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Biz Buzz: ‘Maga’

People who are present in social media nowadays are familiar with the acronym ‘Maga’ which stands for “Make America Great Again,” the popular 2016 campaign slogan of US President Donald Trump.

But in the Philippines, Maga has a very different meaning.

Specifically, it stands for “Material Adverse Government Action” —situations where the government deviates from a contractual obligation resulting in negative (usually financial) effects on its counter-party. Under a Maga clause, the government will have to compensate a private entity commensurately if the state fails to live up to its part of the deal, resulting in the latter being disadvantaged.

And so it is with a private corporation that won a contract to upgrade a transportation infrastructure project of the government under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program over two years ago.

The business community is abuzz that, no thanks to government’s own policy decisions and pussyfooting, it has been obligated to pay this private corporation the equivalent of P9 million per day of delay in the project. With this project connecting the south of Metro Manila to an adjacent province stalled by almost two years, the government’s obligation to the private now stands at over P6 billion.

This is because the government couldn’t resolve right-of-way issues and deliver on key equipment requirements. Its decision to favor one private company over another in related a northern transportation infra project has also resulted in a delay in this southern transportation segment.

So did the government enter into a poorly designed PPP contract that is now costing Filipino taxpayers billions of pesos in compensation fees? Or did some high-ranking government official from the previous administration knowingly structure the contract to benefit the private firm undertaking the long-delayed project?

Whichever it is, something is not right. And this delay just cost Filipinos another P9 million in contractual penalties as of this morning. Nice going, guys. —Daxim L. Lucas

MBA topnotcher from PH

A young Filipino executive at Republic Cement Services Inc., a CRH-Aboitiz company, bagged the prestigious Henry Ford Prize at INSEAD, one of the world’s leading business schools.

Mark Christian Dimal was recognized as the best-performing student among a class of more than 500 of the world’s brightest, most motivated and most-driven business talents on INSEAD’s full-time MBA course class of 2016.

“Mark personifies what makes Filipino workers so sought after at all levels of employment: Ambition, creativity, intelligence, warmth of personality and an ability to work together across cultural boundaries,” INSEAD National Alumni Association of the Philippines president Leo Cloma said. “The Ford Prize is a huge and worthy recognition of Mark’s ability to excel in this environment.”

Dimal, a vertical integration director at Republic Cement, is a Management Engineering graduate of Ateneo de Manila University (magna cum laude, Class of 2004). He had previously worked at La Farge, Del Monte Philippines and GlaxoSmithKline Philippines.

Unlike other top business schools, INSEAD’s full-time MBA course is condensed into a single-year program, making it particularly intense. This business school has campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and Middle East (Abu Dhabi) alongside alliances with top institutions. —Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Attention grabbing safety video

The commercial aviation business is highly competitive and airlines do their best to set themselves apart from rivals.

There’s everything from price, level of service and destinations all the way to the food, legroom, in-flight entertainment, the kinds of seats and textures used, and apparently, even onboard safety videos.

For its latest launch, PAL took a unique approach to the safety video, usually a staid presentation shown as the aircraft prepares for take-off. Unsurprisingly, it often gets ignored despite being a crucial trove of information in case of an emergency.

PAL’s video was unveiled as the first of its kind because of its crowdsourced approach.

The video itself displayed all the important information (fastening seat belts or making sure your oxygen mask is on before helping others) with an interesting twist.

The backdrop was nine popular destinations across the Philippines. These were Manila, Legazpi, Cebu, Boracay, Davao, Coron, Laoag, Bohol and Cagayan de Oro.

The crowdsourced approach was via the 15 Filipinos from the nine locales demonstrating a specific safety feature. The video’s “stars,” incidentally telegenic individuals, had to hurdle an auction process.

The end-result was also effective since it was a showcase of what the country has to offer. That, and possible future revenues from the millions of passengers that fly PAL annually.

The creative campaign was co-developed with the McCann Worldgroup (Philippines). For those watching this space closely, that’s the same group that brought us those emotional pre-Valentine’s Day Jollibee commercials that instantly went viral. —Miguel R. Camus

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