To give was of giving back to the place he was born and raised, the San Miguel Corporation president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang opened the first-of-its-kind learning facility and food bank right in the heart of Tondo, Manila to serve the poorest barangays in the city.
It is called “Better World Tondo”, in collaboration with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, and a joint project of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), Rise Against Hunger Philippines and AHA Learning Center. it is a community center in the middle of an impoverished neighborhood on Road 10, boasts a food bank, livelihood training facility, soup kitchen and learning center.
“San Miguel is into food business so why don’t we provide our children in Tondo a better place for them to try our products?” he said.
“At the same time, it will be an educational place for them to learn while eating,” he said. “We can entice them to dream of becoming somebody.”
The Better World Tondo center aims to provide the poorest barangays of Manila access to food as well as the tools to allow them to improve their lives.
They will be provided with canned goods, fresh produce such as vegetables as well as cooked food.
“We want to change Manila for the better not because we know better than the others but look at us. We really need all the help and attention that we can get,” Moreno said.
“I know what it feels like to come to school starving,” said Moreno who was also born and raised in the slums of Tondo.
“Hindi lang ako, pati ‘yung mga kaklase ko, medyo slow at hirap ‘pag walang chicha,” he said.
A Social Weather Stations survey showed about 2.5 million Filipinos families experienced hunger in the second quarter of 2019.
Ang said the San Miguel group is eyeing to build 9 other food banks in the capital city’s impoverished areas.
“Batang Tondo ako eH… Eh kumita na tayo ng konti so ibinabalik ko naman dito sa lugar kung san ako nanggaling which is Manila and Tondo,” said Ang, who was named as the Philippines’ 6th richest man in 2019.
“Subukan muna natin ng 10 years at kung maganda eh di ipagpatuloy pa natin,” he said.
The elderly, disabled, single parents and children will be prioritized in the facility. However, community members who benefit from their services will also be asked to work in the center. They will either cook food, wash dishes or perform other tasks.