Help comes big and small for PH heroes in virus fight | Inquirer News

Help comes big and small for PH heroes in virus fight

/ 04:53 AM March 18, 2020

RELIEF FOR HEALTH WORKERS Medical staff members of a Metro Manila hospital, among the frontliners in the grueling fight against the new coronavirus, are treated to free meals donated by a restaurant through the efforts of alternative education group Rock Ed Philippines. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Help is coming!

A civic group, a small craft beer maker, big business conglomerates, and even Jack Ma, founder of the giant Chinese e-commerce and technology company Alibaba, are pouring in support for frontliners in the country’s battle against COVID-19.


The big and small donations, including P17.3 million raised by the Office of the Vice President (OVP), include not just personal protective equipment (PPE) but also food for doctors, nurses and other health workers—the first line of defense against the pneumonia-like disease.


Tens of thousands of test kits to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are also on the way.

The coronavirus has afflicted 187 people in the country, including 14 who have died, since January, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to declare an “enhanced community quarantine,” or a virtual lockdown, on Luzon, the country’s biggest island.

Pagcor funds

The largest donation of P2.5 billion came from state gambling regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

The money will be used to procure PPE for frontliners, additional operating funds for the Bureau of Quarantine and support for the tests being conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Pagcor chair and CEO Andrea Domingo said on Tuesday.

Some modest support was raised by the alternative education group Rock Ed Philippines after it rallied people on social media to donate freshly cooked meals to hospital workers.

Rock Ed founder Gang Badoy on Monday said the group was distributing food to more than 1,000 staff members at hospitals like Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, Philippine Heart Center, Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Lung Center of the Philippines, University of Sto. Tomas, Far Eastern University-NRMF, San Juan de Dios, East Avenue Medical Center, Asian Hospital and St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City.


Nearly all these hospitals have COVID-19 patients. Nationwide, 37 hospitals, mostly in Metro Manila, take care of COVID-19 cases.

Test kits, face masks

According to Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, his personal friend, has pledged 50,000 test kits to his foundation.

“With everything that’s happening around the world today, there is no better time to unite and do whatever we can to help each other,” he said in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

Pacquiao himself turned over 700,000 face masks on Tuesday to the Philippine National Police to help policemen, soldiers, health workers and others who had been deployed to enforce the “community quarantine” on mainland Luzon.

The country’s largest conglomerate, SM Investments Corp. (SM), has earmarked P100 million for test kits and other medical equipment, plus alcohol and other supplies for PGH, RITM, and other hospitals.

For its part, the Ayala Group distributed over 10,000 N95 masks to key hospitals in Manila, Quezon City and other locations.

SM said it had reached out to Manila Healthtek Inc., the producer of the local test kits developed by the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health team, to distribute 20,000 of them for free to government hospitals, once approved for use.

AC Health, through Ayala Foundation, distributed 10,000 masks directly or through DOH channels to various hospitals, as well as to partner institutions that serve communities outside Metro Manila, the Ayala Group said in a statement.

“Amidst the challenges of this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for us to support our medical professionals and frontliners,” said Paolo Borromeo, president and chief executive officer of AC Health.

In a novel move, craft beer maker Elias Wicked Ales and Spirits used its factory to produce alcohol of the rubbing kind. On March 14, it rolled out 1,000 60-milliliter bottles of its new concoction, “Spray for Manila.”

Rubbing alcohol

The 70-percent ethyl alcohol is derived from barley and sugar and nontoxic unlike the common isoprophyl variety, and guaranteed to be effective, according to Raoul Masangcay, head brewer and owner of Elias.

Spray will be distributed free to employees and customers at their breweries or taprooms in Banawe, Quezon City, and BF Homes, Parañaque City.

“Of course, we’re not saying that they should drink our sprays,” Masangcay said.

Elias is brewing another batch. Masangcay said his goal was to give away 500 bottles of Spray to PGH.

Food treats

“We don’t have enough capacity to produce a lot but we’re trying to help out with what we have … there is a need, and we’d like to contribute,” he said.

Hospital workers also received treats of bibingka (rice cake topped with slices of salted duck egg and white cheese) from local food stall brand Bibingkinitan.

On March 15, FoodAsia Group (which also includes Lava Cheese Tarts, The BBQ Shack, and Papas Potato Chips) gave out its mini bibingka, with coffee, to around 500 workers at RITM, Asian Hospital and Medical Center and St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City.

Rich Sanz, FoodAsia Group founder and CEO, said the company planned to continue donating food and coffee, juices, and bottled water to more health workers, especially in hospitals with “patients under investigation” to show “support and deep appreciation for [their] dedication, commitment and sacrifice.”

While its stores have been closed because of the quarantine restrictions, the company said it would focus on “paying it forward” by way of the “bayanihan.”

“Let’s take care not only of our doctors, nurses and other allied health workers, but also our policemen, military and delivery guys,” Sanz said.

Protective gear

On Tuesday, Vice President Leni Robredo’s office reported that it had provided 490 health workers who directly respond to COVID-19 with PPE. It said it had 7,350 protective gear for nine hospitals in Manila and Quezon City.

The PPE, consisting of an N95 mask, a gown, two sets of gloves, two pieces of head covers, two sets of shoe covers and a pair of goggles, may be used for 15 days.

A donation drive led by Kaya Natin! Movement, a private partner of Angat Buhay, the flagship antipoverty program of the OVP, plus P6 million from Robredo’s office raised P17.3 million in just four days, enough money to buy over 36,000 PPE sets for over 2,400 frontliners.

The OVP said support for frontliners will also include food and care packages for the workers and their families.

Kaya Natin will still accept donations through this website: Kaya Natin.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

—With reports from Annelle Tayao-Juego, Marlon Ramos, Doris Dumlao-Abadilla, Jhesset O. Enano and Inquirer Research

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.


© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.