Making a difference, building for the future

Making a difference, building for the futureby Melandrew Velasco

Notwithstanding his prominence as a successful businessman, Ramon S. Ang remains unassuming. He shuns the limelight as much as he can and works quietly as San Miguel Corporation’s President and COO to steer it to even greater heights. He has engineered its successful diversification with SMC now in food and beverage, infrastructure, oil refining and marketing, packaging, power and energy, properties/real estate, and other businesses that cover banking, retirement funds, and shipping, among others.

And he is fast becoming the country’s leading philanthropist.

As SMC celebrates its 130th anniversary, RSA led employees in donating blood during the launch of the corporation’s quarterly blood and convalescent plasma donation drive. The initiative was in collaboration with Philippine Red Cross to help replenish dwindling blood supply at the blood bank. There had been fewer blood donors because of the prevailing quarantine conditions. SMC is the first private company to undertake such an initiative with the Red Cross.

“I can’t think of a more meaningful way to mark San Miguel’s 130th anniversary than to help replenish the Philippine Red Cross’ blood bank. While we’re still dealing with a pandemic, many more non-COVID-19 patients are in need of blood to get the care they need,” RSA said. “We just want to help in any way we can. I believe, together, we can all make a difference.”

The mechanical engineer-turned-businessman has been busy ensuring availability of food since the start of the quarantine period. Forthright in choosing life over money, San Miguel Corporation has spent over P13 billion to help the government in the drive to contain COVID-19. RSA made sure certain food packs were distributed to the needy, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and medical equipment donated to hospitals, andCOVID-19 testing booths and kits given to local government units. It also operates the Better World EDSA, a COVID-19 testing lab.

Plans are afoot for the construction of a state-of-the-art hospital that will specialize in infectious diseases research and provide outpatient care to disadvantaged Filipinos. This will be built as the maiden project of the newly established RSA Foundation.

Alongside RSA’s concern to save lives and promote the health and safety of fellow Filipinos is his intent to equip Filipinos with skills that will open more employment opportunities for them.

Thus, SMC partnered with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to expand its livelihood and skills training program. The job training programs were conducted in the provinces of Quezon and Bulacan, sites of two SMC investment projects. 

In the municipality of Sariaya (Quezon), a modern integrated agro-industrial complex will be built that will include a brewery, grains terminal and feed mill, food manufacturing plant, fuel tank farm, and port facilities.

Bulakan, Bulacan on the other hand will host the P734-billion Manila International Airport complex that will initially have two runways,  world-class passenger terminals and an infrastructure network to include mass rail system for connectivity.  It can handle up to 100 million passengers per year. This new airport is aimed at decongesting the airport located in the National Capital Region.

These infrastructure projects will create millions of jobs not only during the construction phase but also after completion. Those interested to apply for jobs in the airport construction can pursue courses in shielded metal arc welding, electrical installation and maintenance, and heavy equipment operations. Entrepreneurship seminars are given to prepare those aspiring to put up their own businesses.

The new airport alone is expected to generate 30 million tourism-related jobs, apart from other job opportunities.

While SMC will prioritize hiring of Quezon and Bulacan residents for these infrastructure projects, workers from other parts of Central and Southern Luzon as well as Metro Manila will be tapped, including returning overseas Filipino workers.

By pursuing its projects, SMC is helping stimulate the economy and creating many job opportunities to the unemployed. “This is how we can best support our economy, and help in a meaningful and sustainable way so many Filipinos who are struggling through this crisis,” RSA said.

RSA is committed to help the communities in areas where SMC is making big investments and new facilities.  Aside from livelihood and skills training, it is significant to note that SMC has ensured that former residents in areas used for its projects were relocated to better and safer places.

In Quezon, SMC built the San Miguel-Christian Gayeta Homes, a disaster-resilient and sustainable housing community. In Bulacan, affected residents of Barangay Taliptip have started moving to safer homes constructed through the financial assistance given by SMC with the latter monitoring the progress of the relocation especially of those living in the coastal areas.

According to RSA many have already completed building their houses.  “What is important is that they are now living in safer areas, in stronger houses they can be proud of and pass on to their children. They will no longer be exposed to the elements and to risk, whenever there are typhoons.”

 “It’s important that we remember that we are not just building for the present. We are actually building for the future. Our goal is to enable more Filipinos to contribute to, and benefit from economic growth—to leave no one behind,” he said.

Indeed, RSA is making a difference. He has demonstrated his unquestionable love for country and fellowmen.  He is, undeniably, a modern-day hero.

Velasco is a book author who has over 50 titles, mostly coffee-table books, to his credit.

Topics: Ramon S. Ang , San Miguel Corporation , Philippine Red Cross , COVID-19
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