Member News
Manila Water Foundation Inaugurates Pilot Community Toilet Project

Present during the inauguration and turnover of the community toilet facility are (from L-R) Barangay Councilor Guillermo Tanate, MWF President Ferdz dela Cruz, Barangay Councilor Leonardo Lazano, Brgy. Sto Domingo Captain Janice Tacsagon, Cainta Mayor Keith Nieto, San Buena Homeowners’ Association President, Edwin Pafin, MWF Program Manager Arvee Galman and MWC Pasig Business Zone Manager Ryan Eje.

Manila Water Foundation recently inaugurated and formally turned over its very first community toilet project to the 800 families of San Buena Compound in Cainta, Rizal who have lived without access to a proper toilet facility for more than 30 years.

Ever since they can remember, the residents of San Buena Compound have had no proper toilet and sanitation facility available, prompting them to resort to open defecation, meaning they have used the streets, nearby bodies of water, and their own backyard as toilets.   Thus, Manila Water Foundation saw it fitting to provide a community toilet for the 3,500 individuals in the compound to hopefully shatter old practices, reshape personal lives, and create sensible toilet habits.

Fe Escame, a resident of San Buena Compound since the ‘70s, shows the state of the previous toilet project in their area.  She says that toilets are not usable anymore since there is no available water system.

Fe Escame, a resident of San Buena Compound since the 1970s and a mother of five, is used to seeing neighbors urinate and defecate in the open.  Even her 11 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren find it nothing out of the ordinary.  They are also guilty of the said practice.“Nasanay na kami. Syempre tao lang din naman, kapag kailangan mo magbawas, kailangan ilabas,” (We’re used to it.  It’s a human thing, when you need to go, you just do it.”) she nonchalantly stated.

Ferdz dela Cruz, President of Manila Water Foundation, chats with the residents of San Buena Compound, Cainta, Rizal.

Open defecation, together with its health and social implications, are just some of the issues that Manila Water Foundation aims to address in line with its vision to uplift the lives of Base of the Pyramid (BOP) communities. “This 8-cubicle community toilet project does not only address the sanitation aspect, which is such an important human activity that should be done properly.  Aside from responding to the health concerns, such as waterborne diseases, we will see how it changes the whole person and the whole community, how they engage with each other and the way they see themselves, whether it’s behavior, sense of dignity or attitude,” said Manila Water Foundation President Ferdinand M. dela Cruz.

In partnership with the Local Government of Cainta and Manila Water Pasig Business Area, a design for a community toilet complete with a water source system and a septic tank in place was constructed using the standards set by the Sanitation Code of the Philippines and Manila Water Company. This is a huge improvement from the first two toilet projects in the area, which quickly folded due to the absence of water supply and a septic tank.

Fe Escame is satisfied with the community toilet project and grateful to Manila Water Foundation for choosing San Buena as the project’s first recipient.

Fe and her neighbors feel that this project of the Manila Water Foundation is really different and will most likely succeed as she quipped, “Importante ang tubig para magamit siya nang tuloy tuloy at saka para malinis siya dahil pwede naming ma-flush ‘yan.” (“Water is very important in maintaining the facility.  It keeps it clean, as we are able flush the toilet after every use.”)

Cainta Mayor Keith Nieto, who has extended his full support for this project from day one has pledged for the maintenance of the facility, payment of the water consumption, and cooperation of San Buena compound’s homeowner’s association.

Cainta Mayor Keith Nieto reminds San Buena residents to use water wisely and maintain the facility’s cleanliness.

“The 8-cubicle toilet project of the Manila Water Foundation in San Buena is remarkable because toilets are necessary. It is as basic as human survival.  We all need comfort rooms and it will benefit a lot of people living here.  And I will make sure, on behalf of the people in Cainta, that this will last and we will maintain it well. I have already employed two people whose main task is just to handle the cleanliness and sanitation of the facility.  I just hope that everyone will cooperate and understand the importance of this pilot project so that at the end of the day, if there will be more people or NGOs that will be willing to help us out, they will see that here in San Buena, when they were given the chance to have this blessing, they kept it, protected it, secured it and they valued it,” Mayor Nieto eagerly remarked.

