MANILA — The Department of Education said Monday its move to identify personnel who are members of 2 teachers' groups was a "standard requirement," allaying fears that such action would lead to harassment.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and Teachers' Dignity Coalition raised concerns this weekend over an online survey by the DepEd, which sought to identify teachers who are members of both organizations for no specified reason.
But Education Secretary Leonor Briones said all legitimate organizations dealing with the DepEd are required to submit such information.
"Lahat sila (organizations), nagre-register and especially those who are engaged in negotiation. Hindi naman underground organization itong 2 sinasabi nating mga organisasyon," Briones said in a news briefing.
(All these organizations register with the DepEd and especially those who are engaged in negotiation. These 2 organizations are not underground organizations.)
"They are open organizations. And as open organizations, of course, they are expected to submit the list of their members. It is standard," she said.
Video courtesy of PTV
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the DepEd has an interest to know the number of members in such organizations "to know how representative they are of what they claim to represent."
Malaluan assured the ACT and TDC, as well as other teachers, that the DepEd was not conducting "individual profiling."
"Ang kanilang (their) individual data and information are all part of official records that we keep in relation to their employment," Malaluan said.
"We safeguard these information. We have a data protection officer in the Department of Education. So any disclosure or sharing of these information comply with data protection," he added.
On claims that such actions would lead to harassment of ACT and TDC members, Briones said, "We don't harass. Everything, any action that we have undertaken is always covered by law."
ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio earlier said the DepEd's recent move was reminiscent of the police's profiling of their organization in 2019, "which preluded worse attacks on our members and on our very organization."
ACT has been tagged by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict as a communist organization although the anti-insurgency body has not offered evidence.