When Berjaya conglomerate founder and chairman Tan Sri Dato Seri Vincent Tan first made a pledge in October to help the Filipino people rebuild their homes and uplift their lives, it was not just to draw admiration and make a positive impression in the local news, he was intent on making that happen one way or another.
And true to their word, the Berjaya Group, through the Berjaya Philippines Group of Companies, has already given part of the P100 million donation to jumpstart the construction of several Gawad Kalinga communities across the archipelago, the first in a series of tranches.
This year, Berjaya Philippines has already handed over the amount of P44 million to Gawad Kalinga, part of the P100 million that Mr. Tan committed in turnover rites to GK founder Tony Meloto and executive director Jose Mari Oquiñena at the Gawad Kalinga Bayanihan Expo held at the SMX Convention center last year.
The rest of the amount will be given as Gawad Kalinga identifies more sites in various towns and cities in the country where GK communities will be established.
Of the P44 million, P11 million was used to help reconstruct 100 houses destroyed by Typhoon Pablo in Compostela Valley, while P3.3 million was allocated for reconstruction of houses in Lantauan, Basilan.
On the other hand, a total of P29.7 million was handed over at the the recent 2013 GK Bayanihan Challenge for the construction of GK villages in 9 sites across the country.
Berjaya Philippines subsidiary companies rose to the challenge of volunteerism in the GK Bayanihan Challenge on March 23 to 27 as their employees, headed by Mr. Steven Tan, CEO of Berjaya Auto Philippines, participated in the bayanihan act of building houses in Barangay Villaflor, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro.
These employees came from the following: Philippine Gaming Management Corporation (PGMC), Berjaya Auto Philippines (the official distributor of Mazda in the Philippines), Berjaya Makati Hotel, Papa John’s Pizza, LoadCentral, and Friendster. To help drum up the call to active volunteerism, the officials and staff of Berjaya Philippines joined the Bayani Challenge 2013 as they helped mix cement, carried hollow blocks and put roofs on tops of the structures.
“We did this not only to set a good example to the volunteers but also because of the immense feeling of joy and privilege of being able to do this with those whom we are helping,” Mr. Steven Tan said.
The eight Berjaya GK Villages, or a total of 270 housing units, include 4 sites in Luzon, 1 in the Visayas and 4 in Mindanao.
For Luzon, they are located in Sto. Tomas, Isabela (Region 2); Masinloc, Zambales (Region 3); Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro (Region 4B); and Mobo, Masbate (Region 5). The lone Berjaya-GK Village in the Visayas is located at Malitbog, Southern Leyte (Region 8). In Mindanao, 4 Berjaya-GK Villages will be built in Sapad, Lanao del Norte (Region 10); Sumilao, Bukidnon (Region 10); Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat (Region 12); and Del Carmen (Siargao), Surigao del Norte (Region 13).
Families who stand to benefit from the Berjaya-GK Villages include those who live in disaster and danger-prone areas, informal settlers, members of cultural communities, residents of local heritage sites, families of returning rebels, farming families, displaced Muslims and poverty-stricken families.
Berjaya’s relationship with Gawad Kalinga started because of the shared commitment to bring help to the helpless and make them feel that no matter what, people will always be there to let them rise and maintain their dignity.
Having answered the call to help during Typhoon Sendong’s aftermath in 2011, the creation of GK houses through the assistance of Berjaya Philippines is proof of the deep and passionate commitment bridging the Berjaya Group to the Philippines. And this commitment will be further enhanced as the rest of the financial commitments to GK will be given within the year, and for future years to come.