Member News
Newly Rehabilitated Pangasinan Health Center Unveiled

A new and improved rural health unit in Pangasinan was recently reopened, ready to deliver primary healthcare services more efficiently to patients including mothers and babies, children, senior citizens and persons with disability. Bugallon Rural Health Unit I and Birthing Facility, which recently underwent rehabilitation, was unveiled to the public in an event attended by local government officials.

The inauguration of the health center was witnessed by Bugallon mayor Jumel Anthony Espino and municipal health officer Dr. Jose Isidro Rico, who thanked BDO Foundation for rehabilitating the town's health center. 

According to Dr. Rico, "Our rural health unit was damaged by typhoons in 2016 and 2017. We hoped and dreamed for a better workplace and better access to quality healthcare for our patients. When BDO Foundation offered to rehabilitate our rural health unit, we welcomed the engagement. Our staff was excited." 

"On behalf of the people of Bugallon, our sincerest appreciation to our good Samaritan, BDO Foundation. The rehabilitation of our rural health unit empowers our constituents and helps us become more responsive to the healthcare needs of the people, especially the poor and marginalized," he added. 

The structure was turned over to local government and health officials by BDO Foundation president Mario Deriquito, BDO North Central Luzon area head Rosette Tinio and BDO Pangasinan-Lingayen branch head Malou Mendoza. BDO branches, 14 of which are located in Pangasinan, support the rehabilitation program of BDO Foundation. 

Through its rehabilitation program, the foundation helps improve the delivery of primary healthcare services all over the country. The corporate citizenship initiative is in line with its disaster response advocacy and long-term rehabilitation program for provinces marginalized by calamities. 

BDO Foundation improved Bugallon Rural Health Unit I's lobby and waiting areas, offices for doctors and nurses, dental clinic, pharmacy, TB DOTS area, storage areas, furniture and fixtures, among other facilities. The health center's consultation, treatment, conference, pre-natal, labor and delivery rooms were significantly improved. 

The corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank also built a breastfeeding station, a play area complete with books and toys for children, and a waiting lounge for the comfortable use of senior citizens. 

The improvements in the health center are expected to benefit a population of more than 36,000 people residing in 11 barangays. Established back in 1991, Bugallon Rural Health Unit I averages as many as 25 child births per month.

Ayala Reaffirms Commitment To Support Marawi

One year after announcing the construction of a drug rehabilitation center in Marawi City,  the City Government of Marawi and Ayala Corporation, through its social development arm Ayala Foundation are inaugurating the Siyapen Center, which is expanding its services to address some of the most pressing needs of the city.

Inaugurated in January 2018, the Siyapen Center, which was originally developed as a community-based center for the holistic care of drug patients, will also now serve as a hub for economic activity for Marawi residents, especially for those in need of short-term employment, on a cash-for-work basis.

The Siyapen Center was officially launched in a program at Bgy. Sagongsongan with President Rodrigo Duterte, Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra, Lanao del Sur Governor Soraya Alonto-Adiong, and Ayala Foundation President Ruel Maranan, and other partners from the government and private sectors.

The Siyapen Center—which is named after the Maranao word for “care”—is a 70-bed, 2-storey facility with a total floor area of 851 square meters, sitting on a lot area of 2,000 square meters. Located in Barangay Poblacion, the building used to be a public market and is owned by the Marawi City government. It was refurbished with the help of the Ayala Corporation through the Makati Development Corporation. The building was completed in May 2017, and fortunately survived the Marawi Siege.

Aside from the refurbishment of the building worth PhP30 million, Ayala is also providing cash for work funding of Ph3 million for the livelihood initiatives of Marawi City. Two service vehicles, provided with the assistance of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, are also turned over to the city government, for the Siyapen Center’s use.

Aside from the Siyapen Center, Ayala has also donated Php10M for soldiers who served during the crisis and their affected families as they begin to rebuild and recover from one of the most difficult ordeals that the country has faced.

“The Ayala group remains committed to assisting our fellow Filipinos in Mindanao, particularly in the recovery and development of Marawi City,” says Fernando Zobel de Ayala, president of Ayala Corporation. “Through Ayala Foundation, the Ayala group has been working closely with communities in Muslim Mindanao for more than 50 years, and we wish to continue to be partners in its progress.”

“We are grateful for our continued partnership with the City Government of Marawi, not only for the Siyapen Center, but also for other initiatives that can help improve lives in the communities,” says Ruel Maranan, president of Ayala Foundation. “Through livelihood support and other community development programs, we wish to reaffirm our support for the people of Marawi on their way to recovery.”

