Thursday, April 28, 2005

Pacific Plans Spin Doctors -- Please Go to the Principal's Office

Dear Readers,

As an FYI to all of you, it is important that you know the three primary objectives that the PEP Coalition had when we established this site:

a) Research and Information gathering in order to develop an opposition strategy for the rehab model
b) Planholder orientation of their rights and entitlements
c) Enlightenment of planholders and regulators as to the questionable practices undertaken by Pacific Plans shareholders and management.

For everyone's benefit, spin doctors have been engaged to nullify our efforts and create the following illusions:

a) the PEP coalition is a rag-tag group of planholders that do not enjoy the support of Pacific Planholders;
b) there is a silent majority of planholders that are pro-rehab and have even go so far as to mimic this weblog.

Friends within YGC had given inside info about the spin doctors and we delibertely sat back to observe their efforts in this weblog. We do not know if they are professionals or not but we can only surmise that they are unfamiliar with the Internet. Telltale signs of intrusion and disinformation include:

a) steady traffic of visitors but;
b) inconsistent increase in number of comments;
c) repetitive and belabored comments unlike other posters who make their comment once and leave it at that;
d) assumption of other people's identities.

Pacific Plans spin doctors, we can see your IP addresses even as you post your comments! The IP addresses are the same even if the poster's identities are made to look different. Do your homework. Please get better IT and Internet advice.

Case in point is mr. or ms. media_elf@******.com with IP address 66.249.66.166 (you know who you are...and so do we). Suffice it to say that our east coast team knows their network administration quite well. =) It is deplorable that moles such as you would stoop this low.

Also please do an examination of conscience if you are getting paid to do this -- that same money could have been used to pay for our children's tuition!

Anyway, you spin doctors were allowed to have three days of fun. We'll set the rules:

a) This website is used primarily for research and information gathering;
b) All posters should speak for themselves. It is really amateurish to start speaking for other people with the hope of deception. Comments that attempt to speak for other people shall be deleted;
c) Character assassination, the use of profanity and pointless commentaries or lectures will also be deleted. We need good ideas, recommendations, and concrete action plans.
d) Plugs and and other advertisements will also be deleted

We will be cleaning up the comments in the next few days and only leave those which stir thoughtful discussion and debate. In the spirit of the Internet, we will encourage free speech and allow views that are pro-Pacific Plans/YGC group provided that these views are presented in an intellectual manner.

For those of you who read this site but are not IT savvy, here is how to spot FAKE profiles and MOLES:

a) The posters do not have Blogger profiles. The moderating team has Blogger profiles. Just click on our names and you will be led to the Blogger Profile we created.
b) The moderating team is comprised of three people - PEP349, corporate_conscience, and pacificnoplan. All our profiles can be viewed at the top right section of the Blog.
c) The moderating team does not comment on our own postings (with the exception of warnings and one other occassion). We will post a full article. This is something that these posters cannot do.
c) Their comments are repetitive and similar to points raised by the YGC group. (this in and off itself is fine with us, but we don't like people pretending to be part of the mod team)

For all posters, please check if your contribution has been deleted. Please clean up the language as per the above mentioned editorial guidelines and you can once again repost. In that way, we cannot be accused of discouraging an honest debate or information sharing.

Congratulations to the sincere and concerted efforts of the coalition.

Reviewer 1 - Representations and Warranties

From the website of Pacific Plans before it was taken down.

With all of the sound and fury being generated by those who favor the rehab plan and complain about the selfishness of those fighting the rehab, it may be good to step back and look once again at basic principles underpinning this fiasco.

Preneed plans are financial instruments which are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. As part of the regulatory process of the SEC, all methods and manner of selling to the public are scrutinized and pre-approved by them. This forms part of the "Truth in Advertising" doctrine so that investors are not misled or make incorrect assumptions when parting with their money as they make their investment decisions.

Brochures, advertisements, sales presentations of agents are representations made by the the issuer of the financial instrument. Many of the posters of comments in this blog have consistently recalled how some of their sales agents (who Pacific Plans is fully accountable for) used to talk about the financial integrity of the Yuchengco Group as well as the guaranteed features of their preneed plans. Apologists for YGC will naturally call this hearsay and unfortunate interpretations.

But we only need to look at the webpage above to see that the word "assurance" is used. For the lawyers, the words "assurance", "guarantee", "insurance", or "rely" have very specific meaning and obligations . This webpage forms part the SALES REPRESENTATIONS made by Pacific Plans and therefore Pacific Plans and SEC are fully aware of the what they were selling and the contractual obligations they were binding themselves to..

As many of you know, the Pacific Plans website was taken down almost immediately after the TRO was granted. Fortunately, through benefactors, we have been able to preserve key evidence such as this which shows that the planholders could not have misunderstood the guarantees being made by the sales agents.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Jarius Bondoc and the Uphill Battle

One of the posters today thanked Mr. Jarius Bondoc for devoting precious column inches in his article today at the Philippine Star to the controversy enveloping Pacific Plans.

He starts his column with the key question, "...Should customers be punished for a company’s wrong business plan? That is the core of a tiff between Pacific Plans Inc. and thousands of holders of its pre-need education plan. "

He ends that section by saying, "...The legal tussle will boil down to interpretation and jurisprudence on contracts. But prolonged legal battle will hurt the entire pre-need trade. Customers will begin to suspect that all sales pitches will stop at nothing to get their money, then stop at nothing again to get out of promises. The issue can turn to the most basic element of business: trust..."

