Biz Buzz: Sacked

/ 06:56 AM March 13, 2015

A son-in-law of a prominent businessman, erstwhile influential in the affairs of the conglomerate, will be stripped off all responsibilities in the group.

No less than the patriarch, earlier thought to hold this man in high esteem, is signing the pink slip, industry sources said.


With the group embroiled in a power play between two factions, the ouster is speculated to shake up the precarious balance of power.

But what caused his ouster? Suffice to say, this person is the subject of corporate governance concerns. Some people speculate that the “straw that broke the camel’s back” could be a controversial and extraordinary accommodation given to a friend—one that has put one business of the group in a bad light.–Doris C. Dumlao


Pacman for EastWest

Ahead of the much-awaited boxing match with the boisterous Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao has been signed up to become East West Bank’s newest brand ambassador.

“I am proud to represent EastWest, a young bank that dreams big and works really hard to reach its goals, just like me,” the Filipino boxer said of his endorsement deal with the bank of the Gotianun group.

EastWest chief executive officer Antonio Moncupa Jr. said the bank could not have chosen a better brand endorser than the world-renowned boxing champ.

“Pacquiao is a hero who embodies the excellent qualities of the Filipino spirit. Starting as an underdog, he fought with bigger opponents and emerged one of the greatest boxing champions the world has ever had… He has always been focused, disciplined and determined to win; and one who humbly dedicates his victory to God and country,” he said.

For the bank, Pacquiao’s phenomenal rise could be likened to its own drive to excel by offering exceptional products and services and investing in technology and training.

Starting out with a small branch network, East West Bank now has 405 branches.–Doris C. Dumlao


Filipino citizenship affirmed

The Bureau of Immigration has dismissed deportation complaints against businessman Joseph C. Sy and upheld his Filipino citizenship in a recent decision approved unanimously by the three immigration commissioners.

In their order dismissing the complaint, the three commissioners said Sy did not merely rely on the presumption of the validity of his birth certificate but also submitted other documents to substantially establish his Philippine citizenship.

The three immigration commissioners were Siegfred B. Mison (chair), Gilberto U. Repizo and Abdullah S. Mangotara. The order was approved on Feb. 26, affirming a similar conclusion by members of the Board of Special Inquiry of the immigration bureau.

The order said that, under Section 37 of Republic Act 2711, only aliens should be the subject of deportation proceedings.

The order also cited a previous Supreme Court decision (Chua Hiong vs. Deportation Board) that a citizen is entitled “to live in peace, without molestation from any official or authority; and if he is disturbed by a deportation proceeding, he has the unquestionable right to resort to the courts for protection.”

Joseph Sy is president of Platinum Group Metals Corp. and Ferrochrome Resources Inc., and is a board director of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The deportation complaint was triggered by an anonymous letter filed in April 2014 that imputed criminal and administration violations allegedly committed by Sy.–Daxim L. Lucas

Problems solved?

A consortium backed by German firms Schunk Group and HEAG Mobilio is facing tough odds when it submitted a P4.65-billion rehabilitation and maintenance plan for the busy but troubled MRT 3.

After all, the Department of Transportation and Communications is already pursuing its own rehabilitation plan, which apparently costs more at P4.76 billion. This is apart from the fact that unsolicited proposals are generally not entertained by this administration.

But the consortium went ahead and submitted the proposal, believing that the three-year plan, which apparently comes with no strings attached, would benefit MRT 3 commuters, said Roehl Bacar, president of the consortium’s local partner Comm Builders and Technology Philippines Corp.

According to Bacar, all the group wants is for the DOTC to study its proposal and invite others to compete for the project via a Swiss challenge. He added that the proposal sent to the DOTC contained enough details for the agency to adopt for its own use, even if it would not want to go through that route.

The proposal covers six main areas: The overhaul of MRT 3’s train cars, rail replacement, upgrade of ancillary systems, upgrade in CTC and signaling, upgrade of conveyance systems, as well as a three-year maintenance. (It should be noted that the DOTC had been seeking bidders for the MRT 3’s three-year maintenance but that the process had already failed twice.)

The offer of the consortium, whose German members have more than a 100 years of expertise, also raises an interesting question: Should all these rehabilitation projects be undertaken by one group with a single comprehensive plan, or should it be auctioned off piecemeal, which the DOTC is currently doing?

“All of the technical problems of the MRT 3 will be solved by this proposal,” Bacar said.

That’s a tall claim. But given the magnitude of the problem, it might just be one worth looking into.–Miguel R. Camus

PSE on Nieves

The Philippine Stock Exchange has stood pat on its decision to suspend local stock brokerage Nieves Securities Inc. since May last year.

“There is a lot of responsibility and accountability that goes with operating a brokerage firm, especially as they handle investments of investors in the market,” PSE president Hans Sicat said. “The owners of brokerage firms must adhere to the suitability requirements of the exchange as this is one of the mechanisms by which the PSE promotes investor protection. This is nothing peculiar to the exchange’s regulatory framework as we also impose the same over listed companies and even firms conducting valuation exercises. We recognize the importance of the roles of all these stakeholders in maintaining the integrity of the market even as we take our role to maintain public trust seriously.”

Among others, the PSE is questioning the qualifications of the people who had gained control of NSI since 2011.

“If the requirements of the PSE are not met, we cannot accept the application of any party to be owners of firms that operate a stock brokerage business,” Sicat said.–Doris C. Dumlao

Spotlight: Taal

Taal Vista Hotel, a historic destination in Tagaytay province, recently played host to deputies from finance ministries and central banks of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member economies.

The Philippines is the host of Apec 2015, a series of meetings that will culminate in a Leaders’ Summit this November. The picturesque Taal Vista Hotel garden was among the chosen venues for the welcome dinner and cultural presentation presented by the Apec national organizing committee in cooperation with the Department of Finance.

The gala dinner and show, titled “Blissed Out in Tagaytay,” featured performances from young Filipino artists handpicked by the Apec subcommittee on arts.

Delegates gathered at the landmark hotel to firm up the Cebu Action Plan and to discuss means to accelerate public-private partnerships, which are seen as helpful in boosting job-generating investments.

Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran welcomed the delegates and expressed optimism on the outcome of the meeting.

Taal Vista Hotel is a landmark hotel in Tagaytay City which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. It is known for its view of Taal Lake and volcano. Taal Vista is among many world class venues that SM has developed as part of its thrust to raise the bar in Philippine tourism.–Daxim L. Lucas

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TAGS: APEC, Business, EastWest bank, German consortium, immigration, Joseph Sy, Manny Pacquiao, MRT 3, Nieves Securities, ouster, PSE, rehabilitation, Taal Vista Hotel
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