Press Release
January 1, 2009


Urges businesses to fill up resource gaps in education, health,
community development and research and technology

Senator Edgardo J. Angara today urged businesses to develop a greater sense of generosity and kindness, saying that 2009 would be the year when corporate philanthropy can make a much larger impact in the Philippines due to the looming financial crisis.

"In other countries, especially in the US and Europe, businesses conduct their corporate gift-giving in a systematic, organized and focused manner. One can argue that the more prosperous West can afford to pool larger sums for corporate giving. But on the side of demand, a country like ours has more needs to fill than our Western counterparts," said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance.

He added, "If in 2008 we saw the crisis struck global financial systems, 2009 would be the year when the crisis will hit our homes. Therefore, this is the time when corporate philanthropy can make a much larger impact in the Philippines, by filling a host of resource gaps--education, health, community development and research and technology. It is here where corporate giving will make a real difference."

According to a study by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies about the nonprofit sector, the Philippines topped the list of countries where civil-society organizations are sustained by means of membership fees.

Ninety-two percent (92%) of nongovernment organizations in the country are funded by its own members, five percent (5%) by the government and a mere three percent (3%) by corporate philanthropy.

Angara noted that on one hand this is a testament to the diligence and commitment of members to their chosen organizations. On the other hand, it highlights the sad fact that there is an utter lack of corporate giving in the Philippines.

Another study said that big businesses in Asia have not done enough to alleviate social ills commensurate to their size. This is especially unfortunate for a region that produced eight of the top 25 businessmen in the world during the pre-financial crisis period.

In his book Asian Godfathers, Joe Studwell argues that the Asian tycoon class has been much more the beneficiaries rather than the instigators of growth in the region. They have generated enormous personal growth but have done little to promote overall economic prosperity. Except for a few generous givers, Studwell's claim generally rings true in the Philippines.

"I hope in 2009, in the face of a looming financial crisis, we develop a greater sense of generosity and kindness, not only for Filipinos as individuals, but for Filipino businesses as well," added Angara.

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