Social Responsibility

Manila Bulletin, January 15, 2011 | Go to article overview

Social Responsibility


MANILA, Philippines - Last Sunday, we wrote about the successful concert of Tanay, Rizal's native son and internationally acclaimed tenor Arthur Espiritu held last December at the Philamlife auditorium.We were privileged to witness Arthur's vocal prowess - the same talent that opera aficionados from other parts of the world saw when he performed at Milan's La Scala.We mentioned that Arthur's concert was co-sponsored by Klassikal Music Foundation which was founded and is headed by highly respected Filipino entrepreneur George Yang. George, who is a tenor himself and shows his passion for the musical arts not just through singing but also through his efforts at helping develop and showcase outstanding Filipino musical talents.George is among many Filipino businessmen today who are using their time, talent, and treasure to help others have meaningful lives.Rizal province has been a direct beneficiary of this contagious civic spirit. Many private sector partners are helping us address health, environmental, and educational concerns.Among them is the Smart Communications - PLDT group led by business leader Manuel V. Pangilinan. Smart has initiated "Project Rain Gauge," a novel collaboration among local governments and schools. The project taps Smart's cellular communications technology to help local communities monitor rainfall and prepare for any weather-related emergency.The Pangilinan group has also donated classrooms and school buildings to Rizal province, as well as equipment to support the development of our young talents. Among these are the music room and the musical instruments that Mr. Pangilinan gave to the Regional Pilot School for the Arts in Angono.The donation of the Pangilinan group has given much inspiration to the students of the school. It matters a lot to them that private citizens care about them. The show of genuine and generous concern from our private-sector partners can only encourage these budding artists to strive to become the best they can be.This kind of involvement with local communities is referred to in the business sector as "corporate social responsibility" (CSR).The view from the local communities is that this is more than just an exercise of corporate responsibility. This is a practice that has the spirit of the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, at its very core.The "social responsibility" concept must have been pioneered by the national hero himself.Today's CSR advocates say the practice is a way of "giving back."To Dr. Rizal, social responsibility meant more like "sharing."The venue for his pioneering social responsibility program must have been Dapitan City, his second home. In our previous columns, we noted how Dr. Rizal used his own personal financial resources to help improve the infrastructure of Dapitan. He was also a pioneer in "investments generation," having gone out of his way to invite friends and relatives to put in capital into business opportunities in Dapitan.But as a "social responsibility" practitioner, Dr. Rizal shared not just financial resources, but also his expertise and his precious time. He volunteered to teach the youth of Dapitan City. He also gave free medical services to the people of Dapitan.Gawad Kalinga and the various medical missions that go to the remote areas in our country are, therefore, also contemporary and concrete expressions of the Rizalian spirit of "social responsibility. …

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