Last October, Berjaya conglomerate founder and chair Tan Sri Dato Seri Vincent Tan pledged to help improve Filipino lives. True to his word, the Berjaya Group, through the Berjaya Philippines Group of Companies, has donated P44 million to Gawad Kalinga to help build more GK communities across the country.
The amount is part of the P100 million that 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 delivered as GK identifies more sites in 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, and P3.3 million was allocated for the reconstruction of houses in Lantauan, Basilan.
Berjaya Philippines subsidiary companies rose to the challenge of volunteerism in the GK Bayanihan Challenge held March 23-27 as their employees, headed by Steven Tan, CEO of Berjaya Auto Philippines, participated in the bayanihan act of building houses in Barangay Villaflor, Puerto Galera, in Oriental Mindoro.
The employees are from the Philippine Gaming Management Corp., Berjaya Auto Philippines (the official distributor of Mazda in the Philippines), Berjaya Makati Hotel, Papa John’s Pizza, LoadCentral and Friendster.
Officials and staff of Berjaya Philippines helped mix cement, toted hollow blocks, and put roofs atop 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 [work] with those whom we are helping,” Tan said.
The eight Berjaya GK Villages, or a total of 270 housing units, include four sites in Luzon, one in the Visayas, and four in Mindanao.
In Luzon, they are 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 in Malitbog, Southern Leyte (Region 8). In Mindanao, 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).
The families who stand to benefit are 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 is based on a shared commitment to bring help to the helpless and enable them to rise and maintain their dignity. It started in the aftermath of Tropical Storm “Sendong” in 2011, with the creation of GK houses for displaced families.