Rodrigo Rivera Sr.: Richest Filipino Fisherman

Rodrigo Rivera Sr.

Mr. Rodrigo E. Rivera, Sr. was a banker for 20 years before he decided to put up his own company, RD Pawnshop, with very limited capital in 1976. While the pawnshop business was flourishing, Mr. Rivera and his wife, Mrs. Dolores Chua, invested their earnings with other enterprises that similarly prospered. Mr. Rivera also attracted former colleagues in the banking industry to help him out in his business, making sure that the business units were growing while new investments were prudently planned and executed.

In less than two decades, the family business grew into a group of 42 companies and subsidiaries. RD Corporation is the holding and managing entity. The flagship company is RD Fishing Industry, Inc. which serves the global market. Fresh tuna, tha main produce, and canned products are exported to Europe and the USA, Japan and other countries, while local brand Diana is sold in the Philippines.

With 8,000 employees, the RD Group of Companies is also into banking real estate, hotels, and resorts, agriculture, credit and gemology, and pawnshop operations. Mr. Rivera is keen on expanding outlets. He also has plans for RD Corporation to go public to help fund further expansion.

In 1999, Mr. Rivera was named the Outstanding Countryside Investor of the Year as well as one of the Top 20 Employers. He was appointed as Papua New Guinea Honorary Consul General for Mindanao in 2001 and received the Rajah Award of Excellence in 2004.

On January 22, 2010 Philippine Star reported that Filipino owned RD Corp. announced they will be investing $15 million for a new plant in General Santos City for its canned tuna export business.
RD Group chairman Rodrigo Rivera Sr. said that they will be starting the new cannery in the first quarter next year. The group already has six canneries in General Santos City.
They also have operations in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Their plant in Indonesia produces 80 metric tons while the one in Papua New Guinea produces 200 metric tons.
The new cannery will increase their output from 140 tons per day to 200 tons daily. Likewise, the new cannery will create 1,200 to 1,500 new jobs.
Rivera said that the canned tuna business is a very labor intensive business. Currently they have 11,000 employees, 7,000 of which are in General Santos City. He revealed that 90 percent of their employees are women.
RD Corp. is the biggest exported of canned tuna. They export 380 million metric tons per year. Rivera said that one container costs $40,000. They export 14 containers every day.
He said that 30 percent of the canned tuna they produce are exported. Aside from canned tuna, Rodrigo noted that they are also selling scrap of fish overseas.
RD Corp. is composed of four fishing companies namely RD Fishing Industry Inc, RD Tuna Ventures Inc., South Sea Fishing Ventures Philippines Inc. and Asia Pacific Allied Fishing Ventures Corp.
The RD Fishing’s fishing fleet counts 102 vessels – 18 catchers, eight reefer carriers, 17 fish carriers, 49 Ranger/Light Boats, 1 Tanker, 1 Tugboat and eight other support vessels.
The combined fishholding capacity of the fleet’s superseiners ranges from 450 to 1,200 metric tons; while the reef carriers have a maximum capacity of 2,400 metric tons.
RD Food Processing and Export Corp. is the export marketing arm of RD Corp., located inside the General Santos City Fish Port Complex.


About filipinoachievers

A former tubagatherer turned OFW on my journey towards a successful online free-content provider. Co-founder of PhilNews.Ph, one of the Philippines Top 200 websites based on Alexa Ranking.
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15 Responses to Rodrigo Rivera Sr.: Richest Filipino Fisherman

  1. juliana says:

    I write from Papua New Guinea where RD Tuna owned by Rivera employs 3000 women. RD refused to implement a minimum wage and tried to get the government of Papua New Guinea to recognize it as part of the agriculture industry. For five months since our government made the announcement, RD didn’t pay its workers the minimum wage. Finally RD workers went on strike. as a result 250 people were terminated. RD has since begun paying the minimum wage but at a price – it has stopped picking up workers for all shifts. If this is the kind of company ethics upon which Rivera prides himself? The Richest Filipino Fisherman is making money through the exploitation of workers in Papua New Guinea. His Managers Elmer Moderno and Romero S Lee are certainly doing a “fine” job.

    WHY is it always so difficult to obey laws? Are the workers breaking the law by not going to work or is the company RD Tuna not doing the right thing by paying its workers a fair wage?

    Well one would say it is illegal to go on strike. But is it right that the workers must be treated unfairly?
    The 505 workers who went on strike and now placed on preventive suspension were not feeling right about something. They tried to meet many times with the company and labour people in Madang but nothing was moving.

