View Full Version : The 40 richest people in the Philippines

06-23-2012, 02:19 PM
The 40 richest people in the Philippines

Posted at 06/21/2012 10:39 AM | Updated as of 06/22/2012 10:10 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- SM tycoon Henry Sy tops this year's Forbes list of 40 richest people in the Philippines, which includes the head honchos of some of the largest companies in the country.

Sy had an impressive net worth of $9.1 billion, while Lucio Tan is at a rather far second with a net worth of $4.5 billion.

Notables include port entrepreneur Enrique Razon Jr., Senator Manuel Villar, and others.

The top 40 richest in the Philippines are:

1) Henry Sy - $9.1 billion (SM Prime)
2) Lucio Tan - $4.5 billion (Phillip Morris Fortune Tobacco)
3) Enrique Razon Jr. - $3.6 billion (International Container Terminal Services)
4) John Gokongwei Jr. - $3.2 billion (JG Summit)
5) David Consunji - $2.7 billion (DMCI)

6) Andrew Tan - $2.3 billion (Alliance Global)
7) Jaime Zobel de Ayala - $2.2 billion (Ayala Corp.)
8) George Ty - $1.7 billion (Metropolitan Bank)
9) Roberto Ongpin - $1.5 billion (Atok-Big Wedge)
10) Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. - $1.4 billion (San Miguel)

11) Roberto Coyiuto Jr. - $1.3 billion (National Grid)
12) Tony Tan Caktiong - $1.25 billion (Jollibee Foods)
13) Lucio and Susan Co - $1.2 billion (Puregold Price Club)
14) Iñigo and Mercedes Zobel - $1.15 billion (Ayala Corp.)
15) Emilio Yap - $1.1 billion (Philtrust Bank)

16) Jon Ramon Aboitiz - $955 million (Aboitiz Equity Ventures)
17) Andrew Gotianun - $825 million (Filinvest Development)
18) Manuel Villar - $720 million (Vista Land and Lifescapes)
19) Beatrice Campos - $700 million (Unilab)
20) Vivian Que Azcona - $690 million (Mercury Drug)

21) Alfonso Yuchengco - $570 million (Rizal Commercial Bank)
22) Mariano Tan Jr. - $420 million (Unilab)
23) Enrique Aboitiz - $400 million (Aboitiz & Co.)
24) Eric Recto - $365 million (Alphaland)
25) Jose Antonio - $300 million (Century Properties Group)

26) Gilberto Duavit - $270 million (GMA Network)
27) Menardo Jimenez - $265 million (GMA Network)
28) Frederick Dy - $260 million (Security Bank)
29) Manuel Zamora Jr. - $255 million (Nickel Asia)
30) Alfredo Ramos - $$250 million (Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development)

31) Oscar Lopez - $245 million (ABS-CBN)
32) Felipe Gozon - $240 million (GMA Network)
33) Betty Ang - $235 million (Monde Nissin)
34) Wilfred Uytengsu Jr. - $230 million (Alaska Milk)
35) Juliette Romualdez - $200 million (Banco de Oro)

36) Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. - $195 million (Rustan Commercial)
37) Jacinto Ng Sr. - $190 million (Rebisco)
38) Tomas Alcantara - $160 million (Alsons Consolidated Resources)
39) Michael Cosiquien - $150 million (Megawide Construction)
40) Edgar Sia II - $140 million (Mang Inasal)

Sam Miguel
01-25-2013, 08:57 AM
^^^ I still can't get over the fact that both Ramon Ang and Manny Pangilinan are not on that list.

03-06-2013, 08:25 AM
Filipino billionaires’ circle grows in 2013

By Neil Jerome Morales

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 6, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The number of Filipino billionaires grew to 11 this year with mall tycoon Henry Sy topping the list of Forbes magazine released late Monday.

Six Filipino businessmen and their families were newcomers to the list of 1,426 billionaires in the world this year.

Sy’s net worth surged to $13.2 billion from $8 billion last year.

This was primarily due to the higher share prices of flagship firm SM Investments Corp. This allowed Sy to remain as the richest man in the Philippines and the 68th in the world, up from being 116th in the global list in 2012.

Tobacco and airline magnate Lucio Tan and family, ranked 248th globally, maintained the second spot among Filipino billionaires with wealth of $5 billion from $3.5 billion a year ago.

Enrique Razon Jr., owner of port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) and casino complex developer Bloomberry Resorts Corp., bagged the 258th spot globally and is the Philippines’ third wealthiest. His fortune grew to $4.9 billion from $1.9 billion last year.

Also included in the global top 500 is Andrew Tan (345th), whose gaming, hotels, brandy and fastfood businesses allowed him to accumulate $3.95 billion.

Razon has overtaken Tan, who nonetheless improved to rank 345th from 601st a year ago.

The local billionaire circle, which had a combined wealth of $37.85 billion (P1.54 trillion), has grown from only six in 2012.

Sy and the 10 other Filipino businessmen are part of the elite group of only 1,426 people globally who have a net worth of $1 billion or more.

New faces in the 2013 list include construction giant David Consunji and family with $2.8 billion (503rd); Metrobank Group’s George Ty and family, $2.6 billion (554th); Puregold’s Lucio and Susan Co, $2 billion (736th); insurance businessman Robert Coyiuto Jr., $1.6 billion (931st); Jollibee’s Tony Tan Caktiong and family (1031st) with $1.4 billion and Filinvest’s Andrew Gotianun and family (1175th) with $1.2 billion.

Former trade minister Roberto Ongpin slid to 1175th this year from 1153rd in 2012, even as his net worth grew to $1.5 billion from $1 billion.

Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., who exited diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp., did not make it to this year’s Forbes list, although he was among the six Filipino billionaires in last year’s list.

On top of the global list was Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim Helú ($73 billion), followed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates ($67 billion).

The owner of Spanish fashion retailer Zara, Amancio Ortega ($57 billion), wrested the third spot from Warren Buffet ($53.5 billion), who dropped out of the top three for the first time since 2000.

The year’s biggest loser is Brazilian Eike Batista, whose fortune dropped by $19.4 billion, or equivalent to about $50 million a day, Forbes said. Batista ranked 100th this year, from seventh in 2012.

Hong Kong’s Li Ka Shing ($31 billion) was named the richest man in Asia and eighth in the world.

Forbes, which has been listing the world’s billionaires since 1987, noted this year’s 1,426 billionaires collectively controlled $5.4 trillion of the world’s wealth.

This is higher than the $4.6 trillion shared by 1,226 people last year.

“To compile net worths, we value individuals’ assets – including stakes in public and private companies, real estate, yachts, art and cash – and account for debt,” Forbes said.

03-06-2013, 08:27 AM
^ The Zobel-Ayala family are no longer billionaires...?

03-06-2013, 09:03 AM
Phl elite corners new wealth


By Boo Chanco

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 6, 2013 - 12:00am

We all know that the rich are getting richer, getting an ever greater share of the fruits of economic growth here as it is in many countries abroad including the United States. That is why there was this Occupy movement supposedly trying to speak up for the 99 percent of the population being left behind in the US.

Over the weekend, there was some amount of controversy over a statement attributed to former NEDA Chief Ciel Habito even among my economist friends. As it turned out, a wrong impression was given by a report on Ciel’s statement.

The Inquirer reported that “in 2011 the 40 richest families on the Forbes wealth list accounted for 76 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth.” People stopped reading after GDP.

Here is how Dr Habito explained what he actually meant: “I’ve been careful to clarify that having the wealth increase of the top 40 individuals being EQUIVALENT (i.e., in value) to 76 percent of the nominal increment in GDP should not be interpreted to mean that 76 percent of the GDP was captured by these 40 individuals… My purpose in making the comparison was to place the wealth increase in perspective, and the contrast with neighboring Asian countries is quite glaring. This still points to PH as a rather unusual case of inequality, which is my main point.”

So, whatever the technical nuances, the message is clear. The growth we are showing as measured by our GDP is not trickling down to a larger number of our people. It is being cornered by our elite.

That is why impressed as he was with our GDP performance, P-Noy found out he got no brownie points from the ordinary folks out there. P-Noy can also talk about wanting to have inclusive growth until he is blue in the face but unless he takes risks and turns his back on the interests of his own social class, it won’t happen. The only ones happy about high GDP growth or even an investment grade debt rating are the few in our society already rich beyond common imagination.

As Dr Habito puts it, little progress has been made in changing a structure that for decades has developed one of Asia’s worst rich-poor divides. He told Cecil Morella of the Agence France Presse “I think it’s obvious to everyone that something is structurally wrong. The oligarchy has too much control of the country’s resources.”

Dr Habito presented data at a recent economic development forum showing that in 2011 the 40 richest families on the Forbes wealth list accounted for 76 percent of the growth in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This was the highest in Asia, compared with Thailand where the top 40 accounted for 33.7 percent of wealth growth, 5.6 percent for Malaysia and just 2.8 percent for Japan, according to Habito.

“The Philippines is no longer the sick man of East Asia, but the rising tiger,” World Bank country director Motoo Konishi told that same economic forum. But most Filipinos would be oblivious of it.

Konishi also spoke last week before the Foundation for Economic Freedom, a group mostly composed of economists. In his presentation to FEF, Konishi emphasized the need to focus on what he called “the jobs challenge” to achieve inclusive growth.

The World Bank economist provided a good picture of the challenge in terms of the hard numbers: a labor force of 41 million, 3 million unemployed and 7 million underemployed. In addition 1.1 million Filipinos enter the labor force every year.

“There are 500,000 college graduates every year; 240,000 can be absorbed in the formal sector such as business process outsourcing (52,000) and manufacturing (20,000). About 200,000 young people find jobs abroad and around 60,000 will be either unemployed or exit the labor force.

“The remaining 600,000 new entrants, around half have high school degrees and the rest have never finished school. They have no other option but to find or create work in the low skill and low pay informal sector or in agriculture. Many of these people are in the rural areas and urban slums.”

Assuming a high case scenario of sustained GDP growth of seven percent per year and the removal of key binding constraints in fast growing sectors (e.g. the skills constraint, so that the BPO industry can accelerate its annual growth from 20 to 30 per cent), Konishi thinks “the formal sector will be able to provide good jobs for around 2 million people in the next 4 years.”

Konishi points out that “This leaves 12.4 million Filipinos who would be unemployed, underemployed or work in the low-paid informal sector by 2016. This requires meeting a dual challenge: to expand the formal sector employment even faster, while rapidly raising the incomes and productivity of those informally employed and those working in the agricultural sector.”

This means P-Noy must be ready to introduce reforms and move the bureaucracy to make it easy for the private sector to create jobs. The role of the public sector in job creation, Konishi said, is to invest in human and infrastructure capital.

Konishi calls for a “social contract” with government, business and labor coming together to form a partnership on job creation. It will require short term sacrifices on all sides, Konishi warns, balancing of trade offs, proportional sharing of responsibilities based on the ability to shoulder the reform cost.

Konishi called on government to accelerate infrastructure spending to five percent of GDP and increase investment in social services, in particular health, education and social protection. Government must also commit to an accelerated implementation of plans to simplify business regulations; continue to enhance the efficiency of public service through a combination of internal reforms, public-private partnerships in service delivery.

Private sector, on the other hand, must create more and better jobs specially those that benefit the poor in rural areas. Businesses of all sizes must embrace the principle of a level playing field for all in the interest of accelerating economic growth, Konishi urged.

This means the private sector must support reforms to reduce barriers to entry, streamline taxation and maximize competition, in particular in sector currently dominated by monopolies and oligopolies. Short term priority should be given to sectors which affect jobs either directly or indirectly, through higher food and goods prices. The private sector must be interested in expanding their operations into rural areas, specifically in agriculture and agribusiness.

Labor groups, for their part, must recognize valid forms of flexible work arrangements to facilitate the creation of more jobs, specially in the informal sector. This would allow businesses to adopt better to the changing environment, remain competitive, hire more workers during expansion years and retain qualified workers during slowdowns. Labor must carefully position itself in the Asian market to insure competitiveness of its workers in the Philippines.

I think we are doomed. These are difficult things to do in our political setting. Dr Habito said the path to riches for the few is helped by a political culture that allows personal connections to easily open doors. Why would the elite support reforms that end their dominance?

Having a more inclusive growth will remain an elusive goal for so long as our political and economic leaders are unwilling to think in terms of new strategies and even give up old advantages. We are as a people unwilling to think in terms of fresh approaches to old problems.

Take our land reform concept as an example. We know no farmer can be productive or competitive the way the present program is structured by law. Yet, politicians and church leaders insist on the old discredited approach and claim they are fighting for social justice. There has to be a better way of lifting our farmers out of poverty.

It is the same for our labor leaders. They win concessions for organized labor that only affects a small portion of our labor force. We also have labor laws that make us uncompetitive against our regional peers. The numbers tell the story: a large portion of our population is classified as unemployed and underemployed and only innovative policies can address their needs.

And so it will be for some time to come. The elite will continue to eat up a large share of whatever economic growth we can eke out in the foreseeable future. But how long can we keep up with such uneven sharing of the nation’s wealth and not risk a serious social unrest?


Here is one thought that bears repetition.

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.

Sam Miguel
03-07-2013, 09:56 AM
This is from the online Inqirer, no byline though ___

Philippines’ elite swallow country’s new wealth

1:02 pm | Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

MANILA – Optimism is soaring that the Philippines is finally becoming an Asian tiger economy, but critics caution a tiny elite that has long dominated is amassing most of the new wealth while the poor miss out.

President Benigno Aquino has overseen some of the highest growth rates in the region since he took office in 2010, while the stock market has hovered in record territory, credit ratings have improved and debt ratios have dropped.

“The Philippines is no longer the sick man of East Asia, but the rising tiger,” World Bank country director Motoo Konishi told a forum attended by many of Aquino’s economic planning chiefs recently.

However economists say that, despite genuine efforts from Aquino’s team to create inclusive growth, little progress has been made in changing a structure that for decades has allowed one of Asia’s worst rich-poor divides to develop.

“I think it’s obvious to everyone that something is structurally wrong. The oligarchy has too much control of the country’s resources,” Cielito Habito, a respected former economic planning minister, told AFP.

He presented data to the same economic forum at which Konishi spoke, showing that in 2011 the 40 richest families on the Forbes wealth list accounted for 76 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

This was the highest in Asia, compared with Thailand where the top 40 accounted for 33.7 percent of wealth growth, 5.6 percent for Malaysia and just 2.8 percent for Japan, according to Habito.

According to the Forbes 2012 annual rich list, the two wealthiest people in the Philippines, ethnic Chinese magnates Henry Sy and Lucio Tan, were worth a combined $13.6 billion.

This equated to six percent of the entire Philippine economy.

In contrast, about 25 million people, or one quarter of the population, lived on $1 a day or less in 2009, which was little changed from a decade earlier, according to the government’s most recent data.

Some of the elite families have dominated since the Spanish colonial era that ended in the late 1800s.

Prominent Spanish names, such as Ayala and Aboitiz, continue to control large chunks of the economy and members of the families are consistent high placers on Forbes’ annual top-40 wealth list.

Their business interests range from utilities to property development to banking, telecommunications and the booming business process outsourcing industry.

Many of the ethnic Chinese tycoons, such as Sy and Tan, got their start soon after the country gained post-World War II independence from the United States.

The tendency for the same names to dominate major industries can be partly attributed to government regulations that continue to allow near monopolies and protections for key players.

For decades after independence from the United States in 1946, important sectors such as air transport and telecommunications were under monopoly control, according to a Philippine Institute for Development Studies paper.

Despite wide-ranging reforms since 1981, big chunks of the market remain effective oligopolies or cartels, it said.

Habito said the path to riches for the few is also helped by a political culture that allows personal connections to easily open doors.

The Aquino government’s mantra since succeeding graft-tainted Gloria Arroyo’s administration has been good governance and inclusive growth, and their efforts have been applauded by the international community.

The government is spending more than $1 billion this year on one of its signature programmes to bridge the rich-poor divide.

The conditional cash transfers programme will see 15 million of the nation’s poorest people receive money directly in exchange for going to school and getting proper health care.

However Louie Montemar, a political science professor at Manila’s De La Salle University, said little had been done at the top end to impact on the dominance of the elite.

“There’s some sense to the argument that we’ve never had a real democracy because only a few have controlled economic power,” Montemar told AFP.

“The country dances to the tune of the tiny elite.”

Nevertheless, the government and economists say there are many other reforms that can be taken to bring about inclusive growth.

Analysts said the most direct path out of poverty was improving worker skills, using higher tax revenues to boost spending on infrastructure, and rebuilding the country’s manufacturing sector.

To this end, many economists endorse the Aquino government’s cash transfer programme as well as reforms to the education system, which include extending the primary and high school system from 10 to 13 years.

But for people such as mother-of-five Remy del Rosario, who earns about 1,500 pesos ($36) a week selling cigarettes on a Manila roadside, talk of structural reform and inclusive growth mean little.

With her bus driver husband out of work, the family has no savings and her income is barely enough to cover food, bus fare, and prescription medicines.

“Other people may be better off now, but we see no improvement in our lives,” she said.

Sam Miguel
03-07-2013, 09:57 AM
^^^ Aling Remy that is not the fault of the top 40 richest people. Having five mouths to feed and backs to clothe was entirely your fault.

Sam Miguel
03-12-2013, 08:11 AM

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:07 pm | Monday, March 11th, 2013

The situation where a big chunk of a country’s wealth is controlled by a few is typical in poor and developing countries that embraced the capitalist system. What is disturbing in the data presented late last month by former economic planning chief Cielito Habito is the magnitude of such a reality here: The increase in the wealth of the 40 richest families in the Philippines that made it to the 2012 Forbes list of the world’s billionaires accounted for 76 percent of the growth of the gross domestic product (GDP).

It’s one of the biggest rich-poor gaps in the free world and, Habito observed, the highest in Asia. He cited such examples as Thailand, where the top 40 families accounted for only 33.7 percent of its economic growth; Malaysia, 5.6 percent; and Japan, 2.8 percent.

Agence France-Presse also noted that according to the Forbes 2012 annual rich list, the two wealthiest people in the Philippines, Henry Sy and Lucio Tan, were worth a combined $13.6 billion, or equivalent to 6 percent of the Philippine economy. In contrast, as the news agency pointed out, government data showed that about 25 million people, or a quarter of the population, lived on $1 a day or less in 2009, which was little changed from a decade earlier. To be poor meant earning less than P16,800 a year (or P1,400 a month or P47 a day), which covers 26.5 percent of the nearly 100 million Filipinos. Based on the official poverty data of the National Statistical Coordination Board, the proportion of poor Filipinos to the total population was 28.4 percent in 2000, 24.9 percent in 2003, 26.4 percent in 2006, and 26.5 percent in 2009.

This has led to the now oft-repeated term “inclusive growth,” or economic expansion that creates jobs and reduces poverty, or allows the fruits to trickle down to the lower-income segments of society. But this calls for structural reforms, which will take years to implement. These reforms are “well-known,” Motoo Konishi, the World Bank’s country director for the Philippines, noted at the Philippine Development Forum in Davao City. “They have been studied, written about and reflected on for a long time.” (He also said that now—under the Aquino administration—was the time to accelerate and sustain the reform agenda.)

Economists agree that little progress has been made in changing an economic structure that allows one of the worst income inequalities in Asia. As Habito, a columnist of the Inquirer, was quoted as saying, “I think it’s obvious to everyone that something is structurally wrong. The oligarchy has too much control of the country’s resources.”

Income inequality is actually a global problem. Using different estimation models, a review of income distribution in 141 countries by Isabel Ortiz and Matthew Cummins for Unicef in April 2011 “found a world in which the top 20 percent of the population enjoys more than 70 percent of total income, contrasted by two paltry percentage points for those in the bottom (20 percent) in 2007; using market exchange rates, the richest [20 percent of the] population gets 83 percent of global income with just a single percentage point for those in the poorest (20 percent).”

“While there is evidence of progress, it is too slow; we estimate that it would take more than 800 years for the bottom billion [of the world’s population] to achieve 10 percent of global income under the current rate of change,” the Unicef paper said. Overall, it noted that the extreme inequality in the distribution of the world’s income “should make us question the current development model (development for whom?), which has accrued mostly to the wealthiest billion.”

At home, as the government struggles to implement structural reforms, it is actually taking care of the poorest of the poor through its conditional cash transfer program. The Aquino administration is spending more than P40 billion this year on this flagship undertaking, which will see 15 million of the nation’s poorest people receive money directly in exchange for their kids going to school and mothers and children getting proper health care.

What about the big proportion of people earning the basic minimum pay mandated by law? They can only pray for the kindness of their employers, for the latter to awaken to the virtue of giving and sharing. We’ve seen billionaires like Microsoft founder Bill Gates and tycoon Warren Buffett give away the bulk of their wealth to charity. The rich in the Philippines need not do as much. They need only give a little more.

Sam Miguel
03-12-2013, 10:32 AM
Inequity, initiative and inclusive growth

By Cielito F. Habito

Philippine Daily Inquirer

11:05 pm | Monday, March 11th, 2013

It is not correct to say that the 40 richest Filipino families own 76 percent of our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). I have recently been widely misquoted as having said so. What I did say, and had first explained in this space nine months ago (“Economic growth for all,” 6/26/12), was that the growth in the aggregate wealth of our 40 richest families in 2011—which Forbes Asia reported to have risen by $13 billion in 2010-2011—was equivalent (in value) to 76.5 percent of the growth in our total GDP at the time, which official data show to have risen nominally then by P732 billion, or around $17 billion. I found that this ratio was only 33.7 percent in Thailand, 5.6 percent in Malaysia, and 2.8 percent in Japan—suggesting that our income inequality is much worse than in our neighbors.

My observation, misquoted as it was, evoked two kinds of reactions. One audience, mostly fellow economists and business people, balked at my supposed assertion that the bulk of our national income was in the hands of only 40 families (the reporters’ mistaken inference from the misquote). They took me to task for the improper comparison between the billionaires’ wealth, mostly held in the form of stocks in various companies, and GDP, which measures total incomes earned for productive activities in the economy. The former went up because the stock market saw record highs, inflating the value of stock holdings. The latter went up because of greater economic activity; “valuation income” resulting from rising stock market values is not counted here. The former is certainly not part of the latter, and I never said that it was. My point was this: Relative to rise in total incomes, the wealth gain of our billionaires that year dwarfed those in our neighbors (who had seen similar stock market surges), suggesting much more skewed distribution in our country.

The other group was the general audience, for whom the technical clarification above is of little interest. Their reactions were borne out of unhappiness over the way our economic growth has been too “exclusive,” benefiting only a few while bypassing the wide majority of Filipinos. For them, whatever indicator of inequality we use doesn’t change the fact that our country stands out with an income gap wider than seen in most of the region. The clear imperative is to pursue more inclusive growth. This is in fact the theme and mantra of President Aquino’s Philippine Development Plan.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I do not fault our billionaires for being rich, particularly those who gained their riches through hard work and superior initiative. (But I can’t say the same for those who have employed less than fair or ethical means—and not a few believe that some in the Forbes list did.) Neither do I favor a socialist approach that would take from the rich to give to the poor.

An anecdote making the rounds of the Internet aptly illustrates why this cannot be the way to go. As the story goes, a professor known to have never failed any student in the past suddenly found himself failing an entire class. The class had proposed a grading system based on the socialist ideal where no one would be poor and no one would be rich. The professor thus adopted a system where all grades will be averaged, with everyone receiving the same grade. This way, everyone thought, no one would fail and no one would stand out and get an A. After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset, while those who studied little were happy. For the second test, the lazy students studied even less, and the better students decided it wasn’t worth studying as hard as before. The average grade for the second test was D, and no one was happy. By the time of the final test, the average grade had dropped to F, and everyone flunked the course. As the tests proceeded, it became clear that students were unwilling to put in effort that would only benefit someone else. In like manner, an economic system that takes from the rich to give to the poor for the sake of equality is likely headed for overall decline.

A thriving economy rests on initiative. Initiative, in turn, rests on proper incentive. Take away the incentive of commensurate rewards for one’s efforts, and the initiative to achieve more disappears. (Without “carrots,” the alternative is for the state to wield a “stick” and force production quotas on its citizens—at the cost of freedom and happiness.) In a democratic society, then, pursuing inclusive growth is not about redistributing wealth and income to equalize it; rather, it’s about providing genuinely equal opportunities for all.

As I have argued before, inclusive growth is about ensuring that all are equipped with or can readily access needed human, natural, physical, social and financial capital to be able to pursue opportunities to uplift their lives. This entails ensuring quality education and health services for all; correcting historically lopsided access to land and natural assets; equitable access to credit by small and large borrowers alike; a justice system that is blind to people’s social and economic status; and a competition policy that levels the playing field for big and small enterprises so that the latter can thrive along with the former. In other words, it calls for correcting our social, political and institutional flaws, in all their obvious and subtle forms, that perpetuate unequal access to economic and political power.

What worries me is that there is so much yet to be done, and the job would take much more time than remains for this particular President to do it.

