The Bank’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts were geared toward fulfilling its long-standing commitment to community development, promoting financial literacy, and championing volunteer work, which became even more imperative as communities grappled to keep their lives and livelihoods afloat amid challenges collectively shared with the world. The Bank’s solid CSR framework was in full force as it conducted various malasakit activities in near and far-flung areas with the strong support of its hard working team of employee-volunteers. All these initiatives were also made possible by the firm commitment shown by highly regarded corporate partners and non-governmental organizations in rendering initial assistance, as well as sustaining the efforts that had been started in the communities. From organizing relief operations to expanding the delivery of essential services, the Bank’s CSR initiatives reflected its dedication to active community participation with the aim of uplifting the lives of the people it serves. 2021 The Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives for the year 2021 have taken the meaningful practice of malasakit, financial literacy and volunteerism into a journey of consistency and commitment. Despite the limited capacity for on-ground CSR activities, the Bank implemented its CSR advocacy amidst challenges to continuously engage, reach out and help improve various communities nationwide. Masungi Georeserve Tree-planting / Tree-nurturing Activity For four consecutive quarters in 2021, BankCom demonstrated its commitment to support environment conservation and rehabilitation by partnering with Masungi Georeserve. Located in the critical part of the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape, Masungi Georeserve has relentlessly developed sustainable programs to revive hectares of neglected and abused forest land with the support of concerned volunteer groups. This CSR collaboration defines the Bank’s malasakit for environmental conservation initiatives. BankCom volunteers had planted a variety of native trees in Masungi Georeserve including acacia magnium, malaruhat and narra. Tree-nurturing is an often neglected aspect of reforestation which involves weeding out, mulching, and tilling of soil near and around the planted seedlings. Because of the lack of big trees in the area, the ground is exposed to sunlight making it extremely dry. Newly planted trees also compete with weeds and other invasive plant species that take away nutrients from the soil. Thus, BankCom with the encouragement of Masungi Georeserve participated in tree-nurturing activities to help increase the trees’ chances of survival and in time, contribute to bringing the forest back in the denuded areas. Dagupan City Agriculture Office Environmental Sustainability Effort The Dagupan Cash Hub Branch provided support to the sustainable environmental conservation and protection efforts of the City Government of Dagupan and Dagupan City Agriculture Office by participating in the tree-planting activity near the coastlines of Tondaligan Beach, Dagupan, Pangasinan. The coconut trees in the beachfront, among other initiatives of the local government, will help mitigate the effects of global warming. Masungi Georeserve Scholarship Program In support of holistic community development involving the education sector, the Bank continued its scholarship program with the Masungi Georeserve for select students in nearby schools in Baras, Rizal. This partnership, on its second consecutive year, benefits the Baras community by ensuring the conservation of the Sierra Madre area through education and sustainable development. The Bank provided financial support and in-kind donations from employees to the students and their families who were affected by the lockdowns. Balik Eskwela Program Bank of Commerce, led by the Legazpi Branch, extended its malasakit for underprivileged school children in Bicol by participating in the 2021 Balik Eskwela Program in Legazpi City, Albay. The 2021 Balik Eskwela Program aims to provide support and encouragement to students pursuing their education in spite of the pandemic and other socio-economic challenges. The Bank’s Back-to-School donation drive which was supported by employees demonstrated our malasakit for underserved students in the society. Around 120 students of Buhatan Elementary School, Brgy. Buhatan, Sto. Domingo, Albay have received school items and packed goods for the incoming school year. The CSR initiative was made possible in cooperation with the Rotary Club of Metro Legazpi, Rotary Club of Mayon, Rotary Club of San Pablo City South, the Philippine Navy – CMOU TEAM, and the Philippine Air Force TOG 5. PGH Foundation Donation BankCom donated to the Philippine General Hospital Medical Foundation, Inc. (PGHMFI) in support of the hospital’s pandemic response, direct assistance to indigent patients and infrastructure renovation. Last May 2021, a devastating fire hit the state-run Philippine General Hospital (PGH) that disrupted its operations and immediately prompted a call for donations. PGHMFI is a non-stock, non-profit organization which was conceived to assist the PGH in achieving its