By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday confirmed that it has “terminated” its existing partnership with social news network Rappler.
In a letter signed by Education Secretary Leonor Briones dated February 7 addressed to Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa, DepEd conveyed that it was formally terminating its Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the social news network.
Briones, in the letter, cited that “consistent with Article 7, Termination Clause of the MOA between the DepEd and Rappler signed on May 17, 2017, we respectfully give notice that we are terminating the said MOA.”
No further details were given as to why the DepEd decided to terminate its partnership with Rappler.
The MOA pertained to two agreements with Rappler, one was a partnership to stage the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC).
The other one was for a project that would be undertaken by the DepEd with Rappler’s MovePH, and Ateneo de Manila University’s eBayanihan on the use of social media and technology to provide information during emergencies.
A source from the DepEd confirmed the decision and noted that the letter “came directly” from of the Office of the Secretary.
Meanwhile, Rappler – in an article posted on its website – has informed it readers and viewers of the said decision.
Rappler noted that the DepEd decision came after “malicious reports” by “government propagandists” questioning the five-year partnership with them.
Rappler said that DepEd terminated the agreements with them that “involve training of students and teachers in journalism and disaster management, as well as the creation of online platforms for them.”
Rappler accused DepEd of sacrificing “the ideals of campus journalism to politics.”
Rappler noted that the “cancellation of the partnership came two weeks before we begin an online publishing contest that is organized by the NSPC and customized for the DepEd.”
The social news network also wondered “why the department would make such a rushed decision that would jeopardize a project that took months of preparation on the part of the NSPC, the DepEd, and Rappler merely highlights the unstated reason for the DepEd’s action – that they are choosing to sacrifice the ideals of campus journalism to politics.”
As per DepEd Memorandum No. 200 series of 2017, DepEd will hold the hold the 2018 NSPC from February 19 to 23 with Dumaguete City as schools division host and Region VII as the host region.
The NSPC is an event usually held by DepEd every year which aims to “provide a venue for an enriching learning experience for students interested in Journalism as a career or those who intend to use skill sets learned through campus journalism to give them a better edge in their chosen careers.”