Regulations key to creating 'sustainable', 'exciting' healthcare sector: Ayala CEO

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 16 2020 01:37 PM

Jaime Zobel De Ayala speaks during the Ayala Corporation Annual Stockholders meeting held at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati on April 26, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the need for more regulations that would shape an "exciting" healthcare environment in the country to encourage more investments, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said Thursday. 

One of the key responses to the COVID-19 spread is increasing the total health capacity in the country and keeping medical professionals in the country. 

The executive was asked by Isabela 1st District Rep. Antonio "Tonypet" Albano on how the legislative branch could help the private sector during the crisis.

"The health side, we really have to find ways to encourage I think, more investment in that area. What this crisis has shown is the need for extensive healthcare facilities is going to be higher than we ever predicted. There has to be far more engagement in that sector," Ayala Corp chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said during a House Committee on Economic Affairs virtual meeting.

"We need to find ways to create an atmosphere to keep our nurses and doctors in the country... I think people should go where they want to in the world but we should create an atmosphere that this is an exciting place to build a healthcare practice," Zobel said.

Ayala Corp, whose interests include telecommunications, real estate and banking, is also pushing for regulations to enhance the country's digital transformation.

Digital infrastructure would be helpful for education in the new normal, where virtual engagement is encouraged, Zobel said.

"A way of virtually engaging these students, they need capital, they need support and they need new ways of interacting not just the hardware," he said.

Putting the national ID in place is a "key catalyst" to enhance financial inclusivity in the country, he said. 

PANDEMIC RESPONSE

The private sector earlier ramped up their pandemic response while the government realigns budgets, Zobel said. Their efforts, including Project Ugnayan and TaskForce T3, has helped increase testing capacity and prevented more infections, he said. 

Conglomerates helped build isolation facilities, testing laboratories, funded equipment and medical supplies, among others.

People view the Covid-19 testing booths provided by the Ayala Corporation at the Enderun College facilities at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig City on May 06, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

With the help of the private sector, the country's testing capacity rose 17 times to 80,000 in July 12 from 4,500 in April 24, he said. The goal is to reach 1 million testing capacity this month, he said. 

Ayala's AC Health will open more testing lab to further increase capacity, Zobel said. 

Zobel said both the government and private companies have a role to play in restoring consumer confidence, in order to boost the country's pandemic recovery.