I intended to inscribe this piece of writing in my last days as a volunteer for the Trimedia Office. Not only because the pressure of writing it is quite heavy, but because “City Hall sa Barangay” has touched my heart in ways I never thought as a Tacurongnon.
Before I decided to volunteer, I must say I was an ordinary citizen of Tacurong City. Ordinary in a sense that I do not engage myself into the things that’s been happening around, I do not interest myself because I was busy planning out my future. Well, one of the main reasons why I volunteered in the first place is to have a feel of the workplace – for my future. Never did I think that a big change would be instilled into me in 35 days.
I have been exposed to many activities for the articles that I write. I was familiar with all of it, except “City Hall sa Barangay.” Being away from the city because of my studies, I have long been missing out with the activities laid out by the government. But as much as I want to defend myself, I know I should catch up. So I went with my workmates to experience it myself.
The scheduled barangay last April 20 was Brgy. Upper Katungal. Being a first-timer, I didn’t know what to expect. So when I went out of the van, I was fascinated by the scenery – there was no scenery left, only a crowd of people lining up to avail the different services of the city.
Equipped with a camera, I decided to take pictures while taking an observation. I went on a corner to try capturing a wide shot, and I saw beyond. A number of tables and chairs given to each of the offices of the LGU, ready to accommodate people with their free services. Cartons of medicine piled up to provide proper doses with the patients’ prescriptions. Men in military uniforms giving free haircut. Dental tools onset for its clients. Busy employees going back and forth. Public servants doing what they know best, serving with a smile. It gave me chills. I caught myself smiling, alone, like a crazy person.
I tried to explore each of the services being offered in “City Hall sa Barangay,” keenly understanding each of them. But I cannot take my eyes off of the residents seated in the middle of the gymnasium, waiting for their turns. It’s as if I have been fighting my emotional side just to take shots. Well, just the thought of seeing these people punches my conscience. I have lived a better life than them. I should consider myself lucky, yet there are times when I don’t. These are the times when you get to reflect, and be grateful that there are people who are passionately paying attention to them. And a thought came into me, there’s more to volunteering than preparing my future.
Luckily, I was able to come to another barangay last May 11. This time, it’s San Rafael. A small yet agriculturally-rich barangay I have never been into. Well that’s another advantage of being a volunteer; I get to go to places I haven’t gone before. Shame on me, I have traveled several places, but never explored my hometown. I have felt the same sentiments while roaming around their gymnasium. But I appreciated “City Hall sa Barangay” more in San Rafael. It’s a very distant barangay, but through the project, it was able to attend the needs of the residents as well as extend services the people might find hard to avail in normal circumstances.
Being a volunteer offered me opportunities I did not know could exist in my summer vacation. I have gone through many barangays of Tacurong City, I have met many people with the articles that I write, I have tried to be confident by letting other people read what I write, and I have gained knowledge in experience with the government’s projects such as “City Hall sa Barangay.”
“City Hall sa Barangay” is the best way to reach out to the constituents of Tacurong City. Its goal to bring the services of the city government closer and accessible to its people is a statement that this administration is more than sincere in providing the assistance the Tacurongnons deserve. Seeing city officials become visible in each barangay and engage conversations with its constituents is enough proof that the government should be for the people, more than anything else.
I might only have 35 days as a volunteer, but the things I have experienced and learned will remain for the rest of my life. This helped me mold my future, this made me a better Tacurongnon. And this made me see how the city government of Tacurong is willing to proffer its people public service, at its best. (Ariesha Faith Martinez Dimaano)