On March 12, 2020, the World Health Organization Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. The announcement was made because of the rapid increase in the number of cases outside China over the past two weeks affecting a growing number of countries. We are facing an exceptional global health, social and economic emergency with the COVID-19 pandemic. Different sectors and industry were greatly affected by this pandemic disturbing millions of lives not only in our country, but also across the world.
This crisis has tested the extent of compassion one person or organization can give to another. It makes us ask, what does success really mean? Is it measured by how much money you have or on how much you are willing to give to the people around you? Is it having a billion worth of assets or extending million worth of help? Will you truly be happy being stable while people around you strive so hard to sustain their everyday living?
It was mid-March when President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon. This situation forced business organizations to lay off employees thus, leaving many Filipinos jobless.
It was the government’s call to stop businesses to operate and employees to report for work as preventive measure to stop the spread of the virus. With this, the government exhausted its resources to sustain its people. However, being known to all, the Philippine Government has limited resources. It cannot sustain everyone that was and is still being affected by this pandemic.
Many private businesses and individuals have had fair share in helping our kababayans to cope up with the effects of the pandemic.
In Region 2, despite the undeniable and unstoppable growth of its first billionaire cooperative, the existence of pandemic did not stop Tam-an Banaue Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TBMPC) in doing its social responsibility to the community. The cooperative does not focus only on business operations but it also gives importance in promoting the welfare of the people in the community.
Members of the cooperative are also among those affected by the pandemic causing them to worry if they will be able to put food on their table. To help them,TBMPC through their Cooperative’s Social Responsibility Office, in partnership with the office of the Vice Governor of Nueva Vizcaya came up with a project dubbed as “Tam-an Tomas Damayan.” This project was able to initially provide 1500 bags of rice to cooperative members and even non-members in several Municipal Local Government Units (LGU) including two bags of rice to several Barangay LGUs in Nueva Vizcaya. Employees of TBMPC were also affected by the pandemic. Believing that the well-being of an employee is also a responsibility of the employer, the cooperative distributed 1 bag of rice and vegetable pack to each of its more than 700 employees and officers. These 2 activities have benefited more or less 12,580 members and nonmembers, employees and officers, with a cost amounting to at least P1,740,772.00.
The cooperative continued to open its agri-supply outlet and its credit operations although on a skeleton workforce and shortened operation hours. TBMPC understands that these products and services are very essential to the members especially in this time of uncertainty. As a manifestation of concern for its employees who reports for work despite the risk of being infected by the virus, each of them were given face shields, face masks, vitamins, alcohol, thermal scanners in order to protect them against infection risks associated with their work and to prevent transmission of virus. 452 staff were benefitted in this program which costs at least P29, 373.00. Aside from the provision of personal protective equipment, disinfection of cooperative buildings, branches, agri-supply outlets, resort and school premises are done from time to time to ensure the safety of everyone. This activity costs an amount of at least P15,000.00.
With the travel restriction imposed by the government, Taman Banaue Mt. Resort is among the most affected business of the cooperative. Thinking of how this facility could help the people in the province, TBMPC took the opportunity to use their resort to accommodate front liners from the Region II Trauma and Medical Center – a COVID-19 referral hospital in the province. It is not surprising that some apartments and dormitories refuse to accommodate medical workers. Thus, Tam-an Banaue Mt. Resort accepted them and offered a place to live where they are not being judged and discriminated. From this program, 62 front liners were benefitted with a total cost of at least P601,500.00. The cooperative also conducting disinfection around the resort to ensure their safety. In addition, service vehicle is provided to them to ferry them in going to work and back to the resort.
Tam-an Banaue MPC recognizes not only the medical workers but also their employees in all branches and all other frontliners as heroes in this time of crisis. In order for these front liners to perform their duties well, Tam-an Banaue MPC allocated a total of P205,750.00 to provide 656 staff and checkpoint personnel meals and snacks to promote their overall health.
Another component of the Cooperative’s Social Responsibility is their Emergency Response Unit that provides services for the ambulance and transport services to help stranded individuals, members and non-members, in order for them to go home and be with their families. A total of 475 members and non-members beneficiaries were provided services amounting to at least P1,200,000.00.
Tam-an, just like any other business, was greatly affected by this health crisis, yet, it still extends assistance to members and non-members in the community. Success for them is not only about the billion worth of assets they have, it is about helping others so that no one will be left behind. TBMPC believes that the welfare of the community is a shared responsibility between the government and
its people. That’s why the coop selflessly shares whatever it has to help in coping up in this pandemic. With the dedication and love it shows to the community, it is not surprising that it is being blessed abundantly by the Lord, living on what it believes that when God gives to you, you give to others.