MANILA, Philippines - Employees of government agencies -- such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) -- who are caught using social networking sites and playing computer games at work may end up getting suspended, or even fired.
Secretary Ramon Paje has ordered a software audit of all desktop and laptop computers connected to the Internet server of the DENR central office in Quezon City to see if his workers are visiting Facebook, Twitter, Multiply, Friendster, YouTube and other websites during office hours.
The move came after reports reached his office that many DENR employees can still access the previously banned websites, using international proxy servers to bypass firewalls installed by the agency's management information systems division.
"Anyone, regardless of employment status, caught using proxy software to access banned sites shall be subjected to Civil Service rules and regulations," Paje said in a statement.
Last April, Paje issued Memorandum Circular 2011-04, which prohibits the use of social networking sites and online and offline games during office hours, to "increase productivity in the workplace."
A violation of the said order is considered an administrative offense.
Under the Civil Service Commission's (CSC) rules and regulations, a government employee committing an administrative offense will face a reprimand or warning for the first offense, suspension for the second and dismissal for the third offense.
Aside from workers at DENR, City Hall employees in Metro Manila are not allowed to access their Facebook accounts and play computer games at work.
CSC chairman Francisco Duque said the frequent use of social networks and games "would bring down productivity levels."
A study in 2009, however, showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are more productive than those who not.