Duterte’s birthday wish for bus firm matriarch: Unity in family

By: - Correspondent / @carlagomezINQ
/ 04:33 PM January 24, 2020

BIRTHDAY. Olivia Yanson (seated), matriarch of the family that owns the biggest bus company in the country, weeps as her grandchildren sang the songs “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “If We Hold on Together” to her as President Rodrigo Duterte (right) looked on during her 86th birthday celebration at L’Fisher Hotel on Thursday night. photo by Mhel Sillador, Contributor

BACOLOD CITY –– President Duterte has one wish for the matriarch of the family that owns the biggest bus company in the country: To resolve the differences that have divided their family.

The President was the guest of honor in the 86th birthday celebration of Olivia Yanson at L’ Fisher Hotel here on Thursday night.


He told Olivia, whose family owns Valacar Transit Inc., that he wished her good health as she continued her charity work and medical missions for the poor.

At the same time, he also wished that she and her children would be able to resolve their differences as he promised that he would always be there for her family.


Olivia and her two other children — Ginnette and Leo Rey – have been fighting for control of the family’s bus empire, which she and her husband had started in Bacolod.

Vallacar Transit is the umbrella firm that controls several bus lines nationwide, including Ceres Liner. Altogether, the firm’s operating units have 4,000 buses and 18,000 employees, making it the biggest in the country.

On the other side of the fence were her four other children – Roy, Ricky, Celina and Emily, whose partner is Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson.

Before hosting her birthday party, the matriarch attended a hearing at the Bacolod Hall of Justice on Thursday morning for the petition filed by Ginnette to make her mother administrator of the estate of their father, the late Ricardo Yanson Sr.

Roy, Ricky, and Celina were seen greeting their mother a happy birthday inside the courtroom.

Emily is said to be abroad.

Governor Lacson said he was not invited to the party, but wished Olivia a happy birthday.


“Wawa (Olivia) happy birthday. Wishing you good health that you will continue to help the Negrenses through your OVY Foundation”, Lacson said.

President Duterte arrived at L’ Fisher Hotel at 10:47 p.m. He was accompanied by Senator Christopher Go and was welcomed by Sen. Cynthia Villar, who was already at the party.

The President came from San Isidro town in Leyte where he distributed benefits to former rebels.

Clad in a red polo, President Duterte then proceeded to a private room where he stayed for 20 minutes.

A source said he met with members of the family of former Bacolod Councilor Ricardo Tan, whose brother, Roberto, was killed in an ambush in December 2019.

President Duterte then joined the birthday celebration of Yanson, which was attended by about 300 guests, including Go, Villar, Sen. Imee Marcos, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Secretary Michael Dino, presidential assistant for the Visayas.

Also present were Leo and his wife, Pia, and Ginnette and her husband, Charles, and her grandchildren, relatives, and friends.

Her four other children – Roy, Ricky, Emily, and Celina were absent.

The matriarch wept as her grandchildren sang the songs “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “If We Hold on Together” to her as the President looked on./lzb

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TAGS: Bus Company, Business, Olivia Yanson, Philippine news updates, President Duterte, Regions, Vallacar Transit Inc.
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