I RECEIVED a formal invitation from the Iloilo provincial government days ago to attend the “Tribute to Retirees” of the capitol on June 26 at the Ceremonial Hall of Casa Real de Iloilo, Iloilo City.
The attire to wear, as clearly emphasized in the invitation, should be smart-casual which somehow fits my preference since I’m not keeping formal suits in my closet.
Initially, I was reluctant to accept the invitation sent by the provincial government’s Human Resource Development Office (HRDMO). I left government service with a heavy heart. There was so much politics not only from the top; it was widespread down to the lowliest rank-and-file positions. Most department heads behaved like even the governor was beholden to them.
Anyway, going back to the event…Capitol retirees who came for the occasion were advised to gather in a room for “clustering” according to the departments they served and/or according to the district hospitals they used to work for.
Later, as we were herded to the Ceremonial Hall, all retirees queued and, as a matter of respect, shook hands with Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. and his better-half Cosette who were standing at the entrance to welcome us.
Upon seeing the governor, I gave him a hug with so much warmth as if he was a long lost brother; after all, this was my first time to see him again in flesh after my retirement back in February of 2016. Though caught unaware of my gesture, the governor nevertheless was quick to reciprocate.
When the ceremony was about to start, the First Couple occupied the VIP table adjacent to ours. They were just within our reach. They were accompanied by the Provincial Administrator, Atty. Suzette Mamon; the Provincial Social Welfare Development Office (PSWDO) head, Neneth Pador; Human Resource Management Development Office (HRMDO) head, Alma Ravena; and their guest speaker, Mr. John Esar T. David, acting director II, Civil Service Commission – Iloilo Field Office VI.
Provincial Administrator delivered words of welcome with so much gusto. It was her personal presumption that the retirees were still enjoying their millions – fruits of their dedication to public service. That may be true to some; not to others.
At the extreme, one may not be able to receive a single centavo. It is for this reason that I retired from government service with a heavy heart. The truth was that I got employed at the capitol beginning in 2001, thus serving the government for 15 years. Unfortunately the first two years was not included in my length of service, being a contractual at first.
I could have received more than half a million pesos; my department made a clear computation. However, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), slapped me with penalties for existing loans with accrued interests, surcharges and underpayments.
I retired as an Administrative Aide I. I was never given a promotion.
At the start of my employment, I was assigned at the Provincial Information Office (PIO) division under the Office of the Governor since my forte was writing. I had gone through a lot of despicable situations not of my own making. But it is no longer necessary to elaborate.
At this point in my life, all I want is peace. There is life after retirement. ([email protected]/PN)