************************

He then goes on to fill his column with a seemingly unrelated essay on a pre-eminent establishment...

"It’s usual for fresh grads of UP-Law to partner together with dreams to become a legal institution. But few endure. One such is Carpio Villaraza Cruz, today called Villaraza Angangco, though better known to admirers and hecklers simply as The Firm, which celebrates its 25th year this week.

The title of "The Firm" is a tribute to its success in conventional and non-traditional law practice. It holds a standing for being tops in litigation. Aside from corporate and trade law, it has advised two presidents: Fidel Ramos in 1992-1998, and Gloria Arroyo from 2001 to the present. It has helped fracture monopolies in telecommunication, banking and insurance.

What sets it apart is The Firm’s contribution to government service. Antonio Carpio was appointed Supreme Court justice in 2001 after serving the Ramos administration in various capacities, including presidential chief legal counsel. The sixth-placer in the 1975 bar exams, he obtained his UP-Law degree in the same year as valedictorian and cum laude. Avelino Cruz Jr. was Arroyo’s chief legal counsel before his appointment to Secretary of Defense. He too was cum laude and salutatorian of UP-Law in 1977, had placed seventh in the bar exam, is a member of the New York Bar, and was president of the Philippine Bar Association.

Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, a former partner, was handpicked by Arroyo for the anti-graft body after a stint as Solicitor General. He ranked fifth in the 1979 bar test, after seminary and then law schooling. Joe Nathan Tenefrancia also served as Arroyo’s chief legal counsel before becoming senior deputy executive secretary. He was UP-Law’s salutatorian in 1991.

At the helms of The Firm since its rapid growth in the early ’90s is managing partner F. Arthur Villaraza. Nicknamed Pancho Villa(raza), he has mentored dozens of partners, some of whom have moved on to form their own firms in the country or abroad, or branched out to other fields. He graduated third in UP-Law 1975. Assisting him is Reggie Angangco, one-time president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and UP-Law 1980 valedictorian. Together they lead The Firm of 60 lawyers. No matter what detractors say, industry leaders, decision makers and top politicians seek their counsel."


A happy coincidence and juxtaposition or is Mr. Bondoc trying to communicate something that he cannot explicitly discuss? Who knows? But as some of the posters have insightfully pointed out, the intersection of the battle between us and Pacific Plan's owners is the rehabilitation plan. The hearing date is fast approaching.

While we are steadfast in reiterating that blind hate never achieves anything, it is nevertheless incumbent upon us to vent righteous anger and to understand who and what we are up against. The readers of this blog may also wish to contribute useful background information on the Makati RTC judge who granted the TRO and will hear the rehabilitation case.

God works in mysterious ways, as the invocation goes. We may even be able to prevail on these lawyers to remember their burning ideals and their foresworn duty to use their talents to protect the weak and disenfranchised.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Presenting Mr. Integrity!!!



If you place your pointer over PGMA's image, you will be linked to the Office of the Press Secretary and to her speech given at the Univ. of San Francisco last year.

In retrospect, it is a bizarre speech but which further illustrates the linkages between this Administration and YGC. In the speech, she thanks Amb. Yuchengco for her receipt of a PhD Honoris Causa from this fine Jesuit university. (Isn't he from La Salle??? Who knows, he may like to follow Mr. Gokongwei and give a building also to the Ateneo or something).

PGMA makes much of "God-centered governance" in her speech. You might wish to give an ethics lesson or two to Uncle Al and why ethics makes good sense even for an economist such as yourself.

We have taken Pacific Plans to task over the selfsame issue of governance.

PGMA, please do remember that the 34,000 planholders are the middle class. Lest you forget EDSA 2 and the nameless, silent, and God-fearing people that got you there.



We will expect your involvement.

The Media Machine and Ces Drilon

We should forgive Ces Drilon for being rude to our spokesperson. We should also try to understand why she may want to be an apologist or do lawyering for the YGC group. Who gives Drilon her paycheck?

Last time we looked, none of the 34,000 planholders has an advertising budget that the media moguls lust for.

Even in our hour of anguish, we must try to smile and look at some of her antics:

a) She was trying to probe the strategy of PEP Coalition. That's pretty bad when it would appear that our opponents have to ask their friends in media to do their homework (forgive the pun);

b) She may have betrayed her inner fear when she admitted her surprise about how quickly the coalition was able to organize so quickly -- who wants to know Ces and you had to make that remark????. Usually, rich folks like to feel that they have the game under their control. Yuchengco family members have been texting to their friends that there is a rich and powerful group behind the effort -- that is a bitter joke. (too bad, we are already on to this media spin that they are trying to concoct)

c) She is also mouthing the YGC party line that they may have not done anything illegal nor mismanaged the finances. She was saying that a 7% return was fair. That was not in our contract. How would she feel if ABS-CBN management reduced her salary by 50%. Would that be fair. Obviously, she makes far too much money to share our pain nor even remotely identify with the serious legal and moral issues at stake. Finally, she should show her research before she makes any conclusive or leading statements.

In the US or Europe, with 34,000 planholders being waylaid, a full blown media frenzy would have already been underway. In the US, Martha Stewart went to jail for concealing information and to think she was found guilty of gaining an advantage over fellow speculators. That is sure different from running away from your contractual obligations to simple, modest, and hardworking heads of households saving up for their children's future.

Our children are asking why no coverage in the media has occurred.

