It could mean a lot.

But the common notion is that when one retires from work, he/she would just be simply be doing nothing after years of work. Probably just lounge around with feet raised up on a table while sipping coffee. That might just be true.

To some, it means venturing into a new endeavor. To some, just a change of career. To some, it would just be taking it easy (but would still be doing some light work).

When I “retired” from Clark Development Corporation (CDC), I was asked “what would you do next?” (as if I was giving them the impression that I would just be staring at a blank wall all day long) or was told “you are too young to retire.” Both of which are anchored on the pre-conceived idea that retirees simply do not work anymore.

In my case, I always quipped back “I did not retire, I simply left CDC for another work.” Yes, I am still working now – doing communications work, PR consultancy and the like. Albeit on a smaller scale.

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In the case of Dr. Irineo “Bong” Alvaro, Jr. who was given a retirement party, it was simply a re-tire or putting another tire onto his vehicle. This vehicle or work – illustrious, dedicated, incessant and untiring – has put off the old and is now ready for another journey.

At a befitting program with close family, friends, partners and staff at the Midori Hotel last Monday, Koyang Bong (as I usually call him) is bidding goodbye to his commitments in the corporate world. Rather, he would now be focusing more on his philanthropic deeds and charitable works.

While heading and occupying many key and top positions in Clark (BBI, Midori, Aqua Planet, Eagle Sky) Koyang Bong also serves as the chairman of BBI Foundation and is also the Ambassador of Health (for Philippines and Asia) of the Michigan-based World Medical Relief Inc. While busy (and toxic) with all the hats he has been wearing prior to retirement, he always found the time to help build schools, head medical outreaches, and grant scholarship programs.

While the corporate world would miss him, he will now be embraced and welcomed even more in the sphere of charity and philanthropic work.

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Koyang Bong is one person who humbly started as a lowly base worker and still is ending his Clark business endeavors in all humility. He is the same Bong Alvaro who fought for fellow workers for equal and just pay from the Americans and is the same who also fought for survival of investors and employees.

He is responsible for creating jobs for thousands of workers in companies he has been a part of on many capacities. It was him who brought his fellow investors that put up Midori Hotel and Casino, Aqua Planet and Eagle Sky.

He was laughed at by former CDC top executives the first time he tried to bring in these investment projects. He was looked down even with that look that says “what is the color of your money.” He was not taken seriously at all and worse, he was belittled as if he was up to something that is not good.

He proved those officials wrong. Long story short, Alvaro and his co-investors paid in full the advance payment of lease for the next 50 years in dollars. They were the very first ones to have done that. During those times, some who posed as investors (and were entertained well) turned out to be only speculators. They profited by simply showing a signed contract with CDC to their unsuspecting financiers that swindled.

Such was NOT the case in Koyang Bong’s endeavors. Go and look around in Clark Freeport and see those towering buildings and attractions he has put up. Go ask around how he has helped people to get decent jobs and are now able to provide for their families.

Clark’s successful business landscape now could be partly attributed to his efforts.

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Talks about retirement is now sour for hundreds of CDC employees as the CPCS that took effect recently took away their retirement benefits.

CDC has had its Board-approved retirement pay scale. It was something above the minimum as required in the Labor Code

For those who served for 5 to 9 years, the retirement pay is 100 percent of monthly basic salary per year of service, 10-14 years is 125 percent, 15 to 19 years is 150 percent, 20 to 25 is 175 percent, and, 26 years and above will be 200 percent. This is what retiring employees were given. The CPCS, now imposed by the Governance Commission for GOCCs, has taken all these away. Only 50 percent of the salary is being left as retirement pay, regardless of how many years one has eked out with sweat and tears.

An example application of this benefit is that an employee whose salary upon retirement is P40,000 and has worked in CDC for 20 years, should be getting P1.4 million. This, under the CDC Board-approved scheme.

But under the CPCS, that employee would now just be receiving a measly P400,000. A million peso vanishes right away. If the employee served for 25 years, it is goodbye to P1.750 million.

Simply put, that hard work, dedication and perseverance of employees who chose to stay in CDC at the thought (and target) of getting a commensurate and handsome pay is now going to a naught, to kaput.

Unless this issue, among with many other allowances, benefits and incentives are resolved, CDC workers remain not just unmotivated but also depressed and demoralized.