His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III personally bestowed the 2015 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award to Dr. Roberto C. Guarte, Professor VI and VP for Administration and Finance of the Visayas State University (VSU), together with the rest of the 11 awardees throughout the country, in the morning of November 9, 2015 during the 2015 Honor Awards Rites at the Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace, Manila. The Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award is the highest award accorded to a public official. 

The Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award is conferred on Dr. Guarte by the President of the Philippines Benigno S. Aquino III “For his versatility and dedication in implementing extension projects and developing agri-industrial equipment for the benefit of various communities.  Dr. Guarte contributed immensely to the rehabilitation of areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda through the restoration of at least 30 school buildings, the installation of 456 solar streetlights, and the electrification of 766 households through solar home system units. As a researcher, he developed abaca stripping machines, and the technology and equipment for small-scale biodiesel production that can be used to improve farming efficiency and productivity.”  The award carries with it a gold-gilded medallion expertly crafted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, a Presidential plaque containing the citation and signature of the President of the Philippines, and a cash prize of PhP200,000.

President Aquino was assisted by Hon. Alicia dela Rosa-Bala, Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), and Ms. Ma. Teresa L. Pacis, member of the 2015 Committee on Presidential Lingkod Bayan and CSC Pagasa Awards.

The Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award, one of the three award categories under the Honor Awards Program (HAP) of CSC, is conferred to an individual or group of individuals for exceptional or extraordinary contributions resulting from an idea or performance that had nationwide impact on public interest, security and patrimony.  The other two award categories are “Outstanding Public Officials and Employees or Dangal ng Bayan Award” and “Civil Service Commission Pagasa Award.”

In his message, President Aquino emphasized that he made it sure that his speech should be well-organized as he will be addressing to the public servants.  He enumerated the Year 2015 awardees’ accomplishments and why they were chosen as awardees, including that of Dr. Guarte.  The President also said that the good plans of the government will just remain plans unless they are implemented by the different agencies tasked to realize the plans.  In Filipino language, Pres. Aquino said “Patuloy nating papapanagutin ang mga nagkasala at bibigyan ng insentibo ang mga dapat parangalan. Hindi ako nag-iisa.  Kapit-bisig nating ipagpapatuloy ang ating mga programa.  Huwag tayong lilihis sa direksyong ating tinatahak at patuloy na mapalapit ang demokrasya sa ating pamayanan.”

To the delight of the audience, Aquino stressed in his message that he is strongly recommending for the passing of the Salary Standardization Law hopefully to be implemented in 2016.

After the photo op with the President, the awardees proceeded to the Centennial Hall of Manila Hotel for a testimonial program tendered by the CSC to the 2015 Outstanding Public Officials and Employees.  Certificates were also awarded to the Presidential Lingkod Bayan, Dangal ng Bayan and CSC Pagasa awardees by CSC Chairperson Aida dela Rosa-Bala and CSC Commissioner Nieves L. Osorio.

During the said occasion, the Committee on Presidential Lingkod Bayan and CSC Pagasa Awards conferred the certificate of recognition to Dr. Guarte as 2015 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Awardee for his outstanding work performance and exceptional service to the government and the people.  In addition to the Presidential plaque, medallion and cash reward, he is entitled, pursuant to Section 5 of Executive Order No. 508 (Instituting the Lingkod Bayan Award as the Presidential Award for Outstanding Public Service), “to an automatic promotion to the next higher position suitable to his qualifications and with commensurable salary, provided, that, if there is no next higher position or it is not vacant, said position shall be included in the next budget of the office, except when the creation of a new position would result to distortion in the organizational structure of the department, office or agency.  Where there is no next higher position immediately available, a salary increase equivalent to the next higher position shall be given and incorporated in the basic pay.  When a new position is created, that which is vacated shall be deemed abolished.”

It can be recalled that this is the second time that a VSU employee has been a recipient of the said award for two consecutive years.  Last year, it was Dr. Edgardo E. Tulin, then VP for Instruction and now the new President of VSU, who received the same award and privileges from the CSC.  Both were nominated by Dr. Lourdes B. Cano, Director for Administration and Human Resource Development of the University, to the said award. 

VP-Guarte-Lingkod-bayan-awardee

Dr. Guarte was joined by his family—Dr. Jacqueline M. Guarte (wife), Roby and Janina (children)—and some VSU employees: Dr. Lourdes B. Cano, Mr. Jesus Freddy M. Baldos, Ms. Alicia M. Flores, Ms. Jessamine C. Ecleo, and Mr. Charlito V. Rabanos, as he received the award in Malacañan.  JFMBaldos