Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company of Manila, Inc.

agnp-logo"The Dualtech Training Center has been chosen [as partner] because of its balanced curriculum, its rigid screening process of qualified applicants for training and its inculcation of value formation among the trainees." -- Mr. Marcial P. Morales Jr., Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company of Manila, Inc.

It is with great joy and pride to addressing young graduates who are surely brimming with enthusiasm and ambition for having finally graduated from a 2-year Electromechanics Technology Course at the Dualtech Training Center.

Having qualified for admission and training atDualtech Training Center, a non-profit technical-vocational school which trains poor young people for future employment in commercial and industrial firms through relevant skills and value formation, I presume that most of youhere have come from the underprivileged sector of our society, which has reminded me past memories of my early life.

You see, I also come from a humble beginning, like most of you here. Like most of you, I am a product of the public school system for my elementary and high school education in Pampanga. During the early days - and even up to the present- we all know how disadvantaged students are when they come from public schools, as against their counterpart in private schools. On my part, being a product of the public school system was not a deterrent to pursue and realize my ambitions in life.

In my growing up years, and like any other young, idealistic and ambitious individual, I was not contented with what I had nor with what my family could afford to provide me then. I come from a family of modest means. My father was one of the pioneer OFWs and my mother was just a plain housewife, and I come from a large family, with seven children.

But I worked hard and practically persevered to address every challenge that came along my way. In order to afford a college education in Manila, I had to live with my relatives in the slum areas of Tondo. Everyday, I had to walk for about 3 kilometers one way from Tondo to my school at the University of the East at Claro M. Recto in Manila, and then back to Tondo after my classes, which I had to do so that I could save money for my school supplies.

Through hard work, perseverance and the guidance of our Almighty God - I was able to finish my college education at the University of the East, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy at the age of 19, and then I took and passed the Board exams for Certified Public Accountants immediately after graduation.

In my professional career, I worked mainly with 2 employers:(1) Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation; and (2) Atlantic, Gulf & Pacific Company of Manila, better known as AG&P.

I was with Shell for 21 years wherein I started as a Junior Executive until I became a Senior Manager in various department in the Finance Function, until I opted for early retirement in 1995.

After that, I joined AG&P in 1997 as Vice President for Finance and Administration, until recently, I have been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer of AG&P, where I am now currently employed for almost 18 years.

I am deeply indebted to my 2 employers because they gave me opportunities for training and career development, including a crossposting assignment at Shell Centre in London for 3 years when I was in my mid-30s.

Those 3 years gave me the opportunity to develop the competitive spirit in me. I still recall that I shared a big office with 2 fellow expatriates from Southeast Asia – one is a Malaysian and another, a Hongkong Chinese.

Both of them graduated with the highest honors - summa cum laude – when they finished their college degrees from the leading universities in England. They had likewise shown outstanding performance in their parent companies, which was the basis for their temporary assignment at Shell Centre in London.

In those 3 years, my officemates would normally leave at exactly 5 o’clock in the afternoon, while I would usually stay for extra hours to be at par with them, and cope with my workload. At times, I had to stay up to almost midnight and catch up with the last train service to my home.

Because of my exposure to the international working environment in London, it made me accept that I may not have the talents of my fellow expatriates but I have been truly blessed with a bigger capacity for hard work, perseverance and positive outlook to put me at par with my counterparts in a global organization like Shell.

In your case, you would soon be employed by various companies. I urge you to be focused and committed in doing your work for your employer, because they will be giving you initial opportunities for training and development. If, overall, you would be happy with your work and your working environment, and you can foresee opportunities for advancement, then keep your job and stay with your employer. I can assure you that in due time, your hard work, commitment and loyalty to your employer will be recognized and rewarded.

At this stage of my life, when I believe that I have reached the ultimate potentials in terms of my professional career, my personal as well as my family life, I have come to realize that successdoes not lie upon what people think you can or cannot do, but rather, what you yourself truly believe you can achieve or do.

As I have reached my senior years, allow me to share a few more things that I have learned in life:

  • As you attain success and fulfillment, always remember the people who supported you through all the challenges and adversities you faced in life: your parents, your siblings, your friends, your sponsors, your teachers, and of course, your alma mater, the Dualtech Training Center.
  • Continue to improve yourself - I encourage you to pursue a college degree, graduate studies or advance technical training programs or other life-long processes or activities. Continue to set short and long-term goals, and move forward…equipped with the knowledge and skills, and the Christian values inculcated in you at this great institution.
  • Asyou attain more achievements in life, you should never allow yourself to be consumed solely by it, nor by the tempting effects of wealth and power which always accompany success.Instead, remain humble and be a living example to others.
  • Share your talent, your time and your treasures with others, especially the poor and the needy. No matter what you eventually become and what you do in life, sharing your knowledge, your time and your treasures for the benefit of others will give you immense satisfaction and bountiful blessings.
  • In my case, I, together with my wife, normally spend our weekends in serving a mission area near the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City, through our Christian community, Couples for Christ for Family and Life (CCFL).
  • You should take an inventory of your good qualities or traits and your weaknesses as well - overcome and improve on them. God has given us talents in order to improve our lives. You can just be a welder, but you should aim to be the best welder.  For me, it is unacceptable not to achieve our full or ultimate potentials.   
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle; eat healthy food; exercise and maintain a positive outlook as part your foundation in achieving your long-time goals in life.
  • Do not be afraid of failures; instead, have faith in yourself and learn from your mistakes – this will make you a stronger and a better person. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous American writer and poet, once said that … “OUR GREATEST GLORY CONSISTS OF NOT IN NEVER FAILING, BUT IN RISING UP EVERY TIME WE FALL.”
  • Have strong faith in God. The power you will receive through prayers will energize you, and your faith will keep you on track whenever you encounter difficulties in life.

After having shared some lessons I have learned in life, I believe this is the opportune time to talk to you about Project Aspire – a project conceptualized by AG&P which aims to help poor or underprivileged but talented and ambitious young Filipinos to realize their dreams by providing them with technical or skills training which is at par with international standards, such as those of the Canadian Welding Bureau.

A great number of Filipino families have been deprived of the basic necessities in life, and their children not having been given the opportunity to have a formal education which otherwise would have given them a fair chance of getting an employment.  AG&P AND ITS PARTNER INSTITUTIONS ARE NOW GIVING THEM THAT OPPORTUNITY THROUGH PROJECT ASPIRE.

The training program under Project Aspire will run for a relatively short period of 1 year from the commencement of the training program up to the eventual hiring by AG&P of the successful trainees. The pilot projects for the launching of Project Aspire will be at the DUALTECH TRAINING CENTER and at the UNIVERSITY OF CEBU (UC).

The Dualtech Training Center has been chosen because of its balanced curriculum, its rigid screening process of qualified applicants for training and its inculcation of value formation among the trainees. Some of the features of Project Aspire which will bring positive impact on our communities are as follows:

  • A world-class curriculum tailored-fit to the standards of AG&P’s Yard Operations;
  • Curriculum-based learning materials which will serve as guides to ensure that the technical or skills training are properly taught and carried out;

In parting, allow me to reiterate that in order to succeed in life, you have to keep your faith in God and in yourself; you have to maintain your ideals and aspirations, and the perseverance to move forward despite all challenges in life. Keep it in your heart that every day is the best day of your life…Again, let me quote Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said that: “THE ONLY PERSON YOU ARE DESTINED TO BE IS THE PERSON YOU DECIDE TO BE.”