By: Halyn Lunel A. Gamboa

The Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Team of DOST-CALABARZON organized a virtual orientation on crafting the Public Service Continuity Plan (PSCP) via Zoom platform, February 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Aside from improving risk assessment and management, the orientation aims to assist regional and provincial staff in streamlining their continuity strategies to render public service.

It was attended by 23 participants, all of which are from DOST-CALABARZON together with the Provincial Directors from each Provincial Science and Technology Centers (PSTCs).

Mr. Alex Czar Masiglat of the Office of Civil Defense CALABARZON served as the event’s resource speaker. To break the ice, he began his presentation by assessing the participants’ impressions on the word, “continuity”. Using an online application called Mentimeter, participants associated “continuity” with other words such as “uninterrupted”, “services”, and “stability”.

Mr. Masiglat then introduced the importance of the PSCP in managing emergency situations caused by disruptive events whether they are human-induced, biological, or technological in nature.

“Ito [PSCP] ay parang playbook on how to manage the situation,” he said, “Mahalaga ang PSCP dahil marami tayong bantang panganib lalo na’t nasa pandemic tayo.”

He also mentioned that disaster recovery in service continuity may also involve protecting data properties. “Imperative ang disaster recovery for service continuity kasi data-driven ang transactions lalo na sa inyong organization,” he added.

The drafting of the PSCP dates back to 2017 when the National Resilience Core Group on MSME Disaster Resilience (RCG) collaborated with DOST and other government agencies such as the Office of Civil Defense in assessing organizational risks and hazards. The PSCP template was eventually distributed through the NDRRMC Memorandum Circular No. 33 s. 2018.

The latter part of Mr. Masiglat’s discussion was mainly about the Public Service Continuity Program Initiation where he emphasized the prioritization of the organization’s mission essential functions (MEFs) and the identification of the continuity core team.

“Service continuity is an acquired skill of an organization,” he said, “According sa Kaizen principle, the PSCP will help you identify learning checkpoints to continually develop your organization.” He also suggested that this may be achieved through a series of tests, training, and exercise programs considering all aspects of an organization—its people, facilities, systems—and their interdependencies.

“This plan is to support us internal naman,” Mr. Masiglat stated, “This time, it’s going to be our welfare—the welfare of employees and our facilities.”

Towards the end of the program, Mr. Masiglat offered his feedback for the revision of DOST-CALABARZON’s drafted PSCP in compliance with the recent version of the PSCP Guidebook.

Moreover, as earlier mentioned by Mr. Masiglat, the difference between a contingency plan and a continuity plan lies in its scope. The former addresses specific hazards while the latter encompasses all hazards. The current draft of DOST-CALABARZON’s PSCP has integrated the previous Taal eruption and the ongoing pandemic with regards to employees’ safety and welfare and their continuous delivery of public service.

“PSCP is not a new practice—ginagawa na natin ito noon pa,” Mr. Masiglat reminded everyone, “The introduction of the PSCP is to streamline all the actions we are going to undertake—kailangan lang po talaga natin ibalangkas nang maayos.”

After the discussion, Mr. Masiglat received his Certificate of Appreciation for sharing his expertise. To close the program, Ms. Emelita P. Bagsit, OIC-Regional Director of DOST-CALABARZON, thanked everyone for participating in the event.

This orientation is set to be followed by a series of workshops and plenary discussions to improve the drafting of the PSCP on both the regional and provincial levels.