FILE – Christmas shoppers flock to Divisoria in Manila in December 2013. EDD GUMBAN
MANILA, Philippines – The country’s 50 wealthiest persons continued to gain more riches in 2013, whose combined assets would be equivalent to about a fourth of the economy.
According to Forbes, the 50 richest Filipinos have a combined assets of $74 billion, about 25 percent of the nearly $280-billion economy of the Philippines.
The growth in the assets of the country’s richest also outpaced the growth of the Philippine economy in 2013. According to Forbes, the nation’s 50 wealthiest saw their incomes climb 12 percent from $65.8 billlion in 2013. In contrast, the Philippine economy posted a 7.2-percent growth in 2013.
Victor Abola, economist at the university of Asia & the Pacific, said that although it would appear that the country’s wealthiest own about a fourth of the economy, it is a simplistic comparison.
“They’re not apples to apples comparison,” Abola told philSTAR.com.
Henry Sy for the seventh year in a row was named the richest Filipino with a net wealth of $12.7 billion, up $700 million from last year owing to the rising share prices of SM Prime Holdings, the country’s owner of the largest mall chain in the country, and Banco de Oro, one of the country’s largest lenders.
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Coming in second is Lucio Tan with $6.1 billion, followed by port and casino tycoon Enrique Razon Jr with $5.2 billion.
As the country’s wealthiest gain more wealth, Abola said he believes the economy will post faster growth in the second half of the year.
Abola said he expects to the government to further ramp up its spending despite court rulings against the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
He also cited reconstruction efforts for the Yolanda-hit areas as another reason for the better spending of the government.
As for port congestion, Abola said the private sector would be “hurt enough” by the daytime truck ban in Manila to look for solutions.
“The private sector would have to solve the issue together with the government,” he said.