Business executives shift companies’ attention to COVID-19 response
MANILA, Philippines — As the country continues to fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic which has infected over 26,000 individuals, several top executives in the private sector are shifting their businesses’ attention towards charitable efforts to help and reach out to those in need.
Among the business executives using their companies to help Filipinos cope with the crisis are the following:
Jose Sio, Teresita Sy-Coson, Henry Sy, Jr. Harley Sy, and Frederic DyBuncio of the SM Investments Corporation
Sio is the chairman of the Board of the country’s largest conglomerate; Teresita Sy-Coson is the vice chair; Henry Sy is also vice chairman; Harley Sy is executive director, and; DyBuncio is the president and chief executive officer.
To augment efforts of the health sector in fighting the pandemic, the SM Group has donated over P170 million for medical supplies for hospitals battling the coronavirus disease.
The donation, coursed through the SM Foundation, sought to augment health frontliners’ arsenal of personal protective equipment—full protective suits, face shields, gloves, N95 masks, surgical masks, goggles, and raincoats—as requested by some hospitals.
The conglomerate also donated P100 million to Project Ugnayan, a fund-raising platform led by top business groups in cooperation with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, taking its total reported donations to over P270 million.
SM Supermalls also waived the rental fees in all of its 74 shopping malls nationwide from March 16 to April 14.
Earlier in May, the business group said it had constructed seven insulated emergency quarantine facilities in Pasay City and Quezon City through the SM Foundation.
Aboitiz family of the Aboitiz Group of Companies
The Aboitiz Group earlier committed a total of P1.82 billion for COVID-19 mitigation efforts, which include P388 million in donations for medical frontliners and relief goods for underprivileged families. Sabin Aboitiz is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the business conglomerate.
Aside from this, the Aboitiz Foundation has set up a fundraising page called Help Our Health Workers Fight COVID-19 to raise funds for PPE sets, in coordination with the University of the Philippines (UP) Medical Foundation and The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service Foundation.
As of June 11, the fund-raising drive has already raised more than P2 million.
On March 18, N95 face masks were turned over by the business group to the Department of Health (5,000 masks) and to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (700 masks).
Outside Metro Manila, the Aboitiz Group sent surgical gloves, infrared thermometers, folding beds, nitrate and latex gloves, N95 face masks, laboratory and disposable goggles, PPE gowns, and tents.
On May 18, Davao Light and Power Company Incorporated, under the Aboitiz Group, turned over 2,000 pieces of surgical masks, two units of IR thermometers and 25 pieces of N98 masks to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Davao Region.
Aboitiz food business unit Pilmico also donated through the Aboitiz Foundation several surgical masks to hospitals in Cebu, Tarlac, Iligan City, and Cagayan de Oro. The company also pledged to donate bread packs to police and military checkpoints and hospitals in Capas, Tarlac and Iligan City in March.
Meanwhile, UnionBank, the banking and financial services arm of the Aboitiz Group, provided support to frontliners by partnering with Caritas Manila. In March, it said it was working to procure medical ventilators for government hospitals.
Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corporation
As of April 23, Ramon Ang’s San Miguel Corporation’s total amount of donation for COVID-19 efforts had already reached P1.147 billion.
On June 8, SMC president Ramon Ang led the turnover 45 adult nasal high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) to National Task Force COVID-19 chair and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr.
HFNC machines are used for supplemental oxygen therapy for persons with signs of respiratory distress and have been used for patients categorized as severe or critical COVID-19 cases.
In a statement dated May 15, SMC said it has started turning over to some local government units in Metro Manila testing booths to help boost the testing capacity of all 17 local government units in the capital region. Apart from the testing booths, SMC is also donating P3 million worth of polymerase chain reaction tests to each of the 17 LGUs, which is equivalent to 34,000 tests.
On May 11, it said it has also produced more than 600,000 pieces of nutribun, a bread product that became popular in the 1970s, which it donated to vulnerable sectors of society.
Aside from these efforts, the corporation also earlier completed the construction of 10 emergency quarantine facilities it built together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in military camps nationwide for COVID-19 patients with mild to no symptoms.
On Labor Day, San Miguel likewise donated 85,000 liters of free fuel for the government’s shuttle service programs that provided free transportation to thousands of medical frontliners and workers reporting to hospitals in Metro Manila.
Sam Verzosa and RS Francisco of Frontrow International
Sam Verzosa and RS Francisco, chief executive officer and president of Frontrow, respectively, also joined in the efforts to fight the effects of the pandemic. In May 20, the multinational direct-selling giant announced it is pledging 100 percent of the sales of its health supplement products from May 1 to 30 for charitable projects.
The donations accounted by its charity arm Frontrow Cares has amounted to over P100 million and counting. Until now, the company has been sending aid to several major cities and provinces in the country, from Tuguegarao to Isabela, Laguna, Cebu, Bohol, Davao, Zamboanga. Iligan, and Marawi, among others.
Frontrow also sent medical supplies like PPEs and aerosol boxes, along with immune-boosting health supplements, to over 50 hospitals and institutions all across the country, as well as truckloads of rice and canned goods.
In an earlier interview with CNN Philippines, Francisco said that even before the COVID-19 pandemic started, the company has already been doing unannounced charity work to help the underprivileged.
Francisco also spearheaded the Kontra Gutom Feeding Program which serves restaurant-cooked meals to indigent communities, reaching 10 areas within Metro Manila so far as of May 20.
For his part, Verzosa was likewise spotted on several occasions distributing relief goods in depressed areas like Payatas, the Aeta communities in Pampanga, Muslim areas in Taguig City, and his childhood neighborhood in Sampaloc, Manila.
