With its continuous goal to provide equal opportunities for all Davaoeños and to build an inclusive workplace, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) XI signed up three (3) individuals with hearing impairment as interns under the Government Internship Program. All three of them are graduates of Davao City Special National High School and are currently interns at the Regional Office.

In December of 2022, Felix T. Besande III, 39, Pourdalea L. Asnan, 34, and Romeo P. Tundag, Jr., 34, went to the Regional Office of DOLE XI to look for job opportunities. Recounting their experiences, they had their fair share of struggles in finding a job because of their condition. They were confronted with various forms of discrimination during job-hunts and even in their previous workplaces. Yet, these challenges did not slow them down.

Upon meeting the minimum requirements of the Department Order 204-19 Guidelines on the Implementation of the DOLE-Government Internship Program, DOLE XI admitted Felix, Pourdalea, and Romeo to the program in February of 2023 under a six-month contract.

Felix, from Mintal, Davao City, used to work in labor and construction. As a GIP intern, Felix is assigned at the Employment Unit of DOLE XI and is tasked to check the Daily Time Records (DTRs) of all GIP interns across the region. “This is an opportunity for me to grow and acquire experiences. Since I became an intern, there have been positive changes in the ways I look at things and I have become more willing to adapt to new circumstances,” Felix added.

Also from Davao City, Pourdalea was a pricing staff for four years in a shopping mall. She is an intern now at the Office of the TSSD Chief and helps in carrying out clerical jobs. “I acknowledge my disability and I know my limitations but giving up will never be part of my plan. I am thankful to DOLE for this favorable occasion. This organization truly inspired me to be more patient and determined until I reach my goals.”

Meanwhile, Romeo, from Bangkal, Davao City, is his family’s breadwinner. He completed his TESDA welding course in 2009. His previous employment included staff work in a mall warehouse for three (3) years and construction works for a year. Now, Romeo is a GIP intern at the Accounting Unit. “What I appreciate most here in DOLE XI is the respect and kindness that the people show for us. They make an effort to learn our language to communicate well with us and that means a lot to us.”

Remaining true to the office’s core values, DOLE XI Regional Director Atty. Randolf C. Pensoy said in a statement that, “We are committed to unfailingly promote justness, respect the rights of everyone, and create a more inclusive and equal workplace culture. This is also another manifestation of our constant support for the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance of Davao City.” ### MFKM