On January 2, 2012 at around 9:00 am I had a private meeting with the bishop of Occidental Mindoro and right at that very moment, with a heavy heart, I tendered my resignation effective that very day. The prelate ordered something that I cannot accept. I do not want to divulge what transpired on that one-on-one and heart-to-heart talk between us. It’s private as I have mentioned. Almost teary eyed that very moment, I typed a very brief letter written in the vernacular and handed it to him right there and then. I know that my separation pay would be sacrificed as a result of that speedy decision. Anyway, all of lay employees who were retrenched from our respective pastoral offices went out receiving not even a single cross-eyed 5-centavo coin. Even our monetized leave credits. But the bishop promised when everything is settled, I will get said employees’ benefit. And that promise remained what it is: a promise. But if I and my co-lay workers have risked our lives and limbs against structural evils of society for the Vineyard of the Lord, why would I be selfish not letting an earthly treasure go? But honestly, I am positively praying then for that “catch”, like the sons of Zebedee at sea above their nets cast into the deep. Not anymore. I believe that if only God has sole decision over my supplication, God’s response would be immediate and to my favor. But God is God and God cannot be a bishop neither the financial administrator of a Particular Church. That day I left the Vicariate, my refuge for more than 20 years, with my pockets literally turned inside out. Hours later, some priests have also filed their respective leave of absence.
The following morning, that was January 3, I went to Sablayan to attend the earlier scheduled Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting in my personal capacity and no longer as a representative of the Local Church’s Social Services Commission (SSC). A TWG composed of civil society and faith organizations along with representatives from local and national governments and Mangyan leaders tasked to draft guidelines and other preparations for sectoral representation of Indigenous People/Indigenous Cultural Communities (IP/ICC) to the Local Executive Board of LGU-Sablayan. Through his executive secretary, the local chief executive of said municipality offered me a post at the newly-created Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Office or IPAO. Immediately I accomplished my requirements, my Personal Data Sheet and so on and that same day I was hired on a contractual basis as the IPAO-Designate. I was assigned to work with the IPs and the task is somewhat similar to my former job. After series of baptism of fire, the rests became a series of fruitful days and months at LGU-Sablayan. I was blessed I was only jobless for less than 24 hours!
2012 is a transition period from being a Church worker to a government employee. A crossover move that made me sink that “as cool as a cucumber” finger roll a-la Tim Duncan, to borrow a basketball parlance.
This major change in my career didn’t stop me from writing or blogging. To date, a have posted a total of 42 blog entries for 2012 alone. My first entry for the year was something entitled “Mangyans as Municipal Legislators” and my last is about the recent Mindoro Landing celebration in San Jose. In-between were entries hinged on personal reflections about almost anything about Occidental Mindoro.
Modesty aside, during my days I was awarded Best Writer of the Year courtesy of my Alma Mater being the Managing Editor of the New Image, our school paper at Occidental Mindoro National College or OMNC. (Many of those who read my blog erred in thinking that I am a product of a Catholic school!) This year my eldest, 20 years of age and taking up BSED, went to Puerto Princesa to represent the same campus organ, along with other students, for the 9th Regional Higher Education Press Conference last December 7 to 9. He grabbed the 4th place in Development Communication Writing and a 5th placer in Poetry Writing in Filipino. Another writing competition was held at the Philippine Normal College in Manila last December 12 to 14 for the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) and made landed 7th placer in Essay Writing Category in said national writing competition. Straight from the now- defunct Saint Joseph College Seminary or SJCS (Remember this story how he get there at the SJCS?), he entered into the gates of Occidental Mindoro State College (OMSC), our Alma Mater (my wife, by the way is also an alumnus of said school) with a slam, making his presence felt!
I has a hunch that my eldest daughter who is also an OMSCian taking up Bachelor in Elementary Education (BEed) just created a blog, I was told, under a fictitious name. But judging from her academic performance and her writing scrap books, I know she writes well too. He is more into technical writing. She belongs to the Top Ten of her batch. Her thesis on child rearing got good grade from her critic teachers. 2012 made them hooked into books. Now, almost ¼ of the space of our concrete but unfinished (and lightly furnished) little abode is filled with previously owned books and other reading materials.
Talking of my two grown-ups, I am happy at least year 2012 showed me a “sneak preview”, like a movie, of what they become in the near future. They are good students, of their school, of life and of society. Aside from writing, I have taught them sense of justice and fairness by telling them not to take things that are not theirs and give things they possess to their rightful owners. Me? There are two major things I have learned this year: First, my children’s achievements this year cannot be compensated by any earthly treasures such as money or monetary leave credits and laptop computer. From now on, I will not be complaining about my being a blogger without having a computer of my own. I realized that even elevator boys do not have their own elevators!
Second, I realized that there’s also a splash of divinity and holiness in striving for good governance and government service, and not only politicians break their promise. On the other hand, not all men of cloth,-… mind their own clothes!
But above all, I thank you Lord, for a blessed 2012. ..
(Photo : ColourWorld.com)
(Photo : ColourWorld.com)