Sharing a room with an underachieving law student four decades ago was probably the best thing that ever happened to Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto “Jun” Yasay.
With his dorm mate at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Manila reaching the summit of Philippine politics, Yasay has become one of the few lucky non-Davaoeños in the elite circle of President Duterte who were given juicy posts in his administration.
Everybody knows Yasay is just keeping the foreign affairs seat warm for losing vice presidential bet Alan Peter Cayetano, who will take over after the one-year ban on getting public posts lapses in May next year.
But this early, the President reportedly has a cushy job in mind for his buddy: The next governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Our Buzzard said incumbent BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr.-who is serving his second straight six-year term-would step down next year just in time when Yasay would be out of a job.
After losing in all elections that he ran-as senator in 2001 and 2004 and for vice president in 2010-the former Securities and Exchange Commission chair is definitely raking in the dividends of his friendship with Mr. Duterte.
But at least one person will not be happy if Yasay takes over the job: Former BSP Governor Joey Cuisia.
Cuisia had earlier rejected the President’s offer to extend his stay as Philippine ambassador to the United States because he could not stomach serving under Yasay.
Cuisia had previously locked horns with Yasay in the pre-need business-Cuisia as head of Philamlife and Yasay as SEC chief; and in banking-Yasay as chief legal counsel of Bobby Aguirre’s Banco Filipino (which was shut down in 2011 due to bankruptcy) and Cuisia as BSP governor.
If Yasay does get the BSP post (and the odds are that he would), he’ll be living proof of the adage that it’s better to be lucky than intelligent. –Gil Cabacungan
Big jets to Boracay
It took a few years to complete, but the goal of of having Boracay-bound foreign tourists fly to Caticlan (instead of the usual route via Kalibo) is at hand.
This is after conglomerate San Miguel Corp. last week unveiled the new and improved runway at the Godofredo Ramos airport just adjacent to the world famous beach resort island.
Just how much of an improvement are we talking about? About 100-percent better. That’s because the airport’s runway has now been extended to a length of 1,700 meters, or twice the length of the original runway of 850 meters. Add to that a widening of the runway from 30 meters to 45 meters, which now meets the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao).
This means that Airbus A320 aircraft (or its rival Boeing 737) can now fly into and out of the airport, which previously could only be used by turboprop aircraft. In fact, a 180-seat Philippine Airlines A320 became its first customer last Friday, with 154 passengers on board.
More importantly, there is a new apron at the other end of the runway (the Nabas side) that can accommodate up to nine A320-sized jets simultaneously. This bodes well for Boracay because direct flights can now be mounted from places like South Korea, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Japan.
And that’s not all. San Miguel, which has a multiyear contract to develop and operate the airport, is also building a new and bigger passenger terminal to accommodate the projected rise in tourist arrivals. This interim structure can accommodate 400 passengers at a time and will be completed by December.
“Interim”? Yes. A new international passenger terminal will also be built at a later date. Now that’s even better news. –Daxim L. Lucas
Not a few eyebrows were raised when it was announced Wednesday last week that Insurance Commission chief Emmanuel Dooc would be the new president of the Social Security System.
Dooc was, after all, an appointee of former President Aquino and supposedly a recommendee of former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, and the current administration has made it clear that it’s not a fan of the previous dispensation’s policies or appointees.
At the same time, the SSS leadership is widely viewed to be a plum presidential appointment, especially since the state-administered private sector pension fund manages over P400 billion in investible funds.
Whatever the reason for Dooc’s appointment is-despite his fixed term as head of the Insurance Commission- the Duterte administration will now have to find a new IC chief. And more importantly, that IC chief will replace Dooc on the three-member Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) board. That’s the same body that President Duterte had railed against for supposedly not cooperating with his administration’s drive to get to the bottom of the Sen. Leila de Lima’s alleged involvement in illegal narcotics.
So it should be interesting to watch who President Duterte will appoint because he will name not only an IC head, but a powerful AMLC official as well. –Daxim L. Lucas