A breadwinner, blessing to others

Dexter (front row, middle) with other DOLE staff after attending the Client Satisfaction Feedback Consultation-meeting.

“Failures are indeed what make a success a success.”

The most important milestones of a person’s life are those that shape and define him, things that would drive him further to reach for his goals.

Dexter was someone with plenty of those milestones, a living testament that persistence and determination can conquer challenges and obstacles no matter how difficult it may be. To not just always rise up every time we fall, but also to see every failure as an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and ultimately be a better version of ourselves.

Dexter Mark B. Cervales, a personality oozing with confidence, claims to be the most handsome staff in the office of Department of Labor and Employment-Capiz Field Office, his confidence radiating positive ambiance and laughter to the workplace.

Although noisy, his happy-go-lucky persona relieves stress in every situation he has encountered but behind this vibrant personality is a young man who has been constantly exposed to adversities.

The eldest of five siblings, Dexter was born to Mama Nemz and Papa Dan, in a small village atBrgy. Bolo, Roxas City, Capiz. At an early age, he would usually stay at home and help his mother with household chores while other children played outside.

Sometimes, he would sneak out to play but always had in mind that taking care of his siblings is his main responsibility. No matter how much he loved outdoor games, he would rush home to look after his brother and sisters, the dream of escaping poverty in mind.

With this to live by, no matter how hard things get he would repeatedly whisper “Never Retreat, Never Surrender” and would come up with ways to handle the situation.

With just Php20) in his pocket, Dexter would walk in the rain or under the scorching heat of the sun, instead of riding a jeepney or tricycle in order to save money which he sets aside to be used for photocopies and other requirements in school.

Before eating his breakfast in the morning, he would divide his food into two portions, eat half of it, and bring the remaining half to school for lunch. When there was no food for breakfast, “singkamas” and rice was his go-to combination, costing him only Php10.

He became one of the outstanding students during his high school which granted him free tuition fees. Another blessing came along the way, an opportunity for Dexter’s father, Papa Dan, of employment in Manila. However, this prompted the family to make a difficult decision – stay in Roxas City and let the opportunity pass, or leave everything and start a new life in a foreign place.

Mama Nemz discussed with Dexter the better choice of living in Manila as he was hesitant to leave. The young Dexter contemplated the struggles of living alone, and thought to himself that being independent would benefit him. He decided to stay.

Life in Manila was a vicious one as it was not as easy as what the family expected it to be due to the delayed payments. The Cervales family found it difficult to make ends meet but Dexter, along in Roxas and not wanting to bother his parents, opted instead to find other ways to stay as independent as possible.

Sometimes he would offer to help his Aunt in exchange for meals. In school, he would volunteer to facilitate the reproduction of handouts so he could avail free copies. Dexter joined the football team, with his desire to earn a small prize of extra money to aid his expenses. However, his academic standing suffered and he was called to the principal’s office but, after hearing about his situation, he was given another shot to make up for his standing.

Dexter admired the sacrifices of his teachers in sharing their knowledge to educate students which inspired him to take up Bachelor of Secondary Education, Major in Social Science. He promised himself that he would manage his time well between his academic and extracurricular activities.

His passion in football made him try his best to qualify as a player for the school varsity team and, through hard work, he was appointed captain of the team.

He admitted that he would sometimes be exhausted after practice games that he would be too lazy to open his books and remind himself of his dream, the dream to succeed and uplift his family from poverty so he would regain strength and study.

During his leisure time, he listens to the radio and sings along to music. In a commercial break, he heard an announcement from the DOLE about one of their programs, the “Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES)” which encourages students to apply as a beneficiary. Hearing the news brought another thrill of excitement to him, seeing it as a new venture to gain new experience and a fresh auxiliary of profit to help his family.

Dexter had been pulling at everything to finish college and now all of his efforts have paid off. He graduated with flying colors, proud of what he has achieved. Once again, while listening to a radio program, he heard of an announcement about DOLE’s  Government Internship Program and they are looking for applicants for this Program.

His background and work exposure as a SPES beneficiary entitled him to a spot as a GIP 2017 beneficiary, working hard but never shying to ask for assistance from his superiors.

On September 27, 2017, after the end of his GIP contract, he took the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET), fully confident, but the results it yielded proved hard to swallow.

Dexter felt like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, frustration and disappointment lingering in his heart. He cried hard, wondering why he failed but his Mama Nemz was there for him, consoling him, with the assurance that no matter what happens, they were always proud of him.

She advised him that failures were part of life and that giving up was never an option. He reflected on that, going back to the darker moments of his life, his struggles and the tingling relief of accomplishment every time he overcame it.

He affirmed himself once more, reminding himself that the failures would mold him into a much stronger person and decided to surrender himself to God, thinking, “Make me a blessing to others.”

Dexter then devoted his time into finding a job where he was given an opportunity to work as an outsourced personnel for the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program, a component of the DOLE’slivelihood and employment program. He learned administrative works like filing, organizing, routing of correspondence, receiving calls and attending to clients’ inquiries.

After some time, he gained back what confidence he had previously lost and, without saying anything to his family, he retook the LET last March 28, 2018. On the day of the exam, he prayed and told himself that he would become a licensed teacher.

When it rains, it pours. Dexter passed the board exam and was also given the chance to work again as National Skills Registry System Coordinator – Outsource personnel.

He continued to make headway and his efforts were recognized during the Regional Awarding of the Best Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Employment Information System Implementer as one of the main lead actors who helped DOLE Capiz Field Office bring home the crown as the Regional Winner.

His work ethic was another positive factor in his promotion from an outsourced personnel to a plantilla position as Administrative Aide 6. Despite being overwhelmed with all the good things coming his way, he committed himself to being a blessing to others, opting for a small feeding program instead of extravagantly celebrating his birthday.

Dexter Mark Cervales was exposed to life’s cruelties at a very young age but his perseverance and optimistic behavior helped him attain his life’s goals. With his current earnings, Dexter is now able to gradually renovate their house, pay for their monthly utilities, and provide his siblings with school allowances as well as milk for his younger sister.