The Philippines’ largest electricity distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and telecommunications giant PLDT jointly donated P45 million worth of medical equipment to the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City to help increase its capacity to handle COVID-19 cases.
The donation included hospital beds with mattresses, overhead and bedside tables, footstool, IV stands, curtains, comforters, and draw sheets for the general hospital’s emergency room, wards, and intensive care units (ICUs).
With the continuing rise of coronavirus infections in the Philippines, increasing the capacity of hospitals is vital in managing the pandemic.
“We are utilizing our resources in order to address the immediate need for hospital equipment in the new COVID-19 facility of the East Avenue Medical Center. This is essential in enabling our hospitals to accommodate more patients, especially during the current health crisis,” said Meralco President and CEO Atty. Ray Espinosa.
“During this challenging time, we continue to support the government in the country’s fight against the pandemic. We hope that our assistance to the East Avenue Medical Center for its new COVID-19 facility will provide quality care and treatment to patients, especially during this critical time,” said Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
Apart from its donation to EAMC, Meralco’s corporate foundation, One Meralco Foundation (OMF), has also been providing various kinds of support to frontliners and low-income families in the electric company’s franchise area and nearby provinces.
After the government placed Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine in the middle of March, OMF distributed care packages to 8,000 families in underprivileged communities in Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, Batangas, and Zambales. It also provided personal protective equipment to 6,090 medical and community frontliners in various institutions, including 44 hospitals, four health centers.
OMF also helped dampen the economic impact of the health crisis on the income of vegetable farmers in Brgy. Bayan, Kabayan, Benguet by procuring close to six tons of fresh produce. The foundation then donated these to hospitals in Metro Manila and temporary shelters set up by LGUs such as Quezon City, Manila, and Rizal province. An estimated 15,000 frontliners and more than 3,000 marginalized families benefited from this initiative called “From Farmers to the Frontliners (and the Homeless)” in partnership with Bayad Center, a Meralco subsidiary.
With public transport put on hold, frontliners and workers of essential establishments find it especially challenging to go to work. To address this, the foundation partnered with eSakay, Meralco’s electric vehicle subsidiary, and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to shuttle workers for free using the company’s electric vehicles. The service employed 35 drivers and transported more than 76,000 frontliners in Pasig, Makati, and in select routes designated by the DOTr.
Ensuring that essential service providers are COVID-free and can carry out their duties, the foundation donated more than 12,000 rapid antibody test kits to the Pasig City government, the Department of Energy (DoE), and the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo).
Meralco also extended help to its next-door neighbor, The Medical City, by providing free lodging to 32 healthcare workers at its Ortigas compound. OMF took care of their provisions throughout their stay.
The electric company’s employees also drew from their own pockets to extend help. They donated the equivalent of a day’s salary or paid leaves through internal campaigns called “A Day to Give” and “Share a Leave” to provide cash aid to the families of 6,216 contracted service personnel so they could weather the crisis.
To increase the testing capacity of the Department of Health (DOH), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Philippine Red Cross built a molecular laboratory at the Subic freeport. To aid in its operations, OMF and the Redondo Peninsula Energy Incorporated (RP Energy) donated 26 sets of desktop computers to the new laboratory. The foundation also turned over 20 desktop computers donated by Meralco to the Philippine Genome Center at UP Diliman.
In partnership with Meralco, SMCGP Philippines Power Foundation, and South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation (SLTEC), OMF funded the electricity bills of COVID-19 quarantine facilities set up at the PICC Tent and the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
As the nation continues to face the difficult challenges, One Meralco Foundation remains committed to supporting the heroes fighting on the frontlines, and to providing aid to low-income families impacted the most by the global health crisis. Despite the unusual circumstance, it also continues to “spread the light” to communities that need it the most through its electrification and other core initiatives.