meycauayan Jewelry Making
A business forum among heads of different industries in the Province of Bulacan was held at the Hiyas Convention Center last September 9, 1989. Each of these heads was given chance to voice out their different problems. Being the president of Meycauayan Jewelry Industry Association, Inc. (MJIA) that time, Mrs. Cecilia Ramos pointed out that the jewelers in Meycauayan, which is the center of jewelry making in the Philippines are faced with the problem of lack of skilled goldsmith due to following reasons: a) they go out of the Philippines to work in countries like Saudi Arabia, Japan and USA; b) they resign to form their own business; c) they resign due to old age or poor eyesight; d) absence of training center for jewelry.
The officials of the Department of Trade and Industry headed by the then Department Secretary Jose Concepcion, who was present at the forum, recognized the problem. After exactly two months and 4 days, MJIA, Provincial Government of Bulacan (under Gov. Roberto Pagdanganan) and the Department of Trade and Industry (headed by Cris Navarro of DTI Bulacan and Oliver Butalid of DTI- III) jointly agreed to put up a jewelry training center in Meycauayan. The project “Meycauayan Jewelry Making Training Center” was born. The Training Center will give priority to the children of farmers and out of school youths. MJIA will absorb the products of the training center thus, assuring employment of graduates upon completion of the training course. It will cater to produce new breed of workers, which would augment not only the shortage of manpower requirement of the jewelry industry but also uplift the living standards of the community and solve also problems like drug addiction.
A memorandum of Agreement was signed between MJIA, DTI and Provincial Government of Bulacan last November 13, 1989 at the Office of Governor Roberto Pagdanganan at Bulacan Provincial Capitol Bldg., Malolos, Bulacan. The initial fund of P490,721.75 was provided by the following: DTI P 318,721.75, Provincial Government P 76,000.00 and MJIA P 100,000.00.
The project MEYCAUAYAN JEWELRY MAKING TRAINING CENTER or MJMTC was officially launched on January 12, 1990 at the Ancon Pavilion, Doña Mercedez Village, Malhacan, Meycauayan, Bulacan. The highlight of the launching of Memorandum of Agreement between MJIA and Galang Technical Institute. It was formally inaugurated on February 24, 1990 at a rented space at Galang Technical Institute, Calvario, Meycauayan, Bulacan, the first home of MJMTC. The officers of the association took the initiative of procuring the necessary tools and equipments / recruit trainer and trainees using the initial funding. The first class started March 5, 1990.
The first day of the training for the batch of trainees started on March 5, 1990. There were two sessions: morning and afternoon, each session has total of 4 hours. Training was supervised by its first trainor Mr. Anselmo Andaya, and the consultancy service was being rendered by Mr. Mike Rodriguez to ensure high quality and standard. Mrs. Cecilia Ramos rendered free services in teaching jewelry history and related subjects, while Mr. and Mrs. Renato Rubio handled the moral value formation.
Due to the growing number of enrollees, there was a need for a wider space, MJMTC had to move out of Galang Technical Institute last June 1, 1990 to rent a bigger space at Manhattan Plaza, McArthur Highway, Calvario, Meycauayan, Bulacan, second home of MJMTC. The three-floor building has several rooms, which made possible to offer trainings like basic jewelry making, Stonesetting and lapidary.
On August 5, 1990, the first 45 trainees who have successfully completed the prescribed requirements for the course graduated with smiles and hopes for a brighter future ahead and were presented with Certificate of Training.
In 1994, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between The 4th Congressional District of Bulacan, The Municipal Government of Meycauayan, The Department of Trade and Industry, The Technical Skills and Development Authority and The Meycauayan Jewelry Industry Association, Inc defining their specific duties and responsibilities in putting up a world class jewelry training center.
Last October 1997, MJMTC moved to its permanent home, the Philippine Jewelry Center. Equipments were laid down, fixtures were made including dividers to make it world class.
