Middle East is the frontline ground for the deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Filipino workers are generally well-loved and greatly appreciated by their employers for their skills, industriousness, pleasant personalities, perseverance and discipline.
Mr. Glicerio L. Tuazon, though difficult and painful, he chose to be away from his family and arrived in Al Khobar, 32 yrs ago.
Adjusting to the new environment was not easy. The weather has been most unpleasant, the humidity have probably completed him better against all his other great stories even put together.
Mr. Tuazon hails from Gapan City Nueva Ecija. He joined the work force of the mainstream Philippine economy immediately after graduating with BS Commerce, major in Accounting as cum laude from the Divina Pastora College, Nueva Ecija.
“Because of economic want, I joined a newly-formed business outfit selling hand tractors to the rice farmers of Central Luzon. I was then its salesman cum all-around clerk; my job was somehow related to the course I finished but actually far away from my intended specialization – to be a successful Accountant one day”. Mr. Tuazon said.
This post became apparently shortly-lived stint as a new job beckoned him to join a newly-formed electric cooperative in his town.
He considered his employment with the Southern Nueva Ecija Credit Cooperative as his formal job assigned as bill collector.
Prior to this job, Mr. Tuazon garnered an overwhelming supports from townsfolk in an election that took place in the town plaza as the very first member of the Board of the electric cooperative representing the youth sector.
Mr. Tuazon related “it was my first foray into the realm of the business world and yet had been voted upon by the whole community to represent the Youth Sector in this electric cooperative. I was mesmerized at that time by the recognition that the community had given me”. However, as Board Member, he is serving the company “pro bono” giving professional work voluntary as public service.
As its pioneering staff going after customers who are not paying their bills is really a tough job, indeed a tough job.
“My experience in this kind of job was truly a memorable one, something that you will always remember for the rest of your life”.
He narrated his work involved going after the poor members of the community who could barely afford to make both ends meet and yet tried collecting accumulated debt from them that had mounted over the years.
It was really difficult and challenging one. As bill collector you have to face irate customers who play litany of displeasure to the services of the electric cooperative, one of which was the oft-repeated complain of frequent brown outs. Hounding your customers with phone calls and threat of disconnection and even delisting as member of the cooperative were all part of the game.
“It was a nerve-wracking job”, Tuazon related. He could not endure seeing these impoverished people being pressured so much to pay accumulated debts grabbing away from them the few pennies that had otherwise gone for buying the basic necessities – food- to keep the family from hunger.
Finally, as the saying goes, “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”. He decided to leave the company in search for proverbial “green pasture” in Manila.
As a struggling “probinsyano” , one who beams excitement and who bags a truckload of aspiration, it’s one hell of a drive to be in Manila.
“I went to Manila to take up a new challenge in looking for a rewarding job that will compensate me well and provide sufficient means to my family (parents and sibling left in the province), to live a decent and comfortable life”.
He landed a job in Makati, the most prestigious address could ask for at that time. With local credit bureau task in providing full service, credit checking, background checking and credit reports about the companies and individual applying for loans with the different banks based in Manila and other parts of the country as well. His new company also provides services to establishments who would like to have a full background of their employees, new and old especially those in the sensitive positions.
Shortly he got his first fulfilling job he was looking for all his life. He was hired as Project Analyst on a newly-set up Corporate Planning Department in Herdis Group of Companies.
Herdis Group Inc., a conglomerate of fifty (50) companies with $1 billion in assets.
“Within this company I was able to put in practice the knowledge I acquired, education and specialization to the fullest, the atmosphere and environment here was far above my expectations” he recalled.
He stayed in the company for full eight (8) years before transferring to another in 1983 for a new and bigger challenge of going overseas to open an international trading company in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia as its base of operation.
His job career overseas was given by the latest employer the Puyat Group of Companies. It opened the horizon to work to the land of black gold, Saudi Arabia.
He was with three (3) other colleagues when they open the first Filipino trading company in the kingdom which initiated and introduced the Filipino foodstuff products. He worked as its Accountant and Business Development Officer.
The growing political instability in the Philippines intensified financial turmoil resulting to the slump of the LGS International which lasted only for two (2) years.
After receiving a recall order from Manila, he was left behind in the office for clearing all accounts and liquidating assets of the company. This time he got the opportunity to find a job with another company.
