SUBICWATER’s ‘MacGyver’ to be feted at 2017 Outstanding Freeport Workers Awards

Joseph Paje, or ‘Jojo’ as he is commonly called by his colleagues, is currently a Logistics Specialist assigned to the fleet management section of the company. He started out as a utility worker— a fact that he is proud of, as it just shows how far his efforts at self-improvement has taken him.

He strived to expand his knowledge and to always acquire and master new skills. Now, Jojo is one of the most capable technical guys of SUBICWATER, able to produce remarkable and consistent results even under challenging situations.

In 2016, he was hailed as SUBICWATER’s Best Employee. This coming November 23, Jojo will be honored this time around as one of the Ten Outstanding Freeport Workers in a ceremony to be held at Cinema 3 of Harbor Point Mall.

This just shows that with sheer determination, passion for work, and a genuine concern for people, a person can make a difference and become an instrument of positive change in the community that he is in.

Here are some excerpts that demonstrate the qualities of this amazing SUBICWATER man:



Being a boom truck operator, Jojo assists in the transportation of huge pipes to and from the company’s open

Jojo took inspiration from the classic design of ice tongs to fabricate a custom accessory to the company’s boom truck. Transporting large pipes has thus become easier.

warehouse. This was formerly done by lifting one end of the pipes so that chains or ropes can be attached. The same will be done on the opposite end.

As this method was time-consuming, Jojo devised a giant version of ice tongs/hooks, using scraps from the company’s junkyard. This was attached to the boom, and the two hooks are inserted in the opposite ends of the pipe to be transported.

When the boom is lifted, the weight of the pipe provides the force needed to automatically and securely hold it while being transferred by the boom truck operator.

Another brainchild of Jojo is the construction of ‘sluice gates’ (or sliding gates) that was placed in front of raw water intakes. This contraption still allowed water to enter the pump intakes, but prevented debris that usually clog the pumps.

Jojo came up with this innovation during his stint in the water production group, where part of his responsibilities includes cleaning the said intakes once or twice a day.

With the sluice gates in place, the company has saved precious man-hours as the intakes had to be inspected once or twice a week only. Personnel at the pump station can thus attend to other important matters.

POSITIVE WORK ATTITUDE: Jojo is all smiles as he declogs a raw water intake facility. Since this task can get dangerous during the rainy season, Jojo devised a simple engineering intervention that greatly reduced the required manhours for this job.

Always a Reliable Hand

When the tough gets going in the company’s operations, especially during times of natural calamities, Jojo makes himself available. He even leads in the identification of potential or ongoing problems, and proposes immediate remedies or preventive actions to minimize if not completely eliminate water service disruptions.

His superior skills in automotive works, steel fabrication, masonry, carpentry, among others, combined with his ingenuity, were put into use during these times of calamities. When major components of the water treatment plants break down due to the heavy siltation of water sources, Jojo has repeatedly devised solutions ala ‘MacGyver’ using readily-available materials.

To illustrate, during the ‘Habagat’ in 2013, the blowers of the filtration facilities in the Mabayuan Water Treatment Plant broke down. Jojo made a substitute blower using the air pump of a jackhammer, and this contraption enabled plant operations to continue, preventing a water service interruption in Olongapo City, which at that time needs water to clean up the thick layers of mud left by the flash flood.


Primus Inter Pares

The term Primus Inter Pares, or ‘first among equals’, aptly describes Jojo. He is a rank-and-file employee, but his peers see him as their unofficial leader, whose opinions are respected especially during critical situations. Jojo can take charge of a team with minimum supervision from his superiors— that is how dependable he is.

To illustrate, during the onslaught of Typhoon Glenda in 2014, Jojo was tasked to lead the ‘Mananabas Team’, a special group formed to clear blocked access roads. Without this team, the operators of SUBICWATER’s remote water facilities would have been stranded without the needed supplies, which could have forced them to shut down operations and cut water service to customers.

Jojo leads by example. His is a gentle kind of leadership— his coworkers see the genuine care he has for the company, his work, and for his coworkers. Jojo’s mere presence during trying times creates a feeling of security, a sense of control, as his team knows that they are in good hands.


SHARING SKILLS: Jojo (center) conducts an in-house seminar-workshop on proper boom truck operation.

Cool Under Pressure

During the summer of 2013, the submersible pump in one of the Barretto wells had to pulled up for maintenance. Deep wells can go as deep as 150 feet deep, equivalent to an eight-story building.

Before this pump can be retrieved, the steel pipes that encase the borehole had to be pulled out one by one. Each pipe casing is 13 feet long. They have to be drawn up vertically at exactly 90 degrees. A few degrees off the mark can cause irreparable damage, and the company would have no other recourse but to dig a new well in its place, which will take months.

Pulling out the steel pipes require the operation of a boom truck. Jojo, of course, was the operator. A miscalculation on his part or a mechanical failure can put the lives and limbs of co-workers at risk or cost the company millions of pesos in damages, aside from causing a water supply crisis for the thousands of people being served by that well.

Jojo worked round-the-clock pulling out and taking back in these steel casings. He followed his strictly-scheduled rest breaks to the dot, as a properly rested mind and body is said to be the key to the successful completion of his task.

A deep sigh of relief came out as the last of the steel pipes was put back in place. With Jojo’s amazing composure under stressful situations, the pump maintenance work was completed within schedule and without major setbacks to boot.


PUBLIC SERVICE: Jojo shares a light moment with kids while taking a short break from rationing water in Iram, New Cabalan, which was severely affected by the record drought in 2016.

Company Emissary

‘Jojo’ is a very common nickname, but in Forestry, Old Cabalan, there is only one Jojo who goes by the surname ‘SUBICWATER’.

“How do we apply for a new water connection?” “Ask Jojo SUBICWATER who lives over there.” “There’s a pipe burst! Who do we call?” “Jojo SUBICWATER, of course!”

Jojo’s wife, Joy, has often teased him to construct a SUBICWATER satellite office in their residence, since many neighbor-customers frequent their home. It is not uncommon for Joy to see his husband get up from bed at late hours in the night or early in the morning, get hold of his plumbing tools, and fix the plumbing systems of his neighbors’ flooded homes right away, even if the company’s services do not cover the households’ private lines.

It must be noted that the usual requests that the Paje family receives are beyond the scope of Jojo’s job description. He could have easily contacted the concerned unit to forward these requests, but he opts to not let the problem wait by providing the solution himself right away.

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