Big business groups raise P1.5B for poor

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SOME of the Philippines’ big businesses raised P1.5 billion to give out P1,000-worth of grocery vouchers to urban poor residents in Metro Manila amid the enhanced community quarantine.

In a press statement on Monday, Caritas Manila’s Project Ugnayan, a collaboration with 20 major business groups and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, said it targets to distribute the food vouchers to over 1 million poor households in the National Capital Region.

“The national health crisis that confronts us is instructive of the need to adopt a holistic perspective that enjoins every sector of society to partake in mitigating the adverse effects of this health debacle,” Caritas Manila Executive Director Fr. Anton C. Pascual said in a statement.

The vouchers, redeemable for food items from accessible groceries and supermarkets, were delivered door-to-door in coordination with the Philippine National Police and barangay chieftains.

They are distributing the vouchers to four areas, eyeing to expand in more places in cooperation with other partners who have expressed their intention to join the initiative.

“We must encourage more interventions from all who can help and ensure that resources from the generosity of donors will be maximized for the benefit of our poor communities,” Fr. Pascual said.

Funds for this initiative were sourced from some of the country’s biggest conglomerates and listed firms, including the Aboitiz Group, Gokongwei Group of Companies, Ayala Corporation, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Puregold Price Club, Inc., and San Miguel Corp.

Meanwhile, the charity arm of City of Dreams Manila developer Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corp., along with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., is set to donate P50 million-worth of food packs to aid in the government’s relief operations to communities affected by the lockdown.

In a separate press release on Monday, Melco Resorts (Philippines) Foundation Corp. said the food donation, consisting of 125,000 food packs, each containing rice, canned goods, noodles and water, will be sent to the Office of the President. — Adam J. Ang