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How the Lopez Group dealt with COVID-19, lockdown
RIGHT after Metro Manila was placed under “community quarantine” on March 15, the Lopez Group put in place measures to check the spread of the new coronavirus disease in their sites and offices. Here’s how the different companies managed the COVID-19 threat as outlined in official statements as well as disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Lopez Holdings Corporation
The risk posed by COVID19 (then called nCov) was included in the regular risk and opportunity assessment conducted on February 4, 2020 as part of the company’s quality management system planning process for the year. It was recognized as a public health and safety threat that can affect employee wellness, one of the Lopez Values that we practice. It was rated as a medium risk which was possible in terms of likelihood and moderate in terms of impact. The company circulated health advisories, held one briefing, and kept employees updated about public/occupational health/safety issues with respect to the nCov. It abided by all guidelines issued by government, including travel restrictions and avoiding large gatherings. Building management implemented temperature check on all people entering the building and more frequent disinfection of common areas.
The company’s participation in a telecommuting work arrangement (TWA) since November 2019, which allowed qualified employees to work from home or in a shared workspace in coordination with other TWA participants, was considered an opportunity to reduce social contact, although the original objective of the policy was to help employees cope with worsening metro traffic.
With COVID-19 now declared as a pandemic, the risk rating is raised to high with which is probable and still moderate in terms of impact. Lopez Holdings parent is able to continue business operations with minor consequences; however, all threats to employee health are considered moderate. The re-rating conducted on March 12, 2020 identified key action to address stakeholder needs, as follows:
- To prioritize wellness, all employees are allowed to participate in TWA beginning March 13, 2020, provided they coordinate all tasks and requirements with their respective supervisors. Meetings are held using video/audio group calls. Employees are required to disclose to their supervisor or to Human Resources any symptoms they themselves or any of their household members exhibit at any time, in order to be properly assisted by the company. Home quarantine is imposed on anybody returning from travel to countries with travel restrictions. Official travel outside Metro Manila is cancelled indefinitely, while personal travel of employee or any household member outside the National Capital Region must be disclosed for assessment.
- A skeleton workforce will report to headquarters to work on fulfilling regulatory requirements and process supplier payments. Supplier payments will continue to be processed and paid on due dates.
- Board meetings may be held through teleconferencing and/or videoconferencing. Avenues for the remote participation of stockholders in the coming annual stockholders’ meeting are being explored.
- All visitors must fill out health declaration questionnaire. Visitors from countries with travel restrictions will be enjoined to use video/audio group calls to conduct business with the company.
First Philippine Holdings Corporation
First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH) has instituted comprehensive measures to address the possible effects of COVID-19, to protect its people, ensure business continuity and safeguard the interests of all stakeholders.
Among the measures that are being implemented are restrictions on international and domestic travel, regular advisories on developments including on necessary precautions such as social distancing as well as work from home arrangements. All of its major subsidiaries such as First Gen Corporation, Rockwell Land Corporation, First Philippine Industrial Park and First Philec Inc. are likewise implementing their own contingency plans. FPH’s systems and plans which have been designed to deal with this contingency are already operational. It anticipates that the impact on its operations should be minimal as it joins the nation in the collective effort to address this menace.
First Gen Corporation
In light of developments on COVID-19, First Gen Corporation has been taking proactive steps to ensure the well-being of our employees and minimize the operational risks of the business. We are employing a comprehensive and group-wide safety protocol composed of an emergency response plan, a crisis management plan and a business continuity plan as a way to respond to the various risks brought about by this global health emergency.
The company is likewise implementing precautionary measures such as imposing travel restrictions, emphasizing social distancing and providing work from home arrangements. Given these measures and the fact that all our power plants can be operated with a few key personnel, we do not expect COVID-19 to have any material impact on current plant operations.
Energy Development Corporation
Energy Development Corporation (EDC) expressed its commitment to its customers and stakeholders of unimpeded power supply despite the pronouncement of an expanded community quarantine now covering the entire Luzon region, in response to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The power producer has put a skeleton on-ground workforce in place for the continuous operations of its power plants across the country as a vital installation that is required to continuously function despite the quarantine.
