The Department of Education (DepEd) will allow the return of Christmas parties amid the COVID-19 pandemic — the ban is the forced collection of contributions from students and parents.
This is what the department shared in their DepEd Order 52 that was signed by Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is also the education secretary.
“All Christmas parties, themes, costumes, decoration and exchange gifts are voluntary. No learner or DepEd personnel should be forced to contribute, participate or use their money for the celebration,” the order said.
“No learner shall be excluded from joining the Christmas celebration by reason of their failure to give the voluntary contribution or absence of a prepared gift.”
According to the department, the celebrations in schools and DepEd offices should be “practicable” and simple.
Said parties cannot result in a great burden for parents, students and DepEd personnel.
“Old Christmas decors should be recycled, purchase of new decors are not encouraged,” added the order.
“No learner or DepEd personnel will be required to make decorations specifically for a party.”
Such parties can be held during class hours as long as it does not interfere with the scheduled lesson plans for the children.
DepEd bans forced contributions during Christmas parties
DepEd staff were also reminded that solicitations, or taking contributions, are not allowed for holiday celebrations — whether in cash or “in kind.”
Private schools, community learning centers and state/local universities and colleges (SUCs/LUCs) are free to adopt such provisions if they choose for Christmas parties and celebrations.
The said guidelines were issued after the banning of gatherings and face-to-face classes in 2020 and 2021 due to the spread of the deadly COVID-19.
Meanwhile, after the Senate reduced the proposed confidential funds of the DepEd to P30 million, it returned to P150 million, something that was heavily criticized.
Human rights groups first warned that such funds could only be used for corruption, especially since it is difficult to audit confidential funds. That’s in addition to the possibility that it could only be used for “espionage” and linking youth organizations to the rebels.
Despite this, Vice President Sara Duterte defended it and said they would use it against sexual abuse inside schools.
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