As the whole country transitions to the “new normal,” the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in MIMAROPA Region ensures the public that it is ready to continue delivering excellent public service while strictly observing the government’s community quarantine protocols to fight COVID-19.
“As we face this pandemic, we have put in place specific measures to maintain our efficiency and effectiveness. And we start with the safety and well-being of our personnel,” OIC-assistant regional director for Management Services Bighani Manipula stated.
Personnel welfare and development
Based on Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 10, series of 2020, which sets multiple alternative working arrangements, Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado signed on May 8, 2020, a memorandum circular that supplements the flexible work arrangements in the regional and field offices of DENR MIMAROPA.
This includes skeleton workforce, four-day (compressed) work week, staggered working hours, and telecommuting or work-from-home, particularly those who are living far away from their respective offices for the duration of the community quarantine.
“Alongside this, we have provided service vehicles to ferry our personnel who are required to physically report to the office,” Manipula added.
As regards maintaining professional development among employees, the agency’s Human Resource and Development Section (HRDS) designed a series of virtual seminars through CSC’s Program to Institutionalize Meritocracy and Excellence in Human Resource Management (PRIME-HRM). Part of this pilot online session tackled the crucial role of all employees in creating and developing DENR culture, which is anchored on the core values of discipline, excellence, nobility, and responsibility.
“We would like to inculcate to our employees that we have to live these organizational values with or without the pandemic. As public servants, it is our duty to give our best at all times,” the director remarked.
In the conduct of virtual seminars, chief of HRDS Edna Tarrosa said that patience, creativity, and constant checking would help keep employees on board.
“Just like what we used to do whenever we hold actual training sessions, we try to make the presentations comprehensive and interactive. We also ask for the participants’ evaluation of the activity so we know their level of appreciation as well as the areas we have to improve on,” Manipula said.
“It is a challenge for both trainers and trainees. But with the cooperation of everybody, we are positive that we can champion learning and development, even online,” she pointed out.
To date, HRDS has already organized eight online seminars since its kick-off on May 5.
Meanwhile, DENR MIMAROPA’s Personnel Section also moved to virtual recruitment plan as a strategy to expedite selection and promotion process, and as a remedy to ease workforce shortage due to the temporary non-hiring of employees under Contract of Service.
At present, the office is further developing the system to ensure the efficiency of the program implementation, which includes an automatic tally of results of interviews and exams, for speedy yet credible computation of the applicants’ scores.
“It (virtual recruitment) is cost and time effective. More importantly, as we limit physical interaction, we are able to lessen the risk of spreading diseases while we continue hiring and upgrading the status of our workforce,” Chief of Personnel Section, Maria Cristina Rendorio explained.
Besides recruitment and career development, DENR MIMAROPA also makes sure employees are given due recognition amid this trying time.
On May 6, 2020, the agency prepared a simple program for the retirement of Marny Salazar, the Chief of the Cashiering Section. With minimum health standards and social distancing measures enforced, RED Adornado led the program by awarding a plaque of recognition for the 42 years of service rendered by Salazar. He also administered the turnover of responsibilities as section chief to Ma. Teresa Soriano.
The program, although short and simple, was made more meaningful by the greetings of Salazar’s family and colleagues who made their presence felt via phone calls and Zoom, a cloud-based video conferencing service.
Adhering to the Ease of Doing Business Law
The DENR MIMAROPA has also stepped up its survey verification and approval system when it started accepting an electronic copy of survey returns and land records in May.
Under this system, the clients need not to personally submit the survey plans because sending them through email will do. It is beneficial to the clients as it cuts the time, cost, and effort that they would exert when traveling to the office to submit the documents. They will also be paid online with arrangements made by the office with Landbank and the Bureau of Treasury.
Since the online transaction also allows immediate notification to the clients if they lack certain documents, they would have time to complete the requirements before proceeding to the office to submit the original survey plans for approval. This way, clients would not need to come back every now and then, giving them much ease in doing business with DENR MIMAROPA.
“Even during the ECQ, when most operations and travels were restricted, we observed a higher number on the survey plans processed because of virtual transactions. Since we started the service online, we have already received 422 land survey records requests and 84 plans submitted for Inspection, Verification and Approval Surveys (IVAS),” reported Roman Legaspi, DENR MIMAROPA’s Chief of Surveys and Mapping Division.
Those who wish to send scanned copy of survey returns may email them to firstname.lastname@example.org before they submit the hard copy for approval.
Health and safety measures
While a regular workforce is present to attend to the clients, DENR MIMAROPA advises the public to call before proceeding to the office to lessen the risk of exposure to diseases of both employees and clients. They may contact the office at (02) 82493367 local 2701 or email email@example.com.
For those we will be visiting the office for urgent concerns, please be informed that DENR MIMAROPA is strictly observing health and security measures. Clients, as well as employees, who are not wearing face masks and with a temperature reading of 37.8℃, shall be denied entry to the building. Handwashing facilities, hand sanitizers/alcohol dispensers are also made available around the office and in all entrances to allow visitors and employees to disinfect. Social distancing is likewise strictly enforced.
“This pandemic has caused us to be physically apart. But technology, coupled with cooperation and unity, would propel us to uphold the safety and wellbeing of each other, and the success of the agency in serving the public with utmost dedication and excellence,” Manipula said.