Issue of April 21, 2019
Mt. Province

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The Civil Service Commission’s recent advisory reminding government employees against engaging in indirect or direct political activities must be treated as a stern warning to all state workers concerned.

The CSC has reissued the advisory released way back in 2006 due to a noted pattern or indirect campaigning and/or electioneering committed by government workers, which is a violation of the civil service code.

While it is incumbent upon those who are in the civil service to know that they cannot engage directly or indirectly in partisan political activity, we find the issuance timely especially at a time when social media is widely being used for partisan activities.

Whether in traditional form or through the Internet, supporting political bets by civil servants is prohibited, yet many of them openly support candidates in their social media accounts. We hope the CSC, in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the human resource management officers of local government units, can come up with mechanisms in monitoring the social media posts of government workers, in accordance of course, with rules that respect the privacy of civil servants.

Barangay officials, whose functions are also covered by the Civil Service Code, should also be reminded that they should be insulated from partisan politics.

Because barangay officials are embedded in the community, they are paid to hand out gifts -- in cash or in kind -- to voters on behalf of candidates, mostly mayoral, gubernatorial and congressional candidates. Oftentimes, these barangay officials are required to show proof that they handed out the gifts to the voters.

As clearly stated in the Administrative Code of 1987, the only time that government workers can show whom they are supporting is when they cast their votes.

The rationale behind the reissuance of the advisory and several other issuances is to ensure that members of the civil service, the armed forces, and even the barangays shall remain focused on the efficient discharge of their duties and functions and to shield them from the vagaries of politics.

Government workers know that they are governed by various rules and issuances regarding partisan politics yet recently, we received reports about employees in Kalinga and Mountain Province who were actively campaigning for their candidates.

While these reports remain allegations at the moment, we hope the CSC-CAR is already investigating these reports.

The agency has handled some controversial cases in the past and has, in fact, issued resolutions that resulted in varying degrees of penalties to erring government workers.

At a time when public confidence in government agencies is picking up, the advisory is a good reminder that there are agencies watching how government workers posture themselves during a highly-partisan event such as the elections.

In the course of their investigation, we also hope the CSC or other government agencies will be able to unearth issues about allegations that some government workers who “campaign,” do so under duress or are forced by circumstances such as not knowing how to turn down their boss or the person who have appointed them. We hope the wrong concept of utang na loob is not being used to coerce civil servants to campaign.

To our political leaders – aspiring or seeking reelection, know that those whom you helped in some way will vote for you – there’s no need to put them in a situation where their tenure and service to the public are compromised.



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