Siyapen follows the Ayala tradition of more than 5 decades of partnership with Mindanao.  Back in 1964, the Filipinas Foundation (FF), forerunner of Ayala Foundation, gave a year-long grant to the College of Agriculture of Xavier University’s (Ateneo de Cagayan) Sumilao Cattle Research program that sought to upgrade the quality of livestock in Bukidnon. In the early 1970s, FF commissioned several studies on Muslim Mindanao, looking at migration patterns, culture, public policy and economic opportunities. This was recognized to help “mend broken ties in Muslim Mindanao.” These old documents can still be accessed at the Filipinas Heritage Library(FHL) and some findings may still be applicable to present times. This was among the initiatives of FF President Enrique Zobel, who was given the honorary title of Sultan for his extraordinary friendship and support to the Bangsamoro people. During the burning of Jolo in 1974, Enrique Zobel gave temporary shelter in Manila to Muslim students who lost their homes.

Ayala Foundation President Ruel Maranan (left) ceremonially hands over the Ayala group’s support for Marawi to Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra (right). President Rodrigo Duterte personally witnesses the handover.

The 70-bed Siyapen Center in barangay Poblacion, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

From Noble Warriors to Noble Bakers

Sgt. Eric Ubalde is no ordinary soldier of the Special Operations Command of the Philippine Army.  He’s a man of many lives as his fellow soldiers would tell him. He had survived so many gun battles, had endured several gunshot wounds, four to be exact.

The first time he was hit was during the Zamboanga siege. They were attacked by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and was shot in his left leg. The second gunshot was during an encounter with a group of bandits in Jolo, Sulu where two Australian and Canadian nationals were abducted.  He was hit in the shoulder.

Last November 29, 2016, Sgt. Ubalde was with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) as part of the advance party for President Rodrigo Duterte who was set to visit Lanao del Sur the following day, when they were ambushed and an improvised explosive device was detonated. Sgt. Ubalde was hit in the neck, sustaining his third gunshot wound.

He may have survived Marawi last May but he didn’t leave the war-torn province unscathed. While clearing one of the abandoned houses, the Maute terrorists fired at the soldiers, hitting him in the face. That was the last time he got shot.



Sgt. Eric Ubalde sustained injuries to his face during an encounter with the Maute terrorists.

To date, three bullets remain inside his body. “Di ko masyado magalaw may tumutusok. Ooperahan daw pag umangat na yung bala. Marami daw nerves na maapektuhan pag inopera,” Sgt. Ubalde said.

For now he is confined inside Fort Magsaysay while recuperating from the gunshot wounds he sustained. He is thankful not only for having survived but also for being being given a new lease on life. He’s been chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the Noble Bakers’ Project of the Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate foundation of the Aboitiz Group, in partnership with the SOCOM Foundation, Inc. (SFI). The Aboitiz Foundation is the corporate foundation of the Aboitiz Group whose mission is to create safe, empowered, and sustainable communities.

Sgt. Ubalde along with 59 other wounded soldiers underwent a comprehensive bakery management training program provided by Pilmico Foods Corporation, the food subsidiary of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. They were taught how to cost & develop bakery products, bake bread, cakes, cookies, pizza dough, and a lot more.

Sgt. Eric Ubalde during the bakery training provided by Pilmico Foods Corporation.

Apart from the training, the Aboitiz Foundation also donated heavy-duty baking equipment like oven, mixer and baking utensils. The bakery inside Fort Magsaysay was built by the SOCOM. The Noble Bakers’ Bakery is now operational with captured market which includes the soldiers and residents inside Fort Magsaysay and even the adjacent schools.

The noble bakers with their baked goods during the training at the Pilmico Research and Training Bakery in Paranaque City.

According to Col. Rey Aquino, Deputy Commander of SOCOM, the earnings from the bakery will go to the dependents of the wounded soldiers. “Yung proceeds dito mapupunta sa SFI, yung sa special operations foundation, yan po yung nagsu-support sa mga wounded personnel natin, habang nasa ospital sila yung kanilang mga kamag-anak na nagba-bantay, meron tayong pang-sustain doon,” Col. Aquino explained.

The Aboitiz Foundation for its part is committed to providing assistance to those who need help the most. “It is uplifting to know that the Aboitiz Foundation is able to help empower our soldiers. This project proves that we are able to make our resources more meaningful by using them to fulfill our promise of advancing business and communities by co-creating safe, empowered, and sustainable communities,” Maribeth Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer said.

