Big business to the rescue: BPI, SM pour in aid

The country’s top companies, led by the country’s first bank and the largest shopping mall operator, continued Saturday to pour in aid and services for the victims of Taal Volcano’s recent eruption.

VOLUNTEERS FOR VICTIMS. Volunteerism, yet another essence of Filipino culture to help fellow community members in need of assistance, is demonstrated once more by medical outreach volunteers, with people queuing up to receive private aid donated for villages affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
Meanwhile, South Korea on Friday donated US$200,000 (about P10.18 million) to the Philippines for the 45,000 evacuees displaced by the volcano’s eruption last Sunday.

Korean Ambassador Han Dong-man handed the check to Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, at the PRC Tower in Mandaluyong City.

READ: Congress needs to okay P10 billion more for Taal victims—Win

Bank of the Philippine Islands is helping lighten the financial burdens of those severely impacted by the Taal eruption, the company said in a statement.

READ: Bayanihan lives on amid disaster

As part of its disaster response efforts, the BPI group of companies—BPI, BPI Family Savings Bank and BPI Direct BanKo – will provide deferred payment programs for its credit card, personal loan, housing loan, auto loan, business loan and micro business loan clients in the severely affected areas.

This will allow BPI clients to pay their amount due 30 days from the current due date without penalties, the bank added. These offers will be made available to clients in good standing from directly impacted areas, and are subject to bank approval.

BPI president and CEO Cezar P. Consing said the bank is committed to help fellow Filipinos affected by this natural calamity.

READ: Taal in mind, Duterte wants calamity-proof evac centers

“We’ll do what we can to help our clients and communities that are most adversely affected by the Taal eruption,” said Consing.

An employee-led donation drive is also being organized, where the funds to be raised will be matched by BPI Foundation.

Likewise, BPI employee volunteers have also committed to repack and distribute relief goods consisting of basic survival necessities—masks, blankets, sleeping mats, slippers, non-perishable food, clothes, water, medicines and hygienic items, as the crisis stretches into another week.

In Lipa, Batangas, as part of the SM Group’s continued effort to bring aid to the victims of the Taal Volcano’s unrest, SM Foundation, SM Retail, and Watsons partnered to launch a series of medical missions in the town.

The mission started at Lipa’s Canossa Academy last Friday, Jan. 17, where affected families were able to avail of free medical check-ups. The mobile clinic also offered free X-ray and electrocardiogram exams, as patients also received free medicine.

The SM group also held a medical mission at the Inosluban-Maraoay National High School on the same day.

READ: MVP Group extends help to Taal Volcano evacuees

The following day, the medical mission was brought to the Batangas Provincial Sports Complex, and on Jan. 19, a medical mission is scheduled at the Bauan Technical High School.

SM Retail and Watsons’ employees volunteered to distribute bottled water, masks, relief goods, and hygiene kits, including shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, alcohol and sanitary pads.

SM Foundation has installed Operation: Tulong Express booths in SM malls in Bacoor, Dasmariñas, Molino, Rosario, Trece Martires, Imus, Sta. Rosa, San Pablo, Calamba, Batangas, Lipa, and Lucena to accept donations in kind.

SM Supermalls, SM Cares, and SM Foundation Inc. headed to evacuation centers in Batangas and Lipa to distribute boxes of 6.6-liter bottled water to the affected residents who are temporarily residing in evacuation centers in Sto. Toribio, Banay-Banay, and Inosloban-Maraouy in Lipa and Batangas City Coliseum in Batangas.

READ: Duterte assures funds enough to help victims

SM Supermalls has also partnered with the Philippine National Red Cross to extend urgent relief support and assistance to affected communities through its 12 malls in South Luzon.

In Denver, Western Union and the Western Union Foundation announced a package of relief efforts for the Philippines following the Taal Volcano and Typhoon Phanfone (Ursula). 

The aid will be directed to International Medical Corps to support relief efforts and disaster preparedness training in the Philippines, the company said in a statement.

READ: Alert level 4 stays amid eruption fears

Additionally, Western Union is waiving fees on consumer money transfers from 14 countries to the Philippines at and through the Western Union mobile app between Jan. 17 to 24, using the promo code: WURELIEF.

“Western Union is committed to supporting our Filipino customers, employees and agents who have been displaced during this time of uncertainty,” said Khalid Fellahi, president, Global Head Consumer Money Transfer. With Ben Cal/PNA

Topics: Taal Volcano , SM Foundation , Volunteerism , Richard Gordon , Cezar Consing
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