Biz Buzz: MVP meets HillaryBy the staff
Philippine Daily Inquirer
After rubbing elbows with the Chinese in what some speculated to be an extra-diplomatic initiative amid the Philippines-China Scarborough Shoal spat, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is next out to bring the Philippine agenda to the United States via the US-Philippine Society, a non-profit organization co-chaired by MVP and American diplomat (and former ambassador to the Philippines) John Negroponte. This organization seeks to broaden the relationship between the United States and the Philippines in the areas of trade, investment, education, foreign and security policies and culture.
The association is set to hold its first board meeting on June 7 and likewise host an inaugural dinner in honor of President Aquino during his state visit to the US. As one of its first high-profile activities, US-Philippine Society will have an audience with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the next few days.—Doris C. Dumlao
No mining face-off
A mining forum was convened in the past two days by the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG), but the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines did not have anybody there to champion its cause. The chamber, it turned out, decided not to join the Society of Jesus Social Apostolate Mining Colloquium in Loyola, citing the organizers’ “extreme bias” against the country’s legitimate large-scale miners.
In a letter to Ateneo president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin S.J., however, the chamber said it was still hopeful of having a constructive dialogue with the Ateneo community after the announcement of the Aquino administration’s mining policy.
Citing the original program, the chamber lamented that only mining critics were given a slot at the start of the colloquium to provide an overview on the industry, leaving out industry representatives. It added that sector representatives with profound biases against mining were given a “disproportionately greater” opportunity to reiterate their views in the two-day event while the three invited representatives from the industry—the chamber, Sagittarius Mines and Philex Mining—would have been relegated toward the tail-end of the forum. It was “a seeming afterthought in the event,” the chamber said.
Likewise disappointing for miners was that the book “Is There a Future in Mining?” was scheduled for launching right on day one. The chamber was anticipating this book to reiterate ASoG’s recommendation for a moratorium on the approval of new mining agreements/operations and to lift such moratorium only after certain “governance conditions”—set by anti-mining advocates behind ASoG—were fulfilled.
The chamber, composed of the biggest mining and exploration firms in the country, reiterated in its letter to Ateneo its view that the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and all laws governing large-scale mining were sufficient in terms of addressing the three most significant aspects of any mining project: environment, health and safety, and community development and engagement. What’s needed, the chamber argued, was stringent enforcement and supervision of all mining laws by the government and strict adherence by all companies.
ASoG Dean Antonio La Viña, for his part, said they organized the event as “a leveling off exercise as well as a knowledge-sharing activity.” Asked for his reaction to the chamber’s non-participation, La Viña said the school was actually supportive of responsible mining as echoed by Ateneo president Villarin.
“We are for responsible mining—going beyond platitudes and actually identifying practical steps to assure that this can be done. We have also always gone beyond what is required in engaging all stakeholders in our work, including the mining industry. In the Jesuit Colloquium on Mining, which is an activity under the Society of Jesus Social Apostolate, we have designed three stakeholder sessions—one following after the other—so that those who propose alternatives to mining, government agencies and industry would have a full one and a half hours with us,” La Viña said in a note to Biz Buzz.
It’s unfortunate that the Chamber of Mines has again decided not to participate, the dean said.—Doris C. Dumlao
CFA for transparency
April Lee-Tan, president of The Chartered Financial Analysts Institute Philippines and a widely quoted stock market analyst, rang the closing bell of the Philippine Stock Exchange along with PSE president Hans Sicat on Tuesday as part of the ceremonial global ringing of the stock exchange bells in 25 countries worldwide. This was to jumpstart the monthlong celebration of the CFA Institute’s 50 years of charter legacy. Incidentally, CFA Philippines is also celebrating a major milestone at its 15th year.
Lee-Tan said CFA charter-holders would mark the global milestone with three themes: broader mission, bolder voice and bigger community. With the major investment scandals rocking global markets, Lee-Tan said there was diminished investor trust but this would create more opportunity for CFA to promote practices that will restore such trust.
“CFA Institute and CFA Philippines believe that improving the transparency of capital markets through standardized performance measurements will help shape the investment industry. CFA Philippines has been promoting transparency in the investment sector and we are proud that our charter holders are trained for proper ethics and professionalism,” Lee-Tan said.
Lee-Tan said CFA Philippines was now working closely with the Fund Managers Association of the Philippines to come up with an “asset managers code” that will focus on improving the level of integrity of fund managers. She said this code would be a reminder for fund managers that while it takes a long time to build a good reputation, it takes only a few minutes to destroy it.—Doris C. Dumlao
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