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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Partners in Progress: Meralco commits to support the government’s nation-building efforts

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In the aftermath of the pandemic, economies around the world continue to track towards pandemic recovery and economic growth. For a developing country like the Philippines, the collaboration between the government and members of the private sector is of key importance to make nation-building efforts sustainable and inclusive.

Mindful of this, Manila Electric Company (Meralco) as the country’s largest electric distribution utility, goes beyond its mandate of providing stable and reliable electric service to its nearly 7.7 million customers as it takes part in nation-building.

Meralco has aligned itself with the government’s goal of fostering national development and collective prosperity where, in the words of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., “no Filipino is left behind”.

Capitalizing on its resources and its 120 years of expertise in energy, the company undertakes initiatives through which the benefits extend outside its customer base, even reaching remote communities across the archipelago.

In celebration of Fire Prevention Month, Meralco unveiled its Meralco Rescue Fire Sub-station located inside its Pasig Headquarters.

Driving transformation in the transportation sector

Countries with robust economies have one major thing in common – they have excellent infrastructure and transportation systems. These play a key role in a country’s economic growth and development, attracting foreign investments as well as fostering local and regional trade and investments.

In a meeting with the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) in November last year, Meralco reaffirmed its commitment to support the agency’s infrastructure projects and initiatives.

Through its pole relocation project, Meralco ensured that electric facilities will not impede the progress of DOTr projects. Such is the case for the ongoing construction of NAIAx-EDSA Tramo Connecting Ramp and Skyway Stage 4.

The power distributor also committed to providing substantial power supply for new transportation projects such as the LRT-1 Cavite Extension Packages 2 and 3, North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Extension from Calamba to Batangas, MRT-4, MRT-7 Extension Project, LRT-2 West Extension, EDSA Greenways, and EDSA Bus Rapid Transit-Busway Concourse, just to name a few.

Apart from this, Meralco also actively assists DOTr in securing necessary permits and rights-of-way (ROW), clearances, access and authority for properties within the company’s jurisdiction. This will allow Meralco to fully facilitate related relocation projects.

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) implemented a pole relocation project to accommodate the ongoing construction of the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension project near Imelda Bridge, La Huerta, Parañaque City.

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) implemented a pole relocation project to accommodate the ongoing construction of the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension project near Imelda Bridge, La Huerta, Parañaque City.

Further cementing its commitment to supporting the government’s initiatives on transportation infrastructure development, Meralco extended assistance and expertise after a series of outages repeatedly disrupted Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s (NAIA) operations.

It can be recalled that Meralco Chairman, President and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) offered to do a complimentary and thorough electrical audit of NAIA through MServ, one of the country’s largest and leading energy service companies wholly owned by Meralco.

Ultimately, the audit is expected to help Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) devise a long-term solution that will not just put an end to the outages that have plagued the country’s main gateway and inconvenienced thousands of travelers but also greatly improve airport operations and passenger experience.

Making communities safer and more resilient

Meralco’s role as one of the largest utilities in the country also includes championing public safety.

The company is mindful of how important it is for the Philippines, as a country situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, to have an effective emergency preparedness and disaster response plan that can be readily activated. This serves as a pre-requisite in safeguarding the lives of communities within and outside its franchise area in the face of natural calamities.

Meralco has joined the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in its nationwide campaign against illegal drugs.

Among Meralco’s recent initiatives to further cement its commitment to public safety is its partnership with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP). The two entities signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in 2022 to officially join forces in strengthening emergency response capabilities within the jurisdiction of BFP-NCR.

Aligned with this partnership, Meralco officially launched its Meralco Rescue Fire Sub-station located in its Pasig City Headquarters in March 2023 in time for Fire Prevention Month.

In celebration of Fire Prevention Month, Meralco unveiled its Meralco Rescue Fire Sub-station located inside its Pasig Headquarters.

The new fire station houses the Meralco Rescue Fire Brigade and its specialized equipment such as fire trucks, water tankers, rescue tenders, and rescue boats. It also serves as a direct line of the BFP to Meralco’s System Control so that power can quickly be switched off in areas serviced by the power distributor should these be hit by fire.

