AYALA Corporation operates a number of businesses that are vital to keep our society and our economy functioning -- banking, water, health care, telecommunications, power and manufacturing. All need to continue operating to ensure the delivery of essential services, more so under ECQ circumstances.

During the recent Ayala annual stockholders meeting, Jaime Augusto de Ayala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, chairman and president, respectively, of the Ayala Corporation, recognized the group's incredibly committed frontliners who have remained in their posts during the ECQ. "Their dedication has enabled us to continue to deliver for our clients and we draw our strength from them," the Zobels said.

In BPI, for instance, over 220 branches (25 per cent of total) remained open. There are 1,300 employees and service personnel in these branches. BPI's BanKo kept open 240 branches (80 per cent of total). Approximately 900 employees and service personnel reported in BanKo branches. To keep over 2,500 ATM machines operational, over 1,000 BPI employees and service provider personnel replenished the ATMs with cash 7 days a week.

Over 200 facilities operators reported for work in Manila Water. Manila Water has been operating at optimum levels despite limitations from the lockdown. It has been providing consistent 24/7 water service availability to its customers. In cases of breakages, Manila Water tries to do its best to have the problem resolved within 3 to 4 hours. In addition, Manila Water donated 1,800 hygiene kits and deployed much needed drinking water in 6 QC hospitals.

AC Energy's plants remained sufficiently manned to operate at full capacity and to provide vital electricity to our grids. Globe doubled down its efforts to ensure that its networks stay reliable and consistent. On top of that, Globe donated 500 cellphone units to public hospitals and has provided free internet connection to 68 hospitals nationwide, with free calls for emergencies. Globe also raised P43 million from its employees and customers to help hospitals.

One thousand five hundred employees continued to report daily in AC Health. This enabled AC Health, through its network of outpatient clinics, to provide primary care and non-Covid-19 specialty consultations and diagnostics. Healthway and Family Doc have served as triage points for suspected Covid-19 patients. AC Health has screened and referred nearly 6,000 suspected cases (formerly known as PUMs) and over 5,000 suspect cases formerly known as PUIs. Generika (Ayala's generics pharma store) continued to operate over 720 stores nationwide. AC Health continued to provide home care and medicine delivery services. Meanwhile, AC Health is poised to convert PolyMed Sta. Rosa into a Covid-19 dedicated hospital. This initiative will cost P150 million. Further, AC Health will work in partnership with other stakeholders to build a Covid-19 testing facility that will give more Filipinos access to testing.

Since the frontliners carry enormous responsibilities to provide these critical services, Ayala insures that they are provided the proper protection as they perform their function at this critical time. Aside from providing them with protective gear, the company also arranges for free transportation to shuttle the frontliners to and from the company premises. The premises are also regularly disinfected and proper social distancing measures and health check protocols are in place. Frontliners are also regularly monitored by company doctors.

How did other units and personnel across the Ayala group respond to Covid-19?

* The Ayala group has allocated P2.4 billion in a relief package to assist employees, including the daily wage earners or "no work, no pay" personnel.

* Together with 36 other companies and private institutions, Ayala launched Project Ugnayan to support those most in need of help at this time. The consortium raised over P1.7 billion for food vouchers for more than 1.5 million urban poor families or approximately 7.5 million of our most vulnerable countrymen in Metro Manila. The distribution of P1,000 grocery vouchers was done through Caritas Manila and the over 600 Catholic parishes in Metro Manila.

* Ayala Land employees raised P71.4 million to help Covid hospitals and Project Ugnayan.

* Makati Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Ayala Land, recently completed the renovation of the World Trade Center in Pasay into a 500-bed quarantine facility.

* Ayala, Ayala Land, BPI and Globe donated to the Philippine Red Cross for the distribution of over 200,000 face masks to several hospitals in Metro Manila.

* Ayala and Ayala Foundation set aside P15 million to procure additional masks and vitamins for donation for various hospitals and LGUs. The distribution was done by AC Health.

To the many Ayala individuals who are putting their lives on the line to make sure that their essential services continue at a time like this, a Big Thank You!

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