Preserve investor trust

Money goes where it grows. This is a fundamental tenet among investors, and the move of Manuel V. Pangilinan to look for investment opportunities outside the Philippines hews to it. It’s interesting that the decision of the high-profile businessman and sports patron to lead a high-powered team on a three-day visit to Vietnam last week came at a time when he is experiencing a series of unfortunate events, whether involving business or not, at home.

On the business front, MVP’s latest setback was the breakdown in talks to acquire GMA Network, a P52-billion deal that could have fit well into the convergence strategy of his telecom units PLDT and Smart/Piltel/Sun Cellular. Then there was the matter of the tailings leak from Philex Mining Corp.’s Padcal mine in Benguet, which has finally been plugged. There is likewise the issue on the connector road project to link the North and South Expressways. MVP’s group had submitted an unsolicited proposal to the government to undertake the project, but then came another connector road proposal from his chief rival in business, San Miguel Corp.’s head honcho Ramon S. Ang. To avoid accusations of favoring one over the other, President Aquino instructed all concerned departments to allow the two connector road projects to proceed.

Earlier, MVP suffered a setback in the Supreme Court, which decided that PLDT had exceeded the constitutional limit on foreign ownership. The high court only recently ruled with finality on the matter, rejecting the motion for reconsideration submitted by the MVP group. PLDT now has to issue more voting preferred shares to bring down the ownership of foreigners in the telecom giant to the constitutional limit of 40 percent.

Outside of business, MVP also had a falling out with Ateneo de Manila University, which he had supported financially through the years. In a statement, he cited his differences with his alma mater on two critical issues—the controversial Reproductive Health bill and the equally controversial mining industry.

The Metro Rail Transit 3 project is quite another business issue that has saddened the MVP group. Through Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the MVP group offered more than $1 billion to the government to acquire and expand the mass transport system. After months of studying the matter and saying it wanted transparency in all its undertakings, the Aquino administration instead approved early last month a bidding for the P8.6-billion MRT 3 capacity-expansion project.

Perhaps the biggest issue that posed a big influence on MVP’s desire to look elsewhere for business growth involves the SCTEx. In November 2010, his Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) won the 25-year contract to operate and maintain the 94-kilometer Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, subject to the approval of the Office of the President. But such an approval never came as Mr. Aquino’s economic officials said the government needed to gain more money from the SCTEx project. Subsequent negotiations prompted the MVP group to submit a revised proposal.

Last week, the President said he had not yet signed the SCTEx concession agreement with MNTC because the government was still reviewing the terms. But as he announced this, some of his officials indicated that Malacañang would soon issue an order to rebid the SCTEx contract as the revised MNTC offer was supposedly still insufficient to address the government’s desire to get more out of the Philippines’ longest expressway.

The MVP group, in effect, stands to lose the SCTEx toll project after going through two administrations and two rounds of negotiations. Imagine its disappointment at this changing of the rules. An official from the MVP group had warned that if Malacañang would indeed order a rebidding, the transaction would not sit well with the group’s creditors. A rebidding of SCTEx will also be seen as an opportunity for MVP’s main business rival—San Miguel’s Ang—to snatch the SCTEx contract.

It is certainly the duty of the government to maximize the benefits to the country of any project that it hands over to the private sector. This, however, should not be at the expense of losing the trust and confidence of investors in the regulatory framework of the Philippine economy.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=39280

Tags: ATENEO , editorial , GMA Network , Government , investment opportunities , Manuel V. Pangilinan , philex mining corp. , SCTEX

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy
  • 16 CADPI sugar refinery workers now out of danger after toxic shower in Batangas
  • PNP denies Purisima’s involvement in questionable deal with courier firm
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Marketplace