Candidates running in the May 2019 elections are not allowed as guest speakers in graduation ceremonies of public and private universities and colleges, an official of the Commission on Higher Education said Wednesday.
“We’re issuing a memorandum by next week after the commission en banc, enjoining all the higher education institutions, not to invite candidates to speak in graduation exercises and for state universities and colleges to prohibit them,” CHED chairman J. Prospero de Vera III told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of the launching of Shared Genomics Core Laboratory in Quezon City.
De Vera also encouraged all universities and colleges to do “aggressive” citizen and voter education by hosting debates—for both senatorial and local candidates—with the condition that all electoral bets are invited.
He said state and local universities and colleges need not request approval from CHED to host such events.
“They will need to get the approval of their board of regents because they have a public function and they are covered by Civil Service Commission [CSC] rules on political neutrality,” he said.
Public universities and colleges that violate the order would be served appropriate administrative sanctions under CSC rules and regulations, De Vera added.
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“CSC encourages state and local universities and colleges to take part in the elections, express their views about candidates, but it doesn’t allow them to attend rallies, campaigns and hand out leaflets and put on shirts of political candidates,” he said.
He added that private universities and colleges are not covered by CSC administrative sanctions but are “urged not to invite political candidates in graduation ceremonies.”
The campaign period for senatorial and party-list candidates began on Feb. 12. The campaign period for local candidates begins on March 29.
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Meanwhile, the Department of Education said it is awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte for a P50 million addition to its 2019 budget for expenses that will be incurred for the May elections.
In a press conference in Manila, the DepEd said the bicameral conference committee has approved a P50-million increase in its budget for 2019, earmarked for the elections.
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