By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang extended its condolences to the loved ones of SM Group Founder Henry Sy Sr., remembering the legions of lives touched by the 94-year-old businessman who passed away Saturday.
In a statement, Panelo described Sy as a visionary and a pillar of the Philippine economy who believed in the potentials and opportunities of the country, and pursued them with dedication, passion, and hard work till their fruition.
“Mr. Sy boldly took the business path which Filipino businessmen feared to tread. He pioneered the construction of malls in the Philippines beginning with the construction of SM North EDSA in 1983 when the country was in political and economic turmoil as a result of the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.,” he said.
Panelo also recalled how Sy started his conglomerate from a small shoe store in Quiapo, Manila, which later became SM’s first department store, under daunting and harsh circumstances.
The Palace official also quoted Sy’s eldest daughter Teresita Sy-Coson that, “Crisis and weakness indicate where one can look for opportunities. Transforming problems into opportunities can bring good returns.”
“Transform the SM patriarch did, with the transformation a sight to behold,” Panelo said.
According to Panelo, malling in the Philippines would not have been the same if not for Sy who was fondly called “Tatang”.
“The landscapes of major cities in the Philippines seem unadorned and incomplete minus the imposing architectural delight. He made “malling” a delightful experience as part of the urban living in the Philippines where Filipino families and the ordinary folks bond, promenade, and create wondrous and memorable moments,” he said.
Panelo the described the Father of modern Philippine retail as someone who is greatly respected and admired for his lasting legacy which Sy attributed to hard work.
“To quote the late Chairman of SM Investments Corporation, ‘People often ask me why, what is my driving force? It’s this: I make good today, I want to make better tomorrow. If I have a big shopping mall, my next thing is to have a bigger one. By doing that, I have to work very hard,'” Panelo said.
“Inspiring words that should be carved not in stone but in the hearts and minds of entrepreneurs to propel them to the stratosphere of business,” he added.
Panelo then remembered Sy as someone who exemplified the hardworking Filipino.
“As a family man, he had moulded his children into his own image: humble, hardworking and a man of prophetic vision. We pray for the eternal rest of his soul, and may perpetual light shine upon him as his spirit traverses the path to everlasting life,” he said. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)