MVP Group Tulong Kapatid: Making a difference in the lives of Filipinos

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
MVP Group Tulong Kapatid: Making a difference in the lives of Filipinos
First Lady Liza Marcos (center), with Bataan Gov. Joet Garcia (fifth from left) and Rep. Abet Garcia (third from left), receives assorted relief goods from the MVP Group of Companies and the MVP Tulong Kapatid CSR Council. This was during the recent launching of the Lab For All project in Bataan. Also in photo (from left): Makati Medical Center Foundation executive director Marge Macasaet Barro, Health Undersecretary Eric Tayag, Metro Pacific Investments Foundation program officer Wilhelm Wade Eusores, and MMC Foundation program officer Andrew Castillo.

Nobody loves a calamity or disaster, but it is usually the platform where leaders and heroes are made — where people shine in the darkest moments.

Deadly and destructive Super Typhoon Egay, internationally known as Typhoon Doksuri, hit the Philippines in late July, severely affecting Luzon Island.

The impact of Egay was felt more in the north, leaving at least five people dead and more than 325,000 people affected.

While the super typhoon was ravaging Luzon, the MVP Group of Companies, through the Tulong Kapatid CSR effort, wasted no time in regrouping, planning, and extending much-needed relief and rehabilitation aid to the most-affected areas.

The day after the super typhoon struck, TV5 Alagang Kapatid Foundation Inc. was already sending a team to Northern Luzon with its own relief packs as well as goods from PLDT-Smart Foundation, One Meralco Foundation, Maynilad, Metro Pacific Investments Foundation, and Makati Medical Center Foundation.

We immediately coordinated with Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos of the First District of Ilocos Norte, whose home province was one of those that suffered the most.

I remember that we were at the 15th anniversary celebration of “Shore It Up,” the flagship environmental program of Metro Pacific Investments Foundation when requests for aid and assistance came in.

At that time, the MVP Group Tulong Kapatid, in coordination with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) that was tracking Egay’s path, was already starting on its disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts for Egay. This had already been the standard practice without need of call. But the requests did shed light and give focus to those areas or local government units that needed aid the most.

Meralco and One Meralco Foundation employees who immediately brought relief packs to aid Ilocos Norte families are met by Rep. Sandro Marcos.

And so, even before the anniversary celebration had come to a close, while still gathered at the Westin Manila, venue for the event, the super clique of MVP Group Tulong Kapatid heads, composed of Esther Santos of PLDT-Smart Foundation, Melody del Rosario of Metro Pacific Investments Foundation, Jeffrey Tarayao of One Meralco Foundation, Annette Hernandez De Ocampo of Maynilad, Menchie Silvestre of TV5 Alagang Kapatid, and Marge Macasaet Barro of Makati Medical Center Foundation, gathered on the side and immediately mapped out what else the group needed to do and with dispatch.

In the days that ensued, thousands of relief packs, rice sacks, hygiene and health kits, water-filtration devices, bottled water and mWell OnTheGo packages were turned over for distribution in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, and Cagayan.

Relief packs and other necessities were likewise distributed in Ilocos Sur, La Union, Benguet, and Aurora.

Meralco dispatched linemen to Ilocos Norte to assist in power restoration efforts, in coordination with the dynamic and young governor of the province, Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc.

To think that this province is beyond the coverage of Meralco’s distribution area speaks volumes of the extent of assistance the power company would go to help our countrywomen and men in need, wherever they may be.

One Meralco Foundation president Jeffrey Tarayao (fourth from left) leads Meralco employees in preparing relief goods for distribution in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Cagayan, Abra, Bataan, Pampanga and Bulacan.

It was also worthy to note that relief aid and assistance even extended to the island municipality of Calayan and to Fuga Island, all part of the Babuyan Islands in Cagayan Province. The MVP Group needed the support of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 10 of the Philippine Marines in this effort, as the relief goods were to be transported by boat over choppy waters.

PLDT-Smart offered communications support, fast-tracking the restoration of fixed and wireless networks, as well as offering free calls and free mobile charging in Egay-hit areas such as the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and La Union.

Smart likewise deployed emergency load assistance (ELA) to 2.9 million Smart subscribers in affected areas. This comprised 30 minutes’ worth of calls to all networks, 100 SMS to all networks, and 100MB data valid for three days.

Onsite medical services and e-consultations, as well as hot meals, relief packs, sleeping kits, water and water purifiers were delivered by representatives of Alagang Kapatid Foundation, Cignal, Maynilad, Metro Pacific Investments Foundation (MPIF), MMC Foundation, mWell, NLEX, One Meralco Foundation (OMF), and PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) to most-affected municipalities in Pampanga and Bulacan. PLDT-Smart also provided free calls and free charging in these municipalities.

The MVP Group Tulong Kapatid also extended relief aid and medical mission assistance to Ilocos Norte and Bataan in partnership with Lab for All of First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos. Cardinal Santos Charities and the Metro Pacific Hospital Group were also involved in this effort.

In Bataan, these efforts were coordinated with Gov. Joet Garcia and Rep. Abet Garcia.

All in all, it was one massive and tireless operation by the MVP Group in reaching out and assisting our brethren when they needed help most.

My hats off always to these heroes that we have in our midst — all embracing, imbibing the admonition made by our chairman, Manuel V. Pangilinan — to make a difference in the lives of our fellow Filipinos.

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