EDITORIAL| Misplaced statement

THE STATEMENT of Councilor Edgar Ibuyan Sr. justifying the action of workers of City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) to receive gifts runs contrary to the order of Eliza Madrazo, head of the office, for its personnel to refuse gifts given them.

“I do not think it is proper to hold them against receiving gifts,” Ibuyan said as part of his reaction to Madrazo’s statement.

He even added: “There is no law that punishes people who decide to give out gifts.”

Of course, there is no law that prohibits giving gifts, but accepting and demanding gifts are a different story if it concerns government employees.

Section 7 of Republic Act 6713, the  Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, is very specific. Government officials and employees must 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.”

In making the statement, the councilor may have thought that the Cenro employees are mere recipients of gifts.

What he does not know is, based on reports, many of them would take advantage of the Yuletide season in asking something from people they collect garbage from. There were even reports in the past that these workers would demand from the residents money like they were singing Christmas carols.

The motivation behind Madrazo’s reminder is to prevent the employees from asking anything from the residents. But with Ibuyan’s statement, they might be emboldened to contradict her order.

Government officials must be careful in making statements especially if the statements they make will put others on the spot. They should instead focus on their duties to assure the public that they will not go wrong. Making statements that are irrelevant is always uncalled for.

Posted in Opinion