The Department of Social Welfare and Development, with its mandate to provide help to the poor, marginalized, and disadvantaged individuals, has housed many workers who offer themselves genuinely and tirelessly to embody the core values of public service and to provide guidance and protection to the people.

One of these workers is Regine Imee Gardoce, who hails from Tampilisan, Zamboanga Del Norte, and works as Pantawid Municipal Link in Bindoy, Negros Oriental. She received the Pusong Magiting citation awards in the 70th Founding Anniversary of the department for her exemplary commitment to delivering service to people even in life-threatening moments.

Regine Imee Gardoce conducts case management to Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries with children not attending school in Bindoy, Negros Oriental.

Her brave heart and unshakable service have been proven during the peak of the pandemic, brought about by the COVID-19 and the climax of the first tranche of the Social Amelioration Program implementation.

In April 2020, while everyone was given instruction by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to stay at home and the majority of the Filipino workforce were on work from home arrangement, Regine reported to work every day, following the safety protocols, to serve the needy families in town.

In the first tranche, the local government units implemented the SAP through the LSWDO, yet Regine unselfishly extended her service to the LGU, working beyond office hours on weekends and holidays. She helped the local social welfare office of Bindoy in all the processes and activities to undertake for SAP.

In the afternoon of 29 April 2020, while the LGU, together with DSWD Municipal Action Team (MAT), including Regine, has conducted the SAP first tranche payout to beneficiaries, there came a report that there was an ongoing encounter between the armed rebels and government soldiers in some areas of Bindoy.

As verified by the Barangay Captain of Manseje, where the SAP payout was conducted, and by the parent leaders of barangay Camudlas, a neighboring barangay of Manseje, a group of 10 young armed men allegedly members of an insurgent group, visited some financially capable families in Barangay Camudlas and asked for money, food, and other goods. The armed group stayed in a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary’s home where the owner was shot dead.

Because of the crossfire between the government troops and armed groups, the affected barangays conducted the emergency evacuation of residents in Bindoy Central Elementary School. Regine proceeded to the evacuation center after the SAP payout and helped manage the LGU’s evacuation center.

Sixty (60) families were assisted with relief goods and provided stress debriefing. Regine ensured that the evacuated families, including Pantawid beneficiaries, were fed, clothed, and processed. She also checked on injuries of children, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens.

Regine and her colleagues felt anxious as there was a rumor that the armed groups were also after the SAP. However, the said hearsay did not hamper Bindoy MAT and her desire to finish the SAP distribution.

In spite of the COVID-19 threat, exhaustion after payouts, and pressures in SAP implementation, Regine’s team continued to serve the people of Bindoy.

Regine exemplifies the Angel in Red Vest. She is one of the many people in DSWD who goes beyond the call of duty without hesitation, regardless of the risk and danger it takes. ###

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