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana also expressed his deep gratitude to the Aboitiz Foundation for such innovative endeavor in lending assistance to the wounded soldiers.

“Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate Aboitiz Foundation for the recent launch of the “Noble Bakers” project in collaboration with the SOCOM. Noble Bakers is a good project that aims to benefit our disabled soldiers. I encourage all other Commands of the military to replicate this project as it is beneficial to the military community, the military dependents, and our disabled soldiers who can still and should lead productive lives”, Sec. Delfin said.

For Sgt. Ubalde, he finds great joy in helping his fellow wounded soldiers not with the use of guns or bullets but rather with the use of baking pans and rolling pins. “Na-challenge ako na di lang pala pangge-gyera, kahit ganito lang nakaka-tulong din pala ako sa mga kasama ko na wounded. Kasi pupunta din sa mga tropa na mga wounded yung kikitain ng bakery”, Sgt. Ubalde said.

(MIDDLE ROW) Maricar Bautista, Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) Assistant Vice President for Media Relations; Danny Cerence, Aboitiz Foundation Assistant Vice President for Operations; Martin Yasay, AEV Vice President for Government Relations; Maribeth Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; Col. Reynaldo Aquino Deputy Commander of Philippine Army Special Operations Command (SOCOM); Col. Guinid Leodevic, Headquarters SOCOM; Wilburt Wong Pilmico Technical Baker; Norman Roland E. Ocana III Manager for Government Relations -AEV with Scout Rangers and injured soldiers from SOCOM during the opening of the Noble Bakers bakery in Fort Magsaysay.

Looking beyond, Sgt. Ubalde now has something to bank on when he retires from service as he hopes one day to put up his own bakery.

Japan Confers Decoration on Metrobank Group Chairman and Founder George S.K. Ty


The Government of Japan announced on November 3, 2017 the conferment of The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, on Dr. George S.K. Ty, Group Chairman and Founder of Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank), in recognition of his contribution to strengthening the economic relations between Japan and the Philippines.

As a major player in the Philippine banking sector, Dr. Ty has been instrumental in forging several cooperation initiatives with not only major financial institutions but also rural banks in Japan, thereby facilitating the entry of more Japanese investments including MSMEs into the Philippine market.

Having successfully steered the Metrobank Group and the GT Capital Holdings to greater heights for decades, Dr. Ty also took the lead in launching landmark joint ventures with many Japanese companies in several sectors.

In the Philippines, Dr. Ty has also served as Chairman of Metrobank Foundation, Inc., actively engaging in different advocacy programs in the fields of education, visual arts and healthcare.

The Government of Japan extends its sincere congratulations to Dr. Ty and his family on this conferment, and hopes that he will continue to take an active role in further strengthening close relations between our two nations.



Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC) - Press Release No.41 - 2017

BDO Foundation turns over houses to Yolanda victims

BDO Foundation joined the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and local government officials in turning over 40 resettlement homes in Tacloban City to families displaced by Typhoon Yolanda. 

Located in Barangay Cabalawan, the single-detached permanent shelters are part of a total of 100 houses that will be built by the partners for disaster-stricken residents. Funded by BDO Foundation, the project is managed by UN Habitat with the DSWD providing site development support. SHFC, through its community mortgage program, assists the homeowners association by providing affordable financing to secure the lots occupied. 

The United Architects of the Philippines helped in designing the housing units, making sure that they are resilient, appropriate for the terrain in Cabalawan, Tacloban, and can be expanded incrementally by the recipient families. 

The typhoon-resilient structures were turned over to the members of the Villa de Tacloban Homeowners Association in ceremonies witnessed by BDO Foundation president Mario Deriquito, BDO Foundation program director Rose Espinosa, UN Habitat country programme manager Christopher Rollo, SHFC president Atty. Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling and HUDCC deputy secretary general Leira Buan. 

The construction of resettlement homes forms part of BDO Foundation's contribution to UN Habitat's Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements program. The foundation supports UN Habitat's mission to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. 

The initiative is also part of the disaster response advocacy and long-term rehabilitation program of BDO Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank, in provinces severely affected by Typhoon Yolanda. The foundation has supported UN Habitat's projects in Capiz, Iloilo and Leyte through its financial inclusion initiatives. It has also rehabilitated rural health units and constructed school buildings, multi-purpose halls and resettlement homes in Yolanda-hit provinces including Tacloban. 

Tacloban was one of the hardest hit by the super typhoon with an estimated 8,000 casualties. A devastating storm surge leveled the province, destroying around 30,000 homes, according to the City Social Welfare Development Office.

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