers have caused delays and complications in the equipment procurement process, we’re told. Supposedly, this official is the brains behind the move to source defense equipment from non-traditional sources, despite the assistance for materiel readily being offered by the US. Tsk tsk.—Daxim L. Lucas

Positive mining news

When mining hits the news, it’s usually something negative. But Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. is trying to change all that.

On top of the TV ad campaign of its sister firm Taganito Mining Corp. that highlights the good that miners have done for the community, the subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. will launch a coffee table book on Thursday at the Ayala Museum in Greenbelt Park, Makati City.

The private event will be led by Rio Tuba’s chair, Manuel Zamora, and its president, Gerry Brimo.

The book is expected to showcase the good that mining can do, in contrast to the way the industry’s critics love to portray it.—Daxim L. Lucas

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  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    ‘source defense equipment from non-traditional sources’

    VERY GOOD

    ng di tayo patuloy na kokolonyahin
    ng mga tulad ni negroponte

    at limitahan ng imperyalistang u.s.
    sa pagpapalakas ng ating depensa

    marami ring limitasyon sa pag gamit
    ng mga napaglumaang binebenta ng imperyalista

    sa hamilton class cutter na laang
    pinag babawal ang paglagay ng armas
    na hindi made in u.s. imperialist

    SCRAM US-Philippine Society

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1543734832 DZ Jones

    Sa isip nyo ba ang bansang Amerika magbigay tulong ng pangdigmaang makinarya sa Pilipinas kahit kayang magbayad ang Pilipinas? Sa isip ko hindi kasi pagbinigyan ng pabor ang Pilipinas na magkaroon ng makinarya, baka eto ang dahilan ng simulang kaguluhan ng Pilipinas at bansang Tsina. Ang bansang Tsina ay pinakahalaga sa Amerika kung ang pag-usapan ay ekonomiya. Ang Tsina ay isa sa pinaka malaking trading partner sa Amerika. Kaya mag isip kayo mga Pilipino. Ang bansang Pilipinas ay alipin kung hindi makapag gawa ng sariling makinarya, kagamitang pang industriya at iba pa. Eto ang ugat na hindi tayo magiging buo na Pilipino na manirahan at maghanapbuhay sa sarili nating bansa.   

  • noynoyingalways

    Mabuhay si Voltaire Gazmin! wala parin ginagawa para ma modernize ang AFP! tutulog tulog parin! lol

  • Echuserang_Froglet

    mabuhay ang amerika. ang tunay na pag asa ng bayan!

    • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

      kolonisadong utak

      u.s. – kastila war 1898
      pilipino – u.s. war  1899-1912 1+ million pilipinos died
      u.s. – japan war    ww2 nasira pilipinas, 1 million pilipinos died
      u.s. – korea war    1951 100+ pilipino casualties
      u.s. – vietnam war 1960s-70s used philippines as staging area, pilipino casualties
      u.s. – tsina war            20??      modern weapons will result in higher 

      mamatay pilipino kamo
      maninira pa sa tubattaha

  • Weder-Weder Lang

    Negroponte lang? Where’s Greenberg his sidekick since CIA days?

    And of course, the Filipino traitor Manny Pangilinan.

  • CyberPinoy

    Dapat imbestigahan yang DND Officials na yan, he is undermining the countries external securities that may cost the AFP dearly in times of hostilities breakout.  Dapat dyan kastiguhin at ipako sa krus kung totoong hindrance sa AFP Modernization.

    • graftbuster

      This delay could be due to the DND Official’s needing more time in finding more opportunities for personal financial gains. An independent investigation might reveal the real reason why.



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