BIZ BUZZ: Crazy Rich Asians . . . PH edition | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Crazy Rich Asians . . . PH edition

/ 02:24 AM April 20, 2023

Crazy Rich Asians writer Kevin Kwan and legendary Hollywood producer Lawrence Bender are teaming up for a brand new movie project that will be filmed in the Philippines.

A lot of money, and especially clout, is at stake, which is why an opportunistic and very well-connected government official with ties to the local entertainment scene is aggressively angling for a prominent place within the production, Biz Buzz learned.

This has raised the eyebrows of peers in the public service who are aware of this official’s sly moves, especially on matters that do not involve his government role.


For example, the movie producers are looking for incentives and private sector partners for the project, which will be shot in Palawan.


That is partly the responsibility of the government office that handles investments and economic affairs.

The request for assistance was sent to that office but somehow the opportunistic government executive is brazenly letting foreign investors know he can assist them and meet their requirements.


“He’s making it appear he’s a co-producer or he brought this project here. He brought in zero money,” a source told Biz Buzz. (A quick online search will also reveal both Kwan and Bender were talking about filming a Philippines-based project even during the previous administration.)

The motives of this government executive are apparently quite plain. This official is using his position to gain Hollywood connections and secure future jobs for himself and his family since relocating to the United States would be easy, we’re told.

Speaking of money, the movie will generate around $40 million—about P2.2 billion—in Philippine investments.

The tab will be split among US investors and Filipino businessmen.

We’re told the local real-life crazy rich Asians who expressed interest are two powerful senior tycoons who are almost the same age—and who, coincidentally, have the same first name—and the young heir to one of the country’s biggest real estate and consumer conglomerates.

—Miguel R. Camus

Illegal bird flu vaccines

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has advised the general public against the use of illegal vaccines to control bird flu or avian influenza.

In a memorandum circular, the DA said the usage of unregulated vaccines may pose a risk to public health due to the zoonotic potential of this animal disease.

The adoption of targeted vaccination as a complementary tool to control avian influenza is still undergoing technical review, according to the agency.

“Unauthorized vaccines did not undergo proper technical evaluation and there is no guarantee on its safety, quality and efficacy,” the DA said.

“Therefore, the use of such unregulated vaccines may increase the risk of virus mutation, shedding and further disease spread,” it added.

Latest tally from the Bureau of Animal Industry showed that two regions, IIocos Region and Central Luzon, are still affected by avian influenza as of March 31.

Affected areas are Santa Maria in Ilocos Sur; Santa Maria in Bulacan; San Simon, Santo Tomas and Magalang in Pampanga; and Pantabangan and Santo Domingo in Nueva Ecija.

Six provinces are bird-flu free as of writing: Camarines Sur, Davao del Sur, Bataan, Rizal, Quezon and South Cotabato.

—Jordeene B. Lagare

Zeroing in on Peza’s VAT rules

Good news for both local and foreign firms registered under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) as the government is currently acting on the clamor to clarify its zero value-added tax (VAT) rating policy.

Biz Buzz learned from Peza Director General Tereso Panga that a draft issuance from the interagency Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has limited the type of activities that will be subject to VAT, providing registered businesses ample room to enjoy their zero VAT rating incentive.

According to the Peza chief, the proposed negative list of activities that will be subject to VAT include: (1) janitorial services, (2) security services, (3) financial services, (4) consultancy services, (5) marketing and promotion, and (6) goods used or services rendered for administrative operations, such as human resources, legal and accounting.

To recall, Panga last year promised to revisit Peza’s zero VAT rating scheme, along with other initiatives, which include firming up other incentives being offered by the investment promotion agency pursuant to the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. have earlier called on the government to act on the tax rating scheme, citing it was a major consideration for both local and foreign investors.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

(An earlier version of this item cited the six activities as the ones not subjected to VAT. The author apologizes for the error.)

—Alden M. Monzon
TAGS: Bird flu, Biz Buzz, Kevin Kwan, Peza

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Curated business news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2023 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.