Ayala CEO to Gen Z: Make meaningful change through innovation and shared purpose


Makati, Philippines – July 29, 2020 Ayala Corporation Chairman & CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala enjoined the youth to become nation builders at the Ramon V. del Rosario (RVR) Siklab Youth Nation-Builders Webinar, which was livestreamed on Facebook on July 25, 2020.

“We certainly live in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world that is made even more difficult by COVID-19. Despite this, I believe that there is always hope, and that you are all in a unique position to generate meaningful change. People-centric innovation and a strong commonality of purpose are the best tools to making this change happen,” Zobel said.

Zobel, who received the 2014 RVR Award for Nation Building, shared studies by McKinsey and Innosight that indicate how innovations developed during crises allow companies to thrive long after the disruptions have passed. However, he added, these innovations must fulfill a purpose.

To illustrate this point, Zobel shared some of the meaningful initiatives that the Ayala group has put in place to address the pain points of its stakeholders during this time of COVID-19. Ayala’s healthcare unit, AC Health, has been providing insightful innovations such as the conversion of the Healthway Medical clinic in Greenbelt 5 into a chemotherapy infusion center, the conversion of QualiMed Sta. Rosa in Laguna into a COVID-19 referral facility, and the upcoming HealthNow app, which currently runs as a web-based telemedicine platform operated together with Globe Telecom’s 917 Ventures.

Zobel further observed another positive outcome of the pandemic, namely the tighter collaboration between the private sector and government. He noted the renewed spirit of partnership between the private and public sectors in helping the country fight the global crisis.

Earlier this year, for example, Ayala was the lead collaborator in Project Ugnayan, a consortium among 270 private companies that raised PHP 1.7 Billion in funds to bring food aid to the most economically vulnerable communities in Greater Metro Manila. In partnership with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation and Caritas Manila, Project Ugnayan distributed P1,000 grocery vouchers to 2.8 million families or over 14 million individuals in these communities. The multi-sector initiative also distributed food relief through ABS-CBN’s Pantawid ng Pag-Ibig, ADB and the government’s Bayan Bayanihan, and Jollibee’s FoodAID Program.

The Ayala group has also been collaborating closely with government in Task Force T3 (Test, Trace, Treat) to expand the country’s national testing capacity by 13 times from just 4,500 in April 24 to 60,000 by July 12. Other participating companies include Aboitiz, ABS-CBN, JG Summit, Metrobank Foundation, the Razon Group through Bloomberry Cultural Foundation, and the Yuchengco Group. Today, the group continues to ramp up its healthcare efforts to bolster support for the Department of Health (DOH) and Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in light of the pandemic.

Despite this challenging time, Zobel recognizes tremendous potential in the next generation of workers to make meaningful change through new and innovative means.

“I sincerely hope that you, our young leaders, will ignite the spark that will lead our country on an irreversible path towards equitable progress. [I] strongly believe that there is no shortage of passion, creativity, and commitment within the Filipino youth. We all look forward to the legacy that you will create for your generation and future ones,” Zobel concluded.

The RVR Siklab Awards honor young trailblazers that display entrepreneurial spirit with a passion to make lives better, and a commitment to nation building. The webinar brought together civic leaders and young achievers to discuss current challenges and provide relevant insights on achieving innovative and sustainable solutions. About 1,300 viewers tuned in to watch the live webinar, which also featured RVR Nation Building Awardee Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of CARD MRI, and RVR Siklab Awardees Jan Bernard Tan, Co-Founder of iVolunteer Philippines and The Good Store Philippines, and Melissa Yap, Founder and Executive Director of Got Heart Foundation, Inc.. Br. Armin Luistro FSC of the Lasallian East Asia District gave the opening remarks, while PHINMA Corporation President and CEO Ramon del Rosario, Jr. closed the session with a message of hope for future generations of Filipinos.

