HON. EDWIN J. PIANO
OLONGAPO CITY COUNCILOR
THE SEARCH FOR 2009
THE OUTSTANDING COUNCILOR OF THE PHILIPPINES
BASIS OF NOMINATION
A former Subic Bay employee who championed the rights of his fellow Filipino workers, Edwin Piano is one of the pioneer volunteers who protected and preserved Subic Naval Base when the Americans left seventeen years ago. He was one of the pillars who fought for the creation of the Subic Bay Freeport and eventually served as Administrative Officer of the Transportation Department of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
First elected into office as city councilor in 2001 he was voted back by the local electorate in 2004 and 2007, proof that Olongapo residents are satisfied with his performance. Mr. Piano displayed an uncanny ability to detect the needs of the times and demonstrated ability to respond in ways that will benefit his constituents.
His concern and his vision for the welfare of his city and its people are clearly manifested in the Resolutions and Ordinances he filed in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, whether principally-authored by him or co-authored with a colleague. Mr. Piano presently holds the record of having authored the most number of significant Resolutions and Ordinances in Olongapo City Council. He also have the most number of committee chairmanship such as ways and means, telecommunications, organization development and personnel matters, labour and employment, and information technology. All stipulated under Resolution No.3 Series of 2009.
Believing that a Councilor’s duties go beyond mere legislative work, Mr. Piano has proven that he is a hands-on public servant by assuming responsibilities that have direct impact on the welfare of his community.
Among the pertinent Resolutions, Ordinances and initiatives introduced by Mr. Piano to improve the lives of city residents and make governance more effective, are the following:
“One Province, One Rate” Policy. He was responsible for the passage of a telecommunications resolution that enjoined telecommunications firms to adopt a “one province-one rate” policy that removed undue long-distance call charges. The un-relentless persuasion he applied to the telecom firms paved the way to adopt the policy. This means that residents of Olongapo, Zambales and Subic Bay Freeport can now make province wide landline or LL plus calls minus the extra charges.
2005 R – 11 - A RESOLUTION REQUIRING IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF ONE RATE, ONE PROVINCE POLICY AS MANDATED BY THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNCIATIONS COMMISSION (NTC) MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 14-7-2000 TO PUBLIC TELECOMMUNCIATION ENTITIES CONCERNED
The resolution led to the deregulation of the city’s telecommunications sector and ended the long-time monopoly of existing provider who capitalized on the exclusivity clause of their permit to operate in the area. As a result of this resolution, new major telecom players such as Globe Innove, Digitel, PLDT, Smart, SunCell, and others expressed interests in putting-up their businesses in the city. This augured well for the establishment of Call Centers which for the longest time have shield away from operating in Olongapo-Subic because of its non-compliance to the redundancy requirement. This also paved the way for a free choice of service providers to both business sector and the consumers. To date, four Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) have registered in the Freeport with major BPOs such as Sutherland Global Services expected to start operation by November of this year.
Kagawad Piano (third from right) poses with the executives of Sutherland Global Services. His authored resolution paves the way for the said American Telecommunication firm to establish business in Olongapo-Subic.
2009 R – 29
– A RESOLUTION ENDORSING THE INTERCONNECTION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES OF SUBIC-CLARK-TARLAC GROWTH CORRIDOR.
2009 R - 116
- A RESOLUTION ENJOINING ALL TELECOM SERVICE PROVIDERS IN OLONGAPO CITY, SUBIC BAY FREEPORT AND ZAMBALES TO IMMEDIATELY IMPLEMENT THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION COMMISSION MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR 09-07-2007 OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE INTERCONNECTION OF LOCAL EXCHANGE CARRIERS.
As part of the Central Luzon Growth Triangle, both Subic and Clark are envisioned to complement each other. Since roads such as the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and other linkages between the two special economic zones are being built, telecommunication facilities should likewise follow suit to facilitate transactions. With this objective, Mr. Piano authored a resolution whose intend is for the removal of additional charges on phone calls to and from Clark and Subic. This will enhance the flow of communication between investors from both sides minus the extra costs.
