Remembering George S.K. Ty: the legacy of a titan

The Metrobank Group, founded and formerly chaired by the late Dr. George  S.K. Ty, and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) have been strong partners in uplifting the lives of Filipinos. Since 2001, the two organizations have been giving help within the Filipino-Chinese community through the Share a Gift of Education project. They have also extended their helping hands throughout the country as Metrobank funds the various civic projects of FFCCCII.

The Metrobank Foundation, Metrobank’s corporate social responsibility arm, in partnership with the FFCCCII established Share A Gift of Education (SAGE) in 2001. A brainchild of Dr. Ty, this program’s objective is to provide educational assistance to qualified members of the Filipino-Chinese families.

Currently, SAGE is at its third iteration, aptly named SAGE III. In a statement, the Metrobank Foundation shared that through a P15 million fund, the SAGE III will support 100 students from 33 Filipino-Chinese schools across the country. Among these schools, 15 are in the National Capital Region, 5 are in Region 6, 3 in Region 5, 2 each for Regions 8 and 11, and 1 each for Regions 1, 3, 4A, 7, 12, and the CARAGA region.

Aside from this assistance program, the Metrobank Group continues its strong ties with FFCCCIII by funding the organization’s civic projects. Last January, Arthur Ty, current chairman of Metrobank Group, turned over P4 million to Domingo Yap, president of FFCCCII, to support two major projects.

First of the projects that Metrobank will support is the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Dome in Marawi City. Some P2 million from Metrobank’s donation will go to this 4,000-seat civic, cultural, and sports facility, which is expected to be completed in 16 to 18 months from groundbreaking.

FFCCCII sees the dome as an area that will showcase culture, promote athletics, as well as facilitate commerce in war-torn Marawi. “It is the Filipino-Chinese community’s fervent wish that this donation will help in the healing of the people of Marawi from the scars of war and destruction,” Mr. Yap was quoted as saying in a BusinessWorld report.

Designed by Mindanao-born Arch. Jose Siao Ling, who also designed the 20,000-seat Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, the Friendship Dome is said to be the largest single donation given by the Filipino-Chinese community in the country.

The other Metrobank-supported project by the FFCCCII is the Operation Barrio Schools, where the other half of the group’s donations will proceed. Through this program, FFCCCII constructs and donates classrooms in rural areas and so provides the youth in such areas access to basic education.

The organization has been doing this program since the 1960’s, and — according to a report by the Philippine News Agency — the project has built 5,602 classrooms nationwide to date.

It was under this program that Dr. Ty donated public school buildings throughout the country, beginning with a barrio school in Jolo, Sulu over five decades ago. At present, as Metrobank Foundation President Ancieto Sobrepeña was quoted as saying, such “long-standing partnership of helping uplift the educational system of the country” continues. — Adrian Paul B. Conoza