ACT hits back at DepEd: ‘Stop justifying profiling’ of our teachers
MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Sunday condemned what it claimed as continuous profiling operations of the Department of Education (DepEd) against its unions and members.
Earlier, DepEd denied the ACT’s allegations after receiving criticism for its memorandum, which was issued last June 14, requiring all regional directors and all schools division superintendents to submit the list of ACT Union-affiliated teachers who are availing of DepEd’s automatic payroll deduction system (APDS).
In response, ACT said the memorandum violates its members’ “right to freedom of association, freedom of expression and the right to privacy,” adding that this is already the third time the group has been subjected to illegal profiling.
“The first one was in December 2018 when an internal memorandum by the PNP Intelligence Directorate ordered the conduct of profiling ACT members from both private and public schools. This was followed by internal instruction from DepEd asking for the list of ACT members in 2021,” the group said in a statement.
ACT pointed out that its members and regional unions have been following existing guidelines of APDS matter under DepEd order no. 20, s. 2021.
“There is no need for DepEd to collect the list of ACT members as it is DepEd that approves and implements the APDS every month. Such acts and measures seek to stigmatize ACT’s work, repress its advocacies, and restrict civic space from teachers and education workers who are critical of the government,” the group asserted.
“As with DepEd’s justification that the memorandum was to address employees’ complaints of wrong deductions of monthly membership dues, this can be simply be resolved by fixing their record mechanisms without compromising the privacy and safety of all other employees,” it added.
According to ACT, these documents may be used against its members as it pointed out Education Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte’s alleged involvement with “relentless and malicious red-tagging” of its members.
“We demand the Department of Education to end attacks on teachers and focus on overcoming the education and learning crisis. DepEd should be the one who serves and responds to teachers’ demands. We wish to hear good news about the over-delayed release of teachers’ Performance-Based Bonus (PBB), not profiling,” ACT said.
“DepEd is duty-bound to uphold and protect teachers’ constitutionally guaranteed rights and fulfill the country’s commitment to implement ILO Convention 87 (Freedom of Association). The agency must cease attacking and endangering the lives of its constituents,” it added.