As part of its Chinese New Year celebrations, the GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI), together with Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI), virtually kicked off their gift-giving tradition called ‘Bags of Blessing’ last Feb. 11.
In partnership with the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, through the assistance of select Metrobank branches, some 18,000 families from 33 sites and three sectors will receive food packages by presenting their issued vouchers in identified supermarkets from Feb. 12 to Feb. 26.
The priority beneficiaries chosen this year are families whose source of livelihood and income was affected by the ongoing pandemic, survivors of recent natural calamities, members of indigenous peoples (IPs) tribes, and select teachers, soldiers, and police officers.
The kickoff ceremony was led by Metrobank Group chairman Arthur Ty, Federal Land chairman and GTFI president Alfred Ty, GTFI honorary chair Mary Ty, GTFI vice president Anjanette Dy-Buncio and MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña.
Joining them were National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Antonio Labiao, NASSA/Caritas Philippines communications and partnership development coordinator Jing Henderson, and NASSA/Caritas Philippines head of resource generation and mobilization officer Analyn Julian.
“Today marks yet another milestone for us at the GT Foundation as we embark to widen the reach of the Bags of Blessing targeting an increased number of beneficiaries, from the usual 10,000 families to 18,000 families in 33 sites this time,” shared GTFI president Alfred V. Ty.
Ty added: “The sharing of Bags of Blessing is not only about gift-giving and keeping Chinese traditions alive but also to contribute to the national goal to curb hunger. Through our little contribution, we aim to bring food to the tables for the nutritional needs of the average Filipino earner.”
Reynaldo Baria, a beneficiary from Iloilo City, narrated: “Nang nabalitaan ko na isa ako sa makakatanggap ng Bags of Blessing, labis akong nagalak kasi sa panahon ngayon napakahirap nang maghanap ng trabaho, Ngayong nahinto ako sa pagtatrabaho, malaking tulong ito para sa pamilya ko (When I heard that I will be one of the recipients of the Bags of Blessing, I was filled with joy since it’s difficult to find a job during this period. Now that I’ve stopped working, this is a big help for my family).”
To this, MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña cited the Jubilee Year for Christianity in the country, the theme of which reflects the Bags of Blessings’ aspiration.
“This year, we’re commemorating the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines with the theme, ‘Gifted to Give.’ Bags of Blessing is the brainchild of the late Metrobank Group founder and chairman Dr. George Ty Siao Kian. It is inspired by the traditional ang pao, a red envelope containing cash used to deliver best wishes and luck. Instead of cash-giving, specially designed red bags containing P1,000 worth of grocery items are distributed to indigent families. Bags of Blessing carries the same message: that the language of giving transcends differences and prevails even over tough situations,” Sobrepeña said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo mentioned NASSA/Caritas Philippines’ Alay Kapwa program whose mission strongly identifies with the purpose of Bags of Blessing.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sapagkat ang GT Foundation ay aming naging partner sa gawaing ito, at ating maisakatuparan at maisabuhay muli ang isa sa mga hangarin ng Alay Kapwa program: ang makatulong sa ating mga kababayan lalung-lalo na ngayon sa panahon ng pandemya. Isang inspirasyon ito para sa maraming may kakayanang makatulong sa ating kapwa. (We’re grateful that GT Foundation became our partner in this initiative, and we’ll be able to fulfill and live out the aspiration of the Alay Kapwa program: to help our fellowmen especially during this time of pandemic. This is an inspiration to those who have the capacity to help),” Bagaforo said.
Sites chosen this year are the City of Manila, City of San Juan, Caloocan City, Quezon City, Parañaque City, Navotas City, Valenzuela City, Makati City, Taguig City, Malabon City, Pasay City, Pasig City, Mandaluyong City, Muntinlupa City, Las Piñas City, Marikina City, and Pateros for the National Capital Region (NCR).
Balanga City, Bataan; City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan; Batangas City; Bacoor City; General Trias City; Imus City; Biñan City; City of San Pedro; City of Santa Rosa; Iloilo City; Baguio City; Antipolo City; Cebu City; Mandaue City; Lapu-Lapu City; and Davao City will comprise the countryside.
Since its inception in 2009, the GT Foundation, Inc. (GTFI) has pursued the philanthropic initiatives of Dr. George S.K. Ty and his family. It has done so by investing in strategic development programs that empower communities, primarily in the areas of education, health, and calamity assistance. In 2018, GTFI continued to support interventions that contribute towards sustainable progress of the nation as a whole.