DAVAO CITY  -Former employees of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) convey happiness over their new life that puts premium on self, church activities and being active even beyond public life.

Active life

“Now that I am retired, I spend most of my time in my home and at my church. I also look after my five-year old grandson in school and I am his tutor at home. Most importantly, I now have more time for myself. My retirement is for myself,” shares Fe J. Calapotoc, 65.

Calapotoc who retired in 2012 when she was 61, radiated joy and contentment as she joined fellow retirees in the first ever meeting of DSWD senior citizens and DSWD retired employees here.

Calapotoc served under DSWD for 37 years and retired in 2012 as Social Welfare Officer IV.

For former houseparent of DSWD-Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC) Gloria Q. Gumia, 63, time is spent mostly in her farm in Braulio E. Bujali, Davao Del Norte where she grows vegetables like okra, squash and kangkong.

Gumia only comes over to Davao City to claim her pension. “Whenever I am in Davao, I always drop by at RSCC because I miss the children and my colleagues there. Sometimes I go to Cebu to visit my sister but most of the time I stay in the farm.”

Gumia owns two residential lots in her town. She was with DSWD for 32 years.

Retired as Social Welfare Officer IV, Perla Ll. Villanueva sustains her physical exercise from head to foot every morning having recovered from two strokes already. She also did speech therapy. An active Catholic and a grandmother of five, she enjoys life especially now with the pension she gets from AFP, PVAO, SSS and GSIS.

Calapotoc’s life as a social worker has not ended after DSWD. “I have not stopped being a social worker. Aware of my profession, people in my church still approach me or refer co-members for counseling. Mothers and caregivers at my grandson’s school also gravitate to me for advice. I even familiarized myself with the Expanded Senior Citizen’s Act so I could share it in my church and help advocate the rights and privileges of senior citizens.”

Calixta Vergara retired in 2015 and now happily raises turkey. Vergara worked at DSWD Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth as housekeeping and kitchen incharge.

Less pressure

Former DSWD cashier Pedro Lomada admits he was happy working at DSWD and now he is happier with his life sans pressures. Lomada served government for 26 years.

“I am enjoying this so much. I am not stressed out anymore. I am always available for any activity or outing with family and freinds,” Gumia beams.

Availing the early retirement program in 2015, Consolacion S. Abad declares, “I am enjoying life because I am not pressured anymore. I bond more with my husband who has also retired from Philippine National Police. I retired early to really enjoy my life while still younger. We are active in church and we make sure to nurture our spiritual growth. I am very grateful for all the many blessings from God.”

Mila A. Alberto who retired at 62 says, “I am extremely happy to have retired. My health is my wealth.”

Serving under DSWD for 36 years, Arturo Ganaden is now stress-free and a happy farmer along with his wife and daughter.

‘There is no more pressure. I feel happy and relaxed to move around,” say Jesus Ajos who served for 37 years. Ajos is very active in his church. “I want to give back all the glory to God.”

The happy retirees as well as the DSWD XI senior citizens will convene again in July to elect the group’s officers. Hopefully, more retired workers will attend and share inspiring accounts of their productive and satisfying life beyond DSWD. (DSWD)