Ramon S. Ang: Infrastructure is more than just about solving Metro Manila traffic

“So, nakabuti ba tayo?”
by Drei Laurel | May 21, 2021
PHOTO: San Miguel Corporation

Infrastructure isn’t just about cars. It isn’t just about solving traffic and loosening Metro Manila’s clogged roadways. If you ask San Miguel Corporation (SMC) boss Ramon S. Ang, the bigger picture in the country’s ongoing infrastructure push is keeping Filipinos connected.

During a recent Summit Media Sandwich Session interview, Ang shared that improved traffic within the nation’s capital is indeed beneficial to the country. It’s the newfound interconnectivity between provinces, though, that he described as a game-changer.

Yung TPLEX [Tarlac–Pangasinan–La Union Expressway], tignan mo. Nung araw, pupunta ka [sa] La Union or pupunta ka [sa] Baguio, naku, pare—from EDSA-Ortigas to Rosario, La Union, aabutin ka ng limang oras,” Ang told Top Gear Philippines. “Ngayon, in two hours, nandun ka sa La Union. Kung mabilis ka pa magmaneho paakyat ng Baguio, eh pare, sandali lang yun. Thirty minutes lang yun.”

Ang used the NAIA Expressway (NAIAX) and Skyway Stage 3 as similar examples, saying the new pieces of infrastructure have drastically cut travel times to areas like Cavite and Bulacan.

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“So, game-changing talaga yan,” he declared.

Faster travel times are nice, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what else is in SMC’s infrastructure pipeline. Another major benefit highlighted by Ang is that provinces like Bicol stand to gain a lot economically as well.

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Pag nangyari ang TR5, Manila to Matnog, yayaman ang mga kababayan natin na taga-Quezon at Bicol,” Ang shared, referring to the upcoming four-lane expressway that will connect Quezon Province further down south.

Tayong lahat, pwede na tayo makapamasyal at pwede na tayo pumunta ng Tacloban. Mag-RORO lang tayo sa Matnog, andun na tayo sa Allen [in Northern Samar] immediately. And that will be four hours na lang instead of 14 hours.

“In short, yung infrastructure natin sa bayan, sa tingin ko, napakaimportante.”

The executive also has a short message for SMC’s detractors: You can complain, but please come up with solutions as well.

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“I disagree with those people. Alam mo ang Pilipinas eh, kahit anong gawin mo, meron silang pwedeng sabihin. Sasabihin, ‘Pangit yan, yung elevated? Dapat yan underground.’ Yung mga nagsasabi nun, wala naman silang solution,” Ang said, adding that Skyway Stage 3 remains open despite SMC being unable to collect toll from motorists.

“So, nakabuti ba tayo? Nakatulong ba tayo sa infrastructure ng Pilipinas? Only other people can say kung yes or no. Ako naman, ipapapagpatuloy ko kung anong pwede ko i-contribute sa bayan natin.”

What do you think of Ang’s insights on infrastructure? Is SMC going about this the right way, or could the company’s strategy use a little bit of tweaking in some departments? Let us know in the comments.

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PHOTO: San Miguel Corporation
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