UA&P partners with Mercury Drug Corporation

UA&P proudly recognizes the invaluable contribution of Mercury Drug Corporation (MDC) to the University with its recent donation to the Dr. Placido L. Mapa, Jr. Scholarship Endowment. With this donation, MDC becomes the first Platinum Donor to the scholarship endowment. 

Dr. Placido L. Mapa, Jr. Scholarship Endowment 

In 2022, UA&P launched the Dr. Placido L. Mapa, Jr. Scholarship Endowment. The scholarship grant is available to all incoming college and junior college students with a high school average of at least 90%, possess exemplary leadership credentials, and show potential to be trailblazers and catalysts for change in the community. Scholarship grantees will be given 100% coverage of tuition and miscellaneous fees, a monthly stipend of P8,000, an internet allowance of P1,000/month, a laptop, and one-on-one mentorship with a member of the UA&P Board of Trustees (BOT).

The scholarship endowment was established in honor of Dr. Placido L. Mapa, Jr., the one and only Chairman of the Center for Research and Communication (CRC) and its successor institution, UA&P, until his demise on May 5, 2019, at the age of 86. An advocate of quality education, he was founding Chairman of the Parents for Education Foundation, Inc. (PAREF). He was an accomplished economist and institution builder, having served, among others, as the second head of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA); governor of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP); Alternate Executive Director for the Philippines of the International Monetary Fund; President of the Philippines Economic Society (PES); and Chairman of the Board and President of Metrobank. 

MDC’s generous contribution to the Dr. Placido L. Mapa, Jr. Scholarship Endowment will give the University’s scholarship efforts a fresh boost. It will also further solidify MDC’s endeavor to support highly deserving Filipino youth in their studies. 

Mariano and Estelita de Jesus Que Professorial Chair on Family & Youth Education 

MDC’s immense support to UA&P began in 2013 with the establishment of the Mariano and Estelita de Jesus Que Professorial Chair on Family & Youth Education, with UA&P BOT member and Associate Professor Dr. Antonio N. Torralba as its first and current chair holder. Through the professorial chair named after the founders of Mercury Drug, UA&P has been able to pursue its mission to promote youth character education and undertake family and youth research studies. Since its establishment, the professorial chair has reached more than 20,000 beneficiaries (i.e., students, parents, teachers, administrators from public and private high schools and universities, local government officials and employees, etc.) to whom various classes, seminars, workshops, and other interventions to promote youth and family development were conducted.

MDC President Vivian Que-Azcona and Dr. Antonio Torralba, Professorial Chair Ceremony in 2015
MDC President Vivian Que-Azcona and Dr. Antonio Torralba, Professorial Chair Ceremony in 2015

Among the flagship programs of the professorial chair, held in collaboration with other foundations and corporations, are the following: character building, personal development, and leadership training among public grade school and high school students; family and youth applied research; parent and teacher development series; summits for LGUs, school principals, and PTA federations; preservation and enrichment of cultural heritage of the country and select provinces; and sharpening of mentoring and coaching skills of junior and senior mentors for public school teachers and students. 

The enduring partnership between MDC and UA&P isrooted in their conviction that “a university fulfills its role best when it forms individuals who are professionally competent, creative and enterprising, zealous for the common good, and capable of making free and morally upright choices, and who can thus act as positive agents of change in service to society” (UA&P Credo). This ideal is the rationale behind MDC’s unwavering support to UA&P and is palpable in the very history, development, and projects of MDC.

Mercury Drug Corporation 

MDC began through the entrepreneurial efforts of Mariano Que who, in 1945, had the goal of providing affordable pharmaceutical products to the people. With only P100, Mariano purchased sulfathiazole, once believed to be a ‘wonder drug’. He proceeded to individually resell (tingi-tingi) the sulfathiazole and continued until he was able to open his first store on 1 March 1945 at Bambang St., Manila. Mr. Mariano Que would eventually be named by the Philippine Retail Association as the “Father of Philippine Health and Wellness Retailing”.

Throughout its decades of service, the company has steadfastly remained committed to its responsibility of providing affordable medicines and convenient services to the public. As of 2022, MDC has more than 1,200 stores nationwide and employs over 15,000 workers.

MDC President Vivian Que-Azcona with son, Steven Q. Azcona, graduate of UA&P’s Entrepreneurial Management Program, now Assistant to the MDC President

Total customer experience 

As a business, MDC has proven its ability to provide excellent customer services. This is attested by the numerous industry and business awards it has received through the years: Platinum Most Trusted Brand Award, Pharmacy/Drugstore Category, Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands Survey, 2016-2022; Gold Quality Service Award, Pharmacy Category, Reader’s Digest, 2020-2021; Most Trusted Pharmacy Chain in Asia, 2018; Best-of-the-Best Award – Top 500 Award, 2014-2015, 2017; Most Recognizable Local Brand, Silver Award, 2016; Customer Service Excellence Award, FAPRA, 2015; Top 3 Ranking, Top 10 Retailers Category by Economy, 2015. 

