Biz Buzz: Extended perks
This Cabinet secretary has raised eyebrows for seeking perks beyond what long-time constituents have been accustomed to.
Mr. Secretary had requested a dedicated service car and full-time close-in aide for his wife. Insiders say that in the past, aides had been assigned to the predecessor’s wife on official events but never on a full-time basis. Observers also noted that while his predecessor’s wife occasionally used official aides, she used her own set of wheels.
Given that his own President lines up at the airport and also queues up at the buffet table, some people around him thus wonder why Mr. Secretary wants VIP treatment for his better half.
The controversial Cabinet member has also created jitters within the plantilla for proposing a hefty increase in the mix of political appointees from 20 percent to 47 percent. Under the Aquino administration, 80 percent of officials supporting this portfolio consisted of career officers but if the proposed mix comes through, their tribe will dwindle. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
TIGER Resort Leisure & Entertainment Inc., the local unit of Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada that is developing the $2.4-billion Okada Manila—the newest integrated resort to rise in Pagcor’s Entertainment City before yearend—is on the prowl for a potential backdoor ticket to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Industry sources said Tiger was now looking at several potential listed shell companies on the local bourse. Note that most other gaming peers in the local market like Bloomberry Resort and Melco Crown likewise took the backdoor route to gain access to the local capital market. Travellers International Hotel Group, the pioneer in the integrated gaming resort business in the country, was the only integrated gaming play that used the front door because by the time it debuted on the exchange, it had already met the track record requirement (PSE requires a three-year operating history).
Businessman Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, board member of Tiger Resort, said Okada Manila would have to see some revenue stream first before taking the plunge. But if the market is receptive, he said Tiger Resort could fast-track its listing plan.
Cojuangco noted that Travellers’ Resorts World Manila in Newport City had recovered its investment in six months but at that time, they had no other competitors. For Tiger, he said it might take 1½ to two years to achieve payback. “We’re going to list the company so part of the recovery will come from the uptick in the valuation,” he said. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
Final, final name
IT WAS once known generically as Universal Entertainment of Japanese pachinko magnate Kazuo Okada when it was first awarded a gaming and development license by the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
A few years into the project, it was rebranded as “Tiger Resorts” or “Tiger Entertainment” or “Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment.” Tuesday, however, the $2.4-billion integrated hotel, casino and entertainment development was given what its owners promised would be the “final” brand. Henceforth, it will be known as “Okada Manila.”
We understand that the company just got tired of dodging questions about Okada’s previous high profile corporate disputes and decided to take the counterintuitive route of leveraging on the businessman’s name recall (everyone calls it “Okada’s casino” anyway).
Confused with all these brand names? Well, all the public needs to know right now is that the project will have its soft opening in November of this year (Nov. 17, we’re told).
With Okada Manila’s 44 hectares giving it the biggest footprint in the Entertainment City area, expect rivals Solaire Resort and Casino and City of Dreams to ramp up their own offerings ahead of the new competitor’s launch. Daxim L. Lucas
Strong economy = pricey office chairs
WOULD you pay P100,000 for an office chair? Well, the economy is booming and the local partners of renowned office furniture design and manufacturing firm Herman Miller think there’s big potential in the Philippine market.
The US-based firm will host an event called “Reach,” which recognizes Manila as a “global design capital and gateway to the international creative community.” The event, to be held tomorrow at Ascott Bonifacio Global City, will showcase Herman Miller’s latest innovation and design and will also gather some of the world’s and the country’s leading design thinkers.
The curated exhibit is a by-invitation-only event for designers, architects, dealers and clients. It was first held in Hong Kong in 2011 and then in Singapore in 2013. This year, Herman Miller is bringing Reach to Manila, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangalore and Melbourne.
In Manila, the event will be a collaboration between Herman Miller and its dealer in the Philippines, CWC International.
Among local business VIPs who will get to schmooze with Herman Miller International president Andy Lock will be Leechiu Property Consultants CEO David Leechiu and Globe Telecom president and CEO Ernest Cu (in part because practically all the office chairs in the Globe Tower in BGC are made by Herman Miller).
Of course, Herman Miller’s top of the line iconic product—the Aeron office chair—can be bought in the US for the equivalent of around P50,000.
But if you value the time you spend sitting behind your desk and have a few thousand to spare, the 100-percent price premium the local distributor charges might just be worth it. Daxim L. Lucas
Dash cam solution
MAKING big problem-busting solutions within the first 100 days of the Duterte administration has become a thing, apparently, even to those not connected with the government.
Car enthusiast and media personality James Deakin took to social media Tuesday to discuss his own traffic-easing solution for Metro Manila: Make dash cams (cameras mounted on a car’s dashbroad that are typically facing the road ahead) mandatory for all motorists.
The target of this requirement is to record and catch bad driving. According to Deakin, that’s a big factor for Metro Manila’s worsening traffic situation.
The idea was that if people were aware they were being recorded, they would be more mindful of the rules and avoid actions that worsen road congestion like counter-flowing, swerving and blocking of intersections.
The government has a role to play as well. Deakin suggested a full-time monitoring agency that will receive and analyze these videos and catch those with clear and “blatant” violations. That would entail higher public spending, but Deakin said penalties for erring drivers would be increased to offset the cost. He suggested P50,000 for counter-flow violations, while blocking intersections could cost about P20,000.
While the steps might sound drastic for some, Deakin’s post has been shared thousands of times since it was published.
A petition for mandatory dash cams was also nearing the 1,000 signatures it required, as of this writing. Let’s see what the government has to say first. Until then, you might want to hold off from investing in that dash cam business. Miguel R. Camus
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