Holcim Philippines fetes top Pinoy masons renews ties for masonry advocacy


For the first time, two masons shared the honor of being not only the best in their trade but also as exemplary citizens.

Eduardo Latap, 41, of Metro Manila, and Alejandro Tagle, 26, of Quirino province were named the top winners in the Third ‘galing Mason awards, the nationwide search for the pride of the local masonry profession. 

The awards were given by Holcim Philippines and its public and private sector partners in a ceremony held at the New World Hotel in Makati last on Oct. 28. Latap and Tagle each took home P150,000 in cash, Holcim products worth P5,000 and a trophy designed by artist Glen Cagandahan. The two bested 15 other regional representatives, the first time ‘galing Mason Awards attracted contestants from all 17 regions. 

Constancio Gulingan from Kalinga province and Ariel Mazo of Tagum City, Davao were declared first and second runners-up and won P50,000 and P30,000, respectively.

Latap and Tagle, who are both active in volunteering their skills in their communities and have worked hard to improve their families’ lives, both thanked Holcim Philippines for creating a program that recognizes masons’ contribution to society.

Holcim Sustainable Development Head Mike Cabalda said both deserved the top award since they proved not only to be very skilled in masonry, but also showed good values that the judges were looking for.

“They are masons who are not just technically skilled but model citizens as well. They are very proud of their jobs as they contribute their skills to the community and work hard for their families. We hope this award helps people realize the dignity of masonry and recognize the role they play in nation building,” he said.

In a related development, Holcim Philippines has renewed its partnership with government, trade, and industry groups for its ‘galing Mason program, paving the way for the continued advocacy of raising the profile of masons and professionalizing masonry in the Philippines.

On Oct. 27, Holcim Philippines’s Chief Operations Officer Roland van Wijnen, together with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva, and the Philippine Constructors Association incoming and outgoing presidents Lito Madrasto and Levy Espiritu, and the Association of Construction and Informal Workers (ACIW) President Emmanuel Pelayo and ACIW Secretary General Meynardo Palarca signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) renewing the partnership for five more years. It extends the seven-year cooperation among the organizations. Holcim Philippines renewed its commitment to finance the program and lead its promotion. The TESDA and ACIW, PCA agreed to help in training masons, evaluating and updating the modules, and tracking the graduates.

The ‘galing Mason is Holcim Philippines’s flagship corporate responsibility program that involves skills training, competition, and recognition of outstanding masons. Under the new agreement, the Awards will be held annually starting 2013 and will have a female division.

Van Wijnen said Holcim Philippines will continue to push the program as it believes in providing support to construction workers to further professionalize their trade. 

“Holcim considers the critical role masons play in helping build structures important for development. As actual users of our products, it is our responsibility not just to ensure that they are able to expertly use specific Holcim products for specific construction applications. We also want to help them level up their craft and recognize their feats so they would also feel proud of themselves as professionals,” Van Wijnen said.

Palarca praised Holcim for the ‘galing Mason program and welcomed partnership’s extension.

“This program has raised public awareness about the importance of masons and has made them prouder of their jobs, and the certification program through Tesda has also made them more employable," he said.

Villanueva, meanwhile, said it was important for government to partner with the private sector to upgrade the skills of local workers particularly in the booming construction industry.

“This MoA and its multisectoral participation show that signatories are keen in helping Filipino blue-collar workers, which is very important given our growing construction industry. Through this partnership, we are ensured our espesyalista workers will be important contributors to development and are given a chance to make a career out of this,” he said.

Espiritu also welcomed the partnership’s renewal citing how the program since the PCA also shares the advocacy of raising the skills of local construction workers.

“The signing is symbolic of the cooperation between the public sector and the various industries and Holcim has been very instrumental in this effort,” he said.