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Manny Villar Honored As a 'Hero of Philanthropy' by Forbes Asia

The richest is also among the most altruistic.
IMAGE Facebook - Manny Villar
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Forbes Asia annual list, Heroes of Philanthropy, is out and it has named the Philippines richest man, billionaire tycoon and former senator Manny Villar, as one of Asia’s leading philanthropists and the only Filipino on the list.

Forbes Asia narrows down its (unranked) list of wealthy do-gooders by zeroing in on 15 individuals donating from their personal fortunes. In this time of COVID-19, many businessmen have been building hospitals, funding medical research, and providing PPEs.

At 70, Manny Villar, whose estimated worth is $6.4 billion, reportedly gifted two hectares of land to Manila’s Saint Jude Catholic School and five hectares of land to the University of the Philippines, his alma mater, to build an “innovation campus.”

Together, the two parcels of land are worth P8 billion ($165 million).

Villar’s rags-to-riches story is well known: He grew up impoverished in Tondo, Manila, helped his mother sell fish in Divisoria, and even dropped out of elementary school at one point. Perhaps because of his upbringing, he credits education as fundamental to his success today.

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“Education can uplift our people from poverty. It can provide dignity and jobs,” said Villar to Forbes Asia.

Outside of these two large donations, Villar has also donated to churches, programs to alleviate poverty, new facilities at four Philippine schools, and the fight against COVID-19. And these are the donations made outside of his many companies, such as Vista Mall, Vista Land & Landscapes, All Home, and more.

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Last year, actress Angel Locsin and businessman Hans Sy were honored in the Forbes Asia’s 2019 list. Locsin’s dedication to social issues is well known, from donating millions to victims of earthquakes to going to Marawi herself to aid displaced individuals. Meanwhile, Sy was honored for his support to cancer-stricken families through Child Haus, a home for children suffering from cancer.

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