Billionaires in our midst

By The Sunriser

BACK in the 1990s Panay was suffering from rolling power outages. So debilitating that its economy stagnated. Iloilo City was hit the most, it being the business and trade hub of the island. The hoi polloi slept outside of their abodes because of the unbearable heat. No electricity no electric fan.

Problem at that time was the lack of power supply. And at that time the city’s power distribution business was monopolized by Panay Electric Company of the Cachos.

Political and business leaders called on the national government to address the power supply problem. The calls were received by deaf ears.

Luckily, the Lopezes heeded the call. They established Panay Power Corporration. Construction works started in earnest at Brgy. Ingore in LaPaz for the 172-MW diesel power plant. Upon completion the plant finally started commercial operations in 1999, giving the city a respite from the curse of blackouts.

A billionaire, Oscar Lopez, then the patriarch of the Lopez clan, made the conscious decision to save the city from darkness. God bless his soul.

Meanwhile, for decades the international port in Loboc is a sad and bad example of how to manage a port for international cargo. Aside from its physical limitation and incompetent management, it used to be infested by charlatans who have used the port as hub of their extortion activities.

The news about Enrique Razon Jr.’s takeover of the Loboc port is a welcome development then. Yes, Razon, another billionaire coming to Iloilo City’s rescue.

Mayor Jerry Trenas said that with the ICTSI, Razon’s company, the port will greatly help spur the local economy as it is investing billions to modernize the port to accommodate more domestic and international vessels. It will also be fully containerized.