Who is the richest Filipino?

From a speech of Tony Lopez, journalist and publisher of a businessnews magazine
Today, I am going to tell you mostly good news….
The Philippine economy is growing at its fastest rate today in the last quarter century. It has grown by an average of 4.7 percent per quarter consecutively over the last 22 quarters. This is the highest growth ever over the longest period since the post-war. This means that economic production has increased by 25 percent, in real terms, in the last five years.
During the same five-year period, the population grew by 13 percent or by ten million Filipinos. In other words, economic growth now outpaces population growth at a ratio of two to one.
This means that in due time, the economy will be able to feed, educate and clothe the population that has been born and the population still to be born. Families can actually multiply without fear of burdening the economy.
Twenty-two consecutive quarters of positive growth. That’s five and half years. The economy had never grown so fast and for so extended a period of time. Until now. You may ask: Why is the economy growing so fast? The answer is that the sectors of the economy that should deliver value added are all growing – services, agriculture, industry and manufacturing. Adding vibrancy to these sectors is consumer spending and the rise of cellular technology. In 2005, agriculture grew by 1.8 percent; industry by 4.85 percent, and services by 5 percent. Services now accounts from 53 percent of the total output of the economy.
What’s services? That’s telecommunications. Transportation. Banking. What’s telecommunications? That’s cellular phones and text messaging. Internet mailing and gaming. Even banking is all about computers and the telephone. How can you account for ATMs but for the computer and the telephone. In 2005, of the total production of the domestic economy, on the expenditure side, of P5,418 billion or 5.4 trillion pesos, personal consumption expenditure or PCE accounted
for 3,773 billion pesos or P3.77 trillion, 69.6 percent of the total. Government consumption added another 525.7 billion pesos or 9.7 percent. So consumers and the government are providing Filipinos 79.3 percent of the economy on the consumption side.
This means both consumers and the government have money. Government has money because of the dramatic increases in tax rates, especially of the value added tax, and in the efficiency of the government tax machinery. Because of computerization, the incidence of the tax avoidance and the tax evasion has
been markedly reduced. Taxpayers today pay an average of 20 percent of their income as tax. It used to be zero.
Consumers have money because of OFW remittances, which amounted to $10.7 billion in 2005. That’s money remitted thru the banking system, about P588.5 billion. It is believed the P588 billion represents only 80 percent of the
total remittances. Actual remittances could be as high as $12.8 billion or P706 billion. Where did all that money go?
In cellular phones and e-loading for text messaging. Today, 98 percent of the 7,107 islands of the archipelago are linked, wirelessly, by cellular phones. For the first time ever, you can say the country is united, by technology, by information technology. For the first time, the country is united by one medium, the cellular
phone, and by one message, that coming from the text messaging.
One hundred ten million messages are sent out everyday by Filipinos. that’s 40 billion text messages a year. This makes us the text capital of the world.
Today, eight million Filipinos are connected to the Internet, almost ten percent of the population. Another 3.5 million are linked thru friendster, the chat web site. There are 38 million cellular phone owners, about 45 percent of the population. 38 million or 45 percent is not to be sneezed t, considering that it costs at least P4,000 to get a cellular phone. That amount is almost eight percent of the per
capita income of P53,000 per year.
If you multiply P4,000 by 38 million, you get the figure P152 billion. That’s the amount of fixed capital investment made by the Filipino consumer in cellular phones, on the equipment side alone.
In 2005, PLDT became the most profitable Philippine company with whopping profits of P34.5 billion – the biggest for any company in our corporate history. Sister company Piltel made P13.45 billion. Rival Globe Telecom made P10.3 billion in profits.
Abroad, the most profitable business is energy, oil. In the Philippines, the most profitable business is cellular phone. In 2005, the three phone companies, PLDT, Piltel and Globe made together P58.22 billion in combined profits – or 29 percent of the P200 billion combined profits of the 100 most profitable companies listed in the stock exchange.
