These companies believe that the country’s economy recovery will be much faster if the private sector will do its part in helping the government protect the people from COVID-19.
To protect the lives and livelihood of Filipinos and support the country’s economic recovery, a number of private companies have committed to provide free COVID-19 vaccines for their employees.
On March 29, President Duterte said he would allow the private sector to import COVID-19 vaccines “at will” so the economy could be reopened.
But presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. clarified on March 30, that private firms are allowed to purchase vaccines for their employees by entering into a tripartite agreement with the national government and the pharmaceutical firm that they have chosen to supply the shots.
Roque also said on March 22 that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Law has been amended to allow private companies to procure vaccines for their employees. This was after a draft Department of Health (DOH) order was reported to have prohibited companies from buying COVID-19 vaccines if they make tobacco, milk, sugar, soda, and alcohol products.
On March 23, National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. also clarified that private companies are not required to donate 50 percent of the vaccines they would order from drugmakers. Galvez said only pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca made such a requirement because one of its corporate principles was to provide “equitable access” to COVID-19 vaccines.
Senators welcomed Duterte’s pronouncement on March 29 but also lamented that such a move should have been done much sooner to prevent loss of lives, and allow the economy recover faster as private companies would naturally want to procure vaccines for their workers.
They said the DOH and the NTF must act quickly in approving tripartite agreements authorizing the procurement of the injections.
Here are some of the private companies that have announced free vaccination programs for their employees:
1. MVP Group of Companies
MVP Group of Companies chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan announced in a letter released on March 5 that the free vaccination of all its employees and family members would take place by the third quarter of the year after securing a supply deal with drug manufacturers Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Pangilinan said the procurement of the vaccines was made possible by a Vaccine Task Force composed of “the most knowledgeable and trustworthy doctors” from the hospitals belonging to the MVP Group of Companies. He added that the vaccines ordered were more than enough for the more than 300,000 of the MVP Group of Companies’ “employees, qualified dependents, and household members.”
Companies in the MVP Group include First Pacific, Metro Pacific Investments, Metro Pacific Tollways, Metro Pacific Hospitals, PLDT Inc., Smart Communications, Meralco, Maynilad Water Services, Philex Mining Corp., TV5, MediaQuest Holdings and the PhilStar Media Group.
2. Jollibee Foods Corporation
In a statement on March 23, Jollibee Foods Corporation said employees of its group of restaurants would be vaccinated against COVID-19 for free.
The inoculation program includes employees from Jollibee, Chowking, Mang Inasal, Greenwich, Burger King, Red Ribbon, Panda Express, PHO24, commissaries, distribution centers, support functions and the Jollibee Group Foundation, the statement read.
“Our employees’ safety and well-being has always been paramount,” Jollibee Group chairman and founder Tony Tan Caktiong said.
The Jollibee Group, one of Asia’s fastest growing company, said it is also sourcing for more vaccines to cover dependents and extended family and household members.
Jollibee employs 17,000 Filipinos, including those in its subsidiaries and support units.
3. Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc.
On March 31, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. (CCBPI) – the local bottling arm of Coca-Cola and one of the major employers in the country – announced its free comprehensive COVID-19 vaccination program for its 10,000 associates and their families.
The move is line with the company’s “People First” policy, which prioritizes the welfare of employees. Coca-Cola said it is currently working with partners to ensure that the program will be rolled out immediately and efficiently. This also seeks to support collective efforts to revive the national economy.
“Our People-First commitment means that we are responsible for our employees and their families especially during these most challenging times,” Gareth McGeown, president and chief executive officer of CCBPI said.
Coca-Cola said the vaccination of its employees will help increase their activity and mobility.
Aside from free inoculation, Coca-Cola also has in place a comprehensive medical insurance for employees and dependents, and facilitates employee-driven initiatives for mental well-being and health – whether they are working from home or serving as industry frontliners.
4. GMA Network Inc.
Media giant GMA Network Inc. said on March 30 that it would purchase doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in line with the government’s vaccination program. This will cover regular and probationary employees, project employees, and exclusive talents on a voluntary basis.
5. McDonald’s Philippines
On March 9, Golden Arches Development Corporation, the operator of McDonalds Philippines announced on March 9 that it purchased close to 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca jabs to protect its employees and keep customers safe.
Half of the total doses had to be donated to the government and administered by the Department of Health (DOH) following the government’s allocation framework and priority guidelines.
6. Ayala Corporation
As early as January, Ayala Corporation president and chief operating officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala said the conglomerate decided to order 450,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine as part of the private sector’s contribution to the national vaccination program.
He disclosed in a press briefing at Malacañang on Jan. 4 that the vaccines worth P120 million would be split between the government and the private sector.
In a letter dated March 24, Ayala Corporation said it entered with a tripartite agreement with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Department of Health for agreement for the purchase of Moderna jabs on top of the AstraZeneca shots it ordered earlier through another contract.
The Ayala Group of Companies has already procured a total of one million doses of vaccines, inclusive of its donation to the government. It expects the first deliveries of these doses between May and June.
According to the company, the mass employee vaccination efforts is set start by June 1.
7. San Miguel Corporation
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) bared in a statement on Feb. 23 that it was spending close to ?1 billion to vaccinate all its 70,000 employees and extended workforce against COVID-19.
