Twenty-two graduates of Domestic Refrigeration and Aircon Mechanic Batches 1 and 2 offered by the Philippine Consulate General and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office are now U.S.-certified after passing the Section 608 certification approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The successful examiners will be recognized in tonight's graduation ceremony at the Chalan Kanoa Beach Club, said Ignacio “Jhun” D. Bañadera.
Bañadera, who was among the 22 passers, said in a phone interview yesterday that they were divided into two groups, with one group taking the exam on April 28 and the other on May 5.
The exams were administered at Chong's Corp., the results of which came out recently.
Both groups took the certification exam after finishing the EPA 608 review course and hands-on training led by Bañadera, Roger Ginocor, and Edwin Desin at the Joeten CK barracks from Feb. 5 to April 29.
The EPA-approved Section 608 certification is needed to service building air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
Bañadera said the certification exam cost $110 per person, plus another $15 for review materials.
“After we finished the basic refrigeration and aircon mechanic course, we really worked at getting U.S.-certified,” he recounted. “We were so tense after taking the exam but when we found out that we passed, we were very happy. We're so excited and we hope to have a good graduation ceremony.”
Bañadera noted that their certification is an “accomplishment” for the instructors but more so on the graduates who took the review to pass the exam.
“As reviewers, it brings us great satisfaction that they passed the certification exam because that means we were effective in our teaching ways and methods and that they absorbed what we taught them,” he told Saipan Tribune.
Essentially, being U.S.-certified means being able to handle Freon, according to Bañadera. “Moreover, we can now service aircon units because of the certification.”
Bañadera said the 22 individuals will form part of the Marianas Institute of Certified Refrigeration and Aircon Technicians Inc. or Microntech, which is in the process of being licensed as a non-profit corporation on island.
Officers include Bañadera as president, Desin as vice president-internal, Ginocor as VP-external, and Roginia “Ging” Bañacia as secretary.
Microntech, Bañadera said, will be at the forefront of more domestic refrigeration and aircon mechanic trainings since POLO has limited space available to accommodate this course, along with other livelihood trainings it offers to Filipino workers for free.
The graduates of this course can now take up the troubleshooting and mastery components of domestic refrigeration and aircon mechanic, which will be spearheaded by Microntech. “We informed POLO that these will be a continuation of their reintegration efforts,” said Bañadera.
He disclosed that Microntech is now conducting review classes for Batch 3 composed of some 20 individuals who are also aiming to become U.S.-certified mechanics.
“We're optimistic that they will pass the certification exam since we're effective with Batch 1 and 2,” added Bañadera.
Consulate officer in charge Jose M. Sto. Domingo praised the 22 individuals for demonstrating that “you can succeed as long as you're focused and have the will to do it.”
“This is what we're made of. We have the intellectual capacity and talents which cannot be replicated by others,” he added.
For her part, POLO officer in charge Julia Fabian said they are “very proud” of the new U.S-certified mechanics.
“They are the ones who validate that our livelihood training program is successful and rewarding,” said Fabian.