In an April 2020 news release, Manny V. Pangilinan, chairman of the MVP Group of Companies, made a promise that no employee under the conglomerate will lose his job as businesses secure cash flows to maintain salaries and benefits alongside operating expenses, procurement of protective devices and medical equipment for frontliners, and assistance for government programs. “Profit in this period has temporarily taken a back seat to cash—not that it is no longer important—our marching orders are in fact to preserve as much as we have originally budgeted,” Pangilinan said.

Manny Pangilinan

Seven months after the Philippine government first enforced community quarantine policies to arrest the spread of COVID-19, the MVP Group of Companies remains steadfast in its commitment to job security, not only within the conglomerate but also in the community. To forward economic recovery, companies under the MVP Group have launched various livelihood initiatives to help the displaced get back on their feet.

Livelihood programs

In partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), PLDT has recently initiated a livelihood program to support Solidarity with Orphans and Widows (SOW), a community of sewers from the Payatas district in Quezon City. The group was commissioned to produce washable and reusable face masks that were included in the hygiene kits that PLDT distributed to its adopted public schools and some communities in need.

The kits contain a bar of germicidal soap, a 250ml bottle of alcohol, and two pieces of washable and reusable face masks made by members of SOW. Over 600 hygiene kits have been distributed so far. After this project, PLDT will also assist in improving the skills of SOW members by conducting training sessions and providing them with sewing supplies.

A similar effort to PLDT’s was recently conducted by Maynilad through its Kapwa-Green Badge Pivot, which activated its STM or Samahang Tubig Maynilad clusters for various livelihood programs. STM is a pro-poor service delivery scheme where informal settlers are organized and trained to effectively manage small-scale water service systems in their areas.

The program trained members of Kapwa, a community of hand wash and soap-makers in STM-Tondo, to produce alcohol and disinfectants at the start of the quarantine period. Meanwhile, the Green Badge project mobilized another group in STM-Riverview to make face masks. This project yielded a total revenue of over P2 million, augmenting the income of 38 indigent families affected by the community quarantine.

Given the circumstances under enhanced community quarantine, Smart is pushing to continue giving incentives to hardworking prepaid load retailers by revamping its annual Smart Ka-Partner Rewards Program. With the theme ‘Simple Umasenso, Ka-Partner,’ the online retailer assembly series underscores the goal to help partner-retailers hurdle the challenges of the global health crisis. Since 2012, the Ka-Partner Rewards Program has produced 24 millionaires out of the assembly and enabled over a million small sari-sari store and prepaid load business owners to enhance their livelihood, while enabling communities to stay connected.

Uplifting enterprises

Going above and beyond in many ways, Meralco allowed its SMEs and big business customers to continue their operations with a waived Guaranteed Minimum Billing Demand (GMBD), where commercial and industrial accounts under fixed-cost payment contracts that used to pay a set amount whether that electricity is used or not were just billed for actual energy consumed.
This resulted in P2.69 billion savings for its 87,728 business customers, both small and medium enterprises and large corporations from their electricity bills.

 Meanwhile, as contactless payments and purchase transactions quickly became the norm during the pandemic, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have to keep up with the digitally charged new system in order to keep their businesses afloat. Utilizing its ready-to-use plug-and-play payment solutions, PayMaya has partnered with non-profit organization Go Negosyo and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to establish the Sulong Negosyo campaign, which aids MSMEs in their transition to digitalization. 

The Paymaya MSME program offers digital literacy mentoring and access to financial services such e-wallets, QR codes, Payment Links, and Checkout Plugins for e-commerce sites to entice small entrepreneurs to spruce up their businesses to go with the times. With the DTI and the Department of Labor and Employment estimating 90,000 businesses closed and over 200,000 workers have permanently lost their jobs because of the pandemic, PayMaya’s Sulong Negosyo program encourages people to diversify into small businesses and reach more customers through technology.

Job security and job opportunities

The upgrade to contactless payments not only applies to e-commerce but to other transactions as well, such as paying fees at toll booths. As the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation fully transitions into RFID/Digital payments, the company has reassured that there will be no job cuts among its roster of tellers. Instead, tellers will be reassigned to handle customer service activities for RFID, as well as deployed in different site offices where road constructions are still ongoing, such as CALAX in Cavite, which still has 38kms to go until 2022, and also at NLEX and SFEX (Subic Freeport Expressway).

Hitting two birds with one stone, the MPIC Hospital Group addresses unemployment concerns, as well as the need for more frontliners to join the fight against COVID-19 with its project-based urgent hiring of nurses. Successful applicants will be offered attractive packages as well as guaranteed COVID insurance and shouldered transportation costs for those coming from the provinces.

The nurses will be deployed in Metro Pacific Hospitals in NCR and Bulacan. 

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