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Champions of charity

Forbes sifted through dozens of candidates, reviewing their monetary contributions, the depth of their involvement and the reach of their philanthropic efforts.

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Tycoon Hans Sy pursues better health for Filipino children.

While local athletes are reaping medals in the ongoing 30th staging of the Southeast Asian Games, two other Filipinos have been recognized for their hearts of gold.

Industrialist Hans Sy and multi-awarded actress Angel Locsin were listed among Asia’s 2019 Heroes Of Philanthropy compiled by business bible Forbes.

The two luminaries join a prestigious list that included Indian mogul Azim Premji, Australian billionaire Judith Neilson, Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Singapore’s Mary Ann Tsao.

Hans, son of the late taipan Henry Sy, sits as chairman and director of SM Prime Holdings

Caring for young

Sy was chosen for initiating the Child Haus project which opened last July a newly renovated and expanded center in Quezon City.

Forbes said that the hub for children’s health now cares for 40 cancer-stricken children through caregivers.

“Sy, previously CEO of property firm SM Prime, paid $400,000 in 2010 for the property, which now provides poor provincial families with temporary shelter, as well as programs and activities that promote healing,” according to the magazine.

The report noted that on his 60th birthday in 2015, Sy bought the land for Child Haus’ first location in Manila for $600,000 and paid $1.4 million to build it.
“Opened in 2017, he still covers its operating expenses. Sy’s associates have become cosponsors and provide Child Haus with additional financial support and in-kind contributions,” the report said.

Mindanao’s angel

Locsin received special mention in the Forbes feature for her support “to causes aiding victims of violence, natural disasters and the conflict in Mindanao.”

Forbes cited Locsin’s donation of P1 million and distribution of truckloads of relief supplies to affected residents after earthquakes hit Mindanao island in October.

Locsin, whose mother was adopted by a family from Mindanao, “has long helped the region, which has been riven by sectarian strife for decades,” Forbes related.

During the 2017 battle between the government forces and Islamic State-inspired rebels for Marawi City, she joined the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, donating and distributing food packets and school supplies to tens of thousands of displaced victims.

“These are urgent times when we have to act as fast as we can to save lives and rebuild communities, and we don’t even have to think why,” Forbes quoted Locsin as saying.

Heroine personified

The report noted that Locsin is best known for playing superhero Darna in a 2005 television series and for her role in 2012’s One More Try, which earned her “best actress” in the 2013 Film Academy of the Philippines Awards. In 2017, Forbes recalled she blogged: “You don’t need to wear a costume to be a superhero.”

“Over the past decade, Locsin has donated as much as P15 million to causes such as educational scholarships for students, supporting the economic and political rights of indigenous people and ending violence against women and children,” according to the report.

Her donations have also helped roughly 500 families hit by some of the country’s largest disasters such as tropical storm “Ondoy” in 2009, typhoon “Habagat” in 2012 and typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013, one of the deadliest storms on record, leaving 6,300 dead.

Forbes added Locsin is considered an inspiration to many of her millions of social media followers to give back. “It’s like taking little steps towards substantive, holistic change for the future of the next generations,” Forbes quoted the actress. “The only motivation we need is being part of humanity.”

Huge field of choices

To choose the honorees, Forbes said it sifted through dozens of candidates, reviewing their monetary contributions, the depth of their involvement and the reach of their philanthropic efforts.
“Our aim is to highlight those giving their own money, not their company’s unless they are the majority owners of a privately-held firm,” it acknowledged.

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