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Biz Buzz: Secret talks saved MRT deal

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Biz Buzz: Secret talks saved MRT deal

/ 03:08 AM January 08, 2016

Nothing is improbable, especially when it comes to the Department of Transportation and Communication and the busy Metro Rail Transit Line 3—a situation that appears to be getting messier and messier.

It’s been a jam-packed start to 2016, and we’re not just referring to the uncomfortable daily commute that MRT-3 riders have to contend with.

Reports that the Filipino-Korean venture wanted out of a long-term contract to maintain the MRT-3 and calls for the resignation of Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya put new meaning to starting the year with a bang.

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Apparently, the DOTC has fought off an embarrassing possible pullout after multi-day negotiations with the Korean-Filipino group of Busan Transportation Corp., Edison Development and Construction, Tramat Mercantile Inc., TMI Corp. Inc. and Castan Corp.

We heard a contract was signed late Thursday in a meeting that reporters were not allowed to witness.

That was also possible through the cooperation of others, including the German-Filipino joint venture Schunk Bahn-und Industrietechnik GmbH-Comm Builders and Technology Phils. Corp. or SBI-CB&T venture.

SBI-CB&T has a lot of issues with the leadership of the DOTC, from the non-payment of about P102 million in services and equipment delivered under its six-month maintenance contract to its controversial disqualification from the more crucial three-year MRT-3 maintenance contract late last year. (SBI-CB&T venture was disqualified for submitting its offer 43 minutes late, paving the way for the awarding of the deal to the Busan-led venture).

SBI-CB&T, along with other contractors, even agreed to a one-month extension of its services that expired on Jan. 4 this year. Despite its strictness with time, the DOTC was not ready to hand over the deal to the Busan group.

Roehl Bacar, the company’s authorized representative, told Biz Buzz that they had agreed to the extension to ensure the MRT-3’s smooth operations. The SBI-CB&T venture, after all, handled some of the most crucial maintenance and safety aspects of the MRT-3 that operates along Edsa.

All’s well that ends well? Let’s see. Miguel R. Camus

 

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Best bank? BDO… again

SY FAMILY-CONTROLLED BDO Universal Bank continues its winning streak this year, bagging another set of awards from international publications Asiamoney and Global Finance.

BDO was named Best Domestic Bank, Best Domestic Debt House and Best Domestic Provider of FX Products and Services in the Philippines (as voted by corporate clients) in the recent Asiamoney Summer Awards.

The bank was also cited Best Large Cap Company in the Philippines, while BDO president & CEO Nestor Tan was named Best Executive in the Philippines.

The winners were adjudged based on “a combination of factors including innovation, financial performance and strategic execution, and also after surveying the views of regional analysts and investors.”

Global Finance recently named the World’s Best Emerging Markets Banks in Asia-Pacific and also cited BDO as the Best Bank in the Philippines for 2015.

With inputs from industry analysts, corporate executives and banking consultants, editors of the finance magazine selected the best emerging markets bank in the region and in 25 countries.  In order to increase the accuracy and reliability of the results, a poll of Global Finance’s corporate readership was also conducted.

“We honor those banks that have the deepest commitment to the markets in which they operate and understanding of the specific needs of customers based in those markets,” said Joseph D. Giarraputo, publisher and editorial director of Global Finance. Daxim L. Lucas

MMFF takeaway

WE’RE no film critic but from a layman’s perspective, the much-awaited silver screen debut of the phenomenal “AlDub” love team of Maine Mendoza aka “Yaya Dub” and Alden Richards failed to live up to expectations.

It looked like one flick where commercial interests took center stage with little regard for storyline and screenplay quality. As it is, romantic comedy My Bebe Love: #KiligPaMore monetized AlDub’s advertising prowess to the hilt, weaving in so many brands in a not-so subtle manner: McDonald’s (as date venue); Talk n’ Text and PLDT Home (use of phones and the strategic blocking of billboards); Goldilocks (cake provider); San Mig Light,  Coca-Cola and Tide.

In some cases—like the promotion of Tide detergent—the film insertion appeared unnecessary. There were other venues promoted in the film, such as the restaurant Kuse, B Hotel and events venue Esplanade, which probably did some exchange deals for branding mileage in the movie.

But if the film had a more captivating plot and more memorable punchlines (whatever you see on the trailer is all there is), the product placements probably won’t be too distracting. We couldn’t help but think that the AlDub loveteam—undoubtedly, a funny and talented duo—deserved a more polished film debut, one that can charm even the most discerning audience even when the lolas (grandmothers) are not in the picture. (When we watched the movie at a Makati cinema after the New Year holiday break, there were only six of us in the theater for the last full show).

Are they better off with the lolas around? Are they better off acting without a script like in Eat Bulaga’s kalyeserye segment? We’re not sure, but there’s definitely a better way to showcase their talent and ensure their show biz longevity.

A better benchmark for romantic comedy this season is “Walang Forever” (starring Jericho Rosales and Jennylyn Mercado), which deserved all the rave reviews and the Metro Manila Film Festival 2015 awards (Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress).Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

E-mail us at bizbuzz@inquirer.com.ph. Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

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TAGS: #Walang Forever, BDO, Joseph Abaya, Joseph Abaya resignation, Metro Rail Transit Line 3, MMFF, MRT, My Bebe Love, transportation
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