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Big businesses in PH enhance support during Enhanced Community Quarantine

Big businesses in PH enhance support during Enhanced Community Quarantine

By Monica Araneta Tiosejo

The COVID-19 pandemic is as unpredictable as Filipinos are resilient. The fighting spirit is there but the battle is in the body. And not everyone has an immune system that’s like a suit of armor. The government is doing what it can, but life right now is unprecedented, so nobody, no leader, no expert, has all the answers. President Duterte himself appealed to big businesses, the big guns, for backup. Businessmen are all about the bottom line but with no end in sight for COVID-19, whether they are risk-takers or risk-averse, they know that the best investment is still to bet on their people.

During crises, the business sector usually takes a back seat. That’s traditionally, but most companies now are trendy, keeping up with the times, which means they are willing to rise to an occasion, however challenging. Corporate social innovation, for example, has put a beating heart into cold capitalism, wrapping in its warm embrace and holding close to its bosom philanthropy, donations, in-kind support, and advocacies. Like parents who nurture children, businesses that practice this have a hand in shaping public policy and raising society as a whole. Through corporate social responsibilities, companies can use resources to benefit a great many people. Products and services can be developed to address unmet needs. The possibilities are endless and unprecedented.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello lll released a statement filled with gratitude directed at “big businesses who heeded the appeal of the President to take care of their workers and employees during this time of national emergency. Their compassion and good example inspire other enterprises whose source of wealth is the labor of their workforce,” he said.

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Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III

There was even a list of the companies. “Allow us to thank in particular the group of companies of Aboitiz, Ayala, ICTSI/Solaire Group, JG Summit, Jollibee, Lucio Tan, Metro Pacific, San Miguel Corporation, SM and Udenna Group, who committed to give their employees and workers their full pay for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine. In most cases, the employees of these companies will not use up their available leave credits, will be advanced their 13th and/or 14th-month pay, and be given other financial relief.”

He echoed the call of the President and invited other big enterprises to go the extra mile for their employees, appealing to them not to resort to retrenchment amid work stoppages, suspension of public transportation, and restricted movement.

“I implore business owners to earnestly find other measures to preserve the employment of workers so as not to compound their already dire condition. Most of our workers want to work, but they are constrained.”

He mentioned the implementation of flexible work arrangements including the work from home (WFH) scheme, fully aware that  “WFH is not applicable to other workers particularly those in the manufacturing industry. This is where initiatives from employers become important and necessary. For enterprises allowed to continue operations and whose skeletal workforce is needed at the workplace, a temporary housing provision can be considered. This way, workers no longer have to go home without available public transportation or be at risk of being stopped at checkpoints.”

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is harming the economy. Big brother and big businesses must protect it. But they must shield what or who is most vulnerable yet most valuable—the people. Protect them at all costs because no amount of money can buy back a life lost.

Tags: Big businesses in PH enhance support during Enhanced Community Quarantine, COVID-19, Monica Araneta Tiosejo