SMC sends immediate food aid to typhoon victims; RSA vows no let-up in flood mitigation projects

SMC sends immediate food aid to typhoon victims; RSA vows no let-up in flood mitigation projects

MANILA — Following the onslaught of super typhoons including “Rolly” and “Ulysses” which battered Luzon within a week, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said efforts to deliver food donations to thousands of families in some 22 provinces and cities continues.

The total donations already reached P15 million to date and rising, the food conglomerate giant said.

“We continue to get appeals for help from so many people affected by the typhoon. It’s a challenge to reach many areas, but with help of our employees, partners, and local government units, we’ve been able to send out our assistance,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

“Our efforts are still ongoing in various affected areas. We want our kababayans to know that we stand with them, and we will do everything we can to help,” Ang added.

Ang said the company’s food donations have reached Cagayan, Isabela, Bulacan, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Albay, and Romblon.

It has also sent food donations to Malabon, Manila, Marikina, and Navotas in the National Capital Region (NCR).

A larger amount of food donations has gone out to the hardest-hit provinces where more families have been affected and displaced, Ang said. As of this writing, these include Catanduanes, Cagayan, and Quezon province.

SMC’s relief efforts began in the aftermath of typhoon “Quinta” which hit central Philippines, and super typhoon “Rolly” (international name: Goni), dubbed the strongest tropical cyclone in the world for 2020, which hit Catanduanes and the rest of the Bicol and Quezon regions and also impacted Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Just over a week later, on November 11, Typhoon “Ulysses” (international name: Vamco) made landfall in Quezon and brought heavy rains to nearby provinces, Metro Manila, and much of Central Luzon.

The heavy rains caused dams to overflow, triggering emergency release of large volumes of water, which caused more widespread flooding, especially in the Cagayan and Isabela provinces.

Apart from launching a massive food donation effort, Ang also expressed SMC’s commitment to continue proactively pursuing and expanding its major river dredging projects and other flood-mitigation initiatives.

Having launched a water sustainability initiative in 2017—to cut SMC Group-wide utility use of water by 50% by 2025, and also discontinuing its plastic bottled water business the same year to demonstrate its seriousness in addressing solid waste pollution particularly in bodies of water—SMC this year launched several major flood-mitigation initiatives.

“More than just providing assistance whenever calamities happen, we at San Miguel sincerely want to help government and our people address the problem of flooding for the long term. Flooding is a multi-faceted problem and requires multiple approaches. It’s also not just the concern of government or those provinces who are always affected by it. It’s a concern of all of us Filipinos, and we can all contribute to solving it,” Ang said.

“These recent calamities that caused so much grief and loss to so many of our countrymen has strengthened our resolve to continue doing our part and going beyond doing CSR and really investing effort, time, money, and manpower into coming up with solutions that are long-term,” Ang said.

SMC is undertaking a P1-billion initiative to dredge, clean up, and deepen the entirety of the 27-kilometer Tullahan-Tinajeros River system over the next five years, to help solve perennial flooding in Metro Manila, Navotas, Malabon, and parts of Bulacan province.

As of mid-to-late October, Ang said the company had taken out some 48,000 metric tons of garbage and silt from the river, with 600 tons being removed per day.

Recently, it also bared plans to dredge major rivers in Bulacan, to mitigate flooding in the province and, by extension, Metro Manila, by helping ensure that excess waters from Angat dam can flow back to the Manila Bay.

Among these is the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river system, one of the top 30 most polluted rivers in the world.

To help mitigate tidal flooding, the company has also started planting the first 10,000 mangroves it intends to plant in Hagonoy, Bulacan, as part of a larger plan to plant and grow almost 200,000 mangroves over 76 hectares of coastal area throughout Bulacan and Central Luzon.

In September, Ang also bared plans to dredge the historic Pasig River, under a P95.4 billion proposed project to clean up the long-dead river and improve the flow of water, as part of the development of the Pasig River Expressway project. (AI/MTVN)

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