noble mission of providing excellent health care for its indigent patients. It serves as a conduit of donations coming from various civic-minded individuals, corporations, foundation and other funding agencies. PGH, the premier government hospital, is the largest COVID-19 referral hospital in the country. Asilo de San Vicente de Paul and ChildHope Foundations For the second consecutive year, the Bank honored the season of gift-giving by donating a portion of its 2021 corporate giveaways budget to two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help sustain efforts in promoting child welfare and developing community programs for underprivileged families. Asilo de San Vicente de Paul, an orphanage in U.N. Avenue, Manila, serves as a refuge for orphaned, abandoned and homeless children and provides education and training to young girls, particularly on embroidery and needlework, which has become a distinction of the institution. ChildHope Foundation is an NGO that promotes the welfare of street children. Both institutions and beneficiaries opened the doors for the Bank to demonstrate its passion for caring and giving hope for the marginalized sectors in our country. Community-Managed Savings and Credit Association (CoMSCA) and WE Assist Villages towards Economic Empowerment (WEAVEE) with World Vision BankCom and World Vision remained as committed partners supporting a community in Zamboanga Del Norte through the Community-Managed Savings and Credit Association (CoMSCA), a program that allows residents to benefit from a local pool of capital that can be used to finance predictable expenses, reduce shocks to vulnerable livelihoods, facilitate household cash-flow management, and invest in short-term, income-generating activities. CoMSCA, on its third cycle with BankCom and World Vision, provided basic financial education that equipped residents on how to properly handle their hard-earned money, particularly on how to save for education, household and family expenses, and economic and livelihood ventures. The program hopes to build a resilient and accountable community with self-sustaining residents that can lead in creating livelihood opportunities, with improved capabilities that enable them to send their kids to school and protect the health of their families. BankCom and World Vision previously held successful CoMSCA programs that help improve the financial literacy of communities in Laurel, Batangas and Bohol. On top of this financial literacy program, BankCom collaborated with World Vision for a new community enterprise development project called WE Assist Villages towards Economic Empowerment (WEAVEE) Project. WEAVEE envisions training local households in the Municipality of Tabogon, Cebu in weaving export quality baskets. This is a project managed by Sustainable Opportunities for Genuine Optimistic Development, Inc. (SOGOD Inc.) as supported by World Vision Development Foundation, Inc. and Bank of Commerce. With sustainability in mind, the market for the product has been established and in order to scale-up the project reach and beneficiaries, World Vision conducts training on basket weaving to provide alternative livelihood opportunities for local residents. Kapwa Pinoy, Ating Tulungan! Food-feeding Program with International Care Ministries Foundation, Inc. On the seventh year of helping Filipinos out of ultra-poverty, BankCom and International Care Ministries Foundation, Inc. (ICMFI) focused on alleviating chronic hunger brought about by the pandemic. Kapwa Pinoy, Ating Tulungan! food-feeding program was carried out in response to the immediate need of ultra-poor communities in Bacolod. In this program, family members were able to eat three nutritious meals per day. Starvation and malnutrition have become a real threat for families because of social distancing and other restrictions that make earning a living difficult. Families in ultra-poverty live on less than P24 a day and reside in inadequate, crowded shelters and they lack access to support networks that could help them. BankCom has previously supported ICMFI’s Transform and Family Academy programs which both helped families by empowering them through a life-skills, capacity-building course designed to meet their needs. 2020 Team Malasakit San Miguel Foundation’s (SMF) flagship volunteerism initiative was in full throttle this year, helming various activities that showcased the true spirit of volunteerism and cooperation. Bank of Commerce employee-volunteers were tapped once more to bring the message of hope to underprivileged communities displaced by natural disasters and affected by the ongoing pandemic through relief operations and volunteer assistance that strengthened their resolve to get back on their feet and carry on with life. Volunteer employees also engaged in donation assistance and online forums in support of the Bank’s thrust to help uplift the quality of education in the country and assist in raising the public’s financial literacy. Taal Volcano eruption relief operations SMF mobilized relief operations in Batangas to help the victims of the eruption of Taal Volcano in January. Bank volunteers were on hand to support the initiative, which was in line with