* * *

Sam Miguel
03-20-2013, 09:22 AM
Speaking of inequity and inequality...

Students in need

By Michael L. Tan

Philippine Daily Inquirer

9:59 pm | Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

I’m finding that amid the groundswell of sympathy for the UP Manila student who committed suicide, there’s also been strong disapproval of what she did: that she should not have given up so easily and that she could have found a way out, if she had tried hard enough.

Such feelings come more from lower- and middle-income Filipinos I talked to, maybe because they have gone through and overcome so much adversity. The more outspoken ones were those who had been working students, talking about how it took them six, seven years to finish a four-year course. Others talked about the many scholarships or subsidies offered by politicians, and lower-tuition state universities, with one pointing out that PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) charges only P12 a unit.

I try to calmly respond, pointing out we know too little about what was going on in the student’s life and sharing cases of students in need that I had encountered as an administrator.

No doubt, the UP Manila student was under great pressure to stay on and do well in UP, but we know nothing about other circumstances that might have driven her to despair and suicide, besides the inability to pay tuition. I thought about how Filipino daughters are often more pressured than sons when they’re in universities because families expect more of their girls, many of whom end up supporting other siblings even at the cost of their own education.

Psychologists point out that many suicides involve chronic depression, which means our academic institutions need to watch out at this particular time of the year, as the schoolyear ends and the pressures of exams and loans accumulate.

Pride, shame

All that said, I did want to say the financial problems faced by our students can be very serious. At a recent college meeting, professors shared stories of how their financially strapped students took on odd jobs, skipped meals, or walked to school. One said professors have to be more sensitive about the cost of field trips, which poor students cannot afford. Another said he has had students who could not fulfill the mandatory CWTS (Civic Welfare Training Service) because they could not afford the transportation money to the sites where they were to render training service.

Another professor said he has heard of students in other schools having to go into “prosti-tuition” (a self-explanatory term).

And there’s pride, too. One professor said he had allowed a student to continue to attend classes despite delayed payment of tuition but that the student’s family pulled him out, saying it was shameful to attend classes without paying.

Last year after our graduation rituals, I congratulated the new graduates who I knew had to take several leaves of absence because of financial problems. After my column came out, two generous donors wrote to offer support: One wanted to help students with tuition scholarships and the other told me to use the donation to help whoever was in need.

The open-ended donation resulted in a trial program in my college, where the Office of the College Secretary announced that money was available for students in need, with no specifications, and that students can write in to explain how they would use such an open grant. There were 19 students who wrote in, mostly about unexpected financial shortfalls: a parent losing a job (usually overseas), family businesses going bankrupt, a parent victimized by unscrupulous business partners, and, quite simply, parents who were working but just could not make ends meet.


In the end, six students’ proposals stood out and I thought of P10,000 grants for each of them. The problem was that we only had P50,000, but I told our college foundation administrator to just go through with the six grants. Fortunately, one of our political science students, Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay, won first prize in an essay competition sponsored by US Pinoys for Good Governance. Besides his individual prize money, his department and our college also got cash prizes, and we were able to “top off” and complete the funding for six students. Hulog ng langit, heaven-sent, I thought.

In my letter to the grantees, I apologized about the small amount, but two of them came to me and said I was underestimating the value of P10,000. For them, it was hulog ng langit, allowing them to pay off debts, ensure they would not have to skip meals, or buy much-needed books and textbooks. The two were graduating students, and could now concentrate on completing their requirements. The UP Manila student who committed suicide needed less than P10,000.

I hear now that UP Manila alumni intend to raise P50,000 to P100,000 for an emergency fund for students in need. I also teach at UP Manila, so I think I’m entitled to challenge them to raise much more, given that one anonymous donor to my college in UP Diliman gave P50,000 last year, and has added P100,000 this year. One donor giving P150,000 can make the difference for 15 students.

Since I have personal scholars of my own, I do feel uncomfortable about outright grants and scholarships. They make a difference for graduating students, but what about nongraduating students, who will need more financial transfusions as they go through college? This is where loans come in, and it’s high time the country, and not just UP, came up with a student loan system with longer repayment schemes, perhaps even waiting until after they graduate.

Since all UP and state university students are actually people’s scholars (iskolar ng bayan), some units like UP Manila’s health-related colleges now require students to sign a return service agreement, which means graduates must stay on in the Philippines for two years, giving back a little to the country. They don’t even have to serve in government institutions; the point is to stay in the country.

While putting safeguards in place for screening processes and for monitoring of students, we need to make the applications for these scholarships more friendly. I have learned through the years that it’s still middle- and upper-class students who apply for scholarships. Several of the 19 who availed themselves of our college’s open grants wrote in flawless English.

There were reports that the UP Manila student did not submit documents supporting her claims of financial need. We need to review those required documents. One of my college professors mentioned that utility bills are required and pointed out that many urban poor families do not even have electric and water meters in their names because they’re renting, or don’t have legal connections.

But it’s not just a matter of utility bills. UP and other government institutions are notorious for forms, and more forms. When the UP College of Medicine first asked me to teach a few years back, it required me to fill out papers like a new applicant, and to go through medical and dental checkups and NBI clearances even if I had already been teaching at UP Diliman for almost 30 years. I am still required to fill out new and long information forms every semester that I teach there. If I feel intimidated by these forms, think of what it means for a student feeling disempowered by being young, and poor.

Yes, students and their families can and will find ways to survive. But schools, the government, private individuals can make it easier for that survival, sometimes with very modest donations and, more importantly, with open doors, and open hearts to make the students feel they can seek help.

Sam Miguel
04-01-2013, 11:26 AM
Filinvest CEO Gotianun Yap on Forbes list

(The Philippine Star) | Updated April 1, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Filinvest Group president, CEO and director L. Josephine Gotianun-Yap has made the prestigious Forbes Asia’s 2013 list of 50 businesswomen for achievement in business. The select few have been distinguished for their stalwart performance in the world’s most dynamic region.

Gotianun-Yap, 57, joined 49 other prominent women in Asia and is one of two from the Philippines who, in the midst of global economic challenges, have steered their businesses into producing higher profits or have repositioned for better business pickups.

Gotianun-Yap climbed the corporate ladder to head the family’s various Filinvest companies. She helms Filinvest Development Corporation (FDC), Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI) and Filinvest Alabang, Inc. (FAI) as president and CEO. FDC has assets valued at P239 billion and stockholders’ equity of P78 billion.

Within the property arena, Gotianun-Yap has spearheaded the expansion of the group beyond its traditional housing market to commercial developments that include the 244-hectare Filinvest City in Alabang, Muntinlupa, with the biggest regional shopping center —Festival Supermall and the dominant IT Park in the south — Northgate Cyberzone and the pre-eminent Palms Country Club in its midst. The country’s tallest office building, PBCom Tower, is also a development of Filinvest Asia Corp. The group has now amassed a recurring income base of over 300,000 square meters of leasable area.

FLI, the group’s major property subsidiary, is a leader in the mass housing market with dominance in the medium-rise building space through its Oasis and Spatial Brands and is the developer of the breathtaking 677-hectare mountaintop residential community Timberland Heights near Quezon City.

From being “property-centric,” the group has ventured into power generation and hotels. She is president and CEO of FDC Hotels Corporation, which developed the Crimson Resort and Spa in Mactan, Cebu, as its maiden project. Crimson Resort and Spa in Mactan has reaped various accolades, most notably the 2012 Certificate of Excellence by travel website TripAdvisor and the 2013 Recommended List of Conde Nast Johansens, a comprehensive illustrated reference to annually inspected, independently owned hotels. The newly opened Crimson Hotel in Filinvest City is now a landmark in Southern Metro Manila. FLI also developed the Quest Hotel in Cebu City, the top in its category. Gotianun-Yap aims to build up its hotel development and management business with the aim of creating a world-class Filipino hospitality brand.

Gotianun-Yap also holds a key position in FDC Utilities Inc., a company poised to deliver energy at a better pricing through embedded generation and cost-effective renewable energy sources. FDCUI has successfully signed up bilateral supply contracts and will soon be groundbreaking its 270 MW plant in Mindanao.

In banking, Gotianun-Yap is also a director of FDC’s banking subsidiary East West Bank. The Bank undertook an initial public offering in 2012 and has seen its share prices rise from the IPO level of P18.50 to the P30 to P35 range.

Outside of her corporate successes, Gotianun-Yap is recognized for her personal advocacy in education. “Education has the greatest impact, not only on scholars, but on generations to follow.” Gotianun-Yap helps the Educational Research and Development Assistance Foundation, which provides educational assistance and programs to poor children in Muntinlupa. FLI and its official endorser, TV host Kris Aquino, donate funds for five kindergarten classroom building projects of the Aklat Gabay Aruga Tungo sa Angat at Pag-asa Foundation (AGAPP), which is headed by Aquino’s sister, Pinky Aquino-Abellada.

Gotianun-Yap is a conference speaker on topics pertaining to family business at the Ateneo de Manila. She was recently a panelist in the HSBC Women’s Forum in Singapore on balancing family and business life. Gotianun-Yap holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago. She is married to Joseph M. Yap, current president of Cyberzone Properties Inc. and Filinvest Asia, and is a proud mother of three.

Sam Miguel
04-22-2013, 10:49 AM
Where are the billionaires and the superrich?

By Neal H. Cruz

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:37 pm | Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Many people found it strange that Kris Aquino, the queen of massacre movies, paid a bigger income tax than the superrich Filipinos. While it explains why Kris does not have any difficulty changing gigolo-husbands, it does not explain why the richest Filipinos paid less. Where are the taipans and the tycoons? Where are the captains of industry? Where are the richest Filipinos on the Forbes Magazine list? Where are the 10 richest senators and 10 richest congressmen who appear on the annual list of the richest Filipinos? Where are Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, Ramon Ang, John Gokongwei, Manny V. Pangilinan, Manny Villar? Where are the Ayalas and the other billionaires? Yes, they are on the top 500 list but way below Kris.

The Lopezes, owners of ABS-CBN, First Gen and Rockwell Land, complained, asking why they are not on the list at all. And Megaworld owner Andrew Tan sent a statement to the Inquirer, showing he paid more than P60 million in income taxes in 2011, bigger than the P49.8 million that Kris paid.

So what happened to their income tax returns (ITRs)? Did they earn less than Kris? Did they cheat on their ITRs? Do they have smarter accountants and tax lawyers?

Not necessarily. It is because the list of the 500 biggest individual income taxpayers is limited to those who filed individual ITRs only. If you had substitute filing (meaning, your company withheld income taxes for you and remitted them straight to the BIR, just like in the case of regular employees), you are not on that list.

As Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares explained, “If you did not file an ITR because you had substitute filing… it doesn’t matter how big your salary and tax payments are. You will not appear on the list.”

Let me explain further:

The list of the Top 500 Individual Income Taxpayers published by the Bureau of Internal Revenue is determined by the amount of taxes paid by individuals on income earned from compensation, or from the practice of a profession or from business that is run as a sole proprietorship.

The following types of income received by most businessmen are not included in the individual ITR because they are already subjected to a final tax at source:

1. Dividends from investments in shares of stocks are subject to a final withholding tax of 10 percent.

2. Interest on bank deposits, money market placements and other deposit substitutes are subject to a 20-percent withholding tax.

3. Trading gains on the sale of shares of stocks listed and traded in the local stock exchange are subject to the 0.5- to 1-percent stock transaction tax that stockbrokers withhold and remit directly to the BIR.

The assets of many businessmen consist of investments in shares of stocks in various corporations:

1. We can call these shares of stocks in listed companies as “paper money”—that is, not actual “cash money.”

2. This “paper money” is the basis of the Forbes list of the richest Filipinos. Its value is based on the prevailing stock prices of the businessmen’s listed companies at the time that the Forbes listing is being prepared.

3. Their corporations also pay corporate income taxes aside from the individual businessman/shareholder’s.

The corporations generate employment and business opportunities (for manufacturers, distributors, retailers, suppliers, contractors, middlemen, and the like), thus greatly contributing to the overall development and growth of the economy. Employment and business opportunities generated by these companies translate into more tax collections for government.

* * *

This coming May 1, Labor Day, labor groups will again be marching to ask for higher wages and more benefits for workers, as they do without fail every Labor Day. They will ask for more mandatory wage increases and the abolition of the hated “contractualization” system (by which employers, instead of hiring permanent employees, farm out the work they need—e.g., janitorial and security services—to other companies; or employ workers for five months only, then replace them with another batch for the next five months to skirt a provision of law mandating that an employee automatically becomes permanent after he/she shall have served for six consecutive months in the same company).

This time, however, the three biggest labor groups—Federation of Free Workers (FFF), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)—are aiming at different objectives. FFF and KMU are pushing, as usual, for higher wages while TUCP is calling for the creation of more jobs. As TUCP president and former Sen. Ernesto Herrera said, our immediate problem is the lack of jobs. Millions of Filipinos are unemployed. Labor should help government and investors create more jobs.

We need more investors to put up more factories and businesses. Right now, investors don’t want to come to the Philippines because of corruption, red tape, high power rates, and traffic jams (which delay the delivery of raw materials and finished products). If the labor component becomes too costly, investors stay away. If production costs are too high, the investors cannot compete in the international market.

Products from China and Korea are very strong in the world market because their labor costs are relatively lower. They can therefore sell their products for less. Products from the United States and other well-developed countries, on the other hand, are finding it hard to compete because they cost more to produce. Because of strong labor unions in these countries, wages are high and, therefore, production costs are also high.

“Let’s create jobs, first,” said Herrera. Let’s accept lower wages first. Then when the companies improve, we can ask for higher wages.

Sam Miguel
04-22-2013, 11:53 AM
Andrew Tan raises tax equity issue


By Boo Chanco

(The Philippine Star) | Updated April 22, 2013 - 12:00am

Megaworld founder Andrew Tan has complained he paid more taxes than the President’s sister but was ignored in the top taxpayers list released by the BIR. Tan, the chairman of Alliance Global (AGI) and Megaworld, claims to have paid P60.1 million in taxes for 2011. It’s unfair.

Tan’s business empire in AGI alone includes Emperador Distillers Inc., Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. (which partnered with Genting to operate Resorts World Manila), Golden Arches Development (Philippine franchise holder for McDonald’s) and Global Estate Resorts Inc.

I can understand Tan’s hurt feelings. How can an actress, no matter that she is the President’s youngest sister, be paying more taxes than him? It’s embarrassing.

But wait a minute… Tan seems to be protesting before he understood the basis of the BIR list. The list covers only those who actually filed income tax returns like me and others who are not awesomely successful entrepreneurs like he is. Maybe the BIR should have released a consolidated list covering all sources of income and all manners of tax payments. But that’s not the case.

Tan’s P60-million tax payment and Kris Aquino’s P49.87 million are apples and oranges as far as the BIR is concerned. Let us see why.

The bulk of Mr. Tan’s income is his very impressive dividend earnings of P518 million for which he paid a 10-percent final tax. He need not report this kind of income the way salaries and other income must be reported in an income tax return filed every April 15.

If at all, what is comparable to Kris is Tan’s P22 million in salaries for which he paid P7 million and the directors fees of P3.8 million for which he paid P1.2 million. He paid at the 32- percent rate for both. Maybe he was covered by substituted filing (if he is qualified at all) but it was not captured in the list released by the BIR.

Nevertheless, I am glad Mr. Tan made a fuss because he raised a good tax policy issue. Why should the hoi polloi like you and me who sweat it out daily to earn a salary being made to pay as much as 30 to 32 percent in income tax? That’s like working for government for close to four months every year compared to a little over a month for Mr. Tan.

Rich folks can do nothing more than play golf the whole year but only have to pay a 10-percent tax on the dividends they earn. Even the minimal interest earnings on our puny savings accounts are charged a 20-percent tax.

Of course I know that Tan is no idle rich. He works hard and earned his riches the hard way. But still, the dividend income he earned should be taxed the same rate our salaries are taxed. The tax laws should be framed so that income is income and every one must pay at the same tax rate.

It is bad enough that the working class is already paying its unfair share of value added and other consumption based taxes on basic necessities including food, energy, water and yes, cell phone bills. Alan Peter Cayetano told PhilStar editors last week that 70 percent of what we earn end up as taxes if you add up direct and indirect taxes.

Indeed, everyone knows the rich employ the best tax lawyers and accountants and are using so called tax avoidance practices. Commissioner Kim Henares mentioned in an interview that she is aware of their ploy of creating a personal holding company where the salaries and bonuses of high earning executives are paid.

Henares warned the wealthy not to “incorporate” even their personal expenses under separate companies just to minimize their tax liabilities. “You cannot book groceries for your household under a separate corporation, or the salaries of your helpers, or your mobile phone bills,”

I understand that “tax planning” is also why the Zobel de Ayala brothers are not on the big tax payers list. Fernando Zobel told my colleague Ichu Villanueva they are covered by “substituted filing” for the salaries they earn in much the same way as their clerks and janitors are.

That means their companies, Ayala and Ayala Land, withhold taxes on their salaries each payday. At the end of the year, their tax liabilities on their salaries are fully paid and they don’t have to file a return on April 15.

But I wonder if “substituted filing” applies to the Zobel brothers. I am sure that at least in the case of JAZA, he gets compensation from Ayala, Ayala Land, BPI, Globe, among many others. “Substituted filing” is only allowed if there is a single source of income. How are all the other compensation income accounted for?

Maybe that’s where the personal holding company mentioned by Commissioner Henares comes into the picture. But on top of that, I am told the Ayalas also have a holding company called Sonoma where the nine cousins hold equal shares.

I am told the way it works, all the profits declared by the Ayala companies for the family’s shares go to this company which has a policy to declare 80 percent dividend each year. Like Andrew Tan, the Zobel cousins only get taxed 10 percent on their dividend earnings.

This tax disclosure problem for the captains of business and industry is not going to go away. And particularly for the Zobels who are active in the Makati Business Club, the MAP and other self righteous business organizations that constantly demand transparency from government, the same level of transparency is expected from them too. How do they pay their taxes and how much?

It is a pity not too many people, not even Mr. Tan himself, realized that he opened a can of worms. Until Mr. Tan protested, few were aware how atrociously our tax law discriminates against the poor wage earners.

An inequitable tax system is bad for the economy, Warren Buffet, America’s best and wealthiest investor had been saying for years. Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 percent on the $46 million he made in one taxable year, while his secretary, who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 percent.

Mr. Buffett believes a tax policy that favors the rich over everyone else accentuates a disparity of wealth that hurts the economy by stifling opportunity and motivation. See… we can’t even blame this tax policy on the workings of capitalism because a big practicing capitalist is saying this works against the economic system.

As one blog puts it (The Unofficial Stanford Blog) America has a huge disparity in income between its richest and its poorest citizens. If America has a big wealth disparity problem, I don’t know what we can call ours. Studies show that income disparity makes a huge difference in a person’s health and happiness... An unfair tax policy is apparently a violation of human rights.

Buffett has been advocating a minimum tax on top earners – like himself. His proposal is popularly known as the Buffett rule, something we need here too.

Here, we can also make the tax rule more equitable by bringing the top income tax rate down and bringing the tax on dividend incomes up. That should also be good for the economy. Ordinary folks will spend the extra cash and boost the economy while rich folks only tend to hoard it as the trillion pesos in SDA accounts prove.

Now that the government is embarking on an all out drive to get people to pay the proper taxes, our legislators must also review the tax code and make sure it is fair specially to the ordinary wage earners.

Alas, Mr. Andrew Tan… you complained too much. Confucius might have said there is wisdom in keeping one’s mouth shut when one is already so much ahead. But thank you anyway. By opening our eyes to tax inequity, you inadvertently did something good.

Tax time

Mel Amado sent this one.

A woman walks into an accountant’s office and tells him that she needs to file her taxes.

The accountant says, “Before we begin, I’ll need to ask you a few questions. He gets her name, address, social security number, etc. and then asks, “What’s your occupation?”

“I’m a Lady of the night,” she says.

The accountant is somewhat taken aback and says, “Let’s try to rephrase that.”

The woman says, “OK, I’m a high-end call girl”.

“No, that still won’t work. Try again.”

They both think for a minute; then the woman says, “I’m an elite chicken farmer.”

The accountant asks, “What does chicken farming have to do with being a prostitute?”

“Well, I raised a thousand little peckers last year.”

“Chicken farmer it is.” replied the accountant

Sam Miguel
05-02-2013, 09:18 AM
Excluded middle

Philippine Daily Inquirer

8:00 pm | Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

It has been some time since a person of national consequence spoke about the need to create a vibrant middle class, the dream that animated pre-1960s nationalists and post-Edsa democrats alike. For that alone, Sen. Edgardo Angara’s address at the graduation rites of the University of the Philippines last Sunday was noteworthy. But his speech, which drew necessary attention to the importance of the middle class, also prompts uncomfortable questions about who, exactly, make up the middle.

“A strong middle class is the backbone of civil society,” Angara said. “[It] is the voice of reason that moderates vested interests, the force of change that compels societies to invest in their own future.”

This is a view with a history; it goes back to the likes of Jovito Salonga and Jose Diokno, to Horacio de la Costa and Lorenzo Tañada and Jose P. Laurel, all the way to Jose Rizal and the reformists of his time.

Angara, who is rounding out his fourth term (and 24th year) in the Senate, is a former UP president with a deep interest in history. (He is also a political kingpin in his native Aurora province, and the father of a three-term congressman running for the Senate; questions about his true legacy, about the political dynasty he has founded, and the political and economic advantages he may have enjoyed through his mastery of law and legislation, will continue to be raised long after he leaves office on June 30.)

Angara’s historical understanding was on display when he rooted his discussion of the role of the middle class in the experience of the ilustrados—the so-called enlightened ones, that 19th-century generation of educated Filipinos symbolized by Rizal himself, out of whose ranks came the thinkers and leaders of the Philippine Revolution.

Today’s middle class is like the ilustrados of the 19th century, the senator said, because the class to which the graduates he was addressing belonged is “our country’s greatest resource of talent and potential.” This resource is all the more vital, he said, given the radical changes that have swept over Philippine society in the last several decades. But—a significant point—it is not only the Philippines that enjoys the so-called demographic sweet spot; countries like Vietnam are in the same race to develop a true, enlightened middle class. However, he added: “Whether these new ilustrados will be aware of their identity and conscious of their social role is an entirely different matter.”

Rhetorically and intellectually, linking the history of the ilustrados with the role of the new graduates was a bold move on Angara’s part; when he was UP president, and for a decade or so before and after his term, the very concept of “ilustrado” was derogatory in UP and in other schools. It meant someone who was rich enough in the late 19th century (and therefore implicated in the Spanish colonial regime) to get an education in Spain. Many educated Filipinos today still use the word in that context; for instance, when Sen. Chiz Escudero endorsed the vice presidential candidacy of Jejomar Binay in an influential commercial three years ago, he said his candidate was not ilustrado, meaning Binay was not (born) rich.

But in fact the word only means an enlightened person, and applies equally well to such illustrious heroes as the penurious Apolinario Mabini, the proletarian Emilio Jacinto, and the largely self-taught Andres Bonifacio. None of them studied abroad; all of them helped shape the nation.

It was in this sense that Angara exhorted the new graduates of the country’s premier university to see themselves as the new ilustrados.

We have to ask, however: Is this concept of the middle class too limiting? We can understand the premium Angara places on a college education, but how many of the millions of students who enter the first grade make it all the way to a bachelor’s degree? What about the laborers who failed to finish their schooling, the farmers who cannot leave the land they till, the fisherfolk whose only classroom is a temperamental sea? Will they never be part of what Angara and many other national leaders before him call “an enlightened middle class”?

Doubtless, the new graduates have a crucial role to play in developing a modern, more competitive, more equitable country. One of their first tasks, however, may be to forge a definition of the middle class that, as in other constitutional democracies, does not depend on college education alone. That middle class should include Bonifacio’s numerous heirs.

Sam Miguel
05-03-2013, 08:43 AM
Middle-income trap

By Michael L. Tan

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:52 pm | Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Last Sunday, Sen. Edgardo Angara was the commencement speaker at the University of the Philippines Diliman. His challenge to the graduates was to build a middle class, which he said was a potent force for the social transformation of the country. Senator Angara did express concerns that the middle class was too small, maybe even “vanishing.”

The next day the International Monetary Fund raised concerns that emerging Asian economies, including the Philippines, are susceptible to the “middle-income trap,” where the economies stagnate at middle-income levels rather than move on to high-income status.

By coincidence, I’ve been attending meetings this week with Dutch and Filipino partners in a project called Emit, or Escaping the Middle-Income Trap. Emit is a joint project of Erasmus University in the Netherlands and UP, with support from the Dutch government agency Wotro.

For the Philippine component of the research, we are looking at the Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Quezon) area in Southern Luzon, which best exemplifies what this MICT (the academics’ jargon abbreviation for “middle-income country trap”) may be.

A few months ago I wrote a column “Hope in the South” about the economic boom in an area that includes some towns in Laguna (notably Santa Rosa), extending to Silang and Tagaytay in Cavite. There’s a real estate boom, numerous shopping centers selling branded (the genuine ones) products, export processing zones. Several of Metro Manila’s best schools have set up branches there: Xavier Nuvali, St. Scholastica’s, and De la Salle, with Miriam and the University of Santo Tomas to follow soon.

