“It’s never too soon to get your foot in the door.”

Dizza Ballos, a 32-year old woman from Barangay Cawit, Zamboanga City was very passionate about landing a job right after graduation. As a food technology major from Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College, her internship experience is a great example of how keeping a good work ethic can bring one success.

“I grew up around 5 siblings, I was the fourth child. My dad is a welder who only earns enough for our daily necessities while my mom is a housewife,” Dizza shares.

According to her, her older brothers married early in life and started families of their own.

“As one of the younger kids, I wanted to start working right away so I can support myself and help my dad earn a living. I started volunteering as a clerk in the barangay hall just to have work experience,” she said.


Fortunately for Dizza, the local government unit in Cawit had slots for interns under the Government Internship Program (GIP) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). She was encouraged to apply as an intern.

The GIP provides young workers, particularly the poor/indigent and young workers, the opportunity to demonstrate their talents and skills in the field of public service with the ultimate objective of attracting the best and the brightest who want to pursue a career in government service.

“I was very thankful to have been considered for the program. Right after graduation, I started interning as a clerk in the barangay hall,” she said.

As a clerk, Dizza was tasked to assist barangay officers in issuing certificates, clearances, IDs and occasionally cater to residents who come to ask for help.

At the time, she was earning Php 222.00 per day since the GIP’s stipend was pegged at only 75% of the prevailing minimum wage which was Php 316.00 in Region 9. Her internship contract lasted six (6) months.

For as much as she loved working in her community, Dizza knew there was more to experience outside of her comfort zone. When asked if she was interested in extending her GIP contract and work at DOLE’s Zamboanga City Field Office, she immediately took the opportunity.

The program allows partner institutions to extend the contract of interns for another six (6) months provided that the intern demonstrates very satisfactory performance or the partner institution has the intent to hire the GIP as a contractual, temporary or regular employee, subject to the willingness of the intern.

“There was so much I wanted to learn and experience. I believe that the GIP will become my stepping stone to something much greater if I only worked hard for it,” she shared.

Under the supervision of the then field office chief, Ian A. Lahi, Dizza was one of the interns assigned in the frontlines. Everyday, she entertained client after client who visited the office to seek help for labor-related woes.

“My understanding of customer service really deepened during my stint in the operations center. I learned that one must have empathy to relate to the clients and really find out what it is that they need and act accordingly,” she recalled.

During this time, Dizza admits that the stipend was nowhere near big enough to defray her family’s needs such as electric and water bills. However, she was comforted in the idea that at least she didn’t have to depend on her father for her daily needs such as food, transportation and clothing.

Her co-worker only had good words for her:

“She did her best whenever a task was assigned to her which allowed her to express her creativity, problem-solving and communication skills. She was always respectful and facilitative to her superiors even though she knows she will just be there for six months,” said April Jane Barretto who is close to the intern.


Her good work ethics did not go to waste. Sherwin Mendizabel, regional program coordinator of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), took note of Dizza’s diligence and abilities.

“While working as an intern, I was almost always assigned to assist Sir Sherwin in his activities, seminars or learning sessions outside the office. It was a refreshing experience for me having to step out of the four corners of the office and meet OFWs.

Sir Sherwin was the lone employee of NRCO in the region and so he would request assistants or interns from Chief Lahi to serve as secretariat in activities,” she recounted.

Dizza would also cater to NRCO clients who visit the field office – helping them fill out forms, and interviewing them for their pleas of help.

“I was so glad that I was at the right time and the right place when NRCO decided to hire a job order personnel. Sir Sherwin informed me that he will recommend me for the position,” Dizza happily shares.

In 2018, Dizza was no longer an intern but an employee of the NRCO.

“I am now earning a lot more compared to what I was receiving as a GIP. I am now able to help my parents provide for the family’s needs. I still have younger siblings who are studying. It was such a blessing to have been part of the program.

If it hadn’t been for the DOLE GIP, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she concludes.

Thinking of her future, she plans to stay with the agency and learn as much as she can. She still believes that keeping a great work ethic is key to professional growth.

Her advice to anyone in the internship program: get your foot in the door as soon as possible. Start making connections, developing relationships and don’t worry, it will all work out in the end!


Regional Director Atty. Roy L. Buenafe, for the year 2022, a total of 1,352 interns have been deployed across Zamboanga Peninsula.

“DOLE 9 has released a total budget of Php 25,237,656.00 for these interns’ stipends for 3 months of work. After 3 months, partner institutions are required to evaluate the interns performance for proper feedback or re-admission,” he said.

According to him, interns now receive a higher stipend based on Department Order 204-2019 which states that the interns’ salary will be 100% of prevailing minimum wage of the region.

Buenafe said that for the remaining months of 2022, 108 more GIPs will be deployed for 66 days in various partner institutions.

For more information about the Government Internship Program, visit the nearest DOLE office near you or call our hotlines: (062) 991-2673 or 991-3376. Be updated with the latest news through our website (www.dole9portal.com) and Facebook Page (www.fb.com/doleregion9) ◾