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GT Foundation, Inc. and Metrobank Foundation, Inc. virtually kicked off the 2021 Bags of Blessing. The kickoff ceremony was led by (L-R) Metrobank Group chairman Arthur Ty, GTFI honorary chair Mary Ty, Federal Land chairman and GTFI president Alfred Ty, MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña, GTFI vice president Anjanette Dy-Buncio, and NASSA/Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Antonio Labiao. Their hand gesture in the photo signifies “Hope for Prosperity.”.

As part of its Chinese New Year celebrations, the GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI), together with Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI), virtually kicked off their gift-giving tradition called ‘Bags of Blessing’ on February 11, 2021.

In partnership with the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, through the assistance of select Metrobank branches, 18,000 families from 33 sites and 3 sectors will receive food packages by presenting their issued vouchers in identified supermarkets from February 12 to February 26. The priority beneficiaries chosen this year are families whose source of living and income was affected by the ongoing pandemic, survivors of recent natural calamities, members of indigenous peoples (IPs) tribes, and select teachers, soldiers, and police officers.

The kickoff ceremony was led by Metrobank Group chairman Arthur Ty, Federal Land chairman and GTFI president Alfred Ty, GTFI honorary chair Mary Ty, GTFI vice president Anjanette Dy-Buncio and MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña. Joining them were National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Antonio Labiao, NASSA/Caritas Philippines communications and partnership development coordinator Jing Henderson, and NASSA/Caritas Philippines head of resource generation and mobilization officer Analyn Julian.

“Today marks yet another milestone for us at the GT Foundation as we embark to widen the reach of the Bags of Blessing targeting an increased number of beneficiaries, from the usual 10,000 families to 18,000 families in 33 sites this time,” shared GTFI president Alfred V. Ty. “The sharing of Bags of Blessing is not only about gift-giving and keeping Chinese traditions alive but also to contribute to the national goal to curb hunger. Through our little contribution, we aim to bring food to the tables for the nutritional needs of the average Filipino earner,” he added.

“Nang nabalitaan ko na isa ako sa makakatanggap ng Bags of Blessing, labis akong nagalak kasi sa panahon ngayon napakahirap nang maghanap ng trabaho, Ngayong nahinto ako sa pagtatrabaho, malaking tulong ito para sa pamilya ko (When I heard that I will be one of the recipients of the Bags of Blessing, I was filled with joy since it’s difficult to find a job during this period. Now that I’ve stopped working, this is a big help for my family),” said Reynaldo Baria, a beneficiary from Iloilo City.

To this, MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña cites the jubilee year for Christianity in the country, the theme of which reflects the Bags of Blessings’ aspiration. “This year, we’re commemorating the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines with the theme, “Gifted to Give.” Bags of Blessing is the brainchild of the late Metrobank Group founder and chairman Dr. George Ty Siao Kian. It is inspired by the traditional ang pao, a red envelope containing cash used to deliver best wishes and luck. Instead of cash-giving, specially designed red bags containing P1,000 worth of grocery items are distributed to indigent families. Bags of Blessing carries the same message: that the language of giving transcends differences and prevails even over tough situations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo mentions NASSA/Caritas Philippines’ Alay Kapwa program whose mission strongly identifies with the purpose of Bags of Blessing. “Nagpapasalamat kami sapagkat ang GT Foundation ay aming naging partner sa gawaing ito, at ating maisakatuparan at maisabuhay muli ang isa sa mga hangarin ng Alay Kapwa program: ang makatulong sa ating mga kababayan lalung-lalo na ngayon sa panahon ng pandemya. Isang inspirasyon ito para sa maraming may kakayanang makatulong sa ating kapwa. (We’re grateful that GT Foundation became our partner in this initiative, and we’ll be able to fulfill and live out the aspiration of the Alay Kapwa program: to help our fellowmen especially during this time of pandemic. This is an inspiration to those who have the capacity to help).”

