THIS column originates from Quezon City where the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the DENR will hold a "Capacity Building Seminar on the Standardized Checklist for the Monitoring of Mining Tenements and Safety, Health, Environment and Social Development Programs" that will run until the 13th of the month. This forum is part of the Luzon leg that will have MGB regional representatives from the Cordilleras to the Bicol region converge and discuss "uniformity." Among others, the activity seeks to come up with uniform parameters and measurements in monitoring the compliance of mining operations to existing guidelines on mining and the environment. Congratulations for making this workshop come into fruition. Good luck!

On the way to Quezon City, Nishi and the gang -- Bunso and Chris, experienced the rigors of travel after traversing the trip from Baguio to EDSA in 6 hours and 30 minutes. We left Baguio at 2.45 p.m. and as we joined the queue of motorists going back home after spending the long weekend in the cool Pines City, the less than 4 hours trip extended to a non-stop almost 7 hours journey because of a slow "express" travel. Good and well-paved 3-4 lane roads with thousands and thousands of vehicles make up for a terrible situation. PDU30 and his administration have been working on possible solutions to the traffic problem and although it would seem to be an impossible task, they have definitely taken strides to make travel more comfortable. Regardless of what the critics say, just compare the situation we have now with what we had before Digong.

We reached Balintawak market around 9 p.m. and nishi went through in a breeze. That is just one indicator that this current administration truly has political will. Simpleng simple lang yan -- how difficult was it then to go through the Balintawak market area when all the businessmen and their vehicles and stocks were occupying three or four lanes of the thoroughfare? How many Presidents came before? How many traffic Czars came before? Tell me, did they even "solve" that less than 500 meters stretch? Ang sagot ni Jonathan - wala, wala, wala! Pero ngayon, maayos na! Pwede naman pala kung magseseryoso, 'di ba?

I heard in the news that PDU30 may extend, until 2019, the ban on open pit mining that was declared by the predecessor of Sec Roy Cimatu. In fact, Digong accordingly rejected the proposal of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council late last year to lift the same ban. The miners have to put their acts together and inform the President of the mining industry's accomplishments and efforts regarding greening and rehabilitation of mine affected and impacted areas. Tell the world of your positive contribution on these aspects. Mayroon naman, 'di ba? Let the industry sing the same song - uniformity and standardization!

Rough sailing for the miners ahead? Hopefully not! Let's take on this challenge by going back to basics - standardization!

"We cannot have islands of excellence in a sea of slovenly indifference to standards." ~ John W. Gardner

"Without a standard there is no logical basis for making a decision or taking action." ~ Joseph M. Juran

"Standards must be observed, but they are only the starting points for further improvements. Standardization should be optimistic. There is always room for improvement and a better future." ~ Shigeru Nakamura

"There can be no improvements where there are no standards." ~ Masaaki Imai