San Miguel Corporation (SMC)’s waived toll fees for medical front liners totalled over P138 million as of Sunday, December 20, nine months after implementing the “no toll fees” policy at all its operating expressways and pledged to extend it “indefinitely”.
The program, which continued non-stop since March, when the country was first placed under lockdown, remains in place because it is the company’s way of honoring and showing gratitude for front liners, according to SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang.
“This privilege will still extend indefinitely,” he pledged.
A total of 10,402 medical front liners, including doctors, nurses, and laboratory technicians, among others, continue to enjoy the special privilege, according to data from SMC Infrastructure.
All have been given special toll-free Radio Frequency Identufication (RFID) tags that allow them to pass any of SMC’s expressways for free.
The total P138,213,619 in free toll fees is broken down into: P67,334,728 from the Skyway system, P55,898,294 from SLEX, P6,212,260 from the NAIAX, P5,868,992 from STAR, and P2,899,345 from TPLEX.
“While our situation these days may be a little different since we have less restrictions, make no mistake: We are still in a pandemic, and our medical practitioners have not stopped fighting,” the SMC President stressed.
“They are still battling COVID-19 and sacrificing so much to save lives. That is why we have not stopped showing our appreciation for them.”
“We are glad that every day for the past nine months, when our medical front liners go through our toll plazas, whether at STAR, SLEX, Skyway, NAIAX, or TPLEX, they can be reminded of our gratitude for their efforts.”
Aside from providing free toll for medical front liners, SMC subsidiaries SMC Infrastructure and Petron Corporation have also provided free fuel for various shuttle service programs initiated by the government for medical workers.
Throughout the height of the health crisis, SMC had emerged as among the top contributors to pandemic-related efforts, with its total COVID-19 relief package reaching over P13 billion.
This includes donations of medical equipment such as PCR testing machines, PCR testing kits, respiratory machines, medical-grade personal protective equipment, and testing booths, among others.
SMC built temporary isolation facilities nationwide.
Also part of its response package was the largest food donation effort by the company thus far, which benefitted underprivileged communities nationwide, as well as thousands of locally-stranded individuals.