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Washington SyCip, Business Tycoon and Philanthropist, Passes Away at 96

The man who founded SyCip, Gorres, and Velayo after the Second World War was an advocate for public education, public health, and microfinance.

“If there is one and only one message I would like you all to remember for the rest of your lives, it is this: Be a person of integrity!” Washington SyCip has been quoted as saying. He definitely practiced what he preached. 

At 96, the leading accounting tycoon and businessman passed away last night, October 7, while traveling en route to Vancouver, a report by Rappler says. In the same article, Manuel V. Pangilinan says, “Yes. Confirmed. Just spoke to his secretary here. He was on a PAL flight from Manila [to] Vancouver. George SyCip, his son, was with him. His heart stopped and apparently [had] a peaceful and painless death. This happened as the flight approached Vancouver.”

His remains will be in New York before being laid to rest, as official documentation is underway, sources say.

Among his greatest legacies is his accounting firm, SyCip, Gorres, Velayo &Co. (SGV), originally W. SyCip & Co., which he set up after World War II. During a tumultuous time in the Philippines, he had the admirable grit to transform a one-man office into one of the country’s leading service providers in that industry. Apart from SGV, he has also done remarkable work as an entrepreneur, such as founding the Asian Institute of Management.

A man of immense wisdom, he dispensed golden advice to the country’s top businessmen and sat on the board of numerous local and international companies and foundations even after his retirement. Despite his shrewd business acumen, he never failed in forwarding his advocacies to promote the improvement of public education, public health, and microfinance. “Our country can be criticized for so many things, but in the end, we must give back what we can,” he once said.


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Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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