It is not a pleasant task to try to explain to 10 year olds on how things work in the real world and how media works. We in the middle class may be simple, and although we are not as wealthy, we are not STUPID! Rest assured we can read (between the lines) and we understand the media game as well as the media moguls do.

Let's hope we get a better shake from Atty. Dong Puno this week!!!

Monday, April 25, 2005

A Test for Mr. Purisima and the SEC

from ABS-CBN Interactive 22 April 2005

Purisima orders SEC to probe Pacific Plans
(highlights made by author)

**********************************************************************************
It took more than 5 business days to get any kind of decisive pronouncement from a ranking government official. 5 days of turmoil, 5 days of anguish. Secretary Purisima, show us your leadership and demonstrate your effectiveness in enforcing regulations in place that companies need to comply with first before any petition for a TRO can be contemplated. Since there the plans are SEC-registered securities, put your foot down in terms of investor protection, fiduciary responsibilities and truth in advertising provisions with respect to the way securities can be sold.
**********************************************************************************

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima on Saturday ordered the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate pre-need firm Pacific Plans Inc. after the company suspended payments to its planholders.

"I am calling the SEC to investigate the Pacific Plans case immediately with a view to protect the interest of the planholders," Purisima said.

He added: "The SEC should look beyond the rehabilitation plan [of the company] and review all the filings to check if they have lived to their fiduciary responsibilities."

Purisima also said SEC, acting as the government's corporate watchdog, must ensure that Pacific Plans did not violate the Securities Act and other laws.

He said the SEC's investigation will likewise include a check on the pre-need firm's parent company and its officers. Pacific Plans is majority owned by tycoon Alfonso Yuchengco.

He also ordered the SEC to check inter-company transactions and representations to ensure that all channels are reviewed for the benefit of the planholders.

Purisima's directive stemmed from the petition filed by Pacific Plans with a Makati City court recently.

The petition calls for a suspension of payments to planholders and rehabilitation.

The company said it might not be able to pay future claims because school tuition had been increasing at a tremendous rate ever since the government removed a 10-percent cap on tuition increases in 1990.

"The deregulation of tuition has caused a tremendous rise in the cost of education, which in turn put an enormous pressure on traditional (open-ended) plans and their respective trust funds considering that pre-need companies dealing in such securities could not pass on the additional cost to their planholders," the company said.

However, the company said that it is offering planholders an annual interest of seven percent on open-ended educational plans redeemable only by 2010.

"This will be a compounded interest that will start from the time that the planholder completed payment of the plan until 2010," Jeanette Tecson, company spokesman, said in an earlier interview.

She added: "This means that if a educational planholder was fully paid by 1997, then the interest will be from 1997 to 2010."

Tecson said the 2010 encashment will coincide with the maturity of dollar-denominated National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) bonds that will bring in an estimated $51.8 million to the company.

Tecson said the firm will pay roughly half of 16,000 planholders filing educational claims for school year 2005-2006.

She said the company will pay most of the educational claims for non-exclusive or less expensive schools but will only shoulder less than half the claims of those enrolled in schools with high tuition.

Under the payment scheme, the company will disburse P28,000 for semestral planholders, P29,000 for annual planholders and P22,000 for trimester planholders. The payments started April 18.

Other schedules for payment to planholders are: April 19- May 25, April 20-22, April 25-29 and May 9 onwards. Those who or those who missed their schedules can go to the company office in Makati from May 2-7.

Setting up Reviewers for Planholders

There is a bitter irony in our situation that we feel that there is a need to set up a "review class" for all planholders so that we all have a firm grasp of the legal, regulatory, and ethical issues that surround the rehabilitation of Pacific Plans. We also will try to condense the numerous helpful comments and insights into simpler language because not everyone is a corporate lawyer nor a sophisticated money manager.

We want to make sure that all planholders are aware of their full rights and entitlements under the law as well as the having everyone understand why the actions taken by Pacific Plans are deplorable and ill-advised.

Pacific Plans and YGC do everyone a disservice by offering to "better their offer" or to entice planholders into a compromise agreement without offering to discuss their legal obligations and the true entitlements of planholders. They prefer to talk about the intricacies of Actual Reserve Liabilities and why they did not foresee the tuition increases in order to defuse the attention...all irrelevant.

LET US BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT THIS.

The bedrock principle here is honoring contractual obligations that have been freely entered into by the parties. Write-offs due to bad investment decisions are for the account of the owners of the company. Pacific Plans wants the planholders absorb the mistakes of the owners. Planholders are not equity investors (SEC take note please!) nor did they buy these instruments for speculation. These instruments were peddled and purchased as insurance / assurance by heads of families for a secure future for their children.

Before Lifetime Plans was created, Pacific Plans was profitable. In addition, the parent company of Pacific Plans is equally profitable and in no danger of bankruptcy. In short, the financial means to absorb the write-offs are well within the means of the owners to honor their contractual obligations.

Why YGC chooses not to do so is the matter that the PEP Coalition legal team will investigate and challenge.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Let Us Organize Ourselves More

It was wonderful to see all of you at St. Paul Pasig this morning. Within the span of just six days, we were able to pull together various groups and we counted about 2000+ availing planholders.

We will soon post the schools that were part of the PPI program. The PEP Coalition, being MetroManila based, is better positioned to interact directly with PPI and the rest of the YGC entities. But we should try to establish links already with non-Metro Manila aggrieved planholders and encourage them to start establishing different chapters that can coordinate with us.

