Legacy of sacrifice, service

In the late 1960s, Calapan, the capital town of Oriental Mindoro, had only one bank – the Development Bank of the Philippines. The lack of formal credit institutions was a hindrance to the growth and development of the province. The difficulty of traveling by sea to Batangas and by road to Manila during this period, as the time it would take to process loans, likewise deterred people from going to the city to obtain credit.

Atty. Arturo A. Ignacio, Sr., a four-time Governor of the then-undivided province of Mindoro, saw this problem. Though already 70 years old and residing in Manila, his desire to help the needy people of Mindoro obtain credit for business, agriculture, commercial and related purposes at an affordable rate and without encountering the difficulty that they would have if applying for a loan in big financial institutions, took him out of retirement. In 1963, he set up the Rural Bank of Calapan, Inc. to once more serve the people of Mindoro. It was the first private bank in Calapan City.

His daughter, Atty. Erlinda A.I. Espiritu, the first woman graduate of Harvard Law School in the world, did not want her father to encounter the difficulty of traveling to and from the province at his age. She sacrificed and left her lucrative job in Manila and returned to Calapan to run the bank.

Today, 60 years after its establishment, the bank, renamed Banco de Mindoro, Inc., has helped thousands of Mindoreños with their credit needs. I, belonging to the third generation of the family, and my son Benedict, belonging to the fourth generation, work in the bank to continue our legacy of sacrifice and service to the people of our province.

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