Christmas came early this year for 39-year old construction worker Ricky Pasco of Tagum, Davao del Norte as he was named the grand champion of the 5th Holcim ‘galing Mason Awards, a nationwide search for outstanding Filipino masons.
“Maraming salamat po sa pagpapahalagang ibinigay ninyo sa aming mga mason. Sana ay magpatuloy ang programang ito upang mas marami pang mason ang matulungan na maging mabubuting trabahador (Thank you for appreciating the value masons contribute to society. We hope this program is sustained so it can help more masons become better in their trade),” Pasco said during his acceptance speech at the awards night on 25 September at the Manila Hotel.
Pasco sees this award as a stepping stone to further hone his craft. He plans to use part of his PhP150,000 cash prize for the tuition of his two kids. The first-time participant bested 19 other national semi-finalists. Pasco is the second Mindanaon to win the award.
This year’s batch of ‘galing Mason national semi-finalists spent three days in Javier, Leyte building the perimeter fence for a community that Holcim Philippines, Inc. is supporting in partnership with the local government.
The basis for the masons’ final score was their performance in Leyte, coupled with the results of their panel interview with representatives from HPI’s ‘galing Mason partner-organizations Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Association of Construction and Informal Workers, Philippine Constructors Association, and National Housing Authority.
From the hundreds of candidates, 20 masons, including four female masons, made it as national semi-finalists. The roster was trimmed down to 10 grand finalists from where the grand champion was chosen.
“The ‘galing Mason Program is a testament to our commitment to sustainability. Equipping masons with the right skills is just the first step towards providing them with a more sustainable form of livelihood. Through the program, we aim to boost their employability and help them land jobs in the construction industry both here and abroad,” said Holcim Philippines President and CEO Eduardo A. Sahagun.
Sahagun noted that some of the ‘galing Mason winners have undergone further training to become masonry trainers. Others have used their learning in setting up their own contracting businesses
The ‘galing Mason Awards is the recognition component of HPI’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative – the ‘galing Mason Program. Established in 2004, the program aims to upgrade the status of masons and recognize them for their essential role in helping build structures for development.