Ayala group renews commitment to support IATF efforts, plans further investments to fight COVID-19

Ayala group renews commitment to support IATF efforts, plans further investments to fight COVID-19
(L-R) Jun Bisnar, President of Cebu Holdings, Inc.; Fernando Zobel de Ayala, President and COO of Ayala Corporation; Usec. Bong Vega, IATF Chief Treatment Czar; Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe of the WHO; Dr. Edwin Mercado, President & CEO of Qualimed Health Network; DOH Sec. Francisco Duque III; Paolo F. Borromeo, President & CEO of AC Health; DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana; Gov. Ramil Hernandez of Laguna; IATF Chief Implementer Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr.; and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation.

The Ayala Group, led by its healthcare unit, Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc. (AC Health), has committed to further increase its efforts to support the government in the fight against COVID-19, during a meeting with IATF officials.

On July 25, the AC Health group, led by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, welcomed DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, DND Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, IATF Chief Implementer Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., IATF Chief Treatment Czar Usec. Bong Vega, Laguna Gov. Ramil Hernandez, and Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe of the WHO to Qualimed Sta. Rosa for a tour of the hospital and a discussion of Ayala’s COVID-related initiatives and various collaboration efforts with the government.

“Being one of the first private institutions to respond to COVID-19, the Ayala group continuously works with the IATF and the government in providing testing and treatment modalities for patients all over the country. Mabuhay po kayo!,” Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

“We are very thankful to the Ayala Group for heeding the call for greater collaboration between the government and private sector, and more importantly, for demonstrating the indomitable Bayanihan spirit of the Filipino people. This partnership between government and private sector is crucial in winning the battle against COVID-19, and making the successful transition to the ‘new normal.’,” Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. added.

As of June 30, the Ayala Group and AC Health have provided much needed COVID-related support to the government and the general public, with over P9B allocated for COVID-19 initiatives. Among these initiatives were the construction and upgrade of treatment and quarantine facilities like the World Trade Center We Heal As One facility, the Philippine Red Cross testing lab and 7 RT-PCR laboratories across the country. Swabbing booths for the government’s 4 mega Swabbing centers and NAIA terminals were also provided. Monetary and in-kind donations were allocated for testing kits, RPT machines, PPEs, among others.

“The Ayala Group renews its commitment to support the Department of Health (DOH) and Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to address our local health care needs in light of the pandemic. In the next few weeks, we will continue to ramp up our testing capacities, expand our treatment and isolation facilities, and roll out various innovations, including a lower cost non-invasive ventilator, and an online healthcare platform,” Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Chairman of the Board of AC Health said.

Throughout the crisis, AC Health has maintained operations of their FamilyDOC primary care clinics, Healthway multi-specialty clinics, and Generika drugstores, providing much needed healthcare and medicine to patients. It has also led the conversion of Qualimed Sta. Rosa into a COVID-19 referral hospital, and has already capacitated 4 accredited COVID-19 laboratories located at the Tropical Disease Foundation (TDF) and Qualimed hospitals at Sta. Rosa, Laguna, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, and Iloilo City, Iloilo. Testing equipment were also donated to the University of Cebu Medical Center (UC Med) and Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).

To further support the government, AC Health plans to double the capacity of TDF from 200 daily tests processed to 400 by purchasing additional equipment and increasing manpower. In addition, the Daniel Mercado Medical Center (DMMC) in Batangas, a member of the Qualimed Health Network, was also recently accredited as a COVID-19 laboratory for an additional 1,000 tests per day. With these advances, the Ayala Group will provide a total daily testing capacity of 5,650 tests per day, in support of the DOHIATF’s T3 (Test, Trace Treat) program.

In addition, in partnership with Qualimed Sta. Rosa, led by Dr. Edwin Mercado, AC Health is looking to expand the hospital’s isolation and quarantine facilities, as cases continue to rise in the Laguna area. Qualimed Sta. Rosa has been able to screen nearly 3,000 suspect cases and has admitted over 100 confirmed cases since the beginning of March.