Sites chosen this year are the City of Manila, City of San Juan, Caloocan City, Quezon City, Parañaque City, Navotas City, Valenzuela City, Makati City, Taguig City, Malabon City, Pasay City, Pasig City, Mandaluyong City, Muntinlupa City, Las Piñas City, Marikina City, and Pateros for the National Capital Region (NCR). Balanga City, Bataan; City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; Batangas City; Bacoor City; General Trias City; Imus City; Biñan City; City of San Pedro; City of Santa Rosa; Iloilo City; Baguio City; Antipolo City; Cebu City; Mandaue City; Lapu-Lapu City; and Davao City will comprise the countryside.

Thousands of students, faculty and staff from five public schools in Metro Manila can now look forward to new handwashing facilities installed in strategic locations in their schools that will help them fight COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.

League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) member and project sponsor, Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI), formally turned over five new 10-faucet hygiene facilities to Mataas na Paaralang Neptali A. Gonzales and Addition Hills Integrated School in Mandaluyong City, Kapitolyo High School in Pasig City, and Quezon City Science High School and Ramon Magsaysay (Cubao) High School in Quezon City on December 17, and on a virtual ceremony on December 29.

This is under LCF’s initiative, LCFWinS: Lingap Eskwela sa Pandemya, implemented by Manila Water Foundation, which aims to support the Department of Education (DepEd)’s WASH in Schools (WinS) program.

In a message, Metrobank Foundation President Aniceto Sobrepeña shared that MBFI has been working hard to support the fight against COVID-19 and is delighted to support DepEd’s WASH in Schools program. “We at the Metrobank Foundation, together with our sister foundation GT Foundation, have recognized the need to contribute to the Philippine nation’s fight against COVID-19, by creating a multi-million-peso COVID fund to support our partners in their respective sectors,” he said. “The LCFWinS: Lingap Eskwela sa Pandemya program is one of the significant partnerships that we in the MBFI have for this year as we continuously support the WASH in Schools program of DepEd,” he further added.

Gigi Bullanday, Principal III of Addition Hills Integrated School, recalled the school’s transformation since the facility was constructed. “’Yung area na ito ay tambakan ng mga sirang upuan. Dito rin po nilalagay ang mga basura noon (This area used to be a dump site of broken chairs and trash,” she said. “This is the best place to build the WASH facility—something beautiful and useful,” she added.

With the new facility, Bullanday said that this prompted their school to improve on their health and safety protocols. “Babaguhin po natin ang aming protocol. Hindi lang po magse-spray ng alcohol ang aming visitors, parents and stakeholders—lahat po ng aming guests, ire-require po naming maghugas ng mga kamay bago pumasok sa school. Para naman po safe tayong lahat (We will change our protocol. We will not only require our visitors, parents, and stakeholders to sanitize with alcohol, but to also wash their hands before entering the school. This is so we can all be safe.),” she said.

“Thank you so much, League of Corporate Foundations, Metrobank Foundation, and Manila Water Foundation for giving us this facility. Iingatan po namin ito dahil malaking tulong po ito sa aming paaralan (We will take care of this as this is a huge help for our school),” Principal Bullanday said in a closing message.

The handwashing facilities under the LCFWinS program can be operated by a pedal, and has a one-meter distance between faucets, to observe physical distancing. It also has a lowered sink which can be easily used by children.

Upholding health and safety above all, the handwashing facilities under the LCFWinS program can be operated by a pedal. There is a one-meter distance between faucets, to observe physical distancing. It also has a lowered sink which can be easily used by children. Each facility is built with ten faucets with soap containers and installed with signages about COVID-19 precautionary measures, proper handwashing, and the responsible use of water. The turnover last December 29 is the first of many projects with MBFI under LCFWinS. Under the program, MBFI will be donating a total of 10 hygiene facilities and 2,000 pieces of hygiene kits to another 10 schools.

To date, the LCFWinS program has benefitted more than 96,000 individuals.

GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI) and Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) reached out to thousands of families affected by the onslaught of recent typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. Implemented under its disaster relief and response program “Helping Hands,” the donation amounted to PhP 6 million.

GT Foundation and Metrobank Foundation, through its disaster response program “Helping Hands,” donate relief assistance worth PhP6 million to 60,000 individuals hardly affected by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. Photo shows Metrobankers in South Luzon branches distributing food, water and hygiene kits to residents of Lopez, Quezon on November 19, 2020.

