#CulturePH - SM honored for efforts in empowering PWDs at this year’s Apolinario Mabini Awards

The 2023 Apolinario Mabini Awards has recognized SM Prime for its work to uplift and empower people with disabilities (PWDs). At a special ceremony conducted at the Heroes Hall in Malacaang Palace on July 18, 2023, the Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (PFRD) presented the organization with numerous honors.

SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, received the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Award, while numerous SM Malls and SM Offices received the Disability-Friendly Establishment Award. With SM City Grand Central being the only Gold winner with SM City Urdaneta Central and SM City Telabastagan both receiving Bronze, SM City Grand Central earned special recognition.

Special citations were also given to SM City Tanza, SM City Dasmariñas, SM City Iloilo, SM City Bacolod, and SM City Cagayan de Oro Uptown for partial compliance with Batas Pambansa Blg. 344, or An Act to Enhance the Mobility of Disabled Persons by Requiring Certain Buildings, Institutions, Establishments and Public Utilities to Install Facilities and Other Devices.

SM Offices was also recognized under the Disability-Friendly Establishment category, with SM Cyber Two Makati receiving a Bronze award, and special honors awarded to One E-Com and Three E-Com Centers.

(L-R) Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, SM Supermalls SVP Engr. Bien Mateo and SM Offices VP Alexis Ortiga receiving SM Group’s Apolinario Mabini awards

Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri graced the conferment with their presence. SM Supermalls President Steven T. Tan was also in attendance, alongside SM Supermalls SVP for Operations and Director for SM Cares Program on Persons with Disabilities Engr. Bien C. Mateo and SM Prime VP for SM Offices Alexis L. Ortiga.

“It is indeed an honor for SM’s efforts to be recognized by the PFRD,” said Tan. “We work hard to ensure that our SM Malls cater to the needs of our fellow Filipinos who live with disabilities because we want to facilitate a safe and inclusive space for them. We are humbled to be consistent awardees at the Apolinario Mabini Awards because it only reassures us that we are fulfilling that goal.”

“SM believes in advocating for a more inclusive environment for the disabled community, which is clear through the initiatives we push forward,” said Mateo. “More than creating projects for the benefit of disabled persons, we also want to spread awareness and encourage compassion among those of us who are able-bodied. We believe that is what is needed to create a society that is truly inclusive of Persons With Disabilities.”

 Established by the PFRD on its Silver Anniversary in 1974, the Apolinario Mabini Awards is a biennial program named after one of the country’s most well-known heroes. Also known as the Sublime Paralytic, Mabini’s disability did not hinder him from playing a major role in the Philippine revolution. Thus, the awards are given to professionals and organizations that have empowered and rendered outstanding services to persons with disabilities, and are considered to be the most prestigious prize for Persons with Disabilities-related organizations and programs in the country. 


SM Supermalls representatives with Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Apolinario Mabini Awards 2023 officials, Mrs. Audrey Tan-Zubiri and Arch. Jaime Silva

SM Prime is a strong advocate for persons with disabilities, with many notable programs under SM Cares designed to uplift and empower this sector of society. Several initiatives for disabled persons include the award-winning Emergency Disaster Preparedness Forum, which aims to equip persons with disabilities with the knowledge and skills to become more resilient and better prepared during natural disasters, as well as The Blackout Zone, the first experiential exhibit that simulates blindness and encourages sighted individuals to develop a deeper understanding of the struggles and challenges faced by the those who are visually impaired community.

SM Cares’ initiatives also reflect the organization’s support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly “SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities”. Other advocacies of SM Cares include Programs for the Environment, Women & Breastfeeding Mothers, Children & Youth, Senior Citizens, and the SM Bike-friendly initiative.

To learn more about these programs, visit www.smsupermalls.com/smcares.

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