MANILA, Philippines — The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines plans to donate P1 billion in goods and cash to support health workers who are in the frontline in the fight to contain the coronavirus disease.

The amount will be coursed through the Office of the President.

In a letter to President Duterte dated March 30, NGCP president and chief executive Anthony L. Almeda said the power transmission grid operator will provide half of the amount or P500 million in the form of goods and medical equipment.

“(A)nother P500 million in cash (will be provide) for allocation to other COVID-19 response purposes, as may be determined by your Office,” Almeda wrote the President.

“NGCP will be coordinating with your team on the turnover of our donation,” he added. “We will also continue to look for opportunities to support the government in battling this pandemic.”

At the same time, San Miguel Corporation, the country’s biggest conglomerate, on Monday said it will tap its global network of suppliers to procure personal protective equipment that it will donate to frontliners in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, SMC said it has allocated P500 million for this purpose, and urged local PPE (personal protective equipment) manufacturers to ramp up their production, even as the firm said it was ready to go tap overseas suppliers for this undertaking.

“It’s very crucial that we get more PPE — protective masks, gloves, surgical gowns, among others — out there as fast as we can,” San Miguel president Ramon Ang said. “We are hoping to fill the gap and continue supporting our government in whatever way we can.”

SMC is tapping its global network of suppliers to purchase P500-million worth of PPEs that doctors, nurses and other health care workers desperately need now to continue saving lives amid COVID-19.

“Our health care workers and government responders are risking their own lives to save ours but they are running out of equipment to protect themselves,” he said.

At the same time, Ang also urged domestic manufacturers to retool their facilities, if they can, to produce these equipment and ramp up production to secure the supply chain.

SMC said it is currently mapping out available PPE capacity from its own suppliers even as it continues to look for domestic manufacturers to help increase production of the protective equipment if they can as the battle against the virus continues.

“We are leveraging our network of suppliers to assist government in addressing this shortage,” Ang said. “But this may not be enough. That’s why we are also calling on local suppliers, even the small ones, to come forward. We will help purchase your products and get it out in the market where it’s most needed.”

The San Miguel chief requested for government to provide the private sector with technical specifications and standards the protective items must meet.

“And we need to streamline the certification and approval processes so that those who wish to respond can immediately provide the supplies our medical front liners need,” he said.

EDV


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