GT Foundation, Inc
Despite the restrictions that the Covid-19 pandemic brought about in 2020, GTFI continued to contribute to the needs of communities through various donation initiatives and relief operations.
BAGS OF BLESSING
Before the strict mobility restrictions were implemented last year, GTFI and Metrobank Foundation (MBFI) held their annual Bags of Blessing (BoB) program. The BOB program is a gift-giving project of the late Dr. George Ty Siao Kian held in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Initiated in 2011, the program allows vulnerable and marginalized Filipinos to share in the festivities, bringing good spirit in the transition to a new year.
GTFI collaborates with MBFI, together with the GT Capital Group of Companies, and other institutional partners, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Local Government Units (LGUs), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), for this project.
The Group distributed rice, snack foods, milk, canned goods, and cooking essentials to over 500 families who came to the San Ildefonso Parish Church in the City of Makati. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and Caritas Manila assisted in organizing and identifying the indigent families chosen as beneficiaries for the event.
Around 10,000 families from 25 cities and municipalities across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were beneficiaries of the food packages worth Php10.0 million. The food packs were prepared and distributed by 1,922 volunteers from the network of Metrobank branches, subsidiaries, and other affiliates. As of end-2020, the BoB program has benefited some 90,000 families throughout the Philippines.
HELPING HANDS DISASTER RESPONSE
In the first month of 2020, Taal Volcano erupted, displacing hundreds of families within the vicinity. In response, GTFI and MBFI promptly disbursed funds under their “Helping Hands” disaster relief and response program to support those affected by the eruption.
Food items, hygiene kits, sleeping mats, and blankets were distributed to those in need, while the rest of the activated fund was coursed through the Philippine Star’s corporate social responsibility arm ‘Operation Damayan’ and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation.
GTFI and the MBFI also donated Php600,000 to the provincial government of Eastern Samar to support 1,200 families affected by Typhoon Ambo. Another Php6.0 million was allocated to help families affected by the onslaught of typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. A total of Php8.9 million was released by the Helping Hands program in 2020, benefiting over 15,000 displaced families.
HELPING HANDS COVID-19 RESPONSE
Both GTFI and MBFI worked together to help communities and healthcare workers adversely affected by the health crisis. The two foundations were responsible for implementing the conglomerate’s Covid-19 response initiatives under their Helping Hands Covid-19 Response program. They gave a total of Php346.4 million as their contribution to the conglomerate’s collective initiatives to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
The program aimed to provide short-term relief and recovery assistance to affected sectors through several initiatives, including the donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) and vehicle transportation to medical frontliners; donation of PPEs to security frontliners, such as soldiers and police officers; donation of food and relief packs to underprivileged families in selected communities; provision of real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kits and antibody rapid test kits to government and private hospitals and local government units; the construction and equipment of molecular laboratories for testing Covid-19 samples and other emerging diseases; and the provision of long-term assistance to communities in the form of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities for schools.
The initiatives also included in-kind donations of learning materials for geographically-isolated schools; the implementation of an amelioration program for visual artists whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic; donation of laptops and tablets for students to adapt to the new normal through blended learning; provision of Risograph and photocopying machines to teachers for the reproduction of learning modules; provision of additional feeding programs for communities; pooled testing for LGUs and communities; and donation of vaccines.
GTFI and MBFI also implemented a robust, medium-term emergency response plan through strategic partnerships, which complemented the existing efforts of the Philippine government and other stakeholders who directly attend to the pressing needs of communities.
In June, GTFI started supporting Project Feed Back, a project of the Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK). Project Feed Back aims to address hunger and malnutrition, and help communities become self-sustaining through the provision of weekly vegetable baskets to select families for twelve weeks. The program intends to create food security by empowering communities to grow their own vegetables and have a more sustainable food source. The project also created platforms for the community members to sell their excess produce.
With a guaranteed weekly market for the communities’ produce for a period of 12 weeks, families were inspired to create backyard gardens so that they could exchange vegetables with their own community members and visitors from nearby towns and cities.
In 2020, Project Feed Back was able to provide a total of 132,500 meals to 1,519 families nourishing 5,942 lives in select barangays of Busuanga, Coron, Palawan, as well as Dumarao, Capiz.