Marcos Year 1

The billionaires advising Marcos how to run the economy

Ralf Rivas

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

The billionaires advising Marcos how to run the economy
Some of the Private Sector Advisory Council's recommendations include the swift privatization of NAIA, a VAT refund for foreign tourists, and a PPP deal for the national ID system

MANILA, Philippines– Shortly after the landslide victory of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., he asked billionaire Sabin Aboitiz to convene some of the country’s “boldest business minds” to strengthen synergies between the private and public sectors.

This particular request of Marcos to Aboitiz reflects his openness to teaming up with tycoons, as compared to his predecessor, former president Rodrigo Duterte, who preferred government to implement infrastructure projects and borrow from multilateral lenders and more developed countries.

Aboitiz was swift to form the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC). The group regularly convenes and recommends various policies and programs under six sectors, namely infrastructure, agriculture, digital infrastructure, healthcare, jobs, and tourism.

“The close partnership between the public and private sectors will continue to deepen with the establishment of PSAC under President Marcos. We are optimistic that by working hand in hand with the government to develop the five priority areas, we will see a revitalized economy that all Filipinos will benefit from,” said Aboitiz in PSAC’s very first press release handed out July 2022.

Of the 33-member group, 10 have landed on the Forbes’ richest list with a cumulative net worth of $34 billion or P1.9 trillion.

Rappler parsed through all press releases of PSAC and the Presidential Communications Office to determine the policies that they have pushed so far, as well as the government events that some of its members have participated in.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan had described PSAC’s recommendations as “practical and low-hanging fruit” that the government can easily adopt.

When asked about a potential conflict of interest, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno had said that PSAC’s recommendations will all still have to go through rigorous government processes.


Aboitiz is PSAC’s lead convener and head of the infrastructure cluster. Aboitiz and family’s cumulative net worth amount to $2.9 billion or around P161.5 billion, according to Forbes’ estimates. They derive their wealth from business interests in infrastructure, energy, banking and financial services, food, and data infrastructure.

He has three publicly listed companies – Aboitiz Equity Ventures (with a market capitalization of P303.2 billion), Aboitiz Power (P275.9 billion), and Unionbank (P174.3 billion). 

His other businesses include City Savings Bank, Petnet, Pilmico, Republic Cement, APO Agua Infrastructura, Aboitiz Land, Aboitiz Data Innovation.

His infrastructure company, Aboitiz InfraCapital, is part of the super consortium aiming to give the country’s airport a much-needed facelift.

Aboitiz is the most prominent member and leader of PSAC, and has Marcos in some trips overseas. He addressed investors and traders at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) last September 2022.

“I’ve seen many presidents in my lifetime and they all have their strengths. The one we have today has quite cleverly gotten 30 of our country’s busiest CEOs to voluntarily work for him and for our country,” Aboitiz said in a brief program in the NYSE.

“I know this because I’m one of them. As convener of the Private Sector Advisory Council to the President, I have witnessed the ability of this man to bring together the best minds in business, use them to find real solutions to real problems, and then immediately implement them like he was flipping a switch.”

Aboitiz, alongside other business leaders, accompanied Marcos at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last January, as well as the US state visit last April.

BUSINESS TRIP. Sabin Aboitiz (rightmost) joins Marcos and his Cabinet at the New York Stock Exchange on September 20, 2022. PSAC photo.

PSAC’s infrastructure cluster also includes:

Manuel V. Pangilinan – MVP has interests in infrastructure through Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, which has a market capitalization (the total market value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock) of P130.6 billion. 

Pangilinan controls some of the country’s most important utility and infrastructure companies, including the Manila Electric Company, PLDT, Smart Communications, Maynilad Water Services, Philex Mining, Philex Petroleum, Manila North Tollways Corporation, as well as several hospitals throughout the country.

He is also a media tycoon, owning various newspapers and TV5 network through MediaQuest Holdings Incorporated.

Enrique Razon – CEO of International Container Terminal Services, the Philippines’ leading ports operator currently valued at P406.4 billion. 

Razon also owns Bloomberry Resorts, which owns and operates Solaire Resort Entertainment City. It has a market capitalization of P108.7 billion.

