March 27, 2023
MANILA — Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez has ordered the removal of all television sets in the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC) after a photo showing five employees watching during office hours was sent to him by a “concerned citizen.”
“The television sets [are] being pulled out so city employees are not distracted from their work,” City Administrator Pacifico Maghari III said in an interview on March 23, adding that there were at least 133 TVs in different government offices at the BCGC.
All department heads have been ordered to coordinate with the General Services Offices for the proper procedure for returning the TV sets.
On his Facebook page, Benitez advised government employees to focus on their work, especially in serving the public.
“I would like to remind all the government employees of your pledge to the people and the city,” he said.
Maghari, however, clarified that exemptions would be made for those watching TV for work-related activities such as monitoring, webinars, and online meetings.
“Requests for exemptions will be dealt with on a [case-by-case] basis,” he said.
The photo taken by a concerned citizen and sent to Benitez showed five employees belonging to the Cash Division of the City Treasurer’s Office watching TV around 3 p.m. on March 21.
“It was [during] office [hours] and our mayor doesn’t want to disrupt [services] at the BCGC. All offices are now being advised to remove the TV sets to ensure that the public is served to the best of our ability,” Maghari said.
He added that the five employees had been asked to submit an explanation.
Maghari also urged employees to remove other things that could distract them from their work, such as computer games.
He said the City Legal Office has been directed to review and inspect all government offices in the city to monitor the performance of their employees.