(from left) Alsons Power vice president and head of coal operations, Nicandro R. Fucoy, Zamboanga City councilor and Philippine Weightlifting Association vice president Elbert Atilano, Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. (ACR) chairman and president Tomas I. Alcantara, Hidilyn Diaz, ACR treasurer and director, Editha I. Alcantara, ACR director Nicasio I. Alcantara, and Alsons Power executive vice president Tirso G. Santillan.
At the MOA signing are (from left) Zamboanga City councilor and Philippine Weightlifting Association vice president Elbert Atilano, Hidilyn Diaz, and Alsons Power executive vice president Tirso G. Santillan.

Alsons Power Group subsidiaries San Ramon Power Inc. (SRPI) and the Western Mindanao Power Corporation (WMPC) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with 2016 Rio Olympics weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and the Philippine Weightlifting Association Inc. to launch the “Alsons Power Hidilyn Diaz Scholarship Program for Aspiring Weightlifters.”

Alsons Power– the first and most experienced independent power producer in Mindanao – created the scholarship program to support Diaz’s aspiration to train Zamboanga City-based aspiring competitive weightlifters with the potential to become world-class champions who could bring honor to the Philippines and serve as inspiration to other Filipinos.

Under the agreement, five scholars initially will be chosen from the pool of aspiring weightlifters under the Hidilyn Diaz training facility in Mampang, Zamboanga City. Selection of the scholars will depend on the recommendations of Diaz, the incumbent coach of the Philippine national weightlifting team, and the National Weightlifting Association. Additional criteria include the potential scholar’s desire to complete his/her education and the income level of the family. 

The program will initially cover the current school year 2017-2018. Each scholar will receive a subsidy worth P 40,000.00 that will cover the provision of school uniforms, shoes, a bag and school supplies, and a monthly stipend for transportation and food allowances covering the 10 months of the school year. It is important to note that as national athletes, the scholars are already entitled to free tuition.

To remain in the program, the scholars must continue to be active trainees in good standing with the Hidilyn Diaz Training program in Zamboanga City and/or qualify or remain active at the national weightlifting team. They should have no failing grades in any subject at any time of the school year, must not have any unexcused absence and disciplinary cases during the school year.

According to Diaz, herself a native of Zamboanga City, the Alsons Power-Hidilyn Diaz scholarship program is a great opportunity for children to harness their potential as weightlifters while at the same time providing them with the means to continue with their education.

“I am grateful for this program because it will encourage and motivate young people, many of whom have to stop school due to poverty and other difficulties in life. At the same time, those with potential are forced to forget their aspirations of becoming weightlifters because they do not get support from their families. But if the parents realize that their children have the potential to become champions and that they can have a good future through weightlifting, then I know they will become supportive,” the Olympic medalist said.

Alsons Power Corporate Communications Head Oscar Benedict Contreras said, “The Alsons Power Hidilyn Diaz Scholarship Program is a special part of our overall commitment to improving access to education for young people from Zamboanga City and the other areas where we operate. By helping ensure that our athletes are able to go to school without their families having to worry about the costs of school supplies, uniforms, shoes, meals and transportation; we feel that in our own little way we are contributing to our country’s quest for an Olympic gold medal.”

Alsons Power’s WMPC operates a 100 megawatt (MW) diesel power plant in Sangali, Zamboanga City while the group’s SRPI is currently developing a 105 MW baseload coal-fired power plant in Talisayan, Zamboanga City. The group likewise operates 3 other power facilities in different parts of Mindanao.