Other groups can always identify themselves through the email pacificnoplan@yahoo.com and we will get in touch. While it is still a tough battle ahead of us, at least we feel less confused and lost today as compared to last week.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE AND LET US BE VIGILANT UNTIL VICTORY IS OURS!!!

Open Letter to Ambassador A.Yuchengco Posted by Hello

Please help the cause. Save this image and print it out and fax it your friends, companies, embassies, newspapers, magazines, international media.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Anger Management

For those of you that caught Dong Puno Live last night, it was immediately apparent that emotions are very raw regarding the deplorable and regrettable actions taken by the owners of Pacific Plans, Inc. It is indeed a wake-up call for us to resist these actions which seek to victimize us and to voice our determination to prevail.

But at the same time, we need to make sure our anger is properly channeled and does not impose collateral hurts along the way. Please abstain from stereotyping people or their ethnicity. Nobody has a monopoly on virtue nor vice. All of us planholders are victims.

I believe it was Mr. Cuisia, in last night's show, who said that people must be held FULLY ACCOUNTABLE. That should be our sole objective.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

PILLARS OF SOCIETY



This is from the website of Pacific Plans that was taken down yesterday.

Management must not have wanted us to see that the prior logo of Pacific Plans has the Blue Hexagon device that is used to create a uniform corporate identity for all companies within the fold of the Yuchengco Group of Companies.


According to the article written by Mr. Victor Agustin, in his column at INQ7, stated that

"...Parallel to the divestment, the Yuchengcos, led by chairperson and president Helen Y. Dee, resigned en masse from the Pacific Plans board, but not before transferring the safe pre-need products, those offering fixed benefits, into a new company, Lifetime Plans...."

All Hail the Yuchengcos and the fine board of Pacific Plans!!!

For all of the 34,000 plus Planholders, we now know who they are.

Let us Please take time to greet the owners, directors and officers of Pacific Plans when we see them at church, the swanky malls, the fine hotels and restaurants that the directors frequent.

Tell them how much we enjoyed waiting for 4 hours or more under the noon day sun at Kamagong St. where they relocated Pacific Plans...all the while being barked at by the security guard with a bull horn to line up (where welooked like so much docile cattle).

Thank them for their generosity and thoughtfulness as they have left us scrambling and trying to figure out how we could possibly enroll our children with only days left before enrollment.

Wave at them to acknowledge the brilliance and cleverness of their legal engineering that is designed to distance themselves from our shrill and petty complaints (shame on us for not understanding that they wanted to keep their profits). After all Some Are Smarter Than Others.

For all of this we thank them and bless them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Who was the first Taipan to support PGMA in EDSA2?

Ate Glo & Amb. Al...too close for comfort?


Taken from: URL

PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO'S SPEECH
DURING THE INAUGURATION OF THE RCBC PLAZA
Ayala Avenue, Makati City
February 5, 2001

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH AMBASSADOR YUCHENGCO AND CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU AND THE REST OF THE RCBC FAMILY.

PRESIDENT RAMOS WHO STARTED EDSA 1 AND CONTRIBUTED GREATLY IMMENSELY TO THE DENOUEMENT OF EDSA 2; CARDINAL SIN WHOSE VOICE LAUNCHED A MILLION WARM BODIES BOTH IN EDSA 1 AND EDSA 2; MY COLLEAGUES IN THE GOVERNMENT LED BY SECRETARY ROMULO HERE TODAY AND CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR PAENG BUENAVENTURA; EXCELLENCIES OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS; OTHER OFFICIALS; LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

I AM HAPPY TO BE WITH YOU AND IN THIS INAUGURATION OF THE RCBC PLAZA -- THE INAUGURATION OF THIS MAGNIFICENT BUILDING. IT IS MOST WELCOME AS IT REASSURES US THAT INVESTOR CONFIDENCE HAS INDEED BEEN RESTORED IN THE COUNTRY, AS STATED BY OUR TWO AMBASSADORS WHO SPOKE THIS AFTERNOON.

AS THE POLITICAL CRISIS HAS BEEN PEACEFULLY RESOLVED, WE FEEL THE REFRESHING BREEZES OF DEMOCRACY AND HEAR THE CRY OF OUR PEOPLE FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE IN THE PHILIPPINES.

AT EDSA 2, I SAID THAT NOW IS A TIME TO HEAL AND A TIME TO BUILD. TODAY THE RCBC AND ITS PARTNERS SHOW THEIR WILLINGNESS TO HEED THIS CALL BY HELPING BUILD NOT JUST A BUILDING, BUT MORE IMPORTANT TO HELP BUILD OUR NATION. THIS MAGNIFICENT RCBC PLAZA IS A STRONG STATEMENT OF CONFIDENCE IN THE BANKING, FINANCIAL AND COMMERCIAL SECTOR-- IT IS A MANIFESTATION OF THAT WILLINGNESS TO BUILD.

YOUR SUPPORT FOR OUR INSTITUTIONS IS ALSO EMBODIED IN THE SPIRIT OF EDSA MEMORIAL THAT WE ARE UNVEILING HERE A FINE TRIBUTE TO THE IDEALISM AND ASPIRATION OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE EXPRESSED IN BOTH EDSA 1 AND EDSA 2.

