Category Archives: Cebu City News

Cebu City Should Not Vie to be the Capital of the Philippines

I’ve heard in the past from Cebuano politicians pushing Cebu City as the next capital of the Philippines, replacing Manila.

I disagree with that idea.

If I base it from Manila’s present condition, it does not look good. Yes, economically, Manila is up there in the clouds.

Manila is over-populated, crime rates shooting up, congested traffic. It’s taking the blame for the whole country’s troubles.

So, Cebu should stay the same, but move up economically and values.

Aboitiz to Transfer to Manila

I still could not tell if this move is good for Cebu City or not. I don’t have any knowledge or statistics of other companies who made similar moves.

Maybe something maybe lost in this, it’s pride.

Aboitiz is one of the largest companies in the Philippines, and them transferring to a rival city will surely make a dent in the Cebuano’s hearts.

Aboitiz to transfer HQ from Cebu to Manila

WITH over 70 percent of its profits coming from its business in Luzon, the Aboitiz Group is moving corporate headquarters of two of its publicly listed companies to Manila.

The decision was announced yesterday by Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) chief human resource and quality officer Txabi Aboitiz and chief reputation officer Susan Valdez.

“We have come to a decision that we want to move our corporate headquarters for Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Aboitiz Power Corp. to Manila,” Txabi said in a news conference.

AEV is the holding and investment management company of the Aboitiz Group with core investments in power, banking and food. Aboitiz Power, its wholly-owned subsidiary, was listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange to provide financial flexibility for growth in the local power sector.

To remain
Txabi said they will retain the Aboitiz and Co. headquarters in Cebu and that their corporate office in Banilad will continue to operate, with core teams continuing services to other Aboitiz Group units based in Cebu and Mindanao.

These include units in real estate, construction, shipbuilding and corporate social responsibility.

The decision, he said, was arrived at because they wanted to be more efficient in their transactions and that the constant traveling required of their executives was becoming too stressful.

“We felt that it was important for us to be where the action is, which is in Manila,” he said.

He added that many of their business units have grown in the Luzon area for the last few years and that they have been discussing the inevitability of a move “for a long time.”

40 years
“From discussion to decision, it took about 40 years,” Txabi said.

Though they have always thought of moving to Manila, he said, the inconvenience then was not too great and that they wanted to stay in Cebu for as long as possible.

Functions that will be moving to Manila include the treasury, IT support, audit, human resources and legal departments while accounting and IT databases can remain in Cebu.

While Txabi could not give a specific time frame for the move, a statement released by the company said the relocation process is expected to be completed by June 2013.

The statement also quoted AEV president and chief executive officer Erramon Aboitiz as saying that the move has been in discussion “for generations,” as they transformed from being a regional company to a national enterprise and transacting with stakeholders based in Manila. Their main market and customers for electricity are in Luzon.

‘Our home’
“Our growing investments in Luzon are demanding more and more of our attention. By continuing to be based in Cebu, we end up compromising many things in terms of being able to deal with these stakeholders more effectively,” Erramon said.

“Cebu will always be our heritage and our original home. But as professionals, we sometimes have to make tough calls and do what is best for the business. It is our responsibility to our shareholders, as well as to ourselves, to do what is necessary for what is best for the Aboitiz Group,” he added.

While technologies like video conferencing and other forms of digital communications have allowed them to remain headquartered in Cebu, company officials felt the technology could not replace official meetings and representations that have to be made in Manila.

Because traveling was an added cost, Txabi said, executives had to cram in appointments as much as their schedule would allow whenever they were in the capital.

Valdez added that meeting with regulators, bankers and heads of government agencies had to be held in Manila, where most central offices are.

Company executives announced the decision to team leaders Monday afternoon. Asked what the general sentiment was, Txabi admitted it was shock. “For all of us, it was very hard.”

Some 200 employees of AEV and Aboitiz Power are in Cebu. The company will work out who among them will have to relocate, although majority of the departments is expected to move.

The company assured they will extend “whatever assistance is necessary” to help those who may be affected by the relocation.

After the decision to move was made, Txabi said they will now work on how to go about it, by determining who among the employees should go and if there are any who ought to remain in Cebu.

Since they have hired some employees in Manila who had to move to Cebu, he said they will probably be first to have slots in their new offices there.

For employees who prefer to remain, he said they will try to find slots for them in other business units and swap positions with those interested to relocate to Manila.