Furthermore, the Ayala Group through its subsidiaries has planned additional investments in innovative COVID-related programs, particularly to help improve the country’s supply of ventilators and to promote teleconsultation.

AC Industrials manufacturing platform Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. (IMI), a globally leading manufacturing services provider, has brought in the Ventura CPAP ventilator, a low-cost non-invasive ventilator, for Philippine use. The Ventura was developed by IMI’s United Kingdom-based subsidiary, Surface Technology International, in collaboration with international institutions and has been approved for use in the United Kingdom. The Ventura is now manufactured in IMI’s Laguna complex and once certified locally, will make available an additional 10,000 ventilators for the country.

Meanwhile, Globe Telecom’s 917Ventures and AC Health’s Vigos Ventures are also collaborating to create HealthNow, an all-in-one health app that will offer video consultations, medicine delivery, and clinic appointment booking, to be launched in August. By providing online access to doctors and healthcare services, HealthNow allows patients to get immediate care, and can also help decongest hospitals.

“We remain committed to protecting our fellow Filipinos and will continue to invest in much-needed testing and treatment facilities for our communities, and look for even more innovative ways to help. This is a tremendous challenge but we are one with the government in fighting this virus.” AC Health President and CEO Paolo Borromeo added.

Ayala CEO: Private sector will join government at the frontline to reopen economy safely

Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala conveyed his appreciation to lawmakers led by Congresswoman Sharon Garin and members of the House Committee on Economic Affairs for extending the invitation for him to participate in the discussion on “A Private Sector Perspective in Build Back Better After Covid-19”.

Zobel said that the IATF’s implementation of community quarantine has given the country more time to boost healthcare capacity, formulate proper policies, and implement the necessary infrastructure to curb the rise of COVID-19 cases, which the University of the Philippines projected would have reached 3.5 million cases or 171,000 deaths if no lockdown had been imposed.

“The private sector supports the government’s initiatives to safeguard the nation’s collective health and help restore our people’s confidence through appropriate health-related guidelines and measures,” he said as he highlighted areas where the private and the public sectors can work together even more closely for a “better, more resilient normal.”

Zobel also highlighted the initiatives of the economic managers and monetary authorities led by Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez and BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno, to proactively mobilize the resources needed to fund public health investments, subsistence support for the most vulnerable, and liquidity for the financial system and job preservation, thus laying the foundation for building back better.

Testing, Tracing, Treating, Teaching

In his speech, Zobel thanked Sec. Carlito Galvez and Sec. Vince Dizon, Chief Implementer and Deputy Chief Implementer of the COVID-19 National Task Force, for onboarding the private sector in the whole-of-nation effort led by the IATF and the Department of Health against COVID-19.

In particular, he cited the private–public coalition Task Force T3 (Test, Trace, Treat), which includes private companies, the Asian Development Bank and Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, and has helped to increase the country’s testing capacity by 13-fold—from 4,500 tests pre day on April 24 when T3 was launched, to approximately 60,000 by July 15. The country has set a target of completing a cumulative total of a million tests by the end of July.

To support the governments’ initiatives, many in the private sector such as Aboitiz group, DM Consunji, EEI Corporation, Filinvest, Manila Bulletin group, Megawide, Megaworld, MVP group, Razon group, SM group, Udenna and Vista Land helped to rapidly convert sports arenas and convention centers into dedicated COVID-19 quarantine and treatment facilities and Mega Swabbing Facilities. With the ICCP Group and Manila Exhibition Center Inc. (MEC), and with
support from the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and the government, the Ayala group converted the World Trade Center into a 500-bed quarantine facility.

Private hospitals such as Asian Hospital, Chinese General, De La Salle Medical, Makati Med, Medical City, Mount Grace and Saint Luke’s, are also playing a key role in supplementing the COVID-19 treatment capacity of the Department of Health’s hospital system.

