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Metrobank Celebrates 59th Year: P15 Million Worth of Development Assistance Extended to 12 NGOs

As the pandemic and other humanitarian crises continue to demand more financial aid, grant funding and philanthropic giving become more relevant than ever. As the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company’s (Metrobank) celebrates its 59th anniversary, its annual giving-back tradition continues through a PhP 15 million worth of grants turned over to 12 social development partners during the virtual “George S.K. Ty Grants Turnover” held last September 2.

“Our annual ceremony is renamed the ‘George S.K. Ty Grants Turnover’ to honor and perpetuate the legacy of our founding chairman. This grants turnover is one venue where we continue to carry on his values through programs and projects of our social development partners. We continue to believe that these days will be defined by men and women who choose to fight fear with kindness, despair with unselfishness, and trepidation with courage. The generosity of spirit will win the day, bannered by hope and belief in the goodness of men,” said Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) president and GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI) executive director Aniceto M. Sobrepeña.

To adhere to protocols, the event was held virtually attended by key officers and representatives from beneficiary organizations. Serving as Guest of Honor was COVID-19 National Task Force Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar and Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr.

“Metrobank has been among the national government’s most trusted and reliable private sector-partners, especially in carrying out initiatives that aim to help those who have been severely affected by COVID-19 pandemic. The national government is honored to be working side by side with Metrobank which is driven by its generosity, passion, and commitment to serve its countrymen during this difficult time,” said Secretary Galvez.

Coursed through Metrobank’s social arm, MBFI and Ty family’s GTFI, this year’s batch of beneficiary organizations received financial aid to implement their programs on health, education, livelihood, and sustainable feeding.

The grant-making initiatives are aligned with the attainment of specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to strategically contributing to meaningful and sustainable solutions to the country’s social development challenges.

Advocacy for Hand-Hygiene Culture Intensified

In 1979, Dr. Ty acquired the majority stocks of the Foundation’s healthcare affiliate—Manila Doctors Hospital— and had from thereon directed the Hospital to become not only a leading health and wellness center, but also an institution that provides a wide array of social services and subsidies for financially-challenged patients; outreach and medical missions; as well as health-related interventions in adopted communities nationwide. Thus, health is on top of the priorities in the grant-making initiatives of MBFI.

MBFI invested in constructing hand hygiene facilities that is modified in compliance with the government health and safety protocols to heighten pandemic preparedness for the safe return of the students as well as school personnel. This was done in partnership with the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) for its #LCFWinS: Lingap Eskwela sa Pandemya Program. This time, we will construct more facilities that will cater to the public by supporting Manila Water Foundation’s (MWF) integrated Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Program.

Two 3-faucet hybrid hand hygiene facilities will be constructed in a public hospital in Metro Manila and a public market in Cebu. This partnership between MBFI and MWF aims to contribute to SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation).

Equipping More Filipino Educators, Learners, and Youth

Dr. Ty recognized accessible quality education as a driving force in the country’s social development. Hence, it is no wonder that funding programs and projects that support SDG 5 (Quality Education) is also a major component in the grant-making initiatives of the two Foundations.

To sustain the support for learners and educators in adapting to the challenges of blended learning, MBFI, through its Project TEACH or “Taking-up Education Access Challenges with a Heart” program, printers, copiers, and risograph machines will be donated to 45 Department of Education public schools in Laguna, Iloilo, and Davao del Norte, benefitting an estimated total of 30,500 students.

Meanwhile, the grant support to Communication Foundation for Asia will produce digitalized blended learning modules on Reading, Math, Science, Media Literacy with Values Integration. This project will assist 125 students from the pre-school to grade 3 levels and 25 of their teachers.

MBFI will also continue to assist underprivileged yet academically outstanding students in the fulfillment of their dreams. Through the International Bazaar Foundation and the Department of Foreign Affairs Ladies Foundation, Inc., nine (9) students pursuing tertiary education will be supported under their respective scholarship programs.

GTFI, for its part, will continue to equip underprivileged yet deserving youth with skills that will help them gain immediate employment under its Scholarships for Technical-Vocational Education Program (STEP). A scholarship grant will assist 20 students from the Toyota Motor Philippines School of Technology (TMP TECH) to finish a two-year general automotive servicing course. This course will allow them to have learning sessions, train at a Toyota dealership and attain Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) national certification, leading to better employment opportunities.

TMP TECH is a world-class technical training school at the Toyota Special Economic Zone in Santa Rosa, Laguna, which Dr. Ty has established.

Livelihood Opportunities for Communities Intensified

To contribute to realizing SDGs 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), and 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), MBFI deemed it necessary to support programs and projects on livelihood. These will provide opportunities for underprivileged families to be self-sustaining and break away from the cycle of dependence and poverty in the long run.

MBFI, once again, renewed its eight-year partnership with the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation by supporting the “Adopt-A-Fisherman” program that aims to assist 150 fisherfolk families affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses in the Bicol Region. To support their livelihood, 24 motorized boats and five (5) self-paddle boats will be turned over before the year ends.

Another organization supported is the Lokal Lab, a Siargao-based non-government organization that champions sustainability and community empowerment. The grant will provide opportunities for agricultural production and promotion and continued technical assistance for a local community market called “Lokal Tabo network,” specifically for 50 women farmers, producers, and artisans.

Programs that benefit women and girls are also on top of the priorities of the last social development partner under the livelihood thrust. The grant for CARE Philippines will support the “aGAP sa Batangas” project to improve the economic well-being of marginalized households whose livelihoods were doubly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Taal Volcano eruptions.

Around 250 households in the municipality of Balete in Batangas will be provided with livelihood starter kits that include vegetable seedlings, fertilizers, tools, and information materials.

Addressing Food Security and Resiliency

The current pandemic changed the dynamics of food systems, and food-related issues such as food security and malnutrition became more prevalent. Partner organizations supported will respond to the needs of communities and aim to provide sustainable feeding to those who have lost their jobs and means of livelihood.

MBFI will support International Institute of Rural Reconstruction‘s project called “Gulayan sa Barangay Kontra COVID.” Community gardens will be propagated within two schools in the City of Imus and Silang, Cavite and 100 NutRelief packs with WASH kits will be distributed. This food security and resiliency program will benefit 140 families whose health and nourishment are impacted by the pandemic.

GTFI, on the other hand, will continue its support to two existing partners also advocating for food security. This includes Advancement for Rural Kids’ “Project Feedback,” a vegetable exchange program aiming to solve hunger in five weeks. The grant covers the implementation of Project Feedback’s 6thwave in five communities in the province of Iloilo, benefitting 1,750 families.

Lastly, GTFI will support the second phase of the Communities for Alternative Food Ecosystems Initiative’s “Grow-It-Yourself Feeding and Gardening Program.” The grant aims to target 300 families in Cebu City and engage them in organic farming.

“We all know that no one person or organization can address the needs of our fellowmen around us. A network, however, of like-minded organizations can vastly contribute to our nation’s recovery and develop new sustainable opportunities following the pandemic. Doing what we can where we are and doing it together will make a difference,” Sobrepeña concluded.

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