Illac Diaz: An Enterpreneur Who Cares For The Filipino Seafarers
I just saw Illac Diaz (pronounced as eee-lak) on television via The Bottomline Show by Boy Abunda of ABS-CBN. The Diazes are well known because one of his aunts, Gloria Diaz was crowned 1969 Miss Universe during the euphoria of the first landing of man on the moon. Mr. Abunda was interviewing him about his achievements as an enterpreneur. Also writing another hub, I was half-minding the show then; but when I heard the Seafarers' Center at Pier One, I stopped my writing and concentrate with what he's saying on the canned but worldwide show (thru the TFC Channel).
In 2001, while he was studying for Masteral in Business Administration (MBA) at Asian Institute of Management (AIM), he was observed that many seafarers who came from provinces don't have a place to stay in Manila. Many seaman's centers were cramming with seafarers then until now.
So, his homework assignment for his MBA: find five business opportunities around Manila's port became his turning point to come up with his thesis: Shanties to Jobs: Creating a Migrant Center in Manila.
Diaz discovered that the so-called 'heroes of the nation', the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who remit an estimated 2 billion dollars a year- lived like 'sardines' into damp shanties for months waiting for the scarce assignment on commercial vessels.
With this kind of reality, the former model-actor turned enterpreneur promised to establish an inexpensive but comfortable dormitory for them. With these thoughts and determination, Pier One Seaman's Dorm was realized.
Pier One Seaman's Dorm started with more than 700 beds at two rented locations and has provided a home for over 35 thousand OFWs since opening in 2001. Diaz is positive about the outcome because he believes in using business fundamentals instead of charity handouts or donations to drive community development.
Not only that,realising that many sailors were stuck in Manila without any income for months while they negotiated for new contracts onboard ship, Diaz set up businesses selling water and recycling ink cartridges to allow his occupants to work for the room and board.
Notice boards can be seen inside the seaman's dormitory announccing jobs on ships. There are also educational pamphlets regarding communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis that can be carried by Filipino seafarers if they didn't practice safe precautions. Seafarers aare the ones maintaining the cleanliness of the center, just like what they do when they're onboard ships.
Diaz is a working man and the promise he gave to the seafarers became a reality. He clearly stated that "I want to give seafarers a place that dignifies what they do for the Philippines."
Very well said, Illac. And Thank You so much!!!
Illiac Diaz - AVP My Shelter Foundation c/o viker173
He has earned numerous awards in and out of the country for his outstanding contribution as a social entrepreneur. He also has his own My Shelter Foundation which builds disaster-resistant school buildings and houses. He is an advocate of green architecture; and the good news is that Gawad Kalinga will be using his technology in building new homes starting next year. He flies to the US very often for his study grant at the Massachussets Institute of Technology, one of the world's finest.
Illac is the youngest AIM alumnus to receive an Honors and Prestige Award because of Pier One, only in his 30s. In 2004 he got a three-in-a-row award. He got an Everyday Hero Special Award from the Readers Digest Asia and an Entrepreneur Award from the 1st Johnny Walker Social Award. He was runner-up in New York’s Next Big Idea International Design Competition. He got the First for Social Entrepreneurship from TOYM Award in 2005. His latest citation is the “Young Global Leaders of 2008” by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva.