MANILA — Former President Fidel V. Ramos has lauded Ramon Ang, president of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), for undertaking various mega projects including the USD15 billion Bulacan International Airport that will generate over a million new jobs.
FVR, the former president’s initials, made the statement during a courtesy call by Ang at FVR’s office in Makati City on Saturday.
He described the business tycoon as “a visionary, patriotic and strategic thinker” for the various projects SMC is undertaking, particularly the proposed new international airport in Bulacan that will boost tourism.
Other projects being undertaken by SMC are water, power and the extension of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) all the way to Laoag, Ilocos Norte.
Also present during the courtesy of Ang were former first Special Action Force (SAF) commander, now Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco, new National Tobacco Administration director Wilson Victorio, Engr. Alfredo Reyes, Freddie Jalasco and Ramos family biographer Melandrew T. Velasco.
“Continue with the noble task of nation building with the various flagship projects you are pushing for the country and our people. It’s seldom that we find a great Filipino and an alumnus of the Far Eastern University (FEU) like you,” Ramos told Ang.
FVR reminded everyone that the first extension school of FEU was in his birthplace in Lingayen, Pangasinan where growing up as a young boy, he used to be in that school building that had bowling alley and billiards.
For his part, Ang told FVR that in his book, Ramos is a living Korean War and EDSA hero who fought Marcos and defended democracy from coups nine times during the Cory Aquino presidency and the milestone achievements he made in his six years as President that we all continue to enjoy today.
“Sir, you are one of kind who comes only once in our lifetime and we Filipinos are fortunate to have a leader and a statesman like you who continue to guide this nation,” Ang told FVR.
Bulacan int’l airport
In his briefing to Ramos, an upbeat Ang unveiled his grandiose plan on the Bulacan International Airport, an unsolicited public-private partnership (PPP) proposal from the San Miguel Holding Corporations to construct, operate, and maintain the airport on a 2,500-hectare land in Bulakan, Bulacan.
“The project, estimated at USD15 billion, will be undertaken over a period of five to seven years to full completion,” Ang said, adding that the Bulacan airport will have four parallel runways (expandable to six), and will be equipped with modern and world-class facilities.
Ang told FVR that the new airport will create some one million jobs once construction starts, and by the time it’s completed, millions more of new tourism jobs will be created.”
“Travel will be much easier and more comfortable for air passengers for Filipino workers and foreign tourists. Access will also be very easy with multiple expressways that will bring the airport within 30 minutes or shorter from anywhere in Metro Manila,” he added.
According to Ang, the airport is expected to accommodate 100 million passengers a year — a huge improvement compared to NAIA’s current capacity of just about 31 million passengers annually.
He said the Philippines will attract more tourists in the coming years once the SMC airport will be completed in six years’ time barring no hitches.
“In 2018, the Philippines only attracted 7.1 million tourists, compared to our neighboring countries like Thailand with 35.4 million, Malaysia (25.9 million), Singapore (13.9 million), Japan 28.6 (million) and, Indonesia 14.4 million, said Ang.
Water supply sources
Meanwhile, Ang has thrown his full support for the construction of new water supply sources projects under the New Water Security Roadmap crafted by MWSS Administrator Rey Velasco.
In anticipation of the burgeoning population and expansion of the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply including the Bulacan airport, MWSS has identified the ABC Projects as part of its short and medium-term water supply projects tailor-made for Bulacan Bulk Water.
According to Velasco, the immediate development of the A-B-C projects as alternative sources of water with a combined capacity of 1,950 million litters daily (MLD) is now a must.
The so-called projects include maximizing the untapped water and water wastage from Angat; the Bayabas Dam Project in Doña Remedios, Trinidad, Bulacan; and the Candaba Multi-Purpose Impounding Dam in Pampanga.
Bulacan Bulk Water started commercial operations under Stage 1 last Jan. 14, 2018, following its milestone completion ahead of schedule.
The MWSS chief lauded Ang for the speedy completion of the flagship project, the first major water project to be completed under the Duterte administration.
Ang said the water project is aimed at providing millions of residents from 24 localities in Bulacan ready access to fresh, potable surface water while balancing the competing needs of a growing population, industry, agriculture, and the environment in the province.”
“The Bulacan Bulk Water is just one of the many projects that SMC has in store under the Duterte administration,” Ang said.
The BBWSP consists of three stages. Stage 1 covers six water districts consisting of San Jose del Monte, Marilao, Meycauayan, Bocaue, Obando, and Balagtas while Stage 2 covers seven water districts consisting of Guiguinto, Calumpit, Bulakan, Plaridel, Sta. Maria, Paombong, and Malolos.
Meanwhile, the construction of Stage 3 which covers the remaining 11 municipalities of Baliuag, Plaridel, Pandi, Hagonoy, San Rafael, San Miguel, Norzagaray, Angat, Dona Remedios Trinidad, San Ildefonso, and Bustos, has not yet started.
The construction is set to start in the year 2022, or even earlier.
Before the construction of the BBWSP, the province of Bulacan sources its water from deep wells provided by the water districts, which are government-owned and controlled corporations. In recent years, however, the deep wells are slowly running out of water. (PNA)