The year 2020 will be remembered for the turbulence caused when a pandemic swept through the world, fundamentally changing people’s way of life, presenting unprecedented challenges to governments worldwide, and forcing businesses to reflect and adapt in order to survive. With this in mind, the Asia Business Council and the Tanoto Center for Asian Family Business and Entrepreneurship Studies at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) embarked on a six-month research project to analyze how Asia Business Council member companies have responded to the pandemic in strategic, innovative, or impactful ways.

Ayala Corp is one of the oldest conglomerates in the Philippines with a history of supporting the wider community in difficult times. The company realized many years ago that it could be more effective during crisis situations by engaging a network of companies to coordinate relief efforts. In 2009, it helped establish the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), known today as the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, a consortium of some of the largest private-sector corporations and NGOs in the nation.

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, Ayala stepped in to help the broader community through Project Ugnayan, which provided unconditional emergency cash transfers to economically vulnerable families.  Ayala also played a major role in Task Force T3, a partnership to enable the testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19 patients. Indeed, Ayala’s efforts supported the government’s response by bringing together the major actors in the private sector and civil society.