DepEd: Schools off-limits to politicians

ILOILO City – Midterm election candidates are prohibited from campaigning in schools or using school facilities like covered gyms, according to Victor de Gracia Jr., assistant regional director of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Western Visayas. “School heads should also not allow politicians to distribute goodies in schools,” he added.

Distributing school supplies and other materials that bear the faces and names of politicians “is obviously campaigning”, said De Gracia.

The campaign period for local candidates in the May 13 midterm elections – for governor down to municipal councilor and for congressman – is from March 29 to May 11.

On the other hand, the campaign period for senatorial candidates and party-list groups started on Feb. 12 and would end on May 11.

De Gracia, however, clarified that candidates campaigning to the schoolchildren’s parents outside the school is not anymore DepEd’s business.

“If parents are invited outside the school by the candidates, it is up to them to attend or not,” he said.

De Gracia also said politicians should spare school fences from campaign posters.

The Commission on Elections has designated common poster areas for candidates – usually public plazas.

“We have guidelines to be observed during the election period. We expect our school heads to read and understand the guidelines,” said De Gracia.

Election-related activities teachers should not engage under DepEd Order No. 48 issued on Nov. 13, 2018 include the following:

* forming groups to solicit votes and campaign for or against a political party or candidate

* making speeches, commentaries, announcements, or holding interviews for or against a party or candidate

* creating, distributing or displaying campaign materials

* directly or indirectly gathering contributions for political purposes

* wearing campaign materials bearing names of politicians or political parties

* being a watcher for a candidate or political party during elections

* using government resources including personnel, property, and time for political purposes

Teachers are barred from campaigning for poll bets because they are employees belonging to the civil service, explained de Gracia. (With a report from the Philippine News Agency/PN)


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