NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY AFFAIRS CODE OF CONDUCT

DECLARATION OF POLICY:

Section 1 of Article XI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that public service is a public trust and that 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.

Section 2 of Republic Act No. 6713 of 1989 otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees” provides that it is the policy of the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service.

Administrative Order No. 255 of 2009 issued by Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo directs the heads of the Executive Department to lead moral renewal in their agencies.

In view thereof, the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) is committed to promote the ideals of good governance, eradication of graft and corruption and the upholding of the highest ethical standards among its officials and employees.  To concretize this commitment, the NCDA hereby formulates, promotes, enforces and presents the herein Code of Conduct for the Council which shall apply to every official and employee composing the NCDA secretariat regardless of level or position.

RULE I
NORMS OF BEHAVIOR

Section I.  CORE VALUES AND PRINCIPLES OF CONDUCT

The National  Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) is mandated to be the policy-making, planning, monitoring and advocacy body of the government for the prevention of the causes of disability, rehabilitation and equalization of opportunities in the context of a rights-based society for persons with disabilities.

Recognizing its vision to enable all persons with disabilities to attain their fullest potential and to become active contributors and participants in nation-building, its mission is to provide direction to and coordinate and monitor the activities of government, non-government, and people’s organizations involved in the prevention of the causes of disability, rehabilitation, and equalization of opportunities in partnership with persons with disabilities.

Guided by the Code of Ethics and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees as provided in RA No. 6713, the Council adheres to the following:

(a)     We believe in the inherent dignity and worth of all men and women;

(b)    We believe that every man/woman has natural and social rights, capacities, and responsibilities to develop his/her full potentials as a human being;’

(c)     We believe that the government and the people have a joint responsibility to promote social justice, and to ensure the economic and social well-being of all people;

(d)    We believe in free men/women living freely in a free society where poverty is neither a fate nor a punishment but a condition that can and must be changed;

(e)    We are committed to the development of the highly fulfilled human being in an atmosphere of social equity and economic prosperity;

(f)    We are committed to seek high quality of life for all people

(g)    We bind ourselves to the following principles of conduct:
1.    Everyone shall endeavour to contribute his/her utmost to nation-building
2.    Everyone shall give paramount importance to the well-being of those whom he/she helps;
3.    Everyone shall accept with respect and understanding clients, colleagues, and all those who
come within his/her sphere of professional activity;
4.    Everyone shall engage in social action which according to his/her convictions will further the
best interests of the people and the country;

Section 2.  FIDELITY TO DUTY

All officials and employees of NCDA shall agree to serve the public loyally, in good faith and in accordance with the provision of Agency’s mandate and statutory provisions.  They shall be guided by the following:

2.1  Officials and employees shall at all times exhibit utmost respect to the public and deep sense of
commitment to the mandate of the Office;

2.2  Officials and employees shall not discriminate against nor dispense undue favor to anyone.  Neither
shall they allow kinship, gender, age, race, religion, rank, position, disability, affiliation  or favor to
influence the performance of their official acts or duties.  They shall endeavour to discourage wrong
perception of their roles as dispenser or peddlers of undue patronage;

2.3   Officials and employees shall perform their duties efficiently, courteously, honestly, promptly, fairly and
without bias or prejudice;

2.4   Officials and employees shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of any impropriety in all their
activities;

2.5    Officials and employees shall not engage in activities incompatible with the faithful discharge of their
duties;

2.6    Officials and employees shall at all times perform their duties properly and diligently.  They shall fully
commit themselves to the duties and responsibilities of their position;

2.7   Officials and employees shall not discriminate nor manifest, by word or conduct, bias or prejudices
based on race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, disability, political belief or affiliation;

2.8    Officials and employees shall use the assets and resources of the office, including funds, properties,
goods  and services, economically, productively, effectively and only for official activities and solely for
the purpose required by law

2.9   Officials and employees shall carry out their duties and responsibilities with utmost and genuine
courtesy, fairness, honesty and in compliance  with  the law;

2.10  Officials and employees shall submit performance reports and other documents required by law such
as Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth and Income Tax Returns and other public \
documents as may be required;

2.11   Officials and employees shall not remove, destroy nor conceal documents or papers officially
entrusted to him/her;

