Philippine News

Brand & Business: How the Philippines’ foremost telco supports communities by making human connections

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — While it’s never been more competitive in the local telecommunications industry, the country’s foremost telecommunications company, Eastern Communications, continues to prove its main priority is the Filipino.

On April 10, Eastern Communications powered the Wala Usik Challenge and awarded Filipino changemaker Hannah de Guzman the Heart of Service award.The virtual event is a hackathon organized by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation that empowered 15 innovators and changemakers in the Philippines with circular design concepts that would allow them to produce creative solutions to #HackThePackaging. De Guzman’s Break-Cup initiative is just one of many incredible solutions that aim to take the packaging out of waste by utilizing sustainable materials and processes.

“At Eastern Communications, our daily mission is to make connections and create solutions. When we learned about Wala Usik, the purpose just fit the bill. In seeking for sustainable solutions, it’s important to be connected […] and tech is essential to accelerate the solutions to these kinds of issues,” said Hannah Lazatin, Eastern Communication’s Brand Communications Head.

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Eastern Communications’ Heart of Service Award celebrates the packaging concept that would most engage and support a diversity of stakeholders and communities, in line with the company’s long history of advocating for Filipinos.

“Filipinos are emerging from the effects of the pandemic and are looking for more avenues to bounce back from Covid-19 restrictions. We want to support more programs that practice our values of being maaasahan and may malasakit,” from Carmina Marquez, Eastern Communications Segment Marketing Manager..

Eastern Communications is no stranger to the significance of building human connections — after all, it was the Philippines’ first telecommunications company, founded back in 1878. Since then, it has evolved into a world-class business, expanding its footprint aggressively across the country particularly in the last two years to provide better IT solutions to businesses big and small and allow them to #EmergeStrongerTogether. But these past years have been more than just business as usual for the premier telco. It has also been a testament to its values and its calling, and a case study on how businesses have the power to strengthen communities in a huge diversity of fields, from education and environment to community building and disaster relief.

Here are just a few of the ways the telco giant is showing up for Filipino communities and proving the impact of providing support.

  1. Empowering educators in distance learning
    The education sector was heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Recognizing the importance of a strong educational system, Eastern Communications partnered with the Department of Education to conduct webinars for public school teachers, training them in the new normal’s required distance learning. These webinars featured motivational speakers and industry leaders to help equip public school teachers with skills much-needed in virtual classrooms, which was essential to educating Filipinos when face-to-face schooling was impossible.

    Recognizing that equipment was also a big hurdle, in December 2021, Eastern Communications pledged over PHP 228,000 in support to Gadgets for All, a charitable program by Synergeia Foundation that donated laptops, desktops, and smartphones to be given to students and teachers for distance learning. This pledge aided over 67 beneficiary families.

    “Education has always been a key pillar in Eastern’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs,” said Eastern Communications’ Head of Marketing, Jed Estanislao. “Schools have been identified as a critical part of society that is in most need of connectivity services. It’s there that students are molded to be future leaders of the country that will drive our development. Their educational needs through accessible and stable connectivity should be a priority. That is the need that we at Eastern are trying to fill.”

  2. Biking towards a greener future
    Within Eastern, there are both company-initiated and employee-led efforts in social responsibility. The company’s regular efforts, such as its annual tree-planting initiative, aim to promote environmental consciousness, reduce its carbon footprint, and strengthen community-building. But apart from helming and funding CSR campaigns, Eastern Communications takes pride in supporting and empowering personal acts of service initiated by its employees, who put their time, effort, and resources into their own advocacies.

    The promotion of sustainable transport, for example, was inspired by the company’s own Ka-Eastern colleagues, who made the shift of biking to work instead of taking their cars. This led the company to create a dedicated parking space for bicycle and e-scooter users. This allowed more employees to start taking bikes to work. In a similar vein, the company incentivized the efforts of other employees that have created carpool groups and shuttle services, encouraging an office culture that contributes to reducing traffic and reducing its carbon footprint. In fact, the company’s office has gone digital and no longer utilizes paper for hard copies of documents. Digital tools such as Microsoft Sharepoint and Adobe Sign allows the company to work efficiently with reduced paper waste. Energy consumption is also reduced, thanks to mandatory lights-off hours.

  3. Helping disaster-stricken families recover
    In January 2022, Eastern Communications’ employees once again showed their initiative and compassion, by pledging over half a million pesos in disaster relief for those affected by Typhoon Odette through the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Operation Blessing. The pledge project among employees amounted to roughly PHP 572,000 in monetary support which provided goods to families in devastated areas. Eastern Communications also extended this support to affected employees through this pledge, on top of the company’s calamity grant.

    Eastern Communications partners with CCCI and Operation Blessing to send aid to communities affected by Typhoon Odette
  4. Providing much-needed internet access in unserved communities
    “WiKonek” is a program spearheaded by Eastern Communications in collaboration with the Community WiFi Advocates (CWA) consortium that provides free internet to residents in select communities, priority being given to the unserved, high-density, and high-foot traffic areas. The first “WiKonek” community is located in Payatas, Quezon City, powered by Eastern Communications’ Internet Direct Service (IDS). The city government aims to install 1,000 WiKonek areas within Quezon City to ensure reliable and secure internet access to all citizens. Aside from WiKonek, Eastern is also the connectivity partner of the 34 fiber-powered MNLKonek digital kiosks located around the City of Manila, which the telco launched in 2020.

    Eastern Communications provides much-needed internet access to underserved communities

“A crucial foundation of growth is the ability to provide fundamental social needs,” said Estanislao. “Reliable and accessible internet connection is a basic necessity for families, businesses, and students. As we’ve witnessed especially during the pandemic, businesses will not thrive without it and students cannot function in school in the absence of it.”

For more information on Eastern Communications, visit: https://www.eastern.com.ph/. Join the conversation using #EmergeStrongerTogether and #WeEmerge2022.

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