In case you were wondering just how massive economic inequality in the Philippines is, here’s a stat: the nine richest billionaires in the Philippines have more wealth than half of the entire country’s population, or 55 million Filipinos, Oxfam International says in its latest Survival of the Richest report.
The report, which was released this week, says that in the Philippines, the poor have been unable to recover from the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the high prices of goods such as red onions.
“Inequality experienced in the Philippines is starker with the nine richest Filipinos having more wealth than the bottom half or 55 million of the population,” Oxfam Pilipinas Executive Director Erika Geronimo said, citing data from Oxfam and the Forbes’ billionaires list.
The Forbes’ richest list in 2022 documented the following names:
- Sy siblings (net worth: US$12.6 billion)
- Manuel Villar (net worth: US$7.8 billion)
- Enrique Razon Jr (net worth: US$5.6 billion)
- Lance Gokongwei and siblings (net worth: US$3.1 billion)
- Aboitiz family (net worth: US$2.9 billion)
- Isidro Consunji and siblings (net worth: US$2.9 billion)
- Tony Tan Caktiong and family (net worth: US$2.6 billion)
- Jaime Zobel de Ayala and family (net worth: US$2.55 billion)
- Ramon Ang (net worth: US$2.45 billion)
“It is quite disheartening to see many are dying due to lack of health care or are experiencing hunger amid high cost of food while the rich increased their wealth during the pandemic,” Geronimo said.
Geronimo argued that this disparity should serve as proof that the rich should be taxed more. The country could raise about US$3.8 billion annually if a wealth tax is imposed on millionaires — a figure that could be enough to increase the country’s health budget by two-fifths, she said.