Clients told: Stop giving gifts to government workers
Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - July 12, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Developers, contractors and private firms are told to stop giving gifts to government workers in exchange for favors.

The Cebu City’s Office of the Building Official (OBO) has started yesterday sending letters to these individuals and firms, reminding them of the “no gift policy.”

“We wish to remind the public that we discourage granting of unsolicited gifts be it in kind or cash to all employees when transacting business or processing pertinent documents in this office,” read portion of the letter.

Architect Florante Catalan, new OBO head, made the move after receiving complaints.

“The clients reportedly gave employees gifts, in kind and in cash, to prioritize their applications,” he said.

He said the public perception of OBO as a corrupt office has to stop.

“OBO is allegedly corrupt and is easy to bribe. It has to stop,” he said.

He said government officials and employees are prohibited from accepting or soliciting gifts, whether from the public and private sectors.

He said he wants to instill in the OBO officials and employees the high ethical principle that public office is a public trust.

He said the employees should practice “equal treatment” in the performance of their duties without expecting of any reward.

The “no gift policy” is pursuant to Section 27, Article II and Section 1, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and similar laws.

Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) defines “receiving any gift” as the act of accepting directly or indirectly, a gift from a person other than a member of his family or relative as defined in this Act, even on the occasion of a family celebration or national festivity like Christmas, if the value of the gift is neither nominal nor insignificant, or the gift is given in anticipation of, or in exchange for, a favor.

Also, Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act stipulates the acts that constitute corrupt practices and thereby declared unlawful.

These are “(a) directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the Government and any other party, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has to intervene under the law; (b) directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present or other pecuniary or material benefit, for himself or for another, from any person for whom the public officer, in any manner or capacity, has secured or obtained, or will secure or obtain, any Government permit or license, in consideration for the help given or to be given.” — KBQ  (FREEMAN)

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