Press Release
March 8, 2023

P.S. Res. No. 523: Expressing Sympathy on the Death of Roberto Ongpin

March 8, 2023

Mr. President, it is with profound grief that I support Senate Resolution No. 523, expressing our sympathies and condolences as one Senate, on the loss of Roberto "Bobby" Velayo Ongpin, who died at the age of 86, last February 5, 2023.

A formidable and inspiring figure of competence and excellence - that is how we may best remember Mr. Bobby Ongpin. Whatever aspect of his life we look at, we are bound to discover a story of impeccable performance and subsequent success. Be it his academic background, wherein he graduated cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University, or his success in 1979, when he became the Philippines' youngest Minister of Commerce and Industry, or when he decided to establish a business empire, bringing to the Philippine shores the Shangri-La Group of hotels and malls, as well as establishing Alphaland and Tagaytay Highlands.

But these achievements, Mr. President, impressive though they may be, have a human face. And they pale in comparison to the human being behind them all - the one who mentored and guided others by teaching them the principle "Keep it simple," the same one who established in memory of his late brother a Scholarship Fund, which, to date, has helped realize the dreams of two thousand and two hundred seven high school students. Sa likod ng kanyang mga nakamit sa loob ng mahigit walumpung taon, Mr. President, hindi po nakalimutan ni Bobby Ongpin ang pinakamahalaga sa lahat - ang magpakatao.

"May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night, and a peaceful death." So goes the night prayer of Catholic Priests, which is recited at the end of each day. In many ways, all of us would like to leave this world peacefully. It is not surprising then, Mr. President, that this grace of a peaceful death was granted to Mr. Ongpin, who died in his sleep in February. Marahil, Mr. President, pagkatapos ng lahat ng kanyang nagawa at naitatag, naramdaman niya na panahon na siguro para magpahinga. Panahon naman ng iba na itaguyod ang lahat ng kanyang nasimulan.

I wish to express my sincere sympathies to the family that Mr. Bobby Ongpin leaves behind - may his legacy always live on in all of them. Thank you, Mr. President.

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