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Biz Buzz: ‘Martial law’ in Ayala Alabang

/ 12:13 AM August 24, 2015

WITH the heated debate among villagers on whether or not to open a new village gate at the end of San Jose St. to the adjacent Filinvest Corporate City, households closest to the proposed gateway (mostly in district 5) have put up signs and tarpaulins to express their vehement opposition. The tarps say “no to San Jose gate” and “no to friendship route.”

But the Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA)—which backs the opening of the San Jose gate to help ease the worsening traffic congestion in the area—has instructed the village guards to take pictures of houses carrying signs of protest.

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Since the security guards can not remove the signs or posters lest be accused of trespassing on private property, AAVA passed a resolution to identify the houses with such signs and slap a daily fine of P100 from the time a notice was made until the sign was removed.

The accumulated fine will be added to the association dues, based on a letter issued by the village manager to protesting homeowners. This means that if these signs stay for a year, these households will be fined with P36,400.

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In its warning to these households, AAVA cited several resolutions and this provision in the deed of restrictions: “Commercial or advertising signs shall not be placed, constructed or erected on the lots. Name plates and professional signs of the occupants are permitted so long as they do not exceed 30×60 cm in size, or roughly 1×2 feet.” There was likewise a new resolution to “disallow any individual resident-member or interest group or groups to announce on tarpaulin, either fixed or mobile, their ideas, expecting other residents to take action for or against the association or the barangay.”

The protesters are concerned about security risks that may arise from the opening of the proposed gateway and insist that AAVA follow due process, one of which is to get written concurrence from 75 percent of lot owners residing along the affected roads.

“The residents with tarps are opposing the move as this is a curtailment of their freedom of [expression],” a resident said. Another said it was the dawning of “Martial law” in the village.

The issue is seen leading to something like a civil war that’s dividing the residents. Among the popular personalities/homeowners who have joined the protest is Bro. Mike Velarde of El Shaddai, who has two tarps in his house. Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson also has one of those tarps. But there are heavyweights at the other side of the fence as well, namely: former President Fidel V. Ramos and former AFP chief and Senator Rodolfo Biazon. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Landbank unrest

THERE’S growing discontent at Land Bank of the Philippines nowadays, owing to the supposedly wide pay gap between the top echelon officials of the government financial institution and its rank-and-file personnel.

Biz Buzz was made aware that a number of Landbank employees—mostly members of its union, called the Land Bank of the Philippines Employees Association (LBPEA)—wore black during the bank’s 52nd anniversary celebration.

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The black color was worn in protest to the supposed refusal of Landbank president and CEO Gilda Pico to “uplift the living conditions of the employees” by granting the wage increase sought by the employees.

Instead of a wage increase, the LBPEA people said Pico had ordered another round of the Housing Fund Special Assistance Loan to be released to interested employees by March 2016 at an interest rate of 2 percent.

But what’s wrong with that?

Well, nothing really, except that the LBPEA people are chafing over the multimillion peso salaries of their top brass.

In a statement sent to Biz Buzz, the unhappy employees pointed out that Pico made P3.3 million in 2012, P9.8 million in 2013, and P6.3 million in 2014, in the form of salaries and allowances, as reported by the Commission on Audit.

Executive vice president Rabboni Arjonillo made P1.8 million in 2012, P7.1 million in 2013, and P7.2 million in 2014. Another EVP, Andres Sarmiento, made P6.1 million in 2012, P6.2 million in 2013, and P6.2 million in 2014.

EVP Cecilia Borromeo made P5.2 million in 2012, P5.8 million in 2013, and P5.8 million in 2014; while EVP Jocelyn Cabreza made P4 million in 2012, P4.8 million in 2013, and P5 million in 2014.

EVP Julio Climaco made P4.7 million in 2012, P4.8 million in 2013, and P4 million in 2014.

Board members Crispino Aguelo, Tomas de Leon Jr., Domingo Diaz and Victor Gerardo Bulatao also made millions during the three years reported, ranging from P1.5 million for all three in 2012 to some P3 million each in succeeding years.

“It clearly shows that employees compensation and benefits are left behind, while the senior officers and board members are enjoying the biggest slice of the cake,” the union statement said, pointing out that no additional wages came their way despite President Aquino’s order to state firms to implement additional benefits for good performance.

Well, no wonder they’re upset. Daxim L. Lucas

Nine lives

OUR favorite smuggler in religious robes appears to have nine lives in his nefarious racket, thanks to his deep connections that run all the way to the upper echelons of the government’s revenue raising agencies.

A Buzzard told us that one of the consistent buyers of our smuggler in robes’ high-end but competitively priced toys was a top executive of a luxury car dealer in Metro Manila.

The Buzzard said this executive had a drool-worthy supercar parked in front of his dealership’s showroom which he bought from the smuggler in robes.

The Buzzard said the executive had other exotic cars in his collection that was supplied by the smuggler in robes.

It appears to be a mutually beneficial relationship as our smuggler in robes also uses the executive’s car dealership as a front to provide legitimacy to his smuggled vehicles.

In fact, the executive was supposed to help in fixing the papers and records of some of the 14 luxury vehicles brought in by the smuggler in robes but impounded at the Batangas port two weeks ago.

Our source told us the smuggler in robes remained confident of bringing out his stash of exotic cars with the help of his two financiers, led by a jewelry merchant (with initials “DC”) and a tax receipts trader (initials “KC”) pulling the strings. Who knows? These impounded cars might be cruising as early as next week on the favored test drive routes in the La Vista-Corinthian-Acropolis Village triangle, east of the luxury car row along Edsa. Gil Cabacungan

Rising son

TYCOON Andrew Tan’s Megaworld Corp. unveiled way more than a couple of new commercial buildings at the company’s Uptown Bonifacio township in a briefing last week.

You see, joining that event—and taking questions for the first time—was Tan’s own son, Kevin, head of Megaworld’s commercial division.

Apparently, the younger Tan played a key role in pushing for the creation of the commercial unit when Megaworld was still very much a residential and office space builder.

This, as any Filipino who has visited a shopping mall knows, turned out to be the right bet that helped buoy the company’s recurring earnings and positioned it among the largest developers in the Philippines today.

That fact that Tan joined the briefing suggested that he would be playing a bigger role in the years to come.

After all, he has already been running his division, with the help of the company’s professional managers, semi-independently, so to speak.

“My father is not a micromanager. He allows us to run and create our own legacy within the confines of Megaworld,” Tan shared, adding that Andrew Tan’s role was still to provide the vision and strategic direction.

Given his track record, the future seems bright for this particular builder. Miguel R. Camus

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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