CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- “He was a great visionary and trailblazer. Pampanga will be forever grateful for his services. He will be missed.”
Thus said Third District Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. on the untimely demise of his godfather, Levy P. Laus, chairman and CEO of the Laus Group of Companies.
Laus, along with two companions -- pilot Everette Coronel and long-time driver Wilfran Esteban -- died as the helicopter they were in crashed into a fishpond in Barangay Anilao in Malolos, Bulacan on Thursday, April 25.
Gonzales said Laus had contributed immensely in the local industry as a prime mover of investment.
He added that he would remember a time when the current location of the Laus Group headquarters in Barangay Dolores was nothing more but fields of cogon grass.
“Mr. Laus was among the first people to build investments in that area. Now that place is a bustling area for local businesses,” said Gonzales, who had worked with Laus when the former was still a newbie contractor.
Gonzales said Laus, through his leadership in the local business community and civic groups, was able to muster support for various business and development advocacies for the City of San Fernando and Pampanga in general.
The lawmaker added that Laus was also a leading light in the difficult struggle to save Pampanga from lahar devastation in the aftermath of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991.
Laus spearheaded the Save San Fernando Movement, a group of local businessmen and political leaders determined to save this city and the province from lahar inundation. The group's pivotal role in the struggle is celebrated in a coffee table book written collaboratively by local journalists in 2008 titled “Pinatubo: Triumph of the Kapampangan Spirit.”
Gonzales said no businessman in Pampanga has a claim to such a vast influence and respect as Laus.
“Pampanga has lost a great leader. His legacy will live on,” Gonzales said.