Regina Capital managing director Alvin Limlingan thinks bilyonaryos Lucio Tan, Lance Gokongwei, and Mikee Romero don’t deserve to get taxpayers’ money to rescue their airlines from bankruptcy due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Giving bailouts to private individuals maybe problematic when many are suffering. They have quite a huge amount of resources, it doesn’t preclude other players from recapitalizing these companies later down the line. The airlines are still there, their people are still there, it’s just the equity that will take a hit,” said Limlingan in an interview with ANC.
Tan’s Philippine Airlines, Gokongwei’s Cebu Pacific, and Romero’s Air Asia Philippines told senators that they needed P8.6 billion in monthly subsidies (including P6.8 billion in working capital and P1.3 billion) from the government to avoid getting crushed by collapse of the domestic and global travel industry.
CebuPac raked in P9.123 billion in profits in 2019 while Air Asia chalked up P1.87 billion profits in 2020. PAL remains mired in red ink as it lost an estimated P1 billion a month in 2020.
“We’re sympathetic to their plight. Let’s push aside the obvious point that these airlines are owned by wealthy individuals…but the problem is if they deserve financial aid, you can make a long list of people who may be more deserving. How do you decide who deserves more than others?” he said.
Limlingan hoped that Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez would stand true to his word that no public funds would be used to bail out any businesses under his watch. “We think that’s the best policy…moving funds to construction projects which will benefit the economy as a whole and not certain segments more than others,” he said.