Opinion & Community

Baguio court junks cases vs Sobrepeña, top John Hay execs

A Baguio City judge has dropped the criminal cases against businessman Robert John Sobrepeña and other top executives of Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo).

Presiding Judge Cecilia Corazon Dulay-Archog of the Baguio Regional Trial Court Branch 6 also ordered the return of the cash and travel bonds, amounting to P6.64 million, posted by Sobrepeña and his coaccused in two separate cases of malversation of public funds.

The cases were part of the legal tussle between the Sobrepeña-owned CJHDevCo and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) over the control of the Camp John Hay facility.

Aside from Sobrepeña, the court also cleared CJHDevCo president Ferdinand Santos, executive vice president and chief operating officer Alfredo Yñiguez and chief finance officer Emily Roces-Falco.

Archog handed down the ruling after the Supreme Court (SC) upheld the conclusion of the Court of Appeals that the money CJHDevCo collected as rental for units in Camp John Hay Manor cannot be considered public funds.

“The sums involved are derived from rentals due to the [BCDA] under a leaseback agreement entered by both parties. The sums of money in this case are not public funds since this is a commercial transaction,” the SC ruling said.

“The amounts owed to the BCDA are merely corporate debts,” it added.

Archog said she received an entry of judgment from the high court on May 4 notifying her that the Aug. 12, 2016, decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing the cases became “final and executory” on Dec. 21, 2016.

She said the SC also informed her that its Second Division had already upheld the appeals court’s ruling on Nov. 9, 2016.

“In view of the finality of the said resolution … these instant cases are hereby dismissed,” Archog said in her order dated May 15.



Tourism industry hit by martial-law declaration

By Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo Special to the BusinessMirror

FOREIGN travelers, especially from South Korea and Japan, have been canceling their trips to Manila and Cebu because of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

As this developed, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said it continues to monitor the situation and safety of tourists nationwide, as a team prepares to leave for Seoul on Thursday to clarify the issues concerning martial law with Korean tour operators and travel agencies.

Flag carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Airways (CEB), also confirmed canceled bookings on scheduled flights from South Korea and Japan to Manila and Cebu.

President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, after government troops clashed with a local rebel group, called the Maute, in Marawi City. The joint military and police operation was to capture Isnilon Hapilon, head of the Abu Sayyaf Group, which has ties to ISIS.

“It [cancellation of bookings by foreigners] was expected to happen,” Tourism Assistant Secretary and Spokesman Frederick M. Alegre told the BusinessMirror. “But we continue to monitor the situation and have asked our regional directors to keep tourists safe,” he said. The agency received reports of the cancellations when its officials, led by Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo, met with industry stakeholders on Monday at the DOT office in Makati City. The stakeholders included representatives from the local airlines, hotels and tour operators in Cebu and Manila, among others.

He declined to say, however, how much losses the local industry stakeholders had reported from this new crisis. Many of these establishments are just starting to recover after travel advisories, issued by foreign governments against Central Visayas right before Holy Week, led to booking cancellations by many foreign tour groups. (See, “DOT still confident of meeting 8 million arrivals target despite Bohol cancellations,” in the BusinessMirror, April 22, 2017.)

In a text message, PAL President Jaime Bautista confirmed “the drop in bookings…mostly from Japan, Korea, and the local market as a knee-jerk reaction [to the declaration of martial law in Mindanao]. But we expect this to stabilize as more updates from the government are coming in.”

He added: “Advisory of assurance from the DOT and the government is much appreciated, so we hope to have this from the government.” He  also said the drop in flight bookings are from foreign passengers flying in to Manila and Cebu.

Two hotels in Cebu, Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan and Quest Cebu, received requests “mostly from Koreans, and a little of Japanese” for cancellation of P1.5 million worth of bookings, a hotel source said. “But when we explain to them how far Mindanao is from Cebu, they no longer insist on canceling their bookings. Only 5 percent to 10 percent of those who requested cancellations opted to postpone their trips to a later date, which we have allowed them to do.”

Both hotels are owned by the Gotianun-led Filinvest Development Corp. The source said no reports of cancellations have been received in its Alabang property, Crimson Hotel. Korean tourists usually stay about three to four days in the Philippines.

