Driving to a better path with RWM
VABJODAI members celebrate their graduation from the RWM LEAP-PUJ course with RWM CSR Officer Elaine Castillo (standing, leftmost), RWM CSR Associate Robel de Jesus (standing, rightmost), and (seated, from left) RWM Public Relations Director Cheryl Favila, RWM Corporate Communications Director Joee Guilas, May Tiangco of Caritas Manila, and RWM Assistant Director for Corporate Communications and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility Archie Nicasio.
For some of the 21 men and women present, it was their first real graduation ceremony as adults.
The graduates, drivers and operators of the Villamor Air Base Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association, Inc. (VABJODAI), were treated to a simple graduation ceremony by Resorts World Manila (RWM) after they completed the company’s Livelihood and Employment Assistance Program (LEAP) for its Pinoy Ultimate Jeepney (PUJ) advocacy.
Though not a college-equivalent degree, RWM’s LEAP-PUJ course for VABJODAI members seeks to elevate their profession by treating them as not just mere public utility vehicle drivers, but as ambassadors for Philippine culture and tourism.
All of the classes that the VABJODAI members had to undergo for the LEAP-PUJ program were service excellence and local tourism seminar by the Department of Tourism (DOT), a financial literacy course conducted by FWD Insurance, and a spirituality and moral values course by Caritas Manila.
Ernesto “Mang Erning” Salvia, Vice President of VABJODAI, said that he and his peers were particularly appreciative of the spirituality and moral values course by Caritas Manila which was entitled “Biyaheng Langit, Tsuper Ko.”
“Many of us were used to certain behaviors, and the course made us realize that some of the things that some of us had been doing – like catcalling, cursing at other drivers on the road – were not good,” Mang Erning said ruefully. “The course taught us to be more careful about how we behave because we’re actually representing our families, our community, and our country.”
The “Katas ng Pasay” financial literacy course by FWD Insurance was specifically tailored to help the drivers and operators improve how they manage their resources, especially in terms of saving and planning for the future.
“The course was very helpful, especially now that the jeepney modernization program is coming,” Mang Erning said. “The e-jeepneys are very expensive and it will be difficult for many of us to afford a unit, but at least now we have a better idea of how to get it.”
The DOT held “The More Fun in the PUJ: Basta Pinoy Driver Tour Guide na Sweet Lover” workshop/seminar about Pasay City culture, arts and tourist destinations, along with guidelines on proper hygiene and grooming.
RWM has been working with VABJODAI through its PUJ advocacy since 2014. The project has evolved from being a design competition for scale-model jeepneys, to turning the actual jeepneys into mobile works of art in recent years. To address VABJODAI’s current needs, RWM combined LEAP, its livelihood and employment training program, with PUJ to create an educational and character development program for the jeepney drivers and operators.
“The jeepney is one of the most iconic things in contemporary Philippine culture,” says Archie Nicasio, RWM Assistant Director for Corporate Communications and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Apart from representing the common Pinoy’s love for color and creative expression, it is also a part of our history starting from the American occupation to the post-WWII years.”
Moving forward, RWM plans to continue its social development work with VABJODAI to ultimately improve the tourist experience for its guests.
“RWM has been very fortunate in its 10 years as the first integrated resort in the Philippines and the only integrated resort in Pasay City,” says Archie. “We are very thankful to the city and the community and as firm believers of inclusive growth, we will keep doing what we can to help make them win.”
The VABJODAI members’ LEAP-PUJ journey culminated in a symbolic ceremony attended by RWM executives and May Tiangco of Caritas Manila. Rochelle Vanderbeghe, Marketing Head of FWD Insurance, was unable to attend but sent a video message congratulating the LEAP-PUJ graduates.
“Many of us never dreamed we’d ever graduate or that we’d be able to enter the resort as guests, but now here we are graduating in RWM,” said Mang Erning. “Thanks to them, we feel like we finally see and understand the dignity of our jobs. We are no longer ‘just’ jeepney drivers.”
For more information about RWM’s CSR initiatives, visit www.rwmanila.com/csr.
About Resorts World Manila (RWM):
RWM is the first integrated resort in the Philippines that features recreational thrills, world-class performances, unique events, and exciting lifestyle options.
Conveniently located across Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, with a direct connection via the RUNWAY MANILA footbridge, RWM is an instant gateway to the renowned Philippine hospitality. It is home to seven diverse hotel brands, (MAXIMS Hotel, MARRIOTT Hotel Manila, HILTON Manila, SHERATON Manila Hotel, HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS Manila Newport City, BELMONT Hotel Manila, and SAVOY Hotel Manila) with one more hotel (HOTEL OKURA Manila) currently under construction. Totaling around 3,600 rooms, the eight hotels will make Resorts World Manila the integrated resort with the highest room key count in the Philippines.
Also home to RWM is The NEWPORT Mall which features international luxury brands, state-of-the-art movie theaters, the Newport Cinemas, an award-winning, ultra-modern Newport Performing Arts Theater (NPAT), and a cozy, 24/7 entertainment hub at Bar 360. Dine in one of almost 70 restaurant outlets offering a diverse selection of local and world cuisine, prepared by top Filipino and foreign chefs and paired with a wide selection of the finest wines and popular liquors.
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