The facility is open to San Buena residents from 5am to 12 midnight, on a first-come-first-served basis and is to be used for bathing and toilet purposes only. This early, Fe could already feel the benefits and comfort of having an available toilet in their community. “Kapag naglalakad ako ngayon, wala na akong duming naapakan kasi yung mga tao may lugar nang mapupuntahan kung kailangan nilang magbawas.  At kapag naliligo ako mas maginhawa.  Sa loob ng banyo, tinatanggal ko ang damit ko kapag naliligo.  Pakiramdam ko malinis na malinis ako ngayon.  At mas makakasiguro kami na ang mga bata dito, kasama ang mga apo ko, ay maiiwas sa sakit. Tignan mo sila ngayon, hindi na mukhang madudungis,” (“I get to walk around and I don’t step on feces anymore because people now have somewhere to go to when they need to defecate.  And now I am able to take a bath without any clothing.  It feels better and I feel so clean. We are also assured that the kids in the compound, including my grandchildren, are less susceptible to diseases. Look at the kids around us, they don’t look grimy.”) she shared with a smile.

BDO Foundation and PGPC open new school building in Albay

As part of its rehabilitation program in areas affected by recent disasters, BDO Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank, has turned over a new school building in Tiwi Community College in calamity-prone Albay. The province has been affected by the imminent eruption of Mayon Volcano, Typhoon Ruby and recently by Typhoon Nona.

The school building was jointly funded by the foundation and Philippine Geothermal Production Company (PGPC).   PGPC is a Filipino corporation operating the Tiwi and Mak-Ban geothermal facilities.  Allfirst Equity Holdings, Inc., an affiliate of SM Investments Corporation, holds 60% of PGPC's outstanding shares while the remaining 40% is held by Chevron Geothermal Philippines Holdings, LLC.

The initiative is in fulfilment of BDO Foundation's reconstruction efforts in areas affected by disasters, while PGPC's contribution is in line with its corporate social responsibility program in its host communities in Tiwi.

The four-classroom school building addresses the need for more classrooms in the college, which used to hold classes in school corridors to accommodate students.

The inauguration, blessing and turnover of the school building was attended by BDO Southern Luzon region head Geronimo Diaz, BDO Bicol area head Jose Virgilio Alvarez and BDO Foundation program director Rose Espinosa.

Also at the event were BDO Legazpi City-Rizal Street branch head Armando Uy, BDO Legazpi City-Rotonda branch head Lani Domiquil, BDO Legazpi City-Tahao branch head Thaddeus Tuason, BDO Legazpi City-Albay District branch head Gene Lupango, BDO Albay-Daraga branch head Myra Montallana and BDO Albay-Tabaco branch head Maria Yoradyl Adrales.

PGPC was represented by its director for Tiwi Asset Operations Hector Morota and Policy, Government and Public Affairs staff. Tiwi mayor Leo Templado attended as guest of honor.

Founded in 1994, Tiwi Community College offers courses on education and office administration to about 1,600 college students who live in Tiwi and neighboring municipalities. It also serves as a venue for disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation trainings.

The college, which is situated in a 5,228-square-meter land area, is one of the evacuation centers in Tiwi that accommodates two vulnerable coastal barangays.

Two Years after Haiyan: Our Tacloban Story

Making a Difference in Communities with Mondelēz International

Reborn in 2012, Mondelēz International continues to put smiles on people’s faces through its delicious, globally-loved, and locally-made products. Even with a new name, the Company carries the same blueprint – creating delicious moments of joy not only through its products like Oreo cookies, Toblerone and Tang.  But also through the impact it is making in communities where it operates.

Recent studies show that more people are now interested in well-being in the broadest sense. People’s concerns include physical health as well as ethical and social responsibility.

For families, it is now important not only for their food to be safe, but even for the community which they live in to remain a place where well-being is given priority. Similarly Mondelēz International believes that well-being is holistic and so it continues to implement programs that benefit individuals, communities, and the planet.

