During the UP Alumni Engineers Grand Alumni Reunion held in the Manila Polo Club on Nov 12, 2016, awards were given to UP Alumni who had made a remarkable contribution nationally in various fields like Entrepreneurship, Finance among others.
Every year, a few notable alumni are given National Achievement Awards. In the 100 years of UP Engineering, it has given around 100 of these awards. So far, Sec Loong is the youngest from batch 1999-2000 while most of the other awardees were from batches seventies and eighties.
The theme of the UP Alumni Engineers this 2016 is, “Inhenyero ng Bayan: Kaagapay sa Malawakang Pag Unlad.”
This perhaps apt for Muslim Filipino awardee engineer Don Loong, who had the option to work in urban cities or abroad for greener pastures, but decided to return back to his communities and become a partner in the more inclusive development for his fellowmen. He turned his back to a convenient, safe and urban living to a dangerous, conflict ridden, highly unpredictable rural development in the Bangsamoro areas.
After the speeches of UP President Alfredo Pascua and UP College of Engineering Dean Rosalina de Leon, the awarding of the achievement awards were given.
Aside from Engr Don Loong who received the National Achievement Award in Government Service, six others were given.
Emmanuel Lorenzana Che 88 for Broadcast Media as President of TV5, Finance award Fernand Tansingco EE 88 Metrobank Executive VP, Entrepreneurship, IT award Edgardo Paynor EE 70, Entrepreneurship — James Porter MeE 81, Engineering Education, Federico Monsada MetE 77, Public Service Award Silvio Alcabasa CE 89 as Comnpany commander of 52nd Engg Brigade.
The most distinguished Alumnus award was given to Isidro Consunji CE 71. He is the Chairman of the DMCI holdings that includes the largest construction firm in the country as well as in mining, power, real estate.
The son of Isidro Consunji was the classmate of Sec Loong and they used to have group study in their home in Forbes Park. There Sec Loong was inspired by the huge library of Isidro Consunji. To unwind from too much engineering study, engr loong would relax in the library of Mr. Consunji and choose from among his hundreds of collections of management and leadership books. There was also a xerox machine in the home library. During the awarding, Sec Loong thanked Mr. Consunji for the inspiration that library gave him. Not having enough allowance to buy books, Loong would xerox a few dozen pages each time they did group study. One of the books was the Principle Centered Leadership. Amidst the toughest times in UP, reading books from islamic books to books on management, psychology and leadership were the source of reinvigorating energy for engr Loong. This aside from meeting exceptional leaders in the industry on a personal level like Isidro Consunji who was then the President of DMCI Construction, the largest construction firm in the Philippines with projects extending to South east asia.
Regional Secretary Don Mustapha A. Loong, a native of Sulu and ARMM, was awarded the National Achievement in Government Service.
One of only three Moro Civil Engineers who graduated from UP Diliman College of Engineering since its founding, Engr Don Loong has exemplified the mantra of UP by returning home and serving his communities in the ARMM.
As a young boy seeing the difficulties of traveling in his hometown in Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, he had dreamt that one day he would help finish the “longest roads” in ARMM. It was his burning motivation that allowed a public school educated student from elementary to high school survive the tough UP Diliman Civil Engineering education.
In his more than three years serving the ARMM, he has helped build more than 915 kilometers of roads in the poverty and conflict prone region as well as hundreds of water systems and ports.
Moreover, he has helped transform the DPWH ARMM from one of the least performing agencies to one of the best performing agencies in ARMM.
Before the Hataman Administration five years ago, for twenty years, most of the projects of the DPWH ARMM were road gravelling and regravelling of roads. Now the non sustainable road regravelling has been disallowed by the amendment of the DPWH ARMM Public Works Act.
During the presentation of Sec Don Loong to the Senate Committee Budget Hearing, Senator Lacson said, “I’m Impressed,” with the transparency system being utilized by the DPWH ARMM which is using google earth maps and geo-tagging technology coupled with the publication of these google map and project photos on the DPWH ARMM website for people to be able to access 24/7. Senator Lacson said that the National Agencies as well as Provinces must follow the transparency model of the DPWH ARMM by posting geo-tagged photos of projects on google map platform and make available for the public to view anytime through its website.
At the forefront of utilizing the most modern drone technology for Project Monitoring and transparency, DPWH ARMM is also regularly posting on its website, social media accounts like facebook and youtube, project documentation of its project as a step ahead in transparency and accountability.
Sec Loong took the helm of the DPWH ARMM from his mentor, now undersecretary of DPWH National for United Project Management Offices, Usec Emil K. Sadain, who also hails from Sulu, and who share the same dream with Sec Loong, of completing the longest roads in ARMM.
