BACOLOD CITY – Sugar manufacturer Victorias Milling Company (VMC) Inc. is set to vaccinate its more than 2,000 employees and service providers in Negros Occidental against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) with the expected arrival of its purchased jabs in June.
“The safety and well-being of our people will always be our top priority,” VMC president Minnie Chua said in a statement on Wednesday.
Those who signed up for vaccination include direct company employees and outsourced workers at the mill site in Victorias City and the distillery in adjacent Manapla town.
Chua said a few VMC employees had already contracted the virus and have fully recovered, while some also lost family members to Covid-19.
“As such, the vaccination program is necessary to protect our employees and their families from getting severely affected when infected by the virus. It will also help in restoring normalcy in our operations and allow us to continue serving our planters,” she added.
Chua said there was initial hesitation from almost half of the workforce when the management presented the idea of mass vaccination, but following a week of advocacy and testimonials from those who got infected or lost their loved ones, more than 90 percent of the employees signed up for the vaccination effort.
She thanked the company’s chairman emeritus Lucio Tan and the LT Group Inc. for initiating the program to procure vaccines for the employees, adding that mechanics are also being drawn up to allow employees to access vaccines for their family members.
Chua acknowledged that the Covid-19 crisis is one of the greatest challenges faced by the company.
“We are thankful that despite the restrictions and protocols we’ve established, the employees and our clients cooperated,” she said.
The 102-year-old sugar firm had earlier reported growth amid the pandemic with the implementation of sustainability programs that increased performance levels in its various business segments.
One of the programs implemented was the VMC Closed-Loop Production System, an integrated sugar-based business sustainability model maximizing the use of all input materials with very few waste products. (PNA)