Reysie May Reyes did not expect to be one the public information office personnel in the City Government of Navotas. She only knew she would be a government intern for six months and then move on to what she is certain of doing—teaching students

“Medyo malayo po yung course ko sa kung ano po yung work ko ngayon,” said Reyes, who earned her Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEED) at the Navotas Polytechnic College in 2017.

As a student, Reyes had a wealth of on-the-job training (OJT) experiences at different schools since her second year of college. Like most young Filipino college seniors in their pre-graduation period, Reyes began sending out resumes to potential employers, hoping to land a teaching job. Her graduation day in itself is good news and an achievement of a lifetime not only for her, but to her family as well. And, to her surprise, did not expect another good news during her graduation day because obtaining her diploma was the only thing in her mind that time. “That day nung graduation ko, sinabi po sa akin na hired ako and kailangan na mag-work kinabukasan,” said Reyes, then she laughed, adding: “Kumbaga walang pahinga. Hindi mo man lang na enjoy yung graduation hanggang kinabukasan.”

Her first work was in a private school in Malabon, teaching kids from various levels: pre-school, kindergarten, and from grades 3 to 5. She covered subjects like English, Values, HEKASI, and MAPEH, to name a few, but her favorite was teaching Art classes. “Dun ko kasi nakikita yung talent nila; na-enjoy ko po ‘yun lalo na kapag groupings nila—makikita mo na nagtutulungan sila,” she said.

Children would sometimes misbehave, told Reyes. But her OJTs paid-off to prepare her in situations when kids would inadvertently test her patience. And sometimes, all she need is a hug to wipe all those frustrations away. “Ang hirap. Kailangan i-care mo talaga sila. Pero ‘yun talaga yung love ko, yung mga kids, kasi kahit magalit ka, pag niyapos ka nila—wala na, wala na yung pagod mo.”

Hello baking

“Ginawa ko lang po na libangan. Iwas stress. Iwas pag-iisip,” said Reyes who enrolled to a baking class. This happened several months later after she quit teaching, to take some time-off from strenuous activities.

Before she immersed herself to baking, Reyes said she would experience a severe pain in her lower abdomen and have excessive menstrual bleeding in several occasions, limiting her capacity to be physically active for her students. She initially had it in 2017 and was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which, her doctor said, was triggered by stress. “Umatake po ulit nung mag-fi-field trip ang school. Hindi ako sumama,” she said. “Kaya bawal na po ang sobrang stress; kailangan energetic ka para sa mga students mo eh hindi na po ako pwede sa ganun kaya nag-force na talaga ako na mag-resign.”  

Coincidentally, her father, a seaman, was also forced to quit his job during that period, after having been diagnosed with a heart attack. With no job and faced with family struggles to pay off their father’s hospital bills, Reyes was even more determined to look for her next employment opportunity to help her family.

While waiting for a positive response from employers, she was still in pursuit of her bread and pastry workshop offered by the TESDA-NavotaAs Training Institute. She did not hesitate to sign up as it was offered for free, inclusive of the training materials and certificate.  “Mahilig po talaga ako mag-bake; tutal may knowledge na ako, gusto ko pa pong dagadagan pa,” she said, adding that it was also her way of staying productive to combat her worries. Among the classic recipes she baked included chiffon cake, pizza, pandesal, and dinner rolls.

Reyes said she would also take some leave of absences during the three-month long workshop upon learning of the government internship program (GIP) vacancies of the Public Employment Service Office in Navotas. At that time, there were 32 slots up for grabs for aspiring applicants. “Nag-aapply rin ako noon sa iba habang nag-aantay po ako ng tawag sa PESO Navotas at habang nag-aantay ako sa tawag ng PESO ay nag-aaral pa rin ako ng baking,” she said.

Government intern

Reyes recalled reflecting with the idea that maybe teaching isn’t meant for her or there could be another field of work out there, waiting to be, as she stated, “unlocked.” So it’s a no surprise that she explored another route and find out herself.

“Blessed ako. Super lucky talaga na nakuha ako,” said Reyes who was over the moon, when she saw her name among the 32 successful GIP applicants who made it through the screening process of PESO Navotas. “Hindi ko naman ine-expect makuha kasi mga 300 plus yung applicants. May iba pang mas nangangailangan sa akin ng work. Kaya nung nakuha ako, pinagbutihan ko yung work ko. Binigay ko yung best ko.”

She was also allowed by PESO Navotas to complete the baking workshop and earn her certificate from TESDA-NavotaAs Training Institute.

She officially became a GIP in May 2018 and initially thought would be assigned at the Navotas LGU’s education department given her qualifications but she was re-assigned at the public information office (PIO) of the Navotas City Hall.

