Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Give more, PBSP Chair Manny Pangilinan challenges companies

Positive News Media
Feb 16, 2009 - 1:44:04 PM

MANILA, Feb. 17 (PNA) -– Difficult times call for bold measures, including giving even more money and resources to social development projects that are designed to help free the majority of Filipinos from the grip of poverty.

According to Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of the Philippine Business for Social Progress, the country’s largest corporate-led social development foundation, the global economy is in the middle of a serious crisis and consequently, corporate profitability is adversely threatened.

But this should not prevent the private sector from doing its share in reducing the incidence of poverty in the Philippines. On the contrary, companies should find ways to even increase their funding support for social development.

“It is precisely at this time when that support is most needed, when people are out in the streets without a job, when reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development must not be set aside in the midst of a downturn,” said Pangilinan in a speech during the recent Annual Membership Meeting and 38th Foundation Day Celebration of the PBSP.

“With a difficult period ahead of us, we should be compelled to do more and to give more, both for altruism and our own survival. There will be new needs and urgent calls that we must respond to, some of them outside our corporate paradigm and comfort zone,” Pangilinan said, “We will need to marshal more resources and work more strategically and synergistically to help those who are most needy.”

“The times offer us the opportunity to commit more support for programs that will mitigate the plight of many, if not the majority, of our countrymen. As we see it, our current programs are the appropriate response in this critical situation, and must be vigorously pursued,” added Pangilinan, who also chairs the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.

PBSP has certainly done its share.

Pangilinan reported that last year, PBSP member companies contributed P75.84 million for social development projects – the largest contribution so far realized in the foundation’s 38-year history and it was able to generate P247.6 million from donor agencies and partners during the year.

Over P300 million went to fund various projects nationwide, reaching 200,000 poor Filipinos through its education, enterprise development, health and water, and area resource management projects.

PBSP’s membership increased to 238 and it reached out to over 300 companies to help them implement their own corporate citizenship programs.

“We can thereby say with confidence that we have played our part in the war on poverty and its many dimensions, thus helping our country meet its Millennium Development Goals,” Pangilinan said.

PBSP remains steadfast in its commitment to pursue its projects even as the adverse effects of the financial crisis are already starting to be felt.

Among the projects PBSP has lined up for this year are:

1. Expansion of area resource management program to 250 communities to reach 250,000 Filipinos.

2. Make schooling accessible to more children, improve facilities and train teachers, particularly in Mindanao.

3. Connect 1,000 schools to the Internet by the end of 2010.

4. Create 24,000 jobs this year by reaching out to more micro, small and medium-scale enterprises.

5. Help prevent tuberculosis and provide access to potable water.

To pursue these projects, PBSP plans to increase assistance through grants and financial advances by 35 percent from P301 million to P417 million; allot P200 million in development loans to micro, small and medium scale enterprises, up from P41 million in 2008; increase revenues by 28 percent to P468 million from P365 million and increase expenses by 36 percent, which will go to grants, donations and project-related expenses.

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) is the largest corporate-led, non-profit social development foundation in the Philippines. PBSP is at the forefront in the fight against poverty through trailblazing programs developed and implemented with the strategic commitment of more than 230 PBSP member-companies, and corporate citizenship partners.
PBSP operates nationwide, with programs in Education, Enterprise Development, Health and Water, and Area Resource Management. Working with partners and communities, PBSP’s programs assist the poor towards self-reliance and improved quality of life.(PNA)