Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Working together to serve more communities for a sustainable future

Climate change is one of the most pressing and defining global issues today. It has become imperative for both the public and private sectors to continue to band together to primarily, safeguard the welfare of the people and to step up to strengthen the resilience of the nation.  

Solar rooftop at SM City North Edsa 

The Philippines currently ranks third globally when it comes to climate change vulnerability. In relation to its geographical location, it is more exposed to altering intensities of climate change manifested through erratic weather systems and natural calamities.  

The private sector is called upon now more than ever to align with the principles of sustainable development and to take on the same firm stance on environmentally sound practices in its operations. 
Mr. Hans T. Sy

“I constantly encourage the private sector to work closely with the government. This way, we can be more cohesive in our efforts to make more meaningful progress towards a better and sustainable future. As a private enterprise, SM Prime will continue to do its share in addressing climate change for the benefit of communities,” said Hans T. Sy, SM Prime Holdings Chairman of the Executive Committee.  

Water conservation  

Sustainability at SM Prime is at the core of its corporate identity. SM Prime has spearheaded sustainable practices as well as set records in pioneering programs to consciously protect the environment and strongly focus on resilience in its developments.  

For one, the property conglomerate embarked on a campaign to substantially reduce its water consumption. It pioneered the installation of sewage treatment plants even before the measure was required by way of the Clean Water Act in 2004.  

Today, its sewage treatment plants recycle 8.7 million cubic meters of water, lessening its dependence on fresh water sources for air conditioning operations, gardening, water closet flushing and other non-potable uses. SM Prime’s water catchment basins across 20 SM malls can also catch and store almost 79 million liters of water in total every time it rains, or as much as 32 Olympic-sized swimming pools.   

By controlling the flow of flood water, surrounding communities have been provided more protection against the devastating effects of floods, alleviating what communities would normally fear when the rains come. 

Renewable energy   

SM Prime continues to explore ways to promote environmental consciousness in its operations and developments to minimize environmental impact.   

In 2014, SM Prime achieved an important milestone in the country with SM City North EDSA becoming then the world’s largest solar-powered mall. Today, SM Prime is adding eleven more malls with solar roof decks.  

Showing its firm resolve to advance its sustainability agenda, the company is committed to increase the use of renewable energy by 50% in 2022 across its various business segments, ahead of the national goals to be 35% renewable by 2030.  

Through these efforts, SM Prime is committed to provide affordable and clean energy to its tenant-partners, minimizing the carbon footprint emission in its operations.

Collaboration toward resilience  

As a key figure in the private sector, Mr. Sy and his dedication to environmental protection continues to serve as a testament to how Philippine businesses can usher positive change toward disaster resilience and risk reduction management in the country.    

In 2012, Mr. Sy joined the United Nations Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) for Disaster Reduction. In 2015, he was also inducted as the first and only Filipino member UNDRR ARISE (Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies) International Board. He currently serves as co-chair in the ARISE-Philippines network and National Resilience Council (NRC) of the Philippines, representing the private sector. He continues to help develop multi-sectoral partnerships in the country to strengthen the ability of corporations, including MSMEs, to prepare and respond to disasters brought about by natural hazards such as earthquake.   

“Climate change is looming over our Mother Earth. If we can contribute no matter how little and if I can get everybody to be aware of it, I think we will make an impact. It’s never too late,” said Mr. Sy in a video interview for the 50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders initiative.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

SM: Creating shared value through tech-voc education

One of the flagship programs of SM Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the SM group, is its scholarship program. Aside from the college education offerings, the program also provides venues for students who would like to pursue a career in the skilled labor industry.  

The gradual reopening of economy not just in the country, but around the world, brings hope to more job opportunities for Filipinos who lost their jobs because of the health crisis. Indeed, the support for individuals eyeing to be part of the skilled industry is needed now more than ever.  

It was in this light when SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime), together with SM Foundation (SMFI), Don Bosco One TVET Phils. Inc., and the city government of Pasay partnered to give educational support to 20 deserving youth coming from Pasay. To date, SMFI has already produced more than 4,500 tech-voc graduates who are now gainfully employed.  

A dream to be fulfilled 

One of the current SM tech-voc scholars from Pasay is Stephen Parina. His dream is to put up his own automotive shop since aside from his interest in cars and motorcycles, he intends to uplift the economic status of his family. Both of his parents are temporary employees at the Pasay City Hall.  

“Nakita ko sa Facebook post ng SM Foundation na nandun ang aking gustong course kaya dali-dali akong pumunta sa city hall ng Pasay para alamin ang mga detalye nito at kinabukasan ay nagpasa na ako agad ng mga requirements,” said Stephen, who is now studying Automotive Mechanic course at the Don Bosco Makati.  

“Gusto kong matuto kung paano mag ayos ng mga sasakyan at makatapos ng pag-aaral dahil hirap kami sa aming pamumuhay. Alam ko na makakatulong ang edukasyon, kagaya ng techvoc upang matupad ang aking pangarap na makapagpatayo ng sarili kong automotive shop. Magiging susi ito upang mai-angat ko ang antas ng pamumuhay ng aking pamilya” he added.  

“Taos pusong pasasalamat sa SM at sa Sy family dahil nabigyan nyo ako ng pagkakataon na makabalik muli sa pag aaral. Hinding hindi ko ito malilimutan. Dadalhin ko ito hanggang sa aking pag tanda,” Stephen said.  

Ticket to success 

Another current tech-voc scholar is Jeorge Angelo Madrid. He is also studying Automotive Mechanic course at the Don Bosco Makati. His father works as a painter of houses and buildings while his mother works at the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Jeorge is the youngest and most of his five siblings already have their own families.

