“SANCTUARY: Reflections on the NCA Leadership Journey For Young Public Servants”
Last January 4-6, 2013, 18 young public servants coming from different government agencies were selected to participate in the first run of the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Leadership Journey for Young Public Servants held in Lima Park Hotel, Lima Technology Center, Malvar, Batangas.
The NCA Leadership Journey aims to build the nucleus of a new generation of leaders that are grounded on their spirituality who can eventually transform Philippine society. Using Ninoy and Cory Aquino as role models, the program seeks to reintroduce spirituality as a major foundation for Filipino leadership. Harnessing their innate values systems, the participants take part in a process of self-reflection that will ultimately lead to self-transformation and self-commitment for others and country.
Below are reflections written by NCA Leadership Journey Young Public Servants about the experiences and insights they gained from the program.
Office of the Political Adviser
This retreat gave me the opportunity to slow down and truly reflect on where life is taking me. It helped me connect the dots and realize that each event was no accident. It made me accept that I am weak and that I cannot control my life.
It is ironic though that my acceptance of weakness gave me the peace of mind (assurance) and the strength I was looking for. Now, I can go about my tasks without fear that God will abhor me. I can now face my tasks with peace knowing that I have God’s grace, compassion, and guidance to back me up during the trying times. And yes, Jesus truly loves me not because the Bible or Sir Lino tells me so but because He told me so.
Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process
The retreat gave us the perfect time and opportunity to step back and look at ourselves; to reflect, meditate and realize the importance of the work that we do. It gave us the chance to re-focus our perspectives in life and work, to make new commitments to ourselves, our family, our work and to the Lord. It rid us of all the baggages that we had, so to speak, as we realized we are never truly alone, that others are experiencing what we are also experiencing, and that we can help and learn from each other. More importantly, the retreat made us realize the value of our jobs – that we are simply not working for money or to follow our immediate superiors, but we are working to serve the Filipino people to make this country a better place, much like what Ninoy and President Cory has done. More importantly, we work towards the fulfilment of God’s plans and visions, knowing that difficulties and hardships that come our way are challenges that we can overcome and that we have something to learn from it and share what we learned to others. It is through these realizations that make me fully appreciate who I am as a person and as a public servant.
Atty. Joanna Kim Ong
Department of Justice
The 3-day leadership retreat was a revelation; it not only allowed me to peek into and be consequently inspired by the heroic journeys of Ninoy and Cory Aquino during their lifetimes but also gave me the much needed opportunity for silence and reflection, which we tend to lack during the usual hubbub of our everyday lives. For me, the most important message I take from the retreat is the knowledge that indeed, God loves us and it is with this love that we are transformed and moved into action. Public service is one of the means by which we manifest His love. While different roads may have led us participants to government service, I think we share the same faith and idealism at the core, allowing us to keep striving to make a difference and help uplift our country.
Maria Katrina Acela Padua
Department of Agriculture
The NCALJ YPS helped me to answer questions that have been running in my head since I decided to spend the most productive part of my youth in government service. It made me ascertain what my career in the government is all about – that it is God using me in His works to serve His people. Simply put, it made me find greater meaning in what I do. And so with all the things I discovered and learned from the journey, I hope that more young people in the government will be given this opportunity to revisit themselves at this point in their life. To see God in everything I do and to find that place where I am called is the challenge I posted to myself – and because I gained the love and support of a group of people who will be with me throughout this journey, I am confident that with God’s grace, I can do it. Laban lang. Bawal sumuko.
Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process
The Leadership Journey is a great start for me this year. It opened my eyes and my heart to a lot of good things, especially to God. The most important lesson that I learned from this experience is to always see God and seek His presence in all things and in everything that I do, even in the midst of difficulties with my personal life and with work. The retreat gave me the silence and reflection time that I have been wanting for a long time since I started working after college. I needed to find my core again, and this reflection/personal time gave me the opportunity to listen to what God wants to tell me and probably, where He wants to lead me. I believe that conducting the Journey at the beginning of the year accorded me and my fellow young public servants the direction and guidance towards our inner core so that we can all continue our journey with meaning and purpose. I left the retreat venue without any emotional baggage (angst, frustrations, bitterness, loneliness), but with a rejuvenated body, a renewed heart and an appeased mind, with so much learning, and with new friends whom I can call family now. I didn’t feel the exhaustion and hesitation to work that I had felt in the last years, and was actually excited to go to work and do my part in the government service. Indeed, I can see the Lord’s blessings in a better light now. There are already doors opening for me where I can maximize my skills and realize my self-worth, and I know that God is leading me there because I let Him be in control. I hope that these learnings and practices can also be experienced by other people in government and that I can be an instrument for sharing and spreading the love of God.
Atty. Ma. Yvette Tamayo
Department of Justice
The Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey was a truly wonderful way to start the year. Coming in to this leadership journey, I had so much apprehensions and questions about my place in public service. The whole experience was therefore a real eye-opener for me. It has filled me with a renewed spirit and sense of purpose. It also allowed me to meet with other young public servants whose stories truly inspired and touched me. I will always cherish this one-of-a-kind opportunity to be enlightened with the idealisms of Ninoy and Cory and to practice them in my own journey in government service.
Department of Finance
It has been a privilege to belong to the first batch of the NCAF Leadership Journey’s Young Public Servants Edition. I highly recommend that young people in government be part of the Journey as it provides the much-needed safe zone and quiet space for young, busy and often over-stimulated to step back and recall the very reason why we are in public service.