Cover Illustration by Pete Rich

San Miguel Corporation's chairman and COO's dream is to encourage more Filipinos to contribute to and benefit from the growth of the Philippine economy

This article was originally published in Tatler Philippines September 2020 issue. Download it on your device via Zinio, Magzter, or Pressreader.

In 10 years, Ramon Ang expanded San Miguel Corporation’s exposure from food manufacturing and beer brewery to power and energy, infrastructure, oil refining and real estate. But for this president and chief operating officer of the company since 2002, the direction he wants to take is not just all about business. “I want to leave our country better than when I found it, one where more Filipinos take part in, and benefit from, economic growth. All our work in San Miguel is geared towards achieving that—our investments in manufacturing capacities across several regions nationwide; our infrastructure projects that aim to unlock the economic potential of regions and accelerate trade and tourism and make people’s everyday lives easier. All of these are designed to enable growth, create jobs and make our local and national economies stronger, more resilient,” says Ang.

Together with his army of more than 20,000 employees, Ang has achieved a lot. “We’ve completed most of the major projects we initially set out to do, including, recently, the entire stretch of Tarlac–Pangasinan– La Union Expressway [TPLEX] from Tarlac to Rosario, La Union. We have operationalised new power plants, upgraded refineries, new manufacturing plants, expressways, our airport, water utility and the like. There’s still much to be done and a lot more that we plan to do to make these achievements sustainable in the long term,” says the ingenious magnate.

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I'm inspired by what the Philippines can be if we all work together to make it better and give it all the help we can give.
Ramon Ang

The journey towards this legacy comes with its unique set of challenges. “In infrastructure for example, right-of-way issues usually cause delays. This was true with our Skyway Stage 3, the TPLEX and the MRT-7 Project. Building new manufacturing facilities for our beverage and food businesses also poses inherent challenges. This pandemic has caused a slowdown in practically all our ongoing projects. But overall, I am glad that over the years, our businesses have gotten pretty good at execution. We have good relationships with stakeholders such as government as well as communities, and we can work through difficulties. It just takes some time,” Ang shares, citing that San Miguel Corporation’s large organisation is highly adaptable and agile. “In just the last past couple of months, we have been able to quickly adjust to the new business environment brought about by the pandemic. We were able to continue most of our operations and at the same time, provide a lot of help for our government, medical practitioners and disadvantaged communities.”

The difference that these projects make on the lives of people is what keeps this tycoon inspired. “People tell me that their lives are better because of our projects—be it their commutes, or their businesses. We have also built entire communities and houses for disaster victims, and have put through school many students, some of whom we have also hired. It gives me satisfaction and fulfilment when I see our employees prosper and able to provide well for their families, when I see people progress better in life in part or wholly because of San Miguel,” says Ang. “I’m inspired by what the Philippines can be if we all work together to make it better and give it all the help we can give, so that we uplift the lives of all Filipinos, the poor ones, especially. We only have one country; we should love it and help it grow.”

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