Washington SyCip passes away at 96
Washington Z. SyCip, who was conferred by the Japanese government of The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, passed away on Saturday. He was 96.
SyCip, founder of SyCip, Gorres, Velayo & Co. (SGV & Co), "went quietly while on a flight to Vancouver from Manila," SGV &Co. said on its Facebook post on Sunday.
It said that SyCip's family requests for some private time at this moment.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said, "On behalf of the Filipino nation, we condole with the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Washington SyCip."
He described SyCip as a respected voice in corporate governance and staunch believer in Filipino talent.
"The storied Mr. SyCip once said that his secret for longevity was having too much work. His presence was as vivid as the brilliant Barongs he wore. He gave us all a sense of what Filipinos could be," he said.
In a separate statement on Sunday, the Philippine Airlines expressed sadness and grief over the passing of SyCip, a longstanding member of the the Board of Directors and board member of sister firms in the Lucio Tan Group of Companies.
PAL described SyCip as a true giant in the world of Philippine business.
"For those of us who had the privilege of working with him and under his guidance, Mr. SyCip was a legendary mentor who inspired us to strive for the highest measure of excellence and integrity in the conduct of our business, and in serving the Filipino public. We feel his loss keenly, and will greatly miss his wise counsel and commanding presence," PAL said.
Last April, the Japanese government conferred the award to SyCip, founder of SGV & Co, an accounting and consulting firm founded in Manila in 1946.
According to the Japanese Embassy in Manila, the awarding of The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star to SyCip was a recognition of SyCip's contribution to facilitating the development of locally-based Japanese companies, thereby promoting stronger business relations between Japan and the Philippines.
The Embassy cited that SyCip served as a business adviser to many Japanese companies in the Philippines through the SGV.
"Mr. SyCip was instrumental in the creation of the Japanese garden 'Tsuru Ki en' located at the Washington SyCip Park in Makati to promote better appreciation of the Japanese culture among Filipino people," it said in a statement in May.
SyCip was also a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1992 as he was hailed as "one of the most revered and beloved industrialists in the Philippines and Asia.
In "Wash Only a Bookkeeper," a biography of SyCip wrote by Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., it described how the late businessman became a "prime advocate of closer cooperation between the Philippines, the United States, Europe and Asia."
Born on June 30, 1921, SyCip entered the Philippine public school system, graduating from Burgos Elementary School and Mapa High School before enrolling at the University of Santo Tomas and graduating with his commerce degree, summa cum laude, at the age of 17. He passed the examination for certified public accountant at the age of 18.
According to his biography, when SyCip's father was arrested by the Japanese during the war, he joined the Second Philippine Regiment of the US Armed Forces but was eventually transferred to the US Air Force for cryptography work in the China, Burma, India theater were he served for two years in a squadron stationed in India.
When SyCip returned to Manila at the war's end to be reunited with his family, seeing great opportunities in the country's postwar reconstruction, he decided to put up the W. SyCip & Co., which was later on renamed as SyCip, Gorres, Velayo & Co.
He was also instrumental in setting up the Asian Institute of Management in 1968 and the Philippine Business for Social Progress in 1970. Celerina Monte/DMS