As part of sustaining the reforms, DPWH ARMM is moving towards ISO accreditation. Recently, sixty DPWH ARMM chiefs were trained in the seven habits of highly effective people and the four disciplines of execution by Stephen Covey.
Prior to joining DPWH ARMM, Secretary Loong was assisting in the management of the 10 Billion peso grant of the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (US MCC) to build a 212 km Samar Secondary Road. Back in 2002, Engr Loong was working with the DPWH Asian Development Bank Project Management Office.
Working in a international Development Entity under the Philippine Government to implement roads in international standards and protocols, Engr Loong was already earning six figures and living in a Condo and living the good life of a young professional in the Metro far from the conflict and threats at home.
While he was offered to be DPWH ARMM Secretary by Gov Hataman in 2011, he politely refused as he wanted to avoid the stress of living in a conflict affected region and was already under contract with the MCC funded Secondary National Road Project in Samar. However, after experiencing a mild stroke in the field office in Samar, he realized it would have been tragic to be a scholar ng Bayan from the ARMM and not be able to have utilized his talents and efforts in giving back to his community. It was then that he decided to utilize his profession and efforts to serve his homeland in the ARMM. If a person can die from stroke, due to health reasons, then a person should not worry too much from dying in the field in the service of his beloved Moro.
As Regional Secretary, Engr Loong is supervising together with his 8 District engineers around five hundred kilometers of roads a year in one of the most dangerous communities in Mindanao around areas of the Abu Sayyaf, ISIS, BIFF and Maude Group. MNLF and MILF due to the peace agreements have been supportive of the development in Moro areas but the lawless elements like the ASG are not very friendly.
On Nov 23, 2016, Sec Loong will be formally inducted as a Career Executive Service Eligible during the 15th Annual Career Executive Service Conference in Naga City.
As one of the few Moro Career Executives, he is one of the founders of the Bangsamoro Executives and Leaders League (BELL) that aims to professionalize moro career executives and whose members include more than two dozen Moro Career Executive Service Officers and eligibles.
Back in 2000, he was one of the founders and drafters of the Constitution of the Young Moro Professionals Network (YMPN), which sixteen years after is one of the most active young professionals network in the country with chapters in various regions and whose membership has reached national and international recognition.
This year, Engr. Loong had been conferred by the British Embassy as British Education Ambassador. He was a Chevening Fellow on Public Sector Reform at the Bradford University, United Kingdom.
Secretary Loong is a recipient of many scholarships and grants: he was one of the first cohorts of the Asian Institute of Management – Bridging Leadership Fellows; United States International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on good governance, transparency, and infrastructure; Construction Portfolio Management at the MCC Infrastructure College in Washington DC, USA.
Joining eighteen global leaders from all over the world, Sec Loong is one of the few Filipinos to ever reach the summit of the highest free standing mountain in Africa, the Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania during the Outward Bound Global Leadership Fellows program.
Being aware of the vital importance continuing legal and technical education, Engr. Loong also has a Bachelor of Laws and a diploma in Project Management.
While in UP, he was very active in student movements. He was former President of the UP Muslim Students Association whose alumni includes MNLF Chairman Prof Nur Misuari, former Senator Santanina Rasul, former Congressman and Secretary Simeon Datumanong and former COMELEC Commissioner Mehol Sadain among many others. After his stint, the UP MSA was able to help elect two Moro presidents of the UP Diliman Student Council.
Aside from organizing, Sec Loong has also been active with the JCI. He won twice the National Public Speaking Competition and was second place in the South East Asia Public Speaking Competition. He is also a debater in his college days.
In his law school days, he was a writer for the Law School Journal.
A full blooded product of public schools, Engr Don Loong is a product of Western Mindanao State University from Elementary to High School. Then he went to UP Diliman for College. Later on, he finished Bachelor of Laws WMSU.
Studying the the countries premier university in one of the toughest courses was not easy. After staying in the UP Kalayaan dorm for a year, he lived in a semi squatter community in Quezon City.
With only two thousand five hundred pesos allowance a month, all in, Sec Loong was a working student in UP. He set up a computer typing job to earn extra for food and transportation allowance. Sometimes he had to walk home when budget would get too low. While he was related to prominent personalities, his parents were no longer working and more of retired in their small farm.
Sometimes it would take him two to three hours a day to type up somebody else’s reports and entire magazines while still having to prepare for an upcoming major examination. Lucky were the students who didn’t have any problems with their allowances.
