Skills Competition Brought Out the Best in Tagum City’s Finest Welders

The announcement was posted by the DOST XI in their website on April 10, 2018.  It was followed by a post in DOST XI’s Facebook page on April 11, 2018.  Also, the DOST XI went full force in sending out invitations to schools and enterprises.  Through the wide reach of social media and DOST XI’s assertive promotions, word about the upcoming Welding Skills Competition spread and reached target participants not only in Tagum, but in nearby areas as well. 

The male and female categories were opened to interested applicants, but the announcement stated very clearly that only six (6) participants will be enlisted for each category.  Many interested parties sent their application but most of them, unfortunately due to the limited slots, did not make it to the final list. 

Up until the present time, welding is a male-dominated field.  It is no surprise that a lot of males responded to the invitation for participants to the Welding Skills Competition.   Making it to the final list of contestants are: (1) Ruel C. Navales, 26 years old, from Tagum City; (2) Rovelon C. Salga, 44 years old, from Tagum City; (3) Cornelio A. Ruz, Jr., 34 years old, from San Isidro, Davao del Norte; (4) Dennis O. Orcullo, 35 years old, from Tagum City; (5) Bernie B. Galupo, 28 years old, from Tagum City; and (6) John Mar P. Siodora, 31 years old, from Compostela Valley.    

On the day of the Skills Competition, the New City Hall of Tagum City was abuzz with activities for the much-awaited event.

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Mr. Fernando Opeda, Executive Director of the Philippine Welding Society (PWS), gives an orientation to the participants outside the lobby of Tagum New City Hall a few minutes before the competition proper.   

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The gentlemen in action at the Welding Skills Competition.

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The audience watch eagerly as the contestants work on the task at hand.

What made the Welding Skills Competition in Tagum City very interesting is the response of female welders.  It turned out that welding in this part of the country is not only for the males, but is also a career loved by females as well.  Interesting as their being welders are their unique stories of why they joined the contest.

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Group photo before the female welders don their PPEs for the Welding Skills Competition. (L to R) Engr. Reynaldo L. dela Cruz, Jr., Chief of the DOST-MIRDC’s Industrial Training Section and President of the Philippine Welding Society (PWS); Liezyl Darilay; Minnie Ellivera; Ruth Cheel Tulo; Nely Siarot; Helen Dal; Mary Jean Dumalag; and Mr. Fernando Openda, Executive Director of the PWS.

Meet the six participants in the female category of the Welding Skills Competition:

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Mary Jean V. Dumalag, 40 y/o

minnie ellivera

Minnie P. Ellivera, 40 y/o

helen dal

Helen L. Dal, 31 y/o

liezyl darilay

Liezyl L. Darilay, 32 y/o

ruth cheel tulo

Ruth Cheel B. Tulo, 30 y/o

nely siarot

Nely M. Siarot, 30 y/o

All six participants heard about the Welding Skills Competition through the schools where they are working as welding trainers and assessors, except for Helen who is currently employed in a private welding shop in Compostela Valley.  A friend informed Helen about the announcement posted in fb, and encouraged her to join.  Jean, Minnie, Liezyl, and Nely registered immediately after hearing about the announcement.  When she registered, Ruth Cheel did not make it because all slots were filled up.  She decided to be at the competition venue anyway to cheer for Mary Jean, who is a colleague at work.   

They all love welding.  Helen used to consider it as a pastime only, but later learned to really love the practice of welding.  Her welding skills are well-known in their neighborhood.  Welding is her way of realizing the dream of her father.  It is her bread and butter, and working as a welder enables her to support her five (5) children.  Mary Jean is a welding trainer/assessor.  She says she is fond of doing work that are typically for the males.  She is really looking for a skills competition to join in, because she wants to experience how it is to join a contest.  Nely says she came from the garments industry, but later shifted to welding.  ‘Mahal na mahal ko ang welding,’ according to her.  She is really interested to learn and improve her welding skills.  Minnie traveled from Davao City to Tagum City to personally submit her application.  Joining is her way of leveling up her skills in welding.  She says the messages of encouragement posted on social media is enough recognition and makes her feel very proud to be in this profession.  Ruth Cheel was at the venue to support Mary Jean.  It was only on the morning of April 27, the Skills Competition proper, that she was told that she was one of the competitors because one participant backed out at the last minute.  Liezyl is a daughter of a welder.  As a young child, she would always watch her father while he was working.  She got interested but her father would tell her not to come near because she might get hurt.  She seems to be the only child interested in what her father was doing.  When he passed away, all the welding equipment were left unused in their home.  That is when she decided to learn how to weld and to finally do what she has always dreamed of doing.     

