The late Forestry Specialist Melania B. Dirain, who was gunned down at her office in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan on February 7, 2012, is one among this year’s Outstanding Public Officials and Employees or Dangal ng Bayan awardees. Her sons will be receiving the award, a trophy designed by National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon V. Abueva, and a cash reward of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos on September 19, this year.

The Dangal ng Bayan Award is given by the Civil Service Commission to public servants for exemplary adherence to the norms of conduct and ethical behavior.

Dirain was instrumental in the series of apprehension and confiscation of illegal forest products within barely one month after she was designated as Officer-In-Charge, Forestry Specialist of CENRO Sanchez Mira.

When she was tasked as focal person for Calayan Island, she contributed much to the formulation of the sub-project proposal for the construction of the P17M municipal hospital of Calayan which made the town the country’s first recipient of infrastructure project funded by the Municipal Development Fund Office (MDFO) through the Integrated Coastal Resources Management Project (ICRMP). The project had its groundbreaking on May 20, this year. She also assisted the local government unit in: crafting of the Municipal Investment Profile which is used to attract investors on solar energy, airport and tourism; conceptualizing the Sibang Cove Tourism Development; declaration of Sitio Lungog as a wildlife sanctuary passed and approved by the municipal council; and conceptualization of the Cacao Livelihood for the Future, a project being financed by the LGU for private lands and backyards.

Dirain also worked as Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Specialist where she headed the ICRMP. As such, she devoted her time in facilitating the preparation of ICRM Plans which at that time were very crucial as the project was implemented in an integrated approach. She was one of the major contributors in the success of the ICRMP through her strong collaboration and linkage with the officials of the LGUs covered by the Project, partner agencies, media and other organizations in the province.

When she was transferred to the Regional Office, she spearheaded the Information, Education and Communication campaigns on wildlife protection and conservation.

In 2004, she was granted a scholarship for Diploma Course in Conservation Education by the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. She applied her learning from the scholarship by initiating the Penablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape (PPLS) Pride Campaign Project, the first in the DENR and second in the Philippines. The Project highlighted the restoration of the decreasing population of hornbill or “kalaw” from which the name “Callao” was derived. Kalaw is one of the endangered species living in the famous Callao Cave in Penablanca, Cagayan. As the Pride Coordinator, she successfully conducted regionwide meetings and consultations to promote the significance of kalaw and to minimize forest destruction that could lead to the extinction of the said species.# vicky baliuag