OVER 80 representatives from member-companies and individual members of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) recently gathered for the PBSP’s 31st Visayas Annual Membership Meeting at the City Sports Club in Cebu City.
National Economic and Development Authority 7 Director Efren Carreon was the keynote speaker in the event, which carried the theme “Greater Corporate Engagement and Relevance in the Visayas.”
Carreon presented the Philippine Development Plan and shared opportunities where the private sector in Visayas could contribute to help address gaps and challenges.
PBSP trustee and Visayas Regional Committee chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz, PBSP director for operations Elvin Ivan Uy and PBSP Visayas Regional Center manager Angelie Yulo-Millan welcomed the guests from PBSP’s member companies and partners. In 2019, PBSP introduced its “Toolbox Sessions” that aim to provide its partner companies with tools to help them with their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and development programs. With water security as PBSP’s program thrust, PBSP program manager for environment Kathleen Almonte talked about water demand management.
The session educated companies on the various ways to reduce their water footprint as well as the strategies to help them establish company-wide measures to limit their water usage.
“Through the years, PBSP has witnessed the evolution of CSR and how it has evolved with the times. There were companies doing philanthropic giving or one-time donations to communities in need, others have implemented responsible business practices in their own workplaces,” Uy said.
He further said, “More companies have also started to make strategic investments with the aim of generating a bigger and more sustainable impact in communities or in areas of national interest. A growing number of businesses have also began to embrace inclusive business—a new model of CSR that integrates the poor in the company’s core operations or value chain either as customers, partners or employees.”
Through the event and its continuing projects, PBSP hopes to inspire a higher business sector involvement and establish a refreshed relevance in the region. Its “Kasali Ako” campaign for involvement and inclusion seeks to encourage everyone, especially the business sector to be actively involved in development in order to help the country attain inclusive growth.
“With 31 years of presence in Visayas, PBSP has also been instrumental in the economic development of several provinces in the region. But while we have made considerable impact in many areas, the mission continues. There are still over 20 million poor Filipinos who badly need our help. Today’s challenging times require a more relevant and responsive corporate engagement. We need to continue working together in co-creating sustainable solutions that do not only solve problems in the region, but in the whole country, as well,” Uy said.
PBSP is the largest business-led non-governmental organization in the Philippines, contributing to sustainable development and poverty reduction. Since its establishment in the 1970s, it has been helping address complex, societal problems through its programs on health, education, environment and livelihood.
In Visayas, PBSP helped uplift the lives of people in the agriculture and fisheries sector through its Area Resource Management in Bohol and the Samar Development Program. These two programs were considered models of success in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, PBSP’s Cebu Hillylands Development Program and the Save the Buhisan Watershed initiatives are a showcase of watershed management and livelihood development that contribute to biodiversity conservation and improvement in household income. These signature programs made PBSP a key player in the environment and livelihood sectors in the Visayas, and at the same time serve as an avenue for companies to participate whether through giving or employee engagement.
PBSP in Visayas continues to engage over 60 member-companies with its programs on safe motherhood, supplemental feeding, classroom construction, teacher training, scholarship assistance, support for senior high school education, installation of potable water systems, watershed reforestation and several livelihood projects.
“I would like to recognize all the companies and partners who have worked with us in the past fiscal year. This is the time to celebrate the big and small triumphs we’ve made in our communities. We would not have achieved them without their valuable support and trust in our partnership. Truly, they have shown that we can accomplish a great deal of good if we work together towards a common goal. We hope they will continue to support us in our future endeavors as we continue to be united against poverty,” Aboitiz said.