THE Civil Service Commission (CSC) reminded government workers to refrain from soliciting gifts in line with the holiday season.
Section 7(d) of Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, provides that “public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.”
Further, Section 3 of Republic Act No. 3109, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, provides that the following, among other acts or omissions, are declared to be unlawful:
(b) “Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other party, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law”;
(c) “Directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person for whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or will secure or obtain, any Government permit or license, in consideration for help given or to be given…”
CSC Chairperson Karlo Nograles said, “Bagama’t bahagi na ng ating kulturang Pilipino ang pagiging mapagbigay lalo na sa panahon ng Kapaskuhan, tandaan po natin na ang ating serbisyo bilang lingkod bayan ay binabayaran na ng taumbayan sa pamamagitan ng ating buwanang sahod.”
“If there is a client or applicant, supplier or contractor, or any other individual, group, or company that you transacted business or regularly transact business with, who is extending a gift or token to you, just politely decline and explain that you are only doing your job. Sa madaling salita, trabaho lang po,” he said.
Nograles said the law also applies to soliciting sponsorships or advertisements, such as raffle prizes for Christmas or year-end parties.
The CSC clarified that the propriety or impropriety of the gift shall be determined by value, kinship, or relationship between the giver and receiver, and the motivation.
Thus, gifts exempted from the prohibition are those from family members given without expectation of pecuniary benefit; those coming from persons with no regular, pending, or expected transactions with the government office where the receiver belongs; those from private organizations given with humanitarian and altruistic intent; and those donated by one government entity to another. Something of monetary value is one which is evidently or manifestly excessive by its very nature.
Chairperson Nograles said that heads of government agencies may issue an internal “no gift policy” to guide their officials and employees as it pertains to their respective mandates and job functions.
Chairperson Nograles also reminded government offices, especially those rendering frontline services, to ensure uninterrupted service delivery amid the conduct of year-end festivities.
“Ang mga Christmas o year-end parties po ay bahagi na ng taunang tradisyon sa mga opisina. Hindi naman ito ipinagbabawal, ngunit siguruhin po nating tuluy-tuloy ang pagbibigay-serbisyo ng ating mga tanggapan sa loob ng official working hours. ‘Wag po nating hayaang habang tayo ay nagsasaya, malungkot o galit naman ang ating mga kliyente,” he said.
Heads of agencies are encouraged to adopt appropriate working schedules to ensure that all clients who are within their premises prior to the end of official working hours are attended to.