CSR projects take center stage

Jan 28, 2017

Many of our corporate citizens are now seriously giving back to the community through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in the areas of environmental protection, education, skills enhancement and community development, among others. In the automotive industry, a group of motoring journalists, thePhilippine Society of Motoring Journalists ( SPMJ) of which I am a proud member has undertaken its first project last year after a brief period of hibernation and after revitalizing its membership. The project recognizes the best among the various CSR projects of the different automotive companies in the Philippines, but that merits its own telling in my other column.

Among many other companies here, the CSR projects that I have come across over the years as part of our TV show, Business & Leisure, have been outstanding and exemplary, proof that we as Filipino employers take this aspect of our corporate life seriously. However, what I would like to see is more attention and focus on human resources development. This remains an abstract for many companies. Although they are not wanting in corporate benefits, developing the people, the best assets of the company, should likewise be given focus and equal attention.

There are many ways to do this. Many companies have chosen to develop the sports skills of their employees through basketball, baseball, tennis, marathon running and others. This is laudable in itself because studies show that sports lead these employees away from vices like drinking and drugs, forge camaraderie within the company and promote health and wellbeing. A healthy workforce can only mean a more productive one, and sports are always the fun way of achieving this.

Others have embarked on projects that have a positive impact on communities. Coca Cola Foundation, for one, has provided clean, potable water in far flung communities, a lasting legacy indeed for generations to come. Potato Corner, under the leadership of CEO Joe Magsaysay, gives deserving employees with great potentials scholarships in post graduate studies in leading universities like Ateneo de Manila.

Those are only some of the exceptional CSR projects. One of the noteworthy employees' development programs I have come across is that of Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. If the corporate name is not too familiar to some of you, think Bounty Fresh Chicken or the most popular brand of roasted chicken in the Philippines now, Chooks to Go. While the company has its own CSR projects particularly in times of disasters, it is their focus on the development of their employees' personality that has made a difference in their HR development.

Toastmasters International has been around for decades. Bounty Agro Ventures has chosen this prestigious club to help the company in their Personnel Development Program. Their membership in the Toastmasters Club, according to company CEO and president Ronald Mascarinas, was initiated because of the company's desire to develop more leaders within the company. "Recognizing that people are our greatest assets, we made sure that our people management standards are at par with the world's," he said. Excellent communication skills, self-confidence and personality enhancement are hallmarks of the Toastmaster member, and Agro Ventures recognizes this. They also recognize that these skills are important in developing the personality of their employees, skills that make good leaders.

Today, Agro Ventures' Toastmasters Club is the biggest single company membership in Toastmasters International. The company was also given theInvestors in People Awards for2015. This global organization based in the United Kingdom has been setting international people management standards through the years and this award is indeed prestigious, a coveted one among HR practitioners.

One of the perks of membership in the Toastmasters Club in Agro Ventures is the chance to represent the club in the annual international convention. Recently, the company sent some of their club members to Las Vegas, site of the convention, to participate and rub elbows with members of Toastmasters International from different corners of the world. It is a rare chance for ordinary employees to travel and be part of a prestigious international organization's convention. Airfare and hotel accommodations of course are shouldered by the company, so every year, the convention is a much-awaited one at Agro Ventures. Everyone is awaiting their turn: who will be the anointed ones this year? This kind of opportunity promotes enthusiasm among the employees and pride in the company they have joined. One of the staff members shared that after only one year membership in their company's Toastmasters' Club, he was blessed with the chance to represent their local club in the recent international convention in Las Vegas.

In spite of the unprecedented success it has reaped, Agro Ventures is a relatively new company. Their story started in 1997 and Chooks to Go, their rotisserie brand was launched six years later. In just two years, it became the market leader in the roasted chicken industry. Over the span of twenty years, the company has built a formidable network of company-owned stores nationwide and a highly efficient supply chain. Agro Ventures has chalked up its share of International awards as well. In 2009, Bounty Agro was awarded the Asian Livestock Industry Awards for Best Poultry & Livestock Company inAsia in Kuala Lumpur. In2012, the company distinguished itself again whenSuperbrands International recognizedChooks to Go as the leadingRoasted Chicken Brand in the Philippines. Not only that, it has risen above the other brands as Asia's no 1 rotisserie brand, besting all others in the industry. The company continues to be recognized for its technological and marketing excellence, food safety and industry leadership. With a happy work force, the company continues its journey to excellence and success.

