MANILA — Graduation rites must not serve as forums for politics and elections, the Department of Education (DepEd) told schools as it laid down the guidelines for ceremonies marking the end of School Year (SY) 2021-2022.
The DepEd issued the reminder in light of the recently concluded May 9 national and local elections, and the upcoming December barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls.
"Schools shall ensure that the EOSY (end-of-school-year) rites are conducted in a solemn and dignified manner and shall not be used as a political forum," the agency said in a May 10 memorandum.
The DepEd reiterated its policy that school personnel are banned from engaging in electioneering and partisan political activity.
"Invited guest speakers must focus their messages on the theme of this year's EOSY rites. They must be advised not to campaign for anyone or any political party," the DepEd said.
Schools must also ensure that there are no election-related paraphernalia on display during the conduct of graduation ceremonies, it added.
This year, the DepEd allowed schools under Alert Levels 1 and 2 to hold limited in-person graduation rites, the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that prompted a ban on mass gatherings.
Schools under Alert Levels 3, 4 and 5 can hold their graduation rites online, according to the agency.
The theme of SY 2021-2022's graduation rites is "Gradweyt ng K to 12: Masigasig sa mga Pangarap at Matatag sa mga Pagsubok," highlighting how "Filipino learners remain resolute in their desire to build a better future" despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.