It is expected that a total of 60,000 individuals from hardly hit-provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Quezon, Batangas, Rizal, Isabela, and Cagayan, including Marikina City were to be given packed meals and relief goods.

From November 19 to 26, Metrobank branches in South Luzon were mobilized to distribute relief composed of rice, noodles, canned goods, water and hygiene kits—all packaged in reusable pails. They were able to assist 400 families from Lopez, Quezon and Lucena, City; 400 families from Lobo, Batangas and Batangas City; and 800 families from Guinobatan, Albay. Relief distribution will take place in the coming days to assist 700 families in Camarines Norte and 500 families in Camarines Sur.

On the other hand, the same assistance was rolled-out by the Metrobank North Luzon Branches from November 20 to 25 assisting 600 families in Cauayan City and Ilagan City, Isabela, and 600 families in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.

GTFI and MBFI also provided financial support for a soup kitchen implemented by Manila Broadcasting Company DZRH’s Operation Tulong. The first round of the feeding activity was conducted in Virac and Bato, Catanduanes from November 10 to 16.

Portions of the donation were also coursed through Philippine STAR’s corporate social responsibility arm Operation Damayan, Alagang Kapatid Foundation, RMN Foundation, Operating Blessing Foundation Philippines and the Philippines National Police’s food bank.

Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings sustain support in curbing COVID-19 cases through a renewed partnership with GoNegosyo’s Project ARK, now focused on running pooled Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing. Coursed through Metrobank Foundation (MBFI), the companies’ corporate social responsibility arm, and the Ty family’s GT Foundation (GTFI), PhP4.5 million was donated to implement at least 3,000 runs of pooled testing for select individuals in Pasay City. GTFI president Alfred Ty led a virtual coordination meeting with GoNegosyo founder and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion and Pasay City mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano on October 13 to discuss the initiative.

The pooled testing will compliment the local government’s efforts to screen micro and small entrepreneurs like carinderia and sari-sari store owners, public wet market tenants, and tricycle and jeepney drivers.

Earlier this year, MBFI and GTFI donated PhP10 million to purchase and distribute 22,220 antibody rapid test kits to the cities of Pasig, San Juan, Santa Rosa in Laguna, General Trias and Imus in Cavite and Lucban in Quezon. The kits were used to identify active COVID-19 cases and to determine recovered patients as potential donors for plasma therapy.

The donation is part of the consolidated PhP270 million contribution of the group to fund and support efforts to combat the pandemic and help those in need. The financial assistance has covered the following: construction of 10 molecular laboratories; purchase of personal protective equipment for healthcare and security frontliners; donation of RT-PRC testing kits to select government hospitals; support for Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation’s “Project Ugnayan;” implementation of feeding interventions to underprivileged families; installation of handwashing facilities to schools; provision of laptops and tablets to educators and learners; distribution of equipment for the reproduction of modules and learning materials; support the livelihoods of various communities and donation of 30 units of Toyota Vios to DOH for the mobility of healthcare frontliners and local government hospitals, among others.

Metrobank Foundation donated PhP18 million to Southern Philippines Medical Center through Ateneo de Davao University for the establishment of a molecular laboratory in Davao City. Photo above shows the proposed design of the facility. Once constructed and equipped, it will be able to run 200 samples per day with a turn-around time of three operating days.

Sustaining its mission to aid the government in responding to the need for expanded testing for COVID-19 and for other emerging and re-emerging infections, the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) signs a memorandum of agreement with Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) for the construction of a fully equipped molecular laboratory with negative pressure at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City. MBFI donated an amount of PhP 18 million to construct the laboratory, capable of testing 200 samples per day for an 8-hour shift and with a result turn-around time of three operating days.

A virtual signing ceremony was held on October 1 with the presence of MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, AdDU president Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, and SPMC OIC Medical Center Chief Dr. Ricardo Audan.

The facility will be established and operated in accordance with all applicable laws, including the standards of the DOH, Food and Drug Administration, and other applicable regulatory agencies and shall be accredited by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) as a COVID-19 laboratory facility.

