The partnership between the private sector and the government has been instrumental in addressing the immediate needs of the people, particularly the poor, as the country fights to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
However, Ayala Corp. Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said during a webinar by the United Nations Global Compact Academy that the initiatives of the private sector are “mere short-term solutions.”
Zobel said the pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the people and this presents an opportunity to realign business strategies to make entities resilient in the future.
“If ever there’s a time to basically reflect on the way we’ve all been doing things and on the kind of world we want to create, it is now,” he said. “In the end, we can emerge as more unified, more resilient.”
Ayala Corp. is one of the early responders when the lockdown was implemented in Luzon and key cities of the Philippines, and it has since been working with the government to see what kind of economic stimulus would be necessary, Zobel said.
Aside from the P5.5-billion package that the company unveiled to help their employees and other company stakeholders, such as its mall tenants and the workers that constructs its buildings, the Ayala group said it took the lead in the conversion of the World Trade Center into a 500-bed quarantine facility. The facility was turned over to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in less than two weeks since it started the construction.
The group also donated all the testing booths for four Mega Swabbing Centers, which aim to swab 55,000 individuals in the Metro Manila.
“Not a day goes in the Philippines where the private sector and the public sector are not having dialogues, exchanging notes, and seeing where we can help each other at all different levels,” he said.
According to Zobel, the company’s own response package enabled its more than 72,000 direct-hire employees as well as 75,000 day laborers in its construction business to have financial security in a time of uncertainty.