He also owns Prime Infrastructure Capital. The company’s portfolio includes Manila Water, WawaJVCo, Prime Energy, Terra Solar, Terra Tanauan, Ahunan Power, Prime Integrated Waste Solutions, and Wastefuel.

Razon also has stake in the Malampaya gas field, the country’s most important power asset which produces around 20% of the Philippines’ total electricity requirements.

Ramon Ang – CEO of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), one of the oldest conglomerates in the country. Ang’s net worth is around $12.45 billion or roughly P693.3 billion, thanks to SMC, which has interests in food, power, and infrastructure.

Ang’s companies are behind some of the country’s most popular brands, including San Miguel Beer, Red Horse, and Magnolia chicken, ice cream, and dairy products. 

Ang also owns Petron Corporation, the only integrated oil refining and marketing company in the Philippines. 

Another energy company of Ang is San Miguel Global Power Holdings, which supplies 4,719 megawatts throughout the country.

Eric Recto – President of one of the oldest mining companies in the country, Atok-Big Wedge. The company also has interests in oil, gas, and natural resource exploration.

The company has two wholly-owned subsidiaries namely, AB Stock Transfers Corporation and Tidemark Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong-based company that holds 20% of gas and oil exploration, and production company Forum Energy plc.

Joanne de Asis – Chairperson of Globe Capital Partners LLC, a New York-based boutique investment and private equity bank. De Asis is also an independent director of the Aboitiz group of companies and senior adviser of Morgan Stanley & Co.

GOVERNANCE. President Marcos talks with Cabinet officials including the Private Sector Advisory Council on infrastructure programs under his administration on  Thursday, March  9, 2023 at Malacañang. PCO photo.

The infrastructure cluster’s biggest recommendation to Marcos, so far, is the revival of talks for the rehabilitation of the Philippines’ main international gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), and fast-tracking the award process for projects.

Marcos said that substantial portions of PSAC’s recommendations to the government have been carried out.

“And, in fact, the list of recommendations that they gave, I would say half of them, are either in progress or have been completed. So, we are once again moving in the right direction together with our private sector partners,” Marcos was quoted as saying in a press release last March.

Some of the wealthiest business leaders, including Aboitiz, have revived their bid to rehabilitate NAIA through the Manila International Airport Consortium. They are proposing a P267-billion rehab program under a 25-year concession period.

PSAC likewise proposed fast-tracking the award process for projects under the original proponent status by 2023. It also pitched the development of an “Aerodrome strategy” for the Philippines’ aviation industry.

Government agencies, namely the Department of Transportation and Manila International Airport Authority, have a joint solicited proposal as well, valued at P100 billion.

Both proposals of the private sector and government agencies are currently under review.

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Diokno, Marcos’ finance chief and former central bank governor, welcomed proposals, but noted that it will have to go through government processes.

“If you’re in government, you always think of what’s fair, right?” Diokno told reporters in a recent briefing.

Diokno added that Marcos’ openness to listen to such proposals publicly ensures transparency. 

Mabuti nga ‘yun open ‘eh, hindi natin alam kung underground (It’s good that they’re open, we won’t know if it’s done underground),” Diokno said. 

Existing laws like the Build-Operate-Transfer Law require projects worth over P300 million to undergo scrutiny of the NEDA Board.

Meanwhile, PSAC also recommended the rationalization of the secondary price caps for power. So far, the Energy Regulatory Commission has reviewed the price cap, and is looking into its removal to attract more investments in energy.

The secondary price-cap limits the price that can be charged for power after certain levels are breached amid high volatility. While it provides consumers with some protection, initial analysis of the Energy Regulatory Commission showed that it distorts market signals.

Aboitiz’ infrastructure cluster also urged Marcos to certify as urgent the bill creating the Department of Water Resources. It also recommended the updating of privatization processes and frameworks for ports to encourage investments.

When asked about the implications of billionaires with vested interests directly proposing policies to government, Balisacan, who is among those tasked to ensure that agencies stick to development blueprints, said that all proposals are welcome and are subject to evaluation.

“Their proposals are still being evaluated. We just want to get clarity on where we are and insofar as the different issues are affecting their concerns, the job is made easier because we are able to identify issues and do assessments,” Balisacan told Rappler at the sidelines of a recent press briefing.


