IN THE aftermath of Taal’s eruption last month, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) immediately responded by distributing relief goods to roughly 3,000 individuals (500 families). But even as displaced Taal families have started to return home, BPI does not intend to let up on its Bayanihan efforts. “Beyond emergency relief operations, BPI wants to help build something lasting, something that will greatly impact the communities affected by the calamity for the long term,” BPI president/CEO Cesar P. Consing said.

Through its social development arm, the BPI Foundation, BPI intends to help build a multi-purpose disaster preparedness and recovery facility. It will serve will serve as shelter, livelihood center, and venue for disaster preparedness and recovery activities for those greatly affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano. And in true Bayanihan spirit, BPI intends to engage not just BPI employees, but the communities and its clients as well.

BPI recently partnered with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) to help identify the ideal location for the facility and build it. BPI, represented by Consing, COO Ramon Jocson and BPI Corporate Affairs head/BPI Foundation executive director Owen Cammayo, recently turned over an initial donation of P2.7 million to PDRF, represented by president Rene “Butch” Meily, executive director Veronica Gabaldon and OIC operations director Carl Vincent Caro.

The initial funds were contributed by BPI employees and matched by the BPI Foundation. Earlier, the Ayala Group, principal stockholders of BPI, donated P2 million through the Philippine National Red Cross.

To raise the additional funds to build the disaster preparedness and recovery facility, (target: P5 million), BPI started a one month fund drive (February 14 until March 13, 2020) dubbed #TaaLove: Sa Puso Magmumula ang Kanilang Pagbangon.

“We want to make it more convenient for people to donate and help build something lasting,” said Cammayo, BPI head of Corporate Affairs and BPI Foundation executive director.

Those who want to help may visit any BPI branch and give their donations by purchasing handcrafted hearts made by BPI branch employees. Each heart color will have a corresponding price — P50 for blue, P100 for green, P200 for violet, P300 for red, and P500 for gold — and will be installed as decorations in the branch. Interested donors who cannot make a branch visit may send their donations via BPI online or BPI mobile app.

Earlier, BPI took steps to help ease the burden of evacuees from the Taal Volcano eruption, offering payment holidays to its clients in severely affected areas. BPI offered to provide deferred payment programs to clients of BPI, BPI Family Savings Bank, and BPI Direct BanKO as part of its disaster response efforts.

BPI president Consing said that deferred payment programs will apply to BPI’s credit card, personal loan, housing loan, auto loan, business loan and micro business loan clients in the severely affected areas. Under the program, clients are allowed to pay their amount due 30 days from the current due date without penalties.

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