By Raychel Ria C. Agramon
IMAGINE whiling your worries away at a first-class Spanish-Mediterranean haven that rests right at the heart of Tagaytay. With an 18-hole Par 72 Signature Championship Golf Course by Aussie golfer Greg â€œThe Great White Sharkâ€ Norman, the overlooking 277-hectare Splendido continues to captivate not only golf junkies, but socialites and vacationers alike.
Tasked to manage this first-class estate, among the many other premium commercial and residential properties of the JAKA Group of Companies, is Thomasian accountant Persiverando Lukban.
An eager fan of radio shows, the young Lukban started to learn accounting from listening to his battery-operated radio at his hometown Mariveles, Bataan.
“I would listen to participants in the radio, and when they were asked on what they wanted to be in the future, they immediately answered, ‘certified public accountant’,” he said.
Lukban thought of entering UST because of the University’s renown for quality education as reflected in its graduates and state board passers.
“Whenever we passed by the University, I saw banners congratulating Thomasians who had topped different board examinations,” he recalled.
Lukban hails from a family of Thomasians. His sister and his brother-in-law, Priscilla and Jose Prinsipe, are fellow Accounting graduates. Another sister, Prof. Teresita Manansala, teaches at the College of Science. Frederic, Lukban’s only son with wife Marlyn, is an incoming Commerce junior.
True to his name “Persiverando,” Lukban’s perseverance paid off when he began receiving high marks in college. He was granted the prestigious Sycip, Gorres, Velayo & Co. scholarship, an incentive given by Thomasian accountancy tycoons Washington Sycip and Alfredo M. Velayo to UST Accountancy students who excel in their studies. In 1977, he graduated cum laude and placed 17th in that year’s CPA board exams.
At the corporate crest
Reaching the top ranks of business proved to be a strenuous uphill climb for Lukban. He had a hard time entering the corporate world, which was dominated by Ateneo or La Salle graduates.
“I experienced a little discrimination. Most of the time, graduates of exclusive schools got the position I applied for,” he said. “But once you’re in an organization, you are all on equal footing, whether you graduated from this or that school.”
Starting off in 1978, Lukban prepared annual budgets as the financial analyst for the Philippine Packing Company of the Del Monte product line.
A year later, he transferred to the Philippine Sinter Company, a subsidiary of Japan’s Kawasaki Steel Corporation. He became the section head of the company’s finance and accounting department, and was put in charge of the company’s budget and treasuries
Lukban recalled that his greatest challenge then was channeling the companies’ extra money.
“The problem was how to manage the excess fund,” he said. Since his companies were multinational, banks were more than accommodating.
But it was the extreme opposite when he transferred to the CDL Group of Companies in 1988, then to Quadrillion Group of Companies in 1997.
Since both were relatively young companies, Lukban’s problem as CDL’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, and later on, as Quadrillion‘s executive vice president and chief operating officer, was fund shortage.
“This time, the challenge was to negotiate with a bank. The bank dictated the terms,” he said.
But when he became JAKA’s general manager and senior vice president of the security and property group in 2002, Lukban felt that his corporate duties turned easier. “We have a centralized bank management. All I have to do is to produce money and give it to them,” Lukban explained. “They will have all the problems when it comes to managing the fund.”
Lukban believes that the greatest contributions he made for his previous companies show in their success. “When I resigned, CDL and Quadrillion were better than when I first joined them,” he said. The company’s refusal to let him leave, Lukban added, was additional proof that his leadership was effective.
Asked about the secret of succeeding in business, Lukban replied with an acrostic, “A-B-D.”
“Always be fair in your transactions. Be reasonable in handling your people and give what is due to everybody,” he said.