Biz Buzz: Stranglehold | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: Stranglehold

/ 05:16 AM February 20, 2015

Industrial espionage is not limited to the big players in the West. It’s also happening right here, right now.

Biz Buzz learned that a foreign company that just lost a government contract worth at least $50 million allegedly did everything to make sure that the government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) that took over the contract would fail.


From the onset, the foreign firm never completed its turnover. Security codes, usernames, access passwords and the like were not given to the GOCC.

The GOCC, which handles the printing of vital security documents, learned that the foreign company continued to have access to its old files. Our source tells us that this is not only illegal but also poses a serious threat to the department that the GOCC is now servicing.


What makes the case of industrial espionage potentially dangerous for the country is that the foreign firm also has an ongoing contract with another very important government agency.

The financial sector can be crippled by this foreign corporation if it so desires or, say, if it wants to get even with the government for depriving them of the goose that’s been laying golden eggs for them the past six or seven years. Daxim L. Lucas

Lifting boardroom ban

TWO Alphaland Corp. officials have avoided a five-year ban from sitting on the board of any company applying to list on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

To recall, this boardroom ban was a harsh consequence of the involuntary delisting process initiated by the Philippine Stock Exchange against Alphaland for certain violations, such as non-compliance with the listing agreement and repeated failures to make “timely, adequate and accurate” disclosures of information.

In separate letters to Alphaland president Mario Oreta and corporate secretary Rodolfo Ma. Ponferrada dated Feb. 17, PSE president Hans Sicat said the disqualification from becoming a director and/or executive officer of any company applying for listing was maintained until Dec. 31, 2014. And because it’s now 2015, this suggests that the disqualification is no longer in effect.

This change of heart from the PSE was triggered by an appeal from Alpahaland chair Roberto V. Ongpin, aka RVO, that the two be spared from the five-year disqualification. RVO explained that the disclosures in question “were upon his explicit instructions,” which Oreta and Ponferrada “simply implemented” as officers of the company. In other words, RVO took sole responsibility and would be the only one subject to the five-year ban.


This latest ruling from the PSE is a breakthrough for Oreta since Major Homes, a real estate company run by his son Quinto Oreta, plans to go public this year. Without this change of heart from the PSE, Oreta would otherwise be banned from sitting on the board of this company.

Sicat ended his letter to both Oreta and Ponferrada with a stern reminder: “You are hereby put on notice that any similar infraction will not be taken lightly by the Exchange.” Doris C. Dumlao

Not in Luzon, please

THE Department of Energy was managing expectations anew as it warned of rotating brownouts in Luzon this summer. At least that’s what participants in a power market roundtable thought when asked whether hours and hours of heat and darkness awaited consumers.

Representatives from energy solutions suppliers, power generation and distribution utilities said the outages could possibly, but not likely, last for hours on end, considering efforts to minimize power plant shutdowns, curb energy usage during peak hours, and persuade more companies into using their own generation sets during critical periods in order to ease the strain on the grid.

A participant then quipped that, maybe, it would help ease demand if the government were to declare an extended Holy Week holiday.

But a holiday where?

“Let’s cool off in Baguio,” said one forum participant.

“No. That’s still in the Luzon grid,” an official from a utility company said. He then suggested it would be better to go somewhere outside the main grid.

Right on cue, places from Mindanao all the way to Japan cropped up.

“It’s all good,” said another participant. “Just not in Luzon.” Riza Olchondra

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TAGS: alphaland corp., Department of Energy, GOCC, government-owned and -controlled corporation, Mario Oreta, Roberto V. Ongpin
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