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Cebuano students enjoy financial aid from the Aboitiz Foundation

CEBU CITY -- The upcoming school year 2017-2018 is shaping up to be a productive and meaningful year as the Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate foundation of the Aboitiz Group, recently turned over various financial assistance packages for several Cebuano public school students.

Last month, the Aboitiz Foundation conducted several education-related donations, turning over checks and school supplies to the Banilad Center for Professional Development (benefitting 40 technical-vocational scholars), the City Social Welfare and Development units of Talisay and Lapu-Lapu Cities (benefiting 158 and 287 street urban working children, respectively), the Children of Cebu Foundation, Inc. (benefiting 459 students), and the Department of Education (DepEd) Region VII.

The Aboitiz Foundation likewise renewed 37 college scholarships in the province and awarded 27 more to students at the Science and Technology Education Center, where the Aboitiz Foundation has already supported 128 scholars since 2002.

Finally, the Aboitiz Foundation gathered 415 of its high school beneficiaries and DepEd partners at the Aboitiz Foundation High School Scholars Annual General Assembly at SM Seaside City Cebu, where they also participated at a senior high school career orientation session by

“We help the country achieve its goal of providing universal public education for young Filipinos through our various interventions in education, which include partnering with DepEd and non-government organizations to build classrooms, upgrade school facilities, provide scholarships and teacher training, and in many other interventions that encourage our young stakeholders to become lifelong learners,” said Maribeth L. Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

“For us, the ultimate measure of our CSR (corporate social responsibility) efforts is in knowing that our beneficiaries have made a better life for themselves because of the empowering options they were given through our education projects,” Marasigan added.

The Aboitiz Foundation has long been a staunch supporter of Philippine education reform, believing education is where the Group can make the biggest impact. This, in turn, supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, specifically on Quality Education (ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all).

As of end-2016, the Aboitiz Group has already provided 32,429 scholarship grants since 1988. In 2016, the Aboitiz Group supported a total of 297 college scholars, with 11 graduates employed in various Aboitiz companies nationwide.

BDO volunteers provide food for Ormoc quake victims

In keeping with BDO Foundation's disaster response advocacy, volunteers from BDO branches in Ormoc City, Leyte recently mounted relief operations for people affected by the 6.5-magnitude earthquake that devastated the province. 

BDO officers and staff, led by BDO Leyte-Ormoc branch head Felda Orito, distributed 1,700 relief packs containing food and water to disaster-stricken residents of the city. Church volunteers and representatives from the local office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development also joined the activity. 

The relief operations were initiated by BDO Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank, in response to the earthquake and almost 300 aftershocks that shook Leyte. The foundation conducts relief operations with the support of volunteers from more than 1,000 BDO branches nationwide. The initiative is in line with BDO Foundation's commitment to serve communities marginalized by natural or man-made disasters. 

The Leyte tremors triggered landslides, cut off electricity and damaged homes, school buildings and roads. Due to the earthquakes, Ormoc was placed under a state of calamity by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. 

Volunteers from the BDO Leyte-Ormoc branch and BDO Leyte-Ormoc Gaisano branch visited barangays and handed out relief goods to people affected by the 6.5-magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.

Rojan J. Pajarin for Smile Train

cleft patient, cleft advocate, marathoner, fighter, proud husband and father

Rojan J. Pajarin born with a cleft lip and palate is now a bike mechanic and a Patient Care Staff at Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation of the Philippines, exuding with positivity and energy. At work, he is the source of encouragement of parents and children with clefts. He uses his life as an example to boost their morale and reminds them to never lose hope.

Life was not always bright for Rojan. At the age of 5, he had a cleft lip surgery during a mission in Legaspi City. However, his cleft palate remained so his speech was still impaired. He endured immense bullying and teasing during his teen years until adulthood because of the way he talked. His spirit was crushed and he lost his self-esteem. He limited interacting and speaking to other people altogether.

Rojan never gave up and was relentless in pursuing a better life. He was determined to get a college education and is a proud graduate of a business management course at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay. He was a working student and drove a pedicab (tricycle) after school hours to make this dream possible. His father was only a fisherman with irregular income so Rojan also carried the burden of supporting his siblings.

Despite his degree, he was rejected during job interviews, again because of his speech. He realized that he needed his cleft palate repaired in order to get employment and move forward with his life. Last 2008, Smile Train funded the much needed surgery for Rojan. Post-surgery, he also attended intensive weekly speech therapy classes in Our Lady of Peace Craniofacial Center as part of Smile Train’s comprehensive care. This dramatically improved the quality of his voice and speech. He was later absorbed as an employee of Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation Philippines in Manila as a support staff.

Life just went uphill after the surgery and Rojan was able to pursue his dreams and passions.

Now at 31 years old, he is a member of Team Fitness and is an accomplished elite runner who has participated in numerous marathons. He has a beautiful wife and two children. His next goal is to race for Smile Train in IRONMAN 70.3 Mactan and raise funds for cleft patients just like him.

