SA MATAGUMPAY na pagsuong sa entrepreneurship at community service, tinanggap ni Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala (PPS-PEPP) president at CEO Bobby L. Castro ang honorary doctorate degree mula sa University of Baguio.
Ipinagkaloob kay Castro ang Doctor of Humanities Honoris Causa sa ipinakita niyang kakayahan na magawa at mabago ang PPS-PEPP bilang nangunguna sa pawnshop at domestic money remittance industry na may 3,554 company-owned branches at outlets, at may 6,560 partner locations.
Mayroong Palawan sa lahat ng rehiyon, lalawigan, lungsod at 1,177 mula 1,488 bayan sa bansa. Ang PPS-PEPP ay may 14,542 direct at 554 indirect employees, at itinuturing na isa sa pinakamalaking employer sa bansa.
“To be honored, by an esteemed university in the Cordilleras for the work I have been doing in the field of entrepreneurship and community service gives me, my family, my company and my province of Palawan so much pride. This is an affirmation that our company’s vision, mission and values in providing financial services to the underprivileged sectors of our society is much appreciated,” ani Castro na namuno sa PPS-PEPP sa loob ng 36 taon.
“This is also a recognition of the work we do in trying to help uplift the lives of our people, through our support for education, sports development, and environmental protection,” dagdag ni Castro.
Ang honorary degree na ipinagkaloob kay Castro ay bilang patunay sa “vision, mission, at values” ng kompanya sa paglalaan ng serbisyong pinansiyal sa mahihirap na sektor ng lipunan.
“This is also a recognition of the work we do in trying to help uplift the lives of our people, through our support for education, sports development and environmental protection,” mensahe ni Castro sa harap ng 335 graduates ng Batch 2021 sa nasabing unibersidad na pinangunahan ng pangulo na si Engr. Javier Herminio Bautista, dating presidente Dr. Reynaldo C. Bautista, Sr., at dating Baguio City Mayor Peter Rey Bautista.
Ikinuwento ni Castro, binili nila ng kanyang asawang si Angelita ang Palawan Pawnshop noong 1985 sa halagang P40,000 mula sa maliliit na negosyo sa pamamagitan ng pagbebenta ng wild Palawan honey, baby diapers, gamit pambata, at ang paggawa ng kasangkapan.
“These small businesses taught me valuable lessons, steeled me in facing difficulties and setbacks, and challenged me to achieve higher goals,” diin ni Castro na kabilang sa pagpapalaganap ng social justice noong estudyante pa sa University of the Philippines noong 1970s.
Inamin ni Castro, nang lumipat silang mag-asawa sa Puerto Princesa at binili ang Palawan Pawnshop, maliit lang ang kanilang kaalaman sa pagnenegosyo gaya ng pag-appraise ng alahas.
“What we had plenty of was a burning passion to succeed which prodded us to pour all our energies into growing the business,” diin nito.
“I was not born into an entrepreneurial family,” ani Castro na ang ama ay nagsilbi sa Philippine Air Force at ang ina ay isang pharmacist.
At ngayon, umaabot na sa milyon-milyon ang napagsisilbihan ng PPS-PEPP sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa.
“We have partnered with 53 international remittance companies, a move that has enabled us to release funds sent by our OFWs and migrant Filipinos in many parts of the world to their families even in the remotest areas of the Philippines. “I-Palawan mo na” has now transformed into a verb which means to send money using Palawan Express,” ayon kay Castro.
Ibinahagi ni Castro sa mga nagsisipagtapos ang kanyang mga natutuhan sa pagpapalago ng negosyo.
“First, set high but achievable goals. At the outset, we did not dream of becoming number one. To have done that would have been absurd and foolish. But we did have a goal – which was not to lose money. We had invested all our life’s possessions in the business and therefore it had to succeed. There couldn’t be any room for failure and so we worked hard,” payo ni Castro.
Nagtayo ang mag-asawa ng branches sa lalawigan ng Palawan, sa layuning makilala sa industriya, nagdesisyon sila na palaganapin ito sa Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Panay, at Cebu, kung saan naroroon ang headquarters ng kanilang pinakamalaking competitors.
“Looking back, it was at this point that we started believing that we could become a worthy contender in the pawnshop and remittance industry,” ani Castro.
“Second, seek help but pay back all your obligations,” noong humingi ng tulong si Castro sa mga kamag-anak at kaibigan para sa puhunan ng kanyang negosyo. “But remember, a loan is a contract, a responsibility that one needs to pay up, kahit sa magulang o sa mga kamag anak. We at PPS have never reneged on all our financial obligations. That is why we are trusted by banks and our other creditors,” diin nito.
Ikatlo, “Be honest and above board. Be fair and never take advantage of your fellowmen kung saan dapat alagaan at pahalagahan ang mga manggagawa.
Ika-apat, iginiit ni Castro, “Companies should know the value of their employees, or as we refer to them in PPS, our associates. Our success may be attributed to the total efforts of our workforce. For 36 years, we have developed a unique company culture that binds us tightly and propels us to continue moving forward. This strong company culture powers us to achieve more.”
At ika-lima, respetohin ang mga competitor.
Sa makabagong teknolohiya, kailangan din sumabay PPS-PEPP. “Technology helped us to expand at a very fast pace. How could we have managed this large business from our head office in provincial Puerto Princesa, if not for the early computerization of our operations? The move to computerize enabled us to grow by leaps and bounds,” aniya.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated why we needed to drastically change the way we did things. We needed to adapt. We needed to be creative to survive and to flourish,” diin ni Castro.
At bilang pasasalamat, tumutulong din ang PPS-PEPP sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng scholarship sa 357 mag-aaral upang makapagtapos at 428 para makapag-enroll sa Palawan State University at Western Philippines University.
“I am very happy to announce that starting school year 2021-2022, our Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Scholarship Program will include the selection of qualified scholars from the indigenous peoples of the Cordilleras, for enrolment in the University of Baguio,” anito.
Nag-sponsor din ang PPS-PEPP ng sports activities at namamahagi ng milyong hard wood seedlings.
Tinukoy ni Castro ang kahalagahan ng pamilya. “The support of the family is vital for success in business. I am thankful to have an extremely wonderful family.”
“My wife and all our five children occupy strategic positions in our company. We work hard, we debate hard. I am particularly proud of our 5 children, what they have accomplished individually, what they contribute to the business, and the priceless gifts that they have given us – our 11 healthy and active grandchildren,” pagmamalaki ni Castro.
Mahalagang manatiling simple at mapagkumbaba sa kabila ng tagumpay.
“Humility is acknowledging that not one person, not even one family could have built our business to where it is now. It is acknowledging that all our associates have contributed in putting one brick at a time to build our large business. Constantly bearing this in mind, we are always grateful and appreciative of everyone’s support,” giit ni Castro.
“Never stop growing,” diin ni Castro sa pagbibigay diin sa kahalagahan ng teknolohiya at pagbabago upang mapalawak pa ang negosyo.
“Innovate. Introduce new products. Revolutionize the traditional products. Do not be afraid of the future,” pagtapos nito. (NIÑO ACLAN)