MAN OF THE YEAR. An annual encomium to the most substantively significant individual – man, woman or any of the multilettered genders – traditionally bestowed by publications has become, hereabouts, the signature mark of Punto! Central Luzon. For no other reason than it is the only publication that unfailingly comes out with this otherwise regular feature.
Simply put, newsworthy and – as much as possible – praiseworthy comprise the only criteria to making it as Punto’s MOTY which, serendipitously, has come to serve as the very measure of Punto’s years in existence.
On this our 15th year, we look back, guided by the opening paragraphs of each tribute, generally giving the rationale for our choice, and some micro zeitgeist of their period.
2008: EDDIE T. PANLILIO, Governor of Pampanga
MIRACLE MAN of the year. Even if that homage of his fanatical followers be taken out of the equation, Pampanga Gov. Eddie T. Panlilio will still surpass the grade as the most significant personality to have emerged in 2007 in the whole expanse of Central Luzon, if not in the whole country. If only for crafting history as the first Catholic priest to be ever elected governor.
Breaking his priestly vow of obedience – unheeding the five-fold plea of his superior to forego with his political ambition – Panlilio ran – and won – on the sheer strength of his sacerdotal persona, Among Ed.
- VICTOR JOSE LUCIANO, President-CEO, Clark International Airport Corp.
IT WAS a no-nonsense job tailor-fit for our Man of the Year.
Thrice offered by no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the top plum of the then fledgling Clark International Airport Corp., is one our Man of the Year could not refuse. Not in Puzo’s The Godfather sense of the phrase though, but for the sheer challenge – of blazing a trail, and the impact – to national development – it posed.
Thus, it was that the fellow from Magalang, Pampanga who has made a name for himself in the national scene, retraced his steps back home to serve not just his fellow Kapampangans, but the rest of the people of Central and Northern Luzon and help them – and the nation – find their niche in the international arena of development.
2010. OSCAR S. RODRIGUEZ, Mayor of the City of San Fernando
EXCELLENCE IS a passion; good governance, a duty; service to the people, a commitment. The cardinal virtues of leadership in a republican state – long lost in the parody of democracy that is the Philippines – find renaissance in Mayor Oscar Samson Rodriguez of the City of San Fernando. And the Fernandino could not have been happier, nay, more blessed and prouder: of his city and his leader.
As 2009 proved yet another banner year for the city, reaping just about every recognition in myriad fields of endeavor.
- LILIA G. PINEDA, Governor of Pampanga
2010 MAY as well be “Year of the Mother” for the Province of Pampanga with the ascendancy of Gov. Lilia Garcia Pineda.
In all her public incarnations – mayor, board member, and now governor – as much as in her private persona, motherhood has come to be the very definition of Lilia Pineda: its full meaning finding expression in her singular efforts to promote the health and well-being of her people. The endearing sobriquet “Nanay Baby” as much a manifestation of the reciprocal respect and esteem her people hold her in, as a testament to the nurturing care she unceasingly provides them.
Thus, it came to pass that “Nanay Baby” was all it took to strip the veneer of sanctimony of a rehashed morality play, of a discredited crusade in the 2010 election campaign and buried in an avalanche of 488,521 votes the pretender to the Capitol throne. Indeed, an indubitable vindication of a true Pineda victory in 2007.
- EDGARDO D. PAMINTUAN, Mayor of Angeles City
RIGHTING – rather than just fighting -wrongs. Forged in the crucible of the Marcos dictatorship, Edgardo Dizon Pamintuan is steeled in the protection and promotion of human rights, and thus fated to a public life of correcting human errors, political, social and fiscal, administrative and criminal: his end in view, a society grounded on the democratic ideals of equality and liberty; his goal-in-hand, a community sharing in prosperity.
Pamintuan’s persona as honorable mayor of Angeles City makes the latest -if arguably, the greatest – testament to this: taking over a city awash in wrongs, if only to set everything in it a right, and how! As a call of duty, at the instance, mayhaps even in the insistence, of destiny.
WE MADE a break from the usual when instead of men and women, we opted to give our annual accolade to the COMPANIES OF THE YEAR.
- SM MALLS
THE SHORTEST distance between rural rusticity and cosmopolitan sophistication is an SM City mall.
No more is this truer than in the coming of the Philippines’ premier mall to Central Luzon, instantly turning the landscape from rural to urban, promptly transforming the shopping, dressing, eating, leisuring habits of the people. Setting a new lifestyle aptly captured in the catch phrase: “Mag-SM tayo!” translating to “The SM mall is all.”
The pre-eminence of SM City malls in this once rice granary of the country upped and maxxed some more in 2012 with the opening of SM City Olongapo in February and SM City San Fernando Downtown in July, bringing to – count them: SM City Marilao and SM City Baliwag in Bulacan; SM City Pampanga and SM City Clark in the regional center; and SM City Tarlac – seven Henry Sy’s malls in this region, the greatest concentration outside Metro Manila.
Unarguably, SM Prime Holdings – with all its mainstay shops and tenants in its malls – is the single biggest job provider in the whole of Central Luzon.
- CEBU PACIFIC AIR
ADRIFT IN the doldrums was the Clark Freeport for much of 2012, the impermanence at the helm of the Clark Development Corp., arguably, taking its toll on prospective investments.
Performing CDC president-CEO Antonio Remollo was replaced in April by former AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Oban Jr. albeit in an OIC capacity, and was in turn replaced in mid-December by businessman-lawyer Arthur Tugade. Like the banana republics of yore, the constant changing in the CDC leadership gives the wrong signals to investors, to say the least.
Providing the only redeeming value to the Clark Freeport in 2012 was – is – Cebu Pacific Air, the Philippines’ largest national flag carrier.
