The Civil Service Commission (CSC) reminded government agencies to ensure uninterrupted service to the public amid the conduct of Christmas office parties and year-end planning activities.
CSC Chair Francisco T. Duque III said that civil servants are not precluded from celebrating the holiday season, provided that frontline service areas provide continuous service and are not left unmanned.
“Heads of offices are responsible for implementing appropriate strategies, such as shifting schedules or employing skeletal workforce, to ensure that the public is served within the prescribed government working hours and even during lunch break,” said Duque.
“Similarly, communication lines should be kept open and there must always be someone to answer calls,” he added.
The CSC chief also reminded civil servants not to accept gifts in exchange for performing their duties, especially from clients, suppliers and contractors with whom they are facilitating business.
“Gifts may be construed as a bribe or reward in exchange for a favor or better treatment. Serving the public is our duty and we must give the best possible service without expecting anything in return,” Duque said.
He cited Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, that prohibits civil servants from soliciting or accepting gifts, favors, loans or anything of monetary value in the course of their official duties.
The said violation is classified as a grave offense punishable by dismissal from the service on the first offense.
Under the law, a gift is deemed proper or improper depending on the value of the gift, the relationship between the giver and the receiver, and the intent. Something of monetary value is “one which is evidently or manifestly excessive by its very nature”.
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.