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BIZ BUZZ: Continuity

/ 04:40 AM May 09, 2022

One presidential candidate’s battle cry is “unity,” but for President Duterte’s chief economic manager, it was “continuity” that sustained economic expansion prepandemic and steered a return to this growth path after a slip during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking to his predecessors at the Department of Finance (DOF) during a dinner to celebrate the agency’s 125th anniversary on Friday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III noted the DOF “boasts of [a] policy continuity.”

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“From one administration to the next, we improve rather than change standing policy. During President Duterte’s administration, we did not alter any major policy. We built on all the successes,” Dominguez told former Finance chiefs Cesar Virata, Jose Isidro Camacho, Jose Pardo, Roberto de Ocampo, Margarito Teves and Cesar Purisima.

“Our team, which you trained and recruited, did their utmost to prepare our economy for this new world. We maximized their training and learnings to be able to pass and effectively implement the comprehensive tax reform program, which is now about 90-percent complete. Throughout the process of getting these measures passed, I want to thank my predecessors for sharing their wisdom and valuable advice,” said Dominguez, who has always acknowledged reforms made by past administrations.

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“I will soon join your exclusive club. At the end of the Duterte administration, I am proud to say that the DOF worked hard to maintain a strong fiscal position as well as to prepare our economy for inclusive and sustainable growth. This is merely a continuation of the great work my predecessors have done,” Dominguez said.

Various economic officials had said the country would need new or higher taxes, cuts on nonpriority spending, as well as economic growth drivers so it can outgrow the government’s record-high outstanding debt and increase public revenues to narrow the yawning budget deficit wrought by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ve heard the presidential aspirant leading the surveys, during a recent TV interview, expressed apprehension to imposing higher or new taxes, claiming he doesn’t want to burden the Filipino people while the pandemic raged on.

If that’s the case, in mid-2022 when a new Philippine chief executive takes charge, will we still see continuity, as was done by previous administrations?

A flurry of names had been floated around as the next DOF chief (at least for the presidential front-runner; curiously, no one’s being identified yet by the camp of his main challenger). Can the new chief economic manager, who will take Dominguez’s place at the DOF in July, sustain continuity as well? As we always say here in Biz Buzz: “Abangan!”

—Ben O. de Vera

Top investment banker

Another feather goes to the cap of investment banker Eduardo Francisco, president of BDO Capital and Investment Corp.

During its 15th Annual Best Deal & Solution Awards 2021, the Hong Kong-based publication Alpha Southeast Asia honored Francisco with an achievement award for his contributions to the local capital market.

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The recognition comes during a challenging period for the global economy. Francisco, with decades of experience behind him, managed to stay on top and closed new milestone deals.

More noteworthy was the fact that Francisco was the first Filipino recipient and third awardee in 15 years.

The prestigious award was previously given to Dato’ Lee Kok Kwan, former deputy chief CEO of CIMB Group, and Seohan Soo, former CEO of AmInvestment Bank BHD.

Francisco was also credited for his role in helping smaller investors access retail treasury bonds. Today, Filipinos can invest in the bonds for as low as P5,000.

He was also a key player in the development of the country’s fast emerging real estate investment trust segment.

Francisco, who took his masters in business at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, was also a recipient of the Financial Management Excellence from the University of the Philippines and holds a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UP College of Business Administration.

—Miguel R. Camus

New toy for gamers

Mobile gamers have a new toy to play with.

Smartphone brand OPPO recently launched the latest model in its A-Series, OPPO A96, with gamers in mind as it is equipped with high memory storage and battery capacity.

“Mobile gamers always want the best possible experience whenever they play. As we launch the ‘Designed to be Powerful’ OPPO A96, we deliver … a value-for-money device that exhibits powerful performance for their gaming and even productivity,” said Chiqui Tapawan, OPPO Philippines head of marketing communications.

The model has a large display, allowing a smooth mobile experience for gamers as it is also powered by a powerful processor, and a large memory space. It also has a large battery capacity with fast charging technology.

Five minutes of charging can allow 3 hours and 38 minutes of phone calls or 1 hour and 34 minutes of watching YouTube clips. It takes 71 minutes for the phone to be fully charged.

The launch of the product came ahead of OPPO Game On Cup 2022, a Mobile Legends Tournament where 128 teams are expected to compete. Registration is until May 18.

—Tyrone Jasper C. Piad INQ

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