Through legislation and actual implementation, Mr. Piano has harnessed the benefits of Information Technology for a faster, easier access to data information, and more efficient conduct of transactions with the city government.
Kagawad Piano shows to his colleagues and city department heads how a computerization project will efficiently benefit local government transactions.
Computerization System – At this modern age of computers, he pushed for legislation to automate government transactions and records. The computerization of Unified Land Information System, Business Permit and Licensing, Real Property Tax Administration, Public Utilities, Hospital Information System and the Document Tracking System were all implemented during his watch as Chairman of the Committee on Information Technology (CIT) and because of the city mayor’s trust and confidence to Mr. Piano, he was appointed as Chairman of the Information Technology Board thru Executive Order 84 series of 2004 which gave him executive power to oversee the computerization projects. This is intended to effectively and efficiently facilitate doing business with the city government and ensure that records are properly documented, safe and easy to access when needed. This resulted to faster service, less inconvenience for transacting residents and streamlined the processing of documents.
CONTRIBUTION TO EDUCATION
In 2004, Councilor Piano authored Ordinance No. 36 which established the legal basis for the creation and operation of the city college which was named Gordon College.
Today, the school is a full blown college offering a number of courses the standard of which is comparable, if not better, than those in Metro Manila. Parents no longer have to worry being separated from their children only to study some place else and, needless to say, their budgetary concerns have been eased.
Accreditation of Gordon College’s Nursing and Midwifery School, Mr. Piano worked for the accreditation of the Nursing & Midwifery School of the city college with the Commission on Higher Education and the Association of Local Colleges and Universities (ALCU). As the most senior member (since 2001) of the Board of Trustees of the said college, his aim was to raise its learning standard so that students in Olongapo who could not afford to stay and study in Manila may receive the same quality of education associated with universities and colleges in Manila.
He likewise supported the computerization of the school from internet connections for use of the students to the registrar’s records and every facet of the institution’s transactions and academic operations.
Mr. Piano receives a Plaque of Recognition from Dr. Arlida Pame for contributing to the growth and development of the college. Gordon College acknowledges Mr. Piano’s quest for excellence in education. The tribute was given on 20 February 2009 during Gordon College 10th Foundation Day.
Transparency in Sangguniang Panlungsod
Mr. Piano believes that information should be readily available to the public so he took it upon himself, at no cost to the government, to undertake the computer archiving of City Ordinances and Sanggunian Resolutions starting from when Olongapo was created in 1959 to the present. Now, students, researchers and other interested parties can easily have access to very important documents even in the comfort of their home, school or office, without going to the City Hall or Public Library. The http://www.sangunian.com/
with its full listings of the city’s ordinances and sanggunian resolutions, and its on-line availability of other pertinent documents, is a first among local government units. A thorough utilization of existing search engines will reveal that this project has not been fully replicated, although some have already started but not an LGU has gone to the full listing made by Mr. Piano for the City of Olongapo. Mr. Piano is actually offering to share this system to any LGU who is interested to implement the same and do away with exorbitant fees that contractors will charge the LGU to implement electronic legislation (eLegis) or Legislative Management Information System (LegMIS).
Three-in-One ID System using the Mobitron. An identification card installed with a built-in tracking system that can be used as valid ID by city residents such as drivers, vendors, government employees and other sectors who want to avail of it. This was put into use by the city government through a resolution initiated by Mr. Piano. Once swiped into a Mobitron device, it transmits information to a computer regarding, for example, how many traffic violations a driver has been ticketed for; or whether one has availed of a particular government service. The ID card also serves as a daily time record for government employees.
