Capitol: The Source of Legends

Capitol: The Source of Legends

February 1, 2009 Historical 0

A Definitive Chronicle of JCI Quezon City Capitol’s First Decade

by JCI Sen. Reginald T. Yu, ITF 101.

The year Nineteen Hundred and Sixty-one was a year when the White House became a “Camelot”, lasers were developed, Soviets built the Berlin Wall, and the “space race” officially began.

In a tense yet hope-filled time, these were the events that dominated conversation and invited history’s scrutiny. But history has a long eye, and it is quite possible that in Junior Chamber International’s vision, 1961’s most fateful rendezvous took place in the most unlikely of places, having lived for years in young men’s hearts and minds.

That event was the beginning of a LEGEND. And it all happened with the formation of the Junior Chamber International of Quezon City.

The seeds of this story began with a few enterprising JCI members from different local organizations were engaged in an informal conversation during an induction ceremony in Marikina in December of 1959. Benjamin “Ben” M. Lopez, a member of JCI Cabanatuan, who was already based in Manila due to his growing real estate business, casually threw an idea to Jesus “Jess” T. Tanchango, a member of JCI Manila and Mariano “Mar” C. Almeida, then a new JCI member of JCI Marikina, about the possibility of forming a local organization in Quezon City. The notion ignited and excited response among the two individuals, as they brimmed with the thoughts of establishing a JCI chapter in the heart of the country’s capital at that time.

Since it was no small undertaking to organize a new JCI chapter, it took another year before the groundwork really started. However, the thought turned into action as Ben Lopez, Jess Tanchango, and Mar Almeida frequently communicated with each other on the plans and proposals and, with the tacit approval of their respective chapter leaders, started contacting for possible members to constitute with this new chapter. The seeds of this endeavour began to bear fruit in 1960 when JCI Philippines National President Gregorio L. Araneta II and JCI Manila President Benjardy M. Crame lent their resources to ensure the success of this undertaking.

On February 1, 1961, the spark that ignited the engine became a full blown dynamo. After almost two years of preparation, “Junior Chamber International of Quezon City” was formally organized at Eugene’s Restaurant in Cubao, Quezon City. The organizing committee was headed by Alfredo L. Lingad, Chairman of the Extension Committee of JCI Manila. Other JCI members of the team included Mariano C. Almeida, Mariano P. Sta. Ana, Benjamin M. Lopez, Rodolfo P. Francisco, and Paul B. Naidas.

On that day, twenty-six energetic young men from different backgrounds graced the first orientation and organisational meeting, eventually forming the nucleus of the new chapter as its founding members, among them were: Alfredo R. Abes Jr., Agapito A. Aquino, Bernardo O. Armeña, William H. Bayhon, Jose S. Concepcion, Jr., Oscar A. Inocentes, Guillermo E. de Joya, Angelo King, Augusto L. de Leon, Vicente O. Novales, Paulino G. Pe, Jesus. P. Perlas, Jr., Ernesto M. Sanvictores, William G. Shau, Enrique P. Syquia, Eduardo M. Taylor Jr. and Primitivo D. Vinoya.

During the meeting, the first set of officers were elected to form its charter board of directors, as follows: Jose S. Concepcion, Jr. (President), Angelo A. King (Executive Vice President), Enrique P. Syquia (Vice President for External Affairs), Agapito A. Aquino  (Vice President for Internal Affairs), Eduardo M. Taylor, Jr. (Secretary), Rodolfo P. Francisco (Treasurer), and Mariano P. Sta. Ana (Auditor).

Jose “Joe” Concepcion Jr., then General Manager and Assistant Treasurer for Republic Flour Mills, Incorporated, was not familiar with the workings of Junior Chamber. His twin, Raul, already served as an active member of JCI Manila since 1956 and even served as National Secretary-General of JCI Philippines in 1958-1959. But because he was already being groomed to assume the mantle of his family’s growing business enterprise, he had put off joining the JCI organization until he was ready.

On Feb. 28, 1961, the chapter’s Articles of Incorporation was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission with the corporate name of the “THE JUNIOR CHAMBER OF QUEZON CITY, INC. (QC Capitol).”

The character officers, headed by Jose S. Concepcion, Jr., were inducted on May 1961 at the Wack-Wack Golf and Country club with Senate President Gil J. Puyat as guest speaker, Consolidated Bank and Trust Company President Wilfrido S. Tecson, then President of JCI Manila, acted as sponsor with JCI Philippines dignitaries, led by National President Ramon M. Osmeña, and Luzon Area Vice-President Amalio A. de Jesus Jr. of JCI Tarlac, in attendance. In its first year, the chapter immediately gained international recognition when “Operation Water Lily” — a project aimed to clear tons of water lilies clogging the city sewers — led by Chairman Jose. N. Senecida, won the Humanitarian Act award during the 16th JCI World Congress in Puerto Rico on Oct. 8, 1961.

