Ramon Ang Wants to Address Flooding in Bulacan and Pampanga

“Even if it’s not our direct responsibility, we will do it."

SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION BOSS Ramon Ang has had enough of the decades-long flooding problem affecting the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga. Ramon Ang's new proposed project aims to solve the flooding crisis through massive dredging of rivers and clearing waterways of solid waste.

“Even if it’s not our direct responsibility, we will do it. We will spend for it. It’s for our country,” Ang told guests at the headquarters of San Miguel Corporation.

It can be remembered that local government officials and environmental groups criticized San Miguel's infrastructure project in Bulacan, saying it would cause flooding. Ang is building a massive highway from Metro Manila to connect the New Manila International Airport. The highway spans the shoreline of Bulacan adjacent to Manila Bay. Because of this, San Miguel was accused of reclaiming land.

But Ang counters.

“First of all, we’re not reclaiming any new land. These are titled lands we’re building on. We're just restoring them to their previous status," said Ang.

Ramon Ang points to the real cause of flooding

According to Ang, it is not his infrastructure projects that are causing the flooding problems in Bulacan and Pampanga, but the oversaturated rivers.

“The real problem is the siltation of the rivers in Pampanga and Bulacan, which has reduced their carrying capacity. Silt deposits have made these waterways so shallow in recent years, it only takes a little rain for these rivers to overflow and flood the surrounding areas,” said Ang.

The provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga have been suffering the effects of flooding for many years but this has not been solved by the national or local governments. The recent rains in the early weeks of August took a heavy toll on communities. Flooding along the NLEX made headlines as thousands of motorists were stranded. For four days, the Tulaoc Bridge in NLEX was submerged in floodwater.


Ramon Ang's other environmental project: Pasig River

Ang has spent over P2 billion since 2021 to clean up the Pasig River, a massive project that saw the removal of more than 600,000 metric tons of waste in the historic waterway.

“While many believe this problem is unsolvable, I believe otherwise. I am optimistic it can be solved,” said RSA in a Facebook post in July 2021.

In a media session with editors of SPIN.ph and Summit Media, Ang revealed why he is determined to clean up rivers.

"Kasi nakikita ko, kawawa. Nakita ko ang cost ng pagbabaha," he said, recounting the damage Marikina City sustained from Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. Ang also mentioned his numerous SMC colleagues residing in the area, saying "Kapag binaha ang bahay nila, lagpas bubong."

"Sabi ko ako na maglilinis."

Although countless attempts to solve the flooding problem in areas surrounding the Pasig River have been made, many of these fell short of truly solving the problem. He directed his engineers to survey the river, which spans nearly 30 kilometers long.

"Sabi ko ako na maglilinis," said Ang. He ordered his team to get rid of the trash first before dredging could start. "Lilinisin mo yan mechanically," he said.

"Kaya natin easily to take out 600,000 metric tons a year of garbage, we can easily remove 2,000 tons of garbage. Right now, nagagawa namin, easily sa isang araw is three to four thousand a day" he said, referring to the San Miguel Corporation's clean-up efforts in Tullahan River, north of Manila.

San Miguel is one of the leading infrastructure builders in the Philippines. In July, the conglomerate announced a partnership with its rival, Manny Pangilinan's Metro Pacific Investments Corporation to build a massive highway connecting Cavite and Batangas.

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From: SPIN.ph

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