2007 R – 75INCREASED CITY REVENUE
- A RESOLUTION RATIFYING THE MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT(MOA) ENTERED INTO BY AND BETWEEN THE CITY GOVERNMENT OF OLONGAPO REPRESENTED BY MAYOR JAMES GORDON, JR. WITH JIMEC GLOBAL HOLDINGS INC. REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT ARABELLA F. ULAYE REGARDING THE PTC2S-PUBLIC TRANSPORT COLOR CODED SCHEME, PATS-PUBLIC ASSISTANCE TRACKING SYSTEM, VMS-VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.
The Revenue Codehttp://sangunian.com/Olongapo_City_Revenue_Code.html
2007 O – 64
- AN ORDINANCE REPEALING ORDINANCE NO. 81, SERIES OF 2002 AND PROVIDING FOR THE “OLONGAPO CITY 2007 REVENUE CODE”
To achieve development while in financially difficult times, Mr. Piano made major changes to the city’s revenue code which would make doing business for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) easier without sacrificing the services that the city can give to its constituents where the funding source is from the city’s regulatory fees.
Material Recovery Ordinance. When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, it left in its wake tons of volcanic debris that covered the surrounding mountains of Olongapo which cascaded into the rivers during rainy seasons in the form of lahar. This caused river silts and clogged the city’s drainage system and eventually spawned massive flooding in the low-lying areas. The city used to spend millions of pesos to dredge the rivers and haul off volumes of lahar elsewhere.
To avoid draining the city’s resources, Mr. Piano authored an environment-friendly, non-destructive quarrying ordinance allowing the private sector to collect accumulated volcanic sand for use as construction material from the city’s rivers for a fee. Aside from creating an additional source of revenue for the city government, the project minimized flooding while at the same time opened possible business opportunities.
MASS LAND TITLING. Councilor Piano being a member of the Mass Land Titling Taskforce assisted his constituents to realize their dream of having the land where they are living become officially theirs and documented by a land title, since, when the project started, only 10% of the city’s land is titled. At the same time, the city government also gained from the sales tax and related fees that people paid to formalize their ownership of the land.
2006 R – 224
- A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE CITY MAYOR TO ENTER INTO A MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT WITH THE WINNING BIDDER OF THE GIS, LAND MAPPING AND OTHER REVENUE GENERATING ACTIVITIES FOR THE CITY
2006 R – 196
- A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE CITY MAYOR TO ENTER INTO A MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT AND MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH LAND ADMINISTRATION AGENCIES SUCH AS REGISTER OF DEEDS, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, NATIONAL MAPPING RESOURCE INFORMATION AUTHORITY AND NON GOVERNMENTAL ASSOCIATIONS SUCH AS GEODETIC ENGINEERS ASSOCIATION, SAMAHANG BUKLOD NAYON, INC., SAMAHANG PINAGPALANG KOMUNIDAD NG OLONGAPO, INC. AND OTHER SIMILAR ORGANIZATIONS RELATIVE TO THE CITY’S APPLICATION FOR A GRANT WITH THE INNOVATION SUPPORT FUND (ISF) UNDER THE LAND ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT PROJECT PHASE 2 (LAMP2) FUNDED BY THE AUSTRALIAN AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (AUSAID)
ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY REVENUE CODE
Environment provisions were aptly included in the code which envisions a future if Olongapo being one with nature.ORDINANCE NO. 45, SERIES OF 2005
TITLE: AN ORDINANCE PRESCRIBING FEES FOR QUARRYING OPERATINGS AND RELATED ACTIVITIES THERETO.
The purpose of this Ordinance is to:
a) Regulate quarrying/dredging operations in the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Olongapo and charge just, reasonable and affordable administrative, processing, inspection and monitoring fees to sustain effective implementation of this Ordinance;
b) Rehabilitate the city's river system;
c) Partially solve flooding problem in low lying areas;
d) Create additional roads to provide alternative access for residents near the river systems thereby easing traffic congestion in its peripheral roads; and
e) Resolve the perennial spontaneous combustion and fly/mosquito infestations problem in the city's landfill.