The competition proper for the female category started in the morning of Friday, April 27.  It was over after an hour and a half.  The male category was next.  It was completed a little after lunch time.  The announcement of winners was done during the Closing Ceremonies, which started at 2 pm.

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Ruth Cheel and John Mar are declared grand winners of the female and male categories, respectively.  Prior to the competition, both were asked what they think are the advantages should they win.  Ruth Cheel said that it is not about winning.  To her, joining the competition is the best way of improving her craft and encouraging her students to also keep learning and improving.  John Mar, on the other hand, is an NC II certificate holder already, and aspires to earn another certification.  To him, winning is his chance to earn another certificate in welding. 

Appreciation and recognition of one’s skills open limitless possibilities.  Ruth Cheel and John Mar earned the S&T community of Tagum’s respect and admiration.  The applause of the crowd when their names were announced as winners may have lasted for a few minutes only, but the boost in confidence, affirmation of their abilities in the practice of welding, and the passion to improve the craft and further influence other people to keep on aiming higher will surely go a long way. 


Usec. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development, visits the Hybrid Electric Train (HET) project team at the Philippine National Railways’ (PNR) Mamatid Station on Tuesday morning, 09 January 2018.  Usec. Guevara was joined by officials and personnel of the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) led by its Executive Director, Engr. Robert O. Dizon, and some representatives from the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and the DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII).    

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Walking towards the first passenger coach of the HET are DOST-MIRDC Executive Director Robert O. Dizon (L), Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST USec for Research and Development (center), and HET project leader, Engr. Pablo Q. Acuin (R).

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Walking towards the first passenger coach of the HET are DOST-MIRDC Executive Director Robert O. Dizon (L), Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST USec for Research and Development (center), and HET project leader, Engr. Pablo Q. Acuin (R). 

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USec. Guevara alights from the HET after joining the train's crush load testing.


It's a wrap! Team DOST-MIRDC joins USec. Guevara after a successful demo ride/crush load test.


The HET was launched to the media and the public in June 2016.  Implemented with the goal of augmenting the number of trainsets currently being used by the PNR, the HET project is envisioned to come up with an R&D output that will serve as a long-term solution to heavy traffic congestions in many parts of the country, particularly in Luzon.  Moreover, adoption and wide-scale commercialization of the HET technology will open doors of limitless opportunities for the local manufacturing industry.  With the HET, the country will build capabilities, enhance manufacturing productivity and competitiveness, and enjoy optimum economic benefits.  Truly win-win for every Filipino citizen. 

A series of tests is still scheduled to be conducted for the HET.   Repair and modification activities will be done this year.  This is to complete project deliverables, as well as to address recommendations from the value engineering/value analysis conducted by the Systra Philippines, Inc. on the HET.  All these are in the pipeline as the HET is being prepared for the necessary certification.    


Tagum City, Davao del Norte – It was an event that began with a happy note, and ended with a lot of gratitude and remarkable success.  The Department of Science and Technology-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) trooped to Davao in the morning of April 23, 2018 for the conduct of the ‘MIRDC Goes to the Countryside,’ a three-day event to be held in Tagum City, the capital of Davao del Norte.

The activity is conducted with the goal of extending technical assistance to the micro, small, and medium enterprises involved in the metals, engineering, and allied industries, as well as to the members of the academe in the countryside.  Technical assistance is carried out through the conduct of the four-in-one activities: training, consultancy, technology exhibit, and skills competition.  In Tagum City, the event is entitled, ‘S&T Caravan for the Metals and Engineering Industries’ and s held as a joint effort of the DOST-MIRDC, DOST XI (Provincial Science and Technology Centers of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley), the Philippine Welding Society (PWS), LGU-Tagum City, LGU-Kapalong, PLGU-Davao del Norte, PLGU-Compostela Valley, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao del Norte, the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP)-Tagum, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-Davao del Norte, Center Industrial Supply Corporation Davao, and the 1st Congressional District Office of Davao del Norte.

