At a time of continued strong construction activity, the building industry can better contribute to national development by following a sustainable path, and the media can help gain support for this approach by providing more space for such stories
These were the key messages of officials of construction solutions company Holcim Philippines, Inc. during the awarding ceremony of the Journalism Awards for Sustainable Construction Reporting (JASCOR) on 10 November 2016 in Makati City.
Now on its third cycle, JASCOR recognizes excellence in reporting on the construction sector from the perspective of sustainability to encourage stories that help the public better understand how the industry can contribute to a more sustainable future. The program is done together with the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), the national association of newspapers. National and community newspapers compete yearly for the awards.
Holcim Philippines Chief Operating Officer Sapna Sood noted that the strong building activity provides a wealth of opportunities for the media to share stories on the construction industry and highlight its role in sustainable development.
“I hope that these stories will make the public learn new things, widen its perspective, and move it to support efforts to improve construction standards, practices and policies in this country,” Sood said.
Construction in the Philippines is expected to continue growing with the commitment of government and private sector to build the necessary structures to support development. The current administration recently unveiled its plans to undertake a massive infrastructure program in the country.
Sood said the Philippines can count on Holcim Philippines and the LafargeHolcim Group as partners in addressing both immediate and developing challenges arising from these construction activities.
“We are ready to introduce more innovative building solutions to help the local construction industry better build the structures that are needed to support growth,” she said.
Also during the JASCOR awards night, Ritzi Villarico Ronquillo, Holcim Philippines Vice President and Head of Communication and Corporate Affairs, said the company’s partnership with the PPI seeks to call the journalism community’s attention to the need for reporting on the construction industry from the perspective of sustainability.
"Excellent journalism can make sustainability more understandable and more accessible to people. Journalists have the ability to weave words and data – into stories about this topic that are insightful and thought-provoking. Journalists can help the public make sense of this issue – and its relevance to their real, everyday lives," she added.
Holcim Philippines and PPI also held workshops all over the country between April and May to deepen journalists’ understanding of the links between the construction industry and sustainable growth.
The sessions delved deeper into issues affecting sustainable construction, with focus on the relevant local issues affecting the regions, such as building infrastructure with basic necessities for the relocated informal settlers in Bulacan, the post-earthquake situation in Bohol and the plight of indigenous folk in Mindanao and their need for community infrastructure.
Holcim Philippines also published this year a collection of the winning stories of the 2015 JASCOR as reference to better understand the value of sustainable construction.
“The stories of sustainable construction and sustainability must be told with truth and authenticity. The diversity of the journalism community’s words and stories affirms that indeed the construction industry is part of the solution in building a more sustainable future,” said Ronquillo.