Challenging is an understatement to describe the year 2020. For most of the world, life turned upside down and it remains difficult to adjust and regain footing. 

Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC) was no exception. The management remains deeply concerned about the safety of all personnel and their families, and wants to make sure everyone feels supported during this time of crisis.

 

Providing access to basic needs

The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period proved to be the hardest since mobility and access to resources were both limited.  To help ease the impact of the lockdown on staff and their families, the Company made weekly hand-outs of groceries and food packs to 124 full-time employees and 111 on-call staff throughout the ECQ period.

SBITC also made monthly grocery pack donations to front liners manning the checkpoints in Olongapo, Pampanga, and Bataan from April to May as a symbol of appreciation and respect for their hard work and sacrifice.

In addition to these measures, the Company also implemented work-from-home arrangements for qualified employees to minimize exposure to the virus and prevent the further spread of the disease.

SBITC employees with their food and grocery packs

 

Safety as the primary concern

On 17 August, all SBITC employees working at the terminal underwent real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing as part of the Company’s firm and consistent commitment to ensuring the safety and welfare of employees, clients, and all stakeholders. Employees who received a clean bill of health were allowed to continue working at the terminal, while those who needed medical support were properly isolated and given full assistance to ensure that they fully recover and are able to return to work.

SBITC also made sure all employees received their regular flu shots to further boost their immune systems.

 

Continuing the good work

As the Philippines continued to reel from the effects of the Pandemic, two strong typhoons ravaged the country last November and left hundreds of thousands of families homeless.  Losing even their most meager possessions, these people needed all the help they can get to rebuild their lives.

SBITC, in the spirit of the gift-giving and the Holiday Season, donated its budget for the annual clients’ Christmas party to Taytay Bantay and Taytay Labben–two of the barangays in Cagayan hardest hit by the typhoons.  The donation benefitted some 300 families and was coursed through the ICTSI Foundation under the name of SBITC’s shipping line partners and valued clients.

Meanwhile, other ICTSI departments have also chosen to donate their Christmas party budgets for this year to their supported causes as a way of giving back to the community and being grateful for the blessings received in 2020.

 

Celebrating small wins

For SBITC, this year isn’t all about calamities and tragedies despite the pandemic and the recent typhoons.  There have been notable wins, albeit small, as well as significant milestones that highlight 2020.

In November, the regional arm of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recognized SBITC as one of the most compliant facilities with the COVID-19 health and safety measures.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) also recommended the use of Subic as a discharge port for containers of imported livestock and raw materials, most especially during the peak season.  The DA said industry end-users can lower livestock production costs when they take advantage of benefits offered by SBITC including 10-day free storage, lower port fees, absence of truck ban, and good road connection to Manila.

Ernesto Gonzales, DA Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs, made the recommendation last 17 November, and said “We understand [with] the use of SBITC, it will make it easier for industry end-users to take advantage of the benefits that your terminal offers which will potentially lower livestock production costs.”

Despite the ECQ, which prompted the work-from-home arrangement for employees, SBITC still managed to organize several events online this year via webinars and live events.

The Company, in partnership with Romarcom and AgriLogistics Solutions, Inc., held the ECQ Learning Workshop Series: Business Continuity Plan with Focus on Logistics in May.

In June, the SBITC organized the Business Continuity Plan in Volatile Market live event followed by the Process Operations live event in July.

Last but not the least in September, SBITC conducted a mental health seminar for employees, which was headed by Dr. Myra Jane Musngi and Bryan Lee, SBITC Human Resource Head.

2020 has reminded SBITC to assess what really matters.  When the threat of the pandemic stared the Company right in the face, SBITC stood firm on its commitment to the safety and welfare of every employee more than anything else.

SBITC thanks all the employees for their commitment and dedication to the Company throughout the years and especially during the ongoing crisis. As they say in the vernacular, maraming salamat at kapit lang (thank you and keep holding on).