Big businesses join relief drive; SM gives P100M
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines’ largest corporations have joined efforts to bring relief to tens of thousands of survivors of the worst natural calamity to hit the country.
Conglomerates have already activated programs meant to deliver aid to areas devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” as well as to augment post-disaster reconstruction. Corporate donations to charitable causes are tax-deductible expenses.
The SM group pledged P100 million in calamity funds in what has so far been the largest allocation of resources for beneficiaries in Tacloban and Ormoc cities, and Samar, Bohol, Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz and provinces in the Bicol region.
“The fund will focus on five different types of assistance: rebuilding homes, community centers, schools and churches, and providing immediate relief through food and supplies,” SM said in a statement.
San Miguel Corp. and its subsidiaries, which donated relief goods as early as Friday night, have launched a concerted effort to respond to the typhoon victims in the Visayas.
Philippine Airlines, San Miguel’s airline affiliate, will start the free airlifting of critical supplies and relief items to the hardest-hit areas following the opening of several airports in the Visayas.
PAL’s cargo humanitarian grant, which is open to government agencies, foundations and nongovernment organizations, will cover the following necessities: medicines, medical supplies, powdered milk for infants, hygiene products; toiletries, such as new underwear, and ready-to-eat products, such as dried fish and dried fruits, which are not readily available in the affected areas.
To make full use of cargo space, the grant will exclude products that are already being distributed by local government units or available near calamity-stricken areas, such as sardines and other canned goods, noodles and bottled water. PAL said it would fly these items when there is space.
Donors may contact PAL Foundation at (02) 851-2980 or (02) 852-6090 (telefax) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and provide their name, the contact information of the consignee, and a list of shipment contents.
Petron Corp. has designated over 500 service stations nationwide as drop-off points for donations. It has started delivering relief items to facilities in Luzon and the Visayas, which will serve as staging points for relief operations.
It will establish temporary service stations to ensure reliable fuel supply at the right prices.
“We join the entire country at this critical time in wanting to see a quick and concerted effort to provide aid to the Visayas region,” SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said.
On Monday, teams from the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) arrived early in Tacloban City to assist in relief operations.
Chamber of Mines
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines president, Benjamin Philip G. Romualdez, said Leyte province was “devastated by the worst storm ever in the world” and called on the public to help rebuild the city, the province and all areas affected.
Tacloban and Leyte “need all the help to rebuild,” said Romualdez, a native of Tacloban and president of Benguet Corp. “There is now enough food on the way; the issue will be rebuilding. It needs heavy equipment and people to help rebuild, as 90 percent of the residents are left with nothing.”
The PMSEA, a member of the mines chamber, dispatched its teams to Tacloban to work with volunteer groups and other local and national government units.
For its part, the PLDT group led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan held a telethon over TV5 on Sunday and raised P30.4 million in donations and pledges.
Over the weekend, Philex Mining Corp. mobilized rescue and rehabilitation teams, which will set up soup kitchens in Tacloban, according to MVP group spokesman Mike Toledo.
The group’s water unit, Maynilad Water Services Inc., has donated P1 million through the PLDT-Smart Foundation.
Since Friday, Maynilad has deployed 3,000 one-liter bottles and 1,100 one-gallon jugs of water to relief groups and authorities. This week, it will send 12,000 more units of one-liter bottles, 15,000 one-gallon jugs and 10,000 pieces of bottled water to public and private organizations.
RFM Corp. said it would offer big discounts on food and beverage products for donations to the calamity victims.
“The devastation is huge. We are trying to get more friends and people from the entrep community to support,” RFM Corp. president and CEO Jose Concepcion III said.
The country’s largest insurance firm, Sun Life Financial, said on Monday it would contribute C$100,000 to support local relief efforts. The contribution will come from the Sun Life Financial International Response Fund at the Canadian Red Cross.
“We want to express our sympathy and support for residents whose lives have been severely affected by this devastating storm,” said Sun Life Financial Philippines president Riza Mantaring.
China Banking Corp. launched a donation drive on Monday even as its branches in Baybay, Borongan, Catbalogan, Ormoc and Tacloban remained closed after sustaining damage at the weekend.
The bank said it would accept cash or check donations deposited through any of its branches to China Bank Calamity/Disaster Fund, savings account No. 203-365071-3. Proceeds will be turned over to the Philippine Red Cross.—With a report from Paolo Montecillo
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