Philippine tycoons' fortunes drop as pandemic lingers – Forbes

Philippine billionaires saw their fortunes decline, as the country imposed one of the harshest and longest lockdowns in the world but failed to flatten the COVID-19 infection curve.

Forbes said on Thursday, September 17, that the collective wealth of the Philippines' 50 richest dropped to $60.6 billion from $78 billion a year ago.

The top 10 wealthiest Filipinos for 2020 are:

  1. Sy siblings - $13.9 billion
  2. Manny Villar - $5 billion
  3. Enrique Razon Jr - $4.3 billion
  4. Lance Gokongwei and siblings - $4.1 billion
  5. Jaime Zobel de Ayala - $3.6 billion
  6. Andrew Tan - $2.3 billion
  7. Lucio Tan - $2.2 billion
  8. Ramon Ang - $2 billion
  9. Tony Tan Caktiong - $1.9 billion
  10. Lucio and Susan Co - $1.7 billion

The Sy siblings took the biggest hit, losing $3.3 billion, but remain at the top of the list. SM malls nationwide lost significant foot traffic due to the pandemic. SM also waived rent to support its tenants, which hurt the company's bottom line.

Manny Villar suffered a $1.6-billion drop in his net worth to $5 billion, but stays as the Philippines' 2nd richest. His malls and property businesses also took a significant hit due to the lockdowns.

Tycoons controlling banks also saw a decline in wealth, as banks jacked up provisions for bad debt. 

The Ty siblings, who own GT Capital and Metrobank, shed 46% of their fortune to $1.4 billion. 

Frederick Dy's net worth was also slashed by over 46% to $190 million as shares of Security Bank fell 52%.

Oscar Lopez, who holds a majority stake in ABS-CBN, saw his net worth nearly halve to $240 million after the network was repeatedly slammed by President Rodrigo Duterte himself and eventually denied a franchise by Congress.

Dennis Uy remains 22nd on the list, but his net worth was slashed to $650 million, a $10-million decrease.

Ports and gaming tycoon Enrique Razon Jr's net worth fell from $5.1 billion to $4.3 billion.

Lucio Tan's net worth dropped from $3.6 billion to $2.2 billion.

Andrew Tan also saw his wealth slide, from $2.55 billion to $2.3 billion.

Ramon Ang's fortune dropped to $2 billion from last year's estimate of $2.8 billion.

Six names fell off Forbes’ list, including Edgar Saavedra of Megawide Construction Corporation. Megawide’s shares tumbled over 65% and it suffered losses worth P398 million. (READ: Megawide-GMR bags original proponent status for NAIA rehab project)

Megawide co-founder Michael Cosiquien, however, stayed on the list as his wealth is tied to an earlier sale of the company’s shares.


Ten billionaires saw their net worth rise despite the pandemic. 

Edgar “Injap” Sia II is the biggest gainer, posting a 75% increase in his net worth to $700 million due to the initial public offering of MerryMart.

Soledad Oppen Cojuangco and her 4 children – Carlos, Luisa, Margarita, and Mark – made it to the list at No. 16, after inheriting the wealth of the late Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr. They have a combined net worth of $1.4 billion, bulk of it coming from San Miguel Corporation.

Lance Gokongwei and his siblings Faith, Hope, Lisa, Marcia, and Robina debuted on the list at No. 4, replacing their father John Gokongwei Jr, who died in November 2019. The Gokongwei empire is into food, real estate, airlines, and banking, among others.

Jaime Zobel de Ayala's net worth slightly went up to $3.7 billion from $3.6 billion.

Mikel Aboitiz, Lourdes Montinola, Michael Romero, and Luis Virata also returned to the Forbes list largely due to this year’s lower cutoff, which fell 23% from last year’s list to $100 million.

Forbes' complete list can be viewed here. –

Ralf Rivas

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