Cruise trips violate several laws
Assuming no government funds were really spent for the Star Cruises trips of the utility workers of the Department of Tourism (DOT), Secretary Wanda Teo should understand that these free trips can still be considered as gifts from one of her client agencies and may be construed as a bribe in exchange for preferential treatment. After all, she admitted in an Inquirer report that there is, in fact, an ongoing transaction between the DOT and the said cruise liner (“DOT official defends cruise trips,” 2/19/18).
Teo and her staff may have actually violated several laws because of their mere acceptance of those free trips. We have Republic Act No. 6713 or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees,” which prohibits all civil servants from accepting gifts in the course of their official duties. We also have Presidential Decree No. 46 issued in 1972, which makes it punishable for public employees to receive gifts on any occasion, and RA 3019 or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” which makes the mere acceptance of gifts a corrupt practice of public officers. These laws only emphasize that public service is the government officers and employees’ primary duty and must be done without expecting anything in return.
President Duterte should seriously consider firing Teo if a virtue as basic as ethics in public service still baffles her mind. Many others will surely be more conscientious in performing the duties of a tourism secretary.
REJINEL GAMBOA VALENCIA, email@example.com
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