Message from MPT South CSM Head Arlette V. Capistrano

“HONRAS”

I was thinking about what to share to our many readers on this Undas release of Southlink, with a highlight on corporate social responsibility, when the question popped in my head “where did the word ‘Undas’ come from and how did we come to use it to describe All saint’s day and All Soul’s day collectively?” So I am seizing this moment and making it an opportunity to gain nuggets of information as I go about my research.

The etymology of Undas is from the Spanish word “HONRAR” which is both a noun and a verb, when conjugated are honro, honras, honra, honramos, honrais, honran, but no matter what form it may be used, it still means “honor” or “the honored,” or Honras, you honor.  Filipinos over time tend to have their own adapted spelling on pronunciations of Spanish words, like “viaje,” became “biyahe,” “ventana” became “bintana“ and in this fashion “Honras” became “Undas” but in the Batangas area it is called “Undras” and so it came to be that Undas is Honoring our dearly departed. During this time families come together and clean tombs, light candles, with offering of flowers and fruits, and most important of all prayers to all Mighty and all the saints for the eternal repose of souls. Over time the dia de los todos los santos have extended to more than just a day, it has become a season, the “honoring season” Undas is for both saints and our departed loved ones.

And speaking of honoring, I underscore our corporate social responsibility and how we play out in the ecosystem composed of people in our communities, our environment, to honor our planet. Our core business which builds roads depicts a humanitarian venture that alleviates poverty by enabling economic activities from construction to operations, it ushers’ opportunities in tourism, trade and industry, that create jobs and a chance to earn and live decent lives for countless people.

Corporate social responsibility as well goes a long way in building our brand. In earning the trust of our customers, they expect brands and businesses not to be all about profit but being able to give back to society and caring for the environment. More than 50% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service if the business prioritizes sustainability, according to a 2015 survey by Nielsen (registration required). This to me shows that practicing ethical and sustainable behavior in our ecosystem, will generate more trust in the brand when it shows consistent care for humanity and the environment than just profit.

For our employees, CSR projects and programs create a venue for volunteerism, and expression of concern by being involved in improving the world starting with the areas we operate in. Our tree planting activities, driver safety programs (DRAYBERKS), community safety program Bayani ng Kalsada (BayaniKa) that highlights safety and health to residents living in communities rimming the expressways, Alagang Kapwa Oras Oras (AKO) to name a few, fosters camaraderie and promotes a positive work environment. Being committed to improving the world will likely contribute to high employee engagement.

Simply put, social responsibility can help people see the positive force that our actions stamp in society, making them aware of the important causes our organization believes in.

In conclusion, when we honor humanity and the environment by consciously acting out care and compassion in everything we do, it earns us wins for ourselves, our community, the environment, and come to honor the planet we live in – “Honra el planeta en el que vivimos.”

MARIA TERESA V. CAPISTRANO

References:

History Talks PH

Forbes.com “The importance of social responsibility in business”

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