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Quezon City official suspended for sexual harassment

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Quezon City official suspended for sexual harassment
“We condemn all these vile acts of harassment against women, especially among our own officials and employees,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a statement yesterday.
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MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government has suspended an unidentified “high-ranking” official after he was found liable for sexually harassing another employee.

“We condemn all these vile acts of harassment against women, especially among our own officials and employees,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a statement yesterday.

“The Quezon City government is committed to addressing all sexual harassment cases regardless of gender and position in any department,” she added.

Belmonte earlier received a complaint from a female employee who experienced physical and verbal sexual harassment from the official.

The complaint was forwarded to the Committee on Decorum and Investigation-Legislative Department for corresponding investigation and recommendation.

After a series of hearings, Vice Mayor Gian Sotto – who is the disciplining authority for the legislative department at the city hall – found the official guilty of sexual harassment, which carries a penalty of suspension without pay for six months.

“We will always advocate an office culture that values and uplifts one another,” Sotto said.

“Our work environment should reflect that we are servants of God, and this includes ensuring that all employees will feel safe and protected, by not tolerating any misconduct,” he added.

Belmonte encouraged other city government employees to report any incident of harassment and abuse, stressing the need to break the culture of silence especially if the perpetrators are the victims’ superiors.

“May this case serve as a reminder to our employees that we will not be complacent against any erring employee or official. We encourage all victims of abuse to report to our Gender and Development Office so we can initiate proper administrative and legal action,” she said.

Belmonte recently signed an executive order appointing female department heads as the chairperson and members of the Committee on Decorum and Investigation for the Executive Department, which is investigating another sexual harassment complaint involving a local government employee.

JOY BELMONTE

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