THE General Services Office (GSO) already removed the television (TV) sets from various departments at the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC) on Thursday, March 23, City Administrator Pacifico Maghari III said.

Maghari said Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez issued a directive on Wednesday, March 22, to remove the TV sets in the work areas to avoid distraction, but the mayor issued an additional memorandum Thursday to pull out all TV units in various offices at the BCGC.

He said the GSO was tasked with issuing property return slips as per the mayor's directive.

"It’s the general rule that the TV sets will be pulled out of the office unless they are directly related to the performance of the work of the department; if that is justified, it will be subjected to the approval of the mayor," he added.

Maghari noted that this is the only thing that can be considered for the exemption.

GSO records showed Bacolod City has a total of 133 TV sets installed in various offices as part of the city’s assets.

On Wednesday, a picture showing city hall employees watching an entertainment program on TV at about 3 p.m. was sent to Benitez by a concerned citizen.

Maghari said the picture was taken from the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO), and the five employees involved had already been given a notice to explain.

"We are validating it until Friday, March 24, if the persons involved are only five, since we also received information that some of them are job order or regular employees and a civilian. We are waiting for the official report of Arlene Memoria, head of the CTO, and we will refer this matter to the City Legal Office (CLO) to determine its proper sanction," he said.

He added that the Benitez administration is advocating change, and the change should be for the better.

Maghari noted that they are also planning to put-up closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in various offices, including biometrics, among others, to properly track the performance of the employees.

Maghari disclosed that the people of Bacolod deserve the best service, and that means full attention and courteous service (not distracted) so that the employees can give the effective and efficient services that the public deserves.