2.12    Officials and employees shall not reveal any secret known to him/her by reason of his/her official
capacity or shall wrongfully deliver papers or copies of papers of which he/she may have charge and
which should  not be published;

2.13    Officials and employees to whom the secrets of any private individual shall become known by reason
of his/her office shall not reveal such secrets;

2.14   Officials and employees, upon demand from competent authority, shall not fail to lend his/her
cooperation towards the administration of public service, if such failure shall result in serious damage
to the public interest or to a third party;

Section 3.  TRANSPARENCY –  is openness in transactions involving public interest, such as but not limited to financial and procurement transactions, programs, operations and employment policies and procures.  Transparency leads to accountability, credibility and good governance.

3.1    Officials and personnel shall always exercise transparency in dealing with the public;

3.2   Officials and personnel shall uphold the public’s right to information by providing them access to
reliable and timely information concerning NCDA’s policies, programs, services and procedures, and
other forms of public transactions.  These shall be communicated to the public in clear and
understandable language;

3.3   Officials and employees shall generate public participation in implementing NCDA’s policies and
programs. This shall be undertaken through interpersonal, mass media  or information
communication technology strategies or other effective and efficient means of communication;

3.4  Officials and personnel shall make available to the public, upon request and within reasonable time,
public documents except those which are considered confidential or classified information.

Section 4.  CONFIDENTIALITY

4.1    NCDA  personnel shall not disclose any confidential information in the course of or by reason of their employment.  Confidential information means information that cannot be made public, unless otherwise ordered or authorized by the Court or authorities of the Council as the unauthorized disclosure thereof may be prejudicial to the interest of the Council, or any of its divisions or any particular official or employee.  This may include, but not limited to the following:

a.    Pending administrative cases against officials/employees
b.    Decision on an administrative case
c.    Notes
d.    Draft guidelines/memoranda/letters not yet issued/circularized
e.    Records of deliberations or minutes of meetings not yet finalized, signed and circulated;
f.    Draft concept papers, policy papers, project proposals, etc.

4.2    NCDA personnel shall not use or divulge confidential or classified information to further their private interests or give undue advantage to anyone or to prejudice public interest;

4.3    NCDA personnel shall not alter, falsify, conceal, destroy or mutilate office records which have come into their possession in the course of, or by reason of their employment.

Section 5.  RELATIONS WITH GENERAL PUBLIC

The following shall be observed by all NCDA officials and employees in dealing with the public which includes: colleagues in the government (Local Government Units, National Government Agencies and legislative bodies, etc.), colleagues  within the Council, persons with disabilities, other partners (business, socio-civic groups, academe, non-government organizations, development partners, media and the general public).

5.1  Respect and protect every person’s dignity and rights contained in the Constitution;

5.2  Be polite, helpful and reasonably accessible in dealing with the public at all times, treating  persons
with disabilities and the general public as customers who are entitled to receive high standards of
service;

5.3  Serve the general public in an unbiased, impartial, proper, honest and sincere manner in order to
create confidence in the public service;

5.4  Recognize the public’s right of access to information, excluding confidential information as well as
information that is specifically protected by law;

5.5   Provide services within the prescribed period;

5.6  Take the time to explain in a manner that will allow the general public to
understand the situation and what needs to be done to achieve whatever it is he/she wants;

5.7  Indorse or refer properly to appropriate parties in order that the receiving party is able to act promptly on
their needs;

5.8  Avoid inappropriate public comments and personal opinions that can be construed as official;

5.9  Do not unfairly discriminate against any member of the public on account of race, gender, ethnic or
social origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, political persuasion, belief, culture or
language/dialect.

Section 6.  OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT/PRIVATE PRACTICE OF PROFESSION

6.1   As a general rule, NCDA personnel shall not accept full time or  part-time employment in another office or  agency, private or public while on full time employment with the Council.  Applications for leave of absence where the purpose or reason is for employment in private or other government offices, either inside or outside the country shall not be allowed.

