Top PH firms help quake victims
The Ayala, San Miguel and Pangilinan groups are mobilizing their business units to reach out to victims of the powerful quake that struck Central Visayas on Oct 15

FOUR-LETTER WORD. A 'Help' sign is seen while Filipino children play outside their makeshift tents in rice fields drive following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Calape, Bohol, Philippines, 16 October 2013. EPA/Dennis Sabangan

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s top conglomerates are mobilizing their respective business units to reach out to victims of the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that shook Central Visayas Tuesday, October 15. (READ: Quake toll now 158; 3.4M people affected)

In separate announcements, the firms led by the Zobel family and businessmen Ramon Ang and Manuel Pangilinan said they are extending aid to communities in Cebu and Bohol in the aftermath of the quake. (READ: Bohol towns isolated, relief delayed)

Air transport

Philippine Airlines (PAL), a subsidiary of Ang-controlled San Miguel Corporation (SMC), activated its Humanitarian Cargo Grant program. The carrier is delivering donations to areas badly hit by the quake.

During airlifting, high-value goods such as medicines, and basic commodities and survival tools (food, water, clothes, flashlights, radios, etc) are being prioritized.

“These items [are] given priority over rice, noodles, sardines, and other items either already distributed by local government units or available near the calamity-stricken areas, to maximize cargo space,” said SMC in a statement. 

PAL is also offering free flights to volunteer doctors and medical specialists who are taking part in the ongoing rescue and relief efforts.

Coordination of rescue, relief

Globe Telecom Inc. of the Ayala group sent technical personnel to work 24/7 in restoring “services in certain remote towns still suffering from power outage,” said Globe Chief Technical Adviser Robert Tan.

Pangilinan-led Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, and its subsidiaries Smart Communications and Digital Telecommunications, are helping government and humanitarian agencies coordinate rescue and relief operations since Tuesday.

They provided provincial agencies with fixed and mobile Internet devices. They also gave out cellphone prepaid credits to volunteer groups such as Red Cross, Chocolate Hills Amateur Radio League and Tarsier 117.

“Communications play a crucial role during and in the aftermath of disasters. That’s why providing fast and timely disaster response support is standard practice for us,” said Ramon Isberto, spokesperson at PLDT and group head of Smart Public Affairs.

Mobile stations

Both Globe and Smart set up communication stations in Bohol and Cebu evacuation centers and hospitals. Quake victims may use these stations to text and call their loved ones for free.

Globe’s stations are located in:

  • Tagbilaran City Hall
  • Bohol Sports Complex in Tagbilaran
  • Carmen Municipal Hall
  • Cebu City Medical Center                            

Smart’s stations are in:

  • Tagbilaran City Hall
  • Carlos P. Garcia Sports Complex in Tagbilaran
  • People’s Mansion in Tagbilaran
  • J. Clarin St. cellsite in Tagbilaran – for free mobile phone battery charging

Church restoration

SMC also laid out its support for the rehabilitation of heritage churches that collapsed during the powerful quake

“These churches are part of our heritage and carry significant historical value. We are open and to do our part in supporting any efforts to rehabilitate these sites,” Ang said in a statement.

Oil giant Petron Corporation, also under the SMC group, offered its over 500 service stations as donation drop-off points. –

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