Thursday, September 08, 2011

PBSP eyes watershed rehab, TB control as scaled-up PPP programs

PBSP eyes watershed rehab, TB control as scaled-up PPP programs
September 8, 2011

MANILA, Sept. 8 — The corporate-led Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) is eyeing the rehabilitation of watersheds and the prevention and control of the spread of tuberculosis as part of two major programs to be scaled up similar to a public-private partnership (PPP) structure.

Rafael Cojuangco Lopa, PBSP executive director, said the programs would form part of the business sector roadmap to support the achievement of the Philippine commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of the United Nations, particularly on health and the environment.

Among the business sector’s response to health-related MDGs are supporting responsible parenthood programs, local health service delivery management, and initiatives on preventing HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and other tropical diseases.

Meanwhile, among the corporate sector’s response to environment, MDGs are supporting biodiversity programs, sustainable production and consumption, PPP to provide potable water, and slum area development investments.

With a membership of 248 companies, PBSP was established in 1970 as the business sector’s arm in developing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating projects that manifest the various companies’ initiatives on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

“We in PBSP envision leading the business sector’s collective efforts to reduce poverty in the country,” Lopa said. “We endeavor to do this by promoting business sector leadership in and commitment to programs that lead to self-reliance.”

PBSP is also involved in the Save the Buhisan watershed project in Cebu, as well as in the reforestation of 5,000 hectares within the Central Cebu protected landscape.

It is also involved in the replication efforts in rehabilitating the Marikina watershed to ensure stable water supply and mitigate damaging flashfloods and mudslides like the ones in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) in September 2009.

On TB prevention and control, PBSP is at the forefront of addressing the threat of the dreaded disease, wherein the country ranks 9th in the world on TB prevalence based on the 2010 statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Still killing an average of 75-80 Filipinos per day and infecting 131 out of 100,000 individuals, TB has already evolved in newer forms that are even harder to treat, such as multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB and extreme drug resistant (XDR) TB.

In its 40 years of existence, PBSP has harnessed a collective force towards social change by mobilizing social investment funds for various CSR projects, and by leveraging these corporate financial contributions together with international multilateral aid and grant-giving institutions, Lopa said.

Among PBSP’s partners in its TB health care initiatives are the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the international PPP organization Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GFATM).

From 1970 to 2010, PBSP has invested about P6.2 billion to support 7,828 projects for 4.3 million household beneficiaries, Lopa said.

But beyond mobilizing corporate philanthropy funds and leveraging them with aid monies and grants, Lopa said that there was a need to adopt business strategies and harness existing core business solutions, products, and services that address societal and environmental problems and issues, resulting in a more inclusive economic growth and integrated environmental protection initiative.

“We need to have better ways of measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of our work, and to put in place a more robust capacity to manage multi-stakeholder engagements and fund management and accounting systems,” Lopa said.