The youth is undoubtedly the future of our world. Amid the current climate and daunting challenges it has brought about, several of them have heeded the call to service–tirelessly working with unparalleled dedication for love of country. Let’s take a closer look at the new faces of public service.
1. Chlarizel Pangan
A graduate with Latin honors from Tarlac State University, Chlarizel is now a Social Media Officer and Content Producer of the Department of Transportation (DOTr). Like a lot of Filipinos, Chlarizel originally sought after a career abroad. But life had a different plan for her, and she found herself drawn to public service.
“I realized that there’s more than just fulfilling my own dreams and gaining experience for my own personal growth- That is, the country’s future, with our fellow countrymen’s dreams in it.”
Chlarizel produces content for the DOTr’s social media platforms, covers department events, and assists in implementing various campaigns spearheaded by the department. Amidst all her tasks, Chlarizel acknowledges the obstacles and challenges she faces. “I’ve been experiencing winds of pressure, as I am working with more highly-skilled public servants who have served in the government for so long.”
Despite the pressure she faces, Chlarizel has remained hardworking and optimistic about the future. “In spite of these, I choose to stay because it’s an honor and a privilege to be a young government professional.”
Chlarizel also emphasized the importance of the guidance and mentorship she receives from DOTr Assistant Secretary of Communication and Commuter Affairs Goddes Hope Libiran. “ASec. Libiran continues to be an inspiration for me. She always tells me to not be afraid to learn new things, and to carry on no matter how difficult the task at hand may be; keeping in mind that we do all these things to serve our fellow Filipinos.”
Chlarizel is hopeful for the future of the country and the DOTr, and working for the department has made her optimistic about the future. “Every day, I personally witness how the government strives to deliver beyond its mandate with whatever means and ways viable and possible for the sake of the common good. What drives and motivates me to stay in public service are my family and the future I foresee for our country–a future I would want to be a part of; a future full of hope for young people like me and for all our fellow countrymen. ”
2. Christine Caguillo
23-year-old Christine Caguillo is a licensed psychometrician who graduated with Latin Honors from the Central Colleges of the Philippines. The decision to ultimately go into public service stemmed from her desire to give back to the government, as her higher education was financially supported through a government scholarship. She started working as a project officer for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and currently holds the position of Administrative Assistant II under the Office of the Director for the Bureau of Local Government Development.
After working for two years with the DILG, Christine still finds much fulfillment and enjoyment in her work, but also states that it has been equally challenging for her given the public’s perception of government. “No matter what efforts the government initiates, people tend to focus on the negatives.”
Regardless of the difficulties, Christine chooses to remain in public service–drawing inspiration from the passionate and dedicated employees around her, as well as her family. “There are times that I would want to give up. But every time, I think of how I’m supporting my family by being the breadwinner, and I get back my inspiration to work hard.”
Christine also credits DILG Director Anna Liza Bonagua for keeping her motivated. “One of the greatest things I learned from her is that passion for your work is essential. Achieving your goals takes time and effort; thus one must be patient throughout the process.”
Despite all the struggles Christine faces, she remains proud of her involvement in the DILG. “DILG plays a vital role to pursue change that many people have been longing for in our country. And I’m proud to be part of the better future that awaits us.”
Christine always looks back at her humble beginnings and uses that as her driving force. “Wherever I am right now, all I can say is that it just all started with a dream to finish my studies to get a good job and pay it forward to those who are in need. The vision to help people drives and motivates me to work harder.”
3. Kath Vitug
A graduate of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, 22-year-old Kath Vitug currently works for the Department of Health (DOH). After working as a multimedia communications expert in the private sector, she found herself burnt out and unmotivated. She then applied for a position at the DOH, and has since risen the ranks to Information Officer II under the Health Promotion and Communication Service Unit of the DOH Central Office, where she assists in developing and producing Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials, and communication plans for DOH campaigns, among others.
Working in government is no easy task for Kath, especially in this time of crisis. “There will always be challenges. We just have to figure out how to survive them one at a time. My number one motivation to stay despite the challenges is the quality of people I work alongside. I believe many of us working in the government are led by our hearts to help the people and to change and improve things in the system for the better.”
Kath is also draws inspiration and strength from health workers and frontliners.“Whenever I feel demotivated, I always think about the lengths our healthcare workers are going through to provide quality care while also protecting themselves and their families from the virus.”
Through it all, Kath credits many people as her mentors. “The greatest lesson I got would be the art of learning to unlearn. In order for us to change and improve for the better, it is important that we recognize and accept that the previous mindsets we have been relying on are no longer effective and/or relevant. This is crucial in the process of creating new ways in order to achieve goals. “
Despite the daunting crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kath continues to see a brighter future for the nation. “ The DOH remains committed in achieving its goals and values in its All for Health Towards Health for All agenda. I can see a brighter future not only for the DOH, but for the entire nation as well. I’m a firm believer that together, we can lead the way for a healthier tomorrow.”
4. Rovin James Canja
Rovin Canja had an unusual path to public service. During his fourth year studying Chemical Engineering at the University of the Philippines Diliman, he decided to shift to Public Administration. “From my years in UP, I realized that there is nothing more noble than to serve the nation and the Filipino people.”
Now 23 years old, Rovin works as an Executive Assistant in the Department of Education (DepEd). He shares that working for DepEd is not easy, as everything has to undergo formal processes in accordance with the law. There are voluminous amounts of work, new issues to address daily, and mounting pressures from the public. Regardless of all these challenges, he finds motivation in his fellow Filipinos. “I always remind myself that I must make sure that every peso the average Filipino taxpayer pays for my salary is well spent. Moreover, what motivates me to work hard is that every single task that I accomplish could help a teacher, a parent or a learner in whatever way possible.“
Working with Secretary Briones, Rovin has witnessed firsthand the applications of his public administration learnings. “It helped me appreciate the effectiveness of participatory governance and the role of the different stakeholders in the decision-making process. Being exposed to the day-to-day operations of the Department under the current leadership, I learned that effective leaders do what is right, not what is popular. Before making any decision, we should always think of the consequences of our action and how it may affect others. Whatever we do, no matter how big or small, can make a difference, and may create a huge impact to the people around us, or to the society as a whole.”
Rovin credits John Duldalao, his supervisor during his internship and a fellow UP Lingkod Bayan, as one of his mentors. “We always tend to have policy and political discussions which really helps me gain further understanding of the Philippine bureaucracy.”
As the Department continues to face challenges in light of the pandemic, Rovin believes that DepEd will be at the forefront of national development. “I see the Department will continue to be the forefront towards nation development through the advancement of education and will constantly improve to fulfill its mandate of delivering quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating education for all the Filipino learners.”
Chlarizel Pangan, Christine Caguillo, Kath Vitug, and Rovin Canja, all have faced difficulties after college but have found solace in working for and with the Filipino people. Constantly inspired and inspiring, these four people are a snapshot into the future of our country. Working effectively and efficiently may Chlarizel, Christine, Kath, and Rovin continue to serve the Filipinos to become their mentors and inspirations for the generations to come.