Mulanay mayor orders town’s employees to ‘smile’ while serving people, or be fined

Mulanay town mayor Aristotle Aguirre speaking during the turnover ceremony for newly elected officials on June 30, 2022 (Screengrab of video from Facebook page of Mayor Aris Aguirre/Courtesy Facebook page of Mayor Aris Aguirre)


(Eagle News) — The mayor of a town in Quezon province has issued an executive order instituting a “smile policy” that should be observed by local officials and employees in the town, so they would be more cheerful and helpful in dealing with the people they are serving.

Mulanay town mayor Aristotle Aguirre issued EO no. 2 on July 5 this year in response to complaints that public servants in this local government unit. Many locals were reportedly displayed with the attitude of these local government employees.

Aguirre imposes a fine to public servants who would not follow the “smile policy” in an effort to improve the level of service provided by the local government.

The order adopting the “smile policy” as one of the flagship programs of the local government unit of Mulanay, Quezon should be strictly complied with in all the offered services of the Mulanay LGU.

A view of Mulanay town in Quezon province. (Screengrab of video from Mayor Aris Aguirre Facebook page)

In the order, Aguirre said this was to “institute a positive approach of change true to the promise of ‘Aangat Aasenso'” wherein all departments, offices, units, and sections of the Local Government Unit of Mulanay shall adopt this “smile Policy” while serving the people.

The policy must be adopted “while serving the people to give sincerity by showing a feeling of calmness and friendly atmosphere”, the executive order said.

Aguirre said the measure was in response to complaints from locals, mostly coconut growers and fishermen, about the unfriendly treatment they received from town hall staff when they went to pay their taxes or seek aid.

Some constituents would walk for an hour from their remote villages to reach the town hall.

“When they arrive, they’re dismayed at the attitude of people they transact with,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre, who was an occupational therapist before running for office in the May 9 elections, wants to “change the attitude of our government workers”.

“We need to be a business friendly municipality,” said Aguirre, the son of a former justice secretary in ex-president Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Employees who do not comply with the order could be fined the equivalent of six month’s salary or be suspended from their jobs.

Asked how the rule would be enforced when Filipinos are still required to wear a face mask in public, Aguirre said people can sense if someone is sincerely helping them.

“I don’t think we’ll reach that point,” Aguirre said of the possible punishments.

“It’s just to send good vibes to our employees and constituents.”

(with a report from Agence France Presse)