“While we have begun taking all the necessary precautionary measures to keep our employees and their families safe from COVID-19, such as imposing a travel ban and having a work from home arrangement in all our facilities, we have also assigned key people in our power plants to continuously provide the electricity that is vital to our country, especially in these trying times,” said Marvin Bailon, head of EDC’s Business Development, Trading & Marketing.
EDC recognizes that healthcare facilities, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies, and the food manufacturing industry that get power from them need reliable supply now more than ever in order for them to serve the general public.
“We are a committed organization that stands ready to fulfill our duty to the public—to not only provide 100% clean, renewable power but to make sure that it is uninterrupted,” added Bailon.
The potential risks posed by the COVID-19 virus on our business include the impact on events and theatrical box office performance (domestic and international), possible impact on advertising revenues and retail sales driven by the uncertainties associated with consumer confidence and spending, and the general sense of concern over the virus.
The safety and welfare of our audiences, employees, artists and teams are paramount to the company. We are also mindful of our responsibility to the public as it relates to partnering with the government and community in mitigating the impact of the virus.
To that end, ABS-CBN has triggered its business continuity protocols which are designed to deliver on these objectives.
Rockwell Land Corporation
Rockwell Land’s priority is our community’s health and well-being; thus, we have implemented measures to help prevent the risk of inadvertent infection. Furthermore, we have assessed the possible risk to our business and have put in place the necessary mitigating measures.
The community quarantine over Metro Manila will mostly affect our Retail and Hotel operations, which constitutes 12% of our revenues. For Power Plant Mall and Santolan Town Plaza, only establishments that fall under these categories will be open from March 15 to April 14, or until the ban has been lifted: groceries, diagnostic clinics, pharmacies, hardware, banks and restaurants (take-out and delivery only).
As of March 16, 2020, 12 noon, we have three confirmed COVID-19 positive cases in our residential buildings in Rockwell Center. We are continuously doing contact tracing and informing those who have been in close contact with the said residents to go on selfquarantine. Moreover, we have intensified our safety and sanitation protocols throughout our properties. We have been and continue to be in coordination with the Makati LGU and Makati health officials to ensure implementation of the proper protocols.
For added measure, we have limited the entry and exit points of the affected properties and have closed some public areas. These will allow us to completely disinfect areas as necessary and reduce close contact scenarios between residents and guests.
There is also a risk of slowdown in residential sales. In response, we have strengthened marketing initiatives, including those through digital platforms, that are being employed to ensure that our sales efforts will continue to have a wide reach. Aside from postdated checks of our clients, alternative cash payment options are likewise available. Moreover, we have identified cost savings and possible delays in capital expenditures to mitigate.
Our offices are manned by a skeleton workforce, to ensure business continuity across our properties, with the rest observing work from home arrangements.
Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc.
Our country is facing a crisis it has never encountered before. As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine government has imposed measures to fight the rapid spread of the virus by enforcing enhanced community quarantine in Luzon starting March 17, 2020. Citizens, especially our young learners, have been asked to stay at home.
Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. (KCFI) supports the government in addressing the threat posed by COVID19 and will help ensure that learning continues for all Filipino children affected by this crisis.
As a media and education entity, KCFI will continue to disseminate only credible and educational information with regard to the ongoing developments on the COVID19 pandemic. These will be regularly posted on our website www.knowledgechannel.org and Facebook pages, /knowledgechannel and /knowledgechannelfoundation.
KCFI will also continue to accept donations, especially to help sustain EduKalidad sa Kalamidad and other projects that will benefit our learners, especially in times of crisis.
You may send your donations through Bank of the Philippine Islands Acct. No. 0201-0409-14.
We Filipinos are facing an extraordinary situation. Our values and solidarity as a nation and as responsible and responsive members of the global community are needed now more than ever. Let us work together for the sake of our children and the future of this world.