MANILA – Indonesian tycoon Dato’ Sri Tahir has donated about PHP41.6 million to the Philippines, with a pledge to support the social welfare and healthcare programs of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Malacañang announced Thursday.
Tahir, founder of Indonesian conglomerate Mayapada Group, handed over the PHP41.6 million to Marcos during a meeting at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil said.
This, as Marcos briefed Tahir on his administration’s social welfare programs for children and the elderly, as well as on the ongoing housing projects.
“We have a program that we are going to start for the street children. Unfortunately, we still have people who are homeless. So, we are trying to look after them,” Marcos, as quoted by the PCO said, adding that the government also aims to provide financial and medical assistance to senior citizens.
“So, this is how we view social work in the Philippines. As much as possible, we would like people not to become dependent on the government. And Filipinos, I think, have that attitude. So, that’s a good situation. So, that’s more or less how we are approaching a new way of doing social work,” he added.
Marcos said his administration is also being "very aggressive" in its housing program to address the country’s backlog of about 6.5 million and fulfill its goal of building 1 million units every year.
“That is a very important part of our agenda. It causes so many social problems if we don’t have available housing. It’s very hard for people to be productive if they do not have their own home,” he told Tahir. “Even if they are just paying for it, it’s different from being informal settlers, squatters. That’s why it’s a big priority. So, housing is moving well.”
Tahir vowed to assist the Marcos administration in improving the lives of the Filipino people through social work and the provision of low-cost housing.
He said he is also interested to build a hospital in the Philippines, noting that he is active in providing healthcare support to countries in crisis situations.
He added that he has donated about USD40 million to the US government, assisted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and extended support to countries such as Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Turkey.
“We are running the largest private hospital in Indonesia. So maybe if we can invest also in hospital here... Anything regarding humanitarian, I’m interested in that,” Tahir told Marcos.
“We have been working in the region. So, I hope that, with your permission, with your support, let me arrange to explore [the Philippines]," he added
Marcos said he would discuss Tahir's proposals with concerned government agencies.
Tahir founded the Mayapada Group, an Indonesian conglomerate, with businesses in the financial, healthcare, hotel and real estate, specialty retail, media and mining industries.
The Mayapada Group started its business with Bank Mayapada and local partner Duty Free Shopper (DFS) Indonesia, a multinational LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) subsidiary engaged in providing luxury goods in the late 1980s. (PNA)