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Reaching out to the needy

Corporal social responsibility has ceased to be just a buzzword for several successful companies. In fact, CSR has become part and parcel of many a firm’s overall thrusts. Interestingly, one of the most active sectors which had been practicing CSR and promoting projects towards this end are the country’s major oil firms. The oil firms espouse CSR by embracing environmentally sound and sustainable business practices – which is their way of “giving back” to the communities they serve. As good corporate citizens, the oil companies carry out projects through foundations,  even putting up CSR departments to promote  responsible business practices and create a meaningful impact on the lives of Filipinos around the country. Their CSR projects, most often in partnership with the communities, underscore the importance of fueling nation building and uplifting the lives of less-privileged Filipinos and the needy. These projects often involve addressing basic needs such as medical and dental missions, livelihood programs, scholarships, donations, training and livelihood,  environmental protection programs, and environmental protection. For instance, Petron Corporation, easily the country’s biggest oil player with over 2,000 retail networks worldwide, emerged as the top Philippine company in the 3rd Asian Sustainability Ratings conducted by CSR Asia, as it bested other local publicly-traded corporations last year. This is the second time that Petron has topped the ratings which measures a company’s performance in key areas such as environment, social responsibility, and governance. Petron ranked No.1 among Philippine companies and 7th out of 49 Asian companies in the energy sector surveyed by the ASR. It also placed in the top ten percent of the 750 companies surveyed in ten Asian countries. Petron  received two distinctions from the Management Association of the Philippines in 2012 for integrating corporate social responsibility and sustainability in its daily business operations. MAP awarded Petron the coveted Integral CSR  Award and the Special Award for Environment and Sustainable Development during the CSR Leadership Challenge 2011. Petron’s CSR initiatives include scholarships, classroom construction and repair, teachers training, youth entreprenuership programs, reforestation, medical messions, feeding programs, mariculture livelihood program, among others. One of its CSR programs, “Tulong Aral ng Petron,” is a long-term, strategic initiative that helps send poor children to school, keep them there and make sure they learn.  This is a centerpiece CSR program that defines what Petron stands for socially, which it dubbed as FUEL H.O.P.E. or Helping the Filipino Cchildren and Youth Overcome Poverty through Education. At the end of 2012, Tulong Aral ng Petron had a total of 3,486 scholars enrolled from Grades One to Six: 2,755 scholars in 23 partner schools in the National Capitol Region (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Manila, Pasay, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Parañaque, Taguig, Pateros, Pasig and Las Piñas) and 731 scholars in nine (9) partner schools in Mindanao (Davao, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Iligan, Misamis Oriental and Zamboanga). These children continue to enjoy the benefits of Petron’s send-a-child to school program, which include provision for books, school supplies, shoes and uniforms; daily meal allowances for children, as well as capability building and livelihood programs for parents. In March of 2012, Petron graduated 1,100 Tulong Aral scholars, which comprised the fourth batch of children who started the program in 2006.  The end of school year 2011-2012 also produced 433 outstanding students, 16 of whom were adjudged as first honor. The program continued to make a positive impact on the performance of the scholars. A significant majority of its scholars (95.5%) were able to complete their primary education, while the drop-out rate was kept to a mere 4.5%, way below the national average of 8%. In establishing “Tulong Aral ng Petron,” the Petron  Foundation Inc. had partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Education, with World Vision Development Foundation as the implementing body. It also partnered with SM Retail Stores, Corp., which had proven to be valuable in the efficient distribution of school supplies to the scholars. The department stores in SM Malls in Metro Manila, for example, were used as venues where can conveniently purchase school supplies, shoes and uniforms. Petron has sustained its support to elementary graduates of Tulong Aral graduates through secondary school under the Tulong Aral High School Scholarship Program, a partnership with DepEd, DSWD, and the Land Bank of the Philippines. A total of 372 youths – 91 in 3rd year, 81 in 2nd year and 200 in 1st year – have received scholarships to pursue high school education in 26 public schools in Metro Manila. The program is being implemented for Petron by the Philippine Business for Social Progress. To further develop the scholars learning skills, the PFI and PBSP conducted an annual one-day leadership and life skills workshop called “The Best U Can Be” for the different batches of Tulong Aral. In 