A mayor in the Philippines has ordered civil servants to smile or risk being fined as he tries to improve the level of service provided by the local government.
Aristotle Aguirre said the policy in Mulanay town, in Quezon province, on the main island of Luzon, must be adopted “while serving the people to give sincerity by showing a feeling of calmness and friendly atmosphere”.
The mayor said the new policy came in response to complaints from locals, including coconut growers and fishermen, about the unfriendly treatment they received from town hall staff when they went to pay their taxes or get help for an issue.
According to the New Straits Times, Mr Aguirre said: “When they arrive, they’re dismayed at the attitude of people they transact with.”
Mr Aguirre, who has a background in occupational therapy, wants to “change the attitude of our government workers”.
The order demands employees adopt a “smile policy while serving the people to give sincerity by showing a feeling of calmness and friendly atmosphere”.
Employees who do not comply with the order could be fined the equivalent of six months’ salary or be suspended from their jobs.
Asked how the rule would be enforced when Filipinos are still required to wear a face mask in public, Mr Aguirre said people can sense if someone is sincerely helping them.
“It’s just to send good vibes to our employees and constituents,” he said.
The “smile order” states: “Any employee who is found through appropriate action to have violated the order shall be a sufficient ground for administrative liabilities with reference to existing laws, policies, guidelines, rules and regulations.”
The mayor said on the order that the human resources team would ensure the monitoring of the policy.