PROTECT THE WORKFORCE. San Miguel Corporation (SMC) president and CEO Ramon Ang said the company spends billions of pesos to protect the welfare of its employees during the pandemic. Vaccination czar Carlito Galvez, Jr said with SMC's commitment to inoculate 70,000 workers and others in the A4 priority list, the government is pushing steps ahead towards achieving its goal of achieving mass vaccination to ensure population protection. (PNA photo by Joey Razon) 

MANILA – Around 500 employees of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) received their jabs on Wednesday at the La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) in Mandaluyong City.

The kick-off vaccination of the company was through the national government's coronavirus task force and Mandaluyong City government.

In his speech, SMC president and CEO Ramon Ang told his staff to choose the vaccine that is available and avoid preferring other brands.

“The company spends billions of pesos in doing everything we can to help our people, our co-employees and partners," he said.

Around 500 SMC workers have received their initial doses of the Sinovac vaccine.

Vaccination czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. noted the contributions of SMC to the Philippine government in its fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

He mentioned the free toll program that regularly benefits over 10,000 medical front-liners who are passing through Star Tollway, South Luzon Expressway, Skyway System, NAIA Expressway, and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.

"San Miguel Corporation has shown that it is a big brother who will continue to honor its commitment to lend a helping hand not only to its thousands of employees but to all Filipinos nationwide. It has given corporate social responsibility a whole new meaning. You are a shining example that profit can be temporarily set aside in favor of the greater good," Galvez said.

The government official shared that SMC has spent over PHP1 billion to purchase reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) Covid-19 testing machines, automated RNA extraction machines, and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as produced over 70 million liters of ethyl alcohol distributed to hospitals nationwide.

Through its Ligtas Lahat vaccination program that aims to inoculate 70,000 of its workers including Filipinos who belong to the A4 category, the work of the National Task Force against Covid-19 was fast-tracked.

"With your company's major contribution and support from other partners in the private sector, we are confident that we would be able to realize our nation's goal of achieving population protection and eventually, herd immunity within the year," he added.

Meanwhile, one of the recipients of the jabs shared in an interview that he and his colleagues signed up to get inoculated.

"I am thankful for the opportunity to get vaccinated because it is free and I have a family to protect and a job to sustain during the pandemic. To Sir RSA (Ramon S. Ang) and the government, we are grateful for this chance," Lester Lazaro, quality and productivity management assistant at the San Miguel Brewery Inc., said.

In the coming days, SMC will be holding 14 other vaccination sites in Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Albay, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Isabela, Bataan, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Davao City, and Cagayan de Oro City.

The company has another vaccination site at Jose Rizal University in Mandaluyong City.

Senator Joel Villanueva, for his part, congratulated the milestone achieved in this partnership.

He likewise urged other Filipinos who are still hesitant of getting the vaccines to fear the virus, not the vaccine.

"Napakahalaga na mayroon tayong panglaban sa Covid-19. Hindi lang ito para sa ating sarili kung hindi sa ating mga mahal sa buhay. Sa ating mga kasamahan na ayaw nating mahawa. Ayaw nating maging carrier o magkasakit at this point in time. Higit sa lahat, ito ay mahalaga para sa ating bayan sapagkat kailangan na nating bumalik. Kailangan ng manumbalik yung pagtatrabaho, pagiging episyente upang makapag-contribute tayo sa economic recovery ng ating minamahal na bansa (It is vital that we have protection against Covid-19. This is not only for ourselves but to people we love, to colleagues. We do not want to be carriers of the virus, we don't want to get sick at this time. Most of all, it is important that we get back to working efficiently so we can contribute to our economic recovery)," he said. (PNA