6.2  NCDA personnel may, however, be allowed to engage in private practice or profession on a limited basis, after securing authority from the Chairperson or her duly authorized representative, subject to the following conditions:

(a)    One (1) year residency with the Council;

(b)    At least very satisfactory performance for the year prior to the request for authority to engage in private practice of profession.  Renewal shall only be granted if the performance during the year covered by the  authority granted has been rated at least very satisfactory;

(c)    No government resources shall be used in furtherance of said private practice of profession;

(d)    The private practice of profession shall not affect the performance of the duties and responsibilities of  the personnel concerned.  He/she shall give priority to his/her official duties at all times;

(e)    Activities in relation to private practice of profession shall neither conflict nor tend to conflict with the official functions nor be prejudicial to the best interest of the service.  The private practice does not  require or induce the personnel concerned to disclose confidential information in relation to his/her official functions in the Council.

(f)    The practice of professional in private capacity shall be done outside office hours;

(g)    The request for renewal of authority shall be subject to the assessment and recommendation of
the Head of Agency;

(h)      NCDA personnel who has been authorized to practice profession in private capacity shall
attach to  his/her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) his/her income tax
return for income earned in his/her private practice of profession.

Section 7.  POST EMPLOYMENT

Former NCDA officials and employees who have joined private institutions and whose present employment bears a direct relationship with their former positions are strictly prohibited one (1) year after the resignation/separation or retirement from the NCDA from making transactions, directly or indirectly, with incumbent NCDA officials and employees, on any matter/case pending with NCDA, the approval of which had been dependent on the former NCDA official/employee.

Incumbent officials and employees shall observe the following ethical standards in dealing with former NCDA officials and employees.

7.1  In no instance or occasion, inside or outside the office, shall incumbent officials and employees
recommend the hiring of former NCDA officials and employees within one (1) year after
resignation/separation/retirement except for a very highly technical job;

7.2  Incumbent official and employee should not  transact directly or indirectly with former NCDA
officials/employees in any matter related to procurement of goods/services;

7.3  The preceding prohibitions shall likewise apply to any transaction with the representative of said
former NCDA officials and employees;

7.4   Incumbent staff/employees about to retire/terminate their services at NCDA shall not give undue
favor to prospective NGOs/private organizations as future employer;

7.5  NCDA shall assess and recommend former employees for investigation should high suspicion or
evidence of hidden wealth within 3 years after retirement surface;

7.6  By way of exceptions, the following circumstances may be considered regular and proper ways
of relating with former NCDA officials and employees:

7.6.1   During NCDA legal and/or administrative proceedings
7.6.2   During request for DSWD assistance
7.6.3  Meeting strictly socially or by chance or accident between the incumbent officials or
employees and a former NCDA official or employee

RULE II
POLICY ON NEPOTISM

Section 1.   Pursuant to civil service law and rules on nepotism, no appointments in the career service shall be issued to NCDA personnel by an official as the head of the agency/appointing authority/immediate supervisor, who is a relative of the appointee within the third degree of affinity or consanguinity.

Section 2.  In case of marriage between officials or employees of the same office, the supervisor concerned shall recommend for change of place of assignment/assignment transfer of at least one of the subject official/employee.

RULE III
POLICY ON SEXUAL HARRASSMENT

Section 1. Complaints on sexual harassment shall be governed by CSC Resolution No. 01-0940 “Administrative Disciplinary Rules on Sexual Harassment Cases” including penalties and gravity of the offense committed.  These Rules shall apply to all officials and employees of NCDA.

RULE IV
CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Section 1.  NCDA officials and employees shall not engage, directly or indirectly, in any of the following or similar acts:

1.1    Enter into contract with the NCDA for the supply of goods, equipment, supplies and other related items, and services including lease or sale of property;

1.2    Participate in any official action in which either he/she or any of his immediate family or relatives within the third civil degree of consanguinity or affinity will derive pecuniary or material benefit;

1.3    Recommend any person for employment to any supplier or any other person doing business with the Council; and

1.4    Give undue advantage/preference to anyone to further his personal/private interests.

Section 2.  No NCDA official or employee shall receive money or other forms of remuneration for assisting or attending to parties engaged in transactions or involved in actions or proceedings with the Council.

RULE V
POLICY ON GIFT GIVING, ACCEPTING OF GIFTS, DONATIONS AND SPONSORSHIP

A “gift” refers to a thing or a right disposed of gratuitously, or any act of liberality, in favour of another who accepts it, and shall include a simulated sale or an ostensible disposition thereof (RA No. 6713).