    On Tuesday Madang based Labour Officer Peter Neimani, tells the workers, “yes the company has done wrong by not paying and demanded that the company back pay the workers to 21st January on the new rate of K2.29.” Today through the media he says, the workers went on strike illegally. This sort of indecisiveness moves nothing because he is just saying both parties have done wrong and is not suggesting a solution.

    However, regardless of who was right or wrong, the majority of the people were not happy about something and have been trying to make it heard. Now that they find the strength to do make this noise they are told it is illegal. The company response is that their mass action caused it to sustain losses without specifying what losses.

    The point of this strike is that the company owes the workers some pay and it refuses to pay. As a result of the strike it is now passing the buck and saying the National Tripartite Consultative Council failed to move on a position paper they sent in October last year. This is like no noise all good.

    What is clear here is that the company wants to avoid paying the workers the newly approved rate of K2.29. And so the easy and cheap thing to do is bring in new workers and pay them on a low rate. This it says, is the alternative measure to making sure the operations were not hampered. By bringing in new workers the company is not really demonstrating it wants to solve the problem, instead it is showing how it can easily hide the problem.

    Many of the 505 workers have given more than five years to the company. And for blowing the whistle the company penalises them.

    It is hard to believe RD Tuna doing this as it proclaims itself as christian and encourages prayers and fellowships in its premises. Yet it can ignore the injustices as it pushes its way forward for a profit making end instead of paying attention to the moral teachings of the religion it stands to follow.

    A problem is identified and needs fixing not bandaging.

    • The main purpose of this blog is to promote the different achievements of Filipinos worldwide. As a worker I am deeply saddened by the exposition you have mentioned. In my part as a blogger I will do my best to dessiminate the information and do more research so that the truth will prevail. I am not in favor to you or the side of RD tuna what I am in favor with is for the truth to prevail. It is my social responsibility as a Filipino.

  2. monie sy says:

    Gd day everyone… hey Mr. filipinoach, we don’t hav d ryt to correct and to dominate each people who wanted to post… Wat Ms Juliana posted s wat she wanted to tell to the owner and to everyone… We all knew most of the employers who wanted MONEY and we also knew most of SIRS AND MADAM in each company… wat if her post can open the eyes of the concerned? See? She can help those employees who treatened so unfairly… U r not in their shoes remember… I WISH MR RODRIGO CAN READ THIS WITH HIS FULL HEART AND WITH GOD’S WISDOM… GOD BLESS EVERYONE…

  3. Nathalie Dysthe says:

    I work as a clerk for the shipping department of RD Tuna. What was said by Juliana in her post is NOT true. Mr. Rodrigo Rivera is a humble and generous person, and workers who have personally met him have nothing to say against him but admiration and respect. RD Tuna is one of the most admired companies Papua New Guinea, and my colleagues and I are proud for being part of the company. It is a pioneering company in the fisheries industry, transforming the industry in the last 15 years into the second biggest contributor to the economy after mining. I have witnessed for the past 10 years (my years of employment) the success of RD Tuna in Papua New Guinea, and the company has succeeded due to its strict compliance of the laws of the land, including domestic labour and environmental laws and international standards. Most people do not realise that RD Tuna has one of the largest corporate social responsibility programs in Papua New Guinea. It adopted close to 30 villages in and around the town of Madang and provides scholarships, sanitation facilities, school buildings and medical missions. It also supports local hospitals and schools. No organisation in Papua New Guinea, including Australian and multinational companies, come close to what RD Tuna is doing. I hope people would verify the facts before believing what is being said against RD Tuna. The company employs more than 4,000 people in Papua New Guinea, but unfortunately, there are outsiders who like to make trouble for the company for no valid reasons.

  4. Ptr. Noriel /Bing & Family says:

    Praise God for using people like you and maam dolly sir…. Really God has been purposely blessed you both for His glory and Honor…. Keep it up!….

  5. Ptr. Noriel /Bing & Family says:

    Congratulations…. Praise God for using you and mam dolly sir… God purposedly blessed your family for His glory and Honor…. Keep it up….

  6. kareena jaden says:


  7. Johny Gami says:

    I just come accross this blog and read about these comments. I am particularly saddened by the fact that Juliana have gone so far as to intently trying to hurt the image of the RD company and attacking Mr. Rivera. What she presented is just her side of the story and the picture she’s trying to draw in the mind of the readers is nothing but truly malicious. The issue on minimum wage increase is an issue which the company could address as part of its operation and as the law requires but there were those individuals behind thye protest whose approach in addressing such issue was through agitation and instigating confrontations.

