University janitors join lagoon beautification contest  

Date Posted: 09/03/2021

Tarlac State University launched the “Lagoon Beautification Contest” in line with the 121st Philippine Civil Service Anniversary where Abraham Obiena bested the 21 participating janitors of the Lucinda Extension Campus. 

The awarding ceremony was held on Friday morning, September 3, 2021. 

Said competition was held to further improve the surroundings of the TSU Climate Change Resilient and Ecological Conservation Project or the TSU Lagoon. Twenty-two janitors were given designated areas to landscape measuring around 10 to 15 meters. They had to maintain their respective gardens every 4:30 PM. 

TSU President Dr. Myrna Q. Mallari suggested to hold such competition to inspire the janitors as they go about their daily task of maintaining the university grounds. Apart from the prizes for the top ten winners, Pres. Mallari personally gave one thousand pesos each to those who worked on the beautification project. 

“Kayo ay mga bayani in your own way. Kaya ngayong Civil Service month, isa sa mga ipinagdiriwang natin ay i-recognize ang mga bayani. Pero hindi gaganda ng ganito kung wala kayo. Naipalabas namin ‘yung kagalingan ninyo at kagandahang loob sa environment,” Pres. Mallari said in her message during the program. 

As the winner, Obiena received the grand prize of 2,900 pesos plus a half cavan of rice worth 1,100 pesos. 

He said he would like to surprise his wife and five-year-old son with the prizes he received. 

Obiena, who has been with TSU for the past eight years, said he spent two months preparing and maintaining the garden and watering the plants twice a day. 

Kumuha lang po ako ng idea kung paano ilalandscape ‘yung lupa at ipoporma yung mga halamanImportante po kasi sa halaman na mataba yung lupa kaya nagblack soil lang po ako bilang organic fertilizer. Kung paano po ‘yung pagtatanim ko ng gulay ay ganoon din po ‘yung pag-aalaga ko sa kanila  kinonvert ko lang po,” Obiena said in an interview.  

Three other winners of the competition received a cash prize and a half cavan of rice. Sonny Ferrer, 1st runner up, received 1,900 pesos; Ener Tiamzon, 2nd runner up, went home with 1,400 pesos; and Manuel Pascual as 3rd runner up was awarded 1,500 pesos. 

To complete the top five, Shak Candelaria took home 1,500 pesos as 4th runner up. 

The president also gave a special prize to three other janitors, Armando Liwanag, Allen Muldong, and Edmund Dantes, who initially exhibited teamwork in designing their gardens despite the competition. 

Cash prizes for this contest came from the pockets of the TSU officials, while the sacks of rice are from Pres. Mallari’s family. Pres. Mallari said the vice presidents gave three thousand pesos each, including Hon. Dennis Norman Go of the TSU Board of Regents who gave the prizes for the top five winners. 

Dr. Jose I. De La Rama, Jr., School of Law Dean, also gave five thousand pesos as consolation prizes to another five winners. Dean Dela Rama also gave bags of goods containing five kilos of rice and some canned goods. 

In six months, Pres. Mallari will be ending her term as University President. According to her, she wants to spend the remaining months beautifying the TSU campuses, particularly the Lucinda and San Isidro extension campuses. She also wants to instill discipline among the janitors in maintaining the environment and loving nature. 

“Gusto kong ma-inspire ‘yung mga kasamahan natin na sila ay hindi janitor lang — sila ay importanteng tao ng TSU. I remember na noong vice president ako ng Finance, ang una kong pinulong ay ang mga janitors kasi I do believe na kung paano titingnan ang TSU, ‘yun ang tatatak sa isipan ng tao. So sila ‘yung mga nangangalaga, ang mga janitors natin at mga maintenance,” Pres. Mallari said in an interview.

The vice presidents and state auditor Judy Cayabyab served as judges in this contest. [Maria Adelaida D. Calayag]