BIZ BUZZ: Marcos trip bears fruit
The foreign trips of President Marcos are starting to bear the promised fruit, such as the coming implementation of a $600-million waste-to-energy program for Quezon City.
“One of the early conversions from the President’s US trip [in Sept 2022] is the proposal by a US-based renewable energy group Headway USA, which will take care of the entire program from end to end,” said Ambassador-at-Large Jose “Joey” Antonio.
Upon completion of an initial engineering and design phase and an investigation of the existing waste flow control and waste management systems, among other factors, a total of eight sites in Quezon City will be determined by Headway USA.
With the use of zero-waste gasification power plants, the project seeks to eliminate a combined 4,000 tons per day of municipal solid waste from Quezon City. Among the waste to be processed by these zero-waste power plants include toxic waste, household waste, hospital waste, rubber tires, plastics, metals, furniture, paper, glass, organics and garden waste, Antonio added.
The program seeks to put to good use the approximately 3,600 tons of garbage produced in Quezon City every day.
Headway USA will oversee the program from conceptualization to sustainable and continuous operation while financing will be covered by the US Export Import Bank.
With this, hopes are high that other pledges will also come to fruition.
From Mapfre to Oona
Following the acquisition of Mapfre Insular Insurance Corp. by global private equity firm Warburg Pincus, the local insurer has turned over a new leaf as Oona Insular Insurance Corp.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved this change in corporate name, which is in line with a regional rebranding of a new digital insurance platform under the auspices of Warburg Pincus, one of the most active private equity firms in Southeast Asia.
Oona Insurance founder and group CEO Abhishek Bhatia said the SEC’s approval meant “the start of our transformational journey from a good company into one of the most formidable general insurers in the market.”
Warburg Pincus’ $350-million equity commitment to establish Oona Insurance represents the largest funding round in the region to seed a digital insurance platform.
Oona’s buy-and-build strategy took off last year with two significant acquisitions—PT Asuransi Bina Dana Arta Tbk in Indonesia and Mapfre Insurance in the Philippines.
General insurance is a significantly underpenetrated industry in the region and thus a sector that’s seen to be ripe for digital disruption.
San Miguel’s cleanup milestone
Conglomerate San Miguel Corp.’s Pasig River cleanup project is about to cross a key milestone.
The food, beverage and infrastructure giant said it was on course to retrieve over 1 million metric tons of silt and solid waste from the Pasig River by February this year.
This comes 20 months after the P2-billion project was launched.
“We are happy to note that the easing of restrictions, along with the additional personnel and equipment we were able to put on the ground, are now allowing us to achieve our cleanup targets much faster,” San Miguel president Ramon Ang said.
“Hopefully, by the time the rainy season sets in later this year, our cities will feel the benefits of the Pasig River’s larger carrying capacity, along with government’s other flood mitigation and control programs,” he added.
The cleanup is expected to improve the river’s flood carrying capacity, which cuts the risk for vulnerable communities living nearby.
Benefits should be felt in areas as far as Laguna Lake through the Manggahan floodway, according to San Miguel.
“In many instances, areas near the Laguna Lake experience flooding during heavy rainfall or typhoons, because of heavy siltation, which causes the lake to overflow,” the conglomerate said.
—Miguel R. Camus INQ
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