Education Secretary Leonor Briones defended the directive issued by the Department of Education (DepEd) which aims to find out who among its personnel, both teaching and non-teaching, are members of two specific groups of teachers.
During the press briefing of Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Monday, April 19, Briones came into the defense of a recent directive issued to local DepEd officials to find out who among the employees of the agency are members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippine and Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC).
“These organizations, they are perfectly legitimate and therefore, they are perfectly required by law to submit what is usually required of legitimate organizations which deal with the government,” Briones said. “We don’t harass, everything – all the actions that we have undertaken – is always covered by law,” she added.
In DepEd, Briones noted that there is almost a dozen of major organizations composed of teachers, non-teaching staff and other employees. “We recognize that they are legitimate organizations, they not underground so they have to register,” she explained.
To date, Briones said that there are 11 organizations of teaching and non-teaching staff in DepEd. “Organizations that deal with the DepEd, of course, have to comply with requirements and they need to submit names, list of their officers – it is standard, we don’t discriminate,” she said.
On April 17, TDC and ACT, in separate statements, condemned the recent “profiling directive” of DepEd.
The groups also questioned the reason behind DepEd’s directive especially at a time when the education sector is reeling from the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Despite the concerns raised, Briones maintained that there is nothing irregular about the directive since processes such as this are part of standard operating procedures for organizations that deal with government agencies such as DepEd.
“As open organizations, they are expected to submit the list of their members,” Briones said. “It is standard, which is expected of all those who want to be recognized,” she ended.