BIZ BUZZ: New MPIC infra partnership
Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is making good on its commitment to increase investments in infrastructure.
The firm is expected to sign as early as this week an agreement with Malaysia’s Hartasuma Group to explore joint venture and joint development projects.
The potential venture between the two firms was previously announced by President Marcos during his recent state visit to Malaysia.
Now comes the final deal signing, which would combine the expertise and resources of the Malaysian railway pioneer and Metro Pacific, which is involved in the Light Rail Transit Line 1—the oldest train system of its kind in Southeast Asia.
It would be interesting to see what kind of projects emerge from such a partnership.
Apart from railway expertise, Hartasuma is active in cable car infrastructure, which is beneficial for tourism mobility and can potentially ease vehicular traffic, depending on its location.
—Miguel R. Camus
Malcolm Gladwell in Manila
Best-selling Canadian author Malcolm Gladwell of “Tipping Point,” “Outliers,” “Blink” and “What the Dog Saw” fame is coming over to Manila for an exclusive engagement today with the SM family.
Gladwell will be the keynote speaker of SM Supermalls’ Tenant-Partners Summit at the SMX Convention Center Manila that will gather the retail and business partners of the group, a number of whom have been with the Sy family from the beginning.
The summit kicks off the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the country’s largest retail empire founded by the late Henry Sy Sr.
Gladwell will be joined by Emma Chiu, global director of creative agency Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, who will talk about trends in retail and marketing from their annual report “The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2023.”
With 83 malls across the country plus seven more in China, SM Supermalls aims to become Asia’s most popular mall chain through partnerships with the world’s best retailers.
Davao Light vs Nordeco, round two
In the last Congress, President Marcos vetoed a bill that would have expanded the franchise of the Aboitiz family-owned Davao Light and Power Company at the expense of Northern Davao Electric Cooperative. However, that is not stopping the present Congress from mounting renewed efforts to pass this bill into law.
Davao congressmen, such as PBA Rep. Margarita Nograles and Reps. Alan Dujali and Maricar Zamora, have filed separate bills that would allow Davao Light to take over the rest of Davao del Norte and Maco in Davao de Oro.
In a Congressional hearing, Nograles called out Nordeco over its regulatory violations.
National figures have also joined efforts as well. And just like in the previous Congress, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Grace Poe have expressed openness to grant a new franchise to a new entity which can improve services.
Even the President’s family are in as well, with Rep. Sandro Marcos filing his own bill to expand Davao Light’s franchise. Senator Imee Marcos, meanwhile, has rebutted Nordeco’s argument that the bill would be unconstitutional as it would purportedly impair the cooperative’s existing contractual obligations.
She also called for failing electric cooperatives who charge high prices and cannot stop brownouts due to operational inefficiencies, such as Nordeco, to be penalized by regulators.
From the looks of it, a bill expanding the franchise area of Davao Light will reach the President’s desk again soon. Will he sign it into law this time around?