2012, a total of 166 1st and 2nd year students  attended the February session;  219 1st year students  attended the September session, while 58 2nd year scholars attended the November session. Volunteers from Petron Corporation, PBSP, The Outstanding Students of the Philippines-Alumni Community, Tulong Aral College Scholarship and PFI facilitated the workshops. Petron also continues to implement the “Abot Kamay” Program, where all high school scholars are strongly encouraged to render community service of their choice as a way to “pay forward” the value of service. With the pioneer batch of Tulong Aral High School scholars all set to complete their secondary education, Petron Foundation secured management approval to establish the Tulong Aral ng Petron College Scholarship Program. For school year 2012-2013, Petron is sponsoring the college education of 24 scholars pursuing different degrees from various academic institutions. Petron Foundation sees this as a next step in the company’s road map for an integrated poverty alleviation strategy, with the college scholars eventually earning an opportunity to be employed in Petron. As a parallel effort and in support of the Department of Education’s Adopt-A-School Program, the Petron Foundation will also pursue its school building program, which it dubbed as the PETRON SCHOOL. The program is Petron’s response to the government’s initiative to provide a public school for every barangay in the country. At present, there is still a significant number of barangays which do not have a school within their communities. Petron Foundation has endeavored to build public elementary schools in the barangays close to Petron facilities that had remained without a venue for education. The foundation’s support includes providing facilities such as chairs, tables, electrical & water systems, blackboards, toilets and basic amenities. In 2012, Petron was able to build eight new classrooms or four Petron Schools in areas close to its depots in Zamboanga del Norte, General Santos City and Tagbilaran City.  This brings the total number of classrooms constructed to 197 or 79 schools, since 2002. Petron is also a consistent supporter of the annual Brigada Eskwela or National Schools Maintenance Program by DepEd. In 2012, 32 depots and terminals nationwide participated in Brigada Eskwela. This resulted in the repair of 47 public schools,  which benefited some 19,485 students. A total of 231 classrooms were repaired/repainted by 2,478 volunteers rendering 14,911.5 man hours. Petron boosted its advocacy of sharing the gift of basic education by sponsoring the establishment of classrooms called Silid Pangarap for the pre-school level. This is also in support of San Miguel Corporation’s commitment to the AGAPP (Aklat, Gabay, Aruga Tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa) Foundation’s program of building pre-schools by putting up 97 classrooms. Of this number, Petron has built 27 classrooms, 17 of which were turned over in Bataan, Samar, Tagaytay, Negros Oriental, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat. Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. Aside from Petron, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., the country’s second largest oil firm, has also long been actively involved in CSR programs through its Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc.. The Shell Foundation boasts of 30 years experience in managing social development programs of national and local scale. Through its active involvement in CSR, Shell has been a recepient of numerous awards such as the Most Outstanding Corporation in the Practice of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), and the 2011 Recognition Awards for Outstanding Practices and Initiatives in Sustainable Development. “We constantly implement new and innovative ways to improve our operational efficiency, minimize our impact to the environment and help our customers do the same. We strive to keep looking for creative solutions to help meet the challenges of the new energy future and build strong partnerships to implement our CSR programs for nation-building,” said Edgar Chua, Country Chairman of Shell companies in the Philippines during the awarding ceremonies. Some of the CSR programmes which Shell implements are those in the areas of education, health, capacity-building/livelihood, environment and safety. These programs include the “Gas Mo, Bukas Ko” scholarship program for Shell forecourt attendants and transport sector dependents; Sanayan sa Kakayahang Agrikultural (SAKA), which provides agricultural skills training and scholarships to the youth in Palawan, site of the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power project operated by Shell and its joint venture partners; Movement Against Malaria, a nationwide malaria prevention and control programme that has helped reduce malaria mortality by 90 percent and morbidity by over 60 percent nationwide. Shell has also put in place the  Panahiang Pangkabuhayan sa Pandacan and Bridging Employment through Skills Training livelihood programs; Shell Eco-marathon smarter mobility program to promote the message of fuel-efficiency and Shell Green Scholars environmental scholarship program to help establish Clean (Pasig) River Zone, and the Shell Tabangao