It wasn’t just the minority investors of Davao-based tycoon Dennis Uy-led PH Resorts Group who were left disappointed or even distressed after seeing their shares plunge 20 percent after billionaire Enrique Razon Jr. terminated plans to invest in Uy’s casino projects.
After all, the stalled gaming projects in Cebu and Clark would have also benefited other businesses and would have created new jobs given the recovery of tourism and International air travel in the postpandemic period.
Razon pulled out of the deal after closely reviewing the projects during the customary due diligence process.
Their future was now cast into doubt after PH Resorts’ statement, while optimistic in nature, suggested the entry of investors was required to complete the casinos.
Observers were also wondering what becomes of the P1-billion deposit that Razon’s Bloomberry Resorts paid to PH Resorts last year.
We haven’t heard back from Uy’s camp, but we’re told Razon expects the money to be returned.
—Miguel R. Camus
Aid for Cavite communities
With the way various cars oriented groups have been hitting San Miguel Corp. lately, you’d think the conglomerate has been remiss in taking care of local communities that are being affected by its national projects.
But a recent visit to one such community revealed just the opposite.
In fact, Biz Buzz learned that the country’s largest conglomerate is spending a commensurately large sum of money as financial assistance for fisherfolk families residing in Rosario, Tanza, Naic and Ternate in Cavite province as part of the New Manila International Airport project in Bulacan province.
Specifically, San Miguel has allocated P500 million in cash for over 8,000 fisherfolk families in the said areas, to help them cope with rising food prices.
That will be given out in P5,000 monthly payments until San Miguel’s business in Cavite is concluded in 2024.
Now, what does Cavite have to do with the airport in Bulacan? It’s simple: Cavite has a surplus of a key resource needed to raise the elevation of the planned airport and its immediate environs: sand.
In effect, sand from Cavite goes to Bulacan—according to the strict standards set by the World Bank’s International Finance Corp.—and San Miguel pays the locals for their trouble.
Spearheading the initiative is Cecile Ang who has, in recent years, started to take on more and more responsibility at the conglomerate run by her father, Ramon Ang.
“For Cavite, since our impact on their livelihood is only temporary and limited, we are giving a monthly cash allowance of P5,000 or a total of P500 million for the duration of our operation there, and the grocery packs,” she said.
Eligible fisherfolk were identified based on both third-party surveys and a selection and validation process by local officials and leaders of local fishermen’s groups.
San Miguel also tapped experts to help implement programs that will minimize its impact on the environment, including site rehabilitation and restoration, and embed sustainability solutions to its operation in the area.
Meanwhile, the conglomerate continues to provide livelihood programs for fisherfolk organizations as part of its social development management program. These include garment production and soap-making, scholarships for children of fisherfolk, and construction-based training in cooperation with the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority.
Apart from the financial and food assistance, San Miguel and its partner, leading global marine engineering firm Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., has also provided fishermen with safety equipment, including radar reflectors, life vests, life buoy rings, foam buoys, LED lights and rechargeable batteries.
Of course, all this doesn’t mean that the conglomerate’s critics who are not part of the local community will stop their criticism. On the ground and among the locals, however, not a single unresolved issue was heard.
—Daxim L. Lucas INQ
Email us at BizBuzz@inquirer.com.ph
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