His background as a member of a cultural minority did not serve as a hindrance to get his current job and indeed, his exploits is now the talk of the town and thing of inspiration among his peers belonging to Hanunuo tribal people.

Hanunuo, one of the eight Mangyan tribes in Mindoro, are particularly concentrated in Bulalacao, the southernmost town in the province of Oriental Mindoro.

Jonard belongs to the first batch of scholars, who finished the Shielded Metal Arch Welding (SMAW) training course, a vocational curriculum accredited by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The scholars started their intensive training on June 6, 2010 and ended on Nov. 21 of the same year which was held on BTVC campus under the auspices of the municipal government of Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro.

Unlike other schools which offer the same course, trainees at BTVC are required to complete 475 hours of training before they can obtain their SMAW certificates, which serve as their passport to rewarding jobs in different industries outside the province particularly in the construction sector.

Elmer B. Campillos, 56, BTVC supervisor, said their curriculum includes the strict implementation of general safety rules which is the preliminary condition before students are allowed to use the college laboratory where modern machines and other welding equipment are being kept.

Elmer said that although they have not yet attained the ideal 1:2 welding machine-student ratio (one machine for every two student-users), he closely supervised the practical training of students to produce quality graduates.

Elmer’s perseverance as welding supervisor did not go to naught when majority of the graduates easily found a job after graduation and 28 of them, including Jonard, are now working in Saudi Arabia, where the demand for welders is high.

Elmer’s quality graduates

The success at BTVC could be largely attributed to Elmer Campillos’ advocacy of poverty alleviation through affordable education.

Elmer is echoing the thrust of Mayor Ernilo Villas of Bulalacao, who is doing all his best to provide his constituents with affordable but quality education.

BTVC was established in 2009 through the efforts of the mayor and his colleagues in the local government. The school is now a holder of TVET programme registration certificate issued by TESDA.

Elmer’s professional stint is indeed enough to make him a qualified national assessor of TESDA for NCII programme.

He was employed as a welder at Meralco since 1978 until 1991 and from 1984 to 1991, he was hired as a welding trainor at Rockwell Makati.

In 1991, he entered his first overseas contract with Belleli Saudi Ltd., an Italian company engaged in manufacturing and building off-shore refinery modules in Saudi Arabia.

During this stint, not only his expertise on welding but also his management skills was further proven when he was chosen as a senior welding supervisor in an oil production platform placed on the high seas bordering Kuwait and Iran where he handled 400 employees of different nationalities.

In 1998, he was rehired by Meralco to work in its Sta. Rita power plant in Batangas as a senior welding supervisor fixing all high-grade stainless pipes and turbine condenser.

In 2003-2005, he interconnected an 11-kms five-meter diameter pipeline in a geothermal plant in Southern Leyte.

Malampaya scholars

The scholarship, which is principally funded by Malampaya Foundation Inc. (MFI) and Malampaya Joint Venture Partners, has produced 148 graduates since 2010.

Just like Jonard’s parents, Elmer is equally elated for the success of his former students at BTVC.

Last week, Jonard sent part of his Php 30,000 monthly basic salary to his parents to settle some obligations incurred prior to his departure abroad.

“We are very proud of them and we are very thankful to the mayor and Malampaya,” said Robert A. Hilario, BTVC school administrator.

In the future, Elmer said that he aimsto obtain a permit for Gas Tungsten Arch Welding (GTAW) certificate, an updated method of welding technology, in which job openings in Japan, Canada and Australia are prevalent.

Jonard’s classmates, who belonged to the second batch of Malampaya scholars are: Romeld G. Benito (Whokong, Cavite), Richard Buenaventura, Ronel Eugenio, Jovencio Festin (CCCRIYAD, KSA), Rener Magsayo, Froiland Mahinay (Keppel, Batangas), Edgar Mangao (Keppel, Batangas), Renante Merida (SBG Jedah, KSA), Lestino Gabia (SBG Jedah, KSA), Rolan Oriendo (LIL Iron Works, Laguna), Perfecto Osorio (Keppel, Batangas), Syril Paingas (YWETH American Com. Phils), Jicky Jay Pajaniel, Ariel Pamor (Saudi Oger, KSA), Aldrin Panganiban (Concept, Batangas), Arjay, Ramos (Tagaytay), Michael Reb Santillan, Whokong, Cavite), Gerson, Sim (CCC Riyadh, KSA) and Jexar Sim.