For almost two years now, we as a nation have been battling the scourge of CoVid 19 that has caused so much suffering among Filipinos and affected the country’s economy. 

We have kept faith and we persevered. Slowly, the economy was starting its recovery. But before it could fully recover, typhoon Odette devastated parts of the country and a surge in CoVid cases dealt another blow to our country.

 We are grateful that we have in our midst kind-hearted individuals who endlessly share their resources to uplift the lives of the needy.  One of them is San Miguel Corporation’s president and chief executive officer Ramon S. Ang (RSA).

 RSA, who celebrated his birthday recently, has been actively involved in efforts to boost the economy through the varied businesses of SMC. He has also involved his businesses in programs and projects for the social good. 

 His compassion for his kababayans is evident as the country continues its fight against CoVid 19. 

 SMC has extended assistance to those immensely affected by the varying quarantine classifications and alert levels. It has donated food and medical supplies and assisted in vaccinating Filipinos against the virus. It ensured a steady supply of SMC products for the consumers even during the strictest lockdown imposed by government.  

 It has its Ligtas Lahat employee vaccination program to ensure the safety of employees. With NCR now on alert level 3, SMC limited its work force prioritizing essential workers involved in critical business activities.  RSA said that with the increase in CoVid cases, the most important thing as a company is to help prevent its further spread and avoid burdening the hospitals and health care system.

 As Typhoon Odette battered parts of the country, SMC led by RSA once more has shown what malasakit is all about.  It immediately conducted relief operations—sending food donations estimated at Php30 million to affected areas. An additional Php5 million worth of food donations was given out through partner organizations and its own businesses. It has donated water from its Bulacan Bulk Water Project. 

 Beneficiaries of SMC donations included  Antique, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, Bacolod, Bohol, Biliran, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Cebu, Dinagat island, Davao del Sur, Eastern Samar, Guimaras, Iloilo, Leyte, Marinduque, Misamis Oriental, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Siquijor, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, and Tagoloan, among others.  

 SMC also immediately repaired and reopened its damaged fuel service stations since these are necessary in restoring business operations, transportation, and relief operations in the affected places. 

According to RSA, even as we continue to deal with the surge in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, let’s not forget that many of our countrymen in the Visayas and Mindanao are still struggling to recover from the devastation of typhoon Odette.

  “Many are still left with almost nothing. Together with partners from LGUs, the Armed Forces and non-profit groups, we in San Miguel continue to leverage our resources to help affected families gain immediate access to basic needs such as food and water. There is nothing we can’t do when we come together and look out for each other. We are in this together and we’ll be here to help you recover and rebuild. Sama-sama. Walang iwanan,” he added.

 RSA is also an environmentalist. Under his leadership, SMC undertakes several environment protection projects.

One of its environment protection initiatives is coastal clean-up. Recently, its coastal clean-up drive benefitted the towns of Calatagan and Balayan in Batangas  where a total of 1,340 bags of garbage were collected. The activity was done in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Employment through its TUPAD program. Weekly clean-up activities are also being done by SMC together with DENR and the LGU of Navotas in Isla Pulo, site of the Tanza Marine Tree Park in Navotas. The tree park is a 26-hectare mangrove strip with a 3.5 km shoreline and serves as nearby cities from storm surges and coastline erosion.

 The coastal clean-up drives complement SMC’s ongoing river rehabilitation programs for Tullahan and Pasig. It has already removed 640,384 metric tons of silt and solid waste from the Tullahan-Tinajeros River system and 165,700 metric tons of silt and solid waste from the Pasig River. 

 SMC will also start cleaning up the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System (MMORS), a major component of its flood mitigation initiative for Bulacan where the New Manila International Airport will rise.

 According to RSA there is a need to continuously educate the coastal communities on proper waste disposal as well as recycling and upcycling of waste products. 

 RSA’s advocacy for environment protection is also very visible in SMC’s other projects. These include tree-planting activities such as SM Global Power Holdings Corporation’s Project 747 that aims to rehabilitate 2,800 hectares of upland forests and 1,204 hectares of mangrove forests in Albay, Bataan, Bulacan, Davao Occidental, Quezon, Negros Occidental, Pangasinan, and Zambales; Petro Corporation’s  Puno ng Buhay program that has adopted a total of 30 hectares of mangrove reforestation areas in Tacloban City, Leyte and Roxas City, Capiz; San Miguel Brewery’s Tree Brew Life program; and Ginebra San Miguel’s Mangrove Project. Another subsidiary, Luzon Clean Water Development Corporation, actively participates in the Annual Million Trees Challenge project. In fact, RSA recently donated P5-million to the initial phase of the Million Trees Foundation, Inc. (MTFI) at the La Mesa Watershed.

“Caring for the environment is key to mitigating the global problem of climate change,” RSA said. 

 RSA is a role model and his initiatives are worth emulating.