MANILA - San Miguel Corp. (SMC) on Wednesday opened a feeding and education center in Tondo, one of the most impoverished parts of the capital city as Ramon Ang, the president of the Philippines' largest company, sought to give back to the community where he was born and raised.
San Miguel Foundation's "Better World Community" will provide daily meals to 1 million kids in Tondo for the next 10 years, Ang told reporters.
"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 center along R-10 road in Tondo houses a restaurant-grade kitchen and a service station where meals - usually composed of rice, eggs and meat viands - will be served on metal food trays for kids.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said the feeding program would help students do better in school.
"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.