Public service is a vocation that does not need recognition.
This is what Thomasian alumnus Mr. Melvin C. Almonguera strongly believes in, emphasizing that humility is a virtue that every public servant should have.
“In performing our tasks we should not aspire for personal fame. We are just silent workers that contribute in the best interests of the country,” said Mr. Almonguera, who is presently the Second Secretary and Consul of the Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam.
He has been working for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) since 2009. He was also once assigned as Third Secretary and Vice Consul of the Philippine Embassy in Qatar from 2012 to 2014, until he was transferred in Brunei.
According to him, diplomats and consuls are the country’s frontline officials in terms of foreign relations. They are assigned to foreign countries to promote the interests of the Filipinos and enhance the relationship of the Philippines with these nations.
“We have to look after the welfare of Filipino nationals within our respective jurisdictions [and] cater to their needs,” Mr. Almonguera said, sharing that being a notary public, a civil registrar, and even a solemnizing officer of marriages between Filipino nationals are also part of their job description.
Throughout his career, Mr. Almonguera has been sent to different countries to help and serve the Filipinos working and staying there. He was a part of the team that went to South Korea when there was a tension on November of 2010. He became part of the team that was deployed to Libya during the Revolution in 2011. He also went to Afghanistan twice, in 2011 and 2012.
“In performing my duties, I make sure that I mean well. And, I think any task becomes less stressful with that,” he shared.
Mr. Almonguera obtained his Master of Arts Major in Philosophy (cum laude) from the UST Graduate School in 2004.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Classical Major in Philosophy (magna cum laude) and a Licentiate in Philosophy (summa cum laude) in 1999, and a Bachelor in Philosophy (summa cum laude) in 1997 from the UST Faculty of Philosophy.
“The Thomasian attitude of openness is a great help. As I deal with different nationalities in different countries, I have to be open-minded when it comes to their ideas and respective cultures,” he said. “In my case, I was posted in Qatar before I was transferred here in Brunei, both countries have Islam as their official religion.”
Mr. Almonguera also shared that his formation at the UST Central Seminary has greatly helped him in developing his critical thinking and skills.
“Aside from the seminary culture that encouraged us to excel academically, we were also provided with opportunities to develop other skills, like annual concerts and plays, [which] really helped me in enhancing my self-confidence.” He added that critical thinking is crucial in his line of work, particularly in interpreting pronouncements and even subtleties.
As a competent, compassionate and committed Thomasian, Mr. Almonguera is dedicated in seeking the truth and doing good.
“My ongoing quest for what is true and good in everything is a trait that makes me a Thomasian,” he said. “I always try to discover the reason for the things that I have to do, either in my career or in my personal life.”
Before his stint as a public servant, Mr. Almonguera taught at the UST High School from 2003 to 2009 and at the City College of Manila from 2001 to 2003. He was also able to teach at several schools in Roxas City in Capiz, namely, Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion, Mater et Regina Seminary, Systems Technology Institute and La Salle Affiliate College.
Mr. Almonguera who hails from Capiz is currently residing in Brunei together with his wife Ms. Rosally and their two sons Von Rhovic and Seth Mialvo.
Recognizing that there are only a few Thomasians engaged in his line of work, Mr. Almonguera calls upon the University’s alumni to apply for a job in the DFA.
“To my fellow Thomasians who are interested to join the Foreign Service as officers, all you need is a four-year bachelor’s degree and at least two years of employment or further studies to take the examination,” he said. “I am sure that Thomasians will make good diplomats as their hearts are in the right place, aside from being competent in everything they do.”
To become a diplomatic and consular official of the Philippines, one has to pass all the stages of the Foreign Service Officer Examination, which is being administered by the DFA annually. Lord Bien G. Lelay