Many in the private sector have also contributed significantly to the country’s RT-PCR testing capacity, notably LT group, MPIC, Red Cross, San Miguel and Unilab. Furthermore, in partnership with Qualimed, Aboitiz, Lopez group, JG Summit, Metrobank Foundation, Razon group and the Yuchengco group , the Ayala group is building out 4 BSL-2 laboratories and has helped to capacitate 3 existing laboratories (the Tropical Disease Foundation in Makati, UCMed in Mandaue City and the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City). Zuellig Pharma has also been assisting with supply chain management.

Meanwhile, the Ayala group also joined 300 private companies in Project ARK led by Sec. Joey Concepcion. ARK is leading the way in complementing the government’s testing initiatives and has already helped procure almost 2 million test kits, with 65,000 tests already administered at the LGU level. ARK and Congresswoman Janette Garin, who is the ARK-PCR private sector chief implementer, have also donated RT-PCR machines to 12 hospitals nationwide and are supporting a study to validate the accuracy of pooled testing for RT-PCR.

Zobel also highlighted the importance of the fourth T (Teach) in T3. Beyond establishing sanitation protocols in workplaces, private companies should also rollout educational campaigns that would guide the public in adjusting to the “new normal.”

“There is a strong need to highlight the significant positive impact that adhering to stringent minimum health standards can generate and complement this with strong measures to protect our vulnerable population segments,” Zobel said.

Transportation, Digitization

Zobel also said there is a need to provide safe, affordable, and convenient mass transportation for the workforce.

He cited as an example the strict health and safety protocols being implemented in LRT-1 for a safe re-opening of the train line. Plastic barriers have been installed to allow for physical distancing. Thermal scanners have been deployed in all stations, and UV disinfection technologies have been developed in collaboration with the UP Engineering Center, to disinfect trains after every roundtrip, while common areas are cleaned every 30 minutes. An emergency disinfection
response team that is trained and equipped can also be immediately deployed should there be a suspected case in a certain station. Contactless payment systems are also in place to facilitate a seamless and safe travel experience.

Meanwhile, with the rising demand for digital platforms for the delivery of basic goods and services, Ayala entered the telemedicine space through HealthNow, an all-in-one digital platform that serves as an alternative channel for patients to access primary healthcare without leaving the safety of their homes. During its April to June pilot run alone, the platform had over 11,000 patient consultation requests.

Zobel also noted that the community quarantine brought on a significant increase in consumer engagement on digital financial apps, such as Globe’s GCash and BPI’s mobile banking app. From March to June, GCash experienced a 138% increase in daily active users and 157% jump in daily active transactions. Transactions on the BPI mobile banking app, on the other hand, accounted for 90% of all bank transactions as of mid-April compared to only 70% prior to the quarantine.

Helping the Vulnerable Segments

Zobel also acknowledged the synergy between the business community, Caritas Manila, and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, where over 270 private entities united to raise funds for Project Ugnayan. The project was able to efficiently distribute in a direct, timely, and efficient manner, food and grocery relief to over 14 million individuals in the Greater Manila Area.

Furthermore, Zobel highlighted the challenges faced by micro, small, and medium enterprises that have been badly hit by the pandemic. MSMEs, he said, account for 99.5% of the country’s registered businesses, 63% of employment, and 35% of the national gross domestic product.

“It is unfortunate that these concerns have led to many small businesses ceasing operations over the last few months,” he said. “We recognize the many initiatives of the Department of Trade and Industry to help our entrepreneurs withstand this crisis through financial support. Private sector groups, such as Go Negosyo, have also been critical partners in this effort, providing mentorship and online training to businesses.”

For the Ayala group, apart from waiving of rental fees in malls and extending grace periods for loan payments, the group has been actively supporting its network of over 250,000 MSMEs via the Ayala Enterprise Circle, where MSMEs can access training modules, networking opportunities, and support services to help them during these difficult times.

