Personal conduct standards for Filipino public employees

by Michelle Aguirre Lo

Public officials and employees in the Philippines are mandated by law to observe standards of personal conduct in the discharge and execution of official duties. This is elaborated in Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.”

This law, which was promulgated in 1989, establishes a code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees, to uphold the time-honored principle of public office being a public trust, granting incentives and rewards for exemplary service, enumerating prohibited acts and transactions and providing penalties for violations thereof.

Under this law public officials and employees should adhere to certain norms of conduct. These include commitment to public interest, professionalism, justness and sincerity, political neutrality, responsiveness to the public, nationalism and democracy, commitment to democracy, and simple living.

As an example, public officials and employees are encouraged to avoid wastage in public funds and revenues. They are also mandated to provide service to everyone, regardless of political affiliations or other prejudices they may have.

Meantime, public officials and employees are also directed to act promptly on letters and requests, submit annual performance reports, process documents and papers expeditiously, act immediately on the public's personal transactions, and make documents accessible to the public.

On the other hand, the same law enumerates the prohibited acts and transactions, including financial and material interest, outside employment and other activities related thereto, disclosure and/or misuse of confidential information, and solicitation or acceptance of gifts.

As an employee of the Philippine government, I recognize and abide by these personal conduct standards. I believe they ensure that I discharge my duties with responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty. They also guide me to act with patriotism and justice, lead a modest life, and uphold public interest over personal interest.

I encourage all my fellow employees and public officials to abide by the same, not for fear of the penalties, but because this is not only our lawful duty to our children, countrymen, and the future generations.