SMC interested to invest in interisland bridge

Senator Franklin Drilon and San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang lead the laying of the time capsule during the groundbreaking of San Miguel Brewery Inc. production facility at Barangay Gua-an, Leganes, Iloilo on Sept 20, 2019. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is interested to pour in more investments in Iloilo as they are looking into the possibility of submitting an unsolicited proposal for the construction of the bridge that will connect Iloilo to Guimaras, according to Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon.

Drilon said he encouraged SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang to invest more in Iloilo following his visit for the groundbreaking of the new production facility of SMC’s subsidiary company, San Miguel Brewery Inc. (SMB) on Friday at Barangay Gua-an, Leganes, Iloilo.

“I toured Mr. Ang and showed him what are the infrastructures in Iloilo. He was impressed and encouraged to invest here. He is looking at the possibility of an unsolicited proposal for the Iloilo-Guimaras-Panay bridge,” he said.

The 14-km Panay-Guimaras-Negros project which is estimated to cost around P9 to P14 billion is expected to be the long-term solution to improve the transport system of the Iloilo-Guimaras route and vice versa.

According to Drilon, the bridge will start from Brgy. Gua-an in Leganes going to Guimaras to connect the site of SMB’s Iloilo brewery to other parts of the region.

“I hope that the unsolicited proposal will fast track the construction infrastructure,” he said.

Apart from the bridge, Drilon hopes that SMC will also invest and operate the P6.5 billion International Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo.

While Ang has not to confirm the proposed investments, he assured that SMC is very much willing to invest more in Iloilo.

Ang SMC pwedeng magtayo ng maraming investments, pwedeng green terminal or flour mill. Nakita ko very progressive itong Iloilo and napakagaling na negosyante, napakasipag ng mga tao dito,” he said.

Drilon underscored the need to bring in more investments in Iloilo to provide more jobs and counter poverty.

“We have to provide our people with job opportunities. We can only do that if we create an environment conducive to investments.  More investments mean more jobs, more jobs mean less poverty,” he emphasized.

Drilon has been a prime mover of Iloilo’s top infrastructure projects such as the Iloilo International Airport, the Senator Benigno Aquino Avenue in Diversion road in Mandurriao district, the new Iloilo-Bacolod ferry passenger terminal in City Proper district, and the P11.2 billion Jalaur multipurpose project in Calinog, Iloilo.

In two years, SMB’s P6.7-billion production facility in Leganes, Iloilo will also rise and pave way for additional employment and economic activity.