"And now his watch is ended."
Charlie Aniceto Villegas Gorayeb, CREBA Chairman of the Board, passed away May 5, 2023 at 81 years old.
One of CREBA Founder Manuel M. Serrano’s closest friends, Gorayeb stood side by side with the former in leading the Chamber’s fight throughout the years to advancce the cause of the real estate and housing industry and its ultimate stakeholders – the homeless.
Gorayeb first joined CREBA in 1980 representing long-time CREBA member and financial supporter Jackbilt Concrete Block Inc.
He was first elected CREBA Director in 1984 under the slate of then President Antonio A. Turalba, and served as CREBA President from 1989 to 1990, 1995, 1998 and 2001.
One of Gorayeb’s most notable achievements during his first term as CREBA president was the successful challenge that he and Serrano mounted against the imposition of the Creditable Withholding Tax under BIR Revenue Regulation 12-89.
This led to the issuance of the amendatory regulation RR 1-90 just a month later, which exempted social housing projects from the imposition. RR 1-90 also reduced the rate for industry players certified as CREBA member and habitually engaged in the real estate business (HEREB).
Thereafter, the charismatic Gorayeb was widely regarded as strongman Serrano’s heir-apparent to the CREBA mantle of leadership.
In 2011, after a hiatus of some 10 years for personal reasons, Gorayeb was recalled by the ailing Serrano to serve CREBA yet again.
Acceding to the Founder’s request, Gorayeb ran and was again elected President up to 2013. From then on, he alternatively held the post of President and Chairman of the Board.
His team up with CREBA President Noel “Toti” M. Cariño led to the successful enactment of Republic Act 11201 – the law creating the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD). This was after some 23 years of an uphill battle since it was originally advocated by CREBA as early as 1995.
Relentless against overwhelming odds and vitriolic public attacks, the Gorayeb-Cariño juggernaut – with its compelling representations backed by undeniable facts – succeeded in holding off passage by the 17th and 18th Congress of the proposed National Land Use Act (NLUA). The onerous agricultural land use provisions of the Bill would have otherwise proved devastating to the housing industry.
It was also during Gorayeb’s time that the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) was amended with CREBA’s recommendations for additional compliance modes for the “balanced housing” requirement. It will be recalled that this requirement compels developers to include a socialized housing component in their subdivision or condominium development plans.
The Gorayeb-Cariño leadership also masterfully orchestrated the inclusion in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act a provision increasing the VAT exemption threshold for socialized housing. (Unfortunately, the povision was line-vetoed by then President Rodrigo Duterte.)
Among many other achievements, the Gorayeb-Cariño tandem – carrying on the battle fiercely waged by the Serrano-led CREBA against debilitating agricultural land conversion rules – succeeded in gaining the support of the NEDA and the then HUDCC in blocking the 2-year conversion moratorium sought by DAR.
"We may never see his like again"
A perfectionist, Gorayeb demanded the best out of those working with him, constantly striving to make sure that CREBA’s image will not be tarnished by unprofessionalism or self-serving ends.
It is widely recognized that his exceptional leadership and vision guided CREBA out of the uncertainties arising from the Founder’s passing, and has since then brought the Chamber to new heights.
Yet, those who knew Charlie well will forever remember him for his unwavering devotion, loyalty and altruism – not only to CREBA’s cause, but also to his family, his friends, and the welfare of those working for him.
Charlie is survived by his beloved wife Dolores, son Alvin and daughter Tatiana.