More than the usual streamer display and  activities,  the Branch had its own way of observing  this year’s National Women’s Month, the with theme: “Kapakanan ni Juana,  isama sa Agenda.”  Being part of the busiest branch of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board,  operating in the prime region of the country,  the ability to harmonize work and family responsibilities was a priority gender issue of the men and women of RCMB-NCR.

Pausing for a well-deserved retreat, a total of 17 personnel travelled out of town to Tuba, Benguet last March 9-12, 2016. Officer-in-charge Amorsolo V. Aglibut  and Conmed George R. Ridad led the Branch in this GAD organization-focused activity cum  TRAVEL (short for team refocusing and values enhancement leadership) seminar.

Conmed Ridad shared his insights and expertise as he facilitated the sessions whereby the participants were able to learn, unlearn and relearn  interpersonal skills needed in working with their bigger family, i.e.  the RCMB-NCR.  OIC Aglibut  reminded them to keep in mind the need to improve  the work performance of the Branch in meeting its annual Major Final Outputs.

Dr. Rufer Ferrer,  one the Board’s Accredited Voluntary Arbitrators, likewise joined the activity and he served as retreat leader.   He shared insights and values.  Work is a value, as well as families, he noted as the group sharing yielded.  Things of value, e.g. wrist watches given by the Board, represent true values such as service in the government.   He stressed the benefits of positive attitude and faith in God.   As an AVA and a management officer himself,  Dr. Ferrer often serves as speaker in RCMB IV A’s seminars on Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms, LR,  and harmonizing work and family responsibilities.

Moreover,   a review of the legal bases of GAD (R.A.  7192, and Magna Carta of Women) was discussed by Conmed Ma. Yolanda P. Minoria.  As a member of the Branch’s GAD  Focal Point System (GFPS),  she reminded  the staff that in line with the Branch’s GAD planning and budgeting, this activity was among the Branch’s GAD Plan’s project/activity/programs (PAPs) to address priority gender issues.  The learning session provided an opportunity for the staff to assess  whether the benefits provided for civil servants  are adequate in helping  them  in work-life balance or harmonizing work and family responsibilities.  If the organization works as an effective team, the quality of the services of the Board will continue to improve and benefit the clients.   While it is important to give one’s best at work,   fulfilling responsibilities for the family is also important.  They need to keep in mind Pope Francis’  pronouncement on the importance of work in human dignity, in building up a family,  and for peace.

The seminar was also highlighted with teambuilding activities and trekking through the nearby hill and river, by crossing a hanging bridge, a novel experience for the staff whose usual routine  in coming to work everyday in the Branch office in Intramuros, Manila, is the heavy  traffic and crowds of the National Capital Region.

OIC Aglibut  in closing the seminar reminded  the Branch staff to work as a team  in improving performance at work, so that at the end of one’s service in government,  one can look  back and cherish the support of one’s family and memories of workmates.  The activity coincided likewise with the retirement tribute of OIC Aglibut,  or Sir Amor  to his staff.     After the seminar proper,  the officials of the Board joined the RCMB-NCR in Tuba, Benguet to convey  their warm messages to a colleague  who is about to “bow out of public service.”

– Ma. Yolanda P. Minoria (with report by Ferdinand M Hernaez and photos  by Romeo P. Lemi)