BIZ BUZZ: Hidilyn’s supporters big winners, too | Inquirer Business
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BIZ BUZZ: Hidilyn’s supporters big winners, too

/ 04:04 AM August 02, 2021

Using creative wordplay, a plastics company hailed Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz for bagging the country’s first ever Olympic gold. Yet, the same ad took a jab at the weightlifter’s legions of new-found “supporters” who were almost tripping on each other in bestowing generous rewards on the Olympian.

Saying “Wag na tayong magplastikan (let’s be true to ourselves),” the ad excoriated those who “seen-zoned” (i.e., ignored) the athlete at the time she needed sponsors the most.

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It was truly ironic that after Hidilyn’s big win, it’s as if the floodgates opened to all rewards, in cash and in kind, from donors who want their share of the limelight as if they’re behind the Olympian’s Herculean feat. Don’t get us wrong—all the accolades and material rewards for Diaz are well deserved and, perhaps, not even commensurate to her historic feat. It just proves, once again, the old adage, “Success has many fathers.”

But one thing’s for sure, Hidilyn’s original and long-time sponsors are real winners, too. Biz Buzz learned that early in the game, the MVP Foundation, San Miguel Corp., Asia Brewery’s Summit Mineral Water, Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.), Avon, the Alsons group and some others were Hidilyn’s major sponsors way ahead of the bandwagon.

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Diaz’s victory was particularly sweet for the Lucio Tan Group’s Summit, which has been quietly supporting and hydrating Filipino athletes. It was also a major sponsor when the first Filipino team of mountain climbers literally scaled the “Summit” of Mount Everest in 2006. If there’s anything that Diaz’s victory proves, it’s the important role the private sector plays in supporting Filipino athletes. After all, there’s now living proof that the Filipino can, and that an Olympic gold is no longer just an elusive dream.

— Daxim L. Lucas

Telecommunications debate

Is the telecommunications sector a public utility or not? This is what solons are currently deliberating on as part of proposed amendments to the Public Service Act. If it will continue to be considered as a public utility, the 40-percent foreign ownership cap will remain.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, cosponsor of the bill, argued that based on the proposed definition in the bill, only natural monopolies should be considered public utilities.

Natural monopolies refer to industries where it’s most efficient to have just one player. The bill proposes that only power transmission and distribution as well as water distribution and sewerage should be considered public utilities.

A group of economists under the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) agreed with Drilon’s arguments.

According to FEF president Calixto Chikiamco, the sector couldn’t be considered a public utility because it’s not a natural monopoly. “There are currently three telcos that are profitably operating in the same area here in the Philippines, Globe, Smart and Dito. This goes to show that several telcos can operate in the same area without leading to higher costs and economic inefficiency.”

Despite having three telcos in the market, 64 percent of barangays in the country do not have telecommunication services while 88 percent do not have any free Wi-Fi zones. Another 70 percent do not have any fiber optic cable infrastructure, based on data from the National Economic and Development Authority.

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Furthermore, the International Telecommunication Union also ranks the Philippines in the lower 40 percent in Asia-Pacific in terms of access to internet.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Clark’s OFW lounge

They keep the Philippine economy afloat, so it’s about time that they get to be pampered while awaiting their flights or transport service in the same way that airlines care for their frequent flyers.

The newly completed Clark International Airport terminal building has dedicated a transit lounge exclusively for the use of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). While waiting for their departing flights or sundo for long-awaited homecomings, OFWs can stay, rest and relax at the lounge free of charge.

This OFW lounge is one of the unique features of the new Clark airport facility.

“Clark’s new terminal is envisioned to be an international gateway that all Filipinos can be proud of, not just because of its state-of-the-art facilities, but because it reflects Filipino values. Kasama na po rito and pagtanaw ng utang na loob. (This includes paying debt of honor). OFWs make a huge sacrifice for our country,” Bases Conversion and Development Authority president and CEO Vince Dizon said.

“The OFW lounge is our small way of saying thanks, and reassuring our kababayans (countrymen) that we value them, wherever they are in the world and especially here at home,” Dizon said.

Aside from the lounge, OFWs will also be given 24/7 self-service check-in and bag drop facilities to provide more flexibility in planning their departure as they won’t be restricted by counter opening hours. They will also be given integrated security screening privileges, among others.

— Doris Dumlao-Abadilla INQ

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