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FACT CHECK: No ‘illegal deductions’ cited in DepEd memo on ACT teachers

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FACT CHECK: No ‘illegal deductions’ cited in DepEd memo on ACT teachers
The video falsely claims that the education department issued a memorandum because the teachers’ alliance was making illegal deductions from teachers’ salaries.

Claim: The Department of Education (DepEd) issued a memorandum asking for a list of teachers affiliated with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) because the group has been making illegal deductions from teachers’ salaries and funneling this to the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a July 3 video posted by a YouTube channel with over 738,000 subscribers. As of writing, the video containing the claim has 125,000 views, 4,600 reactions, and 489 comments. 

What the video shows: The video said at the 1:38 mark that all DepEd regional directors and school division superintendents were asked to submit a list of ACT-affiliated teachers.

Napag-alaman ng ahensiya ni Vice President DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte na may mga illegal na deduction na ginagawa ang nasabing partido sa mga public school teachers na ayon mismo kay Vice President Sara Duterte, mukhang napupunta diumano ito sa kanilang samahan na CPP-NPA-NDF.” 

(The agency of Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte found that the partylist makes illegal deductions from the salaries of public school teachers, that according to Duterte, seems to be funneled to their group, the CPP-NPA-NDF.)

The bottomline: DepEd issued the memorandum in relation to its automatic payroll deduction system. The memo does not state that ACT has made illegal deductions from teachers’ salaries. 

Despite repeatedly red-tagging the country’s largest teachers’ group, Duterte did not make any statements alleging that ACT transfers the supposed funds to the CPP-NPA-NDF. 

Not meant for profiling: In a DepEd memorandum dated June 14, the department asked all regional directors and schools division superintendents to submit a “complete list” of teachers affiliated with ACT Teachers who were availing of the department’s Automatic Payroll Deduction System (APDS). The memorandum was attached to notices released by DepEd regional offices like Regional Memorandum No.337, s. 2023 of DepEd Region IV-A.

The one-page memorandum did not specify any reason for the request. It only provided instructions on how and where to send the list, with a deadline of June 21.

DepEd explained that it had asked for the list of ACT-affiliated teachers for the “sole purpose” of improving the department’s human resource systems, which includes the APDS. 

“Our unions and organizations are collecting membership dues through APDS. The APDS is the facility used for salary deduction in relation to statutory contributions, as well as loan remittances and membership dues,” DepEd said.

The department denied allegations that the memo was meant to profile members of ACT, which Duterte had previously linked to the communist movement.

In a statement on June 24, the department said that similar requests were made “for the list of members of other unions, organizations, and associations of teaching and non-teaching personnel availing of the APDS.”

What is the ADPS? DepEd Order No. 20, s.2021 defines the ADPS as “a mechanism of collecting payments, through salary deduction, for mandatory and non-mandatory financial obligations of DepEd employees, and remittance thereof to government and accredited private entities.”

The department regulates the use of APDS to “facilitate and ensure orderly implementation of salary deductions authorized by law, adherence to legal limitations on salary deductions, and protection and promotion of the welfare of all teachers and employees.”

Red-tagging: In response, ACT has criticized the DepEd memo, saying this was the third time the group has been subjected to profiling. The group added that its members and regional unions have been compliant with existing guidelines on APDS as per DepEd Order No. 20, s. 2021.

“There is no need for DepEd to collect the list of ACT members as it is DepEd which approves and implements the APDS every month. Such acts and measures seek to stigmatize ACT’s work, repress its advocacies, and restrict civic space from teachers and education workers who are critical of the government,” the group said.

ACT also expressed concern over the DepEd request, pointing out that Duterte has been engaged in “relentless and malicious red-tagging” of the group. The Vice President had previously accused the teachers’ alliance of being a “lover of the useless ideologies” espoused by the communist movement. 

Rappler has previously fact-checked claims related to ACT Teachers party list, the group’s representation in the House of Representatives. – Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com

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