Amid the projected slowdown in passenger traffic and aircraft movement at its Boracay Airport, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) assured all workers and regular employees that they will receive full pay throughout Boracay island’s 6-month closure.
“We will retain all of them to make sure they have steady source of income during the closure,” SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said.
Ang said the company would offer workers a chance to make worthwhile use of their time by helping in the government’s clean-up program.
To facilitate and hasten rehabilitation efforts in Boracay, Ang volunteered for use by the government the company’s dredging equipment, backhoes and barges.
The conglomerate, through its Trans Aire Development Holdings Corp. (TADHC), holds the concession to operate the Boracay airport.
“The airport won’t be requiring full manpower while Boracay is totally closed to tourists so we are looking to encourage all our workers to help the government during the lull,” Ang added.
The closure, he said, would allow the company to further plan out how to turn Boracay Airport into a green gateway and augment government’s effort to rehabilitate the island and turn it into a sustainable tourist destination.
“Airports are gateways and as operator of the Boracay Airport we have a responsibility to promote change and raise awareness at the front door among our visitors and the communities,”Ang said.
He added: “If government needs more people to help with cleanups and similar activities where our people can contribute, they will be ready. We are very confident that they would gladly offer their paid time to support the island’s rehabilitation.”
By having a direct hand at preserving the environment, people will be reminded that they have an important role to play and that each person is a steward of the island — especially since it’s either home to them or their source of livelihood.
“I think all airport workers, especially the locals, know what’s at stake here, and they are more than willing to do what they can to help preserve Boracay,” Ang said adding that, “We all understand that sacrifices have to be made to ensure that the island is sustainable for generations to come. This is how we and the airport workers can contribute.”
The airport itself, according to Ang, will not really shut down, especially since there will still be a handful of flights servicing the route every day for the benefit of locals.
However, the company said it would use the “down time” as an opportunity to upgrade the airport’s green features.
“We want this airport to exemplify what it is to be eco-friendly and sustainable. We want to send a clear message to visitors that here, we respect and take care of our environment; that they have a responsibility as well to do no harm to the environment.”
Among the ideas the company is already exploring: acquiring a fleet of electric shuttle buses to ferry passengers and cargo; implementing green measures such as the use of fixtures that require less electricity and less water; strict implementation of waste segregation, and increasing green spaces and greenery throughout the airport complex, to help rid the air of carbon dioxide.