No personal info of teachers turned over to gov't entities, DepEd says

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DepEd says one of its regional offices has recalled a letter addressed to school heads, forwarding a memorandum from a unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 8) —  The Department of Education (DepEd) allayed fears concerning the turnover of personal information of teachers to government entities, following the alleged member profiling of a teachers' group.

"No personal information has been turned over with any entity. And should any interagency request for personal information be made to us regardless of what agency of government then it will be evaluated based on applicable laws and rules including the Data Privacy Act," DepEd spokesperson Usec. Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan told CNN Philippines' New Day.

Malaluan said data sought by any government body must be necessary to fulfill public mandate or duty.

"Any request would have to be evaluated under that standard of necessity and clear relevance to the stated or public purpose or mandate of an agency," he added.

DepEd also said one of its regional offices has recalled a letter addressed to school heads, forwarding a memorandum from a unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Malaluan said no other similar forwarding letter had been issued by any other DepEd units.

"Our coordination and communicaton with different agencies of government and even the PNP, and DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government), has been ongoing on various matters including for disaster, for law enforcement, for safety of our schools," he said.

In a separate interview on CNN Philippines' The Source, DILG Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya also dismissed fears that there are ongoing "tokhang" operations against teachers.

He said the government is monitoring not only ACT but all groups which may pose a threat to the government.

Malaya quoted Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison as saying in a video years ago that ACT was among legal democratic groups working with the communist movement.

"The government is just being cautious here, because the peace talks have collapsed, and there has been an unnecessary rethoric coming from both sides of the aisle," Malaya said. He added that the "a whole governent approach" is being mounted against the communist insurgency.

The teachers' group on Sunday slammed the police for supposedly profiling its members, saying it was a "grossly illegal and unconstitutional attack" on their right to free expression and self-organization.

ACT claimed police are "making the rounds in schools and offices of the Department of Education to press education officials for an inventory of all ACT members under their jurisdiction." The party-list group said police either presented or asked school officials to refer to PNP memoranda, so they would give the names of all ACT members in their respective schools.

PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde on Monday ordered the relief of intelligence officers involved in the leak.