Refinery biodiversity programs to protect coastal ecosystems. Shell also set up waste management programs such as the Shell Effluent Quality Improvement Project to manage effluent from Shell operations, a solid waste management program that also provides livelihood opportunities for communities; and safety programs such as the Neighbourhood Emergency Services Team disaster preparedness program, regular Road Safety Camps and Workshops for Children and the Road Safety Flash Cards project for elementary schoolchildren implemented in partnership with the Philippine Global Road Safety Partnership, among many others. Shell aims to identify and implement strategic social investments that benefit the people and communities as well as provide value to the Shell business in the country. It has committed to relentlessly pursue its mission to go beyond philanthropy and implement innovative programs that empower millions of lives towards productivity and contribute to fueling growth towards national development. Chevron Philippines, Inc. Another major oil player, Chevron Philippines Inc. which markets the Caltex brand in the Philippines, has also been a recipient of various local and international awards for its CSR programs. Chevron was selected by award giving bodies for implementing projects that address basic human needs, education, small business and entrepreneurial development, environment protection, establishing public-private partnerships and providing funds for the eradication of infectious diseases. A primary focus for Chevron’s CSR is on health care promotion. Chevron joined the global move to help fight tuberculosis,  the sixth leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country. Through its network of Caltex stations, Chevron plans to fight TB through an education and awareness campaign targeting Caltex retailers, their forecourt attendants, and public motorists. The focus will be on prevention and early detection of TB to help stop the spread of the disease. With the “Caltex Labanan ang TB, para Tsuper Healthy” TB awareness campaign, more than 10,000 jeepney and bus drivers plying within Metro Manila are now aware of what TB is all about,  and are pro-active fighters of this endemic disease. At least 52 public transport drivers were trained by the Quezon City Health Dept as volunteer TB treatment partners. As treatment partners, the drivers are qualified to teach colleagues the facts about the disease, dispel myths and encourage their co-workers in the industry to seek medical assistance early, thereby helping stop the spread of TB. The driver-trainors also help in patient treatment by making sure medicines are taken daily. This effort will hopefully reduce the number of attrition cases which in turn lead to patients becoming more drug resistant – and more difficult and more expensive to cure. To broaden the reach of this awareness campaign, Caltex uses a TB awareness bus where trainors can hold onboard seminars, distribute posters, flyers, stickers and promote the Caltex TB helpline (865-1010). The seminars focus on correcting common misconceptions, emphasize prevention, early detection and cure. Chevron has donated US$5 million to fight TB in the Philippines and as a result, almost 8,175 service deliverers were educated in providing quality TB services. More than 6,144 health care providers were trained in community care, and treatment for Multi-Drug Resistant TB were provided to about 1,778 patients who were no longer responding to first line anti-TB drugs. MDR treatment costs more than P200,000 for at least 18 months of treatment. “Chevron places the highest priority on the health and safety of its people including customers and communities that host its facilities like Quezon City, home to more than 30 Caltex stations,” Peter Morris, Chevron Philippines country chairman said. “This information drive highlights Caltex’s unwavering commitment to being a good partner focused on building productive, collaborative, trusting and beneficial relationships with customers and host communities,” adds Morris. Chevron also focused its CSR efforts on education and training, believing that education is an important factor in the economic growth and well-being of the communities in which they work. Chevron provides resource support (e.g. school supplies, refurbishing school libraries), curriculum support (e.g. literacy programs school talks and workshops) and scholarships as well as livelihood skills and vocational training. Chevron employees and their key stakeholders such as the Caltex retailers, other business partners, and customers volunteer in public schools, helping elementary school children with reading difficulties accelerate their learning capacity and turn them into readers. The company also supports projects geared towards caring for the environment. Chevron Philippines is a founding member of the Philippine Eagle Foundation Inc., which helps protect and preserve this endangered national treasure and its habitat. Through their respective CSR programs, the country’s major oil players have proven that their objectives were not limited to earning money, but also in reaching out to the millions of the less privileged and the needy in the communities that they work with.
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