Marcos, who concurrently sits as agriculture secretary, is advised by six business leaders in PSAC.

The group’s agriculture sector lead is Aileen Christel Ongkauko, president and CEO of La Filipina Uy Gonco Group of companies. The conglomerate, which remains to be a private company, is focused mostly on agribusiness, livestock, and food processing.

She was previously an independent director of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Pilmico, and Aboitiz Power.

Five businessmen are with Ongkauko in the agriculture sector:

Christopher Po – President and CEO of Century Pacific. Po and his family have a combined net worth of $1.2 billion or around P66.8 billion.

Century Pacific has a market capitalization of P85.6 billion and is behind popular canned goods brands like 555 Tuna, Century Tuna, Argentina Corned Beef, and 555 Carne Norte.

Irwin Lee – president and CEO of the Gokongwei family’s Universal Robina Corporation (URC). 

URC has a market capitalization of P282.8 billion. Some of its most popular products are Jack ‘N Jill’s Chippy and Chiz Curls, Great Taste Coffee, and Nissin Cup Noodles.

Michael Tan – son of taipan Lucio Tan and former president of the LT Group. The Tan family has a combined net worth of $2 billion or around P111 billion, while the LT Group’s market cap is at P101.3 billion.

The Tan empire has interests in tobacco, property development, and banking. Some subsidiaries of the LT Group include Tanduay Distillers, Asia Brewery, Fortune Tobacco Corporation, Philippine National Bank, and Eton Properties Philippines.

Francisco Laurel, Jr. – president and CEO of Frabelle Fishing Corporation. Established in 1966, the company is behind popular brands like Bossing Hotdogs, as well as various frozen seafood goods. 

Ramon “Jojo” Lim – Owner of Gaya Lim Farm, a company with interests in local agribusiness and livestock in Tarlac.

AGRI. In photo (L-R) PSAC lead secretariat Mary Geraldine Polanco-Onganon, Century Pacific Group president and CEO Christopher Po, PSAC convenor and Aboitiz Group president Sabin Aboitiz, Frabelle Fishing Corporation president and CEO Francisco ‘Kiko’ Laurel Jr., President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., La Filipina Uy Gongco Group president and CEO Aileen Christel Ongkauko, Gaya Lim Farm Inc. owner Ramon “Jojo” Lim, Universal Robina Corporation president and CEO Irwin Lee, PSAC agriculture secretariat lead, La Filipina Uy Gongco Group executive associate Cherrylene Advincula and PSAC communications lead Ginggay Hontiveros. PSAC photo

Marcos’ talks with Ongkauko and the agriculture group resulted in him directing the Department of Agriculture to look into building silos, a storage structure that can hold food products and grains in bulk, for a 30-day buffer supply of rice and corn.

PSAC recommended nationwide “mother-daughter” stations or a transport system where a central hub (mother) provides accessible stocks for smaller storages in strategic areas (daughters).

Ongkauko said that the project might be subject to a Public-Private Partnership scheme as each mother station may cost P5.7 billion each or P170 billion for the entire project.

The PSAC agriculture group also urged Marcos to give long-term permits of 25 years for the Fishpond Lease Agreements (FLAs) and issue a clear policy regarding delineating areas for commercial fishing.

PSAC also sought the development of a national policy that will encourage local government units to provide long-term permits on exclusive areas for aquaculture operators for at least 10 years for new developments and 5 to 7 years for existing farming areas.

Meetings with the private sector also led to the commitment of DATAGRO, a Brazilian sugar and ethanol producer, to invest in the Philippines. In a meeting last February, the company proposed pilot testing of molasses conversion to ethanol in Negros and Panay islands.


Lance Gokongwei, president and CEO of JG Summit Holdings, leads PSAC’s tourism sector.

Gokongwei took over the role from Robinsons Land Corporation president and CEO Frederick Go, who was appointed Presidential Adviser for Investment and Economic Affairs last January.

Lance, alongside his siblings, Robina, Lisa, Faith, Hope, and Marcia, have a combined net worth of $3.1 billion or around P172.6 billion, according to Forbes. Their combined fortune is derived largely from business interests in airlines, telecommunications, banking, food, power, and properties.

