Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairperson Karlo Nograles reminded the 1.8 million workforce of government to promote environmental conservation and sustainability as the country celebrates Philippine Environment Month this June, and joined the global observance of World Environment Day today, 5 June 2023.
Chairperson Nograles emphasized the responsibility of government employees to safeguard the nation’s resources as part of their duty to uphold public interest.
“Bilang mga kawani ng gobyerno, inaasahan na tayo ang syang mangunguna sa pagprotekta sa yaman nang bansa hindi lang para sa ating pansariling kapakanan kundi bilang bahagi ng ating tungkulin na itaguyod ang pampublikong interes,” he said.
Chairperson Nograles was referring to the provisions of Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. This law mandates civil servants to observe exemplary standards of living in the discharge of official duties, including a commitment to public interest and the principles of nationalism and patriotism.
According to him, upholding public interest over one's own requires efficient use of government assets to prevent wastage of public funds and resources. At the same time, patriotism should translate into promoting ecological balance, supporting locally produced sustainable products, and preserving resources for future generations.
"Our commitment to the country is also our share to the world. Our obligation to promote environmental conservation and sustainability is anchored on our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, and to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts," he added.
Chairperson Nograles also highlighted examples provided by the awardees of the CSC Search for Outstanding Government Workers such as Nelly Siababa Aggangan, recipient of 2021 the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award; Carmel Bonifacio Garcia, recipient of the 2021 CSC Pagasa Award; and Ju-Im T. Jimlan, recipient of the 2022 Dangal ng Bayan Award.
Aggangan, who hails from the University of the Philippines Los Baños - National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, was recognized for her commitment to promoting biodiversity. She has made notable contributions through the development of groundbreaking technologies and agricultural projects focused on biofertilizers and mycorrhizal inoculants. These innovations have enhanced the tolerance of plants to stress such as drought, high temperature, and heavy metals. By reducing the reliance on chemical fertilizers, the use of biofertilizers has not only benefited farmers but also sped up the rehabilitation and greening of mined-out and mine tailing areas, transforming them into vegetative land and mini-forests.
In the same year, Garcia from the Provincial Government of Catanduanes was awarded the 2021 CSC Pagasa Award. She was recognized for her collaborative efforts with various government agencies to improve accessibility to tourist attractions, increase the number of accredited accommodations, and develop water-based activities that would make Catanduanes more attractive to tourists. Her novel and creative ideas not only contributed to the growth of the tourism industry on the island but also had a ripple effect on the province's economic development, local product promotion, poverty alleviation, environmental conservation, and employment generation opportunities for women, indigenous communities, and youth.
Lastly, Jimlan of Tamalagon Integrated School in Tangalan, Aklan received the Dangal ng Bayan Award for upholding student welfare and combining it with his desire to instill environmental conservation in his students. He developed Tuklas-Aral, an innovative teaching approach that uses "experiential learning" to enable students to appreciate and become stewards of the environment. Additionally, his comic book “Earthan: Guardians of Nature,” which showcases the challenges faced by human beings in saving the environment, was recognized in 2019 by local and national officials as a helpful learning material on environmental protection.
The month of June was proclaimed Philippine Environment Month under Proclamation No. 237, signed by former President Corazon C. Aquino on 04 April 1988. This proclamation aims to give time and effort toward the protection, enhancement, and development of the country's environment.