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UP presidency: Senior citizens need not apply

/ 12:08 AM September 12, 2016

YOU’D think the University of the Philippines (UP) would be the last place to see discrimination in any form.

It is, after all, an institution that takes pride in standing up and speaking out in defense of the country’s marginalized and oppressed sectors.

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So Biz Buzz was surprised to learn that UP’s Board of Regents (BOR) reportedly issued selection guidelines for the next UP president that seemingly discriminate against senior citizens—specifically, anyone over the age of 63.

According to the “minimum requirements and qualifications” issued by the BOR, a candidate for the prestigious UP presidency “should be able to serve the full term of six years before reaching the age of 70.”

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This unprecedented requirement, according to some disapproving UP alumni, smacks of “ageism,” which is defined as “discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age.”

UP insiders expressed surprise at this new, unnecessary standard, especially since UP is known to employ instructors well into their senior years.

A survey of UP alumni in their advanced years will also show that they can still be very productive even well into their seventies, as shown by recent Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who is known for being at the office from early morning till late at night. The tough-talking 74-year-old is also known for having bristled at being told that she was too old for the position when she applied for the post after retiring from the Supreme Court, where all justices step down on their 70th birthday.

One wonders how Morales would react to this requirement for the UP presidency, which, aside from being questionable, may also be illegal.

Republic Act 10911 or the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which lapsed into law last month, prohibits discrimination against any individual in employment based on their age. Specifically, it prohibits the printing or publication of any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications and discrimination based on age.

The current BOR may like to invite Rep. Pia Cayetano to brief them about this new law; the UP Law alumna is not just one of the principal authors of the measure, she also used to sit in the BOR. Daxim L. Lucas

Fluid situation

WITH American energy giant Chevron unloading its Asian geothermal assets, including those in the Philippines, the group of tycoon Henry Sy is suddenly left with uncertain fate with its investment in Philippine Geothermal Production Co. Inc. (PGPC).

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PGPC, which is 40-percent owned by Chevron and 60 percent by the SM group, develops and produces steam energy for Aboitiz-owned and -operated Tiwi and Mak-Ban geothermal power plants in southern Luzon.

“We’ll play it by ear first,” said SM group chief finance officer Jose Sio, when asked about the prospects of its investment in the local geothermal firm given that its partner Chevron has put its stake on the block. Three local groups—Ayala Corp., Lopez-led Energy Development Corp. and Aboitiz Power—are interested in Chevron’s assets.

But SM itself doesn’t seem to be scrambling to raise its stake (The Sy family owns the stake in PGPC through a privately held fund) in the geothermal firm. Sio said SM would just wait as to who would take over Chevron’s assets. “We’re still fluid there.”

The Chevron assets are expected to be auctioned off in the next few weeks. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Shopping in Lipa

MANY Filipinos who love outlet shopping, especially those who include shopping sprees as a major part of their itinerary when they travel abroad, can now look forward to the four-hectare outlet shopping hub to be opened by Aboitiz Land in Lipa, Batangas, in late 2017.

This will be four times bigger than the one-hectare outlet shopping center set up by the Aboitizes in Cebu.

Riding on the success of its outlet shopping hub in Cebu, Aboitiz Land president Andoni Aboitiz says it is time to replicate the business in Luzon.

No, the shops will not sell overruns but sell branded goods one season late. It will have shops, dining options as well as a football field.

The Aboitiz group expects this site (which will be part of industrial estate Lima Technology Center) to be a major shopping destination that will have all the major brands in the metropolis, especially sporting goods, selling items at big discounts. The target is to eventually have around 150 outlets.

The good news is that, via Star Tollway, it will only take 45 minutes to reach this shopping destination from the metropolis. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

A frequency’s worth

HAVING recently been on the receiving end of what it believes is artificially induced pressure from “external forces” regarding the sale of its telecommunications assets, San Miguel Corp. is pushing back.

Biz Buzz learned that the conglomerate would write stock market and corporate regulators to stress why subsidiaries were granted “co-use” access to the precious 700 megahertz frequency of its Liberty Telecom unit. It will also illustrate why this frequency—that didn’t look like it was worth much on its financial books—suddenly became a P70-billion asset once it was bought by rivals Globe Telecom and PLDT.

At the core of San Miguel’s message are these two points: that 1) Liberty only allowed sister firms to co-use the asset approved by telecommunications regulators, and never transferred its ownership, and 2) that its true monetary value was actualized only once Globe and PLDT bought it.

San Miguel’s point? The low tender offer price that the buyers have set for minority shareholders is their fault, not ours. Daxim L. Lucas

 

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TAGS: Business, chevron, economy, News, San Miguel Corp., UP Board of Regents
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