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Socrates A. Serrano: The Man with the Plan

Leading a developing mine towards full operation is no simple feat but Engr. Socrates A. Serrano, the new Mine Operations Manager (MOM) of the Dinapigue Mining Corporation (DMC), is up to the challenge.

The 59 year-old MOM is no stranger to leading developing mines into operation “If I could put this project into operation, I can say that I opened a nickel mine in Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon.”


Serrano grew up from what he describes as a typical Filipino family but his childhood was anything but ordinary. His father was a linotypist for the Old Free Press and later the Manila Times while his mother managed the household full-time.

Growing up with eight siblings (whose names all start with “S”) in a large neighborhood, Socrates always had an abundance of playmates.

One of the persons whom Serrano looked up to was his grandfather “From the way he prayed, the way he did his daily chores, how he’s very fond of sports… but what I’m really happy about is how my lolo imparted to me the good manners and right conduct which I practice up to now,” said Serrano.

Serrano studied at Belarmino Elementary school and later, at Quezon City Science High School Main Campus where he learned his scientific foundation with the utmost discipline.

“I usually do advanced preparation and that’s why I have no difficulty answering examinations and doing my homework so that’s the discipline I have established from elementary, so the work ethics gave me the right exposure as I went along with higher education,” he said.

As a student, Serrano demonstrated excellence not only in academics, but in sports as well. “Then and even now, my favorite hobby is still basketball which I play even at this senior age.”

Little did Serrano know, that his love for the sports would have an important nudge for his entire life.

“It was my basketball buddies who influenced me to go to MAPUA with them. They were convinced by their elder brothers to take up mining engineering and then they later convinced me. Fortunately for me, that’s where I met my wife,” said Serrano.

Serrano took the Mining Engineering licensure exam in 1984 and placed 7th in the Mining Engineer Board.

Despite being an established name in the mining industry, Serrano considers his family to be his greatest success.

“I would describe myself as especially successful especially in my family because everyone graduated from their schooling. I have three kids, two boys and a girl; and they are now earning for themselves,” he added.


Serrano recalls his experience at the Benguet Corporation where he was directly supervised by current NAC Vice President for Research and Development, Rolly Cruz.

“Benguet Corp. was my basic foundation and the knowledge of mine engineering which was where we started have been the basic foundation of where I am now,” he said.

With the valuable knowledge and skills, which he learned from Benguet Corporation as a springboard, Serrano eventually worked in other mines in different parts of the country that helped with his holistic growth as a professional.

Later in his career, he became the Vice President for Operations for SR Metals, Inc., a nickel mine based in Tubay, Agusan del Sur in Mindanao. As VP for Operations, Serrano helped to lead the mine into full operation.

He would later work as Project Head for Emir Mineral Resources Corporation in Surigao del Sur, Visayas from 2009 to 2018 where he personally managed the company’s growth from exploration to operation until the suspension of the mine in 2016.


Serrano is first and foremost a team player. He puts trust in the professional competency of any team he manages.

“My management style is simple. What I know about managing people is that you have to show them that you are willing to be with them, be one with them, show them that you are a leader who will lead them if the company asks you to do so,” he said.

Serrano added that a good leader should share with the employees the values of integrity, honesty, hard work, perseverance, and all those basic characteristics of professionals and most importantly give them the trust that they are capable of doing the details of what is required of the team.

“I’m a team player and I expect my subordinates to be developed as team players also so in that way, running a mine would be easy,” said Serrano.

For Serrano, it is important to foster an atmosphere of respect in the workplace “I have experienced leaders who instigate fear to their subordinates but it’s not working in the long run because it’s not lasting like respect, respect is lasting even after your company life, you are still respected when they see you around in the industry.”

Asked what he believes is his greatest accomplishment as a Mining Engineer, Serrano replied “I’m happy to see the guy that I’ve worked with become successful in the industry, especially the younger generation. To see my subordinates succeed is a great achievement for me and it is very fulfilling for me to share my knowledge on mine development.”


For the past three years, Serrano has looked up to Nickel Asia Corporation as a model for responsible mining.

“Nickel Asia is the company I look up to, the reason why I accepted the challenge to head this project [DMC] because I genuinely see that Nickel Asia cares and I’m really proud that we have a company that is 100 percent Filipino owned,” he said.

With Serrano’s experience in managing developing mines, he’s more than confident that he can bring the Dinapigue Mining Corporation into full operation.

“I am confident that with the professional team that I have under me, I will be able to facilitate the target of the head office to put this into operation with their full support. So I am now acting as a facilitator so it is up to you guys [DMC] and I hope that I can provide the proper direction to put this into operation,” said Serrano.

Serrano believes that there is a bright future for the residents of the host community and the employees of the DMC “with the resources available here and the fact that the other operating mines are starting to deplete their deposits, I see DMC as the next cash cow of NAC.”


For future managers and even for ordinary employees working in the mining industry, Serrano advised them to sincerely work, appreciating the importance of the industry, which could give them the fulfillment that they are seeking for.

“There’s a difference between working for necessity and working because you like being there. If you work for necessity, you are there just to earn but do not appreciate the industry. Maybe you’ll be one of those secret anti-mining employees but for those who have an appreciation of the industry, working for the industry should give you more fulfillment as a worker because this process of opening up a mine is a very tedious job and entails a lot of investment and since it entails a lot of investment, then you are sure that the owner of the mine has a lot of strength to provide you with better compensation. I would also like to add that they could have better appreciation of the industry if they work here so that they will know how we strive to be responsible miners,” he said.

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