Biz BuzzBy the staff |Philippine Daily Inquirer
President in love
The rumor mill is once more abuzz with talk of President Aquino’s love interest and nowhere is the buzz louder than in legal circles because the present apple of the President’s eye is apparently an up-and-coming lawyer.
According to our sources, the “29-year-old lawyer” (for whom a teaser was first aired in ABS-CBN last week) is Mariness “Kim” Ledesma, a CPA-lawyer presently working for the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Ledesma is a cum laude graduate of the Ateneo de Davao University law school. She created ripples not so long ago as part of the school debate team that beat the team from the University of the Philippines, on what was then known as “The CVC Law Debates” on ANC. (The show has since changed its name, but that’s best reserved for another Biz Buzz item.)
“Beauty and brains” was the unanimous verdict of that show’s judges and audience when it aired a few years ago.
“I hear they’re very serious about each other,” said one source.
So next time you hear that the President spent the weekend with “Kim”, it may no longer refer to the usual weekend with BIR chief Kim Henares and his shooting buddies at the firing range. Daxim L. Lucas
Women in front
That might be the next trend in local commercial aviation as the country’s biggest flying school, Omni Aviation Corp., is seeking to attract more females to train to become pilots.
The school, which continues to see increasing interest from people seeking to pursue a career in the skies (perhaps encouraged by the rapid expansion of airlines) views females as a market still largely untapped, Omni president and COO Steven Virata said. But this is changing as even female cabin crew members are making the shift from the plane’s galley to the captain’s chair, he noted.
That chair, however, is still largely occupied by males. About 10 percent of all commercial pilots in the country are estimated to be female, according to Raoul Perez, general manager of Philippine Academy for Aviation Training. That figure is reflected in Omni’s own student population—10 percent are female out of 300 full-time and part-time students, Virata noted.
The global numbers are even more dismal, with women accounting for about 3 percent of 130,000 airline pilots globally, according to an estimate from The International Society of Women Airline Pilots.
Virata said there were several explanations for the low figure, one of which was the perception that flying a plane is risky—especially in the case of a commercial airliner carrying hundreds of passengers— and should be left to the domain of males.
But with technology and skill sets changing with every new generation of aircraft, flying nowadays is more about monitoring gauges on the cockpit, Perez noted.
“And in general, women are meticulous,” he said.
So the next time you sit back, relax and prepare to enjoy your flight, don’t be surprised if the captain’s voice might just belong to a member of this growing breed of female pilots. Miguel R. Camus
The Philippine banana, whose globalization was previously hampered by logistical issues, figured a lot during President Aquino’s chat with international journalists from the Asia News Network last week.
When a journalist from Indonesia asked what he expects to bring up during his bilateral meetings during upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders’ summit in Bali, Indonesia, this October, Aquino said Apec would have to be all about improving—and opening new—trade relations. Aquino said he was surprised to find out sometime in the third quarter of 2012 that Italy, a major wholesale buyer of banana, was then not even aware that the Philippines exported bananas and is a major international exporter of this fruit. Apec offers an opportunity for the country to explore new venues, he said. Talking with the head of state of Norway about global warming and the opening up of the Arctic group, for instance, Aquino said this was a chance for the country to have faster access to that part of the world and vice versa.
Aside from being perishable, Aquino said there was a limit to the distance it can travel. “I was very pleasantly surprised to have a report from our Agriculture Secretary (Proceso Alcala) that that have been able to ship bananas to North America, which formerly was way beyond our limits or ability to transport our products,” he said.
Aquino also mentioned bananas again when a journalist from Singapore asked about Philippine-US military ties. He noted that the Philippines’ strategic partnership with the United States and Japan were “venerable.” When a US-led alliance imposed sanctions against Iran, P-Noy said the Philippines had to ask for assistance from the US because the sanctions would otherwise hamper the issuance of letters of credit needed to sell bananas to Iran, which accounted for 20 percent of the country’s output. “They were true to their pledge to assist us in that situation,” he said.
Ergo, the Philippine banana has a long way to go. Doris C. Dumlao
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