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Television networks at the forefront of Corporate Social Responsibility

While television networks are in a dash to clinch leadership on the broadcast industry, their corporate affiliates tasked to defuse their serious commercial competition also race to places where the population are in a different struggle. These are foundations that reach out to the communities with projects related to livelihood, health, and environment. It has been a paramount concern among the broadcast stations to take the role as catalyst in many aspects of social life, first as bearer of news and information, apart from the entertainment they provide the population, and second as instruments of change via the proactive duty they embrace as part of public service. When disaster strikes, who will you see in the area? Most likely you’d encounter someone wearing T-shirts with the now iconic heart-shaped drawing with the letters GMA and words Kapuso Foundation, or those in their own T-shirts printed on them Sagip Kapamilya ng ABS-CBN Foundation. Most recent entrant to make this broadcasting industry-based corporate social responsibility a three-way race is Alagang Kapatid Foundation of TV5. Is this crowding in the advocacy to assist the society good for the industry? This may not result to better programs or well planned programming, but the impact of their outreach activities to the society in general can be encouraging. For example, ABS-CBN Foundation has made a commitment to rehabilitate the Pasig River. Along with that, the foundation also got into preservation and redevelopment programs. In 2010, it began redeveloping the century-old Paco Market into an environmentally sustainable world class market, with the help of generous donors. Now, the new market has remained as faithful to the original architecture integrating new and eco-friendly designs. In keeping with ecological principles, the structure has made use of recycled material, use less water and less power. The area was designed to require little to no lighting during the day and no air conditioning, because of an elevated roof. Its strategically placed windows regulate airflow and let in natural light. The market is also able to manage its water usage-wastewater would be collected, reused, and possibly treated, so that no more waste are discarded into the recovering estero. An activity center has been created inside the market to serve as a bustling education and entertainment hub for the residents of Paco, Manila. Gina Lopez, managing director of ABS-CBN Foundation, is proud her organization has been able to accomplish a number of projects from child protection and welfare (Bantay Bata163), Sagip Kapamilya, Kapit Bisig Pasig, Bayan Juan and Bantay Kalikasan. These are all, she says, for the future generation of Filipinos. GMA Kapuso Foundation is involved in a number of projects, most of which it initiated, the most significant of them being the Kapuso School Development (KSD) providing areas with school buildings or rehabilitating dilapidated buildings torn down by string typhoons or merely in a state of disrepair. The foundation has other programs that answer the needs of a largely marginalized population, especially in health care (Bisig Bayan Medical Assistance) and welfare (Kalusugan Karavan). It is also very active in education (Unang Hakbang sa Kinabukasan) apart from building classrooms, and disaster relief (Operation Bayanihan). But one thing the Kapuso Foundation doesn’t want to ignore is values formation, which in its curriculum of projects takes a special focus, especially attention that must be given infants and toddlers. “They are the future of this country, and we must be able to assist in their development—physical and mental,” says Mel Tiangco, president of GMA Kapuso Foundation. Meanwhile, TV5’s Alagang Kapatid Foundation will not want to be left behind the two networks. During the disaster that struck Compostela Valley and other provinces in Mindanao, the greenhorn foundation moved to encourage people to help and assist the affected population by donating part of their disposable income to the foundation and which it would use in its relief operations. The foundation, through a telethon, was able to generate enough donations, which it used in helping the grief stricken residents in the disaster areas. If these three philanthropic arms of the networks would continue doing what they have started, there might come a time when the government could use their expertise in delivering the services agencies failed to do. –MST
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