He was hired by Saudi Hollandi Bank as Credit Analyst in the Risk Administration Department on October 1985. Saudi Hollandi Bank is a joint venture of Amro Bank of Netherland and Saudi Arabia.
A well experienced banker through his hard work and perseverance now a Senior Institutional Banking Manager. His work involves handling large corporate accounts comprising petro chemical plants. Apart from being a Banker, he is also a Financial and Management Consultant well-adept in Business and Financial Planning, Structuring and Restructuring corporate and institutional credits, Syndications and Credit Risk Management.
Being away from families and loved ones can turn one’s life upside down. “Life at that time was so simple, home to office and vice versa and broasted chicken as the daily lunch.
His first incursion in the community service started in 1990 when he joined the first ever professional organization established in the kingdom, the Philippines Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), K.S. A. Chapter.
“At that time, the Revenue Attache’ , made official representation with the chapter to help our fellow OFWS file their Income Tax Return. We accepted the challenge and the thought of helping our fellow kababayans to comply with the government regulations and giving service to our fellow OFWs had been our overriding consideration” Mr. Tuazon explained.
In 1995, Mr. Tuazon as its chapter president has chartered twin accomplishments during his term. The PICPA KSA chapter has been voted as the Most Outstanding Overseas Chapter by PICPA National Office during the national convention of CPAs in Dagupan, Pangasinan. On his term also PICPA KSA got the most coveted title aspired by any CPA working abroad and this was the Most Outstanding PICPAN in overseas work bestowed to one of our most illustrious members in the Accounting Profession.
Mr. Tuazon was the pioneering president of the Filipino Bowlers of the Eastern Region (FILBOWLER). Along with Filipino friends and bowling enthusiasts they decided to form the sports organization to develop their skills in bowling as well as to mentor those aspiring to become good bowlers. He was the President for 13 seasons (years).
“Our first participation to an External Tournament was the All Filipino Bowling Tour held in Bahrain in August 2000 wherein Filipino bowlers from the Gulf countries competed in all games format – Team, Trio, Doubles, Singles and Masters. We got the 2nd Runner-Up position at that time, with me as part of that winning Team”.
In its mission to foster friendship and unity through bowling among OFWs not only in Middle East, a gathering of bowling aficionados was held in 2009. It was during his term when the OFW Worldwide Balikbayan Bowling Championship realized. OFWs from United States, Australia, Canada, Greece Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates vied in the two-day keg fest at the Paeng’s Midtown Bowl. A brand-new Toyota was grabbed by the winners and the event was also for the benefit of Bantay Bata 163.
Though Mr. Tuazon representation, FILBOWLER and PICPA joined other Filipino community organizations in Saudi Arabia contributed two (2) classrooms in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro. Together with some friends 2 more classrooms were built in Bibit Elementary Schoo in Gapan Nueva, Ecija.
Through his personal capacity as President of Filbowler, he donated financial assistance to our fellow OFWs especially for their air tickets who have not been fortunate enough to find good employment and took the last resort of having to go back to our country penniless.
Without so much fanfare and publicity about these acts of charity and social responsibility, Mr. Tuazon never sought nor his organization to be formally recognized for all these efforts by Philippine Labor Office POLO-ERO and/or the Philippine Embassy. “I welcomed though and our bowling groups the Certificates of Recognition they have given us for being one of the very responsive members of the Filipino community in the Eastern Province”.
Mr. Tuazon is currently the adviser of ORDER OF THE KNIGHTS OF RIZAL (OKOR). Chartered under Republic Act 646 and organized since 1916 with the vision and mission of furthering the teaching of the life and works of our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, his ideals and patriotism to our country Philippines. Membership to the organization is screened and only deserving and qualified Knights are accepted to the Order.
Married to Gloria Pitargue of Urdaneta, Pangasinan, whom he has four (4) children; Dulce, Gian Carlos, Carol Ann and Jeofrey, Mr. Tuazon claimed he don’t encouraged his children to go abroad wherein you have detached yourself in the real world. Being a father, he sees to it that he has having constant communication with his family particularly on special occasions
Yes, many times life is not easy, and yet it is precisely because of the difficulties that you’re able to make life great. Being an OFW for 32 years he really achieved many things in life, he was able to accelerate all the realization of his dreams he have then.
“Determination and focus, do your job very well”, these were the words he can share to fellow OFWs.
And what it takes to have a fulfilling life? Whatever your profession, you will always navigate in a journey with a purpose – and that is towards a worthy life.