Celso: BPI is with Zambo in best, worst of times PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 August 2012 14:18

Mayor Celso Lobregat on Friday night highly praised executives of the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) and the Ayala Corporation for “showing to the whole world that BPI is behind Zamboanga City in the best of times and the worst of times”.

The mayor was extremely heartened and pleased with the visit of Fernando Zobel de Ayala, a business tycoon from the prominent Ayala-Zobel family and Vice chairman of Ayala Corporation and BPI top executives led by President Aurelio Montinola III to Zamboanga City to grace the centennial anniversary of the BPI-Zamboanga- main branch Friday night despite the twin blasts that rocked the city the night before.

The mayor could not help but publicly express his gratitude and appreciation to Zobel, the BPI family and the Ayala Corporation for not standing side by side with the people of Zamboanga in times of suffering.

He lamented that the twin blasts in Zamboanga Thursday night once again forced Zamboanguenos to take a step backward and had Mr. Zobel and the other BPI executives cancelled their trip to the city the following day, it would have been “adding more pain to the suffering of the Zamboanguenos”.

“I would like to thank all of you for showing to the whole world that BPI and Ayala Corporation is really behind the City of Zamboanga”, Mayor Lobregat said referring to Zobel, Montinola and other BPI executives and guests from Manila during the program marking BPI-Zamboanga’s 100th anniversary Friday night. “They are not just expressing in words that they have gone here and been here, but their show of concern and show of support is sending us a very, very strong message that they are with us in the best of times and the worst of times”.

Being mayor of Zamboanga, he stressed, is not an easy task given the complexities of the city’s uniqueness in location and cultural ethnicity “but as city mayor of Zamboanga, I have to bring about the good, the positive, the best and the beautiful of Zamboanga”.

“Let us mire and wallow and look at the bad and the negative, the ugly and the worst and that is why I would like to thank Fernando Zobel de Ayala and the others because today is not only a celebration of one hundred years of BPI in Zamboanga, today is a celebration and a triumph of good over bad, of the positive over the negative, of the best as compared to the worst and the beautiful and not the ugly”, he declared.

He continued: “Those two incidents last night forced us to take not only one but two steps backward but with your presence today, you are helping us take one, two, three and even ten steps forward. For every step backward that we take and we are forced to take—let us take 10 steps forward”.

The BPI-Zamboanga main branch at N.S. Valderroza Street, established in 1912, was the second provincial branch after Ilo-ilo. The location used to be the residence of the Barrios and Paredes clans and was also a one-time residence of Gen. John Black Pershing.

The centennial celebration Friday was a very touching and moving event with special highlights such as the coronation of the Lady of the Pilar at Fort Pilar, inauguration of the museum and the unveiling of the marker.

Aside from Mr. Zobel de Ayala and Mr. Montinola, the star studded event was also graced by BPI Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Gil Buenaventura, House Deputy Speaker and District I Representative Beng Climaco, National Historical Commission Chairperson Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, DOT Undersecretary Jose Capistrano, NHC Executive Director Carminda Arevalo, Spanish Embassy Honorary Consul Ramon Balaguer and BPI senior vice presidents and Ayala Corporation executives and a host of others.

On the other hand, Mayor Lobregat said BPI-Zamboanga main’s centennial celebration recalls the birth of the country’s oldest banking institution to have withstood the time and witnessed the growth of Zamboanga City from the American occupation to the present time.

“In short, BPI and Zamboanga stood side-by-side as history unfolded. The bank has seen our community develop from a small town of calesas and wooded houses to the bustling modern city that it is today,” he said.

He attested that the bank has grown and outgrown leaps and bounds and has never changed its cultural identity that is truly Zamboangueño and endemic to Zamboanga. “I am referring to this BPI Zamboanga Main Building, which is distinctively unique—having antique teller’s cages, old floorings and the like, are still reflective of the old Zamboanga. This bank is also unique in the sense that it remains the repository of a religious relic of item, the crown of the Virgin Mary.”

After 100 years, the mayor added, “the BPI Zamboanga Main continues to be the leader of the banking services in the city, leading innovations and championing the trust and confidence of its growing number of clients.” — Sheila Covarrubias