Country’s richest come together for typhoon victims
The country’s billionaires are in a generous mood, contributing in cash and in kind to the massive relief and rehabilitation efforts to bring back Leyte, Eastern Samar and other provinces in central Philippines devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
The No. 1 and No. 2 richest Filipinos, Henry Sy and Lucio Tan, have pledged at least P100 million each through their respective companies for the humanitarian effort in the Visayas.
The SM Group announced Monday it had put up a calamity fund for typhoon-battered Tacloban and Ormoc cities, Samar, Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz and Bicol, as well as earthquake victims in Bohol and Cebu.
The fund will be used for the rebuilding of damaged homes, community centers, schools, and churches, and for relief supplies.
Tan’s Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. has pledged P100 million for the Yolanda relief and rehabilitation efforts in addition to half a million 6-liter bottles of water his Asia Brewery Inc. has delivered so far; three mobile water filters deployed in Ormoc and Tacloban ; and the use of two King Air personal jets to ferry medicine and other relief.
The No. 3 billionaire, Andrew Tan, who controls Megaworld, Resorts World Philippines and McDonald’s Philippines, has donated P50 million through the Philippine Red Cross, ABS-CBN Foundation and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Rebuilding Tacloban port
The country’s fourth richest man, Enrique Razon Jr. of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), has signed up to take the lead in bringing back the heavily damaged Tacloban port.
“I’m sure most will do something. Most are giving money and goods right now, but they will probably participate in the rebuilding. We are taking over Tacloban port this Sunday to reopen it immediately,” Razon said in a text message.
At least 30 ICTSI volunteers were sent to Tacloban City yesterday to start the site survey and hiring of local workers to start the cleanup and rebuilding in partnership with the Philippine Ports Authority.
Three of the country’s largest conglomerates have also deployed their vast resources to ease the plight of the thousands of families who suffered from Yolanda’s wrath.
San Miguel Corp., which controls Philippine Airlines (a 50-50 partnership with the Tan group), has been the de facto lead carrier after airlifting medical and aid workers (both government and private), and cargo since the airports in the region were cleared for landing.
San Miguel, through Petron Corp., has likewise provided free fuel to the military. The company has also deployed its trucks in the region to ferry relief supplies from various foundations and converted its Mandaue brewery as the hub for relief operations and drop-off point for donations.
San Miguel president Ramon Ang said in a text message: “Any amount will help make a difference for our suffering [countrymen].”
The Metro Pacific group has sent its Manila Electric Co. power restoration teams (59 workers and 14 vehicles) to Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo. Its engineers from Philex Mining Corp. helped in clearing operations; its Maynilad Water has deployed some of its staff to help restore Tacloban’s water system, and its Smart Communications has provided free text messages and calls to the victims (in cooperation with other telecommunication companies).
The Ayala Group has donated P10 million to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Its Globe Telecom has provided free text messages and has sent out medical teams using aircraft from Ayala Aviation to Iloilo. And its Manila Water has shipped boxes of drinking water to typhoon-ravaged areas.
The family of George Ty of the Metrobank Group donated an initial P25 million to the relief and rehabilitation efforts.
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