The corona virus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic was a crisis in both rich and poor countries, the Philippines included.
But, as the Philippines scrambled to manage the unprecedented global health problem, it was fortunate to have had the support and assistance of old reliable friends like the Temasek Foundation (TF) Ltd., the philanthropic arm of Temasek Holdings, the state sovereign fund of the government of Singapore.
Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis to the present, TF has donated some US$14.59 million, about PhP709 million, to shore up the Philippines’ fight against the devastating Covid-19.
From June to August 2020, Temasek Foundation donated 800 units of Yuwell Oxygen Concentrators that are used to help purify the air and produce oxygen for patients with respiratory illnesses and a number of highly valuable Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machines, life support mechanisms for patients with severe cardiac and respiratory illnesses. For ECMO to work, a plastic tube is inserted into a large vein and/or artery through the patient’s neck, chest or groin to allow his/her blood to flow out into an oxygenator or artificial lung.
In addition, the Philippines received various medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE), diagnostic tests and ribonucleic acid (RNA) extraction kits (the genetic material for the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 is encoded in RNA).
The Foundation also donated in August that year 370 units of Yuwell Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machines. A BiPAP machine is a type of ventilator used to treat chronic conditions that affect breathing. The machine has a non-invasive mechanism to deliver pressurized air through a mask to a patient’s airways for immediate breathing relief.
The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) received as well 100,000 pieces of N95 masks, which provide better protection against Covid-19 transmission, particularly the highly infectious Omicron variant, because they are designed to achieve a very close facial fit and offer very efficient filtration of airborne particles.
In the following month, the Foundation made another donation of 80 High Flow Nasal Cannula (HFNC), an oxygen supply system capable of delivering up to 100 percent humidified and heated oxygen that aids in the treatment of patients with acute respiratory failure.
An additional donation of more than two million washable face masks was made in October 2020. The masks were distributed to different local communities in the country.
Temasek Foundation also donated 36 dialysis machines for people with compromised kidneys, as well as a two-year supply of consumables. One million more disposable BYD masks, or single-use three-ply surgical masks, were donated. The Foundation collaborated with the Jollibee Group Foundation and Kabuhayan sa Ganap na Kasarinlan Credit and Savings Cooperative to provide financial subsidy, food packs and meals to medical frontliners and families in need in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Over the last 12 years, TF has supported a wide-range of programs, including education, healthcare, governance, disaster response and emergency preparedness, business leadership and international exchange to strengthen social resilience, enhance regional capabilities, advance science, protect the planet and promote sustainability.
It helps shine the spotlight on current issues that are overlooked and neglected. It also seeks to uplift the lives of overlooked individuals, families and communities in the city state of Singapore and its neighboring countries.
When the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, Temasek Foundation joined efforts of its partners to battle the health crisis, sharing solutions in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and providing support where and when it was needed. It partnered with both public and private sectors to deliver essential medical equipment and test kits to hospitals and medical facilities in Singapore and her neighbors.
The Embassy of the Philippines in Singapore firmly believes that the unprecedented amount of donations from the Temasek Foundation played a key role in the government’s successful management of the pandemic, especially at the beginning of the crisis, the most precarious stage.
TF’s generosity made a significant difference in the campaign to protect the lives of Filipinos. It supported the Philippine healthcare system and reduced the damage to the country’s economy from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
But even before the pandemic, the Temasek Foundation has already been a steady and reliable friend to the Philippines during times of need.
Following the Taal volcano eruption in 2020, Temasek Foundation donated 3,000 Air+ Smart Masks, N95-class disposable masks, and more than 300 micro-ventilators to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). It provided critical assistance in 2013 to several provinces devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), contributing SGD 50,000 worth of relief supplies, including medical, health and community kits.
Temasek has also lent a hand even when there was no emergency. Since 2010, the Foundation has been supporting the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in developing the agency’s internal capability and in improving the quality of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) graduates through three different training programs: training of trainers on pedagogy, leadership training for directors and administrators, and industry-based training for directors, administrators and industry coordinators. The initiatives resulted in the increased employability of TVET graduates.
TF also supports Philippine economic and social development through capacity-building in healthcare and food safety technology in collaboration with the DOH and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST); promotes sustainable urban development and strengthens public administration in partnership with the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); and helps improve the country’s disaster response and emergency preparedness through seismic strengthening for earthquake-prone regions, in partnership with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
Through its work, Temasek Foundation forges friendships and encourages communities to share knowledge and collaborate in developing practical solutions for a better life. As global issues and challenges grow in complexity, the Foundation believes strong partnerships will help overcome them.
TF has organized since 2007 some 500 programs with more than 49,000 direct beneficiaries and participants and a total of SGD 236 million committed funding for Asian countries alone.
Temasek’s benevolence earned it the 2019 Emergency Medical Services Honor Pin from the National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM) in Thailand. It was cited for its generous provision of 3,000 face masks and 200 micro-ventilators to public officials and community healthcare workers who had been working to assist Thais cope with the serious air pollution problem in the capital city of Bangkok and other high risk areas.
It received in 2017 the ASEAN Leadership Award on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Singapore and the Philippines, honored the Foundation for its outstanding contribution to rural or community development and poverty eradication in its home country.
TESDA presented TF its Kabalikat Award in 2014 in recognition of the Foundation’s strong support for TVET.
Temasek Foundation looks beyond geographical, racial or religious boundaries as it seeks to foster deep-rooted partnerships in the region and other parts of the world. It aspires to help create a culture of mutual assistance and interdependence among communities in Singapore and around the globe that can lead to a virtuous cycle of paying a favor forward. This collaborative spirit, it is hoped, will have a multiplier effect and lead to more efforts to uplift lives and improve society.
Temasek Foundation’s unwavering support for the Philippine government and the Filipino people attests to the strong bond of friendship between the two countries and their peoples.
In conferring the Kaanib ng Bayan Award to the Temasek Foundation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recognizes its notable and consistent charitable works and support through its programs and initiatives that uplift and better the lives of Filipinos.