TRADITIONALLY, the Ayala conglomerate has focused on real estate, financial services, telecommunications, utilities, power and transport, manufacturing and automotive. But in 2015, Ayala decided to venture into health.

It was a decision that would prove serendipitous since only five years later, Ayala would be able to leverage its health ecosystem to participate meaningfully in fighting Covid-19. Using its wide network anchored on three pillars of 1) pharmaceuticals, 2) clinics and hospitals and 3) digital health, Ayala would be able to triage more than 500,000 and vaccinate more than a million.

Ayala began its journey by setting up AC Health, a wholly owned subsidiary, under president/CEO Paolo Borromeo. AC Health would serve as the flagship for the acquisition of health related companies. First to be acquired was Generika, then Le Medica Inc and MedEthix. The three constitute the pharma supply chain and drug retail network that aims to deliver quality and affordable medicines to more Filipinos. Soon followed Healthway, Ayala Cancer Hospital and QualiMed -- hospitals and clinics that aim to provide primary, specialty and multi-specialty platforms. Then AC Health went digital with HealthNow, AIDE and Fibronostics -- the first digital health portfolios in the Philippines.

I am a bit familiar with Generika, which was founded by my former dorm mate at Ateneo Loyola, Ted Ferrer. Upon his retirement as an Ayala executive, Ted set up Generika which aimed to sell (as the company name suggests) generics medicine. It’s very first store was established along T. Montillano Street, a walking distance from our ancestral home in Alabang. When Ayala acquired 50 percent of Generika, Ted remained as Generika's president/CEO.

Healthway is the country's largest network of primary care, multispecialty and corporate clinics. Qualimed, on the other hand, has 4 hospitals: QualiMed Sta Rosa (Nuvali), Qualimed San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan, Qualimed Iloilo in Iloilo City and Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center in Tanauan, Batangas. I had a recent pleasant experience of referring a patient to Qualimed San Jose Del Monte. The patient happily reported that the hospital staff were "mababait at maasikaso" -- living proof of Qualimed's goal of providing quality, compassionate and patient-centric service.

Speaking of AC Health's digital platforms, the latest news is that HealthNow and AIDE are combining soon with another player KonsultaMD to come up with a super one-stop shop App by the first quarter of 2023.

To date, KonsultaMD is the dominant player in teleconsultations with over one million members and a retail network of over 50,000 outlets. And during the pandemic, HealthNow and AIDE have emerged as critical players in the AC Health ecosystem, growing its base to over one million registered users.

By the way, having heard of AC Health's apps, I tried to place a trial order for a set of my maintenance medicines, via MedGrocer. MedGrocer immediately responded promising to deliver the medicines within 24 hours from uploading proof of payment. No need to go to the drug store. Very convenient indeed!

More renewables coming up

The 72 MW Arayat-Mexico Solar Farm, a joint venture between ACEN and Citicore, is now fully operational, generating 105 GWH of renewable energy, the equivalent of supplying electricity to approximately 45,000 homes.

The solar facility avoids an estimated 72,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually and can potentially generate 1,500 job opportunities in the community.

The P2.9 billion solar facility broke ground in June 2021.

Said ACEN Chief Development Officer Jose Maria Zabaleta: "This moves us closer to our shared goals of sustainable development for our country. And as we work towards our bold vision to reach 20 GW of capacity by 2030, we aim to accelerate the energy transition across the region."

More of this please!