Thu. Jul 29th, 2021

One thing that many local governments have won praise for over the last year and a half is their excellent handling of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Where the national government had many shortcomings, local governments stepped in—and in a big way—to fill in the gaps and ensure that Filipinos received the services that were due them.

Unfortunately, it seems that it’s not just citizens that the national government is failing but some local governments as well.

Biz Buzz heard that one particular local government that is chafing under what it perceives to be an inequitable distribution of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines is Makati City.

The country’s premier business district opened its vaccination program a few months ago and instantly received widespread praise for the way it administered the inoculations, which were much in demand from its residents and other “Makatizens.”

Praise was centered mainly on how fast and efficient the vaccination process was, with a turnaround time of less than 24 hours from the moment a potential vaccine recipient is notified either via text messaging or email to the time the vaccine is actually injected in the person’s arm.

Alas, this touted efficiency has nearly ground to a halt due to a shortage of supply from the national government’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).

So much so that, from being an early starter out of the gate in the vaccination race—and rightfully so, given the critical role the city plays in moving the Philippine economy forward—statistics now show Makati to be a laggard, far behind the likes of San Juan City, Manila and Mandaluyong.

San Juan has vaccinated with their first doses an average of 62 people per 100 of its population, while Mandaluyong is at 42.1 per 100. And Makati? It is at the very bottom of the pile of Metro Manila’s 16 cities with only 20.1 per 100 residents vaccinated.

And this has nothing to do with the local government’s efficiency, and everything to do with the vaccine supply allocated to it by the government agencies.

Perhaps it’s high time the IATF and the NVOC publish their criteria for vaccine allocation among local governments around the country.

Because many observers are asking why. Is it because Makati looked too successful in the beginning? Is it because the mayor’s father has been somewhat critical of government policies of late? Makati citizens and the country’s business community want to know.

—Daxim L. Lucas

SCB’s new financial marts chief

The oldest foreign bank to set up shop in the Philippines, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), has named veteran banker Marvin Eugene Antonio as its head of financial markets for the Philippines. This is on top of his current role as head of foreign exchange, rates and credit trading.

Antonio joined Standard Chartered Philippines in 2012 and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the  financial markets in the Philippines. He previously headed the rates and FX division at Metrobank’s treasury group.

Antonio was tasked with driving the overall strategic direction of the financial markets business and ensuring seamless collaboration to support client needs across many aspects of business growth.

“Marvin’s extensive banking experience and deep knowledge of the markets will be an asset as we continue to bring our capabilities to our clients, and strengthen our corporate and institutional banking business in the Philippines,” SCB Philippines chief executive officer Lynette Ortiz said.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Most awarded

Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has bagged four awards from international publication FinanceAsia for sustainability initiatives and investment banking. These citations made BPI the most awarded Philippine bank in the recently held 2021 FinanceAsia Country Awards.

BPI was named the “Best Sustainable Bank” in the country, while its investment banking arm, BPI Capital Corp., was recognized as the “Best Investment Bank,” “Best Equity Capital Market House” and “Best Debt Capital Market House.”

“This award is a welcome validation of what we are determined to achieve. BPI’s sustainability formula is distinct because we go beyond environmental, social and governance goals by adding economic targets to our green and social endeavors. Thus, BPI’s formula for sustainability, ESG+E, is unique,” said Tere Marcial, BPI chief finance officer and chief sustainability officer.

“BPI strives to be an inclusive, innovative and trusted leader in responsible banking. This is our sustainability vision. Sustainability is front and center in how we operate as a bank,” said Marcial.

BPI Capital president Chiqui Huang added: “We continue to value the trust given to us by our clients. These recognitions prove that we are able to maintain our position as a reliable financial partner, transaction advisor, credit sponsor, and financing originator to the most respected names in business and major stakeholders in the country.”

From April 2020 to March 2021, BPI Capital participated in two preferred share offerings, one stock rights offering, and led two initial public offerings, including the listing of AREIT, the first Real Estate Investment Trust (“REIT”) in the Philippines.

In the debt capital markets, it is the lead arranger and underwriter for Asean ESG bonds in the Philippines, participating in three of the five Asean ESG bond issuances from April 2020, to end-March 2021. In 2020, BPI Capital also acted as global coordinator for AC Energy’s perpetual fixed-for-life Asean green bond and tender offer—the first liability management exercise with a fixed-for-life perpetual term.

During the same period, BPI Capital has actively arranged, underwritten and participated in three corporate notes issuances in addition to 12 peso-denominated and six US dollar-denominated bond issuances.

“Our commitment to sustainability and investment banking go hand in hand,” said Marcial.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla


For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.

What you need to know about Coronavirus.

For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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