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Biz Buzz: Ayala Alabang dilemma

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Biz Buzz: Ayala Alabang dilemma

/ 01:57 AM June 17, 2015

THE WORSENING traffic situation in the metropolis has put residents of the plush Ayala Alabang village in a quandary.

There’s a long-standing proposal to open a new village gate at the end of San Jose St. to the adjacent Filinvest Corporate City, hatched at the barangay (village) level in 2001 and eventually backed by the Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA).

However, the plan does not sit well with the families who live in “district 5,” close to the proposed gate, which was not part of the master plan committed by the property developer, Ayala Land Inc.

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ALI—which still owns the open space and the roads in the village and is, as expected, protective of its legacy projects—is itself lukewarm to the proposal, especially amid concerns aired by home buyers who do not relish having a new gate closer to their homes.

They did not factor in such a “security risk” when they first bought their properties, they say.

In a letter to the AAVA dated May 4, a copy of which was obtained by Biz Buzz, Ayala Land Premier head Jose Juan Jugo suggested that residents await the forthcoming Muntinlupa Cavite Expressway, a project of the Ayala group which would be completed soon.

“This new diversion road will connect Daang Reyna to South Luzon Expressway and is expected to decongest traffic along Commerce Avenue. It may therefore be unnecessary to open a new gate in AAV,” Jugo said.

But in case this new diversion road won’t be of any help to the traffic situation, Jugo said ALI would consider the proposal but only if the requirements that it had long put on the table would be met.

Of the requirements, one that’s likely hard to get is written concurrence from 75 percent of lot owners residing along the affected roads. There are more than 50 families close to Ground Zero.

Another requirement is for AAVA to get the approval of 50 percent plus one of all registered lot owners in a general membership meeting, in which at least 55 percent of total members must have participated. This is the approval that AAVA hopes to get during the referendum which it intends to conduct in the next few months.

One resident in district 5 said that a majority vote in the village would be easy to get, but he was hoping that people would be considerate of backyards that would be affected by the project and that ALI’s conditions would be honored.

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In the end, the issue is not only polarizing residents but is feared to trigger a legal battle between ALI and AAVA as well. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

DBP complains, part 2

CONTINUING where we left off, Development Bank of the Philippines director Reynaldo Geronimo wrote the Inquirer to complain about a series of articles that was written recently regarding the ‘wash sales’ that happened at the bank last year.

According to the DBP director, “some of the articles quoted the statements of the bank (which) were unfairly taken out of context or misrepresented, if not outright false.”

He pointed to a “supposed rejoinder” quoted by the Inquirer from the bank’s financial resources sector head Susan Prado, adding “the truth is she was never interviewed for the article.”

(Ms Prado’s explanation of the rationale behind the transactions in question was contained in the minutes of the meeting of the bank’s risk oversight committee which approved the transactions. Mr. Geronimo was present during this meeting, according to the minutes.)

Geronimo added that the Inquirer finally carried the bank’s rejoinder statement belatedly “a full three days after we issued it. Making matter worse, he again misquoted it; he made it appear that the Commission on Audit already had findings on the ‘wash sale’.”

(The very first story on the issue carried the bank’s side, courtesy of Ms Prado’s explanation to the board-level committee.)

He added that the article also branded the questioned transactions as “illegal bond trading activity… even before any judicial determination by the relevant competent authority as to the legality of the transactions.”

(Section 24 of the Securities Regulation Code says “it shall be unlawful for any person acting for himself or through a dealer or broker, directly or indirectly, to create a false or misleading appearance of active trading in any listed security traded in an exchange or any other trading market by effecting any transaction in such security which involves no change in the beneficial ownership thereof; by entering an order or orders for the purchase or sale of such security with the knowledge that a simultaneous order or orders of substantially the same size, time and price, for the sale or purchase of any such security, has or will be entered by or for the same or different parties; or by performing similar act where there is no change in beneficial ownership.” It speaks for itself.)

Geronimo pointed out that nowhere in the COA report was the term “wash sale” used.

(“Wash sale” is financial industry jargon referring precisely to the type of activity described and prohibited by the SRC above.)

The DBP director continued: “The news reports are, in our mind, clearly malicious. They insinuate ill motives when there were none. Moreover, to focus on the trading losses on the said securities distorts the reality that the bank in fact reversed these trading losses and posted solid financial performance for 2014.”

“We, therefore, respectfully demand that in the spirit of journalism and fair reporting, appropriate actions be taken as well as necessary corrections/clarifications be made on the matter, such as a retraction of what we had indicated as false and the publication of this letter complaint with equal prominence and space as the falsities merited in your publication,” Geronimo concluded.

(All Inquirer stories on the issue from Day One were based on documents that detailed both sides of the issue, including the exchange of letters between DBP’s president, Gil Buenaventura, and COA. Both sides were presented. We sought the bank’s side on the matter but received no reply from its spokesperson.) Daxim L. Lucas

DBP versus BIR

A P3.1-BILLION tax assessment by the Bureau of Internal Revenue against Development Bank of the Philippines was apparently due to a BIR ruling which tried to clamp down on banks’ long-time practice involving the allocation of costs and expenses among its various business units.

The majority of the local banking community opposed this BIR ruling. Twenty-four of them—19 local banks and five foreign ones—filed a suit against the BIR earlier this year in the Makati Regional Trial Court, which sided with the banks and issued and injunction against the tax authorities.

But here’s the thing: DBP (along with another government financial institution, Land Bank of the Philippines) declined to join the banking community’s lawsuit against the BIR. Thus, when the court sided with the banks, only those involved benefited from the court-ordered injunction. Other banks who passed up the chance to sue the BIR still have to pay the taxes in question.

According to former DBP president Francisco del Rosario, it was for this reason that the bank was dunned the additional tax levy, and not because he tried to dodge taxes while he was at its helm. Daxim L. Lucas

Meta and cool

THOSE who know the words to the featured song of “Bituing Walang Ningning” (originally written by Nerissa Cabral as a serialized graphic novel) have a chance to hear the song live in —get this—a theater performance at Resorts World Manila.

Apparently it is the first time that a Filipino story has gone the long way from komiks to the stage after coming to life in a movie and in a TV series.

The gala is slated for tonight, June 17, and our source says some of the main actors who appeared in the earlier artistic versions were invited. That means attendees just might witness Sharon Cuneta watching the story unfold from the audience side. How meta. Riza T. Olchondra

 

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TAGS: Ayala Alabang, Business, economy, News, traffic jams
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