First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH) launched the book “Benpres: Stories Around a Landmark” to commemorate the legacy of the almost half-century-old building of the Lopez Group.
It marked the “retirement” of Benpres Building, which opened in 1971. The building served as a hub and a home to 19 Lopez companies for over 48 years, said Lopez Museum and Library executive director Cedie Lopez-Vargas.
The establishment formerly known as the Chronicle Building used to house the Lopez Group’s newspaper, “The Manila Chronicle.”
It will be demolished this year to give way to a modern establishment.
“It is coming down, but only to rise again to meet the future,” Lopez Group chairman emeritus Oscar M. Lopez (OML) said in a statement.
The book, which was unveiled by OML, pays homage to the past while paving the way for the future, said FPH chairman and CEO Federico M. Lopez (FRL).
“We are committed to establish a new building as a symbol of the past, present, future and to shine as a guiding light on the path that we have consistently chosen today,” he said.
“With this new structure on the rise, we will continue blazing the trails with our businesses to constantly uplift the lives of Filipinos through our distinct Lopez values,” FRL added.
Benpres is not just a building but a historical landmark, said veteran journalist and former “The Manila Chronicle” editor Vergel Santos.
Santos said he even witnessed anti-martial law groups seek refuge at the basement of Benpres during the Marcos regime.
Former ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio Lopez Jr. made a “stopover” at the building “halfway in their escape” after being held as a prisoner during martial law, he said.
Benpres witnessed not just the EDSA Revolution but also the struggles and triumphs of Lopez companies including FPH, said former president Elpidio Ibañez.
Rockwell was also “born” in the building, he said.
Past and future
The six-story Benpres Building will be demolished to give way to a modern, 40-story tower designed to become one of the country’s most energy-efficient establishments, said FPH assistant vice president Alberto Cailao.
Aside from being energy efficient, the new building will also be equipped with technology that can harvest and recycle rainwater, Cailao said.
The design was conceptualized by a New York-based firm that drew inspiration from the old establishment.
But despite the grand plan to build a modern and sustainable building, former tenants of Benpres hope the book will serve as a reminder of the rich history of its predecessor.
As the new edifice rises, Ibañez reminded the public to remember the “fortress where many battles were fought.” (Excerpted from news.abs-cbn. com) (Story/Photos by: Jessica Fenol)