Mga Panahon ng Buhay

Mga Panahon ng Buhay

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Hindi lamang kalikasan ang may mga panahon na kung sa isang bansa tulad ng Pilipinas ay ang panahon ng tagtuyot o tag-init at panahon ng tag-ulan. Ang buhay man ay may mga  panahon din na dumadating sa iba’t ibang yugto nito.

 

Ang mga yugtong dinadatnan ng iba’t ibang panahon ay nagbibigay ng magagandang kulay at nagsisilbing pagsubok sa kakayahan ng tao sa kanyang pagpupumilit na maabot ang kanyang layunin. Dahil dito, hindi lahat ng panahon ay kaiga-igaya…mayroon ding makabagbag-damdamin o nakakapanlumo.

 

Ang panahon ng kabataan ang pinakamaselang yugto ng buhay ng tao dahil sa panahong ito hinuhubog ang kanyang pagkatao. Malaki ang papel na ginagampanan ng magulang at kapaligiran sa paghubog ng kabataan. Kasama na rin dito ang mga guro at paaralan. Dito dapat natututuhan ng kabataan ang mga magagandang kaugalian lalo na ang paggalang. Para sa kanyang ispiritwal na aspeto, malaking bagay ang nagagawa ng pagiging maka-Diyos ng magulang o paaralan.

 

Mula sa pagiging bata, ang tao ay tutuntong sa yugto ng adolensiya o pagiging tin-edyer kung saan ay may mga pagkakataon na siya ay malilito kung kanino papanig – sa barkada ba na palagi niyang natatakbuhan at nakakaugnayan o magulang na maski nagbigay ng buhay sa kanya ay sa wari niya, hindi niya “mapagkatiwalaan” tungkol sa ilang bagay. Kung matibay ang pundasyon niya bilang bata, hindi siya basta na lang matitinag mula sa mga nakalakhan nang gawi na naaayon sa kabutihan. Subali’t kung naging pabaya ang magulang at mga guro o paaralan na nakalimot nang magturo ng mga magagandang asal, hindi malayong siya ay mahila ng kanyang mga barkada tungo sa daang baluktot.

 

Ang panahon ng pagiging nasa tamang gulang ay yugto kung saan ay gagawa ng maselang desisyon ang tao kung siya ba ay papasan na ng responsibilidad na maghahanda sa kanya bilang magulang na may sariling tahanan para sa darating na mga supling. Mabigat sa kalooban para sa iba ang basta na lang iwanan ang tahanan kung saan siya ay iniluwal at lumaki sa kalinga ng mga magulang at mga nakakatandang kapatid. Subali’t dahil sa sinusundang ikot ng buhay, hindi maaaring siya ay mag-atubili kung siya ay handa na rin lang.  Sa panahong ito maaalala ng tao ang hirap na dinanas ng magulang upang siya ay mapalaki ng maayos at hindi salat sa mga pangangailangan – dahil gagawin na rin niya para sa kanyang mga supling.

 

Ang panahon ng katandaan ay siyang naghahanda sa tao upang magpaalam sa mundo. Sa mga naniniwala sa Diyos na nagpapaalala na dapat putulin ang mga kaugnayan sa mga bagay na materyal habang nabubuhay sa mundo, abut-abot ang kanilang pamamahagi ng mga yamang naipon. Subali’t ang ibang hindi maatim na iwanan ang kanilang mga yaman ay nahihirapang magpaalam dahil sa bigat nga mga ito bilang bagahe na nakaatang sa kanilang mga balikat – nadadaig sila ng panghihinayang.

 

Ang mga panahong nabanggit ay nakukulayan ng saya o lungkot, depende sa pananaw ng tao. Kung ang tao ay hindi naghahangad ng luho, o masaya na sa kaunting kaginhawahan, lahat ng yugto sa buhay niya ay nakukulayan ng kasiyahan. Subali’t kung kabaligtaran naman ng nabanggit ang pananaw ng tao, dahil ang gusto niya ay umangat ang kanyang kabuhayan ng todo-todo para magkaroon siya ng pakiramdam na animo siya ay nakatayo sa isang mataas na tore, ano mang dami ng yaman ay hindi makakapagbigay sa kanya ng kasiyahan sa lahat ng panahon ng kanyang buhay.

 

Ang dalawang pananaw na ito ng tao na sumasaklaw sa lahat ng mga panahong dumarating sa kanyang buhay ang nagpapainog ng kanyang mundo. Kaya dahil may mga tao na gustong saklawan ang karapatan ng iba, masiyahan lamang, nagkakaroon ng hindi pagkakaunawaan. Ang resulta ay digmaan at mga maliitang girian. Kung alin sa dalawa ang iiral pagdating ng kabuuhang panahon ng mundo…walang makakapagsabi.

