MANILA, Philippines–Four business leaders from the Philippines, including port and gaming tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. and tuna magnate Ricardo Po Sr., have landed on Forbes magazine’s roster of 48 “notable” philanthropists from the Asia-Pacific.
For the eighth straight year, Forbes listed notable philanthropists in the Asia-Pacific region, handpicking those who had made news in the past year by launching “new and innovative projects.” The magazine said this year’s honor roll ranged from “billionaires with expansive visions of how best to help society to less well-known business people whose generosity is also leaving a huge mark.”
Apart from the 54-year-old Razon, who chairs the International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI), and the 83-year-old Po, founder and chair of leading canned food manufacturer Century Pacific Group which recently debuted on the local stock exchange, the list also includes athletic apparel retailer Jose Mari Albert, 64, chair of Isport Life and founder of Operation Compassion, and Angelo King, 87, who turned to development work through the Angelo King Foundation after retiring from the motel business.
Forbes said its goal was not to rank the biggest givers, noting that the figures would be impossible to collect. “Instead we aim to call attention to people and causes. We try to identify a new group of altruists each year, though several people here are returning to the list because of an important donation or project announced since a year ago. And the goal is to pick only true philanthropists—people who are giving their own money, not their company’s (unless they own most of the company), because donating shareholder funds isn’t exactly charity,” Forbes said.
In the case of Razon, the magazine honored the tycoon for rehabilitating parts of the Philippines hit hardest by Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda). Among Razon’s charity work cited were the rebuilding of Tacloban City’s airport and moving relief supplies through the seaport.
“His companies also put up $5.7 million for a hospital building. Called on port operators from as far as Madagascar to help. His ICTSI Foundation is repairing five day care centers in storm-wracked Samar province. It normally donates to public schools and poor neighborhoods near its seven Philippine ports,” the magazine said.
Po, a former journalist who entered the tuna canning business in 1978 to better provide for his family, was cited for his work at improving nutrition and alleviating hunger through a network of partners serving up to three million meals a year to schoolchildren. The magazine noted that Po remembered experiencing hunger during his childhood which inspired his setting up of the CPG-RSPo Foundation in 2010. Having pioneered the tuna business in the country, Po has been nicknamed “Mr. Tuna.”
“God has been so kind to me that I feel compelled to give back in my own way by helping hungry children,” Forbes quoted Po as saying. Albert, 64, founded in 2004 Operation Compassion, which supplies housing after natural disasters, such as Yolanda. The magazine noted that Albert was funding it with personal contributions and donations from his privately held company, which operates stores in the Philippines for the Italian sports brand Fila.
“His charity is now helping to build 400 shelters in devastated areas and developing temporary communities by adding latrines, bathing rooms, wells and areas for planting food. It also offers trauma counseling and feeding programs,” the magazine said.
The 87-year-old King started the Angelo King Foundation in 1978 after retiring from business in 1999. The magazine noted that after making his fortune with the Anito Hotels chain, King was now “working with other organizations to address educational, cultural, health care and spiritual needs.” It noted that last year, the foundation’s donations totaled $515,000–the interest on the amount in its capital fund.