TAX ORDINANCE NO. 22 SERIES OF 2007
This Ordinance shall be known as the “Olongapo City 2007 Revenue Code”
Section 3D.10 Operation Cost - The cost of material extraction when the city’s dredging machine is utilized will be charged at a rate of actual operational cost plus the depreciation cost of the machine including its peripherals and accompanying buck hoe, loaders and dump trucks if utilized for the operation. The rates under this provision shall be based on the equipment rental standard used for government projects.Revenue generated from this section shall be used to maintain the embankment of the city’s river system.
Telecom Board. Mr. Piano was the principal author of City Ordinance No. 24 Series of 2004 which created the Telecom Board. The body is tasked to monitor the construction of Telecom Cell Sites within the jurisdiction of Olongapo and the issuance of related permits. When before, Telecom companies just built cell sites without paying regulatory fees to the city government, now they are required to do so and are obliged to settle local fees and taxes of existing infrastructures before getting the nod to proceed with the project. This gave the city government substantial source of revenue.
2007 O - 46
- AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR ANNUAL PHYSICAL AND DENTAL CHECK-UP OF OLONGAPO CITY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
Aware of the meagre salaries of ordinary government employees, Mr. Piano pushed for a legislation providing for a free annual medical/physical and dental check ups to all city government employees, including those with temporary status and on contractual basis. This lead to the city giving free medical and dental to jeepney/tricycle drivers and teachers.
SKILLS TRAINING and EMPLOYMENT GENERATION
While outside of the confines of the session hall, Mr. Piano continues to serve the people of Olongapo in various capacities. A tireless and dedicated public servant, he shares his expertise and ideas to whatever task is at hand to improve the lives of his constituents and help them realize their aspirations.
Being a Human Resource Development Specialist, Mr. Piano wholeheartedly shared his God-given gift to improve and uplift the lives of his constituents by giving them the required knowledge, skills and ability to qualify for jobs or pursue their ambition and have decent future in their chosen career.
Skills Training Program – Mr. Piano heads the Olongapo Skills Training Center which trains the unemployed and out-of-school youth in various skills and turn them into productive citizens who are globally competitive by equipping them with the requisites for landing jobs in the various companies and locators in Olongapo and the Subic Bay Freeport as well as overseas. Based on manpower computerized tracking system that the Center staff created, more than 7,000 workers have found gainful employment in welding, shipbuilding, computer, including languages (Korean, German). Majority of those who completed training as welders are now currently working at Hanjin Shipbuilding Company, one of the world’s largest shipbuilding companies which has its shipyard in Subic.
Kagawad Piano gives hands-on training to participants of the Skills Training Development Program.
ABS CBN NEWS features the preparation of Olongapo for the Guam Buildup project.
Jobs Fair – Mr. Piano created the On-Line Jobs Matching Service http://www.jobs.subicbay.ph/ and/or http://www.jobs.olongapo-subic.com/ where job seekers in the city can find a list of job openings and mailing lists. It also provides useful data and private access to branch exchanges.
Councilor Edwin Piano tours SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza and Olongapo City Mayor Bong Gordon to the www.jobs.subicbay.ph website while job seekers line-up at the on-line registration booth during the job fair.
INNOVATION – With the task of training thousands of youths but with meager funding, Mr. Piano needed to come up with the solution of imparting the all important skill in welding: the eye – hand coordination. A steady hand is an ultimate necessity if a worker intends to produce high quality welds. But the prohibitive cost of consumable welding electrodes, mild steel plates for practice and the cost of electricity could drain funding and eventually stop the training program, a situation more costly and will deprive those who wish to learn the trade and thus, making their dreams of becoming a shipbuilder unrealized.
The opportunity is within reach but the stumbling block appears insurmountable that as a leader, Mr. Piano must think fast and come up with an effective yet cost-efficient solution to the problem.
