Gokongwei group extends aid to Odette victims

The Gokongwei Group, through the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF), and its employees reached out to help thousands of victims of Typhoon Odette even though they themselves had also suffered damages.

When the typhoon ravaged the country just a few days before Christmas, the Group’s employees immediately organized themselves to extend help to those who have been adversely impacted by the calamity.

URC Sugar and Renewables (SURE) plant in La Carlota City prepared emergency relief good for distribution to their employees as well as for the affected communities in the city and from nearby municipality of Pontevedra.

In the true spirit of “bayanihan,” the Gokongwei Group, through its family foundation GBF, immediately set out with a disaster relief response to aid the victims of the super typhoon.

“All the more given the unfortunate timing of the typhoon during the holiday season, we respond with compassion and sacrifice to ensure that those in need are given much-needed assistance,” said JG Summit Holdings President Lance Y. Gokongwei.

GBF is committed to uplifting the lives of the communities where the Gokongwei Group businesses operate.

One major thrust of this initiative, aside from education, is to help Filipinos attain resilience in times of calamities and disasters by providing relief and rehabilitation efforts such as in the recent events like the Taal volcano eruption and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Even though various Gokongwei Group businesses in the Visayas and Mindanao regions have been severely affected by the typhoon, they readily participated in GBF’s disaster relief efforts.

Robinsons Land employees volunteer at Summit Galleria Cebu in repacking and distributing relief goods to ensure those affected by Typhoon Odette can still celebrate Christmas with their loved ones.

Immediately, employees across the Gokongwei Group provided support through donations, foregoing holiday celebrations, and instead pouring funds into relief goods, as well as through volunteerism efforts.

To date, over 19,000 beneficiaries from the various communities where the Gokongwei Group businesses operate have received aid through this partnership.

This is on top of the relief goods that have been provided to almost 12,500 of their workers affected by the typhoon.

Leveraging on the on-ground presence of business units such as Robinsons Land, Universal Robina Corporation, Cebu Pacific, Robinsons Bank, and Robinsons Retail, the relief distribution efforts have reached affected communities in key locations in the provinces of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Bohol, Palawan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, and the cities of Cebu, Lapu Lapu, Surigao, and Butuan City, in cooperation with local government units (LGU).

Cebu Pacific employees have forgone their annual Christmas party celebration and instead channeled the funds to mount a donation drive and BayaniJuan relief efforts to assist affected employees and communities from the VisMin areas.

Delivery of the much-needed relief goods was provided by Cebu Pacific (CEB), supplemented by the logistical support of 2GO, the Philippine Airforce Civil Aviation Group, and the Philippine Navy.

GBF’s synergy with the various business units of the Gokongwei Group in efficiently organizing and mobilizing assistance has also inspired collaboration and support from external partners such as Shang Properties, Inc., through its charitable coordinating body Kerry Group Philippines Foundation, Inc. (KGPFI).

Through the support of GBF and KGPFI, as well as RLC in collaboration with SM Foundation through its logistics arm 2GO, some 8,000 packs of relief goods were turned over to Cebu.

The goods comprised of essentials such as canned food, noodles, rice, coffee, snacks, and medicine.

As no clear end is yet in sight to the complete recovery of the communities affected by Typhoon Odette, the relief and rehabilitation efforts remain continuous.

“The spirit of 'bayanihan' is important now more than ever during difficult times as these,” said Gokongwei.