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PCOO tells officials, employees: 'Be mindful' of social media posts

MANILA, Philippines – Over a week after Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson's viral federalism video that sparked public outrage, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) reminded its personnel to "be more mindful" about their posts and official releases.

The memorandum, dated August 13 and shared to Malacañang reporters, reminded them on their "duties and responsibilities as public servant" and they are "bound" by Republic Act No 6713  or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

"Please be mindful of the content you post or share on your personal social media accounts, as well as other publications and press releases your office may publish," PCOO Undersecretary for New Media and External Affairs Lorraine Badoy said in the memo to all PCOO officials and employees.

LOOK: All PCOO officials, employees reminded to 'be mindful' of social media posts on portrayal of women, gov't ethics code after Mocha Uson federalism video. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/TZWq5maWr0 — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) August 16, 2018

While Badoy recently admitted that Uson violated the government ethics code with the federalism video, she did not mention her fellow official in the memo.  Badoy has yet to reply to Rappler's query on whether or not Uson was sent a separate memo.

Badoy, who issued the memor as chair of PCOO's gender and development committee, reminded all PCOO officials and workers  "of our role in creating a positive impact towards gender issues and portrayal of women in the media since we play a crucial role in raising public awareness and shape public opinion."

She also reminded them of the ethics code provision requiring all public officials to observe norms in conduct as they discharge their duties.

In particular, she cited the provision on professionalism.

Public officials and employees shall perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill. They shall enter public service with utmost devotion and dedication to duty.

Badoy is not the only PCOO official to call out Uson for posting the lewd "pepedederalismo" jingle and dance performed by Duterte supporter Drew Olivar.

Philippine Information Agency director-general Harold Clavite said such acts undermined the work of other government personnel, particularly in the PCOO, and was a form of disrespect for women. He urged Uson to take a leave and issue a public apology.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however has no problem  with Uson's federalism video and called it part of the exercise of freedom of expression.

Penalty?

Under RA 6713, officials who violate provisions of the code "shall be punished with a fine not exceeding the equivalent of six (6) months' salary or suspension not exceeding one (1) year, or removal depending on the gravity of the offense after due notice and hearing by the appropriate body or agency."

There was a previous incident when Uson violated rules on proper conduct of officials.

When she performed in casinos with her group Mocha Girls, she violated a Malacañang Memorandum Circular that bars government officials from entering casinos as it is "conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service."

Signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the order states that penalties should be imposed "in view of its negative effect on the public perception of government service."

Faced with criticism, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar "discouraged"  Uson from performing at casinos. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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