The social development arm and corporate foundation of the Manila Electric Company, One Meralco Foundation (OMF), continues to provide support to national agencies and local governments in the Philippines’ fight against the 2019 coronavirus pandemic.
Immediately after Metro Manila and the entire island of Luzon was placed on an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in mid-March, OMF mobilized its team of volunteers, including employees of Meralco’s business centers, to deliver care packages to more than 8,000 households in marginalized communities in the Meralco franchise area and nearby provinces. Each package contained rice, potable water, and easy-to-prepare food. In temporary shelters for homeless families, OMF donated sleeping mats and blankets to evacuees. It also sent food packs to several parishes and institutions such as the Fr. Al’s Children Foundation in Cavite which provides support and education to close to 5,000 underprivileged children.
The foundation also raised funds from employees and corporate partners of Meralco to support Caritas Manila’s “Oplan Damayan” project (providing grocery certificates and sanitation kits to marginalized families) and to fund its initiatives.
Meralco employees were instrumental in providing cash aid to the families of 6,216 contracted service personnel so they could weather the crisis. They donated the equivalent of a day’s salary or paid leaves through an internal campaign.
To protect medical frontliners, OMF donated personal protective equipment (PPEs) to various public and private institutions including 44 hospitals and 4 health centers. It benefited a total of 6,090 frontliners.
Meralco also extended help to its next-door neighbor, The Medical City, by providing free lodging to 32 healthcare workers at its Ortigas compound while OMF took care of their provisions throughout their stay.
Due to logistical challenges and the temporary closure of business establishments, vegetable farmers in Batan, Kabayan, Benguet could not transport and sell their fresh produce. To dampen the impact of the pandemic on the income of the farmers, OMF procured close to six tons of fresh vegetables from them and distributed these to 14 hospitals and 14 LGU institutions (including temporary shelters) in Metro Manila. A partnership with Bayad Center, the project dubbed “From Farmers to Frontliners” also addressed the need for nutritious food especially by frontliners and homeless families who are more exposed to the coronavirus. An estimated 15,000 frontliners and more than 3,000 marginalized families benefited from the initiative.
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.
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 special routes designated by the DOTr.
OMF believes that strategic testing is vital to containing the spread of the coronavirus. Ensuring that essential service providers are COVID-free and are able to 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) for their frontline personnel.
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.