Philanthropists make the world livable

By Herbert Vego

ACCORDING to the Business World (a daily business newspaper covering Southeast Asia), Filipino billionaire-philanthropist Enrique K. Razon Jr. has donated P500 million worth of donations to fight COVID-19 in the Philippines in the past two years.

Razon is chairman of the board of big corporations, including MORE Electric and Power Corp. in Iloilo City.

“Through our individual and collaborative efforts,” the paper quoted Razon, “we hope to somehow reduce and limit the economic and health impact of the virus on our local communities and employees.”

I remember that, in the early days of the pandemic, no less than MORE Power’s President Roel Z. Castro personally delivered to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas the city’s share of the donated items consisting of personal protective equipment (PPEs), sanitizers, N95 masks and COVID-19 test kits.

“COVID-19 is a war with an unseen enemy” Razon said in another interview with Tatler magazine. “Everyone has to fight in the war; that’s a no-brainer to me. I didn’t even give it a second thought.”

Razon believes in philanthropy as a quid pro quo in the exercise of corporate social responsibility by successful corporations.

Likewise, the less fortunate naturally turn to philanthropists for help.

To quote famous American book author Robert Ringer, “Even if you were to attempt to live a Thoreau-type life in the wilderness — a prospect that sounds rather boring — you still would find the need to talk to people from time to time. Food and medical care are two obvious reasons why.”

On the other hand, we get disappointed over “unfair treatment” from relying too much on another person. The more we rely on someone, the more we see our inadequacy.

On the brighter side, it compels us to be self-reliant and non-judgmental of others in accordance with the positivity of Charles Darwin’s “survival of the fittest”. We need not judge others in accordance with their usefulness to us. Feeding us to the point of starving ourselves would be suicidal. Indeed, there is no absolute altruism or unselfish concern for other people’s happiness and welfare.

Therefore, accepting human nature as it really makes us focus on symbiosis or action that also creates value for others. Against our will, there are times when we need to “adjust” to people with ideas and beliefs contrary to ours.

To quote Robert Ringer once more, “All people, at one time or another, deviate from their moral beliefs; they are sometimes hypocritical. More often than not, the cause is the desire for instant gratification.”

As said by French novelist Victor Hugo (1802-1885) in his Les Miserables, “Prosperity supposes capacity. Win in the lottery and you are an able man.”



LEOPOLDO “DOODS” MORAGAS, a retired senior vice-president at the Philippine National Bank (PNB), is the opposition candidate for mayor in Miag-ao, Iloilo. His line-up is known as the Miag-ao Patriots.

When he retired from PNB a few years ago, he had no intention whatsoever of rejoining the workplace. But due to loneliness brought by the absence of his wife Heidi and their son Ajin who are working and studying, respectively, in the United States, he opted to take up the hobby of driving his motorcycle up the hills and mountains.  More often than not, other riders would join him.

The treks awakened his eyes to the natural tourist spots still waiting to be developed by the municipality.  He discovered that apart from the famous 18th century Miag-ao Church, old watchtowers and bridges in the town proper, the upland barangays have tourist spots that most tourists could not reach due to lack of road networks. Thereat are waterfalls, unique rock formations, mysterious caves, a hidden lake and magnificent rice terraces.

There’s the Tinagong Dagat, a hidden lake within the forest of Barangay Ongyod.  At 3,000 feet above sea level, this mysterious lake is said to be ten times bigger than an ordinary swimming pool.

“Transforming them into accessible tourist destinations,” Moragas said, “would be on top of my agenda if elected mayor.”