Briones says info gathering on teachers’ affiliation not profiling
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday said the collection of data on membership in organizations, such as the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC), was a requirement under the law, even as it disputed claims that the groups’ members were being profiled.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said legitimate organizations, such as these groups, were required to register and submit a list of their members.
These are requirements under the law and part of standard procedure for organizations that want to be recognized and engage in negotiations with DepEd, Briones said.
“These organizations are not illegitimate, they are perfectly legitimate and therefore they are perfectly required by law to submit what is usually required of legitimate organizations, which deal with the government,” Briones said at a Palace press briefing.
No individual profiling
The DepEd also needs to learn the identity of the groups’ members since there are membership fees collected on behalf of the organizations, she said.
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the department had an interest in knowing the number of members in different organizations to determine how representative they are of the sector they claim to represent.
This is relevant when it comes to negotiating with these groups, Malaluan said.
But he said the DepEd safeguarded the individual information of teachers that were part of official records kept in relation to their employment.
“So there is no individual profiling that the department is doing outside of the required submission of information,” he said.
ACT earlier said the DepEd had disseminated a survey to determine the number of teachers who belong to ACT and TDC, and questioned the purpose of this, which it said constituted profiling.
ACT also said the DepEd had become complicit in the violation of educators’ rights.
Briones said the DepEd did not harass members of these organizations.
“We don’t harass. Everything, any action that we have undertaken is always covered by law, because that is my training. We are a government of laws. Organizations [that] deal with the DepEd, of course, have to comply with the requirements,” Briones said.
In fact, she has been the recipient of harsh words, she said.
“I am the one who feels harassed because I’m told to go to hell, I’m told that I am a whore and I’m told that some groups are continually praying that I will rot in hell. So if that is not harassment…,” Briones said. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.