Sunday, September 13, 2009

Volunteer's Endorsement for TOCP

The Search Committee

Ten Outstanding Councilors of the Philippines

Manila, Philippines

Ladies/Gentlemen:

Our organization, the Bagumbayan Volunteers of Olongapo City, Inc., hereby endorses the nomination of Olongapo City Councilor Edwin J. Piano, by the Sangguniang Panglunsod of Olongapo City, as one of the Ten Outstanding Councilors of the Philippines. This endorsement is based on the following facts:

  1. Councilor Edwin J. Piano has been rendering outstanding service not only to his constituents, but also to the community and to the nation in general, to wit:

  1. In May 2003, in only his second year as City Councilor, Mr. Piano formally organized the thousands of local volunteers into the Bagumbayan Volunteers of Olongapo City, Incorporated by personally drafting the organization’s Constitution and By-Laws and registering the same with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Under Councilor Piano.s able leadership, Bagumbayan then conducted a series, forums, seminars and discussion groups to inculcate the culture of volunteerism among its new members. Bagumbayan then embarked on a series of community volunteer activities such as job fairs, safety trainings, clean-up drives, special recruitment activities, etc.

  1. In 2006, Councilor Piano started the Bagumbayan Welding Training Project with a meager private fund of P50,000. Being a highly skilled welder himself, Councilor Piano prepared the course module for the Welding Training Project and acted as volunteer instructor for the course. Later on, he was able to persuade two more expert welders to volunteer as instructors without pay.

Today, Councilor Piano’s Welding Training Project has expanded into the TESDA-accredited Olongapo Skills Development and Employment Program (OSDEP), offering courses in various types of welding, computer literacy, call center skills, foreign language, and other special courses, while providing employment assistance to its graduates, with Mr. Piano himself as the full-time volunteer Technical Director of the Program while still acting as welding instructor. Deftly using his legislative skills, Councilor Piano was able to persuade the Olongapo City government, despite insufficient local government funds, to establish the also TESDA-accredited Olongapo City Skills Training and Employment Center as the venue for the Program.

As of July 2009, the OSDEP under the leadership of Councilor Piano, has trained a total of 9,712 men and women, majority of whom came from Olongapo City and neighboring provinces of Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga and Pangasinan. The rest of the trainees came from as far north of the country as Baguio, Ifugao and Tuguegarao, in southern Luzon such as Quezon province, in the Visayas such as Iloilo, and Mindanao such as Cotabato.

By diligently studying the market demand for types of skills and adopting the OSDEP courses to such demands, Councilor Piano has assured the employment of the trainees in his program. To date, Councilor Piano has helped in providing employment to 8,802 graduates of his training program, or 90.6 percent of all OSDEP graduates, broken down as follows:

Where Employed: No. Employed:

1. Hanjin Shipyard, SBFZ 7,378

2. Other Local Employers 1,034

3. Overseas (Middle East & Australia) 273

4. Sutherland Call Center 17

TOTAL Employed = 8,802 or 90.6% of total trained

  1. Early this year, Councilor Piano went to Guam to look into the prospects of deploying Filipino workers, in anticipation of the transfer of U.S. military facilities in Okinawa to that island. As Chairman of the Task Force Guam, which was created by Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon, Jr., Councilor Piano conferred with government officials and prospective private employers in Guam and was able to get their commitments to hire thousands Filipino workers. He then arranged their visit to Olongapo last month to sign various memoranda of understanding to officially document all agreements made and discussed the details thereof.

  1. The OSDEP under the direction of Councilor is now processing thousands applications for employment in Guam from various Filipino, applicants not only from the Philippines but also from Filipinos currently employed in the middle east and other Asian countries.

  1. Councilor Piano is a paragon of integrity and dedication to public service. All of his above-cited activities are done in the spirit of volunteerism and dedicated public service, without any personal gain. Even in his last term as Councilor, and without any further political ambition, his enthusiasm to serve the people has not waned.

  1. His unselfish sharing of his welding skills to thousands of trainees, and his innovative approaches to the management of the OSDEP has provided the right direction and opened opportunities to the otherwise unskilled and clueless young people who cannot afford higher education. The employment assistance provided by Councilor Piano enhanced the lives of thousands of families, and many thousands more in the future.

All of these were done by Councilor Edwin J. Piano without remuneration, and all in the spirit of volunteerism and dedicated service to the people. Hence, this endorsement.

We hope this endorsement would merit your consideration.Very truly yours.


JAIME L. MENDOZA

PRESIDENT

BAGUMBAYAN VOLUNTEERS

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