Op-Ed: A new set of guidelines for Filipino state workers?

Posted Nov 10, 2010 by Maria Narissa Aranzanso
The President of the Philippines had approved a simple list of do’s and don’t’s in the code of conduct for state workers in the Philippines.
Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III
Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III
File photo
The Philippine Star newspaper, in its November 10, 2010 issue, by Delon Porcalla, reported that President Noynoy Aquino approved the set of guidelines on the social networking policy that is to be implemented. The report said that the government is fine-tuning its code of conduct for state workers, including setting of guidelines for social networking.
The formulation of a new set of guidelines was obviously prompted by the embarrassing tweets exchange by the Communications group where Assistant Secretary Mai Mislang twitted about the wine served, the uncomplimentary remark about the men in Vietnam, and the dangerous streets.
While it is all right to review the code of conduct for state workers that include the policies on social networking, the much anticipated sanction for Assistant Secretary Mislang’s conduct unbecoming issue was not yet considered. Journalists and Filipinos from many parts of the country have differing opinions on what transpired but a line from the US National Public Radio has this to say and could be made a basis already for a disciplinary action that could be decided for the assistant secretary:
“You should conduct yourself in social media forums with an eye to how your behavior or comments might appear if we were called upon to defend them as a news organization. In other words, don’t behave any differently online than you would in any other public setting.”
The need for another set of guidelines for the code of conduct could still be open to discussions. The pages of those hate campaigners and supporters could again be divided by the question on the necessity of these guidelines. As some clamor had openly ask for the assistant secretary’s dismissal, this progress will undoubtedly raise brows again. Ms. Mislang had already apologized to the President but it had not assuaged the heat caused by the embarrassing tweets.
The assistant secretary must not be spared of the necessary sanction. Cries for her to resign truly sound unforgiving but the President of the Philippines had to deal with the consequences, too, primarily caused by the irresponsible tweets made by his trusted staff. There has to be seriousness in implementing the government policies especially if there already has an existing code of conduct for state workers. The new set of guidelines (that has to be implemented still) is a likely action but it will not be a correction to the damage done.