LEGAZPI CITY --- The Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) Albay-Legazpi Chapter has a new president in the person of Albay 1st District engineer Simon Arias, whose election broke the group’s old practice of having a leader alternate between government and private engineers.
Arias assumed as the new Albay-Legazpi chapter president for 2020, replacing Engr. Hazel Noya-Salimbao, Maintenance Division chief of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Bicol regional office.
A PICE member disclosed that the usual practice in the chapter is to elect its president in an alternate manner between those in the private and government sectors. If this practice had not been broken, this year’s PICE president should have been a member from the private sector.
The member said Arias was elected by majority of the PICE in a move to ensure the completion of the group’s new office building worth P 5 million.
A former official of the Bicol University named Gregorio Aguilar was supposed to assume the Albay-Legazpi PICE presidency to succeed Salimbao, but he was reportedly prevailed upon by a former chapter president to give way to Arias, said a source who is a lifetime PICE member.
On Feb. 6, the PICE Albay-Legazpi chapter held a ground breaking ceremony in its 150-square meter lot where the P5 million PICE structure would be built. Located beside the SM Legazpi Mall, the site was reportedly a donation by the city government. The groundbreaking was also attended by new DPWH regional director Melvin Navarro.
Despite heavy rains, the groundbreaking pushed through with Arias hour-long speech outlining his plans and programs for the chapter, which has close to 1,500 active members.
Arias had initially considered Naga City as the venue for the Albay-Legazpi PICE members planning conference to be held on Feb. 9 to 10. This was, however, questioned by some members suggesting that the Albay-Legazpi PICE chapter should consider Legazpi as the venue for the conference to minimize expenses.
In response, Arias withdrew the plan and instead chose the Natures’ Hot Spring Resort in Irosin, Sorsogon as the final venue on Feb 15 – 16 according to his text messages to members.