GOVERNMENT employees who are fond of using the Internet as a tool to communicate with their family and friends are using up almost P103 million worth of electricity, a neophyte lawmaker claims, prompting him to file a bill regulating the use of social networking sites.

Representative Romeo "Miro" Quimbo (second district, Marikina City) filed House Resolution 184 seeking to impose sanctions on the use of government Internet facilities to access social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

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"Good governance is not only about eradicating corruption. We have to ensure that civil servants work in an environment that provides them focus, maximizes their productivity and minimizes distraction," Quimbo said.

The government is said to lose P103 million every month for electricity expenses if all the estimated 900,000 government employees use their computers for at least two hours of unauthorized social networking activities.

Government departments and agencies including government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) will be required to submit copies of their respective regulations to the lower chamber of Congress as part of the documents necessary for the deliberation of their respective proposed budgets for 2011 if the bill is passed.

"It cannot be denied that the misuse and abuse of ICT (information and communications technology) facilities and resources pose threats which can frustrate efforts to make government operations more effective and efficient," the resolution stated.

The Supreme Court earlier opened its own Facebook and Twitter accounts to announce its decisions faster. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also uses Twitter to announce traffic updates.

Even the administration of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III uses Twitter to post issued executive orders. Their Twitter username is govph. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)