IGFI is into K-12 Program of DepEd

One of the challenges being faced by our high school graduates now especially those who have no or limited means to go to college is the difficulty of being employed due to lack of skills as needed by the industry. The K-12 Program of the Department of Education (DepEd) is supposed to address this problem but as admitted by the DepEd, the curricula of the K-12 Program particularly in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Technical and Vocational (Tech-Voc) strands of the Senior High School are yet to be responsive to the needs of the industry.

Considering the above context, ICCP Group Foundation, Inc. (IGFI) forged a partnership with the Australian Embassy through the Asia Foundation Partnership in the Philippines under the Coalition for Change Program in Basic Education to contextualize the curricula of STEM and Tech-Voc based on the needs of the industry. The initiative that started in 2015 is dubbed as, “Senior High School Industry Linkage Project (SHSILP)” generally aims to develop a sound and sustainable industrial linkage and service program for the students of K-12 Program. The project pilot site was in Calamba, Laguna in partnership with the locators of the Light Industry and Science Park (LISP) II and DepEd Calamba Division of Schools. The collective partnership specifically aims to contextualize the curriculum of senior high schools based on the knowledge and skills’ needs of the locators of LISP II and develop immersion program for students in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) towards the formation of a pool of skilled manpower for all our locators.

The success of the pilot project in Calamba triggered the replication of such initiative to other IGFI areas with industrial parks. The replication process has been conducted in four (4) areas, i.e. LISP I in Cabuyao, Laguna, LISP III in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, Hermosa Ecozone & Industrial Park (HEIP) in Hermosa, Bataan and Cebu Light & Industrial Park (CLIP) in Lapulapu City, Cebu.

Currently, the SHSILP is on the process of scaling up at the regional level. IGFI is now coordinating with major industry associations such as Semiconductors and Electronics Industries of the Philippines, Inc. (SEIPI), Philippine Ecozones Associations (PHILEA) and Bankers Associations of the Philippines (BAP) as well as with the regional office (Region IV-A) of the Department of Education. The effort is to implement the project to other regional areas to benefit more students and ensure employment especially to those senior high school graduates who will not be able to pursue college education.

TeamAsia at 25: Fuelling innovation with passion

The passionate people of TeamAsia in their new office.

As independent integrated marketing communication firm TeamAsia gears up for its silver anniversary, president and founder Monette Iturralde-Hamlin fondly recalls how everything that the agency is today is borne of passion.

“It was 1992 when Mike Hamlin and I teamed up with the Asian Institute of Management and The Far Eastern Economic Review to organize The Asian Management Awards in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Thailand. Little did we know that the blood, sweat, and tears that our small team of three had put into the event would bring about an award-winning agency 25 years later,” said Monette.

Acknowledging their strength as an organizer, multinational companies such as Microsoft, Intel, and SAP Software Solutions then started to ask for assistance not only for events but also for creative promotions and public relations. This challenged TeamAsia to expand their services, allowing them to survive through the Asian Financial Crisis and eventually, through the rise of industry competition.

“We’ve always been flexible. We’ve rolled with the punches and reengineered our processes and services to adjust to the changing times, whether it is to capitalize on an opportunity or to adapt for survival,” she continued.

Now with five core services (Experience, Digital, Content, Creative, and Integrated Marketing Communication) and a team of 70, TeamAsia celebrates their 25th anniversary with the theme of passion—the very thing that founded, sustained, and prospered them.

And where better celebrate such a grand milestone than in a new office with an open layout which complements their fun family culture? The modern industrial interior encourages not only collaboration but also excellence, as decals of the agency’s philosophies—Inspire, Think Big, Be Bright, Live, and of course, Drive Passion—are on the office walls as reminders. Aside from this, the layout was also intentionally designed to help reduce energy consumption through the use of natural light and LED. This is in line with Project Live and Green Conferencing, recently launched campaigns which aim to strengthen TeamAsia’s efforts at reducing carbon footprint both in their day to day operations and in the events that they organize.

This is only the beginning for TeamAsia’s year-round celebration, as they are preparing to launch new events, projects, and marketing technology this 2017.

“Growing strong for 25 years is a feat but it surely is just the beginning for us. This year, we are more passionate than ever to find new and innovative ways to deliver next level experiences that will create and sustain the visibility of our clients,” said Managing Director Bea Lim.

TeamAsia started their 25th year with a bang, closing deals with clients such as Jollibee Foods Corporation, UnionBank, Madrid Fusión Manila, ASUS, the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition, QBE Group Shared Services Limited, and Let’s Talk Cleaner Energy, among others.

A light-up die cut 25 sign with colorful notes of what TeamAsians are passionate about—their way of celebrating 25 years of passion.

The strong female icons behind TeamAsia: Bea Lim and Monette Hamlin.

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