BPI honors employees for their community projects

MAKATI CITY, Philippines – The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) foundation recognized its outstanding employee-volunteers in its fourth BPI BAYAN Awards, an annual awarding ceremony for the successful projects under the said program.

Ryan Makatulad was not expecting to win when he went all the way to Makati City from his home in Palawan for the BPI BAYAN Awards 2015.

Makatulad is the representative of the project Kabuhayan para sa Ina ng Tahanan – one of the three winning projects awarded by the BPI Foundation on June 11 at the Glorietta Activity Center.

“I was really in shock,” said Makatulad while he held onto his award. “I did not expect we would win. I am glad all of our hard work paid off. Everything’s worth it.”

Some of the speakers included Fidelina Corcuera, the Executive Director of BPI Foundation, and Senator Dick Gordon, representing the Philippine Red Cross.

The event was attended by more than a hundred BPI employees from across the nation.

The winning projects were: The Kabuhayan para sa Ina ng Tahanan project by the BPI Batangas Palawan area, the Padayun Oplan Save Tuburan project by the BPI Negros Occidental cluster, and the Saving Money By Going Blue and Green project by the BPI Dumaguete cluster.

The winning projects received 50,000 each, which will be used to continue the progress that the projects have so far made.

The following finalists were given 10,000 each:

1. BPI Family Bank Antipolo-Pasig Ortigas Area

2. BPI and BPI Family Bank Davao Branches

3. General Santos Cluster of Cotabato Central Mindanao Area

4. General & Administrative Shared Services  and Human Resources Department

5. BPI Cebu Area

6. Batangas Palawan

7. Integrated Marketing Group

8. Central Operations Group – Operations Division 1

Charity: both challenging and gratifying

BPI BAYAN, which stands for Bayanihan Para sa Inang Bayan, is the employee engagement or volunteerism program of the bank.

Under this program, employee-volunteers are given the opportunity to implement a project of their choice every year. Projects are usually chosen based on the volunteers’ assessment of the living conditions in their community.

The projects are not funded by BPI. The volunteers either arrange a partnership with a company or dole out money from their own pockets. This proved to be a challenge to volunteers whose budgets are only limited to their basic needs.

“We tried to budget (our money) so we would have some left for our everyday expenses,” said Makatulad referring to the struggles his team had to undergo.

Their money, time, and effort, however, were worth the sacrifice as their project yielded happiness among their beneficiaries.

“Just to see the parents happy is already a big achievement for us,” he said.

A call to involvement and volunteerism

The speakers of the event highlighted the importance of volunteerism in nation-building.

Senator Gordon, in his speech, placed emphasis on taking initiative, stating that “leadership is action."

“We must build a country where all we need is talent, all you need is initiative, and confidence, and caring, and competititveness in order to succeed,” he said.

Corcuera, in an interview, valued the BPI BAYAN Awards, saying that going public with the projects of the BPI foundation is a way to encourage people to “do the same, or something similar.” 

She added: “This is not a job. It’s not like these volunteers have points in their bonuses. This is what you call real volunteerism. These are people who walk their talk and believe in helping” – Rappler.com

Justine Hernandez is a Rappler Intern.