Joy to Alegria

Published June 2, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Francine Ciasico

Jullie Y. Daza
Jullie Y. Daza




By Jullie Y. Daza


How many tough-talking presidents have you known who can shed a teardrop at the sight of a column of flame shooting into the sky to signify the start of commercial oil production?

Do real men cry? Do they wear pink? President Duterte was not in pink when he turned on the valve to open the hundred-thousand-hectare oil field in Alegria, Cebu, but he was so touched by the sight that he predicted greater things to come.

Unlike PRRD, the chairman of the government’s partner was all smiles.

Chairman Lam Nam was in his young 40s when I met him years ago in Hong Kong, at a lauriat he hosted for one of his Manila-based friends. His extensive investments include Africa, where according to the grapevine at the time, his China International Mining Petroleum Co. (CIMP) was digging for diamonds.

Us girls at the party were more interested in diamonds than oil, but the chairman just smiled and told us to ask his interpreters for a true-or-false answer. He travels the world with those two Chinese girls. He owns a cable-TV station in HK. He lives most of the time in Macau, where his office is his second home.

That’s all I knew about him, until news of Alegria broke, so overwhelmingly dramatic, in a good way, that the President was overheard telling the operator, “Expand the oil field.”

Alegria is news, but in truth the oil has been hiding there almost in plain sight – onshore – for over 100 years. This is not myth, for according to the drillers, exploration was started by an American company in 1896, followed by “numerous companies” that drilled 40 wells “but failed.”

Now that we have struck black gold with CIMP’s modern well analyses and techniques, is it too much to hope that at last joy will flow in cascades to the blessed town of Alegria?