Zooming in Locally. It’s been two remarkable years since Mondelez Philippines started its flagship social responsibility program called Joy Schools with the hope of bringing nutrition education to underprivileged schools in Metro Manila. The program gave birth to heartwarming stories of children who started to improve their nutritional and educational status with the program’s help. Two years after the first implementation of the program, much help is still needed in most elementary schools in Manila, more so in the provinces.

Joy Schools goes to Tacloban. With this in mind, Mondelez Philippines extended the arms of its Joy Schools program right after the horrendous Typhoon Haiyan struck Tacloban City in Leyte. This is in response to the call of the government to help schools rebuild and bring back their operations to normalcy. Mondelez Philippines, after seeing the devastated facilities of Panalaron Central Elementary School and hearing of the traumatic experiences of the community and the students in particular, created a more responsive way in providing their assistance.

Thus, the ongoing 3-year project involves not only rebuilding the school facilities to enable the school to maintain its classes, which is important in the early recovery of the children, but also to bring back joy to their lives by providing a joyful learning environment.

In 2014 the project was able to rebuild the educational infrastructure that helped provide a good learning environment to the students and teachers as well – well before other schools in the area were able to do so, as attested by the teachers.

“If not for Mondelez Philippines, the school would not have improved.  Because of Joy Schools, children were motivated to come to school regularly. The program helped enhance their reading skills, improve their nutritional status, and achieve better results in their academic performance”, said one of the teachers, Mrs. Concepcion Loren.

The 9-month feeding, which began July 2014 resulted in the reduction of the number of severely undernourished students from 175 to 73. Furthermore, the library and reading corners installed in each classroom encouraged students to read.

After a year under the Joy Schools program, Panalaron Central Elementary School Tacloban was able to recover from the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan and now sustainably operates as a center for learning and joy.

Two Years Later. Volunteers of Mondelez Philippines returned to Tacloban City to personally witness the continuous improvements in the school. This year, 88 students graduated from Grade 6 and 87 more are set to march early next year. The students begin to show excellence not only in academics, but also in extra-curricular activities. The Company’s employee volunteers can still recall the pride in teachers’ voices each time they talked about the students who were placers and champions at the recent District Level Quiz Bee and District Level Taekwondo meet. It was indeed a day of sharing joy for the employees and the students.

I’m blessed to be part of this experience. Thank you, Mondelez Philippines. These kids will always be my reminder that the most important things in life are love, family and friends.” Shares Jessamine Manalo from the Company’s Sales Function

The program also continues to promote the well-being of the students, their teachers, and their families by conducting teacher training and urban gardening training.

Where to Next? Mondelez Philippines has also started searching new schools to adopt for 2016. The Company might have a long road ahead of it, but it remains optimistic as it continues to see delicious moments of joy being created, one community at a time.

STI ALS Celebrates Christmas

The learners and volunteers of the STI Alternative Learning System (ALS) program took a break last December 12, 2015 to give way for their Christmas Party.

STI Head Office and STI College Ortigas-Cainta faculty and staff volunteers were able to share the feeling of excitement and happiness with the ALS learners during the simple event. The usual games, raffle prizes, special presentations, foods, and giveaways made their day.

“Sobrang ang saya-saya ko po, ngayon ko lang po ulit naranasan ito. Salamat po ng marami sa mga facilitators po naming mababait at sa STI po dahil binigyan po nila kami ng pagkakataon na maging bahagi dito. Sana po, wag po silang magsasawang tulungan kami.” said Jason Buiza, one of the ALS learners.

Dr. Lloyd C. Bautista, Vice President for Academics, concluded the event by sharing his final message, “Ang hiling lang namin pagbutihan ninyo upang makapasa kayo sa exam na ibibigay ng DepEd, dahil para rin iyan sa kinabukasan ninyo….”

ALS learners went home very thankful while STI volunteers indeed, felt much fulfilled.

On behalf of the ALS learners, STI Foundation extends its appreciation to all the ALS volunteers and STI staff who have contributed their time, talent, and resources to make the event possible.


STI ALS is a partnership project with the Department of Education which aims to help out-of-school youth ages 15 and above who were not able to finish their secondary education. For its pilot run at STI College Ortigas-Cainta, ALS learners are being prepared before they take the Accreditation & Equivalency (A&E) Exam given by DepEd. STI volunteers take turns to facilitate the review, coaching, and counselling of these learners. Forty-three (43) STI ALS learners are registered to take the test on January 31, 2016.

