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For most of us, it’s a given that the Catholic Church is rich. Obvious proof of that are their sprawling acres of land, large Church-owned structures and buildings, and millions of pesos of cash collected from mass goers every week.

What a lot of people do not know, though, is that part of the Church’s wealth is its multi-billion peso investments in several Philippine companies. In fact, reports submitted to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) show that the Church and affiliate Catholic groups are top stockholders in companies such as the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Philex Mining Corporation (PX), San Miguel Corporation (SMC), Ayala Corporation (AC), and Phinma Corporation (PHN), among others.

Philippine Church invested in banks, mining, construction, etc.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, for example, owns more than 300 million shares of BPI and is the bank’s 4th largest owner.

How much are these shares worth? As of May 2011, this is valued at more than P17 billion. Yes, that’s seventeen billion pesos, with a B.

Interestingly, aside from banking, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila (RCAM), together with its subsidiary hospitals and companies, is also invested in mining and construction.

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As of March 31, 2011, the RCAM is the 15th top shareholder of Philex Mining Corporation (PX), the country’s largest mining firm. It owns 3.2 million shares of PX currently worth more than P66 million.

(Update August 22, 2011: Did the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila sell all its Philex shares to Manny Pangilinan?)

RCAM is also an investor in Concrete Aggregates Corp. (CA), a supplier of construction materials such as processed aggregates, ready mix concrete and crushed sand. Its investment in CA is currently valued at around P4.5 million.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila is not the only diocese invested in Philippine stocks. Other dioceses with significant stock investments include:

  • Roman Catholic Bishop of Tuguegarao, Cagayan – owns 856,639 shares of SMC worth P94 million
  • Roman Catholic Bishop of Nueva Segovia de Vigan – owns 428,067 shares of SMC worth P47 million
  • Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jaro, Iloilo – owns 491,385 shares of BPI worth a total of P28 million
  • Roman Catholic Bishop of Tuguegarao, Cagayan – owns 24,015 shares of Ayala Corp worth P9.3 million

Affiliate Catholic groups also have huge investments in Philippine companies. More than P500 million pesos worth of San Miguel Corp (SMC)‘s shares, for example, are owned by three (3) Catholic groups:

  • El Superior de la Corporacion Filipina de Padres Agustinos Recoletos – 2.37 million shares worth P260.7 million
  • Superior de la Corporacion Archicofradia de N.P.J.N de Recoletos – 1.23 million shares worth P136 million
  • Carmel of the Divine Infant Jesus of Prague, Inc. – 957,000 shares worth P105 million

All this talk of the wealth of the Church is merely the tip of the iceberg since our compilation only includes the Church’s investments in PSE-traded firms. We do not know how much more is invested in private entities, in companies outside the Philippines, in bonds, in time deposit accounts, or in real estate properties.

Church should play more active role in educating its flock about finances

We understand that the Church has to invest money in various assets, including equities, in order to finance and sustain itself. This is actually good since this shows how financially-literate the Church is.

Catholic Church Philippines - Billions of Stock Investments

Here at PinoyMoneyTalk, our only call is for the Church to take an active role not just in shaping the morality of its flock but also in developing a more practical and productive attitude towards money and finance.

The weekly Sunday sermons should, therefore, include not just lessons about being morally upright. The Church should also convince mass goers to work and pursue livelihood and to not simply leave their fate to God (“Ipagpasa-Diyos niyo ang lahat ng inyong mga problema.”).

The Church should educate its people about the value of earning, saving, and investing money and should not condone Catholics who are already content in life even if they are penniless (“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven”).

More importantly, we urge the Catholic Church to play a more pivotal and proactive role in helping solve the ills of the country. The billions of pesos of investments (as seen in the table below) can go a long way in uplifting the lives of poor Filipino people who, admittedly, form the critical mass of supporters of the Catholic Church.

Yes, the Church is already doing its share by running hospitals and orphanages, by providing assistance to those who come to them for help, and by offering moral guidance. But with billions of pesos worth of assets that can even surpass the assets of the Philippine government, they can do more and should do more.

They owe it to the millions of Filipinos who donate their hard-earned cash every Sunday to the Church that religiously invests in stocks.

