Gifts and Entertainment Policy
This policy is intended to guide every employee, officer or a director, including consultants of the company to act in the best interest of the company in the performance of his or her functions or duties as such. They shall not solicit or accept any gift and entertainment from an actual or prospective customer, supplier, contractor or business partner (“External Parties”) and avoid any impression of influencing business judgment or action.
Offers of gifts, meals, or entertainment, soliciting gifts, meals, or entertainment from external entities that transact or seek business with the company as well as receiving any interest or benefit from External Parties that could reasonably interpreted as inducing favoritism is prohibited.
A. Gifts and Meals
A.1 When a director, officer, employee, or consultant who has discretionary authority in dealing with External Parties is offered a gift or meals by representatives of External Parties, the following guidelines must be observed:
i. Gifts, meals, or entertainment that are offered with a clear and expressed expectation of a favor cannot be accepted.
ii. Gifts of cash or cash equivalents cannot be accepted.
iii. Gifts having a value exceeding PhP1,000.00 cannot be accepted.
iv. Gifts of symbolic value, such as trophies or plaques given to recognize the value of the business relationship, may be accepted.
v. Meals or entertainment offered by a supplier or a customer may be accepted when the event that occasioned the meal or entertainment is to be attended by the supplier or customer, and the costs involved are within the customary range of costs for business-related meals and entertainment.
vi. If an offer or delivery of a gift that would fall under the categories described in items (i), (ii), and (iii) above cannot be declined without offending the giver or was made under circumstances that would preclude return, the gift may be accepted, but should be forwarded to either the human resources department or the internal audit unit for possible donation to charity or distribution to employees through a raffle.
A.2 The following gifts are never appropriate:
i. gifts of cash, or cash equivalent (such as gift cards or gift certificates);
ii. gifts that are prohibited by local law;
iii. gifts given as a bribe, payoff or kickback (e.g., in order to obtain or retain business, or to secure an improper advantage, such as securing favorable tax treatment);
iv. gifts the recipient knows are prohibited by the gift giver’s organization;
v. gifts given in the form of services or other non-cash benefits (e.g., the promise of employment).
A.3 Any gift having more than a nominal value, even if given on occasions of rejoicing or celebration such as birthdays, anniversaries or Christmas, shall not be permitted.
A.4 Employees who receive a gift at an event of a ceremonial nature (e.g., a customer outing or a commemoration of a business transaction) that might not be appropriate under these guidelines, but is impractical or offensive to refuse, may accept the gift and then promptly report it to their supervisor. The employee and supervisor can then discuss the appropriate response.
No entertainment should be accepted by any officer of a kind or amount which would influence or would create the appearance of influencing him to act other than solely in the best interest of the Commission.
Entertainment expenses include events such as sporting events, whereby a business discussion takes place during, immediately before, or immediately after the event.
C. Members of the immediate family
No officer or employee or any member of his/her immediate family shall accept or actively solicit from any customer, creditor, supplier or other third party any compensation, commissions, share in profit or other payments or any entertainment, services, travel or personal are either of nominal value from any individual or organization as a result of the employee’s position or work in the Company.
D. Travel & Leisure in relation to business transactions
The cost of travel involving an officer or employee of the Company that is necessary to assess or complete a business transaction with External Parties shall be borne solely by the company.
Directors, officers and employees are further prohibited to provide, directly or indirectly, gifts, hospitality or sponsored travel to any person in order to improperly influence or induce such person to give its business or benefits to the Company.
E. Compliance, Reporting & Discipline
i. All Employees are expected to comply with all of the provisions of this Policy. This Policy will be strictly enforced and violations will be dealt with immediately, including subjecting the Employee to corrective and/or disciplinary action, including without limitation, dismissal or removal from office.
ii. Any third party agent who violates the terms of this Policy, who knows of and fails to report to the Company potential violations of this Policy, or who misleads investigators making inquiries into potential violations of this Policy or who otherwise refuses to fully cooperate with investigators, may have their contracts terminated.
iii. Employees who have concerns or questions about violations of this Policy, should report them to the Chief Executive Officer or to the Head of Audit and Risk Management Committee. Potential violations may also be reported on a confidential and anonymous basis. Following receipt of any complaints, the Head of the Audit Committee, as the case may be, will investigate each matter so reported and report to the President. The Audit Committee will have primary authority and responsibility for the enforcement of this Policy, subject to the supervision of the Board of Directors.