Amid the lowering of the alert level for Taal Volcano, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said that many families are still displaced and various areas in Batangas and Cavite continue to need help. As such, the company said its “free toll” assistance for motorists delivering relief goods, is still in effect on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR).
“For now, it seems we got a reprieve from the Taal volcano; the alert level is down. Still, we all need to be vigilant, especially our countrymen who live close to the area. At the same time, many families still need our help, and that is why the free toll assistance for relief vehicles is still in effect,” said SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang.
As of January 29, a total of 14,309 free single-exit passes were issued on both SLEX and STAR, indicating the huge turnout of vehicles delivering relief goods to various affected areas.
“There were 12,967 Class 1 or private vehicles, 1,173 Class 2 vehicles or light trucks and buses, and 169 Class 3 vehicles, or big trucks, that passed the expressways for free. It is heartwarming to see so many ordinary citizens doing their part to help our countrymen in need. We want to encourage people to continue doing so, and we are proud to help them in our own way,” he added.
SMC’s own relief efforts also continue, according to Ang. Earlier, the company donated over P23 million in the form of hot meals, drinking water, grocery items, face masks, blankets, sleeping mats, and clothing to the Taal relief effort.
It organized daily soup kitchens which benefited around 6,000 evacuees in different areas. More recently, it conducted feeding operations in Nasugbu, Batangas for over 2,000 evacuees from Lemery and Laurel towns.
Meanwhile, motorists carrying relief goods can avail of their free single exit pass at various relief inspection sites. For SLEX southbound: Petron Silangan/KM 44, Mayapa entry, Batino entry, Calamba/Real entry. For STAR southbound, Sto. Tomas entry. For STAR northbound: all entry locations–Batangas, Ibaan, Lipa, Toribio, Malvar, and Tanauan.