BIZ BUZZ: In full swing
It had a ton of “haters” when the proposal first came to light in early May, but three weeks into the operations of the so-called Mega Vaccination Site—officially known as the Solaire ICTSI Vaccination Center—nothing but praise is coming from the thousands of people who have benefitted from its services.
Biz Buzz has yet to see the numbers of recent days but, as of last week, almost 21,000 Moderna vaccine shots have been administered to the same number of first-time recipients at the facility that was built by the group of tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. on the reclaimed property of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (along with a parcel of land lent to the endeavor by Megaworld Corp. of the Andrew and Kevin Tan father-and-son duo).
The Moderna vaccines being administered at the site, including a substantial number allocated for Parañaque City residents, were all sourced from the international Covax facility that aims to distribute vaccine shots more equitably around the world.
Add this, of course, to the over 53,000 shots so far administered for both first and second dose recipients at the nearby Solaire Resort and Casino multilevel parking facility and function rooms, and you have nearly 80,000 shots of the prized Moderna vaccines being put into the arms of Filipinos since the private sector operation began two months ago.
Credit goes to ICTSI’s executive vice president Christian Gonzalez who, apart from heading the port operator’s global operations, is also in charge of the group’s vaccination efforts.
We heard that credit is also due to Prime Metro BMD Corp.—a joint venture of the Razon’s group and an Australian firm—which built the facilities on the vaccination side in record time.
Incidentally, PrimeBMD’s CEO JV Emmanuel “Jocot” De Dios was named president of Manila Water Co. yesterday, another firm that is now in the portfolio of the Razon group.
All eyes are now on the upcoming deliveries of Moderna vaccines, which will hopefully come sooner rather than later, so that more Filipinos can be inoculated with the life-saving drug.
—Daxim L. Lucas
Last Monday, we told you about a heritage conservation advocacy group asking the government to rethink plans to privatize parcels of land—owned by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM)—along Isla de Provisor in Paco, Manila.
The Philippine unit of The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage called for the development of the area into a park and civic center instead, noting this would turn it into a catalyst for urban regeneration and restore Manila’s connection with the Pasig River.
But PSALM, through its president Irene Joy Besido-Garcia, argued that the Paco asset was not the ideal location for a public park. In the first place, she noted that the eight lots at Isla de Provisor were not contiguous to one another, and therefore could not be developed into one concept.
Garcia added that high voltage structures and transmission lines existed right in the middle of the Isla de Provisor area along the property owned by Meralco. The presence of such very critical power installation makes the place not ideal for a public park or for any land usage that will make the location densely populated, she added.
At the same time, she noted that critical power structures, by their very nature and function, require some level of security to prevent any act of sabotage that could adversely affect the electricity supply going to the Malacañang Palace, the Department of Finance, Bureau of Customs, Philippine General Hospital and the US Embassy. Garcia also explained that PSALM’s mandate under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, was to take the helm of the disposal and privatization of all the generation assets, real estate and other disposable assets of the National Power Corp. (Napocor) with the objective of liquidating all Napocor financial obligations and stranded contract costs. Garcia noted that privatizing the Paco asset was “hardly short-sighted thinking” as claimed in a position paper. Since 2018, PSALM has attempted to bid out the asset three times, which all failed. Three rounds of the negotiated sale process followed, the first two of which likewise failed. The third and current process is ongoing, with the deadline to submit a bid set for Aug. 31, which may be extended by at least two weeks due to quarantine restrictions.
—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla INQ
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