Simplicity, Humility and Public Service !!!
VOL. XVIII NO. 2 (October 18 – 24, 2014)
Giving service is an opportunity and a blessing by sharing who you are; what you are; and what you can. By giving public service, you are discovering yourself better.
She is Ms. Freda Martinez Gawisan, the Provincial Director for Department of Trade and Industry, Baguiop-Benguet. She was born in Bangnen, Tadian, Mountain Province to parents Mr. Luis Gawisan , a retired school principal who was assigned in Pandayan, Elementary, School back in those days; and Mrs. Benita Gawisan, a retired school teacher from Ilocos Sur and Tondo, Manila. She is second among seven siblings in the family. Her parents who were assigned to teach in different places before caused her to spend her elementary education in five different schools where she finally graduated at Pandayan, elementary, School and at the Holy Rosary High school in Kayan, Tadian, Mountain Province for her high school under the care of nuns in a dorm since her parents were strict. She pursued her degree in Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education; Master of Science in Agriculture; and Doctor of Philosophy in Rural Development, where she is an under thesis for her Ph. D all at the Benguet State University in La Trinidad, Benguet.
Before she joined the DTI in 1988, she first served as an Institutional Officer at the Farm Systems Development Corporation Benguet. Here, it was the first time for her to expose herself in the farm. Since education was the noblest profession before , and until now, being a child of a teacher was a prestige and that going to the farm was not an expected exposure for a child of a teacher, which was not the case for Ms. Gawisan. Instead, she immersed herself in rural life; she lived and stayed with the people, and it was not difficult for her to have adjusted herself since she was young. This time, she has learned to love rural life that brought her into pursuing her doctorate in rural development and is under dissertation. She loves going out to the grassroots level, dealing with people, talking to them and becoming a part of them. Fulfilling an obligation to them is equivalent to having fulfilled ten obligations. “People value things more than what you give,” said Ms. Gawisan. After serving as an intuitional officer, she was a General Manager at KAISA/FSDC for several months in 1988.Bef ore becoming the Provincial Director of DTI-CAR, Ms. Gawisan rose from the ranks. She was a TIDS, DTI-Benguet; an STIDS, DTI-Benguet; a CTIDS, DTI- Benguet; a Provincial Caretaker, DTI-Abra; a CTIDS, DTI-CAR; CTIDS, DTI Baguio-Benguet; and was the Officer-in-charge, DTI Baguio-Benguet.
In January of 2011, she was promoted as the Provincial Director for DTI Baguio-Benguet. As a Director, Ms. Gawisan supervises overall operation of the office, effective implementation of mandates, and supervision of staff.
“Being a director for me is a blessing. It is not about creating power and abusing it. Instead, harmonious working relationships should always stay between the director, the staff, and the clients. Responsibility is heavier over authority. Go by the rules of the office. If violations are committed, that staff, pays the price of what is required to be imposed, accordingly. I’m not very strict. I am friendly with my staff always reminding them of the policies of the organization. Even if I’m not around, I tell my staff to process papers for clients without them having to wait for me,” narrated Ms. Gawisan.
If what they see in her is what is inside her is Ms. Gawisan, in other words, what you see is what you get. Ever since she was a child, she has been living a simple life. She lives things the way she sees them not necessary as a fulfillment since she does not want a sophisticated life and complicate its simplicity. She does not wear makeup. “Every time I serve as a guest speaker, I do not want to be known through a full resume when the emcee introduces me. I go to gatherings not to be introduced but to talk to the people since I believe that there are people who are better than me. I go to places to promote opportunity and not to promote myself.
It’s accentuating the best of me so that I’ll be remembered of what not I am but who I am. Every time emcees introduce me, I prefer to be introduced as a plain worker in my private capacity and not as a director, yes, but as a director in the office but not in the field. I don’t feel any difference if they call me Director. Everything is temporary, one day I’ll be leaving the office and I want my colleagues and clients to remember me pleasantly and not as good riddance. Being a Director, all amenities and power are available but it may cost your freedom and your staffs, too. Instead, I go beyond of what is required of me. I go beyond what the job requires of me. I do work overtime when needed so it’s not only eight hours but more than that,” explained Ms. Gawisan.
If there is this common responsibility for Ms. Gawisan, it is not as a mere leader but a leader in public service who walks her talk. She is consistent and transparent. Since DTI Baguio-Benguet is ISO Certified, she sends back documents for proper accomplishment if something is not right. If not everything has been signed, she has this eagle’s eyes on details. She wants all of her staff to know what is happening to the office’s resources since DTI Baguio-Benguet is for everybody. For thirty minutes, after every flag ceremony on Mondays’, she sits down with her staff, do group activity and talk accomplishments for the past week and the goals for the week ahead.
“DTI Baguio-Benguet is my second home. There are times that I spend time more time with the office than with my family. I take pride of the Department since it’s less corrupt compared to other agencies. It’s negligible. I think so because we have small staff and manning them and seeing who swerves from normality is obvious. We see our office as a service-oriented one. Not everybody is given the chance to be with DTI. We accept and hire people not because they are endorsed by politicians recommendations because for me, I want an employee to work on his or her own and as long as he or she is qualified,” said Ms. Gawisan.
Single, Ms. Gawisan stays with her parents. She has with them working students who work for them and study at the same time and not just work for the rest of their lives.
She sends them to school while they work for her. “I am not an outgoing person. Although I occasionally socialize. But while there are no appointments outside, I take care of my 86 year old father and my 83 year old mother since my siblings are overseas. My parents serve at Philippine Government National Employees Association, an organization for professional government retired employees. “My mother is the Lakambini of the organization. She’ll be crowned on October 28. She is a member of the Puguis Women’s Association in La Trinidad, “ she said.