“We are not in a rush. We will do it well, not right away,” he assured, saying team leaders will be asked to present their plans regarding the structure of their respective departments to ensure that the move will not make too much of a disturbance in their operations, and that they will not lose the talent they currently have.

Asked if the move has tax implications, Txabi admitted there could be but said figures, as well as the cost of the move, have yet to be figured out and discussed.

He assured that the move will not mean they will be seen less in Cebu, saying that they will continue holding the same activities that they have always had with Cebuano stakeholders for the past years.

Dondi Joseph, Cebu Business Club president: “The firm’s move (relocation) has no impact at all and it makes good business sense for them. It is refreshing to see a local company expand to Manila. Other companies of Aboitiz are expanding. Through their family foundation, they are active in the Mega Cebu project. This is an indication of their commitment to Cebu.”

Samuel Chioson, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president: “There is no effect since it is business efficiency that they are doing in their operation.”
Eric Mendoza, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president: “It was a business decision. The Aboitizes are exemplars of very successful Cebuanos with global business operations.”

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia: “As they continue to conquer new grounds, they will always remain as Cebuanos. They will continue to be a great pride of Cebu. I know that whereever the company may go, whereever the infrastructure may go, whereever the outfit may go, in the end, they will always come home and home is Cebu.”

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama: “In expanding their empire, it will help not just Cebu City but the entire country. The move is understandable because Manila is attractive for business while Cebu City is more for tourism.” Erramon Aboitiz’s being awarded the top Chief Executive Officer of the country may have also contributed to the decision to move to Manila.

Cebu City Rep. Tomas Osmeña: He was not surprised, saying evolution is a long-term process and a world-wide trend. He remembered that the old headquarters for Aboitiz was in downtown then it was transferred to Banilad because the officers were living in Maria Luisa. “Where the CEOs live, that’s where the next corporate headquarters will be.”

Cebu City Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young: “Manila is a bigger market but their core business here will stay so I think it’s okay as of the moment. It will depend on what they decide to do with their business here later.”

Cebu City Councilor Alvin Arcilla, chairperson of the Council’s committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship: Aboitiz will still have various real properties and commercial development in Cebu City. “It’s hard to leave Cebu City especially business-wise.”

Pacquiao Likes to Buy SRP Lot

The Pambansang Kamao is interested in buying lot located in South Reclamation Project (SRP).

The auction will be on December, the lot is said to be about 9.7 hectares.

Here is the full report from Cebu Daily News:

Pacquiao interested in buying SRP lot, says sheriff Fuentes

He showed interest before in buying a lot in the South Road Projects (SRP).

Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao is reportedly interested again to make a purchase if the auction of 9.7 hectares of the government land pushes through in December.

Sheriff Eugenio Fuentes said he considers Pacquiao a “prospective buyer” after a representative approached him and verbally expressed interest in the auction.

“He (Pacquiao) has the money. There is a possibility that he will win if he joins the bidding,” Fuentes told Cebu Daily News.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he is not worried about an auction taking place.

He said City Hall would continue with its efforts to stop the court from selling city government property to settle the city’s P133 million obligation to heirs of the late Fr. Vicente Rallos over a lot expropriation case.

“Let us not fear. We have been doing our job but we cannot tell you (what our next steps are) bcause this is a matter of legal strategy,” said the mayor.

The target lot for sale in SRP is part of the P25-billion joint venture (JV) agreement of Cebu City and Filinvest Land Inc.

Notices for the public auction on Dec. 13 were already posted at the Sheriff’s Office located at the Palace of Justice in Cebu City.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Rep. Tomas Osmeña said he’s not worried if the court will proceed with the auction.

If the court-ordered sale pushes through, the Rallos heirs can take part in the SRP development as a partner of Filinvest.

“We (the city) can sell our rights and they would become the partner of Filinvest,” said Osmeña.

“I’m not a lawyer but I think the Rallos payment should be included in the city budget already because the law says that any statutory obligation of the city should be in the budtet,” said Osmeña, who is considered the main architect of the 300-hectare SRP.

Osmena said the mayor “can continue with the (court) case but must include the payment in the budget.”

“It doesn’t men he has to pay for it.”

Pacquiao had made known long before to Osmeña his interest to buy at least one hectare at the SRP.

But Osmena said he turned down Pacquiao, as he did other real estate speculators when he was mayor.

He said it would be advantageous to Cebu City to wait for property values in SRP to rise after big developers like SM City and Filinvest pursue their projects.

