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Now Reading: GAG ORDER | DENR employees told to refrain from posting negative comments vs. gov’t
GAG ORDER | DENR employees told to refrain from posting negative comments vs. gov’t
April 6, 2020 , 09:31 PM

(April 6, 2020) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources told its employees not to criticize the government on social media.

A memorandum circular directed its nationwide offices “not to comment or post negatively on social media against the government” as well as “support the government in fighting the CoVid-19.”

“As a government employee, we should exemplify discipline to the community and promote cooperation to the government,” the memo, signed by DENR Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Marcos Dacanay, said.

Undersecretary Benny Antiporda confirmed to News5 that the department issued the memo, but denied that it was a curtailment of freedom of expression.

“We have the right to look into our own people and to tell and remind them that they cannot bite the hand that feeds them,” said Antiporda, who was a former president of the National Press Club.

Antiporda said the government does not deserve the negative criticism from its own employees at a time when it is dealing with a global pandemic.

He said the employee who leaked the memo on social media had apparently called for the ouster of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“I don’t think that the president deserves it,” he said. “Especially [if] contract of service ka, nakikinabang ka sa gobyerno tapos sasabihin mo oust Duterte, so I don’t think it’s fair.”

He also said the memo has no disciplinary action and only serves as a reminder for its employees.

Antiporda added that constructive criticism is welcome, as he too had called for the use of rapid test kits for the COVID-19, something that the health department had disapproved of.

The month-long lockdown in the entire Luzon has seen many taking to social media their call and criticism on how the government is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

President Duterte said in his late night address on March 3 that Filipinos are free to criticize his administration on social media.

“If it makes you happy, then you smile,” he said. “If not, you criticize me. Walang pigil, social media, lahat kayo.” (Christian de Lano Deiparine/JBS)

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