“Working more than what I’m paid for.” | Sixto Clemente’s Christmas Speech

My great grandfather served in government for more than forty years. Poverty did not stop him to pursue his dreams.

He began as a teacher and worked hard to be the chief of the Philippine Veterans Administration’s legal department.  Amang Sixto, as he was fondly called, became a lawyer by the age of 46. I’m sharing his written works to preserve his memory and inspire.

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Greetings:

I wish to thank most sincerely, the Management for the plaque. For the information especially of my new co-workers, the plaque is given in accordance with Sec. 27 of RA 2260 as implemented by Sec. 11 of MC# 14, s. 1963 of the CCS.

The air of Christmas is all around us. I know that many of us are thinking that due to our limited income and the high cost of living, we might not be able to buy new clothes and good foods for our family. On the contrary we should be thankful for what we are now, because, we are very much better than the estimated one million Filipinos who are jobless, our countrymen who are undernourished and sick. Let us think of the Vietnamese, the people in the Middle East, in Biafra, Africa, the people in East Germany who could not even talk with their kins in West Germany. And what about the million people in India who die yearly of starvation. Shall we not be thankful that we are employed by the PVA, who with a very few exceptions receive our salaries on time and sometimes with advanced “vales”.

After having served our government continuously for more than 41 and a half years in various capacities starting on 6 June 1927 as a classroom teacher, I do not know if I have served our people honestly and faithfully. Throughout these years, my guiding principle is “Working more than what I am paid for.”

At the outbreak of World War 2, I was a principal teacher in my hometown. When the enemies occupied Manila, they closed all schools in the city and suburbs. When the Japanese Imperial Army reopened the schools, I found myself without any assignment, although, I was the only principal teacher who was a senior teacher eligible in our District. My position was given to another whose length of service is equal to that of mine and who was only a junior teacher eligible. I considered it my first major temporary defeat. For the first time, I learned how selfish and unfair men are. Some called it “self-preservation”. Jobless, with a wife and nine minor children, I joined the Resistance Movement. I left my family believing that my services with our Organization was necessary and with a firm conviction that somehow or another, guided by God they would be able to get along. Unfortunately, I was apprehended by the enemies, incarcerated at Fort Santiago for ninety-nine days. You’ll recall the difference between the prisoners of today and the prisoners during the war years. During the war, there was no due process because Martial Law was then enforced. While in prison, my faith in our Almighty God was intensified, my belief in the power of prayer was enhanced and realized the value of self-confidence coupled with strong determination to get out of Fort Santiago alive, that is why I am here today.

With pride, I can face my God, that I received those promotions voluntarily and unsolicited. I do hope that these promotions were justly earned by the application of the principle of “Working more than what is paid for” through honest and efficient services.

When the Forces of Liberation returned, I was appointed the Military Mayor of our town, first, by the Americans, later reappointed by the civil government which was headed by the late President Sergio Osmeña and finally replaced by a politician. My District Supervisor requested me to return to my former position but still nursing my temporary defeat, I chose the hard way, until about the middle of October 1946, Secretary Jaime Ferrer came to my house and offered me to work in the PVB which was then being organized pursuant to RA 65. When I arrived at the Wallace Field, I met Mr. T. Fernandez who smilingly informed me that my appointment as a Section Chief was already signed by the then Chairman General Macario Peralta Jr. From then on, I was promoted from one position to another, until as a result of RA 2664 the PVA was organized. I was the first Division Chief who received the appointment and during the present Administration, was designated as Acting 4th Deputy Administrator in addition to my duties. During these years, I suffered several temporary defeats first in the PVB and later in the PVA. These temporary defeats helped me greatly. They hardened my resistance. With pride, I can face my God, that I received those promotions voluntarily and unsolicited. I do hope that these promotions were justly earned by the application of the principle of “Working more than what is paid for” through honest and efficient services. To those who helped me one way or another, so I could be promoted my sincere thanks as well as to those who cooperated with me during my stay first in the PVB and later with the PVA, my double thanks because I know that their cooperation is largely responsible so that the higher ups were able to notice my one cent worth.

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My stay in the government was hard but an honorable fight. If I were to begin again, I shall choose to follow the same path, because as one author aptly said, “Do not be afraid of little oppositions because, the kite of success flies against the wind of adversity, not with it.”

During the last Foundation Day, Vice President Lopez said that we are third in the Executive Department in efficiency. All of us are proud of his commendation. In spite of his remark, I still believe that we can improve our performance. Why should we be satisfied of being the third? Administrator Cinco cannot do it alone. President Marcos voiced the same thing in his June 10, 1968 speech at Pasig, Rizal during the COGEO Convention. My sympathy goes to those who believed that we cannot improve our performance within our present resources.

President Kennedy said, “United, there is little that we cannot do, divided, there is little that we do.”

This Administration, like all others, has problems. Why don’t we sit together, list down our problems, and cooperatively solve those problems by: Section, Division and Management levels. “We can do it if we believe we can.”, as the saying goes. I implore all to help solve our problems. Let us not wait for others to do it for us. Whether we like it or not, the success of this Administration is our success and so are its failures.

As to whether I have contributed my little share in attaining the aims and objectives of this Agency, the records is the best evidence.

During my years in the government service, my experience in life is enriched. I learned for example that I am conservative, brutally frank and idealistic. I learned that if a person wants something reasonable, he should know what he wants, why he wants it, how he should get it and when he wants it. Mere wishing is not enough. He must have abiding faith and burning desire to get what he wants. And the most important is, he must act. That one cannot secure the cooperation of others without first showing his cooperation. I learned to put into action the real meaning of initiative, self-confidence and strong personality. I learned how to distinguish the difference between failure and temporary defeat. I learned that we may be able to circumvent the laws made by men but the laws of nature, never. The truth will always prevail as water seeks its own level. I learned to be tolerant with those whom I disagree and the most important is the law of compensation in relation to the principle of the golden rule. I’ve learned the different kinds of leadership based on sincerity and honesty. I learned that it takes a good friend to tell us our mistakes.

Also, I learned how to appropriate the experiences of others in relation with that of my own and to act to do what is right. Through self-introspection, I’ve introduced  myself to myself, see positively the good things of my friends and tried to adjust myself with the environment. To me, that is the best education that came to me in life.

I’m still healthy with a wife and eleven children. God willing, maybe we shall manage to have three meals a day. We shall continue to serve our fellowmen because we know that by so doing Someone will serve us in return. I know that there is no success without happiness and we cannot be happy without first dispensing happiness to others.

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By the grace of God and the mandate of the law, my official connection with this Administration is going to terminate at the close of the office hours on 31 December 1968. It does not however mean that I shall entirely sever my connections with this Agency. I shall always consider myself as a part of the Veterans Affairs as long as I could think and my legs could carry me. If in the future, if yours truly can be of service to this Agency, I shall always be ready and willing and during that time, it would be service for free.

The members of my family are with me in wishing you all “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”