San Miguel Corporation has started work to build up manpower for its massive, P740-billion “game-changer” Manila International Airport project in Bulacan, with the first batch of trainees under its specialized job training program completing their courses under the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA).
“We wanted to make sure that this mega-project will foster wider prosperity for the country and help everyday Filipinos, especially our kababayans in Bulacan and nearby provinces, recover from the current crisis by creating and making good jobs available,” SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said.
The TESDA program, funded by SMC, was initially opened to former residents of Barangay Taliptip, future site of the airport, but will be opened to more Bulacan residents and those in nearly provinces in the coming months, to help displaced job-seekers
The airport project, Ang said, would significantly help jumpstart the economy by sustaining and creating millions of jobs that would eventually encourage other private companies to start investing in critical projects and hiring more people.
He added that the project would require, among others, highly-specialized and skilled labor, as it will include the construction of four parallel runways, a world-class terminal, and a major infrastructure network.
“We’re very excited to start the project. We have been receiving many inquiries about jobs openings, including from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), even before we can break ground. We are positive that this project will help a lot of Filipinos, especially during this time of pandemic. With this, we can contribute to easing unemployment and help boost our economic recovery,” Ang said.
Thirty-six (36) graduates took up airport construction-related courses, including Heavy Equipment/Hydraulic Excavator Operations, Electrical Installation and Maintenance, and Shielded Metal Arc Welding, and have been referred to SMC Aerocity, which will handle the airport development.
These graduates, all former residents of Barangay Taliptip, were awarded National Certificates or NCII Certificates after completing their courses and the assessment tests under TESDA.
Another 24 former Taliptip residents meanwhile graduated from Dressmaking and Cookery courses, which will enable them to put up their own small businesses.
“The TESDA scholarships are usually only for high-school graduates, but under our partnership with TESDA for this airport project, we are opening the scholarships to non-high school graduates who are residents of Bulacan,” Ang said.
“We are also looking to expand the course offerings based on the labor needs of the project. In fact, while waiting for employment at the airport, some of the graduates who are qualified for Tesda scholarships are willing to enroll again for additional skills,” he said.
Ang encouraged Bulacan residents to equip themselves with skills for possible employment at the airport, or gain entrepreneurship skills, as the MIA is seen to spur new local industries and boost existing businesses.
The MIA project construction and operation will require suppliers, maintenance contractors, food providers, accommodations, and other services, he said.
The pilot batch of trainees from Taliptip underwent twenty (20) days of training in their chosen courses and three (3) days of entrepreneurship training. Those who opt for self-employment or to put up their own small business, will be given toolkits like welding machines, sewing machines, and other equipment.