SMC sustains free toll, fuel subsidy for medical frontliners

Aug 10, 2020

SAN Miguel Corporation (SMC) is not letting up in its support to medical frontliners in the battle against COVID-19.

The giant conglomerate firm extended its free toll privilege and fuel subsidy to ease the pressure on medical health workers who have been at the forefront of combating the deadly virus.

The free toll program for medical frontliners which began at the height of the ECQ in March has reached P53.49 million in waived fees to date.

SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said the program will continue indefinitely in support of the medical community.

Some 9,260 medical frontliners have availed of free toll RFID stickers, which can be used at all SMC Infrastructure-operated expressways, namely STAR Tollway, South Luzon Expressway, the Skyway system, NAIA Expressway, and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.

The initiative started in March, when the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was first implemented in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. “The sense of gratitude we have for the sacrifices and heroism of our medical front liners remains as deep and strong as it has ever been. They are our modern-day heroes. We’ve continued this program because we want to at least provide them some measure of relief and show them our support. We will continue to help them any way we can,“ Ang said.

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Apart from the free toll program, SMC, through subsidiaries SMC Infrastructure and Petron Corp., has also provided free fuel to the Libreng Sakay programs of both the Department of Transportation (DoTR) and the Metro Manila Development Authority.

Recently, SMC extended its free fuel program for the DoTR’s free shuttle program for medical workers. Since April 7, SMC Infrastructure has provided fuel subsidy of 3,000 liters per day for 60 DoTR shuttle buses utilized to ferry health workers to various hospitals and critical health facilities.

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The most recent extension is until the end of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) on August 18.

“Our health workers continue to face so many challenges in the fight against Covid-19 and we in the private sector should continue helping them,” added Ang.

“As Filipinos, we can start by following the quarantine guidelines set by the government. We cannot let our guard down until we find a cure that will end this pandemic.”

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    SMC has also donated PCR testing machines, PCR test kits, personal protective equipment, high flow nasal cannula, and swabbing booths to government and private hospitals and LGUs nationwide, as part of a P500 million fund to raise the country’s capability to fight the virus.

    Recently, it opened its own COVID-19 testing center to take responsibility for regularly testing some 70,000 employees and extended workforce in its network. The facility can process up to 4,000 tests per day.

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    To address the shortage of alcohol disinfectants, SMC also repurposed its liquor manufacturing facilities to produce 1.3 million liters of ethyl alcohol worth P97.1 million to be distributed for free to hospitals, vital agencies, and institutions.

    In cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, SMC also constructed 10 isolation facilities with a total 150-bed capacity near camp hospitals nationwide.
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