Roberto Aboitiz dies at 67

MANILA, Philippines – Roberto Eduardo "Bobby" Aboitiz, 67, died on Thursday morning, April 13, after battling an illness.

He served as the president of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated (RAFI) since 1986 and co-chaired the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board.

RAFI corporate communications head Rianne Tecson confirmed in a mobile phone reply, saying Aboitiz "was in a hospital at the time of his passing."

Aboitiz was also a director of listed conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures Incorporated and Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu) Incorporated.

Aboitiz is survived by his wife Maria Cristina and their 4 children, including Tristan, who works as vice president at Pilmico Foods Corporation.

Aboitiz also served as the chairman of the board at the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu.

"Our country today faces a lot of problems: there is poverty, the declining state of education, and graft and corruption. These challenge not only the government, but the community as well," Aboitiz had said then.

For over 10 decades now, the Aboitiz family has made a name across various industries here and abroad. (READ: People over profit)

It was in early 1900s when the family started trading hemp. The Aboitiz family then went into businesses like shipping, sugar milling, power generation and distribution, as well as construction.

"Our work goes beyond writing a cheque," Aboitiz said in 2007.

"Our development framework is one of partnership, linkages, and a sincere belief that development is best when there is participation and involvement from all sectors," he had said. 

RAFI, aside from funding scholars, recognizes every 3 years individuals and institutions that have brought about positive change in their communities. The RAFI Triennial Awards is sometimes referred to as the Galing Pook Awards of the south, referring to the recognition given to local governments for their innovations and exemplary work.