MANILA, Philippines — Real estate tycoon Manuel Villar Jr. is now the richest among 17 Filipinos who made it to Forbes Magazine’s 2019 list of richest people on the planet.
Villar topped the list for the first time, ranking 317th globally with a net worth of $5.5 billion. It is also the first time that the richest person in the country is one of purely Filipino descent.
For a long time, SM Group founder Henry Sy Sr. led the list of billionaires from the Philippines. He passed away in January.
Following the elder Sy’s demise, Forbes counted the net worth of the Sy children individually.
Last year, Villar, known as the “brown taipan” and whose son Mark is a member of President Duterte’s Cabinet, was the Philippines’ second richest man.
Other billionaires from the Philippines who landed on the global list of the prestigious “triple comma club” are John Gokongwei Jr. at No. 343, with a net worth of $5.1 billion; Enrique Razon Jr. (No. 379, $4.8 billion); Lucio Tan (No. 436, $4.4 billion); Tony Tan Caktiong and family (No. 529, $3.9 billion); Ramon Ang (No. 775, $2.9 billion) and Andrew Tan (No. 838, $2.7 billion).
Second-generation Sys, Hans and Herbert, are tied at No. 962 with a net worth of $2.4 billion.
Harley, Henry Jr. and TeresitaSy-Coson occupied the 1,057th place with a net worth of $2.2 billion each. Their sister Elizabeth Sy’s fortune was valued at $1.9 billion.
Completing the list are San Miguel Corp. chairman Eduardo Cojuangco with a net worth of $1.4 billion, Robert Coyiuto Jr. with a fortune of $1.4 billion, Ricardo Po with a net worth of $1.2 billion and property developer Roberto Ongpin with a net worth of $1.1 billion.
The list is Forbes’ 33rd annual ranking of the world’s billionaires, featuring the planet’s wealthiest individuals.
Some 2,153 billionaires are on the 2019 list, down from 2,208 in 2018 and the total combined net worth of this year’s billionaires is $8.7 trillion, down from $9.1 trillion in 2018. This represents the first decrease in billionaires and their combined wealth since 2016 and only the second decrease in the past decade, according to Forbes.
“The billionaire ranks prove that even the world’s richest are not immune to economic forces and the volatility of world markets. Yet, even with strong headwinds, resourceful and relentless entrepreneurs find new ways to get rich,” Forbes’ Wealth assistant managing editor Luisa Kroll said.
For two years running, centi-billionaire Jeff Bezos remained on top overall, increasing his net worth to $131 billion, up $19 billion from 2018.
Bill Gates, who held the top spot for the longest period, remained at No. 2 with a fortune of $96.5 billion, up from $90 billion last year.
“A rise in Amazon’s stock price pushed up Bezos’ net worth, further widening the gap between the top two richest, now the largest since 2001,” Forbes said.
On the other hand, Warren Buffett’s net worth fell by $1.5 billion to $82.5 billion but secured him the No. 3 spot.
The youngest billionaire in the world is Kylie Jenner who is 21 years old. Jenner made the 2019 Forbes list for the first time and is the youngest self-made billionaire. She owns 100 percent of Kylie Cosmetics, the three-year-old beauty business that did an estimated $360 million in sales last year.
The minimum net worth to make the Top 20 was $38.8 billion, $200 million less than 2018, according to Forbes.(Philippine Star)