(STAR) At the beginning of the night, there were only 10 Crusaders. By night’s end, Qualibet had all its guests sharing in its CEO and founder Pinky Pe Tobiano’s vision of a “safer, better Philippines.” Indeed, what could be better than a room full of Crusaders?

Qualibet recently paid tribute to its 10 Crusaders in a capacity-filled event at The Loft at Manansala, Rockwell Center, Makati City. The Crusaders are: Jose G. Ledesma, president and CEO, St. Luke’s Medical Center; Pinky T. Yee, marketing director, Goldilocks; House Speaker Jose de Venecia; Sen. Loren B. Legarda; Ambassador Ernesto M. Maceda; Ambassador Jose Eduardo B. Antonio; Sara Soliven-de Guzman, EVP, O.B. Montessori; Atty. Ernest P. Maceda, law dean, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila; Christine Bersola-Babao, parenting advocate; and Gina Vera Perez-de Venecia, founder, Ina Foundation.

Cancer survivor and chemist Tobiano, who established Qualibet, the world-class food, water, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and veterinary testing facility in July 2006, lauded the 10 Crusaders for taking up the cudgels of her advocacy.

“I am thankful that I am not alone in this advocacy of mine,” said Tobiano, sometimes described as the “Ralph Nader of the Philippines,” in reference to the great American consumer advocate.

“All I’m fighting for is consumer empowerment, for the Filipino consumer to be aware of the quality of water we use, the generic medicines that are being sold, educating the consumers about the nutritional facts of the food out in the market, and campaigning against transfat.”

Speaker De Venecia praised Tobiano for her advocacy: “Pinky is truly one of the great living Filipinas today. She is fighting for something that has a lasting impact on us. She is the only one who came up with this crusade. As her adoptive father, I am very proud of her.”

The event was hosted by Philippine STAR columnist Johnny Litton, with special guests the Hotlegs, the Company, and Christian Bautista. - Lester Gopela Hällig

Honoring the country’s finest OH YES, IT’S JOHNNY! By Johnny Litton Thursday, September 20, 2007

(STAR) Just recently, the FINEX Foundation and Citi Philippines joined forces in launching the first search for the Outstanding Finance Educators in the country. The recognition award, namely the Rafael B. Buenaventura Outstanding Finance Educators Award, is in honor of the late highly esteemed BSP governor. Those present were privileged with the presence of guest speaker Catherine Weir, formerly Philippine CEO and now head of Asean Markets and Banking and Citi country officer for Singapore, who spoke about the development of capital markets in the Asean region. It was a truly honorable occasion for all those involved in this flagship project and a remarkable opportunity for all future awardees.


Ysabella at the Lighthouse

Ysabella, one of the top telenovelas in the airwaves, recently shot an episode at Subic’s best kept secret: the luxurious Lighthouse Marina Resort. The episode featured the resort as the backdrop of debonair Derek Ramsey and the stunning Angelica Panganiban’s budding romance. The talents had breakfast at the resort’s exquisite gustatory haven, the Sands restaurant, and lounged at the Lighthouse’s remarkable swimming pool. Lighthouse marketing OIC Zed Avecilla made sure the actors enjoyed themselves and took advantage of the resort’s lush amenities.

Congratulations on a job well done!

‘Amang’ for all seasons

It was 55 years ago on June 6, 1952 when then Senate President Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Sr. authored the Rural Bank Act. The purpose of which is to promote and expand the rural economy as a means to uplift the lives of the less fortunate, mostly farmers, fishermen and small fledgling enterprises, who in those days have to resort to five to six mobile private lenders. Following through a strong political will, Amang Rodriguez paved the way for the establishment of rural banks when he himself put up the first one — the Rodriguez Rural Bank in Pasig with the help of his children.

Today, the legacy of Amang Rodriguez, illustrious legislator and father of rural banking, goes on with steadfast resolution. Banco Rodriguez, the name by which the Rodriguez Rural Bank is now known, recently held a simple yet milestone ceremony with the inauguration of its new head office along Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue in Pasig City. Gracing the occasion were topnotch bankers, executives and political leaders with Sen. Loren Legarda, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Monetary Board members Raul Boncan and Freddie Antonio as guests of honor.

Run by the third and fourth generation members of the Rodriguez family headed by Banco Rodriguez president Maritess Rodriguez Mendoza-Pineda (married to Banco Rodriguez director Jesus M. Pineda Jr.), sister Ma. Elizabeth Rodriguez Mendoza as chairperson and daughter Patricia Rodriguez Mendoza Pineda as treasurer and GM, Banco Rodriguez is now poised to become a major player in the rural banking industry. Together, they continue the legacy of “Amang” to bring micro finance to the farmers and small merchants.

To the Rodriguez family, Mabuhay!

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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