Bacani, Senen C.
BSC 1965
DLSAA Lasallian Achievement Awardee
Social Entrepreneurship
Senen Bacani graduated from De La Salle College Suma cum laude 1965 and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1966. He was granted an East-West Center Scholarship and acquired his MBA from the University of Hawaii East West Center, 1968. Senen Started his career in Dole Food Co. in Honolulu and over the next 20 years, he quickly rose from the ranks, becoming country manager of Dole in Costa Rica and in the Philippines. In 1989, the then 41-year-old technocrat was appointed Secretary of Agriculture by President Corazon Aquino. In 1993, Senen put up Ultrex Management and Investments Corp., a company which initially managed the corporate banana farms of the Yuchengco owned House of Investments. In 1996, Ultrex and Chiquita Unifrutti established La Frutera, Inc., a 1,000-hectare Cavendish plantation in Buluan and Datu Paglas, Maguindanao. It became the first large scale banana plantation in the ARMM. It exports bananas to Japan, Korea, China and the Middle East. La Frutera is the only banana plantation in the country certified by both the Rainforest Alliance (since 2003) and ISO 14001 (since 2005). The company now employs 1,745 people, 90% of whom are Muslims and 1000 are Christians. Among the Staff are a few hundred former rebels of the Moro National Liberal Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Many of the middle-level management positions are now occupied by Muslims. Over the past 10 years, La Frutera has shown how a business model can Succeed in a conflict-ridden area previously bedeviled by lawlessness, underemployment and interethnic violence. He believes that providing jobs, especially in rural areas, is the direct and sustainable way of alleviating poverty. TO Senen, “Corporate social responsibility to us is something embedded in the way we do business. From past experiences, we have recognized that for a business to succeed there has to be a convergence of company and community interests. In order to do well, you have to do good. Always taking into account the welfare of the community as well as that of the general public is inherent in the way we do business. The better off the community around you, the better off you are.” Senen is the current Chairman and President of La Frutera, Inc. and the Trully Natural Food Corporation. He also holds active membership with the Peace and Equity Foundation, the Philippine Center for Population and Development, and the PinoyME Foundation, among others, and chairs the National Cooperative Movement, the Philippine Cooperative Center and the Cooperative Sectoral Council of the National Anti-Poverty Commission. In 2006 he was honored with the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the category award for Master Entrepreneur for La Frutera, Inc. (Condensed from an article by Nicelle Lucero and from! opinion/200703280pi4.html and! 2006Winners.html)