Recognizing its role in effecting positive change for communities in need, the country’s largest, integrated telecommunications company PLDT Inc. (PLDT), together with its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), is empowering its customers nationwide to support meaningful programs this season.
For its holiday initiatives for brands PLDT Home and Smart Signature, the telco group is enabling its customers through a donation component that converges support for local livelihood, climate action, and the protection of children on the Internet. This comes in light of the impact of recent typhoons that hit local communities, as well as the continuously rising cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) in the Philippines.
“This season of giving, we aim to share with our customers the gift of meaningful connections and the experience of supporting different causes that are important to us as a company – the continuing livelihood of our local communities and the safety of our children online. We have then created this program to further expand our impact and engage our customers in the process, simply through their subscription with us,” said Rebecca de Guzman, Group Head for Retail Operations of PLDT and Smart.
“For every new postpaid line activation or account retention at any of our participating stores, PLDT and Smart would pledge support to special causes on behalf of our customer. As a token of our shared donation, our customer gets an eco-friendly set of goodies that consist of an upcycled flour sack bag and a biodegradable tag that can grow seeds,” explained Jacqueline Bocalan, Trade Marketing Department Head for Smart.
To facilitate this program, PLDT and Smart collaborated with Kids for Kids, a youth-led organization under sustainability and creative change agency TAYO that champions children’s rights and marries creativity and sustainability for positive change. Proceeds go towards supporting the livelihood and cultural identity of local embroiderers from the Hand Embroidery Capital of the Philippines in Lumban, Laguna, in cooperation with social enterprise Sariwa, and to the barangay-based programs of the SaferKidsPH consortium of UNICEF, Save the Children, Asia Foundation to end OSAEC in the country.
“Kids for Kids has been working towards bridging the gap between corporations, like PLDT and Smart, and changemakers to champion children’s rights – especially the right of every child to a safe environment. We believe in using the Filipino spirit of Bayanihan to connect communities and create value-adding campaigns that benefit both people and planet,” said Kids for Kids co-founders Natasha and Isabella Tanjutco.
PLDT and Smart, through their collaboration platform Better Today, have also been working with Kids for Kids to craft a stream of content that aims to raise awareness on child online protection and youth-led initiatives to end OSAEC.
Earlier this year, the Department of Justice raised alarm on the 264% year-on-year increase in cases of OSAEC in the country amid community quarantine measures. This has since led PLDT and Smart to strengthen its child protection initiatives through business policies, implementing technology, and education of communities.
“We hope more companies continue to champion youth-led causes, just like PLDT and Smart, in order to foster a community for positive change,” said Tanjutco.
With the inclusion of child protection, PLDT and Smart’s sustainability pillars are anchored on the conduct of its business, particularly in its thrust to champion awesome customer experience, environmental stewardship, community impact and excellence in human capital, among others. The group works on integrating these areas to beef up its continuing contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.