The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “further” as “to a greater degree or extent” or “to go or extend beyond.”
As Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. is showing no signs of slowing down even after 40 years of helping communities improve themselves and contributing to nation-building, it intends to indeed move its notable and extensive advocacy work further as there is still much left to do.
Thus it adopted the theme “Moving Further” to mark its milestone year, to drive home the point to the organization as well as its partners and stakeholders that PSFI remains a steadfast partner of the country in its efforts to solve the stubborn problem of poverty, particularly in the communities where it operates.
“We have to continue until we see our goal, to see communities become empowered and resilient. We have to redouble our efforts,” said Sebastian C. Quiniones, Jr., the seventh executive director of PSFI that was established in 1982 at a time of great economic and political turmoil in the country.
Cesar Buenaventura, the first Filipino President and CEO of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., spearheaded the establishment of the foundation in 1982 with the singular intention to help address the problem of poverty, especially in the communities that have welcomed its operations.
PSFI was the expression of the Shell companies in the Philippines’ commitment to be a good corporate citizen, believing that it has a responsibility to go above and beyond just paying taxes to contribute to building a stronger and more resilient nation.
The Shell companies in the Philippines remain committed to that role, especially today when good corporate governance calls for companies to integrate sustainability issues into their business strategies
“This is why we believe that the purpose of a company is to engage all its stakeholders in a shared and sustained value creation— employees, customers, local communities and society at large,” explained PSPC president and CEO Lorelie Quiambao-Osial.
PSFI was established on August 19, 1982, as the social investment arm of the Shell companies in the Philippines. This solidified Shell’s commitment to empower communities, starting with the Sanayan sa Kakayahang Industriyal program (SKIL).
During its initial years, PSFI saw the widespread unemployment problem in the country, which was responded to by providing technical-vocational training and employment linkaging with the Foundation’s partner institutions.
SKIL was only the beginning of the many programs PSFI was about to develop to help address the needs of Filipinos. PSFI has touched more than 13 million lives in nearly 40 years through its diverse programs.
It has expanded its reach to the rest of the country, currently focusing on communities in Batangas, Rizal, Camarines Sur, Palawan, Tagbilaran, Tacloban, and Cagayan de Oro.
Through its programs, it aims to continue contributing to the country’s sustainable development through capacity building, promoting self-reliance, and developing the potential of communities and individuals alike.
PSFI upholds the Shell core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people and the environment in all its work and has anchored its work on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on nutrition and food security, health and safety, education, energy, livelihood and environment.
PSFI has increased its number of partners who are united by a vision of a better Philippines. As PSFI’s slogan says, sama-samang pagtulong, sabay sabay na pagsulong.
Buenaventura expressed immense pride during the celebration on Friday of PSFI’s 40th year, saying that the foundation that began with modest goals of focusing on training out-of-school youth in industrial and agricultural skills, and in values formation, had gone on to achieve so much.
Even as it was buffeted by the winds of economic and political change, PSFI managed to gain recognition for its work not just in the Philippines but in the Shell group of companies worldwide.
It also won the trust of international organizations such as the Global Fund, which entrusted to PSFI over $100 million for the implementation of the comprehensive antimalaria program, of which he is most proud.
“With the support of the Global Fund and the Philippine government, the program resulted in eliminating malaria as a major health issue in the country. It is truly a remarkable achievement and a model for Public-private partnership—something which other countries are aspiring for and emulating,” Buenaventura said.
Buenaventura hopes that as PSFI moves forward, it will “continue to find ways to help uplift the lives of the most vulnerable members of society and ask, what more can we do to lead our fellow Filipinos to a better, brighter, and peaceful tomorrow.”
PSFI has fortunately rededicated itself to its mission and intends to indeed go even further.
“Our very supportive Board has ordered us to make plans until we meet our strategic goal—that all communities where we are present become productive, have empowered youth, housewives and upskilled workers and that they all be more resilient. Key words: productive, empowered, resilient.”
—Sebastian Quiniones, Jr., PSFI Executive Director