SMC-Insfrastructure Bulacan Bulk Water Plant facility’s objective of providing 15,000 water containers to areas without available sources of clean water. Through this effort, employee-volunteers were able to help clean up and refill hundreds of reusable water containers for the province’s evacuees and displaced residents. COVID-19 Assistance Medical frontliners were extended much-needed aid in the form of KN95 masks, hazmat suits, gloves, and goggles that were prepared and repacked by the Bank’s employee-volunteers for distribution to public hospitals. Bank of Commerce Cagayan de Oro Branch was delegated to help designate handwashing stations and procure essential supplies that were given to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center and J.R. Borja General Hospital as donations to medical frontliners to aid in the fight against the dreaded disease. Abutin Na10 The Department of Education and World Vision partnered up for the Abutin Na10 campaign, which aimed to give 10 million students all over the country access to printed instructional packets and gadgets to be used as tools for online learning activities. Bank of Commerce threw its support for the campaign by matching the total donations that the Bank collected from employees, doubling the amount to ensure that students get the best access to education that they need during the pandemic. Usap Tayo Virtual platforms became the means of communication during the quarantine, and this was harnessed by the Bank to enrich the knowledge of its employees. Through the Usap Tayo sessions that were organized by SMF, volunteer employees participated in focus group discussions to aid them as they do their volunteer work. The insights they gained on topics like mobile photography and financial literacy were able to help them capture meaningful images during on-ground CSR activities and armed them with necessary know-how on early financial planning and investments as they conducted financial education seminars in the communities. Typhoon Rolly and Ulysses Donation Drive and Relief Efforts San Isidro, Montalban, and Baras, Rizal, Lipa, Batangas, Catanduanes, Marikina Bank employee-volunteers joined SMF’s relief operations and donation drive for victims affected by Typhoon Rolly and Ulysses in select provinces. In Rizal, a soup kitchen was organized in San Isidro, Montalban, Rizal to provide sustenance to rescued families. Around 1,000 packages of lugaw were packed and distributed in Southville National High School and Southville Phase 2 to displaced residents, who were affected by the rising river water brought about by recent successive typhoons. Apart from Bank volunteers, the soup kitchen was participated in by SMC Global Power and the SMF scholars in Montalban. Meanwhile in Baras, BankCom scholars and their families benefited from used clothes and canned goods that were culled from donations initiated by Masungi Georeserve. Similar donations, in addition to toiletries and other essential needs, were provided to displaced residents of Marikina by Bank volunteers, in cooperation with the New Life Christian Center. In Batangas, relief was extended to JCI-Lipa in the form of canned goods through a donation drive organized by Bank of Commerce Lipa City Branch. In Catanduanes and nearby Bicol region, employee volunteers joined the Philippine Relief and Development Services (PhilRADS), the official relief operations arm of evangelical churches in the country, in conducting relief operations that were led by medical program officer Faith Subaday and administrative officer Pastor Richard Angulo. The initiative benefited affected families who received canned goods, food, and other essential supplies. Better World Diliman Diliman, Quezon City Bank of Commerce joined SMF in its efforts in enhancing its community development projects for families in Metro Manila via Better World, the foundation’s learning and livelihood arm. Better World Diliman, in cooperation with Rural Rising Philippines, supports farmers by providing an avenue for selling their produce, serving as a ready market for excess products bought from farmers at better-than-farmgate prices and sold to consumers and resellers for low prices. In support of the center, which is the third to be built by the foundation, the Bank donated an L-300 van, which is now being utilized for the delivery and transfer of products and farm produce from provincial areas. In keeping with the culture of malasakit, the Bank also extended its help to families affected by the fire near the Better World community in Tondo by donating used clothes for residents. Previously, the Bank also supported the launch of the center in Tondo, which serves as SMF’s food bank with the aim to serve at least one million meals each year to children living in the said barangay for the next 10 years. Family Academy and Food-Feeding Program with the International Care Ministries Foundation, Inc. (ICMFI) Cebu and Dumaguete For six consecutive years, the Bank has been partnering with the ICMFI for a variety of CSR initiatives all over the country. This year, their partnership brought them to Cebu and Dumaguete to mount a feeding program for families severely affected by the