“To spare them accusation that they’re using government premises, occasions and resources for politicking, I think it’s best they don’t attend,” Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III Pimentel said over radio dwIZ.
Andy G. Zapata Jr./File
Don’t speak at graduation rites — Koko Pimentel tells candidates
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Aspiring politicians and candidates in the May elections should avoid accepting speaking engagements at graduation rites in state-run universities and colleges (SUCs) so they won’t be misconstrued as using government resources, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said yesterday.

“To spare them accusation that they’re using government premises, occasions and resources for politicking, I think it’s best they don’t attend,” Pimentel said over radio dwIZ.

“Many politicians are not running. Those senators not running for office – they can be invited,” he said.

In 2016, education officials appealed to politicians, particularly those running in the May elections, not to use graduation rites and commencement exercises in schools for campaigning.

Although there is no specific regulation barring politicians from becoming guest speakers at graduation and commencement ceremonies, they should not use these events to talk politics, an official of the education department said.

Authorities said officials of state universities and colleges caught campaigning for or against any candidate could be fired from their post.

Last year, the Department of Education (DepEd) reminded school officials to avoid turning graduation rites into political events.

While inviting politicians per se is not banned, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said moving up ceremonies and commencement exercises should be conducted in an appropriate ceremony befitting the students and their parents.

“Graduation rites should be simple but meaningful, which encourage civil rights, a sense of community and personal responsibility. While these rites mark a milestone in the lives of the students, these should be conducted without excessive spending, extravagant attire or extraordinary venue,” Briones said in a memorandum.

Meanwhile, Pimentel also thanked President Duterte for signing into law a legislation that will provide election candidates additional discounts for political advertisements on radio and television. He expects the implementation of the law to begin in March.

Before the enactment of the law, Pimentel said politicians were complaining about rising cost of political advertisements during the campaign period.       

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS GRADUATION RITES
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