Today marks the 18th anniversary of Camiguin Telephone Cooperative, the start of commercial operation of the digital telephone network around the island province. The inaugural call was placed by the late Usec. Josie Lichauco to Pres. Fidel V. Ramos. The grant was initiated upon the request of the late Pres. Cory Aquino to Chancellor Helmut Kohl during her state visit to Germany. We, Camiguingnons, are grateful to the German government for the grant – from the hardwares, installation, workshops, training and seminars; the Provincial Gov’t under the administration of then Gov. Nieto Gallardo for leasing part of the Capitol building for the telephone exchange, the backup genset and the tower; and to the initial members who believed in the project.However, there are also unsung heroes. One of them is the late Heinz Pomplun, the GTZ consultant. I would say he’s the workhorse on the German side. Heinz assisted us in coordinating the details with gov’t agencies and PLDT, guiding CAMTECO directors, managegement and staff what needs to be done. He’s down-to-earth. He listens to people from all walks of life – from meeting with PLDT top brass to drinking sessions with practically anyone at sari-sari stores. He (and Mr Juergen Marx) justified NOT TO HIRE an on-site German consultant (which is unusual especially to a capital-intensive project) but instead hire a qualified Filipino engineer/manager. They believed the Filipinos can do it! Just too bad he passed away at a very young age, 45, in 1999. To Heinz – we salute you. Auf Wiedersehen!
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