On December 4, CebPac opened its Philippine Academy for Aviation Training (PAAT), a P1.8-billion joint venture with CAE (NYSE: CAE; TSX: CAE), world leader in aviation training. Aptly capping 2012 with the greatest promise of a bullish 2013 for the Clark Freeport, as well as the Clark International Airport.
- ATTY. ARTHUR P. TUGADE, President-CEO, Clark Development Corp.
COMPETENT. DARING. Caring. Beyond sheer sloganeering, Atty. Arthur P. Tugade redefined the Clark Development Corp. by living up to that corollary meaning, therefrom the Clark Freeport Zone highly profiting.
“We want to make Clark a logistics hub but this cannot be done without a business environment and a habitable society,” Tugade told Punto in April 2013, some four months into his term as CDC president- CEO, in his first ever interview with media.
“So, basically what’s the direction? Set the predicate for business here and once it is there you can pursue the logistics hub and effect a habitable community. The trust gained, the total persona of the businessman – pleasure, education, leisure and enjoyment – attained.” The road map set there…
- DENNIS ANTHONY UY, Co-founder and President, Converge ICT
NOT SO much with the Joneses but with Gates and Jobs that he has kept up – the extraordinary individuals, as well as the generic meaning to their names. As in information gatekeeper. As in job generator.
This is Dennis Anthony Uy, the self-made man ever at the forefront of the march to modernity, starting as trader in Betamax and VHS tapes back in the early ‘80s, now in the cutting edge of the information and communication technology that will soon connect the Philippines to the world…
- DAESIK HAN, President-CEO, Widus International Leisure Inc.
TURNING A $4 million investment into a $90 million hotel-casino-convention complex in a period of 10 years is no mean feat. Raising the ante to $190 million by next year is nothing short of spectacular. Widus International Leisure Inc. is – unarguably – the Clark Freeport Zone’s longest running success story starting out a dream of Daesik Han, its president-CEO…
- IRINEO “BONG” ALVARO, Phd
NO PERSONAGE in contemporary politics and business hereabouts has invested as much personal stake in Clark as Dr. Irineo “Bong” Alvaro. In Clark’s American past, Alvaro was a young working student soon catapulted to the top leadership of the Filipino Civilian Employees Association that championed the cause of labor rights and won for the local hires working conditions, salaries and benefits that their off-base counterparts, aye, Philippine labor itself, could only dream of. In Clark’s freeport present, Alvaro is a blue-chip investor, upping the ante in the hotel and gaming industry, priming Clark as premier destination area of what he called the three Rs – rest, recreation and recuperation…
- ALEXANDER S. CAUGUIRAN, President-CEO, Clark International Airport Corp.
AS 2017 turned out, the unfolding story of the Clark International Airport may well be timelined B.C. and C.E. Not of the Christ-centric old and the all-too secular new dating systems though. But one oriented in Alexander Sangalang Cauguiran, president-CEO of the Clark International Airport Corp.
Simply put, Before Cauguiran – for well over a decade – the Clark airport was at best a long-held promise epically failing short at every try of delivery….
Flights were a matter of coming and going, and going, going, unreturning. Destinations, both domestic and international opened, and just as quickly closed.
By the end of 2017 – the first full 16 months of the Cauguiran Era – Clark had recorded 103 percent increase in aircraft movement at 12,620 and 59 percent rise in passenger traffic at 1,514,531 passengers, surpassing the previous highest figure of 1,315,757 recorded in 2012…
- VINCE DIZON, President-CEO, Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
LIKE A dream. For the longest time that is what Clark has been – its greater expanse called the sub-zone, particularly – in visions of an entertainment mecca, of a new frontier, of a green city, varying at every change of leadership in the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
It works. Finally, with the accession of Vivencio “Vince” Dizon to the helm of that state-owned and -controlled corporation tasked to transform the former bastions of American military might in the Asia-Pacific into engines for national development.
At no time in Clark’s history has there been this concentration of projects – flagship and blue chips at that – as now, tapping as though every bit of Clark’s immense potential.
FOR 2020, there was no MOTY with the suspension of suspension of Punto’s print edition caused by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Dennis “Delta” Pineda, Governor of Pampanga
“’PAYBACK TIME’…I don’t know this guy. I don’t know what his politics are. But this is the kind of thing that people – Batangueños, Caviteños, helpless-feeling Filipinos everywhere – need to hear at this time. That someone cares, that someone who can marshal resources is doing something. A message that imparts not just what he’s doing but also the solidarity that’s driving him.”
Thus, Pampanga Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda in a social media influencer’s articulation of the expressions of awe and gratitude posted by hundreds, aye, thousands in the web for his initiative in mobilizing a 50-vehicle convoy of relief and rescue within a day of the Taal Volcano eruptions at the start of 2020.
Pineda’s motivation for prompt action drawn deep from Pampanga’s own volcanic ordeal: “Payback time po ito. Ito po ay ating pasasalamat dahil noon pong pumutok ang Bulkang Pinatubo, marami po ang tumulong sa atin para iligtas tayo at muling makabangon.”
- CARMELO “POGI” LAZATIN JR., Mayor of Angeles City
OUT OF the reflected glory from his illustrious forebears, into the light on his own shines now Carmelo Gurion Lazatin Jr. – Pogi to everyone – honorable mayor of Angeles City. His brilliance breaking through the pandemic gloom, giving full measure to that toughness of character ultimately tried and tested in the toughest of times – and thrived. Indeed, 2021 defined Pogi Lazatin. His response to the coronavirus pandemic gave the essential meaning to leadership in a time of crisis.
AYE, AN extraordinary league of gentlemen, lady, and corporate entities make Punto’s MOTY. To our reading public’s acceptance, if not acclaim.