The Seal of Good Local Governments (SGLG) is a mechanism which tracks the performance of local government units (LGUs). It has 6 basic elements: good financial keeping, disaster preparedness, social protection, business friendliness and competitiveness, environment management, and peace and order. This mechanism monitors and awards LGUs with good performance. Rosi functions as oversight function supervisor in her local unit, ensuring compliance with LGU procedures etc.

In 2017, her local unit passed the SGLG standards. When she first started in Samal sometime ago, she had felt the urge to improve moral values in her workplace. Wanting to give the community back to God, she initiated a moral recovery program. She started by including monthly Word of Life discussions in her regular meetings with the 42 barangay
(village) chiefs. Gradually, they began to acknowledge God as part of their public lives, whereas before, God was an alien topic not to be mixed with politics. Previously, she had distributed Word of Life (a Bible passage with commentary for reflection and practice) leaflets in various offices, only to find them dusty and unread under office tables. But now, the monthly Word of Life found has found its way into regular barangay meetings and forums.

Rosi Laid (right) with husband Boy
Rosi Laid (right) with husband Boy

She firmly believes that the family is the basic unit of society, the place where the love of God is first circulated, which naturally overflows to the community. So with the help of the vast Focolare family, she started moral formation meetings for the family. A fruit of such formation was when a Punong-Barangay (village chief) finally married his live-in partner of 10 years, with Rosi as their principal sponsor.

Part of her responsibilities is to implement initiatives to address the drug problem in her area. The parameters and expectations were vague and she had to innovate. She was inspired by a program of the Church, “Ugnayan sa Simbahan at Gobyerno” (Relationship in Church and Government), and was the first to launch the program in her province. She partnered with local catechists and together, they went around the city, reaching out to the so-called “drug surrenderees.” They conducted moral recovery seminars for them, and treated them as ‘classmates,’ not as outcasts. Then they partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and received a P10-million funding for livelihood training programs in various technical and vocational areas such as welding, massage therapy, bartending, cooking, driving, automotive mechanic work, and salon jobs, etc. Many of them later found work.

One day, an opportunity for promotion became available but she had to take a qualifying exam. She took on the challenge despite her anxiety. It turned out that the questions revolved around the work, projects and initiatives she had already been doing! Needless to say, she got the post plus the highest salary grade to boot. She was also given the Bank Achievement Award of the DILG regional office for her efforts.

It’s continuing a challenge to work in government and she is not spared from frustrations and despair, having uncooperative colleagues to deal with. Yet she only has to refocus on why she is doing all this. She is doing this for God and for her constituents, and not for anyone else, not even for herself. Drawing strength and inspiration from God, she hopes that eventually, everyone will see only God’s love being manifested through her.

Each day is a new day. Every deadline is another challenge. She looks at each task, not as part of her stressful to-do’s, but as the will of God in that precise moment; and every person as a neighbor to be loved.

Jenni Bulan
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