Ms. Gawisan is a vegetarian, a sea food enthusiast except for pusit and catfish. She eats green salad in the evening and prepares kimchi herself. She does not eat meat and only tastes it occasionally in small slices during meetings or gatherings. “I guess because I’m a pet lover and I teach my pets to be vegetarian, too. Psychologically, I am very caring for animals. When I was an OSE in Abra and drove the car myself, I panicked more when I came across dogs on the streets because I did not know if I step on the break or the accelerator whereas when I encountered people on the road, I found time to distinguish what was to step on to stop the car. People have common sense to run or to stop but with dogs, I don’t want to hit nor kill one,” she said. Ms. Gawisan was sent to Korea and Singapore for trainings on entrepreneurship. She travels to Europe herself to visit her siblings and their families.
“You are paid to do the job required of you so that you should cater to everybody and extend to them your services even of you don’t know those people,” said Ms Gawisan. This is why some clients who come to government offices back off if they don’t see the people they know because sometimes they find these people whom they do not know that do not want to do the favors’ ask from them, she added.
Ms.Gawisan does her work by coordinating with interagency, local government units, and networking when they monitor prices of goods and when they conduct trainings with DOLE, TESDA, and COA for returning OFWS like those who came from Libya during the crisis in that country who wish to venture with business or enterprise from planning, technical skills, and trainings for them.”This is for our OFWs money earned abroad to flourish,” she said. She does team work and collaboration to monitor work balance and work load among her staffs. This in spite of DTI-Benguet having more or less 142 employees catering to six provinces and two cities.
Among Ms. Gawisan’s noteworthy accomplishments at DTI Baguio-Benguet and as an individual are the following: Initiated the integration of DTI livelihood programs to the Barangayan program of ABS-CBN that gave birth to joint project dubbed as “Kabuhayan sa Barangayan”; maintain close partnership with Benguet State University for the establishment of the Technology Business Incubation Project to facilitate technology transfer for new SMEs and product development trainings to existing SMEs in the food sector; facilitated the inclusion of one municipality to enroll at BPLS program outside the 2 pilot area in the province and city thru close partnership and networking with LGUs; forged joint projects among different government and private sectors for the implementation of the Localized Anti-poverty Program in one of the municipality of Benguet as a pilot area; initiated the conduct of the 1st CARP provincial trade fair in the province of Abra as a joint project of the Provincial CARP Implementing Team and Presidential Agrarian Reform Coordinating Council ; initiated the establishment of One Town One Product Pasalubong Centre at the Benguet State University; facilitated linkages with BENECO and the Normis Beach Front for their Corporate Social Responsibility programs; initiated the organization of Baguio-Benguet LPG association that facilitated the office’s advocacy programs on LPG regulation in Baguio-Benguet; initiated an outreach program of the DTI Baguio-Benguet family for 74 pupils of Puguis Elementary School who were victims of typhoons pepeng and ondoy; initiated organization of calamity victims in the tent city; assisted development and implementation of the one town one product of the municipality of La Trinidad; and initiated networking with the Sacred Heart Community Action Centre for the development of veggie noodles as part of their feeding programs for children in the community.
The year 2013 was a challenging year considering the constant rise of oil prices that triggered the prices of basic and prime commodities and the calamities and typhoons that brought significant damage to Metro Manila and the Visayas Region that resulted in the slowdown down of economic activities. In spite of these challenges, DTI Baguio-Benguet dubbed as “Quality Team for Responsive Service,” was able to accomplish planned programs, activities, and projects for the year. The bottom-line accomplishments for the year 2013 are as follows: the export sales generated by DTI clients were 5.62. million US Dollars where 97% of the total export was generated by clients in Baguio City and 3% were generated by clients in La Trinidad, Benguet; the domestics sales was 115 million pesos a 5% higher than the target for the year and 20% higher compared to the last five years; the investment generated by DTI clients amounted to 681 million pesos; and the employment generated by DTI Baguio-Benguet though lower than expected because of the none-inclusion of jobs reported under Business Name Registration was able to create 5,580 jobs.
With these accomplishments of DTI Baguio-Benguet, Ms. Gawisan concluded by saying that the earth has so many problems, that you are here on earth to help. Instead of saying how could you help since you are only one while there are billions of people on earth, just make a better you , and the right thing will come out on what is required from you.
The DTI has two programs these are the Entrepreneur and SMEs and the Regulatory. Under the Entrepreneur are the following: trade promotions, training and productivity, business financing; product research and development, shared service facility, institutional support, strategic export promotion- export facilitation, and sustainable investment promotion-investment promotion. Under the Regulatory are the following: price stability- business registrations, licensing and accreditation; business regulation; and consumer welfare and the special project sustenance- comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program; one town one product program; and the personal computers for public school project.
DTI Baguio- Benguet envisions itself as an epitome of quality public service empowering the business sector and the consumers towards a sustainable economic growth driven by a team of responsive, productive and competent human resource.
DTI Baguio-Benguet commits to support: teh business sector through sustained advocacy for the creation of appositive investment climate and implementation of SME development programs; generate employment, sales, and investments; develop vigilant consumers and socially responsible businesses sector; and develop healthy professional work environment and institutionalize competence-building programs guided by sound and dynamic systems and procedures.
For more information about DTI Baguio-Benguet’s programs and services, clients are advised to proceed to the 3rd Floor Manongso Building, No. 17 Private Road, Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City or visit their website at www.dti.gov.ph. /Ezequiel Banas-e