Cebu Pacific, meanwhile, said only 5 percent of its clients who have confirmed bookings to Mindanao have decided to rebook their flights to Mindanao to a later date or to another destination.

Charo Logarta-Lagamon, CEB director of Communications, said, “When we’re asked if the flights to Mindanao are pushing through, we say yes, and they usually push through with their flights. Those who ask if it’s safe to fly there, however, we have to just tell them to take the usual precautions as advised by the government, like bringing a valid ID and such.” CEB flies to 14 destinations in Mindanao, but not to Marawi nor Iligan City.

She declined to disclose cancellations by foreign passengers, but said, “any cancellations are expected [owing to the martial-law declaration]. But we expect to make up for these during other peak periods.” Aviation sources said the airline received canceled bookings “from Korean group tours” going on its scheduled flights to Manila and Cebu.

Alegre, meanwhile, said he will be heading a delegation to Seoul that will meet with Korean tour operators and travel agencies, in a bid to reassure them that it is safe to travel in other parts of the Philippines not covered by martial law.The Philippines is targeting 6.5 million foreign visitor arrivals in 2017, although unofficially, it is eyeing 8 million due to the commitment of the Beijing government to send 1 million tourists to the Philippines this year.

In the first two months of the year, 1.2 million foreign visitors arrived in the Philippines, up 10.88 percent from the same period last year. Koreans continue to be the top visitor market, accounting for 25.2 percent of the total arrivals for the period, while the Japanese accounted for 8.7 percent of the total volume.


Employers buck Labor Code amendments

(The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Employers are strongly opposing provisions included in over two dozen House bills that seek to amend the provisions of the Labor Code on security of tenure and contractualization.


The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said yesterday there are currently 25 bills for deliberation before the House committee on labor and employment seeking to amend the provisions of the Labor Code on security of tenure and contractualization which have specific provisions that the group considers “objectionable.”

“The conduct of various forms of businesses invariably involves the exercise of management prerogative. Jurisprudence has reiterated time and again that the exercise of management prerogative is not subject to interference so long as it is done in good faith based on the exigencies of business and not intended to circumvent the legal rights of labor,” ECOP said.

“Contracting out (job contracting or outsourcing) as an exercise of management prerogative and business judgment is not only acknowledged in law and jurisprudence, but it is premised on two constitutional rights – right and freedom to contract and right to property,” it added.

ECOP said the provisions in some of the bills allowing only contractual arrangements which are “not usually necessary or desirable, or directly related to the usual business of the principal” would totally prohibit any form of contracting or outsourcing because what is being contracted out is the work or part of the work of the employer.

The group said the implication of such prescription to employers is that they can no longer contract out janitorial, security, messengerial and even higher forms of contracting and outsourcing involving business processes and manufacturing.

“The destructive impact on business, investment as well as the creation of wealth and jobs would be unimaginable,” it said.

ECOP likewise pointed out that a number of the bills prohibit fixed term employment “contrary to established jurisprudence.”

“Jurisprudence has reiterated time and again that the exercise of management prerogative is not subject to interference so long as it is done in good faith based on the exigencies of business and not intended to circumvent the legal rights of labor,” ECOP said.

“Prohibiting fixed period employment violates the freedom of contract of both parties who knowingly, willingly and without any moral pressure gave their consent to the execution of the contract guaranteed by the Constitution,” it added.

Employers have been at odds with workers on their position about contracting. Labor groups have called for the complete abolition of the practice of contracting in the country, while employers say there is a form of contracting that is legal under the law.



NABCOR, NLDC execs found administratively liable for ex-solon’s PDAF misuse

The Office of the Ombudsman has found several officials of the abolished National Agribusiness Corporation and National Livelihood Development Corporation administratively liable for the alleged anomalous use of P27.5 million from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of former Agusan Del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza.

Found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of Service were Victor Roman Cacal, Romulo Relevo, Gondelina Amata, Chita Jalandoni, Emmanuel Sevidal, Ofelia Ordoñez, Filipina Rodriguez, Sofia Cruz and Gregoria Buenaventura.

The Ombudsman ordered their dismissal from service and perpetual disqualification to hold public office. They were also slapped with accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits.

