Filipino success stories often depict people going to far off places in pursuit of a better life, navigating through unfamiliar territory, and enduring homesickness to ensure a more comfortable life back home.
Then there are some stories about people who do not have to look far for success, those who are able to bloom where they are planted.
Such is the story of Anthony Ortega, a homegrown team member of AboitizPower subsidiary Therma South, Inc. (TSI), who became the company’s employee number one when he was hired in 2011.
A resident of Barangay Binugao, TSI’s host community, Anthony started out as a company driver and held the position for six years before becoming an Auxiliary Operator for coal handling in the Operations Team.
Seven years ago, Anthony wore several hats to help make ends meet. In the afternoon, he would run errands for a local karenderia. From evening until daybreak, he would ferry passengers in his payong-payong on the streets. Sometimes, he would even sideline as a disc jockey during barangay festivities.
“Before joining AboitizPower, wala talaga akong stable na trabaho. Kahit anong ginagawa ko basta legal para magkakita lang ng pera. Sa isang gabi ng pamamasada, siguro I earn mga PhP 400. Pero kukunan pa ‘yon ng konsumo. Papadala pa ng sustento sa anak. So halos wala nang matira para sa akin (Before joining AboitizPower, I had no stable job. I did anything just to earn money as long as it was legal. In one night of driving a tricycle, I earn around PhP 400. But a chunk of that goes to basic necessities and the rest to my daughter in Compostela Valley. So there is barely anything left for me),” Anthony said.
When Anthony heard talks of a coal-fired power plant to be built in his community back in 2011, he was one of the advocates who strongly supported the project. This was how he met Willy Rodolfo of AboitizPower and learned that they were looking for a company driver.
Despite not having any idea what he was getting into or any expectations that he will be chosen out of all the applicants, he still applied for the position. He was hired on May 16, 2011.
“I did not have any idea when I first started, I had the mindset of someone who had been unemployed for most of his life. I even went to work with holes in my shoes on the first day,” he said.
Anthony believes that his time with company has made a huge impact on his values.
“My attitude and behavior slowly changed during the time I was with sir Willy and [his boss], miss Ria. I learned how to align myself with the company values. I was also able to buy new shoes,” Anthony said as he reminisced his beginnings.
His time as a company driver also allowed Anthony to talk to different executives, which helped build his confidence.
“I’ve had passengers who were top management and expats. Back then I used to shy away from them. I looked down on myself. But later on I realized that I was a person too, so why should I look down on myself? I still carry with me that confidence that I found to this day,” Anthony admitted.
Anthony became an auxiliary operator for coal handling in the Operations team in June 2017. From being a payong-payong driver to becoming the company driver and now an auxiliary operator, Anthony is a shining example of homegrown success stories.
What made him stay this long?
“Valuing people. It really stuck to me. When you work here, the company supports you. They boost you. I have finished a lot of NC-II trainings because of Aboitiz. Aboitiz values your growth. That is the reason why I stayed for seven years,” Anthony said.
Anthony may already have come a long way in the last seven years, but this plant has only just started blooming.
Wholly-owned AboitizPower subsidiary Therma South, Inc. (TSI) is the owner and operator of the 300-Megawatt Davao Baseload Power Plant located in Binugao, Toril, Davao City. TSI is certified in three ISO standards, namely Quality Management (ISO 9001:2015), Environmental Management (ISO 14001:2015), and Occupational Health and Safety Management (OHSAS 18001:2007). Together with Therma Luzon, Inc. and Therma Visayas, Inc., the three comprise the Coal Business Unit of AboitizPower.