Building a legacy of integrity
Alegacy of integrity, cast in concrete and steel, has been established by a faceless giant in the construction industry through the many landmarks that it has built in the 35 years that it has been operating in the country.
The faceless giant, or the company behind the many buildings that have defined development, is known as DATEM. Starting operations in 1984 as a “humble venture,” it has expanded to a Quadruple A company working with some of the most pivotal players in real estate.
The citizen sees the mark of DATEM through many familiar structures. Among them are One Shangri-La Place Towers, which at 745 feet, is the tallest twin towers in the country; The Mind Museum, the state-of-the-art science museum which is the first of its kind in the country; the 68-story Discovery Primea in Makati; Power Plant Mall in Rockwell; Belmont Hotel Manila, and the list goes on.
The long list of prestigious structures is the result of the company’s reputation as a trusted general contractor which has led to partnerships with premier names in property development.
Engineer Levy V. Espiritu, chairman and CEO, said that the company was established when the country was suffering from political unrest and economic uncertainty.
“But as resolute visionaries, we saw tough circumstances as opportunities in disguise. From the get-go, DATEM’s founders have set the company’s moral compass straight by committing to do good governance and doing what is right. This meant only two things: our employees and workers were paid more than industry standard wages; and we conducted business by the book – with integrity and professionalism. There would be no straying from this straight and narrow path en route to DATEM’s vision of the future. This vision sustained DATEM through this period of economic uncertainty.”
Following the path of integrity, DATEM marked significant milestones, most of them set by prestigious awards from international organizations.
The Mind Museum is its first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified project, which reflects its commitment to sustainability and green building best practices.
It is also the first science museum in Asia to receive the 2014 Outstanding Achievement award from the Themed Entertainment Association (THEA) for its exceptional design and “sensoryrich experiences.”
Another project, Arya Residences, a premium residential condominium, is the first residential high-rise building in the Philippines to receive both the LEED and BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence) certifications.
And still another – Menarco Tower, a 32-story class A office building, is the first in the Philippines to achieve LEED Gold and WELL (a tool for advancing health and well-being in buildings in the global sphere) certifications.
Engineer Lilit J. Tumbocon, managing director and treasurer, explained the company’s commitment to green technology: “We are considered one of the pioneers of precast technology, considered a ‘green’ technology in a sense that it is sustainable – considering the savings on labor, materials, and man-hours. These savings, in turn, lessen the carbon footprint of a project as there are less steps, less waste, and less energy expended.”
Legacy of integrity
“We want to leave a legacy of Integrity. DATEM believes that it is important to keep our core values intact as we do business with our stakeholders. A structure may be built in two to three years, but it can last for decades,” said Arch. Arnold P. De Asis, corporate secretary and director.
He added: “Our goal is for the sense of pride that we derive from these buildings to last for just as long and even more. We always go beyond brick and mortar. To us, a building is merely the physical legacy resulting from a contract. What we want is to be known not just for the architectural masterpieces we build but for the enduring sense of integrity and teamwork that we put into every single project entrusted to us.”
More landmarks from DATEM have reaped international acclaim including Discovery Primea which was adjudged as the Best Urban Hotel (Asia) by the Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2018; and also the Luxury Hotel & Restaurant of the Year (Philippines) by the Luxury Travel Guide Awards 2017.
As it celebrates its 35th anniversary in the industry this year, the people behind DATEM paused to evaluate its contribution to the country.
“It is this commitment to nationbuilding that drives us to be actively involved in the Philippine Constructors Association, sharing best practices in construction technology and health and safety with other industry leaders. It is what inspires us to continue to employ fair labor practices for the benefit of an 11,000-strong workforce across the nation,” Espiritu said.
There will be more projects and partnerships ahead but DATEM is ready.
As Engineer Morris S. Agoncillo, DATEM president said: “Back then, we had limited resources and few people. We had limited equipment. We had to be more creative in executing our work. But now, we have everything – equipment, manpower, financial backing. It makes the job easier because we have managers and capable people to work so we can produce better results.”