By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senators on Wednesday paid tribute to Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr. who passed away at age 85.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto credited the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) chairman and chief executive officer for the company’s contribution to communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“SMC’s decision to give more than P1 billion in the national pandemic fight, in ways longer than its product catalogue, was the corporate implementation of Danding’s philosophy to help the needy,” Recto said in a statement.
“It was this trademark of giving which drove SMC to donate gas to frontliners; to let aid trucks travel on its tollways for free; to stock community kitchens with chicken, meat products, flour; to equip hospitals with testing machines and ventilators; to flood clinics with disinfectant and alcohol; to dispatch its planes all over Asia in search of supplies; and to keep its payroll intact despite the plunge in sales,” he added.
“When profits give way to service during a national crisis, we know who was responsible for SMC passing its corporate citizenship test,” Recto said.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri called Cojuangco a “force of nature”, saying his passing was a “huge, huge loss to the world of business, to the world of politics, even to the world of sports.”
“He has done so much in the political arena, of course, but especially in business. He took San Miguel to such great heights, and opened up employment opportunities to tens of thousands of Filipinos across the nation,” Zubiri said.
“His success with San Miguel has pervaded even our cultural landscape, extending into to the world of sports—I can hardly imagine what the PBA would be like without his support,” he added.
Senator Joel Villanueva also joined his colleagues in mourning Cojuangco’s death.
“[A] visionary, industrialist, and a patron of sports,” Villanueva said of Cojuangco.
“As founder and chair of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Ambassador Cojuangco pursued his vision for a better Philippines through public service, a challenge that remains in the hearts and minds of its members,” Villanueva said.
“While his demise leaves a void, his legacy will live on through the NPC and the dozens of organizations he formed in his lifetime,” he continued.
In a tweet, senator and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chair Sonny Angara also praised Cojuangco as “a kind man”.
“His forays into business and politics are of public record. He was also famous for championing Philippine sports and a sportsman who built championship teams. But what will never be publicly known were his charitable acts, unsolicited, done sans fanfare, and many anonymously,” Angara said in statement later.
“He was a practitioner of retail altruism and direct assistance to the down and out. The financials of his companies are meticulously recorded, but he kept no accounting of the help he extended to the needy, especially from the provinces close to his heart. These were sick people hospitalized, bright young people sent to college, OFWs in distress helped, small businessmen extended loans, and many more,” he added.
Senator Nancy Binay also offered her condolences to the Cojuangco’s family.
Read more: Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco Jr. dies, 85