Our hardworking and dedicated leader, CEZA A/CEO Secretary RAUL L. LAMBINO has been featured as one of the visionary leaders in the Year of the Ox by The Manila Times. His firm commitment in developing the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport into a vibrant hub for investment and economic growth continuous such as the construction of crucial infrastructure projects, engagements with the private sectors and expansion to new areas of development despite the COVID 19 pandemic. (Michelle S. Agabin)
Visionary leaders in the Year of the Ox
Today we welcome the Year of the Metal Ox. Geomancers predict that 2021 is going to be a year when hard work will be rewarded. It shall be lucky for those who make a considerable effort, especially the “first movers” who are recognized as visionaries.
One such leader is a Cabinet-level official who launched the “Crypto Valley of Asia” in 2017. He is Raul Lambino, presidential adviser for Northern Luzon, who is also the chief executive officer and administrator of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).
Tasked to develop and manage the Cagayan freeport and special ecozone, CEZA is driven by innovative ideas and new technologies, including cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Under Lambino’s watch, 25 financial technology (fintech) companies that have registered as principal licensees in CEZA are set to begin offshore operations this year.
This comes amid a surge in the price of the cryptocurrencies traded in the international market. They got another boost after US tech giant Tesla disclosed that it had bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoins as part of its recent initiative to invest in digital currencies and other alternative assets.
Bitcoin reached a new all-time high of $47,513.57 on February 8 after Tesla said it would soon begin to accept the most traded cryptocurrency in the world as a form of payment. The Silicon Valley company’s announcement was preceded by news that Elon Musk, its founder and chief executive officer, was named the world’s richest person by Forbes magazine.
But long before Musk tweeted his support for bitcoin, Lambino already made a huge bet on cryptocurrency and his early wager seems to be paying off. He remolded CEZA from its previous reputation as a smuggler’s haven into a pioneering, fintech-friendly ecozone in this part of the globe.
Not to be left behind, Singapore’s stock exchange is taking a stake in DBS Bank’s Digital Exchange that would enable investors to tap into a fully integrated tokenization, trading and custody ecosystem. In the Philippines, the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) has followed suit by granting homegrown iWave Inc. an exclusive license to operate the Global Trade Exchange, or GTX.
Just imagine the future transformation of CEZA and FAB when a listed telecommunications firm like Converge ICT Solutions starts connecting fiber-optic cables to these ecozones and other telcos roll out their Fifth-Generation technology systems nationwide. Combine these developments with cutting-edge technology from SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband and Amazon Web Services’ Blue Origin that will blanket the country with high-speed internet connecting Filipinos here and overseas.
All these are forecast to happen beginning in the Year of the Ox, which is considered fortuitous both for Lambino (born in the Year of the Dog) and Musk (born in the Year of the Pig), based on their Chinese horoscopes.
The Year of the Metal Ox comes every 60 years. The last time around, in 1961, these were the major events in history: The Philippines recorded its lowest temperature — 6.3 degrees — in Baguio City. Diosdado Macapagal was elected as our fifth president. The United Nations General Assembly condemned apartheid in South Africa. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to journey into outer space. East Germany started building the Berlin Wall. John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the first American president belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.
Joe Biden, the US’ second Catholic president, has replicated JFK’s precedent-setting inauguration. Would there be more parallelisms between 1961 and 2021 in the coming months?
The author is the chief financial officer of the Asian Center for Legal Excellence and chairman of Finex Publications.