THIS time last year, we looked with trepidation upon 2009 as a difficult and challenging year, full of threats, a year that would test our fortitude and skills if we were to survive intact. Verily, 2009 turned out to be everything it promised to be. Difficult. Challenging. Threatening. We were pushed to the brink of losing control of Meralco without getting anything back in return.
As we now prepare to close 2009, we are still here. Not intact, in the sense that we had to give up part of our equity and control of Meralco, and we had to give up our tollroad investment as well. Sometimes, you have to give up something in order to survive and fight another day. Nevertheless, we have not been shortchanged for what we had to divest, and we now find ourselves at a crossroads, this time looking forward to 2010 as a year full of opportunity and promise. Many of our countrymen and many people all over the world have not been as fortunate. Lost jobs, lost homes, lost opportunities, lost time—this is how 2009 will forever be remembered. Therefore, as we take pause to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the salvation of man, and as we recharge ourselves in preparation for another year, let us not forget to give thanks to God for the blessings we have received.
But beyond offering our thanks in prayer, let us go that one step further in helping those who continue to badly need our help. A trip or feast forgone in exchange for the opportunity to spread momentary cheer to those who are still feeling the impact of storms and floods is a privilege to be valued over any material gift imaginable.
It is not often that a business is permitted the privilege to reinvent itself as something bigger, better and more relevant to the times and to the changing markets, and continue to be of great service to society. And yet that is what 2010 portends for us, the opportunity to be all of that. As we bend our backs to this challenge, let us not forget that we are also stewards of our businesses, intent on ensuring their well-being and relevance as we eventually pass them on to our inheritors. Our businesses are ours to nourish, to protect, to cherish and to enjoy.
I wish you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year and I look forward to reuniting with you after the holidays. OSCAR M. LOPEZ
Chairman, Lopez Group of Companies