Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – San Miguel Corporation is best known for San Miguel Beer, but this Philippine company has extensive investments in fuel, power generation, food, agriculture, aviation, finance and infrastructure. It is on the list of Forbes 2000 largest public companies in the world.
Among its latest capital investments is the ambitious plan to build a new international airport in Manila. The existing airport, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has long exceeded its maximum capacity and has, in fact, earned the reputation as the worst international airport in the world.
The new airport plan will involve reclaiming (land fill) parts of Manila Bay in order to build up to four runways. Manila Bay has already been chipped away to make room for hotels, a huge shopping mall, casinos and other infrastructure. Initially, the planned airport will be used exclusively by Philippine Airlines (PAL) but will eventually be opened up to foreign airlines. San Miguel Corporation owns 49% of PAL stocks.
Since San Miguel Corporation now practically controls major aspects of Filipinos’ daily lives, and with the increasing inability of the government to manage the country, some influential legislators have proposed to rename the Philippines from ‘Republic of the Philippines’ to ‘Capitalist Republic of San Miguel,’ and to turn over management of the government to San Miguel Corporation.
Filipinos seem nonchalant about the proposal. In fact, many are drinking to that! As an advertising meme aptly proclaims: “Mag- beer muna tayo!” (Let’s first have a beer). San Miguel beer of course.