MANILA - 2GO Group chairman Dennis Uy said Wednesday night he is waiving the P35-million rental fee for 2 ships that the government will use as floating quarantine facilities for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.
"As Chairman of 2GO, I have conferred with other shareholders and have given explicit instructions to waive the PhP35M expected payment from the government; and if necessary make good the said amount out of my own funds to cover for the expected expenses to operate the said ships," he said in a statement.
The Uy-led shipping and logistics firm found itself drawing flak after Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade revealed the government will rent the 2GO ships' use for P35 million.
Following comments on social media, the Davao City-based tycoon said 2Go will let the government use the ships free of charge.
"In fact, I do believe that now, more than ever, in the time of COVID-19, we as Filipinos, whether in private or in government, have to work together, jointly make the necessary sacrifice, stand together to safeguard the lives and safety of our countrymen," Uy said.
He also apologized if the issue offended others.
"Again, I apologize if this news has unduly offended some of our fellow Filipinos, so let me be clear, 2GO is providing two vessels to serve as quarantine facilities free of charge to the Filipino people. Even if the government offers to pay the PhP35M, we in 2GO, in good conscience, have no intentions of accepting their offer," he said.
In the statement, Uy clarified that the operating costs of the 2 vessels is P260 million and 2Go had no plans of accepting the government's payment offer of P35 million.
He also said he is not the sole owner and the majority shareholder of the company.
To free up overstretched hospitals for COVID-19 cases, the government has converted facilities, including ships, as quarantine centers.