pandemic. On top of the food-feeding program, the ICMFI and the Bank also launched an education program called Family Academy, a two-generational approach designed to empower parents in educating their children at home. For the next eight months, the program will equip parents in these communities with basic curriculum in Math and phonics, as well as provide them with educational supplies, as they become their kids’ first teachers in a home setting. In addition, the Bank conducted a seminar among residents of makeshift houses in the communities, who rely on farming and manual labor to support their respective families. Each family has at least five children to feed and support, and has to endure living in improvised houses made from nipa, bamboo, and scrap materials. To help improve their current situation, ICMFI provided lessons on safe water, women’s health and reproduction, disease recognition and prevention, which provided life-changing information that can help strengthen relationships within families and communities. Community-Managed Savings and Credit Association (CoMSCA) with World Vision Bohol For their second partnership, Bank of Commerce and World Vision worked on providing a community in Bohol with livelihood opportunities and more through the Community-Managed Savings and Credit Association (CoMSCA), a program that allows residents to benefit from a local pool of capital that can be used to finance predictable expenses, reduce shocks to vulnerable livelihoods, facilitate household cash-flow management, and invest in short-term, income-generating activities. Through their respective volunteers, the project allowed Bank of Commerce and World Vision to provide basic financial education that equipped residents on how to properly handle their money, particularly on how to save for education, household and family expenses, and economic and livelihood ventures. Through the yearlong program, the organizers hope to build a resilient and accountable community with self-sustaining residents that can lead in creating livelihood opportunities, with improved abilities that shall enable them to send their kids to school and protect the health of the families in the neighborhood. ChildHope and Pangarap Foundations The Bank celebrated the Holiday season with an initiative that gives back to the community. In collaboration with SMF, the Bank donated its 2020 corporate giveaways budget to the beneficiaries of the ChildHope Foundation, an NGO that promotes the welfare of street children, and the Pangarap Foundation, a DSWD-accredited foundation for street children and out-of-school youth and a center for social workers and psychologists in training. With the donation, Bank of Commerce hoped to help these institutions sustain their efforts in promoting education to children and developing community programs that benefit underprivileged families. To make the initiative a more meaningful endeavor, the Bank made the donation in line with its innate passion for caring and giving hope where it is needed. Masungi Georeserve Scholarship Program Baras, Rizal Recognizing the need of the education sector to continue with their operations despite the pandemic, the Bank partnered with the Masungi Georeserve to initiate a scholarship program for select students in nearby schools in Baras, Rizal. Masungi Georeserve serves the Baras community by ensuring the conservation of the Sierra Madre area through education and sustainable development. For the program, the Bank pledged its support to provide the financial needs of the students and their families who were severely affected by the lockdowns. On top of providing financial support, the Bank organized a donation drive to collect cash or in-kind donations for the purchase of school items for its student beneficiaries in the community. 2019 TEAM MALASAKIT Brigada Eskwela Sto. Niño Elementary School, Marikina City Brigada Eskwela is part of the Department of Education’s Adopt-a-School Project, which invites companies to support public senior high schools in implementing the K12 program. A strong partnership on Brigada Eskwela has enabled the Bank to make valuable contributions in restoring a proper learning environment for public school students. For the past four years, Brigada Eskwela has remained the biggest annual CSR activity organized by San Miguel Foundation, Inc. (SMFI) in terms of volunteer count. In 2019, the Bank’s volunteers helped in the rehabilitation of classrooms at Sto. Niño Elementary School in Marikina City, where they cleaned up learning areas and repaired equipment. These activities ensured that the school remained conducive to learning in time for the opening of the school year 2019-2020. Better World Community Tondo, Manila Better World Community, an initiative by SMFI, is a learning and livelihood center for families in Manila. This is a food bank which aims to serve at least one million meals per year to children in Tondo, Manila for the next 10 years. Since the launch of Better World Community in 2019, the Bank has pledged its full support to the program. The Bank volunteers participated in profiling families in Manila to help determine and secure their health and nutritional requirements, which