The clan owns URC, Robinsons Land, Cebu Air, Robinsons Bank, JG Digital Equity Ventures. The family also has stakes in Data Analytics Ventures, DHL Summit Solutions, and Luzon International Premier Airport Development, Meralco, Singapore Land Group, and PLDT.

JG Summit alone has a market capitalization of P339.2 billion. Its subsidiary, JG Summit Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, is part of the P267-billion super consortium aiming to rehabilitate NAIA.

The members of the PSAC tourism sector include:

Lucio Tan III – PAL Holdings and LT Group president. He recently took over the post from his uncle, Michael Tan. He also holds various posts in the Tan empire, including chief operating officer of Tanduay Distillers.

PAL Holdings has a market capitalization of P63.3 billion.

Before tending to the family business, Hun Hun spent much of his life in the United States, where he graduated summa cum laude from Stanford University in 2015 with a degree in electrical engineering. He later took a master’s degree in computer science in the same university.

Josephine Gotianun Yap President and CEO of Filinvest Development Corporation.

The Gotianun clan, which has an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion, has business interests in real estate, property development, hotel and resorts, leasing and selling of houses, financial services, sugar, and power.

Filinvest’s subsidiaries include EastWest Bank and its rural bank, EastWest Insurance firms, EastWest Leasing and Finance Corporation, Filinvest Hospitality Corporation for hotels with joint ventures abroad, Filinvest Lifemalls, The Palms Country Club, FDC Utilities Inc., Davao Sugar Central Corporation, and Pacific Sugar Holdings.

Filinvest is also the operator of Clark International Airport in consortium with JG Summit and others through LIPAD Corporation.

Bobby Claudio Sr. – Chairman emeritus of Quorum Holdings, the company behind sporting goods and apparel retail store Toby’s Sports.

He is also the director and founder of GS1 Philippines, a company focusing on goods packaging.

Rene Limcaoco – CEO of Hertz Philippines, a car rental agency owned by Exclusive Cars International Hordings.

Limcaoco was a former undersecretary of planning and infrastructure project development at the Department of Transportation from 2011 to 2016.

TOURISM. Robinsons Land Corporation business development officer Leslie Vanessa Lim, PSAC communications lead Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar, PSAC secretariat lead Gie Polanco, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., PSAC tourism sector lead and Robinsons Land Corporation president and CEO Frederick Go, Hertz Philippines CEO Rene Limcaoco, and International Relations Philippine Retailers Association Vice Chairman Roberto Claudio Sr. PSAC photo

Marcos was quick to adopt PSAC’s recommendation of a value-added tax (VAT) refund program for foreign tourists by 2024 to boost tourist arrivals.

The government collects a 12% VAT on goods. The plan is to allow foreigners to get a VAT refund on items they are taking out of the Philippines, similar to what many other countries offer.

Marcos described the VAT refund program a “quick win” recommendation.

The Philippines recorded 2.65 million international visitors last year, who brought in an estimated $3.68 billion or P204.9 billion in revenue, exceeding its 2022 target of 1.7 million tourists, according to the Department of Tourism. Last year’s total comprised of 2.02 million foreigners and 628,445 Filipinos based abroad, compared with only 163,879 tourists recorded in pandemic year 2021, and still significantly lower than the pre-pandemic annual level of 8.26 million.

The government aims to boost visitor arrivals this year to 4.8 million tourists.

He also approved PSAC’s recommendation to roll out e-visas by 2023, prioritizing China and India. PSAC recommended the inclusion of Indians under the visa-upon-arrival program and the extension of e-visa, which is currently available only for Taiwanese, Chinese, Indian, South Korean, and Japanese.


Paolo Borromeo, president and CEO of AC Health, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ayala Corporation.

AC Health’s portfolio includes Generika Drugstore, the pioneer in generic retail pharmacies; IE Medica and MedEthix, a pharmaceutical importer and distributor; Healthway and QualiMed, a network of specialty clinics, ambulatory centers, and full-service hospitals; and KonsultaMD, a healthcare aggregator app where people can get online consultations and medicine delivery.

AC Health’s parent company, Ayala Corporation, is the Philippines’ oldest conglomerate founded in 1834 and is currently valued at P386.8 billion. Led by the Zobel clan, it has business interests in real estate, financial services and insurance, telecommunications, water, industrial technology, power, automotive, and outsourcing.

