Use simple words. “Empty your alphabet soup” bowls. Be firm, but don’t overwhelm.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz issued these instructions yesterday to all DOLE officials and employees who write reports, memos, news releases, and other documents, in compliance with the government’s policy on the usage and coining of abbreviations.
“It is true, as the President has observed, that bureaucrats tend to over-use acronyms. We, particularly at the DOLE which has so many offices swimming in over-abundance of technical terms, rely on the use of acronyms and abbreviations to the point of suffocation and confusion. I say, stop,” said Baldoz, adding:
“By using simple words, by limiting our consumption of the ‘alphabet soup’, and by being clear and firm without trying to overwhelm, we will be able to shed the mystery that people perceive surrounds the government. In short, we will be able to communicate well.”
The new policy, “Policy for the Usage and Coining of Abbreviations in Reports and Other Documents Prepared by Government Agencies, Departments, and Instrumentalities”, contain five guidelines in the use and coinage of abbreviations. These are as follows:
(1) Spell-out and define at first mention;
(2) For abbreviation-heavy and large documents, include a glossary of terms;
(3) Limit the use of abbreviations;
(4) Use of shortened names instead of the abbreviations; and
(5) Keep it simple.
In a memorandum to all heads of DOLE services, bureaus, and regional offices, Philippine Overseas Labor Offices, and attached agencies, instructing compliance with the policy, Baldoz said the DOLE can be more effective in communicating its programs and services to the people if reports, documents, media releases, and other documents are stripped of jargon, technical terms, and abundant abbreviations.
She tasked the Labor Communications Office and the Planning Service to monitor the compliance with the policy.