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METROBANK FOUNDATION SWEEPS 10 TROPHIES AT THE 53rd ANVIL AWARDS

Metrobank Foundation, Inc. representatives led by executive director Nicanor L. Torres, Jr. with their Gold and Silver Anvil awards.

The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) received ten (10) trophies at the 53rd Anvil Awards last March 23, 2018 held at the Grand Ballroom Shangri-La The Fort, Taguig City.

Organized by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP), the Anvil is the symbol of excellence in public relations awarded by distinguished multi-sectoral jury to outstanding public relations programs and tools. MBFI was nominated for Grand Anvil, received the Anvil Hall of Fame, four (4) Gold Anvils and five (5) Silver Anvils.

Awarded with the Anvil Hall of Fame is the “2017 Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC)”, the only math competition in Asia spearheaded by a bank that provides a venue for Filipino students both in public and private schools to hone their mathematical skills in an atmosphere of friendly competition. Over the years, it has produced national winners who get to compete and eventually win in international competitions. It is implemented in partnership with the Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines (MTAP) and the Department of Education (DepEd). MMC received its five (5) Anvil Awards in 2002, 2012, 2014, 2016, and in 2017.

Meanwhile, awarded with Gold Anvil is the “2017 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos” (OF)Award program. It is the most prestigious career-service award for exemplary public servants in the academe, military, and police sectors. In 2017, ten (10) Outstanding Filipinos—composed of four (4) teachers, three (3) soldiers, and three (3) police officers—have been recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty in their respective pursuits of service to the nation and its citizenry. These 10 Outstanding Filipinos have formally joined the distinguished roster of 655 Outstanding Filipinos—360 teachers, 154 soldiers, and 142 police officers—honored by MBFI since 1984.

Another Gold Anvil was given to “Metrobank Foundation Grants and Social Development Partnerships” program. Through this program, MBFI commits to help raise the quality of the poorest, most vulnerable, and underserved sectors by providing social development assistance to socio-civic, charitable, and development-oriented organizations that implement long-term, high impact projects in line with its adopted SDGs and the H.E.A.L (Health, Education, Arts and Livelihood) framework.

The third Gold Anvil was conferred to the “2017 National Teachers’ Month (NTM)”, a month-long advocacy campaign led by MBFI and the DepEd which recognizes Filipino teachers and educators and their contribution to national development—making the Philippines the only country in the world that celebrates Teachers’ Day for an entire month. Now on its 9th year, NTM has become an annual nationwide tribute recognizing the essential role of teachers in shaping minds and characters across all generations.

Entitled “Beyond Excellence”, the MBFI 2016 Annual Report also won a Gold Anvil for highlighting success stories of select stakeholders instead of simply providing a report of the past year’s accomplishments. By focusing on human interest stories, the publication underscored the success of these CSR programs, not just in terms of numbers and statistics but also on how they created an impact on the lives of stakeholders.

On the other hand, a Silver Anvil went to the “2017 Bags of Blessing”, a program spearheaded by the family foundation of Dr. George S.K. Ty—GT Foundation, Inc. in partnership with MBFI.  Held every Chinese New Year, PhP 10 million worth of food packages benefit 10,000 underprivileged families nationwide.

Moreover, under the PR Tools category, the Foundation also took home four (4) Silver Anvils for the following: Metrobank Foundation bi-annual newsletter “ExceLetter”; “2017 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos Souvenir Program”; “2017 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) Awarding Ceremony & Exhibit Opening”; and “2017 Art MADE Public”, respectively.

MBFI has been winning Anvil awards since 1985. To date, it has won 77 Anvil awards for its various programs and public relations tools, including the much coveted Grand Anvil gaining the record as the first corporate foundation to win a back-to-back Grand Anvil (2009 and 2010) and 2 Platinum Anvils in the history of the award-giving body.

 
Memorandum of Agreement Signing for another Philam Paaralan building in partnership with Team Energy Foundation

 

 

Philam Foundation, Inc. and Team Energy Foundation has set to partner for another 1-storey 3-classroom Philam Paaralan building in Pagbilao National High School, Pagbilao Quezon.

 

The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) Signing was held at Pagbilao Municipal Hall on March 6, 2018. Present during the MoA signing were Mr. Maximillan Ventura, President of Philam Foundation, Mr. Ricky De Castro, Executive Director of Team Energy Foundation and Former Mayor Venus Portes, Representative from LGU of Pagbilao.