Borromeo is joined by other businessmen in the healthcare sector, namely:

Clinton Campos-Hess – President and CEO of United Laboratories (Unilab). Unilab is behind 300 brands of affordable prescription and over-the-counter products.

It also has subsidiaries for oncology, women’s health, critical care, mental health, pediatrics, and consumer health.

Clinton is the grandson of Jose Campos, co-founder of Unilab’s first drugstore, then named United Drug, in Binondo, Manila in 1945 after World War II.

Nicanor MontoyaPresident and CEO of MediCard Philippines, a leading health maintenance organization (HMO) offering total healthcare services to corporations, individuals, and families.

MediCard has over 54,000 accredited doctors in over 1,000 hospitals nationwide. It is among the top three HMOs in the Philippines and top 500 corporations in the country.

Harish Pillai – A medical doctor who is also the CEO of Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings.

The company has 20 hospitals in its portfolio, including the Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Asian Hospital, and Davao Doctors Hospital.

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco Jr. A Filipino-American molecular biologist and Catholic priest. Austriaco belongs to the Dominican Order of Preachers and is a professor of theology and biology.

He is also an author on the subject of Catholic bioethics. He is a research fellow at OCTA, a polling and research consulting firm.

HEALTH. In photo (from left): Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) lead convener and Aboitiz Group president and CEO Sabin Aboitiz, MediCard Philippines president and CEO Dr. Nicanor S. Montoya, FDA OIC Director for Policy and Planning Services Irene Florentino-Fariñas, FDA Director General Dr. Samuel Zacate, PSAC healthcare sector lead and Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc. president and CEO Paolo Borromeo, President Marcos, Filipino-American molecular biologist and Catholic priest Fr. Nicanor R. Austriaco, Jr., Then-DOH OIC Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire, Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc. CEO Dr. Harish Pillai, and Unilab SVP Joey Ochave. PSAC photo.

So far, PSAC’s health cluster has expressed its commitment to help the Marcos administration strengthen the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) by providing a third-party assessment that will focus on addressing operational gaps in claims filing, membership application, digitalization and actuarial valuation, among others.

In a press release last March, PSAC said PhilHealth is set to “align internally” on the findings of the consultant. The proposal will then be forwarded to the President.

The private sector also vowed to work with the Food and Drug Administration to upgrade its systems to obtain accreditation with various international regulatory bodies and raise awareness about the value of generic drugs.

Borromeo and other PSAC representatives were present in a meeting with Marcos and health officials last August, where the exodus of nurses and other health professionals was discussed.

The Department of Health is currently looking into hiring nurses who failed the board exams but have test scores between 70% to 74% to be employed in government hospitals. They will be given up to four years to pass the licensure exam and will sign a return service agreement and work in government hospitals before being allowed to work overseas. (READ: No legal basis to grant temporary nursing license to non-board passers – PRC)

The same meeting also discussed the review of salaries and benefits of nurses. Currently, nurses employed in government hospitals get higher pay than those working in the private sector. PSAC urged Marcos to come up with a policy mandating equal pay. There are currently 617,000 licensed nurses in the country, 28% of whom work locally, most or 51% of whom have migrated, and 21% of whom are working in other fields.

The same meeting also resulted in a development and vaccine procurement plan for new COVID-19 variants and Monkeypox.


Joey Concepcion III, Go Negosyo main mentor and founder, and president and CEO of RFM Corporation, is PSAC’s jobs sector lead, the cluster tasked to find solutions in solving skills mismatch and other problems in the labor sector.

RFM is a major manufacturer of flour and flour-based products, as well as milk and juice drinks. The company has the following subsidiaries and affiliates in its food and non-food businesses: Unilever RFM Ice Cream, Inc.; RFM Foods Philippines Corporation; Southstar Bottled Water Company; Engrain-RFM Pacific; FWBC Holdings; RFM Equities.; Rizal Lighterage Corporation; WS Holdings; and Selecta Wall’s Land Corporation.

RFM’s market cap is P10.4 billion.

Concepcion is joined by five other business leaders. They are:

Rizalina Mantaring – Independent director of Ayala Corporation.

