MANILA, Philippines — Businessman and construction pioneer Felipe F. Cruz, 93, best known for establishing one of the country’s largest contractors, FF Cruz Co. Inc., passed away late Sunday, people close to him confirmed on Monday.
The magnate was among the Philippines’s building pioneers having established what is known today as FF Cruz almost six decades ago.
The company, which started out as a small surveying firm, eventually transformed into the muscle behind key infrastructure projects within Metro Manila like the C-5 Ortigas Avenue extension interchange. Cruz, an engineer by profession, was described as a “superman” by family members and peers even later in his life.
“He was a superman. He was among the first breed of contractors who grew along with the Philippine economy,” Isidro Consunji, a nephew of Cruz, said. Consunji leads DMCI Holdings, a diversified conglomerate, which also owns D.M. Consunji Inc., one of the Philippines’ premier construction firms today.
“FF Cruz has been a pillar of the Filipino construction industry from the 50s onwards,” Consunji recounted. DMCI and FF Cruz were rivals in the construction sector, but Consunji noted they always found ways to work together when the need arose.
“Yes, we were competitors but we also collaborated,” he said. “He tried very much to develop the construction industry.”
Cruz bagged in 2007 The Outstanding Filipino Awardee for General Construction in recognition of his contributions. FF Cruz’s projects included the Grade Separation of Edsa-Ortigas Intersection, and the Edsa-Kamias-Timog Interchange Project. It also focused heavily on the maritime infrastructure sector and reclamation, building the Batangas Port Development Project.
Other projects Cruz was involved in included the San Roque hydroelectric plant in Pangasinan and geothermal plants in Leyte and Albay.
Cruz was also credited with raising the Philippines for Filipino contractors at a time when the Philippines was just gaining worldwide recognition, Consunji said.
“With several contractors, Filipinos were gradually recognized by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and JICA [ Japan InternationaCooperation Agency as capable of doing even larger and more complex projects locally and abroad,” Consunji said.
Cruz obtained his BS Geodetic Engineering degree from the University of the Philippines. He received his BS Civil Engineering degree from the National University.