On the later years, Don Loong, while being active in student organisations and advocacy, established a tutorial center. He used to tutor an hour a day and two hours on weekends just to earn an extra four thousand a month that better covers his basic allowance needs, mobility and food for the month. This aside from preparing for the tough departmental examinations of UP College of Engineering which is dreaded for kicking out the most number of students in the entire UP system.
Inspiration in rarity, Engr Loong kept reminding himself that 100,000 top high school students took the UP CAT and only 2000 passed. Of those who passed, only very few were Muslims. Of the 4000 students of the UP College of Engineering that time, there were only 4 Muslims. Being active with the UP Muslim Students Association, he actively scouted for the Muslim students only to realize what a super minority the Muslim Filipino students were in the UP College of Engineering and the UP Diliman population itself. Of the 26,000 students of UP Diliman, there were just two dozen muslim undergraduates.
2016 marks the 100th year that Civil Engineering is being taught in the University of the Philippines – Diliman. For the past 100 years, the UP Diliman has produced 3,517 Civil Engineering graduate. But of these, there has been very few Muslim Filipino civil engineering graduates. To date, Sec Loong have heard of only three to include himself. That would mean 0.1%.
This very realization that while 100,000 take the UP CAT every year, only 2000 pass, and of that here are only a handful that are Muslims and just two or three that get into College of Engineering and yet only three out of 3,517 Muslim Filipino graduates in the 100 years of UP Diliman Civil Engineering.
While in UP, Engr Loong was also active in many other organisations like the UP Association of Civil Engineering Students (UP ACES), UP Beta Epsilon – the Brotherhood of Engineers – going Beyond Engineering.
In the early 90s, together with now Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman and young Moro youth and students, they formed the Muslim Youth and Students Alliance (MYSA), one of the largest and most active inter-school and inter tribal youth and students alliance in that period. The MYSA was at the forefront of advocating for the welfare of Sarah Balabagan and the issues.
As part of the UP Muslim Students who are part of the network of the MYSA, Sec Loong joined rallies and advocacies that were the issues of the day.
Born during the 1976 Tripoli Agreement signing, Engr Don Mustapha Loong is the son of Dr. Mohammad Salih Tupay Loong, a graduate of Doctor of Medicine from the Cairo University. Dr. Salih Loong together with the late MILF Chair Ustadz Hashim Salamat and now Minda Chair Abulkhair Alonto were members of the core group of the Muslim Students from the Philippines in Egypt in the mid 1960s who organized the Moro Movement in the Philippines which later on became the MNLF and MILF.
In his book, A Nation under Endless Tyranny, Saleh Jubair or Mohagher Iqbal, the Chief Negotiator, wrote about Dr. Salih Loong as one of the prime movers from the Middle East who were organizing the secessionist movement in the 19.
While he was part of the founding members, Dr. Salih Loong still joined the MNLF Batch 300 to be the batch physician and was known to be the no.1 sharp shooter of the batch.
Dr Salih Loong is the elder brother of the late former governor and congressman Tupay Loong of Sulu and former Sulu governor Ben Loong. He is also the first cousin of the late former Tawi-Tawi Governor Gerry Matba and uncle of the now Governor of Tawi-Tawi Rashidin Matba.
Sec Loong was named after the Tausug prime minister of Sabah in the 1970s, Tun Mustapha who was a close friend of his father.
On his mother side, Sec Loong is the cousin of Congressman Munir Arbison of Sulu and Congresswoman Ruby Sahali of Tawi-Tawi.
Sec. Don Mustapha Loong is married to the cousin of the daughter-in-law of President Rodrigo Duterte, UP College of Medicine graduate and Anesthesiologist Dr. Titina Anni Faraown, the grand daughter of former three term Mayor Titina Sangkula Anni of Siasi and late former Governor and former Congressman of the undivided Sulu and Tawi-Tawi Atty Indanan M. Anni.
The Sangkula clan are known leaders of Sulu with the late former Sulu Governor Murphy Sangkula and his father late former Governor Akuk Sangkula.
As a child his father had imbibed the importance of integrity. Dr Salih Loong mentioned that during his stint as a Medical Doctor in the Middle East, he was once offered a mercedes benz as long as he would sign a medical certificate stating that the person died of natural causes when clearly that wasn’t the case. He said he didn’t accept the offer but, a few days later, he learned one of his colleagues got a new mercedes benz.
During an overnight meeting with President Marcos, because of his active involvement in the Moro secessionist movement, he was offered to become an Ambassador to any country he chose but he politely declined. He was also offered to be allowed to practice medicine in the Philippines without need for a Philippine Medical Board Exam since he graduated from Cairo University, but again he politely declined. Dr Salih silently passed away more than a decade ago as a private person without surrendering his ideals and dream of a more prosperous and dignified Bangsamoro region.