Thought leaders speak

October 11, 2018 News

Establishing authority in the field of news and information beyond the printed headlines

Going beyond the reach of its print and digital platforms, The Manila Times has been holding business forums and recreational events for its partners, advertisers, subscribers and readers. Top experts and distinguished resource speakers deliver solid data-packed visual presentations that inform and inspire leaders of industries among the delegates.

Business Forum
So far, The Manila Times has staged seven business forums – five in Manila and two in Davao – that brought together speakers from government, academe and the private sector.

The first business forum (Dusit Thani, Makati City; Oct. 28, 2014) explored business relationships between the Philippines and China, despite their territorial disputes over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Titled “Business as Usual in Unusual Times,” the forum was led by keynote speaker Fidel V. Ramos, former President of the Philippines. Other speakers were Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan; Richard Cant, the Shanghai-based regional director of business management consultancy firm Dezan Shira and Associates; First Secretary for Economic and Commercial Affairs Wang Yang; Former Philippine Foreign Secretary Roberto Romulo; Rodger Baker, vice president for East Asia-Pacific Analysis of Stratfor; and Scott Qian, Director of PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) China, with Alex Cabrera, chairman of PwC Philippines.

The second business forum (Dusit Thani; July 22, 2015) had “The Integrated Asean regulatory environment: Seizing the Opportunities and Managing the Risk” as its theme. Discussions focused on the complex regulatory issues involved in the drive toward Asean integration and the challenges these present to policymakers, businesses and investors in the region.

Forum speakers were Le Luong Minh, Asean Secretary-General; Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, of the People’s Republic of China; Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, Asean BAC co-chair 2014; Ambassador Nina Hachigian of the US mission to Asean; Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo; and top business executives and experts such as Credit Suisse Bank Senior Vice President Jose Isidro Camacho; Ayala Group Chief Operating Officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala; PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan; and SM Investments Corp Vice Chair Teresita Sy-Coson. Panel discussions after the speeches lead by NEDA-PPP Director Cossette Canilao and PricewaterhouseCoopers Philippines (Isla Lipana & Co.) Chairman Alex Cabrera.

The third business forum (New World Manila Bay, Manila; Feb. 23, 2016) had “The Philippine Economic Outlook for 2016” as its theme and featured discussions on what transpired in 2015 and the economic forecasts for various business industries.

The powerful roster of speakers consisted of Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco, will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers were the Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund, Dr. Shanaka Jayanath Peiris; the Lead Economist of World Bank, Roger van den Brink; and the Chairman of Convergys Philippines, Marife Zamora.

Equally stellar were the reactors to the discussions: Greg Navarro, managing partner & CEO, Deloitte Phils./Navarro, Amper & Co.; Ben Kritz, business columnist, The Manila Times; Marivic Españo, chairman & CEO, P&A Grant Thornton; Alexander Cabrera, chairman & senior partner, PwC Philippines; Eduardo Francisco, president, BDO Capital & Investment Corp.; and Hans Sicat, president & CEO, Philippine Stock Exchange. About 250 delegates from the business and political sectors from the Philippines and some Asean economies attended.

The fourth business forum (Marriott Hotel Manila, Makati; June 22, 2016) had “Philippine Banking: Does Size Matter? How to Survive the Tide of Competition, Cyber Threats and Money Laundering” as its theme. It tackled the issue of why a developing economy like the Philippines needs to strengthen its banking system as it opens up to foreign competition and exposes itself to the risks brought about by a borderless cyber world.

Forum speakers were Luisito Pineda, president and country general manager of IBM Philippines; Dr. Thiam Hee Ng, principal economist of Asian Development Bank; Aftab Ahmed, CEO & citi country officer of Citibank Philippines; Nataliya Mylenko, senior financial sector specialist of World Bank; Palmer Mallari, head agent, National Bureau of Investigation; and Stephen Cutler, chief compliance officer, Omnipay. Reactors to the talks were George Chua, president & CEO of Bayan Automotive Industries Corporation; Jonathan Uy, director of PwC Consulting; Angelica Reyes, CFA, senior vice president of Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company; Flor Tarriela, Chairman of Philippine National Bank; Abelardo Cortez, independent director of First Metro Investment Corp.; Joey Regala, vice president – Information Security Dept of UCPB; and Emiliano Librea 3rd, chief information officer, partner, Advisory Services of P&A Grant Thornton.

The fifth business forum (Marco Polo Davao, Davao City; Feb. 10, 2017) was graced by President Rodrigo Duterte as keynote speaker. He also received “The Manila Times Man of the Year,” Award. This edition had “The Philippine Economic Outlook for 2017: Peace Toward Sustainable Prosperity” as its theme and involved discussions on how the Philippine economy and businesses could manage well in the face of domestic challenges and external headwinds ahead.

Presentations were delivered by the following speakers: Department of Finance Secretary, Hon. Carlos Dominguez 3rd; H.E. Zhao Jianhua, Ambassador, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of the Philippines; PwC Philippines Chairman, Atty. Alex Cabrera; and SM Investments Corp. SVP for Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, Corazon Guidote.