Below are some of the major activities that took place during this event. 

courtesy visit RD meeting with MIAP at beta spring
 From L to R: Team MIRDC makes a courtesy call to the office of Dr. Anthony C. Sales, Regional Director of DOST XI; MIRDC delegates join the meeting of the Metalworking Industries Association of the Philippines-Davao Chapter (MIAP-Davao); MIRDC and MIAP at Beta Spring, Davao City, on 23 April 2018.
meeting with PSTC wacky at the conference room
 MIRDC and PWS delegates hold a meeting with the DOST Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) on 24 April 2018 to go over the program of the three-day event.  The PWS is represented by its Executive Director, Mr. Fernando Opeda
  sir rey rationale press con day 1
exhibit day 1  smaw day 1 ppc day 1
Clockwise from top left: Engr. Reynaldo L. Dela Cruz, Jr., Chief of the Center’s Industrial Training Section and President of the Philippine Welding Society (PWS), presents the rationale of the MIRDC Goes to the Countryside during the Opening Ceremonies; Engr. Dela Cruz is among the resource persons during the Press Conference; Fundamentals of Production Planning and Control is conducted by Mr. Osric Primo Bern Quibot; Shielded Metal Arc Welding training is conducted by Engr. Dela Cruz; and the technology exhibit is handled by the Technlogy Information and Promotion Section (TIPS) led by its Chief, Ms. Lina B. Afable.
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 Engr. Reynaldo L. Dela Cruz Jr. (L) and Engr. Ma. Girlie M. Millo (R) conduct the Metals Identification and Selection Seminar on April 26, 2018.
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 Engr. Edilbert M. dela Peňa (L), with technical assistance from Mr. Alfredo B. Anchorez, conducts the Metal Finishing Techniques seminar.
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 Ms. Alma C. Dupagan (L) and Dr. Concesa T. Cortez (R) handle the seminar on Fundamentals of Product Costing.
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Mr. Osric Primo Bern Quibot (L) conducts the seminar on Occupational Safety for Metalworking Industry, while the staff from the Technology Information and Promotion Section present MIRDC technologies during the exhibit (R).
heat treatment day 3 heat treatment 2 day 3
plasma cutting day 3 value analysis day 3
On the third and last day of the event, team MIRDC continues to carry out the remaining activities. Clockwise from top left: Engr. dela Peňa conducts the Heat Treatment of Steels seminar; Engr. Dela Peňa and Engr. Benjamin V. Estrellado, Senior Science Research Specialist, DOST XI, conduct a demonstration; Ms. Jocelyn C. Dime conducts the Value Analysis/Value Engineering I seminar; and Engr. Dela Cruz conducts the Plasma Cutting demonstration.

During the brief stay of team MIRDC in Tagum City, the Technology Advisory and Business Development Section (TABDS) led by its Chief, Engr. Ma. Girlie M. Millo, was able to meet with officials of the local government unit of Tagum City, particularly the City Planning and Development Office and the City Agriculture Office to discuss appropriate technologies for the productivity improvement of the agriculture sector, to identify necessary equipment to support the R&D activities, and IP application of their office’s R&D outputs, among others.  The TABDS was also able to personally visit some private enterprises for consultancy: Apiary Farm, LYR Marketing and Furniture Center, and Belmerit Welding Shop.  The said companies are very proactive in their pursuit of improving the business, and the Center is more than willing to extend technical assistance.  Their common requirement is about availing S&T intervention regarding process improvement, technology upgrading, and establishment of QMS.  The Center is thankful to have the opportunity to be in direct contact with the M&E industries in Tagum City, and is looking forward to positive outcomes

consultancy 1 consultancy 2
Team MIRDC meets with the City Planning and Development Office of Tagum City (L) and Belmerit Welding Shop (R) for consultancy.

