HISTORY OF DON BOSCO AGRO-MECHANICAL TECHNOLOGY CENTER, 1996-2010
The Bicol Region remains as one of the poorest region in the country. Fifty three percent of the total population lives below the poverty threshold. Close to fifty percent of the population depend on agriculture, fishery and forestry for livelihood. Majority of the poorest families are living in the upland farming are- as of the Region. It is because of low agricultural productivity, lack of educa- tion, and antiquated agricultural farm practices.
It is for the above-mentioned reasons that Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Tech- nology Center in Legazpi City was established. By focusing on farm mechani- zation and new farming technologies, the Center hopes to enable the youth and their families attain socio-economic sufficiency. The Center conducts technical training supplemented with value formation and training in entrepreneurial and managerial skills.
On July 1996, Bishop Jose C. Sorra requested Don Bosco Provincial Superior for a Don Bosco Training Center in the Diocese of Legazpi. In response, the Superior assigned a Salesian, Brother Luigi Parolin, SDB, to prepare a plan and program for the purpose. The role of the Bishop was to provide the land and funds for the structure and basic equipment. He did so through the Catholic Bishops Conference of Italy (CEI) and Misereor of the Catholic of Germany.
Panoramic View of Site of Location of Don Bosco-Legazpi Before Its Building Construction.
On September 11, 2000, Bishop C. Sorra, assisted by the Auxiliary Bishop Lu- cilo B. Quiambao, blessed the cornerstone for the Construction of the Training Center. It was solemnly inaugurated and blessed nine months later, on June 28, 2001, at the presence of His Eminence Jose T. Cardinal Sanchez; His Grace most Rev. Antonio Franco, Apostolic Nuncio; Bishop Sorra and the bishops of Bicol region.
1) Cornerstone of Don Bosco Legazpi by Bishop Sorra, assisted by Auxiliary Bishop Lucilo Quimbao and Bro. Luigi Parolin.
2) ￼￼￼Construction of the Three Buildings: Administration, Workshop, and Integrated Building.
3) Inauguration and Blessings at the presence of His Emi- nence Jose T Cardinal Sanchez and His Grace most Rev. Antonio Franco, Apos- tolic Nuncio and Bishops.
￼On August 6, 2001, the first batch trainees started their classes with forty seven (47) trainees. The Center offers two courses Agro-Mechanics and General Elec- tricity, with four instructors coming from other settings of Don Bosco Training Centers, and two in the office and, later, a German consultant for Agro- Mechanics. Most trainees could not commute daily for their training in the Cen- ter. To this purpose the Diocese of Legazpi and Don Bosco established a dormi- tory for boys. On its first year two Salesians were assigned to operate the cen- ter: Fr. Mariano Tarosa, SDB as Officer-in-Charge and Chaplain of Bicol Uni- versity (BU), and Bro. Louis Parolin, SDB as Training Director. On December 2001, Fr. Manuel “Boc” Nicolas, SDB was assigned in the Center as Spiritual Moderator. However on July 2002, Fr. Tarosa, and Fr Boc left the Training Center for another challenging assignment.
On 2003, Fr. Arthur Hizon, SDB was assigned as Officer In-Charge and later Fr. Jess Tayag, SDB as BU Chaplain. Fr. Jess left after one year for new assign- ment. On this year, the Agro-Mechanics course was divided into two specializa- tions: Mechanical and Agriculture. The post training program of the Center was conceptualized and implemented through assisting the graduates in the imple- mentation of the livelihood projects by providing/facilitating seed capital and technical assistance. The operation of the Center has systematically organized with three main departments: Training which is the training proper, Extension Work which is the post assistance to the graduates, and Farm Research and De- velopment which is the establishment and operation of the training facilities for agriculture and continuous development of the farm areas of the Training Cen- ter as demonstration farm for the farmers.
With that, in 2004, Agriculture Technician evolved as a course. It started with thirty six (36) Agriculture Technician trainees. Chapel-Hall was built on Au- gust 2004 for the religious services of the trainees and for the people of neigh- boring barrios for recollections of youth of the diocese, as well as a hall for so- cial and human development for private and government organizations. A par- ish in Arizona, USA, accepted to sponsor the construction of a “God-the-Father Chapel-Hall”.
1) Agriculture Technician graduates implementing livelihood project on sweet corn production at their farm.
2) Agriculture Technician graduate implementing livelihood project on piggery at his farm.
On 2006, Fr. Arthur left the Center for new assignment. Fr. Dante Valero, SDB is the new Officer-In-Charge. In the same year, Bro Henry Enriquez, SDB was assigned in the Center as Dorm In-Charge and Technical Supervisor up to pre- sent. Bro. Louis Parolin, SDB became the Administrator and Training Director up to present.
Likewise, on the same year the facilities for animal production were fully oper- ational which consist of swine (100 heads per production cycle), poultry (100- 200 per production cycle) and large and small ruminants. The Training Center has improved its training cum production such as the sweet corn, and vegetables that are organically grown. More graduates are availing the microfinance in the Training Center where most of the projects are swine production.
On 2007, One hundred forty-eight (148) trainees were enrolled in the Training Center. There were two sections for Agriculture Technicians trainees. In this year the egg production started to operate. At present (2010), it is on its second cycle and produces 750 eggs a day.
Egg Production at West Farm: Two trainees are collecting the eggs.
On May 2008, Fr. Dante left for new assignment. On the start of the Training Year 2009-2010, Fr. Florante Afable, SDB was assigned as a Spiritual Modera- tor of Training Center up to present.
Before the start of the said training year (February 2008), the production of cus- tomized feeds was in-placed. This is in response to the need of the training cum production of the Training Center and the swine and poultry projects of the alumni to make the animal feeds of high quality at reasonable price. At present it produces an average of 300 bags a month.
Production of customized feeds for the swine and poultry.
On the Training Year 2008-2009, the scholarship for short courses namely Shielded Metal Arc Welding National Certificate (NC) II, Building Wiring In- stallation NC II, and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning NC I were offered. It was implemented only for one year until the support of the sponsors ended. In the same year, all courses offered were aligned to the training regulation of TESDA.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼General Electricity trainees working at electrical workshop for their building wiring installation exercise.
￼A female Agro- Mechanic trainee do- ing an welding exercise.
On 2009, the construction of the road was completed in the west farm area of the Training Center. It serves a passage of the people from main road to sitio Misua A. This area was started to develop for expansion of the training cum production. The production section was organized to take charge in the opera- tion of major areas of production.
The Year 2010 marked the biggest population of trainees since its establish- ment. From 47 trainees in 2001, their number has increased to 180 in training year 2010-2011.