Filipino billionaires come together in aid of typhoon victims

Filipino billionaires come together in aid of typhoon victims

PHILIPPINES - Filipino billionaires are in a generous mood, contributing in cash and in kind to the massive relief and rehabilitation efforts to bring back Leyte, Eastern Samar and other provinces in central Philippines devastated by Supertyphoon "Yolanda."

The No. 1 and No. 2 richest Filipinos, Henry Sy and Lucio Tan, have pledged at least 100 million pesos (S$9.5 million) each through their respective companies for the humanitarian effort in the Visayas.

The SM Group announced Monday it had put up a calamity fund for typhoon-battered Tacloban and Ormoc cities, Samar, Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz and Bicol, as well as earthquake victims in Bohol and Cebu.

The fund will be used for the rebuilding of damaged homes, community centers, schools, and churches, and for relief supplies.

Tan's Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. has pledged 100 million pesos for the Yolanda relief and rehabilitation efforts in addition to half a million 6-litre bottles of water his Asia Brewery Inc. has delivered so far; three mobile water filters deployed in Ormoc and Tacloban ; and the use of two King Air personal jets to ferry medicine and other relief.

The No. 3 billionaire, Andrew Tan, who controls Megaworld, Resorts World Philippines and McDonald's Philippines, has donated 50 million pesos through the Philippine Red Cross, ABS-CBN Foundation and the United Nations Children's Fund.

Rebuilding Tacloban port

The country's fourth richest man, Enrique Razon Jr. of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), has signed up to take the lead in bringing back the heavily damaged Tacloban port.

"I'm sure most will do something. Most are giving money and goods right now, but they will probably participate in the rebuilding. We are taking over Tacloban port this Sunday to reopen it immediately," Razon said in a text message.

At least 30 ICTSI volunteers were sent to Tacloban City yesterday to start the site survey and hiring of local workers to start the cleanup and rebuilding in partnership with the Philippine Ports Authority.

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