Faces of the News: November 7, 2021
Many wondered whether the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will be reorganized after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law resetting the parliamentary election in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) from 2022 to 2025.
The law gives the president the option to appoint new members to the 80-member BTA, which also acts as the interim government during the extended transition period. BARMM Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal said new BTA appointments should be expected.
Iqbal, who is also chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace implementing panel, added that the MILF will continue to lead the BARMM by nominating 41 of 80 BTA members and that the interim chief minister will come from these nominees.
Expect Sultan Kudarat Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu, who is eyeing the region’s top post, to be displeased. Mangudadatu already asked his son to run in his place and registered as a voter in Datu Abdullah Sangki town, Maguindanao province, in anticipation of him being appointed to the region’s highest office.
—RYAN D. ROSAURO
Prospero de Vera III
The chair of the Commission on Higher Education warned the University of the Philippines (UP) against issuing statements involving the exercise of academic freedom in other state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Prospero de Vera III took UP Diliman chancellor Fidel Nemenzo to task for questioning the purge of “subversive” materials from SUC libraries at the behest of the government’s anti-insurgency task force.
Among those materials were documents from the peace negotiations between the government and communist rebels, Marxist literature and books authored by the Communist Party of the Philippines chair Jose Maria Sison.
De Vera earlier defended the decision of Kalinga, Isabela and Aklan state universities to remove such materials from their libraries and urged UP Diliman officials “to be more prudent, circumspect and respectful” in their comments on how other SUCs govern themselves.
A group of UP officials and educators countered that De Vera was “effectively sanctioning book purging” and “misrepresenting academic freedom to include acts of book censorship.”
Rose Nono Lin
Pharmally Biological Inc. stockholder Rose Nono Lin unwittingly launched a thousand and one memes on social media after claiming in a Senate hearing that she “just found” a 2019 Lexus LX450D worth P8.8 million in her garage and used it to go to work.
Husband Lin Wei Xiong is the one who paid for the family’s fleet of luxury vehicles, she told blue ribbon committee chair Sen. Richard Gordon, who continued to dig up alleged irregularities in Pharmally’s sale of face masks, face shields, personal protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits worth P11.5 billion to the government.
Lin said she didn’t “really have a penchant for cars. I’m content with any car that can run and can ferry me to my office.”
Her fleet, however, reportedly includes a 2018 Cadillac Escalade ESV (P8.9 million) and a 2020 Range Rover SC (P11.9 million).
Lin insisted that she uses a more modest Toyota Land Cruiser for her daily trips, and that the range of vehicles in their garage can be explained by their earnings from other businesses like online gaming. She would not elaborate how these other ventures were being run.
Maria Grace Uy
Converge ICT Solutions cofounder and president Maria Grace Uy is now comfortably nestled among Asia-Pacific’s 20 influential female business leaders after being included by Forbes Asia magazine in its 2021 “Asia’s Power Businesswomen” list.
Members of this elite group were handpicked for their achievements in managing either a business with already sizable revenues or a startup valued at over $100 million.
Uy, 53, has helped her husband, Dennis Anthony Uy of Pampanga, develop Converge into one of the country’s largest fixed broadband operators with a fiber backbone of more than 80,500 kilometers as of July and a subscriber count touching the 1.4-million mark as of end-June.
The stock market has already valued Converge at P248.37 billion — not too shabby compared to PLDT’s P350 billion — despite the company not having mobile phone or fintech operations.
In September, the Uy power couple also debuted on Forbes’ list of the 50 richest people in the Philippines, ranking sixth with an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion.
“I am a Filipina, born in the Philippines to a Japanese father and Filipino mother,” golfer Yuka Saso said in a statement after the news broke about her decision to become a Japanese citizen.
Japanese law requires Saso to make a choice before she turns 22 years old next year. She could either stay a Filipino or start her application to become a Japanese citizen.
“I am immensely proud of my dual heritage and that will never change,” she added.
Her decision saddened fans in and outside sporting circles, but it was ultimately received with understanding and appreciation.
In the end, the economic advantages and the convenience of having a Japanese passport have become too difficult to ignore.
The Philippines only has a handful of businessmen supporting sports. Japan, on the other hand, has a lot of corporations that can offer sponsorships to golfers. Having a Japanese passport will also make it easier for her to travel and compete internationally.
“Thank you for respecting my choice. I look forward to making you proud as I continue with my professional golfing career,” Saso said.
—LOUIE GREG RIVERA
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