Dan Lopez Layug and his wife Anacelle Layug during the groundbreaking ceremony for PeoplePods in BatangasMany factory workers at First Philippine Industrial Park (FPIP) have moved from other provinces to Batangas for safe employment. Because of the housing shortage in the area, these migrant workers live in risky mixed-gender dwellings and spend hours commuting, sometimes walking home late at night. Majority at FPIP are young women in their early 20s. They pay high rent, utilities and transportation because of energy-inefficient construction and the housing shortage in the area. But they still manage to remit money back home to support their parents and siblings.
PeoplePods goes beyond just being a dormitory. It’s about the people—giving them a better life in an environment that allows them to live with dignity. Our social enterprise provides professionally-managed dormitory communities that are safer, cleaner and have more amenities at a more affordable price than other options in the area.
Our communities are in peaceful neighborhoods with access to affordable meals, clinics, banks and public transportation. Each community is gender-segregated and exclusive to employees of locators in FPIP. We have licensed guards 24/7 and CCTVs. A building administrator maintains standards of hygiene, health and safety policies.
Dorms have cooking and laundry areas and a sari-saristore. Rooms have unlimited Wi-Fi and shared areas show Knowledge Channel’s content on financial literacy, vocational skills, and health and wellness, etc. We generate clean renewable energy with rooftop solar during the day. The green design minimizes environmental footprint and reduces electricity costs to 60% of the national average.
My Lolo Oscar [Lopez Group chairman emeritus Oscar M. Lopez] saw FPIP as a means to improve lives by giving jobs to thousands; my TitoPiki [First Philippine Holdings Corporation chairman Federico R. Lopez] continues to carry on his work to empower the Filipino people.
I hope to support their vision by providing safe, clean and affordable housing.
Contributing to something greater than myself has given me the determination to move purposefully forward. In our lean team, I handle both charting our strategic direction and operations on the ground, such as personally applying for utilities, purchasing supplies at hardware shops in Batangas and managing our contractors on-site.
The people are at the core of our service
PeoplePods is a dream my wife Anacelle and I have been working towards for the past two years. We studied the pain points and needs of factory workers in FPIP. And we placed them—the people—at the core of our service.
To even better serve our communities, I obtained a professional diploma in building and property management from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. The new techniques I learned complement the experience of our team, which includes a dormitory owner originally from Batangas with 30 years of experience heading property management of condominiums.
Recognizing our focus on the well-being of workers, DBS Bank Foundation (Singapore) listed PeoplePods in the top social enterprises to watch for in Asia in 2018. Our team also won first place and the Social Impact Award at the 35th INSEAD Venture Competition (France), Leader in Sustainability at the 2017 Nudge Impact Challenge (Netherlands) and first place at the 2017 Kellogg Real Estate Competition(USA).
The greatest benefit of winning these competitions was the external validation of judges pledging their own capital to fund our mission.
1,500 beds in the next few years
Our Phase 1 dorm (200 beds) is scheduled to complete construction in September 2018. Phase 2 (200 beds) will be completed in 2Q 2019. Both phases will be exclusively for female workers. We are currently working to bring capacity to 1,500 beds in the next few years.
PeoplePods allows me to live with purpose, continuously learn and express my personal and family values. This is the mission I have chosen postMBA and one that I truly hope will help improve the lives of factory workers at FPIP.
We are currently seeking tenants for PeoplePods.
Dan Lopez Layug, CFA, graduated from an MBA at INSEAD in December 2017. During his commencement, he was the only student cited by INSEAD dean Ilian Mihov as exemplifying the school’s vision of “Using Business as a Force for Good.” Prior to MBA, Layug worked for six years at ING Bank’s M&A team and Maybank ATRKE’s Equity Capital Markets team. He earned his undergraduate degree in finance and Chinese studies at Georgetown University in 2010. Layug holds a diploma in building and property management from De La SalleCollege of Saint Benilde. (Story/Photo by: Dan Lopez Layug).