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In the Business of Doing Good

P.A. Properties Delivers New Approach to Social Responsibility

For Laguna-based affordable housing developer, P.A. Alvarez Properties & Development Corp. (P.A. Properties), doing the right thing in business is no longer synonymous to philanthropy. The company has adopted a more holistic approach to social responsibility that encompasses its engagement with various stakeholders. Social responsibility, for P.A. Properties, now means empowering its people, minimizing the environmental footprint of its operations, and ensuring sustainability by investing in long-term business opportunities.

 

Volunteerism is very much alive

While volunteering has been part of P.A. Properties’ culture since its inception in 1994, a shift has occurred throughout its business over time. “We’re reminded of the importance of paying it forward during seasons of giving such as Christmas when we give as a company but there’s also a ripple, “feel good” effect felt by those who participate,” declared Romarico “Bing” Alvarez, P.A. Properties Chairman. “Whether it’s time, skills or anything tangible such as toys, clothes, food or groceries, we encourage our employees to volunteer to worthy causes. And whenever we offer opportunities for our employees to give back, we create a better working environment for our people because it increases morale and enhances workplace atmosphere.”

Social responsibility and volunteer work, both with colleagues and on the employees’ personal time, have become increasingly important in everything for P.A. Properties — from employee engagement, and happiness to bottom-line results. “For us, giving is a critical ingredient in building a positive corporate culture,” added Alvarez. “There is no better way to give back than supporting the communities we serve and the causes we truly believe in.”

This is not at all surprising as Filipinos are among the world’s most generous with their time. In the 2018 World Giving Index report published by United Kingdom-based Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the Philippines ranked 8th out of 146 countries with the highest numbers of individuals volunteering. CAF is a leading international charity registered in the UK, whose mission is to motivate society to give ever more effectively and help transform lives and communities around the world.

P.A. Properties recognizes that in gaining the confidence of its homeowners, it instills in them a sense of responsibility to give back. As such, for several weekends each year, a number of employees — from rank and file to managers and chief executives — come together for “share days,” where the company arranges social responsibility initiatives in select communities. The activities where volunteers take part over the years are as many as they are varied — from feeding programs, medical and dental missions, disaster relief, to blood-letting drives, gift-giving activities and adopt-a-child programs.

 

Working towards an empowered human capital

For P.A. Properties, employees, along with customers and the community, are at the core of social responsibility initiatives. “An organization is nothing without its employees,” noted Carmina Abiera, P.A. Properties VP for Human Resources. “We believe that as an organization, we have a social responsibility towards our employees as well. We need to uphold their value and constantly ensure that they are happy and satisfied with their jobs.”

Job training is a topic that has become more prevalent as companies strive to focus more on people. “With the looming threat of automation, P.A. Properties is continuously investing in reskilling, staff training and people development. For instance, our LEAD Program ensures leadership continuity as it identifies and develops employees with excellent leadership potential,” Abiera added. Cross-training, organic recruitment for higher posts and job rotation are ongoing practices that give talented, skilled and high performing employees of P.A. Properties an opportunity to climb up the corporate ladder.

Moreover, low unemployment rates and the ongoing war for talent have created a new focus on the needs of the employee to bolster recruitment, training, and retention efforts. “At the same time, people are finding opportunities to speak up in support of their purpose and values. The intersection of these two trends is employee power. As part of our social responsibility to our employees, we are listening to and supporting their professional and career needs, and providing the appropriate tools and resources for employee feedback to elevate those voices,” Abiera stressed.

As part of this shift, P.A. Properties is also moving from diversity and inclusion and toward the idea of “belonging,” which is more about a continuously evolving culture that creates an environment where everyone can thrive and feel engaged. We want to build an environment wherein people work because they want to, not because they have to.  Monthly general assemblies, recreation and relaxation activities, dinner get-togethers, team building sessions, mini-Olympics, family days and summer outings are regular fare that fosters spirited teamwork and serve as venues for employees to bond outside company premises.

 

Committed to environmental stewardship

Many companies care about corporate social responsibility but putting it into practice requires more than CEO speeches and company policies; managers and employees have to be on board, so that initiatives can be implemented and momentum for social responsibility can be sustained. One of the areas where P.A. Properties is committed to taking an active role is environmental stewardship. This entails embarking on activities and institutionalizing practices that protect the environment and identifying and mitigating the potential environmental repercussions of a company’s activities.

Among its initial efforts include partnering with the La Mesa Dam Watershed Project in its rehabilitation, protection and development. The La Mesa Dam provides the water requirements of a major part of Metro Manila. As such, its continuing water production, protection against soil erosion and reduction of carbon footprints are vital to its sustainability.

In partnership with Haribon Foundation, P.A. Properties also donated and planted 600 saplings in Baras, Rizal and 1,000 trees to the University of the Philippines, Laguna-Quezon Land Grant. Both activities form part of the conservation and preservation of Philippine biodiversity.

Finally, sharing Habitat Humanity’s mission of building homes for the homeless, the company donated ten (10) housing units to the Navotas Relocation Site in Brgy. Tanza, Navotas City.

 

Growth opportunities that serve the greater good

Since its inception, P.A. Properties has committed to contribute to the Philippine government’s national shelter program. An approach to this, the company believes, is to help ease the country’s housing backlog which currently stands at close to 6 million — with a probability to balloon to 11 million by 2030 if left unaddressed. Currently, P.A. Properties has more than 137 hectares in its landbank for future developments and is continuously acquiring more land to support its expansion plans.

As part of its expansion strategy, PA Properties entered into a joint venture agreement with Osaka-based real estate firm, Hankyu Hanshin Properties Corp. (HHPC), in June 2017. The PhP656-million Dasmarinas project is the first phase of the development of more than 37 hectares of PA Properties’ landbank in the area and is seen to be completed in 5 years. A little over a year after the first joint venture agreement, the partners signed the 2nd and 3rd JVAs, a PhP2.9-billion project spread over 5 years up until 2023. This puts P.A. Properties in a better position to build vibrant and healthy communities that people would truly love to live in.

Today’s organizations are highly engaged in the world outside. They are not sitting back and waiting for things to happen; being part of the solution has become a universal agenda. For a property developer to continue to be relevant in today’s marketplace, responsible operations and social responsibility are strategic imperatives. Fortunately for P.A. Properties, the company has already integrated socially responsible practices in its operations a long time ago. “As a business you can always make profits but it is critical not to lose sight of the larger society and your stakeholders. You should always strive to be a business with a heart. And we’re doing just that,” concluded Abiera.

 

 

About P.A. Properties:
For 24 years, Laguna-based P.A. Alvarez Properties and Development Corporation (P.A. Properties) has established itself a name in the competitive Philippine real estate industry by enabling the public to have their dream homes at affordable rates and payment schemes.

P.A. Properties, which has a capitalization of PHP3.3 billion (as of October 2018) and has already built about 19,000 housing units in Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, and Metro Manila, continues to embark on strategic expansion efforts to further build 25 additional housing communities in the next five years to help ease the more than 6 million housing backlog in the Philippines and contribute to the growth of the economy as well.

For more information about P.A. Properties, visit www.paproperties.com.ph