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More publicly-listed firms extend helping hand

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By James A. Loyola

More publicly-listed firms, both giant conglomerates as well as smaller businesses, are contributing to the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19 as well as cushion its impact on their stakeholders.

Jollibee Group has allocated P1 billion emergency fund for employees, according to company Chairman and Founder Tony Tan Caktiong to provide its employees with the needed financial support to cope through the Enhanced Community Quarantine period implemented due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

This employee package covers all work teams of Jollibee Group’s offices, stores, commissaries, and logistics centers, including the senior citizens and PWDs assigned to stores under the joint employment program with local government units. The same assistance will also be extended to JFC’s partner employers in the storesand other sitesto provide financial support to their respective employees during this time.

“This public health crisis challenges us as a company and as a nation in ways we’ve never seen before,” said Tan Caktiong. “In these times, we know how people are worrying about their safety and how to take care of their families. We want to help lessen their worries and we are setting up this fund to help them through this difficult time. We are moved by how different individuals and sectors are taking action to help one another and we are one with them in supporting the government as we fight COVID together. We will overcome these challenges together.”

In a letter to employees, JFC CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong said: “We know that this is a very unsettling time for everyone, but let me assure you that we are doing all we can in JFC to help you and your families and our customers during this period.”

SM Supermalls will waive rentals to all tenants nationwide from March 16 to April 14, 2020 so that they can in turn lend more assistance to their employees.

“We share our tenants partners’ concerns at the unfortunate situation and will waive rental charges for those affected and unable to operate during this period,” said SM Supermalls President Steven T. Tan.

Aside from the assistance already being extended to impacted customers and displaced employees, The Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings group of the Ty family pledged a P200 million fund for initiatives that directly support the fight against the virus.

These initiatives will be managed by the respective Foundations of the Group and will start with efforts to produce the test kits developed by the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) and the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment for frontline health workers.

Gotianun-family led Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC) and its various foundations and subsidiaries have pledged to donate P100 million worth of COVID-19 test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) for front liners and workers at the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM).

“We hope to reach our unsung heroes, the front liners and our medical health workers who are tireless in their admirable efforts. We will also provide more COVID-19 test kits that will enable these institutions to accelerate their testing effort to help contain the spread,” said FDC President Josephine Gotianun Yap.

Filinvest Land Inc. has also offered a 30-day payment extension for its Pabahay, Futura and Aspire customers who were affected by the Luzon-wide community quarantine.

EastWest Bank was first to offer a 30-day extension program on the payment due dates of eligible customers for auto, personal, mortgage, and EEL loans, and credit cards.

It has waived the fees for fund transfers to any local bank made through instaPay while fund transfers through PESONet remain free of charge.

Filinvest Lifemalls has likewise provided rental waiver for qualified non-operational tenants during this period.

FDC Utilities Inc. and FDC Misamis Power Corporation released over P32 million ER 1-94 funds to their various host beneficiaries for health programs.

Leading food and beverage kiosk operator, Fruitas Holdings, Inc. has launched the #1000BukoEVERYDAY campaign, involving the donation of at least 1,000 bottles of 100 percent fresh buko juice everyday to the Philippines’ frontliners in the fight against COVID-19.

Fruitas customers can also participate in the campaign by pledging additional bottles through our #8COCO (#82626) hotline. Fruitas has committed to match every pledged bottle with another bottle to add to its commitment.

“We’ll try to do our best to continue this everyday until the Philippines gets through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said FHI President Lester Yu.

Fruitas initiated the campaign last March 16 and started by covering 10 hospitals around Metro Manila. On March 17, Fruitas extended coverage to Nueva Ecija and Tarlac. On March 18, Fruitas also reached out to armed forces and police at various checkpoints.

GMA Network announced that all its employees will be getting their full salaries as well as the cash equivalent of their rice benefits.

Meanwhile, talents and project employees will still be able to receive their salaries on March 25 and 30, respectively. In addition, a cash advance will be made available for them for their April 10 and 15 pay-outs.

LBC Express, Inc. said it remains committed to operate during the Luzon-wide quarantine.

“However, due to restricted land, sea, and air travel around the country and across the world, we have revised our service level agreements with adjusted turnaround times,” it noted.

Cebu Landmasters, Inc. said it will continue work in its construction sites in the 10 cities in Visayas and Mindanao while providing additional financial support by way of daily allowances to its 5,000-strong third-party construction workers in Cebu, Mandaue, Mactan, Davao, CDO, Dumaguete, Bacolod, Iloilo, Bohol and Ormoc.

Meanwhile its regular work force based mostly in Cebu City will be given an early release of its 14th month bonus to support the needs of their families. “Should there be a lockdown, pay without work will be provided for those who cannot work from home,” said CLI Chairman Jose Soberano III. All employees will also be provided masks and health kits.

As part of its earlier pledge, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is reviving Nutribun, the vitamin-packed bread, for distribution to charitable groups and critical Metro Manila communities where families have either no access to, or unable to afford, food amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

At the same time, the company continues to deliver SMC food products consisting of canned food, coffee and biscuits to LGUs, checkpoints and hospitals within Metro Manila. The first batch of Nutribuns will be donated to Caritas Manila.

SMC President and COO Ramon S. Ang said the bread it started to produce is packed with nutrients and provides instant energy at 250 calories per bun.

“This is safe, sufficient and nutritious food for the hardest-hit families facing hunger as a result of the Covid-19 crisis,” Ang said.

The company said it will prioritize communities and hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) where the most number of Covid-19 cases have been recorded.

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