To date, MBFI has supported the construction and equipping of 10 molecular laboratories in the country amounting to a total of PhP61 million. These include the largest molecular laboratory capable of detecting COVID-19 and other contagious diseases at the former Philippine Red Cross Headquarters in Port Area Manila. MBFI also supported the “Test, Trace, and Treat” Network through the Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc., the healthcare arm of the Ayala Group, in building seven Biosafety Level 2 modular laboratories in Qualimed hospitals. Another molecular laboratory will soon be inaugurated at the Manila Doctors Hospital through a donation from GT Foundation—the Ty family foundation.

Said donation is part of the consolidated PhP220 million contribution of Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings to fund and support efforts to combat the pandemic and help those in need. The financial assistance has covered the following: purchase of personal protective equipment for healthcare and security frontliners; donation of RT-PRC testing kits, through Manila HealthTek, to select government hospitals; support for “Project Ugnayan” led by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation; distribution of meals and food packs to underprivileged families; donation of antibody rapid test kits through GoNegosyo’s Project ARK; construction of molecular laboratories; and donation of 30 units of Toyota Vios to DOH for the mobility of healthcare frontliners and local government hospitals, among others.

“Serving the people, securing the land.” Such is the byword of the uniformed men and women who are in the frontlines safeguarding the nation from all forms of threats.

It is the same rallying cry that continues to inspire Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. as he takes on, perhaps, one of the biggest responsibilities in his storied career. He was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the Chief Implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) in charge of overseeing the country’s National Action Plan (NAP) against the COVID-19 pandemic.

This role also entails enforcing the policies issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. This puts Sec. Galvez at the helm of the government’s operational arm in confronting and mitigating the impacts of the long-drawn health crisis.

Sec. Carlito Galvez heads the National Task Force in implementing the country’s action plan to combat the COVID-19.

A retired Chief of Staff, he is no stranger to daunting tasks that come with leadership roles. Galvez was the Commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) where he led the liberation of Marawi City from the hands of the ISIS-inspired Maute group. He was also the Chairman of the Government of the Philippines Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (GPH-CCCH), a mechanism under the GPH and Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace process that ensures potential situations of conflict between the two parties are resolved immediately. In 2018, his name made headlines again upon being selected as the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.

In a crisis where critical elements are at play, Sec. Galvez’s duty as the Chief Implementer involves prioritizing the welfare of millions of Filipinos, particularly in protecting their health and safety. This job, he admits, is a challenging one, as there are times when he feels the weight of the job on his shoulders given its scope and magnitude.

Despite these, what prevails is his drive to serve his countrymen. Sec. Galvez recalled how he did not have second thoughts when the President offered him the post of Presidential Peace Adviser and, later, as Chief Implementer.

Sec. Galvez addresses the public and the media

“I knew that the position would give me another opportunity to serve our fellow Filipinos after my stint with the military. This was the same feeling I had when the President appointed me to be the NAP’s Chief Implementer. I knew that the job would be a very challenging one, but I wholeheartedly accepted it,” he shared.

Game Plan Towards a Better Normal for Filipinos

Filipinos from all walks of life have grappled with the impact of the pandemic over the past months. The NTF thus set in motion a multi-pronged plan to address issues across all fronts.

According to Sec. Galvez, one of the key steps undertaken by the task force is to ensure the NAP’s effective implementation at the national level, and cascading it to the local level. This involves engaging the public and obtaining their full support.

The NAP is anchored on the End-to-End “T3” Strategy which means trace, test, and treat. It is divided into various lines of effort, namely prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, and reintegration, which will enable the nation to adapt to the new normal.

Now on its second phase, the NAP seeks to strike a balance between ensuring the health and safety of the people and reviving the nation’s economy.

Working closely with partners and relevant institutions to carry out necessary interventions to address the health crisis

While the road to recovery might seem elusive, Sec. Galvez stated that the strong collaboration among stakeholders brings the Philippines closer to its goal. Case in point, the task force’s partnership with the private sector and local government units paved the way for the donation of more than two million personal protective equipment to frontliners, and the establishment of testing laboratories, swabbing centers, and quarantine facilities across the regions.

