Visionary businessman Simplicio “Sammy” Palanca, founder and chairman of the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. (BREDCO), passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest at the Bacolod Adventist Medical Center in Bacolod City 11:39 p.m. Saturday, July 10.
He was 98.
He died four days after his youngest brother, Dr. Ernesto Palanca, 86, suffered a massive stroke and died in Metro Manila on July 6.
Their grandson, former Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, Negros Occidental consultant on economic affairs, said his Lolo Sammy was a visionary.
“He devoted his time, resources and efforts in building the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. He never faltered from his vision of reclaiming the 250-hectare shoreline of Bacolod and establishing a seaport, even when others thought it was impossible,” the former congressman said.
Now it has changed the geographical and economic landscape of Bacolod City, and provided many jobs and opportunities for Bacolodnons and Negrosanons, he added.
“Even from his hospital bed, his lifelong love for entertainment propelled the establishment of Magikland” in Silay City, the former congressman also said.
He also said his Lolo Esto (Dr. Ernesto Palanca) started and guided the Negros Occidental Drug Rehabilitation Center in Victorias City that has changed the lives of those who had fallen prey to substance abuse, and enabled them to find their way back to society and their families.
Rep. Francisco “Kiko” Benitez (Neg. Occ. 3rd District) said “our family lost this week two giants whose wisdom and generosity have been a constant source of inspiration and guidance.”
“The devoted their lives not only to enhancing the family’s legacy and protecting the integrity of their parents’ names – but their vision and strong sense of civic duty have changed the economic landscape of Bacolod and transformed the lives of many Negrosanons. For these and many more, they will be sorely missed,” the congressman said.
The Benitez brothers are the grandsons of Remedios Bantug who is the sister of Simplicio and Ernesto Palanca.
Businessman Reynaldo Bantug said the death of his uncle Dr. Ernesto Palanca came as a surprise as he was very healthy, having recovered from prostate cancer a long time ago.
“He had a medical exam a few days before he suffered the stroke and all the medical results were good,” Bantug said.
Dr. Palanca was a renowned urologist in his younger days and was a member of the first kidney transplant team in the Philippines.
He was the director of the Negros Occidental Drug Rehabilitation Center, which he founded after he retired from his urology practice in Metro Manila, Bantug said.
Bantug said his uncle Simplicio Palanca, who was a lawyer, had been living at the BAMC for three years and nine months.
He had an infection a few days earlier that stressed his heart, which eventually just gave way, Bantug said.
“We all know him as a visionary of his projects that changed Bacolod but he was also a very very kind person to his people and those who are less privileged,” Bantug said of his Uncle Sam.
“He was tough to his nephews and nieces, it was tough love from Uncle Sam because he wanted us to do well,” he said.
Bantug said while his uncle’s signature project is the BREDCO port and reclamation area, he was also the chairman of Magikland in Silay City, had also been into fishing, outdoor advertising, owned a chain of theaters in Negros and the Victorias Royal Transit, started Bata Subdivision, and had an ice plant in Victorias.
The Palanca brothers will be buried in the family mausoleum in Victorias City next to their parents, Bantug said.*