The Civil Service Commission (CSC) urged government officials and employees to decline gifts from the public after President Rodrigo Duterte pointed out that police officers may accept items given out of gratitude and generosity.

CSC commissioner Aileen Lizada said that the acceptance of gifts is a “prohibited transaction” except in three instances involving foreign governments, as stated in the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Under this law, the three exceptions are gifts of nominal value given by foreign governments as a souvenir or mark of courtesy; grants like scholarship or medical treatment; and travel grant, including lodging and transportation allowance.

“Other than that, the giving of gifts under the law is prohibited,” she said.

Lizada also cited the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which prohibits public officials from accepting gifts “even on the occasion of a family celebration or national festivity like Christmas, if the value of the gift is under the circumstances manifestly excessive.”

The commissioner further cited that a 1972 decree by then President Ferdinand Marcos also makes it “punishable for public officials to receive and private persons to give gifts on any occasion, including Christmas.”

Instead of gifts, the public can give government workers letters of thanks, which become part of their “201 file” used in promotion consideration purposes.

“When you serve, your office should be beyond reproach, beyond suspicion kaya wag na ho kayong tumanggap [ng regalo] (so don’t accept gifts). Bayad na ho kasi kami (we are already paid) when people file their respective income tax returns,” said Lizada.

Okay na ho sa amin ang ‘thank you’ (A ‘thank you’ is enough for us),” she added.

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