Labor Days

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By Peter Rey Bautista

All In Good Time

Friday, May 2, 2014


I JOINED-in a Facebook conversation that mentioned how the Mayor and the Congressman at one time did some labor as construction workers.

The conversation eventually led to some wanting to also do some labor work before entering public service thus the insinuation of doing labor may have jumpstarted the career of certain people in politics. Surely, some comparison was just in jest but it did lead to some colorful discussion. It all started when the Mayor mentioned in his Labor Day speech about doing some work as a construction worker, it was followed by the speech of the Congressman who may have changed his speech to also mention doing some labor work at one time.

Surely, all others may have changed their speeches and shared their experiences about some "labor" at one time all before their own careers today. Many may have also done it at one point in their life, to have some work, those were the days.

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Well who wouldn’t! No Juan gets to be where they are today if they did not work hard for it. There are just a few winners of lotto, most successful people I know and have known have built their wealth, success, reputation and empires all from hard work.

I would also like to relate my experience in public service as I have been in the company of people who are respected in their own fields. While some may wonder at this time why I will be sharing this, it is because all of those who have served the City have worked hard for where they are now.

I would recall how one radio commentator asked about the composition of the Council I was to handle then. I remember there were 10 members who were Lawyers, an Engineer and an Accountant. Obviously, serving in government was just something they wanted to do, another feather in their cap I will say. It was never the other way around.

No Juan would have been given the chance to serve by the electorate though I can say this for Baguio alone. Many would have assumed too that I may have been raised with silver spoons, I say no. I was raised by parents who worked hard and taught me and my siblings well. If Juan would like to serve the community, labor-in the effort.

I did try my luck working abroad, came back and taught for 17 straight years, it was until I became Mayor when I had to leave my teaching career.

Even as a university instructor, I labored to make ends meet. I operated a parking facility and parked the cars of the faculty when they were late for their class. I also sold newspapers after picking them up in Maharlika at 4 in the morning making 25 to 30 pesos daily from newspaper sales was enough for me to treat my pregnant wife a decent (delicious) lunch meal.

I will recall a favorite of ours was bbq chicken with coleslaw with extra rice which we shared in my 1x1 office (guardpost). I'm not kidding nor wanting to one-up the Mayor and Congressman, all I wish for every Juan to know is that only through hard work do we get where we want to be. Work experience will give Juan a better chance to be what they want to be.

Unfortunately, the country has still the highest unemployment percentage. Unfortunate too is the idea of some Juan who think they have to start up above or begin as a manager right away. Many continue to believe there is a short-cut to success. There is none.

We all labor to where we are and where we would want to be. Once more, I continue to find comfort in the fact that I was given the opportunity to be of service to the community. I also count the many blessings that have come my way. So labor on to move on.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 03, 2014.

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