I was there on Labor Day and could feel the upbeat mood of people there, one of unbounded optimism of still better times to come. When I told my UP colleagues in the Emit project about this, one of them remarked, “Sounds like a gold rush.”

The “gold rush” began with the export processing zone that did create new jobs, mainly for women to work in assembly plants. In more recent years, the BPOs (business process outsourcing centers) provided another infusion of capital, and jobs, for the area. Perhaps as, if not more, important than the export processing zone and the BPOs is the export of labor. Entire towns have been known to adopt Italian architecture because money is sent in by Filipinos working there.

But grinding poverty remains, made even more glaring because of the trappings of development—for example, a new city hall, or shopping mall. The Emit project at UP is still gathering data to look at why this is happening in the Philippines. The project involves a lot of very quantitative research looking, for example, at company investments, employment generation, as well as other new economic activities. We are particularly interested in how foreign firms may stimulate local firms as suppliers of goods and services.

The UP School of Economics is handling the numbers-crunching while the UP College of Social Sciences and Philosophy will be doing more qualitative research, gathering “stories” from households, communities and companies about their perceptions and experiences of development.

Testing hunches

Research involves testing of hypotheses (kutob in Filipino), and we have no lack of such hunches. The IMF’s advice early this week to the Philippines and other middle-income countries is to improve infrastructure and diversify exports.

The Emit project is interested in getting more detailed information around the transitions from one stage of development to another. Our Dutch counterparts (who include a Filipino, Annette Pelkmans-Balaoing, and a management professor, Rob van Tulder) have been creating databases to look at countries throughout the world, comparing their trajectories of development. Central to these trajectories is “positioning,” being at the right place at the right time in a global value chain. This early, it is clear the Philippines has persisted at producing “low-value” products in this global chain, and we need to work more on our educational system to produce graduates who can innovate and create new higher-value products and services in a world where so much wealth is being created through knowledge-based industries.

I thought of Nuvali with all its plush stores, selling expensive products produced in other countries (notably China), while local products are still limited to snack items and trinkets. The other week I wrote about a National Academy of Science and Technology forum, where expert economists described the Philippines as going through progeria, a medical condition where we prematurely mature—that is, failing to develop our agriculture and manufacturing industries, we jumped into a service-dominated economy that benefits mainly the upper classes and, to some extent, the middle class.

The last Labor Day observance left many workers unhappy because there was no new wage hike. But this vicious cycle will continue, the poor kept in an endless battle for higher wages that just can’t keep pace with spiraling costs of food and essential commodities, thanks to our neglect of agriculture and manufacturing.

Precarious treadmill

I thought, too, of Senator Angara’s warning about the precarious existence of our small and perhaps vanishing middle class. One of his most striking observations was that “a single stroke of fate—one accident, calamity, or crisis—can send you (the middle class) falling through the cracks.” I’ve seen that all too often as a university administrator, with middle-class students having to drop out because of an illness in the family, or an overseas worker parent being laid off and unable to get a new job at home.

If there is an MICT that threatens the Philippines as a nation, there is, too, a similar trap that middle-income Filipino families should try to avoid. We are not very good at diversifying: Look at Internet marketing sites like Sulit and you’ll find everyone trying to sell the same products (usually imported electronics). In terms of our children’s education, we go for the flavor of the month—hotel and restaurant management, for example.

Mind you, the problem is not so much with the course itself as with our ability to innovate, to create a market niche. An education major with good training may find a job, for example, as a curriculum engineer. The other night I had dinner with visiting professors of a Taiwan university that was now offering all kinds of innovative degree programs, including one in vegetarian nutrition. It may sound strange putting in four years to study vegetarian cooking and nutrition, but we’ve seen how Taiwan—poorer than the Philippines until the late 1960s—has been able to anticipate new needs, and to develop innovative technologies for those needs.

Escaping the MICT is not just about infrastructure and technology. Inclusiveness, referring to the involvement of all economic classes in society and a sharing of the benefits of development, is central as well to escaping the MICT. We’re looking, with much apprehension, at how much of this inclusiveness has accompanied development in the Philippines.

If anyone feels the MICT, it’s the poor, with the “T” perhaps not so much a trap as a treadmill. Hard work, maybe even good exercise, but not moving forward.

Sam Miguel
05-10-2013, 10:21 AM
Poverty amidst signs of plenty


By Roberto R. Romulo

(The Philippine Star) | Updated May 10, 2013 - 12:00am

The reaction among politicians to the phenomenal economic growth being experienced by the Philippines appears to be divided between those who see it as a half-filled glass and those who see it as half-empty. One side of the political spectrum claim credit for this achievement and brook no criticism despite certainly valid points being raised on poverty and job creation. The other side includes those, who are in Henry David Thoreau words, “fault-finders who will find faults even in paradise”. But even discounting the fact that this is also the “silly season” – meaning the election campaign period — where politicians are given to hyperboles and impractical solutions, both sides make a valid point. It cannot be denied that this is indeed a remarkable achievement and a validation of President Aquino’s program, in which “Daang Matuwid” is the underpinning. Equally, to deny that poverty incidence remains high and that joblessness continues to be a major challenge would be doing a great disservice to the efforts to make this economic growth sustainable and inclusive.

NEDA’s Balisacan

This is why I think NEDA director-general Arsenio Balisacan, a well-known expert on poverty, should be commended for not couching his report in the language tailored for this “silly season” of political spin. Some say this might not have been a good time to release the report so kudos too for the administration’s countenance of this report. But numbers do not lie though their interpretation can perpetuate a lie. The 2012 poverty report says that the poverty incidence since 2008 is unchanged and as a matter of fact not much changed from the 31-percent poverty incidence during the time of President Ramos. An important point to be made however is that during the same period our population base grew by more than 30 percent. This would have required our GDP to grow at a rate of around seven percent minimum for it to make any significant dent on poverty. This rate is the commonly accepted yardstick based on modeling and on the actual experience of countries like China and Indonesia. In our case, we averaged around four percent during this period. In fact our real GDP per capital rate in 2010 based on purchasing power is lower than the per capita rate in 2000!

Focus on education

Fortunately there are people who have not lost sight of the fact that “every system is perfectly designed to produce the results it gets.” Since our poverty incidence has remained intractable for the past few decades, it must mean that our present system is “perfectly designed” to keep a third of Filipinos in poverty and must therefore be overhauled if we are to solve this problem once and for all. For this issue, I would like to focus on one component of this system - education as it relates to job creation.

Obviously poverty reduction is complex, with multi-stakeholders. Even with the right policies in place, it will take some years before a sharp reduction is experienced. It will take a combination of low population growth and sustained economic growth to achieve this. Even then not everyone will necessarily share the fruits of economic growth - there will always be pockets of poverty geographically and demographically even in the highest growing economies. They include children, single-parent households, indigenous and tribal peoples and those who cannot take advantage of the opportunities offered by economic growth by virtue of their skills and location relative to the employment. Then there are those living in areas that are poorly endowed, far from the sources of growth or are racked by instability and failed governance – the combination of which have made the ARMM as the poorest region in the country. It is therefore important to look at the sources of this high economic growth and its distribution, in particular, its implications for job creation. To take this to the extreme by example, many of the unemployed and underemployed are in the rural areas and not everyone can be a call center agent or a BPO provider – there are not enough openings anyway to accommodate them all. There must be other sources of employment – in agribusiness, manufacturing and services – where the vast majority of our unemployed can qualify – must be created. Job creation and poverty rates are inextricably linked. The challenge is formidable. World Bank country director for the Philippines Motoo Konishi estimates that the Philippines must create 14.6 million jobs between now and 2016 if the political aspirations of inclusive growth are to be fulfilled.

‘Demographic dividend’

Much has been made of the so-called “demographic dividend” which they say the Philippines is poised to enjoy as countries in the region face an aging population. Indeed it is the consumption of this large, relatively young population that is propelling the country’s economic growth. In a paper presented to the 35th Pacific Trade and Development Conference in Vancouver in June 2012 by Emmanuel Jimenez and Elizabeth M. King, the World Bank pointed out the benefits from the “demographic dividend” is not automatic and requires a massive effort to obtain, and even more difficult to sustain.

The authors, Jimenez and King, say that almost a half century ago, the famed Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal predicted that Burma (Myanmar) and the Philippines were the two Asian countries most likely to achieve rapid growth in the Asian region. This prediction, since proven to be inaccurate, was based partly on the fact that the Philippines and Burma accumulated more human capital than other countries in the region – based on the literacy and educational levels of its population. “In 1960, the secondary school enrolment rate in the Philippines was 26 percent — higher than that of Malaysia and Hong Kong and, in fact, higher than that of Portugal and Spain. At 10 percent, secondary school enrolment rate in the poorer parts of Burma was much lower, but still exceeded the rates of countries that are now significantly richer, such as Indonesia and Thailand.” We know that what happened to Myanmar was largely self-inflicted. The case of the Philippines was a little more complicated – population pressure not matched by income growth – overburdened the school system, lowering its quality and depriving others of educational opportunity. While our participation rate at the secondary level has risen steadily, it has since been exceeded by Indonesia and Thailand.

East asian tigers

In contrast, they point out that the growth of the so-called East Asian Tigers — Hong Kong SAR (China), Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan (China) — was built on “astute investments in schooling and training and enhanced by a demographic dividend made possible through falling fertility rates. The demographic dividend meant that when young people became workers they not only had more schooling but they also had fewer dependents to support.”

‘Tiger cubs’

The authors say that the “tiger cubs” — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand — are well placed to emulate the Asian tigers. But they would need “to adjust to dramatic demographic shifts” and ensure that education systems deliver the skills needed to boost productivity and meet the needs of a changing global economy. This will require a “vigorous response” from the education systems. Yet the track record of these systems is mixed – that is to say the quality of education and training in some cases – is not up to par with global standards or are not relevant to current and future demands. Recent surveys have in fact shown that despite the increasing number of educated youth, firms in the region say that finding the right people remains a significant obstacle to their growth.

Our education system must be improved to achieve the objective which the authors outlined and which they themselves say are quite known and accepted, but poses significant challenge in implementing: “matching the skills being acquired today with those that will be needed in tomorrow’s global markets; stimulating demand for human capital formation among excluded groups; providing second-chance learning opportunities; reforming higher education; and facilitating the movement of educated labor to where it can be used most productively.” In other words, quality is just as important as expanding quantity for education opportunities.

The fact that writing about one component of the social and economic system – education – has taken up all the space I have for this column and with more that still need to be said about this alone confirms that poverty reduction is a complex task encompassing a broad array of factors - health, population, capital investment, infrastructure, rural development and many others. What is clear is that the system as it currently stands is inadequate to meet the challenge. It has to be overhauled if it is to produce new results. The simple message is creating jobs is the most effective way of addressing poverty. Obviously this needs the convergence of different stakeholders towards a shared understanding of the intractable issue as well as a coordinated response and collective action. In other countries, they do a national summit and a national compact. I am sure there are people in the Cabinet who can put this together.

Sam Miguel
05-24-2013, 08:34 AM
Who cares about the hungry?

By Jose Ma. Montelibano

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:49 pm | Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

I have been monitoring the hunger incidence statistics of the Philippines as reported quarterly by SWS for over ten years, as long as I have been involved with the Gawad Kalinga movement. Because I was a late-comer in anti-poverty work at that time, I remained observant but quiet. I thought I could not speak up when I was just like most people I knew then—uninterested, uninvolved and concerned with a million other things.

Along the way, I grew more intimate with poverty from consistent presence in areas where the poor were, getting to know them better, deeper involvement with community organizing, working with volunteers and partners, and helping design community programs. All the time, I always remained watchful about hunger. And when I knew the terrain much better, I began to write about it.

Wanting to understand why the Philippines, a country so rich in almost everything, was inexplicably mired in massive poverty, I was forced to turn to history. In my whole lifetime, poverty was already a reality in the Philippines. And since governance by Filipinos began only in 1946 despite claims of independence earlier, I could not blame any government administration of causing poverty. Of course, government may be very guilty in perpetuating in what it could have substantially mitigated in the last 67 years, but not in causing the massive poverty we have.

There is no doubt in my mind that poverty was a direct consequence of Spanish colonization, specifically in taking control of land that belonged to the people. Land in the 16th century was more meaningful that what it is today. When everything was agricultural then, land meant everything that man needed aside from his own skills and administration. Land meant home, land meant food, land meant security, land meant opportunity, land meant the past, the present and the future.

When Spain engineered the largest land-grab in our history, the people’s slide to poverty began. Only a few were spared from it, mostly local leaders who allowed themselves to be used by the foreign masters to control the rest of the natives. Only a few, then, were spared from the massive poverty that ensued in the centuries to come. These included the peninsulares and the insulares who, together with cooperative local leaders, became the first elite.

The landlessness of native Filipinos led to poverty, led to homelessness, led to hunger. There was just no other explanation for poverty, not at the national scale it reached. That there are always poor people around may be understandable, but not when it reaches 90%, as in the D & E classes of the Philippines. The saving grace is that livelihood is now not anymore totally dependent on land. Landless OFWs are earning enough to buy home lots and build sturdy homes. They are also lifting themselves out of poverty without help from the government and the elite.

But the point is not only about poverty but one of its most horrible faces— hunger. I have written many times that hunger shames us as a people. It shames government. It shames the Church. It shames all the non-poor among us. Beyond being a shame, it places a curse on us, not just the administration in power, not just the cardinals and bishops still active in their service, but all of us who can feed someone who is hungry but does not.

It is extremely difficult at this time not to be angry about 20 million Filipinos experiencing hunger. There is something that is inhuman about it, not that there are hungry people, but that there are people in strategic positions who end up doing nothing. It is not as though it is only now that millions have experienced hunger, it has been reported by SWS for at least 15 years.

We have a Catholic Church that expended great effort to wage war against the RH Bill, to create Team Patay during the campaign. My God, if my God is the same God they believe in, the same Bible we read has Jesus Christ asking on Judgment Day, “When I was hungry, did you feed me?” Is that kind of message so hard to understand or have the priorities of religion been flushed in the toilet bowl?

We have a spokesperson for the President of the Republic who, when asked about the latest hunger incidence report, says that “they do not take the survey results alone as the sole benchmark used by the government for its poverty-alleviation priorities.” Well, Ms. Valte, if you speak for our President, please take the hunger incidence report every quarter with the utmost interest, priority and sympathy. Do not make people believe that the President is simply more interested in defending his policies than getting more hungry people fed.

In truth, who cares about poverty-alleviation priorities when people are hungry? The success of anti-poverty programs can be appreciated only when hunger is effectively and substantially reduced. In other words, if the CCT claims that it has helped millions of families, it is like saying the SWS surveys are terribly understated, that the two or more million families that the CCT says it has reached used to be part of the hungry. Either the CCT is completely inutile against hunger and dishonest about its failures, or there used to be more than thirty million Filipinos experiencing hunger.

I thought that an Einstein saying was most relevant only to elections. But it seems even more relevant to poverty and hunger. Einstein said, “Insanity: to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In attempts to ease poverty and hunger, what I used to think was only stupidity is actually insanity according to Einstein.

But what may be the unkindest cut of all for our millions who experience hunger is not government, not the Church, but the rest of the Filipino people who are not hungry and who make no effort to feed the hungry. It is Philippine society as a whole, its perversion from a culture of bayanihan to one that cannot think beyond oneself and one’s family. How sad to realize that, by how we have treated them, nobody really cares about the hungry.

Sam Miguel
05-31-2013, 09:09 AM
The Gates of Hell

By Jose Ma. Montelibano


9:41 pm | Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Sometimes, we need a foreigner to articulate a truth so we can confront it. Dan Brown, author of the bestseller, “Inferno”, a fiction and sequel to previous books like “Da Vinci Code” and “The Lost Symbol”, mentions Manila in ways not so flattering. In fact, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino reacted quite sharply to Brown’s choice of Manila and his choice of words to describe the city – or metropolis.

There is some basis for Tolentino’s objections for the book’s characterization of Manila as “six-hour jams, suffocating pollution, horrifying sex trade…” The six-hour traffic jams are true only if we have a tropical storm like Ondoy flooding Manila in 2009. The suffocating pollution depends on how pure an environment someone’s lungs have been used to. The face masks of MMDA traffic enforcers, though, indicate they are affected by pollution. And sex trade is present, indeed, but a billing that Manila shares with many other cities in other countries. I do not know what horrifying means – is the author thinking of volume or perversity?

Tolentino said that the book used terrible description of pollution and poverty. Too bad, because pollution is dirty and a killer, and poverty is even dirtier and a greater killer. I cannot speak of other places beyond Metro Manila, but there is no denying that the metropolis is polluted. The pollution is not only in the air, which to me seems to have improved, but it is also in the garbage. Garbage dumps are way below standards, and garbage in the canals and rivers even worse. I think pictures of the big floods that have hit Metro Manila depict just how thick uncollected garbage is.

But Dan Brown was kind on poverty. The real poverty in the Philippines is indescribable. It not only affects almost 30 million Filipinos because that is truly understated. Filipinos who know they are poor and honest enough to say it reach 50 million or half of the population. Thank goodness that “Inferno” was not meant to tell the story of poverty in the Philippines because the author could have been more graphic and voluminous.

Poverty has been reported mostly in statistics. These reports in no way come close to the reality of poverty, the pain, the hopelessness, the constant fear of not surviving, and then the greater fear of surviving in hell. Gates of hell? No, poverty is past through the gates, poverty is hell itself.

Brown did not even get to the hunger. If he had concentrated more on Manila, it would not have been a work of fiction anymore – it would not have used anything else but the truth to describe the dire reality of how poverty depraves the poor among our people. A storyteller tends to be more articulate and interesting than statistics. Numbers are cold, words are warmer, pictures are hot, and audio-video is graphic.

But Tolentino is concerned about the truth that had been conveniently left out by the author. There is beauty in Metro Manila, beauty not only in edifices but also the culture of the Filipino. Beyond beauty, there is opulence that can make many forget that there is poverty, too, horrible, terrible poverty.

My concern about trying to show the other side of Manila is that it shames us as a people for being most uncaring to the darker side of life. If we show the glitz, if we show the awesome food we can cook and present in restaurants, if we show the commercial centers, the condos and exclusive villages, if we show the wealth of the rich and powerful, these will become scandalous when contrasted with the pollution and poverty that “Inferno” referred to.

I know Chairman Tolentino is only trying to show a side that is also true, especially a new governance that is more sensitive and concerned about the poor. The macro is even more outstanding, the aggressive economic growth, the surging stock market, the call centers and BPOs, the construction boom, the exciting tourist avalanche. I believe this is what Chairman Tolentino did not want to be just omitted because it is real as well, it is dramatic as well, and it is bringing the country where we want it to go.

We should not too concerned about good news being locked out this time. Look at the approval and trust ratings of the President – at 70% or more after three years in office simply says that the people know about the good news, even the poor. Even more than what Filipinos feel and say are what non-Filipinos feel and say. The financial institutions and rating agencies have been one uninterrupted source of admiration. The global business world is looking closely, and investing heavily. P-Noy is the darling of the world, and the Philippines the enviable host for both business and fun.

What we should be constantly reminded of are issues which keep us down, which hold us back, and for which we attract scorn. And these are poverty and hunger as the worst of them all. Corruption, primarily because of P-Noy himself, is viewed as being addressed, far from perfect but being addressed.

Dan Brown and his term, “the gates of hell”, are necessary reminders, even quite gentle ones. The discomfort that we suffer by being called so is, by far, incomparable to the suffering of our poor. Dan Brown is not a Filipino hater, and neither am I. But until we hate hunger and poverty as a people, we deserve to be confronted with the truth in its ugliest form.

Over and over, I have said this, and time has only made me more convinced that our journey to progress and a bright tomorrow will find serious humps and obstacles until we care more deeply for our own.

Sam Miguel
06-05-2013, 09:19 AM
Not the ‘gates of hell,’ but worse

By Denis Murphy

1:20 am | Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Manila is not the “gates of hell” Dan Brown described in his latest novel “Inferno.” If anything, it is worse. Brown and observers like him see only the shell of poverty, the part of it that is visible from a car or from a walk on the edge of an urban poor area near their hotel. They don’t know the truly awful scenes in the heart of the slums and they don’t know the people. And most Filipinos have little more real knowledge of the slums than our foreign friends do.

Foreigners and most Filipinos lack an understanding of why the slums are here, how little is done to help the urban poor, and how much courage and self-sacrificing love exist in the slums. Cardinal Chito Tagle and Pope Francis have urged us to listen to one another as a precondition for understanding one another: To understand all is to forgive all.

Yes, in the slums there are pimps, men ready to kill for P500, drug lords, child prostitutes, parents who encourage their children to become prostitutes; there are drunks, lazy people, opportunists, violent husbands, vultures who prey on the weak, and all types of bad characters. There are, however, as I have experienced in my 43 years of work in the Tondo-Baseco slums, men and women, especially women, of near-heroic love and unselfishness.

I also believe there are embers of compassion in all our people, so that a gesture of concern by a decent government or an engaged Church, or a group of young people, can fan the embers into flame and into genuine concern for the very poor. Why worry about what Dan Brown or others say? We will be judged on what we do to help the poor who are there before us, as Jesus promised they always would be.

Let me give an example of what embers of compassion look like and how these can be fanned into life. We were driving on Aurora Boulevard in front of St. Joseph’s Church last week when we saw coming toward us, against the traffic, an older man, a scavenger, pushing a kariton that was piled high with the stuff he had gathered during the night. On top of everything was a cardboard box turned upside down, and balancing on the box were two small puppies. The box tilted this way and that and the puppies looked around for help. The man, who seemed to be in his sixties, was smiling at the dogs and reassuring them they were safe, and perhaps for a few hours at least he was smiling at life itself. After all, he had finished work and had earned his P150 or P200 for the night. He was on his way to the junk shop to sell his stuff and then he would head home for breakfast and bed with his puppies.

Then something remarkable happened: None of the drivers around us blew their horns at the man for coming against traffic and slowing them up in the rush hour. Ordinarily, these same drivers would be furious at a wrong-way driver. People have been shot for blocking traffic. Here no one was angry. They sympathized with the old man. Compassion was still alive.

Maybe the drivers liked the old man’s self-reliance and jaunty air in the face of poverty and old age. Maybe they liked his affection for the puppies. Whatever the reason, the drivers saw him as a good man in need of help. If there were a program for the old man, they would readily have signed on.

Let the old man stand as a symbol for the urban poor and the rural landless poor and the tribal people hustled out of their land by mining companies and others. The job of the government, the Church and ourselves, I believe, is to awaken the interest of all people in the poor of the country. Like the old man, most of the poor are decent, interesting people.

The poor need help. No one escapes poverty by himself or herself. Not Batman, Superman, or even the Irish superhero Finn McCool, who is so strong he can lift himself up by the scruff of his neck, can manage to get out of poverty unaided.

What might a program for the old scavengers and people like him be? We should note, first of all, that if he has a home, he is fortunate. There are hundreds of scavenger-families who sleep at night in or alongside their kariton. Let us talk about what can be done for them. At night they pull their wagons up on the sidewalk wherever they can and huddle together for the night, more like people in the Tabon Caves 50,000 years ago than residents of a modern city. They are liable to be beaten or robbed, or rousted by the police or by security guards, or well-off people who fear the presence of homeless people.

Suppose we set up camps around the city where the poor scavengers can come at night, where they will have water and be safe, where perhaps a medical person can examine the sick and the children can get a bite to eat, and maybe some tutoring. Can Ateneo de Manila University, Miriam College and the University of the Philippines open their parking lots at night to the kariton of the poor and homeless? The security guards are already in the schools to keep an eye on things. The homeless people will be safe and will leave in the early morning.

The schools can become homes of peace and compassion for the hundreds of young and old people who are literally homeless in the Cubao area.

What must be done?

Sam Miguel
06-05-2013, 09:20 AM
^^^ Talk to Jet Villarin about that, Denis Murphy. I'm sure he will try his best to keep a straight face.

Sam Miguel
06-26-2013, 01:43 PM
Jeers thrown at Filipino billionaire Robbie Antonio's 'Museum of Me'

By Camille Diola

(philstar.com) | Updated June 26, 2013 - 1:26pm

Century Properties managing director Robbie Antonio commissioned prominent British painter Damien Hirst to create a portrait of him as part of the series "Obsession."

MANILA, Philippines - When Vanity Fair released a story "Museum of Me" on Filipino property developer Robbie Antonio's commissioned portraits worth millions of dollars, people joined columnists in bashing the art project.

I'm not a fan of excessive #selfies but this guy takes it to another level. Meet Robbie Antonio of Century Prop. pic.twitter.com/yk00Dkq4BG

— Janice Racelis (@JaniceOnDisPlay) June 24, 2013

Robbie Antonio. THE HORROR.

