Neighbors who grew up with Manuel V. Pangilinan in San Juan of vintage Manila remember the readiness of his family to help others in need, a mindset he carries to this day and which he shares with those who work with him.
It is the same spirit of service coupled with Meralco’s corporate value of love of country that inspired One Meralco Foundation (OMF) to launch the Makabayan Volunteerism Program on the day Pangilinan revisited his roots on Barasoain Street in Barangay Little Baguio.
Pangilinan, known to many as MVP, was welcomed by childhood friends and local officials back to a community he regards as his own. It was his modest way of celebrating the gift of life and leading his co-workers in Meralco to give back to the country.
The Pangilinan family lived in San Juan for almost two decades, long enough for their neighbors to know them as a caring one. Even after his family moved to a new home in another city, MVP continued to show his family’s concern for the less fortunate in his childhood neighborhood.
“Napakabait ng pamilya niya. Maraming tulong ang naibigay nila sa amin. Noong nangyari ang bagyong Ondoy, nabaha kami rito. Binigyan kami ni Manny at ng kapatid niyang si Tess ng pang-grocery para sa isang daang pamilya dito na nasalanta ng baha noong panahon na iyon,” recalled Luly dela Fuente-Maninding, a kababata of Manny and Tess.
Birth of volunteerism
The six dark alleys perpendicular to Barasoain were no exception to the light MVP and his group bring to the marginalized. Recently, these eskinitas were given streetlights under OMF’s community electrification program. More than 300 families living in the area are now enjoying the security and convenience these lights bring to the community.
King Soroa, a Barasoain resident and an MVP kababata, said: “Maganda ang tulong na ito sa aming mahihirap. Masaya kami dahil naalala niya kami dito sa Barasoain. Marami siyang natulungan dahil madidilim talaga ang mga eskinitang ito kahit umaga.”
When MVP assumed the helm of Meralco, he introduced and instituted makabayan as one of its corporate values. By providing quality energy products and services to consumers, the men and women of Meralco and its subsidiaries contribute to the patriotic thrust of the company.
Inspired by MVP’s nation-building ideals, OMF, which he chairs, developed a program for the employees to step out of their offices and serve communities. Thus, the Makabayan Volunteerism Program was born.
Meralco chief CSR officer and OMF president Jeffrey O. Tarayao said volunteerism is a hallmark in the companyís corporate culture and this is embodied in one of its corporate values, makabayan, which is at the heart of everything they do.
The Makabayan Volunteerism Program encourages Meralco employees to go out to communities and serve. Last July 14, the first Makabayan Day, Meralco had four simultaneous volunteerism activities in various parts of Metro Manila.
“We painted school buildings and murals in public schools as well as basketball courts, taught basketball skills to the marginalized youth, ensured electrical safety in public schools and planted mangroves and cleaned the coastline,” Tarayao shared.
The program launch in the school gym in San Juan Elementary School was attended by Meralco executives, San Juan officials led by Mayor Guia Gomez as well as advocacy and community partners who have all committed to finding ways to build the nation.
Bearers of hope
On the same day, OMF donated a kitchen showcase to the school to encourage school-based nutrition among the students in time for the nationwide celebration of July as the Nutrition Month.
Medicines were donated for the medical and dental mission the local government of San Juan has prepared the next day for 1,500 of their underprivileged citizens. Movable basketball rings and other sports equipment were given to the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay Little Baguio to support the districtís mini olympics.
Also part of the launch and in partnership with the MVP Sports Foundation, 500 soccer balls were donated to the Philippine Marines in Sulu for Football for Peace, a program aimed at teaching conflict-afflicted Sulu youth the values of discipline, teamwork and sportsmanship.
From the makabayan idol himself, MVP capped the morning launch with words inspiring everyone to personify what it is to be a true makabayan: being bearers of light and hope to their fellowmen.