Richest Filipino is also biggest philanthropist


05:28 AM May 31st, 2013

May 31st, 2013 05:28 AM

Mall magnate Henry Sy Sr.: Richest and as well biggest giver. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Mall magnate Henry Sy Sr., the Philippines’ richest person with a net worth of some $13.2 billion, is also one of the country’s notable donors, according to Forbes Asia’s latest list of “Heroes of Philanthropy.”

The list is a rundown of 48 leaders in the Asia-Pacific region who share their material success with society.

On its seventh annual list, Forbes Asia handpicked four philanthropists from each of the 12 countries in the region for “boosting society in creative ways.”

Sy, 88, founding chairman of the SM group, is joined by perfume manufacturer Joel Cruz, tycoon John Gokongwei Jr. and renowned architect Felino “Jun” Palafox Jr. to represent the Philippines.

“The selections are subjective,” Forbes staff member John Koppisch wrote in introducing the 48 leaders in the prestigious business magazine’s June 10 issue.

People and causes

“We aim for a mix of people and causes…. And we pick only true philanthropists—people who are giving their own money, not their company’s (unless they own most of the company), because donating shareholder funds isn’t charity,” Koppisch said.

The list includes personalities from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

“The Philippines’ richest person continues to disburse chunks of his fortune,” Forbes Asia wrote. Sy was also on the magazine’s list in 2009.

Forbes Asia noted Sy’s $112-million donation to an unnamed foundation in December last year, as well as his $7-million contribution to De La Salle University (DLSU) last year, to help construct an eco-friendly building named after him.

Other Filipinos

Cruz, 48, founder and CEO of Central Affirmative Co. which manufactures Afficionado Germany, was cited for his efforts to help children and abandoned teenagers, as well as his company’s yearly charity events.

Gokongwei, 85, founder and chairman emeritus of JG Summit Holdings, was praised for contributing at least $6 million to DLSU’s College of Engineering over the past two years, beefing up the institution’s funds for scholarships, faculty development, facilities and research.

He also made it to the list in 2008.

Palafox, 63, founder and managing partner of Palafox Associates, was chosen for his firm’s contributions in designing low-income development programs, as well as his pro bono work for Church-related projects.

“All are leaving the region a powerful legacy–whether it’s museums, symphony orchestras, a global project to eradicate polio, rural kindergartens, free health clinics or help for war refugees,” Forbes Asia said of this year’s mix of philanthropists.

Other Filipino philanthropists who made it to the Forbes Asia list in recent years were Albert Lina, Regina Paz Lopez, Emilio Yap, Mercedes Zobel, Jose Concepcion, Jesus Tambunting, Lucio Tan, Stephen Zuellig, Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez, Ricky Reyes, Washington Sycip, George S.K. Ty, Jon Ramon Aboitiz, Manuel Pangilinan, Alfonso Yuchengco, Ramon del Rosario Jr., Oscar Lopez and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II.—Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research

Disclaimer: Comments do not represent the views of We reserve the right to exclude comments which are inconsistent with our editorial standards. FULL DISCLAIMER

For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.