[PHOTO - Mel Tiangco, EVP and COO of GMA Kapuso Foundation: A resettlement area for 200 families in Mandulog, Iligan City]

MANILA, MARCH 5, 2012 (PHILSTAR) By Jerry Donato - If GMA network is always at the center of developing stories-turned-headlines-of-the-day, the GMA Kapuso Foundation (GMAKF) finds its dedicated team in the aftermath of calamities to help our kababayan and bring them serbisyong totoo. The foundation led by its EVP and COO Mel Tiangco has become the face of help and hope for others to stand up after a fall.

“We make sure that the money is spent properly,” says Mel of how the foundation handles donated money from the public. “Higit pa sa sarili naming pera ang pag-iingat namin sa pera ng foundation.”

Thus, the foundation is able to plan and implement worthy projects as soon as they are given the green light.

“We are going to build a resettlement area in Mandulog (in Iligan City),” shares Mel. “There were a lot of people who donated during the time of Typhoon Sendong. We have about P60M to spend for the victims of Sendong. And that’s very specific. Kung ano yung donation ng public, dun talaga napupunta yon. With that money, we can’t just do relief operations (like spending the money for noodles and canned goods). We have to figure out (where else) we can use the money to better serve (our kababayan in need).”

The GMAKF sought the support of the local government in Iligan City, the Department of Public Works and Highways and National Housing Authority to cook up the project. With the guidance of a committee that knows the affected locale well, Mel and her team identified the 200 household beneficiaries of the project. The construction will take place anytime soon on the land donated by Iligan City’s local government. One hundred twenty houses will be built in the next five to six months, and 80 units after three to four months. Before the year ends, a village replete with a barangay center, multi-purpose covered court and water system will be in place. The design of the houses is in compliance with the standards of the National Building Code to withstand floods and typhoons.

Doing this project is a way for the foundation to report to donors as to where their money goes, and that the donation is in good hands all the time. This speaks of the GMA Kapuso Foundation’s core principles of honesty, credibility and transparency. The people behind it have to be “prudent” because it takes years of hard work to build a collective reputation for the organization they represent.

[PHOTO - With (from left) programs manager Marivic Calixto, executive director Dr. Vic Nicodemos and project engineer Ed Eniego]

“Lahat ng gastusin, isa-isa yan, ay tinitignan ko,” replies Mel when asked about dealing with donor fatigue during the presscon. “Kakuriputan is one. The judicious use of money is one… We are always very strict in the use of donated money. That is one very big thing. When I say that, we are really serious with that… But you know we have never experienced donor fatigue.” That’s true because people still go out and look for the foundation to help others in spite of today’s economic landscape.

What’s also good about the foundation is that it values the hard-earned, donated money by meeting with the suppliers and asking for a discount. “The lesser the cost, the more service you can deliver,” says Mel. The suppliers are also encouraged to work with the foundation for their CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.

In the service industry of helping others through donated money, it is important to do what you preach and you walk your talk. Mel Tiangco with the GMA Kapuso Foundation simply does it better.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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