editorial

Manny V. Pangilinan : Miracle Man

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by Al Labita
 
HE has long shunned politics.
But like a ghost, his name haunts the political landscape now abuzz with rumors in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
From obscurity, Manuel V. Pangilinan, aka MVP, suddenly shot to prominence, being bruited about as a potential “dark horse” in the next presidential race. What props up MVP’s stock is his technocratic skill that transformed the once struggling Hong Kong-based First Pacific Company Ltd. into one of Asia’s profitable corporate titans. He may not have any political affiliation, but he has the money. The self-made billionaire sportsman has made it to the elite list of US-based Forbes Magazine as one of the Philippines’ richest men, joining the ranks of taipans Henry Sy, Lucio Tan and the Ayalas. He was listed as the Philippines’ 50th wealthiest with an estimated net worth of P4.5 billion as of July 2013.

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Forays

Undoubtedly, MVP boasts impeccable credentials. As the top honcho of First Pacific, he steered its phenomenal growth over the past decades. From selling Indonesian noodles, the company diversified into banking, finance and property, mainly in Hong Kong and Jakarta, the headquarters of parent Salim Group. In mid ‘90s, MVP saw an opportunity to return to his country where he learned the ropes of the trade, so to speak, as an investment banker.
At the time, the telecom industry was liberalized, enabling him and his group to launch a bid to take over the then financially ailing Philippines Long Distance Telephone (PLDT). With PLDT as flagship, there was no stopping him from venturing into other profit centers — ranging from power to mining, toll roads, media, water and related utilities – all under a listed holding firm, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) chaired by MVP.

Today, the Philippines accounts for 70 percent of First Pacific’s offshore forays, a sign of his abiding faith and confidence in his country’s business potentials.
 
The Miracle Man

MVP has earned the trust of the very rich, with track record in making sure stakeholders in companies he runs get back their money’s worth. That kind of character is what the Philippines  needs now. One who takes care of the trust given him by stockholders. One who has not and will not betray his bosses, the investors.

Our publication, OpinYon, is of the thought that the Philippines if run like a corporation could get out from the economic hole it is drowning in and bring real prosperity to this country. And who could run giant companies and turn around losses better than the proven miracle man himself – MVP.

Given the chance to run the Philippines like those giant companies he has turned around to make profits, MVP could serve his “bosses”, the Filipinos, like he is serving those who trust him with their money.  
Given a change of heart in the people towards trapos, MVP has better than fair chance of earning the trust of the people and win the election for President.

After Pres. Benigno S. Aquino has been stripped of his mask and now earning public ridicule, most Filipinos are asking: who should lead this country?  
 
Media Ownership

MVP has the campaign infrastructure to win in a political contest. He has good grip of respected media in, print and broadcast. His business interests are almost everywhere in communications and utilities. He has an army of loyal workers, satisfied in their pay like at PLDT, Meralco and other MVP firms which are among blue chips traded on the Philippine bourse and are the usual top picks by both foreign and local investors.

Credit also goes to MVP for laying the foundation – in terms of infrastructure –of what is now known as “Global City,” a former Army Camp, in Taguig City after winning its public bidding. Amid public outrage over the “pork barrel” scandal, the tycoon appears to be a logical choice as an alternative to dyed-in-the-wool trapos in a rapidly shifting political milieu.

Should he throw his hat in the political arena, it’s likely the media outfits – TV 5, Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star and the Business World – under his corporate umbrella would come in handy in a political campaign.
But in his media comments, MVP has thumbed down any ambition to seek a public office.
‘There is no political blood that runs through my veins. I believe I can serve our people better some other way.”
 
Technocrat

He reacted to rumors that, on the prodding of friends and business associates, he would seek an elective position in the 2016 elections. Pundits believe he would make a great president, given his “technocratic skills.” At a recent forum on the 2016 presidential elections, organized by the Center for Philippine Futuristics Studies and Management Inc., political analyst Antonio Gatmaitan said Pangilinan “could bring his technocratic skills to address the complicated economic issues that will confront the nation and help address a few selective social issues.”

Gatmaitan knows whereof he speaks as he is the executive director of the Political Economic Applied Research Foundation. In case Pangilinan decides to run for the country’s top post in May 2016, Gatmaitan said: “Imagine the excitement it can create.” Ramon Casiple, the executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms, said it is clear that Pangilinan has a political agenda in buying stakes in a diversified mix of financially distressed companies and turning them around as money spinners. He also believes Pangilinan would be the dark horse candidate in the 2016 presidential elections. “I agree there is a dark horse. And that’s MVP,” Casiple said.
 