— Roxanne Margaret (@meganiuuum) June 24, 2013

The works collectively called "Obsession" are by some of today's most iconic contemporary artists such as Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel all depicting Antonio, who reportedly paid $50,000 to $100,000 for each piece.

Columnist Rigoberto Tiglao said that what seems Antonio's vanity project would make Imelda (Marcos’) collection of shoes seem so pedestrian."

The magazine also aptly asked "Is the 36-year-old real-estate developer a patron, an egomaniac, or both?"

Famed commercial photographer David LaChapelle, however, shed light on the Century Properties scion's artistic vision.

"The tradition of wealthy people wanting portraits of themselves goes back as far as art history. It’s very easy for people to criticize him, but the more art, the better. It will be up to him to have a well-rounded project and not just a vanity project. And the collection will set him apart," said LaChapelle, who created a digital piece placing Antonio in the midst of technology, monetary symbols and neon lights.

Vanity Fair also reported that Antonio, ever the skillful negotiator, managed to have eminent Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to design his new $15 million house in Forbes Park, Manila.

Tiglao, who criticized Antonio's expenditure as opposed to the average Filipino income of $4,998, estimated the property to be worth about P1.1 billion including the lot in the upscale residential area.

Social media expressed differing opinions:

Had a dream last night that the Vanity Fair feature on Robbie Antonio is just a satirical piece about income inequality in the Philippines.

— Pepe Diokno (@PepeDiokno) June 25, 2013

I don't get the hate that Robbie Antonio is getting. He doesn't tell us how we should spend our money so why should we care abt his spending

— Fatima de Pedro (@irrationallogic) June 24, 2013

"Flaunting wealth means people lack any style or class. It means they made their money quickly, without putting any effort into it, having no idea of what it means to actually work for your money.I would be afraid to buy condos from this family," user Betty Tenmatay Lopez commented.

Popular blogger Chuvaness, however, is more forgiving: "I don’t judge if he wants to spend money this way. After all I did have my portrait done by Crajes—though mine is more affordable."

Sam Miguel
06-26-2013, 01:55 PM
Your ignorance will cost you


By Cito Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated June 26, 2013 - 12:00am

Are you paying your trusted hospital more than you should? Do you know if your trusted hospital is charging you the right price or scaring you into spending more than you should?

In an era where lawyers and doctors advise us to get a “second opinion,” it is disturbing to know that many people will ask a “second opinion” about findings and surgeries, but don’t really do the same thing about treatment options and prices. Many of us simply “trust” that a doctor is doing the right thing and has our well being in mind. Yes, they probably do, but there are a number of them who are also in the business of providing services, promoting and selling medicines, with nary a thought or worry about how the costs can hurt you and your finances.

At the end of the day, many people end up paying 2 to 3 times more than what they ought to out of fear and undeserved trust on an inconsiderate or wet behind the ears physician working for a profit oriented hospital. Ultimately, it becomes the patient or patient’s family’s responsibility to double check on prices and treatment options. The minute more people do this, they will immediately realize how they have thrown away thousands if not hundreds of thousands of pesos by not comparing prices between private hospitals and not considering government run hospitals and the great people that work in them.

After reading my articles on government hospitals a couple of people started sharing their observations and experience between private versus government hospitals. Just so you know, these people are nowhere near being poor or underprivileged people. They are middle class to upper class Pinoys and Tsinoys who earn enough and prioritize their health. I’d like to feature two stories for today.

A Tsinoy couple recently shared their accidental discovery on the price difference for preventive treatment of rabies between private hospitals and the leading government hospital, when the wife needed preventive treatment for rabies, and when a driver needed the same 2 months later.

When the Tsinay lady was accidentally bitten by one of her pet cats last April, she thought it best to go to a Pasig hospital to get shots as a precaution. After the mandatory skin test, she was determined to be allergic to the cheaper serum Equirab that is derived from horses; she was required to get the Berirab serum that was more expensive. That episode cost her P46,000.

Two months later, her tiny toy dog bit a company driver making a delivery to her house. Although the dog regularly gets anti rabies vaccine, they chose to bring the driver to a Quezon City hospital, which is listed as the accredited provider of the driver’s HMO. Having acquired some first hand information about treatment options, the Tsinay lady requested that the driver be tested if he was allergic to the Equine derived serum. The attending physician said that it was “phased out” while a nurse later corrected the statement by saying it was out of stock. The Tsinay lady then inquired how much the treatment option using the human based serum would cost and she was reportedly quoted P65,000.

Shocked by the price difference between what she paid at the Pasig hospital and what she would have to pay at the QC hospital, the Tsinay lady and the driver agreed to go to the San Lazaro Hospital. The following is an account of their trip to San Lazaro:

“Our experience at San Lazaro…

I didn’t expect San Lazaro to be a clean, efficient and well-run hospital. Because of so many horror stories I heard before when we were young, I did not trust public hospitals. But on the contrary, not only was it affordable, but one will be properly treated. The attending physician told us at peak they treat about 500 to 1,000 cases of animal bites DAILY, mostly cat and dog bites. On low season about 300 cases. I assume these would be school days when children are in school and out of the streets.

Upon arrival at San Lazaro, it took us 5 minutes to find parking inside the center. The attending nurse told us to pay P50 for the ER (Emergency Room fee) and were given a number (sort of ID) which will serve as a permanent ID record for the hospital. When we needed to be tested for serum compatibility (to choose between human or horse serum), all we had to do was to buy a skin test kit worth P10 at the pharmacy across the hospital. The nurse took care of the testing. We ended up paying a total of P3,765 for the rabies treatment at San Lazaro. But we availed of the tetanus shots in the QC hospital since the HMO of the driver covered it.

The experience led us to believe in government hospitals and reminded us to ask around first. Private hospitals are supply and demand as well as profit driven so we should be wary about the perils of over charging.”

Based on their experience, the Tsinay lady strongly advises would-be patients to make sure to do the skin test because the horse based serum is only 30% the price of the human based serum. The skin test will also save you from an adverse reaction in case you are allergic to the cheaper serum and that’s only Ph10. Here are the comparative prices as quoted by the hospitals:

Berirab (human)

QC area hospital: P11,672/vial

Pasig area hospital: P7,695/vial

San Lazaro: P4,125/vial

Equirab (horse)

QC area hospital: “phase-out” daw, but really just out of stock

Pasig area hospital: P1,776/vial

San Lazaro: P1,235/vial

* * *

When my friend Dan read about my stress test, angiogram and angioplasty at the Philippine Heart Center and how affordable it was, he immediately asked how much I paid for the hospital bills alone and was shocked to learn that I paid only 30% of what he had to pay for the same procedure at a well-known private hospital. In hindsight he said, he should have considered going to a government hospital considering he is a government official at that.

The sad part of it all was that he had to spend much of what would have been his savings for retirement a lot of which went into the annual profits of the already profitable private hospital.

* * *

We only have ourselves to blame when we blindly entrust our lives, our wealth and our choices to strangers. Our lives will always be in God’s hands. But our wealth and our choices, those are in our hands.

* * *

07-06-2013, 09:29 AM
Our crisis in values

By Jose Ma. Montelibano

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:30 pm | Thursday, July 4th, 2013

It is agitating to observe the wholesale process of demolition and relocation of squatters’ houses along riverbanks or waterways. I know it is necessary, but much less because it is part of an anti-flooding program and more because it will save lives. Somehow, saving lives comes across as human while solving the flooding mess sounds technical.

And that is the main point of my agitation. Government and agencies are tasked to solve flooding yet the work is not technical – it is human. Not that there will be no technical programs down the line, like dredging, for example. The fact remains, however, that the first phase of the work is to rescue lives that floods will immediately threaten. One would expect that the families whose lives are being rescued from possible death will show more gratitude and enthusiasm, but their reactions are the opposite.


Primarily, the poor know that government and the non-poor in the private sector look at them as the problem. They are either a nuisance or even worse. This is the attitude that the poor feel, it is the attitude that is exuded by the way authorities relate, it is the look of the officials’ faces, the sound when they talk. Most of all, it is the actions taken that affirm what the poor know from the beginning – that it is not about them and their welfare.

You see, the problem is flooding, not the poverty which reduces the dignity and value of the poor. As usual, the poor are simply the Unwanted. They begin to matter only when they are seen as inconvenient to the comfortable, as obstacles to more economic growth for the already rich, as eyesores to new real estate developments, and as threats to the security of the more well-to-do communities.

Demolition and relocation is not about raising the value of the poor, it is not about opening more job opportunities for them, it is not even about saving their lives. That is why they are being rescued only when the well-being of others who are not poor is affected by the Unwanted. We do not see demolition and relocation work in areas where the non-poor are inconvenienced or threatened. That is why it is not about the poor, except in rhetoric and as public communication packages to justify demolitions and relocations even to wastelands.

Poverty is the cancer that afflicts tens of millions and, eventually, the whole nation. That is a major problem. If we want to solve poverty, we have to address its causes – and the poor must be seen as they are, victims, not causes. If the Unwanted are not the causes, who are?

There was a time when the ranks of the poor, all the poor, stood at 90 percent, representing economic classes D & E. By their own effort, at least 30 percent of the original 90 percent are now OFWs and their families – and growing. I know that the public rhetoric keeps saying, from the mouths of politicians, the religious, and naturally, from the OFWs themselves, that the government should make more jobs available so no family has to be made dysfunctional by separation. But I also know that this is just rhetoric, for now and in the many years to come, because there will be no jobs that the OFWs can have here without denying half of the population the opportunity for those same jobs.

Transforming the cause of poverty begins the process of eliminating poverty. As much as the Unwanted are the victims of poverty, changing the mindset of those who wield power, who control capital, who mold our religious and ethical priorities, and who frame our perspective through academic training, also means the breaking down poverty.

The victims of poverty cannot transform themselves from lack of options, resources and maturity. Poverty is not about being lazy or bobo. Ask ten million OFWs just how lazy or bobo they were, yet managed to pull themselves out of poverty. In other words, if they did not find an opening, their hard work would have fed them but not much more than that. Today, they threaten to be the core of a new middle class in the Philippines.

An anti-poverty effort puts the Unwanted in the center and immediately begins with the sincere assurance that they, in fact, are valued and important to the nation. It cannot begin anywhere else because the cause of poverty is anchored on the non-value of the poor. If we who are non-poor, led by the leaders of all major fields of society, value the Unwanted as we value our family, poverty will disappear in less than 10 years.

Adopting Filipinos, even if they are poor, as integral members of the Filipino family means that we will create programs and fund them – just as we fund the schooling of our children according the best efforts of schools to educate them. But if the poor remain as the Unwanted, anything for them is just a necessary evil, forced on authority and the rich to placate, not develop, half of the population. The right attitude begins everything, and that attitude is not yet there, not from politicians, not from bishops, not from industry, not from media.

Everywhere in the most developed world, in the corridors of the most progressive, a common realization has emerged. Presidents, CEOs, or ordinary citizens of nations who have crossed lust for power and greed beyond all, have found one scapegoat for the world’s worst problems and call it a crisis of values.

A crisis of values. It means we prioritize the wrong things and miss what really matters. After reaching Mt. Olympus, the successful rue the way they chose one over the other. From the peak, they know they cannot stay there unless they and all like them turn around and go back for those left behind.

As Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

07-06-2013, 09:30 AM
^ Pero hindi ba ang totoong dapat pagusapan naman talaga sa issue ng squatter is that they really have NO RIGHT to be on someone else's property?

Sam Miguel
07-10-2013, 08:29 AM
Rich-poor divide in PH widening

By Michelle V. Remo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:32 am | Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

The gap between the country’s rich and poor is widening, with high-earning individuals enjoying significantly faster growth in incomes compared with people from the middle- and low-income classes.

This is according to data from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), which showed details of the country’s national income accounts that support the perception that the benefits of the robustly growing Philippine economy were enjoyed more by the rich than the poor.

NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon Albert said in one of the NSCB’s latest papers that people from the high-income class, which account for between 15.1 and 15.9 percent of the country’s population, enjoyed a 10.4-percent annual growth in income in 2011.

In comparison, incomes of people in the middle-income segment grew by only 4.3 percent, and incomes of those in the low-income group by 8.2 percent.

With the incomes of the rich growing faster, income inequality is expanding as a consequence.

“We find that those from the high-income class have incomes rising much faster than those in the middle- and low-income class,” Albert said in the paper, which used data covering 2010 and 2011.

“While such an examination of income is rather simplistic, it points to issues about income inequality, and the need for government and society to address these disparities, and ensure a path toward inclusive growth,” he added.

10x poverty line

The paper defined high-income individuals as those who belong to households that earn more than 10 times the poverty line. The NSCB placed the poverty line for a family of five at P7,821 a month as of the first semester of 2012.

Middle-income individuals are defined as those belonging to households earning from twice to up to 10 times the poverty line.

Low-income individuals are members of households earning twice the poverty line or less.

Data from the NSCB also showed that the high-income households accounted for more than half, or 60 percent, of the economy’s income as measured by the gross domestic product.

The balance of 40 percent of the economy’s income was shared by the bulk, or about 84 percent, of the country’s population.

Albert said that there was basis for criticisms that economic growth in the Philippines was less meaningful for the majority of the population than it was for the few high-income people.

However, he echoed statements of other government economic officials that making the benefits of economic growth trickle down to the masses would take time.

Officials have said that the Philippines needs to sustain a robust growth rate of 6 to 7 percent, or even higher, for about a decade in order for economic growth to make a significant dent in poverty-reduction efforts.

“A number of people have noted that economic growth has not yet translated into poverty reduction…. We seem to be in a hurry to find changes, but changes take time,” Albert said.

He said poverty reduction was a challenge that both the government and the private sector should address through sustained efforts, including investments.

Last year, the Philippine economy surprised the world by growing 6.8 percent, one of the fastest growth rates in Asia during the period and beating the government’s target of 5 to 6 percent.

The expansion accelerated in the first quarter of this year to 7.8 percent, making the Philippine economy the fastest-growing in Asia.

High poverty rate

Despite this, the Philippines has one of the highest poverty rates among emerging Asian economies.

The poverty incidence stood at 27.9 percent as of the first semester of 2012, almost unchanged from the 28.6 percent in 2009.

Officials acknowledged that the goal of bringing down poverty incidence to 16.6 percent by 2015—a target committed by the Philippines under the Millennium Development Goals of member-countries of the United Nations—had become difficult to achieve. The government, nonetheless, has not yet officially given up on the goal.

Economists said that the government would have to spend more on education and that the country needed to attract more investments that would provide jobs for the poor to significantly reduce the poverty incidence.

P40B for the poor

Government officials, in response, have said that poverty-reduction efforts are being intensified. They cited the government’s allocation of P40 billion for this year alone for the conditional cash transfer program.

Under the program, selected poor families are granted subsidies in exchange for sending children to public schools and for making them undergo regular check-ups in public health centers.

Officials said that over the long term, the education benefits of the program were expected to give jobs to and lift poor people out of poverty.

Sam Miguel
07-11-2013, 09:39 AM

By Conrado de Quiros

Philippine Daily Inquirer

10:40 pm | Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

I’m still thinking about what Pope Francis said the other day, about his being pained to see Catholic clergy driving flashy cars and his bidding them to use more modest ones. Seemingly a minor thing, it has not very minor implications.

He made the comment in an informal talk with seminarians. Catholics should “not be afraid of renewing some structures,” he said. “In Christian life, even in the life of the Church, there are ancient structures, transient structures: It is necessary to renew them!” Priests and nuns, he said, “should keep freshness and joy in their lives—there is no sadness in holiness.”

That’s when he got to the flashy cars. He wasn’t talking about superficial joy, he said, the kind that comes from getting the latest gadgets. “It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest-model car. You can’t do this. A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world.”

It’s good advice. No, it’s brilliant advice.

At the very least, it’s brilliant advice for the Catholic Church, not least for the Philippine Catholic Church. In fact, it’s brilliant advice not just for the Catholic Church but for the other Christian churches, including the various sects that have sprouted in this country faster than mushrooms in the dark. Local Christian churches in particular validate themselves by displays of wealth and power, which often take, quite apart from displays of political clout, particularly during elections, the very physical one of grand, or grandiose, edifices. The Catholic Church has its cathedrals or basilicas with all their pomp and pompousness, the Iglesia ni Cristo has its splendorous spires, often strung out near each other (look at the ones on Commonwealth), that glow in the dark like Disneyland. Meant to extol the glory of God, they only succeed in extolling, particularly for the mesmerized or resentful poor, the glory of their officials.

The irony of it you see during Christmas when the birth of Christ is celebrated exuberantly and extravagantly in this country, except in Bangsamoro, forgetting that Christ was born in conditions that make “humble” sound commodious.

The one Mass I found deeply moving was a Misa de Gallo in Real, Quezon, ages ago during the pit of martial law. Bishop Julio Labayen had built a “Church of the Poor” there, shown quite literally in this particular place by a makeshift place of worship with an earthen floor to which the community had trooped. It was still dark, the air was nippy with breezes blowing from the sea, and the kids still had sleep in their eyes. But the folk had warmth in their hearts.

The Mass was in Tagalog, the priest took a morsel of rice and a sip of lambanog in lieu of bread and wine, and when he spoke of fishes the folk understood, being fishers themselves who depended on the sea for their life. The birthday celebrator was a Christ they knew, a fisher like one of them, the son of a carpenter like some of them, a poor person like all of them. He might have been sitting on one of the benches, talking to them, laughing with them. This was faith in its barest, simplest, crudest expressions. This was faith in its fullest, richest, deepest manifestations. Pope Francis had a point when he spoke about joy not being found in the lap of luxury.

At the very most, it’s brilliant advice for everyone, Christian or not, Catholic or not, believer or not. Pope Francis isn’t just warning against ostentation, he is warning against a set of values and attitudes, a particular mindset, or a way of life, that is making the world today more and more unlivable.

Chief of them consumerism. It’s worse today than yesterday. A failing global economy isn’t making people want less, it’s making people want more, with governments themselves urging consumers to buy more to bail out sinking economies. Of course the plethora of goods spawned by the digital revolution is epic enticement of itself. At no time has the Rolling Stones’ song, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” been more apt than today. You can’t do without the latest cell phone. You can’t do without the latest tablet. You can’t do without the latest HDTV. And you can’t get no satisfaction.

The only time I saw a check to this on a large scale in this country was a lifetime ago during the halcyon days of activism. The change in values and attitudes, mindset and way of life in the campuses in particular was sweeping. Overnight, the culture in schools turned from cars and status symbols to rally and revolution—not just in the “university belt” but in the elite schools. Overnight, burgis was out and masa was in. Overnight, pursuing a career was selfish, serving the people was heroic. Overnight, wanting more and more possessions was laughable, making more and more sacrifices was admirable. Overnight, luxury sucked, many children were dying of hunger in the country. Overnight, simplicity commended itself, there was joy to be found in it.

You wonder when a phenomenon like that will strike again.

Who knows? Maybe people like Pope Francis, Chito Tagle, Tony Meloto, who have walked with the poor, who have talked with the poor, who have devoted their lives to trying to make the poor less poor—and the rich less poor in spirit—can help kick it in. It is certainly no small irony that Pope Francis has commended several people for sainthood, a chief criterion for which being that one has performed a miracle. I don’t know that Pope Francis himself will eventually qualify as one, but he has opened the eyes of people, faithful and faithless alike, to a lot of things that have always been right before them.

That is no mean miracle.

07-26-2013, 01:15 PM
Pope Francis visits richest and poorest on first full day in Rio

By Juan Forero, Friday, July 26, 1:21 AM E-mail the writer

RIO DE JANEIRO — He started Thursday with the poorest of the poor, people living in ramshackle homes near open sewage in Rio’s northern fringe. And he ended the day in one of the world’s most exclusive enclaves, on the glitzy beach of world-famous Copacabana.

But Pope Francis’s message was the same: Don’t let money and greed steal your soul; they can only “bring the illusion of being happy.”

“All together — show your faith!” the 76-year-old pontiff said at night before a crowd that local television commentators estimated at 1 million on the white sand of Copacabana. “Show your hope. Show love.”

He called faith “revolutionary” and asked: “Are you ready to ride this wave of revolution of faith?”

For many of the overjoyed faithful, the pontiff has started a revolution of his own — to reform a church many believe is staid and out of touch and to give voice to young people here in Brazil and as far away as Europe who are dissatisfied with their lives.

“The truth is that he’s the pope of a new time and is opening up a church, opening up a new church to everyone,” said Carlos Subelza, 28, a seminarian from northern Argentina. “He does what he says, and that wins him supporters.”

Lucas de Sousa Montes, 17, a high school student from northern Brazil, said he, too, thought the church would be transformed. “The pope came to revolutionize the church,” he said. “He came to fix what was wrong.”

The crowd at Copacabana — mostly people in their teens and early 20s, among the throngs from nearly 180 countries here for the biennial World Youth Day for young Catholics — was markedly different from the one that came out to see the pope at Rio’s Varginha slum in the morning.

Those in Varginha were poor, working-class, even from the underclass; and they watched, astonished, as Francis visited a speck of a Catholic chapel, held up a scarf he had been given bearing the name of his favorite Argentine soccer club and stopped to bless overjoyed people in the crowd.

The pope then strode into the modest home of a local family.

The throngs of faithful — as well as the many evangelicals in Varginha — could barely contain themselves as the smiling pontiff again showed his populist side on the fourth day of his historic visit to Brazil, the world’s biggest Catholic country.

“He’s so calm among the people there,” marveled a commentator for the Globo TV network as the pope visited with the family after his stop in the San Jeronimo Emiliani chapel. “What’s it like for people in that home? What might they do — offer him a cup of coffee?”

Wearing a plain white cassock, the pope then mounted a stage on a soccer pitch and told residents he had hoped to visit “all the barrios of the city.”

“I wanted to come knock on all doors, ask for a fresh glass of water, drink a coffee — not cachaca,” he said to laughs from the crowd, referring to the local hot beverage made from fermented sugar cane.

“Brazil is so big, it is not possible to knock on every door,” the pope went on. “So I chose to come here, to visit your community, a community that represents all the barrios of Brazil.”

Francis has become known as the “slum pope,” not just because of his advocacy for the downtrodden during his four months as pontiff but also because of his fearlessness in entering the “misery villages,” as shantytowns are known, in his native Buenos
Aires. As archbishop of that city, he sent priests into the neighborhoods, and those who have closely followed his career say he allowed them to engage in the kind of activism that some in the Vatican hierarchy, most prominently his predecessor as pope, did not openly support.

Francis’s larger plan is to strengthen the church in Brazil, where millions have migrated from Catholicism to evangelicalism in recent years, by bolstering support for the poor. A poll published Sunday in the Sao Paulo newspaper Folha was sobering for the Brazilian church hierarchy and the Vatican: Only 57 percent of Brazilians age 16 or older identify as Catholic, down from well over 90 percent in the 1960s.

In his remarks in Varginha, the pope criticized the “culture of selfishness and individualism,” spoke of how the wealthy need to do more to end social injustice and told residents to “never yield to discouragement” because of corruption.

He also praised the poor for the solidarity they show toward one another, saying such gestures can be a “great lesson for the world.”

And he stressed to the people of Varginha that he is on their side.

“The church offers its collaboration on all initiatives that lead to the development of all people,” he said. “The church is with you. The pope is with you.”

Hours later, speaking under a rainy sky in Copacabana, the pope’s message to the faithful was less political and more centered on the importance of believing in Jesus. “He is a friend who does not defraud,” the pope said.

Some young Brazilians spoke of how they want to see the pope, who has over the months shown he is an advocate of social justice, speak forcefully about what they consider the deep problems with the Brazilian political and economic model. Brazilians hit the streets by the hundreds of thousands in June, demonstrating against everything from corruption to shoddy bus service to high taxes and inflation.

“I hope he takes a strong posture,” said Cris Amorim, 25, a teacher who spoke about how irate she is over the country’s corruption. “The pope is here to lead on these kinds of issues.”

With three days left in his trip to Brazil, the pope still has several events at which he can widely disseminate his position, if he chooses, on those kinds of issues to his young followers.

Juliana Montesso, 36, a nutritionist here, said she believes the pope can have an impact.

“The pope has come to show that evil cannot win and that people who cheat and who are corrupt cannot win,” she said. “The pope is a chief of state and a religious leader, and he does what other chiefs of state and religious leaders cannot do.”

08-01-2013, 11:35 AM
Richest Pinoys' wealth: P2.8 trillion, more than a fourth of GDP

By Louis Bacani

(philstar.com) | Updated August 1, 2013 - 10:44am

The 50 richest Filipinos, according to Forbes, include shopping mall mogul Henry Sy (ranked first), former senator Manny Villar (16th), Felipe Gozon of GMA-7 (41st) and business tycoon Manny Pangilinan (50th).

MANILA, Philippines - The combined wealth of the 50 richest Filipinos and their families is a whopping $65.8 billion or about P2.8 trillion as of July 2013, according to Forbes' list of billionaires in the Philippines.

Topping the list of 50 richest Filipinos is 88-year-old shopping mall mogul Henry Sy, whose net worth is currently pegged at $12 billion or P521 billion.

