SMC to make Bulacan airport a pacesetter

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corp. (SMC) intends to make its airport and aerocity project in Bulacan at the forefront of green cities, addressing social and environmental concerns that affect even the country’s major financial districts.

In a statement, SMC said its president Ramon Ang and urban planner and green architect Felino “Jun” Palafox Jr. share the same vision for the massive development.

SMC has tapped Palafox Associates to help masterplan its aerocity development where the P740-billion New Manila International Airport will be located.

Palafox said the development would integrate the best practices in green, sustainable, and disaster-resilient architecture that he has advocated and implemented in some 1,700 projects in about 45 countries worldwide.

“At Palafox, we’ve analyzed that we need at least 100 new cities all over the Philippines by 2050. If we don’t do it, our cities will become as bad, if not worse than Metro Manila. We envision the Bulacan aerocity development as the first model and pacesetter for future green and sustainable cities in the country,” Palafox said.

Ang said the aerocity development also aims to avoid the mistakes that have contributed to the present-day problems of the country’s biggest cities today.

“I want to emphasize to our countrymen that what we are building is more than just an international gateway with four runways, with an infrastructure network to connect it directly to Metro Manila and many other points in Luzon. The airport is just one component – what we’re building is the Philippines’ first truly green city of the future,” he said.

Ang said the project would have significant economic impact to the country and the Filipino people through jobs and tourism opportunities it will generate.

“Airport cities around the world generate a significant amount of jobs, and that is ultimately what we want to do. We need jobs and opportunities for our countrymen today, but more importantly, for the next generation in the coming years, especially since we are trying to recover from a pandemic,” Ang said.

“The jobs we will generate will not be limited to the airport city or Bulacan province alone, but will extend to neighboring provinces, the rest of Luzon, and many other parts of the country which will benefit from increased tourism, increased investments because of better accessibility,” he said.

SMC said the development would adopt green architectural and green urbanism guidelines over and above the country’s building and zoning codes, as well as follow the structural codes of other countries, specifically those situated in similar earthquake zones as the Philippines.

SMC is also looking to put up a medical and research facility along with the school as part of the innovation hub to be created where both learning institutions and technology-driven global companies can thrive.

The aerocity project will also be equipped with the latest in digital infrastructure and will have lots of open spaces.

SMC said public transport would also be easily accessible, with a bicycle highway connected to the train system among those being considered.

“From the very beginning, I promised Bulakenyos and all our stakeholders in government that the airport project and the aerocity development will have significant benefits for the province and the whole country. We will make sure to do everything right, because this is our biggest investment to date, and our legacy to the next generations,” Ang said.

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