Synergy in service

August 23, 2019 | By: ARCH. SYLVESTER SHAUN D. SEŃO (first published in The Manila Times last August 20, 2019)

True excellence is a product of synergy, according to American composer, arranger, conductor and choral clinician Mack Wilberg. Cambridge Dictionary defines synergy as the combined power of people or things when they work together. It is greater than the total power achieved by each person working separately.

Even with limited resources, a group can address problems if each member helps to find the solution. The end result of their cooperation will be far greater. Filipino communities have a myriad of issues facing their surrounding environment — urban blight, unsafe public spaces and lack of facilities friendly to people with disabilities.

Last July 6, 2019, members of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Regional District B2 under District Director Arch. Ludel Mercene, particularly the UAP Manila-Manila Architects for Government Services (MAGS) Chapter under its current President Arch. Alpha Fiesta, implemented the first of the series of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities for the daycare center and multipurpose court of Barangay San Martin de Porres in the Fourth District of Quezon City.

The group also held a medical mission at the Kamuning Health Center on Oct. 27, 2018.

The two events are part of the wider CSR campaign that covered at least 10 public buildings in eight barangay (villages) in the said district — San Martin de Porres, Kristong Hari, Pinagkaisahan, Doña Imelda, Sto. Niño, Damayang Lagi, San Vicente and Krus na Ligas.

To boost the architects’ key role in uplifting the quality of the built environment, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also brokered by the UAP Balangkasan National Committee on Nov. 14, 2018 at the UAP National Headquarters to synergize stakeholders’ efforts to address the said issues. The UAP consists of 44,000 Filipino architects.

The key proponent of this initiative is one of UAP’s more than 160 oldest chapters — the UAP Manila-MAGS under the leadership of chapter president Arch. Irma Bernardo, who is connected with the Department of Public Works and Highways. It was also made through the initiative of Chapter Vice President for Programs and Planning Arch. Robert Lim with the full support of the Chapter Board.

The undertaking was titled “Painting and Accessibility Audit Project for Barangay San Vicente in District Four.” It aims to promote the Get An Architect advertising campaign under the leadership of UAP National President Arch. Benjamin Panganiban Jr.

The MoU also wanted to provide sustainable and positive contribution in the drive to promote the value of the Filipino architect. This unique project had the following outcomes:

First, it protected the architectural profession by educating all stakeholders in this MoU on the primacy of architects’ role in the built environment profession, eventually leading to a Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) resolution supporting Republic Act 9266 or “An Act providing for a more responsive and comprehensive regulation for the registration, licensing and practice of architecture.”

Second, it educated the general public on the contribution of Filipino architects in nation-building through these CSR outputs.

Third, it educated the professionals with practical knowledge in painting, in cooperation with industry partner Davies Paints Philippines. This forms part of their continuing professional development.

Lastly, it ensured sustainability of the endeavor through permanent CSR outputs visible to the general public.

The key partner in this historic partnership is the Quezon City local government through Fourth District Councilor Ivy Lagman and Baranggay Laging Handa Chairman Jose Maria Rodriguez. Rodriguez is also the president of the association of the 38 villages in the district.

Other key stakeholders are UAP Manila-MAGS Vice President for Operations Arch. Michael Angelo Alcoy, UAP Special Committee on Illegal Practices Chairman Arch. Ray Guarnes, UAP Committee on National and Civic Affairs Vice Chairman Arch. Cesar Aris and UAP Administrative Officer Jason Aban.

By involving all stakeholders in this gargantuan task, little by little, architects leave an indelible imprint as critical partners in nation-building in the minds of public officials and members of the society while helping communities.

Indeed, it is synergized service at par with excellence.

Industry partners and local chapters are welcome to be part of this initiative. For interested parties, kindly contact UAP Manila-MAGS Chapter through Arch. Robert Lim at mobile number 0917 817 4474.

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The author is the UAP Balangkasan chairman. He is also dean of the College of Architecture at Adamson University.

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