Jose ‘Joecon’ Concepcion: A Legacy of Leadership and Advocacy

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On Wednesday, March 6, the industrialist and civil society leader Jose “Joecon” Concepcion Jr. passed away at the age of 92, leaving behind a legacy of entrepreneurship and advocacy. Go Negosyo founder Jose Ma. “Joey” Concepcion 3rd announced his father’s passing in a statement, but did not disclose the cause of death.

Jose “Joecon” Concepcion Jr. was not only a successful businessman but also a dedicated advocate for the Filipino people. As the founder of the election watchdog National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), former Trade and Industry secretary, and former chairman of RFM Corp, he played a crucial role in shaping the economic and political landscape of the Philippines.

Concepcion firmly believed in the Philippines’ potential for inclusive and pro-Filipino economic development. Under his leadership, RFM diversified its operations, venturing into animal feed milling, poultry and livestock, and even obtaining a license from the American company Swift to produce processed meats in the country. This strategic move propelled RFM to become one of the leading food and beverage conglomerates in the Philippines, offering mass-based, high-quality, and affordable products to every Filipino household.

During his tenure as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1971, Concepcion championed constitutional principles that aimed to democratize the nation’s capital base, empowering Filipino manufacturers to thrive. He was a master at inspiring ordinary citizens to take action, often using aphorisms and leading by example.

One notable example of his leadership was during the 1986 snap presidential elections when he rallied thousands of ordinary Filipinos to join Namfrel, emphasizing the importance of taking action rather than simply complaining about the state of affairs. He famously said, “it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” This call to action resonated with many Filipinos and demonstrated Concepcion’s ability to mobilize and inspire.

Even during his detainment under Martial Law, Concepcion organized his fellow detainees, implementing a system where they took turns with chores and maintained order within their cell block. His leadership skills were evident even in the most challenging circumstances.

Concepcion’s dedication to public service extended beyond his business and political endeavors. As a civic leader, he was involved in various initiatives aimed at reforming Pasay City, such as the formation of the Pasay Citizens League for Good Government. He was also one of the founders of the Capitol Jaycees, the Bishop-Businessmen Conference for Human Development, and the Asean Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Despite his many accomplishments, Concepcion remained a lifelong learner. In addition to his Associate’s Degree in Commercial Science from De La Salle University, he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from Araneta University, majoring in soils and agricultural sciences. He was a pioneer in the use of radio-isotopes in the Philippines, applying them to determine the optimal amount of phosphorus needed in fertilizers for plant growth. His research on “Radio-isotope Phosphorus in Plants” was published and contributed to advancements in agricultural practices.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and various business groups paid tribute to Jose “Joecon” Concepcion Jr., recognizing his significant contributions to Philippine society. DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual acknowledged Concepcion’s impact on the economic landscape, describing him as “a stalwart of entrepreneurship and business advocacy.” Pascual further stated that Concepcion’s visionary leadership and dedication have left an indelible mark on the country.

The passing of Jose “Joecon” Concepcion Jr. is a loss not only for his family but also for the entire nation. His legacy as a visionary industrialist, civil society leader, and advocate for inclusive economic development will continue to inspire future generations to foster a thriving and pro-Filipino nation.

Source: The Manila Times

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