Education Secretary Jesli Lapus asks candidates to keep politics off public schools.
“I appeal to all politicians to spare the schools from any political propaganda and pressure,” Lapus said.
He made the appeal after he issued Department of Education Order No. 10, which bans all election materials in public schools as the campaign season starts.
The order, which DepEd calls “Clean Schools, Clean Elections” Program, aims to insulate schools from the pressures of politics.
The department order will remain in effect throughout the entire campaign period beginning February 9 until the final outcome of the May 10 national and local polls.
Earlier, the Commission on Elections issued a resolution banning the “posting of campaign materials in public places outside of the designated common poster areas such as streets, bridges, public structures or buildings, trees, electric posts or wires, schools, shrines, main thoroughfares and the like.”
Lapus said that even before the official start of the campaign period, the department has already been getting complaints from principals, parents and media about tarpaulins and posters that mar school premises.
“The 2010 National Election merits the highest degree of national discipline. These guidelines must be observed so as not to compromise the integrity of this political exercise,” he said.
The department order said that the only election materials that can be posted or distributed within the school premises “are those specifically authorized under election laws and only for the period prescribed.”
It directs school heads to immediately remove illegally posted campaign materials within their school premises.
Meanwhile, election related activities such as political rallies and public meetings using school premises can only be allowed when there are no classes.
Election related preparatory meetings and seminars for teachers and other personnel involved in the conduct of the elections have to be scheduled to avoid disruption of classes, it said.
The order also bars school personnel from engaging in political campaigns, such as distributing campaign materials particularly within the school premises.