PANDEMIC BRIEFS

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    SMC free toll, fuel subsidy for medical frontliners continue

    SMC has extended the waiving of toll fees in all of its operated expressways to benefit frontliners.

    San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has extended its free toll privilege and fuel subsidy for medical frontliners as COVID-19 continues to surge across the country.

    SMC’s free toll program for medical frontliners which began at the height of the ECQ in March has reached P53.49 million in waived fees to date, and thus far have benefited 9,260 workers who availed of free toll RFID stickers, which can be used at all SMC Infrastructure-operated expressways, namely STAR Tollway, South Luzon Expressway, the Skyway system, NAIA Expressway, and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway

    “The sense of gratitude we have for the sacrifices and heroism of our medical front liners remains as deep and strong as it has ever been… We will continue to help them any way we can,“ Ang said.

    SMC, through subsidiaries SMC Infrastructure and Petron Corp., has provided free fuel to the Libreng Sakay programs of both the Department of Transportation (DoTR) including its free shuttle program for medical workers, and the Metro Manila Development Authority.

    The most recent program extension will run until the end of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) on August 18.

    SMC has donated PCR testing machines, PCR test kits, personal protective equipment, high flow nasal cannula, and swabbing booths to government and private hospitals and LGUs nationwide, as part of a P500 million fund to raise the country’s capability to fight the virus. It has opened its own COVID-19 testing center, which can process up to 4,000 tests per day, for some 70,000 employees and extended workforce in its network.

    SMC also repurposed its liquor manufacturing facilities to produce 1.3 million liters of ethyl alcohol worth P97.1 million to be distributed for free to hospitals, vital agencies, and institutions.

    In cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, SMC also constructed 10 isolation facilities with a total 150-bed capacity near camp hospitals nationwide.

    DOH, P&G, USAID launch drive vs COVID

    The Department of Health (DOH) has teamed up with leading consumer goods manufacturer of health and hygiene products P&G Philippines and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to empower Filipinos in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic through a nationwide education campaign while enabling healthier and safer homes.

    BIDA, which stands for Bawal walang mask, Isanitize ang kamay, Iwas hawak sa mga bagay, Dumistansya ng isang metro, and Alamin ang totoong impormasyon, is an easy to remember acronym of key preventive measures each Filipino can do to be part of the solution to fighting COVID-19.

    The DOH and P&G, in partnership with USAID, will provide BIDA home kits to 70,000 Filipinos in 36 provinces across the country to help them practice the prescribed behaviors for COVID-19 prevention. Each kit will contain a two-week supply of trusted P&G products such as Safeguard bath soap, Head and Shoulders shampoo, Joy dishwashing liquid, and Ariel laundry detergent, Oral B toothbrushes, fabric masks and other health and hygiene products.

    USAID identified areas nationwide that will be provided with P&G’s BIDA kits. The international development agency selected local government units (LGUs) with COVID hotspots and quarantine centers, locally stranded individuals, and temporary shelters. They also prioritized regions and cities with high case fatality rate, highest population density, those that have lower level of available resources and are at high risk for sustained community transmission.

    Earlier, P&G had repurposed its manufacturing expertise to produce one million medical-grade face masks, which it donated to the DOH and other health authorities to protect healthcare frontliners.

    P&G has also sponsored the production and airing of DOH BIDA Solusyon sa COVID-19 mass education videos to educate millions of Filipinos about everyday home sanitation practices such as proper handwashing, bathing, doing the laundry and cleaning of kitchen areas and utensils. The videos will air on TV, digital, social media and radio.

    They have also produced BIDA Solusyon sa COVID-19 hygiene solution centers in 96 supermarket doors, promoting awareness for health and safety practices at home and providing citizens with a faster way to shop for their needs all in one place.

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