One of the few good men

I had the honour of meeting Mr Endriga two years ago when working for a client, an Australian credit bureau seeking to expand in the Philippines. At that time, he was the President and CEO of the Credit Information Corporation (CIC), the credit bureau created by the CISA of 2008. During that period I found a man with a sense of mission in laying the ground work for the huge task of setting up a national credit bureau. Despite all the challenges faced, he took all things in stride. Above all, he did his job with a strong sense of governance without any signs of favour or compromise. I recently approached him to help me in a new business venture by being one of my business advisers for which I am grateful he has accepted. I am confident there is much we can still learn from the wealth of his business experience, skills and knowledge as well as his strong values for good governance and service to the community.

 

From BusinessWorld Philippines

August 05, 2014

Bal Endriga, hometown hero

LIKE HIS REVERED boss Washington Sycip, Baltazar Endriga firmly believes that human development is the most important thing in countryside development. Largely self-made, Bal has built upon the work begun by his father who founded the Libagon Academy, their hometown’s first school to offer high school education. Upon his retirement as managing director of Andersen Consulting, formerly the computer consulting arm of the SGV Group, Bal Endriga devoted much of his energy and personal funds to enhance human capital in his hometown of Libagon, Southern Leyte. His siblings and cousins have contributed to the family commitment to improve life for the 15,000 people in this 5th-class town.

His father Felix Baltazar Endriga had left Libagon as a teenager after having spent four years in Grade 4, since that was the highest level in the local school system. He stowed away on a boat to become a street sweeper in Cebu City. From there he managed to go to Manila where he got himself an education doing odd jobs, including working as a houseboy for a former Thomasite educator who agreed to let him go to night school. When he had completed his college education, the elder Endriga returned home and established, with the help of the Bishop of Southern Leyte, the Libagon Academy, a private Catholic school which offered a complete high school. Felix Baltazar Endriga served as principal of Libagon Academy for the rest of his active life.

Bal and his family have taken over the school. His cousin Victor donated two new school buildings. Bal and his siblings provide 80 scholarships in the school, of which he is now the president and principal. Because his energy level seems boundless despite two heart valve replacements in the 1990s, he attends to this hometown work while running an accounting firm with his partners in Manila. Simultaneously, he serves as the president of Meridian College of Business & the Arts in McKinley Hill, Taguig. He makes it a point to travel to Libagon once or twice a month to attend to his commitment to Libagon Academy.

In addition, to generate employment, Bal Endriga has also established a resort hotel in his hometown. The construction of the resort hotel employed up to 150 persons, by making much of it manual work, including the transport of sand and gravel. To this day, 30 employees tend to the cultivation and maintenance of the gardens, the swimming pool, the Jacuzzi, the restaurant café, and the air-conditioned hotel guest rooms complete with television and wifi. Visiting overseas workers and their friends now have a comfortable place to stay. Dorm-style facilities offer lower-cost options for seminars. Bal thinks that the exposure to urban amenities and modern facilities is good for the people of Libagon. He also makes sure they are environmentally responsible for the facilities and surroundings of the resort. He has brought in trainers in hotel and restaurant management to upgrade the skills and service orientations of their hotel employees. Most of the workers are graduates of the Libagon Academy.

The Endrigas seem to excel in their chosen professions. His brother Jose became vice-president of the University of the Philippines. His cousin Victor is treasurer of Quezon City, which is now the richest local government unit in the country. Now his niece Tita Endriga Caluya is the national president of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA).

After working his way through college and landing among the top ten in the CPA exams, Bal applied for a scholarship from the SC Johnson and Co., and went for an MBA from no less than the Harvard Business School. Since his SC Johnson grant was for one year, he got a student loan for the second year and worked in New York as a systems analyst for 2 years to pay for his student loan.

In the 1970s, information technology had entered the mainstream. Then SGV Chairman Roberto V. Ongpin offered him a job at SGV where he was put in charge of bringing computer systems into their accounting and auditing services. He is also responsible for the establishment of IACT, the information technology training arm of the SGV Group.

When he retired from the SGV Group, and later from spun-off Andersen Consulting, Bal became president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. During this time, he arranged for a performance of the musical Kabayao couple in Libagon, which for the first time enabled the Libagon folk to enjoy classical music right there in their hometown, in their own hotel pavilion. He also asked Andrea Veneracion of the Madrigal Singers to train a local choral group and Ramon Obusan to train the local folk dance troupe. These led to many special events which were held in the Libagon resort-hotel. Bal Endriga later set up the computerization of the central depository for stock market transactions which has become the Philippine Dealing System. He also served as president of the University of the East. Like his father before him, Bal Endriga is a committed educator.

Valedictorians and salutatorians of Libagon Academy can go on to college in Manila with tuition and living scholarships provided by Bal Endriga until their college graduation. They are offered housing in the old Endriga home in Sampaloc and provided with tuition and transportation money. Some of these college graduates have done quite well. Two have become CPAs, one is treasurer of Cagayan de Oro City, another is chief accountant of a government-owned or -controlled corporation, and still another is a computer professional at Hewlett Packard.

Why does he do these things? Bal says he considers it a moral obligation. Inclusive growth, he says is not just the job of the government. Given the huge gap between the rich and the poor in our country, those who have been blessed with good fortune, because of a good education, must do their share. Bal Endriga says people who have made good in the big city should invest in sustainable development in their hometowns. Human capital, he says, is the best investment they can make. God bless Bal Endriga and his family. May their tribe increase!

Teresa S. Abesamis is a former professor at the Asian Institute of Management and an independent development management consultant.

tsabesamis0114@yahoo.com

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Bal Endriga, hometown hero&id=92187

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