The largest and most ambitious airport project in the country to date will have Bulacan’s fishing industry as one of its biggest beneficiaries.
Following government’s recent approval of the proposed New Manila International Airport project in Bulacan, San Miguel Corporation president Ramon S. Ang bared plans to protect and revive some 12,000 hectares of Bulacan coastline--as part of the P754 billion development of the airport.
“We thank President Rodrigo Duterte and his economic managers for bringing us another step closer to realizing this dream. Hopefully, once we complete all the government processes, we can begin actual work on constructing this world-class international gateway, capable of serving our nation for many generations,” Ang said.
“This is a major investment for us, and a game-changer for our country. That is why it’s going to be a sustainable development,” Ang added.
The airport, which will be built on a 2,500 hectare coastal property, will be part of an envisioned township that features a residential zone, government center, and a seaport and industrial zone.
“It will have many sustainable features that our countrymen will also appreciate and enjoy,” he said.
However, the biggest sustainability feature, Ang said, is a plan to protect and revive some 12,000 hectares of coastal fishing areas around the planned airport. This is to ensure environmental sustainability within and beyond the facility—and to revive Bulacan’s aquaculture industry.
Bulacan, next “seafood capital”
“Fishing in Bulacan has slowly been dying the last few decades because of pollution from households and industries,” Ang continued. “Our goal is to clean up the coast and make Bulacan a seafood capital. After all, the airport is there to help support the local fishing industry.”
“Maybe in the future, we can reach a point where seafood from Bulacan is exported to other countries, and tourists come in droves to sample them,” Ang said.
“But in order to do that, we have to be serious in cleaning up the coastal areas,” he added.
Among the measures the company plans to undertake: dredge coastal areas and other bodies of water and clear them of years’ worth of garbage. The company said it would also work with local government to stop factories from dumping toxic wastes into the water.
Ang said that the airport’s operations will also heighten security along Bulacan’s entire coastline. In line with this, the company is willing to augment the Coast Guard’s efforts in conducting patrols—to ensure no dumping of garbage and industrial wastes occur.
Jobs, jobs, jobs
Apart from protecting coastal areas, Ang said that generating employment and boosting local economies was another key benefit of the project.
The chief executive said that once the project is finally approved for implementation, they would immediately hire some 100,000 local workers from Bulacan and neighboring provinces such as Bataan and Pampanga.
“That’s just the beginning. This is a massive project and over the next five years, we estimate that we will generate millions of direct and indirect jobs, to build and operate NMIA,” Ang said.
“While we’re still going through a long process, hopefully, in 2019, we can hit the ground running on actual construction,” he added.