Expressed in a letter acknowledging the RVR Award Board of Judges and JCI that he would be happy to accept this year's Ambassador Ramon V. del Rosario Award for Nation Building, Vicente T. Paterno condensed over fifty years of achievements thus:
"I was an engineer, employee, government functionary, senator and businessman at various periods in my life."
Educated as a mechanical engineer at UP, his first employment was with a sugar mill in Batangas where he earned substantial work experience. He attended the Harvard Business School supported by family funds and got his MBA with exceptional marks.
His business study redirected his future, though engineering remained a good anchor in a lot of work he would undertake later. Project management consultancy became his expertise after he returned from his studies. He would later join PHINMA, the managing firm, and in that firm he would become familiar with a variety of business and economic projects.
In mid-career, he staked his future with Meralco, the electricity public utility, taking responsibility for finance. The Lopezes at that time had recently gained control of management from its American owners. He would have spent more years with Meralco had he not incurred the anger of Eugenio Lopez, Sr. His proposal for Meralco to strengthen its finances through an IPO to raise capital was misunderstood by Lopez who thought that the proposal could lead to loss of management control of the utility.
President Marcos appointed him to the BOI and three years later also the Minister of Industry shortly after the reorganization of that department.
This was the period most remembered about Vicente Paterno. He became one of the country’s most trusted and prominent technocrats. Investment issues and industry were important concerns of the nation. He was popular among domestic industrialists. He was seen as a hardworking taskmaster of the industrial investment incentives program. He had other assignments besides, including international trade relations.
The Ninoy Aquino assassination was the trigger for his move toward Cory Aquino’s opposition group. After People’s Power in 1986, he served briefly in executive tasks as head of the Philippine National Oil Company, but President Cory Aquino drafted him to join her Senate slate after the 1987 Constitution was adopted.
As senator, he headed the Committee on Economic Affairs. However, he was disappointed with the indecisions and wrong decisions of the Cory Aquino presidency.
The summation is brief and unembellished a straightforward, honest telling about an exemplary life and an outstanding professional career that speaks for itself - much like the man himself a simple, straightforward man of integrity whose one boast is that he has made decisions "not because it was popular but because he thought it was right. "
These decisions have made for a personal life and professional career that have not only been distinguished but unblemished and have made for a life that is full and fulfilled... be it as a someone who has made an impact on the community, the country or the world; an entrepreneur; or a corporate citizen intent on helping small businesses through his MASICAP projects.