Hundreds of government workers paraded around the Virac poblacion
last Monday (Sept. 3) as Catanduanes joined the rest of the nation in the
observance of the 112th anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service.
No less than Governor Joseph Cua and Congressman Cesar Sarniento
led the celebration of the Holy Mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral,
the parade to the capitol grounds and the opening ceremonies.
But no sooner than the activity ended, many of our civil servants,
who just minutes before have sworn to serve the public honestly and
efficiently, decided to go home or elsewhere. Not a few government offices were
bereft of their occupants, leaving clients shaking their heads and sighing in
despair at the lost time and opportunity.
Time and again, this phenomenon repeats itself whenever there is a
government-sanctioned activity that requires the attendance of most public
officials and employees, like tree planting that should be over in just an hour
but is instead enjoyed as an unofficial holiday by our hardworking civil
And this is just the first duty that every “lingkod bayan” swears
to fulfill during flag-raising activity every Monday in all government offices.
What are the other “commandments” to the self that a civil servant
should will himself to do under the Panunumpa ng Kawani ng Gobyerno?
“Magsisilbi ako nang magalang at mabilis sa lahat ng
nangangailangan” – the servant that they are, they should follow President
PNoy’s lead that the Filipino people is their boss. There are still many in
government whose faces drive clients away despite the thick makeup and whose
laziness prevents the delivery of vital services to the public.
“Pangangalagaan ko ang mga gamit, kasangkapan
at iba pang pag-aari ng pamahalaan” – the servant that they are, they do not
own cars and computers paid for with the taxes of the people. Every government
property is for official use only.
“Magiging pantay at makatarungan ang
pakikitungo ko sa mga lumalapit sa aming tanggapan” – there is supposed to be
no politics in government service, although there are instances to the
contrary. The tsinelas-clad poor is entitled to the same service enjoyed by those
who wear Ferragamo shoes.
“Magsasalita ako laban sa katiwalian at
pagsasamantala” – one of the toughest “commandments” to comply with, as it
entails earning the ire of one’s boss. Those who do so sometimes get to be
buried with honors.
“Hindi ko gagamitin ang aking panunungkulan
sa sarili kong kapakanan” – this is why government officials are required to
divest themselves of their businesses. There are many instances of conflicts of
interests, especially in local governments, where a fee can be reduced for a
friend or relative, or a juicy contract cornered by the official himself to
make “bawi” on election expenses.
“Hindi ako hihingi o tatanggap ng suhol” –
another difficult duty, for there are a thousand ways to bribe public servants,
from just snacks to bundles of peso bills.
“Sisikapin kong madagdagan ang aking talino
at kakayanan upang ang antas ng paglilingkod sa bayan ay patuloy na maitaas” –
every employee knows it is very difficult to snag a slot in a
government-sponsored seminar, especially if office politics keeps one off the
list. Thus, it is incumbent for a civil servant to wishes to rise above his
current level to study on his own.
These eight “commandments” ought to be enough
for our leaders to encourage their fellow civil servants to serve their boss –
the Filipino people – with dignity and efficiency. They should just set the
example, and the rest of the Philippine civil service will follow.