 

 

There are also representatives from the agency force that were present during the MoA Signing, headed by Ms. Irenea Sisperez, Manager of Quezon-Sisperez Agency.

 

The project will start this March and set to be inaugurated during school opening on June.

 

 

 
Majayjay flies high with new health center

For five long years, the medical workers of Majayjay, a municipality in the province of Laguna, served their constituents in makeshift consultation and treatment rooms. It was difficult to deliver healthcare services as the facilities were not meant for this purpose. 

That was until BDO Foundation came into the picture. The corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank, in partnership with the local government unit, recently rehabilitated Rural Health Unit Majayjay. With the project completed, the town's health officer, nurses and midwives can now attend to patients more efficiently in rooms designed specifically for medical care. 

"Fly high, Majayjay!" the people exclaimed as they witnessed the unveiling of the two-storey health center, which was turned over to local officials by BDO Foundation president Mario Deriquito and BDO Foundation program director Rose Espinosa. They were joined by BDO Laguna area head Antonio Roña, BDO Laguna-Sta. Cruz branch head Jason Alimario, BDO Laguna-Pagsanjan branch head Marlette Coral and BDO Laguna-Sta. Cruz National Highway branch head Rowena Dizon. BDO branches support the foundation's rehabilitation program, disaster response efforts and other corporate citizenship initiatives. 

The newly rehabilitated Rural Health Unit Majayjay was graciously accepted by municipal mayor Carlo Clado, municipal health officer Dr. Ivan Villareal and local officials of the Department of Health. The event was witnessed by Laguna vice governor Karen Agapay, who lauded BDO Foundation's projects in the province. 

A population of more than 37,000 people from 40 barangays stands to benefit from the newly rehabilitated Rural Health Unit Majayjay. The health center's overall structure, lobby and waiting areas, offices, consultation room, laboratory, nurses' station, dental clinic and birthing facilities were renovated by BDO Foundation. The foundation also installed a breastfeeding station, play area for children and waiting lounge for senior citizens. New furniture and fixtures were donated.

The improvement of the rural health unit in Majayjay, Laguna is in line with BDO Foundation's advocacy to promote the health and well-being of people of all ages.

 

 
Vivant Foundation pioneers solar power curriculum in Bantayan, donates equipment

Through photos and imagination. That was how Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM) students of Bantayan National High School learned some of their lessons, said Grade 12 student Mc Jemart Martinez.

Not anymore. The students will soon start working with actual wires, pliers, and other electrical equipment after the Vivant Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of Vivant Corporation, donated equipment to the school last Saturday.

The donation includes materials and equipment for EIM and the new solar power component that Vivant Foundation formulated with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Education (DEPED).

EXTRA ADVANTAGE. Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia said the pioneering solar power track of the Electrical Installation and Management course in Bantayan National High School will give its students “that extra advantage that’s needed for the future.” Also shown in the photo are the equipment that the foundation donated to the school last Saturday.

Electrical course with solar component

“No school in the Philippines offers EIM with the solar component and we found that it was time that somebody did, especially considering that renewable energies are playing a bigger part of our power distribution and generation,” said Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia. “Tomorrow’s electricians need to know how to handle solar power so together with TESDA and DEPED, we created a new curriculum that would be taught for the first time in the entire country here in Bantayan National High School.”

Garcia said that for Bantayan National High School, they are donating equipment listed by TESDA as requirements for teaching the EIM course. Before the donation, the school had to make do with the scant materials that were available, said teacher John Ray Tejero Tapales.

Tapales and Martinez said they were excited to be able to work with the equipment in their EIM classes. The school has 36 Grade 12 EIM students and only 15 Grade 11 EIM pupils. Tapales said sign-ups to the course dropped after students realized there were no equipment.

Training for teacher

During the summer break, Tapales will be going to Cebu City for training on the solar component, said Garcia. Vivant Foundation also donated solar panels, inverters, and batteries so they will learn to set the system up, he said.

“We’re not the first group to do solar panel electrification for off-grid areas like in mountain schools in Luzon and Mindanao and island schools in the Visayas,” Garcia said in an interview. “But what we have that’s unique is incorporating the idea of having a larger high school that offers EIM and updating their course to include solar. In exchange for them getting the equipment and the training, they’re gonna check in on the island school that’s being electrified to make sure that it’s maintained.”