“We are focused on further strengthening the government’s partnership with the private sector, whose invaluable contribution has enabled us to provide better protection for our front liners and establish more health quarantine facilities nationwide,” he said.

Monitoring the situation and putting in place measures to curb the spread of the virus

He emphasized how the government continues to ramp up the country’s testing and contact tracing capabilities, provide support to local businesses, and encourage greater public participation in the government’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Further, Sec. Galvez understands the plight of Filipinos as they face an unseen, formidable enemy. He recognizes that everyone’s lives have been altered one way or another in the transition to a new normal.

With the many challenges the nation is facing, he stressed that he, along with his colleagues in the National Task Force, are allies of the people. Most of all, he, too, is a Filipino who must face the day-to-day challenges brought about by the global health crisis.

“Aside from being a former soldier and peace worker, I am also a husband, father, and brother. This is also what motivates me to do my job to the best of my ability. I know that what I am doing will not only have an impact on the people that I serve, but also on my family. I always ask myself the question ‘Will this measure or policy protect my family?” Sec. Galvez said.

Amidst all the challenges, his message to all Filipinos is one of optimism and encouragement.

The fight is far from over but he believes that people must not lose hope—the Philippines can get back on its feet if everyone continues to unite and help each other.

This is the reason, Galvez said, why the government is now focused on addressing the situation of the nation’s most vulnerable sectors, especially locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who have been infected with the disease.

“The government is doing its best to help our LSIs and ROFs. They have gone through a lot. It is our responsibility not only to ensure their safe return to their home provinces, but also to help them recover from the trauma they have experienced,” he pointed out.

According to the chief implementer, aside from addressing the health conditions of these LSIs and ROFs, there is also a need to put equal importance on the state of their mental health which has also been affected by the health crisis.

“We must not only help them recover physically, but also assist them in coping with the psychological impact of the disease. The physical and mental well-being of patients should go hand in hand,” he stressed.

Galvez noted that LGUs will play a crucial role in this effort, as they will have to help create an environment where LSIs and ROFs will feel secure upon their return to their communities and not feel discriminated upon.

He said that it is through this integrated and holistic strategy that the government hopes to contain the spread of the disease, identify, isolate and treat patients as quickly as possible, and prevent the further loss of lives.

Sec. Galvez has this to say, “Our nation and the rest of the world are facing a crisis like we have never seen before. It has not only impacted our health, but also our social order, economy, peace and security. All aspects of our life as citizens have been upended, as we undergo the difficult process of coping with these changes. I have no doubt, however, that we shall overcome this pandemic, and emerge better, stronger and more resilient than before. We can do this by working together and looking out for each other. Tapang. Malasakit. Bayanihan. Together, we heal as one, we recover as one.”

The virtual turnover ceremony was led by Metrobank and MBFI chairman Arthur Ty, Metrobank president and MBFI trustee Fabian Dee and MBFI president and GTFI executive director Aniceto Sobrepeña on September 4, 2020 which was attended by key officers and representatives from beneficiary organizations.

Empowerment through dynamic partnerships has been at the heart of Metrobank’s anniversary for the many decades. This 2020, this rings true as it celebrates 58 meaningful years of being the people’s ally in progress. A total of PhP 30 million worth of grants was turned over to social development partners during its annual giving-back tradition, “Anniversary Grants Turnover Ceremony,” on September 4. To adhere to protocols, the event was held virtually attended by key officers and representatives from beneficiary organizations. Serving as Guest of Honor was Department of Education (DepEd) secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones.

Department of Education secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones

During this unprecedented period, Metrobank shares in the aspiration of helping Filipinos, most especially the vulnerable and underserved, to get back on their feet. To sustain its commitment to help the national government in addressing the effects and impact of the health crisis to many lives, said donation is added to the previous PhP220 million donation of the company which funded and supported efforts to combat the pandemic.

