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As the nation celebrates its 123rd Independence Day this 12 June, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) cites the heroism of government frontliners who consistently perform their duties amid the risks brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

CSC Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala said that the Independence Day is a day of celebration and recollection of the service and sacrifices of our country’s heroes, which include state workers, whether in the public health or in other fields, who serve as essential staff or frontliners for their respective offices.

“These are people who know the risks of reporting to work, but do so nonetheless because they know the importance of ensuring public service continuity especially in this time of national crisis,” she said.

“We also remember our fallen civil servants, especially the doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel, who succumbed to COVID-19 and whose lives will be forever remembered as a testament of genuine and selfless public service,” Chairperson Bala said.

Employee support

Recognizing the risks faced by government frontliners, the CSC urged government agencies to ensure that adequate occupational health and safety standards are installed and implemented to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of their employees.

Chairperson Bala said that government agencies must be clear about health and safety protocols at the workplace and make sure these are strictly and consistently implemented. “When employees feel safe and secure at the workplace, they can focus more on performance and are able to support others who need help coping,” she said.

Agency heads must adopt precautionary measures and provide support mechanisms for employees who are required to report physically at work.

Under CSC Memorandum Circular No. 18, s. 2020, agencies are required to conduct disinfection and decontamination activities, perform health status check among employees, and modify workplace layout to ensure observance of physical distancing requirements.

They are also directed to implement minimum health standards at all times such as wearing of face masks, face shields, and other appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), taking of body temperature, and setting up of sanitation stations.

Moreover, support mechanisms such as health/psychosocial interventions, appropriate PPEs, and reasonable transportation facilities and housing quarters should be made available to government workers, subject to budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations.

The CSC chief also stressed HR’s crucial role in management in this time of crisis, and urged human resource management officers (HRMO) in government offices to provide the necessary support to ensure public service continuity and keep employees engaged.