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(From left) Top telco executives Chaye Revilla, Butch Jimenez and Mon Isberto explaining the company’s sustainability program.

The newly-institutionalized PLDT-Smart Sustainability Group also launched its program dubbed “Gabay Kalikasan” coinciding with the National Climate Change Awareness Week and the 91st anniversary of PLDT.

“PLDT and Smart go beyond business. Caring for our environment is just as important as taking care of our people and hitting our profit targets. The impact of climate change affects everyone pervasively. This includes our safety, our health, our existence. This is personal to me because I am a mother. What we will do from here on will spell the difference in ensuring our abilities to leave a lasting legacy for the future generation or not. I believe that this cause should be personal to all of us and it is imperative that we act on it together,” PLDT senior vice president and Smart chief financial officer and chief sustainability officer Chaye Cbal-Revilla says.

For his part, PLDT chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) said, “We as Filipinos have a powerful motivation to be active when it comes to taking care of our planet. We are at the frontlines of climate change. Several recent international studies have warned that the Philippines is among the countries that are being most adversely affected by the changing climate.

Let us take action to protect our planet. And let us create hope for a better future for our people.”

“At this critical point for our environment, we commit ourselves to provide impassioned, stronger and more proactive campaigns that will allow us to conduct our business in ways that will secure the future of our children. And to protect these future generations, it has become crucial that we protect our home, our Earth. More than for compliance, we want Sustainability embedded in PLDT and Smart’s DNA and culture,” Chaye added.

She also said, “We are committed to doing our part in trying to reduce our carbon footprint by continuing to plant trees, support forest regeneration protection of mangroves and coral reefs and encouraging our employees and stakeholders to contribute individually or through programs like the planned prohibition of single use of plastics, proper cycling and disposal of batteries, among others.”

PLDT and Smart’s sustainability efforts have been ongoing since 2015 — long before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) mandated all Philippine-listed companies to publish in 2020 their Sustainability Reports for year-end 2019.

“PLDT and Smart’s Sustainability Program is part of the companies’ continuous effort in making substantial contributions towards attaining key sustainable development goals,” MVP, who had given Chaye his vote of confidence for this endeavor, said. To this end, the Sustainability Group mobilizes PLDT and Smart employees, as well as its top management executives, to boost the companies’ environmental stewardship efforts anchored on PLDT-Smart’s seven Sustainability Pillars.

These Sustainability Pillars — continuous innovation, responsible and efficient operations, awesome customer experience and quality of service, environmental stewardship, corporate social responsibility and community relations, good labor practice and people management, and good governance and ethical business practices — are aimed at future-proofing PLDT-Smart’s business and serve to reinforce and contribute to the triple bottomline espoused by Sustainability: Profit/Progress, People and Planet.

Chaye may take on a different hat with the  company’s Sustainability Program, but she remains to be the guiding force in Gabay Guro and with it is the promise that they will continue to find innovative programs consistent with the seven pillars of education — classroom donation, scholarships, teachers’ training, livelihood programs, connectivity, computerization, teachers’ tribute and digital innovations.

In its 12 years thus far, Gabay Guro has held training programs for over 60,000 teachers, built 47 classrooms and provided over 2,000 scholarship grants. Its grand gathering remains to be its much-awaited activity every year, drawing tens of thousands of teachers from all over the Philippines to take part in one whole day of fun, prizes, surprises and world-class entertainment. The teachers’ tribute has so far been brought to the following provinces: Agusan, Bulacan, Bataan, Iloilo, Navotas, Laguna, Davao, Metro Cauayan, Cebu and Quirino and is expected to come to four or more provinces in 2020.

“Gabay Guro is not just a program, it’s a movement. Nakakahawa ang kabaitan (Kindness is infectious). If you’re able to influence others in a good way, there’s a ripple effect. Andaming buhay na nagbabago (A lot of lives will change),” Chaye concluded.