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06 December 2008

Top 10 Subic Freeport workers known

First, the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991, then the subsequent pullout of the US Navy. Then after that came the Asian economic crisis.

What enabled this free port to triumph over these adversities and rise to economic heights cannot be credited primarily to the US$8 billion worth of infrastructure left by the Americans, but rather, to Subic ’s “greatest investment” — its exceptional workforce.

To highlight the crucial role of workers in the transformation of this former US military base into a premier investment and commercial hub, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Subic Bay Workforce Development Foundation Inc. (SBWDFI) honored this year’s batch of the “10 Outstanding Freeport Workers” during the 16th anniversary celebration of the free port.

The workers awards, which is now on its seventh year, aims to promote among the entire Subic workforce the culture of excellence displayed by volunteers who are credited for rebuilding Subic from the ashes of Mt. Pinatubo , said SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza.

Arreza, who joined some 8,000 Subic volunteers in 1993, recalled that investors started to do business here primarily because of the volunteers’ exceptional display of nationalism and concern for the community.

“They saw that the facilities left by the Americans were intact, and operations of vital installations like the airport and power supply facilities were not halted because people lent their time and skills for free,” said Arreza.

He added that the recipients of the award “are of the same caliber as those of the SBMA pioneers.”

SBMA labor manager Severo Pastor, who is also chairman of the SBWDFI, said that this year, SBMA employees qualified for the awards for the first time, along with nominees from locator companies in Subic .

The awards body also acknowledged for the first time companies that made significant impact on the free port’s development through the “Administrator’s Corporate Award”.

The awardees in this category, Federal Express (FedEx) and the Subic Power Corporation, received the award for exemplifying good human resource practices by consistently keeping the balance between business interests and employees’ welfare, providing equitable work environments, as well as opportunities for professional growth, Arreza said.

Of the 51 nominees in the outstanding workers category, only 20 finalists were chosen, said Pastor. The finalists then underwent a tougher second screening by the board of judges composed of Aurelio Pineda, executive vice-president of the Olongapo Business Club; Capt. Areston Limos, of the Philippine National Police School of Values and Leadership; and former Philippine ambassador to Saudi Arabia Jonathan dela Cruz, who served as chairman.

Pastor identified the 10 outstanding workers of the Subic Bay Freeport as: Ma. Adoracion Celeste, a technical assistant at the SBMA Human Resource Department; Levi Dalida, special investigator at the SBMA Intelligence and Investigation Office; Arleen Dulay, housekeeping attendant at the Lighthouse Marina Resort; Diosdado Ednave, security officer at the SBMA Law Enforcement Department; Severino Jovero, marine mammal training supervisor at the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium’s Ocean Adventure; Elizier Martin, foreman at the SBMA Maintenance and Transportation Department; Vicente Salvador, welder/pipe fitter at the Philippine Coastal Storage and Pipeline Corp.; Bernard Sanchez, production department head at Nicera Philippines Inc.; Paquito Torres, division chief at the SBMA Intelligence and Investigation Office; and Jaime Villafuerte, Jr., failure analysis engineering supervisor at Wistron Infocomm. (Phils.).

SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga, meanwhile, praised Subic ’s top workers, adding that Filipino workers “always belong to the cream of the crop.”

“Anywhere in the world, Filipino workers stand out,” said Salonga, citing Filipino engineers in Dubai who were commended for building excellent roads, and in Pearl Harbor, where the top three workers at one time were Filipina welders. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

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