Red Cross gets new testing labs; groups, firms throw support

MEGAWORLD Corp. has donated P60 million to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to set up new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing laboratories in Metro Manila.

The donation was used to purchase of four brand-new sets of COVID-19 test laboratories, with each laboratory having two RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) machines, one RNA machine that speeds up the test capability of the laboratory, a medical lab freezer, and a bio-safety cabinet that protects samples from contamination.

The new testing laboratories are capable of conducting around 10,000 COVID-19 tests every day. Results of each test sample may be released within three hours.

Kevin Andrew Tan, Megaworld chief strategy officer said that in the past weeks, Megaworld, along with its subsidiaries, have been distributing food and grocery bags to healthcare and border security frontliners around Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

The company also dispatched its Citylink buses to provide free transport to medical personnel to and from hospitals in Metro Manila.

Megaworld Hotels also distributed shower caps, toiletries like soaps and shampoo, as well as personal protective equipment (PPEs) to various hospitals and local government units around the country.

Bread from SMC

San Miguel Corp. said it has more than doubled production of the nutrient-filled bread it started baking just a month ago to satisfy the nutritional needs of poor and hardest-hit communities struggling to find food as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

From 10,000 buns per day, San Miguel said unit San Miguel Foods Inc., is now producing more than twice the initial capacity at 24,000 pieces daily.

“Right now, many of our fellow Filipinos, the least fortunate among us, continue to struggle from the crisis. We hope to reach as many vulnerable families as possible and help make sure they do not go hungry,” said Ramon S. Ang, San Miguel president.

Ang said the company’s new ready-to-eat food manufacturing facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and its flour development center in Ugong, Pasig have already produced 284,171 pieces of its “nutribun” version, to date. It has also produced and donated 177,808 pieces of pandesal.

“Each bread weighs 85 grams and contains 250 calories, which the body uses for energy. As such, total output for the period covered is 24,155 kilos of nutribun-inspired bread providing 71 million calories,” San Miguel said.

Because of increased production, the company has been able to donate the bread to 46 communities in the Metro Manila and nearby provinces, with recipients including organizations, led by the Philippine Red Cross, Caritas in Manila and Caloocan, SMC’s own food bank and feeding center, Better World Tondo, as well as parishes including Mayapa, Canlubang, the Diocese of Novaliches, and Sacred Heart Parish in Alabang, to name a few.

PT&T provides IT solutions

Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) has teamed up with University of Sto. Tomas (UST) and Lenovo to deploy internet and information technology (IT) services to select Manila health centers.

PT&T deployed internet connections via fiber and microwave to Delpan evacuation center, Belmonte health center and the Health Center District Office.

PT&T also tapped Lenovo, one of its IT partners, to provide Lenovo Ideapad and Thinkpad model laptops for use in this campaign.

PT&T said the internet and laptops will help UST Simbahayan Office for Community Development and the Santisimo Rosario Parish in UST campus in their efforts to assist nearby communities through the Health Centers.

As part of its corporate social responsibility, PT&T also extended logistical support to I Am Hope Org, which has provided PPEs (personal protective equipment) for frontliners in hospitals including Las Pinas Doctors Hospital and Las Pinas General Hospital. I AM HOPE’s mission, led by Rina Navarro and Bea Alonzo, is to augment support for the immediate and long term needs of frontliners. I am Hope was also a beneficiary of 3D printed face shields courtesy of UST Faculty of Engineering.

Gift of hope

With the help of the Department of Welfare and Social Development (DSWD), SM Foundation and Uniqlo Philippines conducted Operation Tulong Express, providing about 500 households in Barangay Payatas, Quezon City with Kalinga (care) packs consisting of canned goods, cup noodles, water bottles and kilos of rice.

SMFI was the first to deliver food packs to their community, aside from providing support for medical front liners, hospitals and to the government.

Aside from Payatas, SM Foundation also delivered food packages to areas in Makati, Marikina, Taguig, Paranaque, Cavite, Batangas, Pampanga, Bacolod, Antipolo, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and other provinces, reaching out to grassroot communities affected by the enhanced community quarantine.

Bayanihan spirit

Multisys Technologies Corp., the National Task Force COVID-19, local government units, and various private organizations have recently joined forces in the spirit of bayanihan through the digital emergency response platform StaySafe.ph.

With StaySafe.ph, users are encouraged to share their current state of health, as well as their respective household members, while also protecting their identity and other sensitive information.

The National Task Force COVID-19 will coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, and local government units around the country to manage the StaySafe.ph platform.

It is expected that two to three million users will join StaySafe.ph. The mobile app will provide real-time alerts to LGUs of vulnerable areas to efficiently manage risks and calibrate actions.

“Kapit Mindanao”

At least 100 youth organizations and local personalities have converged to initiate a digital fundraising campaign that aims to assist grassroots associations in giving aid to Mindanaoan communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Led by the volunteer-powered organization I am M.A.D. (Making A Difference) and advocacy-based group Millennials PH, the youth networks recently launched “Kapit-Mindanao,” a fundraiser to support low-wage earners, non-settler communities, indigenous peoples, and the hardest-to-reach barangays most vulnerable in this period of crisis.

A cash donation goal of P1 million to be distributed to youth-led organizations which will reach beneficiaries from 20 areas in all administrative regions in Mindanao, including Zamboanga del Norte, Sarangani, Agusan del Sur, and even as far as Tawi-Tawi, among others, and will cover tricycle drivers, low-wage earners and street vendors.

The different initiatives in the communities range from providing personal protective equipment (PPEs) to frontliners, food packs and family kits containing rice and grocery items, as well as relief goods for indigent communities.

Other beneficiaries of this initiative include medical frontliners from Lianga in Surigao del Sur, Butuan City, Surigao City in Surigao del Norte, Siocon in Zamboanga del Norte, and as far south as Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

This youth-led initiative also aims to reach out to indigenous peoples such as the Sama Dilaut community in Davao City, the T’Boli community in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato; as well as indigent families coming from Maitum in Sarangani, Bayugan in Agusan del Sur, Kabacan in North Cotabato, Datu Odin Sinuaut in Maguindanao, and Barangays Pasobolong, La Paz, Talon-Talon, Buenagatas, and Maasin in Zamboanga City.

Partner in the campaign include the Association of Young Environmental Journalists, Marejada Pilipinas, Project Disponer, Miss Zamboanga, and TAYO Awards Foundation, and 87 other youth organizations nationwide.

Non-government organizations like Families of the Missing and Keep Hope Alive, as well as small-medium enterprises like Karabella and Jacinto, have joined the campaign in support of Mindanao, among many others.

Bayer donation

A reinforcement in the supply of isolation gowns, personal protective equipment (PPE), and financial support to the new function as COVID 19 “war zone” at the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) has been extended by Bayer Philippines.

A complete set of PPE includes a mask, goggles, face shield, isolation gown, cover all, gloves, and shoe cover.

Aside from supporting LCP, Bayer also donated PPEs and product samples to other selected hospitals in Metro Manila heavily engaged in managing COVID-19 patients.

News source: Malaya Business Insight