FEATURE: PEMO employee recalls meaningful, productive years in gov’t service

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“Be good to clients and provide them with excellent service,” says Gil Cagas Gonzaga, the soft-spoken Social Forestry Technician from the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO). Gil, simply to his fellow employees, hails from Hinunangan, Southern Leyte. He started his government career in 1977 at DENR-CARAGA as Forest Guard. In 1992, with the devolution of the Integrated Social Forestry (ISF) Program of DENR to DA, he transferred to LGU – South Cotabato after a short stint (1989 – 1992) in DENR 12, formerly 11, in Koronadal City. His office then in the province is in OPAg until 2006 and with the transfer again of the ISF program to the newly-created PEMO, he finally settled in the said office in the same year.
Gil was first assigned in the Development Alternative Framework Program and eventually in the Bio-Diversity Program under the Forest and Inland Water Division. He vividly recalled the long hikes he made just to reach his client-farmers in far-flung areas in the province, teaching them the cultural management of their crops and trees. He also narrated about an incident where a bomb exploded near his assigned area in a mountainous place in the city. But he considers it as part of the job and finds satisfaction particularly if the farmers were able to have a bountiful harvest and the trees they planted and nurtured have successfully grown.
“I want to leave my good name as my legacy in public service,” he stressed, referring to the 39 years of public service he will render comes April 11, 2016.. He plans to retire on his 65th birthday on November 15 this year. Gil is happily married to Pacifica Bernasor of Maltana, Tampakan where they reside of whom they have 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl. (Fruto C. Sumagaysay Jr.)
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