By P. Y. Deligero
During the first few months of the year, life as we know it has taken an abrupt turn from its normal course because of the COVID-19 outbreak. As the number of positive cases continued to climb, the world was at a standstill as people scrambled to find solutions to contain the virus.
One of the solutions imposed was a community quarantine that lasted for months. This disrupted the usual flow of life as the public is required to stay indoors to keep from catching the virus. Yet, quarantine restrictions have produced numerous displaced workers and prompted the closure of various establishments.
Nonetheless, Filipinos still fought through this sudden change and sought for new avenues where they can earn a living despite the circumstances. Some resorted to online selling, while others looked for jobs where they are available.
With the rise of homegrown businesses, the country has seen the importance of helping one another during these trying times. Thus, a movement supporting local products and services was born.
Among those who expressed their support in this movement are economic giants who have worked hard over the years to show that their products are truly world-class. Here are some homegrown brands that lent a hand to their fellow Filipinos in overcoming the trials at hand:
1. San Miguel Corporation
Established in 1890 as a single brewery under La Fabrica de Cerveza de San Miguel, San Miguel Corporation has since become one of the Philippines' largest employers and provider of some of the country’s favorite brews and drinks.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SMC started a campaign known as “Walang Iwanan” where they not only continued to provide for their thousands of workers and aid the frontliners, but also included other communities in their efforts.
With its "Better World" project, SMC converted old facilities and establishments into a COVID-19 testing lab, a feeding center, and a hub where farmers can sell their fresh produce to consumers in the metro.
These are only some of the social acts done by SM in hopes to combat COVID-19.
2. SM Supermalls
What he started from a dream of selling a good pair of shoes to every Filipino, SM founder Henry Sy Sr. has laid the foundation and spearheaded the development of SM into the leading presence in retail, banking, and property development in the Philippines as they continued to provide best-value in products and services across various customers.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SM branches throughout the country have resumed their operations, with strict safety protocols, to provide the necessities that the public might need. Moreover, their employees have continued to receive their salaries, while outsourced services were given financial assistance as well.
SM also allocated funds to different organizations, both to the private and public sectors, who passed along the aid to urban poor families and other communities. Over 50 hospitals also received donations from SM in terms of medical supplies, ventilators, test kits, and equipment.
Founded on November 28, 1928, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) is the leading telecommunications and internet service provider in the Philippines, offering the largest and most diverse range of telecommunications services across the country.
To promote solidarity and show that they are #OneAgainstCOVID-19 with their fellow Filipinos, PLDT has launched several efforts which have goals of keeping people connected, enabling communities, and showing malasakit or affection at all times.
Some of these include online workshops, free access apps for COVID-19 response or relief services, as well as donations in kind to farmers, fishermen, and students from far-flung areas to name a few.
With nearly 60 years in service since its establishment in 1962, the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company has become the premier universal bank and one of the foremost financial institutions in the Philippines, as it aims to deliver meaningful banking to Filipinos everywhere.
As a way to help out during the pandemic, Metrobank actively supports the Ingat Angat Tayong Lahat campaign of the TASKFORCE T3 (Test, Trace, Treat) to build a stronger, better, and more resilient Philippines.
Metrobank has also maintained its banking services, while practicing protective measures to keep both their customers and employees #InGoodHands. The company has also released over P200 million worth of assistance to various groups.
5. Nickel Asia Corporation
Although mining may sometimes have a negative connotation due to several operations’ impact on the environment, Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) can proudly say that it follows responsible and sustainable operations, which have been lauded both locally and internationally.
Beginning in Rio Tuba, Palawan about 50 years ago, NAC has grown to be a diversified natural resources development company and the Philippines’ largest lateritic nickel ore with four nickel mines and a fifth one in preparation.
Staying true to its corporate responsibility towards the people and the planet, NAC has donated various kinds of aid to COVID-19 affected communities. This includes a heavy-duty service truck through their affiliate Cagdianao Mining Corporation (CMC) to help resolve any logistics issues and P1.45 million worth of rice to a number of barangays in Surigao del Norte.
6. Jollibee Corporation
Famous for its Chickenjoy, Yum burgers, and unique Pinoy style spaghetti, Jollibee has welcomed numerous customers regardless of age through its doors. Now, it’s making its way to new locations all around the globe to share the flavor that many Filipinos came to know and love.
Originally an ice cream parlor, Jollibee was founded by Tony Tan and his family, the reason why the brand greatly promotes the importance of family through advertising and a family-oriented approach to personnel management.
When Jollibee reopened its doors to the public last June, the brand wanted to set an example for other food establishments with its quality standards for safety and cleanliness.
The brand showcased these standards with a video entitled “Beeda Ang Safety at Saya” where it was explained that branches are subject to strict protocols such as an intensive cleaning and sanitation procedure for all its fixtures and utensils before, during, and after business hours.
Employees are also mandated to wear full protective gear, observe physical distancing, and practice regular handwashing and sanitation. They are also given vitamin supplements to boost their immune system along with and telemedicine support to immediately attend to their health needs.
7. Globe Telecom Inc.
The company was originally incorporated as Globe Wireless Limited on January 16, 1935, with a franchise to provide wireless long-distance services in the Philippines. It eventually changed its name to Globe Telecom Inc. in 1992 and now serves as a telecommunications company that provides digital wireless communication services nationwide and international long-distance communication services or carrier services.
During these trying times, the company has raised funds for partner medical institutions to provide protective equipment for both health workers and frontliners to promote #OneGlobeVsCovid.
Moreover, Globe’s employees are also helping raise proceeds for medicine, protection gear, food, salaries, and other daily needs of displaced workers, as well as those who are risking their lives to protect and serve their fellowmen.
Globe even provides free access to the websites of the Department of Health, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and the Philippine Information Agency to help the public discern the truth from circulating fake news.
With these well-known local brands leading the way to supporting local communities and their fellowmen, the bayanihan spirit in Filipinos continues to remain strong despite the trials that come their way.