Recognizing government employees

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We owe the great positive change happening to our country to President Rodrigo Duterte and to the elected and appointed officials who fully support his programs. But we must not forget that our leaders cannot achieve anything without the people who help them implement those programs — the government employees.

“We need to set standards for our professionals to be globally competitive but we must, first and foremost, think of their welfare.

Government employees work in various fields — as clerks in agencies, as teachers in schools and as officers in the police force, to name a few. They each contribute to the strength and stability of our government and growth of our country.

In grateful appreciation to the services they render, Proclamation 1130 was issued in 1997, declaring the first week of December as National Government Employees’ Week.

I am one with the Filipino people in thanking our government employees all over the Philippines in this celebration. They deserve to be recognized for their hard work, dedication and integrity.

I have seen firsthand how vital their roles are in the development of a locality and of the whole country. I’ve worked with President Rodrigo Duterte for a long time and I’ve witnessed that policies come into fruition only when government employees actively do their part.

Take, for example, the success of the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs. The vision comes from the President, but it’s our police officers who risk their lives and make sure that the program is implemented to the fullest extent.

It is for this reason that I fully supported the President when he increased the salary of the members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.I want the same thing to happen to our nurses, teachers and other professionals working in the bureaucracy.

These professionals are at the front line of government services. The people see and feel the government when they perform their duties. So, we need to give them proper compensation to help them maintain and improve their performance and to show our gratitude for their sacrifices.

This is why, if given the chance to serve in the Senate, I will make sure that the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Law is repealed. Authored by Sen. Antonio Trillanes III, the law is an unnecessary burden on Filipino professionals.

The law requires professionals to earn CPD units before they will be allowed to renew their licenses with the Professional Regulation Commission. The difficult, expensive and questionable processes of earning CPD units caused an outcry among professionals, and rightfully so.

“Government employees are not mere followers. They are the working arm of the government.

We need to set standards for our professionals to be globally competitive, but we must, first and foremost, think of their welfare. We must focus on the assistance that we can give them. When their needs are met, the quality of the service they give will just naturally increase. They will cooperate with the programs of the government and even initiate their own programs to help the people.

Government employees are not mere followers. They are the working arm of the government. They are catalysts for change. They do their part in nation-building when they see that the officials they work with serve with integrity and truly care for the people.

I have been in a similar position myself. As the President’s assistant, I have to follow orders but at the same time express my views and exercise my rights. I understand the feelings and know the needs of our government employees. So, I will always stand by them and fight for them.

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Blast from the past: On 3 December 2012, typhoon “Bopha,” or known in the Philippines as typhoon “Pablo,” struck the island of Mindanao. It was one of the most damaging typhoons to ever to hit the country and the island, which was still recovering from the destruction wrought by typhoon “Sendong” the previous year.

At the end of its onslaught, almost 2,000 people died, more than P40 billion worth of property were lost or damaged and several tens of thousands of people were left homeless. During the aftermath, thousands descended on Davao City looking for aid, food and shelter.

It was at this time that then Mayor Duterte and I began to seriously question the competence and capability of the Aquino administration and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

About a year later, our question was finally answered when the same tepid response was felt by all during the Bohol earthquake and typhoon “Yolanda.”

President Duterte and this administration will never abandon our people in times of disaster. “Tatay Digong” will always provide not only the appropriate response but also the leadership that the occasion requires.

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