Residents on Boracay Island recently received relief assistance at a gift-giving activity conducted by Smart Communications, PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) and Alagang Kapatid Foundation Inc. (AKFI)
Initiated by Smart’s sales and distribution group, “Alay sa Boracay” held at One Central provided locals and members of the Ati community with supplies and means to augment their livelihood.
The program is part of Smart’s ongoing support for load retailers and subscribers who have been affected by Boracay’s closure to tourism activities. The activity follows the financial assistance Smart has given to six public schools as part of its participation to the Brigada Eskwela initiative on the island.
“We have a lot of retailers and subscribers here in Boracay. This activity is our way of giving back to them, to the members of the community,” said Smart distributor sales manager Mark Jason Palo.
“In times of success and difficulties, we’ve always supported our subscribers and retailers, who have also been there for us all these years,” said Ediner Tinio, also a distributor sales manager at Smart. “Our network services here on Boracay Island are always available to serve our subscribers and retailers,” he added.
PSF president Esther Santos stressed the urgency of the need to address the livelihood concerns of the Boracay residents. “We understand the plight of the local community, that’s why we’re more than willing to lend a helping hand,” Santos said, adding that the program was part of the activities lined up for the birthday of PLDT-Smart chair and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan.
Load retailers in Boracay each received a bag of grocery items containing rice, canned goods, noodles, personal hygiene products, and medicines; while lucky attendees won raffle prizes such as mobile load wallets, phones, Smart Bro Home Pocket Wi-Fis, and portable speakers.
Kok’s, Smart’s distributor for Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Boracay, also offered free international calls to retailers who had relatives abroad.
Schoolchildren, for their part, received school supplies, shirts, and toys from AKFI and PSF, which also distributed hygiene kits to their parents.
The activity was made possible through the generosity of the following partners: Smart regional and provincial distributors One World and Kok’s; Super 8 Grocery Warehouse, Ledi Supermart, Iloilo Talk Active Corp., Unilever, Zest-o Corp., Nissin Payless and Century Tuna.
“We thank our partners for their generous support. This is our way of giving back to our subscribers and retailers, who are our trade allies here on the island,” said Smart Visayas-Mindanao public affairs head Maria Jane Paredes.
Fatima Tamboon, a 31-year-old Ati tribe member and a mother of two, was thankful for the assistance distributed to them. “Malaking tulong po ito para sa aking mga anak at pamilya. Nagpapasalamat po kami dahil hindi ninyo kami pinabayaan (This is a big help for my children and family. Thank you because you’ve never neglected us),” she said.
Tamboon’s sari-sari (small variety) store business suffered major losses following Boracay’s shutdown. However, she remains hopeful and awaits the reopening of the island to travelers this October.