Biz Buzz: Golden boy | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: Golden boy

/ 07:25 AM July 08, 2015

While Pinoys are feting University of the Philippines’ summa cum laude graduate Tiffany Uy for garnering the highest post-war general weighted average at the premier state university, the first family of tycoon Lucio Tan is celebrating a similarly outstanding achievement by a third-generation scion at a top American university from the same Class of 2015.

The tycoon’s grandson and namesake Lucio Tan III—son of Lucio “Bong” Tan II—graduated summa cum laude from Stanford University with a double degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Among other citations, the young Tan obtained the Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Scholarship award, an annual citation given by Stanford’s School of Engineering to seniors for outstanding academic achievement.

Education is a big thing as far as Kapitan’s household is concerned. As a rule, a source from the family said that “since Kapitan doesn’t stay in one house, he places responsibility on the moms to make sure the kids get good grades.”


So what’s next for the golden boy? No, he’s not joining the family conglomerate. In fact, he’s not yet returning to the Philippines. Instead, he’s heading to Silicon Valley to join tech giant Apple, the world’s most valuable brand, based on Forbes’ 2015 ranking.–Doris Dumlao-Abadilla


Bananas under threat

The banana producers of Mindanao are up in arms against a threat to their export business, which might die because of a potential man-made calamity through a proposed piece of legislation.

House Bill 5161—An Act Regulating the Establishment and Implementation of Agribusiness Venture Arrangements (AVAs) in Agrarian Reform Areas—has been the subject of protests from banana plantation operators as well as cooperatives of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

Authored by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr., the proposed bill contains provisions unacceptable to most banana plantations companies and its ARBs.

Among the provisions opposed by banana growers is one that limits the lease contracts on banana plantations between the growers and the agrarian reform beneficiaries (who own the land) to five years—something best left to the discretion of the private parties involved, the industry believes.

The bill will also allow the agrarian reform beneficiary to opt out of its contract with the banana grower unilaterally if the former feels that his economic conditions have changed. Banana growers feel feel this provision unfairly shields the agrarian reform landowners from the responsibility of adhering to contracts they enter into.


No less than the umbrella organization of the Philippine banana industry, the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), has appealed to various government agencies to stop the bill, which will endanger the viability of the $1-billion banana export industry.

In a position paper submitted to six department secretaries, the banana exporters said HB5161 is seen as “just one of the series of policy lobbying orchestrated by militant groups to sustain their protests versus government for whatever ground they deem reasonable.”

Exports of Cavendish bananas has breached the $1-billion mark as it grew 18.06 percent from $962.58 million in 2013 to $1.13 billion in 2014, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show.–Daxim L. Lucas

Speaking of which …

Another man-made threat hounding the banana industry are efforts of self-styled environmentalist NGOs led by National Task Force on Aerial Spray Ban to ban, well, aerial spraying in banana plantations. These groups are backed by seven party-list lawmakers through another proposed legislation—HB 3857—which is “an Act prohibiting aerial spraying as a method of applying chemicals and similar substances on agricultural crops.”

Of course, industry observers are alarmed by this latest development since it’s an old issue, which has been proven to be accusations without real basis.

Aerial spraying is a generally accepted agricultural practice by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations under certain limitations, which the banana industry is strictly adopting lest its importers stop buying from them.

The issue on aerial spraying has actually been extensively discussed during a congressional hearing held in Davao City in November 2009. During that hearing, the NGOs were exposed lying, inventing ill effects of aerial spraying to villagers living near the plantation areas.

These NGOs and congressmen might not know that they are being influenced by other business interests eyeing the Philippines’ dominant share of the banana market in Japan, which buys more than 90 percent of its bananas from Mindanao’s producers.

Lobby money from the Netherlands is behind the campaign against aerial spraying being waged by a coalition of NGOs whose members are all getting funding from the Netherlands-based CordAid International, one of Europe’s biggest private-sector aid development agencies.

Documents showed Dutch policies to undermine banana producers worldwide but support banana growers in Dutch colonies like Indonesia. Dutch interests are present in the export banana plantations in Indonesia’s Maluku Islands, specifically at Halmahera and Sumateira.

Recent news indicated Indonesia would export 1,000 tons of bananas per year with zero tariffs to Japan through the two countries’ economic partnership agreement. Bananas dominate Japan’s imported fruit market. More than 90 percent of Japan’s imported bananas come from the Philippines.

Do we want to lose that market?–Daxim L. Lucas

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TAGS: banana exports, bananas, Biz Buzz, graduates, Indonesia, Japan, Lucio Tan III, Philippines

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