First-term Mayor Vergel Meneses, also known as the PBA’s “Aerial Voyager,” can’t help but be hopeful about the future of his hometown, Bulakan, Bulacan, despite the present challenges of COVID-19.
The Philippines’ largest and most modern international gateway—the new Manila International Airport project of San Miguel Corp. —will break ground there, soon.
“Malaki talaga ang maitutulong. There will be more opportunities in terms of jobs and employment, increase of revenues from businesses, and real property will appreciate in value as well,” said Meneses, 51, referring to the benefits of the coming project, seen to solve the decades-old congestion problems Filipinos experience in and around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The airport project, set to start construction in October, is projected to will hold its own against the best airports around the world. It will have four parallel runways and a provision for two more, a world-class terminal, supported by a seamless transport system, among other features.
Also included in the massive project are measures to address flooding in the whole of Bulacan.
Such a project may seem overwhelming for a small town. But Meneses thinks about his constituents’ welfare for the long-term.
“Definitely yes, may ilang mga nag-alala. Pero nang napaliwagan sila at nakita ang benepisyo na ibibigay sa pagtatayo ng airport sa bayan ng Bulacan ay naging excited sila,” he said.
Once completed, the airport project can accommodate up to 100 million passengers yearly, generate over a million direct and indirect jobs, give rise to many small industries in Bulacan, and significantly boost tourism, leading to more jobs across all industries.
The 1995 PBA MVP knows from experience what kind of partner San Miguel Corp. is. He has seen for himself how San Miguel treats its employees and communities as a Barangay Ginebra player from 1999 to 2002.
Even today, in the midst of the pandemic, Meneses and Bulakan can feel SMC’s trademark malasakit.
“Opo naman. Pinapakita ng SMC ang malasakit nila sa mga mamayan ng Bulakan lalo na nitong pandemic. Ipinadama nila ang malasakit at pag alaga sa tao, lalo na si Boss RSA (Ramon S. Ang),” he related.