Jose P. Leviste, Jr.: Humility Personified

Jose P. Leviste, Jr.: Humility Personified

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

I almost decided not to take PR1811, the second flight of PAL from Manila to Davao on April 30,  as I was used to taking the first flight. It could have been a Providential design because on that flight, I met a guy with a down-to-earth character, and not just an ordinary one, but considered as an icon in the field of industry…Mr. Jose P. Leviste Jr.

 

At the PAL Mabuhay Lounge before the flight, he was with a group that I presumed to be businessmen on their way to Davao to attend an ASEAN scheduled activity. I observed his humble personality that somehow made him a standout. When we boarded our flight, we were seat mates and while we were fixing our seat belts, we exchanged smiles that broke the ice. He introduced himself simply as “Joey”, so I extended my right hand for a handshake at the same time giving him my nick name. He also gave me his business card and I apologized for not being able to reciprocate the gesture as I am not using such.

 

When I read the name on the card, I was struck with awe…seated beside me was no other than the Chairman of one of the respected industrial institutions in the country. Yet, he consistently showed a character oozing with humility. I was more than glad to learn that we were on the same plane of interests – nature, humanity and literary. However, I was very much elated for the opportunity of talking to a greatly accomplished industrialist. When he asked for my personal infos, he patiently typed them in his smartphone after which he took our photo. He also showed me his file of business cards coded with checks to remind him which of the owners of the cards have been met, meekly confiding about his tendency to be forgetful. His systematic habit was just admirable which showed that he was not totally dependent on others for all his daily personal needs.

 

As if on a cue, we would touch on subjects that interested both of us. We shared what we knew about the Philippine eagle, for instance. When I mentioned about my participation in the monitoring and documenting of the aerial mating of the national bird in Mt. Apo, while concealed with the Kennedy group sponsored by the National Geographic way back in the 80’s, he added his fascination about the monogamous character of the bird. When I mentioned about blogging, he told me that he got no time for such but shared that he has collated into a collectible book various write-ups about Lee Kuan Yew. He further surprised me with a confession that he had so far written four books, humbling me with my own, one title. A great guy, indeed!

 

I purposely slowed down on our conversation when I noticed that he was sleepy as I learned that since the start of the ASEAN Conference, he and other prominent businessmen were kept busy with meetings and social activities. He luxuriated on about twenty minutes of dozing which resulted to his late snacks. I was further touched when he gave me the small sachet of mango- flavoured chocolate from his platter that should have been part of his dessert together with slices of fruits.

 

As our plane was about to touch down, he confided that the reason for his coming to Davao was the inauguration of the Ro-Ro service between Davao and Indonesia…he was the guest of honor. He invited me to join him which I politely declined as I was on an urgent purpose.

 

As if the surprises brought about by the encounter were not enough, while we were on our way to the arrival area of Davao International Airport, one of my carry-on bags (I had three) slipped off my shoulder and which he unceremoniously picked up and carried! I was so embarrassed but he insisted on carrying it for me as he found me seemingly over-burdened. His gesture left me with two more carry-ons -a bag and laptop. What made me more embarrassed was when he told me that he was of same age with President Duterte and Sonny Domingo…the latter being his classmate! I was astounded as I thought he was just approaching his sixties. His being a mestizo and having a wrinkle-free face may be the reasons for his youngish look. At the arrival area, we parted our ways as I went straight to the conveyor to pick up my checked-in baggage.

 

When I finally reached my destination after almost four hours of travel, I texted my new friend with a message about my heartfelt appreciation and honest admiration of his rare character. I thought, he would not reply, being a very busy guy, but after a few minutes, I received an acknowledgment. I imagined him to have taken a fragment of his precious time just to send me his reply.

 

I coud not get over the overwhelming feeling after meeting the humble Joey Leviste, Jr., making me wonder if there could be other industrial icons like him. What is remarkable about him is his unassuming attitude that keeps his feet on the ground despite the dizzying success that he has achieved and keeps on achieving. Now I understand why he is immensely successful and blessed!

jose p leviste jr

 

 

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On Squatting…Again

ON SQUATTING…AGAIN

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS, PARTICULARLY, THE BARANGAYS SHOULD BE BLAMED FOR THE PROLIFERATION OF SQUATTERS AS ONLY THEY, ARE THE ONES IN DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE LATTER. INDIRECTLY, THE NEXT LEVEL OF LGU – TOWNS AND CITIES CAN BE BLAMED, TOO. PART OF THE REGULAR  REPORT OF BARANGAYS SHOULD BE THE PRESENCE OF SQUATTERS IN THEIR AREAS AND WHAT THEY ARE DOING ABOUT THEM. AND, THE MUNICIPAL AND CITY GOVERNMENTS SHOULD POUND THE BARANGAYS FOR THEIR INACTION.

 

THE BARANGAY SHOULD IMMEDIATELY PUT A STOP TO ANY ATTEMPT OF SQUATTING. UNFORTUNATELY, IT IS NOT BEING DONE SO THAT IN TIME, THE SMALL CLUSTER OF MAKESHIFT HOMES BECOMES ANOTHER BARANGAY BASED ON POPULATION.

 

WHAT IS THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (DILG) DOING ABOUT THE IRRESPONSIBLE LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS?….NOTHING!!!

