Biz Buzz: Apec’s VIP cars | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: Apec’s VIP cars

/ 12:13 AM November 18, 2015

APART from ensuring that traffic flows smoothly for participating ministers and heads of state in this year’s Apec economic leader’s meeting, the Apec 2015 National Organizing Council (Apec-NOC) has also made sure these dignitaries travel in style.

Close to 800 cars have been designated for use by the dignitaries, provided by some of the country’s leading brands.

As expected, the chosen brands were all too happy to proclaim this distinction. One German luxury automobile brand, in particular, maximized the public relations value of being selected as an official mobility partner.


Numerous press releases, official announcements and even a live turnover ceremony were arranged, with full disclosures on the number, make and model of the vehicles they provided. But this was in stark contrast to the other chosen German luxury automobile brand, whose local distributors shunned all media inquiries about the details of their Apec partnership.


In fact, when contacted for details, their officials merely confirmed that they were “providing an unspecified number of vehicles” and could not give any more details because of the “organizer’s strict code of discretion.”

This was particularly strange, considering that the other German brand actually held a press event in Malacañang’s Kalayaan grounds, with the cooperation of the Apec-NOC.

If our insider information is true, it seems that there is a good reason for the silence.

Supposedly, the distributor was given a specific allotment (reportedly around one hundred units) to import for Apec use. The distributor—well aware that these luxury vehicles would be exempt from certain duties and be given special incentives—went ahead and brought in three times that amount, and tagged them as Apec cars.

Unfortunately, the government seems to be at the mercy of this German luxury car importer that it often bends the rules. The long-standing rumor is that one Cabinet official is a silent partner of the business. No wonder they are never “Apec-ted” by regulations. Daxim L. Lucas

PH coffee perks up Apec


PARTICIPANTS and delegates to the jam-packed sessions of the Apec CEO Summit are getting their caffeine fix courtesy of companies showcasing the best of Philippine coffee.

Philippine Coffee Board Inc., for instance, served award-winning coffee from Kapatagan, Mt. Apo, Davao, to the visitors of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meetings. PCB was asked to participate by PricewaterhouseCoopers to fuel its Knowledge Cafe. The Board, which aims to propagate local varieties, also served coffee from the Cordillera care of the Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera Administrative Region and coffee from the Mt. Matutum area in Bukidnon.

The Barista and Coffee Academy of Asia (BCAA), Equilibrium Intertrade Corp., Alaska Milk and PCBI served coffee from Nov. 16 to the concluding sessions today of the high-profile Apec CEO Summit at the Makati Shangri-La.

“We are proud of our coffees, which can be at par or better than many coffee producers even those from Latin America and Asia, some members of which will be at the Summit,” says Nicholas Matti, PCBI chair. “It’s time we showed the world we have great coffee.”

The coffee varieties won two awards in the Roasters Choice competition in Thailand last year. Next year, the Benguet coffee and Matutum will also be competing to hopefully get worldwide attention as well.

The same coffee varieties were served at the Apec SME Summit at Green Sun on Nov. 17 in cooperation with the women partners of PCBI—the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA)-Commune Café and Kickstart coffee. IWCA members Ros Juan and Carolyn Asuncion served more than 1,000 guests of Go Negosyo and Asia Society, which organized the event. Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Rogue commissioner

REMEMBER the stalled merger between the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp.? Well, it seems that there are fresh moves within the Securities and Exchange Commission to help move the merger between the stock and bond bourses forward, with the blessing of no less than Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

Biz Buzz has heard that the finance chief has given “encouraging signals” to the concerned stakeholders that he wants to merger to proceed. A merger between the stock and bond exchanges, of course, would help deepen the local capital markets by making stock and bond trading more efficient.

The P2.2-billion merger was approved months ago by the boards of both PSE and PDEx, but has been delayed by the lack of a key approval from the SEC, namely the so-called “exemptive relief” ruling that would exempt the deal from the 20-percent ownership cap mandated by law on one exchange owning another.

“It looks like Purisima is pushing for it, but there’s one SEC official who’s not aligned with the overall plan,” said one banker.

According to another banker, this SEC official has been nitpicking at the merger plan ever since the proposal came before the corporate regulator for its approval.

“He’s been delaying the deal on very flimsy grounds like wanting to see the staffing complement and employee headcount of the merged institution,” another banker said. “You can’t have these details before you actually merge companies, but we’ve complied just for the sake of satisfying them. It’s ridiculous.”

More importantly, the bankers and stockholders are embarrassed and red the delays after they fought so hard to get the Singapore bourse, SGX—a PDEx shareholder—to agree to the merger.

“After the difficult task of getting the foreign parties to agree, we suddenly find out that the real opposition is here at home,” one BAP official said.

Nonetheless, the banking community is hopeful that the long delayed merger will finally thanks to the support of Purisima (whose office, incidentally, is in charge of supervising the SEC).

“Maybe that rogue SEC commissioner who’s opposing the deal just didn’t get the memo from the boss,” he said.

Keep your fingers crossed, ladies and gentlemen. Daxim L. Lucas

GrabHeli, Uberchopper

WITH road congestion a reality of life nowadays, it was little surprise that the local social media scene was abuzz with announcements by popular ridesharing apps Uber and GrabTaxi that they were literally taking to the skies.

Grabtaxi was the more mysterious of the two as it teased people with a possible service tagged as “GrabHeli” that promises “awesome weekends up in the air” starting Nov. 24. Incidentally, that’s also when it invited members of the media to hear about this new service.

Uber, which announced Uberchopper, debuts sooner on Nov. 21 although it does state that it’s a promo for an aerial tour around Metro Manila via air charter service firm Airtrav. That means a fixed route with no stopovers to fetch friends at the mall.

It’s hard to say right now if that would eventually become an on-demand helicopter service, as some companies are doing now in other parts of the globe. We just hope the surge rates aren’t sky-high themselves. Miguel R. Camus

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TAGS: apec 2015, Business, economy, News

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