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

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About the Author

Ray Butch Gamboa graduated from the College of Arts and Letters of the University of Sto. Tomas. It was a course that should have been preparatory to a law degree, but the call of broadcasting aborted his plans.

At the age of 16, while still a student, Butch tried his hand at disc jockeying, landing a job at Mareco Broadcasting Network's AM stations DZBM and DZLM. From there, Butch moved on with his illustrious career as a popular disc jockey, riding the airwaves of Bob Stewart's middle-of-the-road music at DZXX, and ending his disc jockeying career at ABS-CBN's DZYL and DZQL.

From there, he stayed on with ABS-CBN, covering live the proceedings at the Manila Stock Exchange and eventually entered into the world of television sales as an account manager for the premier channel of ABS-CBN Channel 2.

In the early 70's, at the outbreak of Martial Law, Butch was one of the thousands of professionals who woke up jobless when then President Marcos declared the new status of the nation. With the closure of ABS-CBN, Butch ventured into different fields outside of broadcast. He tried his hand and with ease and success at export (Costume jewelry), real estate (brokerage), and restaurants (fast food).

In 1987, after the revolution, with the broadcast industry back to its free state, and with its irresistible call ringing in his ears, Butch made his inevitable comeback and pioneered in a local motoring show, producing Motoring Today on Channel 4 and co-hosting with local motor sports' living legend Pocholo Ramirez.

After 4 years, he ventured into another pioneering format by producing and hosting Business & Leisure, which was originally aired on ABS-CBN's Channel 2. The format eventually espoused similar ones in other different channels. But the clones in due course faded away leaving the original staying on airing on Channel 4 and eventually on Shop TV on Sky Cable's Channel 13.

The following year, the pioneering spirit in Butch spurred him to produce another TV show, Race Weekend, also on Channel 4, covering circuit racing at the Subic International Raceway after the motor sport's hiatus of 17 years. But when similar shows with duplicated formats sprouted, he decided to give way and ended the program after a year, although still enjoying unparalleled viewership.

In 1998, when the local automotive industry was in a slump, Butch contributed his share to help the ailing industry by producing another popular motoring-related show, this time exclusive to the automobile and its industry—Auto Focus, which became a vehicle for local automotive assemblers and importers to showcase their products and dwell on the industry's latest technological developments.

In 2003, Butch teamed up with his brother, Rey Gamboa who was a former Shell executive and presently one Philippine Star's business columnist to co-produce and co-host the TV show Breaking Barriers on Channel 13. It is a talk show that features guests who are in the news and in the middle of controversies. The program ventures to draw deeper insights into current issues to learn how they impact to our daily lives.

Today, Motoring Today on its 28th year of service to the general motoring public still enjoys its unprecedented loyal vierwership nationwide while Auto Focus, after 16 years has firmly established its niche viewership among automobile enthusiasts and on the other hand Business & Leisure is on its 24th year dishing out current business issues and lifestyle features.

Today, aside from writing weekly columns for the Philippine Star (Motoring Today on Wednesdays and Business & Leisure on Saturdays) and executive producer / host of weekly TV shows (Motoring Today, airs Sundays on Solar Sports Channel 70, Business & Leisure, airs Tuesdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13 and Auto Focus airs Thursdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13, Ray Butch Gamboa is currently the Chairman and CEO of Sunshine Television Production and Marketing Services Corp., President of Gamcor Management and Development Corp., Chairman of Asia-Pacific Realty Corporation, President and Chairman of Socio-Communication Foundation for Asia and Founding Chairman of the Society of Phil. Motoring Journalists (SPMJ)