By: ANCEL MARIE B. MONDIA
She was one of the seemingly ordinary Bachelor of Arts in Political Science students, but Lovely May Paniergo Robles is now the Local Government Operations Officer V of the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Iloilo.
She was raised by a single mother for her father passed away when she was four years old and her brother was a year old.
“I guess when you look up to an independent and hardworking mother all your life, you start to imbibe that brand of independence. Seeing my mom endured so many hardships, I was programmed to want and achieve only the best and to not rely to anyone as much as possible,” Robles says.
When she was in college, she did hosting gigs, organized events, worked as an online tutor, and sold hand-made accessories.
“It helped that both my parents were in the media industry, I guess it was just innate for me to easily speak before an audience and to gel with different kinds of people. All these ‘rakets’ were really of great deal in the development of my social and practical skills,” she says.
When she discovered her knack for public relations, she considered politics as a career and took up Political Science.
“People would easily assume I wanted to be a lawyer, but really, it was the degree that best fits my interests. I enjoy philosophy, current events, public speaking, and social discourses. I really wish I could’ve done better in college though. I was in a course that I genuinely like, but I was always distracted,” she says.
“It eventually led me to the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the national government agency in charge in overseeing local government operations. I know I won’t be a mayor ever, but I will still be able to work for the common good for the rest of my career in government service,” she adds.
In 2013, when Supertyphoon Yolanda hit the Philippines, she was assigned at Concepcion, Iloilo, one of the badly-hit towns. She was instructed to stay in her station to conduct post-typhoon assessment.
“For days, I didn’t have phone signal, electricity, clean clothes, and had to rely on relief goods for food. I would talk to survivors about death and loss and eventually got depressed myself. For nights, I would cry myself to sleep. Then I realized that when I go back to the city, I still have my family and my home. There’s no point in sulking. I gathered myself up and try to be of help in any way I can. From then on, I became more sensitive and appreciative of everything and everyone around me. The experience made me want to live a more purposeful life,” she says.
She was promoted at work twice in a span of two years despite being one of the youngest in her batch. At age 25, she was being teased to buy a house and build a family for she was more than capable.
“At first, I thought it was my greatest achievement, but over time, I learned that my real achievement is being able to serve and inspire people while doing what you love at the same time,” she says.
“I believe that genuine happiness transcends materialism and superficial successes. I want to radiate that kind of energy. I want to be liked for what I am, not for what I have. I think that would be an honorable achievement,” she adds.
When asked what does she want to tell to the world, she says, “People will not always remember what you did or what you have, but how you made them feel. Success is a good thing, but success coupled with kindness is even better. A little kindness goes a long way.”