The scholars of Middle Managers Class Batch 22 – Uhay experienced multiple firsts over the course of their stay with the Program. They were the first batch to have their residential training in Tagaytay interrupted by the Taal Volcano—that erupted for the first time in 43 years. They were also the first batch of scholars whose classes had to be held at DAP-Pasig. This trailblazing chain of events didn’t stop there as the country was suddenly faced with the global health crisis brought about by COVID-19. When the entire island of Luzon was put under Enhanced Community Quarantine, MMC 22-Uhay was faced with the first abrupt halt of all academic activities offered by PMDP. Despite these tumultuous series of firsts, the batch will surely not return to their respective agencies without being part of many historical milestones as well. Traditionally, a closing ceremony is held to celebrate the end of a class’s residential training before entering the rigorous process of crafting and implementing their Capstone Projects. However, given the state of things with mass gatherings restricted under the ECQ guidelines, the batch became part of PMDP’s history as their Closing Ceremony became the first of the Program’s events to be held virtually last May 16th. Thanks to the digital platforms available through Google Meet, the batch successfully celebrated their personal and communal achievements with the Program and were duly recognized for both the patience and resilience they displayed throughout the many unexpected setbacks they were dealt.
THREE MESSAGES FROM SVP MENDOZA
In her Welcome Remarks, Senior Vice President Magdalena L. Mendoza stated how this date marks not only the 70th day of the declaration of the Community Quarantine in the National Capital Region, but also a special milestone for the Program as it is the first time that the conclusion of the Residential Classes had to be held online. This takes back the meaning of the term “Residential” in PMDP’s context as the scholars are celebrating within the comfort of their own homes. With this in mind, SVP Mendoza left the scholars with three clear messages:
First, she congratulated and commended the scholars for having the courage and tenacity to complete their residential training despite the unforeseen events that made significant changes to their experience with PMDP. As SVP, she is well aware with the standards set by PMDP’s esteemed faculty, as well as the degree of difficulty of the outputs required by their modules. She is certain that the training was not “a walk in the park”. Nonetheless, she reminded them that, as public servants, they should always set their hearts on “noble purposes and heavenly things” and wished that the scholars would keep in their heart the purpose of the Program: “to make those working in government better able to perform their functions and duties.”
In her second message, SVP Mendoza affirmed the scholars for their commitment to the duties they needed to fulfil in their respective agencies, especially those who are working in the front lines during these extraordinary circumstances, in addition to their responsibilities with the Program. She mentioned how she is comforted that PMDP has “enkindled [your] spirit and sensitivity to the needs of the ordinary people”, as well as “invigorated [your] dedication to serve the public.”
Lastly, she expressed how she expects the scholars to serve as the “agents of change” in their respective agencies and make them future-ready as, once the ECQ has been lifted, the situation will not likely return to “business as usual” but instead, will give way to the “new normal”. She shared how certain papers and researches described the new normal as “anything but ordinary” and will include anything that arises in a “post-pandemic” world. While this predicts more unpleasant events to arise, it also opens immense opportunities for innovations and dynamic improvements according to Mendoza. An instance is how internet and technology is being maximized to perform operations, and how the mandate on government will shift as “post-pandemic economies around the world will need all the productivity surges that they can squeeze out of technological and organizational innovations.” With this, she hopes that the MMC 22 scholars, with their Capstone Projects will “contribute to [your] organizations in adapting to the new normal and make [your] agencies ready for the unforeseeable futures that will come.”
STRONG 48’S EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY
MMC 22 – Uhay’s Class President, Mr. Romel Patrick Tanghal, expressed his, and the whole batch’s, thoughts on the extraordinary circumstances they’ve tackled while training with the Program. He mentioned how despite the delays in the scheduled events and the sudden shift of learning mode, they were thankful that the batch and the PMDP staff were gathered to celebrate the closure of their intensive residential phase. While he still wished for the more traditional conduct of the event, the government policy has forced everyone to adapt to a new normal. Mr. Tanghal recounted Uhay’s unique, incredibly memorable and once in a lifetime rollercoaster ride as a class. The batch has indeed pioneered many firsts, including the very event they were participating in. The 48 scholars have “hurdled the obstacles, squarely faced and addressed the challenges” and were able to accomplish this through their “individual and life’s guiding principles”. These principles were strengthened and reinforced by learning, academic discussions, informal conversations and, most of all, the spirit of the strong 48 according to Tanghal. He shared how the event was a testimony of the batch’s “deep sense of determination and resolve” as, looking few months back, they pledged to complete their training together. Tanghal described how the Program has “inculcated the constant reminder” of their roles as public managers which should be characterized with “integrity, development-oriented, competence, adaptability, innovation, and wholehearted dedication to public service.” He extended the whole batch’s gratitude towards the people behind the Program for the “countless blessings, bonds of friendship and spirit of camaraderie”
UHAYANS RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR ACADEMIC AND CREATIVE EXCELLENCE
The event continued with a performance from the batch’s very own Joseph Vega and Marjorie Muñoz followed by a creative re-interpretation of the traditional peer awards given during the closing ceremony to those scholars who left a memorable impression on their fellow scholars.
“Best in Journal Writing” was awarded to Teodoara Ballola and Patrick Jess Jacildo who were chosen by their very own Class Director, Virginia Aldea.
CD ALDEA SHARES STEPS TO A MORE MEANINGFUL LIFE
CD Virginia Aldea reminisced the first time she met the MMC 22 scholars during the batch’ Opening Ceremony and described it as the start of a turning point in their lives. She felt this validated by their journal writings. She also enumerated the events that the batch went through including having their classes restricted by intermittent power supply due to Typhoon Tisoy, experiencing the eruption of Mt. Taal and being forced to adapt to a new mode of learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that they could be referred to as people who thrived on very challenging situations and was a testament to their being a “strong 48”. The completion of their residential phase was made possible by the scholars’ resilience and the dedication of the members of the PMDP faculty, module team, and DAP-PMDP staff in providing the batch the support they needed. Aldea described possibilities on what more the scholars can do as their time with the Program is has not yet concluded. She enumerated steps to a more meaningful life which she interpreted from a book authored by of Dr. Arthur Caliandro.
She said the scholars have full control in deciding their attitude and that the appropriate one will spell their future. She mentioned persistence, something the scholars displayed throughout their 5-month course as they persisted through the setbacks they’ve experienced. She advised them to never give up on their desire to help people. She included kindness as it changes not only one’s own life but also others’. She added that it is important to spend their time cultivating their religious view and connecting with their Creator. CD Aldea impressed on the scholars that they all have the capacity to start anew, especially those who were transferred or will be transferred. She reminded them to never pass the blame and own up to their responsibilities, as well as the consequences of their decisions. She also reassured them that, sometimes, being vulnerable is what makes them even stronger, sturdy and stable. She stressed not to look down on someone who hasn’t obtained any academic achievement as what triumphs in the heart is more important. She hopes that the scholars can provide opportunity for others the same way they were given the opportunity to be part of the Program. Lastly, CD Aldea told them to maintain self-control, discipline themselves, and be the example. More than anything else, pray and have a grateful heart, Aldea concluded. She ended her speech by extending her warmest congratulations to the batch by mentioning each of the scholars’ names and applauded them for their efforts.
The event concluded with a video presentation created to honor the batch that faced challenge after challenge but persevered through the unexpected and extraordinary.