From providing off-grid electricity in far-flung sitios, enabling marginalized barangays with skills for livelihood and supporting education in science and technology, Shell companies in the Philippines (Shell) commits to continue and enhance programs that provide a positive impact on Filipino communities through diverse grassroots projects.
For its 107-year presence in the country, Shell’s campaign “Let’s Keep Moving the Philippines Forward,” reinforced its advocacy for sustainable capacity-building towards a better future by providing more Filipinos with access to education, resources and opportunities via new technologies.
The campaign was launched with the release of Shell’s latest video featuring community programs such as Access to Energy, integrated bio-farming systems, livelihood projects, and the Shell Eco-marathon through mixed-media artistic renditions of alumni artists from the longest-running student art competition National Student Art Competition (NSAC). NSAC is among Shell’s pioneering programs for social development in the youth sector and has been instrumental in discovering and developing thousands of Filipino artists in digital arts, oil and acrylic, watercolor, and even sculpture. Since its inception in 1967, NSAC has produced National Artists such as Jose Joya, Ang Kiukok, and Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera.
Shell NSAC 2016 winner Jaypee Samson shared that his inspiration for his parts in the campaign video came from wanting to bring optimism back after the pandemic by moving forward. “Gusto ko ipagmalaki at ipakita sa viewer ang bansa natin at hopeful na magbabago na yung situation para maging normal na uli.” He shared that to progress, one must choose to look on the bright side and take opportunities when they present themselves.
Other projects of Shell to provide opportunities and generate community livelihood come in the form of Shell LiveWIRE which is Shell’s flagship global enterprise development program. Since 1982, it has supported more than 1,300 businesses in 20 countries by providing mentorship, technical expertise, financial assistance, and inclusion in Shell’s supply chain. In the Philippines, Shell’s LiveWIRE platform includes training communities to maximize local resources. This includes the social enterprises of Silangan Ibabao Batis Bulihan Araneta Proper (SIBBAP) Multipurpose Cooperative composed of women seamstresses in Batangas, CocoHub which expands livelihood of farmers in Quezon from just harvesting coconuts to other means, and EcoBrick Hub which aims to repurpose waste plastic into reusable eco-bricks to be used in infrastructure projects of Shell stations and other industries in the interest of sustainability.
Wendel Candawan, another NSAC artist alumni commissioned for the campaign video, developed the artwork for community livelihood and Shell’s use of eco-bricks. “Hindi lang nila binabawasan ang polusyon sa paligid natin, tumutulong sila sa komunidad na iangat ang sarili sa pamamagitan ng programa ng Shell,” he said. The solar-powered EcoBrick Hub in Cagayan de Oro can produce up to 5,000-6,000 eco-bricks for every 20 tons of collected recyclable plastic and provides livelihood opportunities in the locality of its operations.
Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. has also been actively training farmers nationwide with organic and sustainable practices in farming to increase their harvest. Bulacan-based NSAC alumni artist Froilan Calayag felt “flattered that I can help my countrymen to know about the bio-farming program” through his artwork.
Collaboration and innovation remain to be key concepts behind the campaign as highlighted by the NSAC artists behind Shell’s latest video. Digital artist and 2020 NSAC winner Victor “Wika” Nadera admitted that prior to the campaign, he was not aware of other existing programs aside from NSAC and commended Shell for diversifying its programs. “Shell as a global business is helping Filipinos with their education and sustainability programs. Malaking tulong ito sa ikauunlad ng ating science, research, and engineering,” he said. His entry in the video tackled Shell’s support for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs such as the Shell Eco-Marathon which is the world’s leading engineering competition for students aimed to promote energy efficiency.
He added that being an arts scholar himself, he is proud to represent all hardworking scholars who were given a chance by companies like Shell to pursue their dreams whether these are in the arts or sciences. “Innovation through collaboration or innovation through integration. Ito ay magandang paraan of moving forward. You really should learn how to co-exist and co-create with others.”
The campaign also aims to give the youth sector a louder voice by sharing the stories of Shell through their eyes. Another Shell NSAC 2020 winner Bea Cortez described it as “about moving forward which is relevant to what people feel post-pandemic.” Her miniature sculptures were brought to life in the video to depict Shell’s Access to Energy program. Access to Energy (A2E) is one of Shell’s Global Social Investment themes which aim to provide accessible, reliable, affordable, and sustainable clean energy to those in off-grid coastal and far-flung communities in Palawan.
She also said that she took the opportunity of using art to tell the stories of Shell so more people will be able to connect and help each other. “Because that’s what keep moving forward is. You don’t move forward only by yourself.”
In the coming months, Shell will be launching the Future Festival, a series of webinars
and virtual conferences attended by the country’s leaders and nation’s stakeholders, to discuss how to Make the Future together by highlighting best practices that will help community partners implement ideas or replicate successful projects in other parts of the Philippines. The Future Festival will champion the different ways to move the nation forward with mobility, communities and livelihood, STEM and youth, and energy through a series of informative videos, discussions, and other stories of Shell which will be open to the public.