My father Joecon and his twin brother Tito Ronnie Concepcion turned 80 last December 29. What a milestone it has been for the both of them. We, the family, are very proud, especially because of what they have contributed to society, leaving their mark in history through their respective advocacies. They have certainly left us all with very big shoes to fill.
My dad, Jose Concepcion, Jr., is known for many roles: an RFM pioneer, DTI Secretary, senatorial candidate, founder of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines Awards, and, especially, as founder of the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel). Out of all the roles he assumed, I am proudest of two: that he helped set up and build RFM; and that he upheld democracy and fair elections as well as ignited the patriotic spirit of Filipinos through Namfrel, which would help bring about the ousting of a dictator. Namfrel would convene millions of Filipinos who have become apprehensive of President Marcos’s abuse of power, and later, would lead to the 1986 Edsa Revolution.
For all of us eight children, Dad is our biggest inspiration, and we try to live by the values and morals he set by example all his life. This is why each of us also tries to give back to society in our own little way. With Go Negosyo, I hope to keep that candle of hope lit through the advocacy of entrepreneurship, to empower Filipinos and help them fight poverty.
Tito Ronnie is 10 minutes younger than my dad. As my father played part in building RFM, it would be Tito Ronnie who would help my grandfather Jose Concepcion, Sr. in building Concepcion Industries, Inc (CII). Tito Ronnie brought CII to where it is today, which is celebrating its 50th founding anniversary, and whose Carrier air conditioners and Condura refrigerators are number one in the market. CII is the only local appliance company and the fact that it can beat global brands is a testament to Tito Ronnie’s vision, foresight, dedication and hard work. What he is most proud of though is his work as a consumer advocate through the Consumer Oil Price Watch (COPW) which he founded.
For almost four decades now, spanning six Philippine presidents, he has worked tirelessly to make our country a better place. The legacy he passes on to his children is the value of a good name, passion for excellence, and giving back to the country.
My cousins, the children of Tito Ronnie, have been close to us as we grew up together in a compound at the corner of Taft and Edsa, which today stands as the family mall. We did have our humble beginnings, and this was how we bonded quite well. Today, we still continue to have a good working relationship. My cousin Ton is now the President of Condura, and he and his siblings are taking Tito Ronnie’s legacy to heart, promoting their own advocacies such as the Condura Skyway Marathon, an environmental advocacy, and the Hero Foundation, an organization that provides support to the children of soldiers who are killed-in-action or are permanently incapacitated while in combat duty.
For all of us, Dad and Tito Ronnie are our heroes. And even to this day, at 80 years of age, they continue to inspire us to be instruments of change to give others a better life.