In its 54-page decision, the Ombudsman said the respondents cannot claim their length of government service as justification for their act.

“[R]espondents’ dedication and outstanding service to the government should not be cited as a circumstance that deserves public gratitude considering that the level of service which is expected from every public servant is no less that exemplary service," the decision read.

"Public office is a public trust and public officers must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives,” it added.

Plaza, along with the respondents, were charged with five counts each of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and malversation before the Sandiganbayan.

According to Ombudsman investigation, Plaza from 2004 to 2010 channeled P27.5 million of his PDAF through Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka (MAMFI) and the Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc. (SDPFFI), two of the non-government organizations allegedly controlled by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

However, the Ombudsman found that the projects which Plaza's PDAF were supposed to fund were non-existent, as the agricultural and livelihood kits and packages were not delivered to the intended beneficiaries.

The respondents were also accused of disbursing the public funds using fabricated disbursements, certificates of acceptance, progress, inspection and delivery reports.

“The funds in question could not have been transferred to these NGOs if not for [the respondents'] certifications, approvals, and signatures found in the corresponding DVs (disbursement vouchers) and checks,” the decision read.

Plaza was also alleged to have received at least P42.1 million in kickbacks from his PDAF-funded projects.

The Sandiganbayan Second Division currently handles the PDAF cases against Plaza and his co-respondents. — BM, GMA News


Aguirre urges Congress to convene on martial law

The justice secretary believes that if Congress convenes to affirm the President's martial law declaration, the Supreme Court won't have the last say on the issue.

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Monday, May 29, Congress must convene in order to solidify President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao, and keep it from reaching the Supreme Court (SC).

“I believe that Congress must meet in a joint session. Otherwise, they would not have the option whether to revoke or to affirm the martial law declaration, and this will allow the SC to have the last say on the issue,” Aguirre said in a news briefing. (READ: Opposition senators seek joint session on martial law)

Aguirre said he had communicated this to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.

Aguirre said that if Congress backs Duterte's martial law, the High Court would be "almost powerless" to step in and say otherwise.

Aguirre's statement goes against Section 18 Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, which gives the SC the power to review the martial law declaration upon the filing of a petition by any Filipino citizen.

Lawyer and political analyst Tony La Viña said that "from a legal point of view," SC will have the last say.

In the same news briefing, Aguirre contradicted himself by saying that the SC could still review the martial law declaration, but that he is confident it has enough factual basis to pass judicial scrutiny.

Aguirre himself had said that if critics want to challenge martial law, they could go to the High Court.

“I believe that in view of the declaration of the President and the concurrence of Congress the only way that the SC could oppose this is when it shows that the act, that the President acted arbitrarily, which is very difficult to prove,” Aguirre said. (READ: Questions you need to ask about martial law in Mindanao)

Solicitor General Jose Calida, who will have the task to defend Duterte's martial law should it reach the High Court, earlier said that the declaration has sufficient basis.

There are two constitutional grounds to declare martial law: rebellion and invasion. Constitutionalist Christian Monsod said that the crisis in Marawi city does not constitute rebellion.

For Aguirre, the joint attack of terror groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf was a "prelude to eventually take over the entire island,“ which means that it satisfies the grounds to declare martial rule.

Aguirre also hit Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for what he said was a "premature" statement on martial law. Sereno delivered a speech on Friday before graduates of Ateneo de Manila University. She called on Filipinos to be vigilant and not allow Duterte's martial law to be a repeat of the abuses 

during the 10-year martial rule of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

“I’ve heard of it, but I believe that is premature, that should have not been said because an action or a petition before the SC could be raised before it,” Aguirre said.

Sereno also called out constitutional bodies such as the Office of the Ombudsman and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to do its jobs to make sure the martial law upholds the rights of the people.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales declined to comment so she will not be interpreted as having a pre-judgment on possible martial law related cases which may be filed before her office.

“That’s the reason why I don’t like to talk about martial law, because there could be cases brought before us, eh, I might be prejudging inadvertently whatever actions we might be taking,” Morales said on Monday after she attended the Office of the Ombudsman's launch of the Corrupt-Free Philippines Video Contest, an event at a hotel in Pasig City.

Morales also shrugged off Duterte's statement over the weekend that he will ignore the SC when it comes to martial law.

