DIVERSIFIED conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is pouring in P1 billion to support the government’s cleanup efforts of the Tullahan River system.
SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang on Monday signed a five-year agreement with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu for the implementation of a comprehensive dredging and clean-up program for the 59.24-kilometer river.
The cleanup will start from the La Mesa Reservoir, and will pass through the cities of Valenzuela and Malabon before reaching the Manila Bay through Navotas City. This forms part of the DENR’s Manila Bay rehabilitation program.
“We are proud to partner with the DENR on this project. In the last couple of months, we have seen what can be done when our government has both political will and a clear understanding of what can be done to make a difference,” Mr. Ang said in a statement.
SMC has committed to implement a dredging and cleanup plan provided by the DENR to reduce solid waste and floating debris. The company will also lend equipment, manpower, and fund the equipment operations, including fuel and logistics cost.
The listed firm further vowed to assist in the DENR’s community mobilization activities.
SMC has previously launched efforts to clean up the Tullahan River since it operates its oldest brewery near a portion of the river in Polo, Valenzuela. In 2010, the company also partnered with the DENR to clean up for the Valenzuela part of the river that runs 1.7 kilometers.
Mr. Ang said the Tullahan River cleanup will change people’s perception of that it is a “dead river, an eyesore, and a health hazard.”
SMC has been ramping up its sustainability efforts over the years. Last month, it announced that it beat its target of reducing water consumption by a fifth in 2020, after being able to cut operational water use by 23% across its businesses last year.
SMC is also planning to revive about 12,000 hectares of coastal fishing areas in Bulacan, where it has proposed to build the New Manila International Airport. The airport proposal has already been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority, and is now set to be subjected to a Swiss challenge.
The conglomerate’s net income attributable to the parent slipped five percent to P19.86 billion in the first nine months of 2018, as gross revenues jumped 28% to P761.17 billion in the same period.
Shares in SMC climbed 0.7% or P1.20 to close at P169.50 each at the stock exchange on Monday. — Arra B. Francia