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PLDT, Smart, PSF boost livelihood of IP communities with digital tools

by SMART Public Affairs | Jun 03, 2021

PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), together with the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF), kicked off the donation drive of First Pacific Company Limited (First Pacific) in the Philippines in celebration of its 40th anniversary.    

With PSF taking the lead, PLDT and Smart turned over 40 Smart Bro Pocket WiFi devices and data load cards to the Junior Chamber International Manila (JCI Manila). Most of these units will go to beneficiaries under JCI Manila’s “Project Ani” program.   


“We were looking for beneficiaries who will use the pocket WiFi devices for livelihood opportunities. Since the pandemic has adversely affected jobs and businesses, we would like to lend a hand by connecting small and micro entrepreneurs to business opportunities through online platforms,” said Esther O. Santos, PSF President. 

Project Ani is an e-commerce platform that aims to reconnect products from IP communities to business owners, with special attention to designers and entrepreneurs, by easing trade through an online marketplace. The communities supported by JCI Manila produce a wide range of products from rice, fruits, and vegetables to packed goods, handmade home furnishings and textiles.  

“These devices will definitely provide our adopted IP communities access to the market through online platforms where they can sell their goods and services,” said Richard M. Tamayo, JCI Manila President.  

Partnering with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), JCI Manila created Project Ani in June 2020 as a response to the nationwide lockdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative specifically focuses on helping out indigenous peoples nationwide.  

“There are around 17 million Filipinos belonging to IP communities, and they are often the most marginalized. With the pandemic greatly impacting our country, we believe that they are the ones who need our help the most,” added Tamayo.  

JCI Manila will also hand over WiFi devices to help disaster response training in Biñan, Laguna under its “Project Alisto 2.0”. The donation will also aid farming and poultry training to Aetas in Nueva Ecija under “I-Agri para sa IP”, as well as learners and other beneficiaries in far-flung communities under “Tab’Learning for Peace” and “Bayanihan” programs.   

PSF is leading the celebration of the 40th founding anniversary of First Pacific with simultaneous donation drives across the country that include turning over hot meals to frontliners, food packages, care bags and livelihood kits.  PSF is the social outreach arm of the Philippines’ largest, fully integrated telecommunications company PLDT and its wireless unit Smart.  

PSF is also working together with all the other foundations under Tulong Kapatid - the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) consortium of companies led by PLDT CEO and Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP), such as Metro Pacific Investments Foundation, One Meralco Foundation, and the hospital foundations of Makati Medical Center, Asian Hospital and Cardinal Santos, to reach out to affected communities.   


In support of the initiative, the Tulong Kapatid group is delivering over 3,000 hot meals to frontliners in 13 hospitals and quarantine facilities across and outside of Metro Manila to help mark the First Pacific milestone.  

“MVP and First Pacific have always given back to the community, especially in times of crisis and disaster. Even in times of celebration, First Pacific has chosen to give to the community. Instead of spending on a celebration, First Pacific is donating to needy communities in Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines,” said Santos. 

“We started First Pacific 40 years ago on 50sqm of office space in the middle of Hong Kong. We were exactly six people: my co-founder Bob Meyer, our two secretaries, a messenger, and a driver,” recalled Pangilinan in an interview with One News. “The premise is that we were intermediaries of finance, goods, and services. After 20 years, it became a different company when we invested in PLDT, Smart, Meralco, and in other businesses, as well,” he added. 

First Pacific Company Limited (HKSE: 142, ADRs: FPAFY) is a Hong Kong-based investment management and holding company with operations located in Asia-Pacific. Its principal businesses relate to consumer food products, telecommunications, infrastructure and natural resources.


  • First Pacific
  • Smart
  • psf
  • Indigenous People
  • livelihood

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