BUSINESSMAN Manuel V. Pangilinan is one of the nine recipients of the Cross Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice, the highest papal award for laity.

In a statement on Thursday, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), where Mr. Pangilinan serves as  chairman and chief executive officer, said that Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula conferred the award on behalf of Pope Francis on Wednesday.

The award, which translates to “For Church and Pope,” is an honor given by the Pope to the laity for their service to the Catholic Church. First instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1888, the gold medal features the images of the Apostles Peter and Paul. 

“You are sent to look for many opportunities to do good for others and to make more of our brothers and sisters feel God’s care, compassion, healing, and love through you,” Mr. Advincula said during the awarding. 

According to Meralco, Mr. Pangilinan has been long-time supporter and member of the Board of Trustees of Caritas Manila, the social service arm of the Archdiocese of Manila.

He said that he would continue to support “other philanthropic organizations on top of the various foundations he leads.”

“I think that the work Caritas Manila does, and our foundations, is really to be not too self-interested, and to be mindful of others. After all, what are we here on Earth for except to benefit humanity,” Mr. Pangilinan was quoted as saying.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera