BIZ BUZZ: DBP resisting ‘shotgun wedding’
Now that Malacañang has expressed support for Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s proposal to merge state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and create the country’s largest banking entity—amid fervent opposition from DBP’s top brass—the next question is whether the requisite approval could be obtained within the year.
Diokno has indicated that the paperwork could be ironed out within this year, but DBP is calling for legislation to effect the union.
But from the point of view of the finance chief (who had kept quiet about the merger for weeks since news broke out, until it was time to announce it at the Palace, no less), there is no need to go to Congress to enable the union.
“Our position is GCG can do it,” Diokno told Biz Buzz on Wednesday, referring to the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), which is chaired by retired Justice Alex Quiroz.
GCG is mandated to police government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), as well as to rationalize the GOCC sector through “streamlining, reorganization, merger, as well as recommending to the President of the Philippines the privatization or abolition of a GOCC.” It is currently reviewing the merger plan.
Both Landbank and DBP are chartered GOCCs and do not even require clearance from the Securities and Exchange Commission to merge, said another government source.
For those who are supporting the merger, it is thus believed to be inevitable and they think that DBP is just employing a “delaying tactic.”
RSA’s Bulacan racing circuit
What will you do with over 4,000 hectares of land when the project you’ve envisioned for that sprawling property only needs a little over half that area?
Well, it’s certainly not a problem for San Miguel Corp.’s Bulacan airport project or the conglomerate’s president, Ramon S. Ang or RSA.
He revealed to an excited group of motoring journalists recently that he will soon build a race track in Bulacan province that will conform to the strict standards of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) which is, among others, the worldwide governing body for motorsports including Formula One (F1) races.
There’s no final word yet on how long the circuit will be, but he did say that it will be designed by Japanese consultants (and we all know the Japanese know a lot about cars, racing cars and racetracks, hosting their own annual F1 race in Suzuka).
Ang also invited former FIA chief Jean Todt (whose partner is Oscar Awards best actress Michelle Yeoh), and F1 icons Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa to visit the Philippines next month.
He also revealed that he will build a one-mile long drag race strip on the property which will be open daily to drag racers who may want to satisfy their desire for speed in safer environs than the streets.
Ang said the drag strip would be partially covered by a 400-meter by 60-meter canopy for quarter mile sprints, as well as to provide some protection for eager audiences during the races.
But wait, there’s more: the San Miguel chief said a theme park will also be built on the property to accommodate the needs of members of the family who may not be into auto racing. We don’t know the park’s theme yet, but we suspect it will have a lot to do with automobiles.
As for the airport, we’re told the land development stage is now 50 percent complete and everything is on track for the first phase’s opening in 2026. Now that is rapid progress.
—Daxim L. Lucas
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