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They come in 3s: PH says goodbye to giants of corporate world

Corporate Philippines lost three top business leaders—Alfonso Yuchengco, Mariano Que and Roberto Aboitiz—during the Lenten break.

Former Ambassador Yuchengco, founder of the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC), passed away at the age of 94 on Saturday while Que, founder of Mercury Drug— who would have turned 97 this August—died on Wednesday.

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Roberto Aboitiz, chair and president of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) and former chair of power-based conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., passed away at the age of 67 on Thursday.

Yuchengco, apart from leading the YGC group, was former Philippine permanent representative to the United Nations. He likewise served as Philippine ambassador to the People’s Republic of China (1986 to 1988) and Japan (1995 to 1998).

RCBC vice chair and former Prime Minister Cesar Virata said the wake for Yuchengco would start on April 18 at the Sanctuario de San Antonio Parish in Forbes Park.

Over the course of his career, Yuchengco won several honors here and abroad. In 2008, he was awarded the first Global Humanitarian Insurance Award by the University of Alabama for his “contributions to uplifting humanity and practicing exceptional business ethics while advancing the principles and application of insurance and financial services.”

A CPA, Yuchengco graduated from Far Eastern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce and completed his graduate studies at Columbia University in 1950. Forbes Magazine estimated the net worth of Yuchengco and his family at $400 million, ranking him the 32nd richest person in the country in 2016.

Drug retailing giant

Que started his drugstore empire in 1945 by buying one bottle of sulfathiazole—considered a wonder drug in post-World War II Manila. He bought the bottle for P100, using all the money he had, and sold the medicine by the tablet.

Using the profits, Que was able to purchase other medicines and eventually a pushcart, which he used to peddle pharmaceutical goods. He opened his first Mercury Drug store in 1945 along Bambang Street. Mercury Drug now operates more than 1,000 stores nationwide and employs over 12,000 people.

Leadership of the drug retailing giant has been transferred to daughter Vivian Que-Azcona, who has an estimated net worth of $900 million and ranks the 24th richest in the Philippines, also according to Forbes.

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Aboitiz scion

Cebu’s business icon may have passed on but government and business leaders believe Aboitiz’s legacy will be forever remembered.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III said Aboitiz was someone everyone should look up to. “He was a Cebuano at heart. He reached out to those who had less in life and helped [them].”

Davide said the vision for a “Mega Cebu” would not have been established without Aboitiz.
Mega Cebu, which is a consortium representing cities and municipalities in Cebu and private and civil society organizations, envisions sustained urban growth in Metro Cebu up to 2050.

Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said Aboitiz was a very humble man despite his stature and wealth.

The Aboitiz family was among Forbes’ richest families in Asia last year, with a net worth of $5 billion. Forbes Philippines also named the Aboitizes as the most generous among the country’s richest families in March 2016, reportedly investing around P793.9 million in philanthropic projects.

Aboitiz was interred at the Cebu Memorial Park in Cebu City yesterday.

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