LET ME THEREFORE CONGRATULATE AMBASSADOR YUCHENGCO, WHOM I'VE ALWAYS CALLED UNCLE AL BECAUSE HIS DAUGHTERS ARE MY DEAR FRIENDS, FOR GIVING OUR PEOPLE THIS LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE. INDEED, THIS WILL CONSTANTLY REMIND US -- AND THE FUTURE GENERATIONS OF FILIPINOS - OF OUR PEOPLE'S INDOMITABLE DRIVE TO ATTAIN GREATNESS. AND LET US NOT FORGET THAT AMBASSADOR YUCHENGCO HAS BEEN ONE OF THE DRIVING SUPPORTING FORCES IN THIS INDOMITABLE CRY. CONGRATULATIONS UNCLE AL. (APPLAUSE)

I'M ALSO VERY HAPPY TO HAVE AMBASSADOR YUCHENGCO AS OUR SPECIAL ENVOY TO CHINA, JAPAN AND KOREA. HE HAD EARLIER SERVED AS OUR AMBASSADOR TO CHINA DURING THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRESIDENT CORY AQUINO AND TO JAPAN DURING THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRESIDENT FIDEL RAMOS. IN FACT HE HOSTED MY MOTHER'S LAST BIRTHDAY PARTY IN JAPAN.

I HAVE FULL FAITH THAT HIS EXPERTISE AND PATRIOTISM WILL PAVE THE WAY FOR MORE DYNAMIC AND ROBUST ECONOMIC TIES AND COOPERATION BETWEEN THE PHILIPPINES AND OUR EAST ASIAN NEIGHBORS.

AS I COMMEND AMBASSADOR YUCHENGCO FOR THIS DEEDS AND CONTRIBUTIONS. I AM PLEASED TO EXTEND TO HIM MY WARM GREETINGS ON HIS NATAL DAY TOMORROW. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, UNCLE AL, AND MAY YOU HAVE MANY, MANY MORE HAPPY AND FRUITFUL BIRTHDAYS TO COME. (APPLAUSE)

AS WE ENTER A NEW PHASE OF BUILDING THE ECONOMY AND UPLIFTING THE LIVES OF ALL FILIPINOS, I ASK THE BANKING AND FINANCIAL SECTOR TO HELP US SUSTAIN OUR GAINS FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR COUNTRY AND OUR PEOPLE.

OUR ADMINISTRATION IS COMMITTED TO ENHANCING THE HEALTH OF THE BANKING AND FINANCIAL SYSTEM WHICH HAS HELPED US WITHSTAND THE SHOCKS OF THE ASIAN CURRENCY CRISIS IN 1997. AND CONGRATULATIONS TO GABBY SINGSON FOR HAVING BEEN PART OF STEERING THAT RESILIENCE. AT PRESENT WE NEED TO PERSEVERE IN OUR FISCAL REFORMS, RESTORE BUSINESS CONFIDENCE AND GO BACK TO THE GROWTH PATH.

UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF SECRETARY ROMULO - BECAUSE I DARE NOT SPEAK IN BEHALF OF THE CENTRAL BANK BECAUSE WE RESPECT THEIR INDEPENDENCE -- WE ARE DETERMINED TO PROMOTE A LOW INTEREST REGIME. (APPLAUSE) WE SHOULD PREVENT SHARP FLUCTUATION IN THE COST OF MONEY AS THIS IS HARMFUL TO BUSINESS AND A DISINCENTIVE TO SERIOUS INVESTORS.

LOW INTEREST RATES, I BELIEVE ARE THE BEST PUMP PRIMING MECHANISM TO STIMULATE BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES.

TO DO THIS, WE SHALL DEVISE THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS AND MEANS TO TRIM DOWN THE EXPECTED BUDGET DEFICIT OF P225 BILLION TO P146 BILLION. THIS FISCAL TARGET NECESSARILY ENTAILS HARD WORK AND SACRIFICE TO REDUCE EXPENDITURES THROUGH AUSTERITY MEASURES AND INCREASING INCOME BY INTENSIFIED EFFORTS IN TAX COLLECTION.

A SMALLER DEFICIT WILL REDUCE INTEREST RATES IN TURN MAKING MORE FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR BUSINESS. THIS WAY GOVERNMENT BECOMES AN ENABLER RATHER THAN A BIG COMPETITORS OF BUSINESS IN BORROWING FROM THE CAPITAL MARKET.

PROMOTING A LOW INTEREST REGIME ALSO BUILDS UP THE FOUNDATION OF A STRONGER ECONOMY RATHER THAN EARNING HANDSOME PROFITS FROM HIGH-YIELDING TREASURY BILLS, BUSINESSMEN ARE INDUCED TO INVEST IN MORE PRODUCTIVE, JOB-CREATING AND LONGER-TERM ENTERPRISES.

THE PESO HAS YET TO SETTLE AT MORE STABLE LEVELS. HOWEVER, AS OUR AMBASSADORS HAVE SAID WE HAVE SEEN SOME IMPROVEMENTS OVER THE PAST TWO WEEKS. THE PESO IS NOW STRONGER AND THANK GOODNESS TRADING BELOW P50. AS A POLICY, WE SHALL LET THE NATURAL FORCES OF THE MARKET SET THE PRICE OF THE PESO.

THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT SHALL BE TO ENSURE THAT THE MARKET IS OPEN, FAIR AND ORDERLY. WE SHALL FREE IT FROM UNFAIR PRACTICES TO MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE AS A COMPETITIVE MARKET.

WE MUST LEARN THE HARD LESSONS FROM THE BW SCANDAL BY PUTTING IN MEASURES THAT PREVENT SUCH HARMFUL ACTIVITIES FROM HAPPENING AGAIN. THERE WILL BE CLEAR AND TRANSPARENT RULES TO ENSURE DISCIPLINE IN THE MARKET.

