The country’s largest conglomerate on Monday (March 30) 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 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, San Miguel Corp. said it has allocated P500 million for this purpose, and urged local PPE manufacturers to ramp up their production, but was ready to 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.”
“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,” Ang 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.
San Miguel 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,” he said.
The San Miguel chief requested the 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 frontliners need,” he said.
The company has been repurposing some of its facilities to respond to the need for more protective items and food for the hardest-hit communities. Its Ginebra San Miguel Inc. unit recently retooled its liquor plants nationwide to produce rubbing alcohol to help frontliners fighting the outbreak.
San Miguel also started producing Nutribun-inspired bread which it continuously donates to poor communities severely affected by the quarantine. The company has also donated over half a million kilograms of rice, along with canned goods, biscuits and coffee.
To date, San Miguel has donated over 100,000 liters of ethyl alcohol to frontliners in the national and local government as well as public and private hospitals in Luzon. Food donations have also topped P100 million in value.
These were delivered to hardest hit areas in Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Batangas, Laguna, Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales, Quezon, Pangasinan, Marinduque and Sorsogon. The company said it will continue to send out food donations in the coming days.
“We are committed to growing this fund for PPEs and continue allocating resources to purchase much-needed protective items,” Ang said. “We also invite other businesses to join us in this initiative and work together to support our selfless health care workers on the front lines of this crisis. We are all in this together.”
Edited by TSB
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