CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija -- The year 2020 has been defined by Covid-19. With the most severe public health challenges in recent history, countries across the globe have come to realize that they share a common future and must join hands in helping each other.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
SM started ahead and launched in-house health protocols through the “Safe Malling” campaign wherein customers must wear face masks, go through temperature checks and sanitation before entering the mall.
Regular sanitation and information dissemination about Covid-19 for awareness and precautions were conducted.
People helping people
March, the lockdown was announced due to the increase in the number of coronavirus-positive cases in different parts of the country, SM immediately responded by giving the employees their salary and an opportunity to work-at-home, rentals of tenants have been waived, financial support given to the agency personnel including security guards and janitors, free rapid testing for all employees.
Gallons of alcohol were delivered to media offices as support for local reporters on duty amid the threat of the virus. They were working to deliver current information to the public, which was very essential during that time.
SM donated personal protective equipment, N95 and surgical masks, gloves, alcohols and other needs of medical frontliners at Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Research and Medical Center.
SM also donated temperature scanners and encouraged food tenants to donate food and drinks to other frontliners on the streets protecting the boundaries of Cabanatuan City and the province of Nueva Ecija.
Kalinga Packs relief operations were conducted in different barangays and to jeepney and tricycle drivers whose livelihood have been affected because of lockdown.
During the most dangerous and difficult times, SM in this city made sure that services for essential needs were open and ready to serve the community like SM Supermarkets, SaveMore Market, BDO and Chinabank and Watsons Pharmacy.
As online shopping and deliveries have become the new norm, SM Buddy, Call to Deliver Services and Cabanatuan Wheels-on-the-Go, along with the SM Community Rider program were ways to reach shoppers while making sure that their tenants and communities generate income.
A hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel
SM Regional Manager Ian Ezekiel Balao said even in times of uncertainty, SM is and will always be a family that will support and lift one another.
“It has been in the principle of everyone in SM. It was lesson being thought to us by Tatang Henry Sy Sr. to help our people cope with difficult circumstances with the best that we can,” said Balao.
SM started to open its doors to a brand-new opportunity. Kasama ng SM program was launched, which is geared towards helping micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) to bounce back stronger. With immediate and long-term solutions such as rental relief during the enhanced community quarantine and continued concessions offered by SM, MSMEs were able to endure the financial burdens brought by the pandemic.
In Nueva Ecija, there were ongoing SM Foundation Inc. Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Sustainable Farmers Training Program sites in San Leonardo, Palayan City and Bongabon, with 25 trainees each site to graduate with National Certificate from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), helping marginalize sectors of the community to have sustainable livelihood amid the crisis.
Lessons from the pandemic
A safe place for everyone. SM ensured the safety of shoppers as malls resumed operation with essential and non-leisure services. Strict safety and sanitation protocols over and above those mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Department of Trade and Industry were put in place to assure shoppers that SM malls are safe and clean.
Resiliency is the key. Covid-19 has made clear the need for resiliency, which the company can move forward to continue doing business in a stable manner, even amid unprecedented challenges. SM is a place where they can feel assured that, despite any disruptions, businesses will be able to continue and hopeful that soon everything will become better.
SM, at its core, is a business run like a family. There are millions of families in SM: employees and manpower, agency personnel, affiliates and tenants, tricycle, bus and jeepney drivers, the shoppers and the community as a whole. And just like a family, no one is left behind in this difficult situation. Everyone has a role to play in this fight against Covid-19. For SM, it is about ensuring that everyone in the family receive the help they needed to recover from this crisis, while also prioritizing their safety and convenience. (PR)