As part of its initiatives to contribute in the rehabilitation of communities affected by super typhoon Yolanda, newly built disaster-resilient school buildings were inaugurated by the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) in a series of turnover ceremonies recently in Palo, Leyte. The project was in partnership with Plan International Philippines, Inc., Municipal Government of Palo, Leyte, and the Department of Education, supported by Orix Miyauchi Foundation, Orix Metro Leasing and Finance Corporation, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation, and Toyota Motor Thailand.
In this batch of turnover ceremonies, recipients of the new school buildings were Caloogan Elementary School, Palo National High School, and Arado Elementary School. This is the last batch of schools that were inaugurated by the Metrobank Group, following previous turnovers held in the municipalities of Balangiga and Guiuan in Eastern Samar and in the municipalities of Cabarasan Daku, San Isidro and San Antonio in Palo, Leyte making it a total of 25 classroom donations.
Present during the inauguration were MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña; MBFI executive vice president Elvira Ong-Chan; Orix Metro Leasing and Finance Corporation president Protacio Bantayan; Orix Metro Leasing and Finance Corporation director Fumihiko Sato; Toyota Motor Philippine Foundation Assistant Vice President Ronald Gaspar; Metrobank senior vice president and Visayas region head Vicente Jandayan. The local government unit was represented by Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla; while Plan International was represented by its interim country director Maja Cubarrubia; and the Department of Education was represented by Eastern Visayas regional director Dr. Luisa Bautista-Yu.
“We made sure that we will be able to visit your area as we turn over these school buildings to cater to the needs of the students and help build their future,” said MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña. “Education has always been one of our important thrusts. The school buildings are also intended to provide our beloved teachers with a conducive facility that will hopefully inspire them to deliver high quality education to our students. We hope that you will ensure the proper maintenance of the facility so that it will last to serve more generations in the future,” he continued.
“There are no small roles in the recovery process of Haiyan-affected communities. Without everyone’s support, we will not overcome the various challenges we face. We must build, rebuild and sustain our efforts for the future of our children,” said Plan International interim country director Maja Cubarrubia. “Together with the community, government, and partners such as the Metrobank Foundation, we’re able to reconstruct damaged schools and health facilities. Through this partnership, children will have access to a safe and comfortable learning environment. Building a strong and effective partnership is a great opportunity for everyone to move forward and build back better, stronger, and together. We live in a country prone to various kinds of disasters—typhoons, landslides, earthquakes. We must be prepared and constantly learn from one another to build a resilient tomorrow, “she added.
“We’re happy with our new classrooms. We can already organize our teaching materials properly. It’s inspiring to teach in a beautiful classroom.” says Teacher Ligaya Abella of Arado Elementary School who is now occupying one of the three newly-constructed typhoon-resilient classrooms.
Meanwhile, MBFI’s sister Foundation, GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI), the family foundation of Metrobank founder and group chairman Dr. George S.K. Ty to integrate the philanthropic activities of the Ty family and invest in strategic programs that fall under its development priorities, also inaugurated a Barangay Health Station (BHS) with birthing facilities in San Joaquin, Palo, Leyte, in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), after turning over another two BHS in Mercedes and Guiuan, Eastern Samar last June. These projects were built also in partnership with Plan International Philippines to address the rehabilitation of damaged health facilities and restore vital health services in select areas affected by the super typhoon.
More than Php 2.3 million worth of medicines was given to the BHS, Pope Francis Center for the Poor and other selected public hospitals.
The Metrobank Group has donated a consolidated amount of Php 55 million, Php 25 million of which was used to support relief operations, while the rest was allocated for the rehabilitation of schools, health facilities, including livelihood opportunities in affected communities. The super typhoon left an estimated damage amounting to Php 1 billion for health facilities alone in the region. Thus, BHS with birthing facilities were constructed in select municipalities. On the other hand, to help restore fisherfolk’s livelihood activities, 500 new fishing boats were extended to select beneficiaries in 13 municipalities in the Visayas.
The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) was established on January 8, 1979 by Dr. George S. K. Ty, sixteen (16) years after he founded the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank). As the corporate social responsibility arm of the Metrobank Group, the Foundation implements various programs in education, visual arts and healthcare and maintains an active and dynamic partnership with other organizations that likewise provide services for the underprivileged sectors of society and remains equally responsive to emergency and relief operations for affected Filipinos in times of natural calamities in the Philippines and in Asia. Among the Foundation’s flagship programs are the Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE), Search for Outstanding Teachers (SOT), The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS), Country’s Outstanding Police Officers in Service (COPS), Search for Journalists of the Year (JOY), Metrogold Scholarship Program (MSP), and Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC). MBFI also spearheads the celebration of the National Teachers’ Month (NTM) held from September 5 to October 5 of every year since 2008. The Foundation also implements the Fellowships for International Understanding Program in partnership with selected international organizations and diplomatic missions. It also supports programs aimed at educating the citizenry on public-interest issues through research and lectures given by the distinguished chair holders of the Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair Lectures, established by the Foundation in partnership with reputable educational institutions. MBFI is also the principal owner of the Manila Doctors Hospital (MDH), one of the leading centers of wellness in the country. In 2014, the Foundation celebrated its 35th year with the theme, “Launching Dreams” serving as its beacon in the next five (5) years. It shall continue to Excel, Engage, and Empower, but this time even more conscious in supporting the various sectors of the Philippine community in pursuing their individual and collective dreams — for an educated workforce, for accessible medical care, for outstanding professional careers, and for a responsible and enlightened citizenry. Through the Foundation’s recognition and social development programs, it shall continuously strengthen and assist Filipinos in their endeavors, raising their abilities and improving their way of life, inspiring and uplifting their spirits, so that one day, they may be empowered enough to know reality of their dreams.