    In a broader perspective RD have contributed significantly in the economy of Papua New Guinea. As a Pionering company in Fishing and canning industry RD introduces Papua New Guinea (PNG) to international markets and showcases the quality produce of Papua New Guinea’s workforce. RD in Madang serves as a driving force in the local economy through its engagement with other business houses, it gives its 3,000. workforce the buying capacity that in return makes the local businesses alive. While other Fishing companies took all PNG Tuna’s away and processed them somewhere without paying taxes and without providing employment, RD processed its catches in PNG and provided employment and boosting local economy. RD is also active in Community Service. What I’ve learned they establishes programs that educates young children, they assist in livelihood programs, donates water pumps, donates tuna regularly at the Modilon Hospital and cooperates in other projects and activities that somehow benefiting the communities.

    I just hope that Juliana and others should not miss to see the bigger picture, after all RD is instrumental in making the PNG Fishing Industry and cannery known internationally. RD makes PNG proud of its its workforce and through its quality products PNG workforce is introduced and recognized internationally.

    I am from Madang, I live here since birth..and I am proud that RD Company though Filipino owned is serving my country and my province Madang like a true wantok..thank you RD.

  8. Beinvenido Ortega says:

    sir,gd pm ako po ay si captain master fisherman Bienvenido A.Ortega galing po ako ng frabelle at kimbol at tpj bilang isang captain master fisherman ako pala ang nakausap mo noon sir,kasama ko c chief quauin nag iwan ako ng application noon jan sa office ninyo pero wala ka, nasa PNG ka raw kaya umalis muna ako palaot papuntang PNG. Sir kaya ako nag email sau gusto kong malaman kong kailangan pa ninyo ang capt.master fisherman sa supper sienner, pwed nyo po akong icontact sa # na to 09277450510 o kaya naman po email add maraming salamat po.

  9. sleepyhead says:

    hmmm… maraming problema sa RD PAWNSHOP… hindi umabot ang sahod ng trainees sa minimum wage, hindi bnibigay ang employment certificate kung hindi mo laging pinupukpok ang admin, kung mag resign ka di mo kaagad makukuha ang huling sahod mo. depende sa position 3, month, 6 monts..pero ang reality umaabot pa ng almost 2 years. laging nag papaasa kung pina follow up. pabalik balik ka sa region office nila. namemersonal ang mga regional manager lalo na sa region ng Tagum. walang overtime pay, kung di ka kaagad mabalanse sorry ka, kung auditor good luck sayo. napakaliit ng sahod sa security guard nila. mahirap pag nakatanggap ang mga appraiser ng fake items dahil xa ang sasalo ng lahat ng amount. kakaltas sa sahod. kung maysakit ka at gusto mong mag leave at minalas na maging vault custodian ka? aabotin ka ng isang araw bago mabigay ang hinihingi mong leave. example mamatay matay ka sa peptic ulcer. sasabihin lang inom ka ng gamot, tubig, tapos bandang hapon ka pa makakalabas sa office pero yong leave credits mo 1 day na ang count noon. hehehe… ilang beses na silang na complain sa dole para makuha ang certification at huling sahod. kung di macomplain aabotin ka ng ilang taon sa kakahintay. HINDI SINA RODRIGO AT DOLORES ang my problema kundi si MIGUEL na walang awa sa mga empleyado ng RD PAWNSHOP. xa ang VICE PRESIDENT DITO.

  10. nguyen minh says:

    Dear Sir,

    It is our great pleasure to hear that you are on market for Frozen Seafood.

    We are Tran Han Company, a manufacturer in Vietnam, specializing in farming, processing and exporting Pangasius for many years with the prime quality and competitive price.

    Should you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Thanks & Best Regards

    Minh Nguyễn ( Mr)/TRANHAN COMPANY LTD

    41 Ho Ba Kien St, Ward 15, District 10, HCM City, Vietnam
    Office: 116-118 Ban Co St, Ward 3, District 3, HCM City, Vietnam
    : +84 8 3830 1666 : +84 8 3830 2666
    : +84 942 722 319
    : tranhan-minhnv

  11. Merlmd says:

    No wonder that RD Pawnshop has one of the worst customer service ever! Ganuon pala yung pag treat nila sa mga employees nila. Sino naman si Miguel?

  12. ryan dillomes says:

    Thank you RD for the 11 years of job experience. God bless.

    Mr. Dillomes

  13. miguel says:

    nasaan naba yong two days day-off sir???

  14. RD Pawnshop says:

    RENE VICENTE MIGUEL is no longer part of RD Pawnshop company! Our prayers has been answered! hahaha anyway, Thank you so much sir Miguel for your effort to us!

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