Stock Investments of Catholic Church and affiliate Catholic Groups

Diocese / Church Foundation Company # Shares Owned Rank in Top 100 Total Investment Value
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 222,843,681 4th PHP12.724 Billion
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (REAL CASA DE MISERICORDIA) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 41,408,841 8th PHP2.364 Billion
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA (HOSPITAL DE SAN JUAN DE DIOS) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 22,072,182 13th PHP1.26 Billion
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 6,016,624 15th PHP343.55 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (HOSP DE SA JUAN DE DIOS) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 4,285,572 17th PHP244.71 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (MAYORDOMIA DELA CATEDRAL) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 2,664,266 21st PHP152.13 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (ST. PAUL`S HOSPITAL) Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 1,772,418 26th PHP101.21 Million
CARMEL OF THE DIVINE INFANT JESUS OF PRAGUE, INC. Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 726,819 49th PHP41.50 Million
EL SUPERIOR DE LA CORPORACION FILIPINA DE PADRES AGUSTINOS RECOLETOS Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 551,382 60th PHP31.48 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF JARO Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) 491,385 64th PHP28.06 Million
EL SUPERIOR DE LA CORPORACION FILIPINA DE PADRES AGUSTINOS RECOLETOS San Miguel Corp (SMC) 2,370,000 31st PHP260.70 Million
SUPERIOR DE LA CORPORACION ARCHICOFRADIA DE N.P.J.N DE RECOLETOS San Miguel Corp (SMC) 1,234,603 75th PHP135.81 Million
CARMEL OF THE DIVINE INFANT JESUS OF PRAGUE, INC. San Miguel Corp (SMC) 957,516 79th PHP105.33 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TUGUEGARAO San Miguel Corp (SMC) 856,639 81st PHP94.23 Million
REAL MONASTERIO DE LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION DE NUESTRA MADRE SANTA CLARA DE MANILA San Miguel Corp (SMC) 809,834 83rd PHP89.08 Million
SUPERIOR DE LA CORPORACION DE PADRES RECOLETOS POR BECAS Y VOCACIONES San Miguel Corp (SMC) 621,702 89th PHP68.39 Million
CARMEL OF ST THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS San Miguel Corp (SMC) 592,956 91st PHP65.23 Million
THE DISCALCED CARMELITE NUNS OF CEBU San Miguel Corp (SMC) 451,864 95th PHP49.71 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NUEVA SEGOVIA DE VIGAN San Miguel Corp (SMC) 428,067 98th PHP47.09 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA Philex Mining Corp (PX) 3,221,135 15th PHP66.68 Million
RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN MARY - B Philex Mining Corp (PX) 3,125,777 16th PHP64.70 Million
RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN MARY-A Philex Mining Corp (PX) 1,091,027 69th PHP22.58 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TUGUEGARAO Ayala Corporation (AC) 24,015 73rd PHP9.29 Million
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILS, INC. Ayala Corporation Preferred Shares - A (ACPA) 60,000 2nd PHP31.80 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TAGBILARAN Ayala Corporation Preferred Shares - B (ACPR) 10,000 64th PHP1.02 Million
DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL PHINMA Corp. (PHN) 159,575 19th PHP2.12 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF JUAN DE DIOS PHINMA Corp. (PHN) 153,880 20th PHP2.05 Million
RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN MARY PHINMA Corp. (PHN) 58,975 52nd PHP784,368
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA Concrete Aggregates Corp (CA) 78,846 9th PHP3.47 Million
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (REAL CASA DE MISERICORDIA) Concrete Aggregates Corp (CA) 13,067 18th PHP574,948
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA (HOSPITAL DE SAN JUAN DE DIOS) Concrete Aggregates Corp (CA) 8,317 24th PHP365,948
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE) Concrete Aggregates Corp (CA) 1,898 66th PHP83,512
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MLA (MAYORDOMIA DELA CATEDRAL) Concrete Aggregates Corp (CA) 841 97th PHP37,004
ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA ISM Communications (ISM) 38,399 48th PHP126,333
SOCIETY OF THE DIVINE WORD Filipino Fund Inc. (FFI) 6,000 24th PHP48,000
ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF BANGUED Filipino Fund Inc. (FFI) 1,500 49th PHP12,000
CATHOLIC WOMENS LEAGUE Benguet Corp. - A (BC) 215 53rd PHP4,107
CORPORACION DE PADRES DOMINICOS EEI 75,000 75th PHP256,500

* Rank in Top 100 – rank in the Top 100 Stockholders of the Company, a report submitted by the company to the PSE

** Total Investment Value – peso value of total shares owned, as of May 27, 2011 closing prices

Source: Company reports submitted to the Philippine Stock Exchange

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