SAN MIGUEL Brewery Inc. (SMB) on Friday broke ground on its P6.7-billion brewery that is expected to jump-start development in Leganes, a suburb in the north of Metro Iloilo City.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang, Senator Franklin M. Drilon, Iloilo Governor Arthur D. Defensor Jr., Leganes Mayor Vicente P. Jaen II and other officials led the ground breaking Friday in the Leganes barangay of Gua-an.

The 40-hectare facility is expected to be completed in two years. It will become SMB’s third production site in the Visayas apart from facilities in Mandaue and Bacolod Cities.

SMB President Roberto N. Huang said that the completion of the facility will allow more convenient and efficient delivery of San Miguel products to the region.

“The management believes that putting up a facility strategically located in IIoilo is instrumental in achieving our vision that is to lead the growth of beverage industry,” SMB president Roberto N. Huang said in his speech.

Mr. Jaen said Leganes has long been awaiting investment.

“San Miguel will… be the driver of other parts of our agenda which is providing quality livelihood, and prioritizing the needy,” he said.

The mayor hopes Leganes can do its part to help Iloilo attract investment and develop a reputation for “worry-free business.”

Mr. Drilon said that the new SMB facility in Iloilo will generate more economic activity and sustain the momentum of economic growth.

“The emergence of shopping malls, hotels, restaurants… in the city is proof of Iloilo’s growing economy and consumer confidence. But this cannot be sustained unless we expand our economy here in with new investments like SMB,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ang promised to invest more in Iloilo based on his positive experience in setting up the brewery.

“Dito sa Iloilo, napakabuti ng mga politicians dito from the senators, governors, congressmen, mayors, councilors and barangay. Ang SMB pwedeng magtayo ng maraming investments dito. Nakita ko very progressive itong Iloilo, napagaling na negosyante, napakasipag ng mga tao dito. Makakaasa po kayo na we will invest more in Iloilo (Iloilo politicians are performing well… SMB can make more investments here. Iloilo is very progressive with skilled businessmen and a hard-working labor force. You can count on more investment from us),” he said. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo