Stressing that there can’t be a true and lasting recovery until this pandemic is ended, San Miguel Corporation President and CEO Ramon S. Ang urged Rotarians to get vaccinated including encouraging their relatives, employees and their network of friends and communities to do the same.
In a speech at the virtual induction of the new Rotary International District 3780 officers for Rotary Year 2021-2022 led by District Governor Edgardo B. Ayento, Ang lauded the Rotarians for their various humanitarian projects and encourages everyone to continue taking on projects that will uplift the lives of our countrymen.”
Ang made the sales pitch for vaccination as San Miguel Corporation has started its own billions of pesos massive, nationwide vaccination program for its employees, their families and other communities. “This is our best shot at protecting ourselves and our loves ones and rebuilding our economy,” said Ang.
RSA was invited to be the events inspirational speaker to share his insights and outlook on the economy amid the pandemic. RC District 3780 has about 2,800 members. There are now 10 RC Districts spread throughout the country since the Rotary movement was introduced in Manila over a century ago.
“My message for you is to not lose hope, and continue working hard in making an impact that matters,” said Ang. SMC is one of the big corporations in the country whose businesses suffered in 2020 because of the economic slowdown. Yet, it was among the first business organizations to extend a helping hand to the government and the communities greatly affected by the pandemic. SMC did not hesitate to help. “We cannot lose more lives, and we cannot afford for our country to fail. Otherwise, we all fail.”
SMC’s total COVID response package reached more than Php14 billion. Said amount covered its food donation drive; medical donations and initiatives, including building a PCR laboratory to test for free 70,000 SMC workforce; donation of PCR testing machines, test kits, quarantine facilities, PPEs, and waived toll fees for medical front liners; production and donation of 1.3 million liters of disinfectant alcohol to hospitals nationwide; full salaries for SMC employees during the lockdown; and advanced payments of taxes and concession fees to government of P8.77 billion.
RSA added that now is the time to boost the country’s economy and to invest to create jobs. “Instead of playing it safe, we went all out in to implement all our major projects,” he said. He cited the following: completion of Skyway Stage 3 and TPLEX; building of new food facilities; Battery Energy Storage System project; Bulacan international airport; Pasig River Expressway and Pasig river clean-up; and the ongoing SLEX TR4 and MRT-7. SMC also intends to expand its capacities in Food, Beverage and Power. “What we have I think is a good strategy in place to manage the financing for each of these projects.”
SMC has its “Ligtas Lahat” vaccination program and it has hired more medical professionals to help government medical teams who are inoculating at various sites. It has also implemented programs to educate its employees about vaccines.
SMC has been jointly managing, together with the Mandaluyong LGU, a vaccination site at Jose Rizal University (JRU) in its home city since June 3. Over 100 SMC medical doctors and nurses have helped administer an estimated 179,644 vaccines in five cities: Mandaluyong, Malabon, Manila, Paranaque, and Quezon City from April 26 to June 22. It intends to hire more medical professionals to help in its nationwide vaccination rollout and to help its partner LGUs. Vaccination sites in Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Albay, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Isabela, Bataan, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro through partnerships with LGUs and other health care providers are also being eyed. “While the vaccines offer us hope, there is still so much more to be done,” he added.
According to RSA, an organization like the Rotary plays a key role in the economic recovery because it has the network, the reach and the capability and influence to make a big impact on society. Its motto Service Above Self, he said, speaks volume of how the Rotary organization continues to lead with purpose especially in difficult times. It is during these difficult times when new meaning and purpose are found. For SMC, what mattered most was helping society at large, not the plans, goals, or profits. It is serving others above self.