The sixth business forum (Marriot Hotel Manila, Aug. 18, 2017) tackled the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build Build Build” infrastructure program and its impact on the country’s economy. Presentations were in line with the theme “Philippines 2021: Steering Toward the Golden Age of Infrastructure.”

Speakers were Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management; Mara Warwick, country director for the Philippines of the World Bank; Vince Dizon, president and CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA); Sheila Lobien, regional director and head of Project Leasing at Jones Lang LaSalle; Bienvenido Chy, general manager of Philippine Retirement Authority; Lars Wittig, country manager of Regus Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia; and Ricardo Penson, chair & CEO of Penson & Company, Inc.

The seventh business forum (Marco Polo Davao; Feb. 9, 2018), which had “Build, Consume, Grow: Gaining Momentum for an Emerging Economy to Soar” as its theme, offered insights into what prospects 2018 hold for businesses and the general economy. Discussions included government policies that would guide the trajectory and pace of this growth and how the private sector could best serve as partner and benefactor.

President Duterte was again the keynote speaker of the event. With forum speakers consisting of Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Socio Economic Planning and National Economic & Development Authority; Francisco Dakila Jr., managing director of the Monetary Policy Subsector, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Sheila Lobien, regional director, Jones Lang LaSalle; Yongzheng Yang, resident representative, International Monetary Fund; and Birgit Hansl, lead economist and program leader for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand under the World Bank.

The eighth edition of The Manila Times Business Forum, to be held at the Marriot Hotel Manila on November 20, will have “Philippine Investments: Ride the Philippine Growth Curve” as its theme. It will explore various opportunities in the country, which has posted quarterly growth of 6.5 percent and higher in the last 10 quarters.

Be it traditional banking and insurance products, real estate, stocks and bonds or even intriguing propositions such as crowdfunding and initial coin offerings, the forum speakers will offer the savvy investor insights on how to navigate new laws, changing monetary policy, nascent cryptocurrency regulations, domestic and external challenges to seize the opportunities for business growth under the Duterte administration until 2022.

Speakers are Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas Gov. Nestor Espenilla, Jr.; Philippine Stock Exchange President Ramon S. Monzon; Board of Investments Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa; Philippine Economic Zone Authority Director General Charito B. Plaza; PwC Philippines Deals and Corporate Finance managing partner, Mary Jade Divinagracia; ECCP Women in Business Chairman Sheila Lobien; and Robert Siy, Manila Times columnist and former staff of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Philippine model cities and municipalities
The Manila Times has staged this event featuring local government units at least twice in the past years to promote the sustainable livability of Philippine cities and municipalities.

The first edition of this event, held at the New World Manila Bay on May 11, 2017, touched on urban planning and sustainability development in the Philippines, and on what would make cities to be environmentally sustainable and conducive to work-life balance. Speakers were architect Felino Palafox, managing partner and founder of Palafox Associates; Vickram Cuttaree, program leader – Sustainable Development of World Bank; lawyer Lea Roque, principal and head of Tax Advisory & Compliance of P&A Grant Thornton; and Michael McCullough, managing director of KMC MAG Group.

The forum — which had “Beyond the Most Livable Urban Centers” as its theme — saw the recognition of the country’s top model cities and conferment of awards on peace and order, social services, livelihood and employment, among other criteria. Architect Felino Palafox, Marife Zamora, chairman of Convergys Philippines; Lea Roque, and Rosemarie Bosch-Ong, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of Wilcon Builders Depot, comprised the panel of judges.

The second, held at Conrad Manila hotel on June 19, focused on the inner layers of cities and has “Making Cities More Inclusive” as its theme. It featured experts who laid down sustainable and inclusive planning and resource-allocation strategies to make cities not just livable, but also more egalitarian and just.

Speakers were again architect Felino Palafox, Mario Suelto, technical manager of the Philippine Green Building Council; lawyer Lea Roque, Julia Nebrija, Assistance to Cities Program manager under the Department of Budget and Management; Gilles Hage,vice president for commercial strategy at Lamudi; and Danilo Lim, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. For the Top Model Cities and Municipalities Awards, the panel of judges included Palafox, Roque, Bosch-Ong, and Loren Sales, vice president for Customer Management Group of PHirst Park Homes.

Golf tournaments
As well-rounded business people need to have some physical activity outside the boardroom, The Manila Times launched its golf tournament last year, starting with the First President’s Cup at the Aoki Course of Eagle Ridge Golf & Country Club in General Trias, Cavite, on July 22, 2016.

This was followed by The Manila Times Golf Tournament at the South Forbes Golf Club, in Silang, Cavite, on Dec. 2, 2016, and The Manila Times Second President’s Cup at Eagle Ridge Golf & Country Club on Nov. 29, 2017.

Watch out for details on The Manila Times Third President’s Cup, to take place in next month.

Article was originally published on October 11, 2018 at the Manila Times online