St. Rafael Development Corporation (SRDC) had come a long way following the woes it experienced in the previous years. Now, with new partners, it is back on its feet and ready to launch upcoming developments.
Norberto de Ocampo, current Chief Operating Officer of SRDC detailed how the SRDC team addressed the concerns that besieged the company in the past years. He said “we did not know where to begin when the problems of SRDC surfaced. But we just have to have faith and stay committed to our mission.”
SRDC is a domestic corporation with Mr. Wyden King as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Known as a devout Christian businessman, King was heir to a booming motel chain. Upon accepting God in his life, ceased the motel operations, then transitioned his businesses and ran them with ‘God-centered values’.
De Ocampo said that, “Mr. King’s faith sustained us through those troubled times and gave us guidance in handling SRDC’s difficulties. He told us that honoring the commitment to deliver the needed services to our customers is fulfilling our mission. Which is to be God’s vessel of blessing by building communities that demonstrates his love and abundance. He said to us that no matter how hard it is, we just have to have faith in God while working hard and honestly, and HE will do the rest.”
In 2014, SRDC faced difficulties such as poor management that resulted in lawsuits, unprocessed lot titles, millions of accounts payable to suppliers, unsettled broker commissions, and unpaid salaries and benefits to employees. Following numerous complaints and cases, SRDC’s license to sell was suspended by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
Upon assumption of the new management, SRDC was constrained to temporarily suspend its business operations and let go of a number of employees. This is to give the company some breathing space for its survival.
De Ocampo recounted that, “It was very hard for SRDC to let go of many of its employees. We had to do it for the company to live and provide the needed services for the homeowners. But we did so by compensating the employees for their years of service, and giving them their much needed assistance and benefits.”
After this, SRDC reorganized and created a new commitment team that will work towards the company’s recovery. SRDC then reached out to its stakeholders to explain the situation of the company
De Ocampo continued, “We had to talk to everyone and let them know what was happening. In the face of angry and disappointed stakeholders, we tried to show our sincerity that we will deliver the basic services they needed despite the hard times that befell us.”
SRDC worked to refund the payments made by its customers who do not wish to continue their contract. SRDC has also paid all bank loans from major banks through a consolidated new bank loan.
De Ocampo narrated that, “Gradually, we also settled our obligations to suppliers and government agencies. And then we started processing transfer of titles for buyers.
“A lot of customers were surprised. They did not expect the refund. Usually, companies who go bankrupt would close to avoid the responsibility of paying them back.” He added that “many of our clients are families of Overseas Filipino Workers who want the best out of their hard-earned money. We don’t want to fail them nor cause them further hardships.”
As for the suppliers, De Ocampo noted that, “we prioritized payments of smaller amounts first. Payments for major suppliers were made out of SRDC’s income sharing.” He added that “Other obligations, like the unpaid salary loans of employees, will be settled as per agreed terms”.
Eventually, SRDC was again granted licenses to develop and sell by the HLURB. Despite this, there are still some issues which are being resolved by SRDC. These includes the titles, the payment for suppliers, broker commissions and other public obligations. The titles for the lots are currently being processed.
SRDC assures partner brokers that the issuing of previous commissions is proceeding according to the agreed schedule and those for the upcoming selling of new developments are expected to be paid on time.
Preparing for Relaunch
SRDC begins its step forward with the rehabilitation of Providence communities in Iloilo and Negros whose developments were stalled.
De Ocampo said that “We are gearing towards the rehabilitation of the facilities & amenities of Providence Iloilo and Bacolod. We are doing this in preparation for the relaunching and reselling of units which will start in the following weeks.”
SRDC has also entered a joint venture with Ferti-Acres Inc. and East Tropics Land Developer Inc., two reputable developers in the region. The venture will create new developments within the same region in the following years.
De Ocampo ended saying “We are thankful to God and for Mr. King’s guidance in the delivery of our services. It is gratifying to keep true to our mission. Now, working together with new and committed partners, SRDC is almost back on its feet and ready to move forward.”