Furthermore, when the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) rolled out the “PlanSmart Ready to Rebuild” web application, the company viewed it as another valuable opportunity to further support the government. The web application was developed to overhaul and modernize the country’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) planning processes.

Through its social development arm, One Meralco Foundation (OMF), the company has been actively supporting various activities associated with PlanSmart including a series of regional training sessions that are aimed at strengthening the disaster response capabilities of local government units (LGUs).

Meralco actively supports the national effort to strengthen the country’s emergency preparedness and disaster response plan through the PlanSmart web application.

Over 180 participants from 52 LGUs in Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog Region, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao who are all involved in their respective LGU’s disaster rehabilitation and recovery programs have benefited from these capacity-building activities.

Another facet of public safety that Meralco also values is keeping its workplace drug-free. Recognizing that the fight against drugs requires collective effort from all members of the society, Meralco has joined the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in its nationwide campaign against illegal drugs.

The company, together with other members of the private sector, entered a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize its participation in this movement aptly called “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan” (BIDA), a six-year advocacy program that aims to eliminate the circulation of illegal drugs in the country.

Meralco has joined the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in its nationwide campaign against illegal drugs.

For its part, Meralco committed to continuing its already existing practice of conducting random drug tests among its employees to ensure that its workplace remains safe and drug-free. The company will likewise conduct seminars to educate employees on the harmful effects of illegal drugs.

Paving the way for growth and progress

One of the pillars of Meralco’s multi-faceted sustainability agenda is Prosperity. Aligned with the government’s vision of prosperity, Meralco aims to give remote areas access to electricity so that these communities, too, can grow and prosper.

Through OMF’s electrification programs, Meralco contributes to the national goal of achieving total electrification. The company works hand in hand with LGUs across the country to bring light and hope to far-flung communities to better the quality of education and livelihood of residents.

Running since 2011, OMF’s School Electrification Program, which focuses on energizing schools located in off-grid communities, has so far benefitted 290 schools from 38 provinces across the country. To date, the program has helped a total of 89,235 students and 2,903 teachers.

Through the solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed in these schools, teachers are given access to electric service and various learning equipment. This has evidently helped them overcome challenges such as traveling for hours via boat from the school to the mainland just to print learning materials, create and submit reports, charge their personal laptops and other teaching gadgets.

Among its recent beneficiaries are the Lim Elementary School in Caluya, Antique, and the Sibolo Elementary School in Sibolo Island, which is also in Antique. OMF installed a 1-kilowatt peak solar PV system in each school for their lighting requirement and ventilation.

The energization of off-grid public schools is among the initiatives of OMF under its community electrification program, which also covers households, rural health centers, water access, and agricultural and livelihood programs.

The project also allowed 14 teachers and close to 250 students to conveniently use different learning tools such as laptops, television, printers, and other equipment.

Lim Elementary School and Sibolo Elementary School are among the seven schools in Antique to benefit from OMF’s school electrification program since it reached the province in 2015. For the past eight years, the program has so far helped over 1,200 students and 46 teachers in Antique.

Besides providing access to unserved and underserved communities in the Philippines, Meralco also actively helps in the country’s digitalization efforts to drive efficiency across different sectors of the society.

The company partnered with DILG and the Anti-Red Tape Authority in the government’s bid to streamline and automate the processes of securing business permits, licenses, and other authorizations from LGUs.

ARTA launched “Paspas Pilipinas Paspas” project, a public-private partnership in collaboration with the DILG, Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Association of Business Permits and Licensing Officers (NABPLO).

Through the program, Meralco provided 500 computer units that will be distributed to 27 LGUs to enable related offices leverage technology to empower economic recovery. The computer units are expected to help LGUs process various permits and promptly release them to different businesses in the country.

As support to the “Paspas Pilipinas Paspas” project, Meralco turned over 500 desktop computers to aid LGUs in streamlining and automating the processing of various permits.

As Meralco remains steadfast in its commitment to support the government’s efforts to propel the country towards national advancement, the company will continue to proactively seek more avenues to back the government’s current and future endeavors. Meralco aligns its vision of the country’s future with that of the government’s—a future where every Filipino is prospering.

“We remain optimistic that private sector efforts that are aligned with the Government’s will significantly help in addressing economic threats and headwinds,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

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