DepEd clarifies order on teachers’ use of social media to air criticisms

(INQUIRER file photo / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education’s (DepEd) recent directive, which asks teachers and employees not to “disparage” the agency, does not seek to curtail their freedom of expression and speech but only to promote professionalism among their ranks.

DepEd spokesman Atty. Michael Poa on Monday said the recently issued Department Order No. 49 does not bar teachers and employees from airing criticisms and grievances on social media.

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It, however,  encourages DepEd employees to raise issues in the agency’s existing “machineries.”

“Kung may grievances, mayroon namang machineries na pwede naman nilang ipaalam sa DepEd. Kung criticism, constructive criticism, or hinaing lang, hindi naman bawal ‘yan,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN’s TeleRadyo.

(If they have grievances, we have existing machineries where they can raise their issues. Constructive criticisms are not prohibited.)

“Wala tayong layunin to infringe upon the freedom of expression. Sa atin, all those things under the DO 49 on professionalism are found under Civil Service rules,” Poa added.

(It is not our objective  to infringe upon the freedom of expression. All those things under DO 49 are already found under Civil Service rules.)

Poa further clarified that DepEd is not curtailing its employees’ right to post on social media.

“We are not curtailing their right to post on social media. Ang sinasabi lang natin, bilang civil servants, we really should not disparage our employer, being the government or our department. Pero hindi ibig sabihin niyan that we don’t want to be criticized, ibang bagay naman talaga ‘yun,” he said.

(It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be criticized. It’s another thing altogether.)

The DepEd official made the remarks after Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party-list Rep. France Castro slammed the DepEd’s order, saying it obstructs the exercise of basic human rights.

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