Sun Life Foundation…Rise Brighter PH

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Sun Life Foundation…Rise Brighter PH

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SUN LIFE FOUNDATION PRESSCON: RISE BRIGHTER PH
Aug. 27, 2020, 3pm
Via Zoom

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Mr. Benedict Sison
CEO & Country Head, Sun Life Philippines
Chairman, Sun Life Foundation

Allow me to open with an anecdote. Every time we mount a project for the Sun Life Foundation, it always surprises our partner organizations to know that the Sun Life Foundation mainly consists of only three people: one Executive director – Tin Millete, one Lead for Programs and Partnerships – Reiza Banega, and one Lead for Program Administration and Management, Pat Mallari. It appears that we have given an impression that the Sun Life Foundation is comprised of so many members, because it has been able to launch big projects over the years.

Of course, Tin, Reiza, and Pat deserve much credit for all the hard work and passion they put in the Foundation’s many initiatives. But apart from these three wonderful ladies, we also have a secret weapon: the Sun Life community itself.

You see, the spirit of volunteerism is strong among employees and advisors, whether they’re planting trees at the La Mesa watershed or sprucing up classrooms for Brigada Eskwela. Their generosity is also evident, whether they’re donating goods for relief operations or even donating their own blood in our Red Cross blood drives!

Charity has always been deeply embedded in the culture of Sun Life. Our CSR efforts started way back in in 1992, when the company started its corporate social responsibility efforts with the one-off program called S.H.A.R.E.S., or Sharing Hope and Resources for Education and Social Services.

SHARES was borne out of the kindness Sun Life executives, employees, and advisors of the company. The objective was simple: to provide scholarships for deserving students, to give relief to calamity survivors, and to care for the environment. It was such a fulfilling experience for the Sun Life community that we decided to sustain and institutionalize these efforts, and the Sun Life Foundation was born in 2007. Since then, we have been able to partner with many other organizations and touch more lives.

I believe that this culture is rooted on the enduring partnership between Sun Life and the Filipinos. Having founded life insurance in the Philippines 125 years ago, Sun Life has stood by Filipinos amid two World Wars, the Martial Law, and countless economic crises.

Today, our partnership with the Filipinos is as strong as ever. And as the country strives to rise above the pandemic, we shall remain at their side.

Ever since the pandemic occurred, Sun Life Foundation has participated in various efforts addressing the most pressing needs of Filipinos. We purchased medical supplies for hospitals and provided protective equipment to frontline teams. We have donated to Project Ugnayan to provide food vouchers to vulnerable families. We have also provided free life insurance to 3,000 health care workers. In addition, our global headquarters in Canada has donated funds to support impacted communities around the world.

Today, we are launching two new programs that aim to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on the Filipinos’ financial security and health. The details will be shared later on, but let me just share that these are long-term sustainable programs that will see them through to recovery.

These programs are a part of our company’s commemoration of our 125th anniversary. But more than that, this our way of honoring the Filipinos’ strength and resilience amid adversity. This is also a testament to our continuing commitment to their brighter future. Tuloy ang samahan. Walang iwanan.

Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat at maraming salamat sa pagdalo.

Message from Mr. Alex Narciso
President, Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc.
President, Sun Life Foundation

We hope you are all doing well amid the challenges we’re facing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

With more and more Filipinos experiencing the unprecedented effects of the pandemic, we at Sun Life felt compelled to do even more to help our kababayans rise above the challenges we are facing. After all, two of the most pressing concerns of today – financial security and health – are areas in which we can be of assistance. But more than that, it is simply the right thing to do. If we have the privilege to be comfortable in this crisis, we also have the responsibility to lend a hand to those in different circumstances.

And so, today, the Sun Life Foundation is launching Rise Brighter PH.

Rise Brighter PH comprises of two projects which are part of our commemoration of Sun Life’s 125th anniversary in the Philippines. It aims to do just as the handle suggests: help the country rise to a brighter future. These two projects are Sun Pera-Aralan 2020 and the Sun Life Barangay Health Stations.

