MANILA

Bunye: Private sector response to Covid-19

Speaking Out

IT IS heartwarming to read about the response of the private sector in helping alleviate the impact of widespread disruption caused by Covid-19.

A restaurant owner opened her establishment to more than a dozen homeless persons, providing them hot meals and sleeping and shower facilities. A group of concerned ladies offered to ferry health workers to and from their place of work. The exclusive Palms Country Club in Filinvest Alabang has accepted, as temporary boarders, health workers from nearby RITM, who find it virtually impossible to go home. Artists and talents of ABS-CBN staged a virtual musical concert that raised over P270 million for relief purposes.

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is giving Greg O, and others similarly situated, a 30-day reprieve on his monthly installment payment which falls due on April 1st, at no interest. BPI is granting an even longer reprieve of 90 days for borrowers classified as "frontliners" in the fight against Covid-19. "Feel free to use this money for your more urgent needs. This is the least we can do for your sacrifices," BPI President Bong Consing said.

Marina D, who operates a salon at an Ayala Mall, feels relieved that she will not have to pay rent for the duration of the lockdown period. Lino S, a daily-paid construction worker in a project of Makati Development Corporation, is assured food on his table during his forced layoff. Greg O, Marina D, and Lino S are typical of the beneficiaries of a Covid-19 emergency response package announced by the Ayala group recently.

In a letter to employees, partners, and friends, the brothers Jaime Augusto and Fernando Zobel de Ayala announced a relief package that will benefit thousands of workers because their places of work have been closed. They include retail workers, construction workers, service providers, security agencies and employees of many similar businesses who are largely on a no-work-no-pay type of employment.

For non-employees (i.e., the extended workforce of Ayala's partner employers), Ayala is allocating a total of P2.4 Billion as follows:

P600 million -- for salary continuance for the displaced workers from construction sites, shuttered malls and retail spaces of Makati Development Corporation and the Ayala Malls group.

P270 million -- Globe Telecoms' allocation for its retail store support staff and vendor partners.

P130 million -- Other Ayala companies' contribution for personnel related financial support.

P1.4 billion -- For the rental condonation of tenants of Ayala malls during the lockdown period.

For Ayala's own employees:

Acceleration of mid-year bonus, deferment of payables to the Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative and a new special financial assistance program at subsidized rates.

Earlier, Ayala joined a consortium of around 20 like-minded business groups which will raise P1.5 billion to fund P1,000 grocery vouchers for an estimated one million urban poor families in Metro Manila. The distribution of vouchers will be undertaken by ABS-CBN's Pantawid ng Pag-Ibig and Caritas Manila's Project Damayan.

Included in the group are the Aboitiz Group, ABS-CBN and the Lopez Group, Alliance Global, AY Foundation and RCBC, Ayala Corp., Caritas Manila, Century Pacific, Concepcion Industrial Corp., DMCI, Gokongwei Group of Companies, Enrique Razon-led International Container Terminal Services Inc., Jollibee Foods Corp., Leonio Group, Mercury Drug, GT Capital, Nutri-Asia, Liwayway Marketing Group, the MVP Group, Puregold, San Miguel Corp., the SM Group, Sunlife of Canada and Suyen Corp.

In a separate move, BPI, together with Ayala Corporation and Globe Telecom, donated P5 million to the Philippine Red Cross for the procurement and distribution of 50,000 face masks and 2,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical front-liners who are in critical need of protection in hospitals, local government units, and airports.

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