THERE SHALL BE FAIR OPPORTUNITIES TO ALL WHO WISH TO PARTICIPATE. MOST OF ALL, WE SHALL MOVE AS A GOVERNMENT WITH A CLEAR PURPOSE AND DIRECTION.

THIS IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE THE PHILIPPINES A CONVINCING IF NOT A SMART CHOICE FOR ALL INVESTORS.

THE RECENT IMPEACHMENT TRIALS HAVE REVEALED SOME INDISCRETIONS IN TRANSACTIONS OF A FEW BANKS. THESE HAVE IN TURN GIVEN CREDENCE TO REPORTS OF THE PHILIPPINES AS AMONG THE TOP 15 COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD SUSPECTED AS HAVEN FOR MONEY LAUNDERING.

WE CAN ONLY LET THIS NEGATIVE IMAGE AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR ECONOMY. WE NEED TO ACT WITH DISPATCH TO REPAIR THIS IMAGE OF OUR BANKING SYSTEM.

FOR THIS PURPOSE, I AM GIVING MY FULL SUPPORT TO THE SPEEDY IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BANGKO SENTRAL OF THE PHILIPPINES OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE ON MONEY LAUNDERING. THESE MEASURES INCLUDE STRICTER COMPLIANCE AND CRITERIA IN CUSTOMER IDENTIFICATION, RECORD KEEPING, REPORTING OF SUSPICIOUS TRANSACTIONS AND INTERNAL CONTROL OF BANKS.

I AM CONVENING LEGISLATIVE EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COUNCIL. ONE OF ITS MAIN AGENDA IS HOUSE BILL 878 OR THE NEW CENTRAL BANK ACT. THIS INITIATIVE IS WORTHY OF SUPPORT AS IT STRENGTHENS SUPERVISORY CAPABILITY OF BANKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS AND PROMOTES GREATER STABILITY IN THE BANKING SYSTEM. IT GIVES BSP EXAMINERS ACCESS TO DEPOSITS OF MORE THAN P50 MILLION BELIEVED TO BE USED IN RELATION TO FRAUD OR IRREGULARITY.

IN OUR SERIOUS EFFORTS TO COMBAT MONEY LAUNDERING, LET ME ASSURE THAT WE ARE WARY OF POSSIBLE EXCESSES AND ABUSES AGAINST THE RIGHTS OF DEPOSITORS. THUS, WE WILL MAKE SURE THAT ADEQUATE SAFEGUARDS AGAINST ARBITRARINESS ARE IN PLACE IN THESE LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES BEFORE THEY ARE FINALIZED AND PASSED INTO LAW.

I SEE THE RCBC AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE BUSINESS SECTOR IN FACING THE CHALLENGES OF GLOBALIZATION AS A KEY PLAYER IN OUR BANKING INDUSTRY IN THIS MILLENNIUM OF GLOBALIZATION.

WITH THE CHALLENGES PRESENTED TO US, WE NEED TO MAXIMIZE OUR COMPETITIVE EDGE IN THE FIELD OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY. WE NEED TRANSPARENCY AND A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD TO FREELY COMPETE IN TODAY'S GLOBALIZED ECONOMY. WE NEED A ROBUST BANKING SECTOR TO HASTEN OUR ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND SUSTAIN OUR GROWTH MOMENTUM.

WHEN I WAS SENATOR, I AUTHORIZED SOME IMPORTANT ECONOMIC LAWS OF THE RAMOS ADMINISTRATION THAT HELPED THE COUNTRY RESIST THE WORST EFFECT OF THE CURRENCY CRISIS THAT HIT THE ASEAN REGION. ONE OF THE LAWS WAS THE LIBERALIZATION OF THE ENTRY AND SCOPE OF OPERATIONS OF FOREIGN BANKS IN THE PHILIPPINES. ANOTHER LAW I AUTHORIZED WAS THE SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE ACT. PAVED THE WAY FOR THE DESIGNATION OF RCBC PLAZA AS AN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ZONE -- THE FIRST IN THE COUNTRY. AND I CONGRATULATE RCBC FOR THAT AS WELL. (APPLAUSE) IN EFFECT, CERTAIN I.T. RELATED BUSINESSES LOCATED HERE AMY AVAIL OF INCENTIVES OUR GOVERNMENT OFFERS.

MECHANISM SUCH AS THESE HELP SPUR DEVELOPMENT ESPECIALLY I N THE NEW ECONOMY NOW SWEEPING THE GLOBE. WE CANNOT BE LEFT BEHIND OR OUR PEOPLE WILL LOSE OUT IN THE STRUGGLE FOR A BETTER LIFE.

I THEREFORE CALL UPON THE LEADERS OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, THE LEADERS OF THE FINANCIAL COMMUNITY TO PROVIDE A BUSINESS CLIMATE THAT WILL BE CONDUCTIVE TI OUR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT GOALS. WE NEED INVESTMENTS, WE NEED SAVINGS MOBILIZATIONS, WE NEED TRANSPARENCY IN THE BANKING AND FINANCIAL SECTOR, AND WE NEED GOOD CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.

