"Problema sa Trabaho, iSEnA mo!"
This is the tagline of the Single Entry Approach (SENA) - a reform measure carried out by DOLE to effect faster, fairer, and inexpensive settlement of labor issues and to prevent these issues from maturing into actual labor cases.
With SENA, single entry desks (SEADs) were established in all DOLE Offices nationwide to serve affected workers and employers. SEADOs (Single Entry Approach Desk Officers) like us are tasked to facilitate conciliation-conferences/meetings between opposing parties and help them resolve their issues within 30 days.
Our role as SEADO offers us access, privilege and the honor to be part of the lives of those requesting for assistance. Through this position, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these people we are assisting. We are in a place where we can share in-depth human experiences, witness a wide range of emotions and be present when people are at a crossroad in their lives, searching for directions and right decisions. In handling RFAs, we are given a precious gift - the stories of different people and our experiences with them during the proceedings that we carry within us.
Being a SEADO made me a better and a stronger person though at times I have to weep, go home with a heavy heart, and worst having sleepless nights while thinking of ways for a speedy settlement of the issues brought about by the aggrieved party.
If I have to describe my life as a SEADO, it is a heart with many phases and faces.
I am broken and at the lowest point of my life handling RFAs like these:
- mother at odds with a daughter she is working for (monetary benefit was paid but broken relationship stayed on :-( ); and
- issues unresolved and you have no choice but to endorse them to proper venue and worst - simple RFAs maturing into actual labor cases.
I am all smiles when I am able to to settle issues lodged within 30 minutes, an hour, or even within the day.
Hearing the requesting parties say
"God bless you",
and "may you continue helping people"
is simply priceless!
Makes me feel that a place is reserved for me in heaven :-D.
I feel comfortable and whole with these resolved RFAs:
- truck owner betrayed by his trusted driver ( matter argued upon was patched up, owner has to let go of his driver but with due compensation even if he is not worthy of it);
- hotel owner being oppressed by her worker(worker has attitude but owner being the good samaritan that she is still gave him something to start a small business) ;
- about to be displaced workers and their employer with a really big heart ( after payment of separation pay and after shedding tears and saying goodbyes to their colleagues and employer, the employer declared nobody loses his/her job for she is ready to open up another business and hire all of them even if she is in a wheelchair already - I can't help it but to cry with them in joy ); and
- workers who are non-Gensan residents claiming for unpaid wages and got no place to stay for the night while waiting for the schedule of payment on the next day(facilitated a place for them to rest that is safe and with free provision - the police station! heartbreaking but made me smile when the worker said thank you for they were treated well there).
To sum up, I still have a lot of stories to tell in my journey as a SEADO and each of these stories represents LIFE and HOPE!
Thank you, folks, for reading this piece and may we all have a blessed holy week ahead of us!