Chevron Philippines Inc. (CPI), marketer of the Caltex brand of fuels and lubricants, closes the year with a celebration of the spirit of volunteerism among its employees and business partners by helping out needy communities in one week of volunteerism called Week of Caring (WOC).
About 724 Chevron employees and Caltex retailers recently painted murals with children with learning disabilities, played traditional Filipino games with orphans, planted tree seedlings, did talk therapy with victims of sexual slavery in WW2, fed abandoned and abused animals, and cleared a turtle sanctuary in San Pascual, Batangas from trash and debris.
Diversity is a corporate value that is strongly encouraged by the company. Chevron believes that active involvement in a variety of environment through community service makes for well-rounded and high performing employees. Thus, the Caltex brand marketer cultivates a volunteer culture done during company time. CPI has been doing its annual volunteer drive for the past six years.
“We encourage employees to immerse themselves with the disadvantaged members of society while at the same time fostering camaraderie to make them a stronger team. We also involve the other members of the Chevron family such as our Caltex retailers, station locators and branded marketers in social investment projects so that host communities and other stakeholders get to experience the human side of the Caltex brand,” said Raissa Bautista, CPI manager for Policy, Government and Public Affairs.
For the 2013 WOC, the Chevron volunteer corps logged in 2,876 total hours of volunteer work. The cost benefit for project partners is significant. “We, at LIFT Learning Center, are honored to be chosen by Chevron to receive a painting renovation with mural painting on our walls. What they have done will make the center more conducive for learning and appealing to the eyes of the special children we serve and educate,” says Maria Anjelica Lee, LIFT coordinator.
The Chevron WOC was launched with a mural painting activity at the LIFT Learning Center where children with learning disabilities are educated and taught to be more independent. Chevron repainted the school premises and volunteers together with LIFT kids and their parents finished off the renovation by painting bright murals along the walls.
On the second day, a more fast-paced activity awaited sports-minded Chevron volunteers headed by no less than the Chevron country chairman, Peter Morris. Along with business consultants and Caltex retailers from the greater Manila district, the Chevron contingent tried to reclaim their youth as they were paired and competed with 50 orphans of Nayon ng Kabataan in Mandaluyong City while playing traditional Filipino games such as patintero and luksong tinik.
For the third day, 240 kids and at least 8 of their teacher-guardians from the four public elementary schools of Pandacan toured Philippine Science Centrum. CPI volunteers helped the center’s tour guides explain key exhibits. Chevron collaborated with PSC and the schools to sponsor only the most indigent pupils from third to sixth grade levels with strong science aptitudes. Sixth grader Mary Joyce Tapales said, “The field trip is quite costly for us and I know my parents cannot afford the expenses. I’m so happy because Chevron gave me the opportunity to have this experience I will never forget.”
On the fourth day 2 batches of Chevron volunteers separated to different destinations. One group trooped to a former landfill in San Mateo, Rizal where they planted 270 seedlings which in 15-20 years will be fully grown acacia, molave, golden shower and dipa trees.
The other team visited the comfort women of Lila Pilipina in Quezon City, a support center for victims and survivors of rape and sexual slavery by Japanese troops during World War II. Now in their 80s and 90s, the brave elderly still cry when they recall the abuse that shattered their honor and dignity70 years ago. Of the 170 documented victims, less than half are still alive to tell their stories.
On the 5th day, Chevron volunteers fed the 256 cats and 74 dogs rescued and undergoing extensive treatment at the PAWS (Philippine Animal Welfare Society) rehabilitation center in Quezon City. PAWS is a volunteer-based NGO trying to prevent animal cruelty through education, animal sheltering and advocacy.
Protecting a Turtle Sanctuary
The WOC culminated with Chevron employees, joined by residents of its Batangas host community, got rid of the trash, debris and other flotsam dotting the beachfront of Chevron’s terminal in San Pascual. The Chevron terminal has the only beach and the only DENR-declared sanctuary for the endangered Oliver Ridley turtles in the municipality. At least 597 volunteers collected an estimated 600 garbage bags in 3 hours that were segregated into biodegradables, recyclable materials and non-recyclable materials totaling over 7.2 metric tons. The coastal cleanup was timed to prepare the beach for the turtles nesting season which ends in February. The activity was made even more meaningful when CPI included a 30-minute turtle encounter training session that taught the volunteers on the right way to approach and protect turtles they may encounter on the beach. The timing was perfect because a mere six days after the cleanup, a turtle nest was found near the high tide mark. Under the guidance of Batangas DENR, the nest’s 110 eggs were transferred to higher and safer grounds, cordoned off to keep away predators. Chevron employees have added to their roles as environment warriors the duty of being pawikan protectors.
Aside from Week of Caring, CPI is continuously involved in various social investment projects through its Caltex Energy for Learning (EFL) initiative. EFL supports projects that provide education and livelihood skills to disadvantaged people groups so that they can have better opportunities in life.
Most recently, Chevron companies in the Philippines, Chevron Corporation in the US, as well as Chevron employees contributed a total of P69.5 million for disaster relief assistance to communities affected by super typhoon Yolanda.