As though to portend crisis, a volcanic eruption ushered in 2020 while two successive super typhoons marked its dying days. In between, a pandemic struck and to this day continues to devastate the country and the rest of the world.
To every call for help, the Manuel V. Pangilinan or MVP Group responded, mobilizing its resources and manpower through Tulong Kapatid, its corporate social responsibility consortium of companies, foundations, and affiliates.
“This year, the Filipino spirit of resiliency has been tested to the limits. But Filipinos carry on, as always, with hope. The MVP Group provides support for our country’s frontliners – the everyday heroes who combat the pandemic. We reach out to communities affected by tragedies such as the typhoon-hit areas and disaster-stricken Taal. We anchor our efforts in the Filipino’s bayanihan spirit – that together, we not only survive but thrive,” said Pangilinan.
In areas severely affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano in January, like Batangas, Cavite, and Tagaytay, the country’s largest integrated telco PLDT and its wireless unit, Smart Communications, Inc., set up Libreng Tawag (free call), Libreng Charging (free charging) and WiFi booths in relocation and coordination sites.
From “Ambo” in May through “Rolly” and “Ulysses” in November, the telco’s engineers fanned out to typhoon-battered provinces, notably in Bicol, to repair equipment and restore service.
Where power was down, One Meralco Foundation deployed its solar-powered mobile charging station so that residents could continue using their mobile phones to contact loved ones.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the telco provided connectivity and WiFi services to hospitals, quarantine facilities and government offices nationwide, as well as free voice and data connection to government response teams in critical areas. The companies also provided technical support through hotlines and free WiFi, Internet and landline calls in various municipal and provincial command centers, bus terminals, police provincial offices, hotels and other facilities repurposed for COVID-19 monitoring.
Aside from maintaining connectivity, the MVP Group extended various forms of support to Covid-19 frontline workers. Medical and health care personnel, checkpoint officers, and government response teams received hygiene kits, care packages, and ethyl alcohol supplies; along with e-load, SIM cards, mobile and satellite phones, Infocast service; technical support, and proceeds of sponsorships and fundraisers.
Pangilinan is among the country’s top business leaders supporting the national government in providing two million doses of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for frontliners. The vaccine is developed by the Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
PLDT and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., both headed by Pangilinan, will course their support through the PLDT-Smart Foundation. In addition, MPIC’s logistics arm, MetroPac Movers Inc., has offered storage services for the vaccine.
The MVP Group of Companies also partnered with the Department of Health (DOH) to champion its BIDA Solusyon sa COVID-19, a campaign that aims to promote personal hygiene and positive habits and attitudes to ensure safety in the new normal.
The PLDT-Smart Foundation also turned over three RNA extraction machines with consumable kits to three hospitals, namely Baguio General Hospital in Baguio City; Diosdado P. Macapagal Memorial Hospital in Guagua, Pampanga; and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.
Meralco, while ensuring power supply to hospitals and quarantine facilities, also donated jointly with PLDT medical equipment to the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City to augment the hospital’s capacity to handle COVID-19 cases. The donation equipped EAMC’s new COVID Wing as well as a Mobile Testing Facility.
Pangilinan, along with the PSF and the One Meralco Foundation and Metropac Transport, also turned over four trucks to the Armed Forces of Philippines. The PSF, OMF and Metro Pacific Investments Foundation also donated rescue boats to various units of the AFP.
Maynilad provided free water to major quarantine buildings and donated an RT-PCR Testing machine to the Delos Santos Medical Center, and Contactless Handwash Stations to local government units, worth P15 million and P850,000, respectively.
As an outreach activity during the pandemic, Tulong Kapatid distributed food packs to the most vulnerable—street dwellers, daily-wage earners, street vendors, pedicab drivers and those who receive little or no assistance from the government.
To spread some Christmas cheer, it launched the Tuloy Pa Rin Ang Pasko program, wherein each company would give Noche Buena packs to their chosen communities.
The group’s other initiatives are: MPIF’s Bayan Tanim!, which aims to train communities and displaced workers to grow vegetables at home; PLDT-Smart Foundation’s food program in Quezon City, in partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines; PLDT’s livelihood program for female sewers in Payatas, in partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress and the Infoteach webinar series with the University of the Philippines Open University; and Smart’s BuyLocal campaign to support Filipino farmers.
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