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Davao City, Philippines

SMC waives close to P200M in toll fees for medical frontliners

March 19, 2021 - Friday 6:03 PM by PNA

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MANILA – One year since the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) global pandemic hit the country, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has waived PHP190.7 million worth of toll fees for medical front-liners passing through expressways it operates. 

SMC, which operates the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the Skyway system, including the newly opened Skyway Stage 3; NAIA Expressway, and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, is the only toll operator in the country that continues to implement “no toll fees” policy in support of Covid-19 medical frontliners.

A total of 10,402 Covid-19 medical frontliners --including doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, and other medical workers-- currently benefit from the program, first announced by SMC at the start of the lockdown last year. Signups for the program continued for six months and were closed last September. 

“One year on and the fight against Covid-19 continues. In fact, with this recent surge in cases, our medical front-liners are again facing a difficult challenge, and their lives are again at higher risk,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said in a statement Friday.

Ang said they are grateful to these frontliners, and the company is proud it has continued to help and provided them this privilege of free toll fees for already a year. 

“We hope that at least, it has lightened their burden and that everyday they go to work, they are reminded of how San Miguel and the whole country are grateful for their sacrifices,” he added.

The free toll privilege was among numerous efforts by SMC to help the medical sector last year. These included donations of PCR testing machines and testing kits, fully-automated RNA extraction machines, high-flow cannula respiratory machines, temporary quarantine facilities, life insurance for frontliners, personal protective equipment, disinfecting alcohol, and free fuel for shuttle services. 

Since the pandemic, SMC has also put in place many measures to take care of its own employees to help unburden the medical system. 

These include the strict implementation of health protocols and limited workplace hours, regular testing of employees through its own RT-PCR laboratory, and recently, it was setting aside PHP1 billion to purchase vaccines for its 70,000-strong workforce.  

“While we wait for the life-saving vaccines to arrive for the rest of the population in the coming months, we need to be very vigilant in protecting ourselves and preventing an even bigger surge in cases,” Ang appealed to the public.