Don Antonio O. Floirendo, 96-A A +A
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
MANONG TONY. He was just "Manong Tony" to me, "Whitehair" to some but to the many big and small whose lives he touched, Don Antonio Floirendo was simply the "godfather," a real-life "don." He came to Davao as a pioneer during its early post war years and helped make it what it is today. He was a native of Tabora, Ilocos when an American friend from Mantrade Manila prodded him to go to Davao to open a Ford dealership. He packed his bags, left his "surplus" business in the north and headed south to what beckoned as a "land of promise" and did not bother look back. After a lifetime, it was to be a land of fulfillment to him. He befriended and outlived several Philippine presidents. He built a business empire that will last the next generations to come.
I roused from bed Anthony "Taras" Sasin, one of the closest to the Floirendos, early Saturday morning just to check. Manong Tony was airlifted to Manila Thursday. He was first brought to the Davao Doctors Hospital Monday after he was stricken with high fever. Due to the seriousness of the situation, the family put him on a jet plane and flew him to Manila.
Even at 96 years old, he had an active life and went through a hectic schedule. The day he fell ill, he was then attending the blessing of the Tadeco wharf and port facilities when he complained of not feeling well. Last Friday, the doctors called for the family to gather at St. Luke's hospital and they were all around him when he passed. A quiet, dignified way befitting his suave, charming and gentle ways.
Initial plans include a few days of wake in Metro Manila and after a few days, his remains will be flown to Davao by Monday.
I deeply mourn Manong Tony's passing. He was generous and a friend to countless. And a father. Quite coincidentally, I wrote about him in this column last week about his staying power as related by son Tonyboy despite his advanced age. And it was only a few days ago when his other son, Ricky Floirendo, sent to me in my farm in Davao del Sur several heads of gilt (mother-pigs-to-be) which he said were "replacements" of what Manong Tony sent me many years ago for my backyard piggery. I didn't realize it was to be his last parting gift before he left us. May he rest in peace.
JACKIE ENRILE. Congressman Jackie Enrile of Cagayan in the north blew into town again and met with various groups. The senate president's son is organizing friends and supporters for his planned Senate bid next year. I did not know much about the young Enrile before except hearing his name from my son Jay. Jackie was the national president of the Philippine Practical Shooting Association (PPSA) while Jay is the PPSA Southern Mindanao official. It was his father, Senate President Johnny, whom I had the privilege of knowing way ahead when I was then in congress and in the palace.
From the looks of it, Jackie, with his colorful past, is more approachable and "cowboy" than the father who is more serious and "high level." I predict Jackie will carry on the Enrile legacy of public service. I will even suggest that he adopts the favorite line, with a slight variation: 'Gusto namin, happy kayo!”
MORE ON JUSTICE CARPIO. Former Mindanao Ombudsman Cesar Nitorreda, now into full retirement but still hale and regale-looking, put in a good word for Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio. A leading law practitioner during his heydays, he knew how Justice Carpio had admirably conducted himself as a justice of the highest court. "Please relay to Winnie Monsod that she wrote so true and so accurately about the Acting Chief Justice," he told me. Ms Monsod, former NEDA chief, recently wrote a lengthy column about Justice Carpio supporting moves to have President Aquino appoint him Chief Justice.
Julian "Ching" Rodriguez, who is also a venerable Davaoeño old-timer, suggested that Davaoeños who knew the Carpio family in Davao should come out and express support. Ching served formerly as city secretary during the incumbency of Mayor Elias Lopez and belongs to a pioneering family that saw the early rise of this southern metropolis into what it is today.
BANNING GOD. What happened to Kabataan party list Rep. Patino who authored the bill banning religious activities including images in government, must serve as a stern warning to all. After a strong outcry, he quickly withdrew his bill. Either he did not study or he was too dumb to know what he was doing.
That's the problem with some officials who, after being elected by their constituencies, no longer consult. They become presumptuous by assuming that they can do anything – including making fools out of themselves!
MOTHER ASSUMPTA. I was in Manila for an extended stay when I got word that Mother Assumpta David, RVM, passed away. The last time I saw her was at the Manila airport some months ago and she was so well then, blooming and aglow as always. As far as I knew, she was always hale and healthy despite her age. She had that sunny and warm disposition that warmed the heart. We always hugged each other tight whenever we would meet and hold each other's hand in conversation. To me, she was a girl friend, so sweet. She was an institution as a person in so many ways. She was God's virtual gift to mankind -- an angel. I will miss her but I know she's now in the Lord's tight embrace. We love you, Mother Assumpta.
POPULATION CONTROL. I vividly remember an imminent Malaysian consumer advocate saying: "The problem is not that we are multiplying like rabbits but that we are swarming like flies." He said that about 40 years ago in one meeting I attended in Penang, Malaysia. He was pointing out that population explosion was not the problem that must be solved by controlling it through population control methods. But we must address it by providing food, education, employment and other basic human needs.
NANDING BOYS. We had a quiet but enjoyable dinner Saturday night at host Bobby Orig's Cafe Andessa at the Buhangin junction in honor of Archbishop Nanding Capalla. Also, there were Al Barreto, Nilo Claudio, Art Milan, Taras Sasin and an Ilongo businessman, Joey Menpin. It was part of a monthly get-together for old (but still young) friends who can be aptly called "Nanding boys." The retired archbishop is again off to some foreign haunts and will be back August. New Archbishop Muloy Valles, by the way, is still in Rome receiving his "pallum," a sheep-skin emblem of a new Shepherd and will be back in a few days in time for his birthday celebration.
TIDBITS. A forum on mining was jointly sponsored by the JCI Senate and the Chamber of Mines last July 3 at thevDavao Menseng Hotel. The day before, July 2, JCI national president, Gov Tony Cerilles, also convened his national board in Davao City.
The Ateneo de Davao alumni group in the US will hold its biennial event at Las Vegas on October 18 to 21. Dabawenyo, now Las Vegas resident Ramon "Nonoy" Morada, is spearheading the preparations. Just an early bird notice to all.
After I wrote about stem cell therapy last time, I got a blog about fraud and abusive commercialization of stem cells, especially in India and other countries. Also, the spread of questionable medicines claiming stem cell treatment effect. So watch out.
Just for the record, the country paid off its IMF debts as early as last 2006 during GMA's administration due to President Arroyo's adroit handling of our economy.
It is not correct to say that the US$1 billion loan that the Pnoy administration is planning to extend to the IMF to help bail out European countries will deprive our locals of projects. The money will be taken from our foreign reserves which by the way cannot be used for local projects even if we do not lend it to the IMF.
I attended the board of trustees meeting of the University of Mindanao this week and learned from there that UM is the first Mindanao university to be given the ISO institutional good housekeeping seal! Congrats President Willie Torres and the whole UM family!
Congrats to Gabriel and Dina Ferrer (née Fortich) who were wed last Saturday. My Ateneo '67 batchmate Doming Fortich is the bride's proud father. Dina worked with me when I was at MEDCO. The wedding was a reunion of sorts for me, Femy Calderon, Suj Ronquillo, Ronnie Sison and the MEDCO staff.
"Boss" Danding Cojuangco unloaded his billions-worth ownership at San Miguel Corporation to business partner Ramon Ang who has now become the center of gravity of a burgeoning business empire.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 05, 2012.