Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has launched a seafood processing project in Bulacan, which forms part of the programs that the company started for residents displaced and affected by the forthcoming construction of the P734-billion New Manila International Airport (NMIA) in the province.
In a statement, SMC said it has rolled out a new community-based training program for former residents of Barangay Taliptip in Bulakan, Bulacan.
This, according to the company, targets to boost the local seafood industry and provide additional livelihood opportunities for relocatees from what will be the future site of the massive airport.
SMC said part of the master plan for the airport project is to transform its host province, Bulacan, into a seafood capital of the country.
NMIA is a 2,500-hectare reclamation project to be constructed in the coastal town of Bulakan in Bulacan.
It involves the construction, operation, and maintenance of an airport with four parallel runways and an 8.4-kilometer toll road connecting the airport to the North Luzon Expressway.
The recent livelihood and skills training program of SMC in Taliptip teaches relocatees seafood processing techniques to allow them to maximize their income potential and help further develop the local industry.
The courses include bangus deboning, tinapa-making, boneless tilapia and lumpia shanghai making, as well as bangus and shrimp fry production.
“This is an industry that many of our Taliptip families are quite familiar with, because many of them used to work at fishponds. But we wanted to teach them new ways to maximize their income. And that is to turn seafood into value-added products,” SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said.
“Today, most of the major fish ports and seafood industries are located in nearby areas like Navotas, Malabon. But Bulacan can be like them too. This community project is a small start,” he added.
Some 44 participants have so far benefitted from the first two batches of seafood processing courses, said SMC.
Meanwhile, another 40 to 50 relocatees are already earning from the ongoing bangus and shrimp fry production training under a local fishpond operator, in cooperation with SMC.
Many of the participants have also previously graduated from vocational courses funded by SMC under the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA).
“We are currently reaching out to more relocatees who are still residing in Bulacan so we can offer them the same skills and livelihood training opportunities, even as we move closer to our task of making the airport project the centerpiece of development in the province, “Ang said.
Apart from seafood processing courses, other community-based training courses on tap are baking and pastries as well as beads and accessories making.