are necessary in developing methods to alleviate their socio-economic status. To make the Christmas holiday celebration more meaningful, the Bank provided gift packs for family beneficiaries. Mano Amiga (Helping Hand) Co-teach Program Mano Amiga (Helping Hand) empowers people and communities through education and development programs focused on enabling every individual to achieve their fullest potential. Mano Amiga is an affordable K-to-12 school with international standards. By providing scholarships and sustainable livelihood, the school allows low-income families to have the capability to break out of poverty. Being teachers for a day, the Bank’s volunteers interacted with students during Mano Amiga’s Co-teach Program. Participants in this activity included students from grades five, six, and nine, who were taking up various lessons in arts and music. By allowing them to take a break from their usual classroom activity, the students were able to learn and appreciate the arts through fun and interesting ways with the help of the Bank’s employees. International Coastal Cleanup International Coastal Cleanup Day is an annual event for the preservation and protection of our oceans and waterways, organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The Bank’s volunteers joined local and international participants to show their support for this global movement. They gathered at the Las Piñas – Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) together with SMFI and San Miguel Corporation (SMC) subsidiaries. Aside from collecting trash along the Manila Bay coastline to minimize pollution in the area, the Bank’s volunteers also documented these in order to help identify ways to eliminate ocean trash in the future. Usap Tayo Sessions Through the initiative of SMFI, the Usap Tayo program aims to gain insights and gather different perspectives on important issues involving key segments of SMC’s employees. The Bank’s volunteers participated in two intimate focus group discussions. Financial planning served as the main topic for working millennials who shared their understanding and learned more about investing wisely, developing careers, nurturing relationships, and achieving work-life balance. Working single parents exchanged views on parenting styles, financial management, company benefits, and other issues that matter most to their unique lifestyle. INTERNATIONAL CARE MINISTRIES FOUNDATION, INC. (ICMFI) Transform and Family Academy Programs The International Care Ministries Foundation, Inc. (ICMFI) is a long-time partner of the Bank. ICMFI’s Transform and Family Academy programs are Community Development Programs for strengthening families living in extreme poverty and empowering them to make measurable progress on their journey to success. For the past five years, the Bank has consistently shown its commitment to this partnership, while continuing to support the sustainable programs that have changed the lives of Filipino families for the better. The Transform program aids Filipino families living on less than PHP24 a day with no access to adequate shelter and food. Through an intensive 16-week, life-skills capacity-building course, the program helps them establish networks; learn the importance of values and health and obtain livelihood skills. It also provides nutrition supplements, medical kits, and livelihood resources. In support of the Transform program, the Bank raised funds and repacked nutritious meals for communities in Dumaguete, Iloilo, and Davao City. The Family Academy program, on the other hand, takes a two-generational approach to early education over an eight-month program. It presents a math and phonics curriculum for parents, so they can become their child’s first teachers. It also has a livelihood curriculum that helps them develop small business skills. The parents learned about health and safety and received values lessons to help them strengthen their relationships within and outside their families. Under the Family Academy program, the Bank sponsored a total of 140 families who live in makeshift homes and rely on farming and manual labor for their livelihood. A total of 105 participants also took out Business-in-a-Box loans with the necessary materials to start their own businesses. WORLD VISION Community-Managed Savings and Credit Association (CoMSCA) Bohol World Vision’s Community-Managed Savings and Credit Association (CoMSCA) is a system of creating a local pool of capital to provide members access to funds so they can meet predictable expenses, reduce shocks to vulnerable livelihoods, facilitate household cash flow management, and make short-term investments in income-generating activities. Previously, the Bank assisted 553 members from Molinete, Laurel, Batangas who learned the basics of saving and spending, as well as the proper use of their savings for education, household and family needs, and economic and livelihood activities. In 2019, on its second partnership with World Vision, the Bank chose to support a community in Bohol. This is a year-long project that aims to create livelihood opportunities for increased family’s income, to improve and restore their health, to enhance and develop their skills so they become community leaders, to build disaster-resilient communities, and lastly, to instill a sense of ownership and accountability in each member of the community. ASENSO PROGRAM (Access to credit, Support, capacity ENhancement and Soft loans) Pili, Camarines Sur Access to credit, Support, capacity ENhancement and Soft loans (ASENSO) is a financial inclusivity program that aims to uplift Filipinos living below the poverty line. A partnership between the Bank and SMFI, ASENSO grants beneficiaries access to credit and financial capacity. Microenterprises in Pili, Camarines Sur were able to gain access to this loan program and expand the capacity of their agricultural business activities. 