On July 15, 2020, around 49 participants attended the first Lopez CSR Council virtual meeting. Those who met via Zoom were movers of the Lopez Group of companies’ CSR departments who reported on what they have done and are doing to assist their employees, host communities and those who sought their help.
In her opening remarks, Mercedes Lopez Vargas, president and executive director of Lopez Group Foundation Inc. which hosted the meeting, cited the need for solidarity and to continue practicing the Lopez Values.
Energy Development Corporation
Nancy Ibuna of Energy Development Corporation (EDC) narrated how EDC shows its support to its host communities across its project sites in Ilocos Norte, Negros, Albay, Sorsogon, Leyte and Cotabato.
Since the start of the quarantine in March, EDC has been providing support to front liners, local communities and other stakeholders in waves for 24,964 households in primary partner barangays across 10 municipalities, as well as giving P61.5 million in cash and in-kind support to local government units (LGUs) and other communities. It raised an additional P2.6 million from employee donation drives.
In March, EDC gave food and medical supplies at the start of the enhanced community quarantine. The geothermal company deployed 11 container vans as hospital extensions and quarantine areas. In April, the company gave rice assistance to its host barangays, deployed more container vans as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies for front liners. From May to June, EDC gave additional assistance for communities and LGUs. To provide livelihood, it engaged community organizations to produce PPE which, in turn, became the members’ source of income during the quarantine.
The company will continue to support the short-term livelihood of households in its host communities to address the immediate need for income and food security, targeting around 940 households.
First Gen Corporation
As president Giles Puno of First Gen Corporation said in his virtual message to the group, the pandemic “is a precursor to what they call the big one, which is climate change.” The group provided medicines and food which were their top priorities for their host communities. First Gen facilitated access to Energy Regulations 1-94 for funds for COVID-19 response that can be used for mass testing, food subsidy and medical PPE.
For their external communities, First Gen donated P2.4 million to “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig.” First Gen employees supported front liners through employee donations. They provided food and other healthcare items to six orphanages and community organizations, including 15 hospitals.
As the pandemic continues, the company is redesigning its CSR efforts to continue to adapt to the situation in the fields of health, education and employee volunteerism, and the environment.
First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH) engaged in multi-sectoral collaboration through Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation to continuously support the increase of testing capacity in the country. It likewise provided critical support to front liners and built capacity for the health system by providing temporary facilities for The Medical City and National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) employees worth P20 million.
FPH partnered with the Philippine Ports Authority to convert piers and ships into a 2,000-bed quarantine facility worth P100 million. In addition, the company turned over what is considered the most modern ambulance in the country. It donated laboratory equipment that significantly boosted the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP- PGH) laboratory capacity from 150 tests per day to as many as 4,500 tests per day. As PGH is the main COVID-19 referral hospital, it received assistance to convert its existing laboratory into a BSL-3 molecular laboratory. An additional P30 million worth of laboratory equipment and allowances for laundry, transportation and others was also donated.
As a result of FPH’s donation to PGH, the hospital was able to undertake testing services for corporate clients to support the back-to-work protocols of companies on July 20, drive-through testing on July 27 and walk-in testing on August 3.
When the National Capital Region was declared a lockdown area, The Medical City frontline personnel struggled to report for duty. The Lopez Group joined forces with Metrotent to provide a temporary housing facility for 120 frontline personnel of the hospital for two months. Basic needs such as bedding, daily meals, drinking water, internet and other utilities were made available to the occupants.
For the NKTI, FPH provided two temporary tents to accommodate patients and conduct dialysis, as well as support to NKTI health personnel and front liners to be accommodated in adjacent establishments, ensuring that the institute will have enough personnel at all times.
When the pandemic struck and lockdowns were enforced, Sikat Solar was faced with the challenge of how to deploy remote power systems when travel was restricted. What worked for them was to establish communication channels, engage with reliable local partners and identify urgent needs, and reach out to others who can help.
Sikat synergized by setting up an online group through Facebook and Viber to consistently update each other and share opportunities, provide manpower in the distribution of ayuda to communities and establish a daily movement tracker for easier monitoring of places visited and people engaged by the Sikat team.
Another challenge for the Sikat team is how to assist 13 million unelectrified Filipinos, re-enable livelihood opportunities, provide replicable and scalable nanogrid services using FPH expertise and boost existing livelihood.
ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.
As of the end of July, more than 844,000 families (4.2 million individuals) have been reached by ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) and “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig.” They have already served 110 hospitals including two front liner organizations.
Despite the closure of ABSCBN Corporation which has consistently provided muchneeded airtime for the past 30 years, AFI will continue its humanitarian services, although in a limited capacity, and will continue to care for the environment with the help of its loyal donors and partners, including LGUs.
As a content provider and active partner of the Department of Education (DepEd), Knowledge Channel has come up with a basic education learning continuity plan in the time of COVID-19 with DepEd. They presented various learning delivery modalities: faceto-face subject to physical distancing and minimum health standards, distance learning, blended learning (merged faceto-face and distance learning) and home schooling guided by qualified parents, guardians or tutors. Furthermore, each locality will have its own learning continuity plan with parents taking on the task of educating their children.
With the closure of ABSCBN’s radio and television channels, Knowledge Channel, through DepEd, is partnering with other TV channels in different areas for broadcasting from Monday to Saturday.
Knowledge Channel is also conducting webinars for parents to prepare them in supporting their children as they learn at home. Knowledge Channel continues to provide education through YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Planters of hope
These are the Lopez Group’s CSR initiators. They are infused with the Lopez Values of integrity, innovativeness, employee welfare and nationalism, among others, and—if the virtual meeting is a gauge of their passion and commitment to serve their communities—the seeds of hope being planted the Lopez Way are being seen and felt, now more than ever. (Story/Photos by: Dulce Festin-Baybay)
Responding to the pandemic the Lopez way