SMC waives P200-M toll fees for medical frontliners

Published March 19, 2021, 4:32 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

A full year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has waived P190.7 million worth of toll fees for medical front liners passing through its expressways.

SMC operates the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the Skyway system, including the newly opened Skyway Stage 3, the NAIA Expressway and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.

It is the only toll operator in the country that continues to implement “no toll fees” policy in support of COVID-19 medical front liners.

A total of 10,402 COVID-19 medical front liners—including doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, and other medical workers—currently benefit from the program which SMC implemented at the start of the lockdown last year.

Signups for the program continued for six months and were closed in September last year.

“One year on and the fight against COVID-19 continues,” remarked SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

“With this recent surge in cases, our medical front liners are again facing a difficult challenge and their lives are again at higher risk,” he added.

“We are so grateful to them, and proud that we have continued to help them and provided them this privilege of free toll fees for one whole year now,” Ang went on. “We hope that at least, it has lightened their burden.”

Aside from the free toll privilege, SMC donated PCR testing machines, testing kits, fully-automated RNA extraction machines, high-flow cannula respiratory machines, temporary quarantine facilities, life insurance for front liners, personal protective equipment, disinfecting alcohol, and free fuel for shuttle services.

Since the pandemic, SMC has put in place many measures to take care of its own employees to help unburden the medical system.

These include the strict implementation of health protocols and limited work place hours, regular testing of employees through its own RT-PCR laboratory, and recently, setting aside P1 billion to purchase vaccines for its 70,000-strong workforce.