The Gokongwei Group is playing a proactive role in the government’s initiatives against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in particular through its community outreach programs, disease prevention projects, and the nationwide distribution of vaccines, among others, to help the goal of achieving herd immunity among the Filipino populace.
“Beyond our organization, we have been supporting the national vaccination program through various initiatives of our business units in partnership with the LGUs. The Gokongwei Group fully supports the national government’s vaccination program to safeguard the health of the Filipinos and hasten the nation's economic recovery from this pandemic,” said Lance Y. Gokongwei, president and chief executive officer of JG Summit.
The Department of Health recently announced that the government vaccination drive has reached the 10 million administered doses mark, with more than 2 million Filipinos considered fully protected with complete COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccine transport and distribution
To date, Cebu Pacific has transported some 9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from China to Manila as part of the government’s vaccination program.
The airline has also transported more than 1.8 million vaccine doses to various cities, municipalities, and provinces such as Bacolod, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Davao, Legazpi, Masbate, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, Tuguegarao, Virac, Zamboanga, and Dipolog.
“We remain committed to supporting the government’s ongoing vaccination program,” said Cebu Pacific Chief Strategy Officer Alex Reyes. “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide our expertise in international shipments, and we hope to continuously contribute by bringing in more life-saving vaccines from abroad,” Reyes added.
In a letter to Cebu Pacific written on behalf of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III expressed the Duterte administration’s gratitude and appreciation to the airline for its support of the national government’s COVID-19 response.
Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr., the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, likewise acknowledged Cebu Pacific for its assistance in the purchase and transport of vaccines, greatly accelerating the government's efforts to inoculate the priority sectors, and eventually, 100% of the country's adult population.
He cited the arrival of 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine from China facilitated by the airline on April 29, 2021, which allowed the National Government to move forward with its vaccination program amid the sharp rise of COVID-19 cases in recent months.
“The assistance and support of Cebu Pacific is a testament to the value of public-private partnerships in critical times such as what we are facing now — this endeavor of undertaking the largest-ever immunization program in Philippine history,” said Sec. Galvez.
Cebu Pacific officials with Sec. Duque, Sec. Galvez, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna.
Cebu Pacific also supported the City of Manila with its delivery of 400,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine from China, after the national government authorized the city to be the sole LGU able to procure directly from Beijing. On June 24, 2021, Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso personally received at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 the vaccine shipment transported by Cebu Pacific.
Vaccine administration and accessibility
To provide safe, secure, and accessible venues for vaccine administration, 27 Robinsons Malls have partnered with local government units nationwide to serve as vaccination sites in their respective communities.
As examples, an innovative drive-thru concept was rolled out by Robinsons Place Imus in Cavite, while in Quezon City, three Robinsons Malls, namely Robinsons Galleria, Robinsons Novaliches, and Robinsons Magnolia, are all major participants in the local government’s vaccination program, QC Vax Easy.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr. expressed his appreciation to Robinsons Malls and the Gokongwei family for providing venues such as The Forum Robinsons in Mandaluyong, which serves as a mega vaccination center for the city. “It would be easier to beat COVID-19 with this kind of partnership between government and the private sector,” said Abalos, himself a former mayor of Mandaluyong City.
Arlene G. Magtibay, Robinsons Land Senior Vice President and Business Unit General Manager for the Commercial Centers Division, said Robinsons Malls’ presence in strategic locations and key urban cities has been a significant factor for the LGUs to effectively roll out its vaccination drives, encouraging a large portion of the Filipino population to get inoculated.
The Gokongwei Group COVID Protect Vaccination Program
Gokongwei Group employees belonging to the priority categories are eligible to receive their inoculation shots through the LGU-initiated vaccination rollout programs across the country at several Robinsons Malls. Now, through the conglomerate’s newly launched COVID Protect vaccination program, its employees have an additional option on where to get vaccinated along with their qualified dependents, as well as third-party workers.
The COVID Protect vaccination program kicked off on July 7, 2021, at Robinsons Land's flagship Robinsons Galleria mall. The first batch of Gokongwei Group employees, namely the frontliners of Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc., were able to receive their first vaccination dose through the program, which had Reliance United as its logistics, distribution, and vaccine administration partner. By keeping its frontliners protected, RRHI is also ensuring the health and safety of all its customers, whether at its supermarkets, department stores, or specialty retail shops.
Tens of thousands of employees and their dependents, as well as third party workers nationwide from the Gokongwei Group, which is composed of JG Summit Holdings, Robinsons Retail Holdings, and the Summit Media Group, are expected to "get the jab done" in the succeeding weeks and months.
In response to potential vaccine hesitancy among its employees, the conglomerate held a series of webinars to increase awareness and provide accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines, before the COVID Protect vaccination program's launch.
“We believe that our people are our most valuable asset as they are the lifeblood of our organization, and we recognize that health and safety is a primary concern. Thus, we highly anticipate and very much look forward to the arrival of our vaccines as this will provide us with an added layer of protection against the virus that is so vital for our economic recovery,” Gokongwei said.