December 05 - December 11, 2005
THE ILOCOS TIMES - OPINION

OF OPINIONS and CROSSROADS
Arvin JON Q. Aguinaldo

On ‘Panunumpa ng isang Kawani ng Gobiyerno’

It is very interesting to note the reverberating sound emanating from almost all government employees every Monday during flag raising ceremony. Sa National level, provincial level or even at the city or municipal level, maririnig natin ito. Kudos to the Civil Service Commission for I believe that it succeeded, in collaborating with the DILG, in requiring almost all employees in the government service to MEMORIZE the PANUNUMPA NG KAWANI NG GOBIYERNO. Take note, I don’t mean to assail anyone when I use the word memorize. To my mind, to know and feel this oath by heart is completely different from just simply memorizing it.

One important statement in the oath that clearly indicates the need to deliver sincerely the SERVICES, being the main component of any government entity is embodied in the phrase that says, and I quote “. . . . dahil dito ako ay papasok ng maaga at magtratrabaho kahit lampas sa takdang oras kung kinakailangan.” Napakagandang pakinggan, di’ po ba? But may I ask, how many of those who are in the government service could really stay and work longer than the regular eight hour working time without demanding something in return. What a nice way of eliciting a commitment from the employees to live up with the provision of RA 6713 otherwise known as the Code of Moral and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees. However, had this portion been fully observed and implemented without any condition or compromise it could be beneficial to the people and the government. However, one program that has lessened the impact of this portion of the Oath is the fact that working beyond the regular time is compensated by what is now termed as COMPENSATORY LEAVE—that is intended to be used by an employee who works beyond the required working time as the term implies, to compensate for whatever time was used beyond the regular working hours or even working days, in the case of Saturdays and / or Sundays utilized in the performance of employees duties and responsibilities. For me the adoption or promulgation of the COMPANSATORY LEAVE is merely a process of circumventing the law whereby the government could escape from paying money which, (for whatever reasons, we should not become naïve) is scarce these days after the many SCAMS where billions of moneys (dollars or otherwise) that have escaped from our hands. This simply is my interpretation and Opinion so please correct me if I am wrong. To cite sterling examples of entities whose employees who are reciting this Oath but in gross violation of this same oath is a government entity located in the southern part of Ilocos Norte whose employees after punching in or filling up the log book to indicate their presence, on the guise of going to their areas of field work proceeds immediately to stores nearby and start their drinking spree or goes home directly. I should know because some employees of this entity are our neighbors. I often see one of the official vehicles of that entity parked in front of the home of one of a high ranked employee of that office.

In most local government units in the province of Ilocos Norte, employees can perfectly recite the “Panunumpa. . . .” In the city government, I really appreciate how the city administrator, Mrs. Peralta, has driven into the brains of the City Hall employees the value of this oath. She saw to it that everyone should be able to memorize this by heart and has adopted programs to ensure the observance of this part of the oath. But as usual, while there are some conscientious employees who could really sacrifice for the service, there are those who persist to disregard what they swear to do every working day of the week. I may not understand fully well the operation of the various departments of the city government but mind you, even as the City Administrator keep on reminding employees that they should avoid queuing at the hand punch machine before five o’clock, it could be observed that there is an utter disregard by most employees of this appeal of the City Administrator. It can also be noted that these stubborn employees still have the temerity to express resentment to what they term as “very strict” treatment from the City Administrator, not understanding that this is merely an implementation of the provisions of RA 6713, much more so that her act is legally based and highly beneficial for the service and the government.

Another point of observation and a basis of an opinion is the question as to whom for this “Panunumpa. . . . .” should apply. Is it limited to the rank and file employees only? Is it only for those officials who are appointed in their positions? How about the elected officials, are they not supposed to likewise recite this Oath in order to live up to their moral, legal as well as their social obligations? With all due respects YOUR HONORS, mas dapat pa nga na kayo ang mangunguna sa pagbibigay buhay sa Panunumpa na ito. Sorry but no regrets on my part because this is true. Hindi ko na nga kayo nakikita sa mga flag ceremonies na nagaganap sa harapan ng ating Bahay Pamahalaan, hindi pa rin ninyo sinasambit ito tuwing nagsisimula ang inyong mga regular sessions. You should remember that you are also under the employ of the City Government and that you are no different from the employees because like them you are deriving your salaries and wages from the government and these comes from the people’s money to whom YOU too must swear to SERVE DILIGENTLY, HONESTLY, CONSCIENTIOUSLY, UNSELFISHLY AND NON-SELECTIVELY. Therefore, it is my opinion that you too, Sirs and Mesdames of the HONORABLE SANGGUNIAN must consider joining your subordinates (if this how you consider the employees of the government) in reciting and bringing to life the contents of the “Panunumpa ng Kawani ng Gobiyerno.” You are being looked up to as mirror of virtues, a living example of true and honest service. ALL OF YOU SHOULD MANIFEST YOUR LEADERSHIP CAPABILITIES and not your oppressive rule and anarchical type of management so that people will believe you. Having said this, I believe that most of you will react violently against this opinion. But such reaction will just reveal that there is truth in my claim and that you are afraid to recite this publicly because of the fear that you will not and cannot live by this oath and because of the greater fear that your constituents will not at all believe you, knowing what you have been doing to worsen each and everyone’s lives including yours. Again, I am sorry (?) but no regrets because this opinion comes from many people, learned people, ordinary people, you name it. They are all saying the same thing. You may be much wiser, more intelligent and much older than me, but my advantage is that people are honest with me. They don’t play games with me. I know where and how all of you stand right now in the political arena where you are playing. Much more, wait for that time when someone will come out and perform his sworn duty as again contained in the oath that says “ x x x x . . . . . magsasalita ako laban sa katiwalian at pagsasamantala.”

Dear friends, I got carried away again. It is simply so good to write when so many ideas enter the mind. The keys in my keyboard are so inviting. However, I have to end. I am living several opinions for you to ponder while you are there on that crossroads where I am letting you go. Give your opinions and help improve the services of our people in government.

-o0o-

Food for thought: IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW SLOW YOU MAY BE MOVING PROVIDED YOU KEEP ON MOVING AND NEVER STOPPING IN THE END THE GOAL YOU WANT TO REACH.

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... OF OPINIONS and CROSSROADS - On ‘Panunumpa ng isang Kawani ng Gobiyerno’