San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is spending close to a billion pesos for a program to vaccinate all its 70,000 employees and extended workforce for free and help the country in its effort to build a collective defense against COVID-19, which has claimed millions of lives worldwide.

The company has secured COVID-19 vaccine doses from various sources and is currently laying the groundwork for its COVID-19 vaccination strategy, through its “Ligtas Lahat” task force in coordination with relevant government agencies.

“Our program is in line with our core value of malasakit and aims to create a safe and healthy workplace so that we can further contribute to our country’s economic recovery,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang, said.

The vaccines will be administered to employees on a voluntary basis but Ang hopes that all eligible employees will sign up to be inoculated when the vaccine becomes available.

 “It is our civic duty and our best chance at protecting ourselves and those we love. It is the best thing we can do today to help contain this pandemic, protect the vulnerable, and help speed up economic recovery,” he said, adding that the business sector will play an important role in vaccinating enough people to reach herd immunity.

He added that SMC will use vaccines that have complied with rigorous safety protocols and are authorized for emergency use by the Philippine Food and Drug Association (FDA). Ang said that until the vaccine is widely available, the company will continue to strictly follow public health measures—wearing masks, physical distancing and good hygiene—to protect its workforce and minimize the spread of the virus.