Engineers’ summit to honor memory of PH building pioneer

posted September 25, 2015 at 08:10 pm
by Manila Standard

The Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) will hold the Civil Engineering Summit 2015, and 12th NCR Technical Conference, at the Marikina Convention Center in Marikina City on October 8 and 9.

The summit will gather civil engineers, academicians, technology providers, urban planners, businessmen, as well as policy and decision makers under one roof, with former president Fidel V. Ramos as guest of honor.

Dreamer, doer. FF Cruz envisioned islands connected by transportation, infrastructure and communication. 

The event wields gravitas coming as it does a few weeks after the birthday (September 25) of one of the pillars of Philippine construction, the late businessman and building pioneer Felipe F. Cruz, (who would have been 94), best known for establishing one of the country’s largest contractors, FF Cruz Co. Inc., almost six decades ago.

Infrastructure giant

The company started out as a small surveying firm, and eventually transformed into the muscle behind key infrastructure projects within Metro Manila like the C-5 Ortigas Avenue extension interchange.

Cruz bagged in 2007 The Outstanding Filipino Awardee for General Construction in recognition of his contributions. FF Cruz’s projects included the Grade Separation of Edsa-Ortigas Intersection, and the Edsa-Kamias-Timog Interchange Project. It also focused heavily on the maritime sector and reclamation, building the Batangas Port Development Project.

Other projects Cruz was involved in included the San Roque hydroelectric plant in Pangasinan and geothermal plants in Leyte and Albay.

Cruz also raised the bar for Filipino contractors at a time when the Philippines was just gaining worldwide recognition. With several contractors, Filipinos were gradually recognized by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) as capable of doing large and complex projects locally and abroad.

Generation of visionaries

Cruz got his BS Geodetic Engineering degree from the University of the Philippines. He received his BS Civil Engineering degree from the National University.

The founder of FF Cruz & Co. Inc., is remembered for his long-range planning, hard work, honesty and generosity of spirit as he built major interchanges, ports and bridges in the country.

He was part of  a generation of visionaries who helped define a country—yet adhered to old-fashioned values, strict work ethic and simple ways.

In 1949 Cruz established a surveying company which evolved into a construction and engineering firm in 1954.  In the ’60s, he became the first Filipino, and one of the first in the world, to make use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) for civilian surveying. His contract with the US government sent him around the globe to find the exact locations of the cities using satellite tracking.

Later, FF Cruz & Co. Inc. expanded to build roads, geothermal and power plants, and piers such as the Batangas International Port, Iligan Port, the Sanggali Fishing Port Complex in Zamboanga, Port of Cagayan de Oro, Port of Iloilo, General Santos Fish Port Complex, Port of Semirara in Antique, to name a few.

Meeting the challenge of the future

Following Cruz’ vision, the  Civil Engineering Summit seeks to prepare young civil engineers to meet the challenges of the future through design and construction.

Aside from honoring Cruz’ memory, topics to be discussed at the summit include the role of civil engineers in urban transportation , roads and rails infrastructure, national planning and development; disaster preparedness and mitigation;  ASEAN and international practice, construction, project management and in power.

The summit will likewise tackle civil engineering community and CE law, the role of civil engineers in education, training certification with emphasis on the road map for civil engineers

The PICE is an organization accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) of the Philippines, composed of more than 74,000 registered civil engineer members in 96 chapters and some 46,646 civil engineering student members in 179 student chapters throughout the country.

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