Brothers Fernando (left) and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala lead the 7th generation Zobels.

The Zobel brothers and Manuel V. Pangilinan, some of the big business tycoons who had faced a tough regulatory environment under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, accepted the olive branch extended by the CEO of the land.

Both groups also vowed to work with the government to help the country recover from the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, which puts the domestic economy at risk of recession for the first time since 1998.

“We are grateful for President Duterte’s statement at the briefing last night. We have always believed in building a strong partnership between the private and public sectors in addressing our country’s problems and in investing in the country to create jobs and improve the lives of Filipinos,” said Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, the top honchos of the country’s oldest business house, Ayala Corp.

“We appreciate the recognition of the Ayala Group’s efforts in supporting the administration as it faces the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Zobel brothers said in a press statement on Tuesday.

The group’s water and property businesses have faced a number of challenges prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Recently, the Zobels agreed to give up Ayala’s majority voting rights in Manila Water Co. in favor of another tycoon, Enrique Razon Jr.

“We are committed to help the President tackle the many challenges he has to deal with and are confident that by working together, our country can overcome each challenge, save lives and gradually put the country back on a path of growth,” the Zobels said.

Pangilinan, head of the First Pacific group that controls telecom giant PLDT and infrastructure holding firm Metro Pacific Investments Corp., also welcomed Pres. Duterte’s latest pronouncements.

Manuel V. Pangilinan

“I would like to thank the President for his remarks tonight, most especially for his sincerity and kindness,” Pangilinan tweeted on Monday night.

“I wish to assure him that our group is fully committed to being a partner of government in addressing the heartbreaking moments of COVID-19 on our people, in building a better tomorrow for them. We are, and have, always been here, for the country.”

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