Teaching has been the bread and butter of Rea Paulyn Mercado for years, but before that, the 26-year-old graduate of Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Science from the University of Caloocan City had to venture into a completely different field.

She never considered applying for work in the government as she was aware of her preferred field of employment. But sparked by the urge to financially help her family, she decided to apply for the Government Internship Program (GIP), one of the offered programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). It provides internships in exchange for minimum wage to the youth, aimed at enticing them to work in the government.

“Hindi naman siguro porket hindi ko kinasanayan ay hindi ko na kaya, what if subukan kong mag-apply as GIP? Bukod pa rito, makakatulong ako sa aking pamilya,” she said.

And that is how Mercado, a tough, young lady, started her endeavor in the field of public service. She was hired as a government intern at the DOLE-National Capital Region – CAMANAVA Field Office and was tasked with writing news releases and assisting in the documentation of livelihood programs.

“Medyo malayo talaga sa linya at kinasanayan ko ‘yung trabahong mayroon ako ngayon,” Mercado added.

Unaware that she was going the extra mile, Mercado kept working on the allotted tasks while showing a range of abilities that she never thought she possessed.

Later, her aptitudes were recognized and she was given the responsibility to co-facilitate e-learning capacity building sessions for the GIPs in 2021, covering some topics, including RA No. 6713, also known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; the Fundamentals of Online Platforms (GSuite and Canva); Career Guidance and Employment Coaching; General Labor Standards; and Avoiding Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

Mercado was also among the team of facilitators who developed the materials for the said session, earning the admiration of her colleagues in their office.

As an intern, Mercado applied what she learned in the education field. She concluded that life does not end after completing her studies. Rather, it is a continuous process of learning.

“Natutunan ko na hindi ko dapat ikulong ang sarili ko sa aking nakasanayan. Kabado akong pumasok at nag-apply bilang GIP dahil hindi ko naman ito linya ngunit nagkaroon ako ng bagong aral na magagamit ko,” she added.

At present, Mercado is a Teacher I at Maypajo High School, teaching Science.

Rea Paulyn Mercado teaches science to high school students. Her passion for the profession never wavered, even amidst the pandemic and after the career detour, she still found her way to Maypajo High School.

 

Sharing her testimony working as a public servant, she also gave a piece of advice for the youth.

“Maraming uri ng tulong ng gobyerno ang pwede nating mapakinabangan ngunit hindi natin ito makukuha kung palagi lang tayong maghihintay. Kailangan natin kumilos at gawin nating goal ang i-improve ang ating sarili sa bawat araw na dumadaan,” she added.

Mercado then acknowledged the contribution of DOLE through the program that gave her the opportunity to enhance her skills and character.

“Maraming salamat po sa DOLE sa pagbibigay ng ganitong klaseng oportunidad. Dahil sa mga ganitong programa, matututo ang mga kabataan na mag-reflect tungkol sa kanilang sarili, marami ring buhay ang nababago at nagsisilbing inspirasyon din para sa iba.”

The Government Internship Program (GIP), a component of KABATAAN 2000 under Executive Order no. 139 s. 1993, and DOLE Administrative Order No. 260-15, provides opportunities for young workers to demonstrate their talents and skills in the field of public service. The program also intends to develop the youth’s abilities to realize their potential in a larger workplace in the future.

END / Jalen Lewis Boco