Lazada, one of the largest online shopping platforms in Asia, and Airbnb, an international home-sharing portal, are among the two private firms that extended help to Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Financial aid for SMEs
The e-commerce firm recently announced a P100 million cash assistance program that would benefit existing and new sellers on its platform amid the enhanced community quarantine imposed over Luzon.
The umbrella directive, in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country, halted on-site work activities and public transport services. It is set to end on April 30.
Strict border control and quarantine pass policies were also implemented throughout the region.
The lockdown affected the livelihood of thousands of Filipino workers, including online merchants on social media or e-commerce websites such as Lazada.
To help its affected sellers, Lazada announced a financial initiative called “Lazada Bounce Back Together” wherein an incentive package worth P100 million in total can be provided to help their online businesses cope with the health crisis.
“Helping businesses thrive and succeed is at the heart of what we do at Lazada. We are future-proofing our Filipino SMEs (small-medium enterprises) with our Lazada Bounce Back Together program. Many businesses have been affected by the current situation, and we hope our platform can be a positive stepping stone to help business owners bounce back,” said Ray Alimurung, Lazada Philippines Chief Executive Officer.
Of the P100-million worth package, the company would offer up to P20,000 worth of peso-equivalent incentives. This amount can be used to help sellers with basic online shop activities such as store setup, customer services, adding new products and the use of live video streams to market their products.
Benefits for its current merchants include adjusted shipping fees, financial boost, waived payment fees and a packaging subsidy.
New sellers, meanwhile, can benefit from a zero percent commission on marketplace sales and access into Lazada’s wide customer base.
Lazada also offers Lazada University, the company’s own educational resource, to help these small-to-medium business owners grow their online stores while dealing with the health crisis.
To avail of these, Filipinos should apply for eligibility first through the link http://lazada.com.ph/sell-on-lazada.
Lazada targets to help over 10,000 sellers, particularly entrepreneurs who sell fresh and frozen foods, ready-to-eat snacks, and medical supplies, items which are in-demand during the duration of the quarantine and after.
“Besides bringing about business continuity, the camaraderie built by Lazada’s seller group community has also far-reaching impact with current initiatives and programs to give back to medical frontliners via donation drives for PPEs that will be distributed directly to partner hospitals,” the company said.
Housing for frontliners
Airbnb, a popular online platform for booking real estate, similarly launched an initiative called Frontline Stays to help health care workers and first responders in affected countries be provided with places to stay during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Philippines, Airbnb partnered with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), the country’s major private sector vehicle and coordinator for disaster risk reduction and management, to provide housing to 100,000 responders in the country.
The PDRF, in collaboration with hospitals such as St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City, the Medical City, and Makati Medical Center, will help the private company identify health workers in immediate need of temporary housing.
Hosts or owners of the listings that would be booked, in turn, can avail of Airbnb’s Open Homes platform, which was created in 2012 to provide emergency housing for free. They will also receive a cleaning subsidy for each stay.
Airbnb promised to waive all fees for the first 100,000 health workers who will book the program, which is expected to start this month.
Mike Orgill, General Manager (Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan) of Airbnb, shared that they were inspired by the Filipinos who reached out to them during the early days of the quarantine.
“We’ve been inspired by the Bayanihan spirit of Filipino hosts and nonprofits who have reached out to us seeking ways to support frontliners. In light of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, we’re glad to be working closely with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation to do what we can collectively to provide a comforting home to our local heroes who are putting themselves at risk for us every day,” Orgill said.