DILG Scores Execs' Habitual Absenteeism

MAINILA, Philippines - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sunday reported that some local chief executives are guilty of habitual absenteeism and negligence in the performance of their duties, despite the several warnings given out by the department last year.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo said they have been receiving reports concerning the habitual absenteeism of local chief executives, which is ''not keeping with the mandate of the law, to the prejudice of their constituents and ultimately, public service.''

''Some local government officials are either frequently absent or holding office elsewhere, other than their official places of assignment,'' he said.

The law considers a governor or mayor as ''habitually absent'' if he stays at least 10 cumulative working days in a month, out of his or her work station, or out of his or her jurisdiction.

The DILG Chief reminded local execs that they ''are expected to render full-time service, and devote time and attention to the performance of their official duties and should refrain from practicing professions, or engaging in any occupation other than the exercise of their functions.''

He specifically cited Section 90 of the Local Government Code which states that, ''all governors, city and municipal mayors are prohibited from practising their profession or engaging in any occupation other than the exercise of their functions as local chief executives.''

In his directive, Robredo directed the provincial governor to establish a monitoring mechanism to generate information on the presence of local chief executives in their official stations and on those who are habitually absent.

''In the exercise of your general supervisory power over component cities and municipalities, you (provincial governors) may admonish habitually absent local chief executives, or as may be warranted, cause the filing of appropriate charges against them,'' he told the governors.

Last year, the DILG issued a memo circular specifying the grounds for disciplinary actions against elective local officials pursuant to Section 60 of the Local Government Code.

The provision states that a local government official could be suspended or removed from office for dishonesty, oppression, misconduct in office, gross negligence or dereliction of duty, or unauthorized absence for 15 consecutive working days.