DepEd: Requirement for teachers' groups to submit member lists not for profiling
In this July 21, 2020, photo, teachers at Jose dela Peña National High School in Marikina City attend a training session on e-learning in preparation for the coming opening of classes.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

DepEd: Requirement for teachers' groups to submit member lists not for profiling

(Philstar.com) - April 19, 2021 - 3:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — Education officials on Monday denied the department is "profiling" teachers after groups aired concern over the agency asking for their members' information.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers and the Teachers Dignity Coalition had reported that DepEd's regional offices ordered them to fill out of online forms on their members.

The groups said they will not participate in the move, which they described as done hastily and in bad faith. 

"This act of the DepEd management, which has caused alarm among our members, may be deemed at the very least a simple discourtesy and at the far extreme, a form of harassment," said Benjo Basas, TDC national chairperson, in a statement. 

But in a Palace briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones explained the department needs the information on employees' organizations.

"This is a requirement under the law...especially for bargaining and negotiation purposes," she said in Filipino. "They're perfectly legitimate and therefore, perfectly required by law to submit what is usually required of legitimate organizations which deal with the government."

Briones added that other workers' groups in DepEd such as those of nurses, dentists and lawyers are also asked to turn in a list of their members.

ACT: DepEd doesn't recognize us, excludes us from activities

ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said, however, that DepEd has "consistently and actively" refused to recognize them as a legitimate group.

It had gone as far as "to exclude us from activities meant for DepEd employees' organizations and associations," Basilio said. "Because of these, ACT sees no possible good reason behind the ongoing inventory on their organization."

He added that DepEd is part of the government's anti-communist task force, which has included the ACT among groups that supposedly having ties to armed rebels.

The ACT was also recently described by Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, spokesperson for the anti-communist task force, as among groups formed "precisely for the infiltration of government." 

In the same briefing, DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan sought to assure teachers that no profiling of teachers is being done.

"We safeguard these information [and] we have a data protection officer," he said. "Any disclosure or sharing of information comply with data protection, so there is no individual profiling that the department is doing outside of the required submission of information." — Christian Deiparine

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