9 April 2022 - As the nation observes the 80th Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) on 9 April, Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairperson Karlo Nograles cited the heroism of Filipino veterans and enjoined civil servants to draw inspiration from their lives and the sacrifices they made for our country.

The national observance, with the theme “Kagitingan ng mga Beterano, Inspirasyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino,” aims to promote nationalism and cultivate unity among Filipinos through meaningful commemorative events and educational activities.

“Our fallen heroes, those who fought and died for our country’s freedom and liberty, remind us of the values that are at the very core of our sworn duty as civil servants. May we be inspired by their selfless acts, by their conscious decision to put country before self,” stressed Chairperson Nograles.

He added, “May this inspiration reignite our dedication to faithfully serve the public, and band us together toward a common objective – to steer the country during this crucial period of transition toward recovery and normalcy.”

The CSC chief also credited the frontliners in government who emerged as modern-day heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Being the former co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, I was able to witness firsthand the valor of our government workers, especially frontliners, as they continued to deliver services despite the threats to their life posed by the COVID-19 virus,” said Chairperson Nograles.

One of the many who died in the line of service was Police Colonel Michael Bañares Secillano of the Philippine National Police-CALABARZON. Officer Mico was assigned as a frontliner during the pandemic and was frequently seen distributing relief goods and food to communities in Laguna and conducting inspection on PNP personnel stationed in major thoroughfares in Calamba City.

He experienced symptoms of COVID-19 and was advised to undergo mandatory quarantine. However, during his isolation, he was found lifeless inside his quarters. Based on his death certificate, PCol Secillano died of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Secondary to COVID-19.

PCol Secillano was awarded with the CSC’s Pamanang Lingkod Bayani Award, a tribute given by CSC to public servants who died in the line of duty. Under the program, a one-time financial assistance amounting to PHP100,000 is given to the bereaved family of the awardee. Beneficiaries may also be recommended in state universities and colleges as scholars.

Chairperson Nograles also brought attention to the need to support civil servants who are taking a central role in the nation’s resilience and recovery efforts.

“The conversation is now changing as we see fewer COVID-19 cases and improved conditions. As we talk about recovery, I hope government agencies can also take a look at support mechanisms, learning and development interventions, and other ways as to how we can better equip civil servants to effectively deliver critical programs and policies and prepare the bureaucracy for future challenges,” he said.