Society

Davao cemetery caretaker to leave legacy of dedicated public service

September 23, 2016 By

Across the pastel painted tombs in the Tibungco public cemetery stood the bamboo-fenced, small office of the cemetery’s caretaker, Rodolfo Calvo.

The 65-year-old Calvo has been the memorial park’s caretaker for the past 24 years. His task was to make sure that everything was orderly, deciding where a dead should be buried.

Calvo had the cemetery organized in a way that people don’t get lost in the labyrinth-like 3-hectare park, especially during All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day.

Over the years, Calvo’s life is dedicated to his job as the caretaker of the cemetery. He works even on weekends.

“It’s not even an 8 to 5 job,” he said. “Someone told me, I do not have to work during weekends, especially Sundays, but what can you do when you are needed and called out on a Sunday and 5 in the morning at that?”
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Calvo is set to retire after 24 years of working in the City Government, serving six city mayors, including Mayor Inday Sara Duterte and her father, President Rodrigo Duterte.

He is among the sixty-nine workers who served for as long as 44 years in the city government.

On Monday, a program will be dedicated to Calvo and the others considered as ‘model retirees.’

“They are the ladies and gentlemen who gave and rendered their best civil service to the city government in Davao,” said City Administrator Zuleika Lopez. “We thank them for that, and on behalf of the city and the Mayor, we wish them well in enjoying their years ahead.”

According to Erwin P. Alparaque, the Department Head of the Human Resource Management office, people working in the government and called as public servants are serving the people.

“It is a livelihood, but foremost, they are in the government because of their dedication and love to serve the people,” he said.

Also retiring on Monday is Roberto ‘Bert’ Tomas, a photographer of the City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO). He has served the city government for the past 30 years.

Tomas will not be able to join the ceremony as he is still recuperating from a recent surgery.

The City Government of Davao, through its Program in Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE), will award grant service or cash awards incentives to employees in recognition for their exemplary service in the government.

The program gives P20,000 cash incentives to those who served the city for a maximum of 40 years, P15,000 for those who served for at least 30 years, P10,000 for those who served at least 20 years, and P5,000 for those who served at least 10 years.

When he started, Calvo was only receiving P240 monthly salary, when the public cemetery was still under the supervision of the City Health Office.

Retiring at salary grade 2 level, earning a basic salary of P10,848 a month, Calvo is a picture of a content and happy public servant.

By serving the city government, Calvo was able to support the needs of his family, especially the education of his children, one of them a graduate of education.

He even laughed about his mild stroke after coming back and forth to the City Hall, climbing the stairs up to the rooftop to practice a thanksgiving presentation on Monday.

Asked what he plans to do when he retires, he said he’s still thinking about it.

But he has this to say to those who are still serving the government, “Be good in whatever job you are assigned to.” CIO