The most exciting part of the three-day event is always the Skills Competition where participants are given the opportunity to show off their skills and express their creativity in the field of welding. The Skills Competition was held on April 27, 2018.

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Shortly after all the seminars and the Skills Competition were finished, the three-day event was finally concluded with a brief Closing Program. 

The Grand Winner for the female category is Ms. Ruth Cheel B. Tulo, while for the male category the Grand Winner is Mr. John Mar Siodora.

skills awarding female skills comp awarding male closing program
skills participants

















1Although there are jeeps and multi-cabs, tricycles are the most common mode of transportation in and around the city of General Santos.   Tricycle drivers are presently awaiting the final recommendations relative to the proposed ordinance dubbed, ‘Comprehensive Land Transport and Traffic Code of the City of General Santos.’  The proposed ordinance, introduced by the City Councilor and chair of the City Council’s Committee on Transportation Dominador Lagare Jr., is an offshoot of the transport study conducted in 2014 by the League of Cities of the Philippines with funding from the World Bank.  City Mayor Ronnel Rivera has already approved the provisions of the proposed ordinance that aims to come up with well-managed and regulated traffic and public transportation in GenSan.

Based from the 2014 transport study, there are 42,000 tricycles plying the 26 barangays of GenSan.  From a separate study also conducted in 2014, the ideal number of tricycles is only 9,000.  The figures reveal an excess of 33,000 tricycles in the city.   Concerns on the oversupply of tricycles and the would-be displaced tricycle drivers are covered in the ordinance provisions. 

Part of the city’s solution is grouping of the tricycles into the red, the green, and the white cluster, each cluster is based on the tricycles’ existing routes.  Likewise, these clusters serve as cooperatives for drivers and operators who will be receiving assistance from the local government should they be affected by the coming regulation.  

Locally designed and developed by engineers of the Department of Science and Technology – Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC), the Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT) is an alternative mass transportation system composed of five articulated buses that run on fuel and batteries.  Of the five coaches, four are for passengers and can carry a total of 240 passengers per trip.  The HERT arrived in GenSan in late October 2017 for testing and possibly, adoption of the LGU of Gen San.   

How do the tricycle drivers feel about the coming of the HERT to GenSan?  The DOST-MIRDC had a chance to interview some drivers and generally, they are happy about having the HERT in their city.  Mario Burlado, 59 y/o, said that they are in favor of using the HERT para ‘maminimize ang traffic at maiwasan ang disgrasyaMasaya kami nung nakita namin ang Road TrainNakita  na namin sa TV sa Manila.  Nung dumating sa GenSan, meron na kaming train,’ he gladly added.  Mr. Alessandro Areňa, Vice President of the red cluster, expressed his support to the use of the HERT since their group is the first batch to avail of the local government’s modernization program.  ‘Makikisama kami sa gobyerno para sa ikauunlad ng kabuhayan,’ said Mr. Areňa.


Noel Aviola, a 45-year old driver, is also supportive of the possible adoption of the HERT.  He is happy to see the HERT in their city.  He added, ‘Hindi nga lang natin alam kung magtagagal ang Road Train pero sana magbago din ang kalagayan ng transportasyon sa GenSan kung maibibigay ang pamamahala ng HERT sa kooperatiba.’   This is also the same sentiments shared by Mr. Jackaria Oman, 57 years old.  He is ok with the adoption of HERT in GenSan.  ‘Nagmeeting na sa Sangguniang Panglungsod, inintroduce na ni Councilor Lagare.’

Tricycle drivers typically work for 12 hours and earn from P500-P1000 per day.  Not bad, they said, because minimum income is P295.  Competition among tricycles is stiff, but they do not run out of passengers to serve.  ‘Maraming pasahero, yung mga trabahante, yung mga mamamalengke,’ says Mr. Aviola.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DOST-MIRDC and the LGU of GenSan will be signed on Dec. 16, 2017.  There will be a short program to be attended by the GenSan City officials, DOST personnel led by Sec. Fortunato T. dela Peňa, and media representatives.  The MOA signing will be followed by a Grand Launching of the HERT.  Asked if they will attend the program at the People’s Park, the interviewees gave positive answers.  This is an event that the entire DOST system and the people of GenSan are very optimistic about.