 

 

The Social Security System of Bacoor City (Cavite, Philippines)

The Social Security System (SSS)

Of Bacoor City (Cavite, Philippines)

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Nowadays, seldom can one find employees who are unassuming, they who dispense their job inconspicuously but with dispatch for the benefit of clients. It cannot be denied that some offices are still wanting in modern facilities so that their staff can function efficiently. Also, there is the stress due to long queues of clients to be attended that affect the nerves.

 

I have mentioned the Philippine Airlines (PAL) employees of Davao airport station in my earlier commentary on how they handled a stressful situation due to the overflow of passengers and which I have witnessed. They obviously employed temperance to the maximum, a rare feat despite the presence of disgruntled customers breathing down their shoulders.

 

In another situation, particularly the Social Security System (SSS) office in Bacoor City of Cavite province, south of Manila, I was again witness to a systematic handling of stressful situation despite cramped space and limited manpower. One commendable staff is a certain Ms. Rischelle G. Tabanan whose duty is to interview claimants of benefits and retiring members. I had the chance to be served by the unassuming lady staff who despite the long line of clients that she interviewed ahead of me as a prerequisite in the processing of documents, she was still all smile and did not miss any single reminder about the rules. She did not show any impatience while answering questions to clear apprehensions. In fairness to the other staff, though, I must admit that there could be like Ms. Tabanan in other service areas dispensing their duties efficiently.

 

The guards likewise showed diligence in handling queries while doing the “walk” around the service area. During the time that I was there, I observed that the two guards on duty did not take a lunch break, of if they did, I could have missed the quickness of how they took the break for a few bite of packed lunch. The service area was practically jampacked with clients that overflowed to the stairway. One of the guards did not get tire of vocalizing reminders for the benefit of those who failed to check the posted guidelines on the tarpaulin.

 

The SSS is just among the agencies that hit the limelight due to questionable appropriation of funds. The said accusation added a negative color to its already tarnished image.  But thanks to the branch offices that try their best in changing this general impression. The visit that I made to the agency when I filed some documents was my first and I was impressed by the agency’s branch in Bacoor City in making do with what they can to make the members comfortable. All personnel, even office trainees, report to the office on the dot, and their doors are opened for transactions as scheduled. In fact, their concern for members who come from far flung areas shows in how the guards distribute queue numbers as early as six in the morning to give the early arrivals time for a quickie coffee or breakfast. I have talked to some members who told me that they took the risk of commuting from their homes as early as 5AM to be at SSS at  6AM, thereby, missing even a gulp of coffee. Guidelines in big tarpaulins are hung in conspicuous areas and practically even the guards are well-trained and courteous.

 

While SSS has unassuming employees who work without any complaint despite heavy loads and stress, it should still take a second look at the manpower requirement and work area of its branches. If only for the comfort of the members who patiently stand in queue for a long time while waiting for their turn to be served, the agency should act with haste as membership is steadily bloating. The membership whose contributions grease the components of this particular social security machinery so that they can operate efficiently, deserve a better return from this social security investment, the premium for which is from hard-earned wages.

 

The following are suggestions intended for SSS in general:

 

  1. The agency should embark on information blitz via the broadcast media (radio, tv, dailies) for the guidance of the about-to-retire members. Most often, these members come to know about the guidelines on the day they visit the agency on their 60th birthday. In general, members are not informed that processing of documents can be done even a month before their 60th birthday. The rest of information may be about the other benefits and services.
  2. Relocate cramped branches to more spacious buildings without sacrificing the location for the benefit of commuting members.
  3. Provide toilet facilities outside the offices for members who come hours before the opening of office doors. As a rule the toilet facility inside the service areas cannot be used by members while the offices are still closed. However, if this is not possible, the guards should at least be given instruction to allow the use of public toilet inside the office. Also, the janitor should see to it that the toilets are clean all the time.
  4. Most importantly, the agency should exert effort in advising the members about options on how they can maximize their expected pensions. Oftentimes, the members who resigned from jobs but have reached the “maximum contribution” to qualify them for the monthly pension, are told that their total contribution is sufficient, hence, they need not continue paying for the monthly premium. The concerned members are not told that the “sufficiency” of the contribution covers only the “minimum” pension. Had they been “encouraged” to go on paying the premium even as voluntary members until they reach the mandatory age of 60, they could have been assured of a higher amount of monthly pension.

 

There is no perfect service, as not everyone can be fully satisfied. This is what is meant by the adage, “you cannot please everybody”. However, unassuming human components of the agency should be commended in their effort to make the members satisfied despite limitations. The agency should therefore be sensitive enough to identify these people within their organization for their inspiring effort, so that credit or recognition can be given where it is due.