To prepare for a safe re-entry of its workforce, the Ayala group has set up its own testing facilities for its employees, which combines Rapid Antibody Testing as an initial screening protocol, with RT-PCR confirmatory tests. As of July 14, a total of 53,399 employees have already been tested as Ayala implements a group-wide workforce re-entry effort.

“As we navigate the uncertainties of the New Normal, we trust that the government will provide us in the private sector with guidance and support as we work together towards a better and more resilient Philippines after the pandemic,” Zobel concluded.

Ayala CEO Private sector will join government at the frontline to reopen economy safely
Chairperson of the House Committee on Economic Affairs Congresswoman Sharon Garin, welcomes today’s guest speaker, Ayala Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala to share the private sector’s thoughts and recommendations on how to reopen the economy safely.

Ayala CEO Private sector will join government at the frontline to reopen economy safely
At the House Committee on Economic Affairs today, guest speaker Ayala Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said, “As we navigate the uncertainties of the New Normal, we trust that the government will provide us in the private sector with guidance and support as we work together towards a better and more resilient Philippines after the pandemic.”

Ayala CEO: Embrace science and technology for a “better normal”

Makati, July 9, 2020 – Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said embracing science and technology is key to a better, more resilient normal.

In his keynote address delivered at the 42nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the National Academy of Science and Technology held today, Zobel emphasized the importance of data and insights in understanding and developing solutions to the long-standing societal problems the country faces today.

Zobel shared that the Ayala group regularly gathers data from across its different business units to better understand evolving consumer behaviors and needs, thus allowing it to provide improved services and relevant products.

For instance, with the rising demand for digital platforms for the delivery of basic goods and services, Ayala’s AC Healthcare Holdings (AC Health) penetrated the telemedicine space through HealthNow, an all-in-one digital platform developed in partnership with Globe 917 Ventures. This digital platform serves as an alternative channel for patients to access primary healthcare without leaving the safety of their homes. During its April to June pilot run alone, the platform had over 11,000 patient consultation requests with the top specialization requests covering family medicine; dermatology; obstetrics and gynecology; and ear, nose and throat concerns.

Zobel also noted that the community quarantine brought on a significant increase in consumer engagement on digital financial apps, such as Globe’s GCash and BPI’s mobile banking app. From March to June, GCash experienced a 138% increase in daily active users and 157% jump in daily active transactions. Transactions on the BPI mobile banking app, on the other hand, accounted for 90% of all bank transactions as of mid-April comparing to only 70% prior to the quarantine. The digitalization of its financial services has been the main driver of Ayala’s efforts to promote financial inclusion across a broader demographic particularly the unserved and underserved segments of the population.

And on education, Ayala believes that the current shift to distance learning may become an integral part of the Philippine education system given its many benefits for both students and teachers. Ayala Corporation itself has also explored online learning platforms, such as Coursera and Degreed, to maintain a high level of productivity and engagement within its workforce a significant number of whom continue to work from home.

Ultimately, Zobel emphasized the importance of strengthening the ties among science, industry, and government in finding long-term solutions to address the country’s most pressing challenges. He cited Task Force T3 (Test, Trace & Treat), which aims to expand the country’s RT-PCR testing capacity, as an example of a highly successful public–private partnership model which may be applied in other areas.

Ayala’s contribution to the Task Force T3 includes the conversion of the World Trade Center into a 502-bed quarantine facility and donation of swabbing booths for all 4 Mega Swabbing Centers. In addition, together with other private companies, Ayala has built and capacitated 7 Biosafety Level 2 Laboratories across the country to augment the national testing capacity which has now reached almost 75,000 tests per day.

“I am a firm believer in the power of co-creation and collaboration. Let’s reimagine the world we live in and the way things are using this crisis as a way of refashioning the way we live. I believe that the sciences and the science-based approach has a lot to teach us in that regard,” Zobel said in closing.