Mantaring is also former president and CEO of Sun Life Financial Philippines. She is likewise an independent director of First Philippine Holdings Corporation, Universal Robina Corporation, East Asia Computer Center, and MicroVentures Foundation.

She was the president of the Management Association of the Philippines and Philippine Life Insurance Association.

Doris Magsaysay Ho – President and CEO of the Magsaysay Group of companies, a conglomerate focused on human resource management and logistics in the Asia-Pacific region. It also has interests in marine shipping lines and cruise and hotel tourism.

The company’s affiliate, Fairmont Shipping Limited, is based in Hong Kong and Vancouver, Canada and operates in international dry bulk trade.

Alfredo Ayala – Chief Operating Officer of iPeople, Inc., a publicly listed company that drives investments in the education sector. The company, which is under the Yuchengco group’s House of Investments, owns and operates the Malayan Education System, which operates Mapua University. It also operates the Malayan Colleges in Laguna and Mindanao, as well as the Malayan High School of Science.

IPeople merged with Ayala Corporation’s AC Education in 2019. The merger resulted in the acquisition of the National Teachers College, University of Nueva Caceres, and Affordable Private Education Center.

Kevin Tan – CEO and vice chairman of Alliance Global, a conglomerate with interests in real estate, food, and liquor. Alliance Global alone is valued at P121.3 billion.

Its subsidiaries are Emperador Inc., Megaworld Corporation, Travellers International Hotel Group, Infracorp Development Inc., and Golden Arches Development Corporation, the company behind McDonald’s in the Philippines.

Tan was among the business leaders who campaigned for Marcos in the 2022 elections and was seen participating in several political rallies.

Tan joined Marcos at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last January.

“On a political front, I think also my view is that the President has really shown that the Philippines really is a friend to all, and we’re not necessarily leaning more towards the west or the east, that we’re very, very balanced in where we are positioned. And I think that’s the right strategy because you know our location as a country is so strategic,” Tan said at the sidelines of the forum.

Teresita Sy-Coson – Vice chair of SM Investments. She, along with siblings Elizabeth, Henry Jr., Herbert, and Harley, have a combined net worth of $12.6 billion or around P702 billion.

Their wealth is largely from stakes held in SM Investments and SM Prime, one of Southeast Asia’s largest conglomerates with interests in malls and department stores, banks, hotels, real estate, and mining.

Aside from the SM brand, the Sy family controls BDO Unibank and China Bank, as well as SaveMore, Walter Mart, and Alfa Mart. They also have equity investments in premium commercial buildings (Neo Group, Philippine Urban Living Solutions and CityMall Commercial Centers), leisure (Belle Corporation), logistics (2Go Group and Airspeed), food (Goldilocks), and mining (Atlas Mining).

JOBS. The jobs sectoral group of the Private Sector Advisory Council with President Marcos after endorsing recommendations to create more jobs for Filipinos. From left to right, Kevin Tan of Alliance Global Group, Joey Concepcion of RFM, Rizalina Mantaring of Ayala Corporation, Tessie Sy Coson of SM Investments, President Marcos, Doris Ho of the Magsaysay Group, Lance Gokongwei of JG Summit, Sabin Aboitiz together with Gie Polanco and Ginggay Hontiveros of the Aboitiz Group. PSAC photo

PSAC is currently seeking to expand the ongoing motorcycle taxi operations, which are currently under pilot study in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu, through an executive order. PSAC said the measure would create over two million jobs for “habal-habal” (motorcycle taxi) riders while legislation is pending.

Motorcycle taxi app Angkas CEO George Royeca attended a PSAC meeting with Marcos last May, where he pushed for the extension. Angkas’ rival Grab Philippines, which is not part of PSAC, similarly pitched for the legalization of motorcycle taxis earlier in February.

Talks with PSAC’s jobs sector also led to Marcos approving the five-year extension of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program.

The CARS program, initially introduced through the issuance of Executive Order No. 182 in 2015, gave participating automakers six years to reach the minimum volume target sales of 200,000 domestically produced automobiles for each of the enrolled car types in order to qualify for incentives. The extension of CARS will continue to provide incentives and support for manufacturers that meet specific requirements in terms of investment, production, and technology development.

