April 15, 2020 – The Ayala Group of Companies has completed the conversion of portions of the World Trade Center (WTC) in Pasay City into a temporary healthcare facility that will cater to patients affected by COVID-19.
The project, dubbed WTC We Heal as One Center, was made possible through the collective efforts of Ayala Land Inc., Globe Telecom Inc., Manila Water Co. Inc., Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. (IMI), and AC Energy Inc., together with the ICCP Group and Manila Exhibition Center Inc. (MEC), and with support from the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and the National Government. The Ayala Group of Companies was able to pool P46.4 million for this project.
Ayala Land unit Makati Development Corp. (MDC) headed the fit-out construction for 9,700 square meters of space at WTC in a span of 7 days.
Following the layout and design by MDC with guidance from the Department of Health and Architect Daniel Lichauco, the facility features 500 beds enclosed in safe, clean, and controlled isolation cubicles, as well as examination rooms, nurses’ stations, doctors’ work areas, and medical staff quarters.
“When the national government asked for Ayala Land’s support, we immediately mobilized and pooled our resources to assist in the best way we can,” Ayala Land President and CEO Bobby O. Dy said.
“We hope that this facility will help our country get through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are privileged to work with like-minded partners who want to do what’s best for the Filipino people,” Dy added.
Globe Telecom funded a large portion of the facility’s construction cost, as well as unlimited Wi-Fi services.
“Collaboration between the public and private sectors is vital during these times, and we will continue to lend support to the government to help the country recover from this pandemic soon,” Ayala Land Chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala said.
Meanwhile, MEC provided the spaces in WTC rent-free. It also supplied bathroom toiletries in addition to security and janitorial services.
“Even before MEC, the owner of World Trade Center Metro Manila, was approached through the ICCP Group, we were already thinking about offering the exhibition hall, either as a Command or Testing Center for COVID-19,” WTC Metro Manila President and CEO Pamela D. Pascual recalled.
WTC is among the largest events facilities in the country, having hosted several big gatherings such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2017 and the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
“So when this came into fruition, through the partnership with Ayala Group, we are more than happy and proud to be given the chance to make a difference by helping government in its fight to quell COVID-19,” Pascual explained.
The facility was turned over on April 14 to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Health Service Command, who will serve as its medical operator.
For its continued operations, AC Energy donated 500 bedframes and pillows and has committed to cover 50% of the facility’s electricity costs until May 31, 2020. Partner donor Manila Electric Co. has pledged to cover the other half.
Manila Water also built 27 private cubicle shower areas for patients and 10 in a converted container van for medical workers.
For its part, IMI is providing two sanitation booths at the entrance of the facility and another two at the exit.
Other donors include: The Philippine Constructors Association, which contributed cubicles for the facility; Smart Communications Inc., which set up the WiFi internet connectivity; and San Miguel Corp., which is supplying the center’s alcohol requirements. MDC construction partners also contributed supplies and equipment to complete the fit-out of the facility. Collectively, Ayala’s partners in this initiative contributed P29.5 million.
Several companies were tapped to provide security, cleaning and maintenance, and laundry services. Food commissary suppliers and a cafeteria operator have also been recruited.
The cost of medical equipment, supplies, and services will be shouldered by the National Government along with private donors and other financiers.
“We are grateful to all our private partners for setting up a much-needed facility in such a short period of time. In partnership with ICCP Group, Ayala Group, and Meralco, the conversion of the World Trade Center Metro Manila into a COVID-19 quarantine facility is testament to what the public and private sectors can achieve when they work together for the good of our country,” BCDA President Vince Dizon said.
The Ayala Group’s contributions to the conversion of WTC into a quarantine area for COVID-19 patients is its latest in a string of initiatives to help stem the spread of the virus.
Most recently, the Ayala Group took part in Project Ugnayan, a relief effort together with more than 50 private companies and in partnership with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation and Caritas Manila.
Through Project Ugnayan, the country’s leading businesses were able to raise P1.7 billion for the purchase of grocery vouchers that aims to feed 1.5 million urban poor families or 7.6 million individual residents who are most burdened by the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila.