Leading cement manufacturer Holcim Philippines’s search for the country’s top mason finally yielded a Mindanao native, with a contestant from North Cotabato declared as the winner of the 4th ‘galing Mason Award.
A mason for 13 years, Sonny Rebleza of Kidapawan City bested 14 other regional finalists in the contest that aims to recognize outstanding masons for their contribution to nation-building. He will take home Php150,000 in cash and a gift certificate for Php5,000 worth of Holcim cement. The winner was announced during the awards ceremony held at the Manila Hotel on Oct. 25.
The finalists participated in a skills competition involving the completion of a perimeter fence for a public school for indigents relocated to Laguna, and went through a panel interview to discuss their technical prowess, pride in their profession, and contribution to their respective communities.
The judges from Holcim Philippines and its program partners noted that Rebleza stood out for the pride in his work, community service, desire for further professional improvement, and commitment to his family.
Rebleza, 38, thanked Holcim Philippines and its partners for the citation.
“Sanaay walang sawang ipagpatuloy ng Holcim at mga kasama nitong ahensya ang ‘galing Mason program para maipagpatuloy ang pagtuklas sa panibagong kaalaman at mahubog ang kaalaman ng mga mason,” he said.
Rebleza added that he plans to use his winnings to buy land and save the rest for the education of his children, who are 12 and three years old. He also plans to get more training on masonry.
Rebleza is a son of a mason and was already taking on construction jobs during high school, but only learned about masonry after taking a three-year civil technology course. He is employed by a Mindanao-based construction company that allows him to work all over the island. Aside from this, Rebleza occasionally serves as masonry trainer for the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA.)
Rebleza is the fifth winner of the Galing Mason Award, and the first from Mindanao. The first two winners were from the Visayas. The two winners declared in the third cycle came from the National Capital Region and Region II. This cycle’s competition started with 178 masons.
Holcim Philippines started the ‘galing Mason Program in 2004. It aims to upgrade the status of masons and give them recognition for their critical role in helping build structures essential for development. Aside from the ‘galing Mason Awards, which is held every two years, the company also conducts annual trainings and competitions to help advance the masonry craft and professionalize the trade.
The company implements the ‘galing Mason Program with TESDA, the Philippine Constructors Association and the Association of Construction and Informal Workers. The National Housing Authority also joined the program this year as host of the Skills Competition.