’s 40 richest Filipinos and ILO’s new report on worsening income inequality

On Blog Action Day regarding poverty, released its list of the top 40 richest Filipinos, headed by mall mogul Henry Sy with a net worth of $3.1 billion.

Lucio Tan is second in the list with $1.5 billion. Jaime Zobel de Ayala, last year’s richest, dropped to third place with $1.2 billion.

The total net worth of the Philippines 20 richest people is $12.670 billion or a whooping P594 billion!

The sobering news is a new United Nations report also came out the next day, pointing to a very problematic occurrence — income inequality is worsening worldwide, including the Philippines.

I am wondering how much taxes they are paying the government and what corporate social responsibility initiatives they are doing to “spread the wealth”. Offhand, it appears that the minimum wage earner pays more in taxes per capita if we factor in the poor person’s total income, which is already very small (P382 a day in Metro Manila), no thanks to a very regressive tax system that President Arroyo keeps extolling and championing.

A day after came out with its list, the International Labor Organization released the World of Work Report 2008 (Global income inequality gap is vast and growing).

According to a BusinessWorld report

… in Asia and the Pacific, only the Philippines and Cambodia posted a decline in income inequality.

The Philippines, however, remains with one of the highest income inequality indices in the region.

“Inequality has always been with us,” said University of the Philippines School for Labor and Industrial Relations professor Rene Ofreneo in a telephone interview Thursday. “The problem is that while there is great growth there, it is also jobless growth. It is the same with other Asian nations like China.” (Emphasis mine – Tonyo)

Download the ILO report’s executive summary here and the full report here.

The Philippines is thus still on a long, protracted struggle to attain much-needed social justice especially for the poor.