When architects and engineers band together, expect fireworks. But the fire of youthful idealism was no reason for these men of distinction to link arms and work professionally. And that’s how the Cebu Association of Engineers and Architects or CAEA came to be. Growth and progress have a way of changing the shape of history. From the CAEA sprung forth what we know now as the Cebu Contractors Association or the CCA.
The early sixties paved the way for a stronger Cebu in terms of business, industry, and infrastructure. This ushered the merging of brains and brawn of construction stalwarts to meet the demands and challenges of progress. Oscar Jereza, then President of the University of Southern Philippines, and Horacio Franco, a no-nonsense established engineer in the construction business, founded the Cebu Contractors Association together with other well-known engineers: Eli Hubahib, William Liu, the late Francis Sanchez, Luis Regner and Peping Pages.
Recognizing the invaluable presence and partnership of construction suppliers, CCA also invited these suppliers to be part of the organization of practicing construction engineers. To seal this partnership, Florian “Nene” Colmenares of Amon Trading served as the group’s first Treasurer.
The CCA was no stranger to organizational fatigue, however. Attendance during meetings was a nightmare for any weak-hearted leader. Obtaining a quorum during club meetings was hard to come by. But the leaders refused to be bowed. No one could put these good men down, after all. A cement shortage that rocked the construction business in Cebu in the early 60’s saw CCA members take a collective stand. They presented a position paper to then CEPOC Board Chairman, Atty. Fulvio Pelaez, requesting for a bulk cement allocation. A driven and united CCA proved that they were indeed a force to reckon with. CCA got what it bargained for.
1974 saw a younger crop of engineers taking over the reins of the organization. Engr. Vicente “Inting” Mancao led the new breed with renewed vibrancy, determination, and commitment. Such a herculean task deserved a second term, which Engr. Mancao did.
He was followed by, Architect Catalino “Taling” Salazar in 1977. Taling’s term saw a surge in membership. Taling also moved for the adoption of a constitution and by-laws thus giving the association a legal personality. The CCA deserved no less.
Engr. Mario Suson then served as president of the CCA. Once again, the CCA faced another crisis – a shortage of G.I. sheets. This time, the CCA met the crisis like a pro. Both the big and small players were assured that construction would not be hampered by the shortage. The adage, “In Unity, there is Strength!” served the CCA well.
In 1979, Engr. Doroteo Salazar assumed the presidency. Engr. Salazar’s thrust was integrity and performance. It is no small wonder then that during his term, the CCA earned recognition and awards both from the private and government sectors. It was at this time when the CCA started its presence felt in the community. The CCA joined millions of Cebuanos in welcoming Pope John Paul II in 1980 when he first visited Cebu. They were tasked to put up the altar and prepare the entire area for the papal visit. This earned them praises and accolades from an admiring public. Added to that, the CCA joined the pomp and pageantry of the Sinulog – a festival that put Cebu as a promising tourist destination.
Another first during Engr. Salazar’s term was when the CCA was given the authority for the renewal and application of contractors’ licenses. This greatly enhanced the stability and financial standing of the association. Another feather to Engr. Salazar’s cap, too, was the registration of the Association with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Nothing could stop CCA’s success. Being recognized as a potent partner in the growth and progress of Cebu during the Cebu City Charter celebrations was honor enough to get an ultimate high. Engr. Salazar served for three terms. If that isn’t a daunting feat, what is?
Engr. Nicolas Kalubiran followed by Engr. Julito Roden were not to be daunted by a brilliant predecessor. They continued what Engr. Salazar started and brought the association to even greater heights. To earn the respect of your peers and the community you serve is accomplishment enough.
In 1986, Engr. Danilo Bacay was elected president. The industry then was beset by all sorts of problems. But the CCA, like the mighty bamboo, stood tall and proud; resilient and strong. All the more the CCA fought their battles with sacrifice, dignity, and pride.
Engr. Edgar Adlawan served the Association from 1988 to 1990. The CCA formed a consortium with FF Cruz to form the Mandaue Realty Resources Corporation. Together they undertook the development of the Mandaue Reclamation Project. Engr. Adlawan then spearheaded the formation of the CCA Foundation but remains a dream until now because raising the seed money for the Foundation was costly and daunting.
In November 1988, a devastating typhoon, “Yoling” ravaged South of Cebu badly hitting Carcar and Barili. Massive landslides made the stretch of Carcar-Barili road impassable. The CCA together with ACEL members pooled their equipment and resources together to clear the debris. In two days, traffic was back to normal. The CCA lived up to its reputation of building and rebuilding.
