Note: This piece is written for the DSWD FO CAR’s 120th Philippine Civil Service Month Celebration Essay Writing Contest with the theme: Philippine Civil Service @ 120: Public Sector in the Age of Digital Transformation.  This piece written by Kenelyn C. Dulnuan placed 2nd.

The dark philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus once said that “the only constant in life is change. It is inevitable even in our way of life in the labour force, where we experience working progress through inventions and continuous technological improvements”.

Before computer came to play, there were resounding ticks of typewriters. Before the advent of high-end mobile phones, there were lengthy queues of telegram and telephone. As we thread the years, humanity never waned from discovering something new that could possibly bring life to a greater height of convenience and productivity. With this in mind, a mind-bugging query blossoms- “Do technological advancements in every aspect of a worker’s human existence deliver changes for a better life or a changes for a bitter life?”

We have now shuttered the portals leading to digital transformation allowing us to experience advanced technologies in various business processes undertaken in providing social welfare services for valued clients. Due to the speedy transition and improvement of technology, workers need to grab the ropes of changing systems and strategies. With these cards on the table, transactions drastically evolved as paperless and electronic. It limited the face-to-face encounter with clients and replaced it with an all-day face-to-face encounter through a computer’s view and clicks.

This year’s celebration of 120th Civil Service Month coincides with the challenges brought about by the COVID19 pandemic crisis. Every public servant, in one way or another, has experienced the whip of difficult encounters in his service delivery during these trying times. These limitations do not dampen the spirit of true civil service. They do not detail borders of serving the usual clientele. A determined servant now threads the path of digital means to make things possible. This determination is likened to the hearty efforts of all front liners whose services are highly essential to the nation’s survival and recovery. No words are enough to express the commendation for our front liners who exemplify the true qualities of a civil servant in their execution of duties.

Decision-makers now must divert or align their initial plans, activities and budgets to meet the emerging demands of its workforce. There lies a challenge to innovate methodologies that conform to health protocols vis-à-vis limitations from the pandemic crisis. Such innovations lead us to a continued digital transformation towards efficient service delivery. There is a spearhead call to transpose meetings and conferences into virtual mode thus the need to realign funds to procure needed digital technologies. There is a need to maximize digital modes along the triple folds of media in bringing information relative to the services we provide. Such moves for example do not curtail our service provision as we adapt to the developing changes.

Every public servant aspires for better working life. A life where he could search his purpose and achieve contentment. A life that delivers benefits for physical, emotional, intellectual and moral well-being. The presence of such factors motivate us to perform our commitments as true public servants.

Digital transformation is a realization of a line from the “Awit ng serbisyo sibil” that says “lingkod na tunay ngayon at kailanman”. We don’t cease our concerted actions amidst these challenges in our pockets. Much more should we adamantly heighten our lines of service using digital transformation at its peak. The current crisis demands more from a public servant as he struggles to remain true to his call of duty. In doing so, he morphs into a digital worker with gains of “new tacit flexibility” in his lines of work.###

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