Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards Essay
Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards
Pursuant to the provisions of Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”, approved Dn February 20, 1989, and which took effect on March 25, 1989, conformably to Section 17 thereof, the following Rules are hereby adopted in order to carry out the provisions of the said Code:
Section 1. These Rules shall cover all officials and employees in the government, elective and appointive, permanent or temporary, whether in the career or non-career service, including military and police personnel, whether or not they receive compensation, regardless of amount.
Over the past 35 years, the number of government employees grew at a faster rate than did the population. Philippine population grew 160% between 1960 to 1997 but total government personnel more than doubled in size from the 360,000 employed in 1960. Expressed in terms of ratio to the total population, the growth in the size of the Philippine government personnel lends some firm basis for the popular perception of a bloated bureaucracy. In 1970, the ratio of government personnel to the total population is 1:90. By 1990, the ratio stood at 1:52. The most telling indicator of the period of rapid expansion of the bureaucracy is reflected in the growth rate of government’s cash disbursements for personal services. Yearly incremental rates between 1980 to 1991 were in double figures, averaging 21% during the 11-year period, and grew as high as 35.8% in 1984-1985. In the immediately preceding years, the increase in government expenditures for personal services is accounted for by the implementation of the second phase of the Salary Standardization Law which provided for yearly increase in basic salaries of government personnel over four years.
This is because since 1992, growth in size has been arrested due to the combined effects of a number of right-sizing initiatives which include: the 5-year effectivity of RA 7041 or the Attrition Law; agency-specific streamlining programs; changes in budgetary allotments which funded only the filled positions; and to some extent, the exit of positions in the disposed or privatized units of government. In the last four years, increases in number of personnel have been attributed to the population-based personnel teachers and policemen and to the local government units, the last due to devolution by the national government of certain functions and activities. Outside of those classes of personnel, the increase in national employees (NGAs) and those employed by government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) has switched into a decelerating mode. The size, distribution, and general profile of government are given in statistical data derived from the yearly inventory of government personnel conducted by the Commission. The inventory is based on actual occupancy of positions at the end of each year.
Section 1. These Rules shall be interpreted in the light of the Declaration of Policy found in Section 2 of the Code:
“It is the policy of the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service. Public officials and employees shall at all times be accountable to the people and shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives, and uphold public interest over personal interest.”
Ethics is gaining prominence in the discourse about governance today. There is a perception that standards in public life are in decline. This raises questions about the costs of misconduct on the part of those who have been entrusted with guarding public interest and resources. These costs are losses in trust and confidence in public institutions and losses in precious resources which were meant to support the economic and social development of nations and peoples. There is a move worldwide to restore a measure of trust and integrity in public institutions and officials, to safeguard democracy and promote better governance.
It could be argued that the perception of a fall in public standards is linked to the shifting role of the state, which is undergoing tremendous reform. Globalization, technological advances, spreading democratization and fiscal crises are challenging states to deal with strong external forces, be smart in serving its citizenry, devolve power, and divest itself of obsolete activities. As a result, the public service, as an institution, is under pressure to transform itself to respond to these changes. As public servants are asked to take on new and sometimes conflicting roles, there is a need for a cost-effective structure and an encouraging culture to enforce standards and guide their behavior.
Under a democracy such as in the Philippines, the people’s fundamental faith in the integrity of political institutions is what holds the system together even under the most difficult times. The present situation in the Philippines is a test of this principle. Whether or not the test is passed with success is a matter yet to be seen. However, at this stage, what could be gainfully learned from present experience is the knowledge that people’s trust seems to lie on the existence of ethics and accountability mechanisms and infrastructure. As shown and proven with quite a measure of success by many studies, ethics and accountability are keys not only to effective government but also to effective governance. The following discussions deal with some of the infrastructures and initiatives in the Philippines. The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines provides the basis of ethical and accountable behavior in the public sector. Section 1 of Article XI states that: Public office is a public trust.
Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. This provision requires every public official and employee to exhibit and live certain values while in government service. In addition, the State has been mandated by the Constitution to “maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption”. In 1989, the Philippine legislature passed Republic Act No. 6713, a law embodying the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. The Code spells out in fine detail the do’s and don’ts for government officials and employees in and out of the workplace. These do’s and don’ts are encapsulated in the eight norms of conduct to be observed by all government officials and employees. These norms or standards are:
• Commitment to public interest
• Justness and sincerity
• Political neutrality
• Responsiveness to the public
• Nationalism and patriotism
• Commitment to democracy
• Simple living
The Code, likewise, introduced some reforms in the administrative systems like giving heads of agencies the responsibility of ensuring there is a value development program for their employees; continuing studies on work systems and procedures with the end in view of improving the delivery if public services; and, mandating the designation of a resident Ombudsman in every department, office and agency. Incentives and rewards system has also been put in place. Another comprehensive law passed to address and curb the commission of malfeasance in government is Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
In Section 1 of this law, it states that: It is the policy of the Philippine Government, in line with the principle that a public office is a public trust, to repress certain acts of public officer and private persons alike which constitute graft and corrupt practices which may lead thereto. This law specifies eleven (1 1) instances of corrupt practices in addition to acts or omissions already penalized by existing laws.