With Verzosa often seen working hand-in-hand with game show host Willie Revillame, Frontrow also gives away daily cash donations of P50,000 during the “Wowowin” show as assistance to people affected by the pandemic.
Aside from aid sent to different areas across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, assistance from Frontrow has also reached overseas Filipino workers, especially those in the Middle East like in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala of the Ayala Group of Companies
Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, who serve as the group’s chairman and president, respectively, have also helped in the fight against coronavirus disease through various aids from the company.
On June 4, the Ayala Group turned over an automated ribonucleic acid (RNA) extraction machine and two reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machines and its accessories to officials of the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. These donated equipment helped boost Davao City’s COVID-19 testing capacity by up to 1,000 tests per day.
The Ayala Group, led by its healthcare unit Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc. (AC Health), also vowed to build four Biosafety Level 2 laboratories and help capacitate three existing laboratories in Makati City, Cebu, and Davao. The business group said this will bring an additional capacity of 5,500 RT-PCR tests per day in the country.
It also helped ease the strain on its small and medium enterprise partners through waiving P766-million worth of services and business operations fees as of May 19. Ayala Malls alone has waived P280 million covering over 2,400 of its SME partners as of the said date.
On top of these, the Ayala Group has donated testing booths for the four mega swabbing centers in Palacio de Maynila Tent along Roxas Boulevard, Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Enderun Colleges in Taguig City and the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Furthermore, it pooled P46.4 million for the conversion of portions of the World Trade Center in Pasay City into a temporary healthcare facility.
Ayala Land unit Makati Development Corp. led the fit-out construction for 9,700 square meters of space at the World Trade Center in just a span of seven days in April.
The corporation and key operating units also settled P9.86 billion worth of taxes ahead of the extended June 14 deadline, in a bid to help the government boost revenues during the coronavirus pandemic.
As of mid-May, the Ayala group has contributed about P5.71 billion in anti-COVID-19 efforts aimed to protect its employees, support partners and clients, and provide for communities.
Andrew Tan Group of Companies
The Andrew L. Tan group of companies under the tycoon’s holding firm Alliance Global Group, Inc. (AGI) has donated over P603 million for various efforts in the country’s fight against COVID-19.
Enrique Razon Jr. of the Razon Group
Outside of the International Container Terminals Services, Incorporated, Enrique Razon Jr. ‘s Bloomberry Cultural Foundation, Inc. has donated P600 million for medical supplies, relief goods, PPEs, other critical supplies, and in retrofitting facilities to become treatment facilities.
Manuel Lopez and Eugenio Lopez III of the Lopez Holdings Corporation
Manuel Lopez is the chairman and CEO of Lopez Holdings while Eugenio Lopez III is the vice chairman and executive director.
The Lopez Group of Companies donated P100 million to the Department of Transportation in April to aid in the agency’s programs for COVID-19 response.
These projects include the conversion of passenger ships into temporary quarantine facilities and the establishment of quarantine terminals for returning seafarers and overseas Filipino workers.
Energy Development Corporation, its geothermal company, likewise lent 11 container vans to local government units the provinces of Leyte, Negros Oriental, Ilocos Norte, Kidapawan City, and Cotabato. These were used as temporary isolation rooms for patients and quarantine rooms for frontliners.
Manny V. Pangilinan of MVP Group of Companies
The MVP group of companies, led by Manuel V. Pangilinan, has advanced its tax payments ahead of the June deadline to help boost the government’s funds to fight COVID-19.
It has also donated over 1,000 grocery packs to families of health workers and personnel of the V. Luna Hospital, and to families of soldiers manning quarantine checkpoints.
In April, telecommunications and digital service provider PLDT turned over 30 of its service vehicles to the Armed Forces of the Philippines for use by the military in anti-COVID-19 responses.
One Meralco Foundation, Meralco’s social development arm, likewise distributed food packs and care packages to vulnerable families in Metro Manila, and PPEs to government hospitals.
The business group also partnered with the Department of Works and Highways and Iglesia ni Cristo to transform the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan into a 300-bed mega-treatment facility in April.
Anthony Almeda of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines
In addition to corporations augmenting the government’s efforts against the pandemic, the NGCP, with Anthony Almeda as president and chief executive officer, has donated P1 billion in goods and cash to support health workers.
Half of the amount or P500 million was donated in the form of goods and medical equipment while the remaining half was donated in cash.
The NGCP has donated another P5 million worth of 10,000 supermarket gift certificates to Project Ugnayan.
Manny Villar of the Villar Group of Companies
The Villar Group led the conversion of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City and Philippine Institute of Sports Multi-Purpose Arena or ULTRA stadium in Pasig City as temporary quarantine facilities.
Aside from this, the Villar family also donated disinfecting apparatus to some government hospitals in Metro Manila, hospital beds for quarantine facilities, and 200,000 face masks and a supply of bottled water through the Department of Health.
James Go and Lance Gokongwei of JG Summit Holdings Inc.
Go is the chairman of the JCSHI while Lance Gokongwei is the president and CEO.
JG Summit Holdings, through its Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF), announced in March the allotment of P100 million for relief operations to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The foundation also donated to Project Ugnayan as well as PPE items, several ventilators and numerous food items to over 80 hospitals in the country.
Clinton Campos Hess of Unilab Laboratories Inc.
Clinton Campos Hess is the president and chief executive officer of Unilab, the country’s largest pharmaceutical company.
As of April, Unilab’s support to the government’s COVID-19 response was nearing P1 billion, as it widened its donation channels for medicines, medical equipment and protective kits for frontliners, as well as relief packages for the marginalized sector.
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