10% of Dr. Ty’s wealth to philanthropy
I am pleased to summarize my eulogy for Dr. George S. K. Ty, delivered on the evening of Nov. 24. To taste its full flavor, please access the complete copy at cjpanganiban.com.
My fellow admirers of Dr. Ty, I was hesitant to speak before you because I knew that this first night of his wake is reserved exclusively for his family and for the officers of the Metrobank Group, who of course have known him much longer than I, and who therefore are more capable of delivering this first eulogy.
Yes, all of you know better than I how he founded, built and nurtured Metrobank to become one of the most respected financial institutions in our country and in Asia, with branches in the US, China, Japan and other places, and how he expanded it into a huge conglomerate in banking, insurance, motor vehicles, real estate, power, etc.
Yes, you know better than I that Dr. Ty is a respected business leader, a towering patriarch to his coworkers, an exemplary father, a caring husband, a generous philanthropist and a model citizen of our country.
Since all of you already know all his achievements, principles and values, let me just share some personal stories that exemplify them.
I first met him about 20 years ago when he invited me to be a member, and later chairman, of the board of judges of the “Search for the 10 Outstanding Teachers” sponsored by the Metrobank Foundation. During several hours of interviews lasting two days, he was always present on a side chair, patiently listening but never intruding in the proceedings. At that time, he was the active chairman of his conglomerate, yet he found precious time to listen to the long interviews.
After I retired from the judiciary, he invited me to be a senior adviser of Metrobank and a member of the board of advisers of Metrobank Foundation. Upon the death on Aug. 1, 2009, of the board chair, former president Cory Aquino, Dr. Ty asked me to take her place.
Some eight years ago, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala invited me to sit as an independent director of BPI. Though I felt honored by his invitation, I could not accept it because I was already with Metrobank. Upon hearing of the invitation, Dr. Ty told me, “Please accept the offer. I fully trust you. I know you will never reveal any business secret, whether of Metrobank or of BPI or of anyone.”
On another occasion, he visited me at home, saying that God had been kind to him because all his business ventures have been successful. In thanksgiving, he wanted to donate 10 percent of his wealth to philanthropy. Given that he is one of the richest men in our country, 10 percent is quite a huge sum. Consider also that corporations give only a maximum of 2 percent of their net income to charity. But he was giving 10 percent of his total wealth, in addition to that already being given by his many companies.
From this huge wealth, he initially set aside P1 billion to establish the nonprofit Toyota Motor Philippines School of Technology. To help eradicate extreme poverty, the school would focus on science and technology. After I advised him of this donation, the retired chairman of Toyota Japan, Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda, who was visiting our country, matched it with another billion.
Though he never flaunted his religious faith, he built the “Mary the Queen Catholic Church” in Nanjing, China, to thank the Lord for the success of the Metrobank branches in several Chinese cities. He is also one of the largest donors to renovate the Manila Cathedral.
He cherished our friendship so much that he invited me to every gathering of his family and of the Metrobank Group, including office inaugurations in many parts of the world.
I can narrate more stories about Dr. Ty but our time is limited. Suffice it to say for now that despite his achievements as a business giant and philanthropist, he has remained humble and meek. According to our Bible, our Father reserved a dwelling place in heaven for the humble and meek.
Yes, our beloved Dr. Ty is now enjoying a new eternal life of peace and love in the bosom of the Father. But he is also a free spirit capable of being with us on earth. In fact, he is now with us, above us, watching us and inspiring us to be the best of what we can be — by our constantly remembering, personifying and championing his achievements, principles and values.
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