Billionaires: Oscar. EKR. Henry. Ponso

By The Sunriser

THE LATE Oscar Lopez Sr. of the famous Lopez clan gave us Panay Power Corporation, the single biggest investment of the family in the power sector in Iloilo City. Panay Power saved Iloilo City’s residents from untold suffering and brought its economy back on its feet. Panay Power was the answer to rolling blackouts in Panay Island in the 1990s.

Enrique K. Razon Jr. is making Iloilo City more attractive to investors what with the modernization of the distribution facilities of MORE Power. The billions that Razon invested in Iloilo City have made the power distribution service one of the city’s come-ons for locators and investors. MORE is efficient and consumer-friendly. MORE has become the blueprint for how a distribution utility should operate and behave.

Henry Chusuey Jr. made billions from his lending business, hotels, and resorts. He has made it a habit to donate multi-million facilities to his alma mater, Ateneo De Iloilo. That’s not all. We were informed that he has also made silent donations to a number of charitable endeavors. Though we heard murmurs about his role that made a big senator several millions richer through the development of Prime Estates. The entire Prime Estates area used to serve as flood plains for the Iloilo City River. Before, water from the swelling river during the typhoon season would flow into the barren area. Not anymore. When the river swells, Gen. Luna Street from the University of San Agustin stretch all the way to The Atrium in front of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol gets flooded. To solve this flooding problem, they installed massive water pumps that cost many millions of taxpayers’ money.

There is another billionaire in our midst. Alfonso Tan Sr. who likes to be called Don Ponso. His construction firm, International Builders Corporation, has received untold billions in government infrastructure contracts. Of the four billionaires mentioned here, only Don Ponso can claim that he made his billions exclusively from government contracts. In return, what has he contributed back to society as part of his IBC’s corporate social responsibility? I am sure he has done some good. But his biggest claim to fame could be the defective, substandard almost a billion-peso Ungka Fly-Over that stands as a symbol of incompetence and perhaps, even corruption, at the Department of Public Works and Highways. Per confidential report, Don Ponso will earn another distinction from the more expensive Aganan Fly-Over. Reports say the AFO, as distinguished from UFO, is “defective”, “wrong design”, and potentially would sink like the UFO.

By the way, AFO and UFO have the same consultant, United Technology Consolidated Partnership (UTCP). This firm apparently enjoys heavenly protection. Despite its obvious faulty design and suspect soil test and analysis, nobody is hailing it to court. Not even the demigods at DPWH.