Found wanting?-A A +A
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
I LEARNED courtesy ethics back in my childhood. Later these values were reinforced when I entered my elementary grades.
Back then, I was taught to say thank you for a favor given. Or to greet elder with a good morning or afternoon as the case might be. In class, we were taught not to take anything that wasn’t ours. Or to take care of borrowed property.
It seems though that much of what was taught in our childhood days was thrown out of the window. Proof is that even our Congress has to pass Republic Act 6713 or “An Act Establishing a Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.”
Yes, it seems adulthood has erased those memories of proper ethics that a law has to be enacted and Bacolod Councilor Cárlos José López will take the lead in its implementation at the local level.
That is, after the law has been enacted 24 years ago. What Councilor López is trying to say is that Bacolod’s public servants have been judged and found wanting in compliance with the standards of the law.
The subtext of Mr. López’s plans is that the law has not caught on among Bacolod local government’s officials and employees in the government, elective and appointive, permanent or temporary, whether in the career or non-career service, including military and police personnel, whether or not they receive compensation, regardless of amount.
Instead of public servants, López seems to imply, they think of themselves as the public’s master. Like childhood values of courtesy and ethics, many public servants now have a dim memory of what they should have learned decades ago.
In its Declaration of Policies, RA 6713 says that it’s the policy of the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service. Public officials and employees shall at all times be accountable to the people and shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives, and uphold public interest over personal interest.”
The implementing rules say that public servants must know by heart: a) ethical and moral values; b) rights, duties and responsibilities of public servants; c) nationalism and patriotism; d) justice and human rights; e) democracy in a free and just society; f) Philippine history, culture and tradition; and g) socio-economic conditions prevailing in the country, especially in the depressed areas, and the need for a Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards.
To be fair with many government personnel, though, I seldom meet rude government officials and personnel. Generally, my issues with government are more on policies rather than of interpersonal relationship.
I wonder though if the courtesy and ethics I’ve seen is reflected with how local government deals with say the beggars on the streets or the informal settlers in their hovels.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate López’s efforts to institute refresher course among local government workers. But not only on that level alone.
With all the revelations on the pork barrel issue, it seems a refresher course among national government, especially in Congress. People at this level forgot the marching orders to embrace ethical and moral values and on living modest lives.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 02, 2013.