“The theme of this year’s event is collaboration. In these unusual times, our actions may be physically limited but through strategic partnerships, we can still achieve our objectives by working together,” said Metrobank and MBFI chairman Arthur Ty. “We at Metrobank have always looked at our anniversaries as an opportunity to give back and help the vulnerable and marginalized. There is a lot of need in our country right now but we hope that these small steps lead us to look to the future with some optimism and hope. And we’re grateful to our development partners for helping make this vision a reality,” he added.

Coursed through its social arm, Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) and Ty family’s GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI), this year’s batch of beneficiary organizations received financial aid to implement their programs on health, education, arts, livelihood, and nutrition.

One with the League to Promote Hand Hygiene

As a member of the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF), MBFI will support #LCFWinS: Lingap Eskwela sa Pandemya Program. Collaborating with fellow corporate foundations, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) facilities will be constructed in select public schools nationwide in compliance to the ‘Guidelines on the Required Health Standards in Basic Education Offices and Schools’ (DepEd Order No. 014 s. 2020) which covers the protection of health, safety, and well-being of students, teachers, and personnel. To complement the facility, hygiene kits and supplies will also be provided.

MBFI’s donation will benefit almost 29 thousand students from 20 schools in Pasig, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, and Marikina, including La Union, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, Zamboanga City and Davao City.

Paddling Farther to Reach More Geographically-Isolated Schools

To reach out to more geographically-isolated schools, MBFI renewed its 7-year partnership with the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation. This time, not only to provide physical access to education for schoolchildren in the form or boats and school dormitories, MBFI will also provide in-kind donation of printers, copiers and risograph machines to aid teachers in the reproduction of the modules and learning materials. The donation shall benefit more than 20 thousand students from 39 schools in the provinces of Cebu, Romblon, Zamboanga Sibugay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Pampanga, Zambales, Bulacan, Basilan, Siargao, Tarlac, Capiz, Zamboanga del Sur, and Sulu.

Photo from the Department of Education

Meanwhile, another donation of printers, copiers and risograph machines will go directly to select Department of Education public schools to benefit more than 23 thousand students from Manila, Navotas, Makati, Laguna, Sarangani, Leyte, Antique, Dipolog, Nueva Ecija, Iligan, Cavite, Iloilo, and Tarlac.

Art Community Gets Boost of Support

To further solidify support for the local art community, MBFI extended cash assistance to 200 visual artists whose main source of living was impacted by the crisis. Dubbed as MADE CARES (Metrobank Art & Design Excellence–Community Aid and Relief for Emergency Situations), past awardees of MADE Painting and Sculpture Recognition Programs, including eligible Filipino painters and sculptors have applied for the amelioration program.

Ministry to Curb Poverty

Another partnership renewed is that of the International Care Ministries (ICM). As a non-profit organization, ICM provides help, hope and change to impoverished families in Visayas and Mindanao. Through their integrated poverty solutions, 100 thousand ultra-poor Filipinos are assisted each year.

The donation will support their Transform and Prevail programs aimed at training and mentoring families living in ultra-poor communities on livelihood building skills. Transform is ICM’s core strategic program, designed to address the wide range of needs faced by families living in ultrapoverty. Transform starts by creating supportive environments for hope to grow, then invests in building capacity for sustainable progress out of poverty. Prevail, on the other hand, is a support network for savings groups that promotes sustainability towards greater financial inclusion. The assistance will cater to 222 households (1,110 individuals) from six (6) communities in the province Cebu.

‘Kindness Kitchen’ Goes South

From its previous donation to support the ‘Kindness Kitchen’ program of Ronald McDonald’s House Charities of the Philippines (RMHC) that served hot meals to 40 thousand individuals from NCR last April 2020, MBFI will fund additional feeding activities. This time, families and frontliners from the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu Lapu, and Davao province will be reached out, other than NCR.

GT Foundation Steps Up Tech-Voc Program

GTFI, the family foundation of the late Dr. George Ty Siao Kian, believes that quality education and equitable healthcare are basic needs that should be made accessible to the underprivileged. Since 2009, philanthropic initiatives of the family are realized through GTFI’s strategic development programs in the areas of health, education, and technology and innovation.

