Solon slams DepEd: 'Teachers have every right to express political opinion'

Published October 28, 2021, 8:01 PM

by Manila Bulletin

House of Representatives Asst. Minority Leader and ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro blasted the Department of Education (DepEd) for enjoining teachers to remain apolitical and keep their political opinions to themselves.

Castro told the education agency that teachers cannot lose their right to express their political opinions and it is their duty to teach their students critical thinking which is not apolitical.

“Teachers mold human beings capable of critical thinking and determining what is right and what is wrong. Teachers should be able to teach their students the importance of staying updated with what is happening in the country, relating with others and doing something to be catalysts for change. By saying that teachers should remain apolitical is like saying they should be robots who in turn mold robots that do not care about what is happening in our society,” Castro said.

“Being apolitical means allowing the status quo of low wages and salaries, unjust benefits, military over medical solutions and turning a blind eye on the rampant corruption in our government. Silencing our teachers would also mean teaching the youth to remain ignorant and misinformed.” “By being government employees, teachers are not robbed of their freedom to express their views, opinions and support for or against candidates, or sitting government officials. Even according to the Commission on Elections and the Civil Service Commission’s Joint Circular No. 1, series of 2016, ‘expressing one’s views on current political problems or issues’ cannot be deemed as a partisan political activity. DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones saying in an interview that teachers are not allowed to express their views on social media is the complete opposite of what our laws allow teachers and other government employees. Why is the DepEd keen on silencing the voices of our teachers?” added the Makabayan bloc solon.

“DepEd nga mismo pinapayagan ang National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict na mag-ikot at magsagawa ng mga seminar sa mga guro para lamang manghasik ng kasinungalingan laban sa mga lehitimo at legal na organisasyon tulad ng Alliance of Concerned Teachers at ACT Teachers Partylist tapos guro rin ang sasabihan niyang maging apolitical at mag-ingat sa pagbabahagi ng kanilang mga opinyon at mga sinusuportahang kandidato sa social media. Parang ang layunin talaga ng DepEd ay apakan at kitilin ang mga pangunahing karapatan ng mga guro para manahimik (The DepEd themselves allowed the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict to roam and conduct a seminar to teachers just to spread lies against legit and legal organizations like Alliance of Concerned Teachers and ACT Teachers Partylist then she tells teachers not to be apolitical and beware of expressing their opinion and the candidates they are supporting in social media. I think DepEd’s purpose is to step on and kill the rights of teachers to shut them up),” Castro said.

“Teachers should not and cannot remain apolitical especially amid the attempts of historical revisionism and the worsening culture of impunity in our society. Teachers lead by example by standing up for their rights, expressing their views and opinions and being catalysts for change. They mold critical thinkers, not a generation of brainwashed robots. What is the use of memorizing names of national heroes, important historical dates in the calendar, equations, math formulas and codes if the youth would not know how to use these knowledge to help advance our society.” “Critical thinking is needed to further human knowledge, the study of history is important to learn from the mistakes of the past, making guided analysis to be able to properly decide on things we do everyday cannot be taught by memorization, identification and multiple choice,” Castro added Castro pointed out that teachers are political beings who have the right to choose and support candidates with a better platform of government that can make the lives of the Filipino people better.

“To blindly obey, simply accept everything without question and to blindly follow an emerging dictator even after thousands of lives have been killed, the livelihood of millions of Filipinos destroyed with the failed pandemic response and the worsening health, economic and education system amid a pandemic sounds more like what they connote as brainwash,” the lawmaker said.