THE Department of Education (DepEd) issued an order reminding its personnel, especially teachers, school officials and staff, to practice professionalism amid the implementation and delivery of basic education programs and services.

Under DepEd Order No. 49, the agency defined “acceptable” norms of conduct and relationships in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No, 6713, also known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

It urged its officials and employees to avoid relationships, interactions and communication, including following social media with learners, outside of the school setting unless they are relatives.

It also reminded DepEd personnel to exercise caution when sharing posts and other content on social media and to not participate in spreading rumors and fake news. It also told personnel not to disparage DepEd and must always be mindful of the reputation and honor of the organization.

The order reminds DepEd officials not to post online attacks with fellow DepEd personnel, noting that they must use legal and human resource mediation processes.

The agency also reminded its officials and employees to treat and approach each other as well as other stakeholders and learners with the “highest degree” of professionalism, skill and excellence; respect the rights of others and refrain from doing any act that is contrary to law, good morals, good customs and public policy, order, safety and interest.

It said DepEd officials and employees should serve and perform their duties and responsibilities in a “prompt, courteous and fair manner.”

“Refrain from engaging in any activity or any relationship that may impair one’s ability in making objective decisions in the performance of his/her job functions,” the order reads.

“Desist from any act that may compromise one’s integrity as a government employee and that may compromise the honor of DepEd,” it added.

The education department also reminded its personnel of the following policies to avoid partisan activities:

*Refrain from seeking endorsements, recommendations, contributions, support, consideration, political accommodations, or any form of intervention from other government personnel or similar entities outside of DepEd;

*Desist from soliciting favorable actions from politicians to facilitate the implementation of programs, projects, or activities, except those covered by the Adopt-a-School Program, initiated by the local government units, funded by the Special Education Fund (SEF), or covered by partnership agreements and /or allowed by law;

*Refrain from requesting or obtaining support or endorsement from any third party in the hiring, transfer, promotion, removal, or any other personnel movement;

*Follow the internal rules and regulations of the Department on protocols relative to communication, correspondence, and other appropriate work processes; and

*Raise issues and concerns regarding basic education via formal and appropriate DepEd channels, either directly to the Office of the Secretary or through the concerned Assistant Secretary or Undersecretary, without resorting to any political or third-party intervention or accommodation. (SunStar Philippines)