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QC govt suspends high-ranking official for sexual harassment

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The Quezon City government has suspended for six months without pay a high-ranking official that it found liable for sexually harassing another employee.

The Quezon City government announced the decision on Friday but did not identify the official.

The complainant, a female employee, had accused the official of verbal and physical sexual harassment.

The matter was investigated by the Committee on Decorum and Investigation – Legislative Department and Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, the disciplining authority for the legislative department, found the official guilty of a less grave offense of sexual harassment.

The official was meted the 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,” Sotto said in a statement.

Mayor Joy Belmonte deplored the harassment.

“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,” Belmonte said.

Belmonte in March declared a zero tolerance policy for violence, abuse, and sexual harassment in the city government.

She called on city government employees to report any act of harassment and abuse to break the culture of silence surrounding these incidents, which was brought about by fears that they might lose their jobs or miss out on promotions.

“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,” she said.

The city government would continue to be vigilant against sexual offenses and other violations of the rights of its employees, she added.