Businessman Urges Fil Ams To Preserve PH Economic Gains

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – One of the more unassuming but high-profile business names in the Filipino American community in Chicagoland has proposed the setting up of a “foundation” that will preserve the economic gains of incumbent President Noynoy Aquino government.

In an interview with this reporter, Edilberto C. Ortiz, C.P.A., managing partner of his own eponymous E.C. Ortiz & Co., LLP, an accounting firm, said, “I don’t have any concrete mechanism of a foundation in mind but it would not hurt if a discussion of preserving the gains mentioned by Philippine Consul General Leo M. Herrera-Lim in his speech will be pursued.”

Ortiz, whose company is listed as one of the largest 25 accounting firms in Chicago area, admitted that he is not up-to-date with current political events in the Philippines. But the town mate of the late Sen. Blas Ople from Hagonoy, Bulacan said, “if it is true that the Philippine government is making unprecedented economic gains, then by all means they (the gains) should be preserved even long after President Aquino is gone.”

An alumnus of Manila-based Far Eastern University, Ortiz’s company, which handles the Illinois Lottery account, is listed by Reference U.S.A. as having 81 employees with $9.3-Million in sales as of October 2013. His company is also listed by weekly Crain’s Chicago Business as No. 23 among Chicago’s largest 25 accounting firms.

Ortiz was founding president of the Philippine Certified Public Accountants of Greater Chicago (PCPAGC), which celebrated its 40th anniversary dinner ball at Hilton Hotel O’Hare Rosemont in Illinois last Saturday, Nov. 2nd, where Consul General Herrera-Lim delivered his remarks.

In his speech, Consul General Herrera-Lim lauded the members of PCPAGC for “showing the best of the Philippines — in talents, skill and values.  You are preferred accountants by many firms, institutions, entrepreneurs and professionals not only because you possess American-oriented education and training, but more importantly you approach the calling of your profession with unequalled sense of integrity and honesty.

“And many of you have unselfishly shared your time and resources to mentor the young minds who have aspired to follow your footsteps.  You have also filled the cups of those who have less in life.  Definitely not learned within the four walls of classrooms but ingrained from your own respective life experiences.

MARY LOU PIER DELIVERS REMARKS

Herrera-Lim, a Philippine lawyer by profession, also inducted into office the incoming officers of PCPAGC led by President-elect Cedric Mudlong and board members for 2014-2015 during the event, where Mary Lou Pier, President of Pier & Associates, Ltd., also delivered remarks. Pier was preceded by outgoing PCPAGC President Lucy A. Macabenta, who delivered welcome remarks. In his inaugural address, Mudlong asked the help of all PCPAGC members and friends to fulfill the programs of his upcoming administration.

Consul General Herrera-Lim added, “The past months have been great for the Philippine economy.  Our first quarter growth of 7.8% and 7.5% in the second quarter makes the Philippines the fastest growing economy of Asia.  The stock market returned 33% to the faithful investors last year, one of the highest gains worldwide.  The peso has appreciated 5% against the (U.S.) dollar during the past 12 months, of course, to the chagrin of exporters and remitters. Tourist arrivals have breached the four million mark for the first time in our country’s history. Tax collection grew by 14.5%.

“Government has narrowed down the budget deficit from 3.5% of GDP in 2010 to 2.3% in 2012.  Our debt-to-GDP ratio is amongst the lowest in Asia at around 50%.

“Last week, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group made public its latest report on the dramatic jump by the Philippines of 30 rungs in Its Ease of Doing Business Report.   It is now ranked 108th amongst 189 countries. We had significant gains in the categories of Resolving Insolvency (up 65 places), Getting Credit (up 43 places), Getting Electricity (up 24), Paying Taxes (up 12), and Trading Across Borders (up 11).  Our rise was the highest worldwide and the country’s biggest gain in the past 11 years.

“About three months ago, the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Report also raised the Philippine’s ranking six places to number 59 in the world.”

The Consul General hopes the Filipino Americans will “build upon the good image you have done for yourselves”; “strengthen your linkage with our motherland:” keep the current level of remittances for “ad-hoc medical care of sick relatives, education support for children” to the tune of US$23-billion annually, two thirds or $1-B of this amount coming from the U.S.; and keep on sending gifts and medicines thru Balikbayan boxes, and invest and visit the Philippines and be a dual citizen.”

Master of ceremony Andy Justo, 1979-1981 president of PCPAGC, also welcomed some guests, including, Joseph G. Lariosa of Fil Am Extra Exchange, who recently won the Plaridel Award for investigative and in-depth reporting from Philippine American Press Club U.S.A. (PAPC) of San Francisco, California, and an Internet email group, Daring Old Men (DOM’s), whose members include Nestor Galimba, Don Azarias, and PCPAGC members Jesse “Deb” Farrales and Bart SG. Tubalinal, Jr.

The event also featured the presentation of Founders and Past Presidents.

National anthems were led by Tony Silvano and Stella Santos while invocation was delivered by Past PCPAGC President Adeling Vegara. Entertainment was provided by Rumba by Nine Couples Boni and Rhodora Cava, choreographers.

Past PCPAGC President Art Dilay closed the ceremonies with brief remarks.

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PHOTO CAPTIONS AND CREDIT

E.C. DOES IT – Edilberto C. Ortiz, managing partner of E.C. Ortiz & Co., LLP, urges the youth to take up accounting, a profession, he describes as “very good to me,” as he introduces Mary Lou Pier, President of Pier & Associates, Ltd., as guest speaker during the 40th dinner ball anniversary celebration of the Philippine Certified Public Accountants of Greater Chicago (PCPAGC) (FAXX/jGLi Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

SCHOLARSHIP AWARDEE – A young student (center) receives a scholarship award from the outgoing PCPAGC President Lucy A. Macabenta (second from right).  Looking on from left are founding PCPAGC President Edilberto C. Ortiz, Mary Lou Pier, President of Pier & Associates, Ltd., and former PCPAGC President Art Dilay. (FAXX/jGLi Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

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