At Insular Life, we have always taken pride in demonstrating our core values as a company. Among them is how we honor God by touching lives through sharing our financial, human, and intellectual resources to fellow Filipinos.
The impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic is both devastating and profound — from the staggering number of lives lost, to the many more threatened and disrupted. We continue to grapple with uncertainty and change to this day.
However dire, the pandemic gave us another opportunity to demonstrate and live our mission. It came at a time when Insular Foundation has turned 51 and received a validation for the work that we do with a recognition from the Asia CEO Awards as “CSR Company of the Year.”
Never has the Foundation played a bigger frontline role at inLife than in 2020. It became the face, presence, and direct helpline of InLife to the communities impacted heavily by the pandemic.
Notwithstanding their own personal struggles with the pandemic, our employees and agents still responded to the needs of our countrymen. Demonstrating their sense of malasakit and generosity, they extended financial and in-kind assistance to those in need. This led to the highest amount of donations from employees and the agency force we have ever raised, which reflects the heightened sense of social responsibility of InLifers.
Aside from acting as financial stewards for the donations, the Foundation also served as the “arms and feet” of InLifers who were under lockdown restrictions and unable to do physical volunteer work onsite. The Foundation bravely took on this challenging task while safeguarding their own health.
Our humanitarian response
Even before the COVID-19 public health crisis started, the Foundation was already thrust into the frontlines for disaster response and rehabilitation efforts.
In January 2020, we launched Project Taal Campaign to help the families displaced by the Taal Volcano eruptions. We raised a total of P1.9 million in cash donations, of which P844,838 came from our employees and agents. The balance came from the Foundation as a way of matching their donations by 1.25 times. A total of 750 families from the municipalities of Taal, Sta. Rita, and Padre Pio, received the donations in the form of hygiene kits, eating utensils, beddings, blankets, and towels. We also extended humanitarian assistance to those severely affected by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses that came later in the year.
Barely two months after our Project Taal Campaign, the COVID-19 became a global pandemic. Our Foundation immediately sprang into action and again pooled contributions from employees, agents, families, and friends of InLife and its subsidiary, Insular Health Care, Inc. This massive fundraising effort, which started on March 22, 2020, was made to address the most urgent need at the time: to provide our medical workers who are leading the fight against COVID-19 with personal protective equipment, hygiene kits, and food.
InLife also provided free insurance coverage to 550 health workers of Medical City, Lung Center of the Philippines, and Capitol Medical Center.
Three months after the government enforced an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), the lockdown restrictions eased and allowed essential industries to open. Delivery service workers, and personnel in supermarkets, gasoline stores, utility and energy companies, and the like became front liners as well. As such, they were the most vulnerable to the spread of the virus, and yet did not have life insurance. InLife again saw it as an opportunity to make a difference.
What started as a fundraising effort for medical front liners has snowballed into a bigger Chain of Protection program, giving free life insurance and hospitalization allowance to 110,000 essential workers. The campaign was designed so the beneficiaries can forward the offer to their family, officemates, and friends who also belong to the identified essential industries, thus creating a “chain of protection.”
Cash donations were also given to the Philippine Nurses Association Cebu Chapter, Inc.; Clark Investors and Locators Association, Inc.; Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.; and UST Hospital, while food, kitchen equipment, toiletries, and other basic supplies were provided to the Ospital ng Muntinlupa front liners.
These COVID-19-related efforts were funded with the P9.1 million raised from the donations of InLife employees and agents while external donors contributed P1.6 million. Of the total funds raised, P5 million was allotted for the Chain of Protection Program, which is extended until November 2021 when InLife turns 111 years old.
Sustaining our commitment
While we focused our efforts on COVID-19 and disaster response in 2020, we also sustained our programs in the areas of education, sustainable environment, and employee volunteerism. These are geared toward building self-reliance in the communities we serve, as well as support InLife’s Economic, Social and Governance (ESG) goals.
Gold Eagle College Scholarship Grant
The pandemic prompted the education sector to shift to online or blended learning in 2020. Despite the challenges this posed on many students, Sixteen Gold Eagle scholars and three scholars of our College Scholarship for Employee Dependents graduated from college in the school year 2019-2020. Seven out of nine scholars from the University of the Philippines in Diliman graduated with honors and received cash awards.
InLife awarded 114 scholarships for the school year 2020-2021, of which 67 were for students taking up Bachelor of Science in Education, Mathematics, and Statistics courses in UP Diliman and five partners universities in the provinces; 16 were our dependents’ scholars enrolled in various universities; and 31 are incoming freshmen scholars.
Insular Foundation Webinar
To help guide our Gold Eagle scholars, scholar alumni, teachers from partner schools, and representatives from partner non-government organizations, the Foundation conducted an online forum, entitled “Alt+Tab: Shifting to the Next Normal” on October 3, 2020. This was the first time the Foundation opened the learning event to the public, which earned a 4.67 or Excellent rating from the participants.
InLife Digital Learning System
In partnership with Xepto Digital Computing, the Foundation piloted the InLife Digital Learning System, a digitized productivity tool to help students and teachers create and deliver teaching content and instantly measure its effectiveness. The partnership will run for four years, with Muntinlupa Science High School (MunSci) as beneficiary.
After completing the teacher training, 25 students and four teachers from MunSci were housed in a computer lab with server and internet connectivity that are part of the Foundation’s grant. In 2020, the second year of the deployment, the Foundation sponsored cloud-based learning for 523 students and trained teachers in Junior High School on how to use the platform.