"The Philippines' richest person Henry Sy saw his fortune swell by $2.9 billion, boosted by the surge in shares of his SM Investments, the country's most valuable company, which reported record profits of over $570 million in 2012," Sy's profile read on Forbes website.

The second richest is Lucio Tan and his family with a net worth of P325 billion. He is followed on the list by Andrew Tan (P199.7 billion), Enrique Razon (P195.3 billion), and John Gonkongwei Jr. (P147.6 billion).

Jaime Zobel de Ayala and his family are ranked as sixth richest with a net worth of P134.6 billion.

The Aboitiz family that controls Cebu-based conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures ranked seventh with a net worth of P130.2 billion.

The country's "father of construction," David Consunji, is the eight richest with a net worth of P117.2 billion.

Former senator Manny Villar has also joined the billionaire ranks for the first time after doubling his stake in listed home builder Starmalls. His net worth is currently pegged at P45.5 billion. He is the 16th richest Filipino.

President Benigno Aquino III's uncle, Eduardo Cojuangco, is the 20th richest in the country. As the chairman of San Miguel Corp., he has a net worth of P35.8 billion.

Billionaires involved in the media industry are also among the country's richest: Manila Bulletin's Emilio Yap, ABS-CBN's Oscar Lopez, and GMA 7's Gilberto Duavit and Felipe Gozon.

The last man on the list, Manny Pangilinan, has a net worth of P4.5 billion. According to Forbes, MVP is the chief executive of Hong Kong-listed First Pacific, which owns big companies such like Philippine Long Distance Telephone, TV 5 and Meralco in the Philippines and Indonesian instant noodles maker Indofood.

An article by Naazneen Karmali posted on the Forbes website said the 50 richest Filipinos are worth a combined $65.8 billion or about P2.8 trillion, more than a quarter of the Philippines' gross domestic product.

Sam Miguel
08-02-2013, 10:05 AM

Henry Sy with $12B tops PH richest 50 list

By Daxim L. Lucas

Philippine Daily Inquirer

4:04 am | Friday, August 2nd, 2013

If the latest list of the Philippines’ richest compiled by the prestigious Forbes magazine is any indication, the rising tide that is the economy gives a better lift to wealthier ships than others.

The latest edition of Forbes’ widely anticipated—and sometimes controversial—“Philippines Rich List” showed that mall tycoon Henry Sy Sr., ranked the country’s wealthiest man for six consecutive years, boosted his net worth to $12 billion as of July, representing a $2.9-billion increase from last year’s figure.

(The full list can be found at www.forbes.com/philippines and in the latest issue of Forbes Asia.)

“A surge in the economy has lifted the wealth of the Philippines’ richest,” Forbes said in a statement. “The Philippines is among the fastest-growing economies in Asia, expanding 7.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013 on the back of strong domestic consumption.”

“The country also received an investment grade rating this year,” it added.

Top 50 worth $65.8B

According to Forbes, the top 50 wealthiest Filipinos and their families are worth a combined $65.8 billion, representing over a quarter of the value of the Philippines’ economic output.

The financial standing of Sy, 88, benefited from the country’s buoyant stock market which pushed up the value of his flagship firm, SM Investments Corp., to become the single biggest firm in terms of market value, overtaking longtime leader Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

At the same time, confidence in the business community ushered in by the Aquino administration has also prompted a surge in corporate deal making, which Sy has taken advantage of to consolidate his diverse empire of property firms under one company.

Once this merger is completed, Sy’s SM Prime Holdings Inc. will become the Philippines’ largest property developer with an estimated market value of $14 billion—not bad for a man who started selling shoes in Manila’s Escolta district many decades— and many billions of pesos—ago.

Biggest gainer

Tobacco magnate Lucio Tan maintained his position as the country’s second-richest man, with an estimated net worth of $7.5 billion this year from $4.5 billion in 2012. The $3-billion increase made him the biggest-gaining billionaire this year, edging Sy’s $2.9-billion wealth hike.

Tan’s net worth was boosted in part by a recent $920-million share sale of his flagship LT Group, the largest equity issue in Philippine history. Again, this was made possible by positive sentiments in financial markets, driven by investor confidence.

Tan, 79, recently consolidated his companies—Asia Brewery Inc. and a 50-percent stake in Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Inc.—under the LT Group headed by his son, Michael, in what was seen as the first phase of the tycoon’s keenly watched succession plan.

Property developer Andrew Tan (no relation to Lucio) rose to third place from sixth in the Forbes ranking, doubling his wealth to $4.6 billion. The rise was attributed to the strong showing in the stock market of his Alliance Global Inc., a holding firm which also controls Emperador Brandy.

At 60, Andrew Tan has set his sights on building a casino resort complex at Pagcor Entertainment City at the edge of Manila Bay, in partnership with Malaysia’s Genting Group.

His net worth could receive further boost once he lists his Resorts World Manila under which his casino operations fall.

Ranked fourth with $4.5 billion was Enrique Razon Jr. whose International Container Terminal Services Inc. operates 28 ports in 19 countries. Razon’s newest venture is Bloomberry Resorts, which owns and operates the Solaire casino hotel complex at Pagcor Entertainment City.

Another tycoon who gained from the equity market was George Ty (ranked ninth with $2.6 billion), who added $900 million to his net worth, mainly due to the rise in value of his holding company GT Capital. He benefited from rising revenues in banking, car distribution, real estate and power operations.

A notable newcomer to the list is Ramon Ang, president of San Miguel Corp., the country’s largest conglomerate in terms of the market value of its various units. Ang debuted on the 31st spot with an estimated net worth of $260 million.


PLDT chair Manuel Pangilinan, Ang’s longtime rival in the mergers and acquisitions scene, returned to the Forbes list after many years of absence with an estimated net worth of $105 million—the minimum net worth to make this year’s list, according to Forbes.

“His net worth estimate is based on what we can prove, though sources claim he owns higher stakes than publicly known,” Forbes said.

Forbes said the list was “compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and other sources.”

“Net worths are based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on July 19. Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded,” it added.

Sam Miguel
08-02-2013, 10:06 AM
From Inquirer.net - - -

Richest Filipino is also biggest philanthropist

5:28 am | Friday, May 31st, 2013

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

Sam Miguel
08-02-2013, 10:08 AM
Am I the only one who doesn't believe Manny Pangilinan of all people is at the bottom of this list?

Henry Sy, 9 other Taipans top Forbes’ rich list in PH

By Matikas Santos


10:51 am | Thursday, August 1st, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – The richest man in the Philippines, Henry Sy, continues to dominate over the business landscape of the country as he retains the top spot in the Forbes Philippines rich list for the sixth year in a row.

“Topping the list for the sixth straight year is Henry Sy. His net worth increased by $2.9 billion to $12 billion, as shares of his company SM Investments reported record profits of over $570 million in 2012,” Forbes said in a statement.

Lucio Tan is at second with an estimated $7.5billion and “is this year’s biggest gainer in dollar terms after his net worth jumped to $7.5 billion, up by $3 billion from $4.5 billion in 2012,” Forbes said.

Andrew Tan has moved up to third place from sixth in the previous year with $4.6 billion, which was double his wealth in 2012, it said.

Enrique Razon Jr. came it at fourth with $4.5 billion and John Gokongwei Jr. at fifth with $3.4 billion.

“The Philippines’ richest also benefited from a buoyant stock market, which is up 28% in the past year,” Forbes said.

The Philippines has two new billionaires, former senator Manuel Villar, who is at number 16, with an estimated wealth of $1.05 billion and the Aboitiz Family which ranks seventh with $3 billion after the entire clan consolidated their wealth.

“The combined net worth of the Philippines’ 50 richest totaled $65.8 billion, more than a quarter of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product,” Forbes said.

“This list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and other sources,” it said.

The full list according to the Forbes Philippines Richest List that can be found in http://www.forbes.com/philippines-billionaires/

1) Henry Sy; US$12 billion

2) Lucio Tan; $7.5 billion

3) Andrew Tan; $4.6 billion

4) Enrique Razon Jr.; $4.5 billion

5) John Gokongwei Jr.; $3.4 billion

6) Jaime Zobel de Ayala; $3.1 billion

7) Aboitiz Family; $3 billion

8 ) David Consunji; $2.7 billion

9) George Ty; $2.6 billion

10) Lucio & Susan Co; $1.9 billion

11) Tony Tan Caktiong & Family; $1.7 billion

12) Robert Coyiuto Jr; $1.5 billion

13) Emilio Yap; $1.35 billion

14) Roberto Ongpin; $1.3 billion

15) Inigo & Mercedes Zobel; $1.2 billion

16) Manuel Villar; $1.05 billion

17) Andrew Gotianun; $1 billion

18 ) Beatrice Campos & family; $900 million

19) Vivian Que Azcona & family; $840 million

20) Eduardo Cojuangco; $825 million

21) Alfonso Yuchengco & family; $705 million

22) Oscar Lopez & family; $675 million

23) Betty Ang; $600 million

24) Jorge Araneta; $505 million

25) Carlos Chan; $500 million

26) Michael Romero; $490 million

27) Eric Recto; $485 million

28 ) Mariano Tan Jr.; $435 million

29) Frederick Dy; $290 million

30) Walter Brown; $270 million

31) Ramon Ang; $260 million

32) Jose Antonio; $255 million

33) Wilfred Steven Uytengsu Jr. & family; $250 million

34) Manuel Zamora; $240 million

35) Jacinto Ng; $230 million

36) Alfredo Ramos & family; $225 million

37) Gilberto Duavit & family; $224 million

38 ) Menardo Jimenez; $223 million

39) Edgar Sia; $210 million

40) Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. & family; $205 million

41) Felipe Gozon & family; $200 million

42) Alfredo Yao; $180 million

43) Michael Cosiquien; $175 million

44) Edgar Saavedra; $170 million

45) Juliet Romualdze; $165 million

46) Tomas Alcantara & family; $160 million

47) Lourdes Montinola & family; $155 million

48 ) Luis Virata; $120 million

49) Philip Ang; $115 million

50) Manuel V. Pangilinan; $105 million

Sam Miguel
08-02-2013, 10:20 AM
Mikee among richest Pinoy sportsmen

By Nelson Beltran

(The Philippine Star) | Updated August 2, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Mikee Romero, still in search of a first PBA crown, hit a milestone yesterday when he made it to the elite Forbes’ list of “The Philippines’ 50 Richest” for the first time.

Romero, owner of GlobalPort 900 and the GlobalPort ball club in the PBA, is one of the youngest in the roster at age 40, landing at 26th place with a net worth of $490 million.

“Naka-tsamba lang (I’ve just got a good break),” Romero told The STAR.

Other PBA bosses in the list are Danding Cojuangco of San Miguel Corp. ($825M), Eric Recto of Petron ($485M), Ramon Ang also of SMC ($260M), Wilfred Uytengsu of Alaska ($250M) and Manny V. Pangilinan of Smart/PLDT ($105M).

Romero is first-timer in the list, making it on successful ventures on port, mining, hotels and airline businesses among others.

“I’m very honored,” said Romero after joining the list of the country’s captains of industry.

Romero, however, stressed he will remain a sportsman.

“I want to win a PBA crown, and the target is to get it in two years,” said Romero on his goal with his PBA team.

Meanwhile, the GlobalPort Batang Pier will be playing with Markeith Cummings as import in the coming PBA Governors Cup – only the franchise’s third conference in its PBA participation.

Romero had great championship runs with his Harbour Centre team in the defunct PBL, in the Asean Basketball League and with the national team in Southeast Asian meets.

A former La Salle Green Archer, he’s also into shooting, baseball and polo. He captains the country’s polo team and owns the baseball team Manila Sharks.

He worked in venture capital in Singapore before returning home in 2002 to seize infrastructure opportunity.

He converted the family’s reclaimed land into Harbour Centre Port Terminal, now the country’s biggest bulk and breakbulk port.

He also has stakes in the Manila North Harbour, the country’s biggest port, where San Miguel is partner.

His other interests include mining, hotels, a 20 percent stake in Air Asia Philippines and 15 percent in Alfred Yao’s (No.42) Zest Airways.

Sam Miguel
08-05-2013, 10:26 AM
Many billionaires are still missing from the Forbes list


By Wilson Lee Flores

(The Philippine Star) | Updated August 5, 2013 - 12:00am

There is no substitute for hard work. —Thomas Edison

If you can’t excel with talent, triumph with effort. — Stephen G. Weinbaum

Recently, I asked Malayan Insurance Co., Inc. president Yvonne S. Yuchengco what the success secrets of their family businesses were through the ups and downs of Philippine history, from World War II to today’s political and economic upheavals.

She replied: “Hard work, good connections with people in the business community, hands-on management and being professional. Our family members work hard.”

When I asked for details about their work ethic, Yuchengco cited her eldest sister Helen Yuchengco Dee, the head of their family’s Yuchengco Group of Companies and chairman of the country’s fifth biggest bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), for working in the office “up to Sunday.” She also added, “She can decide very fast; she’s very good at numbers.”

How did their father, business leader Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco, train them to go into business? Yvonne said, “He made us sit down at his meetings to take down notes, even when we did not understand. This was right after college. This was good training, that’s why I always encourage people in the company to learn how to listen and take down notes.”

Another success secret of the Yuchengco Group is its patriarch Alfonso Yuchengco traveling overseas in his youth, thus learning new ideas and trends, and acquiring international business connections with foreign firms such as Tokyo Marine, with which their Malayan Insurance will celebrate their 50th anniversary of partnership next year.

• The annual Forbes magazine list of the Philippines’ wealthiest people has finally updated their roster for better accuracy, by adding several names we have been pointing out in recent years as conspicuously missing before, such as the Jorge Araneta family of Cubao prime real estate in Quezon City, Carlos Chan of Oishi snacks, Michael “Mikee” Romero of Harbor Center, San Miguel Corp. boss Ramon Ang, Century Properties founder Jose “Joey” Antonio, Rebisco and Asia United Bank boss Jacinto “Jack” Ng, Zest-O founder Alfredo “Fred” Yao and PLDT/Meralco boss Manny V. Pangilinan.

The brilliant 49-year-old Cornell-educated Eric O. Recto is a good addition to the list and I heard he is a wise investor in real estate.

Another good addition is port operator and sportsman Mikee Romero. Not many people know that Mikee has accumulated perhaps the Philippines’ biggest collection of Fernando Amorsolo paintings, more than even our National Museum and other government agencies combined.

However, up to now, there are still numerous billionaires conspicuously missing from this incomplete list, such as these names:

• The Ortigas family — owners of Greenhills Commercial Center, vast prime real estate

• Heirs of the late Consuelo “Chito” Madrigal Collantes — Susana Madrigal Eduque (sister of former Senator Jamby Madrigal), Atty. Gizela “Ging” M. Gonzalez-Montinola (wife of former BPI president Aurelio “Gigi” Montinola III; and Vicente P. Gustav Warns. This year President Noynoy Aquino reappointed Gizela Gonzalez-Montinola as a member of the University of the Philippines’ Board of Regents.

• Jose L. Acuzar — 58-year-old developer, antique house collector, founder of New San Jose Builders and owner of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan.

• Manny Pacquiao — his Forbes Park mansion alone in Makati is already worth over half a billion pesos.

• Roxas family of sugar milling — cousins of the Zobel-Ayalas and the Sorianos

• Fred J. Elizalde — The 72-year-old “Radio King” of the Philippines is more famous as husband of Russia-educated top prima ballerina Lisa Macuja Elizalde. Few people know that broadcast billionaire Fred is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University.

• The Lhuilliers — The two brothers of their respective Lhuillier pawnshop chains are reputedly the largest in the world in terms of number of branches.

• Ben Tiu’s family — The Discovery hotel chain, iRemit, TKC Steel, Sterling Bank of Asia, and others.

• Imelda Cojuangco and son Antonio “Tony Boy” Cojuangco — They got a fortune by selling control of PLDT to the First Pacific Group. Tony Boy and girlfriend Gretchen Barretto were recent special guests at the opening of the new Naci resto at 7th Avenue corner 30th St., Bonifacio Global City owned by Naci Nocom, Chevrolet Otis Manila dealer Milton Ngu, and their investor, the entrepreneurial model Natasha Villaroman.

• George Yang — McDonald’s, real estate and husband of talented jeweler Kristine Sy-Yang

• The Tambunting family — Planters Development Bank, the oldest Tambunting pawnshop chain

• The Gaisano family — Visayas and Mindanao retail chains and malls

• The Concepcion family — RFM, real estate

• Antonio Cabangon Chua — insurance, real estate, radio stations and publishing

• The Roxas family — devout Christian developers behind Cityland, with their buildings often emblazoned with the slogan “In God we trust.”

• The Lee family — owners of Anchor Land, well-known for Chinatown condominiums. They are planning to open a big restaurant in Manila.

• Dr. Vicki Belo — Marketing whiz who owns the Belo and Flawless beauty chains

• Vilma Santos Recto — showbiz celebrity who wisely invests; her former house in Magallanes Village in Makati is now rented out to the Ocampo family, who runs it as a high-end private gourmet dining place.

• Susan Roces — movie queen with lots of solid real estate investments, plus the movie library of her late husband Fernando Poe Jr., worth billions of pesos just in rental incomes from TV rights.

• Amalia Fuentes — One of the richest showbiz celebrities, with valuable real estate holdings from Quezon City to Makati to Alabang

• Mother Lily Y. Monteverde — owner of Imperial Palace Suites Hotel in Quezon City, various prime real estate properties from San Juan to Tagaytay, and the extensive Regal Films library estimated to be worth billions of pesos.

• Jose “Pepito” Chavez Alvarez — former logging tycoon, now governor of Palawan province, billionaire vehicle magnate, real estate.

* * *

Congratulations to Cebu business leader and Chinese community philanthropist Joseph Sy Gaisano on the Aug. 4 wedding of his only son, Joseph Davidson “Joey” Gaisano Jr., to Gay Audille C. Ang. Although younger than I am, Joey was my former classmate in special Mandarin language and economics classes at Beijing’s Peking University (this institution was allowed to retain its pre-communist era spelling “Peking” due to its being one of Asia’s best schools — considered the Harvard of China).

* * *

There are quite a number of world-class Filipino executives excelling in the international hotel industry. One of them is Bangkok-born and Canada-educated Arthur Gingap, who is regional general manager of Singapore’s The Ascott Limited. He is in charge of all the Ascott, Somerset and Citadines brands of serviced apartments and hotels in the Philippines and Thailand.

Both Gindap and Ascott International Management sales and marketing director Joanne Golong-Gomez told the Philippine STAR that new properties will soon be opening in Makati, Ortigas Center and Alabang, which signify bullish sentiments. However, they said we in the Philippines should do more to woo increased foreign direct investments (FDIs) and encourage tourists to not just go to our beaches but also to appreciate Metro Manila.

When asked if their mother company, Singapore’s CapitaLand, will invest more in the Philippines, Gindap replied, “If the economy continues to grow fast, CapitaLand perhaps might find it attractive to enter the Philippines.” CapitaLand’s Ascott Residence Trust in March 2007 bought the two buildings of the former Oakwood in Glorietta in Makati from the Ayala Group for P2.9 billion, and this luxury serviced apartments/hotel establishment has been doing brisk business ever since.

* * *

10-08-2013, 02:03 PM
Rich People Just Care Less


The Great Divide is a series about inequality.

Turning a blind eye. Giving someone the cold shoulder. Looking down on people. Seeing right through them.

These metaphors for condescending or dismissive behavior are more than just descriptive. They suggest, to a surprisingly accurate extent, the social distance between those with greater power and those with less — a distance that goes beyond the realm of interpersonal interactions and may exacerbate the soaring inequality in the United States.

A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power. This tuning out has been observed, for instance, with strangers in a mere five-minute get-acquainted session, where the more powerful person shows fewer signals of paying attention, like nodding or laughing. Higher-status people are also more likely to express disregard, through facial expressions, and are more likely to take over the conversation and interrupt or look past the other speaker.

Bringing the micropolitics of interpersonal attention to the understanding of social power, researchers are suggesting, has implications for public policy.

Of course, in any society, social power is relative; any of us may be higher or lower in a given interaction, and the research shows the effect still prevails. Though the more powerful pay less attention to us than we do to them, in other situations we are relatively higher on the totem pole of status — and we, too, tend to pay less attention to those a rung or two down.

A prerequisite to empathy is simply paying attention to the person in pain. In 2008, social psychologists from the University of Amsterdam and the University of California, Berkeley, studied pairs of strangers telling one another about difficulties they had been through, like a divorce or death of a loved one. The researchers found that the differential expressed itself in the playing down of suffering. The more powerful were less compassionate toward the hardships described by the less powerful.

Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at Berkeley, and Michael W. Kraus, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, have done much of the research on social power and the attention deficit.

Mr. Keltner suggests that, in general, we focus the most on those we value most. While the wealthy can hire help, those with few material assets are more likely to value their social assets: like the neighbor who will keep an eye on your child from the time she gets home from school until the time you get home from work. The financial difference ends up creating a behavioral difference. Poor people are better attuned to interpersonal relations — with those of the same strata, and the more powerful — than the rich are, because they have to be.

While Mr. Keltner’s research finds that the poor, compared with the wealthy, have keenly attuned interpersonal attention in all directions, in general, those with the most power in society seem to pay particularly little attention to those with the least power. To be sure, high-status people do attend to those of equal rank — but not as well as those low of status do.

This has profound implications for societal behavior and government policy. Tuning in to the needs and feelings of another person is a prerequisite to empathy, which in turn can lead to understanding, concern and, if the circumstances are right, compassionate action.

In politics, readily dismissing inconvenient people can easily extend to dismissing inconvenient truths about them. The insistence by some House Republicans in Congress on cutting financing for food stamps and impeding the implementation of Obamacare, which would allow patients, including those with pre-existing health conditions, to obtain and pay for insurance coverage, may stem in part from the empathy gap. As political scientists have noted, redistricting and gerrymandering have led to the creation of more and more safe districts, in which elected officials don’t even have to encounter many voters from the rival party, much less empathize with them.

Social distance makes it all the easier to focus on small differences between groups and to put a negative spin on the ways of others and a positive spin on our own.

Freud called this “the narcissism of minor differences,” a theme repeated by Vamik D. Volkan, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia, who was born in Cyprus to Turkish parents. Dr. Volkan remembers hearing as a small boy awful things about the hated Greek Cypriots — who, he points out, actually share many similarities with Turkish Cypriots. Yet for decades their modest-size island has been politically divided, which exacerbates the problem by letting prejudicial myths flourish.

In contrast, extensive interpersonal contact counteracts biases by letting people from hostile groups get to know one another as individuals and even friends. Thomas F. Pettigrew, a research professor of social psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, analyzed more than 500 studies on intergroup contact. Mr. Pettigrew, who was born in Virginia in 1931 and lived there until going to Harvard for graduate school, told me in an e-mail that it was the “the rampant racism in the Virginia of my childhood” that led him to study prejudice.

In his research, he found that even in areas where ethnic groups were in conflict and viewed one another through lenses of negative stereotypes, individuals who had close friends within the other group exhibited little or no such prejudice. They seemed to realize the many ways those demonized “others” were “just like me.” Whether such friendly social contact would overcome the divide between those with more and less social and economic power was not studied, but I suspect it would help.

Since the 1970s, the gap between the rich and everyone else has skyrocketed. Income inequality is at its highest level in a century. This widening gulf between the haves and have-less troubles me, but not for the obvious reasons. Apart from the financial inequities, I fear the expansion of an entirely different gap, caused by the inability to see oneself in a less advantaged person’s shoes. Reducing the economic gap may be impossible without also addressing the gap in empathy.


Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, is the author of “Emotional Intelligence” and, most recently, “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence”

10-18-2013, 10:27 AM
My stint as an SM grocery bagger

By David K. Ongchoco

11:54 pm | Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Every year, fourth-year high-school students of Xavier School embark on a four-day “adventure” where they get to experience what it’s like to be an SM employee. This is under the school’s SM Supermarket Immersion Program.

Entering our senior year, my classmates and I were really looking forward to the experience, as it’s not every day that you get these opportunities.

On the first day, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Just entering the employees’ workplace of the SM Marikina supermarket was already a completely novel experience for a lot of us. It was the start of an “insider” journey that many of us will surely look back on as a highlight of our senior year.

To start things off, we were greeted warmly by the SM supervisors and given a few guidelines and reminders. We then headed to the SM supermarket proper and learned about the different sections.

Then the fun finally began as we got to try out the different jobs in the supermarket.

From boxing and bagging items and goods to the chopping of chicken, experiencing every work station for ourselves really showed us students what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence.

More often than not, we take these jobs for granted. We think it’s easy to box items for more than eight hours a day, six days a week. Well, after the initial excitement of trying something new ran out for us, we started to see how tedious these jobs could be.


Like one of the cashiers said, “Mahirap kapag walang mga customers kasi sobrang boring, pero mahirap din kapag maraming customers kasi sobra namang nakakapagod.”

It was during those moments of repeatedly doing the routine of slicing the chicken for hours and hours, getting scolded by customers for being slow in boxing the goods, and a lot of other challenging experiences that we learned to appreciate what these regular employees do.