The 90’s ushered the era of another batch of engineers. Younger but just as vibrant and dedicated. Jose Ong was installed president in 1990. It was during Joe’s term that the civic spirit of the CCA was put to the fore. Typhoon Nitang and Typhoon Ruping unleashed their fury on an unsuspecting Cebu. CCA then immediately put their resources together and worked full blast with the City and Provincial government to put Cebu back in shape.
Jose Ong, as Joe was fondly called is no Calamity Joe for nothing because shortly after this, a killer quake hit Luzon. This time, the members dipped into their pockets and sent cash through the office of Gov. Lito Osmeña. And then again, nature got back at man’s insensitivity. A flash flood struck Ormoc. The CCA then sent machinery and equipment to assist in the rehabilitation of Ormoc. All these gestures of generosity, kindness and unparalleled civic spirit hardly passed unnoticed. The CCA received two awards from the Provincial and City government as Outstanding Civic/Professional Club in the field of Humanitarian services.
Joe Ong’s term was a tough act to follow. Engr. Peter Dy, the next elected president, was no pushover though. One of his first projects was the beautification of the Capitol grounds upon the request of the Province of Cebu. Engr. Dy then initiated the construction of the Heavy Equipment shed at the Don Bosco Technical High School in cooperation with the Associated Construction Equipment Lessors, Inc. (ACEL-Cebu). This formed part of the Regional Construction Training Center where the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) donated P20M worth of heavy equipment through a technical cooperation grant with the Construction Manpower Development Foundation (CMDF) as the implementing agency. The Regional Construction Training Center aimed to improve the skills and abilities of construction engineers and workers with the end of enhancing the quality of work.
Another hardworking fellow who served as Vice President to several CCA presidents is Engr. Willy Go. A good preparation to the presidency, indeed! Willy served as CCA president from 1994 to 1995. Willy’s thrust was the continuing development and upliftment of the region’s construction industry. A Strategic Management Course conducted by the Asian Institute of Management was initiated to bring in new ideas and fresh approach to management. It was during Willie’s term that CCA hosted the Asean Construction Symposium. Delegates from all over the Asia Pacific Region met to know and learn the growing trends of construction technology and latest innovations in the Region. An exhibit of the latest construction equipment and products was run during the duration of the symposium adding some excitement to the affair. It was a great learning experience and networking venue for all in the industry.
The CCA during Willie’s term was not spared in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of calamity-damaged infrastructure. A clean-up drive was mobilized when the road to Naga was impassable due to a typhoon. The CCA once again proved its mettle.
To address the challenges of economic growth, Willie strengthened its ties with TESDA as a series of courses were conducted to update practitioners on trends and innovations in the industry. Willie’s term marked the active participation of the members’ spouses. Several activities involved their families as well. It is heartwarming to know that these great men are sensitive family men as well.
Antonio Jorge “Tony” Lozada took over the reins of the CCA in 1996-1998. Tony’s corporate approach may have met initial misgivings to some members in the organization. But this did not deter him from professionalizing the CCA. A difficult task but Tony proved that to put the CCA’s head above water, one can be straightforward but at the same time sensitive to the needs of the majority.
William “Wally” Liu, Jr. headed the CCA in 1999-2000. Wally continued in “professionalizing” the CCA. Wally blended well with the members – much like a breath of fresh air. Trust his genes being the son of one of the pillars of the CCA, William Sr., and his amiable self too. Wally’s term was full of sports-oriented activities. Camaraderie was never so well ensconced. Not only this, Wally took the CCA’s vision to heart. Training was an area he personally lobbied for going to the extent of talking to engineering school authorities with the simple aim of planting the seed of professionalism.
Wally’s leadership was put to test during the unfortunate freak accident that rocked Cebu one early morning when one of the buildings under construction of Engr. Vicente Mancao caved in and several workers were buried alive. Wally coordinated relief and rescue operations and stood as spokesman when people were still groggy from sleep and too stunned to react. Members again linked arms and resources to save lives.
As if all these were not enough, Wally’s term is best remembered for the sports activities launched. Never a dull moment!
Engr. Pericles “Ricky” Dakay took over the reins of the CCA in 2001-2002. Ricky is best remembered for all the fund-raising activities the CCA had. The building where CCA office sits before was the product of all the frenzied fund-raising. What started as a dream for Tony Lozada, Ricky ended with a bang. The huge cash surplus is witness to all that.
What struck most in his consciousness during his term was the socio-civic activities the CCA participated in like the Juvenile Detention Center for Street Children, a project close to the heart of Margot Osmeña. CCA made all the building and construction plans and supervised the project. Again, what Tony Lozada started, Ricky finished.