Through its Scholarships for Technical-Vocational Education Program (STEP), out-of-school youth and underprivileged students can gain access to quality education that enable them to gain immediate employment. Scholars of some of the best technical-vocational education and training schools in the country with industry tie-ups for guaranteed employment are supported. The virtual event served as an opportunity to renew the partnership with Dualtech Training Center, Don Bosco Technical Institute, and Punlaan School. Over a period of three (3) years, 150 Dualtech scholars will be supported to meet the manpower demands of specific industries. On the other hand, the 3-year partnership with the Don Bosco Technical Institute will support the technical skills education of 135 scholars from their 3 centers. Lastly, 24 scholars of Punlaan School will have the opportunity to gain proper skills training on hospitality and culinary arts through a 4-year agreement.

Extending Healthcare Privileges to Indigents

Manila Doctors Hospital (MDH) serves as the healthcare affiliate of MBFI which offers social services to indigent patients such as hospitalization and consultation subsidies, medical missions, and other health-related interventions in select communities. Through the annual financial support of GTFI, the corporate social responsibility programs of MDH such as quality non-discriminatory inpatient and outpatient services and surgical operations will reach out to more indigent Filipinos in need of medical assistance.

Laptops and Tablets for Blended Learning

To complement the national government’s groundwork for a blended learning approach for the school year, GTFI launched Project PERFORM (Provision of Equipment to Reinforce Facility of Online and Remote Modality of Learning). The program is targeting to give laptops and tablets to more than 600 qualified students from public and techvoc schools, as well as GTFI and MBFI scholars.

“Sharing has been at the core of Metrobank’s anniversary for the last 58 years. Grants turned over to our partners are intended to benefit those whom they are helping. Our donations are expressions of gratefulness ingrained in our institutional culture,” expressed MBFI president and GTFI executive director Aniceto Sobrepeña. “As we pursue these ideals, we do so honoring the memory of our founder Dr. George Ty Siao Kian. He envisioned a bequest that would go well beyond his lifetime, enabling and ennobling men to build a world where sound health, quality education, and productive lives are everyone’s portion,” he concluded.

The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) allocates PhP 1 million to aid the local art community which suffered loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through its program called Metrobank Art & Design Excellence-Community Aid and Relief for Emergency Situations or MADE CARES, MBFI aims to support 200 visual artists with a cash assistance worth PhP 5,000.00 each. MADE CARES is part of MBFI’s initiatives in reaching out to its stakeholders during this current health crisis.

Eligible Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries who are qualified for the cash assistance include past awardees of the annual MADE Painting and Sculpture recognition programs, as well as non-awardees who are Filipino painters and sculptors aged 18 years old and above. MBFI will also prioritize practicing visual artists whose income-generating art projects or livelihood were affected by the pandemic.

Painters and sculptors who receive regular salary from a public or private institution; are recipients of pension and other cash assistance from art and cultural institutions; or are currently involved in any income-generating projects are not eligible for the grant.

Call for Grant Application

A total amount of PhP 115,000.00 was given last August 6, 2020 to the first batch of beneficiaries, composed of 23 members of the MADE-Network of Winners, the alumni organization of past MADE awardees.

The grant application for the remaining 177 slots is now open for both awardees and non-awardees of MADE. To register, applicants must fill-out the application form which can be accessed through The deadline for submission of application is on August 23, 2020.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings, through MBFI, donated PhP220 million to fund and support efforts to combat the health crisis and help those in need. The amount was allocated for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to benefit healthcare and security frontliners; support for the production of RT-PCR testing kits through the Manila HealthTek; “Project Ugnayan” led by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation; distribution of meals and food packs to underprivileged families; construction and equipping of molecular laboratories for the testing of cases in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Red Cross, and Ayala Group; and Go Negosyo’s Project ARK (Antibody Rapid test Kits) of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Foundation. Just recently, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation donated 30 VIOS units for the mobility of healthcare frontliners of DOH and local government hospitals.

For further details, interested participants may contact Ms. Badet Macaraig through [email protected]; or visit MADE Facebook page @MADECompetition.

GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI) donated PhP1 million to Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK) for their project Feed Back—a vegetable farming program during this time of pandemic aimed at stemming hunger, keeping families healthy and together, and making communities achieve food security and resiliency. The donation will particularly benefit 416 families from the farming and fishing communities located in barangay Bogtong, Busuanga, Palawan; barangay Borac, Coron, Palawan; and barangay Traciano, Dumarao, Capiz. A virtual ceremonial signing of the Pledge of Donation was held on July 24 led by GTFI executive director and Metrobank Foundation president Aniceto Sobrepeña, ARK CEO Ayesha Vera-Yu; ARK trustee Philip Soliven; and GTFI assistant executive director Nicanor Torres, Jr.

“I am very thankful that GT Foundation partnered with us on this. Thank you for wanting to make sure that our kapwa (co) farmers, kapwa fisher folks, kapwa Filipinos are not going hungry and that they are securing their health particularly at this time of the pandemic,” said Vera-Yu.

In a span of 12 weeks, Feed Back will distribute vegetable baskets to participating farmers and fisher folks enabling them of three meals for a family of four. To ensure sustainability, the program’s next phase aims to empower the communities to grow their own produce for their household consumption at the same time create opportunities for them to earn a living by selling their excess produce to neighboring villages and towns. This will secure a family’s food, good health and enable them to participate in a secondary market.

“We have been praying that we get involved in agriculture and school-nutrition. The fact that we needed to do something to help our rural farmers and fisher folks to have something to eat during lockdown is a very important subject. Allow us to be able to do something in the areas that we would have wanted to move into,” said Sobrepeña.

The donation is part of over a PhP220 million contribution by Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings Group to fund and support efforts to combat the pandemic and help those in need. The amount was allocated for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to benefit healthcare and security frontliners; “Project Ugnayan” led by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation; distribution of meals and food packs to underprivileged families; construction and equipping of molecular laboratories for the testing of cases in partnership with the Department of Health, Philippine Red Cross, and Ayala Group; and Go Negosyo’s Project ARK (Antibody Rapid test Kits) of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Foundation. Just recently, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation donated 30 units of Toyota Vios to DOH for the mobility of healthcare frontliners and local government hospitals.

Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings, through Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) and GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI), donated PhP 5.6 million to Manila HealthTek, Inc., a private research and development company, for the distribution of UP-developed COVID-19 Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) detection kits. A total of 3,800 kits will be donated to the UP National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), Maria Reyna-Xavier University Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City, and Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) in San Fernando City, La Union.

A virtual ceremonial signing of the Deed of Donation with Manila HealthTek, Inc. and beneficiary institutions was held on July 9 through the presence of HealthTek CEO Dr. Raul Destura, UP-NIH executive director and 2019 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-de La Paz, Xavier University president Fr. Roberto Yap, Maria Reyna-Xavier University Hospital OIC Director Sr. Evelyn Aguilar, and ITRMC Molecular Biology Laboratory section head Dr. Jimmy Rosales. It was Dr. Destura who led the team from UP-NIH and the Philippine Genome Center in the development of these low-cost kits.

“We have been working hard in supporting various initiatives to address and combat the effects of the pandemic since the start of the lockdown. Given the need for a gold standard in testing, we are privileged to support the very first Philippine developed testing kits for COVID19,” said MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepena. “We commend and admire the works of our local experts led by Dr. Destura and his team, together with the UP-NIH in the development, testing and production of these kits,” he added.

The donation is part of over a P220 million contribution by Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings Group to fund and support efforts to combat the pandemic and help those in need. The amount was allocated for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to benefit healthcare and security frontliners; “Project Ugnayan” led by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation; distribution of meals and food packs to underprivileged families; construction and equipping of molecular laboratories for the testing of cases in partnership with the Department of Health, Philippine Red Cross, and Ayala Group; and Go Negosyo’s Project ARK (Antibody Rapid test Kits) of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship Foundation. Just recently, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation donated 30 units of Toyota Vios to DOH for the mobility of healthcare frontliners and local government hospitals.

Metrobank Foundation, Inc.

10th floor, Annex Building
Metrobank Plaza, Sen Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City 1200

(02) 8857-9746 / (02) 8898-8855
(02) 8818-5656 / (02) 8750-0837


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