WE LOOK TO OUR STRONG BANKING SECTOR TO HELP PHILIPPINE BUSINESS RISE ABOVE OUR CURRENT ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES AND WIN FOR OUR PEOPLE THE REWARDS OF GLOBALIZATION. MAY OUR PARTNERSHIP AND COOPERATION BECOME STRONGER IN THE COMING YEARS SO THAT WE CAN BRING ABOUT THE PEACE AND PROSPERITY THAT OUR PEOPLE HAVE LONG ASPIRED FOR.

THANK YOU AND CONGRATULATIONS RBCB. (APPLAUSE)

Is government for us or against us?

Read on...it appears as though the odds are against us in our case against Pacific Plans.



Horses for Pacific courses
by Victor Agustin

THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission has feigned surprise at the rehabilitation case filed by Pacific Plans Inc., the country's first pre-need company.

Strange stance, since the SEC in August approved Pacific Plans' corporate restructuring application that effectively transformed it into a special purpose vehicle left holding all the problematic pre-need investments.

Parallel to the divestment, the Yuchengcos, led by chairperson and president Helen Y. Dee, resigned en masse from the Pacific Plans board, but not before transferring the safe pre-need products, those offering fixed benefits, into a new company, Lifetime Plans.

The Yuchengcos brought along with them about 400,000 pre-need plans into Lifetime Plans, leaving Pacific Plans with 34,000 open-ended, traditional education plans (those that promise to pay school fees in whatever amount come plan maturity), a ticking time bomb.

Left to clean up the mess and hopefully resuscitate the 38-year-old company is the new president, Ernesto Garcia, who used to be the chief operating officer of the Cojuangco-era, billion-dollar-loser Pilipino Telephone Corp.

After the transfer, Pacific Plans issued a press release saying it had established a subsidiary, Lifetime Plans, but the new Lifetime Plans website does not even mention what arguably is its parent company among the listed affiliates.

The Yuchengcos apparently saw the handwriting on the wall as early as 1992, when Pacific Plans stopped selling the traditional plans amid the newly deregulated tuition regime.

Thirteen years later, and despite the combined brainpowers of Yuchengco board nominees Cesar Virata, Roberto de Ocampo, Rizalino Navarro, Gabriel Singson, Carlos Dominguez, Corazon de la Paz, and Gloria Tan Climaco, the Yuchengcos finally threw in the towel.

In its petition for rehabilitation filed before Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Romeo Barza, Pacific Plans blamed the massive devaluation of the peso that "resulted in a poor business climate, further compromising a pre-need company's ability to meet its obligations."

A few paragraphs later, Pacific Plans, whose main liquid assets are the US dollar-denominated National Power Corp. (Napocor) bonds, pointed to the now resurgent peso in asking the plan holders to all take involuntary haircuts.

By way of consolation, Pacific Plans says it can provide, depending on which school, P7,000 to P35,000 in tuition support up to the just-concluded semester. But starting next school year, the parents and plan holders are on their own.

If the court approves the rehabilitation plan, each plan holder will receive a certificate entitling him to a payment refund, plus 7-percent interest, come 2010, when the Napocor bonds shall mature.

To save the company, Pacific Plans is looking for investors that would pump in P300 million in working capital. The Yuchengcos, on the other hand, jumpstarted Lifetime Plans with only P200 million to acquire Pacific Plans' good assets.

To prevent dissipation of assets, the Makati RTC in the meantime prohibited Pacific Plans from "selling, encumbering, transferring, or disposing" any properties while the rehabilitation case is being heard.

Hmmm. What is that English idiom again, shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted?

Vic Agustin has got it right! At least he is one journalist who is fulfilling his duty to serve the public good! Where are the other fine and learned, not to mention well paid journalists and commentators? Nabayaran na ba sila? Baka pera natin yung ginamit na pambayad!!!! grrrr


Victor Agustin
nquirer News Service

Pacific cut

THE FLOUNDERING Pacific Plans Inc. is offering plan holders who are willing to wait for five years -- or up to 2010 -- interest of 7.0 percent on their educational plans.

On Tuesday there was a small ad in the Inquirer, from Philippine Savings Bank, offering a five-year "Prime Time Deposit" account at 8.5 percent earnings, guaranteed.

In other words, after all the hours spent receiving investment counseling from pushy pre-need agents, Pacific Plans shareholders would have made more money on their money by simply parking their cash in a bank or, even better, by buying the Treasury bills or other government debt notes themselves.

As part of a rehabilitation plan, Pacific Plans is asking its plan holders to wait for 2010 encashment since that is when the underlying securities, dollar-denominated bonds of National Power Corp. (Napocor) shall mature.

What Pacific Plans has not been telling its remaining 34,000-shareholder base is, that when the debt papers were issued in July 2002, the Napocor bonds offered a whopping 11.1-percent yield.

According to the grapevine, Pacific Plans came to acquire the Napocor 2010 only later in the game, when the yield was down to 9.19 percent. Still, between 7.00 and 9.19 percent represents a 2.19-percentage-point spread, which presumably went and will still go to pay for salaries plus bonuses, administrative / operating / marketing expenses, and, of course, sales commissions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Malayan Insurance gets strong rating from A.M. Best Co.

In a Philippine Star article dated 17 April 2005, Malayan Insurance, part of the Yuchengco Group of Companies, assures the public that they have got lots of cash. Enough cash, in fact, to merit a strong "B++ (very good), and a stable outlook by A. M. Best Co". If this is so, then why are we PEP Planholders the poor relation in the YGC universe?

Lugi naman tayo...