2018 TEAM MALASAKIT Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Relief-Packing Activity for Marawi and Mayon Volcano Communities Reaching out further to underprivileged communities, the Bank’s volunteers participated in the Team Malasakit activities of San Miguel Foundation. These included the packing of relief goods for displaced families in Marawi who are recovering from the effects of terrorist insurgency, and those in Albay affected by natural calamity. Under the guidance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), volunteers arranged canned goods, rice, toiletries, and other basic necessities during the activity held at the National Resource Operations Center at the NAIA Compound in Pasay City. Brigada Eskwela For the third consecutive year, the Bank participated in Brigada Eskwela, an annual CSR event organized by San Miguel Foundation and the Department of Education (DepEd). This was the foundation’s biggest event in terms of volunteer count. The Bank’s volunteers helped in the cleanup and repainting of classrooms at Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Batasan Hills, Quezon City, giving its students a comfortable place for learning and studying during the new school year. Brigada Eskwela is part of the DepEd’s Adopt-a-School Project, which invites companies to support public senior high schools in the implementation of the K to 12 Program. World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines Coastal Clean Up This CSR initiative provided the opportunity for the Bank’s volunteers to do their share in helping reduce plastic waste in our marine resources. Bank employees engaged in various activities at the Las Piñas Parañaque-Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area to help curb the environmental degradation of the mangrove and wildlife areas in Manila Bay. The event is in line with the Global Coastal Cleanup initiative of the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines). No Plastic Use Initiative In accordance with San Miguel Corporation’s directive to minimize usage of all types of plastic, the Bank makes a conscious effort to reduce the use of non-reusable and non-recyclable materials. Concrete steps were taken, including the packaging of corporate giveaways with recyclable materials, and the use and distribution of reusable utensils during CSR activities. These initiatives were aimed at reducing the eight million metric tons of plastic waste that end up in bodies of water every year. International Care Ministries Foundation, Inc. – Transform and Family Academy Programs In line with sustaining community development initiatives, the Bank supported the Transform and Family Academy programs of the International Care Ministries Foundation, Inc. (ICMFI), which aim to strengthen and empower families living in extreme poverty. These capacity-building initiatives are specifically designed to meet the needs of Filipino families who live on less than PHP24 a day, suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition, and live in inadequate shelters without basic utilities. Family Academy takes a two-generational approach to early education through an eight-month program which provides educational supplies and training in math and phonics to empower parents to become their child’s first teachers. To support the Family Academy program, employees started a donation drive to sponsor the health and values education of beneficiary families who rely mostly on farming or manual labor, and live in makeshift houses made of light materials. The curriculum included lessons on safe water, women’s health and reproduction, and disease prevention. In terms of livelihood, participants were trained in product creation, small business skills, and savings group formation. A total of 105 participants availed of Business-in-a-Box loans with the necessary materials to start their own businesses. Families also learned how to overcome feelings of hopelessness, passivity, and inferiority caused by living in poverty. With these lessons, they were able to foster positive attitudes and behaviors, which, in turn, enabled them to have better relationships with other families in their neighborhood. As part of the Transform program, employees of the Bank volunteered to repack nutritious meals for families. These programs supported 140 underprivileged families living in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, General Santos City in South Cotabato, and Bacolod City in Negros Occidental.