Sneaking its way thru the backdoor

HIDDEN AGENDA - The Philippine Star

The Manila International  Airport Authority (MIAA) recently announced that it would soon accept four foreign carriers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport -Terminal  3 (NAIA-T3).

Industry sources said the lead airline is Cathay Pacific. The three others are Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Delta Airlines.

The sources said top MIAA officials have already approved the access of the carriers’ service provider into the terminal, thus opening the doors wide for its operation.

Hold your breath now, our concerned source hinted that the service provider is connected with the same Philippine International Air Transport Corp. (PIATCO) group controlled by the Chengs.

It will be recalled that PIATCO sued the MIAA for the ownership and right to operate NAIA-T3.

Question: Is MIAA general manager Angel Honrado aware of this “subtle” maneuver that would allow an adverse private company to operate at the NAIA- T3?

If Honrado does not know about the connection of PIATCO with the service provider of the foreign carriers,  this should  serve as an eye opener for him.

We are are urging Honrado to start looking into the matter.
Probably, just probably, this is being done behind everybody’s back. Next thing we know PIATCO is back  at the NAIA-T3.

MIAA officials should not be caught flatfooted on this sensitive issue  less it be said that they have been sleeping on the job.

As a backgrounder, the Supreme Court declared the contract between PIATCO owned by the Chengs and the government null and void due to numerous onerous provisions disadvantageous to the government.

However, the Pasay regional trial court ordered the government to pay PIATCO,  which sued the MIAA for ownership and right to operate the terminal, at least P3 billion for the construction of the facility.

The government has since taken over the operations of the terminal. The terminal which PIATCO claimed to have been constructed at an astonishing $650 million was believed to be substandard which has placed its structural credibility in serious doubt.

Since the Supreme Court had declared the contract null and void from the beginning, the government should have treated the terminal as an illegally constructed edifice on government land making it a squatter.

Instead of being demolished like any illegally constructed building, the government instead paid PIATCO for the terminal.

Now, here is the service provider linked to PIATCO silently getting access into the facility.

This, if true, is a big insult to the intelligence and common sense of MIAA officials led by Honrado.

Improving the business climate

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial candidate Jack Enrile’s  main advocacy is food security, with his selling point “Murang Pagkain, Maraming Pagkain” for the masses, but he is also advocating for more jobs.

To be effective in this aspect, a legislator must have the business skills to create jobs.

What is not widely known is that before he entered public service as Cagayan congressman, the young Enrile used to head the family business, the JAKA Group of Companies, as president and chief executive officer, from 1994 to 1998. 

Prior to this, he was the purchasing manager of JAKA, the holding company  for 22 subsidiary companies.

With a total workforce of about 3,000 employees both here and abroad, the JAKA Group of Companies enjoyed an unsurpassed period of growth and profitability with Jack at the helm.

Jack also holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Jack believes that the government should initiate more reforms to improve the business climate and thus create more jobs.

He is of the opinion that lifting the constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership of nationalized businesses as well as of land  would not necessarily lead to a surge in foreign investments.

He suggests that the country must first put its house in order by cutting red tape and reducing the cost of doing business.

Jack says that putting up a business here requires a laborious process that tests the mettle of even the most daring and intrepid entrepreneurs. Government, he stressed, should do away with the tons of paper work—and the grease money that must be paid to facilitate movement of documents—needed for various permits and licenses.

Beyond this is the inadequate physical infrastructure, such as paved roads and sturdy bridges to remote areas.

Another disincentive to foreign investors, he said, is the high electricity cost that deters foreign businessmen from coming in as it unnecessarily drives up overhead costs.                   

In addition, government needs to improve the peace and order situation through no-nonsense enforcement of the law and forging peace with both communist and Muslim rebel groups.

To stimulate the economy and create more jobs, the government should strive to encourage more foreign direct investments in manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture, among others.

He is also urging the government and the private sector to collaborate in creating more jobs as part of the over-all effort to boost economic growth and reduce poverty levels.

Jack is also the main author of House Bill 4835 or the Philippine Fair Competition Act which seeks to prohibit unfair trade practices that subject consumers to unreasonable and unjustified increases in the prices of goods and services. His father has already filed a similar measure in the Senate.

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