Organizational Meeting for Pacific Planholders

General Meeting of interested Pacific Plan Holders on Saturday, April 23 at 8:00-12:00, St. Paul College Gym, Meralco Avenue corner St. Paul Drive, Pasig City. Registration starts at 7:00 am.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Pacific Planholders Unite !!!

A Message from our adhoc leader, WMB

We will have a General Assembly meeting on Saturday morning 23 April 2005. We have invited a panel of lawyers to answer all our queries re legal options open to us. We shall send out details re time and venue by Wednesday at the latest.


Please pass this message on, by text, by phone and whatever means available to other Planholders. It is also important that we are able to link up with other groups who are looking for help.

SEC - Caught by Surprise (Again!#?%*)



April 15 press release in the Philippine Star

By her own admission, SEC Chairman Fe Barin stated that Pacific Plan's filing for rehabilitation caught the Securities and Exchange Commission by surprise. We find her other pronouncements to be troubling:

a) based on the financial statements submitted to the SEC, there was no indication of a liquidity problem with Pacific Plans;
b) Pacific Plan's decision to file for rehabilitation was a step in the right direction and that Pacific Plan was candid enough to admit its problems???

This is a very sorry state of affairs. The correct measure of candidness is the submission of financial statements that can intelligently anticipate and discuss problems as well as corrective measures ahead of time. Submitting a request for a TRO in the proverbial dead of the night does not qualify for candidness nor transparency by any means.

Opposite to the apparently welcoming attitude of Chmn. Barin, we, the planholders, feel a sense of dread at what seems to be a premeditated and cold-blooded execution transgressions to hand both the planholders and the regulators a fait accompli. When times were good and the business profitable, we can safely assume that senior management and the shareholders paid themselves handsomely. Now that we are in bad times, the major shareholders and management expect the planholder to be left holding the bag.

We will have much to take up with the auditors of Pacific Plans. As the Enron case has shown, full accountability will be expected of the external auditors. The prudence of the investment policy and actions as approved by the seniors of Pacific Plans should have been part of proper disclosure as well as audit.

Prudently managed portfolios do not rot overnight!!! After all, that is how you define prudent management -- the ability to weather ups and downs of the marketplace gracefully. It is too fantastic a stretch of the imagination that Pacific Plans is asking of its planholders that its vaunted reputation for prudence blew up due to "unforeseen market conditions", all within the space of a year (i.e. the period from last fiscal year's filed financial statements to the present).

So we are left with many avenues for investigation:

a) Was the SEC remiss in its oversight duties and responsibilities?
b) Were erroneous, if not misleading, financial statements submitted to the regulator?
c) Did the external auditors exercise due care in reviewing the Pacific Plan's operations as well as the condition of their portfolio?
d) What is the quality of investment management policies at Pacific Plan?
e) What are the investment decisions that were undertaken over the past three years?
f) Competency and prudence of senior management given their failure to address "unforeseen market conditions".

The SEC has an obligation under law to deliver swift and comprehensive answers to these questions.





Media Push of Yuchengco Group of Companies

Source : www.inq7.net April 15, 2005

THE CENTRAL bank said Rizal Commercial Banking Corp, the Philippines' sixth largest lender, is financially sound despite the problems faced by its affiliate, pre-need firm Pacific Plans Inc.

"The problem of Pacific Plans has not spilled over to the bank," central bank deputy governor Alberto Reyes said, adding that RCBC itself does not have any investment in the pre-need firm.

"RCBC is a very big bank. They only have common shareholders," Reyes said.

Pacific Plans, whose major shareholders are the Yuchengco family, who also controls RCBC, has filed for rehabilitation with a Makati City court.

The court has ordered the company to suspend payments to creditors, suppliers and planholders until it has been rehabilitated.

The company said that while it can still pay the tuition fees of planholders now, it may not be able to pay future claims due to a sustained sharp rise in tuition since a 10-percent cap on tuition increases was lifted in 1990.

Pacific Plans has more than 34,000 planholders, of which 16,000 have been claiming their entitlements.


************************************************************************

Based on the abovementioned press release. it would seem that there will be every attempt to create distance between the Yuchengco Group of Companies and Pacific Plans. Assuming that the good governor Reyes was quoted properly, his choice of words to describe the corporate relationships as that they "only have common shareholders" would have you gain the impression that the Pacific Plans has an arms-length relationship with the other YGC entities.

The following days and weeks will tell if the term "interlocking ownership and directorships" is not the more precise and accurate characterization. If so, probably, we could even get the BSP to agree that there are moral, managerial, and financial responsibilities that YGC has to own up to.




Sunday, April 17, 2005

Check issued by Pacific Plans and drawn on RCBC after the TRO was granted

This is what planholders woke up to after the TRO was granted by the Makati RTC was granted. Notice that the amount paid out is now described as "Tuition Support". Planholders were also "informed" that the only amounts that they could expect from their plans is substantially less than the amount originally promised by Pacific Plans.

Corporate Governance and Responsibility

Last week marked a sad day for corporate governance. Last week, Pacific Plans sought the protection of the courts. Ostensibly, the convenient enough reason given for the Temporary Restraining Order was to allow the rehabilitation of Pacific Plans.

In one, swift blow, our dreams were taken away. Contractual obligations as guaranteed by the plans we had purchased have been unilaterally altered without our knowledge nor consent.

FIGHT BACK!

We enjoin readers and visitors to this website to contribute their thoughts, knowledge, and whatever information they might have so that we can get to the truth behind this so-called rehabilitation.