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A Girl Scout’s Pledge

Through the Ayala Coop, thousands of employees were able to help frontliners, disadvantaged communities, and fellow employees.

 

“First things first: never ask a woman’s age,” says Dina Orosa, the general manager of the Ayala Coop. “It’s all in the attitude. How old do you think I am?”

“Mid-40s,” came the reply.

“Ha! Now, you’re my friend,” she says, laughing.

Wearing her green uniform, Dina says she is the Coop’s girl scout, who is always on the lookout for new activities for members, staff, and the communities they serve. But for people she works with, she is the darling of the crowd, the life of the party. She’s everyone’s friend.

“I’d like to think I’m a people person,” Dina says, adding that she spent her entire professional journey in human resources.

A greater cause

Prior to her retirement, Dina was the head of BPI’s human resources. She became a consultant for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, until she received an offer to join Ayala Coop.

“How can I refuse an offer from Ayala?” she said, adding that the perfect blend between its corporate values and  her personal values made her decide to rejoin the company.

Dina led the creation of the mission-vision of Ayala Coop. Her goal was to turn the coop into a premiere organization that uplifted the standard of living of its members. But more than that, she wanted it to exist for a greater cause.

A platform where everyone can be a hero

“One of the reasons the Coop exists is so we can give back,” she said. “We want employees to know that just by being a member, they are already helping.”

Established in 1995, the Coop is a vehicle for Ayala employees for saving mobilization and microfinance. In addition, their by-laws allow them to donate three percent of their annual revenue to corporate social responsibility programs, accounting for ₱30 million in the last five years.

Before the lockdown, the Coop had adopted Education as their chief advocacy.  It has built toy libraries and daycare centers in 16 spots across the Philippines. They also have over 2,000 scholars in over 61 schools. Before the start of each school year, they take part in Brigada Ayala, which distributes free school kits containing school supplies and more.

BrigadaAyala
For the children. Ayala Coop volunteers distribute school kits and turnover equipment like laptops, projectors, and electric fans to public schools around the country—including areas as far-flung as Sicogon Island.

Protecting the Employees

During the lockdown, the Coop actively complemented the Ayala Group’s efforts to provide for their members and the communities they serve.

The Coop deferred member contributions and loan amortizations. It also launched a special emergency loan of ₱50,000. Over 2,500 members booked a total of ₱91 million, which comes with a ₱10 cash back for every ₱1,000.

To avoid bill shock, it rolled out a promo loan at concessionary rates, enabling members to settle their piled-up utility and credit card bills with ease. Members who were diagnosed with COVID-19 also received ₱10,000 to ₱20,000 cash assistance.

AyalaCoop and Veterans Federation of the Phiippines
Heroes for heroes. The Veterans Federation of the Philippines receives customized face masks from the Ayala Foundation. The flag-inspired masks are part of the foundation’s Maging Magiting Campaign, and honors ageing soldiers who deserve our protection—just as they protected us in the war.

Protecting the Communities

Meanwhile, the Coop also actively reached out to different communities that needed their help. “So far, we have never turned down anyone. We just help as much as we can,” said Dina.

They donated 5,000 sets of PPEs to the Philippine Medical Association and provided 3,500 fortified meal packs to families in Cebu; 6,300 meal packs to seven public elementary schools in Pampanga and Bataan; and 680 meal packs to the parishes of Don Bosco and Martin de Porres.

Aware of the vulnerabilities of persons with disability, the Coop also provided a ₱3,000 cash assistance to about 200 families of blind massage therapists and musicians.

AyalaCoop relief operation
Everyone is a hero. Every member of the Coop helped in their own way. Some packed relief goods, others delivered them, but these wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of Coop members over the years.

Supporting new work arrangements

The Coop also anticipated the challenges that its employees would face as they continued to work during the lockdown. As for its office staff, everybody was taken care of, including their partners. Bonuses were released in advance, and everyone who had to work from home were given ₱1,000 monthly Wi-Fi allowance.

Employees were also given all the necessary gadgets to perform their jobs at home. Dina herself lent her laptop to a colleague. “Mas kailangan niya eh,” she said. I just borrow my son’s laptop.”

“One of the reasons the Coop exists is so we can give back. We want employees to know that just by being a member, they are already helping.” — Dina Orosa

COVID-19 “Care Packages”

The Coop also looked after their skeleton workforce who had to report to the office to process loan requests. They were given free meals, and shuttle services. Everyone also received a COVID go-to bag containing washable gloves and masks, disinfectants, vitamin C, and a thermometer for temperature monitoring.

The Girl Scout motto

Indeed, Ayala Coop has done and continues to do a lot. “That’s what makes the job interesting,” Dina quipped. “And I don’t regret overstaying here in Ayala.”

Despite the great work she has done for the Coop, Dina refuses to take credit. “If there’s any recognition, then it should be given to the entire team that worked behind everything.”

Besides, it’s all part of Dina’s Girl Scout motto. “A girl scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency.”

This post originally appeared on Chronicle2020