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Biz Buzz: Miners weigh presidentiables

/ 12:26 AM September 16, 2015

The Local mining industry kicked off its annual summit Tuesday and, according to our sources, attendees came not to look back at the scant progress they made over the previous year, but to divine if the industry can make progress when a new Philippine president assumes office next year.

Biz Buzz learned that officials of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines invited the top three presidentiables to speak at the summit being held at the Solaire hotel and casino resort in Parañaque City to hear their views on the mining industry.

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We hear that Sen. Grace Poe had to beg off from speaking at the conference on Wednesday because, understandably, she is set to speak at a more important event, namely the declaration of her presidential candidacy.

She did, however, speak during last year’s mining conference where she called on the industry to extend the benefits of mining to beyond the towns where mining operations were located (something the mining executives had no problems with). Of course, mining took heart from the fact that Poe is no stranger to mining towns since her grandfather was once the resident physician of Lepanto Mining.

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Then there’s Vice President Jejomar Binay who accepted the Chamber of Mines’ invitation and will speak at the conference on Wednesday.

It’s no surprise that he accepted the invitation, of course, since he had always said in previous summits that he was a supporter of sustainable mining. (Besides, what candidate in his right mind would pass up the chance to spend time with wealthy businessmen who are potential campaign donors, right?)

Finally, there’s former interior and local government secretary Mar Roxas who begged off from the event. We were told that he offered to send a deputy from the DILG to speak at the event, but its officials pointed out that he was no longer the DILG chief… and that they wanted to hear his views (and not anyone else’s) on mining.

So this year’s summit is basically one where the mining industry evaluates its prospects under the top three presidentiables.

So after missing out on the economic benefits of the last five years—no thanks to the extremely restrictive policies of the Aquino administration—the local mining industry is excited to cross the 2016 threshold. Daxim L. Lucas

Andy returns

AFTER a 25-year hibernation, Emperador’s “Andy Player” whisky is making a comeback using a new blend personally concocted by tycoon Andrew Tan himself.

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The new Andy formulation offers a hint of orange marmalade, dried berries and maple syrup and is being pitched to be consumed by people of all ages either “on the rocks” (over ice) or as a cocktail mix with Coke or Mountain Dew.

“I blended this whisky myself and I’ve been working on this for 20 years already,” Tan said during the annual stockholders’ meeting of conglomerate Alliance Global Group Inc. (AGI) on Tuesday.

Andy Player has a huge sentimental value to the self-made billionaire as this was Emperador’s very first label when the liquor firm was much smaller than the global player that it is today.

The opportunity to revive Andy came about following Emperador’s acquisition of Whyte & Mackay, one of the biggest makers of Scotch whisky in the world (with globally known brands such as The Dalmore Single Highland Malt and Jura Premium Single Malt). This acquisition gave Emperador a very good source of whisky ingredients, Tan said. Since whisky is distilled from grain, ingredients are mostly imported so it was difficult to produce high-quality whisky in the last two decades. This is now possible with Emperador’s access to Whyte & Mackay’s distillery.

The suggested retail price for the new Andy is P150 a bottle. Through Whyte & Mackay’s international distribution channels, Tan said Emperador’s product portfolio—including Andy Player—could find its way to more than 50 countries all over the globe while the former could take advantage of Emperador’s Asian distribution network.

“The introduction of Whyte and Mackay brand of whiskies in the country opens up a whole new opportunity for Emperador as whisky is the second fastest-growing liquor segment in the world, next to brandy,” Tan said. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

‘Westside City’

GOODBYE ‘Bayshore City.’

From hereon, integrated gaming developer Travellers International Hotel Group—a partnership between AGI and Malaysian group Genting—will call its second integrated resort at the Pagcor Entertainment City (which will rise by 2018-2019) “Westside City Resorts World.”

This was deemed by the group as “more appropriate” branding for the new project, which will have at least 1,000 hotel rooms operated by Westin Hotel, Hotel Okura, Genting Grand Hotel and Crockfords Tower and a 3,000-seater grand Opera House and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibition) amenities on top of the gaming facilities.

Travellers president Kingson Sian said the group realized that the word “Bay” was overused and had no need to be included in the branding, since it was obvious anyway that the upcoming integrated resort was near Manila Bay.

“We’re on the west side of Manila,” Sian said, explaining the new branding.

Including the additional hotel capacity to rise at Resorts World Manila in Newport City, Travellers’ first hub located right across from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, the integrated resort developer will have at least 5,000 hotel rooms by 2020.

Meanwhile, Travellers seeks to sustain public interest on its original hub in Newport City by promoting the concept of “luck” with a random offering of generous cash prizes and other freebies even at the non-gaming facilities.

Last Aug. 22, a female moviegoer won P1 million when her seat at Newport cinema was luckily picked during a live cinema roulette as documented by Resorts World Manila in the YouTube clip titled “Woman gets lucky in cinema.”

Last January, another lucky woman won P1 million after dining at Passion restaurant (shown in clip “Woman gets hysterical after opening fortune cookie.”

“Obviously, we will not run that for every show,” Sian said, noting that cinema roulette has been randomly introduced since October. “The idea really is to not only watch a movie but to have a thrilling experience while watching a movie. It doesn’t have to be one million. It can be a (hotel) room (accommodation) or some other things. It can be a free movie pass for a year.” But definitely, he said the cinema roulette would be played during a full-house run or showing of blockbuster movies and not during those days when there are a lot of empty seats. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

SMC going legal

FINANCE Secretary Cesar V. Purisima—who chairs the board of directors of Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM)—claims to be unaware of what was causing the rift between the state firm and the administrator of the 1,200 megawatt (MW) Ilijan natural gas power plant.

Purisima, in a text message to Ramon S. Ang, chair of SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., said he had read the issue in the Inquirer and promised to look into it.

Ang said his company would press charges against PSALM’s management headed by president and CEO Lourdes S. Alzona.

Asked whether SMC Global would also press charges against the board of directors, Ang said that would depend on whether they sanctioned PSALM’s actions, including its reinterpretation of SMC Global’s payables and the unilateral termination of the private firm’s contract.

Besides Purisima as chair, PSALM’s board includes Department of Energy OIC Zenaida Y. Monsada, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima and Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo. Riza T. Olchondra

MVP on Aldub

THE ALDUB television segment has truly hit a nerve among Filipino viewers and it’s gotten so big, even businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan acknowledges its popularity.

No, Pangilinan, who heads the country’s third-biggest television network TV5, is not a fan—yet. He hasn’t caught any episode of Aldub, which is derived from the names of a fictional “love team” between celebrities Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza aka Yaya Dub. It’s part of the so-called Kalye-serye segment of long-running noontime show Eat Bulaga that airs on GMA Network.

Needless to say, the show’s ratings have been soaring, though that’s with little help from Pangilinan.

“I have not seen them yet. I saw Yaya Dub [on TV] one time and it was OK. It’s beyond my age,” Pangilinan told Biz Buzz, adding that he was open to watching the noontime show “if I have the time and I’m free.”

While there have been several attempts to explain the show’s popularity, Pangilinan had a simpler view.

“It just goes to show that show biz is so unpredictable,” he quipped.

All of this was said during a relatively more serious event, as TV5 just launched its 2016 elections coverage campaign. Pangilinan, of course, said he was still not running for public office. Miguel R. Camus

Email us at [email protected] 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: ‘AlDub’, Alden Richards, Biz Buzz, Business, Elections, elections 2016, Emperador, Industry, mine, miner, mining, presidentiables, Summit, tycoon, Yaya Dub
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