He said the city should not sell small lots to buyers who don’t have “concrete plans to develop it.”

Lawyer Jade Ponce, the mayor’s legal consultant, said they will seek the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Court of Appeals to stop the public auction on Dec. 13.

Ponce said they also wants the appellate court to annul the judgement of the Regional Trial Court which ordered the city to pay at least P133 million to the Ralloses.

He also advised prospective buyers to decide well whether or not to but the auctioned lot at the SRP.

“If I were the prospective buyer, I won’t be in a hurry to bid on something which is problematic. It’s up to them…,” Ponce said.

“Let me remind them, the city will file a case against you. It will come,” he added, including Pacquiao.

The notice of public auction still has to be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation, as required by the Civil code. /By Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter with Doris Bongcac and Edison delos Angeles

Tomas Osmeña’s Mother Died


Sad days for the Osmeña clan.

Lourdes dela Rama Osmeña, 79, died on November 6 in the morning, Sunstar Daily reported.

Read more about the story from Sunstar’s news item:

Osmeña clan mourns death of mother, 79

THE family of Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) is mourning the death of their mother, who died of old age yesterday.

Lourdes dela Rama Osmeña, who was born on March 9, 1914, died at 8:45 a.m. yesterday at one of the hospitals in Bacolod City. She was 97.

Tomas, though saddened, said he has accepted the death of his mother.

He said that when he visited his mother in Bacolod two weeks ago, she was comatose.

Tomas said his mother didn’t have any illness and her death was because of natural causes.

Tomas said it’s already been a while that his mother was in a comatose condition.

In an interview, Tomas said he is thankful that his trip to the US with his wife City Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña last Nov. 3 did not push through, or it would have been cut short since they would have to go home.

Tomas was supposed to go to the US for his quarterly medical check-up. Lourdes’ body is at the Redemptorist Church in Bacolod City.

Asked when and where Lourdes will be buried, Tomas said their family has yet to discuss it.

The congressman said that his mom, before she died, had said she wanted to be buried beside the grave of her father in Bacolod.

The grave of Lourdes’ husband, the late senator Sergio Osmeña Jr., is at Doña Pepang Osmeña mausoleum in Barangay Carreta, Cebu City.

Yesterday, Tomas and Margot went to Bacolod. Tomas’ other siblings—Sen. Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III, Maria Victoria Osmeña and Esteban Osmeña—will follow. Their youngest sibling, Georgia Osmeña, had been in Bacolod taking care of their mother when she was hospitalized.

The dela Ramas are said to be a prominent family in Moro, Iloilo City. Her father was Esteban dela Rama, who was a former senator.

Business Updates

I will have a bit of Cebu City business updates. These are based on Sunstar articles.

Tourist Arrivals:
Cebu has a total of 1,131,230 tourists in the first seven months of 2011, an increase of 10.52%, which was 1,023,564 in the same period in 2010.

Relaunching of Colonnade Mall:
Colonnade Mall relaunched last October 9, 2011. The company spent P20 million for the renovation.

For many years, parts of the mall were neglected. I still have to take photos of the renovated look.

Krispy Kreme opens in Cebu:
Krispy Kreme opens its 25th outlet in the Philippines at the Ayala Center Cebu and Asiatown IT Park, and will also open a third outlet in SM Cebu City within this year.

Di Ingon Nato Trailer

“Di Ingon Nato” or Not Like Us in English is a horror movie set in a far flung Cebu village.

The language used in movie is purely Cebuano. The production is also composed of Cebuanos, although I’m not sure how many of them.

The trailer scares me a bit, I hope the actual movie is scarier.

According to their Facebook page, free screening will be on November 7 in Bonifacio High Street in Metro Manila. But the commercial screening, meaning it will be shown in cinemas will be February next year.

Stop Flyover

I really have no idea about the negative effects of having flyovers until I watched this video by Budoy of Jr. Kilat.

No to flyovers in Cebu City!

Azkals to Visit Cebu this May

Cebuano football fans will rejoice especially the ladies. The Philippine Football Team or more popularly known as the Azkals will be coming here in Cebu City this May 24 to 31, 2011 as Cebu Daily News reported.

Their primary purpose is team building, but they will do light training. Not sure if this event is open to the public, but I sure hope so.

First in Cebu City

A number of products that is now being used in the Philippines was first conceived in Cebu City.

Cebu Towns now Cities

Supreme Court has announced recently that three towns in Cebu are now cities. The new cities are Bogo, Carcar and Naga.