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NAMFREL founder, ex-DTI chief Jose 'Joecon' Concepcion Jr dies

Jose Concepcion Jr., Joecon, NAMFREL, Makati Business Club

Jose Concepcion Jr., founder of election watchdog National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), passed away on Wednesday, his family said. He was 92.

Concepcion, or Joecon as he was popularly known, was an “epitome of the patriot-industrialist,” who “believed in the Philippines’s ability to achieve economic development that was inclusive and pro-Filipino,” his family said in a statement.

NAMFREL, for its part, described Concepcion in a post on Facebook as "a visionary leader who truly loved his country, and believed in the power of ordinary citizens to effect lasting change in their own communities."

In a separate statement, the Makati Business Club (MBC) said as NAMFREL's leader, Concepcion "helped establish transparency in the historic 1986 election."

Concepcion was also a former Trade and Industry secretary and member of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. He was also the CEO  of RFM Corp. from 1965-1986.

Under Concepcion's guidance, RFM embarked on a path of diversification, venturing into animal feed milling, poultry, and livestock, and obtaining the license from American company Swift to produce processed meats in the Philippines. 

"These propelled RFM to establish itself as one of the leading food and beverage conglomerates in the Philippines," Concepcion's family said.

The MBC said Concepcion was also a trustee from 1984 to 1986. 

"He then helped re-establish democracy and free enterprise as Trade & Industry secretary from 1986-1991," the business group said.

When Concepcion retired, he served as barangay captain of Forbes Park. 

"As a civic leader, among his early crusades was to help reform Pasay City through the formation of the Pasay Citizens League for Good Government," Concepcion's family said. 

Concepcion also co-founded the Capitol Jaycees, the Bishop-Businessmen Conference for Human Development, and the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry. 

"Joecon lived his life in adherence to his principles: that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing," his family said.

Concepcion is survived by his wife, the former Maria Victoria Araneta, his eight children, his 31 grandchildren, and his twin brother Raul. 

Public viewing will start on March 7 (4 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and from March 8 to 10 (1 p.m. to 10 p.m.) at the Chapel 4&5 of Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City.

A Requiem Mass will be offered on March 11 (Monday) at 1:30 p.m. at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish Church, Forbes Park, Makati City. —with Ted Cordero/KBK, GMA Integrated News