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Women power

/ 05:32 AM April 16, 2014

In line with a recent Grant Thornton study, which showed that Filipino women are getting more influential in boardroom, Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands has brought onboard two more women to its board of directors. This makes five out of BPI’s 15 board members women—more than the comparative representation in the boardroom of other big banks in the country.

The two new roses in BPI’s board— Vivian Que Azcona (independent director) and Dolores Yuvienco—are industry leaders as well. Azcona is the president of leading drug store chain Mercury Group of Companies Inc. and recently included by Forbes Asia magazine as among the two Filipino women (the other being Banco de Oro chair Teresita Sy-Coson) in its roster of “most powerful businesswomen in Asia.”

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Yuvienco, on the other hand, is a retired banking regulator who had spent more than 25 years at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ supervision and examination sector.

Yuvienco and Azcona were elected to BPI’s board last week, joining three other women in the bank’s boardroom: Rebecca Fernando, Mercedita Nolledo and Astrid Tuminez (independent director).

Other big banking rivals have one or two directors up for nomination this year although in the case of Banco de Oro Unibank, the ultimate boss is a woman, chair Sy-Coson.

Coincidentally (or not), BPI harnessed more women power while embracing a new slogan “make the best happen.” Doris C. Dumlao

Speaking of women …

AFTER decades of service, one of the country’s most-respected central bankers is set to step down soon.

Cyd Tuano-Amador, assistant governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) monetary policy sub-sector, was finally allowed to retire by Governor Amando Tetangco. Her retirement takes effect at the end of next month, our sources say.

To be clear, Tuano-Amador is still far from reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60. Her decision to leave government service was due to her desire to spend more time with her family.

See, all her relatives already live abroad, making it very lonely for Tuano-Amador here in the Philippines.

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Her retirement is a loss for the country, really. As assistant governor, she is just two notches below Tetangco. She is the most senior and the highest-ranking female in the BSP. This makes her one of the best bets to become the country’s first female central bank head.

But fear not, feminists. One female assistant governor remains: Ramona “Winnie” Santiago, head of the central bank’s treasury department.

Biz Buzz tried to reach Tuano-Amador for comment, but she is currently in Washington attending the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting. Paolo Montecillo

 

Save water, save power

CONSUMERS don’t just have to save electricity to ease the tight supply and high demand this summer. Apparently consumers have to save water, too.

National Power Corp. (Napocor) president Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita has a gentle reminder to the public: Angat Dam’s water is dropping in terms of elevation amid the summer heat.

Angat’s reserves serve Metro Manila households in terms of treated water via private concessionaires, as well as farms in Bulacan via irrigation channels. The same water source powers a 246-megawatt hydroelectric power generation facility.

Sta. Rita said Angat’s water level had reached 188.35 meters above sea level (masl) as of early Friday and if this hits the critical level of 180 masl, the state-owned power firm would be constrained from releasing water for irrigation and power since the priority is to secure Metro Manila’s water supply.

The National Water Resources Board has apparently directed Napocor, the dam’s operator, to reduce the release of water from 45 cubic meters per second (cms) to 41 cms. With less water allocation, the facility is only able to produce 18 MW from its auxiliary units and 14 MW from the main unit.

“Water conservation is a must now,” she said. Riza T. Olchondra

Cuisia’s working vacation

MANILA’S envoy to Washington Jose L. Cuisia Jr. is on vacation, but his stay in the Philippines will be further extended as the government prepares for US President Barack Obama’s visit on April 28 to 29.

Cuisia was supposed to be off from work only until Easter Sunday, but with President Obama’s much anticipated arrival (sans wife Michelle, unfortunately) before this month ends, the ambassador also has a lot of work to do here.

Obama’s visit comes at a very opportune time, according to Cuisia, citing the growing interest in the Philippines as an investment destination among US companies.

“Nothing attracts more [foreign direct investment] than high growth,” he noted.

For the part of the Philippine Embassy in the US, it “will continue to market the Philippines as the new high growth market in Asia,” the envoy said.

The ambassador is also excited about the US-Asean Business Council delegation that will be in town on June 3 to 4.

Up to six CEOs—including Evan G. Greenberg, the head honcho of Zurich-based insurance firm ACE Ltd.—will be part of the business mission, Cuisia said. Ben O. de Vera

(Land)lord of scents

The so-called “Lord of Scents” will soon be a landlord, too.

During the recent glitzy, French chic-themed announcement of the P1-billion “reinvention” of the historic Admiral Hotel, host Johnny Litton told guests that the scented giveaways were courtesy of businessman Joel Cruz, who’s behind the Aficionado fragrances and a namesake personal care line.

It further slipped from Litton that Cruz would be the owner of 21 units in the Anchor Land upscale development Admiral Baysuites, which, alongside the luxurious Admiral Boutique Hotel, will stand tall along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

When later pressed by reporters, Cruz confirmed the acquisition, saying that a major come-on was the property’s nice location. “It’s overlooking Manila Bay, Makati, and it’s in Metro Manila,” he pointed out.

But his lips were sealed when Cruz was asked how much he shelled out for the purchase.

Cruz shared that most of the fully furnished units he had booked would be rented out. But there’s definitely one unit Cruz said he would stay in—“the one with swimming pool.” Ben O. de Vera

Moving south

IF YOU visit the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc.’s (Seipi) office at the RCBC Plaza in Makati these days, you’d only find boxes full of rubbish as well as abandoned chairs and tables in there.

That’s because the industry lobby group has already moved to a bigger space in Alabang—at Insular Life Corporate Center, which is also conveniently near a mall, as Seipi president Dan Lachica notes.

Lachica says the new Seipi headquarters will house not only offices but also training facilities. The Alabang office will also cost the industry group less as rent in Alabang is cheaper than in Makati, adds Lachica.

Another convenience: At a location south of Metro Manila, it is closer to many member-companies whose factories are mostly within ecozones in the Calabarzon area. “Before when we have visitors we could not immediately bring them on tours to manufacturing plants because these are far from the former office,” Lachica shares.

And with a truck ban in the city of Manila—which has electronics exporters complaining about, as it causes delays in delivery of shipments to-and-from the country’s largest and busiest seaport—a drive down south may be less troublesome to industry players than trooping to the metropolitan center. Ben O. de Vera

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: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Bank of the Philippines Islands, BSP, Cyd Tuano-Amador, Governor Amando Tetangco, Grant Thornton study, Jose L. Cuisia Jr., Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita, napocor, National Power Corp., Vivian Que Azcona
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