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Corporate responsibility, Philippines style

Article - November 17, 2011
Big companies spreading the wealth
Both public and private sectors are pulling together to raise living standards for Filipinos through several projects designed to support marginalized sectors of society. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives from the 100% government-owned and controlled gaming firm, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), address education, nutrition, health, humanitarian and environmental issues.

PAGCOR has earmarked P1 billion ($23 million) for the Matuwid na Daan sa Silid-Aralan  Project to construct 1,000 new classrooms nationwide in partnership with the Department of Education. It has also allocated PhP100 million for the P-Noy Bayanihan Project, which will fast-track the production of school furniture made from  confiscated, illegally-harvested logs. “We fund the conversion of these logs into chairs and tables for donation to public schools nationwide,” says PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino L. Naguiat Jr. The company also ingeniously converts old slot machine stands from its Casino Filipino branches into school desks.

PAGCOR’s feeding program for undernourished children, health service missions, Christmas gift giving project and disaster relief efforts are other valued CSR aces up the company’s sleeve.

Elsewhere, one of the world’s largest providers of customer care outsourcing services is also playing a role in raising living standards. Sitel has a network of over 120 customer contact centers in 26 countries, and in the Philippines seven call centers make up its largest offshore contact center operation. Clearly it has an important role in the region’s prosperity. Steve Barker, Sitel’s General Manager for Asia and the Pacific says: “We are the largest employer in Baguio. We have comprehensive medical insurance coverage for employees and their dependents.”
At many of its operations in the Philippines, Sitel provides ‘Baby's Haven’ facilities where working mothers can nurse their infants, or spend time with them during breaks.

Petron Corporation has been governed by CSR commitment since its inception nearly 80 years ago. Chairman and CEO Mr. Ramon S. Ang feels these policies are essential. “In carrying out its CSR mission Petron counts on strategic partnerships with government institutions, businesses, international agencies and civil society groups, as well as its employees, who regularly use their time and talents to help make a difference in the lives of others.”

Finally, Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) is developing one of the world’s largest copper-gold deposits at Tampakan, and its General Manager Mark Williams is aware of his company’s responsibilities. “We believe that it will make a significant difference to our communities, well beyond the life of the project. SMI has been chosen to provide finance and technical assistance to the country to research and explore the country’s mineral wealth. However, the minerals belong to the people and the country. It is important to stress that this is actually the country’s project. We are spearheading the project, but the project is the country’s, and we are a contractor.”