Young Leaders, Leading the Young: Employee Volunteers Share Joy at Mondelez Philippines

In Sampaloc Site II Elementary School in Paranaque, Mondelez Philippines employees guided students in a cooking contest to prepare nutritious snacks and learn about proper nutrition in the process.

Today’s young adults get a lot of criticism for being the “Me” generation. They are tagged as a generation with a blind focus on their personal wants. There are a lot of arguments on this issue but one thing looks clear. This laser beam focus on doing only what defines them is not such a bad thing. Especially when the one thing that does define them is helping other people.

Over at Mondelez Philippines – the Company formerly named Kraft Foods, Millennials as they are called are also making a name for themselves. Not only as employees but as Leaders involved in the business of helping others.


Millennials in Motion. Effervescent Crystal Balili is a Millennial and serves as an Assistant Manager under the Sales department. In an age when other people are just beginning to find out what they want to do in life, Crystal is not only doing well at work. She’s also created a great reputation as a leader of the Company’s volunteer activities. This, Crystal does because it’s what defines her. She says, “Being a leader makes me feel in-charge of my life, allowing me to push my limits and challenge myself more, also not allowing anyone to dictate who I have to be.”

In Paulina Manalo Elementary School in Pateros, employees played “patintero” with the students, creating joy for both kids and adults alike.

Last October 21, Crystal and two hundred other Mondelez Philippines employees trooped to the Company’s five adopted Joy Schools in Manila for an annual activity tagged Global Volunteer Month. Part of a global Company initiative, the event encouraged employees to support its common commitment to promote healthy lifestyles and overall well-being. The volunteer activities this year focused on nutrition education, access to fresh food and promotion of active play.

Bringing Joy, Creating the Future. The Joy Schools program is Mondelez Philippines’ community partnership with six public elementary schools – 5 in Manila and 1 in Tacloban. The schools benefit from nutrition, teacher training and facilities improvement intervention programs to help create joyful learning environments and transform the schools into the Top 10 in their cities. The interventions are aimed at being sustainable, to help the students fight present hunger through a feeding program, and future hunger through the quality education they receive today.

At P. Manalo Elementary School in Pateros, Crystal and her team mates from Sales helped students re-learn traditional Filipino games to get kids moving and become more active. Elsewhere, fellow Millennial and Mondelez Philippines employee Ralph Geronimo served as a volunteer leader for the activity at General Vicente Lim Elementary School in Tondo. There, employees helped students learn nutrition facts through a quiz and prepare snacks through a fun cooking competition.

For Ralph, who works for the Company’s Logistics department, this is the 3rd time he’s served as a volunteer leader. He shares though, that the experience just keeps getting better. “More than my professional development as a leader, I think being part of our Company volunteering activities helps a lot in helping me promote our great place to work. Where there is a sense of work-life blend. We see work as a genuine part of life shared with colleagues we consider as close friends.”

Two hundred Mondelez Philippines employees held five simultaneous volunteer events for its annual Global Volunteer Month. These were held in its five adopted public elementary schools in Manila, collectively called the Joy Schools.

Sharing Joy all Year Round. Ralph, Crystal and other employees of Mondelez Philippines receive great opportunities to be leaders of the Company’s volunteer events. Every year for Global Volunteer Month, employee leaders are called upon to ideate, plan and implement initiatives for the schools.

Crystal admits that while serving as a volunteer leader benefits other people, her Millennial self also benefits from the experience. “Mondelez Philippines allows me to work with people from all walks of life.  I believe understanding more people and personalities and knowing how to handle them, can help one to be a more effective leader.”

Ralph agrees, ending. “Being a volunteer leader definitely made me better at influencing other people. It also reminds me that every time I do something, I do it with a positive and impactful purpose.”

Millennials, the “Me” generation. They may have different ways of doing things but the intent remains the same. A focus on being the best they can be, and a drive to do something for others. Not only to be of help, but to be a better person for themselves.

For more information on Mondelez Philippines’ Joy Schools program, visit

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