He utilized today’s latest tool to look for solution… the internet, and learned that advanced nations are now using a VIRTUAL WELDER TRAINOR. An offshoots of flight simulators which already saved hundreds of lives not to mention immeasurable cost savings to both the airline industry and the military.
But the Virtual Welding Trainor invented in the U.S.A. was so expensive that only the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army were able to afford it.
Mr. Piano studied the concept behind the US invented virtual welder trainor and using his long years of experience in the trade (himself started as a welder in the Ship Repair Facilities (SRF) of the former US Naval Base), adopted a local version at minimal cost but with the same effectiveness as proven by the more than eight thousand trainees who have used it.
Photo shows Mr. Piano’s innovative approach to developing the eye-hand coordination of trainees: The Virtual Welding Trainor. It saved the government hundreds of thousands of pesos because it does not use consumable electrode and metal plates. It also runs in 12V DC power thereby eliminating the humongous electricity consumption cost.
But it was not only savings that made Mr. Piano’s invention worthwhile, the trainees were able to practice as long as they like minus the hazards of smoke, burns, and eye strain. It even made the training enjoyable so that after they had gained the skill and confidence, proceeding to the actual arc welding became easier.
Photo shows job fair participants trying out the Virtual Welder Trainor. It’s always a big hit during jobs fair that it made job seekers realize that welding trade is not as hard as they first thought; thereby allowing them to enroll in the free training program and becoming shipbuilders themselves. Videos of this invention can be seen at you tube and in ABS-CBN channel 2 and ANC News where it was featured.
TESDA Kabalikat Awardee. His effective management of the City Skills Training Program has been acknowledged by TESDA. Mr. Piano was chosen as a regional and provincial winner and was a runner-up for the national category.
Guam Task Force – As head of the Guam Task Force, Mr. Piano closely coordinates with his Guam counterparts regarding the employment of Olongapo’s skilled workers to that part of American territory. It is expected to require huge manpower for the expansion of the U.S. military facility there which was brought about by the transfer of the U.S. base from Okinawa, Japan to Guam.
To date, Mr. Piano’s office is deluged with applications from former base workers who will be given hiring priority in the ongoing Guam build-up while fresh graduates from the City Skills Training Program are being prepared for deployment next year.
A website http://www.guam-ofw.com/
and a mailing list were created by Mr. Piano to regularly update those who are interested in this Guam project. An on-line registration was created benefiting applicants from far-flung places.
Councilor Piano (right) and Mayor Gordon meet with Guam military officials and Governor Felix Camacho (far left) to discuss manpower requirements for the Guam Buildup.
The Philippine Team for the Guam Buildup poses for a picture. The team includes Consul General Palala and heads of DOLE, POEA, OWWA, TESDA and Olongapo LGU
Photos show Mayor Gordon and Councilor Piano huddle with Senator Guthertz (right photo) and Dante Jimenez (left photo) during the Guam Industry Forum last April 24 to May 1, 2009. The Forum tackles the impending transfer of US Military Base from Okinawa, Japan to Guam, USA. Around 8,000 US Marines and 10,000 dependents have to be relocated to Guam by 2014. In addition, US Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and other armed services together with their dependents and additional personnel will also be deployed. A $20B funding is reportedly allocated for the build-up. Around 20,000 workers are needed to accomplish the task.
NGOs and Other Important Activities/Achievements
Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP). Mr. Piano is an active member of the BSP and is the Vice Chairman of the city’s James L. Gordon Council. He teaches young scouts in Olongapo on proper radio communications and thus, BSP Olongapo consistently emerges as champions during jamborees-on-the-air (JOTA) and jamborees-on-the-internet (JOTI). Mr. Piano is able to maintain regular global linkages with other youth and scouts.
Councilor Piano with the Boys Scout of the Philippines., Olongapo Chapter.
