With the onset of the COVID-19 health crisis, we saw daily life, as we know it, come to an abrupt stop. Face-to-face classes, a simple run to the grocery, a day in the office, even a jog in the park – all were not spared when the virus started spreading in the Philippines back in 2020.
As more and more cases popped up inside the country – establishments, public spaces, and schools began shutting down one by one.
Although we’ve made it through the worst and the Philippine economy is opening up once again, we’re still too far from normalcy. This is a fact that the San Miguel Corporation understands very well – as a business entity, in a world, restricted by the pandemic.
Despite the current situation and the significant monetary damage incurred, the conglomerate still manages to look toward the positive, saying the pandemic is nothing but ‘temporary.’
“The economic impact of the pandemic, while significant, is momentary and temporary,” SMC President and COO Ramon Ang said in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
With this in mind, Ang highlighted the need for continued investment into the country, especially for ‘job creation’ and ‘growth-generating’ projects. Ang notes that these will be critical in stabilizing the Philippine economy and will be fundamental in overall recovery.
“While there is still uncertainty in the future, at least until we fully solve this pandemic, we know that continued investments in job and growth-generating projects is critical to our country’s recovery and long-term stability and resilience,” Ang shared.
“Our company vision is to lead efforts to deliver on national goals and help set the pace of progress in our country. Our corporate slogan is to make the world better for Filipinos. I believe both describe well our aspiration of making the Philippines succeed and improving the lives of our countrymen. These are the things that inspire and drive us and make us passionate about our work,” he remarked.
As a testament to their commitment, SMC officially opened the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway on July 15, 2020. In addition, they helped ease traffic congestion along EDSA and boosted the movement of people and goods between northern and southern Luzon by opening Skyway 3 earlier this year.
As part of their 2021 infrastructure plans, SMC will connect Skyway 3 to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) through a 1.2-kilometer pathway, which will run from C3 to Sta. Mesa, Manila.
Aside from this, they’ve also pledged to pour funds into the Pasig River Expressway Project (PAREX) – bridging the east and west portion of the city. The planned thoroughfare will be 19.4km long and will contain six lanes. It will connect C5, EDSA, and the R-10 road in Manila and is expected to lighten vehicle volume in Rizal, Cainta, and Marikina.
Last year, the Ang-led group announced its most ambitious infrastructure plan yet – to build a mass rail and expressway system to complement its NewManila International Airport project in Bulacan.
The plan will see the creation of major pathways connecting to its outlined air hub such as the NMIA Airport Expressway, East Metro Manila Expressway, Bataan-Bulacan Expressway, and the Calamba-San Pedro Expressway to name a few.
“These proposed rail and road networks that will form part of a seamless transport system will allow the province to accommodate the millions of passengers who will enter the country through the Bulacan airport every year. It will also allow the smooth delivery of goods and services, particularly coming from the Bulacan Airport City Economic Zone that is expected to attract business locators and provide employment to local residents,” Ang said in a past announcement.
On top of this, Ang’s group, through its San Miguel Global Power, aims to create a 200-megawatt solar farm to accompany its Bulacan airport. According to the 67-year-old business tycoon, the creation of a solar facility will help power the airport and aid their transition to renewable energy sources.
“This battery storage will be a viable solution to balancing electricity loads and storing unstable energy supply coming from the sun and other renewable sources of energy which we are looking to utilize for the airport,” Ang previously stated.
According to Ang, all of these projects mirror SMC’s commitment to helping build, improve, and strengthen the Philippines. He shared that the COVID-19 crisis isn’t the time to ‘hold back,’ but the time to ‘help out.’
“We have always said we are here to help build our country, to make it stronger, more competitive, to make it a better place to live in for our people. That is a long-term commitment, and that is also why we invest so much in long-term solutions to problems we have. For us, during this crisis, we shouldn’t hold back on investments. In fact, this is the time we need to do everything we can to help out,” Ang stressed.
You can scroll through the images below to get a better idea of SMC’s major infrastructure plans.
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Image credit: Edwin Tuyay / Bloomberg via Getty Images