“He just said that. That’s a mere knee-jerk reaction to the Supreme Court,” Morales said.

On Monday, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said the President will respect any SC ruling on the martial law, but included a caveat in his statement nonetheless.

"Of course he will respect [Supreme Court] but based on his own considerations being Commander-in-Chief," Abella said. – Lian Buan/Rappler.com


‘Duterte won’t bypass SC, Congress’

By: Christine O. Avendaño - Philippine Daily Inquirer

Malacañang said on Monday that President Duterte had no intention of bypassing the Supreme Court and Congress when he told soldiers during a visit in Jolo over the weekend that he would listen only to the police and the military in enforcing martial law in Mindanao.
Opposition senators, however, issued statements blasting the President and warned of a looming dictatorship.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Mr. Duterte meant he would take the word more of “those who are truly aware of the situation”—the martial law enforcers.
“This is not meant to bypass the Supreme Court or the legislative [branch]. It simply means to say that those who have true and accurate reports … on which he will depend will be the military and the Philippine National Police,” Abella said at the first “Mindanao Hour” press conference called to update the public on the government offensive against terrorists in Marawi City.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III echoed Abella’s statement, saying the President “probably means the AFP and the PNP are the ones who would know what’s happening.”

In a text message, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said people should “get used to [Mr. Duterte’s] rhetoric by now” as he pointed out that the Chief Executive was, after all, a lawyer by profession and knew “he can’t ignore the Supreme Court and Congress in this regard.”
“The mere fact that he complied with the constitutional requirement of submitting to Congress the written report within 48 hours shows his respect and regard to the Constitution and established authorities,” Lacson said.
Impact on country
Agreeing that the President knew he could not ignore Congress or the high court, Sen. Grace Poe pointed out the tendency of Mr. Duterte to “speak depending on who he’s addressing, who his audience is.”
“I know the President still has to realize that whatever he utters, whether in a small, intimate gathering or a huge gathering, will have an impact on the country,” Poe told a cable news program on Monday.
But Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said it was clear from Day One that Mr. Duterte “had no respect for the rule of law and democratic institutions.”
“People should start waking up because he will keep on pushing the boundaries of his power for as long as no one is pushing back,” Trillanes said.
“No one is above the law, not even the President,” Sen. Francis Pangilinan said.
“We call on patriotic and sober Cabinet members, as well as the Armed Forces leadership, to assert themselves, to speak truth to the President, to caution and urge him not to violate the Constitution and his oath of office,” he added.
“We call for courage, for bearers of light to stand against the looming tide of darkness upon our land.”
Constitutional violation
“Is the President saying that he’s willing to violate the Constitution? He is on his way [to] becoming a dictator,” said Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat.
“The question is, can we trust this President to be a martial law administrator given his penchant for violence, disregard for the rule of law and our Constitution? Can we trust this administration, which thrives on lies and alternative facts?” said Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said “the Filipino people should be warned that the President has long had the intention to impose martial law on the whole country.”
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, in an interview with reporters, played down Mr. Duterte’s reported threat.
Knee-jerk reaction
“That’s a mere knee-jerk reaction to the Supreme Court,” said Morales, a retired member of the high tribunal, whose nephew, Manases Carpio, is a son-of-law of Mr. Duterte.
“The President is a lawyer, he has advisers, he should know the limitations indicated in the Constitution,” she said.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is monitoring the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.
“There is the danger of abuse. Our concern is that no rights [should be] trampled upon,” CHR Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz told the Inquirer.
In a joint statement over the weekend, the presidents of five Ateneo University campuses in the country urged Mr. Duterte to “act judiciously,” saying that the country had “more than a decade of reasons” to be wary of martial law. —WITH REPORTS FROM NIKKO DIZON, JOCELYN R. UY, VINCE F. NONATO AND NESTOR P. BURGOS JR


Meet the woman who designed the Bianchi Pista…and hundreds of other bikes

by Anne-Marije Rook

May 27, 2017

Photography by Shinola

Our Movers and Shakers series features Q&As with women trail blazers in the sport and industry of cycling. These are women who often go unnoticed but make the world of women’s cycling go round.

