The Civil Service Commission (CSC) stressed the need for government agencies to put in place measures that promote a healthy workplace, saying that a healthy public sector workforce is a productive workforce.

CSC Chairperson Karlo Nograles said, “We count on our civil servants to run the day-to-day operations of government. Amid the multitude of varying, complex needs of the Filipino people, we need to recognize the importance of employee health and wellness.”

“Research shows that employees in good health are more likely to deliver optimal performance in the workplace because, not only do they have better quality of life, but they also benefit from having a lower risk of disease, illness, or injury,” he added.

He said that a number of policies and programs have been instituted in the past to promote health and wellness in the public sector. “As the central human resource agency of the government, the CSC has placed premium on providing safe and healthy working conditions and promoting health practices among the country’s 1.8 million government workforce.”

Chairperson Nograles cited Memorandum Circular No. 30 issued in 1994, which provides a checklist of reasonable working conditions covering such basics as potable water and adequate lighting. This was supplemented in 1997 by the Policy on Working Conditions in the Workplace, which was revised in 2010. Other salient issuances on health and wellness include those on mandatory random drug testing, and smoking prohibition, in government offices.

Under CSC Resolution No. 1901265 issued in October 2019, all government agencies are directed to establish a Mental Health Program (MHP) that will promote mental health in the workplace and address stigma and discrimination endured by people with mental health conditions. The MHP shall be integrated as a regular human resource development or HRD program specifically under Health and Wellness.

A partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Health (DOH) resulted in the formulation of CSC-DOH-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, s. 2020, which aims to institutionalize occupational safety and health in government workplaces to protect government workers from the dangers of injury, sickness, or death, and to prevent loss or damage of properties through the adoption of safe and healthy working conditions.

National framework

Recently, the CSC teamed up again with DOH and DOLE in formulating the National Policy Framework on the Promotion of Healthy Workplace.

Last 28 April, CSC Chairperson Nograles, DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, and DOLE Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma led the ceremonial signing of Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2023-0001 containing the said framework.

The framework is intended for promotion, establishment, and strengthening of Healthy Workplaces in support of the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law. It sets directions and provides key strategies to guide the implementation of settings-based health promotion policies, plans, and programs for the Filipino workforce. The framework also identifies the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders in the promotion of healthy workplaces.

It identifies priority areas or risk factors that all health promotion interventions in the workplace must focus on. These are Diet and Physical Activity, Environmental Health, Immunization, Substance Use, Mental Health, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Violence and Injury Prevention.

Moreover, it specifies that all health promotion interventions in the workplace must be guided by the following action areas: Developing Healthy Public Policies, Creating Supportive Environments, Developing Personal Skills, Strengthening Community Action, and Reorienting Health Services.

In his message during the ceremonial signing, Chairperson Nograles said, “What we launch today will provide the groundwork for a purposive and holistic health agenda. The CSC welcomes this opportunity to be part of a noble undertaking and commits its support to the implementation of the framework and subsequent initiatives.”

According to the framework, the CSC, as a member of the National Technical Working Group on Healthy Workplace chaired by the DOH, shall perform the following duties:

  • Coordinate the implementation of capacity-building activities in support of the Healthy Communities Framework for CSC Offices and other workplace settings within the purview of the CSC;
  • Carry out information and advocacy campaigns for the public sector and other relevant stakeholders in support of the implementation of the framework;
  • Provide relevant technical assistance and support in all phases of implementation of the Healthy Workplace Framework; and
  • Participate in the conduct of relevant monitoring and evaluation activities.

“While the framework opens new grounds for collaborations among all organizations here, we are all propelled by the greater vision of a healthy and productive workforce serving the Filipino,” said Chairperson Nograles during the event.