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BDO Foundation gears up for more social initiatives

Deriquito
 

MANILA, Philippines — Banks are common business establishments in any community anywhere in the world. Whether it’s a savings or a universal bank, these financial institutions are an indelible part of a community, contributing to its growth and development through the financial services they provide to residents.

Banks prosper because of the loyal clientele they get from members of the community. The financial services they avail of in banking institutions help keep the circulation of cash in the economy and maintain a steady income for banks. Which is why it is only natural for banking institutions to return the favor to communities that make use of their services through various corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

Among the financial institutions active in CSR is Banco de Oro, the country’s largest bank, through its CSR arm, BDO Foundation. Established in 2008, BDO Foundation traces its roots to the old Equitable PCI Bank Foundation, which parent bank was acquired by Banco de Oro.

At the forefront of disaster response

For the past several years since its inception, BDO Foundation was largely focused on disaster relief, rehabilitation and rebuilding in different areas across the country. It leverages on its strengths such as its vast network of branches, strong relationship with clients and its premises management division, to readily respond to natural or man-made calamities.

“BDO has a wide presence across the country. It has more than 1,000 branches across the Philippines. When a disaster strikes like flooding, earthquake or typhoon, BDO Foundation is in a position to be among the first responders because of BDO’s presence on the ground,” says BDO Foundation president Mario Deriquito.

“Of course, we don’t want to just focus on response alone so after the relief period, we ask BDO branches to look at other needs of the community, which turn out to be provision of basic community services: health, education and shelter. And that is why our programs also include rehabilitation of health centers, building of classrooms, and in some cases, when there is a need, building of houses,” he adds.

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The foundation, Deriquito says, also works with various institutional partners such as the Department of Health, Department of Education, National Housing Authority, UN Habitat, Gawad Kalinga, and other organizations in its disaster response, relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Proven track record

BDO Foundation’s CSR abilities were first tested in 2009 when Typhoon Ondoy struck parts of Luzon and Metro Manila. It utilized its strong inter-branch cooperation and worked with other companies within the SM Group such as SM Malls to immediately provide relief to affected families. Such close coordination resulted in a well-organized disaster response effort which BDO Foundation would emulate in succeeding calamities.

After the tragedy, BDO Foundation quickly shifted to disaster rehabilitation for families whose homes were damaged by the typhoon. In 2010, it donated 44 newly renovated houses to Ondoy-affected families in Calumpit, Bulacan with the help of the local government, Catholic Relief Services and CFC Ancop-Tekton Foundation.

BDO Foundation’s leverage of its parent bank’s inter-branch cooperation was further put to the test in 2013 when double disasters struck and devastated the Visayas region.

In October that year, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Cebu and Bohol Province, resulting in the displacement of more than 40,000 individuals. On the day of the earthquake, the foundation organized close to 100 BDO volunteers to bring relief packed by SM City Cebu and SM Savemore Cebu to various communities in Bohol. Around 11,000 families were given relief bags and bottles of clean water.

The following month, the strongest typhoon on record to ever make landfall, Typhoon Yolanda, struck and crossed the region, killing more than 6,000 people, affecting 2.1 million families and causing an estimated P424 billion in property damages. Days after the massive storm, BDO Foundation called on BDO volunteers to help in the distribution of relief goods to more than 60,000 affected families in Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, Cebu, Bohol, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Capiz and Aklan.

In the aftermath of these disasters, BDO Foundation continued to work on rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas. In Bohol in 2014, the foundation worked with SM Foundation to repair and refurbish the rural health unit in Tagbilaran City and organized repair and refurbishment efforts for 10 more rural health units throughout the country.

In the same year, BDO Foundation, together with SM Foundation, also funded the construction of various school buildings damaged by Typhoon Yolanda. School buildings were built by the partnership in Capiz, Aklan, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Leyte.

Financial literacy

While BDO Foundation is making huge strides in disaster relief, rehabilitation and rebuilding, it has also started looking into possible areas of engagement, specifically the whole area of financial inclusion, or making banking and financial services more accessible to underserved sectors  – those who have no regular access to capital, banks and financial know how.

In this regard, BDO Foundation is leveraging on the expertise and experience of its new president, Deriquito. Prior to his tenure at the foundation, he served as senior director at Ayala Foundation for 13 years and as executive director of Mondragon Foundation for nine years.

From 2013 to 2016, Deriquito also served in the government as Education Undersecretary in charge of partnerships and external linkages. His breadth of experience and knowledge in managing a foundation, particularly in the aspect of education as well as his track record in the building of partnerships, make Deriquito the perfect person to lead BDO Foundation, especially at a time when it is venturing into financial education.

“BDO Foundation, together with BDO’s rural banking unit, One Network Bank, has started working on a Financial Literacy Education Program that will bring financial literacy videos and lesson guides to public schools nationwide. These videos will initially be for the use of teachers and students, as well as the Department of Education’s non-teaching personnel,” Deriquito explains.

Once finalized and launched, the videos will be used as part of instruction in various subject within the K-12 curriculum such as Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao, Edukasyong Pangkabuhayan and Araling Panlipunan. The program is also in line with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI), a framework for use within the financial sector in the creation of a broad range of policies and activities that promote financial inclusion among Filipinos.

With such a program, BDO Foundation hopes it would put itself in a better position to contribute to national development. “For the long term, we want to help underserved groups like cooperatives of farmers and small entrepreneurs by building the capabilities on project and financial management so that they can qualify for regular banking and financial products or services. Our goal is for the two parties to meet – on the one hand, small borrowers will look at banks as a resource that they can tap into, and on the other hand, for banks to look at them as bankable and qualified clients,” Deriquito says.

Financial education is one of the steps the foundation plans to make to enable its parent bank to achieve its financial inclusion goals. In the future, the foundation also plans to align its financial education program with the bank’s overall strategy.

“BDO Foundation is committed to contribute to nation-building and help in improving the lives of Filipinos in a way that also creates value for the bank. This we will continue to do by focusing on helping communities affected by calamities and on programs geared toward greater financial inclusion,” Deriquito explains.

 

 

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