Philippines prized find

HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes - The Philippine Star

The country has found an effective marketing person in one of the President’s latest Cabinet hires.

While not exactly known to be a marketing person as former president and CEO of Robinsons Land Corp., the country’s economic czar is fast gaining fans from among people he has been touching base with in recent months for talking sense about issues placed on his to-do plate.

An action man, Special Assistant to the President for Investment and Economic Affairs Frederick Go has been pitching for changes in business and economic policies and has successfully sold his ideas to members of the legislative who have been convinced to effect the necessary reforms via new laws and bills, including the PPP Law and the CREATE MORE Bill, all these to promote ease of doing business in the country which is among his office’s major mandates.

Go has also been assisting in several public-private partnership projects such as the successful privatization of the Manila International Airport’s operation which many administrations in the past have tried but failed to do and the upcoming privatization of the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental.

So far, he is also becoming a permanent fixture in welcoming foreign dignitaries, royalty, and business leaders who are being eyed as potential investors in the Philippines.

In a recent meeting with CEOs of US and ASEAN companies with existing as well as potential investments and businesses in the country, Go was interrogated and grilled by his audience for more than an hour. But he was able to answer every question, prompting the head of the group to compliment him for giving “specific, substantial answers to questions thrown at him.”

The same accolades were given to him by even more businessmen during a dinner hosted by the US Ambassador to the Philippines and by the 700-plus attendees of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum that was held the following day.

Aside from being a charming and enthusiastic speaker, the Cabinet secretary cum “salesman” is also admired for avoiding the boring and usually empty motherhood statements.

It will be interesting to see how much “sales” he will be able to make as he sells the country as this region’s most promising business hub.

Pharma company fights back

Bell-Kenz Pharma has filed a cyber libel complaint against Dr. Anthony Leachon with the National Bureau of Investigation’s cybercrime division.

The company accused Leachon, a well-known figure in the medical community, of spreading “malicious, reckless, and baseless” claims online when he alleged that Bell-Kenz engages in unethical practices.

According to him, the pharmaceutical company employs multi-level marketing and pyramiding schemes and offers luxurious incentives to doctors to overprescribe their products.

Bell-Kenz has strongly denied the accusations, with its corporate secretary and legal counsel Atty. Joseph Vincent Go, saying that Leachon’s statements have caused significant damage to the company’s reputation and the trust it has built over the years by providing medicines that are 30 percent cheaper.

He stressed that such unfounded claims have also tarnish the reputation of doctors across the country.

Bell-Kenz also said that it is exploring the possibility of filing additional cases, to defend its name as it welcomed any investigation by government health regulatory bodies into the matter.

We do not know if these allegations are true but everybody deserves a day in court.

Fishing expedition

For a business person, reputation is critical. In the business world, trust and credibility are the cornerstones of successful relationships with partners, clients and the community.

And so when one’s reputation is tainted if not destroyed, imagine the devastating effect not only on the individual and but also on his business and his whole life. Unfounded accusations can lead to loss of business opportunities, strained relationships with stakeholders, and a tarnished public image.

Such is the situation businessman Manjinder “James” Kumar has found himself in.

I do not know him personally but I know someone who does. His name has been in the news recently in connection with the investigation being conducted by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs on the leaked Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) documents linking certain personalities to illegal drugs. Kumar’s name together with others were dragged by former PDEA agent Jonathan Morales into the picture.

According to Kumar, he does not know Morales nor the issue he is involved in and the subject of the Senate inquiry and that he learned of the issue and of Morales after Kumar’s name was mentioned by blogger Maharlika in an online post. Former National Police Commission agent Eric Santiago dragged Kumar and a certain “Lam” into the controversy.

Kumar founded the Filipino Indian Commerce and Welfare Society, a non government philantrophic organization and according to the FICWSI website, he has business interests in business process outsourcing, restaurants, and travel and documentation consultancy.

Again, we do not know if any of this is true. But we agree with Kumar as to how this political circus has repeatedly misled people and ruined reputations by taking as gospel truths matters posted online despite warnings on fake news.

Kumar believes that some of these attacks, including attempts on his life and the murder of his brother, stem from his efforts to implement reforms and protect Indian nationals in the Philippines from criminal elements within their own community.

Promoting a culture of integrity and accountability is essential for sustaining a healthy business environment. This includes encouraging transparent communication, verifying information before sharing it, and holding those who spread falsehoods accountable to ensure that people like Kumar are not unjustly targeted.



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