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Davao Light wins ASEAN Award for academic aid to aspiring youth

Hard at work. With a fully furnished EIM laboratory, students would no longer have to share wiring boards and equipment. Teachers can also more accurately assess each individual’s skill and progress.

Aboitiz Power Corporation distribution utility Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. (Davao Light) was the Philippine private sector winner of the 6th ASEAN Rural Development and Poverty Eradication Leadership Awards (RDPELA) for the corporate social responsibility programs it conducted with various partners to help enhance the living standards and the quality of life of people within its service area.

The RDPELA recognized Davao Light’s efforts in helping local cooperatives and associations like Samahan ng may iba’t-ibang Kakayahan sa Dabaw (SAKADAB), as well as establishing technical vocational facilities for the Philippine Department of Education via Project e.Lab.

For project e.Lab, 43 high schools were beneficiaries of a fully furnished laboratory for electrical installation and maintenance (EIM). The project was accomplished with Aboitiz Foundation as part of the advocacy to help nurture young minds and encourage careers in electrical engineering, technical vocational livelihoods and the like.

Project e.Lab enables a hands-on learning environment for students to understand and apply radical electrical installation and maintenance concepts, as well as industry standards of how to mitigate risks, prevent accidents, and maintain quality control in electrical assets.

Ultimately, the facility can help aspirants earn a national certification from TESDA and make them more competitive and technically-proficient professionals.

“We believe that enabling dignified, sustainable livelihoods and providing education and upskilling opportunities open up more doors for our kababayans to get out of poverty,” said Davao Light President and COO Rodger S. Velasco. “Since the Davao region’s poverty incidence is still quite high at 11.9% in 2021, we hope to do our own fair share in getting that number down through our corporate social responsibility initiatives with our partners.”

Future forward: investing in the youth

Rounding out these efforts, Davao Light and Aboitiz Foundation have also been supporting more than a hundred scholars in college throughout the years by providing financial assistance to each beneficiary for their tuition fees, books, uniforms, and miscellaneous expenses. 

Some of these scholars have become licensed architects; registered civil, mechanical, electrical, and geodetic engineers; nutritionists; and professional teachers.

Academic achievers. Nearly 50 scholars of Davao Light gathered for a kamustahan event at the power utility’s office in C. Bangoy Sr. Street, Davao City last September. Some of the scholars were recognized for graduating and recently passing the board exams of their respective courses.

“We [had] different struggles [and] different stories, but we ended up [in] the same [place] and it’s the success we have achieved [and recognize] today. Davao Light and Aboitiz Foundation have helped each one of us… they literally gave light to our future,” said Jonas Meneses, a Davao Light scholar and an architecture board exam passer, during a get-together kamustahan session.

“We are very grateful to hear stories of you supporting yourselves, your families, and your communities through your professions after we have supported your education. You have embodied the aspirations of Davao Light’s scholarship program,” Velasco of Davao Light told the scholars during the same event. 

The scholarship program is in line with the fourth Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations, which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Davao Light’s nomination for the 6th RDPELA originated from the endorsement of the Philippines’ Department of Education – XI and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). The country was tasked to nominate two candidates, with the other being a non-governmental or civil society organization.

On its website, the NAPC indicated that it will coordinate with ASEAN RDPELA winners and its partners “to explore possible avenues to advocate, replicate, scale up, imbue, or mainstream the winners’ successes into government programs or policies.”

In receiving the award at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore, Davao Light was among the Philippine delegation led by NAPC Secretary Lope Santos III that attended the Official Dinner of the 13th ASEAN Ministers Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication or AMRDPE.

ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a political and economic union composed of the countries Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

The RDPELA is a regular biennial activity of the Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication intended to recognize, encourage, and promote community development and anti-poverty initiatives in the ASEAN member states.

Accomplished champions of corporate social responsibility. (L-R) Singapore Minister for Social & Family Development and AMRDPE Chair Masagos Zulkifli (1st) and ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Kao Kim Hourn (4th) hand the ASEAN RDPELA recognition to Davao Light, represented by Reputation Enhancement Department Head Fermin Edillon (2nd) and Community Relations Specialist Sherilyn Puno-Lariosa (3rd).


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