By JAMES A. LOYOLA
Top business groups raised over P1.5 billion to fund the distribution of grocery vouchers to urban poor residents in the Metro Manila Area amid the enhanced community quarantine.
Project Ugnayan said it targets to distribute P1,000 gift certificates to over 1 million households in the poor communities of the greater Manila area.
“Project Ugnayan is a collaboration with business groups in cooperation with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) to raise funds in support of ongoing initiatives to help poor families that were economically displaced by the ongoing Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila,” the statement said.
It added that, “In compliance with social distancing guidelines, gift certificates delivered door to door will be redeemable for food items from accessible groceries and supermarkets.”
“We shall initially engage with Caritas Manila’s Project Damayan and ABS CBN’s Pantawid ng Pag-ibig program for the door to door distribution of grocery vouchers redeemable for food items from accessible groceries and supermarkets. Distribution is ongoing in four pilot areas and will scale-up in cooperation with project partners,” Project Ugnayan said.
The business groups supporting Project Ugnayan are: Aboitiz Group, ABS-CBN/Lopez Group, Alliance Global/Megaworld, AY Foundation and RCBC, Ayala Corporation, Bench/Suyen Corp., Century Pacific, Concepcion Industrial Corp, DMCI, Gokongwei Group of Companies/Robinsons Retail Holdings, ICTSI, Jollibee, Leonio Group, Mercury Drug, Metrobank/GT Capital, Nutri-Asia, Oishi/Liwayway Marketing Group, PLDT/Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, Puregold, San Miguel Corporation, and SM/BDO, Sunlife of Canada.
The group said that there are ongoing talks with more companies who have signified their intention to contribute more resources to expand the reach of this project.
Meanwhile, the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC) assured that all employees of the conglomerate will continue to have their jobs and will receive their full monthly salary during the lockdown period.
YGC Chairperson Helen Yuchengco Dee said the salary will not be charged to their 13thmonth pay.
“Through this gesture, we hope to provide our people with the necessary resources to meet the present challenges,” Dee added.
The Aboitiz Group provided a lifeline to its business units’ clients and customers to cope with the Covid-19 crisis as well as implement measures to ensure unimpeded delivery of service.
Sabin M. Aboitiz, Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer said AboitizPower distribution units Visayan Electric, Davao Light, Cotabato Light, and Subic EnerZone are giving a 30-day payment extension for bills due on March 15 to April 14, 2020.
Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) offered a 30-day extension with no late fees for credit cards, housing loans, auto loans, and quick loans to qualified customers and waived online Instapay transfer fees until April 14, 2020.
UnionBank’s subsidiary City Savings Bank (CitySavings) extended a 30-day loan payment moratorium for motorcycle loan borrowers in good standing.
AboitizLand is waiving one month rent to all the tenants of its malls in Luzon and Visayas and extended payment deadlines for bills issued during the previous month.
For its residential business, AboitizLand provided equity payment extensions for accounts with due dates from March 16 to April 15, 2020. It also waived penalties and fees associated with transactions for this period.
Meantime, the microstudio rental apartments operated by AboitizLand with Point Blue also reduced the required three-month minimum lease term for all units to one month lease. This is to offer safer alternative housing for people who suffer long work commutes, and help businesses such as business process outsourcing companies to continue their operations.
GMA Network announced that it will provide financial assistance for its employees, talents, and support personnel, and has earmarked an estimate of P350 million to cover the salaries, cash equivalent of rice benefits, and cash advances while operating on a skeletal work force and adapting special work arrangements.
GMA Kapuso Foundation (GMAKF), the broadcast giant’s socio-civic arm, also launched the ‘Labanan ang COVID-19’ campaign for the workers at the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.
The funds raised are to be used to purchase face masks, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers, and gloves for medical workers of public government hospitals and frontliners at the border points.
Also under the said campaign is the ‘Operation Bayanihan: COVID-19’ fund raising drive which aims to help Filipinos in poverty stricken areas in Metro Manila.
Grocery packs and hygiene kits will be donated to daily wage earners and their families who lack the means to access basic needs and have lost their source of income following the quarantine.