Makati, Philippines – May 29, 2020 Ensuring the safety of employees and customers should be the top priority of the private sector as the economy reopens, said Ayala Corporation Chairman & CEO, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, during the multi-sectoral webinar “Balik Kabuhayan” hosted by Go Negosyo today.
“I don’t think there is ever a perfect time. I think the government did the right thing in forcing a hard quarantine. I think it’s been good for the country. But it’s a balancing act against the need for an economy to come back to life,” Zobel said, urging his fellow business leaders to establish safety protocols as Metro Manila is placed under general community quarantine.
According to Zobel, the private sector has the ability to move quickly and address issues upfront. Hence, he sees the “new normal” as the perfect time to strengthen public–private partnership, which has proven to be very fruitful in the last few months of ECQ.
The Ayala group has contributed close to P6.5 billion in anti-COVID initiatives. Most notable of which is its support to the government-led Taskforce T3, which included the conversion of the World Trade Center into a 502-bed quarantine facility, donation of swabbing booths for all 4 Mega Swabbing Centers, conversion of Qualimed – Sta. Rosa into a COVID-19 referral hospital, and the building of 5 COVID testing facilities in strategic areas in Luzon and Visayas to augment the country’s capacity to trace, test, and treat COVID-19 patients.
Ayala is also a supporter of Project ARK (Antibody Rapid test Kits), a private sector-led initiative that complements the government’s effort to make massive testing accessible at the community level.
Also present in the webinar were Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, former health secretary Esperanza Cabral, Representative Janette Garin, and Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin. All speakers agreed on the reopening the economy but urged the private sector to take strict safety protocols.
Internally, the Ayala group adopted a healthcare protocol called the 4T Framework for Triage, Testing, Treatment, and Tracking to protect the collective heath of the organization and prepare for the eventual re-entry of its workforce. This framework enables the group to monitor each employee’s risk conditions and health profile, allowing it to extend the necessary healthcare assistance, if and when needed, and to make informed decisions about which work arrangement would be best for a specific individual.
Zobel also noted that this pandemic has made the private and the public sectors realize the importance of strengthening the healthcare industry. As for the Ayala group, the COVID-19 pandemic strengthened AC Health’s commitment to the healthcare space by continuing to invest in capacity and capability building through an integrated healthcare ecosystem with key pillars in pharma, clinics, hospitals, and digital healthcare.
“There is always something to learn from difficult situations, both personal and professional, and we should reflect after this as a community. See where we need to strengthen so we create a society that’s stronger and can face these problems better in the future,” Zobel said.