The women we write about in this series include team owners, key industry players, race organisers, cycling advocates, journalists, inventors, designers, business owners and the professional athletes that often play a huge role in advancing their sport. Is there someone you want to hear form? We happily accept your nominations for Movers and Shakers in the comment sections of these articles.


–Sky Yaeger, designer, bike industry veteran.

When Sky Yaeger entered the bike industry it was 1973. She was an art major living in Oshkosh Wisconsin, but she had caught the cycling bug. She walked into the only bike shop in town, and went straight to the man behind the counter. A sign behind the service desk read “no girls allowed,” but she couldn’t care less.

“I know everything there is to know about bikes, and I want to work here,” she boldly told the shop owner. And with that her 44 years in the bike industry began.

Since then Sky has done it all, from sales to bike design, marketing, production management, purchasing and supply chain management. During her 17 years at Bianchi, she introduced the now classic models like the “Pista”, “Milano” and the “San Jose.” At Swobo, she designed bikes in such a way that they can be shipped directly to consumers – derailleur-free with little assembly required. Today, she’s the director of bike development at the upscale, design-based brand Shinola, where the steel bikes are just a small asset of an all made-in-the-US product line that also includes watches, leather goods, journals, turn tables, speakers and headphones later this year.

We caught up with this industry veteran to talk about how she made her own path, and how women wanting to get into the industry can do the same.

Link to video: https://youtu.be/RwREjv9Ejwc

Anne-Marije Rook for Ella CyclingTips: Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin. How did you get into bikes?
Sky Yaeger: “I don’t know how this happened, honestly. It’s hard to imagine now that you can grow up and not be surrounded by bikes all the time. But I was in a town of 6000. There was no Internet, no bike shop, there were no bike magazines and there was nobody riding bikes. Riding bikes was considered the geekiest thing ever. At 15 and a half, you started Driver’s Ed and got a car. You did not ride a bike. That was weird. So maybe I enjoyed that part of it, too, – just being different.

But I got my first 10-speed in 1971. I bought it off somebody for $60. And for some reason I was hit by lightning. When I went to college, I met other people on bikes and I started racing and then the rest was all, well I wouldn’t say easy, but I had a path.”

Ella: A path you blazed for yourself.
Yaeger: “I’m the luckiest person in the world. I got to make an entire career and life because I fell in love with bikes. This was not a plan. I had no road map. I had no idea that you can make a career out of it. No one told me I could be a bicycle product manager one day. I was an art major. I just needed a job to get myself through school and I didn’t want to be a waitress. I thought it would be cool to sell bikes. Not for one second did I think I could make a career out of it.”

Ella: But the passion was there…
Yaeger: “The passion was there. It was something about the combination of the riding and then also the technical nature about bikes that I love.”

Ella: You were engineering minded from the get-go?
Yaeger: “My dad was an engineer but I was never taught engineering. I was an art major and I was also interested in mechanics. It’s a weird combo. I am fascinated by the engineering side but at the time I never even thought of going to engineering school because I was an artist.”

Ella: Tell us about your racing career.
Yaeger: ”I started racing on the road and on the track, in college. There weren’t a lot of women and I was somewhere in the middle. I did go to nationals on the track in ’82.  But we had some world-class riders from Madison and I couldn’t stay with them. They were world champions, and I was in awe, racing next to someone wearing the rainbow stripes. I really enjoyed racing mountain bikes, once they were invented and wish they were around, when I started racing.”

Ella: Eight years of art school and three degrees later, you graduated and then what?
Yaeger: “I had no clue! Absolutely no clue. That’s probably why I went to school for school for years –just putting off reality.”

“I tried to be an artist for a while. I don’t know what concept I had. I moved to New York and I moved to Japan. But I ended up always coming back to Wisconsin because you could ride these glorious county roads. And I didn’t really enjoy living in New York City and just riding around in circles in Central Park. So I moved back to Wisconsin,  went back to the bike shop, with eight years of college loans to pay off.”

Ella: That shop job, however, soon led to a marketing role at Suntour Components and then to your career-defining job at Bianchi. When you look back at your time at Bianchi, what are you most proud of?
Yaeger: “There were some early to market ideas I’m really proud of like the Milano, the Pista, the cross bikes and the ten model years of single speed mountain bikes.”

