TEMPLATE: SAMPLE CODE OF CONDUCT (BASED ON CSC–DOH JMC)

A template for amendments to the Code of Conduct can be found in the annex of the CSC-DOH Joint Memorandum Circular for Protecting the Bureaucracy against Tobacco Industry Interference (CSC-DOH JMC), as well as the DOH Department Memorandum on Protecting the Bureaucracy against Tobacco Industry Interference (DOH DM).

This section pertains to Code of Conduct provisions recommended for government agencies in the Philippines. Like most countries, each government agency in the Philippines has a Code of Conduct, and hence, the policy adopted is one that calls for its amendment, and not the development of a new one.

GUIDELINES FOR MEETINGS WITH THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY

OBJECTIVE: To provide clear guidance on how government personnel should behave when dealing with the tobacco industry.

COVERAGE: All government personnel with special precautions and specific provisions for decision-makers in agencies vulnerable to tobacco industry interference.

ELEMENTS:
1. Broad definition of “contribution”
2. Strictly prohibits all public institutions from receiving contributions from the tobacco industry/p
3. Requires private institutions to report any contributions from the tobacco industry

MODE: This can be issued as an order for compliance of institutions concerned.

RULES WHICH SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE AMENDMENT OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT OF EACH AGENCY*

*These guidelines mirror the rules outlined in “Ethical Guidelines for Meeting with Tobacco Industry” by Judith Mackay and Mary Assunta.

  1. Public officials and employees shall limit interactions with the tobacco industry to those strictly necessary for its regulation and to ensure the transparency of those that occur.
  2. In the event that a meeting is strictly necessary, officials and employees shall abide by the following rules:
    • Set the meeting agenda.
    • Ask the industry about what it wants to discuss– in writing – then decide whether to agree with the meeting or not. Stick to the agenda and make the meeting brief.
    • Clarify the goal and structure of the meeting.
    • Before the meeting, it must be made clear that such interaction does not imply partnership, dialogue, or collaboration. Indicate in writing to the tobacco industry that it may not mischaracterize the nature of the meeting.
    • Hold the meeting at the premises of the department/institution/agency/local government. Ensure that any photograph taken of this meeting is strictly for documentation purposes only and not for the public relations activities of the tobacco industry.
    • Predetermine the meeting participants by asking for the names and positions of those who will attend the meeting.
    • Moderate the meeting. A lawyer must be present and must closely advise the official/employee/representative during the meeting.
    • Write the official minutes. A voice recording of the meeting may be made to assist the staff in preparing the transcript of the meeting. Such transcript must be filed for record purposes and be made available to the public upon request.
    • Maintain the right to terminate the meeting at any point.
    • Distribute information on the meetings as appropriate. Publicly correct any misinformation regarding the meeting.
    • Decide on follow-up questions that must be answered after the meeting.
    • All non-mediated exchanges (in person, phone, or email) between officials, employees, and representatives of the agency should be avoided.
  3. Public officials and employees shall declare any interest in the tobacco industry. A public official shall resign from his position in the tobacco industry within thirty (30) days from his assumption of office and/or divest himself of his shareholdings or interest within sixty (60) days from such assumption. For the purpose of this rule, interest in the tobacco industry means personal, financial, or other interests, including, but not limited to:
    • having an existing ownership or investment in the tobacco industry;
    • being a member of the Board of Directors, an officer of the corporation, or a partner in a partnership in the tobacco industry; and,
    • receiving any contribution from the tobacco industry.
  4. Public officials and employees shall not demand or receive any contribution from the tobacco industry for themselves, their families, relatives, friends, or any other persons, or organizations. Contributions shall include, but are not limited to, payments, gifts, and services, monetary or in kind, research funding, financial aid, policy drafts, and legal advice.
  5. Public officials and employees shall avoid the creation of any perception of real or potential partnership or cooperation with the tobacco industry, and shall publicly correct any perception of partnership that may have been created.
  6. Public officials and employees of agencies that have a role in setting and implementing public health policies with respect to tobacco control shall inform their institutions about any intention to engage in an occupational activity within the tobacco industry, whether gainful or not, within a specified period of time after leaving service; and, shall require applicants for such public office positions to declare any current or previous occupational activity with any tobacco industry, whether gainful or not.

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