He has been working as “job order” (JO) utility man for the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Cagayan de Oro City for 27 years now and never did he thought of quitting.

Rodolfo Dizon Mendoza, now 54, left his hometown Maramag, Bukidnon to try his luck here in the city. All he wanted at that time was to finish his studies and earn a degree. 

He applied as utility worker at PIA to support his studies at Bukidnon State University (BSU)-Cagayan de Oro campus where he took up Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEED). But when he was about to enroll in fourth year, the university president issued an order to have all the classes for senior students transferred to the main campus in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, prompting him to quit schooling.

Raising a family

While working at PIA and pursuing his studies at the same time, Rody also started raising a family. He met and fell in love with Rosalina Gonzales and they decided to live together in 1990 and formally tied the knot in 2007. They are blessed with four children: Daryl Dave, 26, Donabelle, 24, Elona Jane, 22, and Kate Cyrulle, 9.

Despite his meager income, Rody was able to send his children to school. Daryl Dave, his eldest, is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at the Misamis Oriental State College of Agriculture and Technology (MOSCAT), Donabelle finished Beauty Care, a vocational course, and Elona Jane graduated from Bachelor of Science in Technology Communication Management degree at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTSP), formerly Mindanao University of Science and Technology (MUST). His youngest child is still in grade school. 

Starting salary 

Rody started working for PIA on March 1, 1989 with a monthly pay of P700 under former Regional Director Jesus B. Apepe. Gradually his salary was raised to P1,500 to 4,000 to 5,000 a month.

When PIA-Caraga Regional Director Abner Caga served as officer-in-charge of PIA-10 in 2010 or 2011, he ordered that the monthly salary of a “job order” employee be increased from P5,000 to P10,000. 

With the escalating prices of good and services nowadays, that P10,000 monthly pay is barely enough to support a family of six. But Rody makes sure that his expenses are within his income. “If you’re earning only P5,000 a month, do not spend P5,100. This is how you should handle money,” he explained. 

No regrets

When asked if he had some regrets since he joined PIA, he said in Cebuano: “Wala ko magmahay sa akong pagtrabaho sa PIA kay maayo akong relasyon sa mga empleyado ug sa akong boss. Daghan akong nakat-unan sa PIA sama sa paggamit sa still ug video camera panahon sa coverage.” 

(I have no regrets working for PIA. I have a good relationship with my colleagues and my boss. I have learned a lot here in PIA like photo-taking and video recording during media coverage.)

Another thing that makes him love PIA more is the privilege of covering bigwigs, key officials and dignitaries in government like the President, senators, congressmen, cabinet secretaries and even ambassadors from other countries. “Walay masuko kon modu-ol ta nila kay kabahin man sa atong trabaho (No one gets mad at us when we go near these bigwigs because it is part of our job),” he mused.

Rody could still remember that he was part of the team that covered the state leaders of BIMP (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines) who held their meeting here in Cagayan de Oro City some years ago.

As a utility worker, Rody comes early in the morning, on a bicycle, to the office to clean its premises. After cleanup, he would do errands, assist in encoding reports and join any media coverage. 

Though he remains a job order employee, Rody finds no dull moments here at PIA for the work is filled with fun, challenges and excitement. (PIA)