BIZ BUZZ: Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind

/ 02:10 AM November 20, 2023

It didn’t take long for Megaworld to put its fists up after one of its contractors —now a former contractor —brought a corporate dispute into the public sphere by having a court seize the contents of the property developer’s bank accounts to settle a disputed sum.

We’re talking, of course, about DATEM, the large construction firm that’s now embroiled in a very public spat with Megaworld over what the former claims is P873 million in payments owned to it by the latter.

According to Megaworld, however, this dispute is completely DATEM’s fault since the contractor failed to make substantial progress in completing a building it was tasked to construct since before the pandemic.


Biz Buzz learned that DATEM only managed to complete five floors out of 38 in Megaworld’s 18 Avenue de Triomphe project in Pasig City as of 2022, despite it being handed to them in 2019.


Because of these delays, which Megaworld said were “unacceptable,” the project was taken from DATEM and awarded to EEI Corp. In the year’s time, the new contractor managed to complete the entire 38 storeys.

We hear that Megaworld boss Kevin Tan is particularly “p*ssed off” that DATEM dared to try to have all banks freeze all of the developer’s deposits, even if the disputed amount is just 0.2 percent of the company’s total assets.


Now we hear Megaworld has tasked ACCRALaw to go after DATEM and file cases for breach of contract. The damages being eyed by Megaworld are, to say the least, eye popping and may very well end up making DATEM bleed profusely. Abangan!

—Daxim L. Lucas

Marcos ala Obi-Wan

Until the last minute, UnionDigital Bank CEO Henry Aguda was worried that the holographic keynote of President Marcos at the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) on Nov.15 would fail. After all, it was UnionDigital that had pitched to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and other SFF organizers the hologram appearance of Mr. Marcos, who could not physically attend this year because of his Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation engagement in San Francisco.

“It’s less about banking, more about showcasing the Philippines to SFF,” Aguda said. “The President was kind enough to say yes and bring attention to the Philippine startups.” After all, it’s the world’s largest gathering of fintechs, with about 10,000 participants this year.

It turned out that MAS had wanted to invite Mr. Marcos to deliver the SFF keynote last year, but there was likewise a conflict in schedule.

Inspired by the Star Wars movie of 20 years ago, Aguda said they thus proposed to bring the President to SFF ala Obi-Wan Kenobi but on a prerecorded life-size mode as what is now seen in newer Star Wars films.

But until two weeks ago, they couldn’t find the suitable technology that would work in a large setting. They pulled it off with the help of Elevandi, MAS’ nonprofit arm with a mission to harness fintech for growth and development in the new digital economy. They used a holo projector that disperses light with a 360-degree view. But it could only work when the entire auditorium is dark.

The President recorded the video message in two takes, the second just meant to be an ‘insurance.’ As such, he made history as the first head of state to deliver a keynote address via hologram.

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It was short but sweet but many viewers agree that if he’ll channel Obi-Wan again, Mr. Marcos must be more relaxed and use more gestures like TedTalks speakers.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla INQ
TAGS: Biz Buzz, Business

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