Hidden Agenda

Apolitical he may be, MVP’s thoughts – often expressed in media interviews – betray what could be his hidden political agenda. In not a few instances that he articulated his own vision for the country favoring investments in such critical businesses as tourism, mining, utilities and information and communications technology.

To him, investments in infrastructure such as power plants, toll roads, seaports and airports are vital to lower the cost of domestic production – ideas that would serve as dividends or profit-sharing with Filipinos should the government turn corporate-oriented and business-like under the banner of what would become the Philippines, Inc and with him as a prospective CEO.

Pangilinan believed that the country’s leaders should be more involved in coming up with long-term solutions and move beyond short-term crisis management if they aspire for the country to grow and move forward.
On election, his view is that it should provide a rare opportunity to define the country’s long-term economic and social priorities, and form a broad consensus around them.

He noted that the private sector should take the lead in mobilizing and directing infrastructure spending, adding the government’s assistance is needed as well.
 
Winnability

“The private sector cannot operate on its own. It must seek government help and assistance. In infrastructure, public-private-sector partnership will be critical—the private sector being the moving force and the government providing the relevant incentives, support and enabling regulatory framework.” In more ways than one, MVP is also a philanthropist through his Kapatid Foundation.

In Bacolod city, the City Council approved a resolution declaring MVP an adopted son, noting that his life’s success story is an inspiration that is worth emulating by all Filipinos.

During his years in Hong Kong, he founded and chaired the Bayanihan Center that provided cultural and vocational activities for Filipino domestic workers there. In December 2012, he mobilized his telecommunication companies in a national telethon that raised millions of pesos to aid the victims of typhoon Pablo.

“This simple and hearty resolution is a manifestation that the city government of Bacolod truly recognizes the services and contributions of Pangilinan in the different sectors or our community,” the resolution reads.
 
Ako Mismo

Talk about MVP running for president is not new. In 2010, media placements launching the “Ako Mismo” advocacy movement fueled speculations that he was keen in the country’s plum post. Public perception then was that the movement was meant to be MVP’s platform had he decided to throw his hat in the political arena.

“If given the chance and if there is a possibility of winning, MVP will run for president,” a businessman said.
But, in a statement, MVP clarified that the movement was intended to awaken and spread the Filipinos’ sense of responsibility as an individual. “Our legacy is that reliance on community, government and family must be balanced by strong personal accountability,” he says.

“As for myself, I am not running for any political office. I am truly at home running a business,” a statement viewed with skepticism by doubting Thomases among eagle-eyed political watchers.

Riding the Yellow Myth

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CORY for web

by: Eric Fabian

MOST accounts about the late President Cory Aquino by people who were young adults during the time of the 1986 EDSA People Power uprising are heaps of praises–as if Cory was heaven sent to save the country from the villainy of Marcos.

The truth is, as much as the late Ninoy’s widow have been nice and generous to her relative, friends and associates, she is just as human as the rest of us, prone to social pressure, flawed and not immune to mistakes or oversight. #OpinYon #opinion #CoryAquino

read cont | http://bit.ly/1a9ueTf

Psychic: Fall of PNoy, Rise of Grace Poe, Not Binay

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by: Linggoy Alcuaz

LAST Thursday, there were two sets of predictions. The first came from Danny Atienza, the favorite Psychic of kapihans and media forums. The second came from me, Linggoy, the unrewarded but vindicated public predictor of the Dec 1, 1989 RAM-SFP-YOU coup attempt against then President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino.

FOTO GRACE POE for web

I first met Danny through TingTing de los Reyes Cojuangco. That was way back in 2000-01. TingTing, a former two time Governor of Tarlac Province (1992 – 95 and 1995 – 98) is the wife of President Cory’s younger brother and the Congressman of the Ilocano District of Tarlac, Jose “Peping” Sumulong Cojuangco (He took the place of his father before Martial Law; 1987-92, 92-95, 95-98). I was associated with them three times: 1983-89/92, 1997-98 and 2000-2001 in the past three decades. #OpinYon #opinion #GracePoe #Binay #PNoy

read cont | http://bit.ly/16QE5SI

Aunt Tingting vs ‘Digi-President’

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by: Herman Tiu-Laurel
AUNT-IN-LAW of President Benigno Aquino III Magarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, wife of Jose Peping Conjuangco and brother of presidential mother the late Corazon Aquino last Thursday accused Malacañang and its tentacles of committing “electoral fraud” by manipulating the results of the automated 2013 mid-term polls for Team PNoy candidates to win the senatorial race.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis puts in question all the top winners that the vote manipulations installed through the now infamous Smartmatic-PCOS 60-30-10 standard, cross-country pattern for administration, opposition and independent candidates. #OpinYon #opinion #PNoy#TingtingCojuangco

read cont | http://bit.ly/1hB2jzp

INCOMPETENT, DISHONEST?