In general, NCDA shall follow a “no gift policy”.

Section 1.  Officials and employees shall not directly or indirectly request or receive any gift regardless of the amount, share percentage, or benefit for himself/herself, or for any other person in connection with any contract or  transaction with the Council, wherein the official or employee in his/her capacity can intervene or influence under the law.

Section 2.  Officials and employees shall not accept or receive any gift, donation and sponsorship, directly or indirectly, regardless of amount from any of the following:

(a)    Any bidder, supplier, contractor, service provider, technical expert or any other entity including their agents with contract/s with NCDA;

(b)    Any individual, counsel, witness, or their agent undergoing any fact-finding/formal investigation being conducted by NCDA; and

(c)    Any person or company transacting business with NCDA

Section 3.  Officials and employees shall not solicit, directly or indirectly, any gift, donation in cash or in kind and sponsorship for themselves or for others, regardless of the amount without the approval of the Head of the Agency.

Section 4.  Officials and employees shall not accept nor receive, directly or indirectly, any gift, donation, sponsorship, regardless of the amount, where this may influence present or future performance of their official functions.

Section 5.  Officials and employees may receive tokens of gratitude (whether cash, in kind or in the form of gift certificates) as appropriate to the ceremony or occasion to which the official/employee acted as a lecturer or as a resource speaker outside the Council.

Section 6.  Officials and employees may accept gifts, donations and sponsorships from individuals or organizations or their agents not covered in Section 2, provided that the gifts, donations and sponsorships were delivered/given in the workplace.  The gifts and donations received should be registered in the Registry Book of Gifts to be maintained by the Integrity Development Committee regardless of the amount.  Likewise, acknowledgement receipt shall be issued by the receiver if the gifts monetary value is Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) and above.  A quarterly report shall be provided by the Integrity Development Committee, copy furnished the Administrative Division.

RULE VI
POLICY ON PUBLIC DISCLOSURE

Article 2. Section 28 and Article 3, Section 7 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution state that:

“Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.”

“The right of people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized.  Access to official records and to documents and papers pertaining to official records and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data to be used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law”.

NCDA hereby adopts a policy of full disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.

Section 1.  Every division of the Council shall make official information available for public knowledge, scrutiny, copying or reproduction, subject to the following conditions:

(a)    The request for information shall be in writing, containing the complete name, signature and address of the person making the request, including its purpose;

(b)    To ensure the security and safety of the records, copying or reproduction shall be done within the NCDA premises;

(c)       The information acquired shall be used only for lawful purposes.

Section 2.  The following documents and papers are exempted from disclosure:

(a)    Classified as “confidential” where disclosure of such documents will result to loss of dignity of the persons with disabilities being  assisted/coordinated by the Council, or will further endanger the PWDs’ condition or case;

(b)    When unauthorized, disclosure thereof would constitute an undue invasion of personal privacy or will put the life of the officials and employees and their immediate families in danger;

(c)     When disclosure will deprive a person of the right to a fair or an impartial adjudication

(d)     When disclosure will pose a danger to the security of the state;

(e)     When the Council limits the documents/papers as for “Internal Use Only”

(f)     When non-disclosure is allowed by law

Section 3.  The appropriate Office/Division shall comply with the request for information within fifteen (15) working days from the receipt thereof or within a reasonable time mutually agreed upon by both the person making the request and the NCDA Office/Division concerned.

Section 4.  In case of denial or request in whole or in part, the head of the agency shall notify the requesting party in writing or through electronic means within five (5) working days from receipt of the request.  The notice shall clearly indicate the name, designation or position of the person making the denial and the reasons for denial.

RULE VII
POLICY ON WHISTLE BLOWING

Section 1.  Encouraging Reporting of Malpractices, Corruption and Other Protected Disclosures

The Council  recognizes that an internal whistle blowing and reporting policy is necessary to encourage honest and excellent public service that will deter undesirable and corrupt practices.  This being the case, internal rules and standards have been formulated in order to ensure that:

(1)     Disclosures are made to the proper public entity;

(2)     The inappropriate publication of unsubstantiated disclosures does not damage the reputation of the
whistleblowers/informers

Section 2.  Protection and Rights of Whistleblowers:

2.1  Protection Against Retaliatory Actions –  No Administrative action shall be entertained against a
whistleblower involving a protected disclosure;

2.2  No Breach of Duty of Confidentiality –  A whistleblower that has an obligation by way of oath, rule or
practice to maintain confidentiality of information shall not be deemed to have committed a breach of such duty if  he/she/they make/s protected disclosure of such information;

2.3  Protection of Whistleblowers even after investigation/case is closed/resolved-  the protection shall
commence from the time the whistleblower made the protected disclosure in an investigation or testifies
in a formal proceeding, if needed be, or until the threat, initimidation or harassment disappears or is reduced to a manageable or tolerable level.  This right may be extended to any member of the family of the  whistleblower within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.

