SMC clears Bulacan airport property of settlers

Published November 4, 2020, 5:00 AM

by James A. Loyola

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) reported that it has completed the clearing of the future site of its P740 billion Manila International Airport in Bulacan in preparation for the start of construction activities.

In a statement, the firm said the last remaining residents of Barangay Taliptip in Bulakan, Bulacan have finally moved into their new, sturdier homes in a safer location over the weekend–just in time for the onslaught of super typhoon Rolly, which affected parts of Central Luzon, including Bulacan province.   

Teody Bacon (center) and other residents of Sitio Kinse bring their belongings to their new and sturdier houses in Barangay Bambang in Bulakan town last Saturday, October 31, just in time before typhoon Rolly battered most Luzon provinces. Their transfer completes San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) relocation of residents from Barangay Taliptip, where the Manila International Airport will be constructed.

SMC helped the residents find the land and construction of the houses. The company had also helped to ensure they have water and electrical connection, among others. 

While these former residents will continue to rely on fishing as a primary source of livelilhood, they will also enroll in courses offered by the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) in cooperation with SMC.

These TESDA courses are to prepare former Taliptip and Bulacan residents for employment and business opportunities in store during the construction and operational phases of the new Manila International Airport. 

In addition to the courses, all trainees will also be given seminars on Entrepreneurship, as well as tools to start them on their new trades. The first batch of TESDA students will graduate in November.

SMC President Ramon S. Ang earlier said that the courses will be opened to all Bulacan residents who are willing to learn and participate in the development of the airport project, seen to be a game-changer that will boost the country’s economy, which is still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are happy to provide better homes and opportunities to Bulacan residents, particularly residents of Barangay Taliptip.  They are now given the chance to rebuild their lives. You can’t help but feel sad when you see their previous homes but we admire them for their strength and resilience. This strengthens our commitment to help them and make sure they will really have a better future,” Ang said.  

A total of 277 owners of concrete and shanty houses in Barangay Taliptip qualified for financial assistance. SMC provided owners of non-concrete houses or shanties P250,000 each, while owners of concrete houses were given the appraised value of their homes, multiplied by two, plus P100,000. SMC also provided cash assistance to 87 others who were disqualified, for a total of 364 beneficiaries.

With the help of Malolos Bishop Dennis Villarojo, SMC also distributed the total appraised cash value of the abandoned chapels in Sitio Pariyahan, Sitio Dapdap, Sitio Bunutan, and Sitio Capol to the 242 residents of these sitios. 

SMC said that many former Taliptip residents have completed construction of their new houses and used part of the financial assistance to put up small businesses, or send their children to school.