Two city employees commended for honesty

BAGUIO CITY – There's no dearth of honest employees at City Hall as proven by two employees who were commended for their kind deed within a week of each other.

Michael Lopez, a job order employee of the Roadside Inspection Testing and Monitoring Team of the Water/Waste Water and Ambient Air Management Division of the city environment and parks management office, became the toast of his co-employees last Monday as a town official of Lingayen, Pangasinan paid him a tribute during the flag-raising rites for returning a lost wallet last May 23, which incidentally was also Lopez' birthday.

Just the other Monday, Noriel Anthony Buenavista, a newly promoted process server at the city mayor's office, was accorded the same honor by Baguio City Market Vendors Association president Nancy Alabanza for his honesty and helpfulness after locating and returning a diamond earring she lost while attending a meeting at the city mayor's office last June 21.

Lingayen Vice Mayor Edith Hallare related that she had just completed her transaction at the CEPMO and was on her way to the city treasurer's office to pay a fee when she realized she lost her wallet containing P17,000 cash, identification and credit cards and license.

"I got so sweaty despite the cold weather and I assumed that I was victimized by a pickpocket so I reported it to the police and the office of the city mayor. And I was so relieved when Mr. Lopez called me while I was on my way home to Upper QM and informed me that my wallet was in their office," she said visibly moved by Lopez' act of kindness.

"Now I know why people come to Baguio not only because of the good climate and the good views but also because of the good character of its people who are honest, accommodating and hospitable," Hallare said.

Lopez, 34, recalled being disappointed that day after his application for birthday leave was disapproved but nevertheless went on with his work with a light heart until he found the wallet full of cash under a client's chair.

"Keeping it never crossed my mind so I informed my officemates and together we looked for a telephone number to contact the owner who turned out to be the vice mayor," he said.

Hallare also credited the city officials led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Vice Mayor Daniel Farinas for instilling good virtues and inspiring the employees to espouse good character traits.

"I know that a good leader has a good follower and I salute the city officials for having the likes of Michael Lopez as employees," she said.

Lopez has been a job order employee in said division for almost three years now and has been applying for a permanent position to no avail.

The vice mayor gave Lopez a token of gratitude saying that more than the material reward, she is now considering Lopez a member of her family and "a friend for life."

Alabanza was equally moved by Buenavista's kindness that she also paid respect to the employee for returning the earring she described as "very precious and very important to me."

Buenavista, 34, on short notice found the missing earring stuck between two wrought iron chairs at the conference area and immediately returned the item to Alabanza's daughter Paulynne.

Buenavista was a member of the police auxiliary force under the city police and then under the city mayor's office which paved the way for his entry into the city government in 2009 as administrative aide of the Baguio City library until his promotion last May as process server at the People's Law Enforcement Board also under the city mayor's office.

Both employees are known for their unassuming and hardworking ways and for striving to uplift their status despite their meager salary.

Farinas said the city government has always prioritized positive character education and revival among its employees and constituents under the Character City program.

The city government has formed the Baguio City Hall Employees Character Council under the Character City Committee led by Councilor Philian Louise Weygan-Allan. – A Refuerzo

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