As a GIP at PIO, she was assigned to monitor news relative to any activities of the LGU through various media outlets, such as radio, newspaper, and television. She also recalled her most memorable experiences at PIO, where she braved to host their LGU’s flag ceremony. “Ma’am hindi ko po kaya; First time ko ito,” said Reyes to her supervisor. She find it unreal as she was used to speaking in front of children but never in front of a mayor, vice-mayor, and a congressman. “Hanggang sa tumagal—yun po nasanay na. Pero minsan nagkamali po ako noon sa isang flag raising ceremony namin. Kinabahan ako; hindi ko alam ang gagawin ko. Kaya nag-segue ako; medyo nag-joke na lang ako para hindi masyadong halata.”

She was also assigned to join the AVOT School Tour, which is a project of the City Government of Navotas aimed at imparting Filipino values and instilling good habits to elementary students through its city mascot Avot John whose name was inspired by the Filipino phrase abot d’yan (reach there) and, for obvious reasons, connected to their city name Navotas and then Mayor John Rey Tiangco.

“Pinakamasayang part is yung Avot School tour,” she said, assisting team behind the scenes and mostly assigned to document activities until such time that she was at the forefront of the Avot School Tour activities for the children. “Umiikot kami nun sa iba’t ibang school sa Navotas. Last year ako na po yung yung nag-front. Ako na po yung nag-story telling at emcee. Tinuturo po namin halimbawa yung tamang pag-sesegrate ng basura at kung paano ang pag-respeto o paggalang sa mga magulang at iba pang mga topic na kailangan tumatak sa isipan ng mga bata,” she said. She also recalled doing props for the school tour, like creating something from old boxes, or empty plastic bottles, or scraped papers from their office and then turning it into a visual learning material for children—A reminiscent of the days when she was still teaching—only this time she is in a new workplace environment surrounded by her newly found second family. “Yun ang pinakagusto ko lalo na yung sumasabak ako sa field kasama ko yung mga kuya ko at tatay-tatayan ko. Yun po yung pinaka the best pag nag-fi-field. Ang daming learnings.”

Intern to employee

Amid enjoying her stint as a GIP, she realized that time had passed quickly and anticipated the fact that she would later hunt for another teaching job after her internship. However, little did she know that the Navotas City LGU’s PIO department had a different plan—having witnessed her positive attitude and commitment towards work in a span of five months, they did not have any second thoughts of hiring her as one of their employees on November 7, 2018.

“During her days as GIP, Ms. Reyes showed good relationship with co-workers, diligence and independence in completing assigned tasks, and willingness to learn and improve her work. These noteworthy traits made her suitable to become part of the City Public Information Office. Work has been more fun ever since she officially joined our team. Her vibrant personality helps keep an otherwise busy and loaded work day lighter and cheerful. She is a joy work with,” said Navotas City LGU PIO Department Head Maria Irish Aloha Cubillan.

Looking back, Reyes said she misses teaching but her recovery from a previous medical condition had been an eye-opener for her, which led to embracing a new field of work. “I’m very thankful sa DOLE at PESO na meron po silang ganitong program sa mga millennials na gustong mag-work sa government kasi ito yung pinaka first stepping stone namin. Super thankful ako na nagkaroon ako ng ganitong work ngayon. Kung hindi dahil sa kanila wala ako dito ngayon,” she said.

She was also grateful that her father has recovered and returned to his work. Also, she have kept her baking hobbies alive and started taking jobs on the side by selling her baked goods during her day-off periods, which also help her provide an additional income to support her family.

“Kailangan talaga mahaba ang pasensya at magpursige ako kasi kung hindi, wala rin ako sa kinatatayuan ko ngayon,” said Reyes who shared some valuable insight to all aspiring GIPs.

“Ipakita n’yo rin yung galing n’yo kung hanggang saan yung makakaya n’yo. Do your best at tsaka huwag kayong matakot sa mga ibat-ibang matututunan pa kasi sa totoo lang hindi ko alam na kaya ko pala yung ganitong field, so dun mo pa lang din madi-discover. Kasi dun n’yo makikita yung opportunity na ma-hire kayo sa gusto n’yong work,” she said.

The labor department’s Government Internship Program or GIP is a component of KABATAAN 2000 under Executive Order no. 139 s. 1993, and DOLE Administrative Order No. 260-15, which aims to provide opportunities and engage young workers to serve general public in government agencies/entities projects and programs at the national and local level. Interested applicants may personally submit their applications to the nearest DOLE Regional Offices (DOLE ROs) or Public Employment Service Offices (PESO).

(Watch her video message via DOLE-NCR Official YouTube Channel at https://youtu.be/JZJ1yczTSJo)

END / Hershey Aquino