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​Pinay Truck Driver 2nd Runner Up in Int’l Volvo Tourney

A lady truck driver from Nickel Asia Corporation-Hinatuan Mining Corporation (NAC-HMC) finished second runner-up in Volvo’s 2017 Fuelwatch “Off-road” Challenge held last July 15 in Thailand.

Twenty-seven year old Jennifer Q. Inting, a heavy-duty truck driver was joined by Alma Bonita, who works also as a truck driver at Cagdianao Mining Corporation (CMC), sister company of HMC.

They both represented the Philippines and they are the only women who participated in the international competition. This was their first time to travel outside the country just to join the tourney.

Laos won the championship while Myanmar got the first runner-up trophy.

Before the start of the competition, Jennifer and Alma were given the chance to test-drive the vehicle that they will be using. And to their surprise, they will be driving a right-hand drive 12-wheeler vehicle.

They were at a handicap since both are used to driving left-hand drive 8-wheeler vehicles.

“We were permitted for a test drive before the competition. It was my first time to handle a right-hand drive 12-wheeler vehicle. I was used to driving a left-hand drive 8-wheeler in the mine site. But it was not very difficult,” Jennifer recalled.

Their test drive and the course used in the Volvo’s 2017 Fuelwatch “Off-road” Challenge were the same.

However, the route in which they are going to maneuver the vehicle was reversed.

During their test drive, they maneuvered their vehicle descending the route. But in the competition, they were required to maneuver their vehicle ascending the route.

“This was one of the reasons why we found the course difficult, moreover the trucks we were driving were also loaded,” she said.

Jennifer recalled that there was a part in the course where she experienced great difficulty, it was the route that ascends to the left while driving a right-hand drive vehicle.

“In the ascending turn to the left I had difficulty in how to run the course without hitting a post because a penalty will be incurred if you hit one. Even the male competitors also experienced difficulty even if they are used to driving right-hand drive vehicles,” added Jennifer.


Jennier and Alma were chosen from among many dump truck drivers working at the mine sites because they are the best – though they refuse to acknowledge that this was the reason.

Jennifer thinks she was chosen because she no longer gets nervous in whatever situation when she drives her unit. She didn’t know she was being closely monitored for her performance.

She does her thing as expected of her as an employee. She attends toolbox meetings every day, without fail, at 6:30 a.m. sharp to be given her work line up and to be reminded of every important thing to be mindful of while at the mine site, most importantly on safety. She checks her truck every time before she starts her duty – lights, air, oil, horn.

Before she was an award-winning driver for NAC-HMC, Jennifer tried several times to apply for a vacant position in the company.

She was not rejected due to her lack of qualifications but rather to the restriction of the work availability that prioritizes host community residents first before accommodating applicants from other areas.

Jennifer is a former resident of Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands. It was there where she finished her primary and secondary education.

After graduating in College, she returned to her father in Surigao where she planned to apply in Valencia since she grew up in Cagdianao.

However, her aunt, who resides in Talavera, encouraged her to apply in Hinatuan. So she applied and underwent interview several times.

“At first, I was not hired since the priorities to be accepted are host community residents. But I persevered and still continued applying until I was hired as a data encoder for Engineering,” she recalled.

When she heard about the program of NAC-HMC to train lady drivers, she was interested and resigned in her previous work as a data encoder.

When NAC-HMC announced that there will be a training for drivers through TESDA, I joined. I resigned as a data encoder in Engineering because I want to learn how to drive since my salary will increase because drivers have higher pay. This will allow me to help my siblings,” she said.

Before the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) training, Jennifer’s driving experience was limited only to motorcycles, saying that I have experience with motorcycles when I was still in Cagdianao, however when I experienced a minor accident I was scared. I have tried a four- wheeled vehicle before and I do not consider it as driving since it was only for a moment.”

During the TESDA training, she was one of the fast learners in their batch and was even selected by their trainer as his assistant since they were using two dump trucks.

“Women in a man’s world” was a big deal, and perhaps in some countries it still is.

Though we still hear accounts of discrimination, of sexism and intolerance, there are many inspiring stories in the Philippines – women pilots, lady CEOs, lady tricycle drivers and law enforcers, and like in Hinatuan Mining, there are many women in mining who are doing various “light” jobs and “hard” jobs such as driving heavy equipment at the mine sites.

For her part, Alma, 35, is married with kids. She too is a dump truck driver but has started training to become a backhoe operator for CMC.

If Jennifer at least knew how to drive a motorbike before she transitioned to truck driving, Alma didn’t know how to drive altogether.

Driving a dump truck for her is as normal as any other job available for women. She knows that there are lady truck drivers in other places and she is just one of the “guys” which includes her husband who also works at the mines.

"I will forever be thankful to CMC, particularly my immediate bosses, for giving me the opportunity to earn a decent living while doing an exciting and challenging job," said Alma.

She added: "I am proud to work for a responsible mining company and will forever appreciate this chance to travel to Thailand to meet other lady truck drivers and see a whole new world outside the Philippines!"

Prior to the competition, all the big bosses of NAC were at Alma’s “office”, observing her as she was having her dump truck loaded with ores for delivery at the waiting barge being readied for shipment.

She asked later what the bosses think as they watch her – she learned they were impressed that she is representing them to the Thailand competition.

Both Jennifer and Alma know were apprised of the rules of the competition. They will be judged on how safe they drive their dump truck on various trails and on how efficient they consume their truck’s fuel.

The ladies are both competent in safe driving because that is a day-to-day thing in the mine sites and they appreciate the fact that efficient fuel consumption is good for business and good for the environment.

If there is one thing significantly in common with the two ladies, it is their timid, unassuming presence in front of people.

It is only when they are on top of their 20-tonnage, heavy-duty, Volvo dump trucks, hauling ores at the mine sites, that one sees the full display of confidence and control.

Although many women have broken the proverbial barrier, the image of Jennifer against her truck when she checks oil and tire condition, or of Alma as she steers the mammoth vehicle being loaded with ore, is still awesome to behold.


After landed 2nd runner-up in the competition, Jennifer returned to the NAC-HMC mine site and resumed driving a left-hand drive 8-wheeler vehicle.

There are good driving practices that she learned from the competition that she is now currently applying in her work.

Since the competition was about fuel consumption, I applied in the mine site the technique I learned there like how you can save fuel. Now, I am also able to fully utilize a feature of the dump truck that you should not depress the accelerator while traversing a plain or ascending route,” she stated.

The competition also influenced her to be more careful in driving and always think of safety.

“Because of the competition, I am now more careful. That is what I have applied here in my line work,” she uttered.


Jennifer was overwhelmed by the opportunity and support given to her by NAC-HMC.

“The support was overwhelming even when I came back from the competition. They held a mass and a boodle fight. They also surprised me with a probationary employment contract, I also wish that after probationary I will be a regular employee,” she said.

“I am very thankful to NAC, HMC and my family for the opportunity given to me to join in the competition and their trust for choosing me as the company’s representative. I am also thankful to the managers, supervisors, friends, and co-workers for their support even before the start of the competition and after it was over,” added Jennifer.

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