The following year, Angelo “Angie” A. King, another charter member working as a business executive at Pacific Glass Company, was elected to the presidency. Flushed with the victory over the success of its charter year, its new set of officers was committed to go even further. During his term, numerous projects were undertaken; the most prominent of which was the chapter’s hosting of the Luzon Area Conference held at the PHILAM Life Compound Auditorium. During this year, membership in JCI QC Capitol reached more than a hundred regulars from the original twenty-two.

In 1963, Agapito “Butz” A. Aquino, an executive at Fiberglass, Incorporated, was elected president. Hailing from the prominent Aquino clan in Tarlac, he brought with him the necessary leadership gravitas to the chapter, despite being only twenty-four years old – the youngest ever to assume the presidency – upon his election to the chapter’s highest post. During his term, a gigantic fund-raising project was undertaken by JCI Quezon City Capitol. The proceeds of this project enabled the local organization to construct the covered basketball court behind the present chapter headquarters. To trim down overhead, his term dropped inactive and non-paying members from the official roster.

During this year, two members of JCI Quezon City Capitol served in the JCI Philippines national organization for the first time, in the persons of Eduardo “Danding” M. Taylor Jr. as National Secretary-General and Angelo “Angie” King as National Treasurer.

The following year, Jesus “Jess” P. Perlas Jr, an engineer and a young sales executive at the Armco International Sales Corporation, was elected to administer the local organization. During this year, projects were geared toward youth development, such as the creation of the Leadership Training Institute, which sowed the seeds for the creation of a Youth Center for the underprivileged who could not afford to go to school. It was during this term that the chapter audaciously campaigned and successfully placed one of their own – Angie King – to occupy the national presidency of JCI Philippines for the first time. It was a bitter-sweet victory, as they won over a candidate from their sponsoring chapter – JCI Manila, in the person of Salvador V. del Rosario, the immediate past president of JCI Manila.

The year 1965 saw the first non-charter member assume the helm of this growing organization. Donato “Doni” T. Pangilinan Jr., a successful engineer and contractor who setup his own construction firm, D.T. Pangilinan Construction Company, was elected unopposed to be the fifth president of Capitol. Under his auspices, the chapter’s unity and “go-go” action became a rallying symbol and the number of projects increased dramatically. Innovative youth projects were undertake; while community development projects like the “Operations Combat,” a three-in-one project extending medical, dental and legal work project in the squatters’ areas of Quezon City, were first introduced to the public. Other new projects were pioneered during this period, such as the “Travel Philippines Caravan” to Baguio City, the Junior Scooter Derby, and Quarterly Debates between the senior members and the new blood members. During the 17th JCI Philippines National Convention in Iloilo City, JCI Quezon City Capitol again made history by capturing the national presidency for the second year in a row, in the person of Jess Perlas.

In 1966, Arturo “Art” M. Sanvictores, a business executive at Sea Commercial Company, Incorporated, was elected president for the year. Espousing modest principles, he shunned the traditional expensive induction ceremonies for the first time, and humbly joined nine other JCI local organizations in the metropolitan region for a mass joint induction held at the Rizal Provincial Capitol Auditorium. Throughout the year, he worked to observe an aggressive fund-raising program, while pursuing a policy of austerity in chapter expenses. His vision paid off: the year of Art Sanvictores is remembered as a year that raised funds to build the present chapter headquarters in E. Delos Santos Avenue, Quezon City. Under the leadership of Luis I. Ablaza, a sizeable amount was raised by the chapter by way of a house and lot raffle. On the international front, JCI Quezon City Capitol sent the biggest delegation to the 21st World Congress, which also marked the signing of the first “Operation Exchange Students” – an exchange visit program by children of JCI members from Capitol and JCI Chiba of Japan. Another memorable project was the “Handicap Uplift” program, a fund-raising endeavor where money coming from the proceeds of an auction sale were used to assist physically-challenged children through charitable projects. Finally, a “Come See the Philippines” program was instituted jointly by the International Relations and Public Relations Committees, with Augusto “Gus” Toledo as project chair, where no less than 400 pieces of 45rpm record disks bearing Philippine promotional songs were given to the delegates of national organizations who attended the 21st JCI World Congress in Kyoto, Japan on November 7, 1966. At this time, new heights in international recognition were achieved by JCI Quezon City Capitol when Jess Perlas was elected JCI Vice President for Operations during the said Kyoto World Congress.

Addressing a lack of active membership participation in many of the chapter’s projects was the focus of the 1967 board of directors, headed by President Bernardo “Benny” Armeña, a structural engineer working for Erectors, Incorporated. During this year, the chapter adopted the JCI tenet, “Earth’s Great Treasure Lies in Human Personality,” as its theme for the year – a first for Capitol. The construction of the Youth Center Building in Quezon City became the administration’s flagship undertaking. The year also marked the increase in general membership and the implementation of new projects, such as the seminar for small business held at the University of the Philippines Asian Labor Education Center and the “Operations Quick Count” for city elective officials. It was also during this year that Capitol again ventured into putting up a candidate for JCI Philippines National Presidency and won in the person of Agapito “Butz” Aquino, who, in turn, commissioned fellow members, Juanito “Sonny” T. Ventura and Johnny C. Aruego, National Secretary-General and National Treasurer, respectively. For the first time, a Filipino in the person of Jess Perlas won the “Most Outstanding Jaycee in Asia” during the 16th Multi-Nation Conference in South Korea on April16, 1967.

