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Aboitiz Group's COVID-19 Response Puts A-People Front And Center

As the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continues to rise, the Aboitiz Group moved quickly to implement precautionary measures to mitigate the risk of infection while ensuring that operations across strategic business units (SBUs) continue to run smoothly.

With the Enhanced Community Quarantine, the company has advised team members holding office at NAC Tower and Ore Central Building to follow a work-from-home (WFH) arrangement until further notice while pre-established business continuity plans have been activated.

We are doing everything in our capacity to prioritize the well-being of our team members while continuing to serve our customers and other stakeholders.

Sabin M. Aboitiz, President & CEO, Aboitiz Group

Since January, the Group has been sending out COVID-19 regular advisories to help keep team members across SBUs informed, especially in taking necessary precautions, quarantine instructions, and company protocols. In early March, Aboitiz formalized travel guidelines for its team members, restricting local travel and banning travel to Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, and Italy. Team members who travel to countries that are considered high-risk like Iran, Switzerland, Singapore, Netherlands, France, and Japan are also required to undergo a 14-day quarantine before returning to work.

To facilitate clarity, a special virtual townhall meeting was called on March 13 that was streamed live across the Group via Agora to help address various COVID-19 concerns including details of the WFH setup, health benefits, and what the community quarantine entailed, among other related matters. SMA led the panel that included Susan Valdez, AEV Chief Corporate Services Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer; Christine Kempeneers, AEV AVP for Risk Management; Apol Castro, AEV FVP for Risk Management; and DJ Sta. Ana, AEV Chief External Affairs Officer. To watch the livestream again, click here.

PUTTING THE DIGITAL PLATFORM TO WORK. Last March 13, SMA shared live on Agora what the Aboitiz Group is doing in response to COVID-19. He also led a panel Q&A to address team members' questions related to the adjusted work arrangements. With him are (from left) AEV team leaders Susan Valdez (Chief Corporate Services Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer), Christine Kempeneers (AVP for Risk Management), Apol Castro (FVP Risk Management), and DJ Sta. Ana (Chief External Affairs Officer).

The Group is also maximizing its digital platforms to maintain continuity in collaboration and people development. For example, Aboitiz Academy will send out recommendations for online programs such as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and other webinars. In addition, team members are advised to practice social media etiquette by exercising prudence in their news consumption: to obtain news only from official sources and avoid the distribution of unverified information.

SMA summed up by calling on A-People to shift the conversation from individual needs to that which considers how to benefit the greater good. “We need to make sacrifices, if need be, to be able to help the rest of the organization,” he said.  

Meanwhile, Aboitiz Foundation is turning over much-needed personal protection equipment to medical and security personnel. It has also set up a fundraising page 'Help our Health Workers Fight COVID-19' through KINDer to encourage more individuals to help in the collective efforts.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 187 as of March 17, with a death toll of 14. Globally, over 150,000 have contracted the disease which produces fever, tiredness and dry cough symptoms. However, the World Health Organization notes that about 80% recover from the disease without the need for special treatment. Only about one in six people that get COVID-19 become seriously ill, with older individuals and those with underlying medical problems more likely to develop serious illness.

With the lessons from the Metro Manila lockdown, we will get the other provinces ready with each one of us making a difference.

SMA

All A-People are also highly encouraged to monitor external and internal developments surrounding COVID-19 and to regularly check the dedicated Aboitiz Group microsite with consolidated company advisories.