San Miguel's P1B for rehab
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - August 17, 2016 - 12:00am

There is no other business taipan today who can claim more moral authority on corporate social responsibility in this country than Mr. Ramon Ang (and that means DandingCojuangco) of San Miguel Corporation.

The SMC donation to the government is completely unprecedented and unequalled by any other conglomerates in the Philippines. Although the usual cynics were quick to interject that such donation was really a clever tax avoidance mechanism, the 30 percent of that donation being legally tax deductible, the fact remains that no one else has ever given such a huge amount in the Philippines.

It was also a serious political statement to the effect that the SMC group is all-out in standing behind the president in his fight against drugs. The more naughty commentators also would be inclined to opine that donating one billion pesos for rehab is an oblique admonition on the police and the military under the current administration, implying that government should rehabilitate drug users and not exterminate them by the power of the gun.

Whatever it is, and regardless of the reason behind, one billion is one billion and no other company, no other businessman has ever done that.

And so, the next question that is begging to be asked is that why are other corporate citizens like that of the Gokongweis silent and not donating to the tune of one billion too?

How about Mr.Lucio Tan with his PAL, PNB and Asia Brewery? Will they continue to remain silent and uninvolved while the whole nation is being threatened by the drug menace?

They have earned their wealth from the patronage of the whole nation. Isn't it high time to give back a billion, too?

And how about Henry Sy, the country's richest man and his daughter Tessie Coson, employer of many female storekeepers in SM, in BDO and in all the smaller stores that are mushrooming in different parts of the country? They have malls in almost every two or three kilometers. They are causing horrendous traffic in EDSA, in Sucat, in Bicutan and in almost all major thoroughfares.

These corporate citizens may pay their social debts on top of taxes. One billion is too pittance for all the profits they have generated from the poor consumers and workers all these years. It is time for them to pay forward, backward, sideward and upward.

And what about Manny V.Pangilinan of Meralco, Smart, PLDT, Maynilad, Channel 5, and almost all hospitals, not to mention Philex Mines, (calling Secretary Gina Lopez) among others. And Manny Villar, the Aboitiz Family, The Gaisanos, the Limketkais, the Tys, the Ayalas and the many other bankers, mining moguls, manufacturers, and transportation magnates, sugar barons, the barons, and even the rich Catholic Church and Iglesia Ni Kristo?

Even Manny Pacqquiao can donate one billion for drug rehabilitation. If we can have at least one thousand rich people donating a billion each, the police need not and should not eliminate drug addicts.

What matters most is that there will be enough money for rehabilitation.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com.

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