Volunteerism knows no boundaries, geographical or otherwise; global citizens are better together and should care for the planet as one. With this in mind, employee volunteers from Singtel of Singapore visited the Philippines once again to take part in the Singtel Group’s 8th overseas volunteering program hosted by Globe Telecom.
The group of 6 Singtel and 13 Globe volunteers went to the Iba Botanicals eco-village in Iba, Zambales to plant Acacia, Kakawati, Langka and Kasuy in areas that have been widely deforested.
Iba Botanicals is the operational partner of The Mead Foundation and provides crucial project management and operational oversight activities for all reforestation and environment-related projects happening in and for Iba. Situated on the Bancal River, it is a 164-hectare farm with an ylang-ylang plantation that yields oil and organic crops for the market. The farm also has a modern five-bedroom lodge with a kitchen that serves fresh farm-to-table food to its guests, featuring a cuisine that combines Filipino and international vegetarian dishes.
Globe and The Mead Foundation, which is a non-profit organization, share a common goal with regard to “rainforestation.” The foundation has been working closely with the Aetas of Zambales to help replant trees in the province’s bare forest areas, and provide livelihood opportunities to the community members.
“We are happy to partner with The Mead Foundation and for the opportunity for Globe and Singtel volunteers to be part of this journey where they can help with environmental sustainability while getting to know the indigenous communities. By investing on environmental protection and partnering with various organizations particularly on reforestation programs, we hope to do our share in mitigating the drastic effects of climate change,” said Yoly Crisanto, Globe Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP for Corporate Communications.
Ben Mead, Executive Director of The Mead Foundation, affirms that the “partnership is aligned with our goal for impactful, sustainable efforts that provide transformational change, conservation of the environment, and sustainable development. The Mead Foundation is very happy to be partnering with Globe for this “rainforestation” effort of our denuded forests. We are also very excited to show the volunteers around Zambales, and are enthused to see how their efforts will greatly help the community.”
Aside from tree-planting, the volunteers conducted a Brigada Eskwela activity at the ADBSA Aeta School (Jesmag Iba) located in Tambac, Palanginan, Iba, Zambales
The volunteers also learned how creativity can always flourish by receiving hands-on experience – from weaving of bamboo bags and baskets, to lahar pottery-making — two of the most popular sources of livelihood among Aetas that help sustain their families and the entire community.
“This program made me realize that this country can be a better place for the tourists and the community,” Charles Diomampo, a Globe volunteer said while Singtel volunteer Ronnie Bin Shani quipped “It’s a very eye-opening experience and heartwarming to be part of this program, knowing that our efforts can have a long-lasting impact on the community.”
Globe and Singtel Group are also unified in a common vision to empower communities, especially the marginalized ones, by creating platforms that will fulfill their potential, ensure their security, and integrate them with society.
Globe is also thankful to Singtel volunteers for coming to the country and sharing their skills to drive positive and sustainable change to the communities where they operate. “We share the Singtel Group’s goal of enabling the inclusion and well-being of people, especially those who are disadvantaged, to help them realize their potential and improve their lives,” Crisanto said.
The Better Together OVP is a platform designed to cultivate an active exchange of knowledge and shared experiences to help strengthen ties among the international volunteers who join the program every year, and provide them insights into each participating country’s culture, economy, and tradition.
Since 2011, Globe has been bringing in volunteers from Singtel and other Group affiliates to support local communities in the Philippines especially those which are disadvantaged. Activities ranged from building homes, painting and repairing schools under Brigada Eskwela, cleaning up coastal areas, teaching sports to children, and promoting digital citizenship, among others.
Globe has also been spearheading the introduction and expansion of volunteering in its various forms, such as livelihood, education, and environmental protection, throughout the many regions of the country. Its own employees frequently join volunteerism activities as part of their own corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, investing their time and effort in sustainable ventures that can improve the state of locations where they volunteer while enriching their appreciation of their own history and culture.