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Filipino billionaires grow wealth despite pandemic

Despite the coronavirus pandemic ruining the global economy, Filipino billionaires saw their wealth grow, the latest Forbes billionaires list showed.

The 2021 list, which has 2,755 billionaires, included property magnate Manuel Villar, who saw his wealth grow by 28.6% to $7.2 billion (P349.45 billion) in 2021 from $5.6 billion (P271 billion) in 2020.

The 71-year-old Villar, who chairs mall operator Vista Mall, is the richest in the Philippines and 352nd in the world. (READ: Entrepreneur Manny Villar: 'I don't like politics anymore')

Ports and gaming tycoon Enrique Razon Jr, who leads International Container Terminal Services and Bloomberry Resorts, saw his wealth jump by 43.3% to $5 billion (P242.67 billion) in 2021 from $3.4 billion (P165 billion) in 2020.

Lucio Tan, who has interests in tobacco, spirits, banking, and properties, grew his wealth by 94% to $3.3 billion (P160 billion) in 2021 from $1.7 billion (P82.5 billion) in 2020.

Here is the complete list of the Filipino billionaires included in the Forbes ranking:

  1. Manuel Villar - $7.2 billion
  2. Enrique Razon Jr - $5 billion
  3. Lucio Tan - $3.3 billion
  4. Hans Sy - $3 billion
  5. Herbert Sy - $3 billion
  6. Andrew Tan - $3 billion
  7. Harley Sy - $2.7 billion
  8. Henry Sy Jr - $2.7 billion
  9. Teresita Sy-Coson - $2.7 billion
  10. Elizabeth Sy - $2.4 billion
  11. Tony Tan Caktiong and family - $2.4 billion
  12. Ramon Ang - $2.2 billion
  13. Inigo Zobel - $1.4 billion
  14. Lance Gokongwei - $1.2 billion
  15. Roberto Ongpin - $1.2 billion
  16. Ricardo Po Sr and family - $1.1 billion
  17. Edgar Sia II - $1.1 billion

Inigo Zobel, cousin of Jaime Zobel de Ayala, debuted on the global billionaires list, ranking 2,141st.

Lance Gokongwei also made it to the global list for the first time, ranking 2,378th.

Almost all of the Filipino billionaires in the list saw their wealth grow, except for Roberto Ongpin, whose net worth dropped from $1.7 billion in 2020 to $1.2 billion in 2021.

Collectively, the Filipino billionaires' wealth totaled $45.6 billion (P2.2 trillion). For perspective, the Philippines' 2021 national budget is P4.5 trillion.

Outgoing Amazon chief executive officer Jeff Bezos retained the top spot for the 4th straight year, with a net worth of $177 billion (P8.6 trillion).

Elon Musk rocketed into the No. 2 spot with $151 billion (P7.3 trillion).

Rounding up the top 5 of the world's richest are Bernard Arnault of LVMH, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

The combined wealth of all 2,755 billionaires in the list is a whopping $13.1 trillion (P635 trillion), up by 63.75% from $8 trillion in 2020.

Asia-Pacific boasts the most billionaires with 1,149, followed by the United States with 724 and Europe with 628. – Rappler.com

$1 = P48.56

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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