A highlight of Baguio City’s centennial celebration in 2009 was the recognition of the Builders of Baguio. Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc. (JVOFI) was among the 100 institutions awarded by the Centennial Commission.
The Foundation, Inc was founded on the premise of creating self-reliant communities capable of harnessing internal and external resources for development, an idea that began in 1980. Established in Baguio City, the Foundation started as a corporate social arm of Benguet Corporation and was known then as the Benguet Corp Foundation, Inc.
Initially targeting the company’s various mining camps, it expanded its programs beginning in 1986 and became financially independent in 1997. JVOFI took on the name of the late Mr. Jaime V. Ongpin in 1997 in honor of the first Filipino president of Benguet Corporation and former Finance Minister of the Corazon Aquino Administration. Its core programs are holistic, targeting the environmental, economic and social dimensions of development. JVOFI works in active partnership with local government units, government agencies, donor agencies, other NGOs and business. Among its key contributions to Baguio City were:
• disaster relief and rehabilitation during the 1990 earthquake;
• integrated watershed protection and water systems projects in areas surrounding the Camp John Hay reservation which helped preserve the forest beginning 1994, after the turnover of the US base to the government . These barangays are Happy Hallow, Camp 7, Atok Trail, and Apugan-Loakan which became models for similar JVOFI projects in Benguet, the Ilocos and Cagayan regions;
• initiated an Integrated Solid Waste Management Program in Baguio in 1997 which promoted public awareness and led to the establishment of a composting facility for biodegradable waste generated by the Baguio Public City Market. Outputs of the compost plant are utilized primarily in the City’s Parks & have helped reduce not only biodegradable waste but also the amount of fertilizers purchased by the City;
• since 1996, the Foundation supported annually an average of 1,000 enterprising poor women in their microfinance needs enabling them to support their children’s education and achieve a better quality of life;
The CenteCom also gave due recognition to various city institutions such as the educational sector, business and economics group as well as religious and civic organizations for their enduring support for the development of the city.
The awardees received the specially designed Baguio Builders trophy crafted by Peter Pinder, a renowned local sculptor. As a fitting tribute to the awardees, their names will be inscribed in a granite wall of remembrance and recognition which will be set up in an appropriate area within the newly designated Centennial Park (formerly Baguio Botanical Garden) along Leonard Wood Road.
The complete list of Baguio Builders awardees can be found here.