Deonides Bacon, a shift superintendent at Apo Cement Corporation, recalls how he and his colleagues had to brave the heat to reach their destination. It was the aftermath of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol and other Visayan provinces in 2013. The earthquake resulted to a massive devastation, rendering thousands of Boholanos homeless.
Bacon and his fellow volunteers surmounted the challenges just to deliver relief goods to the victims. “I was touched by the heartwarming scene that greeted us as we arrive at Inabanga, Bohol to unload the goods,” he shared.
He considers this as his most memorable H.E.R.O. (Help. Engage. Reach. Out.) Volunteerism Program of CEMEX Philippines Group of Companies, of which Apo Cement is a subsidiary.
The makings of a H.E.R.O.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has always been an integral component of CEMEX’s corporate culture. Under the umbrella foundation are various projects that aim to promote sustainability and improve the welfare of different communities.
One of these is the H.E.R.O. Employee Volunteerism Program that encourages CEMEX employees to invest time and effort to the company’s numerous CSR initiatives such as disaster relief operations, livelihood programs, and safety advocacies among others.
“H.E.R.O. gives chance to employees to reach out and help those who are in need,” shares CEMEX Treasury Operations Team Lead (Asia) Daisy Delos Angeles. “It’s all about compassion, love, and sharing what you can do with others.”
Different studies show that volunteerism programs do not only open opportunities for employees to participate in worthwhile endeavors, they also generate job satisfaction as workers develop positive impression of their employers and the company where they belong.
For Delos Angeles, employee volunteerism is indicative of employee-company’s unified mission to demonstrate concern for society. “If your company is going out of its way to show such care, you are assured that it has your best interest as an employee,” she explains.
After H.E.R.O. was launched in 2011, the management was amazed with the workforce’s warm reception and overwhelming amount of support for its different projects. “Be it a remote island or far-flung community, the determination of our modern day heroes to brave the waters and heat just to extend help is palpable,” narrates CEMEX Corporate Communication and Public Affairs director Chito Maniago.
“The culture of malasakit among employee volunteers is indeed heart-warming,” he adds. Maniago is also the executive director of CEMEX Philippines Foundation.
The act of volunteerism is not limited to employees only. Usually, family members also participate in some of the programs. In fact Solid Cement Corporation, another CEMEX subsidiary, and Apo Cement each has its own organizations composed of employees’ spouses. Called Solid Ladies Club and Apo Ladies Club respectively, these groups actively participate in community relations projects and H.E.R.O. initiatives. They are also on-call to deliver CARE bags (relief bags) as needed, ready to roll up their sleeves at a moment’s notice to extend support to their beneficiaries.
Si Mentong Matibay
H.E.R.O. volunteers list Brigada Eskwela, Christmas Wish Gift-Giving, Tree Planting, and Community Cleanup Drives as some of their notable activities.
For H.E.R.O. volunteer Katrina Flores, CEMEX logistics administration manager, her memorable participation involves advocacies on road safety issues. Dubbed CEMEX Listo Tayo!, this road safety program intends to educate school children on the Do’s and Don’ts of street walking.
A number of volunteers, mostly from the company’s logistics department, have pledged time and effort for this particular program. Si Mentong Matibay was brought in to action as a safety ambassador to the children. “I am particularly interested in efforts involving children and the less fortunate,” Flores said. “Listo Tayo! remains to be the most significant for me year in and year out.”
In the service of others
H.E.R.O. proves that bottomline and meaningful existence can go hand in hand. It puts a human face to a company like CEMEX, a corporation made up of employees with big hearts. Their passion towards caring for the society reflects the intrinsic values of the organization they are part of.
Maniago says that despite not getting any compensation from their efforts, H.E.R.O. volunteers are always willing to go the extra mile. “In the office or plants, they are doing different jobs but once they don the hat of an employee volunteer, they transform into people who are capable of doing extraordinary things for others.”
He adds, “Our battlecry in the field will always be in the service of others.”