Mitsubishi Motors enrolled its Mirage model while Toyota Motors listed the Vios model under the CARS program. Mitsubishi’s participation in the program is set to expire this 2023, while Toyota’s will expire in 2024.

Digital infrastructure

Henry Rhoel Aguda – Chief technology and operations officer of UnionBank, is the head of PSAC’s digital infrastructure group. This five-member cluster is tasked to provide government practical recommendations to promote wider internet access and advance digitization initiatives.

Unionbank, which is part of the Aboitiz group of companies, is ranked sixth in terms of total assets and is currently valued by the market at P175 billion.

Prior to his stint at UnionBank, Aguda was formerly the vice president and chief technology officer of the Government Service Insurance System.

Aguda leads this group of rivals in the telecommunications space, namely:

Alfredo Panlilio – President and CEO of PLDT. PLDT’s subsidiary, Smart Communications, services 71.2 million Filipinos through mobile communications and internet connectivity. Digital bank and mobile wallet Maya is also under PLDT’s portfolio.

PLDT is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange and its American Depositary Shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It has one of the largest market capitalizations among Philippine listed companies at P289.9 billion.

Ernest Cu – President and CEO of Globe Telecom. The telecommunications company of the Ayala Group, Globe is currently the leader in mobile subscribers at over 87 million. It is valued at P247.4 billion.

It also has several subsidiaries, including startup builder 917 Ventures, venture capital fund Kickstart Ventures, as well as Mynt, which operates mobile wallet GCash.

Dennis Anthony UyPresident and CEO of Converge ICT Solutions. Uy, not to be mistaken for Dito Telecom’s Dennis Uy, leads Converge, which is currently the fastest growing fiber internet provider.

Valued at over P78.5 billion, Converge has a network spanning over 103,000 kilometers, covering 495 cities and municipalities nationwide and reaching close to 11 million homes.

Uy and his wife Maria Grace have a combined net worth of $1.7 billion or around P97.5 billion.

Ramon Jocson – COO of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). Jocson helps lead the Ayala group’s BPI, the third largest bank in terms of assets.

BPI is the Philippines’ first bank, founded in 1851. It is currently valued at P525.2 billion, with close to 900 branches.

DIGITAL ECONOMY. Marcos meets members of PSAC’s digital infrastructure group in Malacañang on June 12. PSAC photo

PSAC’s digital infrastructure group has pushed for a public-private partnership with the Philippine Statistics Authority for the launching of the Digital Philippine ID App in a bid to digitalize the National ID system.

The app aims to address the sluggish delivery of physical IDs. PSAC envisioned the digital ID to be integrated to a digital wallet, eliminating long lines and faster disbursement of government cash dole-outs.

Marcos accepted PSAC’s recommendation to accelerate the adoption and implementation of the national Digital PhilID through a deal with the private sector before the end of 2023.

Meanwhile, PSAC recommended that the government consider digital solutions to address port congestion. The group suggested the President issue a joint memorandum circular with multipartite agencies to establish an inter-agency mechanism for the implementation of the Trusted Operator Program-Container Registry Monitoring System, complementing government anti-smuggling operations and capabilities.

PSAC also recommended convening Pilipinas GoDigital, focused on digital upskilling and education. A press release noted that the program “will take some cues” from UnionBank’s Tahanang Walang Hagdanan initiative to “train differently abled persons as data analysts who can remotely monitor transactions.” –

$1 = P55.69

Market capitalization values are as of June 25, 2023.


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  1. ET

    If I may be allowed to edit the speech of business tycoon Sabin Aboitiz during his September 2022 NYSE Speech: “… I have witnessed the ability of this man to bring together the best minds in business, use him to find palliative solutions to real but mostly imaginary problems ….” With apology to Sir Sabin Aboitiz.

  2. ET

    Let us give this Marcos 2.0 Oligarchy the benefit of the doubt. Let us hope that us they fattened their wallets under the Marcos Jr. Administration, this will also “trickle down” to the middle class and, more especially, the poor people of this country. However, the amount of such “trickle down” and its proportion to what the Marcos Oligarchy 2.0 will get – remains to be known through the Presidential Communication Office’s (more like Dis-informative) media.

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.