The legal infrastructure that prescribes ethical conduct of; public servants is reinforced by political commitment. This political commitment, while difficult to benchmark, has been demonstrated by some policy pronouncements. Quite significant are the ten-point action agenda of the present Administration and the Medium-Term Development Plan (2000 2004) or Angat Pinoy 2004 which embody the framework for the country’s socioeconomic development. The agenda and the MTDP place the implementation of a sustained training and orientation program on anti-graft and corrupt practices and laws, and on the Ethical Standards Act of Public Officials and Employees among the Administration’s priorities to reduce graft and corruption and exact high standards of ethics in government. Proceeding from this, departments and agencies of the executivebranch have set up and implemented various programs that aim to eliminate bureaucratic red tape.
One-stop action centers are now being promoted and institutionalized in the agencies. The legal infrastructure and political commitment are supported and complemented by the existence of oversight institutions. The creation of the oversight institutions that deal with issues of ethics, accountability, graft and corruption are mandated by the Constitution. The common feature of these institutions is they enjoy a substantive degree of fiscal autonomy in the sense that they are not subject to the fiscal controls of the executive. The budget is directly released to these institutions and the heads are authorized to realign savings from their budget. They also have quasi-judicial powers in that they can adjudicate and decide cases and enforce their own decisions, including the imposition of sanctions which may include suspension from office or even dismissal from government service. In the Philippines, the three constitutionally mandated oversight institutions are the Civil Service Commission, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit.
The Civil Service Commission is the central personnel agency of the government. Under Section 3, Article IX-B of the Constitution, the CSC is mandated to “establish career service and adopt measures to promote morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progressiveness, and courtesy in the civil service.” It is also tasked to “institutionalize a management climate conducive to public accountability.” CSC’s effort involves in enforcing ethics and accountability of line agencies basically involves three approaches. One approach is regulatory, the other, corrective, and the last one, developmental. The first approach addresses compliance of-agencies with policies and standards on HRD systems set by the CSC. For instance, CSC prescribes qualification standards for each and every position in the Philippine government. Non-compliance with the QS by agencies in the processing of appointments of their staff results in the disapproval by the CSC of such appointments.But, apart from the substantive requirements for practically all kinds of personnel actions such as the publication requirement and the promotion and selection board processes. Non-compliance with the procedural requirements constitutes ground for corrective or even punitive action.
The second approach deals with disciplinary actions against official or employee for infractions committed in relation to the performance of his/her official functions. The Administrative Code of 1987 or Executive Order No. 292 outlines the various acts that are subject to administrative disciplinary proceedings. However, administrative discipline is not a function within the exclusive jurisdiction of CSC. Agency heads as well as the Office of the Ombudsman also have the authority to proceed against erring government officials and employees. The third approach is developmental and will be discussed later in the succeeding paragraph. The Office of the Ombudsman acts as a prosecutor against those charged with the violation of RA 3019, RA 6713 and the law against ill-gotten wealth, among others.
It is mandated to investigate and prosecute the criminal liability of public officials and employees involved in graft and corruption. The Commission on Audit is the fiscal watchdog of the government. COA is responsible for ensuring legal and proper disbursement of public funds and preventing irregular, unnecessary, or extravagant expenditures or usage of public funds. It also has quasi-judicial powers. All these oversight institutions enforce accountability ethic in government. There have been numerous initiatives in promoting ethics and accountability in the public sector. As shown in the earlier discussions, all the above mechanisms focus on exacting as well as developing ethics and accountability consciousness in government officials and employees. The other approach that will be given emphasis in the discussion are the various developmental initiatives, which are within the area of knowledge and competence of the CSC.
Reforms on Public Administrative Systems
Section 1. Every department, office and agency shall, as soon as practicable and in no case later than ninety (90) days from the effectivity of these rules, start conducting value development programs for its officials and employees in order to strengthen their commitment to public service and help promote the primacy of public interest over personal interest in the performance of their duties. Such programs and other parallel efforts on value development shall include, among other things, the following subjects:
(a) Ethical and moral values;
(b) Rights, duties and responsibilities of public servants
(c) Nationalism and patriotism;
(d) Justice and human rights;
(e) Democracy in a free and just society;
(f) Philippine history. Culture and tradition; and
(g) Socio-economic conditions prevailing in the country, especially in the depressed areas, and the need for a code of Conduct and Ethical Standards.
