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An advocate of responding to social concerns

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Photo from www.omlopezcenter.org

Oscar Moreno Lopez, a renowned businessman and president and chairman of First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPHC) has made a name in the Philippine business community. More than the successes for which FPHC has attained, however, Mr. Lopez also endeavored in helping address the country’s social concerns, as seen in his leadership of foundations that sought to respond to the needs of communities, as well as preserve and enrich the country’s art and culture.

The Eugenio Lopez Foundation, where Mr. Lopez served as chairman and president, houses the Lopez Museum and Library. The museum consists of local collections including items belonging to Jose Rizal and artworks from Juan Luna and Felix Hidalgo, and thousands of art collections as well. As an honor to continue the legacy of its founder Don Eugenio Lopez, Sr., the foundation was established to support, promote, and improve Filipino art and culture.

The foundation also has programs that focus on helping individuals understand and appreciate local art, namely the Culture and Art Education Program, which provides diverse workshops and discussions on art and culture, and the Conversation Program, which carries out conservation research and analysis of artworks and digitization of art resources.

Another social and charitable organization where Mr. Lopez served is the Lopez Group Foundation, Inc. (LFGI). As the corporate social responsibility arm of the Lopez Group of companies, LFGI supervises the group’s CSR programs, which involved addressing issues from the energy, real estate, communication, and manufacturing industry.

According to the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC), the foundation accomplishes its goals through partnership and CSR initiatives in order to promote and preserve cultural heritage.

Recently, LGFI is putting these into action by incorporating volunteerism and scholarships. For instance, the foundation’s programs include livelihood assistance, scholarships, training of families and persons with disabilities, and donations for facilities. Moreover, the establishment of LGFI aligns with the principle and ideals of the Lopez family, which values nationalism and public service.

Perhaps his most notable social contribution is the Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation, Inc., more known as the OML Center, in 2012. He envisioned this organization as “an institution that would support the generation of the science and technology needed for building resilient communities.”

Among the center’s programs include Project Upturn, which intends to create an inventory of local climate adaptation practices in the country; Sea Level Rise Project, which aims to equip decision-makers in coastal cities with practical information to help their communities adapt to climate change’s impact on rising sea levels; and the Climate Resilience Challenge, a regular search for solutions that build and enhance the country’s climate resilience.

In a speech on “Professional Ethics for Strategic Leaders” delivered in 2012, which can be accessed via lopez-holdings.ph, Mr. Lopez stressed how crucial it is for companies to uphold social responsibility and help solve social and environmental issues.

“Any business, can only survive for as long as it is able to serve the needs of society in a manner that is accepted by society as legitimate and valuable,” he said.

“For the Lopez Family, it has never been about the wealth or the money. Rather, it has been about having businesses that will endure and outlast us, businesses able to serve the needs of society in an honest and legitimate way. This is why we are so particular about our value system, our so-called Lopez Way,” he added.

“Without that anchor, without the stabilizing influence of a value system that embodies our history and the legacy of those who have preceded us, we would not be able to think long-term; we would not be able to think strategically. This, ultimately, is the value of ethical principles, in strategic leadership.” — Angela Kiara S. Brillantes

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