San Miguel Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang has been conferred the highest distinction given by the French government, the Legion of Honor, with the rank of Officier (Officer), in recognition of his contributions to strengthening ties between the Philippines and France by advancing shared economic goals and being a force for good.
Her Excellency, Michèle Boccoz, French Ambassador to the Philippines, conferred the honor to Ang in an event marking 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
According to the French Ambassador, the Legion of Honor is the most prestigious distinction given by the Republic of France, and is awarded in recognition of distinguished and eminent service.
During the ceremony at the French Ambassador’s Residence, Boccoz thanked Ang “for the role you play as a businessman and as a philanthropist to strengthen those ties between France and the Philippines, and to promote friendship between our two peoples”
Ang joins a short and distinguished list of Filipinos to have received the honor, including past Philippine Presidents.
In bestowing the honor, Boccoz cited Ang’s efforts that led to the delivery of French humanitarian aid to the Philippines, as well as the strengthening of economic ties.
The French Ambassador recalled Ang’s invaluable assistance in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan in 2013, when, as then President and COO of flag carrier Philippines Airlines (PAL), he enabled the transport of aid from France to the Philippines.
Following the calamity, Ang had already instructed PAL to fly rescue workers and aid for free. Incidentally, during the same period, PAL was also taking delivery of a brand new Airbus jet from Tolousse, France.
In coordination with Ang, Airbus and the French government were able to fill the new aircraft with food aid and medicines, as well as transport French doctors and first-responders to help with the relief and recovery effort.
The Ambassador also cited Ang for his “decisive role” in the establishment of a long-term partnership between Airbus and the flag carrier when it initiated a fleet renewal program under Ang.
Ang has also continued to bring French expertise to its key infrastructure projects in the Philippines as part of SMC’s aggressive efforts to improve the lives of Filipinos, boost the economy, and help in nation-building.
The Ambassador cited SMC and Ang’s selection of the Aeroport de Paris Group as one of its consultants in the development of the New Manila International Airport (NMIA), touted to be the largest and most modern international gateway in the Philippines.
SMC has also tapped French firm Matiere for its various infrastructure initiatives aimed at decongesting Metro Manila.”
“All of you here witnessing this ceremony today are well acquainted with Ramon Ang’s prestigious career and how under his leadership, San Miguel Corporation grew within a decade to become the Philippines’ top group in terms of market capitalization. As a businessman, sir, you highly contributed to the development of business partnership between our two countries,” Boccoz said.
In his acceptance speech, Ang thanked the French government for the honor, usually reserved for the most distinguished French military personnel and civilians who have rendered exemplary service to France.
Ang said: “This recognition inspires me and my colleagues in San Miguel Corporation — who I proudly share this with — to work even harder to deliver a better future for all and uphold the common values that we stand for and live by.”
“Amidst the pandemic, we have remained committed to dedicating our resources to building back better, through initiatives that will help boost our economic growth and improve the lives of many of our countrymen,” Ang continued.
“We also believe that pursuing sustainability is essential to achieving this. While we continue to do our part, we know we cannot do it alone. A successful development agenda requires collaboration across borders and amongst governments, businesses and civil society—one that is built upon our shared goals for both our people and our environment,” said Ang.
He added that the friendship between the Philippines and France has never been stronger, and that he will remain committed to further strengthening ties through partnerships that will deliver meaningful results for the Filipino people.
In 2020, Ang received the Asia CEO Awards’ Lifetime Contributor Award after SMC, under him, mounted one of the biggest private sector response efforts during the pandemic. SMC spent over P14 billion to donate much needed COVID-19 testing equipment, medical supplies, food aid, and various other forms of assistance to medical front-liners and vulnerable communities.
He also emphasized reviving the economy as quickly as possible, enabling the continuation of all major SMC projects, including the completion of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), Skyway Stage 3, Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Elevated Extension project, and the ongoing MRT-7, and NMIA projects.
At the same time, Ang instituted programs and policies to ensure the safety, well-being and financial security of SMC employees. Under Ang, SMC also successfully mounted a nationwide vaccination effort for its 70,000-strong workforce.
As part of SMC’s sustainability strategy, Ang is also spearheading the multi-billion rehabilitation of the Tullahan and Pasig rivers, to help mitigate flooding and clean these major tributaries.