Bulacan Cement firms tally P6M for community development
Companies spend on Health, Education, and Livelihood for adopted communities

With the unenviable problem of managing the largest provincial population growth rate in the country, Bulacan Governor Josie Dela Cruz has found welcome allies in the companies comprising the local cement industry in Bulacan.

The three Cement Companies, situated in Norzagaray Bulacan namely Republic Cement Corporation, Continental Operating Corporation, and Union Cement Corporation , have poured in approximately 6 Million pesos combined thus far in 2003 for community development initiatives

focusing on the areas of health, education, and livelihood assistance. All three are members of the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CeMAP), which is a member of the global “Cement Sustainability Initiative” coordinated by the World Business Council for sustainable development.

In 2000, the province of Bulacan registered an average annual growth rate of 4.93 percent. Now barely three years later, Bulacan’s average annual growth rate stands at about 6 percent, the highest by far in the Philippines . Bulacan also ranks first in Central Luzon Region in terms of population size with almost 3 million residents.

“We are the fastest urbanizing province in the country, and the province with the largest annual population growth rate, hence community development projects are a must if we are to accommodate everyone,” Governor Dela Cruz said.

“Fortunately, one of the good things that have happened with the cement industry since I became governor is that they have opened their line of communication to us, and they have willingly offered to help with projects for the community consistent with our priorities and programs,” she added.

The programs that sponsored or supported by the Cement companies include a wide range of community building activities from sports to two-day anti-drug abuse seminars.

Republic Cement Corporation and Continental Operating Corporation, both members of LaFarge an international giant in cement manufacturing, has reported that it has thus far contributed some P 1.8 million as of the third quarter this year, with the bulk of its contributions to arrive this last quarter.

RCC, COC extended assistance to Banahaw Primary School in Norzagaray, Bulacan, in providing clean comfort rooms, a covered stage and a deep well. These projects were identified as the most pressing needs of the school after the presidents of RCC, COC had observed its condition and decided to adopt the school during the joint “Books for Trees” project in October last year. Messer’s Johnny Montinola, Edgardo Soriano, president of the companies, personally turned over the projects to the school.

Also, close to 3,000 residents of Brgys. Bigte, Minuyan and San Mateo in Norzagaray, Bulacan benefited from a series of joint medical and dental mission of the companies last May. The project was carried out in coordination with the barangay officials and the 56th IB of the Philippine Army.

The Union Cement Corporation in Bulacan, being on of the largest of Union Cement’s plants in the country has reported contributions amounting to 3.82 million pesos as of the third quarter, already surpassing its budgeted P 3 million for 2003. Mr. Gene Sumbillo, Plant Manager of Union Cement Bulacan said that they expect to spend around 4.1 million until the end of 2003, thus exceeding their targeted contributions by 1.1 million.

“We cannot really put a price to these contributions to our host community. We believe that cost should not matter when the welfare of the people in our community is being considered.” Sumbillo said.

The bulk of Union Bulacan’s expenses went to irrigation projects and deep well construction that would benefit the agricultural industry in and around Norzagaray. A total of 36 Deep wells, were installed including a state of the art irrigation system benefiting 37 farmer beneficiaries covering 62 hectares of irrigable land.

Twelve (12) Day Care Centers were also erected from the contributions, and several schools benefited such as the Sapang Kawayan Elementary School Science Lab (Laboratory Equipment); and Doña Remedios Trinidad Mobile Library (Educational TV [ETV] infrastructure). The Pilot implementation of the Early Childhood Care Development program (ECCD) involving 12 sponsored Day Care Centers also pushed through in part by Union ‘s assistance.

Some of Union ‘s funds also went to supporting public school teachers’ training at the University of the Philippines National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education Development (UP NISMED).

In the livelihood arena, programs on Ceramic Making (in cooperation with TESDA); food preservation and processing; Tomato Jam making; and Herbal Medicine utilization trainings have been implemented.

“Our relationship with the Cement Industry of Bulacan has evolved over the years. We are glad that they are now active and productive members of their communities than ever before,” said Gov. Dela Cruz.

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