Smile or face disciplinary measures: How Pinoys are responding to town mayor’s order

July 8, 2022 - 6:37 PM
Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

Smile or face disciplinary measures.

A town mayor in Quezon province filed an executive order mandating people working in all offices of the local government unit to adopt his “smile policy” whenever they serve the public.

Mulanay Mayor Aristotle “Aris” Aguirre on Tuesday signed the EO which adopts the policy as one of the LGU’s “flagship programs,” effectively immediately.

“All departments/offices/units/sections of the Local Government Unit of Mulanay shall adopt a ‘SMILE Policy’ while serving the people to give sincerity by showing a feeling of calmness and friendly atmosphere,” it reads.

The EO cited Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees which notes that the state shall promote a high standard of ethics in public service.

“Public officials and employees shall at all times be accountable to the people and shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty…” the order said, quoting the law.

Aguirre explained that the EO aims to “institute a positive approach of change true to the promise of ‘Aangat Asenso,'” his campaign slogan and his vision for the town.

There will also be a “client satisfactory survey” for the public.

“This policy shall also be included as performance targets in the Office of Performance Commitment Review,” the order said.

Employees who are found to violate the order shall face “disciplinary measures.”

The EO was a relief to those who claimed to have experienced facing “cranky” government employees in the past.

“Sana hindi lang ngiti kundi ‘yong genuine talaga na ugali. Karamihan sa kanila ang susungit. Nagtatanong ka lang, ‘yong iba pabalang pa sumagot. ‘Pag pumasok ka ng naka-tsinelas lang, mag-wait ka kahit buong araw pa, pero kapag tingin nila may kaya, priority ka. LOL,” a Facebook user said.

“Dapat pati ‘yung nagsisilbi din sa hospital, lalo na sa government hospital, bawas bawasan din ang pagsusungit sa mga pobreng mahihirap na pasyente,” another online user wrote.

Others, however, were more critical of the policy and commented that people cannot be “forced” to smile.

“Forcing employees to smile is different from ensuring that they are able to provide the public with the best customer service. May sariling problema’t pinagdadaanan din ‘yung mga taong iyon, so please be considerate,” a Filipino from Twitter said.

“Taasan ang pasweldo, improve tenure and benefits with bonus,” another Twitter user suggested in response to the EO.

“Complex ang organizational behavior, you don’t force someone to smile at work and penalizing them if they don’t,” a different Filipino, claiming to be a psychologist, tweeted.

“Efforts are made to ensure happiness and satisfaction of employees. Madaming dynamics ang kailangan iconsider. You don’t act as if employees are like robots,” he added.

Another Filipino wondered how the policy could be effectively enacted as people are wearing face masks in light of COVID-19.

“Eh naka-face mask, panu na?” a Twitter user said.

When Aguirre was campaigning, he promised Malunay residents that he will enforce his “smile policy” on his first day at the office if elected.

“Nais ni Mayor Aris L. Aguirre na maramdaman ng mga mamamayan na dapat sila ang totoong pinagsisilbihan ng mga lingkod bayan dahil kapag sinabing ‘Public Servant’, ikaw ay alipin ng taong bayan,” part of his Facebook post reads.

The town mayor has also been using the hashtag “#ServiceWithASmile” whenever he shares initiatives and projects on social media.