Ella: Your name and the Bianchi Pista are frequently said in tandem. It’s also a very iconic bike as so many of us started urban fixie riding or track riding on a Pista. What’s the story behind the Pista?
Yaeger: “When I was living in New York in ’81 I had seen messengers on fixed-gear track bikes and I thought, ‘this is crazy’. I had been a track racer but I would never ride a fixed gear in traffic. I was super impressed. And then in ’96-’97, I started seeing them in San Francisco, and I was inspired to make a track bike that was affordable.”

“I wanted people who want to get into track riding to be able to buy a cheap bike, a bike that kids could get started on and also for tracks that have a fleet of bikes that they lend to new riders. So the first Pista was true to the track bike racing concept, which is a steeper seat angle, steeper head angle, shorter fork offset, higher bottom bracket, etc. I wanted to create a bike that hit all those data points, but then could also be the messenger bike if somebody so wanted to do that. At that time there were only high-end Campy and Shimano track components, so I had to try to convince the Taiwanese to make us some cheaper hubs and cranks. They had no idea what I was talking about.”

The Bianchi Pista | Creative Commons 


Ella: Do you she still own one?
Yaeger: “I don’t. I worked on like a hundred bikes at Bianchi so if I kept them all I’d literally have a garage full.”

Ella: But I do hear that you have quite the collection?
Yaeger: “It’s all funny stuff and I’m trying to whittle it down. I think I have 27 or 28 bikes in the garage. I am on this new kick where I think you should ride the bikes that you have. So I am starting to cull the herd. But I’ve got a couple unique bikes that I just simply can’t get rid of.”

Ella: Like what?
Yaeger: “Some mountain bikes that were really early in the development from when I raced mountain bikes. They don’t mean anything to anybody but me.”

Ella: You left Bianchi to start something from scratch, and to do something quite different. Tell us about Swobo and the direct sales model.
Yaeger: “At Swobo my focus was trying to understand if we could develop bikes in a way that we could sell directly to customers. And I think we were one of the first companies that figured out how to sell bikes directly to customers.”

“So the first three bikes I designed were specifically designed to show up in box on your doorstep after it was bought on the internet, and you’d be able to put them together.”

The key? “No derailleurs.”

“There was a 26-inch wheeled, single speed with coaster bike, a Sanchez like the Pista but for the road and with brakes, and an internal three-speed. So none of them had derailleurs, which allowed the end user to put them together and be safe.”

Ella: But why? Why sell direct? Why cut out the bike shop?
Yaeger: “Because of the internet. The horse was out of the barn, so we thought let’s get on top of this because this is where it’s going to go. The end user makes the decision as to where they are the most comfortable buying from. We didn’t cut dealers completely out of the equation, but we wanted to engage the person who feels totally comfortable buying a bike on the Internet at 1 in the morning if they want to. I wanted to learn how to do that.”

Ella: And so would you say it was successful?
Yaeger: “It was. We learned how to do it and by the time we sold the company, there were 10 models of bikes so I am very proud of that.”

Ella: You’ve been at Shinola for five years now. Tell me about Shinola and the bikes you’re doing.
Yaeger: “The larger presentation of our brand – which is not a bike brand – is an American brand, heavily-design and craft based, with the goal of trying to make as many of our products in the U.S. Our amazing leather goods, our audio, our jewelry and our bikes all fit into that same overall brand presentation.

“We’re exposing people to bikes that would never go into a bike shop. Our customers want to be part of our story, which is bringing back US manufacturing, especially to Detroit. So there are a lot of assets in the story that people can get behind. Bikes are just part of that overriding design.

“The design sense of this company is something that just blew my mind away. It’s so strong. With my art background that’s something I can appreciate. At first you might see these watches and leather goods and turntables and bikes and wonder what ties it all together, and then you go into one of our stores and see the overall strong design language and you get it.”

Ella: The steel bikes fit well with the whole classic, mid-century feel of the Shinola brand. Playing devil’s advocate here, why buy a new steel bike when there seems to be a resurgence of buying old, 1980s steel bikes?
Yaeger: “The technology today is so much better! I remember the low-end 1980s French bikes and how crappy they were.”

“What cracks me up is that you see a lot of these old bikes riding around but how many people ski on skis they had in the ’70s? Likewise, you would no more use a 20-year-old computer. And that can’t kill you!

“The bike is a piece of sporting goods and you don’t know the five owners and what they did with that bike. If you could strip it down to the raw frame and you could x-ray it, you could maybe find out where the stresses are. But sometimes things fail catastrophically and you don’t have a warning. And aluminum is one of those things that fails catastrophically. Steel at least will usually give you a little bit of a warning.

“If you want to ride an old bike, that’s great! Just keep looking at your frame to make sure there aren’t any hairlines or fractures. And I would definitely replace the handlebars, stem too. And check the fork! Because if a fork breaks….

I get it, though; every generation romanticizes some things from previous ones.

Ella: You’ve got 40 years of industry experience under your belt. It was male-dominated world then and it continues to be so today. It can’t have been easy. What’s it been like for you, as a woman, coming up in this industry?
Yaeger: “When I got my first shop job it was 1973, and I make fun of it now, but at the time I just thought, well, girls aren’t allowed in the back of the shop, ok, but I just walked through the gate’.”

“But I made a point of really knowing what I was doing so I could talk the talk and more or less stay on [the guys’] wheels when we were riding. Just so that there was a little bit of respect there.”

“Of course I know the challenges. I worked for an Italian company and it was really hard. I worked for a Japanese company and it was the same thing: you’re sitting in a meeting with 15 guys, you say something and they don’t even hear you. A guy says the same thing 10 minutes later and they’re all clapping their hands. I get it. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m just saying that, if this is something you want to do, let’s do it!”

Ella: So how do we get more women in the industry?
Yaeger: “I think people respect anybody who does their homework, and knows their sh$t. To get into a technical field, you have to be able to prove that you know what you’re doing.”

“So this is what I tell anybody wanting to work in the industry: you’ve got to start in a shop. You’re going to learn how the industry works, you get to learn a little bit of mechanics, you’re going to learn all about bikes, and you’re going to meet people through that shop job who are in the industry. So you’re going to hear about the opportunities in companies from reps and at trade shows.”

“The shops need women and we, as women, we have to go in and just get over feeling intimidated. We have to take responsibility to show that this is what we want to do.”

Ella: But shops are struggling as we’re selling more and more product online…so now what?
Yaeger: “True. But that’s a good thing, right? Because shops have to adapt. They have to understand the new retail environment, which is service based, and they have to become more welcoming –to women, to older folks and to kids. We have to realize that service is the most important thing we can do as an industry, and make people that are typically uncomfortable in shops feel comfortable.”

“Like I was saying before, the consumer decides which channel they want to buy from. So the fact that the bikes are now being sold over the Internet is a fact, a reality. The shops have to recognize that what they can bring to the table is an amazing level of service. Because all people who buy a bike need service.”

Ella: Do you still ride?
Yaeger: “Yes, I still turn the pedals. It’s essential. I live in a great place called Marin County where you can ride on the road, on the mountain and everything in between.  Riding preserves whatever tenuous grasp I sill have on sanity.”

Ella Question: what is one thing that you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started riding?
Yaeger: “That I could make a career out of my love of bikes.”

This originally appeared in : https://cyclingtips.com/ 



Grand slam-seeking Beermen ‘have all the tools’

Champion coach Yeng Guiao sees Ginebra as the biggest hurdle to San Miguel’s Commissioner’s Cup title bid

By: Musong R. Castillo - Philippine Daily Inquirer



Yeng Guiao and his NLEX Road Warriors have been at the bottom of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup totem pole right from the start.With a nine-game losing streak in the import-spiced conference and a 13-game spell dating back to the Philippine Cup, they know what it feels like looking at everything from below.

But the mercurial champion coach has an idea how the skirmishes at the top will end.“I think it’s San Miguel Beer,” says Guiao, whose squad notched its first win in the tournament on Wednesday night. “They have the tools and the experience. They (Beermen) are a solid contender.”

The only thing that Guiao doesn’t have a quick answer to? Who would likely be the Beermen’s foes in the Finals.

“Every team has to prepare itself in stopping San Miguel,” Guiao says, noting that the Beermen look invincible in their quest for the second jewel of an anticipated Triple Crown sweep. “They would have to know how to beat San Miguel.”

