Indonesian businessman donates SG$1 million
Indonesian businessman Dato’ Sri Tahir made a commitment on Tuesday to assist the Marcos administration in improving the lives of the Filipino people through social work and the provision of low-cost housing.
Tahir met President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in Malacañang and handed over SGD1 million, or P41.6 million, to the chief executive.
The Indonesian businessman told President Marcos that he was eager to see and congratulate him after winning the elections last year. Tahir earlier met the Marcos family in Hawaii when they were in exile.
“So maybe I use this opportunity. I like to see, explore, we can work together in social work,” Tahir said. “We have been working in the region. So, I hope that, with your permission, with your support, let me arrange to explore.”
Marcos briefed Tahir on the current government social welfare programs for children, the elderly, as well as the ongoing initiatives for housing.
“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,” said the President, adding the government program for senior citizens to help them financially and medically.
“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,” Marcos told Tahir.
In terms of housing, the President said his administration has been very aggressive in its housing programs because the country has to catch up in this area.
Marcos told Tahir that his government is targeting one million units each year for the next six years, noting the country’s backlog of 6.5 million in terms of housing units for socialized and local housing.
“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 stressed.
“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, for his part, said he is also active in providing healthcare support to countries in crisis situations and has donated about US$40 million to the US government, and assisted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Tahir said he went to Syria and Libya, and also extended support to Afghanistan and Turkey. “Anything regarding humanitarian, I’m interested in that,” he added.
Tahir also said he is interested to build a hospital in the country. “We are running the largest private hospital in Indonesia. So maybe if we can invest also in hospital here,” he said.
The President said he will ask the concerned government agencies to help him put together his proposals when he comes back to the country sometime in July or August.
Tahir founded the Mayapada Group, an Indonesian conglomerate, with businesses in the financial, healthcare, hotel and real estate, specialty retail, media and mining industries.
In 2019, Tahir was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
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