John Gokongwei, Jr., Cebu’s son, dies, 93

Cebu Republic   November 12, 2019   News & Features

The founder and chairman emeritus of JG Summit Holdings, Inc., John Gokongwei, Jr., died evening of November 9 (Saturday) in a Manila hospital. He was 93.

John

Photo credit: Peso Advisor


Gokongwei was the third wealthiest Filipino with a net worth estimated by Forbes magazine at $5.3 billion as of 2019. The man was born in China to John Gokongwei, Sr. and Juanita Marquez Lim. Gokongwei, Jr.’s father was an heir of a wealthy Cebu-based family, with ancestral ties from China southern Fujian province. His great-grandfather, Pedro Singson Gotiaco, was one of the most prominent Chinese-Filipinos of that time. The young Gokongwei and his family returned to the Philippines when he was a year old. Gokongwei obtained his primary (he was a valedictorian) and secondary education in San Carlos University-Cebu. The family lost their fortune when the older Gokongwei died when John was just 13 years old.

John

Photo credit: Peso Advisor


Young John supported his family by peddling several items in the streets of Cebu using his old bicycle. At the age of 17 to 19, the young man traded his merchandise using a wooden boat, taking items from the port of Dalahican (in Lucena City, Quezon province) by sea and then by truck to Manila. After World War II (WWII), he started his own company called Amasia Trading; and in 1957, using a P500,000 loan from China Bank, he established the Universal Corn Products. JG Summit Holdings, Inc., was born. This company was established to operate a cornstarch plant in Pasig City which was expanded to Universal Robina Corporation (URC), years later.



John

Photo credit: Peso Advisor


Since then, JG Summit Holdings “has pioneered breakthroughs, broadened its enterprise, and stayed at the forefront in every phase of the country’s rise to development’. Starting from URC, the conglomerate is currently involved in various businesses, including Cebu Pacific Air (the Philippines’ first budget airline), Robinsons Land Corporation, JG Summit Petrochemicals, United Industrial Corporation/Singapore Land, Robinsons Bank, Robinsons Malls, in addition to substantial stakes in PLDT and Meralco.



John

Photo credit: Peso Advisor


Gokongwei was survived by his wife of 61 years, Elizabeth, and children Lance, Robina, Lisa, Faith, Hope, and Marcia; in-laws and grandchildren; and siblings Eddie, James, Go, and Lily. The wake for the late tycoon and philanthropist will take place from Nov. 11 to 14 at Heritage Park, Taguig (from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m). Daily masses will be celebrated at 7 p.m. A funeral mass is set for Friday, Nov. 15 at 8 a.m. at Heritage Park. Instead of flowers, the family requests donations to charity.



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