MANILA, December 17, 2003  (STAR) The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (CREBA) praised yesterday the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople who passed away last week, for earlier supporting its campaign for building a thriving global market for the local real estate and housing industry.

The CREBA statement issued by national president Florentino S. Dulalia Jr. follows:

"It is with deep sorrow that we received the news about the death of Secretary of Foreign Affairs Blas F. Ople while on a mission abroad with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

"Secretary Ople has served the Filipino nation well and in an outstanding way in the numerous public offices he has occupied, first as the Secretary of Labor, later as a Commissioner in the Constitutional Commission that drafted the present Constitution, and then as a Senator of the land. His voice was heard loud and clear: and he thus made his mark in the output of the Convention and the Senate.

"On top of all this, however, we in CREBA cannot but remember Secretary Ople’s most recent contribution to one of the Chamber’s missions. Upon our representations, Secretary Ople formally enjoined Philippine embassy and consular offices to go all out in support of our efforts to establish and maintain a strong link with the real estate market abroad.

"In organizing the CREBA International Federation as the main organ of such global market campaign for the local industry, CREBA thought not only of the real estate and building industry’s own interests, but of the overall progress and well-being of the country and our people. And Secretary Ople did agree with us and issued the necessary instructions to embassy and consular chiefs and staff to support CREBA’s mission.

"Secretary Ople told us that like President Arroyo, he strongly believes the promotion of the industry with its pump-priming impact on scores of associated sectors, is one of the vital steps that any administration could take not only in providing homes for the homeless, particularly the underprivileged and the middle-income families, but also in opening more employment opportunities for the millions of jobless, thereby promoting the national development and the progress of the nation.

CREBA can only hope that there will be many more in government like President Arroyo and Secretary Ople, and that any political administration, for that matter, will realize the vital role of the industry and thereby help pull up the country and the people from their economic decay and push them to move and keep moving forward."

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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