Biggest SMC community center rises near former landfill
MANILA -Food, drinks, energy and infrastructure conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) launched its biggest community center in Tondo, Manila, and pledged P500 million to support the construction of more classrooms in the city as part of its 133rd anniversary celebration.
The community center, dubbed Better World Smokey Mountain because of its location near the former Smokey Mountain landfill, which was a garbage dumpsite and shanty town before it was closed down the mid 1990s, will now serve as a skills and development center of 2,500 families and roughly 12,500 individuals, SMC said in a statement on Friday.
“A critical challenge in our country is the widening skills gap in our disadvantaged communities, which hinders the progress of many of our kababayans,” SMC president and CEO Ramon Ang, who grew up in Tondo, said during the launch of the community center.
SMC said the new community center has 39 modern classrooms spread across four levels.
This was part of the conglomerate’s goal to improve the lives of 15 million Filipinos by 2030.
Witnessing the children beneficiaries at the facility, Ang also announced to Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna a P500-million initial donation to help build more school facilities in the City of Manila.
“Our goal is to equip our Tondo beneficiaries with essential skills, instill in them a growth mindset and a vision of a brighter future,” the business tycoon said.
“By providing these families the opportunity to upskill, we hope to ultimately boost their income levels, decrease unemployment, elevate overall living standards, and help them realize inter-generational change,” he added.
SMC started building Better World community centers in 2019 to address various societal issues in partnership with different non-government organizations.
The Better World Smokey Mountain is their fifth community center.
SMC said it had partnered with AHA Learning Center, Upskills+ Foundations Inc., Project Pearls, Sandiwaan Center for Learning Inc., and Tulay sa Pag-Unlad Inc.
Key programs at the Better World Smokey Mountain include academic support for elementary students, essential life skills training for high school students, vocational training opportunities for out-of-school youth and unemployed mothers, women-empowerment programs, teacher training and support, and specialized sessions.