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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

UCPB in the Community: Sustaining our Commitments

At UCPB, we believe that businesses should create opportunities for marginalized sectors in society so they can live better lives and create better places to live in. This has always been our corporate social responsibility (CSR) philosophy.

For decades now, we have been supporting causes that empower people and communities. We are doing it, not as an investment for future gains, but purely out of a deep sense of corporate citizenship.

In 2017, we supported various development lending, scholarship, free reconstructive surgery, and reforestation programs that directly benefited a total of 12,344 individuals. These programs aimed to help alleviate poverty, provide access to quality education, address medical needs, and preserve the environment. These are aligned to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which we continue to support.

Development Lending: Fighting Poverty with Livelihood Opportunities

 
Through the UCPB-CIIF Finance and Development Corporation, we provide financing to farmers — mainly coconut farmers, among the poorest in the agricultural sector — so they can undertake alternative livelihood activities to augment their meager farm income. In 2017, UCPB-CIIF Finance released a total of P602 million in new loans to 10,499 farmers in 30 coconut provinces.

The loans, disbursed through the company’s rural financial institution partners, funded short-gestation projects that generated quick returns such as cash crop cultivation, livestock raising, commodities trading, and village-based processing of coconut by-products like coconut sugar.

Established in 1994, UCPB-CIIF Finance aims to deliver financing support to farmers who usually have difficulty accessing credit from formal lending institutions. As these small farmers turn into entrepreneurs, they develop credit discipline, are able to access less expensive credit from other sources, and grow.

Since 1995 when it launched its first lending program, UCPB-CIIF Finance has pumped over P9 billion in loans to 66 coconut provinces, benefitting 436,067 farm households.

 

Scholarships: Widening Access to Higher Education


A record 265 UCPB-CIIF scholars, all children of coconut farmers, completed their courses in 2017. Of the total, 179 scholars earned college degrees from 23 state universities and colleges, and 86 scholars obtained technical skills certifications from four trade schools.

Several of these scholars earned top distinctions: one graduated magna cum laude, 19 others cum laude, two emerged as the top-ranked graduates of the Aurora State College of Technology, one was named “Most Outstanding Trainee” by Don Bosco Training Center-Naga, and another received the “Leadership Award with Highest Distinction,” from Don Bosco Training Center-Mati.

A total of 58 UCPB-CIIF scholar-graduates also passed their respective licensure examinations, obtaining a higher passing rate than the national average. Our forestry graduates registered a 100% passing rate; education graduates, 88%; and agriculture graduates, 83%.

UCPB-CIIF Foundation was organized in 1987 and runs the scholarship program together with the CIIF companies. Since 2003, the Foundation has awarded grants to 2,906 children of coconut farmers from 63 coconut provinces, 1,736 of whom have already graduated.

Passing forward their blessing, more than 70% of the graduate scholars are now income earners and provide regular financial support to their families.

Medical Missions: Bringing Safe Surgery to Indigent Communities

Non-profit organization Operation Smile Philippines mounted 20 medical missions in 2017, treating 1,477 children and young adults with cleft lip and cleft palate. UCPB clients and our associates were actively involved in one of the missions in Davao City and raised P2.25 million for the surgery of 150 oral cleft patients.

Operation Smile, an international children’s charity, has been holding free surgical missions in the Philippines to repair oral cleft among indigent children since 1982. UCPB continues to be its long-standing partner in the country. Since 1986, the Bank has been extending donations, sharing executive time, employee-volunteers and office space in UCPB’s Makati headquarters. It also helped organize the counterpart local foundation, Operation Smile Philippines (OSP), and during its early years, UCPB CEOs and senior executives concurrently served as Chairman and Executive Director, respectively of the OSP.

Over the past 35 years Operation Smile has provided free surgeries to over 31,000 indigents afflicted with oral cleft. The congenital deformity severely disfigures the faces of the afflicted and impairs their speech. If left untreated, the patients may lose their self-esteem, drop out of school, and grow into adulthood uneducated and without any work or social skills to fend for themselves.

Reforestation: Engaging Communities to Protect the Environment

For the past 15 years since we started, our reforestation program, UCPB had no report of encroachment or forest fire in its 33.3-hectare site. This speaks volumes of the vigilance of our forest guardian, who patrols the perimeter every day, and the 800 people living in the nearby Sitio Pulang Panyo in Antipolo City who help keep watch over the site.

Our reforestation site, which lies atop a hill inside the critical Upper Marikina River Protected Landscape Watershed, has been a source of pride for years, not only for UCPB, but also for our employee volunteers who actively took part in the reforestation effort, and the people in the outlying community who benefited tremendously from the program.

When the program was launched in 1990, the site was brown, bare, and parched. Thick red mud tumbled down the slopes after heavy rainfall. We tapped our employees and the people in the community in preparing the land, in growing seedlings, transplanting them, and setting up fire lines. Now, the area is verdant and teeming with wildlife. The once-dry stream never runs out of water even at the height of summer. Mudslides have become a thing of the past. The grateful community has helped us protect the forest ever since.

Aside from this program, UCPB also partnered with Haribon Foundation and participated in a tree planting activity in a portion of Mt. Banahaw–San Cristobal in San Pablo, Laguna Some 42 associates joined the activity to plant 500 seedlings donated by the Bank to Haribon Foundation.

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