By Carla Bianca Ravanes-Higham
Victor Consunji, CEO of Victor Consunji Development Corporation (VCDC), believes that character is revealed in crisis. This was the thought that came to his mind when the country, and ultimately, the world’s reality changed instantly and it is what inspired him to pull his team to find ways to help.
Consunji has always been known as someone who is greatly invested in the communities he builds — someone who cares beyond building homes for those within the VCDC communities and beyond.
It is in fact his value for community that inspired him and his team to act immediately when the pandemic began.
“As a real estate company, VCDC, by its own nature, is a community-building endeavor. The health and welfare of our communities is of utmost importance. No one could argue that each development we build is a distinct and separate locality. But the truth is, no development, no project, no neighborhood can survive without being an integral part of the greater community. We are all connected, lives intertwined. And what is good for the whole is ultimately good for each person,” he said.
As such, Consunji and his team made a significant donation of P10 million for the procurement of certified, medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for medical frontliners on duty very early on in this continued global battle against the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19). And as of this writing, VCDC has raised a total P19.4 million for the crisis, P17 million of which from company funds with the rest donated by friends and associates of Consunji and his wife, Maggie Wilson-Consunji.
Currently, the company is allied with the following medical institutions: Philippine General Hospital, Philippine Lung Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and Dr. Jose Rodriguez Hospital.
The company also launched the fundraising drive, The VCDC Frontliner and Workforce fund, an initiative aimed to extend the maximum capacity impact to those affected by this health crisis.
Consunji shared with The Sunday Times Magazine, “Initially we were actually bending toward donating a number of ventilators to hospitals to assist in the recovery of Covid-19 patients in serious condition. However, upon further study, we found that the mortality rate of ventilated Covid-19 virus patients was extremely high, especially here in the Philippines. This realization led us to find an alternate approach. Find the most effective avenue of treatment, rather than [only concentrate help in] treating those that have already seriously succumbed to the virus.”
He continued, “The answer to that was quite simple, and common sense really. If one ventilator could possibly save one life in a week, one PPE set, given to a frontliner treating incoming patients could possibly treat 20 or more patients in a day. If that frontliner manages to prevent even just one out of the 20 from progressing to a more serious condition, then we’re already doing better than what one ventilator alone could do. In a week, a single frontliner could treat a hundred patients. And for the price of one ventilator, we can protect 200 frontliners for a week. That’s 4,000 potential patients treated — 4,000 potential lives saved.”
Consunji further noted that protecting a frontliner ultimately protects the community. “In short and in part, if you protect the frontliners, you protect the community. We wanted to make a difference where we think it matters most. And although PPEs may not seem like the most astounding contribution, sometimes, the basics is where the battles are won and lost.”
Victor showcased exemplary leadership in the face of the unknown, one that thrives on empathy, action, and cooperation. A leadership that thrives on the question, “How can I be part of the solution?” rather than one that seeks to point fingers.
When asked what inspired him and his team to take immediate action, the thoughtful leader responded, “In these times, with such unprecedented event affecting all of us, to ignore the responsibility to help is akin to watching a house burn without sounding the alarm. Sure, it may not be your house, but if it’s in your neighborhood and the fire spreads, and others are hurt in the process… well, you might as well have set fire to the other houses yourself. That is the consequence of the irresponsibility for doing nothing.”
He continued, “Now we don’t have all the answers, and we certainly don’t have the full solution. But we’re helping take a step forward in the right direction. If enough of us take those right steps, we may just make a difference. And the community, the country, everybody involved, may end up scarred and battered, but we will emerge, stronger, wiser, and more unified.”
“I, for one, want to see us get through this. To emerge, so to speak, with our heads held high. And at the end of the day, when we all count both our blessings and tragedies in this pandemic, I together with those others who have made as effort and sacrifices, would like to say, “We did everything we could to help save lives.” That’s how important it is, to us all,” he concluded.