BIZ BUZZ: SMC partners face scrutiny

BIZ BUZZ: SMC partners face scrutiny

/ 02:06 AM February 20, 2024

The Department of Transportation has already declared the San Miguel Corp. (SMC)-led consortium the winner of the bidding for the contract to operate and maintain Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Yet, it continues to be dogged with questions about the viability of its winning bid.

Some observers are specifically concerned about its partners—specifically RLW Aviation Development Inc. and RMM Asian Logistics Inc.—as there seems to be so little information about them considering the scope and scale of the undertaking.

A quick Google search about these companies will not yield significant results, apart from the recent news written about them due to the bidding.


In fact, market insights firm CreditSights has observed the same thing. “We were unable to find publicly available information on the nature, shareholding and financials of these companies,” it explained.


CreditSights noted that SMC’s press statements only highlights the other partner, Incheon International Airport Corp.

“Though SMC in its press release did not disclose or refute if the two entities are in any way related to SMC, we cannot rule out the possibility that they are related parties of SMC,” the firm said.

The firm said that if these companies were indeed related to San Miguel, this means the conglomerate will actually spend more than the assumption under the deal.

Will we eventually know more about these companies as the group moves forward with the highly coveted project? Let’s see! —Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

DDB Group gets sweet vindication

DDB Group Philippines, which was stripped last year of its lucrative contract with the Department of Tourism (DOT) due to alleged plagiarism, got some deserved vindication recently when it bagged the coveted “Agency of the Year” title at the 59th Anvil Awards hosted by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines.

DDB won the prestigious award after securing six Gold and 13 Silver Anvils. The winning campaigns include those with Mang Inasal, the Asian Hospital and Medical Center, PepsiCo Philippines, PLDT and Jollibee through public relations unit Ripple8.


The hard-fought wins during the Anvil Awards, deemed the “Oscar’s of Public Relations” in the Philippines, were like a balm after the severe bruising it got last year when the DOT terminated its contract for the promotional campaign around the new “Love the Philippines” slogan.

So why we are still seeing the “Love the Philippines” slogan and materials?

It’s because DDB decided to just donate to the government the logo, slogan, brand guidelines and global market research for the campaign “Love the Philippines” as an act of goodwill.

Indeed, the DOT continues to extensively use the “Love the Philippines” branding campaign in the Philippines and abroad.

DDB, meanwhile, has kept its clients even at the height of the brouhaha, and perhaps will get even more with the recent win . —Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Crackdown on questionable apps cheered

Industry observers are cheering the aggressive moves by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) to combat the proliferation of popular foreign-backed social apps that are unfortunately facilitating illegal online gambling.

GAB, chaired by Richard Clarin, recently teamed up with the National Telecommunications Commission and telecommunications companies to identify and then shut down these illegal sites, which are polluting the digital environment and producing social ills associated with illegal gambling such as financial ruin and family breakdowns.

“We are fully aware that these illegal operators put up new sites the moment we succeed in shutting down one. [But] their modus operandi is not going to deter us from hunting them down day in and day out,” Clarin said.

The GAB thus joined global efforts to crack down on a number of Chinese livestreaming apps that have been linked to indecent content and illegal activities.

Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, for example, earlier banned some popular apps for various offenses, underscoring the global community’s increasing focus on holding digital platforms accountable for their content.

By adopting similar actions, the GAB and its partners in the public and private sectors will not only protect Filipinos against the potential harm associated with these questionable online activities but also make the flourishing digital environment more safe and conducive to continuous innovation. —Tina Arceo-Dumlao

DA shake-up continues

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. made another leadership shakeup at the Department of Agriculture (DA).

In a special order dated Feb. 15, Tiu Laurel gave another responsibility to Alvin John Balagbag on top of his designation as undersecretary and chief of staff: undersecretary for DA inspectorate and enforcement.

Before this development, James Layug was at the forefront of the agency’s aggressive campaign against smuggled agricultural products.

As of writing, Layug is still listed in the DA’s website as the assistant secretary for DA inspectorate and enforcement.

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Since Tiu Laurel’s appointment in November last year, the DA management team has expanded to include nine undersecretaries, one undersecretary-designate, five assistant secretaries and two assistant secretary-designates including Balagbag and Layug. —Jordeene Lagare INQ

TAGS: Biz Buzz, DA, Naia rehab, San Miguel Corp.

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