“Public office is a public trust”

Such is the tenet to be held in high regard and in full implementation by employees of the Philippine government. Supposedly.

It is even put down in the letters of the Philippine law that one would expect such people to fully adhere to that mandate. More specifically, it is written in Section 1, Article 11 of the Philippine Constitution:

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.

I won’t pretend to have read the full letter of that particular provision so I really can’t say this conclusively but it appears to me that this tenet is simply disregarded by just about every public servant because there are no punishments and/or penalties attached to violating that code of behavior.

Why do I say so?

Well, last time I checked, government employees are some of the worst people you will ever have to transact with. I have so many such awful encounters my list will be quite long if I had to write them all down.

For instance, I once had to get a copy of my sister’s birth certificate from the National Statistics Office (NSO). To be absolutely fair, their system has already improved dramatically since I first had to get a similar document from their office.

If only the employees could have improved just as well.

I still had to wait in line as usual but I was glad that my sister’s name was called after a relatively short while later. So far, the experience was going well. Someone just had to ruin it for them.

Before they give you the papers you requested, you will have to sign off some sheets. While I was doing that signing, I haven’t even halfway near finished when the guy inside ripped off the pen, took the paper I was trying to sign, shoved the documents to my direction, and stormed off further inside leaving me and those behind me quite shocked.

It is but a simple act and I understand that I am way younger than that man but that was simply beyond disrespectful. Discourteous. Impolite. Impatient. I could totally go on.

I’m pretty sure the ones behind me would have agreed if I said those out loud.

I didn’t, of course. I just left the line without even a single world. Thankfully, God has blessed me with so much self-control.

And that was just one of them. I’ve had lots of similar experiences with other government employees.

Perhaps, if they attached a penalty clause to that mandate, every government employee would start following it. Until that happens, expect bad service anytime you try and deal with government employees.

What about you, have you had any similar experiences? Perhaps, you have had the opposite experience. I’d love to hear one.


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