2021 virtual Resilience Summit Series: PLDT leads business continuity efforts amid pandemic

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way organizations operate—from mobilizing resources containing the virus to managing the socio-economic fallout. These challenges have touched a cardinal principle of public service – operational continuity and the delivery of mission-essential functions.

For the Philippines’ largest integrated telco PLDT, business continuity efforts meant prioritizing employee protection through a work-from-home mandate and having critical facilities during lockdowns to ensure continuous operations. It also meant securing the support of the company’s leadership, reviewing strategic plans on disaster preparedness and recovery efforts, and ensuring interoperability between business units. 

In a move to strengthen further business continuity during the pandemic, PLDT recently launched its nationwide 2021 virtual Resilience Summit Series, providing detailed employee training on disaster/crisis response protocols. 

“Even during the pandemic where everyone is busy coping and adjusting to the new normal, the company has taken the initiative, through this program, to ensure that it is likewise prepared for the occurrence of other disasters and emergencies that would result to compounding risks,” said Atty. Oliver Carlos G. Odulio, VP and Head of Enterprise Business Continuity and Resilience. 

PLDT has since developed strong disaster preparedness and response mechanisms, reviewing and ensuring the plans are still responsive to the situation, given the immense disruption caused by the pandemic. 

“Over and above the review and update of its resiliency plans against various disasters and emergencies, a critical factor for an effective disaster contingency plan is to ensure that its employees, specifically those who act as its first responders, are given appropriate knowledge and training on how to best respond to such disasters and crises, so that they are empowered to act in a decisive, synergized and timely manner,” Atty. Odulio said.

PLDT has since propagated its learnings to local government units (LGUs), as part of the Public Service Continuity Planning (PSCP) mentorship program. PSCP recently conducted a web forum, highlighting PLDT’s business continuity plan as among the most resilient during the pandemic.

Speaking before an audience composed of representatives from various LGUs, PLDT Business Continuity Tactical Response Engineering Head Miguel Angelo E. Gutierrez shared insights on how the company responded in prioritizing employee protection, including a work-from-home mandate whenever possible. He also provided LGUs and agencies some practical tips on how to implement their respective continuing planning.

“In as much as it is important for companies to be able to continue operations during this crisis situation, it is equally, if not more important for LGUs and government agencies to be able to continue their services to the Filipino people – thus highlighting the importance of having their respective PSCPs. We take part in the PSCP mentorship program not only to show support to PDRF, but to promote our advocacy of business continuity while ensuring there are plans in place to ensure continuous services of LGUs, government agencies, and even hospitals,” said Gutierrez. 

The PSCP mentorship program was launched shortly after the PSCP Guidebook was released last year, led by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF)—in partnership with the Office of Civil Defense, and with the support of USAID-Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and New Zealand Aid. The mentorship program helped government partners complete and implement their respective public service continuity plans and management systems.

In 2016, PLDT won the UPS International Disaster Relief Award at Business in the Community’s Annual Responsible Business Gala in London, the most prestigious and respected in championing responsible businesses in the UK and around the world. It is run by The Prince of Wales’s charity Business in the Community (BITC), celebrating the innovative ways that businesses are making a sustained difference and transforming communities. 

PLDT’s award-winning business continuity framework underscores the company’s commitment to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly the 9th UN SDG on Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, through building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation.