Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) reported that it has waived toll fees for medical workers amounting to P230.7 million as of June 2, as part of its support for front liners against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The free toll program, which regularly benefits more than 10,000 medical front liners, has been in effect at the STAR Tollway, South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), Skyway System, NAIA Expressway, and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), since March 2020.
Among those who benefit are doctors, nurses, medical and laboratory technicians residing in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
“We started this program last year, to show our appreciation and support for our hero medical workers who risk their lives everyday to save others, despite the threat of COVID-19,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
He noted that, “More than one year has passed and they have accomplished so much in the fight against the pandemic. With most of them now vaccinated, we are honored to have stayed with them and supported them all this time, through this gesture of free toll.”
“To all our healthcare professionals, we applaud your dedication to serve. Through this program, I hope you feel our gratitude,” Ang added.
SMC is the only toll operator that continues to implement the “no toll fee” policy for medical front liners at all its tollways, even as the country’s vaccination program has begun.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, SMC has been at the forefront of private sector response to support medical front liners and the country’s healthcare system.
Recently, the company shifted its focus from pandemic response to recovery. It is spending some P1 billion to vaccinate for free around 70,000 in its nationwide workforce.
It has also started hiring and deploying doctors and nurses to help local government units accelerate their vaccination programs, to protect more Filipinos and boost economic recovery.
On top of its free toll program, the company has also spent more than P1 billion for medical-related donations and initiatives, including donations of RT-PCR COVID-19 testing machines, automated RNA extraction machines, personal protective equipment (PPE), and over a million liters of 70% ethyl alcohol to various hospitals around the country.
The company also built temporary quarantine facilities and an RT-PCR testing laboratory—Better World EDSA—which has contributed to the government’s target testing capacity.
SMC also donates fuel for the government’s Libreng Sakay program for medical workers. It also provided life insurance to some 5,000 medical frontliners from 18 different hospitals in Cebu, with up to P2 million coverage each.
“We will not stop looking for opportunities to help our fellow Filipinos. I believe if the private and government sectors continue to come together and pool resources and efforts, we can do even more good for our country and people, save more lives, and recover more quickly from pandemic,” Ang said.