What was even more amazing was how accommodating and helpful our ate and kuya were. They lent us a helping hand and enthusiastically taught us how to do the task at hand, and never stopped until we finally got it.

Working at the seafood section

“Swerte kayo at ipinanganak kayo sa mayaman na mga pamilya, hindi tulad namin kung saan kailangan naming maghirap at sumikap upang makakain lang.” This statement by one of the employees really struck me, because it was true in a way yet somehow unfortunate, given how a lot of us Xaverians fail to recognize how blessed we are.

This is the beauty of these types of immersion. It opens our eyes to reality and impresses on us how lucky we truly are. In the process, it challenges us to make the most of our opportunities and to share our blessings with the less fortunate.

One of the most important lessons this immersion taught us students is the power of conversation, and how we should be able to relate to anyone and everyone. This immersion forced a lot of us to break out of our shell and talk not only to the customers, but more important, to the employees.

Hearing the life stories of the different employees we encountered made the experience so real and poignant. It was in the conversations with these employees that I actually learned the most.

It wasn’t by choice that these employees were here at SM working as baggers, cashiers and merchandisers. It was out of necessity that they had to apply for these jobs.

Feeding their families

A lot of the employees come from the provinces where life is even harder, so they actually appreciate that they have a job at SM supermarket. Many need to work just to feed their families. Some need to earn money to continue their studies.

Others are just keeping themselves occupied while they search for a better job that matches their college degree.

Every employee I got to talk to had such a unique story, but the common denominator of their stories was that they had a purpose in working.

The experience was a glimpse into the real world. It showed us that life isn’t easy and that, sometimes, even if you work hard, you won’t always get what you want. However, this doesn’t mean you should give up.

A lot of the SM employees are still holding on to their dream of one day getting a better job. For them, nothing is guaranteed, but it is this hope that allows them to wake up each day and persevere against all odds.

After four days, a lot of us were very nostalgic and at the same time very thankful for the experience as a whole.

I’d like to thank my school Xavier, SM Marikina, the managers, the employees and all the other people who made the four days of immersion such a unique experience, where we learned how to enjoy even the most monotonous of jobs, value hard work, deal with people from different backgrounds, appreciate our blessings, hold on to our dreams and yes, bag and box grocery items!

One day, a lot of us Xaverians will be running our own businesses or will be holding top positions in big companies. Hopefully, we will remember this SM immersion experience and what it means to be a blue-collar worker who also deserves compassion, equal opportunity and fair treatment.

Sam Miguel
11-18-2013, 07:00 AM
Country’s richest come together for typhoon victims

By Gil C. Cabacungan

Philippine Daily Inquirer

12:26 am | Sunday, November 17th, 2013

The country’s billionaires are in a generous mood, contributing in cash and in kind to the massive relief and rehabilitation efforts to bring back Leyte, Eastern Samar and other provinces in central Philippines devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

The No. 1 and No. 2 richest Filipinos, Henry Sy and Lucio Tan, have pledged at least P100 million each through their respective companies for the humanitarian effort in the Visayas.

The SM Group announced Monday it had put up a calamity fund for typhoon-battered Tacloban and Ormoc cities, Samar, Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz and Bicol, as well as earthquake victims in Bohol and Cebu.

The fund will be used for the rebuilding of damaged homes, community centers, schools, and churches, and for relief supplies.

Tan’s Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. has pledged P100 million for the Yolanda relief and rehabilitation efforts in addition to half a million 6-liter bottles of water his Asia Brewery Inc. has delivered so far; three mobile water filters deployed in Ormoc and Tacloban ; and the use of two King Air personal jets to ferry medicine and other relief.

The No. 3 billionaire, Andrew Tan, who controls Megaworld, Resorts World Philippines and McDonald’s Philippines, has donated P50 million through the Philippine Red Cross, ABS-CBN Foundation and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Rebuilding Tacloban port

The country’s fourth richest man, Enrique Razon Jr. of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), has signed up to take the lead in bringing back the heavily damaged Tacloban port.

“I’m sure most will do something. Most are giving money and goods right now, but they will probably participate in the rebuilding. We are taking over Tacloban port this Sunday to reopen it immediately,” Razon said in a text message.

At least 30 ICTSI volunteers were sent to Tacloban City yesterday to start the site survey and hiring of local workers to start the cleanup and rebuilding in partnership with the Philippine Ports Authority.

Three of the country’s largest conglomerates have also deployed their vast resources to ease the plight of the thousands of families who suffered from Yolanda’s wrath.

San Miguel

San Miguel Corp., which controls Philippine Airlines (a 50-50 partnership with the Tan group), has been the de facto lead carrier after airlifting medical and aid workers (both government and private), and cargo since the airports in the region were cleared for landing.

San Miguel, through Petron Corp., has likewise provided free fuel to the military. The company has also deployed its trucks in the region to ferry relief supplies from various foundations and converted its Mandaue brewery as the hub for relief operations and drop-off point for donations.

San Miguel president Ramon Ang said in a text message: “Any amount will help make a difference for our suffering [countrymen].”

The Metro Pacific group has sent its Manila Electric Co. power restoration teams (59 workers and 14 vehicles) to Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo. Its engineers from Philex Mining Corp. helped in clearing operations; its Maynilad Water has deployed some of its staff to help restore Tacloban’s water system, and its Smart Communications has provided free text messages and calls to the victims (in cooperation with other telecommunication companies).

Ayala Group

The Ayala Group has donated P10 million to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Its Globe Telecom has provided free text messages and has sent out medical teams using aircraft from Ayala Aviation to Iloilo. And its Manila Water has shipped boxes of drinking water to typhoon-ravaged areas.

The family of George Ty of the Metrobank Group donated an initial P25 million to the relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Sam Miguel
03-07-2014, 09:34 AM
The Forbes list of world’s richest


By Boo Chanco

(The Philippine Star) | Updated March 7, 2014 - 12:00am

It’s that time of the year again when we amuse ourselves with the Forbes list of the world’s richest people. It’s part curiosity, part wishful fantasizing even if we don’t know off hand how many zeroes there are in a billion.

We are told that in this listing, Bill Gates took back the top position from Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim. But there are those who say that Slim is really still number one because Mexico’s lower cost of living gives him more bang for every billion in his treasure chest.

The Forbes list does not limit itself to a macro listing of the world’s dollar billionaires. We can extract from that list the top 10 Pinoy, or more accurately Chinoy dollar billionaires too. In case Kim Henares missed that list, here it goes:

Henry Sy and family-$11.4 billion (97th overall); Lucio Tan and family-$6.1 billion networth (227th); Andrew Tan-$4.7 billion (319th); Enrique Razon Jr.-$4.2 billion (354th); John Gokongwei Jr.-$3.9 billion (388th); David Consunji-$3.3 billion (483rd); George Ty and family-$2.3 billion (764th); Tony Tan Caktiong and family-$1.7 billion (1046th); Robert Coyiuto Jr.-$1.5 billion (1154th); Andrew Gotianun-$1 billion (1565th).

Wait a minute, you will probably say. How did Robert Coyiuto Jr. get in that list while the Ayalas, the Lopezes and the Aboitizes are nowhere there? Forbes may just get Coyiuto in trouble again with Kim Henares. Did Robert really sell that much insurance, Audis and Porsches to become a dollar billionaire bigger than Gotianun? Or is the National Power Grid simply that profitable?

And what happened to Manny Villar, the so-called brown taipan who used to be in the Forbes list? Villar had apparently been replaced by David Consunji. And Ricky Razon is the only tisoy in the list as the Ayalas and Aboitizes seem to have better accountants who are able to keep their billions as quiet and invisible as possible.

The next list I want to see is from Kim Henares. Indeed, I want to see a newspaper ad similar to the one that angered the doctors. I want something that compares the Forbes list with the taxes paid list. I am sure harassed small taxpayers want Kim to explain why people on the Forbes list and other prominent families seem to be paying less tax in proportion to their income than they should.

The Forbes list celebrates global economic inequality. But it’s a given that the world is not fair. The social significance of the Forbes list is it makes us think of how the extremely rich use their wealth. This is particularly relevant for us in a country with a large number of poor people.

In that light, two names in the Forbes list are significant in the way they view wealth as a means to a social end. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet enjoy the thrill of making billions of dollars in personal wealth. But both have pledged to give almost all of their wealth back to society.

What to do with overwhelming wealth is a question tackled by the website familybusiness.com. “How much is too much? Two men who are among the richest people on earth have made their philosophies on inherited wealth clear.

“Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft, has said that he’s going to leave his children a relatively minor inheritance and give the rest of his vast fortune to charity.

“Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, has a similar philosophy. Buffett has been quoted as saying ‘the perfect inheritance is enough money so they feel they could do anything, but not so much they can do nothing.’”

I read somewhere that Gates intends to give his kids the amount of $10 million, said when he was worth just $50 billion. The latest net worth of Gates, according to Forbes, is $76 billion. Gates has said, according to one account, he intends to pay for the education of his kids, but expects them to pick a career and go to work.

We all have heard of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and how the couple not only wrote checks to support it but are actually devoting personal time working on its various projects mostly in the developing world. Imagine if all the billionaires in the Forbes list treated their wealth like the Gates couple? Instead of pain and poverty, there will be hope and plenty for all.

The Microsoft founder knows what wealth is all about. He lives the good life for sure but knows there is more to it than a decadent lifestyle. The Gates Foundation he founded is also more than a CSR or even old style philanthropy. It is entrepreneurial in its approach to alleviating the world’s most important human problems.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is rightfully focused to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty on a global basis. In America, the Foundation seeks to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology.

According to a Wikipedia article on the foundation, Bill Gates had donated $28 billion to the foundation as of May 16, 2013. Gates described his foundation as an innovation engine that takes risks and funds research, in addition to offering direct aid to the needy.

When he was asked what he knows now that he wishes he had known when he was of college age, Gates said that among others he wishes he “had been able to take a course like the world poverty course and know about vaccines and know what a magical intervention those are.”

Gates also talks of “creative capitalism” at the institutional level for businesses. Using the pharmaceutical industry as an example, Gates said: “We’re not saying that they should tilt all their activities. If we can get four percent to the best innovators working on these diseases that aren’t as remunerative, that can make a huge difference. And in many cases, that will be up from zero percent. So we’re not asking them to completely go against the economic incentives they live under. We want them to thrive and be successful…”

Unfortunately for us, there is not even one Bill Gates among our local dollar billionaires. I realize I just ruffled some feathers by saying that, but I don’t want the PR people of our Forbes billionaires to waste their time writing me to cite their CSR or philanthropic contributions. I know what that work is all about… been there. No one is even close to a Bill Gates.

In all honesty, I think CSR in this country is largely so much corporate bullshit. You can see it in the inflation of PR Awards. I gave up being a judge of the Anvil and the Quill because I get the feeling that quantity has trumped quality. These awards have become a big money making scheme of the professional PR organizations, complete with a long boring awards night.

There are exceptions of course like the corporate response to Yolanda. But even here the corporate donors cannot help milking their CSR activities for everything they can.

I have often said that true CSR is not an individual project designed to win an Anvil Award but an attitude or a philosophy of governance. Our billionaires must require their companies to integrate CSR principles in their operations and not just do enough to assuage their conscience.

For example, you can’t be a leading company and have Kim Henares running after you for tax fraud. Neither can you afford to lead a company with the reputation of shortchanging employees and/or suppliers. You can’t land on the Forbes list and claim to be a Christian while riding on the back of contractual workers who lose their jobs every six months. Christianity begins at home.

You can’t claim to be a good corporate citizen with award winning CSR projects and shortchange your customers in terms of lousy service. The country’s utility companies come to mind.

The only thing good I can see with the Forbes list is having Bill Gates on top and Warren Buffett in it too. These are two billionaires who know what making money and being rich is all about. It isn’t about them or even their children or amassing wealth for its own sake. It is about doing something good with their wealth right now when the need is greatest.

That’s the challenge to our local Forbes listers… a challenge they must take on before they meet their CEO of CEOs in the sky.

21st century

Lawyer Sonny Pulgar sent this one.

A man was visiting his son and daughter-in-law when he asked if he could borrow a newspaper.

“This is the 21st century, old man,” the son told his father. “We don’t waste money on newspapers. Here, you can borrow my iPad.”

That friggin’ fly never knew what hit it ...

Sam Miguel
08-06-2014, 08:10 AM
Who are the richest Pinoys?

by MoneyMax.ph

Posted at 08/03/2014 4:16 PM |

Updated as of 08/04/2014 4:55 PM

(Editor's note: This article was written by MoneyMax, the Philippines’ foremost online platform for comparing financial and telecom products and services, for ABS-CBNnews.com. Find out more at MoneyMax.ph.)

MANILA, Philippines - Who are the richest in the Philippines?

According to Forbes magazine, Henry Sy and his family are on top of the list of the Philippines' billionaires.

This may prompt some people to ask themselves: "What am I doing with my life?"

Looking at these billionaires' common denominators to financial success - smart work, patience and determination - may inspire people to work even harder.

SM founder Henry Sy is now worth a whopping $11.4 billion. He started his business when he sold rejected and overrun shoes in Tondo, Manila where his family lived after migrating from China. Now, he owns the biggest mall in the country with not just shoes in it, but everything that you need.

Lucio Tan's $6.1 billion net worth as of 2014 is mainly from his tobacco company. The tobacco tycoon started as a worker in a tobacco factory. Now, his businesses include aviation, real estate and liquor, among others.

Andrew Tan is the founder of Alliance Global, which includes Megaworld, with net worth of $4.6 billion. He also owns the McDonald’s franchise in the country through Golden Arches Development Corporation.

Fourth and the youngest on the list is port and casino magnate Enrique Razon, Jr. with $4.42 billion.

John Gokongwei, Jr., whose net worth is $3.9 billion, is the fifth in the list. The founder of JG Summit is known for his riches-to-rags-to-riches story. He was born to a wealthy Cebu-based family until his father passed away and lost majority of their wealth. He worked hard to regain his family's wealth and even more.

David Consunji made his mark in the construction industry, and now has a net worth of $3.3 billion.

George Ty founded Metrobank when he was 29 with no banking background. Today, he is worth $2.3 billion.

Tony Tan Caktiong started his business with an ice cream parlor, which eventually became Jollibee. His net worth as of today is $1.7 billion.

Ninth on the list is Robert Coyiuto, Jr. with $1.5 billion, while Filinvest founder Andrew Gotianun is tenth with a net worth of $1 billion.

Sam Miguel
09-19-2014, 08:53 AM
Asia’s billionaires see fastest wealth growth–report

Agence France-Presse 9:11 am |

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

SINGAPORE–Asia’s billionaires led by Chinese tycoons enjoyed the fastest increase in their wealth this year compared to their peers in the rest of the world, a report said Wednesday.

The combined wealth of Asia’s billionaires grew 18.7 percent from last year to $1.41 trillion, said the report by Wealth-X, a research firm specializing in ultra-high net worth individuals, and Swiss bank UBS.

Asia added 52 new US-dollar billionaires so far this year, bringing the region’s total to 560, with China accounting for 33, or 63.5 percent, of the new entrants to the exclusive club.

Although Asia was in third place behind Europe and North America in terms of the total number of billionaires, those from Asia recorded the fastest growth in wealth of any region in the world.

Asia accounted for 30 percent of the net increase in global billionaire wealth in 2014, the report said.

It said the number of billionaires worldwide rose 7.0 percent from the previous year to a record 2,325–an increase of 155.

Their combined wealth reached $7.3 trillion, up 12 percent.

Europe topped the rankings with 775 billionaires, followed by North America with 609, while the Middle East with 154 billionaires came in fourth place behind Asia.

“The rise of Asia as a global economic powerhouse has already started, and the performance of the region’s billionaires illustrates just how strong the region is and how many opportunities for wealth accumulation it offers,” the report said.

Most of Asia’s billionaires made their fortune from within the region mainly from real estate and industrial conglomerates.

Only 11 percent of them have amassed their wealth through finance, banking and investment, a percentage “much lower than in other regions,” the report added.

Asian billionaires are also the youngest worldwide, with the average age at 61, with only 13 percent having fully inherited their wealth.

Within Asia, China has the most number of billionaires at 190, followed by India (100), Hong Kong (82), Japan (33) and Singapore (32).

Taiwan was in sixth place with 29, followed by South Korea (21), Indonesia (19) and Thailand (17). The Philippines rounded up Asia’s top 10 with 13 billionaires.

Relative to population, Hong Kong topped the list in Asia with 11.2 billionaires per one million people, followed by Singapore with 5.8 billionaires per one million people, the report said.

Hong Kong and Singapore were ranked fourth and sixth, respectively, worldwide in terms of the number of billionaires relative to population.

11-25-2014, 09:57 AM
A culture of poverty?

Cielito F. Habito


Philippine Daily Inquirer

4:41 AM | Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

While doing field research in the country’s poorest areas, my team came across a community where some residents, when asked why there were so many poor people in their area, matter-of-factly said it’s because many of their neighbors are lazy. We also interviewed the project staff of a national government poverty reduction program; when asked why there were so many poor people in their province, their response was, again, because many of them are lazy. Regional heads of national government agencies that we gathered in a focus group discussion chorused that the reason there are many poor people in their region is that most of them are—you guessed it—lazy.

Poor people who are seen to be devoid of aspirations and initiative, and thereby unable to extricate themselves out of poverty, have come to be described as having a “culture of poverty.” American anthropologist Oscar Lewis, to whom the phrase was first attributed, argued that the poor possess a culture of poverty that transcends generations as well as national boundaries. In research that documented the lives of slum dwellers, he contended that cultural similarities occur among the poor in different places, and they are “common adaptations to common problems.” Lewis held that the culture of poverty is “both an adaptation and a reaction of the poor to their marginal position in a class-stratified, highly individualistic, capitalistic society.”

Are the Filipino poor afflicted with a culture of poverty? The notion manifests itself in several corollary assertions. One argues that the poor will inevitably subvert any intervention to improve their welfare. Similar to this is the argument that the poor are resistant to any change for the better, often made with reference to small farmers. Another holds that biological, cognitive, psychological, cultural and even racial factors lie behind the inability of the poor to liberate themselves from poverty.

With such notions seemingly permeating different levels of society, it’s hard to expect interventions toward poverty reduction to gain much ground, as the belief could get in the way of their effective design and implementation. In particular, it leads one to the tempting conclusion that most poverty-reduction initiatives cannot have any lasting impact, as it’s impossible to help those who will not help themselves. At worst, the notion manifests itself in the sentiment that the poor ultimately deserve their fate.

Well over a century ago, Dr. Jose Rizal wrote “On the Indolence of the Filipino.” Much of the circumstances he observed then on the controversial notion remain applicable today to the similarly contested “culture of poverty” among the Filipino poor. While he recognized that indolence indeed existed among Filipinos, he did not see this to be an inherent flaw of the country and its people, but rather, as the effect of circumstances experienced by the country, including the hot climate. It’s for this reason that the Spaniard is more indolent than the Frenchman, who in turn is more so than the German—an observation he seemed to take as empirical fact. But beyond climate, Rizal also saw man-made “social disorders” to be the culprit. These included abuse and discrimination, government inaction, rampant corruption and red tape, misplaced Church doctrines, and bad examples from some Spaniards who led lives of indolence—all ultimately leading to the deterioration of Filipino values.

All sound familiar? With minor tweaking, the above could just as accurately describe the plight of today’s “lazy” Filipino poor, whose lack of motivation could be traced to any or all of the above. A foreign colleague once told me of his conversation with the little son of his hired driver. When he asked the boy what he wanted to be when he grows up, the child replied that he wanted to be a driver just like his father. My colleague found it amazing that the child would not aspire for more, and went on to surmise that this could be a reason poverty remains prevalent in the Philippines.

A tempting inference, perhaps, but Marian Pastor-Roces, herself a culture studies expert, argues that when premised on the existence of such culture of poverty, government initiatives for poverty reduction are likely to be misguided. For example, it underlies, consciously or unconsciously, the tendency for overly centralized decision-making in government, or recurrent temptations to recentralize already decentralized functions. One also sees it in national and local government officials’ all-too-common distrust of civil society organizations that are otherwise eager to help uplift the lives of the poor. It leads to a tendency to put little regard for, if not totally ignore, historical and sociocultural factors in addressing rural poverty from the national and regional perspectives. (Poverty in rural Mindanao, for example, requires very different approaches from poverty in Northern Luzon, for obvious reasons.) There is also a tendency to overlook, if not dismiss, the potential value of local knowledge and traditional problem-solving approaches in the design of antipoverty programs and projects. Getting poverty reduction right, it seems, would start with overcoming this notion that a culture of poverty stands in the way.

Rizal, in the end, summed up the main causes of Filipino indolence: the limited training and education Filipinos received, and the lack of national sentiment and unity among them. To him, education was key to “curing” Filipino indolence. He could have just as well said it today, in prescribing a cure for modern-day Filipino poverty.

Sam Miguel
12-19-2014, 08:19 AM
Kristen Houghton

The New Trophy Wife

Posted: 12/13/2014 11:21 am EST

Updated: 12/18/2014 7:59 am EST

The term "trophy wife" has taken on a new, more upscale meaning. Men are finding the most attractive and sexually desirable women are not brainless beauties whose sole function is to look good and stay quiet, but women who are making good money and are in positions of power (See: Amal Clooney). The woman who got ahead on her looks by marrying a "sugar daddy" is now being replaced by the woman who is equal to her man in earning power and career position. That's sexy.

It goes further than that. According to anthropologist Dr. Stephen Juan, who recently appeared on The Today Show, we are seeing the demise of the "trophy wife" and welcoming the rise of the "power couple".

Says Dr. Juan:

A really strong man wants a woman who is equal to him, that is the truth of it now. A weak man wants someone that is docile and a servant to him -- it is a real sign of insecurity in a man to want a brainless trophy wife. Wives can be beautiful, intelligent and have careers and opinions just as strong as their partners.
Hooray equality!

When Mark Zuckerberg married his college sweetheart, Priscilla Chan, he married a woman who isn't only eye candy; she's a medical school graduate with eyes on a career who clearly demonstrates the new parity among married couples. Priscilla is not alone. Sociologist Christine Whelan, in her 2006 book Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women, documented that research has found higher-income women are more likely to marry than women with less earning potential and they are marrying partners with equal high-income.

The days of a well-off older man who has a brainless beauty on his arm at social functions seems to be a deal out of Mad Men. Educated, intelligent women are the ones most sought-after by men of the same caliber. Brains are the new beauty.

There may be a historic social change occurring here. Men's attraction to professionally achieving women is one piece of a much larger story as to what people in the 21st century want in a partner. Men in their 20s and 30s in relationships with strong and high-salaried women are relieved that they no longer have to be the sole breadwinner and decision-maker. With her own high-paying career, the new trophy wife is highly educated, self-assured and able to hold her own financially. She's also not afraid to intimidate any male that has antiquated ideas of gender roles.

Call it the rise of the alpha woman or simply the beginning of a new era in relationships, the new trophy wife is a woman who succeeds on her own and can hold her own in the boardroom as well as the bedroom. To paraphrase Henry Kissinger, a powerful man who married Nancy Maginnes, a powerful woman: "Power, success and financial security are the ultimate aphrodisiacs".

12-19-2014, 02:04 PM
Meet B. Virdot, the mysterious Christmas benefactor

B. Virdot's act of kindness


An act of holiday generosity from a man who knew hardship

It was the week before Christmas 1933 — the depths of the Great Depression. In Canton, Ohio, a town beset by 50% unemployment and numbing despair, an ad appeared in the local newspaper offering modest help to people who had fallen on hard times. Those in need were instructed to write to an anonymous donor who went by the name “B. Virdot,” and he would send the neediest of them a check for $5, about $90 by today's measure. The next day hundreds of letters poured in.

The checks went out within days, 150 of them, timed to arrive before Christmas. They went to Harry Stanley, a blacksmith out of work for two years, hoping to provide his five children a Christmas dinner; to Charles Minor, a jobless steeplejack who was living on bread and coffee; to Howard Sommers, reduced to selling dandelions in summer, sassafras in winter and pencils door-to-door; and to Ruby Blythe, who asked nothing for herself but sought help for a neighbor whose children had no clothes for school and only bread for Christmas dinner.

It was not until 2008 — 75 years later — that anyone discovered the identity of the mysterious B. Virdot. The answer was found in an old suitcase my mother gave me on her 80th birthday. It was filled with letters, all of them dated Dec. 18, 1933, and addressed to B. Virdot. From the contents it was clear: B. Virdot was my grandfather, Samuel J. Stone. Not the wealthy Christian do-gooder the town of Canton had imagined, but the immigrant son of Orthodox Jews who had fled the pogroms of Romania. The name “B. Virdot” was a combination of his three daughters' names — “B” for Barbara, “Vir” for Virginia (my mother) and “Dot” for Dorothy.

