Individuals wearing health agency shirt during campaign rally not their employees, DOH says

February 18, 2022 - 10:59 AM
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This June 2016 photo shows Shrine of Saint Lazarus or San Lazaro Hospital, DOH Compound, Rizal Avenue, Santa Cruz, Manila. (Judgefloro/Wikimedia Commons)

Commission on Election spokesperson James Jimenez reminded the public that “partisan politics has no place in official functions.”

Jimenez issued this reminder after social media users reported that some candidates are allegedly using the Department of Health events and uniforms for campaigning.

In a quote-retweet to a user, the poll spokesperson wrote: “Partisan politics has no place in official functions.”

Jimenez was responding to Twitter user @lilyoftheveil17 who complained about the DOH’s involvement in a campaign.

The photos showed a children’s vaccination program wherein mascots of electoral candidates were invited as guests.

In another tweet, the same user shared a screenshot that showed a group of individuals wearing what seemed to be DOH uniforms while attending a proclamation rally of a presidential candidate.

The Twitter user tagged the accounts of Comelec and Jimenez on her tweet.

“Ang linaw linaw ng DOH uniform [diyan] sa campaign rally ha @COMELEC @jabjimenez. Oras ng trabaho sa gov’t office ng ganitong oras diba?” the user tweeted.

Jimenez quote-retweeted this and assured her that he will endorse the reports to the DOH for comments and appropriate actions.

The spokesperson also tagged DOH’s official Twitter handle on his tweets.

“This is being referred to the regional office of the @DOHgovph for evaluation, appropriate action, and due process. #votesafepilipinas,” Jimenez said.

DOH’s response

DOH clarified that the health workers wearing shirts that bear the agency’s name are not their employees.

The individuals are barangay health workers who work under local government units.

“The DOH wishes to inform the public that based on information verified by our regional office, the individuals on the circulating photos of a campaign rally are not employees of the DOH,” the agency said.

“They are health workers employed or directly engaged by LGUs,” it added.

DOH further explained that the shirts bearing its logo came from its various health promotion campaigns in the country.

“Due to the Department’s various health promotion campaigns and outreach programs on the ground, the DOH and its partners have produced and distributed a multitude of shirts and paraphernalia bearing the DOH logo, to health and non-health workers alike, those covered under CSC rules and otherwise,” the agency said.

“The Department urges the public not to use these apolitical materials for endorsing candidates during the 2022 elections,” it added.

Laws on political neutrality

The laws on nonpartisanship of government officers and employees are stated in several laws.

Under Section 2 of the Civil Service Commission of the 1987 Constitution, the following provision mandates:

“No officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign.”

In Section 5 of Article XVI of the Constitution, it was also stated that the armed forces are also prohibited to engage in partisan politics.

“Professionalism in the armed forces and adequate remuneration and benefits of its members shall be a prime concern of the State. The armed forces shall be insulated from partisan politics,” the provision reads.

“No member of the military shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity, except to vote,” it also adds.

The intervention of public officers and employees is also among the prohibited acts under the Omnibus Election Code.

Moreover, Republic Act 6713 or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees” also mandates the following:

“Public officials and employees shall provide service to everyone without unfair discrimination and regardless of party affiliation or preference.”