A total of 41 NAMRIA officials and employees, led by Deputy Administrators Efren P. Carandang and Jose C. Cabanayan Jr., attended the Project Paglaum: Rekindling Hope, Rebuilding Lives Training Workshop, held at the NAMRIA Lecture Hall on 21-22 March 2016. It was a competency-building activity on providing mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies and disaster situations.
The Career Executive Service Board (CESB) spearheaded the activity with its institutional partner, the Care and Counsel Wholeness and Training Center (CCWTC), as the learning service provider. The CCWTC is “a psychological service agency specializing in bringing of wholeness out of displacement and/or brokenness in families, communities, and corporate entities. It combines professional psycho-medical services with sensitivity to the spiritual and cultural dimensions of the healing process.” [source: CCWTC manual]
The said workshop was one of the highlights of the NAMRIA Women’s Month celebration, and incidentally, the agency’s participants made up its ninth batch since it started. The main resource speaker was Dr. Violeta “Doc Bolet” V. Bautista, CCWTC founder and president. Other CCWTC resource persons/facilitators and musicians were Ms. Cristabel Fagela-Tiangco, Ms. Sandy Ang-Pascual, Mr. Lorenzo C. Bautista, Ms. Jeimae Hernandez, Mr. Bryan Jay Paler, and Mr. Jayson Gildore. The overall emcee was Ms. Florence M. Acle of the NAMRIA Human Resource Development Section, Administrative Division, Support Services Branch.
The training workshop consisted of four modules: Getting to Know the Would-Be Hope Bearers; The Gift of Paglaum in Emergencies and Disaster Situations (Why Psychosocial in Times of Disaster Mental Health Efforts); Principles and Skills in Psychosocial Support in Emergencies and Disasters; and Special Issues. The sessions making up the modules featured lectures, group discussions, role-playing, prayer dances, ecumenical service, and ritual. The ecumenical service with the homily “Fellowship in Suffering” ended the first day of the training workshop. The closing ritual was in celebration of Paglaum, Pagsama, and Ginhawa.
In her welcome remarks, CESB Executive Director, Atty. Maria Anthonnette C. Velasco-Allones CESO I, thanked the management team of NAMRIA led by Administrator Peter N. Tiangco, the NAMRIA training facilitators, and the CCWTC for the conduct of the training workshop. She discussed how the program was conceptualized, citing the need for recovery and inner peace, especially for those adversely affected in the aftermath of a major disaster or calamity. She said that the objective of the program is to grow the pool of people within the bureaucracy, who will be equipped with the competency to at least facilitate a psychosocial debriefing activity for the survivors. She shared that the government sector has been overlooked and has not yet undergone psychosocial processing, which is both good and bad. She said that it is good in the sense that in their commitment to serve, those in the sector often lose and forget themselves. It is also bad because they are not super heroes but merely heroes, the lingkod bayani, whose condition of being burned and stressed out, if left unchecked, contributes to low morale, low performance, and eventually will bring down government organizations.
Attorney Velasco-Allones said that NAMRIA is often involved in backstage operations in case of a major disaster or calamity, but this does not mean that the agency cannot produce a frontline “hope or light bearer.” She expressed optimism that the participants will be given the confidence and eventually developed capability, and be available in case there is a request for mobilization. She was also pleased with there being more males in the training-workshop participants, saying it is time for greater participation by male hope bearers, for they are often the first ones to be sent to the affected communities.
She committed the CESB to be the continuing learning partner of the NAMRIA participants, and hoped that their certificates of completion for the activity will bear the CESB logo, so that the training credits they will get will be accredited as managerial training hours. In closing, she congratulated the agency, saying she is happy for NAMRIA’s participation in the program, and that she is looking forward to seeing the participants in future Paglaum gatherings.
In his closing message, Deputy Administrator Carandang congratulated the batch and noted the marked improvement in the participants as to their level of involvement in the discussions. This he attributed mainly to the participation in various learning and development activities of the agency for achieving technical competence and instituting or strengthening organizational systems. In relation to this, he mentioned the recent big achievement of the agency, the Program to Institutionalize Meritocracy and Excellence in Human Resource Management (PRIME HRM) Level II Award from the Civil Service Commission, and the agency’s next target of a PRIME HRM Level III Award, supposedly the very first in the Philippine government bureaucracy. He explained that NAMRIA’s efforts to go beyond its regular mandate and get into undertakings like the Paglaum program was one of its ways in fulfilling its corporate social responsibility. He spoke for the batch in describing the training workshop as having been a very fulfilling, enriching, and humbling experience for everyone, and that it afforded the opportunity to learn very new things, not only on human relations, but also on spirituality. In this regard, he warmly thanked the CESB, Dr. Bautista, and the CCWTC staff, and promised the release of the special order formalizing the creation of the NAMRIA Paglaum team. He also expressed optimism that the program will be very much welcome to other employees of the agency.
The training workshop ended with community jamming featuring chanting, dancing, and playing native instruments and finally a daupang-palad (hand-shake) activity.
CESB Executive Director Velasco-Allones welcomes the NAMRIA batch Scene from role-playing exercise
nine to the Paglaum program; Seated are Deputy Administrators
Carandang and Cabanayan Jr.
Scene from the first-day ecumenical service Branch presentation - GISMB
NAMRIA officials led by Deputy Administrator Carandang with CCWTC The NAMRIA participants and facilitators with the CCWTC training team
training team members, from left to right: Ms. Jeimae, Ms. Cristy,
Ms. Sandy, Sir Boy, and Doc Bolet