The story of B. Virdot might well have ended there, but it did not. Like many such acts of kindness, it proved to have a power that continued to resonate. The suitcase and its letters had found their way to me, a writer, during the Great Recession, and they seemed to be addressed to another generation facing uncertainty and hardship. But as a writer I feared that the monetary amount was too modest — a mere $5 — for any of the recipients' descendants to have heard about the gift and recall what it had meant. How wrong I was.

For the next year, as I researched a book on the secret gifts, I went about tracking down the descendants of the letter writers, some still living in Canton, others dispersed across the country. Nearly all of them wept as I shared the letters with them.

Felice May was 4 years old in 1933. The family struggled, selling milk from their tumbledown farm and trapping for pelts. One Christmas stood out from all the rest. On the Christmas when May was 4, her family went into town to the five-and-dime and her mother bought her a little pony on wheels. “My eyes bugged out,” she recalls. It was her favorite and only store-bought toy and she pulled it with her up and down the lane. In the years that followed, she always wondered how it was that in such dire times, her family could have afforded such a luxury. With my call, the mystery was solved: It was the check from B. Virdot. At 80, May was raising miniature ponies — an unbroken link to that long-ago act of kindness. “I've loved ponies all my life,” she said.

Olive Hillman's prayers were answered when the B. Virdot check arrived a few days before Christmas. Her husband was disabled from a failed suicide attempt and had been out of work for years. The mother of an 8-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son, she wrote: “We all need clothes bad. I don't mind myself but am writing this in hopes that my children may have a nice Xmas.” With the check she bought her son a pair of stockings, a new cap and a train; for her daughter, Geraldine, a pair of shoes, stockings and a doll. When I located Geraldine Frye a few years ago, she was living a life of relative abundance, but that had not diminished the memory of the doll she received for Christmas in 1933. In her basement was another doll, already wrapped — a Christmas gift for her great-granddaughter, and a reminder of another time.

In 2010, when my book about B. Virdot's secret gifts was published, only one writer of the letters was still alive: 91-year-old Helen Palm. She was 14 when she wrote to B. Virdot. I wondered if she would have any recollection of the letter or the check. “Oh my God!” she said when I'd finished reading her the letter. Remember? “You better believe it!” she said. “I went right down and bought a pair of shoes.” They replaced a worn-out pair she had lined with a cardboard sole cut from a box of shredded wheat to help absorb the moisture that crept in. With the rest of the money she bought a gift for her siblings and then took her parents out to dinner.

My grandfather knew that his gifts wouldn't bring an end to the town's suffering or alter the course of the letter writers' lives. But he had learned from his own hard life that even the most modest of offerings can provide the gift of hope and the knowledge that someone cares. My grandfather, who never went beyond the third grade, knew that a gift from a stranger might have a special power to confer upon others a sense that they belonged to a larger community, that there were bonds beyond kinship that matter to us all.

After my book was published, Canton businessmen anonymously created a “B. Virdot Fund” and raised some $54,000 for the needy of Canton. In 2010, it was distributed to 500 families the week of Christmas — $100 each. The town's orchestra commissioned a symphony to be based on the story. In Orem, Utah, a family chose to forgo Christmas presents and instead set up a B. Virdot Fund to benefit 150 families.

I once thought of placing a plaque beside my grandfather's grave in Canton, something to remind passersby that this was B. Virdot's final resting place. But bronze would not do him justice. His is a living memorial that has outlasted his century and touched people as far away as Beijing and Riyadh. It is now part of the DNA of the Midwestern town he called home and the people who found in his modest gift not only new shoes, a Christmas dinner or a wooden horse, but also hope itself and a reason to be generous.

Ted Gup is a Boston-based writer and author, most recently, of "A Secret Gift." Email: tedgup@att.net

Sam Miguel
03-25-2015, 07:55 AM
Here's the hierarchy of luxury brands around the world


MAR. 23, 2015, 11:06 AM

Brands are the best way to show off wealth, and there is a flood of new millionaires around the world who like showing off.

"The brands bought are actually more important than the level of money earned," HSBC managing director Erwan Rambourg writes in his recent book, "The Bling Dynasty: Why the Reign of Chinese Luxury Shoppers Has Only Just Begun."

Rambourg created a brand pyramid to show how major brands range in accessibility from everyday luxuries like Starbucks to ultra-high-end luxury like Graff diamonds. This is the luxury power ranking:


"The Bling Dynasty"

Brands or products associated with luxury of any kind can benefit from increasing affluence around the world.

Still, brands that become too accessible are less appealing to superrich buyers. Louis Vuitton, for instance, is considered a "brand for secretaries" by many wealthy Chinese.

"Louis Vuitton has become too ordinary," a billionaire woman told China Market Research Group managing director Shaun Rein in 2011. "Everyone has it. You see it in every restaurant in Beijing. I prefer Chanel or Bottega Veneta now. They are more exclusive."

Gucci is similarly suffering from a reputation problem, while bespoke goods and less-well-known European labels like Bottega Veneta are soaring.

High-net-worth consumers are particularly hungry for obscure luxury brands.

"I buy the brand Maison Ullens in Paris — it's a French brand all made in Italy," Sara Jane Ho, the founder of the elite Chinese etiquette school Institute Sarita, told Business Insider. "When I came back to China all my students were wondering where my clothes were from. Very naturally, my school became Maison Ullens point of sale simply because my students really love buying their stuff."

Of course, bespoke items remain the ultimate luxury good.

"Whether it's a bespoke Louis Vuitton trunk for Scotch and cigar fans or an exceptional stone at Graff, the ultra‐high‐end and bespoke category is a no‐limit segment where all the craziest dreams (and prices) come true," Rambourg writes.

Sam Miguel
05-13-2015, 08:01 AM

And the highest paid Philippine executives are...

By: Victor C. Agustin

May 8, 2015 7:25 AM

Metro Pacific Investments chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan suffered a 15-percent drop in his Hong Kong-based compensation last year, reducing his 2014 package from HK-parent First Pacific to US$8.5 million (about P380 million.)

According to regulatory filings last week, MVP received over $10 million in 2013, the first time the acknowledged highest-compensated Filipino professional in the region reached the eight-figure mark.

First Pacific attributed the drop in its chief executive's 2014 compensation to "performance-based payments" as well as share-based benefits.

Out of the $8.5 million, $1.3 million (over P57 million) came from Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., apparently as MVP's salary at the associated telecom company.

PLDT president Napoleon Nazareno, meanwhile, was reported to have received $6.3 million in 2014 remuneration also from First Pacific.

In addition to the paychecks, MVP has also been awarded First Pacific share options, which as of end-2014 had accumulated to 28.2 million shares.

First Pacific closed Thursday at HK$7.46 a share.

And the highest-paid executives are...

With the major listed companies having completed their 2014 regulatory filings, it is now possible to glean and compare the companies paying top pesos to their senior management team.

And leading the list are:

• First Gen, P425 million in combined compensation for chairman Federico Lopez, president Francis Giles Puno, Richard Tantoco, Jonathan Russell and Victor Santos Jr.

According to First Gen, the Lopez team have been seconded from parent First Philippine Holdings, which is supposed to be shouldering their glowing salaries.

• Ayala Corp., P390 million for chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel and brother, president Fernando Zobel, John Eric Francia, Delfin Gonzalez Jr., Solomon Hermosura and John Philip Orbeta.

• San Miguel Corp., P389.6 million for chairman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., president Ramon S. Ang, Ferdinand Constantino, Virgilio Jacinto, Joseph Pineda and Casiano Cabalan Jr.

• Unionbank, P257 million for chairman Justo Ortiz, president Vicente Valdepenas, Edwin Bautista, Eugene Acevedo and Jesus Roberto Reyes.

o First Philippine Holdings, P222 million for chairman emeritus Oscar Lopez, chief executive Federico Lopez, president Elpidio Ibanez, Arthur De Guia and Benjamin Lopez.

• Metro Pacific, P205.5 million for chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, president Jose Ma. Lim, David Nicol, Augusto Palisoc Jr. and Robin Michael Velasco.

• Bank of the Philippine Islands, P195.7 million for president Cezar Consing, Natividad Alejo, Joseph Albert Gotuaco, Antonio Paner and Alfonso Salcedo Jr.

• Meralco, P185 million for president Oscar Reyes, Ricardo Buencamino, Alfredo Panlilio, Betty Siy-Yap and Ramon Segismundo.

• ABS-CBN, P176.9 million for president Maria Rosario Santos-Concio, Ma. Lourdes Santos, Ma. Socorro Vidanes, Carlo Joaquin Tadeo Katigbak (who is being tipped off as the next ABS-CBN president) and Rolando Valdueza.

• Globe Telecom, P176 million for president Ernest Cu, Alberto de Larrazabal, Rebecca Eclipse, Gil Genio and Renato Jiao.

• BDO Unibank, P161.2 million for president Nestor Tan, Walter Wassmer, Jaime Yu, Rolando Tanchanco and Lucy Dy.

• ICTSI, $3.5 million (about P155.75 million) for Enrique Razon Jr., Martin O'Neil, Rafael Consing Jr., Christian Gonzalez Jr. and Jose Joel Sebastian.

• PLDT, P152 million for Ernesto Alberto, Annabelle Chua, Isaias Fermin and Ma. Lourdes Rausa-Chan. According to PLDT, president Napoleon Nazareno receives his compensation from Smart Communications.

• GMA Network, P146.7 million for chairman Felipe Gozon, president Gilberto Duavit Jr., Felipe Yalong, Marissa Flores and Jessica Soho.

• Metrobank, P138.9 million for chairman Arthur Ty, president Fabian Dee, Joshua Naing, Fernand Antonio Tansingco and Corazon Ma.Therese Nepomuceno.

• Energy Development Corp., P137.9 million for chairman Federico Lopez, president Richard Tantoco, Nestor Vasay, Ernesto Pantangco and Agnes de Jesus, with the clarification that, except for de Jesus, the management team are seconded and receive their salaries from parent company First Gen.

• Ayala Land, P135.5 million for president Bernard Vincent, Arturo Corpuz, Raul Irlanda, Emilio Tumbocon and Jaime Ysmael.

• Manila Water, P127.3 million for president Gerardo Ablaza Jr., Luis Juan Oreta, Virgilio Rivera Jr., Ferdinand Dela Cruz and Geodino Carpio.

Heard through the grapevine

Asked what was delaying his long-reported 30 percent acquisition of GMA Network, San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang told a journalist who bumped into him during the recent Forbes Philippine magazine launch, "Ewan ko nga ba!" ("I really do not know"), using body English to further convey that he did not wish to discuss the subject.

05-13-2015, 08:23 AM
Sam, you missed the earlier article about the salaries to execs of real estate developers.

Sam Miguel
05-13-2015, 09:04 AM
^^^ Blue, yeah, I need to re-find it though...

06-03-2015, 08:49 AM
20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don't Get

Jason Nazar


I write about entrepreneurship

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I started Docstoc in my 20’s, made the cover of one of those cliché “20 Under 20” lists, and today I employ an amazing group of 20-somethings. Call me a curmudgeon, but at 34, how I came up seems so different from what this millennial generation expects. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I see this generation making their own. In response, here are my 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get.

Time is Not a Limitless Commodity – I so rarely find young professionals that have a heightened sense of urgency to get to the next level. In our 20s we think we have all the time in the world to A) figure it out and B) get what we want. Time is the only treasure we start off with in abundance, and can never get back. Make the most of the opportunities you have today, because there will be a time when you have no more of it.

You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated - Congratulations, you may be the most capable, creative, knowledgeable & multi-tasking generation yet. As my father says, “I’ll Give You a Sh-t Medal.” Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential. There’s no prize for talent, just results. Even the most seemingly gifted folks methodically and painfully worked their way to success.

We’re More Productive in the Morning – During my first 2 years at Docstoc (while I was still in my 20’s) I prided myself on staying at the office until 3am on a regular basis. I thought I got so much work done in those hours long after everyone else was gone. But in retrospect I got more menial, task-based items done, not the more complicated strategic planning, phone calls or meetings that needed to happen during business hours. Now I stress an office-wide early start time because I know, for the most part, we’re more productive as a team in those early hours of the day.

Social Media is Not a Career – These job titles won’t exist in 5 years. Social media is simply a function of marketing; it helps support branding, ROI or both. Social media is a means to get more awareness, more users or more revenue. It’s not an end in itself. I’d strongly caution against pegging your career trajectory solely to a social media job title.

Pick Up the Phone – Stop hiding behind your computer. Business gets done on the phone and in person. It should be your first instinct, not last, to talk to a real person and source business opportunities. And when the Internet goes down… stop looking so befuddled and don’t ask to go home. Don’t be a pansy, pick up the phone.

Be the First In & Last to Leave *– I give this advice to everyone starting a new job or still in the formative stages of their professional career. You have more ground to make up than everyone else around you, and you do have something to prove. There’s only one sure-fire way to get ahead, and that’s to work harder than all of your peers.

Don’t Wait to Be Told What to Do – You can’t have a sense of entitlement without a sense of responsibility. You’ll never get ahead by waiting for someone to tell you what to do. Saying “nobody asked me to do this” is a guaranteed recipe for failure. Err on the side of doing too much, not too little.
Responsibility for Your Mistakes – You should be making lots of mistakes when you’re early on in your career. But you shouldn’t be defensive about errors in judgment or execution. Stop trying to justify your F-ups. You’re only going to grow by embracing the lessons learned from your mistakes, and committing to learn from those experiences.

You Should Be Getting Your Butt Kicked – Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” would be the most valuable boss you could possibly have. This is the most impressionable, malleable and formative stage of your professional career. Working for someone that demands excellence and pushes your limits every day will build the most solid foundation for your ongoing professional success.

A New Job a Year Isn’t a Good Thing **– 1-year stints don’t tell me that you’re so talented that you keep outgrowing your company. It tells me that you don’t have the discipline to see your own learning curve through to completion. It takes about 2-3 years to master any new critical skill, give yourself at least that much time before you jump ship. Otherwise your resume reads as a series of red flags on why not to be hired.

People Matter More Than Perks – It’s so trendy to pick the company that offers the most flex time, unlimited meals, company massages, game rooms and team outings. Those should all matter, but not as much as the character of your founders and managers. Great leaders will mentor you and will be a loyal source of employment long after you’ve left. Make a conscious bet on the folks you’re going to work for and your commitment to them will pay off much more than those fluffy perks.

Map Effort to Your Professional Gain – You’re going to be asked to do things you don’t like to do. Keep your eye on the prize. Connect what you’re doing today, with where you want to be tomorrow. That should be all the incentive you need. If you can’t map your future success to your current responsibilities, then it’s time to find a new opportunity.

Speak Up, Not Out – We’re raising a generation of sh-t talkers. In your workplace this is a cancer. If you have issues with management, culture or your role & responsibilities, SPEAK UP. Don’t take those complaints and trash-talk the company or co-workers on lunch breaks and anonymous chat boards. If you can effectively communicate what needs to be improved, you have the ability to shape your surroundings and professional destiny.

You HAVE to Build Your Technical Chops – Adding “Proficient in Microsoft Office” at the bottom of your resume under Skills, is not going to cut it anymore. I immediately give preference to candidates who are ninjas in: Photoshop, HTML/CSS, iOS, WordPress, Adwords, MySQL, Balsamiq, advanced Excel, Final Cut Pro – regardless of their job position. If you plan to stay gainfully employed, you better complement that humanities degree with some applicable technical chops.

Both the Size and Quality of Your Network Matter – It’s who you know more than what you know, that gets you ahead in business. Knowing a small group of folks very well, or a huge smattering of contacts superficially, just won’t cut it. Meet and stay connected to lots of folks, and invest your time developing as many of those relationships as possible.

You Need At Least 3 Professional Mentors – The most guaranteed path to success is to emulate those who’ve achieved what you seek. You should always have at least 3 people you call mentors who are where you want to be. Their free guidance and counsel will be the most priceless gift you can receive.

Pick an Idol & Act “As If” – You may not know what to do, but your professional idol does. I often coach my employees to pick the businessperson they most admire, and act “as if.” If you were (fill in the blank) how would he or she carry themselves, make decisions, organize his/her day, accomplish goals? You’ve got to fake it until you make it, so it’s better to fake it as the most accomplished person you could imagine.

Read More Books, Fewer Tweets/Texts – Your generation consumes information in headlines and 140 characters: all breadth and no depth. Creativity, thoughtfulness and thinking skills are freed when you’re forced to read a full book cover to cover. All the keys to your future success, lay in the past experience of others. Make sure to read a book a month (fiction or non-fiction) and your career will blossom.

Spend 25% Less Than You Make – When your material needs meet or exceed your income, you’re sabotaging your ability to really make it big. Don’t shackle yourself with golden handcuffs (a fancy car or an expensive apartment). Be willing and able to take 20% less in the short term, if it could mean 200% more earning potential. You’re nothing more than penny wise and pound-foolish if you pass up an amazing new career opportunity to keep an extra little bit of income. No matter how much money you make, spend 25% less to support your life. It’s a guaranteed formula to be less stressed and to always have the flexibility to pursue your dreams.

Your Reputation is Priceless, Don’t Damage It – Over time, your reputation is the most valuable currency you have in business. It’s the invisible key that either opens or closes doors of professional opportunity. Especially in an age where everything is forever recorded and accessible, your reputation has to be guarded like the most sacred treasure. It’s the one item that, once lost, you can never get back.

04-04-2017, 09:26 AM
Unsolicited infra projects mount

Local tycoons have so far submitted P2.6T worth of proposals to gov't

By: Miguel R. Camus - @inquirerdotnet

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:00 AM April 03, 2017

Filipino tycoons are betting big on infrastructure through unsolicited offers, responding to a change in policy under President Duterte and the need to fill in project gaps given the dearth of public-private partnership (PPP) deals favored by the previous administration.

Since Mr. Duterte assumed office in July last year, unsolicited projects aiming to resolve air, land and sea transportation bottlenecks valued at more than P2.6 trillion have emerged.

The Aquino administration, suspicious of unsolicited deals, preferred an all-solicited route, which mainly involved an ambitious PPP pipeline that gave Filipinos the first steps toward a modernized Cebu International Airport, two new expressways in Metro Manila and more public classrooms.

The pace of PPPs, previously criticized as not moving fast enough, has slowed to a trickle with the government signaling it wanted to do more overseas development assistance (ODA) deals while opening the door to unsolicited projects.

Local conglomerates, buoyed by the more than 6-percent growth under President Aquino and their experience in bidding and winning PPP projects, are rapidly shifting gears in this new environment.

"We are hoping to help the government's infrastructure drive by submitting these unsolicited proposals,' Jose Rene Almendras, CEO of Ayala Corp. unit AC Infrastructure Holdings, said in response to a query on the lack of PPP opportunities.

The Zobel family's Ayala and SM Investments Corp., led by the country's richest man Henry Sy Sr., proposed on Friday a P25-billion, 8.6-kilometer elevated toll road. The project would move cars away from main thoroughfare Edsa while linking their two biggest property assets in Metro Manila: SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City and Makati City. (See related story on page B3-3.)

These tailor-made projects made sense for the private sector. But the government should also pursue its push for development outside Metro Manila, which would help promote inclusive growth, said Jose Mari B. Lacson, equities research head at ATR Asset Management.

"For the private sector, it enhances their assets, which is good for their value, from a market perspective," Lacson said, adding it could be different from an overall economic perspective. "It may not be of the interest of private sector to support projects that push growth outside Metro Manila if they don't have assets in those places."

The new unsolicited offers, which would require bidding via a Swiss challenge, are located mainly in Metro Manila or in support of the capital district.

For the air sector, San Miguel offered to build a P700-billion international air gateway in Bulacan province while a Belle Corp.-Solar Group venture is looking at a P1.3-trillion airport-seaport reclamation project in Sangley, Cavite.

Last year, Megawide Construction Corp. and India's GMR offered to spend P250 billion to develop Clark International Airport, rivaling a P187-billion offer by the Gokongwei family's JG Summit Holdings Inc. and Filinvest Development Corp.

Enrique Razon Jr.'s International Container Terminal Services Inc. offered to spend P1.5 billion for a common-user barge and Roll-on/Roll-off terminal in Cavite. With a unit of Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Manila Electric Co., it offered to revive a P10-billion Manila-Laguna cargo railway line.

Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. is also poised to submit a P50-billion offer for an overhead expressway near C-5 road. Two other expressway projects, the P41 billion Manila-Taguig Expressway and P67-billion Manila-Quezon Expressway, have been offered to the government in the second half of 2016.

Sam Miguel
11-20-2017, 03:38 PM
How Much Does It Cost to Live in Metro Manila's Swankiest Neighborhoods?

In the game of residential real estate, it's the decades-old exclusive subdivisions that house some of the country's wealthiest.


Large estates and convenience are what you pay for when you purchase some of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the country?for just a few hundred million pesos.

Forbes Park

It's Manila's equivalent of Beverly Hills in terms of exclusivity and affluent residents. The gated community is home to foreign ambassadors, diplomats and the who's who of Manila society. Mansions are situated on large properties and luxury vehicles coast through avenues lined with lush trees and greenery. McKinley Road divides the village into Forbes Park and Forbes Park North. Many residents are regulars at membership clubs Manila Polo Club and Manila Golf and Country Club, both located within Forbes Park. St. Luke's Medical Center is at the nearby Bonifacio Global City.

Neighborhood Hangouts: Positioned along Palm Ave, San Antonio Plaza has all the conveniences you need for a modest town center?Rustan's Supermarket, National Book Store, Mercury Drug, Bank of the Philippine Islands. Have breakfast at Maple, get your sushi fix at Isogi, or catch up with a friend over pasta at Pasteleria La Nuova. Have unexpected guests coming over for dinner? Get a quick blowdry at Tinette's salon, make a quick run to Santis Delicatessen and Gourmet Corner, and grab a cake at Purple Oven.

Price Per Square Meter: P224,820 - P411,765

Dasmari?as Village

Known to many as "Dasma," the upmarket subdivision contains two community parks, gym and tennis court facilities, and a medical clinic. The village surrounds private Catholic school Colegio San Agustin and is a stone's throw away from Manila's notable international schools. The style of homes ranges from ultra-modern to Spanish colonial in design. Tight security and a friendly neighborhood environment make Dasmari?as Village a preferred neighborhood for expatriates and wealthy families alike.

Neighborhood Hangouts: Exit the Lumbang gate onto Chino Roces Ave and head to Txanton for Jamon Iberico paired with wine from Premium Wine Exchange. Go upstairs to M for a fabulous dinner by chef Tom Bascon. Step inside speakeasy bar Finder's Keepers to indulge in handcrafted cocktails prepared with top-shelf premium liquor. Looking for more than a nightcap? Head next door to nightclub Black Market to party into the early hours of the morning.

Price Per Square Meter: P266,667 - P400,000

Urdaneta Village

Located in close proximity to the city's business district, Urdaneta Village is a ritzy enclave inhabited by Manila's privileged crowd. Elegant bungalows and multi-story dwellings line the spacious streets while an ample sports field and indoor and outdoor basketball courts are at the disposal of residents. The multi-purpose village clubhouse hosts mass on Sundays and annual bazaars several times a year.

Neighborhood Hangouts: Just outside the village, Discovery Primea towers over the city. Its new restaurant, Flame, with modern European cuisine and sweeping views of the Makati skyline, is located on the 16th floor of the high-rise hotel and apartment building. Across Ayala Avenue is Rustan's Supermarket and Department store, Glorietta mall, and Shangri-La Makati. The Peninsula Manila is also a stone's throw away.

Price Per Square Meter: P220,459 - P256,012

Bel-Air Village

Bel-Air Village is a pleasant refuge tucked away in the heart of the city. Its desirable location provides residents with easy access to Power Plant Mall and the lively restaurant and bar scene in Poblacion. Amenities include a newly-renovated clubhouse, a refurbished gym with state-of-the-art equipment and a clinic exclusively for residents. The village association aims to maintain a sense community by organizing activities such as flea markets and movie nights for kids.

Neighborhood Hangouts: The burgers at Sweet Ecstasy are the closest you will get to that Shake Shack or In-N-Out style burger in Manila. The casual open-air eatery has a laid-back atmosphere that is best enjoyed with a boozy adult milkshake. With an exclusive exit to Rockwell Drive, residents get easy access to all the other dining establishments at Power Plant Mall and Rockwell areas such as Rambla, Ooma, Dean & Deluca, Mamou, and more. Other village exits lead to Jupiter and Poblacion/Kalayaan's popular eating joints like Bucky's, Hot Space, El Chupacabra, Tilde, and many more. Female residents also frequent Emphasis, Basement, and Be Beautiful For Him salon for everyday beauty rituals, from blowdrying services to manis and pedis.

Price Per Square Meter: P142,857 - P206,767

San Lorenzo Village

Nestled within the hustle and bustle of Makati City, San Lorenzo Village is located within spitting distance of Greenbelt, Glorietta, and SM Makati, allowing homeowners easy access to world-class shopping centers. This private enclave is highly regarded for its spacious homes and around the clock security. Catholic girls school Assumption College lies within the confines of the village, providing residents with first-rate education for their children. San Lorenzo dwellers are walking distance from some of the best restaurants in town with gates that open onto Arnaiz Avenue and Edsa.

