MVP and the 12-year-old boy | Inquirer Business
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MVP and the 12-year-old boy

/ 10:11 PM December 01, 2013

Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan’s time is worth its weight in gold, considering the many multibillion-peso companies as well as corporate foundations that he has under his wing.

A 12-year-old, 7th grader from Cranford, New Jersey, however, prompted Pangilinan to send a rare e-mail response.


Joshua Furer informed the Philippine Disaster Relief Foundation, a corporate-led group formed in the aftermath of tropical storm “Ondoy” in 2009, that he was organizing a donation drive for the victims of the Bohol earthquake and Supertyphoon “Yolanda” with the help of his parents and friends. Furer, whose mother was born in the Philippines, however, wanted to know where the donations to PDRF’s Brick by Brick project (meant to help affected communities get back on their feet) will actually go.

Impressed by the efforts of the young boy, Pangilinan took it upon himself to answer Furer’s questions.


In his e-mail, Pangilinan thanked Furer for his selfless effort to help the disaster victims.

“You’re an amazing kid,” said Pangilinan.

And in response to the question, Pangilinan said: “Owing to the scale and complexity of the disaster, it is difficult to be precise as to the allocation of what will be raised. That said, some of it will go for immediate and basic relief of the victims, such as food, medicine, blankets, potable water. But the bulk of it will be devoted for rehabilitation—houses, classrooms, and livelihood creation.”

With that assurance, Furer and his friends from New Jersey will likely feel even more encouraged to help rebuild the Philippines, one brick at a time. Tina Arceo-Dumlao


BSP’s new superpowers

Barring any hitches, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is set to emerge as one of the most powerful regulatory offices in the country, thanks to the proposed amendments to the New Central Bank Act now being deliberated on in Congress.


BSP has long contended that it had inadequate tools to regulate the country’s fast developing financial markets and protect the Philippine economy from crises. But that will no longer be the case once the proposed amendments are passed.

First, BSP officials and employees will finally have their long-coveted “immunity from suit” status for actions done in the performance of their duties. At the same time, the bill removes the requirement for these officials to “exercise extraordinary diligence” in their work.

The bill gives BSP the authority to require any person or entity to surrender financial data and information through a subpoena (punishable by contempt if one fails to comply).

Then, HB 3112 also empowers BSP to obtain information on transactions between a bank and its parent company, subsidiary or affiliate. This means that the central bank will, for example, be able to probe transactions of any firm in the SM group (under which BDO falls) or any firm in the Ayala group (which owns BPI)—a power previously reserved for the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Perhaps more importantly, the proposed law will empower BSP to look into bank deposits and investment accounts outside the ambit of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, notwithstanding present restrictions imposed by bank secrecy laws.

Finally, BSP will also have the power to approve—or disapprove —transfers of ownership of at least 10 percent of a bank’s shares (whether done in one tranche or many).

From having insufficient regulatory powers under its present setup, it looks like BSP will soon have superpowers piled on it in spades. Daxim L. Lucas

8th for S&R

Upscale S&R Membership Shopping opened last week its biggest store so far, occupying the former site of Cherry Foodarama supermarket along Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong. It’s seen as a key milestone for Chinese-Filipino retailer Lucio Co-led Puregold group not only because this latest store beats all other existing S&R stores in sheer size but because it’s the first time in 12 years that a new S&R store has opened in Metro Manila.

In a chat with Biz Buzz, Puregold president Leonardo Dayao noted that all the four older S&R stores in the metropolis—BGC, Aseana (Parañaque), Congressional Ave. (Quezon City) and Alabang—have all been there for more than a decade. The latest store is also the only two-story S&R store to date and is about 25-percent bigger in terms of net selling area than the usual S&R footprint of 4,000 to 5,000 square meters. This is the eighth in S&R’s chain, which is more discerning in store openings than its more aggressive sister brand, Puregold (which caters to a broader market). S&R also has stores in San Fernando (Pampanga), Davao and Cebu.

S&R’s target is to open one new store each year and the faster-than-expected completion of the vast Mandaluyong store is seen just in time for the Christmas season. It has not identified where the next branch will open in 2014 but Dayao said it would most likely be within Metro Manila or within Luzon. Doris C. Dumlao

Bidding out in haste?

Remember the power barge that ran aground off Estancia, Iloilo, at the height of supertyphoon Yolanda? Well, it’s been leaking oil and polluting the shorelines of eight barangays because its hull was damaged.

Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) invited bidders on short notice to help clean up the spill and re-float the power barge (one requirement being that the winning bidder mobilize its clean-up crew within 48 hours of being awarded the contract).

Two bidders showed up at PSALM, but one was immediately disqualified for submitting an incomplete bid. The other one was also disqualified, eventually, after it submitted a bid that was beyond the approved P96.8-million budget for the project.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Due to the “emergency nature” of the project, PSALM’s bids and awards committee decided to convene another bidding process 30 minutes after the failure of the first, with corresponding adjustments to the terms of reference. (The budget was raised to P100 million, value-added tax inclusive.)

Surprise, surprise. A third bidder—which we shall call “K.Y.”— suddenly showed up and joined the fray. The committee received the company’s bid, along with the two other bidders, and—lo and behold—declared K.Y. the winning bidder for having quoted the lowest contract price of P87.2 million.

Here’s the other thing: A check with corporate regulators’ records showed that K.Y. was a new name for a company that once was involved in the business of collecting, purifying and distributing water. Alkaline water, to be exact. In had a paid up capital of P62,500 in this business.

According to a source in PSALM, the bids and awards committee recommended later that evening to disqualify K.Y. because it failed to meet the financial requirements for the project. PSALM’s leadership has yet to act on the recommendation though, and announcements were already made that K.Y. had already bagged the deal.

Incidentally, a quick check of K.Y.’s business address in Taguig City by our source revealed that no such firm held office in that location. Which makes us wonder: Is this how post-Yolanda rehabilitation and rebuilding contracts will be bid out? We certainly hope not.

Interestingly, the terms of reference of the contract included a provision that allowed the winning bidder to adjust the price later on, with the consent of PSALM. Interesting, huh? Daxim L. Lucas

ETF debut

Today (Monday) marks the listing debut in the Philippines of the first under a new asset class called exchange traded funds (ETF), which bourse officials hope will further boost retail participation in the equities market.

The pioneering fund is First Metro Philippine Equity Exchange Traded Fund Inc., which will trade under the symbol FMETF. The Philippine Stock Exchange has approved the shelf listing of up to 30 million common shares of FMETF with a par value of P100 each. At present, FMETF has 7.5 million in issued and outstanding shares.

Like mutual funds, ETF pools funds by selling shares to the investing public. But unlike mutual funds, its price is quoted real time so investors immediately know how much they are buying or selling their ETF shares for. ETF investors may buy or sell shares through trading participants.

FMETF aims to “provide returns that would reflect the performance of the local equities market by investing in a basket of securities included in the Philippine Stock Exchange index or PSEi. The opening NAVPS (net asset value per share) of FMETF on its listing debut today is P99.20. Doris C. Dumlao

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