Dr. Fiorello R. Estuar, Chairman/President, Head, CEO, Vice-Chairman, Senior Consultant of diverse companies from Estuar Development Corporation, Infrastructure Business Development Group, FPHC, Therma Prime Well Drilling Services Inc., First Balfour Incorporated, Cesar Virata & Associates, Inc. , F.R. Estuar & Associates/FREA Dev. & Mgmt. Co. Inc., Eastern Twin Star Foundation (Estuar Family foundation)
Interviewed by Dr. Ricardo T. Jose
FR Estuar & Associates, Estuar Building, Timog Avenue, Quezon City
19 September 2016
Dr. Fiorello R. Estuar has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of the Philippines Diliman (1959) and masteral and doctoral degrees (1965) also in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University, USA. After his graduate studies, he underwent practical training in the US and went back to the Philippines for private practice (1968). Since then, Dr. Estuar served as consultant and/or construction manager for numerous commercial civil works, where in between he also founded several corporations involved in the business of real estate and construction. In the 1960s, Dr. Estuar was a young structural engineer when he also became one of the consultants to the monorail proposal in the country, where he was supposed to work on the Guideway, Terminal, and Station study. However, the monorail proposal did not gather enough support to materialize.
By 1980, he was asked by the late Ferdinand Marcos to serve as head of the National Irrigation Administration. In 1983, he was asked to head the rehabilitation of the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines as its Executive President and Chief Operating Officer. In 1984, he was named President and Chief Executive Officer of what would then be the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC), at the same time that he was also President of the Philippine Constructors Association. His term at the PNCC led to the completion of, among others, the delayed Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 project.
In 1987, Dr. Estuar was asked to serve as Undersecretary and then Acting Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under the Corazon Aquino administration. In the same year, he was named Presidential Adviser and Chairman of the government’s Project Facilitation Committee in heading efforts to expedite the execution of delayed national and foreign-funded projects. In the same period, he also became Director of USAID Economic Support Fund Secretariat. Dr. Estuar would eventually serve as Secretary of DPWH in 1988. Other high-ranking posts he held before his retirement in 2013 were in diverse companies from Maynilad, First Balfour Inc., First Philippine Holdings Corporation, Therma Prime Well Drilling Services Inc., TerraPrime Inc., Lopez Group, to PEZA, etc.
Dr. Estuar continues to be active in engineering and management consulting but his relevant roles in mass transit projects include serving as Private Sector Representative in the Government Procurement Policy Board, Member of the JICA Advisory Committee, and Infrastructure Co-Champion of the National Competitiveness Council. Other relevant information on his role in the history of planning and construction of mass transit projects in the country include working in Jose “Totoy” Dans’s company Erectors Incorporated, which was involved in LRT 1; in the First Balfour company, he conducted a business development study in looking at the integration of the LRT and MRT and making it a seamless circular route or what he proposed to call “Metro Ring Rail;” in the Lopez Group, he did a study of the Metro Manila transport system titled “Metro Manila 50 Years Hence.”