BIZ BUZZ: DOTr vs LTO over license plates | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: DOTr vs LTO over license plates

/ 02:14 AM May 02, 2023

Trouble of the multibillion-peso variety is once more afoot at a government agency being overseen by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

This time, the issue is the looming shortage of motor vehicle license plates, starting with smaller plates for motorcycles but threatening to spill over into the realm of four-wheeled vehicles.


Biz Buzz learned that this problem is being caused by a disagreement between policymakers over the bidding for the contract to provide the government with these license plates. On one side is the camp of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista and on the other is that of Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Jose Arturo “Jay Art” Tugade.

Bautista’s camp is whispering that the LTO under Tugade designed the terms of reference for the license plate contract to favor one particular bidder. Not so, whispers back Tugade’s camp, which says it is the DOTr leadership that is favoring a specific bidder for the deal.


Why is this such a big issue? Well, it’s literally a big deal, potentially worth over P5 billion, we hear. And remember that there is bad blood between Bautista and Tugade after the former successfully foiled a plan to have the latter suddenly appointed to the Manila International Airport Authority just a few months ago.

So expect more juicy details to emerge from one side against the other over the next few days.

—Daxim L. Lucas

St. Luke’s new boss

The board of trustees of St. Luke’s Medical Center, one of the leading health-care institutions in the Philippines, approved last week the appointment of Dr. Dennis Serrano as the new president and chief executive officer effective May 1, 2023.

The promoted executive vice president replaced Dr. Arturo de La Peña, who takes on a new role as leader of St. Luke’s Medical Research and Policy Institute and St. Luke’s Innovation and Transformation Center. He is also a board member of St. Luke’s Medical Center.

St. Luke’s said Dr. Serrano’s appointment “ushers in a new leadership that would allow the hospital to continue to deliver high-quality services to its patients while remaining at the forefront of medical innovation.”

Dr. Serrano is a graduate of the UP College of Medicine and took his residency training in urology at Philippine General Hospital and finished it in 1994.

He is one of the key individuals behind the continuous innovation at St. Luke’s Medical Center. As the new CEO, he plans to focus on enhancing the patient experience and the culture of care for its employees, the hospital group said.


—Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Duty Free revival?

Duty Free Philippines wants a slice of the revenge travel pie via a new partnership with taipan Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines (PAL) that it hopes will drive more foot traffic to its stores.

Many readers might recall an era when visiting a Duty Free outlet was a fun pastime after taking an international trip.

Those days are long gone but the present-day management of the state-run Duty Free Philippines Corp. is busy finding ways to stay relevant and grow sales.

The partnership with PAL allows the carrier’s international passengers to present their boarding pass and get an extra 5-percent discount when shopping in Duty Free stores inside Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminals 1 and 2.

A bigger discount of 10 percent awaits PAL passengers in its Fiesta Mall in Parañaque City and Luxxe Building in Pasay City.

“We need a lot of marking support especially from the airlines, especially PAL,” Duty Free Philippines chief operating officer Vicente Angala said.

PAL president Stanley Ng said the partnership was a win-win since it would benefit the government and the airline’s bottom line since this would be an added incentive to fly the flag carrier.

Ng was particularly excited about the second phase of the partnership involving an online Duty Free store.

This will also make operations more sustainable and lessen aircraft weight since flyers can pick up their shopping items upon landing instead of on the plane, Ng said.

Angala said sales were on track to recover to their prepandemic annual sales of about P13 billion. About 60 percent of shoppers were overseas Filipino workers and other balikbayans looking for gifts such as chocolates and liquor.

—Miguel R. Camus INQ
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TAGS: Biz Buzz, DOTr, Duty Free Philippines, LTO, St.Luke's
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