SMC starts training workers for airport

Published September 3, 2020, 5:00 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) will soon start training local residents, the first batch of hundreds of thousands of workers to be hired for building its P734-billion international airport in Bulacan.

SMC is prioritizing the hiring of local residents from Bulacan, specifically relocatees from Barangay Taliptip, where the airport will be built, president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang announced.

The barangay’s residents, totaling 60, will start their training under the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“We designed these training programs with TESDA  to equip Bulakenos with the necessary skills needed to either work at the airport project, put up a small businesses to support airport workers, or even start on their own elsewhere if they choose to do so,” he explained.

“Over the next couple of years, construction of this massive airport will generate hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.  We will prioritize local residents, but there will be so many jobs and livelihood opportunities that ultimately, workers will come from all over Bulacan, Central Luzon, even Metro Manila and southern Luzon,” Ang noted.

With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in an economic downturn, the company is now even more determined to push through with large-scale infrastructure projects, such as the airport, to boost the economy and provide employment to jobless Filipinos.

 “Short to medium-term, we can help so many Filipinos with jobs and help kickstart our economic recovery. Long-term, this airport will help create even more growth opportunities for our country,” stressed the SMC president.

The airport will also open employment opportunities to returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

“A lot of OFWs had to return to the country in recent months after they lost their jobs. Many are not sure if they will get new contracts from their foreign employers given the difficult economic conditions. 

With this airport project, those who opt to stay home will have a viable option,” according to Ang.

The first batch of 60 residents will receive training in courses ranging from shielded metal arc welding, electrical installation and maintenance, as well as heavy equipment operations. 

Residents who want to be self-employed can take up dressmaking and cookery.

All trainees for this initial batch will be given tool kits for their chosen trade.

The courses, which SMC will pay for, take anywhere from 10 to 20 days to complete. 

Trainees  will undergo the TESDA skills assessment test before being given National Certificates.

As part of SMC’s assistance package to relocating Taliptip residents, they will likewise undergo entrepreneurship training for three days, especially if they plan to put up small businesses.

Graduates of heavy equipment Operator, electrical installation and maintenance, and shielded metal arc welding courses will be referred to SMC Aerocity, SMC’s company under SMC Infrastructure that handles the airport development.

Training will not be limited to Taliptip residents but will be a continuing program with TESDA to provide opportunities, especially for Bulakenyos, to learn alternative skills and respond to the job requirements at the airport, Ang pledged.

The airport project, to be built at no cost to the government, is expected to solve the perennial congestion problems at the country’s primary gateway.  

The airport will initially feature four parallel runways with a provision for two more; a world-class terminal, and an infrastructure network that will include a mass rail system to ensure easy connectivity.

It will be capable of handling up to 100 million passengers per year, seen to create about 30 million tourism-related jobs, and generate more than a million direct jobs for host province Bulacan and nearby provinces.

Aside from direct employment, SMC said the airport project will give rise to new local industries and boost existing ones, as construction as well as operation will require suppliers, maintenance contractors, food providers, accommodations, and the like.