THE Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday stood pat on its position prohibiting politicians from using schools for political rallies.
“We would just like to remind those who are campaigning as well as the administrators of schools that it is imprudent to organize political rallies and sorties in their campuses especially those which do not necessarily allow our students and teachers to exercise critical thinking and discernment,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro told this reporter in a text interview.
Luistro, however, clarified political events such as debates and fora are allowed provided that all political parties and candidates would be given equal opportunity to discuss their platforms and visions.
“If there are any such gatherings organized, it is best to ensure that all political sides are heard so the audience can make their own judgment and decision,” he said.
Reiterating its “clean schools, clean elections program,” the Education department called on organizers of political rallies and public meetings to always be mindful of the school environment and be responsible in cleaning and removing their campaign materials after a rally or meeting.
“We also ask them not to hold political rallies and public meetings during school days while classes are ongoing,” Luistro said.
The department also reminded organizers of political events to secure permits from the local government.
Independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe earlier slammed the Malacanag when she and her running mate Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero were allegedly barred from holding a consultation forum with students of a school in Roxas City, Capiz.
But Luistro said school officials in Roxas City were not informed that Poe will hold consultations with the students.
The Education department also warned public school teachers against involving themselves in partisan politics.
Teachers, including school heads, should remain non-partisan and continue to uphold neutrality during elections, Luistro said.
“We [at DepEd]have always reminded our teachers not to participate in partisan politics and to be models of professionalism at all times,” he said in an earlier interview.
The DepEd chief also asked candidates not to use the teachers to advance their political interests.