Universal Robina Corp (URC) has begun vaccinating its workforce, as it pursues its role in keeping the Philippines’ food supply chain robust amid a still lingering Covid-19 pandemic.
URC, one of the Philippines’ largest food and beverage firms, is aiming to have 70% of its more than 33,000 workers fully inoculated end of 2021.
Some 88 to 90% of the workforce at URC Sugar and Renewables’ mills and distillery at its sugar mill SONEDCO and La Carlota Sugar Mill and Distillery located in Kabankalan City and La Carlota City, Negros Occidental were inoculated through COVID Protect, the Gokongwei Group’s vaccination program on July 30 and 31, Aug 1 and 2, in time for the new milling season this August, 2021.
In attendance during the vaccination at La Carlota Sugar Mill and Distillery were La Carlota City Mayor Dr. Rex Jalandoon, Roberto S. Benedicto (RSB) Barangay Chairman Hon. Elmar Aries, RSB Barangay Council members and health workers, and representatives of the Public Information Office (PIO) in La Carlota City.
The vaccination rollout at SONEDCO was attended by Kabankalan City Mayor Pedro Zayco, Camugao Barangay Captain Josephine Talatala, Head of City Health Dr. Abet Junto and Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Head Judson Cabalatungan.
SONEDCO and La Carlota have a combined milling capacity 26,000 tons of sugarcanes per day that URC uses for its juices, biscuits, candies and other sweetened products. Robinsons supermarkets sells its repacked raw and refined sugar under the Presyong Risonable Dapat (PRD). It also supplies sugar to major F&B brands and other industrial users.
URC La Carlota has an integrated sugar mill and bio-ethanol distillery complex that produces bio-ethanol fuel products from sugarcane.
URC recently diversified into pharmaceutical-grade rubbing alcohol to support the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
URC said its vaccine rollout will soon span its other workforce in Metro Manila and across the Philippines throughout its network of factories, mills, distilleries, and distribution and logistics hubs.
Most of the company’s workforce are considered as “essential workers” for their role in ensuring food security for a population still coping with various quarantine restrictions to keep the coronavirus in check.
“URC, along with its offices outside the Philippines, strongly support the fight against the pandemic,” said Irwin Lee, president & CEO of URC. “This effort is in line with our parent company’s (JG Summit Holdings, Inc.) thrust to help the government with its vaccine rollout, as well as to aid the country in achieving herd immunity.”
URC workers were among the Gokongwei Group employees belonging to priority categories, who were able to avail of the LGU-initiated vaccination roll-outs happening in Robinsons Malls across the country.
In an earlier statement, JG Summit Holdings, Inc. president & CEO Lance Gokongwei said that the safety of their people translates to the safety of the general public. “We believe that our people are our most valuable asset, as they are the lifeblood of our organization, and we recognize that health and safety is a primary concern.”
Through budget carrier Cebu Pacific, the conglomerate has helped transport some 16.5 million vaccine doses from China to Manila. The airline has also ferried more than 5.5 million jabs across the country.
Thirty Robinsons Malls, meanwhile, have teamed up with local government units to provide safe and comfortable vaccination sites.
“We highly anticipate and very much look forward to the arrival of our vaccines as this will provide us with an added layer of protection against the virus that is so vital for our economic recovery,” said Gokongwei.