Did this BIR office violate church-state separation?

Filipino Freethinkers posted this on Facebook. A friend tells a story of gross violation of secularism at the BIR:

I had to make an unplanned trip to BIR to get a copy of my Certificate of Registration. I wasn’t expecting an even remotely pleasant experience, but it was ok for the first half hour/series of [approach 4 separate desks to get the one form and list of information you need]. They started playing a Catholic prayer overhead around noon and I thought, “Philippine government offices, am I right?”

About 20 minutes later, I wondered why the numbers for the counter I’m queued at (Counter 2) had stopped moving up and the counter was empty. I approached the person at Counter 1 to ask what had happened to Counter 2. This is the gist of our conversation:

Me: Ate did Counter 1 leave? (My underlying question being, don’t you have “No Noon Break”?)
Ate: Ma’am, sorry but he’s attending mass. I wanted to attend too but here I am working.
[I look up and there’s a Catholic mass going on right behind the desks. Part of the staff’s working space.]
Me: He’s attending mass right now? Is that part of your schedule?
Ate: Yes Ma’am, I’m sorry but he’s there right now.
Me: Do you know how much longer it will be?
Ate: I’m not sure, it depends on Father (the priest).
Me: Um, that’s not part of your functions though, right?
Ate: Sorry Ma’am, [the staff] requests it and it *is* first Friday.
Me: Ok, but that shouldn’t take up your time while on duty.
Ate: You’re not Catholic Ma’am?
Me: That has nothing to do with it. Did the mass just start?
Ate: He’s now reading the gospel.

Um, wow. There’s always been a strong, visible Catholic culture in Philippine government offices, which I find odd but don’t mind, even though separation of Church and State is clear in the Constitution etc. etc. This is a whole other level though. I’ve now had to wait an extra hour (and counting) because this BIR office is holding mass smack dab in the middle of their work day, smack dab in the middle of the office, while taxpayers wait to be served and the mass is broadcast loudly overhead. Surreal.

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