BI workers can’t have coffee break

PNS — ALL Immigration staff in the agency’s main office in Intramuros, Manila, are not allowed to hang out in nearby coffee shops and restaurants during office hours starting today, Monday, following reports some of them are using those establishments to discuss shady deals, an official said Sunday.

Violators face suspension or dismissal, Immigration officer-in-charge Ronaldo Ledesma says, adding the prohibition is necessary in view of reports that fixers and some Immigration employees have been seen frequenting shops and restaurants to discuss shady deals and anomalous transactions.

“There were even reports that money intended for Immigration transactions change hands in these restaurants in full view of the public, and to the detriment of the bureau’s reputation as a front line agency of the government,” he said.

Ledesma specifically cited Starbucks, Mocha Blends, Jollibee and Max’s Restaurant, which are all within walking distance from Immigration’s offices on Magallanes Drive in Intramuros.

Several employees have already been ordered to explain why they should not be administratively charged after they were spotted in one of those establishments during working hours.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department has suspended the enforcement of all labor standards and work place inspections around the country to prevent “corruption” during the holiday season.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz suspended the enforcement of all labor standards from Dec. 1 to Jan. 14, but said the investigation of all labor standards complaints would continue and the cases disposed of quickly.