The success of MDC can be attributed not only to its excellent customer service but also to its ability to innovate and provide easier and more convenient means of delivering their products, which allowed MDC to thrive and flourish through rapidly changing times. Customer convenience has always been one of the core tenets of the Mercury brand. As early as 1963, MDC introduced self-service in its first store in Makati City. A mere two years later, in 1965, MDC introduced “Gising 24 Oras”, a 24-hour service which allows customers to purchase much-needed medication at any time of the day. In 1999, MDC launched its “Gamot Padala” Order Online. Today, “Gamot Padala” offers customers six (6) hassle-free service options: (1) Order Online, (2) Call Order Pickup, (3) Call Order Delivery, (4) Order Anywhere Pick-up Anywhere, (5) Curbside Pick-Up and (6) Drive-Thru. In 2018, even before e-wallets became popular, MDC had already introduced the scan-to-pay system in all its branches.

Health programs 

Operation Bigay Lunas

Throughout its years of growth and success, MDC has never forgotten its ideal of uplifting the lives of the people. Its social responsibility arm, Mercury Drug Foundation, Inc. (MDFI), undertakes various initiatives and projects to provide free medicines and medical services to those in need and promote health and well-being. Some of these initiatives include Operation Bigay LunasOperation Pa-Tubig, and Bantay Kalusugan

Operation Bigay Lunas is a program that provides free medicines and medical services to underserved communities, help establish disease prevalence in the LGUs served; and provide actionable healthcare data to LGUsso that follow-thru health care can be provided to the affected families and individuals. Beneficiaries include local government units, needy groups or treatment facilities serving marginalized communities, non-government organizations, civic-social organizations, educational institutions, and government related institutions including the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As of 2022, MDFI has distributed free medicines to over 2 million people around the country. 

Operation Pa-Tubig provides safe and easy access to clean and potable water to waterless communities. Since the project’s inception in 2001, more than 30,700 people in 34 communities have benefited from this program. With access to clean and potable water, MDFI is taking an active role in preventing the spread of diseases in these communities. 

Bantay Kalusugan is a preventive healthcare program that primarily focuses on aiding early detection of non-communicable diseases (NCD), reducing the number of cases, guiding on proper management and promoting health lifestyles, with these activities: (1) Alamin at Sugpuin – free health profiling and screening for NCD in urban poor communities; (2) Kid Sigla – feeding of undernourished schoolchildren; (3) Smart Parenting – education of women of reproductive age about responsible parenthood, women’s health, hygiene, and childcare; and (4) Help Stop NCD – a public health awareness campaign to prevent NCD. 

Beyond medicines 

In times of natural disasters, MDFI has responded to the call of altruism by providing immediate disaster relief assistance in the form of medicine, hygiene products, and food packs to help the calamity victims in their recovery. By actively supporting government rehabilitation programs in critical areas, MDFI helps to reduce the risk of diseases and to rebuild lives. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, MDFI launched various outreaches in a massive nationwide campaign to assist affected families and healthcare workers. They donated PPEs, food packs, and vitamins to more than 159,000 frontliners, families and individuals who were most in need. 

Since its establishment, MDFI has always been committed to its goal of making a difference beyond medicines. Over the years, MDFI has awarded full scholarships to deserving but financially challenged students wishing to pursue their education in the pharmaceutical field as well as other select courses. As of 2022, MDFI has supported more than 470 students nationwide. This program is also extended to dependents of soldiers who are in active service, killed in action, incapacitated, or died in the line of duty. 

Aside from granting scholarships, MDFI, through its Gawad Talino program, also awards the top

performing senior high school students in the fields of mathematics and science. Through this award, deserving students are rewarded for their hard work and are encouraged to pursue studies in the scientific field. 

MDFI also established the Sagip Talento Program to aid the Philippine Center for Gifted Education (PCGE) in their biennial search for gifted Filipino youths. Recipients of this award are named “Mga Bagong Rizal – Pag-asa ng Bayan” after the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Through this program, MDFI inspires the next generation of Filipino youth to cultivate love for one’s country and live a virtuous and meaningful life. 

MDFI also initiated its School Assistance Program in support of the Department of Education’s Brigada Eskwela, where MDFI equips public schools with quick response kits containing personal hygiene or protective equipment. Kits are given to students as well as faculty and non-faculty personnel. Lastly, MDFI also launched its Share Joy initiative wherein orphaned and underprivileged children are provided the opportunity to enjoy fun and educational experiences.

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