VP Sara bans politics in DepEd affairs
By Bobby Q. Labalan
SORSOGON CITY --- Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte has virtually banned politics and politicians from the affairs of the department as she issued DepEd Order No. 047, s. 2022 entitled “Promotion of Professionalism in the implementation and Delivery of Basic Education Programs and Services”.
In her order, Duterte said it is DepEd’s policy “to promote effective and efficient policies and programs which could only be achieved if the department is “free from any partisan activities”.
She reminded all DepEd officials and employees “to practice the highest form of professionalism” as she laid down specific measures that should be observed, among them are:
a. Refrain from seeking endorsements, recommendations, contributions, support, consideration, political
accommodations, or any form of intervention from other government personnel or similar entities outside of the DepEd;
b. Desist from seeking favorable actions from politicians to facilitate the implementation of programs, projects, activities, except those covered by the Adopt-a-School Program initiated by the local government units, funded by the Special Education Fund (SEF), or covered by partnership agreements and/or allowed by law;
c. Follow the internal rules and regulations of the Department on protocols relative to communication, correspondence and other appropriate work processes; and
d. Write letters of requests or correspondences directly to the Office of the Secretary regarding concerns that may be related to basic education
Duterte warned education officials that non-compliance to the new directive would mean outright denial of any request or appeal in her office even as she directed both officials and employees to “exercise utmost attention, prudence and judiciousness in the implementation and delivery of basic education programs and services”.
Asked for reaction, Mayflor Jumamil, regional public information officer of DepEd-Bicol said the subject matter had been discussed earlier by Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad during the regional management committee meeting in Naga City.
She said that DepEd-Bicol would always abide by the directive from the central office even as she stressed that the order “will remind everyone in DepEd of the code of conduct and ethical standards expected to be manifested by public employees and officials”.
Jumamil added that as a result of the directive, “program owners and DepEd officials who have various dealings outside of the department would now be cautious in their actions and decisions”.
The regional information officer, however, refused to comment further when asked if the order includes political patronage on appointments saying the question is better addressed to Atty. Michael Poa, spokesperson and director of the Public Affairs Service of DepEd central office, who would sit as resource person in a press conference that they would soon conduct.
The latest directive was met with optimism by many DepEd personnel in Sorsogon who saw hope in their bid to insulate DepEd from politics and politicians.
Some principals and supervisors who had talked with Rappler on condition of anonymity for fear of “retaliation” from their superior said the Duterte order would somehow lessen the over-dependence of ranking DepEd officials to political patronage which they said had eroded public confidence.
They stressed that many education officials had resorted to “padrino” system to clinch plum posts even though they are not the best for the position, worse some are even unqualified.
They cited the case of one ineligible teacher who was hired under the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 who, despite being ineligible, was designated as teacher-in-charge in one big school which has a principal item. The designee is said to be a close associate of the division superintendent.