The following year, 1968, Luis “Louie” C. Quedding, a self-employed geodetic engineer, was elected unopposed to the chapter presidency. Louie’s main project was to finish the construction of the chapter headquarters and transfer the secretariat operations, a program he was able to implement in the early months of his administration. His term concentrated on leadership development and community projects, which included debates, mock conventions, extemporaneous speaking contests among members and the spreading out of the “Operations Combat” mission to the various districts of the city. His efforts were rewarded when during the 20th JCI Philippines National Convention in Cebu City, where Capitol won national awards for Community Development and for Leadership Development. It was also in 1968 when the chapter signed a brotherhood pact with members of JCI Taipei for the first time. For the second time, another member of the chapter, in the person of Butz Aquino, was elected as JCI VP for Operation during the 23rd JCI World Congress in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Despite adopting the theme, “Government Should Be of Laws Rather than of Men,” the year 1969 was remembered as JCI Quezon City Capitol’s “international year.” Capitol, under the leadership of President Estanislao “Naning” G. Alinea Jr., a lawyer and business executive connected with Transrite Philippines. Under his term, Capitol sent one of the biggest Philippine delegations ever to the 18th JCI Multi-Nation Conference in Kaohsiung, Taiwan; had a fruitful cooperative dialogue with JCI Taipei; visited JCI Chiba Jaycees for their annual exchange program; sent a goodwill group in Jakarta, Singapore, Bangkok and Cambodia and signed a brotherhood pact with JCI Singapore. Another significant undertaking during his administration was the sponsorship of a “Seminar on Stock Certificates,” which won an Individual Development Award during the 24th JCI World Congress in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Rosito “Chito” C. Manhit was elected as JCI Philippines’ Vice President for the Metropolitan Region during this time.

Businessman and lawyer, Edgardo “Ed” E. Tumangan, who was connected with Insurance Adjusters, Incorporated, was elected President of JCI Quezon City Capitol in 1970. Aiming to raise the level of public awareness of the chapter even higher and instilling in its members the importance of becoming involved with the relevant issues of the day, the chapter leadership embarked on a series of programs aimed to encourage active participation in the on-going Philippine Constitutional Convention, where delegates to the said convention were invited as guest speakers during their general membership meetings; and sponsored debates on key constitutional issues. It also continued its string of traditional programs, successfully implementing projects in the community, such as “Operations Combat,” as well as relief projects to disaster-stricken areas in Quezon City after the onslaught of super typhoon “Yoling.” During this year, JCI Quezon City Capitol again received the prestigious Individual Development Award for its “Asian Trade and Goodwill Mission and Seminar and Investment Project” at the 25th JCI World Congress in Dublin, Ireland.

In 1971, entrepreneur and Massachussetts Institute of Technology-trained engineer David “Dave” C. Chua-Unsu, was elected as the chapter’s 10th president.Under his watch, JCI Quezon City Capitol embarked on an ambitious series of projects aimed to bolster their theme, “Service to Humanity is the Best Work of Life.” Memorable projects included the extension of new chapters, JCI Cainta and JCI Las Piñas; the opening of the Trade and Cultural Fair at the Araneta Center; the hosting of “Leadership-in-Action” seminars; the hosting of JCI World President Graham Sinclair during his Philippine visit; the organization of the 7th Annual Junior Scooter Derby; and the deputizing of the members of JCI Quezon City Capitol as “Citizen Policemen” by Quezon City Mayor Norberto S. Amoranto.

The term perhaps bore one of the most fruits in Capitol’s decade-long history. For the first time, JCI Quezon City Capitol was awarded the “Most Outstanding Chapter in Asia;” Dave Chua-Unsu was conferred “Most Outstanding JCI Member in Asia” during the 20th JCI Multi-Nation Conference in Singapore; as well as the “Most Outstanding Chapter President” for Dave Chua-Unsu during the Metropolitan Conference in 1971. The chapter also merited a second place finish for “Best Publication” during the 26th JCI World Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii and a national ward for Extension and Membership during the 23rd JCI Philippines National Convention in Bacolod.

Indeed, the first ten years of JCI Quezon City Capitol earned – without an iota of a doubt – the moniker, “The Chapter with a Legend.” In its later years – as it did in its first ten – Capitol has spectacularly turned whatever it touched into a noteworthy cause. To be involved in difficult issues with difficult goals lifts it up. Over the years, it has transformed itself as a promoter with a global mission, a throwback to the kind of altruistic zealot which its members believed unblushingly that their organization is a force for good in the world. And maybe, if they just continue to get everyone pulling together and persuade skeptics that the impossible can be done, then maybe it does stand a chance of being the stuff that legends are made of.

(Article was originally printed from the “Legends: JCI Quezon City Capitol 48th Anniversary” book jointly produced by Kadena Press Foundation, GPV Printing Ventures, Cor Asia Inc and FCL Asia Inc.)