In the wake of the enhanced community quarantine currently imposed upon Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, Meralco’s social development arm One Meralco Foundation (OMF) has initiated efforts to help the homeless cope with the situation. It has also provided personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical personnel fighting the Coronal Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) at the frontlines.
Without a roof over their heads, families living on the streets are among the most vulnerable, unable to gain enough nourishment and to protect themselves from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease.
The foundation began distributing food packs on March 24, benefiting 200 families living along Kalayaan and E. Rodriguez avenues in Quezon City, and 500 marginalized families in Brgy. Buting, Pasig City. OMF initiated these efforts in partnership with TV5’s Alagang Kapatid Foundation (AKFI) and Maynilad, and the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), respectively.
In addition to this, OMF distributed relief packs to 300 families at the BASECO compound in Tondo, Manila (with AKFI); 300 families in Bacoor, Cavite; 100 families in Brgy. Talon Cuatro, Las Pinas City; 400 families in Pateros; 300 families in Brgy. Bukana, Ternate, Cavite, and 300 families in Malabon.
The foundation also launched an online campaign within the Meralco organization to provide street dwellers with food, potable water, face masks, and disinfectants. This project was a collaboration of OMF, Caritas Manila, and Project Ugnayan of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDF). It raised more than P1.4 million from Meralco employees.
Meanwhile, several private and government-owned referral hospitals are experiencing a shortage of supplies of PPEs for healthcare personnel attending to a rising number of COVID-19 patients. PPEs not only offer much-needed protection to medical workers but also prevent the further dwindling of hospitals’ human resources available to care for incoming patients.
To supplement their limited supplies, OMF donated 1,000 face masks to the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City and the Philippine Heart Center. It also turned over 500 face masks, 450 goggles, and 4,000 surgical gloves to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH); and 2,000 surgical gloves to the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (Tala Sanitarium).
OMF also donated 450 face masks and 2,000 surgical gloves to the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City; and 100 face masks and 400 surgical gloves to the Baguio General Hospital in Baguio City.
Additionally, volunteers from Meralco’s networks group installed floodlights at the parking area of the Lung Center of the Philippines, which served as an extended triage dedicated to COVID-related cases.
The Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Sta. Mesa Manila, designated as the main COVID-19 referral hospital of the Metro Pacific Hospitals, also received a donation of 1,600 face masks and 100 face shields from OMF.
Scientists at the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) in UP Diliman will start sequencing samples from COVID-19 patients to understand the characteristics of the virus better and find ways to stop it from spreading. The institution will also serve as the operations center of a united effort of different volunteer groups within the University of the Philippines system to help respond to the COVID crisis. In support of their mission, Meralco, through OMF, donated 20 desktop computers to the PGC.
Meralco’s transport subsidiary eSakay and OMF teamed up with the local government unit of Pasig to shuttle health workers and employees of essential businesses such as groceries and pharmacies to work.
The free shuttle service involves a total of 12 eSakay electric vehicles and 19 drivers, and will operate daily until April 13. It launched on March 19, with more than 5,000 passengers served during the first week, of which 592 were health workers.
OMF also joined PayMaya in its “One Against COVID-19” project, which offers people a convenient way to contribute to the initiatives of OMF and other partner organizations. Donors may pay via an online platform (using a credit/debit card) or the PayMaya app. To donate online, click here.