MANY BILLIONAIRES around the world, including the Philippines, became richer even as many economies suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Forbes.

Forbes on Wednesday released its annual world’s billionaires list which had a record 2,755 billionaires, with 493 newcomers. Their combined wealth stood at $13.1 trillion, more than 60% higher than the $8 trillion a year ago.

“It was also the first time that the combined net worth of the world’s billions crossed into double-digit trillions. The pace at which huge fortunes have been created is astonishing,” Kerry A. Dolan, Forbes assistant managing editor-wealth, said in a statement.

Forbes, which takes a snapshot of the billionaires’ wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from March 5, 2021, said 86% of those on the list are richer than last year.

The Forbes list includes 17 billionaires from the Philippines, led by property tycoon and former Senate president Manuel B. Villar, Jr.

Mr. Villar, the Philippines’ richest man, ranked 352nd on this year’s Forbes list. Forbes pegged his net worth at $7.2 billion, 29% up from $5.6 billion in April 2020. He is the chairman of listed companies Vista Land and Lifescapes, Vistamalls, Inc., and Golden MV Holdings.

Enrique K. Razon, Jr., chairman of port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), ranked 561st on the Forbes list with a net worth of $5 billion, 47% higher than the $3.4 billion net worth a year ago.

LT Group, Inc. Chairman and founder Lucio C. Tan is in 925th place on the Forbes list with a net worth of $3.3 billion, nearly double from last year’s $1.7 billion. LT Group is involved in banking, airline, property development, and tobacco.

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. directors Hans T. Sy and Herbert T. Sy are both in 1,008th place, with a net worth of $3 billion each, up from $2 billion in 2020. The Sys are the children of SM Group founder Henry Sy, Sr., who passed away in 2019.

Alliance Global Group, Inc. Chairman Andrew L. Tan is also in 1,008th place with $3 billion, higher than the $1.9 billion seen in 2020.

SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) Executive Director Harley T. Sy, SMIC Vice-Chairman and SM Prime Chairman Henry T. Sy, Jr and BDO Unibank, Inc. Chairperson Teresita T. Sy-Coson are ranked 1,174th — each with a net worth of $2.7 billion. In the 2020 list, the Sy brothers’ net worth stood at $1.9 billion, while Ms. Sy-Coson had a net worth of $1.8 billion.

SMIC adviser Elizabeth Sy shared 1,299th spot with Jollibee Foods Corp. founder Tony Tan Caktiong and family — with a net worth of $2.4 billion each. Mr. Tan Caktiong’s net worth stood at $1.7 billion in last year’s list.

Ramon S. Ang, president, chief operating officer, and vice-chairman at diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), was at 1,444th place on the Forbes list with $2.2 billion, rising 57% from last year’s $1.4 billion.

Meanwhile, the net worth of SMC Director Iñigo Zobel (2,141st place with $1.4 billion) and JG Summit President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lance Y. Gokongwei (2,378th place with $1.2 billion) were unchanged from last year’s list.

Alphaland Corp. Chairman Roberto V. Ongpin was in 2,378th place with a net worth of $1.2 billion, 30% lower than last year’s $1.7 billion.

Two billionaires returned to the Forbes list this year — Century Pacific Food, Inc. Chairman Emeritus Ricardo S. Po, Sr. and family and DoubleDragon Properties Corp. Chairman and CEO Edgar J. Sia II. They were in the 2,524th spot with $1.1 billion net worth each.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos topped the world’s billionaires list for the fourth consecutive year with $177 billion, followed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk with $151 billion.

The rest of the top five includes LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault ($150 billion), Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ($124 billion) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ($97 billion).

The Asia-Pacific region has the most billionaires with 1,149, followed by the United States with 724 and Europe with 628. — K.C.G.Valmonte