Generosity that never stops

Generosity that never stops

Ma. Cecilia R. Arevalo-Carag

Over the years, the Center never failed to extend its generosity not only to its staff members, but also to our brothers and sisters  to return the blessings to others who are victims of calamities, the less fortunate and people with disabilities.”


I learned about SEAMEO INNOTECH from Mr. Henry E. Tarroza, the Senior Officer of the Center’s Human Resources Unit who used to be my superior in a bank. Every time we would meet up, he bragged about how happy he was being part of the Center because of its generosity, the family culture, and the opportunities given to its employees. At that time, I was an Officer for the Industrial/Labor Relations Section of the Human Resource Department of another bank. My work then involved administrative and labor cases which were a bit hectic and fast-paced. Hearing him made me want to be part of the organization. I kept telling him that if he needed my services, he can call me anytime. 

The time came and the long wait was over when I was invited to apply for the position to be vacated by a retiring staff. I immediately sent my curriculum vitae, underwent the screening process, and was even interviewed by Dr. Erlinda C. Pefianco, the Center Director. Finally, I became a member of the INNOTECH family. 

As time went by, I realized how the Center values its staff members and their contributions through its staff benefits programs, rewards, and recognition. The family culture was very evident and has the heart that always looked after the welfare of its employees.  

In my 14 years with INNOTECH, I involved myself in several projects, programs and committee works of the Center. For me, the most significant initiative that inspired not only me but also the staff members was the Center’s SEAMEO Social Responsibility (SSR). I am privileged that my team was tasked to undertake the social responsibility role of the Center. I have witnessed how our staff and partners participated in fundraising activities and outreach programs organized by the Center. Three SSR initiatives left a mark in my heart because of the efforts, commitment and dedication of the people involved and the support we received from the management and the beneficiaries of these initiatives typhoon Yolanda victims, persons and children with disabilities, and victims of the Marawi siege.


The first on my list was during super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) when the staff and partners undertook outreach initiatives in response to the nationwide destruction brought by the typhoon. Volunteers from different offices and units reported on shifts for weeks in different relief centers set up by various organizations of the Department of Social Welfare and Development stationed in Ateneo de Manila University, the House of Representatives, Villamor Airbase, and the GMA Kapuso Foundation. The staff assisted in the sorting and packaging of food, clothes and other necessities for the calamity survivors, and in receiving phone calls for pledges and inquiries.  

Second was when the Center decided to forgo the traditional Christmas celebration for its personnel and instead brought 20 children with disabilities to the Center for an early carnival-themed Christmas celebration. Through the cooperation of the Employee Development Committee and the participation of everybody in the Center, we were able to donate old clothes, reading materials, and toiletries. 

The last one was the fundraising project for the victims of the siege in Marawi. The project was called “Isang Libong Lapis for Peace (One Thousand Pencils for Peace)” in support to the call of the Department of Education Secretary, Leonor M. Briones, to help rehabilitate the schools in Marawi. The pencil served as a representation of the fund-raising activity, symbolizing the potential, hope, and aspirations that can be achieved through education — a way to provide a better future for every learner.  

Over the years, the Center never failed to extend its generosity not only to its staff members, but also to our brothers and sisters  to return the blessings to others who are victims of calamities, the less fortunate and people with disabilities. 

One thing I learned is that these kinds of initiatives do not only bring joy to the beneficiaries and staff members of INNOTECH, these also help create a strong bond among the Center staff and its partners — bringing inspiration to each and every one of us, and keeping us connected with the world around us. 

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