TOWER making the difference

DOLE PARTNERS WITH RC MANILA FOR TOWER AWARDS. Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III signs a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Rotary Club of Manila; the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP); and with the Petron Foundation, Inc. (PFI) to mount The Outstanding Workers of the Republic (TOWER) Awards, at the New World Makati Hotel. Standing from L-R: Past Club President and former DOLE Secretary Benny Laguesma, Chairman, Tower Awards Committee, Past District Governor Obet Pagdanganan, Centennial President/Director Susing Pineda, District 3810 Governor-Elect Rudy Bediones; Seated from L-R: Ms. Grace Abella Zata, People Management Association of the Philippines, Secretary Bello, Ms. Charmaine Canillas, Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Petron Foundation, Inc. and Presiding Officer, Centennial Director Bobby Joseph


The annual   search for outstanding workers nationwide has been launched  as part of the Manila Rotary Club’ s (RCM) preparatory activities to celebrate its centennial next year.

Popularly known as the TOWER (Ten Outstanding Workers of the Republic) Awards among participating establishments, this RCM project, founded in 1975 has recognized quality innovations of skilled rank and file blue collar workers  and their contributions not only  to their respective company’s progress, but to the economic development of the entire nation.

While the earlier focus of the recognition awards was on blue collar workers, the project managers, with the approval of the RCM board of directors, noting the decline of the “blue collar” labor force, and the rapid rise and domination by knowledge workers of sunrise industries such as information technology, telecommunications, banking, insurance, professional services and high tech manufacturing, included outstanding white collar workers  in its nationwide reach.

This year, according to TOWER awards chairman Benny Laguesma, there are two  categories for the awards— manufacturing and services. Under the first  category are those worker- nominees from companies whose core business is manufacturing to include, automotive, drugs, pharmaceuticals and health products,electrical/ electronics,food beverage and tobacco, leather and leather products, machinery and equipment, metal processing and farming, non-metallic minerals,packaging, rubber and plastics, textile and garments, et alii. The second category includes worker-nones from companies providing services such as communications, tourism, business/professional services, transportation, banking and financial services information technology/ e-commerce, business process outsourcing and others.

Laguesma said the award is strictly for non-supervisory “blue collar” or “white collar” employees who have introduced extraordinary or innovative ideas, systems or designs that resulted in improved quality, productivity, cost reduction, competitiveness and in enhancing the development of skills, trade or occupation. Still ambiguous, but the criteria also adds the qualification that the nominees should be with exemplary, distinctive, consistently excellent performance ‘that sets him/her apart from others’ and more, he/she should have good moral character and has a consistent record of high performance.

The award for the outstanding workers, who may  be more than ten (10), consist of cash prizes of Php 100,000( too small, said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III), insurance coverage worth Php100,000 from AXA  Insurance, full scholarship for baccalaureate  degree course  in any school chosen by awardee, and the much coveted TOWER trophy that would immortalize the awardee.

How to select the would be immortals, given the millions of enterprises, small, medium and multi-billion will not be an easy task. This time the willing cooperators of Manjla Rotary will be the Department of Labor and Employment,  People Management Association of the Philippines, and Petron Foundation, Inc. All nominations will have to be submitted to the PMAP by September 30, 2018. Not that simple, as nominees wifi have to be vetted  by their respective HR departments, before submission to PMAP.  Awarding will be during the centennial celebrations of the rotary club of Manila, in June next year.

The Filipino workers productivity  has risen by  sixty (60) percent per PSA data, and much of this could be traced to continuing  quality improvements in almost all undertakings. Even with meager wages, Filipino workers are providing the brawn and brains needed for sustained economic growth ,  contractualization, corrupt and dirty politics and mass killings notwithstanding.
Labor Secretary Bello, who might probably be the next Ombudsman, hoped that the worker awardees are not “contractuals.” The remark elicited approving applause from the audience of fair Rotarians, more so as he prefaced his statements with a report on the regularization of 7, 000  contractuals of the giant PLDT telephone company.

In a small way, the TOWER awards might just lift the sagging morale and prestige  of the Filipino  working men and women, although they continue to  live and toil dangerously. Grace Abella-Zata of PMAP is optimistic having supported the project during her stint as President of the non- government people  management association.  Petron Foundation’s representatives who offered the cash prizes for the awardees expressed their full support for the project.

Although the project had a ten year  hiatus (1986-1996)  since its inception in 1975, more than  two hundred (200) outstanding workers have been recognized and immortalized with the TOWER trophy – a continuing symbol of the creativity, resilience and courage of the Filipino workers….jc






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