Did you know that between July 8, last year when the Hyatt Ten resigned and July 8 this year, when President Arroyo has not yet resigned, the stock market created a whopping P2 trillion of wealth?
Why? Because business has been good. Companies are registering profits on a scale they have never experienced before. PLDT 34 billion pesos. SM Investment P10.4 billion. Ayala Corp. P10 billion. San Miguel P8.97 billion. Why are these companies making so much money? Because of telecommunications, specifically, wireless phone. And because of consumer spending.
That is why today, the richest Filipino is Henry Sy, the retailing tycoon. He is worth P100 billion, according to my computations. The second richest?
The family of Augusto Zobel de Ayala. He is worth P49.57 billion. The third richest? This is surprise. Manuel V. Pangilinan, the chairman of PLDT. MVP is worth P49 billion, richer than George Ty, No. 4 with P44.5 billion, and Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. No. 5, What about beer, tobacco and airline Taipan, Lucio Tan,
who for many years, the Forbes Magazine has ranked as the richest Filipino? He is no longer the richest Pinoy. He is only No. 6 with 35 billion.
How did the rankings change so drastically? Because consumer spending habits have changed drastically. Food is no longer the No. 1 consumer item. It is cell cards and e-cards. People are buying less cola, less beer, less cigarettes just so they can save money to buy a cell phone, a SIM card, and an e-load.
This morning I came from a lecture by Mc-Cann Erickson on the activities of the Filipino teenagers. The Filipino teenager is connected, virtually. In the McCann survey, text messaging and using the computer for games and the internet together is now the No. 1 activity of the Filipino teenager. Window-shopping is now a poor second.
In 2005, according to McCann, 40 percent of Filipino teenagers had for their usual leisure activities, text messaging; followed by 38 percent playing computer and video games; window shopping 36 percent; and email, surfing or chatting on the net, 27 percent.
Five years ago, the comparable ratios were 22 percent window- shopping, 12 percent text messaging, 17 percent playing computer and video games, and 13 percent emailing, surfing or chatting on the net.
In five years, text messaging increased 3.3 times to 40 percent; playing computer video games increased 2.2 times to 38 percent, and email or surfing the net increased two times to 27 percent.
In other words, all these activities doubled in frequency while that of shopping declined, from 22 percent of teenagers in 2000 to 36 percent in 2005. McCann says Filipino teenagers now spend more on internet cafes, prepaid phone cards and post paid cell phone bills, while trying to economize on food, beverage,
personal care, transportation, clothes and reading materials.
That is why sales of Coke are down, sales of hamburgers are down, and clothes shops are having sales regularly instead of occasionally.
This is why in sari-sari stores, the best-selling item is not milk not coffee, is not sugar, is not sardines, is not cosmetics. But prepaid phone cards and e-loading cards.


4 thoughts on “Who is the richest Filipino?

  1. Marciano Miego

    This is another sign of prosperity for wealthy individual and a clear sign for poverty for the rest of the nation. Anyway, We Filipinos can be easily fooled for a simple thing; just like the moinkeys that handed with a banana and we do not care anymore if we are heading for a downfall. Texting is the banana.


  2. June Hebrew

    This is good news for every Filipino. While it is a sign of continuous prosperity for the wealthy individual, I don’t view it as a sign of continuous poverty for the rest of the nation. The rest of the nation should know how to take advantage of this situation. Blame should not be on the already wealthy people nor our government. Everyone must take control of his own life’s direction. Besides, everybody is where they want to be. It’s always about the day to day choices or decisions that matter in the long run.


  3. Marciano

    “I don’t view it as a sign of continuous poverty for the rest of the nation. The rest of the nation should know how to take advantage of this situation. Blame should not be on the already wealthy people nor our government. Everyone must take control of his own life’s direction. Besides, everybody is where they want to be. It’s always about the day to day choices or decisions that matter in the long run.”

    Well, if you were not born poor you can write anything you believe. When you were born poor you will die the same. Look around you and eat up your words.


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