The Beermen don’t actually have the best record as of this writing. Star leads the pack with an 8-2 record but the Hotshots are not yet sure of nailing one of the two twice-to-beat privileges in the first round of the playoffs.

That is because San Miguel defeated Star in the eliminations. And with Barangay Ginebra also in the running for a top-two finish, the Hotshots could ultimately be denied the bonus.

“I am seeding San Miguel in the Finals,” Guiao says. “What we want to know is who the Beermen would be playing, unless something drastic happens to them. But with the way they are playing, their confidence is truly high.”

There’s no doubt that the firebrand mentor envies the fact that his Road Warriors won’t be among the eight teams that will continue playing past this round. He terribly wants another shot at the Beermen with the revamped nucleus that he now has.

The former Pampanga representative says that Rain or Shine—which he guided to the championship of this tournament last season with the lowest-scoring import to ever win a title in the PBA—has suddenly looked good with the arrival of import Duke Crews.

“I don’t discount upsets,” Guiao explains. “Rain or Shine is picking up again; they just played a great game (in beating Ginebra). The other finalist will be a toss-up among Ginebra, Meralco and Star.”

Blessed with the finest local crew in the league, San Miguel strengthened its tag as the favorite here with the improved play of Charles Rhodes, who came over early minus the fanfare but has turned out to be a solid Best Import candidate, if not the overwhelming pick at this time.

Rhodes plays both ends well and has shown the attitude that complements the play of the local Beermen, as well as the chemistry the team needs to go deep in the playoffs.

San Miguel was also the title favorite of the Commissioner’s Cup last season, only for import Tyler Wilkerson to blow his top during the most crucial phase of the playoffs and cause a ruckus the Beermen weren’t able to recover from.

Coach Leo Austria believes that he won’t have a problem of that sort with Rhodes. “He’s very coachable,” he said in a recent interview.

And that’s a crucial aspect that makes San Miguel even more dangerous.

Guiao believes that the lack of championship experience of the Meralco and Star rosters could ultimately tell on the Bolts and the Hotshots. But he concedes that both are capable of pulling out an upset.

Pressed as to which team could ultimately scuttle the talented Beermen in a championship series, the firebrand Guiao, uncharacteristically, searched for an answer.

“Someone with a chance [of beating San Miguel]?” Guiao repeats the question, obviously considering a judicious reply.

“Ginebra, because they have the size and the experience,” he says. “In terms of experience and manpower, I really think it’s Ginebra.”

If Guiao is proven right, that would make for a great box-office draw for a tournament that needs one.

And that would definitely make for a perfect footnote to the Beermen’s quest for the Grand Slam.

Apple opens first official store in Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE—Apple opened its first Southeast Asia store in Singapore on Saturday, drawing hundreds of excited fans to the swanky two-story site in the city’s upmarket shopping district.

Located on the affluent Orchard Road, the new shop — easily distinguished by its iconic glass facade — is expected to be one of the most popular Apple stores in the world according to the US tech giant.

Merchandise such as the iPhone and MacBook were strategically placed on display across the spacious first floor, while the upper level acted as a classroom for customers to participate in hands-on sessions.

Hundreds of shoppers camped out in anticipation of the launch, while more than a thousand thronged the store soon after the doors opened, an AFP reporter observed.

First in the queue was Xiang Jiaxin, a twenty-five-year-old Chinese national working in Macau who had queued for more than 12 hours overnight and planned a holiday to Singapore specially to coincide with the opening.

“I am very happy and excited to be part of this. I have participated in the official store openings in Macau, Guangzhou and Nanjing,” he told Agence France-Presse.

Apple, which has a staggering $256.8 billion cash stockpile, celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. The Silicon Valley legend sprang out of Steve Jobs’ garage to reshape modern life with trend-setting gadgets.

Most of its earnings come from the iPhone, which faces increasingly tough competition in a saturated market.

The tech behemoth has almost 500 stores globally with more than a million visitors daily. Aside from Singapore, its Asia shops are located in Hong Kong, China and Japan.

A regional transport, business and financial hub, Singapore attracted 16.4 million visitors last year.



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