BIZ BUZZ: ‘Not welcome in Malacañang’
Earlier this week, President Marcos finally signed the agreement extending the production of the country’s Malampaya gas fields by another 15 years, giving billionaire Enrique Razon Jr. a lot to smile about after waiting for the government’s approval since the previous administration.
The ports and gaming magnate’s Prime Infrastructure Capital is, of course, hoping that Malampaya’s wells will have enough residual content of natural gas to allow him to recoup his $460-million investment for the 45-percent stake in the offshore project, plus the $600 million his firm has committed to spend to allow it to fully utilize the gas field’s remaining contents.
Meanwhile, eagle eyed observers noted that there was one particular businessman missing from the signing ceremonies in Malacañang Palace earlier this week.
This businessman has been trying to develop connections with the current administration to give him a soft landing after enjoying preferential privileges under the previous dispensation.
However, we’re told that not only was this businessman not invited, he was actually asked (discreetly) not to attend the event. Looks like the sitting President wants nothing to do with him. Tsk tsk.
—Daxim L. Lucas
Many board aspirants
It appears many people are vying for a seat on the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) board, as indicated by SRA acting administrator Pablo Luis Azcona.
Azcona stopped short of revealing the identity of the people interested in the SRA post, but he expects the Office of the Executive Secretary to soon draw up a shortlist.
To recall, President Marcos, concurrently serving as the Agriculture Secretary, appointed Azcona as the new SRA chief in April following the resignation of the latter’s predecessor, David John Thaddeus Alba, due to worsening health conditions.
Prior to his appointment, Azcona was picked by the Marcos administration as the SRA board member representing planters in August last year.
The SRA chief believes it will make the most sense to appoint a sugar farmer like him so that their voice will be heard. Azcona has been in the business of producing sugar since 1995.
At present, the sugar board is composed of President Marcos as chair, Azcona as the agency’s head and Ma. Mitzi Mangwag as millers’ representative.
—Jordeene B. Lagare
The era of partnerships
Even the country’s biggest television network needs partnerships to thrive.
This was announced by no less than GMA Network chair and CEO Felipe Gozon amid a period of slowing advertising sales and expensive production costs.
“We are now in an era of partnerships and this has led our expansion to new genres and diversified our revenue streams,” he told stockholders.
He was referring to deals with global streaming platforms and even ABS-CBN Corp., the former TV giant whose franchise was killed by former President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies.
GMA, of course, continues to produce its own shows. One of the most expensive was the Filipino-made live action reboot of 1970s anime classic Voltes V. Gozon said this came with a total price tag of P500 million and was winning strong ratings.
Apart from its core business, GMA also invested some of its excess cash into tech startups. These include $2 million in US telehealth startup PX Ventures and a $1-million commitment in Wavemaker Three-Sixty, a healthcare-focused US venture capital firm.