Continuing refresher courses and seminars and/or workshops to promote a high standard of ethics in public service shall be conducted. Section 2. Professional, scientific, technical trainings and education programs shall enhance to the highest degree, professionalism, excellence, intelligence and skills in the performance and discharge of duties and responsibilities of officials and employees. These programs shall be conducted in all offices of the government and may include subjects that are enumerated in the preceding section. Section 3. It is the responsibility of every head of department, office and agency to ensure that officials and employees attend the value development program and participate in parallel value development efforts. Section 4. Every department, office and agency shall conduct continuing studies and analyses of their work systems and procedures to improve delivery of public services.
Towards this end, such studies and analyses shall: (1) identify systems and procedures that lead or contribute to negative bureaucratic behavior; (2) simplify rules and procedures to avoid red tape; and (3) devise or adopt systems and procedures that promote official and employee morale and satisfaction. Each department, office or agency shall develop a service guide or its functional equivalent which shall be regularly updated and made available to the transacting public. A workflow chart showing procedures or flow of documents shall likewise be posted in conspicuous places in the department, office or agency for the information and guidance of all concerned. Upon request, the Department of Budget and Management shall assists departments, offices and agencies in the evaluation and adoption of work systems and procedures that will institutionalize a management climate conducive to public accountability.
Section 5. Every department, office and agency shall consult the public they serve for the purpose of gathering feedback and suggestions on the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of services. They shall establish mechanisms to ensure the conduct of public consultations and hearings. Section 6. Every department, office and agency shall continuously conduct research and experimentation on measures and adopt innovative programs which will provide motivation to officials and employees in raising the level of observance of public service ethical standards. Section 7. Every department, office and agency shall, appoint or designate a resident Ombudsman, who shall act immediately on all request for public assistance referred to him by the Ombudsman and his Deputies. He shall be held accountable for the disposition of all requests for assistance. Section 8. Government officials shall make themselves available to their staff for consultations and dialogues.
In any industry the success of an organization is extremely dependent on its human resources. Although there are many other factors that play a key role, a company must have effective employees in order to stay financially solvent and competitive. In order to maintain this valuable commodity, organizations must be aware of employee satisfaction and retention. Many companies make the mistake of assuming that employees are only seeking financial benefits for their jobs. This assumption overlooks the high importance many people place on the intrinsic benefits of their careers. It is not only a mistake for employee satisfaction and retention, but it also has negative business consequences. Organizations must have employees who are able to quickly adapt to an ever-changing world market. Companies need to invest in on-going employee development in order to both keep employees and be successful.
Employee development programs clearly play a significant role in employee satisfaction, which helps lead to employee retention. The Gallup study shows a clear link between training and job satisfaction. When people receive relevant and valuable training, they are generally happier in their jobs. When that training is carried to the next level and becomes overall development, employees tend to feel even more valued by their employers. They are not only given the tool to do their jobs well, but they are also given opportunities to develop new skills and attain career goals. Companies that invest in their employees and clearly communicate the importance of employees will keep employees.
Although there are other factors that are important to job satisfaction and many reasons that employees may leave companies, development programs can still make a positive difference. They can make people feel like they are contributing to the organization’s success, which gives them intrinsic motivation to go to work everyday and do a good job. Companies that offer employee development programs enjoy the luxury of higher employee satisfaction and lower turnovers than those that do not invest in such endeavors. Although it is an investment, it is worthwhile for the returns. Employee Development programs benefit individuals as well as companies.
Companies that do not offer on-going learning will not be able to keep with those that do. They may see times of financial gain, but they will lose in the race for intellectual capital. A company can only move as fast as its employees, so the ones that train and develop people will move much more quickly. Many companies view training as a time consuming burden that takes away from the time for employees to complete their job tasks. This concern may be true for companies that offer training in a vacuum and do not support it. However, those companies that offer employee development that is engrained throughout the organizational culture know that the money they put into training will hardly compare to the benefits they get out of it.
Employee development can be viewed in two distinct ways. Either its primary purpose is to benefit the company and it is a side bonus that individuals get something out of it, or its primary purpose is to benefit individuals and it is a side bonus that the company gains from it. Either way, everyone wins. The ideal approach is to have equal emphasis on benefit to the company and benefit to the employees because they are ultimately mutually beneficial to each other.