Section 3.  Remedies and Administrative Sanctions

3.1  Violations of Confidentiality –  any employee who violated the protection of confidentiality of a protected
disclosure and of the confidentiality of proceedings shall be subject to disciplinary actions as may be
provided under relevant NCDA issuances, Civil Service Commission issuances, the Administrative Code of 1987, RA No. 6713, RA No. 3019 and other relevant laws, rules and/or regulations.

3.2  Retaliatory Actions –  any employee who does, causes or encourages retaliatory actions, as defined in
These Rules, against a whistleblower and/or employees supporting him/her, or any of his/her relatives within the fourth civil degree by consanguinity or affinity, shall be immediately subjected to administrative and/or criminal proceedings, and in appropriate cases, immediately placed under preventive suspension.

3.3  Perjurious Statements –  false and misleading disclosures or statements shall be sufficient ground for
the termination of benefits of whistleblowers under these Rules, including his/her immunity from
administrative cases as well as disciplinary proceedings against the whistleblower(s) as may be
appropriate.

RULE VIII
RECEIVING AND HANDLING COMPLAINTS

Section 1.  No NCDA personnel shall be removed nor suspended except for cause as provided by Law and after due process.

Section 2.  Any complaint against any officer or personnel of the Council under this Code shall be initiated by a verified complaint, or if not verified, is verifiable and supported by necessary evidence.  This section shall also cover situations wherein officers or personnel of the Council institute an administrative offense against a co-employee in the Council.

Section 3. Complaints whether verified or not shall be referred to the Grievance Committee for appropriate investigation and action. However, if the complaints involve the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director,  the subject complaint will be referred to the appropriate agency.

Section 4.  Any violation of this Code shall be subject to the pertinent provisions of the Civil Service rules on administrative due process, actions, sanctions and remedies.

RULE IX
INCENTIVES, REWARDS AND RECOGNITION

The provision of incentives, rewards and recognition has a significant impact on the performance and the development of capabilities of NCDA officials and employees.  Incentive programs have been known to motivate employees to further improve their capacity and work diligently toward the accomplishment of their plans.  Rewards system also encourages creativity, innovativeness, efficiency, integrity and productivity in the public service towards the accomplishment of the Council’s mandate.

This rule is written with the objectives of maintaining, retaining and recognizing government employees who work with competence, efficiency and integrity and think with dynamism and dedication for the public service.

NCDA may provide these incentives and rewards, but not limited to the following:

1.    Local and foreign scholarship grants
2.    Attendance to conferences on official time
3.    Awarding of citations like trophies, plaques or appreciation or certificates
4.    Membership to professional organizations

In conferring the incentives, rewards, and recognition to its employees, NCDA considers the following criteria:

1.       Quality and consistency of performance
2.      Uniqueness and exemplary quality of achievement
3.      Quality of Character
4.      Years of Service
5.      Position and their salary level

All proposals for the provision of rewards/incentives must be submitted to the Program on Awards and Incentive for Service Excellence (PRAISE) Committee for their review and endorsement.  The PRAISE Committee shall draft their specific guidelines in revising incentive proposals.

RULE X
PENALTY AND SANCTIONS

Section 1.  Any deviation/violation of this Code shall be subject to appropriate sanctions in accordance with the
civil service law and rules.

Section 2.  The verified complaint shall be referred to the NCDA Chairperson for appropriate action.

RULE XI
EFFECTIVITY

This Code shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its issuance and circulation to all parties involved.

Issued this 8th  day of December , 2011 in Quezon City.

(ORIGINAL SIGNED)
ALICIA R. BALA
Officer-in-Charge/Executive Director