To his mind though, Ricky considers his better achievement, the forging of good relations with the different government agencies. It eases the burden relative to the industry with which they move in earnest. Ever humble, Ricky further avers that he merely continued what Willy Tony, and Wally did during their terms.
It must be the genes because like his dad, Engr. Doroteo M. Salazar, CCA president for three terms, Engr. Edwin F. Salazar served CCA for two terms. In 2003, the price of cement was unstable and irrational again. Unfortunately, a cement cartel established in the country by the world’s largest cement manufacturers, was wreaking havoc on the infrastructure projects in the Province of Cebu. The CCA with Engr. Edwin and other officers and members had a dialogue with Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal, Jr. of the Department of Trade and Industry to address the irrational cement prices which affected unfairly the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in the Province of Cebu. Within a month, the DTI and the Cement Manufacturers resolved the issue amicably.
One of Edwin’s laudable projects during his term was the revival of the Regional Skills Training facility at Don Bosco which was started by Engr. Peter Dy in the early 90’s. However, operations stopped after six years. The strong demand for heavy equipment operators in the Middle East saw our local contractors lose these skilled men for lucrative work abroad. To fill the gap, there was a need to train new heavy equipment operators and retrain existing ones. Under the joint leadership of CCA president, Engr. Edwin and ACEL president, Segundino “Jun” Selma, they made strong representations with DTI Regional Director 7 Director Aster Caberte and DTI Head Office to reopen the training facility at Don Bosco. On February 2004, the training facility was reopened.
If you noticed, calamities and the CCA seem to be soul brothers after all these years. In early 2003, landslides caused by Typhoon Nanang made roads impassable in most of the mountain barangays of Cebu City thus virtually cutting them off from the rest of the City. Again, CCA came to the rescue. This prompted the drafting of a Memorandum of Agreement with the City of Cebu through the initiative of Pres. Edwin and Cebu City Disaster Coordinating Chairman Councilor Gerry Carrillo. In the MOA, CCA members would help the City in times of disaster by providing equipment. In turn, Cebu City shall pay CCA 50% of the ACEL rates.
It was also during Edwin’s term that the CCA worked closely with the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) and ACEL where series of seminars were conducted in line with training and development. Edwin capped his term with the forging of closer relations with the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board, a feat indicative of the direction CCA would want to establish.
Engr. George Hong, is bent on strengthening the association’s membership and, God willing, keep it going for the next fifty years or more. Two major community projects he has initiated is first, putting up an unprecedented record breaking number of 6,400 seating capacity bleacher seats along the Sinulog parade route during the 25th Sinulog, anniversary. Second, is the 1st Coastal Clean-up Project along coastal barangays of Cebu City. Once again, CCA showed their sensitivity to environmental issues.
George also led Cebu CCA delegates to the IFAWCA Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. He also led the delegation that attended the Beijing Machine Exhibition with VP Jun Selma and Director Benedict Uy. Never one to rest on his laurels, several seminars were undertaken jointly organized with the DTI, DMDF and ACEL early this year of Trade Testing of HE Mechanics, Operators and Assessors’ Training course, and HE Maintenance Management.
During the term of Charles T. Sy, he brought together the PCA & CCA Members for the first Joint General Membership Meeting.
While the construction industry peak sometime in 1995 to 1996 with more than 12,000 nationwide contractor’s licenses issued, the 1997 Asian Crises slowed down the industry with about 3,000 contractors existing today. However, there’s a lot of indication that the construction industry is peaking up. The CCA has weathered all storms since its existence. It has withstood the test of time-political and organizational strife, natural and economic catastrophes. CCA must have done something good because the gods are at their side, looking out with pride and joy. Early this year, CCA recommender and CCA Past President, Engr. Dodo Salazar, was appointed PCAB Commissioner. A first for Cebu! At the last part of his term, Pres. George B. Hong published the First Edition of Cebu Builders Directory Yearbook. Another first for Cebu!
The leaders of the construction industry in the new millennium have gleaned towards the past and learned its history, and by that the Cebu Contractors Association, Inc. has sustained the momentum by starting to pile up the bricks of the future one challenge after another.
When Engr. Peter Paul Dy, Jr. took the helm of the CCA, the construction industry enjoys the robust economic condition. It was under his stewardship that the CCA was able to conduct dozens of trainings ranging from COSH to AMO, and legal literacy as well. He took this challenge as a continuing effort since the two leaderships of Mr. Charles Sy and Engr. George Hong advocated the involvement of the CCA in some community projects like coastal clean-up and helping the Sinulog Foundation in creating parade route bleachers.