Gov’t to sell remaining Petron stake

MANILA, Philippines — The government has decided to sell its 40-percent stake in Petron Corp., the country’s biggest oil refiner, and is looking to get about P25 billion ($530 million), the finance secretary said.

London-based Ashmore Group, which owns slightly over 50 percent of the company, has right of first refusal, Margarito Teves told reporters late Tuesday.

“The Privatization Council approved the sale on Tuesday,” he said. “Hopefully, we can book the proceeds by December. Hopefully we can get P25 billion.”

SEA Refinery Holdings BV, owned by Ashmore Investment Management Limited, agreed to buy a 40-percent stake in Petron from Saudi Aramco for $550 million earlier this year.

In June, it offered to buy the remaining 60-percent stake, or 5.63 billion shares, in Petron at P6.531 per share.

Under Philippine corporate laws, an entity buying a 30-percent stake in any company must make a tender offer for the rest of the company.

At the end of the tender offer in July, SEA Refinery received tenders for a total of 990.98 million common shares, or a total of P6.5 billion, from minority shareholders, the company said in a statement to the stock exchange.

At the time, the government did not participate in the tender, saying it was hoping for a better price. Ashmore’s holding in Petron is now at 50.57 percent.

($1 = P47.26)MANILA, Philippines — The government has decided to sell its 40-percent stake in Petron Corp., the country’s biggest oil refiner, and is looking to get about P25 billion ($530 million), the finance secretary said.

London-based Ashmore Group, which owns slightly over 50 percent of the company, has right of first refusal, Margarito Teves told reporters late Tuesday.

“The Privatization Council approved the sale on Tuesday,” he said. “Hopefully, we can book the proceeds by December. Hopefully we can get P25 billion.”

SEA Refinery Holdings BV, owned by Ashmore Investment Management Limited, agreed to buy a 40-percent stake in Petron from Saudi Aramco for $550 million earlier this year.

In June, it offered to buy the remaining 60-percent stake, or 5.63 billion shares, in Petron at P6.531 per share.

Under Philippine corporate laws, an entity buying a 30-percent stake in any company must make a tender offer for the rest of the company.

At the end of the tender offer in July, SEA Refinery received tenders for a total of 990.98 million common shares, or a total of P6.5 billion, from minority shareholders, the company said in a statement to the stock exchange.

At the time, the government did not participate in the tender, saying it was hoping for a better price. Ashmore’s holding in Petron is now at 50.57 percent.

($1 = P47.26)

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5 bishops attending Vatican council

5 bishops attending Vatican council 

 

By Edson C. Tandoc Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 16:25:00 10/01/2008

 

MANILA, Philippines — Five Filipino Catholic bishops are off to Vatican City to attend a three-week gathering of prelates with Pope Benedict XVI, which will start on Sunday.

The gathering, also known as the synod, aims to “intensify the people’s understanding, reading, and living of the Word of God because the Word of God is the center of all Christianity,” said Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, one of the representatives of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

The synod, which is the 12th Ordinary General Assembly, has the theme: “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” It is scheduled on October 5 to 26.

The CBCP said on its website that a synod is a “gathering of Catholic bishops, summoned to Rome by the Pope, to advise him on the subject of his choice.”

The Pope also appointed Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, secretary general of the Federation of the Asian Bishops Conference, as well as Catholic Family Bible Quiz founder Elvira Yap-Go, to attend the synod.

The CBCP will also send, aside from Bastes, bishops Luis Antonio Tagle, Pablo David, and Broderick Pabillo to the Synod.

Catholic laities back Panlilio

philippinesBy Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Visayas Bureau
First Posted 18:47:00 10/01/2008

 

ILOILO CITY, Philippines—The national organization of the Catholic laity has thrown its support behind beleaguered Pampanga Governor Eddie “Ed” Panlilio, who is facing a recall campaign to oust him from office.

In a statement issued Wednesday at the culmination of a three-day national convention of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines held here, the national organization of Catholic lay people declared their support for Panlilio’s campaign to “promote integrity and honesty in government.”

The statement was issued as Catholic Church leaders called on the laity to be at the forefront of the fight against graft and corruption and for good governance barely two years before the next national elections in 2010.

“We are backing (Panlilio) in his fight for good governance and his battle against the proposed recall, which will bring to naught his noble and difficult work against graft and corruption,” the group said in a statement.

The resolution was approved by around 500 delegates representing the dioceses of the country.

Panlilio, who is on leave from his duties as priest, was one of the speakers during the opening of the convention last Monday. He was no longer around when the resolution was passed on Wednesday, according to convention secretariat member Joseph Jesalva.

He won the gubernatorial race in a landmark victory against powerful political figures, defeating former provincial board member Lilia Pineda and then incumbent Governor Mark Lapid in the 2007 elections. He rode on a platform calling for reforms, good governance and an end to traditional politics of money, patronage, influence-peddling.

But he is facing a recall bid initiated by a non-government organization led by a former election campaigner of Pineda.

Citing loss of confidence in the governor’s leadership, the group aims to gather the signature of at least 100,000 registered voters in the province. The number is more than 10 percent of the 977,000 registered voters of Pampanga, a requirement in a recall election.

Church leaders have called on lay people to be more active in fighting graft and corruption.

Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), who spoke during the convention, said graft and corruption has been among the most pressing problems of the country.

“The convention is very practical because this is a good preparation for the forthcoming national elections,” Lagdameo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.

“The Church encourages the vigorous participation of the laity in governance not only in the Church but also of society. The laity must be at the forefront in solving our social problems,” the prelate said.

Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, chair of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on the Laity, said lay people could help minimize if not eradicate corruption.

“Bishops and priests can only exhort them to do it and to provide spiritual formation, but they should be at the forefront,” Reyes said in a separate interview.

He said that based on reports and accounts of lay people, graft and corruption in government has been worsening.

“The challenge to all government officials in all levels of governance is to live the faith,” said Reyes.

In his homily during a Mass, Reyes acknowledged that corruption in government has been institutionalized in the country.

“It must be hard to be good, to be a Christian politician in the Philippines,” he said.

Reyes said he could see corruption even in the Church.

“There is corruption in the Church because we are human. But not as much as in government,” he said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience.

When interviewed later, Reyes said the practice of giving the “SOP,” or kickbacks to government officials as “standard operating procedure” in state-funded projects, purchases or transactions, should be stopped.

Reyes lamented the accepting attitude of most people to corruption.

“There must be a change in mindset. It is not acceptable. It is wrong,” said Reyes.

STRANDED

 A total of 273 ship passengers bound for Marinduque island have been stranded at the Dalahican port in Lucena City since Tuesday as tropical storm “Pablo” (international codename: Higos) lashed over Southern Luzon. Claude de Ramos, terminal operation assistant of Marinduque Port Services and Trading Inc., narrates how the port terminal building provides temporary refuge to stranded ship passengers

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