The vaccines will be administered to employees for free and on a voluntary basis.
SMC president Ramon Ang the “program is in line with our core value of malasakit (solicitude) and aims to create a safe and healthy workplace so that we can further contribute to our country’s economic recovery.”
The SMC has secured COVID-19 vaccines from various sources.
8. Lucio Tan Group of Companies
On March 25, holding firm Lucio Tan Group Inc. (LTG) disclosed that about 90 percent of its more than 50,000 employees and service providers agreed to be inoculated once the firm’s vaccine orders arrive by the middle of this year.
Michael Tan, president of LTG, said the company secured vaccines for its close to 40,000 employees and 14,000 third party service providers.
Service providers include those that employees interact with daily like security guards and canteen concessionaires. Mechanics are also being drafted to allow employees to access vaccines for their families and households, Tan noted.
9. Aboitiz Group
Listed firm Aboitiz Group also announced on March 10 that it would cover the inoculation of all its 30,000 regular employees as well as subcontractors to help build the community’s immunity against the virus.
Aboitiz said frontliners, senior citizens, and those with comorbidities will be prioritized in the vaccination program using AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots.
Considered an essential service by the government during this pandemic, outsourcing giant Accenture said on March 23 that it would provide free vaccination to all its workers in the country.
“Accenture will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccination for our people in the Philippines who are eligible and who choose to receive it,” Lito Tayag, country managing director of Accenture in the Philippines.
Accenture employs over 50,000 college-educated Filipinos in multiple sites in Metro Manila, Laguna, Ilocos Norte and Cebu.
11. VXI Global Holdings B.V. (Philippines)
Customer experience company VXI Global Holdings B.V. said it would provide COVID-19 vaccines free-of-charge to all of its 20,000 employees. VXI operates 11 centers in the country.
VXI ordered 80,000 COVID-19 shots from AstraZeneca, enough to vaccinate thousands of its Filipino workers and donate to the Philippine government.
12. Concentrix Philippines
Concentrix Philippines announced in a public advisory on Jan. 14 that it would also offer COVID-19 vaccinations to its approximately 100,000 workers across the country free of charge.
Concentrix already ordered an initial 50,000 doses AstraZeneca, half of which will be donated to priority sectors identified by the government.
13. Alorica Inc.
Business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Alorica Inc. said on Jan. 17 that it would also inoculate its employees for free as it ordered 80,000 doses of vaccine from AstraZeneca.
Alorica is one of the big companies that signed an agreement with the national government and the pharmaceutical firm in January to procure AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The company said the vaccines would be administered by licensed healthcare providers.
“We’re doing everything we can to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to our people as soon as possible simply because it’s the right thing to do,” Alorica president for Asia-Pacific Operations Bong Borja said.
On Jan. 19, Teleperformance, a digitally integrated business services firm, assured its more than 330,000 employees worldwide that it would shoulder the cost of their vaccinations against COVID-19.
“The reimbursement of vaccination costs for our staff is another critical step in this commitment to our employees. We will support every employee in the group who wants the vaccine, especially in countries where the public or private insurance system doesn’t cover the cost,” Teleperformance said in a statement.
15. Fredley Group of Companies
Fredley Group of Companies founder and chief executive officer Avin Ong said in a statement on March 31 that it would vaccinate its employees for free not just to protect them but to also encourage other small and medium-sized enterprises to consider doing the same.
Apart from giving free vaccines to its employees, the company is also extending assistance to their employees’ household members by sourcing shots for them. “Leave no one behind. Our employees’ safety in and out of our workplaces has always been of utmost priority,” Ong said.
The vaccination program will include all employees from the Fredley Group of Companies – Macao Imperial Tea, New York Fries and Dips, Nabe Japanese Izakaya + Hot Pot, Mitasu, Yakiniku, Hosaku International Buffet, Liang Crispy Roll, Café Kitsuné and Maison Kitsuné. Fredley Group of Companies currently operates nationwide with over 250 stores.
On April 8, Grab Holdings unveiled plans for the GrabForGood Fund that seeks to support programs that will have lasting impact on the quality of life for its driver-, delivery- and merchant-partners, and the broader community of Southeast Asia.
“The GrabForGood Fund will commence immediate work on meeting the urgent need for COVID-19 vaccines…Over time, we’re planning to introduce other programs that will provide the foundation for social and economic mobility, and give more people access to opportunities to upgrade and improve their lives. Our aspiration is to create lasting positive impact in every country we operate in,” Grab Group chief executive officer and co-founder Anthony Tan said.
Grab will seed the fund with $50 million in cash and $200 million in expected value of Grab shares. In addition, Grabe co-founder Tan Hooi Ling and president Ming Maa have pledged a combined $25 million in personal contribution of Grab shares to the GrabForGood Fund. This brings the total initial fund amount to $275 million.
Grab said it has allocated up to $20 million in cash from the fund to fully subsidize the cost of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine administration of eligible driver- and delivery-partners who are not covered by a national vaccination program.
“This is in response to the findings from February 2021 survey which found that, an average of 92 percent of Grab users continue to be worried with the COVID-19 situation,” it noted. “Grab has started sourcing for vaccines, and will look into setting up vaccine centers to inoculate eligible partners locally.”