RP Economy Needs Visionaries

02/27/2017 | By: Ed Velasco, The Daily Tribune

Great and long term projects are needed in the Philippines as it propels greater economic heights, experts said.

They said such projects don’t only provide jobs, room for development, taxes but also proves there are Filipino businessmen who think big and stand above the rest and be considered “visionaries.”

They cited investments like Makati Place and City Club that were funded by billions of pesos borrowed from one universal bank. They said investors, whether Filipino or foreign, must get into such developments to spur more economic progress in the country.

“Great long term projects like Balesin, Makati Place and City Club were completed with great vision, patience and perseverance. It deserves long term funding as what Banco de Oro did,” a source from the real estate industry told the Daily Tribune in an exclusive interview.

The owner of the multibillion peso investments, Roberto Ongpin, served as Trade minister during the term of former president Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980s. Many in the business industry call Ongpin an “eagle” because of his out-of-the-box business strategy.

Nick Belasco, general manager of City Club, agreed to observers’ belief that Ongpin is a “visionary” because he sees the future when it comes to investments prospects.

“The plans he makes and the developments he puts in motion are beyond most people’s comprehension. Then when things start to take form, everyone sees what he envisioned from day one and it makes sense. (He is) definitely a brilliant business mind. I’m like a sponge every time he talks business,” Belasco said.

For Margarito Teves, a five-year Finance secretary, LandBank of the Philippines president and a nine-year congressman, Ongpin is more than just a businessman.

He said Ongpin is “endowed with a sharp intellect and is a deep strategic thinker.” Ongpin started his nerve wracking investments when he developed Tagaytay Highlands, a 3,000-hectare high-end leisure development.

“Only a few developers can achieve what Mr. Ongpin and his team built in a short period of time,” he added.

Ongpin also developed Balesin island in Polilio, Quezon. The 500-hectare posh resort, which can be reached via 20-minute chartered flight, is now the leading beach development in the country, overtaking another posh resort located in Palawan.

No less than Lee Kuan Yew, the late prime minister of Singapore, noticed the businessman’s acumen for business when he mentioned the Flipino in his famous autobiography.

“Ongpin, the only Filipino with three pages in Yew’s famous biography, has the same passion and vision as the builder of Singapore,” Teves said.

Former National Economic and Development Authority director general and Monetary Board member Dr. Vicente Valdepenas said in an interview five years ago that Ongpin was top accountant of Sycip, Gorres and Velayo when Marcos tapped him to be Trade minister.

As Seen In