 

THE DILG AND OTHER CONCERNED AGENCIES, ONE OF WHICH IS THE DSW, WAIT UNTIL THE SQUATTING PROBLEM HAS COME TO AN UNCONTROLLED LEVEL BEFORE THEY ACT BY DEMOLISHING HOMES AND RESETTLING INFORMAL SETTLERS TO RELOCATION SITES THAT ARE NOT FIT FOR HABITATION DUE TO THE ABSENCE OF BASIC FACILITIES AND SAFE ROADS THAT THE UPROOTED CITIZENS  AND THEIR CHILDREN COULD TAKE TO THEIR JOBS AND SCHOOLS  IN THE URBAN AREAS WHERE THEY CAME FROM.

 

THIS PROBLEM IS “HISTORIC” IN NATURE, AS IT HAS BEEN GIVING THE GOVERNMENT A HEADACHE SINCE THE COMMONWEALTH DAYS OF THE COUNTRY….BUT, OF COURSE, THE BLAME NATURALLY GOES TO THE IRRESPONSIBLE OFFICIALS, AS EARLY ON, CUDDLING OF SQUATTERS FOR THEIR RELEVANCE DURING ELECTION HAS BEEN A CORRUPT TRADITION.

 

TOTAL ELIMINATION OF SQUATTING SHOULD NOT FORM PART OF DUTERTE’S PROMISES TO THE FILIPINOS AS THIS CONCERN IS A WORLD-WIDE PHENOMENON THAT HINGES ON POVERTY, ESPECIALLY, IN THIRD-WORLD COUNTRIES LIKE THE PHILIPPINES. DUTERTE SHOULD PROMISE ONLY DOABLE PROJECTS TO MAKE HIM A “REALISTIC PRESIDENT”….NOT A QUIXOTIC OR A DREAMING ONE.

Prison Situation in the Philippines

Prison Situation in the Philippines

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

THE GOVERNMENT NEED NOT LOOK FAR TO KNOW WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS THAT BESET ALL PRISONS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, INCUDING THE RAPID INCREASE IN NUMBER OF INMATES, ESPECIALLY WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ANTI-DRUG “OPERATION TOKHANG” WHICH WOEFULLY RESULTED TO “JAMPACKING” OF INMATES.

 

SINCE “TIME IMMEMORIAL”, THE SLOW HANDLING OF CASES IS ONE REASON, DUE TO SIMPLY INDOLENT JUDGES AND THE SLOW SYSTEM OF THE PNP’S OWN INVESTIGATION. SCHEDULED HEARINGS ARE ALWAYS “RESET”. ANOTHER REASON IS THE LACK OF JUDGES AND GOVERNMENT LAWYERS. AND STILL, ANOTHER REASON FOR  THE CONGESTION IS THE LACK OF LAND ON WHICH PRISON FACILITIES COULD BE BUILT DESPITE THE AVAILABILITY OF FUND KUNO, IF THAT IS TRUE….OR COULD IT BE THAT PROJECTS ARE NOT EXTENSIVELY JUSTIFIED?

 

WHAT IS THE DOJ DOING ABOUT THE “LACK OF JUDGES”?….WHAT IS THE DILG DOING ABOUT THE “LACK OF LAND”?…WHAT IS THE PNP CHIEF DE LA ROSA DOING ABOUT THE SLOWFOOTEDNESS OF THE PNP INVESTIGATORS?…WHY CAN’T THE POPULATION OF ALL PRISONS BE “STRAINED” AND CASES PROPERLY REVIEWED SO THAT PARDON CAN BE GRANTED TO THE DESERVING RATHER THAN WAIT FOR REQUESTS FROM THE INFLUENTIAL AND APPEAL FROM THE LAWYERS OF FAMILIES OF THOSE UNJUSTLY DETAINED?

 

ANG NAKAKATAWA PA, NAGKAUGAT NA ANG PUWET NG MGA NAKAUPONG MGA OPISYAL SA KANILANG PUWESTO LALO NA ANG MGA IMBESTIGADOR NG PNP, PERO DENY TO DEATH PA RIN SILA SA PAGKAKAROON NG “SECRET DETENTION CELLS” SA MGA ISTASYON NA ITINUTURING NA “STAGING POINT” NG MGA MAY KASO LALO NA SA DROGA UPANG MAKOTONGAN PARA HINDI MAI-BLOTTER “OFFICIALY” KAY PWEDENG ILABAS KAPAG NAKAPAGBIGAY NG “RANSOM” ANG PAMIYA.

 

ANG MGA SECRET DETENTION FACILITIES AY HINDI LANG SA MGA ISTASYON NG MGA PULIS MAKIKITA, KUNDI PATI SA MGA PRIVIATE FACILITIES O BAHAY O “SAFE HOUSES”….AT ALAM YAN NG MGA PNP OFFICIALS….KAYA HUWAG NILANG GAGUHIN ANG MGA PILIPINO.

 

THAT IS THE REAL SITUATION OF THE COUNTRY DUE TO THE SHITTY AND ABUSED PHILIPPINE-STYLE DEMOCRACY!

 

TODAY, THE CONCERNED AUTHORITIES ARE BLAMING EACH OTHER…AS EXPECTED!

 

IF DE LA ROSA WON’T BE CAREFUL IN HIS STATEMENTS….THE PNP PROBLEMS NA OPEN SECRET NAMAN SHALL DEFINITELY CAUSE HIS DOWNFALL!