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SMEs urged to practice genuine CSR

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita October 03,2018 - 10:01 PM

PBSP 30TH ANNUAL FELLOWSHIP/OCT. 3, 2018: Mr. Jose Antonio Aboitiz, (Left) PBSP, Visayas Regional Chairman with (L-R) Romelinda “Girlie” Garces, PBSP Visayas Executive committee member; Philip Tan, VIXCOM vice chairman; Mr. Pedro E. Roxas, PBSP treasurer and Board of trustees; Bro. Armil Luistro, PBSP Trustee and president; Raynaldo Antonio Laguda, PBSP Executive Director and Melanie Ng, PBSP, chairman for Visayas membership committee lead the wine toast during the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) 30th Visayas Annual Membership Fellowship in Bai Hotel, Mandaue City.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Small and medium enterprises are encouraged to practice genuine corporate social responsibility in the communities where they operate.

As they celebrate their 30th year, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) Visayas Executive Committee Chairperson Jose Antonio Aboitiz said more businesses are seeing the importance of giving back to the community.

“We have been doing this for the last thirty years in order to broaden the amount of participation that we have from the different sectors of the business community,” he said during the organization’s celebration at Bai Hotel on Wednesday.

Currently, the PBSP has around 70 members in the Visayas with the inclusion of its newest member, AppleOne Properties, which was recognized yesterday.

According to Aboitiz, companies have understood the benefits of engaging their employees in volunteerism and giving back to the community and that this is becoming a good business practice.

Joining their different activities like reforestation caravans and tree planting activities also help companies with their environmental compliance.

“It’s good business. It’s good for employees to know they are doing something beyond making a buck. It allows you to be integrated with the community that you’re making money from,” he said.

The PBSP is the largest business-led non-government organization for strategic corporate citizenship and business sector leadership contributing to sustainable development and poverty reduction.

New challenges
The PBSP celebrated its anniversary with the theme “Traynta: Celebrating 30 Years of Uplifting Lives in the Visayas.”

PBSP trustee and board treasurer Pedro Roxas posed a challenge to their members in Cebu and Visayas to adapt to the societal changes in combating social issues.

He cited two major concerns – more complex social issues with the disruption of technology, and a seeming competition with foundations and international non-government organizations (NGOs) that execute similar programs in similar sites and in similar manners.

“Having said these, we need to reflect as an organization and ask ourselves: How can PBSP define or redefine its value and its relevance to the stakeholders?” he said in his speech.

Roxas, who was the guest speaker during the celebration, said that while there are new challenges, these can also turn to opportunities for PBSP.

He said the organization’s efforts to mainstream corporate social responsibility over the past decades has enabled more corporate foundations and NGOs to also actively help in uplifting communities suffering from societal problems like poverty, malnutrition and lack of education.

“We still affirm that what unifies us all is the goal of contributing to reduce, if not eradicate, poverty. We will continue to be focused on this with much greater tenacity and intensity,” Roxas said.

It is also important to ensure a more participatory approach in executing programs so that beneficiaries do not become mere recipients of interventions but that they will own the entire process of finding solutions to their problems, he added.

Notable programs
Among the most notable programs of the PBSP in Visayas is the Cebu Hillylands program, which was done in partnership with the Cebu City government and with the active involvement of the local business sector, to rehabilitate the island’s watersheds by planting trees and by providing livelihood support to farmers.

Over the past three decades, the organization’s programs have centered on four major thrusts: health, education, environment, and livelihood.

In the 1980s, PBSP launched the Negros Occidental Development Assistance Program to enable communities affected by the sugar crisis to reach a level of subsistence and food sufficiency.

In the 1990s, PBSP and its partners implemented the Bohol Area Resource Management program that focused on improving the productivity of rice farmers who were forced to depend on rain-fed mechanisms due to insufficient irrigation systems.

For Cebu, the PBSP launched the Save Buhisan Watershed Project in 2008 to help sustain the water supply for Metro Cebu and help improve lives of more than 100 poor households through alternative and eco-friendly livelihood opportunities.

The Buhisan Watershed and Forest Reserve, located within the 28,300-hectare Central Cebu Protected Landscape, is Metro Cebu’s source of water. It also feeds the 106-year-old Buhisan Dam, a surface water source operated by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District.

“The mainstreaming of corporate social responsibility is probably PBSP’s most enduring legacy. PBSP in the Visayas certainly helped to bring this about. Many companies learned how to do it through our engagements,” Aboitiz said.

“Many social development professionals cut their teeth with us, and brought to others a wealth of experience. The importance of these intangible legacies is beyond measure,” he added.

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TAGS: Aboitiz, Corporate Social Responsibility, PBSP, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Visayas

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