SAN Miguel Corp. (SMC) announced last Tuesday it has set P500 million as financial assistance to fishers’ families in Cavite that will be affected by the construction of its New Manila International Airport (NMIA) project.
A statement issued by SMC last Tuesday quoted President and CEO Ramon S. Ang as saying the amount is part of the conglomerate’s commitment to “managing its social and environmental impacts following strict performance standards” set by the International Finance Corp. (IFC) for the airport deal.
The company said about 5,000 fisher’s families will each receive a monthly financial assistance of P5,000 until the company’s operation in the area is completed by 2024.
The company said it identified those eligible for the cash through third-party surveys and the selection and validation process by local officials and leaders of local fishermen’s groups.
The company said it earlier provided food assistance packages and livelihood programs.
SMC said San Miguel Aerocity Inc. (SMAI) together with its partner global marine engineering firm Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. has also provided fishermen with safety equipment, including radar reflectors, life vests, life buoy rings, foam buoys, led lights and rechargeable batteries. They are also regularly updated as to where dredging activities are being undertaken, to further ensure their safety, the company said.
Aware of effects
ACCORDING to Ang, they “are well aware of the effects of the ongoing operations of our contractor, Boskalis, in the San Nicolas Shoal.
“That’s why we are taking all necessary measures to mitigate these,” he added. “We’re committed to helping fisherfolk families in the area and we’re very transparent about the project with them.”
He expressed gratitude “for their valuable contribution in helping get this priority national project done.”
Ang added that the company is also tapping a third-party organization that will partner with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to study how to improve fishing yields from the shoal.
This is to help bring up the volume of catch from the area, even long after Boskalis’ activities are completed.
“As we do in all areas where we have operations, we work to establish a good working relationship or partnership with our host communities. For this particular project, we have local teams and offices in the area, as well as a well-established grievance mechanism. We assure them they can come straight to us if they have any concerns at all,” Ang said.
TO be built on a 2,400-hectare property in Bulakan, Bulacan, just north of Metro Manila, the $15-billion NMIA will have four runways, eight taxiways and three passenger terminals. It also has provisions for future expansion to sport six runways and to accommodate 200 million passengers per year.
It is expected to raise tourist arrivals to 30 million visitors annually, generate over a million direct and indirect jobs and contribute roughly P900 billion annually to the economy by 2025.
Once built, the new international airport will be fully owned by the government under a “build-operate-transfer” arrangement.
Under the 50-year concession agreement, SMAI will undertake the financing, design, construction, supply, completion, testing, commissioning and operation and maintenance of the new international gateway.