Providing aid for persons with disabilities displaced by Typhoon Haiyan
“BDO Foundation’s efforts will help uplift the lives of PWDs, alleviate poverty and promote inclusion. I see a future where there are more PWDs working and helping the community be productive.” - a PWD leader
INTRODUCTIONBDO Foundation aims to contribute to nation-building by addressing the needs of underserved members of society. In response to natural or man-made disasters, the foundation mounts relief operations in calamity-stricken provinces. It leverages the wide network of BDO and One Network Bank branches all over the country to reach out to victims of typhoons, earthquakes and armed conflict.
As a follow through, the foundation pursues long-term corporate citizenship initiatives with the support of the BDO Unibank community. One such initiative is the development of a model community for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and their families severely affected by Typhoon Haiyan.
When Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines in 2013, it hit the province of Leyte the hardest. While relief efforts from local and international agencies poured in, these did not focus specifically on disaster-stricken PWDs, who were already disadvantaged to begin with due to their disabilities. Many were left homeless.
FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGYIn 2017, BDO Foundation constructed 100 resettlement homes in Sta. Fe, Leyte for PWDs and their families. The community is the first of its kind in the Philippines. To ensure the success of the initiative, the foundation partnered with the Foundation for These-Abled Persons, Inc., a non-stock, non-profit organization that promotes the employment of PWDs. The community was also backed by the provincial government of Leyte, which donated the land for the project, the Municipal Social Welfare Development and Institute for Social Entrepreneurship.
BDO Foundation also built a 225-square-meter multi-purpose hall near the resettlement homes to support the livelihood of the PWD community. The multi-purpose hall was fully funded by donations from BDO employees. The PWDs and their families, who are members of cooperatives, use the multi-purpose hall for livelihood projects, capacity building, workshops, meetings, events, recreational activities, evacuation and relief distribution should calamities hit the area.
ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPACTBDO Foundation supported the livelihood of the PWDs by purchasing the school furniture they produced. In 2017, the foundation completed the construction of three school buildings with a total of 20 classrooms. These classrooms were furnished with products procured from the PWDs—1,000 students chairs and 20 sets of teachers desks and chairs.
BDO Foundation has touched the lives of PWDs in Leyte. According to Marta Villafañe, a PWD and leader of an organization of disabled individuals in the province, BDO Foundation’s efforts “will help uplift the lives of PWDs, alleviate poverty and promote inclusion. I see a future where there are more PWDs working and helping the community be productive. You have shown that you care for us, that you are not taking us for granted. I dreamt that someday PWDs displaced by Typhoon Haiyan would have their own homes. Thanks to BDO, that dream is now a reality.”
FUTURE DIRECTIONAfter the completion of the housing resettlement units and multi-purpose hall for disaster-stricken persons with disabilities and their families, BDO Foundation will monitor the condition of beneficiaries through feedback provided by partners, foundation personnel or BDO branch officers. The foundation will continue to leverage the support of local government for the maintenance of structures built.
Agreements were signed by BDO Foundation, local government leaders and partners to indicate the responsibilities of local officials. Moreover, a homeowners’ association was organized and its leaders elected and trained on self-governance and estate management. All these were meant to ensure that the donated facilities will be taken care of and properly maintained.
BDO Unibank leadership is committed to the sustainability of the foundation’s programs. As the bank grows and more branches are built, the breadth and scope of these initiatives are expected to grow as well.
BDO Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank, the Philippines’ largest bank. It aims to help alleviate the plight of marginalized Filipinos through its disaster response advocacy, which it fulfills through relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction interventions.