Neighborhood Hangouts: The complex that houses Cirkulo, Milky Way, Azuthai and Tsukiji is a neighborhood mainstay. There's a slew of Japanese restaurants to choose from on Arnaiz Avenue and in Japantown?Seryna, Sakura, Kikufuji, and more. Across the street is the Greenbelt network offering all the city living essentials.

Price Per Square Meter: P185,000 - P249,406

Magallanes Village

This 54-hectare exclusive subdivision at the junction of EDSA and South Super Highway exudes a suburban feel and boasts of manicured parks, multi-purpose halls, and tennis courts. Residents enjoy a sense of community, with everyone practically knowing everyone in the village. St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish is also inside the village, which all the more fosters camaraderie and fellowship among residents through its activities.

Neighborhood Hangouts: Right outside the village gate is Paseo de Magallanes, a commercial center that houses Rustan's Supermarket, restaurants such as Rack's, Dayrit's, Cafe Breton, and Kublai's, a neighborhood stalwart for decades, dermatological clinic Skin Inc., banks, fitness centers, and more. Pancake House opened its first restaurant in Magallanes over 40 years ago. More recently, The Bottle Shop/Global BeerExchange, got its start in the neighborhood too.

Sam Miguel
11-20-2017, 03:39 PM
^^^ Cont'd...

Corinthian Gardens

This 82-hectare subdivision is one of the most exclusive in Quezon City. The village is characterized by its wide streets and substantial properties. Corinthian Gardens is a village unparalleled in its convenience, boasting of small restaurants, a hair salon, and a Santis Delicatessen inside the neighborhood. The Medical City lies on the outskirts of the gated community, allowing residents to utilize top quality hospital facilities conveniently.

Neighborhood Hangouts: Ask any Corinthian resident about his or her favorite pizza and many will reply with Stevenston. Known for their unique combinations of toppings, Stevenston Pizza's proximity to Corinthian Garden’s means pizza can be swiftly delivered to homes inside the village. Malls such as Robinsons Galleria, EDSA Shangri-La, and Podium are also in the area for convenient access to supermarkets, drugstores, hardware shops, movies, and more.

Price Per Square Meter: P200,000 - P219,690

Greenmeadows 1

This upscale Quezon City village was developed five decades ago by Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership, Inc. The 72-hectare neighborhood is known for its beautiful homes and picturesque landscaped gardens. Clubhouse Lanai, Greenmeadows' versatile event space is the perfect setting for birthdays and weddings, accommodating between 250 to 300 people. Other amenities include a children’s playground, corporate function roomsand wellness facilities.

Neighborhood Hangouts: The Podium in Ortigas center is less than three kilometers from Green Meadows, giving residents access to over 100 shops and restaurants including Wildflour Cafe + Bakery, Terry's Bistro, Gino's Pizza, and L.E.S. Bagels.

Price Per Square Meter: P96,154 - P167,702


Situated within the small city of San Juan, the vibrant Greenhills area bustles with a mix of quaint, age-old establishments cemented as family favorites through the years. Surrounded by some of the region’s most popular high schools, such as La Salle Greenhills, Xavier School, and Immaculate Concepcion Academy, many of Greenhills' moneyed residents receive their primary and secondary education nearby.

Neighborhood Hangouts: Weekends, specifically Sunday afternoons draw out Greenhills-based families to fill the famous Greenhills Shopping Center. Extended families usually occupy several tables in Gloria Maris, Choi Gardens, and Kimpura, which is relocating very soon. The newly established Wildflour is quickly becoming a favorite among the residents there. For a caffeine fix, popular options include Refinery, Craft Coffee Revolution, and Toby's Estate.

Price Per Square Meter: P137,456 - P150,000

Ayala Alabang Village

Positioned outside the frenetic surroundings of Makati City, Ayala Alabang Village is one of the largest subdivisions in Manila. The sprawling 700-hectare suburb boasts of first-rate facilities including a swimming pool and multiple covered courts. It also has its own Rustan's Supermarket within the village premises. The village hosts the annual St. James the Great Christmas Bazaar which is considered the biggest bazaar of its kind south of Makati. Alabang Country Club is situated within the neighborhood and is recognized for its premier sports facilities and 18-hole golf course.

Neighborhood Hangouts: Alabang Town Center and Commerce Center are situated right outside the village, providing access to practically everything--cinemas, gyms, supermarkets, shops, and more. Molito, a commercial building known for its dining hubs, also houses Ramen Yushoken, one of the best ramen restaurants in the city. The Black Pig at Commerce Center, on the other hand, is the perfect place to get together over platters of cured meats and tasty tapas.

Price Per Square Meter: P90,000 - P220,713

Sam Miguel
11-20-2017, 03:42 PM
How Much Do Top CEOs and Executives in the Philippines Earn?

It's the closest we can get to taking a peek at their payslips.


It’s a question that frequently comes up whenever talk turns to pay and salaries: How much do the CEOs and executives of the country's biggest companies earn as salaries?

Perhaps only the commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) would ever know the true answer to the question.

However, thanks to listed companies' disclosures to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), the rest of us can get an approximate idea of how much the top executives are paid each year. As part of their annual reports, listed companies disclose the total compensation of their four to six highest-paid executives.

Toward this end, Entrepreneur Philippines compiled the reported executive compensation in 2016 of the country's biggest listed companies. The list is limited to the 25 largest firms by market capitalization as of the end of second quarter in 2017. After gathering the total compensation, the average pay of the top-paid executives was computed then ranked from largest to smallest.

Surprisingly, there seems to be little relationship between the size of a company's market capitalization and executive pay. The firm that pays its top executives the highest on average is not SM Investments Corp., the most valuable company at the PSE, but Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the local holding investment unit of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Company Ltd. On average, Metro Pacific pays its top executives about four times more than the holding company owned by the country’s richest man, Henry Sy Sr.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. is led by Manuel V. Pangilinan as chairman and Jose Ma. K. Lim as president. It was also the country's 18th biggest listed company by market capitalization as of end-June 2017.

Alliance Global Inc. was ranked 24th but no executive compensation data was provided in their annual report. Thus, Megaworld Corporation, which was ranked 26th, was included in this list.

12-18-2017, 09:02 AM
From Esquire Philippines ...

The Brief But Remarkable Life Of Johnny Ysmael, Millionaire Playboy

He lived fast and fashionably.

By NICAI DE GUZMAN | Dec 5, 2017

Johnny Ysmael had the world.

It came with his last name: the Ysmaels were among the so-called Manila's 400, a list of elite families who had wealth, education, prominence, and most importantly, pedigree. Johnny was one of the most eligible bachelors of his time.

The Ysmaels came from a line of Lebanese immigrants who had settled in the Philippines. The family matriarch was Do?a Magdalena Hashim Ysmael-Hemady - Emme to her grandkids?who made her fortune buying up land in Manila and Batangas. Her first big success came in the 1930s, with the development of an hacienda in the outskirts of San Juan into a large subdivision called Magdalena Estate, which eventually became New Manila. The family also owned Ysmael Steel, once the leading manufacturer of steel and home electric appliances; later, they were the importers of the Fiat cars from Italy.

Johnny was Do?a Magdalena's favorite and she spoiled his ni?o bonito by giving him everything he wanted - a custom-made Ferrari, expensive trips, the latest signature clothes. She even paid off his gambling debts.

Bon vivant Johnny lived fast and, unfortunately, died young. His story, however, is a reminder of the elegance and opulence of times gone by.

The Lover

It's difficult to talk about Johnny Ysmael without mentioning Maria Priscilla Recto, undoubtedly Manila?s very first It girl. She was the youngest child of Claro M. Recto and his first wife, Angelina Silos. Her father called his favorite ?Chona,? which came from the Spanish word "pichona" or "my little pigeon." As Johnny would later do, the Filipino statesman spoiled his daughter with clothes, jewelry, and travel.

Chona had many friends and admirers during her time at St. Scholastica's College. She was prom queen of both Ateneo and La Salle. Though she loved to party and mingle, her father was very strict and she was forbidden to participate in dates, had a midnight curfew, and was expected to be a consistent honors student.

When Johnny and Chona met before the war, they felt an instant attraction. Chona, however, was sent to Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York - which delayed Johnny?s courtship as well as the young couple?s blossoming love. Chona returned when the war broke out, and fortunately, Johnny was waiting. They soon rekindled their relationship, went on dates, and danced and partied the nights away.

Despite initial reservations, Recto gave his blessing to the couple. Johnny and Chona married in a simple ceremony in December 1941. The intimate yet elegant wedding took place at San Agustin Church, amid the ruins of Intramuros. Children quickly followed: Juan Johnny "Piqui" Ysmael, Jr., Teresita "Techie" Ysmael-Bilbao, Mario Ramon "Ramoncito" Ysmael, and Luis Miguel "Louie" Ysmael.

Techie remembers growing up with her father whispering to her how guapa Chona was because of her unparalleled femininity. Chona reciprocated this love by telling her children how much Johnny loved her, maybe even more than his elegant clothes, racehorses, and fast cars.

Johnny and Chona shared their taste in exquisite things - fine clothes and fashion. In 1951, when the couple was in Europe, he asked his wife if she wanted a Balenciaga chinchilla fur coat or a diamond-studded Vacheron Constantin. Chona wanted both, and of course he delivered.

Johnny was passionate about cars and horses; Chona loved to travel. Both loved to dance. "They would go around the world and learn dancing: Argentina Tango, Cuban mambo, cha-cha, and then flamenco in Spain?pasodoble," Techie recalls in the Town & Country Philippines feature on her mother.

The Connoisseur of Fine Things

Their traveling and partying were always complemented with fine clothes. The couple were always dressed to kill. "Linen, cotton, and sharkskin outfits in the summer; and well-cut tweeds, knits, and cashmere in the winter. His watches and accessories were branded then," Techie wrote back in 2014.

She added: "He loved Hollywood and my mother even told us that he knew Bugsy Siegel. They gambled extravagantly in Monaco at night, and Emme paid all his bills at the Casino Royale," Techie wrote.

The couple kept high-profile friends. When they were in Los Angeles, they would double date with Hollywood stars Tyrone Power and Linda Christian. They also hung out with notorious womanizer (and rumored assassin) Porfirio Rubirosa, the actor Ricardo Montalban, and the Marques de Portago.

Were they living excessively? There were times Chona thought they did. Techie recalled her mother's lamentations that Emme had spoiled Johnny rotten by giving him everything he wanted, which included funds to buy a custom-built sports car, a gorgeous 1951 two-tone 250hp Vignale Coupe which then cost $25,000. The car, which was featured in Road & Track magazine, was built according to Johnny's designs. After the completion of the bodywork, the forms and instructions for building were thrown away so the car won't ever be replicated and be truly one of its kind.

"Like most of Daddy Johnny's cars, it was super-chromed and light in weight because all the bodywork and interior fittings were molded and cast in aluminum. He even bought electric cars for the boys and they drove around the house on 7th Street," Techie wrote.

Apart from cars, Johnny was fond of horses. As a boy, he rode horses around New Manila with his close friends - a circle that included Benny Toda, who would one day own Philippine Airlines; and Enrique Zobel, who led the transformation of Makati from a swampy hacienda into the business district that it is today. They were birds of the same feather, all wealthy young scions from prominent families who were always described as "dashing": Zobel was known as one of the country's most talented polo players in his prime, while Toda was a licensed pilot who was known to fly his own plane to his private island, famed for its parties.

The Legend

Johnny showed exceptional resilience, like the relentless courage he showed during the war. In December 1944, he and Miguel Perez-Rubio, statesman and boyfriend of his sister Luisa, planned the escape of Manuel Roxas to guerilla territory. On January 3, 1945, Johnny was arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai. Miguel was arrested a month later. They endured prison and interrogation until his father-in-law and President Jose P. Laurel interceded, and they were both released in March.

Unfortunately, the flip side of Johnny's tenacity was his stubbornness. One fine winter day, Johnny drove his convertible top-down from Saint-Jean-de-Luz to Madrid. He was just recovering from pneumonia, and so the road trip worsened his condition. He was soon diagnosed with tuberculosis, yet he didn't even flinch at the diagnosis. "The hell he cared with not eating breakfast, and going out in the cold when it was winter, in lightweight clothes, as long as they were nice," recounted Techie.

The family was asked to go back to their house in Quezon City, where Johnny stayed in bed, breathing through an oxygen tank. For a month, Johnny suffered. "I knew he was gone when he stopped moving and I heard the sobs of my mother, which later turned into wails. It was one of the very few times I saw my mom lose it," Techie recalled.

Johnny was only 32.

12-18-2017, 09:03 AM
^ Continued ...

When he died, his hearse was pulled by his favorite horse, Don Juan. Chona even pointed out to her children that the horse's head was bowed down.

Do?a Magdalena was heartbroken. She had lost her only heir of legal age, leaving her no choice but to transfer his rights to Johnny's brother, Felipe "Baby" Ysmael Jr., who was only a baby that time. Coincidentally, it was also during that time Ysmael Steel was being established. Baby eventually became the owner and managing director of Ysmael Steel when Do?a Magdalena passed away.

Ysmael Steel prospered with the manufacturing of steel and home appliances under the trademark of Admiral. A famous Manila landmark back then was the gigantic Ysmael Steel robot which sprawled the lawn of their factory on Espa?a Extension. The company also owned a basketball league that time, their most notable rival being YCO, which was owned by Don Manolo Elizalde.

Unfortunately, Baby seemed to have inherited his Johnny's love of gambling, and he squandered the family fortune. After a series of bad business decisions, he sold Ysmael Steel to the Guevarras of Volkswagen before migrating with his family to Australia.

On the other hand, Chona remarried two years after Johnny's death, to American entrepreneur Hans Kasten. Unfortunately, Hans and Chona weren't blessed with the same blissful relationship that she enjoyed with Johnny. Chona instead focused on her children and travels, making her name for herself in fashion and advertising. Though never without suitors, she always referred to Johnny as her true, great love.

Johnny's children seemed to have taken after his love of luxury and society. Piqui, also known as Johnny the Third, inherited his father's vintage car collection, which he hasn't parted with to this day. Techie was a consistent honor student and had a flair for fashion, similar to her parents. During her commencement exercises, she even wore broke the rules and wore a mini-dress. Like her parents, she also loved to dance. She later became a model, designer, consultant, and author.

Like Techie, Louie studied abroad. He continued to work overseas and and bought a Ferrari with his first million. He returned to Manila in the '70s where he became known as Louie Y. He was one of Manila's most eligible bachelors; at one point he dated Isabel Preysler, who would go on to become Julio Iglesias' wife. He was later responsible for putting up Kuya Pare in Mile Long, Euphoria (the old Where Else), Venezia (which became V Bar), and Nuvo, among others. Currently, he's a partner at Priv? and The Palace.

Out of all Johnny's children, Louie seems like the one who inherited his father's ardent passion for partying, as the younger Ysmael lives out his years like his father never did. But though he's made his own mark on Manila's night club scene, Johnny remains one tough class act to follow.

03-07-2018, 10:50 AM
Henry Sy, 11 other tycoons from PH, among the world's richest

By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla - Reporter / @philbizwatcher Philippine Daily Inquirer / 10:22 AM March 07, 2018

A dozen tycoons from the Philippines, Henry Sy Sr. who founded the storied SM group, are among the wealthiest people on the planet, based on Forbes magazines' 2018 list of billionaires.

Sy, who's turning 94 this year, has an estimated net worth of $20 billion. His family leads three of the most valuable companies in the Philippines: SM Investments, SM Prime Holdings and BDO Unibank. SM Investments and SM Prime have breached the P1-trillion market capitalization mark, the first Philippine Stock Exchange-listed companies to do so.

Globally, Sy is ranked 52th [52nd, he meant 52nd, right...?] richest, slightly richer than young American tycoon Elon Musk who is valued at $19.9 billion.

JG Summit founder John Gokongwei is the second wealthiest person from the Philippines with an estimated net worth of $5.8 billion, ranking 305th globally. Regional industrial powerhouse Universal Robina Corp., budget carrier Cebu Pacific and property developer Robinsons Land Corp. are among his group's crown jewels.

Enrique Razon Jr. – who has established a global footprint through International Container Terminal Services Inc. and is now building an integrated gaming empire through Bloomberry Resorts Corp. - was valued by Forbes at $4.9 billion, earning him the 404th slot in the global ranking.

Tobacco magnate Lucio Tan ranked 441st on the global list with a net worth of $4.7 billion, followed by Jollibee Foods Corp. founder Tony Tan Caktiong which is valued at $4 billion and who ranked 550th globally.

George Ty, founder of the Metrobank group and who also built a market-leading automotive business in the Philippines in partnership with Toyota Corp. of Japan, is also on the elite roster with an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion. He ranked 572nd globally.

The "brown" taipan Manny Villar, who focused on growing his real estate empire after losing the 2010 presidential elections, is now valued at $3 billion. He ranked 791st globally.

Property tycoon Andrew Tan, founder of the Megaworld group, ranked 887th globally with an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and controlling stockholder Ramon S. Ang, who also chairs newly-listed Eagle Cement Corp., has an estimated value of $2.5 billion and ranked 965th globally.

Insurance and car dealership mogul Robert Coyiuto, who also has a stake in electricity superhighway National Grid and Oriental Petroleum & Minerals, has an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion and ranked 1,650th globally.

Even after selling a big chunk of SMC to Ang in 2012, mapping out the succession in this conglomerate, SMC chair Eduardo Cojuangco is still among the world's richest with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.

Even after being "hit by lightning" during this term of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and being forced to sell out of gaming technology venture Philweb Corp., businessman Roberto Ongpin has a still formidable fortune estimated at $1.1 billion.

03-08-2018, 07:57 AM
12 richest Pinoys have P2.9 trillion

By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla - Reporter / @philbizwatcher Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:06 AM March 08, 2018

With an estimated net worth of $20 billion, SM founder Henry Sy Sr. remains the richest among the tycoons from the Philippines who made it to Forbes magazine's latest annual list of the wealthiest people on the planet.

Forbes said the 12 richest Filipinos had a combined fortune of $55.6 billion (about P2.9 trillion), nearly a fifth of the domestic economy.

Jeff Bezos is still the richest person on the planet with $112 billion, double the combined wealth of 12 billionaires from the Philippines, as the value of his e-commerce listed firm Amazon surged 59 percent in the last 12 months.

A record 2,208 billionaires around the world made it to Forbes' 32nd annual ranking. Altogether they are worth a record $9.1 trillion, up 18 percent from a year ago, according to the March 6 article posted by the US magazine.

An Oxfam report found that the world’s richest 1 percent received 82 percent of the wealth generated in 2017, while the poorest of humanity got nothing.

The growing inequality has led to the rise of populist leaders, including US President Donald Trump.

52nd wealthiest in world Sy's net worth of $20 billion is over three times larger than the fortune of the next richest tycoon from the Philippines, as his net worth surged 57 percent from that of last year.

Globally, Sy who is turning 94 this year, is ranked 52nd richest, slightly richer than Elon Musk, who founded electric car maker Tesla, solar energy giant Solar City and spacecraft-maker SpaceX. Musk is valued at $19.9 billion.

Sy’s group controls three of the most valuable companies on the Philippine stock market: SM Investments Corp., SM Prime Holdings and BDO Unibank.

11 other PH tycoons

SM Investments and SM Prime have both breached the P1-trillion market capitalization mark and are the first two companies to reach this milestone.

On the Forbes list are 11 other Filipino tycoons.

JG Summit founder John Gokongwei Jr., 91, is the second wealthiest person from the Philippines with a net worth of $5.8 billion, ranking 305th globally.

Universal Robina Corp., Cebu Pacific, Robinsons Land Corp. and JG Petrochemicals Corp. are among his group's crown jewels.

Enrique Razon Jr. - who has established a global footprint through International Container Terminal Services Inc. and is building an integrated gaming empire through Bloomberry Resorts Corp. - is valued by Forbes at $4.9 billion, earning him the 404th slot globally.

At 58, he is the youngest billionaire from the Philippines.

Tobacco magnate Lucio Tan, 83, is 441st on the global list with a net worth of $4.7 billion. He is also into banking (Philippine National Bank), aviation (Philippine Airlines) and liquor (Tanduay and Asia Brewery) businesses.

Tony Tan Caktiong, chair and founder of Jollibee Foods Corp., is next on the list of Filipino tycoons with $4 billion, ranking 550th globally.

George Ty, founder of the Metrobank group and who built a market-leading automotive business in the Philippines with Toyota, has an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion. The 85-year-old tycoon ranked 572nd globally.

As rich as Trump

Manny Villar Jr., 68, who focused on growing his real estate-based empire after losing the 2010 presidential election, is valued at $3 billion. He ranked 791st worldwide.

Among the listed companies under his leadership are Vista Land & Lifescapes, Starmalls and Golden Haven.

Villar is almost as rich as businessman-turned-US President Trump, who is valued at $3.1 billion.

Forbes said Trump was one notable loser in this year’s rankings, as his fortune fell by $400 million since March 2017, now 766th in the world, down from 544th.

Andrew Tan, 65, founder of the Megaworld group, ranked 887th globally with $2.7 billion.

Ang valued at $2.5B

Ramon S. Ang, president and controlling stockholder of San Miguel Corp., has an estimated value of $2.5 billion. The 64-year-old tycoon ranked 965th globally.

Insurance and car dealership mogul Robert Coyiuto Jr., 65, has a net worth of $1.4 billion and ranked 1,650th globally.

SMC chair Eduardo Cojuangco, 82, is still among the world's richest with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion even after he sold a big chunk of SMC to Ang in 2012.

Roberto Ongpin, 81, still has a formidable fortune estimated at $1.1 billion. After selling out of gaming technology venture Philweb Corp., he is focused on upscale property developer Alphaland Corp.

Fewer Filipinos made it to this year's list compared to last year, when 14 made it to the roster.

2nd richest in world

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is the second richest in the world with $90 billion.

Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway is the third richest with $84 billion while Bernard Arnault, CEO of the world's largest luxury goods conglomerate LVMH of France, ranked fourth with $72 billion.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is the world's fifth richest, with $71 billion.

03-12-2018, 07:05 AM
Billionaires Made So Much Money Last Year They Could End Extreme Poverty Seven Times

Shelley Hagan, Bloomberg

22 January 2018

The global economy created a record number of billionaires last year, exacerbating inequality amid a weakening of workers’ rights and a corporate push to maximize shareholder returns, charity organization Oxfam International said in a new report.

The world now has 2,043 billionaires, after a new one emerged every two days in the past year, the nonprofit organization said in a report published Monday. The group of mostly men saw its wealth surge by $762 billion, which is enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over, according to Oxfam.

According to separate data compiled by Bloomberg, the top 500 billionaires’ net worth grew 24% to $5.38 trillion in 2017, while the world’s richest person, Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, saw a gain of $33.7 billion.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited.”

Oxfam published the report as global leaders, chief executives and bankers arrive in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. Noting that many of the world’s elite say they’re concerned about income inequality, the charity said most governments are “shamefully failing” to improve the matter.

Oxfam called on governments to limit shareholder and executive returns, while ensuring workers receive a living wage. It also recommended eliminating the gender pay gap and raising taxes on the wealthy, among other suggestions.

“People are ready for change,” Byanyima said. “They want a limit on the power and the wealth which sits in the hands of so few.”

09-30-2019, 01:49 PM

Sam Miguel
10-29-2019, 10:05 AM
From Esquire Philippines - - -

There Are 52,135 Filipino Dollar Millionaires, Says Credit Suisse

However, the Philippines also has one of the highest levels of income inequality.

By Anri Ichimura | Just now

In the 2019 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report and Databook, the international investment banking company reported that there are currently 52,153 Filipino dollar millionaires, or Filipino individuals each with a net worth exceeding $1 million.

According to Credit Suisse, there are over 40,000 Filipinos each with a net worth in the range of $1 million to $5 million or P51.14 million to P255.7 million. This is the wealth range with the most individuals. Meanwhile, there are only 43 Filipinos with a net worth exceeding $500 million or P25.57 billion.

Despite being categorized as a lower middle-income group, Credit Suisse has defined the Philippines as an emerging market. Compares to selected countries in Credit Suisse’s report, the Philippines experienced the fifth highest change in market capitalization, third highest change in USD exchange rate, third highest change in total household wealth, and third highest change in wealth per adult.

The country’s wealth is estimated to be worth $764 billion, which amounts of 0.2 percent of the world’s total wealth.

However, it was also recorded that, among selected countries, the Philippines has the ninth highest level of income inequality based on the Gini coefficient, a method of measuring wealth distribution. Despite the country's growing amount of millionaires, the gap between the rich and poor has seen little improvement.

There are currently 47 million millionaires worldwide in 2019, with the United States, China, Japan, United Kingdom, and Germany taking the lead. However, China has overtaken the U.S. by having more rich citizens, although the U.S. still holds the title of having the most millionaires than any other country.

The global wealth is recorded to be $361 trillion in 2019, with predictions that global wealth will hit $459 trillion in 2024.