Nine months since it implemented a “no toll fees” policy for medical front liners at all its operating expressways, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) reported that its waived toll fees for the country’s heroes against the COVID-19 pandemic, has reached over P138 million as of December 20.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said that the program, which has continued non-stop since March, when the country was first placed under lockdown, remains in place because it is the company’s way of honoring and showing gratitude for front liners.
“It has been nine months since we started this program. And while our situation these days may be a little different since we have less restrictions, make no mistake: We are still in a pandemic, and our medical practitioners have not stopped fighting. They are still battling COVID-19 and sacrificing so much to save lives. That is why we have also not stopped showing our appreciation for them” Ang said.
“This privilege will still extend indefinitely. This year has been quite difficult for our country, and for all of us Filipinos. Through it all, our front liners have worked tirelessly and selflessly to save lives and help contain this virus. This Christmas season especially, let us be reminded that they are a gift and a blessing to all of us,” he added.
According to data from SMC Infrastructure, a total of 10,402 medical front liners, including doctors, nurses, and laboratory technicians, among others, continue to enjoy the special privilege.
All have been given special toll-free RFID tags that allow them to pass any of SMC’s expressways for free.
The total P138,213,619 in free toll fees is broken down into: P67,334,728 from the Skyway system, P55,898,294 from SLEX, P6,212,260 from the NAIAX, P5,868,992 from STAR, and P2,899,345 from TPLEX.
“We are glad that every day for the past nine months, when our medical front liners go through our toll plazas, whether at STAR, SLEX, Skyway, NAIAX, or TPLEX, they can be reminded of our gratitude for their efforts and sacrifices,” Ang added.
Aside from providing free toll for medical front liners, SMC subsidiaries SMC Infrastructure and Petron Corporation have also provided free fuels for various shuttle service programs initiated by the government for medical workers.
Throughout the height of the health crisis, SMC had emerged as among the top contributors to pandemic-related efforts, with its total COVID-19 relief package reaching over P13 billion.
This includes donations of much-needed medical equipment such as PCR testing machines, PCR testing kits, respiratory machines, medical-grade personal protective equipment, and testing booths, among others. It also built temporary isolation facilities nationwide.
Also part of its response package is the largest food donation effort by the company thus far, which benefitted underprivileged communities nationwide, as well as thousands of locally-stranded individuals.