MOA Signing to Save the Environment with Thailand Scouts
Radio Club as Volunteer Workers. As director of the Ulo ng Apo Radio Club www.DX3UNA.com and Chairman of Olongapo Telecom Board, Mr. Piano has tapped its members to get involved in civic activities. Through radio communication, Radio Club members relay and exchange information and situationers in times of accidents and calamities and alert authorities on the matter.
The communication group has been of valuable service by helping authorities track down on where assistance is needed, which place needs evacuation or who needs rescuing. Mr. Piano is at the forefront of such humanitarian efforts.
BARANGAY CONSULTATION. Mr. Piano conducts regular visits to the city’s 17 barangays to check the implementation of city ordinances, whether these are working according to the legislators’ intention or there are flaws that needed amendment. At the same time, he also hears out the problems and grievances of residents and later tries to find ways by which the city government could act on the matter.
Public consultation being a major part of legislation and public service, Councilor Piano sees to it that he personally talks to his constituents to give them relevant informations and hear their requests and opinions on matters at hand. Photos show Councilor Piano with barangay officials and residents.
REGULAR RADIO REPORTING. To further ensure that his constituents are updated on what is happening in the Session Hall, Mr. Piano partnered with a local radio station DWGO, 1008AM, in order to provide a regular program which tackles newly passed resolutions and ordinances. The program gives the populace a chance for their positions on the matters being deliberated at the Sanggunian to be heard and given consideration before its passage. He created a website www.oictv.blogspot.com where all discussions in the said radio program are saved, ready for review in case his constituents missed the live radio report.
Issues being tackled in the sanggunian and recently passed resolutions and ordinances are being discussed regularly by Councilor Piano at local radio station to ensure that residents are aware of the developments in the city. He created an online virtual television channel http://oictv.blogspot.com/ using youtube and onetruemedia so that those who missed the live report ca still be updated using the internet.
ON-LINE NEWS. Olongapo Subic Bay News. As webmaster of a local on-line news http://www.olongapo-subic.com/ and http://www.news.subicbay.ph%2Cmr/. Piano provides information on what is happening in and around Olongapo City, this is updated daily or as the news happens. He also created an Internet-based Community Television www.oictv.blogspot.com where videos of what’s happening in the city can be viewed. An on-line discussion board ensures that what the people wanted to say is being heard.
EDUCATION AND MANPOWER DEVELOPMENT: Audio and Video Streaming and a Campus Radio to continue and enhance cyber-skills-development, foreign language training, and open college system. Cost of Project P40,000.
An Ordinance creating Waterways Monitoring Task Force which will advocate preservation of rivers and bays both in Olongapo and Subic.
Authored 2009 R – 94 - A Resolution enjoining LGUs, SBMA and NGOs around Subic Bay to participate and support the creation of Subic Bay Waterways Council to monitor rivers and major drainage outfalls going to Subic Bay, and to make people realized that Subic Bay’s pristine water is seriously threatened by the community’s continuing indifference, dumping waste in their localities.
Equipment needed: Water pollution monitoring devices (Turbidimeter, pH Meter, Fecal Coliform kits, etc). Seed money: P60,000.
In view of the aforementioned accomplishments and on-going projects as Councilor with a string of Ordinances that led to the empowerment of his constituents through employment, education, information technology development, health care coverage and the removal of constraints to enjoy the benefits of modern telecommunications by abolishing monopoly in the local telecommunications sector;
In lieu of his efforts that paved the way for more efficient and transparent transactions between the city government and the taxpayers, generating additional revenue for the city coffers, streamlining the bureaucracy and on-line information dissemination as well as creating an accessible archive for public documents;
For bringing the government closer to the people by regularly conducting dialogues with the local populace and acting on their complaints and making sure that pertinent ordinances are attuned with the needs of his constituents as what councilors ought to do;
For living up to the ideals of a public servant who goes beyond his mandated duties to further serve the interest and welfare of his community;
We hereby submit the nomination of Councilor Edwin Piano to “The Outstanding Councilor of the Philippines 2009.”