BEHIND the hundred years of service of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) are a number of employees who had stayed with the hospital for decades. Their never-ending concern in attending to their patients may be the reason SPMC is what it is today.
For this year, 74 employees are going to be awarded. Out of this number, 29 will be awarded for their 20-year service rendered, 14 employees for serving the hospital for 25 years, five employees for 30 years, six employees for 35 years, and 10 employees for 40 years. Ten retirees will also be awarded for their loyalty of service as well. The awards night will be conducted at the Mahogany Conference Room, Grand Regal Hotel, Lanang, Davao City on August 10.
Fely Ulangkaya used to be a social welfare officer in the hospital and one of the retirees to be awarded for this year. When asked why she thought she lasted in the job for 33 years until her retirement, she said the main reasons are the good management of the hospital and the opportunity to serve in ways she really had wanted.
Ulangkaya said for the 33 years that she had been a social welfare officer, she worked under four to five different directors and despite these changes of administration, the principles remained consistent, the service standards never compromised.
“I really saw how the hospital was before it became like this. The hospital’s area was very small and the outpatients were put in Manggahan. I was assigned there for 10 years. I was juggling two jobs together then. I was an administrative officer and a social worker. That was how we started then -- we were multitasking,” Ulangkaya shared with a smile the memories of earlier years.
Personally, Ulangkaya said what she believes to be the major milestones of SPMC that has helped not only the patients but the employees and medical personnel of the hospital, as well, are the Lingap para sa Mahirap, the Firecracker Ban, and the 911 emergency response.
“I feel fulfilled here. I could not imagine what I would be if I were not a social worker, also because that’s really my dream job and what I studied for,” Ulangkaya said.
With the more modern processes in SPMC, Ulangkaya said it is still important to “go back to the basic” especially that their social working services require personal talks with the clients.
Romeo Obillo, on the other hand, is an administrative officer who had been in the hospital for 20 years. He is assigned in the radiology department where he thinks he was able to connect well and serve the demands of their patients better.
Fourteen years ago, with a vision to further help the patients way beyond the service that they are asked to do based on their job descriptions, Obillo founded Lay Camillian, an organization where SPMC employees, patients, and their parents can be members. Lay Camillian offers a venue where everyone can talk about what they are going through and confide and be comforted.
This, Obillo said, is very necessary in their work setting especially for the patients and parents of the pediatric cancer department.
He said they make sure they do their Lay Camillian services outside their work schedules, which means that this is purely volunteer work out of love and concern. Aside from emotional support, Lay Camillian also extends financial help and does charity work.
“Especially with cancer, you can’t be sure how long some will last. But with that short span of time that you were with them, they appreciate that. It’s really painful when we’re already close with a patient and then they die… Personally, if I can’t anymore feel the pain of the patient while I’m serving them, I pause; up until I can feel what they feel. Through that pain, your help is genuine. There will really come a time when everything will be routinary already because you can no longer feel what the patient is feeling,” he said.
Ulangkaya and Obillo served in different capacities, and yet what is common to both of them is that they are serving with their heart. This has always been what made SPMC a cut above the rest – workers who see their roles beyond just their livelihood but as providers of healing.
Below are the list of employees who have rendered 20 years of service in SPMC and above.