Home Top News Making lives better beyond work: PHINMA redefines service in relaunch of Service Awards

Making lives better beyond work: PHINMA redefines service in relaunch of Service Awards

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PHINMA Service Awardees (L-R) Jejomar Quiros, David John Cadiao, Ron Ranier Reyes, Aida Santamaria, Maribel Esguerra with executives of PHINMA Corp.

Ever since she was young, Maribel Esguerra has always wanted to become a teacher—even going as far as roleplaying as one with her neighbors and cousins at the age of six.

“Grade 1 po ako nun. ‘Yung mga batang pinsan ko po kasi hindi pa nag-aaral kaya kung ano inaaral namin sa school, ‘yun ‘yung ginagaya namin na activities. ‘Yun po ‘yung idea ko ng pags-serve noon,” she said.

After over a decade of student leadership along with several side hustles in university to make ends meet, Esguerra is now a college instructor and a remote and distance learning program coordinator at PHINMA Saint Jude College Manila.

She’s also among the recipients of the PHINMA Service Awards, which returned this 2024 after eight years.

Service beyond work

Together with the PHINMA Foundation, PHINMA brought back the Awards this March 22 to honor individuals who have impacted their communities outside of work. In his remarks, PHINMA Chairman and CEO Ramon del Rosario, Jr. said the recognition goes beyond tenure—it’s given to employees whose initiatives have made lives better whether through volunteerism, advocacy, or innovative problem-solving.

Esguerra was recognized under the PHINMA National Scholarship (PNS) Scholar Category for her ongoing volunteer efforts with organizations like Silid Aralan Inc. since her days as a member of PNS Batch 2023, with her advocacies including stray animal welfare.

The Awards also recognized the service of mentors, known as Big Brothers and Sisters, to these scholars. The category awardee for this year is PHINMA human resources manager Aida Santamaria, who witnessed the graduation of six PHINMA scholars over her 16-year mentorship.

Aida Santamaria with her Service Award trophy, which is made of repurposed materials and serves as a lamp too. She was recognized for her mentorship efforts benefitting six PHINMA scholars during her over 20-year stay in the company.

“Hindi lang naman customers natin or employees ang pwede maging better ang lives. Baka kako eh anointed ako na magpaganda ng buhay ng mga batang ito,” said Santamaria, who retired this year after more than two decades with PHINMA.

She treated these scholars as if they were her own children through the years, where she always made it a point to have lunches and dinners with them or simply check up on them given how living away from their families can be difficult.

Giving back, investing in the future

Jejomar Quiros delivers his award acceptance remarks before the Service Awards audience. He was recognized for his “Pamaskong Handog 100” initiative mainly aimed at poor families.

Jejomar Quiros is no stranger to difficulties and even loss. From his familiarity with grief stemmed an initiative he put up in 2018, as he aimed to uplift children’s lives by giving their families noche buena packs and school supplies.

This effort of Quiros, now the dean of PHINMA Saint Jude College’s College of Allied Health Sciences, has since become a full-blown “Pamaskong Handog 100” program embraced by schools and organizations associated with him.

“Pag hindi mo alam kung papaano maging walang-wala, hindi mo mae-experience o mararamdaman kung papaano maging wala…So ngayong able na tayo, na kaya na nating tumulong, let’s be the changemakers na tumulong sa kanila ngayon,” said Quiros, PHINMA Service Awardee under the employee category.

Also exposed to life’s hardships himself, David John Cadiao powered through financial obstacles to become the first member of his family to earn a four-year college degree. The son of a construction worker and a housewife is now the senior high school principal at PHINMA University of Pangasinan – Urdaneta Campus.

David John Cadiao reads a book to an audience of children under the LibLibrary Project, which sets up mini-libraries in underserved communities.

Cadiao, also a Service Awardee from the same category, recalled how the overwhelming support he got inspired him to join the non-government organization Junior Chamber International where he initiated projects under his leadership like the LibLibrary Project which establishes mini-libraries in underserved communities.

“Maliban sa pagtuturo ko ito ang obligasyon ko, ito ang responsibilidad ko sa ibang tao,” he said, also stressing the importance of investing in the leaders of tomorrow.

This is a view shared by fellow awardee Ron Ranier Reyes, PHINMA’s public affairs manager who was lauded for his efforts to prepare future leaders from underserved communities. He co-founded non-profit organization Hirayang Kabataan in 2018 which provides learning opportunities and development workshops to youth who want to serve, particularly from rural areas.

Ron Ranier Reyes (second to the left, seated) with his org Hirayang Kabataan and their facilitators and institutional partners during their Tara Takbo sessions in 2023 for youth leaders preparing for the Sangguniang Kabataan polls.

“Their individual stories, challenges, and dreams inspire me and my peers to stay optimistic and pass on the torch to other well-meaning individuals, igniting a sense of purpose that transcends the challenges encountered along the way. Ang tunay na pagbabago sa ating bansa ay makakamit lang kung ang bawat isa sa atin ay magtutulungan at magtitiwala sa ating kapwa,” Reyes reflected.

Onwards with redefining service

The stories of service of the five awardees show the many different ways PHINMA’s employees can make lives better and fulfill this mission wherever they are headed.

“This is just the start of the new PHINMA Service Awards, which will be an annual recognition of these stories and their impact on our communities,” said PHINMA President and COO Dr. Chito Salazar during the ceremony.

As for the awardees, the recognition is more than just a welcome surprise: it’s a reminder of their commitment to service and what lies ahead for their efforts within and beyond the Group.

“Mas lumawak ‘yung pwede kong magawa dahil syempre nasa isang organization ako na ang mission nila ay gumanda ang buhay ng tao…mas lumawak ‘yung kakayahan ko para makatulong sa ibang tao through PHINMA,” Cadiao concluded.

“At PHINMA, service isn’t just about giving back; it’s about leading with empathy, humility, and a genuine commitment to uplifting others. This has become a guiding principle in the work that I do inside and outside the organization,” said Reyes.

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