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Biz Buzz: Global CEOs in town

/ 12:59 AM October 12, 2015

SOME of the world’s most influential CEOs—including business luminaries like Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Richard Li of Hong Kong’s Pacific Century Cyberworks— will be in town today until Wednesday for the Forbes Global CEO Conference to be held at the Solaire Resort and Casino at the Pagcor Entertainment City in Parañaque.

Of course, the choice of venue is due mainly to the fact that the event is co-hosted by International Container Terminal Services Inc. of businessman Enrique K. Razon Jr., along with SM Investments Corp./BDO Universal Bank and San Miguel Corp.

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As such, the heads of these corporations—Razon, Teresita Sy-Coson and Ramon Ang—will join the high powered panels that will discuss the latest developments in the world of business over the next three days.

Other high-profile CEOs who will speak on the various panels include Bank of East Asia chair and CEO David Li, Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, Lippo Group’s John Riady, Berjaya Group founder Vincent Tan, along with Filipino CEOs Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Manuel Villar, among others.

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Incidentally, Biz Buzz learned that the three sponsoring business groups forked over a few million dollars each for the right to co-host the event and get their corporate logos promoted on the global stage. We can’t reveal exactly how much each corporation paid, but we’re told that negotiations between the Philippine sponsors and Forbes were “difficult” at the beginning due to differences of opinion over who would be responsible for paying the hefty taxes due the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Forbes, we hear, insisted that the sponsorship fees paid to them be net of taxes (which means anything due the taxman would come from the local corporations). The local firms, on the other hand, were asking: “We’re already paying you this much and we still have to shoulder the taxes on top of that?” (Guess which side prevailed.)

Meanwhile, we heard that Forbes had also approached Megaworld Corp. as a potential sponsor of the event, and its chair, tycoon Andrew Tan, had expressed interest and willingness to fork over the hefty sponsorship fee on one condition: That the event be held at one of Tan’s venues (preferably the spanking new Marriott ballroom at its Newport City development).

Alas, Forbes had already committed to Razon’s Solaire so the magazine publisher just had to say bye to Tan’s sponsorship fees.

No worries, though. Apart from the fees from the three top corporate sponsors, participants to the event (limited to the chair, vice chair, CEO and presidents of companies’ global headquarters) each have to pay a “conference participation fee” of $8,000 per head (approximately P375,000) exclusive of accommodation and travel costs.

Ah, the high cost of business networking. Daxim L. Lucas

‘Better to be damned’

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TWO NEW village gates (at Champaca and San Jose Streets) have been erected at the exclusive Ayala Alabang Village while legal kinks have yet to be threshed out. For this, the Muntinlupa Office of the Building Official issued on Oct. 5 a notice of violation of the National Building Code of the Philippines and ordered the Ayala Alabang Village Association (AAVA) to stop “all activities/illegal demolition/construction” on each of the two gates.

Embattled AAVA president Epifanio Joaquin, for his part, recently apologized for any inconvenience experienced by residents living close to either of the two new gates. “We felt it was both more prudent and practical not to create a spectacle by broadcasting the project’s start date and other related details,” he said in his latest column at the village newsletter.

Claiming “overwhelming” support from homeowners for the opening of the gates and arguing that a referendum was not even required to open new gates, he said AAVA had decided to proceed with construction of the new gates as the “most logical course of action. Many of you have waited well over a decade. In our hearts we knew that any decisions we were to make would be met with continued opposition and resistance from the same individuals.”

Joaquin’s contention was that this was within the “legal confines” of the association’s by-laws and Republic Act 9904 or the Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners Association. Among others, this Magna Carta authorizes homeowners’ associations to modify and improve common areas provided that the changes do not contradict the approved subdivision plan.

Borrowing a quote from a former Cabinet Secretary, Joaquin said of his predicament: “It’s better to be damned and have done something rather than be damned and have done nothing,” adding that the impact of urbanization on the village could no longer be ignored. Addressing worsening traffic in its growing community has been the primary justification for the call to open more gates in this exclusive village.

He said AAVA would now leave it to the barangay chair, Ruben Baes, to consummate the purchase from the Filinvest group of the lot at the other side of the demolished wall at San Jose St.

Joaquin also noted that he and the entire AAVA board were now facing two separate cases filed with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). One seeks to remove him as president and the other seeks the removal of the entire board. (His election as president on the basis of proxy voting was challenged.) As such, he said there was a possibility that he might no longer be president soon. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

E-mail 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: AAVA, Ayala Alabang Village, Biz Buzz, Business, CEO, Cyberworks, Facebook, networking, Village
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