How Taipans Maximize Their Surplus Wealth


Sen. Angara was the longest serving senator in the post-EDSA Senate. Described by the late President Corazon Aquino as “the face of decent Philippine politics abroad,” he is also considered by many as the father of healthcare for authoring the National Health Insurance Act (PhilHealth) and the Senior Citizens Act, among the many landmark laws he has authored.

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A June 2017 Forbes article pointed out that out of the country’s 72 Filipinos who were included in the magazine’s billionaires list, a handful owned universities, which they had acquired within the last two decades.

Henry Sy, the country’s richest taipan, owned one college (the Asia Pacific College which the SM Investments Corporation has owned since 1991) and two universities (National University, and Far Eastern University).

The late Alfonso Yuchengco and his family bought Mapua University and the Malayan Colleges.

Lucio Tan bought the University of the East since 1990—acquiring one of the best Dentistry programs in the country.

Emilio Yap acquired Centro Escolar University, one of the oldest private universities with the best health programs.

Ramon Del Rosario, Jr. of PHINMA Corporation, owned three universities (Araullo University, University of Pangasinan and University of Iloilo) and one college (Cagayan de Oro College).

Jaime Zobel De Ayala and his family acquired in 2015 a 60-percent stake in the University of Nueva Caceres in Naga City, Camarines Sur and later established a chain of basic education schools.

On the other hand, Manuel V. Pangilinan, through Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), relentlessly chased after hospitals and his provincial hospital network includes the Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod, the Sacred Heart Hospital of Malolos (Bulacan), the West Metro Medical Center in Zamboanga City, and Central Luzon Doctors Hospital, Tarlac City.

In addition, MPIC owns and dominates Metro Manila—Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Manila, the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa, the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan, the Marikina Valley Medical Center, the De Los Santos Medical Center and Dr. Jesus C. Delgado Memorial Hospital in Quezon City, and the Makati Medical Center. Manny Pangilinan’s most recent acquisitions are the Manila Doctors Hospital (formerly of Metrobank’s George Ty), and the St. Elizabeth Hospital in General Santos City.

The Campos family-owned Unilab, through its subsidiary Mount Grace Hospitals Inc. (MGHI), has also purchased several hospitals, including the Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, the Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center, the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Medical Center, the Grace General Hospital, the Tagaytay Medical Center, the Westlake Medical Center, the Mary Mediatrix Medical Center, the HealthServ Medical Center (in Los Banos), and the Manila Medical Center.

Buying schools and acquiring hospitals appear to be one of the best modes of doubling, even tripling, surplus money of the taipans. Some justify this accumulation as helping modernize and upgrade education and health—two of the noblest professions.

But others argue that this commercializes basic services, which is every person’s right.

Quite a smart investment strategy. Why?

For under the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), the corporate income tax rate of a proprietary education institution is 10 percent only, compared to 32 percent imposed on other businesses. And the owner who donates it to a charitable education and health foundation is entitled to 100 percent deduction from his net taxable income. A similar charitable tax system in the UK has been branded as “undemocratic.”

April 2018 Health and Lifestyle

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