Let’s talk about Sun Pera-Aralan 2020 first. Sun Pera-Aralan is a behavior-based financial management program which aims to address financial insecurity and indebtedness among public school teachers. Nakakalungkot sabihin na karamihan sa kanila ay lunod sa utang, pero ito ang katotohanan. Sa katunayan, dalawa o tatlong linggo pa lang matapos nilang makuha ang kanilang isang-buwang sweldo ay ubos na ito. Kaya naman kinakailangan pa nilang mag-hanap ng sideline para lang mapunan ang kanilang mga pangangailangan.
This is a cause that is very close to my heart, being a former high school teacher myself. It’s hard to imagine how the people who mold the future doctors, engineers, artists, scientists, and more are the very same ones who are struggling in life. In the same way that teachers have given us so much, we too must give back to them.

Sun Pera-Aralan is Sun Life Foundation’s way of doing this. The program considers the actual behaviors and experiences of public school teachers, making it more effective in helping them develop positive and practical daily money habits. Sun Pera-Aralan makes use of Peso-Sobre, a simple and straightforward budgeting tool that helps teachers properly allocate their monthly salary into weekly funds. The program also has a Facebook support group that encourages teachers to stay on track by connecting them with fellow teachers in the program and with volunteer Sun Life advisors who can provide further guidance. Katuwang namin sa proyektong ito ang AHA! Behavioral Design, Inc., na siyang nag-disenyo ng programa.

The initial run we did last year with about 10,000 public school teachers bore fantastic results. They were able properly budget their salary and stick to it. As such, they were able to make it through the next pay day without the need to borrow money. Some were even able to save! As a result, they had a surplus of funds during the quarantine.

Nakakataba ng pusong isipin na aming munting programa para sa mga guro ay nagbunga ng higit pa sa aming inaasahan. Kaya naman ganado kaming ulitin ito sa ngayong 2020, hanggang sa umabot sa 125,000 ang bilang ng mga gurong aming matutulungan.

Meanwhile, the Sun Life Barangay Health Stations will focus on providing sustainable health care to the poorer sectors of society.

In the Philippines, Barangay Health Stations serve as the most accessible sources of primary health care. However, there is a disparity in the number of barangays versus the number of existing health stations. As of March 2019, there are 42,045 barangays in the country, but the health stations listed by the Department of Health are only at 21,053 barangays. There is a gap of 21,053 more health stations. The Sun Life Barangay Health Stations aims to help fill that gap, and we are fortunate to have found a partner in Health Futures Foundation, Inc. for this initiative.

Ngayong taon, walong Sun Life Barangay Health Stations ang aming ipatatayo sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng Batangas. Ang bawat isa sa mga ito ay magbibigay ng serbisyo sa mga komunidad tulad ng bakuna, konsultasyon, at pamamahagi ng sapat na kaalaman tungkol sa kalusugan. Bibigyan din ng sapat na pagsasanay ang mga barangay health worker at health cluster leaders para sila mismo ang mangangalaga sa kanilang komunidad.

The Sun Life Barangay Health Stations aim to benefit a total of 125,000 lives within the next five years. But we also envision it to be a sustainable initiative that may benefit not just the present but also future generations.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s Rise Brighter PH. Through this initiative, we reaffirm our commitment to our purpose, which is to help Filipinos achieve financial security and live healthier lives. We want to send a beacon of hope that even during these times of uncertainty, a sustainable and brighter future is possible, and it is right ahead of us. At tulad ng inyong pag-suporta sa Sun Life Foundation sa mga nakalipas na taon, umaasa kaming muli niyong kaming tutulungan na maisakatuparan ang aming pangarap na mas maliwanag na bukas para sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino.

Maraming salamat at magandang hapon sa inyong lahat.

Msg from Enchong Dy
Hi, everyone! It is my honor to be the Sun Life Foundation’s ally in its efforts to build a brighter world for Filipinos.

This is actually not the first time that we are working together – Sun Life Foundation previously supported my own advocacy called “Handog Palangoy ni Enchong,” where I offer free swimming classes to kids in poor communities. Then, when the pandemic happened, we also worked together to provide healthcare workers with digital life insurance. Through all these, I have felt the team’s sincere desire to give help where it is needed.

I look forward to doing my share to ensure the success of the Sun Life Foundation’s programs. One of the things I’ve learned during the pandemic is how important it is for all of us to come together and help each other, for this is the only way we can rise above the challenges. For me, being an ally to Sun Life Foundation is definitely a step in that direction.

I hope that all of you, our friends in the media, will also support our initiatives. By amplifying the message, we can find even more allies in our advocacies, and together, we can build a brighter world. Let’s make it happen! Thank you all so much, and may you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.

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