Garcia said maintenance is important when it comes to solar power. Solar panels are designed to last up to 25 years but installations that are not maintained break down after just a few years.

The students who will be trained will be the ones to maintain the solar power rooftop installation that Vivant Foundation is donating to nearby Hilotongan Integrated School. The rooftop installation will power the school’s lighting and the batch of 100 computers that arrived last year but haven’t been turned on for lack of power, said Garcia.

TRAINING. Raji Roullo (left), planning and design engineer of Vivant, explains how solar panels work to a group of Electrical Installation and Maintenance students of Bantayan National High School.

Cheaper in the long run

The foundation will be spending P3.3 million for the solar power system and more in logistics cost to power the school in Hilotongan.

“It sounds like a lot but it comes out cheaper in the long run than paying fuel for the generator. And also, consider that their generator only did their light bulbs and their electric fans and they had a hundred computers that they couldn’t even turn on,” Garcia said. “The hundred computers arrived towards the end of last year but they haven’t put it on yet because they don’t have electricity.”

The system will be installed in Hilotongan from March to May, in time for the opening of the new school year.

After Tapales is trained, he will then handle the solar power component for the 2nd year of the EIM course.

Garcia said the instructor and the top students can then make quarterly trips to Hilotongan to check on the solar power setup. They will also be the ones to handle repair requests. This partnership will also give the students the needed hours of on-the-job training for their certification.

This training on solar, he said, will give students “that extra advantage that’s needed for the future.”

The students will have a lot of opportunities in a growing industry, said Provincial Board Member Horacio Franco.

AGREEMENT. Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia signs the agreement that covers the donation and program. Seated at right is Provincial Board Member Horacio Franco. The donation was held last Saturday at the Bantayan National High School.

Increasing interest

Garcia said that with solar “getting cheaper” every year, they hope to encourage adoption in areas like Bantayan Island.

With heightened awareness on eco-tourism and environmental issues, “there would be increasing interest in solar and especially if businesses know that there are people who can do the maintenance and repair,” he said.

Garcia said their foundation decided to focus on technology and K to 12 education after going around the different communities in the Philippines to study the needs that they could address.

“At the same time, I also went to a symposium by PhilDev and USAID where they were talking about how we needed to increase our innovation in our country because we actually lag behind our other ASEAN neighbors in science education,” he said.

They started with donating science labs and equipment as well as training teachers in Palawan, where they have a power plants.

The Bantayan Island project, he said, is “a big part of our next step.” He said they intend to make it nationwide and would be assessing its impact, particularly of the solar power curriculum, for the needed improvements.

Self-sustaining program

He said the students in Bantayan who will be trained on solar power can potentially serve the community, including five other islet schools.

“That’s basically the idea – that it would be self-sustaining on the education side. It creates people that are skilled at jobs that are growing in demand. Solar is getting cheaper every year, so the demand has been increasing every year. And we think places like this are ideal to have people educated in solar because it is known for the beautiful beaches, the beautiful water,” Garcia said.

When Hilotongan Integrated School is energized with solar power, Garcia said they could do other side projects like putting up an adult learning program on computers during weekends, when there are no regular classes.

 

 

 

 
Philex Foundation Enables ‘Knowledge Transfer’ Among Coffee Farmers

Olo-an (middle) demonstrating to fellow farmer-beneficiaries how to rejuvenate an old coffee shrub

A farmer picks some fruits from her organic strawberry garden

Sabelo (middle, with baseball cap) conducting a preliminary workshop on organic farming to fellow farmer-beneficiaries

TUBA, Benguet – Philex Group Foundation, Inc. (PGFI), the corporate social responsibility arm of Philex Mining Corp., has enabled the “knowledge transfer” between its farmer-beneficiaries engaged in organic-coffee farming, helping the latter improve their production capacity as well as saving funds for the company.

“Our country needs more coffee growers to sustain the coffee industry and coffee lovers,” Paul Buenconsejo, executive director of PGFI, told the 11 farmers who gathered Wednesday, Feb. 21, at a workshop in this town’s Sitio Ligay, Brgy. Camp 1. “That’s why we’re here to share the knowledge and skills of our two farmer-trainers.”

