For the first time in years, the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) moved to a digital platform the recognition event for retiring city government employees due to anti-Covid restriction on mass gathering. 

Dubbed the Digital Pasasalamat 2020, the recognition program was streamed on the city government Facebook page on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. It was the city government’s way of thanking retirees of their long years of service. 

Mayor Inday Sara Duterte thanked the retirees for their service to the city government and wished them success and happiness in the new chapter of their retired life.

“Davao City is a recipient of various awards and citations because of you, our city government employees who have devoted your time, efforts, and skills to support the government and serve our fellow Dabawenyos. Daghang Salamat for choosing to dedicate your lives to public service,” she said.

The Mayor further cited the retirees’ passion and heart for service. She also encouraged them to never stop serving the people.

“You may be leaving the local government but I hope that you may never tire from being a Dabawenyo with a genuine heart for service,” she said. 

City Administrator Atty. Zuleika T. Lopez, who joined the online event, said, “This Pasasalamat program is our way of showing our thank you and our recognition for all your hard work and dedication. To our retirees, this chapter holds a new and wonderful beginning for all of you.”

Lopez wished retirees that leaving government service would bring endless opportunities to finally do the things that they want to do and endless days of happiness with their loved ones.

HRMO head Lemuel Ortonio recalled that Pasasalamat is usually conducted in a traditional setting on the last Monday of September in celebration of the Civil Service Month when everyone is gathered during the flag raising program and for the retirees to showcase their performance. 

Despite the mass gathering restrictions, Ortonio said the city government still wanted to honor and recognize the retirees, thus, the idea of the digital presentation for them. This allowed the retirees to still showcase their last performance as a government employee.

“We came up with an innovative way for our retirees to still perform. So, we requested our retirees to send in their videos. Naa mi gisend sa ilaha nga mga dances na kinahanglan nila sundugon, and then they send it to us and we will compile it for viewing para sa public. (We sent them dances to follow and send to us for compilation and viewing),” he said.

This year’s Pasasalamat has the highest number of retirees with 102 active retirees plus 13 who have passed away. 

This year’s batch of retirees includes three (3) department heads – Maria Luisa Bermudo of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) who has rendered 28 years of service in the government; Maribeth Lumactod of the City Economic and Enterprise Office, who has 34 years of service; and, Dr. Josephine Villafuerte of the City Health Office with 37 years of service.

Aside from the usual service incentives given to the retirees, Ortonio said that Mayor Sara is also giving an extra P50,000 each retiree. “That would be a big help for them to enjoy their retirement,” he said.

Adams Torres, the Regional Director of the Civil Service Commission XI, who joined the online event, said, “I know that you gave more hours, even your holidays and supposed forced leaves and personal milestone days to your job to the city of Davao. Some of you have not attended important events of your family just so your duties and responsibilities as civil servants would be fully discharged.” 

The recognition program also falls under the 120th anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service with a theme: “Civil Service at 120, Public Sector in the Age of Digital Transformation”.  

Torres congratulated the city government for “demonstrating the power of digital technology” in gathering all the retirees for the Pasasalamat 2020. CIO