Gelson Rili’s Hardwork Merits Prestigious “Dangal ng Bayan” Award

PIO Department


Share article on:

Gelson Rili could hardly believe that he won Marikina City Government’s “Model Employee” Award in 2017. Now he thinks he is still dreaming a day after he was informed that he is one of Civil Service Commission’s (CSC) “Dangal ng Bayan” Awardees for 2018.

“Parang nanaginip pa rin po ako,” said the 55-year-old Gelson in an interview last Friday at the PIO office inside the Marikina City Hall.

“Parang hindi pa rin po ako makapaniwala na ako ang nanalo. Tinawagan nila (CSC) ako kahapon at sinabing nanalo daw po ako. Ang nasabi ko lang ay ‘Maraming-maraming salamat po’ dahil hindi ko na alam ang sasabihin ko.”

The CSC called him up on Thursday, September 20, at around 11 in the morning while he was at work as a street sweeper for the City Environmental Management Office (CEMO).

“Noong nalaman ko na nanalo ako, hindi na po ako nakakain. Excited po ako. Salamat. Maraming salamat sa Diyos,” said Gelson, who peppered his answers with “po” – an expression of respect in Filipino.

Gelson is the first employee of the Marikina City Government to win the coveted and prestigious award from the CSC.

Humility in Victory

There is nothing pretentious in the way he uses the word “po,” because he is innately humble, recognizing the fact that because of extreme poverty, he was not able to enroll in high school and was forced to take on odd jobs including searching for thrashed empty bottles and other wastes from dump sites that he could sell.

When asked if he felt he deserved to win the “Dangal ng Bayan” Award that would be handed out in Malacañang Palace on Sept. 27 with no less than President Rodrigo Duterte in attendance, Gelson, without any hesitation, said no.

“Hindi po. Sa akin po kasi, isa lang po akong taga-walis na walang pinag-aralan. Mga kalaban ko (sa CSC award) puro matataas ang mga pinag-aralan at may matataas na mga katungkulan. Sabi ko sa sarili ko at sa pamilya ko, malabo akong manalo,” he said, adding that being nominated for the award was enough for him.

This disbelief in being recognized was the same emotion that he felt when he won “Model Employee” of the Marikina City Government in 2017 in the non-supervisory category, which paved the way for his nomination to the CSC “Dangal ng Bayan” Award in April this year.

This was his answer in April when asked about winning “Model Employee” of the Marikina City Government: “Hindi ko inaasahan. Nagtratrabaho ako ng araw na yon, pinuntahan ako ng supervisor ko ng mga alas tres ng umaga. Pinapunta ako sa flag ceremony sa city hall dahil nanalo nga raw ako. Sa isip ko: Bakit ako ang napili? Madami namang mas mataas ang pinag-aralan kaysa sa akin.”

Exemplary Conduct

In naming him as one of the awardees, the CSC said Gelson “has been chosen as one of this year’s Outstanding Public Officials and Employees or Dangal ng Bayan Awardees for exemplary adherence to the norms of conduct and ethical behavior.”

As a Dangal ng Bayan, Gelson will receive a gold-gilded medallion, a trophy designed by National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon V. Abueva and a cash prize of P200,000. He will also be entitled to an automatic promotion to the next higher position, subject to the provisions of Section 6 of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Gelson was originally from Camarines Sur. He finished only Grade 6 because of poverty, which forced him to search for a better life in Manila. His search ended up in Marikina in 1991, where he worked at different jobs – security guard, construction worker, carpenter, garbage collector -- before he was hired as a laborer in June 2003 by CEMO.

His supervisors at CEMO attest that Gelson rarely takes a day off. He works Monday to Sunday, even during holidays. During the typhoon Ondoy in 2009, which flooded most of the city’s barangays, he helped save the lives of around 50 of his co-residents in Brgy. Doña Petra in Marikina.

With his P200,000 cash prize, Gelson plans to treat his co-workers at CEMO, fix his house where he lives with his wife Hilda and three children and save some of it for his children’s future. Despite his meager salary, Gelson is able to send his children to school. His eldest son finished a two-year computer science course, his second child, a daughter, will graduate this year from a four-year course that he could not remember, and his youngest son is in Grade 10.

Grateful Mayor Marcy

Mayor Marcy Teodoro, who attended the CSC’s awarding of certificates to semi-finalists for the award on September 10 at the Luxent Hotel in Quezon City, was proud and supportive of Gelson, who did not expect that the good Mayor will show up at the event.

“Hindi ko po akalain na darating po siya. Sabi ko, bakit niya ako pupuntahan taga-walis lang ako ng kalye. Pero nandoon po siya. Sabi ni Mayor: Salamat sa paglilingkod sa bayan. Sabi ko po: Mayor lalo po akong magsisipag at magsusumikap,” Gelson said.

“Kinongrats niya (Mayor Marcy) po ako. Sabi niya: Kami ang pamilya mo,” Gelson said, still beaming from the memory of having Mayor Marcy throwing support at him.

When told that on September 27, he would be in Malacañang Palace and possibly shake the hand of President Duterte, Gelson was elated.

“Idol ko po siya (President Duterte). Ibinoto ko po siya,” he said.

Aside from Mayor Marcy, employees of the Marikina City Hall are all proud of Gelson.

Some of them like Alfred Javier of MASIDO (Marikina Shoe Industry Development Office) even asked for a souvenir photo with him after the interview at the PIO office.

Ma. Lourdes “Lou” Dela Paz, officer-in-charge of the Trade and Industry Office of Marikina, posted a photo of Gelson at the Marikina Shoe Trade Fair Center. Part of the caption reads:

“Eto ang lodi namin at dapat tularan sa kasipagan at dedikasyon sa sinumpaang Mr GELSON RILI ng Marikina CEMO..."

Share article on: