Senate Honors Former Minister Bobby Ongpin

Senate Honors Former Minister Bobby Ongpin

March 11, 2023 @ 9:25 AM 2 weeks ago

The senators, on March 8, 2023, expressed their condolences to the family of the late Roberto “Bobby” Velayo Ongpin, who was the youngest Minister of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines. During his tenure, he established the Binondo Central Bank to narrow the rate gap between the dollar’s official guiding rate and the black market rate.

After leaving government service, Ongpin built business empires and founded several companies such as Tagaytay Highlands, PhilWeb, and Alphaland Corporation. He was also a philanthropist who funded thousands of full scholarships at the Ateneo de Manila in honor of his late brother, Jaime.

Ongpin was a successful businessman who graduated cum laude from Ateneo de Manila University and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1958 and led SyCip, Gorres, Velayo, and Company to become Asia’s largest accounting firm in the 1970s. SGV founder Washington SyCip praised Ongpin for being one of the most aggressive and effective managers he had ever known.

In addition to his contributions to business and philanthropy, Ongpin was also known for his love for the environment. He was a pioneer in sustainable development and made sure that his resorts, such as the Alphaland Balesin Island Club, were designed with environmental conservation in mind.

The resorts feature solar panels, a desalination plant, and a waste management system that recycles graywater and organic waste into compost.

Ongpin’s dedication to his work and country was unparalleled. He once said that “the greatest reward for any public servant or businessman is to see the fruits of his labor,” and his legacy lives on through the countless lives he touched and the businesses he helped grow. His passing is a loss not just to his family and friends but to the entire nation, and his contributions to the Philippines’ growth and development will be remembered for generations to come.

Another notable achievement of Ongpin was his role in bringing the Shangri-La Group into the Philippines. He orchestrated a joint venture between Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Kuok Group, resulting in the establishment of the first Shangri-La Hotel in the country. This joint venture also led to the development of several other properties, including the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort, and Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa.

Aside from his contributions to business and the community, Ongpin was also an art collector and an advocate for Philippine art. He was a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and played a significant role in promoting Filipino art globally. He helped organize exhibitions in Hong Kong and other parts of the world, showcasing the works of Filipino artists.

Ongpin’s passing is a great loss to the Philippines, and his contributions to business, philanthropy, environmental conservation, and the arts will never be forgotten. He was a visionary leader, a brilliant businessman, and a dedicated public servant who left an indelible mark on the country and its people.