The country has many Taipans but one true business titan, and that was Washington Sycip.
His counsel was most sought after, his advice prized, that even among competing interests he was a shared resource, because having his name on the board is in itself a seal of good housekeeping.
Even when his prestige had already blanketed the globe, Mr. Sycip loved to call himself a bookkeeper of companies.
But what he loved most was auditing his biggest pro bono client, the Philippines.
He was the keeper of the national ledger, always telling us that our assets outweigh our liabilities, our strengths greater than our handicap, that we are blessed with a healthy bottomline.
This patriot’s contributions to the country are too many to write down in one big spreadsheet.
He was an advocate of corporate good governance long before it became a buzz word. He was a practitioner of corporate social relations decades before business embraced it. He championed the cause of small entrepreneurs before “microfinance” and “MSMEs” were coined. He was among the first to prod business to finance the development of the most important capital – human capital.
He was never on the Forbes’ list of billionaires. But long after he is gone, he will always be in the list of those who had enriched the lives of the Filipinos.