Simbahayan Director Mark Anthony D. Abenir, DSD, said the cash donation will be used at the beginning of School Year 2016-2017 to fund various projects and community-engaged researches of their Office, particularly in the following program areas: Health and Wellness Program; Equitable and Inclusive Education; Leadership Organizational Development in Good Governance; Employability and Social Enterprise Development; Socio-Pastoral Ministry and Evangelization; Culture, Heritage and Sports Development; Environmental Sustainability and Action; and, lastly, Disaster Risk Reduction Programs.
Building the Church, the Home, and the Country
Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., PhD, Vice-Rector, recognized the Simbahayan Office as the University’s forefront in establishing self-reliant Communities through meaningful development and organizing programs. “One of the hallmarks of the University as a Catholic Institution is to uplift the lives of the marginalized members of society by building communities and empowering people through sustainable livelihood projects with the creation of the Simbahayan Community Development Office, the unit tasked to develop, facilitate, implement, and manage community development programs,” Fr. Ang said.
Through Simbahayan, the University aims to contribute to the building of the Church, the home, and the nation as it is stated in the Mission-Vision statement, stated Fr. Ang.
A higher purpose
Meanwhile, the benefactor Dr. Ortiz stated that Unionbank lives a higher purpose. Through Smart Banking, which he noted as their institution’s significant contribution, lives in communities were elevated and empowered.
“All of us as bankers have individual competencies and individual advocacies, that we could live the spirit of communities, which we share with the Simbahayan: the idea of community, the idea of self-reliance, and the idea of empowerment,” Ortiz said.
Dr. Ortiz cited their program entitled “Go Beyond” wherein they encourage their fellow UnionBankers to further pursue their advocacy in building a community.
“We, as an institution, our success is dependent [also] on the success, the well-being, the progress, the growth of the communities that we are engaged with and we see this as an integral part of who we are as an institution, as a member of the Philippine Society,” Ortiz said.
In behalf of her fellow Aetas at Brgy. Bamban, Hermosa, Bataan, Poong Lolita Valdez expressed her gratitude to the University, especially to the Simbahayan, for its developmental programs held in their community.
Half a decade of meaningful collaboration
The donation is not the first time that UnionBank supported the University of Santo Tomas. Five years ago, UnionBank helped launch the historic two-part Lumina Pandit project, which immortalized the country’s heritage stored in the Miguel de Benavides Library. Fr. Ang recalled that this contributed to shaping the knowledge culture in the University and also in the country.
“This collaboration included the cataloguing and digitalization of books, the publication of the said catalogues, and the formal launch of these books in catalogues, as well as the website. [Also] an exhibit of the library’s gems and publication of two Lumina Pandit volumes, which showcased the cultural and literary treasures of the University.”