Everyone should work together to control COVID spread, keep economy open

National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. called for everyone to work together in controlling the spread of COVID-19 as he highlighted the urgent need to not only safely reopen various sectors, but more importantly, keep the economy open.

“Though the lockdown bought us time to increase public health capacity, we now must face the challenge of reopening the economy,” Galvez said in a meeting with the private sector.

He expressed deep gratitude towards the Task Force Test, Trace, Treat (T3) and its private sector partners in coming together to ramp up the country’s overall testing capacity to 74,000 tests per day, with 75 labs and a turnaround time of just 72 hours or less for results. This increased from a capacity of 3,000 tests per day in April and only 17 labs with a turnaround time of 2 weeks, before the T3 coalition was formed.

T3 is a partnership between the IATF, the Department of Health, the Asian Development Bank, the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation and several dozen private organizations. Its goal is to help ramp up the government’s Testing, Tracing and Treatment efforts to beat COVID-19.

Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vince Dizon added that the goal is to now do 10 million tests within the next 10-12 months, with plans to aggressively expand testing protocols to non-medical personnel, particularly to essential workers frequently in contact with large volumes of people such as security guards, cashiers, market and street vendors, and transport sector workers, as well as in economic zones and priority tourist destinations.

“It has been a challenging fight thus far, and we will continue to face these challenges head on through various efforts of the national and local governments and with the private sector as an invaluable partner in this fight. It is only by working together that we can again start to rebuild our lives and the economy,” Dizon said.

Discipline will be vital in the New Normal

Galvez and Dizon also stressed that as the country opens up more, every Filipino must take more responsibility and be very disciplined in following basic health measures and precautions to ensure their own safety as well as the safety of the public. They also called on both local governments and private companies to strictly enforce the wearing of masks, frequent hand washing, and physical distancing.

They also urged the private sector to do their part in testing their workforce and conducting aggressive contact tracing in the workplace using StaySafe.ph. They cited the effort undertaken by the San Miguel Corporation to open their own COVID-19 laboratory to test all of their 70,000 employees.

PPP at its best

T3 was established at the end of April in response to the President’s call for a whole-of-nation approach to battling COVID-19, and since then almost all the major companies throughout the country have responded resoundingly in an unprecedented partnership with the government.

“We would not have been able to do all of these without the help of our partners in the private sector,” Dizon said. “This is why we humbly ask for continued partnership with the private sector to support the way forward to manage COVID-19 and keep the economy open safely for the benefit of every Filipino.”

The private sector also expressed its commitment to continue to support the initiatives of T3 moving to its next phase. The heads of partner companies were present at the briefing and conveyed their intent to help and train people to get back on their feet. This includes helping them practice behavioral modification and situational awareness during the new normal.

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation, said that as more of the country reopens, there is a need to greatly expand risk-based testing.

“Our health care workers, our frontliners in sectors like utilities, banking, retail, sanitation and security; as well as our employees who will be returning to the workplace, all need to be tested regularly. We in the business community stand by our commitment to partner with government so that Filipinos can resume their lives, with utmost care and proper precautions.”

Josephine Gotianun-Yap, Filinvest Development Corp. President and CEO, recognized the need for timely data analysis and surveillance. “We laud the efforts of the government to get us back to our normal lives. Timely and efficient data gathering, and reporting are also crucial. We are willing to continue to lend technical assistance to local government units to strengthen field surveillance for prompt data so immediate action can be done,” she said during the briefing.

Manny V. Pangilinan, Chairman of Metro Pacific Investments Corp, PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc., also stressed how important contact tracing is if people will be learning to live while managing the virus. As such, more technology should be used such as the contact tracing app, StaySafe.ph. “We need more accurate contact tracing as more of our employees go back to work,” he said.

For parties interested in participating in T3, please contact Bill Luz of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation at gm.luz@competitive.org.ph.