It’s a way of thinking encouraged throughout the Ayala Group: to be a truly successful business house, one must give back to the community that sustains it.
Guests at the recently concluded annual stockholders’ meetings were given a glimpse of this corporate citizenship. Globe Telecom Inc., the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) and Ayala Corporation held exhibits describing their various social development projects to enlighten the public about the social commitment of Ayala companies.
Building the nation for the future
This commitment is chiefly expressed through the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI). Now on its 40th year, AFI continues to look for innovative ways to develop communities, the arts and culture, and the youth. AFI’s flagship programs such as the Center of Excellence in Elementary Education (Centex), the Solid Waste Management Campaign, Project Youth Tech, and neighborhood alliances in Cebu, Mindoro, and Laguindingan in Northern Mindanao have been making positive differences where needed. Moreover, the Ayala Museum and the Filipinas Heritage Library have both been cited for their role in preserving and nurturing pride in the country’s cultural heritage.
Ayala Corporation itself spearheads programs aimed at creating a lasting impact on Philippine society. The Ayala Young Leaders Congress this year held its fourth assembly of student leaders from all over the country with the purpose of encouraging them to be citizen leaders in their own communities. Ayala Corporation also led the group in supporting and sending thousands of volunteers to activities such as Habitat for Humanity’s World Leaders Build and the La Mesa Watershed Reforestation.
Ayala companies draw on their particular strengths to express their corporate social responsibility. Globe’s exhibit highlighted the Globe Telecom Academic Achievement Awards (GTAAA), now on its seventh year of recognizing excellence in electronics and communication engineering, electrical engineering, and high school math and science. Globe supports similar projects that harness the potential of the youth such as Centex, the book reading program Sa Aklat Sisikat, the Globe-Isla-CITE Technical Scholarship Program, and ConnectEd.ph, an initiative of the government and private sector to provide Internet laboratories for public high schools. Apart from these education and youth-oriented programs, Globe also provides medical assistance and relief operations in the Bicol region through its Disaster and Emergency Response Program.
BPI Foundation’s booth emphasized its role in encouraging the youth to pursue careers in science and engineering through the BPI Science Awards. More than 300 students from the country’s top universities have been recognized for various achievements in their field. BPI Foundation also provides scholarships to deserving students of science and engineering.
BPI Foundation is particularly proud of mobilizing employees to volunteer for its programs. In the past year, BPI employees have participated in Habitat for Humanity builds, medical missions in Pasay, Marikina, Quezon City, Cagayan de Oro, and Tanauan, Batangas, and relief assistance to victims of calamities. Employees themselves even organized exposure trips on solid waste management and environmental conservation for public school children.
Meanwhile, Ayala Land’s exhibit focused on programs that enrich its host communities. The country’s largest property developer is actively involved in river rehabilitation and water resources conservation in Calamba, Laguna, anti-flood measures in Makati, Pasay, and Paranaque, traffic management in Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, and Laguna, and dental and medical missions Metro Manila and Southern Luzon. It is also a benefactor of schools such as Putatan Elementary School in Muntinlupa and the Centex campuses in Tondo and Bauan, Batangas, as well as organizations for the differently abled like the Elsie Gaches Village and the Earthsavers’ Dream Ensemble.
Stockholders get involved
The corporate citizenship exhibits seemed successful in encouraging stockholders to get involved in the Ayala companies’ projects. While some had knowledge of these projects through brochures and features in the newspapers, others were pleasantly surprised to discover that the company they invested in are giving back something to society.
Observed Teresita Basilio, an ALI stockholder, “I’m glad you have projects such as day care centers, schools, reforestation, and the like. It’s good to know that Ayala Land is a very good corporate citizen.”
Some stockholders expressed interest in participating in the projects. Said retired captain Rogelio Rodillas, a Globe stockholder: “Maganda yung La Mesa Reforestation kasi grabe na ang pollution sa Maynila. Yung sa Habitat for Humanity okay din kasi kulang tayo sa mass housing. Kailangan mabigyan din ang mga mamamayan ng mga bahay. I’m willing to volunteer for these projects para makatulong ako sa mamamayan at para may legacy din ako ng pagtulong.”
They even suggested other projects that the companies could be involved in. Basilio says she would like to see ALI teach farmers to grow herbs and provide them seedlings for fruit trees and other alternative crops. BPI stockholder Engr. Alma Manalili, wanted to see more values-oriented programs for the youth and programs for street children.
As the Ayala Group embarks on another year of fulfilling its role as good corporate citizens, it may just find a supportive partner in the stockholders who put their trust on its companies.