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Forbes Magazine Honors Four Filipino Tycoons for Philanthropy

FilAm Star, News Report, Jun Medina Posted: Mar 20, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO -- Forbes Magazine, one of the worlds most respected business publications, recently honored four of the Philippines captains of industry in its prestigious Asia Pacific Region Philanthropy list.

Named to the elite list in Forbes March 16 issue were retail mogul Henry Sy, telecommunications tycoon Manuel Pangilinan, banking and insurance magnate Alfonso Yuchengco Sr., and industrialist Jon Ramon Aboitiz.

The four Filipino billionaires were among the 48 top regional philanthropists, who opened their checkbooks to help others despite the global financial crunch buffeting business fortunes all over Asia and the rest of the world.

The 84-year-old Sy, who parlayed his SM chain of shopping malls to become the Philippines wealthiest man, was cited for the charitable work of the SM Foundation which Sy created as the main vehicle of his philanthropy.

SM Foundation maintains a full-time staff of 20 and focuses on health, education and spiritual well-being of its beneficiaries. It runs modern health clinics near SM malls, and supports pediatric wards and hospices.

In 2007 the foundations mobile health and dental clinics treated 164,000 people in remote areas, Forbes said. Apart from awarding scholarships to poor but deserving students, it also builds Catholic chapels and youth centers, and public school buildings.

Last August, Sy and his family purchased the 107-year-old National University, located in Manilas University Belt, to serve as the focal point of its educational outreach.

Pangilinan, chairman of Hong Kong-listed First Pacific Holdings and New York-listed Philippine Long-Distance Telephone Co., started his philanthropy when he was still based in the former British crown colony.

During his years in Hong Kong he founded, and still chairs, the Bayanihan Center, which provides cultural and vocational activities for Filipino domestic workers there, Forbes Magazine said.

MVP of Philippine Sports

Pangilinan, 62, is the one of the most generous patrons of Philippine sports. Known by his initials MVP, he supports a wide range of sports that include basketball, badminton and boxing. He has funded the overseas training for national basketball youth teams.

Forbes Magazine said Pangilinan donated funds for the construction at the Ateneo de Manila University, of the Manuel V. Pangilinan Center for Student Leadership, which was completed in 2006. He also supported a retreat house, named after his mother, for Catholic sisters in Tagaytay.

Yuchengco, 85, is chairman of the Yuchengco Group, a conglomerate anchored Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and by insurance interests.

As chairman of a foundation bearing his name, Yuchengco channels substantial funds to support health, nutrition and education programs.

Mother Teresa Award

In 1983, Yuchengco co-founded the Mother Teresa Award, which annually awards
P1 million ($25,000) to an individual dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor, according to Forbes.

One clinic it sponsors is in Cotabato City, where the beneficiaries are Muslims. At any one time [the foundation] supports 5,000 college scholarships, Forbes said.

The foundation also provided initial funding in 2004 for the Philippine Studies Center at the University of San Francisco in the US. Also under the foundation is the Yuchengco Museum in Makati, opened in 2005, which displays his collection of Filipino and Chinese-Filipino art.

In the area of public policy, Yuchengco heads the Yuchengco Center, which is devoted to policy conferences and research related to the Philippines and Asia, especially relations with Japan, where he was once ambassador.

Aboitiz, 61, was cited in his capacity as chairman of the Aboitiz familys holding company which has diverse interests in energy, construction, logistics, food and banking.

Brothers in Charity

According to Forbes, Jon Ramon and his brothers Roberto and Mikel are the most active family members in the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, which started as a traditional charity in 1966. It focuses on child welfare, community development, Cebuano heritage, microfinance, youth leadership and the environment, and spent $1.6 million in 2007, Forbes said.

In the last several years the Aboitiz foundation has invested millions of dollars into renovating public schools in Cebu Province. Its latest initiative is to find homes and livelihoods for the Badjao, nomadic Sulu fishermen, who have become beggars on streets of Cebu City, Forbes Magazine said.

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