Alternative Learning System Community Learning Center (ALS-CLC)
To make education inclusive and accessible, we entered into a five-year partnership with Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation, Inc (CLFI) in 2019 through the adoption of the Alternative Learning System-Community Learning Center (ALS-CLC). ALS provides the out-of-school youth and adults a chance to finish elementary or high school level by completing nine months of non-formal schooling and passing the assessment and equivalency test.
The first ALS-CLC beneficiary was Pedro Guevarra Elementary School in Tondo, Manila. The Foundation provided learners with a laptop, projector, projector screen, printer, and reproduction of modules. There were 139 assisted learners as of July 2020. Some are already gainfully employed in online jobs while the majority are about to take the assessment and equivalency test.
In 2020, Muntinlupa City Jail became the second ALS-CLC. The Foundation provided a laptop, portable printer, mini projector, prepaid/pocket WiFi, initial prepaid load, and reproduction of learning modules and worksheets.
#LCFWins: Lingap Eskwela sa Pandemya
To promote proper hygiene, which is especially important during the pandemic, we provided hygiene kits to 600 elementary and high school students from three schools in Cebu City. The initiative is part of #LCFWins: Lingap Eskwela sa Pandemya, a project of Manila Water Foundation Inc. (MWFI) and interested members of the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF). The project is part of MWFI’s initiatives related to the Department of Education (DepEd)’s Water Access, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program.
The Foundation extended assistance to 452 Adopt-A-Scholar beneficiaries in four elementary public schools (Itaas Elementary School, Alabang Elementary School and Bayanan Elementary School in Muntinlupa, and Balili Elementary School in La Trinidad, Benguet). The assistance came in the form of school supplies, hygiene kits, bluetooth speakers, and USB flash drives — materials needed to cope with the blended learning mode of education.
The program gained a high retention rate of 96% versus the national average for basic education, at 89%. A total of 123 InLifers donated P1,100 per scholar. The amounts pooled were used to purchase school supplies and hygiene kits for the four Muntinlupa-based schools.
Brigada Eskwela Program
The pandemic prompted education stakeholders to focus on preparations for learning continuity, health, and safety in lieu of the physical cleaning of schools under the annual Brigada Eskwela program of the Department of Education. To support the program, we distributed P20,000 in cash assistance for Brigada Eskwela to 10 Luzon-based schools.
Insular Storybooks Donation
We also sustained our annual donation of Insular’s Children Storybooks to the Department of Education (DepEd). In 2020, we turned over 4,000 copies to the DepEd Schools Division Office-Muntinlupa, benefiting all Grade 1 students in public elementary schools. We also donated 100 copies to the Sunshine Club, a community-based NGO in Pasay, 200 copies to Hapay na Manga Elementary School in Rizal, and another 200 copies to TYI Philippines.
Creating a sustainable environment
Forging partnerships with our employees and with same-purposed organizations magnify the impact we create in society.
Kawayanihan “Bamboo” Project
In partnership with the local government of Lubao, Pampanga and the Philippine Bamboo Foundation (PBF), the Foundation embarked on the Kawayanihan “Bamboo” project. The Foundation adopted 1.8 hectares of riverbanks for bamboo tree planting in the six-hectare ecopark, which costs P245,441 per year for three years.
In 2019, the first year of the project, all 240 bamboo saplings planted by InLifers on a hectare of land survived. In 2020, however, lockdown restrictions prevented our employees from planting the second batch of 240 saplings. To ensure project continuity, Lubao LGU workers took over the task, and planted bamboo on 3,840 square meters of land.
Partnership with Philippine Eagle Foundation
We completed our three-year partnership with the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) for its “Saving the Bird King at Leyte and Samal Islands” campaign. A grant of P1 million was given to PEF. The non-profit organization continued conducting its Philippine eagle surveys in Mt. Nacolod and in the Municipality of Kagbana in Leyte, considered key biodiversity areas for Philippine eagles. In addition, PEF intensified its information and education campaign by showing the film, Bird of Prey. It also trains members of the local communities to be their own forest guard and take care of their biodiversity areas.
Christmas Outreach for Adopted Communities
The Foundation conducts its employee volunteerism activities in its two adopted communities: Gawad Kalinga Marcelo Village Parañaque and Sitio Paulton in Cebu through the Missionaries of Africa and InLife Cebu District Office. The pandemic forced the Foundation to defer its outreach activities in these communities. However, it continued its outreach by distributing Christmas packs to 100 families in these adopted communities.
Staying true to our mission
To continue being the nation’s steward , we need to reimagine the role of Insular Foundation in light of the evolving social and economic needs of marginalized Filipinos, especially women.
We will create programs that will empower women to equip them in their upward economic trajectory. Our scholarship grants should also align with the evolving needs of the country,
While the pandemic has given rise to paperless modes of contact, it has also generated additional plastic waste from the delivery of goods and food. We plan to collaborate with NGOs that collect, recycles, and repurpose plastics so they do not end up in our waterways and oceans again
Insular Foundation has lived up to its mission in the past 50 years, but much work is still to be done. The health and economic impact of the pandemic has deepened inequities that have long plagued our communities. While there are still many unknowns about what the coming days will bring, one thing is clear: Insular Foundation will continue to play a significant role in manifesting InLife’s core values, especially love of God and country, respect for the individual, and teamwork — all to provide every Filipino with a lifetime of good.