Ayala, MVP groups heed Duterte's call for help

·4 min read

THE Ayala and MVP Groups, two of the country's biggest conglomerates that were recently at the receiving end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s angry rants, have announced measures to tide over their employees during the 30-day lockdown in Luzon due to Covid-19.

Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP), chairman of the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Ayala Corporation chairman and CEO, made the announcement on their social media accounts Tuesday, March 17.

“Heeding the President’s call tonight for business - large or small - to rise to the challenge posed by Covid 19, the MVP Group is one with the President in coping with this virus. We are helping our employees by maintaining their salaries and benefits during the crisis. We have asked them to Work from Home,” Pangilinan said.

“We continue to serve our customers with the service they need at this time, including the provision of relevant financing, when required. In particular, our Hospitals Group are doing its best to cope with the rising traffic of PUIs and those confirmed positive with the virus, by sending our frontline health workers in needed areas, and importing face masks and PPEs,” he added.

Zobel earlier announced a P2.4-billion Covid-19 emergency response package to pay the wages, bonuses and leave conversions of Ayala Group employees as well as offset the revenues that would be lost due to loan deferments during the quarantine period.

“In these most trying times, those significantly affected by the COVID-19 situation are the thousands of workers that will be affected by the enhanced community quarantine because their places of work have been closed,” Zobel de Ayala stated.

“These include retail workers, construction workers, service providers, security agencies and employees of many similar businesses who are largely on a no-work-no-pay type of employment,” he added.

Duterte earlier ordered the filing of economic sabotage orders against the Ayala and MVP Groups over the alleged unfair provisions in their water contracts.

Ayala is behind Manila Water Company Inc. while MVP leads the consortium behind Maynilad Water Services Inc., the concessionaires that provide water supply in Metro Manila.

Pangilinan said they will be helping frontliners in the campaign to slow the spread of Covid-19 by donating an initial 4,000 liters of alcohol from Roxas Holdings to government hospitals and MVP Group hospitals Wednesday, March 18.

Pangilinan said they will be “raising more funds to help in the coming days”.

For the group’s employees, Pangilinan announced the following:

  • Advance 13th month pay in full for PLDT, Smart, and Meralco employees;

  • Continuation of salaries and benefits of all employees;

  • Vacation and sick leave credits will not be used;

  • 500,000 vitamin tablets for employees, especially for field personnel; and Work from home arrangement.

Zobel, meanwhile, said the emergency response package will consist of the following:

  • P600 million in salary continuance for displaced workers from construction sites of Makati Development Corporation and from the shuttered malls and retail spaces of the Ayala Malls;

  • P270 million for Globe Telecom retail store support staff and vendor partners;

  • P130 million for personnel-related financial support in all other Ayala companies; and

  • Condonation of P1.4 billion in rental fees from mall tenants who are not allowed to operate from March 16 to April 14, 2020.

There are 27 Ayala-owned malls in Luzon that have been shut down under the enhanced community quarantine.

Only merchants that sell basic necessities such as groceries and supermarkets, pharmacies, hardware stores and convenience stores as well as banks are allowed to operate.

Duterte called on the private sector to extend financial help to their employees when he announced Monday, March 16, the stricter quarantine measures and expansion of the quarantine area to Luzon.

Among others, he called for the release of the pro-rated 13th month pay of employees, reprieve from payment of utility bills and house rent, and other social amelioration benefits from the over 50 million residents in Luzon.

Under the enhanced community quarantine, which will last until April 14, 2020, public transport systems are suspended, domestic air and sea travel are suspended, and the people are expected to stay at home. Only one person per household is allowed to go out for groceries and other basic necessities.

The Philippines has been placed under a state of public health emergency and a state of calamity because of the continued rise in cases of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

As of Tuesday, the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has risen to 187. Fourteen had died while four patients have recovered. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)

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