DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Nov) – Secretary Don Mustapha Loong of the Department of Public Works and Highways in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has been conferred the National Achievement Award for Government Service by the University of the Philippines’ College of Engineering (UPCE).
The 40-year old Loong, who hails from Sulu, is the youngest among six National Achievement awardees honored during the UP Alumni Engineers’ Grand Alumni Reunion at the Manila Polo Club on November 12. The awards are given to Alumni who have made remarkable contribution nationally in various fields like Entrepreneurship, Finance and in the case of Loong, a graduate of UPCE Batch 2000, Government Service.
Loong, one of the founders and drafters of the Constitution of the Young Moro Professionals (YMP), has noted he is one of only three Moro civil engineers who graduated from the UPCE in Diliman in its 100-year history.
The other awardees are Emmanuel Lorenzana Che 88, President of TV 5, for Broadcast Media; Ferdinand Tansingco EE 88 Metrobank Executive VP, for Finance; Edgardo Paynor EE 70 for Entrepreneurship, IT; James Porter MeE 81 for Entrepreneurship; Federico Monsada MetE 77; for Engineering Education; and Silvio Alcabasa CE 89, company commander of 52nd Engineering Brigade, for Public Service.
The Most Distinguished Alumnus award was given to Isidro Consunji CE 71, chair of the DMCI Holdings which includes the largest construction firm in the country and has interests in mining, power, real estate.
The theme of this year’s reunion is “Inhenyero ng Bayan: Kaagapay sa Malawakang Pag Unlad.”
According to a press release, Loong, who had the option to work in urban cities or abroad, decided to return home to serve the Bangsamoro people.
In his speech at the awards night, Loong thanked Consunji, father of his classmate, for allowing them the use of his library during group study sessions in their home, for the inspiration that library gave him.
Not having enough allowance to buy books, Loong said he would photocopy chapters from the book each time they did group study. He said he also got to read books on leadership.
In his more than three years serving the ARMM, Loong, according to the press release, has helped build “more than 915 kilometers of roads in the poverty and conflict-prone region as well as hundreds of water systems and ports” and in the process helped transform the DPWH-ARMM from one of the least performing agencies to one of the best performing agencies in ARMM.”
The DPWH-ARMM’s transparency system uses google earth maps and geo-tagging technology coupled with the publication of these google map and project photos on the DPWH-ARMM website for people to access at anytime.
The ARMM-DPWH also uses drone technology for project monitoring and transparency, and is actively posting on its website and social media accounts.
Senator Panfilo Lacson during the budget hearing was quoted as saying he was “impressed” by the system used and expressed hopes national agencies use the same system.
Prior to joining DPWH ARMM, Loong was assisting in the management of a 10-billion peso grant from the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (US MCC) to build a 212 km secondary road in Samar. Loong was then working with the DPWH Asian Development Bank Project Management Office.
Loong is now supervising together with his eight district engineers in the ARMM around 500 kilometers of roads a year in the ARMM, including areas traversed by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and Basilan, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Maguindanao and Maute Group in Lanao del Sur.
Loong will be formally inducted as a Career Executive Service Eligible during the 15th Annual Career Executive Service Conference in Naga City on November 23.
As one of a few Moro career executives, he is one of the founders of the Bangsamoro Executives and Leaders League (BELL)
Loong was also a Chevening Fellow on Public Sector Reform at the Bradford University in the United Kingdom. (MindaNews)