The Roberto Aboitiz legacy lives on after his passing
CEBU’S business icon Roberto Eduardo “Bobby” Aboitiz may have passed on, but government and business leaders believe his legacy will forever be remembered.
Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, who paid his respects to the bereaved family on Monday, said Aboitiz was someone everyone should look up to.
“He was a Cebuano at heart. He reached out to those who had less in life and helped (them),” Davide said in interview at the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Cebu City, where the urn containing Aboitiz’s ashes was displayed for viewing in the morning before the interment in the afternoon.
Davide was among the local and business leaders who came to the public viewing to extend their condolences to Aboitiz’s wife Maria Christina and their four children — Amaya, Anna, Tristan and Carlos.
Only family members and relatives were allowed to attend the burial at the Cebu Memorial Park in Cebu City at 4 p.m. yesterday. Aboitiz was the president of the family-led Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi) since 1986.
He passed away in Manila last Thursday at the age of 67. He was chairman of the listed company Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) from 2005 to 2008.
He also served as director of AEV and Tsuneishi Heavy Industries Cebu Incorporated.
Davide, who worked with Aboitiz in the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) where they sat as chairman and co-chairman, respectively, said the Mega Cebu vision would not have been established without Aboitiz.
Mega Cebu, which is a consortium of 13 cities and municipalities in Cebu, regional line agencies and private and civil society organizations, envisions sustained urban growth in Metro Cebu up to 2050.
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who also came to extend her condolences, said Aboitiz was an inspiration.
“He did a lot for Cebu and the Cebuanos. Project Our Cebu, which was aimed at making Cebu an ideal place to live, visit and invest, was his baby,” she said.
Magpale said Aboitiz was a very humble man despite his stature and wealth.
The Aboitiz family was among Forbes’ richest families in Asia last year, with a net worth of $5 billion.
At the same time, Forbes Philippines named the Aboitizes as the most generous among the country’s richest families in March 2016, reportedly investing around P793.9 million in philanthropic projects through Rafi and the Aboitiz Foundation, the foundation of the Aboitiz Group of Companies.
Lawyer Augusto Go, University of Cebu president, said he fondly remembers Aboitiz back when they asked him to be a member of the Sacred Heart School Ateneo de Cebu Board of Trustees.
“He willingly accepted our offer and later on became the chairman of the school,” Go recounted.
Go said Sacred Heart is now what it is today, with the new campus, buildings and high quality of education, because of Aboitiz’s expertise and brilliance.
“We sorrowfully remember him,” said Go.
Aboitiz also served as trustee of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) from 1995 to 1997.
CCCI president Melanie Ng said he will deeply be missed, but his legacy shall live on.
“We shall continue the great work that he has started for our beloved Cebu,” she said.
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