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Rich Filipino Families

Super-rich in undiminished control. The Philippines boasts an unenviable Asian, perhaps global, record among major nations. One family, the Ayalas, controls 18% of total stock-market-listed corporate assets. Moreover, the country’s top 10 most powerful families control 56.2% of such assets. Just over 50% of total GDP is controlled by the top 15 families. In sharp contrast, only 2.8% of listed corporate assets are owned by the 15 top families in Japan.

Growing poverty. Incidence of poverty – the inability to provide for basic food (adequate caloric intake) and shelter – increased from 36.8% of the population in 1997 to more than 40% in 2002. Thirty-eight percent of families do not have solid-structure shelter. Access to safe drinking water declined from 81.4% of families in 1999 to 80% in 2002. Twenty-one percent of all families and 44% of families in the lower 40% income group have no electricity.

An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines (New Perspectives in Se Asian Studies)

These facts in combination define socially, economically and politically unsustainable circumstances and go a long way in explaining the persistent political turbulence of the past two decades. Time and again since the first so-called People Power revolt of 1986 that swept away the Ferdinand Marcos regime, the hopes and aspirations of the large majority of impoverished Filipinos have been thwarted. Neither Cory Aquino nor Fidel Ramos, who lifted Aquino into the presidency before becoming president himself, carried out the land-reform measures they had promised. What land reform was enacted was largely a sham. Aquino, who talked about it incessantly, still owns the huge hacienda that should have been one of the first reform targets. Most senators and congressmen are rich landowners and members of or hangers-on of the elite families that control the bulk of the nation’s wealth. No one else can afford to run for office.

2 Responses to “Rich Filipino Families”

  1. Rob says:

    Dear Michelle,
    Another very interesting article on your blog. When I read it, it reminded me of something my father said to me when I was a small boy. He told me about the unfairness of the world. He compared the super-rich, as you call them, to greedy children. The sort you wish were not invited to a party. They are so selfish and greedy they eat almost all of the birthday cake, and leave only a tiny bit for the rest of the kids. Then he asked me what I would think of such a person?

    I think my father taught me something important, he was the wisest man I have ever known.

    If those figures are true in your post it shows how true my dads words were!

    I guess some people are born to riches, because they have successful families. Some people are clever and are successful because they invent something new.
    I like to think if I was rich I would dedicate my life and use my good fortune to help as many poor people as I can.
    Shame on anyone rich who does not try hard to improve the lives of the poor who are all around him.

    Your blog is great! and I will remember to donate a little to help you keep it going!..I hope a rich Philippines person reads it also, and donates a big amount to show you he is not just a greedy child… 😀

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