Room for more

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
Room for more
Stratbase Group chief operating officer Rupert Paul Manhit, Acciona Construction Philippines head of Business Development Brett Lim, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System administrator Leonor Cleofas, Sen. JV Ejercito, the author, Stratbase ADR Institute president Prof. Dindo Manhit, WawaJVCo president Melvin John Tan, Stratbase ADR Institute’s Joyce Ilas and Katrina Guerrero.

There is always room for one more Chinese auto brand in the Philippines, especially if it is a luxury car brand and the oldest passenger car marque in China.

Hongqi, which means “red flag” in Chinese, is owned by automaker FAW Car Company, a subsidiary of the China FAW Group Corp., Ltd., a state-owned automobile manufacturer headquartered in Changchun, Jilin.

Founded in 1953, the FAW Group is currently the second largest of the “Big Four” state-owned car manufacturers of China, together with SAIC Motor, Dongfeng Motor Corp. and Changan Automobile (all of which have dealerships here).

Hongqi itself was launched in 1958 and was originally reserved for ranking government officials, pretty much like ZiL in the former Soviet Union. It was the first car that was independently produced in China.

Just recently, Hongqi launched its first-ever Philippine showroom at the Bonifacio Global City alongside four new models. Two of the models are electric vehicles (EVs), the flagship E-HS9 SUV and the E-QM5 five-seater sedan. The other two models have conventional gas engines, the H9 luxury sedan and the H5 compact sedan.

Hongqi will be distributed in the Philippines by EVOxTerra, a member of the Transnational Diversified Group or TDG. TDG was founded by J. Roberto Delgado and the late Kiyoshi Osawa in 1976 and has since expanded to more than 30 dynamic member companies that are major players in diverse industries such as logistics, ship management, air and travel services, information and communications technology, securities trading, real estate development, renewable energy, etc.

Rashid Delgado, president of EVOxTerra, announced that it was appointed the official Hongqi distributor in the Philippines in March of this year. “We are extremely proud to bring this legendary car marque to the Philippines and let Filipinos finally experience for themselves the many reasons why Hongqi remains such an enduring international brand,” he said.

Considering its pedigree, Hongqi has the capacity to be a leader not just among the Chinese car brands, but also among the locally available automotive marques. I wish them success and good sales.

Sen. Ejercito and Sen. Grace Poe


There is always room for one more discussion on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and infrastructure development, like the recent hybrid townhall discussion held by the Stratbase Albert Del Rosario Institute (ADRi) on “Revitalizing the Philippines’ Infrastructure Development through Public-Private Partnerships” held virtually via Zoom and at the New World Makati Hotel.

Sen. Grace Poe delivered the keynote message while speakers for the forum included Sen. JV Ejercito, DOTr Undersecretary TJ Batan, MWSS administrator Leonor Cleofas, WawaJVCo president Melvin Tan, InfraWatch PH convenor Atty. Terry Ridon, Acciona Construction Philippines head of business development Brett Lim, Stratbase ADRi non-resident fellow Dr. Rizal Buendia, and me.

Stratbase ADRi president Prof. Dindo Manhit provided the opening and closing remarks.

We do acknowledge that infrastructure development is a critical component for economic transformation. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. or PBBM himself has said that investments in public infrastructure remain a top priority of his administration.

President Marcos promised to continue the infrastructure development program of the previous administration through the P 8.3 trillion “Build Better More” program. We also acknowledge that the modernization of the country’s infrastructure in the areas of physical connectivity, water resources, and energy, to name a few, will yield gains that cut across various sectors.

I have always stressed and continue to stress that PPPs play a vital role in, among others, revitalizing the country’s infrastructure landscape. By leveraging the private sector’s resources and expertise, we minimize the burden of limited finances by government and enable the reallocation of resources to other priorities.

The Hongqi H5
Photo from PhilStar Wheels

PPP likewise fosters innovation by creating an attractive and competitive investment climate that presents better risk management and ensures the successful implementation of infrastructure projects.

Public-private partnerships accelerate infrastructure development and serve as a strong foundation for progress and a sustainable future for the Filipino people.

It was heartwarming to note that Sen. Ejercito, in his speech, mentioned that the PPP bill was already passed on third reading and is now with the bicameral committee. I understand that the House of Representatives has now approved the bicameral conference committee report, so it is just a matter of time before the bill is signed into law.

This is a piece of legislation that we needed yesterday. The President, in fact, had certified this as urgent.

I thank and congratulate Sen. Ejercito, the sponsor in the Senate, together with co-authors Senate President Migs Zubiri, Senators Sonny Angara, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Imee Marcos, Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva, Win Gatchalian, Bong Revilla and Grace Poe for this milestone and for all the hard work put into seeing this bill through.

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