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PSFI celebrates 40 years of moving the Filipino forward

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) looks back at its journey of nation-building and moving the Filipino forward. The two-day celebration kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony of a photo exhibit featuring images that tell stories of the foundation’s programs that have made a significant impact across Philippine regions. 

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony during the PSFI’s 40th anniversary celebration (from left):  Stanley Siahetiong, Country HSSE Manager; Sebastian Quinones Jr., Executive Director, PSFI; Lorelie Quiambao-Osial, Country Chair and President, Pilipinas Shell; Cesar A Buenaventura, PSFI Founding Chair; Marvi Trudeau, Deputy Executive Director, PSFI; and TJ Laurel, Director of Programs, PSFI.

Pilipinas Shell Country Chair and President Lorelie Quiambao-Osial spoke of the long-running collaboration that the foundation has established with the government and the private sector to ensure national advancement, which was emphasized by the anniversary theme “Sama-samang pagtulong, sabay-sabay na pagsulong.” “We have been in the country for 108 years as a partner in nation-building and we aim to continue to make a positive impact in the communities where we operate and in the wider society. To achieve this, we are very proud to be working hand-in-hand and side-by-side with Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. which our Founding Chairman started 40 years ago,” she said. 

Since 1982, the social development arm of Pilipinas Shell has been spearheading fit-for-purpose projects that are rooted in six United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Climate Action. 

From its modest beginnings, PSFI has grown into successfully translating these goals that address the pressing concerns of millions of Filipinos in the areas of livelihood, education, health and safety, environment, nutrition and food security, and energy.

Sebastian C. Quiniones Jr., PSFI Executive Director, also equated its growth with establishing partnerships: “We started with just two programs with seven staff members. About 40 years later, we now have over 50 programs and about 200 team members all over the Philippines. PSFI is not just its 200 team members, or the staff that are directly related to us. It’s our partners working cohesively with us to assist the beneficiaries in the communities that we are in. All of you have contributed to the journey of 40 years.” 

As described by PSFI Chairman and Founder Cesar Buenaventura, PSFI’s “singular and most significant achievement” is the internationally recognized Movement against Malaria (MAM), which has reduced confirmed cases by 31% and provided 175,000 individuals with malaria prevention education. Piloted in Palawan, it has since expanded throughout the country. Buenaventura acknowledged, “With the support of Global Fund and the Philippine government, the program has resulted in eliminating malaria as a major health issue in the country. It is a model for public-private partnership and collaboration — something which other countries aspire to emulate.”

PSFI also expanded its reach to address the needs of communities in more rural areas. It leveraged the success of pioneer programs such as Sanayan sa Kakayahang Industriyal (SKIL) which provides technical training courses to out-of-school youth, producing 18,000 scholar-graduates since 1985.

 During the Covid-19 quarantines, new programs such as Para sa Bayan consolidated efforts to help in various fronts including grassroots and fence-line communities, local businesses, and health frontlines.

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When the pandemic caused operational strains, PSFI stepped up to the challenge and provided assistance to Filipinos at a time they needed it the most. “The best interest of our beneficiaries remained a top priority. We pivoted our programs and realigned our efforts to maximize our resources and continue delivering quality service to the communities in need. This was made possible with the help of our staff, partners, communities, and volunteers. Sama-samang pagtulong and malasakit were crucial to overcoming the challenges and delivering our commitments,” reflected Buenaventura. 

Looking back at 40 years of helping communities address decades of vulnerabilities, Filipinos can look forward to PSFI’s expansion of sustainable projects that can power progress for them. As the world progresses, the foundation shall continue to adapt and empower Filipinos, helping them wherever they are, whenever Shell is needed.

“We need a multisectoral approach and different groups to come together and work together,’ Quimabao-Osial added. “We have done that for the last 40 years and I am filled with hope that we can continue in 40 years and beyond in the years to come. Shell is a willing and an able partner in this regard. We commit to play our role, support this vision, and we invite businesses, governments, and civil society to work together to shape this future.”

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