“What is most important is that we should convince all Filipino businessmen to invest and start working. If they are all going to hide in their home, the investors and the financiers will be okay. But, their employees will lose jobs and what will happen to their family?” said the San Miguel Corp. president and COO.
Ang believes businessmen should relish facing a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic because it would put them to the ultimate test.
“That’s when you separate the men from the boys. In a crisis, there’s always an opportunity like this. When everybody is staying home, we (San Miguel) are out working, we make sure all our projects are in full speed, when they wake up and finally report for work, we are already done,” said Ang.
“So all the opportunities we have, we are practically harvesting now. But the most important is we want to keep the jobs, we want to create more job opportunities for our country and our people,” he added.
Ang is an staunch advocate of mass testing – he established a massive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing facility that is accessible and affordable to a large number of Filipinos – which he believed was essential in boosting confidence of businessmen and their employees to go out without the fear of getting infected.
“We cannot lock down forever because people need to work to pay for their bills. I think no country in the world can afford to lock down today but we have to strike a balance. Like we want people to start working. We need to test them. We need to do mass testing. If we want the economy to start rolling again, what is most important is testing,” said Ang.
Aside from PCR testing its 70,000 employees, Ang said San Miguel has placed acrylic dividers in its offices to contain the spread of the virus and used not only temperature scanners but also an oxinometer to measure the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood (less saturation means a person has chest pain, shortness of breath and increased heart rate).
“That’s why today we have maybe 50 percent of our employees are back working and they can take turns. Most of them work two to three days a week. So everybody is working. Our company is functioning very well now. In fact, we are full speed in all our expansion. From food and beverages, power generation, oil, refinery, petrochemical, and our infrastructure business are in full blast,” he said.
“The only business that affected us is the oil refinery or Petron. Our power business is good. Our infrastructure, tollways, ports, they are okay. And our food and beverage business…and cement are very, very good. In short, we are not affected at all. Businesses that are mostly affected are hotels, cruise liner, airlines, casino, real estate, so we are not in those kinds of business. The businesses that we are into are not really that much affected,” he added.