PH billionaire John Gokongwei Jr. passes away at 93
The founder and Chairman Emeritus of JG Summit Holdings Inc. John Gokongwei Jr. passed away on Saturday. He was 93.
In a statement, JG Summit Holdings and Robinsons Retail Holdings confirmed the death of Gokongwei, whom they called “a visionary”.
“We mourn the peaceful passing of our Founder and Chairman Emeritus John L. Gokongwei Jr., on November 9, 2019. He was 93. We, the 75,000-strong employees of JG Summit Holdings and Robinsons Retail Holdings, join the nation in paying tribute to the founder of the first Philippine multinational conglomerate, a philanthropist with a passion for education,” they said.
“Mr. John, as we fondly called him, was a visionary. He was an inspiration to entrepreneurs and businessmen around the nation, with his pioneering ideas, his strong work ethic, his passion, and perseverance,” they added.
Malacanang on Sunday also expressed its deepest condolences to the family, wife and children of Gokongwei.
“Mr. Gokongwei, considered as one of the leading taipans, was a visionary and pillar of the Philippine economy. Our people recognize Mr. Gokongwei's amazing journey as a self-made industrialist, respected business leader, and generous philanthropist,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“A grateful nation respects the man for the indelible legacy he made in the fields of business, entrepreneurship and philanthropy,” he added.
Panelo said Gokongwei left a legacy to the Filipino nation and the coming generation worth emulating with his advice such as, “Love your work. Work hard for it. Love your family. Love your country. Never stop learning. And always look back and be grateful where you came from."
“Mr. Gokongwei was an exceptional and ideal Filipino. He exemplified the traits that should endow us: industrious, disciplined, indefatigable, creative, generous, always hungry for knowledge, grateful and never forgetting his origins, and most of all, a loving person to his family and his country,” Panelo said.
“As we pray for the eternal repose of his soul, we will remember even as we will miss the foresight and corporate expertise of Mr. Gokongwei who successfully chartered unfamiliar territories in business to successfully launch new ventures and create an empire that made substantial contributions to the country's growth and development,” he said.
Also, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Gokongwei’s leadership, tenacity, vision and business acumen contributed to what the economy has today.
“We have truly stood on the shoulder of a giant, and we offer our condolences to his loved ones in this time of bereavement,” said Nograles.
According to JG Summit Holdings, the Gokongwei's wake will take place from Monday, November 11, to Thursday, November 14, at Heritage Park, Taguig, from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Daily masses will be celebrated at 7 p.m. and the funeral mass will be on Friday, November 15, at 8 a.m.
“In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to your favorite charity,” the company said.
This year, Forbes listed Gokongwei as the third richest man in the Philippines, with estimated net worth of $5.3 billion.
JC Summit, which Gokongwei founded, started in 1957 when Universal Corn Products, Inc. was established to operate a cornstarch plant in Pasig. Currently, it is one of the largest and most diversified Filipino conglomerates engaged in snack-food and beverage, budget airline, property development, petrochemical manufacturing, and commercial banking.
It has also investments in telecommunications and electricity, among others. Ella Dionisio/DMS