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[by Miguel Raymundo]

THE guessing game is on. Will PNoy finish his term?

The answer to that question is not a dare to impeach him, but also how deep the Filipinos are hurt by an incompetent and dishonest President.

“Impeach me!” President Benigno S. Aquino III dares the people.

This week's OpinYon cover story. Includes old news reports about the alleged Cory wire fraud.
This week’s OpinYon cover story. Includes old news reports about the alleged Cory wire fraud.

Believing in “doctored” surveys, Aquino is confident—and deludes himself that the people love him and his family so much that they can empty with impunity this poor country’s coffers and that still more Filipinos will keep them on the pedestal.

He is likely to lose this dare as the middle class has taken to the streets and is now leading the march to stamp out corruption in government and bring behind bars those who have stolen people’s money. #OpinYon #PNoy #Incompetent #Dishonest#Philippines

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KILLING THE CARTEL

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By: Al S. Labita & Miguel Raymundo

IN a dark alley in Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown, a Chinese rice trader ponders on the fate of the tons of rice he illegally stockpiled in his leased warehouse.

Not only were the grains rotting, but their storage also drained him of “dirty profits” he pocketed from speculating on the supply and demand cycle of the Filipinos’ major staple.
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Call it “bad karma,” but the tsinoy trader—like his peers in the cartelized trading of rice—is bearing the brunt of the government’s resolute political will to stabilize the rice market–and stamp out smuggling, hoarding and price manipulation.

Based on OpinYon’s research, a paper trail leads to Binondo as the epicenter of cartelized trading of grains, apparently in cahoots with corrupt government officials.

Mostly involving Tsinoys, the syndicate–described as “big and powerful”—corners and manipulates rice prices, creating an artificial shortage in the grains market. #OpinYon #banner#RiceHoarding #Rice

read cont | http://bit.ly/16G1q9v

What’s With PNoy?

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by: Ramon Orosa

SO PNoy went to Zamboanga to try and put an end to the conflict. After one week, he’s back in Manila, but though reduced, the fighting has not ended. Somehow, his “visit” to Mindanao has raised questions although even prior to his visit, other questions were already being raised.

FOTO BANNER STORY PNOY for web

For example, the MPM and all the brouhaha about government and the malfeasance of legislators high and low and the assemblies to protest and keep the pressure to ensure that PNOY follows his own slogan of “Matuwid na Daan”. The peoples” demand is that PNoy applies the demand for accountability before the bar of justice across the board, meaning allies and foes alike, seeking not just examples to prosecute but to have hailed to court any and all involved within 100 days as his sign of sincerity if he is truly allied with the MPM as his minions have declared although there is a strong sentiment that that was no more than an attempt to preempt the MPM march.

Some have suggested that a diversionary tactic had to be created. The problem is that as I had it recounted to me, two weeks before the Zamboanga problem started, a senior ranking military official had already indicated that indeed such a development would take place in Mindanao without being area specific. #OpinYon #opinion

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Dangerous Times

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By Al Labita

NOT A FEW are alarmed over the danger signs of a creeping political upheaval threatening to cut short President Aquino’s six-year-term in office.

FOTO BANNER STORY PNOY for web

For one, the “anti-pork “protest movement—the so-called “Million People March”—has snowballed, setting the stage for what could be a prelude to another “people power.”

From Aparri to Jolo, more and more are joining the crusade, the biggest challenge so far to the 53-year-old bachelor president, now in his third year as president of a country known for ousting a leader linked to corruption.

For those in the business sector, they are wary that the current political brouhaha over the pork scam may deteriorate to an Edsa-type revolt.

Though the economy is doing well, history shows that it usually turns ugly whenever the going gets rough in the political scene. #OpinYon #business

read cont | http://bit.ly/15SBve7

UNUS INSTAR OMNIUM

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by: Francis De Guzman

THE above is Latin, and translated in the English language to mean –“one for all.”

This is seen as the very essence that embodies the ‘soul of democracy’ if it were to be taken in the context of socio-political realities of our times.

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The success of the “million people’s march” as this writer would term the recent turn of events in the country, which was birthed by a unified call to the nation against the excessive evils of corruption that has reached the highest echelons of political power, is but the tip of the iceberg that could hopefully bring about true transformational change.

Based on the final outcome of those tasked to investigate the said “Mother of all Scams” and how the truth and nothing but, will now determine the future course of events for this nation of more than 90 million Filipinos. #OpinYon #opinion

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