According to Jeorge, he sees this opportunity of going back to school as his ticket towards achieving his dreams: “Nag-apply ako sa SM Foundation kasi wla po akong kakayahan na makapag aral at makapagtapos. Wala po akong pagkukuhanan ng pang tuition para maipang bayad sa eskwelahan.”  

Jeorge is adamant to find a gainful employment right after he finish his studies. “Salamat po sa SM Foundation. Kung hindi dahil sa inyo, hindi madaragdagan ang kaalaman ko tungkol sa automotive. Magagamit ko ito sa aking paghahanap ng trabaho at kinalaunan, masuportahan ang aking sarili, mga pamangkin at ang aking mga magulang,” Jeorge further shared.  

Reaping the fruits of his efforts 

Anthony Andales, an SM tech-voc scholar alumnus, also took the time to share his inspiring story. He graduated from the Dualtech Training Center in 2019 and is now employed as a staff technician in a known company which manufactures various electronic products for home and office use.  

“Bago ako mag-training sa Dualtech, nagtrabaho muna ako bilang isang helper sa isang refilling station. Ang aking arawang sweldo ay P220 lamang. Akala ko dati, wala na akong mararating sa buhay at hindi na makapagtatapos ng pag-aaral,” Anthony recalled.  

“But God gave me the privilege to be chosen as one of the SM Foundation scholars para makapag-aral ako nang walang binayaran kahit piso. Ang tanging puhunan ko lang ay ang aking lakas ng loob at ang aking mga pangarap sa buhay na balang araw, makatutulong ako sa aking pamilya upang kahit papano ay makaahon sa buhay,” he further added.  

Right after his on-the-job training, he was absorbed by the program’s OJT- partner company and was given a job as a staff technician because of his skills and work ethics.   

Napagawa na namin ang bahay kahit papaano, hindi man bato pero at least maayos at safe kapag may bagyo. Hindi po kagaya dati na pag umuulan ay may pa-shower kami kasi butas-butas na ang bubong at tagpi-tagpi ang dingding ng aming tahanan. Walang imposible kapag ikaw ay may pangarap at determinasyon upang maabot ito sapagkat maraming tao at institusyon na handang tumulong. Kaya sobrang thankful po talaga ako sa mga taong tumulong sa akin para magkaroon ng maliwanag na kinabukasan.” Anthony concluded.  

SM Foundation, through its Scholarship program, provides deserving and qualified students with access to college education and technical-vocational studies since 1993.

Monday, June 6, 2022


Two years into the pandemic, my family of four has not left the house for a vacation, a quick drive to eat out, or just visit relatives. Apart that we are practicing strict health protocols and we have not conquered our fears of exposing ourselves to the virus outside, we also faced a huge challenge – when it comes to travelling. We only have our reliable motorcycle to transport us from point A to B in the past 2 years.  

But as the Philippines eases up on restrictions, and as Filipinos are slowly going out of their homes to experience life in the “outside world” again, me and my husband have also decided that it is time to purchase our very first brand new car.  

Me and my husband were just so lucky to be employed amidst the pandemic. We are work from home individuals, that do not need to wake up very early and seek public transportation to get to the office. For two years, we were both spared from the stress and anxiety brought about by daily commuting in the Philippines.    

Pre-pandemic, I really did not have a problem commuting using the public transportation available – bus, jeepneys, taxi, MRT.  But after two years, and who knows when will this pandemic end, as parents, we do not want to risk our family’s health via commuting. We realized that our health is of utmost importance. That is when we decided that we will purchase our very first brand new car.  

We did a lot of online research before deciding on the purchase. And these are the things that we considered:


We had an unhappy history with used cars. Purchased a sedan and MPV years back that did not perform well. As a result, we did shell out a lot of money on maintenance. We don’t want that risk anymore. We wanted a simple vehicle that we can depend on.  Besides, working from home for 2 years gave us enough savings for a brand new vehicle. A brand new vehicle isn’t a luxury, but an investment in the long run. And we don’t have to worry about your vehicle breaking down in the middle of nowhere in the pandemic or giving up on you while you battle the rush hour traffic. Having that peace of mind is worth the extra money a new car requires.     


Unless you have an available fund, if you intend to purchase a car with installment payment, you need to calculate the monthly payment. The common rule is not to pay more than 20% of your monthly income for installment buying. Budget and planning are very important during pre-purchase. https://www.carpaymentcalculator.net will help you calculate car price that fits a monthly payment or loan payment amounts. It also has a small gaming arcade that can entertain you while browsing.  

Post purchase, I also included in our monthly expenses the following: fuel consumption, insurance and government registration. We also used http://carpaymentcalculator.net/calcs/gas-budget.php for calculating our fuel budget.  For our family, it was important for us to determine how much money we can shell out for the purchase. Would it put a dent on our savings? Or drastically change our lifestyle for the worse? It is important to buy within our means.   


Here are some of our family’s pre-buying checklist: 

  • How many people will it carry 
  • Automatic or manual (if price matters, we will choose manual) 
  • Sedan or APV  (definitely an APV because we need to put a lot of things at the back when we buy stuff during out of town trips. We want a vehicle that can double up as a service vehicle) 
  • Japanese vs American brand  (In the Philippines it is easier to get parts for Japanese branded vehicles) 
  • APV is our family’s choice because we also plan of converting it into a camper van for outdoor adventures

inspecting the Suzuki APV

happy with our purchase :)