San Miguel President Ramon S. Ang. AP FILE PHOTO

Big conglomerates have committed more resources to help feed the most vulnerable households as well as healthcare workers and enforcement personnel working at the front line of the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is donating 560,000 kilos of rice to various communities throughout Metro Manila as part of ongoing initiatives to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on poor families.

Pilmico Foods Corp., the integrated agribusiness and food company of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV), committed to a 30-day food distribution program to critical sectors such as healthcare and military personnel.

“One week after the community quarantine was first implemented–followed by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine—we have been able to deliver food to some 126,000 families through various channels,” SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said.

“Starting this week, we will also be adding rice to our food donations. We have been able to source 560,000 kilos of rice. We plan to give 10 kilos per family and through this, we hope to be able to continue to help the most vulnerable among us – people who are out of work and families struggling to eat,” he added.

SMC earlier provided 1.1 million pieces of canned goods, 695,000 sachets of coffee, 288,000 packs of biscuits, 21,630 servings of its version of “nutribun” and 24,338 servings of pandesal to COVID-19 relief efforts. It has also donated spreads, dairy milk drinks, and water.

“Every day, as the uncertainty associated with the threat of COVID-19 grows, those of us in a position to help, have an obligation to do so… It is these moments when our mission to help advance the communities we operate in matters the most,” said Tristan Aboitiz, Pilmico president and chief executive officer.

“In an effort to provide a measure of relief to the communities around us who are affected by this crisis and the frontliners who secure our safety, over the coming days, Pilmico will continue distributing food and medical supplies such as N95 masks, surgical masks and 70-percent ethyl alcohol,” he added.

The first batch of donations was turned over last March 21 by team members of Pilmico, whose team visited hospitals and checkpoints on two simultaneous distribution activities in Tarlac City and Iligan City.

The bread donations were sourced from Pilmico partner-bakeries under its Kutitap Feeding Program to help funnel income to local bakers amid the enhanced community quarantine.

Kutitap is Pilmico’s feeding program that addresses malnutrition among students while providing an additional source of income for partner-bakeries.

In coordination with the Tarlac Capitol – Incident Command Center and the Tarlac Provincial Police Office, Pilmico distributed an initial donation of 900 pieces of bread from Norlyn Bakery.

The bread donations were allocated to Tarlac Provincial Hospital, and checkpoints in Aranguren, Bamban, Brgy. Lourdes, Capas, Concepcion, Cristo Rey, Magalang-Concepcion Road, and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

“We feel honored that Pilmico chose our products for the front-liners who are now the new heroes facing COVID-19. We are also grateful to be part of the response because the bread production meant continuous work for our employees. Thank you very much,” said Normelinda Chavez of Norlyn’s Bakery.

The Aboitiz Group has also donated P100 million to Project Ugnayan, a collaboration among local companies, to assist vulnerable communities during the current state of public health emergency. The donation formed part of the P1.5 billion that Project Ugnayan raised in cooperation with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), which will be used to purchase P1,000 grocery vouchers for around one million poor families in Greater Metro Manila.

SMC’s Ang, for his part, stressed that the company, through its San Miguel Foods business, was committed to continue providing food donations to those who need it the most, even as he assured the public that the company has the capacity to produce enough food for the country for the next six months.

Families under the care of SMC’s Better World Tondo, a food bank and learning facility established last year, were also beneficiaries of the relief effort.

“What we want is for food to be one less worry of vulnerable families, health workers, and front-liners against COVID-19,” he said.
San Miguel has also distributed relief goods to local government units and hospitals. The company has also utilized its manufacturing facilities to produce ethyl alcohol to address the shortage of hand sanitizers and disinfectants.

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