Facing a pervasive crisis that has immobilized millions and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, one can be so overwhelmed by a sharp sense of uncertainty – even mortality — that one may just sink into resignation – and inaction.
It is to the credit to human resilience that, instead of yielding one’s fate to an unseen enemy, people and organizations have chosen to act – and act they did.
A Call to Action. Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) is one firm which acted promptly. MPTC President and CEO Rodrigo Franco issued a company-wide call for collective action: “In times like this, we realize that we are all part of a broader global community whose welfare will depend on how we will work together: We must do our share.”
MPTC knows where its collective heart is: It is with the people who found themselves jobless, hungry, vulnerable to disease — and simply almost hopeless.
With a clear mind on its priorities, MPTC worked through some uncharted pathways for action. After all, no organization had prepared for a pandemic with unsettling results – hospitalizing thousands, rising number of fatalities, hopeful statistics on recoveries, widespread hunger, mounting public anger, and the ill prospects of social unrest.
“We definitely needed to improve and re-calibrate our strategies,” adds Franco.
Support for MPTC Staff. MPTC is focused on three pillars. Its first pillar — priority — is its people. Mr. Franco’s first agenda item is to assure job security for every staff member, and he did. Due to imposed lockdown and social distancing, MPTC shifted to a work-from-home policy.
MPTC has activated tele-consultation services to deal with employees’ physical or psycho-social concerns, considering the unsettling effects of the pandemic. MPTC has caused a steady stream of important pieces of information, health advisories, and coping how-tos.
Customer Focus. Under the second pillar, MPTC has assured its customers of seamless travel in all its tollways, a commitment and standard of service of MPTC from the very start. MPTC has reached out to vulnerable communities living alongside its tollways. It has expanded its food relief program to at least 220 barangays within the tollways’ reach. Outside Philippine shores, MPTC has extended the same benefits to the communities of its Indonesian partner, Nusantara Infrastructure of Jakarta, in the form of life essentials and hygiene packages.
In light of the pandemic, operational adjustments were made to make the expressways hygienic aside from being safe, to build confidence among motorists and riders that their safety and well-being are most important to MPTC. Measures included regular disinfection of expressway facilities, maximized use of electronic payments for toll booth transactions, and the provision of masks and PPEs to the front liners.
Also, notwithstanding significant revenue loss, MPTC waived toll fees for heath care workers who are using any of its Luzon expressways. Wherever needed, MPTC provided a shuttle service for the healthcare workers. These actions have spared the frontliners from undue delay and inconveniences. Its expressway operations have also maintained the seamless flow of essential commodities that should reach households.
The firm’s relief efforts have reached the Visayan region, where MPTC is completing the construction of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway. MPTC has provided financial assistance and accelerated livelihood programs for the fisherfolk communities in the area.
Work with Government. Ever watchful where MPTC is still needed. Only a few weeks ago, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) mentioned the need for hospital beds for a new quarantine facility in the Forum Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
MPTC promptly donated 350 hospital beds enabling DPWH to beat its deadline to have the quarantine facility within first half of April. MPTC’s business units donated relief goods, such as CCLEX’s hundreds of sacks of rice, to the local government units to augment their help to their constituents.
Service ‘Defines Us’. Solidarity has been achieved by MPTC people and its business units – NLEX Corp., MPT South Corp., Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway Corp, Nusantara Infrastructure in Jakarta, and CII Bridges & Roads in Vietnam. Such impulse and service orientation to support people has conferred a sort of new identity to the workforce.
“What defines us in these times is the positive attitude we are taking,” recounts MPTC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, manifested in selfless service.
Cultivating a corporate culture that revolves around its concern for others and commitment to service has expanded its people’s connections and enabled them to grow stronger roots wherever they are.
MPTC is part of the MVP Group which has other major corporations, and they are also in the midst of philanthropic, social welfare and social action programs: a chain of hospitals, a water supply firm, railway transit, power distribution, telecommunications, mining, and logistics. No doubt, the MVP Group’s corporate purpose is inextricably linked with the broader purpose of this country and in its people.
The statement of Chairman Manuel Pangilinan acquires more meaning as we consider the scale, depth and breadth of the organization’s involvements – and our resolute response to uphold our country and people.
“You have steady hands on the tiller, and the ship itself is sturdy,” Chairman Pangilinan confidently declares. “I hope that years from today, we can all look back to this experience and be proud of ourselves. You are bearers of torches that have given light to the dark corners of our country.” (Edgard Hilario)