Jollibee founder hails PNoy

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    CLARK FREEPORT—Just as some quarters demand the resignation of President Aquino over the killing of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province last January, the founder of fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) was all praises for him, citing him as an example of entrepreneurial thinking.

    Speaking to members of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, JFC President Tony Tan Caktiong said the double-digit growth in tax collections in four straight years—10 percent in 2010, 12 percent in 2011, 14 percent in 2012 and 15 percent in 2013—is one of the measures of President Aquino’s success in fighting corruption.

    “Simple numbers, a clear picture. Mindsets have changed. Filipino taxpayers are complying, more and more people believe in PNoy’s program of ‘no corruption, no poverty.’ Nobody thought this could be done, but PNnoy is doing it! He never doubted he could do it. That’s the power of mindset!” he remarked.

    Caktiong also mentioned Leo Oracion, the first Filipino to reach the peak of Mt. Everest, and Barack Obama, the first United States president of African-American descent, as examples of “how entrepreneurial thinking can change one’s life dramatically.”

    “They are examples of the power that our mindsets possess over ourselves, and our future or destiny,” he said, adding they were far better than his story of founding Jollibee. Alfredo Yao, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said his group is not supporting any move to force President Aquino to resign or oust him.

    Talking on Philippine economy, Caktiong said the majority of economists have projected Gross Domestic Product growth higher than the 6.1 percent rate in 2014.

    The optimism, he said, is traced to several factors like confidence in the Philippines as a preferred investment destination in Asia, public-private partnership projects and increase in government spending.

    JFC, he said, is a story of finding opportunities in difficult times.

    Founded over 35 years ago as ice cream stores in Quiapo in Manila and Cubao in Quezon City, Jollibee in 1978 shifted its focus on hamburgers that were a hit among customers.

    The arrival of McDonalds’, he admitted, tested his entrepreneurial mindset, deciding to compete and develop the fried chicken project Chicken Joy than sell out.

    “Maybe I was naïve during those moments but I believed that we could succeed in the hamburger business, even against the biggest player in the world. I didn’t make up that belief. I really believed it! For better or for worse, that was my mindset! That’s because I knew our customers liked our hamburgers; they liked their taste, and they kept coming back,” he recalled.

    JFC has almost 3,000 stores now for its brands Jollibee, Greenwich, Chowking, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Burger King Philippines; Yonghe King, Hong Zhuang Yuan, San Pin Wang in China; Highlands Coffee, and Pho 24 in Vietnam.

    Giving back, Jollibee Foundation has helped reduce undernourishment among 100,000 young students. It helped more than 900 farmers in the country get more income from onion growing.

    JFC posted 12.7 percent rise in net profit in 2014 to P5.3 billion, it said in a report to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

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