Stressing the foundation’s successful program on transferring of knowledge from one part of the organization to another, or what is known as knowledge transfer in organizational theory, he added, “Trainers are no longer hired consultants—which costs us so much—as there are already capacitated farmers in the community who can train those who are interested to engage in coffee production, with organic-vegetable farming as cash crops.”

Funded by the Metrobank Foundation, Inc., the workshop, dubbed “On-site Training on Coffee Farm Rehabilitation and Processing,” was facilitated by Osmundo Sabelo and Charwel Olo-an, who are farmer-beneficiaries themselves and had earlier trained and learned from the organic-farming experts hired by PGFI.

“This training is one of the missions that PGFI wants to implement—which is to build local capacities who will train their interested neighbors in coffee farming and organic-vegetable farming,” Buenconsejo said in a speech during the workshop.

With an average of 1,500 shrubs of Arabica coffee that each of the 11 farmers in Sitio Ligay own and tend to, the PGFI now has a total of 22,500 plants of Arabica coffee as its source, including the 6,000 plants belonging to coffee growers in Tuba’s Sitio Torre, Brgy. Camp 3, and in Itogon town’s Sitio Sta. Fe, Brgy. Ampucao.

“Going into organic farming was a difficult decision for me to sustain, but my willingness to help our planet and also to realize my dream of producing healthy crops pushed me to continue improving our organic farm,” said Olo-an, a 28-year-old agroforestry graduate and synthetic farmer-turned-organic farming enthusiast, who tends a family farm together with his father.

He and Sabelo taught their fellow farmers, among other things, the wet-process technique, which requires the use of specific equipment and substantial quantities of water in taking care of their coffee plants. This also requires the berries to first be sorted out by immersion in water—as against drying them under the sun right after harvest—where bad or unripe fruit will float and the good ones will sink. The initial process also includes a machine removing the skin of a berry by pressing it in water through a screen.

The trainers also taught the 11 farmers some other tips on how to rejuvenate their plants—the proper ways of pruning, trimming, and nourishing—and how to make organic fertilizer, so they can harvest more coffee berries.

“We are thankful for Philex Foundation for extending their program here in our community, as this was timely and informative,” Romana Nalibsan, 71, who participated in the workshop, said in an interview after the event. Speaking in her dialect, she added, “We can apply the techniques you taught us as early as tomorrow in our gardens. We can also teach our children and grandchildren on the proper way of coffee farming and the great benefits of producing organic crops.”

The 43-year-old chayote farmer, Elvie Cul-lao, said, “With this training, I can now prune and rejuvenate our old coffee plants which my grandfather had planted. I am also inspired with the traditional preparation of fertilizers, which, actually, are free and found locally.”

Buenconsejo said the foundation is looking to expand into areas where coffee beans can be produced according to taste. In Sitio Torre, for instance, there is a brand named Torre Coffee, which, he revealed, tastes “fruity,” while the one found in Sitio Sta. Fe tastes “chocolate-y.” But he added, “The produce of these two areas are very minimal, it cannot sustain the demand of our buyers.”

He said his team is prepared to look for more distributors once its farmer-beneficiaries increase their yield. PGFI now has 10 major distributors of its roasted and ground coffee beans, as compared to eight in 2016, the latest addition of which are the Ideal Space Foundation and the Ryokudo Eco-Services and Trading, Inc. It wants to improve on the number of its distributors of organic vegetables, however, as it has seven only now as compared to eight in 2016.

Tasked to establish livelihood programs for Philex Mining beneficiaries in the host and neighboring villages of its gold-and-copper operations in Benguet, the PGFI, which was incorporated in September 2010, is confident it could increase its yield of vegetables and coffee this year, citing an increasing number of farmer-beneficiaries going into organic farming.

In 2017, the PGFI sold 817 kilogram of organic Arabica coffee (roasted and ground) as compared to 755 kg a year earlier, while it sold 5,020 kg and 3,800 kg of organic vegetables for the same period. The foundation also produces organic strawberries and vegetables, including lettuce (romaine, baby red romaine, and iceberg), red sugar beet, French bean, radish, potato, carrot, spinach, wombok (Chinese cabbage), and flowering pechay (cabbage).

 

 
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