Now that the partnership between LBS Digital Infrastructure Corp. (LDIC)—a home-grown tower company—and Sojitz Corp., a 150-year-old Japanese telecom firm has been fully cemented, the speed that cell towers will be built in the country is expected to accelerate at full throttle.
It’s very tempting for me to write about the recent presidential elections and its effect on business. I will definitely write down my thoughts and feelings about it soon. For now, however, let me acknowledge the numerous readers who commended me for my piece on the Edsa bus ban.
The anticipation of the outcome of the country’s presidential elections next month may be diverting us from the disturbing effects of the war in Ukraine: a potential mayhem in global finance that could lead us to uncharted new-world bedlam, which advanced democracies are watching with serious concern.
The decision of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on March 8 to allow the operations of the Provincial Public Utility Buses (PUBs) on inter-regional routes has not lifted the spirits of bus operators whose bottom line has been languishing in the red.
Russian President Vladimir Putin may not have Viking blood running through his veins, but his decision to invade Ukraine on the flimsiest of reasons, with some bordering on falsity, seems cut out of the mold of how the Norsemen who set foot on Russian soil in the Middle Ages went about their murderous raids.
Except for the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA), presidential candidates and other groups appear resigned to the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to throw out the petition filed before the agency by civil society groups to disqualify presidential aspirant Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.
The year 2021 ended with the proverbial bang, but not in a good way for at least two banking institutions. The last month of the year saw two banking issues emerge from the woodwork. One is the unfortunate Banco de Oro hacking incident, which affected over 700 BDO Unibank accounts, each depositor losing between P25,000 and P50,000, after being taken over by a certain “Mark Nagoyo.” The other one is the lesser-known Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) fund scam where a foundation and a handful of other clients of the bank complained they were victimized by a branch manager, involving millions of pesos.
“Loose lips sink ships.” This American English idiom has often characterized President Duterte’s brand of messaging since becoming president in 2016. His penchant for shooting from the hip and his constant flip-flopping on what he publicly declares have kept his communications team scrambling to “massage” his seemingly thoughtless remarks.
For the past week or so, the United States has been experiencing the weirdest weather ever. For instance, the people of Hawaii spent the weekend of December 3 worrying about a blizzard warning issued a day before. While rainfall was inexplicably drenching the Pacific Northwest, irrationally warm temperatures swathed across the Midwest and South, and a major snow famine in the Rockies signaled that Denver’s first winter snowfall has been delayed.
I just had a lengthy phone conversation with a dear friend who had just survived the Delta variant of Covid-19. He was fully vaccinated with Sinovac and in the pink of health before the virus struck, and with no known comorbidities. And yet, his Covid attack was so severe that he was given only an 8 percent chance to live. Due to extreme breathing complications, my friend was intubated and medically induced into a coma. His pneumonia caused his left lung to collapse, and other vital parts of his body were in severe stress.
President Duterte has doubled down on his claim that an unnamed presidential candidate is doing cocaine. He further ratcheted up his allegation by saying that this presidential aspirant who comes from a wealthy family “whose last name means strong” does the illegal act in places like on a yacht or a private plane.
There seems to be a disturbing pattern in the way President Duterte shields his political allies and friends from accusations of wrongdoing. Time and time again we see him going ballistic on issues—his drug war, pandemic handling, corruption, etc.—whenever friends and allies are caught or exposed for alleged irregularities. Those at the receiving end of the “presidential wrath” are often bombarded with expletives, insults, and veiled threats.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on August 24 opened the 5.14-kilometer Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) subsection 5 in the province of Cavite, with former DPWH Secretary Mark Villar cutting the ceremonial ribbon. Subsection 5 traverses the Silang East Interchange to the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Interchange. It is expected to service roughly 5,000 motorists daily, in addition to the already 10,000 users of subsections 6, 7 and 8 from Sta. Rosa to Mamplasan. The whole Laguna segment is expected to serve around 20,000 vehicles.
The name of the Philippine presidential palace Malacañang is traditionally attributed to the phrase “may lakan diyan,” indicating the presence there of a nobleman or more precisely a strong leader. Yet, we seem to be once again at the risk of falling prey to the stars in our eyes and installing a papier-mache proxy in the presidential palace, instead of the strong leader the country needs. Former actor Isko Moreno, aka Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso or “Yorme,” caused a stir when he announced his intention to run for president in 2022, and pundits are wondering: is this the healing that the Philippines actually needs, with a clear and decisive break from Dutertismo? Is “Yorme” Duterte’s and his cronies’ ticket to a golden parachute?
The near riot caused by people flooding vaccination centers a day before Metro Manila and Calabarzon went into a lockdown may very well be considered a reflection of the mounting fear and exasperation Filipinos feel about the inability of the government to contain a pandemic that has sapped them physically, emotionally and financially.