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Led by Manny Villar, a Record 17 Filipinos Are Included on 2019 Forbes World’s Billionaires List

All of Henry Sy Sr.’s children entered the list for the first time after the tycoon's death.
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A record-high of 17 Filipinos made US business magazine Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List in 2019, up from just 12 in the previous year.

But the combined wealth of all Filipino billionaires is lower than the previous year. Following the death of SM Group founder Henry Sy Sr. in January 2019, the total wealth of Filipino billionaires amounted to $47.7 billion, a 14-percent decrease from $55.3 billion in 2018.

Four out of the 17 tycoons in the list saw their net worths drop. John Gokongwei Jr., the country’s second richest man, recorded the largest decrease of wealth in a year at 12.1 percent. His net worth dropped from $5.8 billion in 2018 to $5.1 billion this year. (Esquire Philippines is published by Summit Media, which is owned by members of the Gokongwei family.)

With Sy out of the list, real estate tycoon and former politician Manuel Villar now leads the list with a net worth of $5.5 billion. Villar jumped 474 places to rank 317 from rank 791 in 2018. He is now also richer than Star Wars creator George Lucas (325th) and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey (rank 343).

The six children of Henry Sy Sr. replaced him in the rankings.

Hans and Herbert Sy, the fourth and fifth children, respectively, were tied at rank 962 with net worths of $2.4 billion each. The two are involved in the family’s property, investments, and supermarket operations businesses.

Harley (youngest), Henry Jr. (third), and Teresita Sy-Coson (eldest) all tied at the 1057th place with estimated net worths of $2.2 billion. Harley is an executive director of SM Investments Corporation while Henry Jr. chairs SM Prime Holdings, Inc. Sy-Coson, on the other hand, chairs BDO Unibank.

Lastly, second child Elizabeth Sy came in at the 1227th place with a net worth of $1.9 billion. She chairs SM Hotels and Conventions, the family's tourism, leisure, and hospitality arm.

Century Pacific Food Inc. founder Ricardo Po Sr. also debuted on the list this year at rank 1,818. Forbes estimated his net worth at $1.2 billion.

Aside from Sy Sr., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company founder George Ty also left the list following his death in November 2018.

Here are all the Filipino billionaires on the Forbes list, ranked by net worth:

1. Manuel Villar - $5.5 billion
2. John Gokongwei, Jr. - $5.1 billion
3. Enrique Razon, Jr. - $4.8 billion
4. Lucio Tan - $4.4 billion
5. Tony Tan Caktiong - $3.9 billion
6. Ramon Ang - $2.9 billion
7. Andrew Tan - $2.7 billion
8. Hans Sy - $2.4 billion
8. Herbert Sy - $2.4 billion
9. Harley Sy - $2.2 billion
9. Henry Sy Jr. - $2.2 billion
9. Teresita Sy-Coson - $2.2 billion
10. Elizabeth Sy - $1.9 billion
11. Robert Coyiuto, Jr. - $1.4 billion
11. Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. - $1.4 billion
12. Ricardo Po Sr. - $1.2 billion
13. Roberto Ongpin - $1.1 billion

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is still the world's richest man, with estimated wealth of $131 billion. Bill Gates follows with $96.5 billion, Warren Buffett with $82.5 billion, Bernard Arnault with $76 billion, and Carlos Slim Helu with $64 billion.

Forbes counted 2,153 billionaires on this year's list, 55 fewer than in 2018.

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About The Author
Pauline Macaraeg
Esquire Philippines
Pauline is Esquire Philippines’ data journalist. Follow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg.
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