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MUST READ: DOH, DOTr list do’s and don’ts for holiday season



This Christmas season, one government agency has offered an advice for the physical well-being of the public, while another listed do’s and don’ts for the moral health of its employees. Eat and drink in moderation. Take a lot of selfies. Join parlor games. These are some of the ways to keep one’s weight in check without passing up on all the good food and the merrymaking during the holidays, according to the Department of Health (DOH). 

Decline gifts and dining invitations not only during the holiday season but all throughout the year is the advice of the Department of Transportation to its employees. “If it can’t be avoided to hold meetings in the performance of your duties, do it in your office. If you must eat or have coffee, pay your own way,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade told personnel of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to help eradicate the public perception of corruption in the agency. 

Dance, sing 

The DOH spokesperson, Dr. Eric Tayag, said parties and get-togethers were not all about eating. “Join the fun, the games, dance, sing, engage in conversations, take a lot of selfies. Don’t just eat so that you don’t get fat,” Tayag said at a media forum. During the Christmas season—the longest celebration in the country—health authorities remind Filipinos to eat and drink in moderation to curb the increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. 

Buffet rules 

“Many of us engage in holiday binge-eating. The weight you will gain during the holidays will most probably be your baseline weight if you don’t have plans,” Tayag said, stressing the importance of keeping body weight in check to avoid obesity, a risk factor for a lot of debilitating diseases. Don’t leave the house on an empty stomach if you’re going to a party to avoid binge-eating, he said. “You can also bring your own food, especially if you are on a special diet regimen by your doctor. Tell the party host that you’re going to enjoy the party except that you brought your own food,” Tayag said. “If it’s a buffet, choose the smallest plate available and get only half of the food you want to eat. Don’t deprive yourself, just eat half of the food you want. Use the 1/2 rule,” he added. “Chew your food slowly … If you don’t resist the temptation, you should have a plan how to lose weight,” Tayag said. The DOH also gave tips on how to handle food properly in order to avoid food spoilage or food poisoning. “The cardinal rule is the food that was prepared hot should remain hot and those that are prepared cold should remain as is,” Tayag said. 

Traffic, moderation 

“Traffic can also contribute to food spoilage, so it’s better to cook food in the place where it will be eaten, instead of transporting food from one place to another,” he added. Keeping things in moderation is a major key in being healthy during the holidays, according to the health official. 

No. 1 enemy 

On the 22nd International Civil Aviation Day, Tugade said the No. 1 enemy of those working in government agencies was the public perception of their proclivity to bribery and corruption. “Because of this public perception, I have declared rules and policies to overcome this,” Tugade said. “I don’t want you, officials and employees alike, to accept invitations for lunch, dinner or merienda because if people see you doing this, they will think that something shady is happening, that you are asking for favors,” he said. He also said accepting gifts was a big no-no, especially from contractors and those seeking the agency’s help. “I don’t like you receiving gifts any day of the week, any week of the month and any month of the year. I don’t care what is the activity, whether it is your anniversary, your birthday or even because it is Christmas,” he said. 

Yearlong no-gift policy 

Tugade said the no-gift policy promoted among government agencies, including the CAAP, should not be implemented not only during the Christmas season but also all year round. “I won’t allow you, particularly the officials, to accept gifts or else I will fight you. I have my way of finding out if you have accepted gifts,” he said, warning that he will be “unforgiving” and “unrelenting” in matters of graft and corruption.

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