MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City local government suspended a high-ranking official after being found liable for sexual harassment against another employee, it disclosed Friday.
“We condemn all these vile acts of harassment against women, especially among our own officials and employees. The Quezon City Government is committed to addressing all sexual harassment cases regardless of gender and position in any department,” Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a statement sent to reporters Friday afternoon.
The city government also disclosed that another sexual harassment complaint against another local government employee is currently being investigated after it was filed before the Committee on Decorum and Investigation-Legislative Department or QC CODI-Executive.
Belmonte pointed to her administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy for violence, abuse, and sexual harassment in Quezon City Hall that she declared after the celebration of Women’s Month in March 2022.
In the complaint letter addressed to Belmonte, the female employee-complainant detailed several acts of verbal and physical sexual harassment against the high-ranking official who was not named in the statement.
The said complaint was then forwarded to the QC CODI for corresponding investigation and recommendation.
After a series of hearings, Vice Mayor Gian Sotto as the disciplining authority for the legislative department found the official guilty of a less grave offense of sexual harassment with a penalty of suspension without pay for six months.
“We will always advocate an office culture that values and uplifts one another. Our work environment should reflect that we are servants of God, and this includes ensuring that all employees will feel safe and protected, by not tolerating any misconduct,” said Sotto.
Belmonte also encouraged city government employees to report any act of harassment and abuse in order to break the culture of silence brought about by the fear of losing their jobs or the chance of being promoted, especially if perpetrators are superiors.
“May this case serve as a reminder to our employees that we will not be complacent against any erring employee or official. We encourage all victims of abuse to report to our Gender and Development Office so we can initiate proper administrative and legal action,” Belmonte added.
Belmonte recently signed an executive order appointing women as department heads, chairpersons, and members of the Committee on Decorum and Investigation for the Executive Department.
Disclosure: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is a shareholder of Philstar Global Corp., which operates digital news outlet Philstar.com.