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Virtualanihan: Impact of COVID-19 to businesses in The Philippines: Round table discussion by Virtualahan

Virtualanihan is a program by Virtualahan where they share their initiatives in response to COVID-19. For 5 weeks, they gather experts where they will be sharing their knowledge and experience in working from home, online outsourcing, well-being, and many more.

They joined forces with a panel of business leaders from various industries sharing insights and navigating the common question: How can we effectively manage the impact of COVID-19 to businesses in The Philippines?

Discussing the challenges and best practices where chief executives and HR heads are currently doing to survive and thrive in times of crisis. Learning how they contribute towards improving the lives of Filipinos as they deal with the impact of this pandemic. 

Discussions revolve around crisis management, difficult decisions, employee welfare, innovation, and the mental health of business leaders. 

Moderated by Ryan Gersava, Founder & President of Virtualahan and Angelo Valdez, Managing Director of Morgan Philips Philippines and Founder of They were joined by Amor Villalon, HR SVP of SM Investment, Steve Sy, Chairman of Great Deals Ecommerce Corp., Paul Harris, CEO of ClinkIT Solutions, Andrei Palamariu, Regional Director Executive Search Of Alcott Global, Pierre Monserrate, Managing Director of tHRive Consulting Group, Jesús Diaz-Sarabia, CEO of Snapmart /, Kyler Tan, Regional HR Manager of Alcott Global, Alfred Cardenas, CEO of Jungle, Michael Godinez, Chief People Officer of RAFI, and Ronaldo Turla, Professional HR Speaker, HR Consultant, and Filipino Author.


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According to  Amor Villalon, during a crisis, the key stakeholders are the employees since they belong in a labor-intensive industry. Transitioning to “high-touch” to “low-touch” in terms of operation. They also shifted from being product-focused to being solutions focused. 

Ronaldo Turla said in terms of strategies, when the lockdown continues for a longer period, employers should accelerate to smarter work in terms of working from home, mitigating people-risk which is looking after the people’s well-being, and workforce flexibility. 

For Andrei Palamariu, since a lot of companies are forced to lay off their people, employers must make their people feel safe. Leaders of the company should have solutions to help their people stating examples like cutting off the salary of the heads of the company and redistributing it to their employees and relocation. Kyler Tan said that a lot of companies are shifting to being digital and partnering with tech-companies where they are helping each other for them to continue operating. 

Jesús Diaz-Sarabia said that e-commerce is in demand during these times. This is not a business opportunity, but an opportunity to help the community. For them to operate during this time of crisis, making sure that the people are taken care of is important and listening to the people to know their needs. 

Same goes with Steve Sy, where he stated that shopping online is the most convenient way to get essentials during this time. The accelerated increase in the volume of orders was overwhelming, they thought of a solution in making sure that the customers are being accommodated without sacrificing the wellbeing of the employees. He also stated that more business owners are wanting to explore e-commerce and this is the right time to pivot to think of revenue-generating activities for a company to be sustainable.

For Paul Harris, working from home is not new in their business culture. Regardless, putting the well being of the people is a priority. He also stated that hiring the right people is vital for operating especially during this time of crisis for the business to continue. 

Pierre Monserrate stated that business owners should lean into the thought of making plans how the business will survive. Understanding how the crisis is impacting the business and what are the changes that should be made in terms of working and improving the flow of expenses and operation. 

In terms of the decision-making process, Alfred Cardenas said that since their company is focused more on the wants and not the needs of people, they thought of a solution for their company to continue growing and also helping the community without compromise.

For Michael Godinez, helping during a disaster is not new for them but a pandemic is different since they are also risking their people. Their culture has always been helping and giving back to the community. Most of their employees volunteered to help out during this time of crisis. He said that they provided solutions for their employees for them to be taken care off. 

The panelists also shared their insights and reflections  during this time of crisis. 

To watch the webinar:[0]=68.ARB4T65IyuAzCnrWc6ZkWy7MdDIfldR9DRkttqNYeIqrwtXDyxdRwCa5R-BEMcApcy8WGlb_QZBZT5HroaoV5lqUt6bDTUm3B_tBbBwnRHb_bentPEiXKdYaCZYtjOlU4bI7T5Ix4PPibn4t_jj-xihjLpNTgm0aUUml0bUWHWH0AL3Fby9ZM7mQtwAX2Xa49sHfkC0Rr39g18ln9A7TWuN2JBeC_jDfs1bbBIkkgyk_2ip-ez0M5BxZNbRd9RQ8R1iUWhA8Opowfr82nZRLcx3klSzI3neTK67LX1l7sBaETtn1P0Zv5H_uhO9K2gj0WsAbBAFSigkKS_M3qL_a