Dear Inquirer editors: Thank you for your article today, “Janitor lectures bets on honesty ”, about NAIA contractual worker Ronald Gadayan and his exemplary service — returning valuables left by passengers such as cash of P2.4 million left by a Cebu businessman, jewelry and gadgets like iPad, iPhones, Apple Mac laptop of a doctor, $5,000 in cash left by an OFW), pouch with jewelry, etc.
By the way, regarding the text of your article which repeatedly referred to your news feature subject as “janitor”: In many modern countries such as the U.S. , the employee in charge of keeping the premises tidy is referred to as maintenance staff or utility worker or custodian (or “cleaners” in the UK). “Janitor” is one of those terms considered outdated together with labels like “stewardess”, “squatter”, “garbage man”, “maid”, etc. For example, we do not use the word “basurero” : the people who recycle garbage to earn money call themselves nangangalakal, which is somehow accurate because they sell what they pick up. In the Philippines, the Civil Service Law uses the term “utility workers” while many contractual personnel manpower agencies use the term “sanitation staff”.
In the numerous awards he received for honest service, his citation reads: “Kahanga-hangang Pinoy” (“admirable Filipino”) ( by the Manila Jaycee Senate); “outstanding alumnus of Caloocan High School”, “Spirit of Edsa awardee in 2013”, and “outstanding citizen” (by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle); “Honesto” (from the Caloocan mayor); and in a play by Adamson University based on his life: ” #PopePUlar Pano kung Pinoy si Kiko: A Filipino musical”.
(Some leeway is allowed for language used in works of fiction, and I realize your news feature here tried to weave a narrative — but it’s a news feature, the subject is a real person with a real family).
More important than the use of labels however, is the compensation they should receive: the utility staff, being a vital component of the administrative services, should receive a living wage or adequate compensation and benefits, and their family, adequate social services. Yun lang po, maraming salamat. – mula kay manananggal, este, manananggol marichu