Jumping for Tony Lopez

SPYBITS (The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2013 - 12:00am

Manila Overseas Press Club Board of Trustees Chairman Tony Lopez recently celebrated his 65th birthday and the 12th anniversary of BizNews Asia magazine where he is also the publisher. The event, held at the InterContinental Hotel in Makati, had former President Fidel V. Ramos as the guest of honor. Reminiscing on past glory, FVR no doubt is so used to having people jump whenever he barks an order. People still remember his now famous “victory jump” during the 1986 EDSA People Power revolution. FVR led the jumping – along with the other guests – for the birthday boy, Tony Lopez.

The occasion also served as an opportunity for the magazine to honor top business honchos and decision makers across many industries for displaying a heart for service and having the vision to build – characteristics that are proving to be essential considering the massive contribution of the private sector to government rehabilitation efforts for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. Every year, BizNews Asia gives out awards to top business performers and achievers under several categories that include visionary management, management excellence and excellence in public service.

One of the awardees was SM Group’s Tessie Sy-Coson (in photo third from left with GMA Network chairman Felipe Gozon, Lopez and FVR) who is unquestionably one of the most powerful businesswomen in Asia and the most powerful female business tycoon in the Philippines today. BizNews Asia bestowed the Visionary Management Award on Tessie Coson whose own management style has put SM Investments Corporation (SMIC) and banking giant Banco de Oro (BDO), both under the SM Group, at the top of the game.

SMIC is now one of the largest conglomerates with estimated assets placed at P597 billion with a market cap of P590.8 billion. BDO on the other hand is the country’s largest bank in terms of resources, capital, loans and trust funds with assets having exceeded the P1 trillion mark. In fact, BDO was named by Hong Kong-based Finance Asia as the “Best Asian Bank” for 2013, besting several other top banks from Asia.

K-9 search teams needed

The onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda has made it very clear that there are a lot of things that have to be learned, among them the need for highly trained search and rescue (SAR) K-9 teams that can help in looking for trapped survivors during disasters.  The (slow) casualty count has reached over 5,000 – more than double the earlier estimate of the President – and we’re told the government is now utilizing the help of foreign K-9 groups to help recover more bodies that are trapped under debris.

We have received unconfirmed reports that K-9 units from foreign groups flew in days after the disaster and offered their help to government. However, the offer was reportedly turned down by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council or NDRRMC, who said they were “not needed.” Whoever decided this must be very ignorant of the crucial role that SAR dogs play in search and rescue operations. Even organizations like the United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deploy search canines within 24 hours of a disaster knowing these dogs can make a lot of difference between life and death. 

While our own Philippine National Police and even the Armed Forces have K-9 units, the dogs are trained for other functions like smelling drugs, bombs and improvised explosive devices or IEDs. Which reminds us of the huge traffic snarl along EDSA-Pasay area two months ago because of a bag thrown at a passenger bus. A bomb-sniffing dog was sent but unfortunately, it mistakenly profiled the contents of the bag. As it turned out, the bag did not contain a bomb or any explosive but “trash.”

ECJ to undergo operation

Business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco (or ECJ) is scheduled to undergo a kidney transplant before the holidays. The procedure has been planned for some time but ECJ’s doctors were waiting for a kidney that would be a perfect match for the former ambassador. Also called a renal transplantation, the operation is of course delicate but is no longer rare or unusual, much like heart bypass operations. Close friends and colleagues of ECJ are praying for the success of the operation and his speedy recovery.

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Email: spybits08@yahoo.com.


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