MJIA officers saw the advancement of technology of other countries. MJIA has submitted several project proposals to countries like Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey and Germany to get foreign consultants and be able to raise level of technology and eventually penetrate the export market. Fortunately, in April 13, 1997, Mr. Don Spratling of Canada, through Canadian Export Volunteer Services Organization (CESO) arrived and imparted his knowledge on Wax modelling. He comes back every year for follow-up. In August 13, 1998, Harry and Elizabeth Reijmers of Netherlands, through Netherlands Management Cooperation Program (NMCP), came to teach how to use the modern tools and equipments at Philippine Jewelry Center, give suggestions for improvement, and assembled some equipments and machineries. Another jewelry consultant arrived last July 3, 1999 from Turkey, Mr. Murat Yuceer, who assessed the jewelry set-up in Meycauayan and MJMTC. Then in May 1999, MJMTC, with the help of Turkish Embassy, was able to send two of its trainers namely: Mr. Rodrigo Ramos and Ms. Luisa Ricafort to Turkey to observe new technology in jewelry making, casting, gem identification; to know the modern tools, equipment and machines used in making jewelry in Turkey; to observe what is the latest in jewelry design in Turkey and; to explore technology business ties and establish marketing joint ventures.
In 1998, MJMTC has trained some members of MJIA to administer the trade testing and certification program for the jewelry industry. About 62 members and non-members of MJIA took Competency Based Trade Testing Training and Trade Testing Officers Course as part of the program preparation. The objective of this program is to provide a mechanism to ascertain the competence of the jewelry maker applying for job in the country as well as providing job standards. In the same year, MJMTC was accredited by TESDA as Trade Testing and Certification Office for Fine Jewelry with the objective of ensuring an adequate supply of talented, innovative, highly skilled and globally competitive work force to make the Philippines one of the export leader of fine jewelry in the Asia Pacific Region. MJMTC is the first to Trade Testing and Certification office for jewelry.
On October 29, 1998, MJMTC started the conduct of Trade Testing or Competency Assessment for Jewelry Making 3rd Class to trainers/ assessors of MJMTC and to the workers of MJIA members. To this date, 128 has fulfilled the trade test out of 155 trainees/workers. MJMTC is constantly conducting trade test to the graduating trainees of MJMTC as part of their requirement. Now, MJMTC is ready to conduct trade test for Stone Setters.
MJIA has always dream to professionalize jewelry making. In July 10, 2000, MJIA together with University of Regina Carmeli (URC) in Catmon, Malolos, Bulacan and Provincial Government of Bulacan under Governor Josie dela Cruz launched the new four-year offering (first of its kind in the Philippines), Bachelor of Science in Commerce (BSC) major in Jewelry Technology. Last July 10, 2000, MJIA (for MJMTC), URC and Provincial Government of Bulacan signed a Memorandum of Agreement about a Scholarship Grant for Trainees of BSC-JT from the Provincial Government of Bulacan at P5,000.00 per trainee per semester. The first batch has started this school year 2000-2001 and about 8 students enrolled on the first batch and 19 students enrolled on the second batch.
As of today, MJMTC has the most complete jewelry equipment totaling P14.75 M. The first batch came from TESDA worth P5.5 M covered by a Memorandum of receipt dated October 9, 1996, the second batch through the efforts of DTI came from CDF of Sen. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo worth P1.25 M and the third batch came from TESDA worth P8 M.
MJMTC has graduated 2,547 trainees, giving way to a new horizon and prospects for a brighter future. MJMTC offers short-term courses on Basic Jewelry Making, Specialty Course on Jewelry Making & Techniques and Stone Setting, Jewelry Casting, Wax Model Making and Polishing & Plating and four-year course: Bachelor of Science in Commerce (BSC) major in Jewelry Technology. To help the less privilege, MJMTC solicits donations for the scholarship of some out-of-school youth and out-of-job Filipinos from Provincial Government of Bulacan, Municipal Government of Meycauayan, Soroptimist International of Meycauayan, Rotary Clubs, Knights of Columbus, Inner Wheel Clubs and from MJIA members.
The center is from time to time facing financial problems. The source of financing to operate the center comes mainly from the meager amount of tuition fees collected among the trainees that cannot even sustain the allowances and salaries of the training staff. The sponsoring association, MJIAI, is constantly doing something to solve the financial crisis such as launching fund raising projects. They even reach the situation of using the associations own fund collected from membership dues and fees in order to keep the center alive.