San Miguel Corporation (SMC), together with the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA), is expanding its skills development program to cover more provinces and include financial assistance to small businesses in disadvantaged communities where it operates.
“As our economy starts opening up, there is an urgent need to help the poorest and most disadvantaged sectors get back on their feet. Many have lost their jobs or small businesses during this pandemic, and what we aim to do is upskill them, so they can pursue better job opportunities and help them start or restart their small businesses and allow them to participate in the economy’s growth post-pandemic,” SMC president Ramon S. Ang said.
The program has already benefitted close to a thousand trainees from Taliptip and other coastal barangays in Bulacan —where the company is building the New Manila International Airport and Aerocity — and over 300 families from Sariaya, Quezon, where it is investing in a modern agro-industrial facility.
The program will be extended to beneficiaries in Bataan, Batangas, and Davao provinces.
“As our economy starts opening up, there is an urgent need to help the poorest and most disadvantaged sectors get back on their feet. Many have lost their jobs or small businesses during this pandemic, and what we aim to do is upskill them, so they can pursue better job opportunities and help them start or restart their small businesses such as eateries, neighborhood stores, even online business,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
Along with the skills training initiative, the company is extending capital assistance to over a hundred families in Bulacan to help them either put up micro-enterprises or improve their current small businesses.
Ang added that just a year into the pilot implementation of its training program with TESDA, and despite strict quarantine protocols that limited opportunities for in-person training, close to 1,000 individuals have already availed of the free training sessions.
“We thank the TESDA headed by Isidro Lapena for joining us in this effort that combines the resources of San Miguel and TESDA, to work for the good of many. We are looking forward to the expansion of this program to more provinces nationwide, and seeing its transformative impact on our countrymen who are looking to recover from the pandemic,” Ang added.
Even prior to the agreement, TESDA has been a longtime partner of SMC for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs under the San Miguel Foundation (SMF).
Under a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), TESDA facilitates skills training, makes available its training venues, conducts assessments, and issues certificates of competency to the beneficiary-trainees.
SMC, on the other hand, provides funds for training fees, assessment fees, and other expenses for trainees who do not qualify for TESDA scholarship. The company also covers transportation and food allowance for the duration of the training.
Thus far, some 922 individuals took up courses that lasted anywhere from two days to 36 days, conducted at pilot sites Bulacan, Sariaya in Quezon province, and General Santos City.
Bulk of the graduates under the SMC-TESDA partnership came from 277 families from Bulakan, Bulacan formerly residing in Brgy. Taliptip, site of SMC’s airport project. Apart from the training programs, they were earlier provided cash assistance to build their own homes in properties they now own.
Also among the beneficiaries of the program are some 302 families in Sariaya, Quezon, half of whom now reside at free house and lots given to them by SMC, inside its model sustainable housing community, San Miguel-Christian-Gayeta Homes, in Barangay Castanas.
The town in Bulakan will host the NMIA and its adjoining Aerocity development, while Sariaya will be home to SMC’s state-of-the-art agro-industrial complex, which will feature a brewery, grains terminal, feedmill, a ready-to-eat food manufacturing plant, high-tech poultry facility, a fuel tank farm, and port facilities.
Both major investments are seen to generate jobs and help boost the Philippines’ economic growth post-pandemic and for the long-term.
Courses offered by the SMC-TESDA program include: heavy excavator operator, electrical installation and maintenance, shielded metal arc welding, dressmaking, beads and accessories making, fish processing, dessert-making, doormat and rugs making, entrepreneurship training, bread and pastry production, hollow block making, and meat processing.
Meanwhile, some 165 individuals residing in 14 coastal barangays in Bulacan became the first beneficiaries of SMC’s additional capital assistance initiative, after attending a two-day entrepreneurship program.
Earlier, the company also took in relocatees from Barangay Taliptip to become part of its nationwide network of community resellers of its Purefoods and Magnolia frozen products.
“While the community reselling program is successful, we’ve also diversified the kinds of businesses that can be included in the program. Future beneficiaries can avail of additional cash capital for small businesses like eateries, rice stores, fish processing, as well as online businesses. Apart from capital, we also provided them entrepreneurship training. We also have mechanisms in place to monitor their progress and make sure they have the best chances to succeed,” Ang said.
The entrepreneurship program module includes business planning, marketing, bookkeeping, and networking, according to Ang.