One of my former deaf students, Nonito Visagar Jr., tagged me in a few of his photos. I thought it was just a picture of him and his deaf friends or co-workers having an outing or get-together party. But when I clicked on the photos, I was pleasantly surprised that his was pictures of his plaque of appreciation as an Outstanding Employee of 2012!
Hearing great news like this one is truly a breath of very fresh air. When Nonito graduated in MCCID College in 2008, he received 1st Honorable Mention Award. Although he was quiet and unassuming among his batchmates, he did excel in sports and academics. After he graduated among top of his class, he continued his training at Nova Foundation for the Differently Abled Persons.
But Nonito did not remain contented. He again exhibited above average work attitude and enthusiasm serving clients, mostly hearing people, in the passport division. In 2011, he received his first “Certificate of Recognition”. This year, he upped his level by receiving the “Outstanding Employee of 2011”.
The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs is the government agency responsible for the pursuit of the State’s foreign policy and the nerve center for a Foreign Service worthy of the trust and pride of every Filipino. To know more about the awards, please visit this link.
To give you some updates, last Friday (April 17), I visited DFA again. This time, I was with MCCID students Jerome Marzan and Joanna Teves. I was there to assist them in getting their passports. They will be using it in order to participate in the World Deaf Conference this August. They were chosen among the schools for the deaf in the Philippines. I’ll give more details about it in my future posts. I also used that time to know about the latest from our deaf alumni Rona May Savares, Ma. Teresa Vicente, Nonito Visagar Jr., Renato Moran Jr., Emmanuel Cruz and Rumijae Alfred Bubon.
As usual, we were accorded well by the DFA guards. I’m happy that they are slowly adjusting to deaf people. I specifically told them that I cannot assist my deaf students. I need to introduce them to one of their deaf employees and to help them with the processing of their passports. They allowed us to enter the building without much restrictions.
We first saw Rona May. She immediately greeted us and as soon as she was free, she escorted us to the proper authorities. I asked her if we can meet Renato because we will request him to assist my deaf passport applicants. I was told that he transferred to another division located in the 2nd floor of the building. Rona May gladly brought us to Renato’s office.
After some exchange of pleasantries, Renato promised to assist them the following Monday. Rona May also proudly gave us the good news that all of the deaf encoders passed the Competency Based Examination for Data Encoders given by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) last November. This government examination is given to persons who finished any computer course and wants to receive a certificate indicating that they already possessed
the minimum skills and knowledge required in a workplace. If the worker/student passed the assessment, they are issued TESDA
Certificate of Competency (COC) or National Certificate (NC). The certificate outlines the knowledge and competency of the individual in that particular trade or job.
This examination may also be used by the individual as a replacement for the Career Civil Service Examination issued by the Civil Service Commission. Passing this test is an important requirement in order for the rank and file government employee to have a secured job tenure. Since all of the deaf examinees passed the test, they are now eligible to work in any Philippine government agency so long as their position and/or duties include data encoding.
So to all MCCID Deaf alumni and the rest of the employees, congratulations and may you remain faithful with your work. 🙂
After using my green passport only for three trips since I first applied for it in 2003, it’s time for me to renew it. All of my trips were officially paid for by the government since I can’t afford to travel. I’m proud to say that all my trips had to do with my devotion for the deaf. I went to India and Japan as a sign language interpreter and an expert/coach for our Deaf national champions who were qualified to join in an international skills competition called Abilympics.
We were blessed to win many medals during the 6th Abilympics International Skills Competition last 2003 in New Delhi, India. My Deaf “brother” Ervin received the bronze medal in web page design category. However, in our next stint in Japan last 2007, we were not able to bring home anything. (sigh)
Enough lingering in misery. Let’s go back to my topic. Since Ervin and I applied for our passport on the same year, so both of them will expire this September. We planned to visit the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) during a local holiday so that we won’t miss our classes. We took the opportunity to go last Tuesday (August 19) since it was a red-letter day for Quezon City and not in Pasay City. I also used it as a chance to meet our deaf graduates in action.
First, I texted one of my favorite deaf student, Renato Moran requesting him to assist us. Sure enough, he responded. Clad in formal black pants and decent upper shirt with plastic-laminated ID proudly hanging on his neck, he greeted us with his very warm and handsome smile. After a few “how are you’s” and “how is your work” exchanges in sign language, we proceeded to the real battle, the battle of falling in line.
Now, this is interesting. When we entered the basketball court where the filing of application starts, I was overwhelmed by the long snakey line up of human bodies waiting for their turn to be served. I believe around 500 people were there. I heard from some reports that DFA serves more than 3,000 people at any given day. Most are Overseas Filipino Workers, our modern heroes.
What is more interesting is that he just swooped his way out of the line and handed over our documents to the lady personnel! I felt so embarrassed especially when piercing glances stared upon us as we walk passed through them. But Renato was adamant. He just gave his killer smile to the lady and bang! She took our documents, checked the contents, placed a stamp pad and stapled the paper of our scheduled return, all within two minutes. Now that was fast! I know I should feel guilty. But come to think of it, I shouldn’t. Disabled people and senior citizens are provided special courtesy lane. Ervin is disabled. But I’m not. Well, who would know? That’s the perk of having an insider. hehehe
Afterwards, Renato toured us to his work place. We went pass through countless guards. Due to the huge applicants’ turnout, the spacious auditorium hall was used for the processing of passport. Their tables are lined up on three corners of a square while all the people are in the middle seated comfortably again in snake-like fashion. He introduced me to the office assigned interpreter, Ms. Connie Remetio. She was cordial and, as I was told, very helpful to the deaf group.
In all, around 13 deaf persons are working at DFA. Most of them came from MCCID with the rest coming from other schools. Hiring more personnel was necessary due to the requirement of DFA for additional manpower in their consular services particularly their passport division. Starting last year, all passports to be issued by DFA will be machine readable which will bear the data about its holder.
Nova Foundation for the Differently Abled is the one in charge of providing personnel to DFA or for any government offices that needed manpower. MCCID has been their faithful partner since 1996. After our student graduates, they are given further training in corporate setting by Nova Foundation. Once they pass their standards, they provide them with job placements both in the foundation and in other companies. Some noted MCCID and Nova trained deaf employees include Marlene Pio (Head Proofreader), Lezzer Gonzales (PC technician) and Gimar Aguillon (web designer).
To Nonito Visagar, Rona May Delos Reyes (my Goddaughter), Ma. Teresa Vicente, Rumijae Bubon, Emmanuel Cruz and of course to Renato Moran, I pray that you would be more faithful to your work. Love your work. It’s hard to find jobs especially for the deaf. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you. Do your best!
To Nova Foundation and Department of Foreign Affairs, thank you very much for the wonderful chance you gave to our Filipino Deaf. God bless you and Mabuhay po kayo!
To know more about Nova Foundation, visit their site at www.novafoundation.ph. Their website is proudly made by our deaf student, Gimar. 🙂