Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI)
Of corporate value and outreach programs
By Nico Erle Ciriaco
Since 1982, Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI) has been managing and implementing Shell’s social development programs in the country. It is a pioneer in pursuing best practice projects that respond to the needs of Shell worksites and host communities. Pilipinas Shell, through its refinery, transforms, transports, and sells what its upstream counterpart Malampaya (an exploration initiative with PNOC and Chevron) finds underneath the seabed.
Its BPO offices, which started with 50 in 2004 and rising to 3,000 at present, help in facilitating the exchanges from the various channels. To date, Shell operates 22 depots and 22,000 gas stores nationwide.
The quaint town of Aborlan is where the SAKA (Sanayan sa Kakayahang Agrikultura) farm is located. The model farm house is surrounded with cash crops, orchards, and a fish pond. SAKA is a one-year scholarship program for rural and out-of-school youth leading to a certificate in Agricultural Entrepreneurship at the Western Philippines University.
The program empowers the unschooled youth in agricultural technologies and entrepreneurial skills designed to improve farm productivity and management, thereby increasing the family income while honing their leadership skills and aptitudes that will contribute to community development. Scholars are provided with a start-up fund for their income-generating projects.
“This project started in 1999 with the Tao’t Bato indigenous people from Rizal town. Now, we have five tribal centers monitoring the project. We impart assessment of the program after graduation,” informed Elsa Manarpaac, president of Western Philippines University.
Integrated Farming Bio-Systems (IFBS), on the other hand, is a one-week capacity building program for training farmers on appropriate technologies; focusing on organic farming, soil analysis, and water conservation techniques. It is basically teaching the farmers on maximizing use of resources through an environment friendly, market-driven, and financially-rewarding practices.
“It’s not just about technical skills but enhancement and attitude development. We strive to free farmers from his ‘law of the jungle’ mentality. So they understand that the labor force is made up of people who are all part of a team. This is what sets us apart from other initiatives,” enthused PSFI president Edgar Chua.
Kilusan Ligtas Malaria (KLM) is a malaria-control program in Palawan that was replicated in four other provinces since 2006. Tagged as ‘Movement Against Malaria’ (MAM), it was expanded further to 35 other provinces around the archipelago in 2010. In Palawan alone, there was a 92 per cent and 97 per cent decrease in malaria cases and deaths, respectively, as of year-end 2012.
The Malaria Awareness Day (MAD) is an assortment of malaria-preventive activities conducted within a full-day in a specific village. Last July, mediamen as well as PSFI volunteers met with the Batak tribes-folk, comprised of 37 families, for the yearly LGU initiative on awareness and preventive measures to combat malaria.
MAD aimed to promote awareness of the fatal disease and usually starts with a short program. The fun-filled games that ensue are geared towards preventive measures. Lectures on the disease are also conducted to children and parents, especially mothers. The distribution and re-treatment of mosquito nets and blood-smearing for malaria parasites are conducted simultaneously with the other activities.
The site in Sitio Tagnaya, Brgy. Concepcion (one of Puerto Princesa’s far-flung communities) is accessible through 4-wheel drive vehicles, passing by five tributaries. There are 37 indigenous families in the community but other indigenous groups from nearby settlements also participate. Before, the Batak indigenous group was on the Top 5 list as most of the outbreak cases originated from therein. But last year, they were no longer in the Top 5 watchlist.
Corollary to the KLM and MAM campaign is the SINAG (Save, Invest, And Nurture Access to Gleam) project, an access to energy program for remote areas and island communities. It recognizes the needs of the people to light their homes for ease of movement and study time for children as well as spur growth of home-based enterprises. The donation of solar-powered lamps is one of the components of this project.
“There are still factors that need time to change due to culture and traditions. A lot of things still need to be in place in the execution of the health mandate. And we are getting there. Empowering ordinary people like Deborah Aroz to function like a professional medical technologist to work in their respective communities is no mean feat. Even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia asked for our project blueprint for their projects in Africa. After MAM, the HIV/AIDS concern is the next project PSFI is eyeing,” apprised program manager Marvi Trudeau.
The local hospital recognizes Shell’s initiative on health services, the Impok Pang Kalusugan (IPK), a community-based micro-insurance program that provides hospitalization to its members. Families simply pay a P360 annual fee (or P1/day) for a two-time hospitalization amounting to P2500, an amount they can first exhaust before using their PhilHealth benefits.
The project “Sustaining Conservation Gains in the Tubbataha Reefs National Park (TRNP)” supports the information, education and communication activities of the famous dive site that’s directed towards children, the Filipino youth, local fisherfolk in Puerto Princesa and Cagayancillo as well as other nearby island municipalities. The project’s objective is to provide information on the value of the TRNP and the TRNP Act to increase compliance and better appreciation towards conservation. To date, the Tubbathaha Reef remains to be at the top of must-visit dive spots in the Philippines.
As Shell move towards its centennial, the global company continues to help governments in nation-building as well as in providing power sources to communities in the countries where they operate, in a more sustainable manner. Shell is focused on diversifying the energy mix in the country by delivering cleaner-burning natural gas and smarter products for clean and fuel efficient transport, and in producing smarter infrastructure while limiting CO2 emissions and encouraging customers to do the same. The company aims to address social concerns and work to benefit local communities, whilst protecting its reputation while doing business.
In all its operations, Shell and PSFI work with partners, communities, and governments to help meet rising demand in a more sustainable manner;
sharpening its focus on environmental management in projects and operations as well as in providing support to programs relating to educating the youth, increasing agricultural productivity, skills training and development, promoting road safety by increasing awareness, and improving health care systems, among others.