Early this week, the Department of Education issued DepEd Order No. 30, s. 2017, or Guidelines for Work Immersion.

The Department Order states that “schools may partner with any institution or organization duly registered/ recognized by any accrediting government agency. These may include cooperatives, local government units (LGUs), duly registered companies, and non-government organizations” (Section 5.3, page 3).

But the Department Order also indicates that “the partnerships shall be governed by existing laws and DepEd issuances such as, DepEd Order No. 6, s. 2012, which expressly prohibits all forms and manner of cooperation and partnership with the tobacco industry in all areas of the country” (Section 5.11.b, page 5).

Based on DepEd Order No. 48, s. 2016, or the Policy and Guidelines on Comprehensive Tobacco Control (which consolidates all previous issuances of the Department on tobacco control, including DO 6, s. 2012), Tobacco Industry refers to “organizations, entities, associations, and individuals who work for and in behalf of the tobacco industry, such as, but not limited, to tobacco manufacturers, wholesale distributors, importers of tobacco products, tobacco retailers, front groups and/or organizations, including, but not limited to lawyers, scientists, and lobbyists who work to further the interests of the tobacco industry” (Section III.K, page 4).

DO 48, s. 2016 further states that “having unnecessary interaction with the tobacco industry” as well as “accepting gifts, donations, and sponsorships directly and indirectly from the tobacco industry, including those that may be coursed through DepEd stakeholders, partners, or third parties in the guise of CSR projects” are “prohibited and shall be penalized in administrative proceedings as Grave or Simple Misconduct depending on the gravity of the act and its consequences, under existing laws, rules, and regulations” (Section V.I, page 10).

How can schools ensure that the companies or the non-government organizations they will be partnering with for work immersion are not part of the tobacco industry?

The safeguard is on the Memorandum of Agreement.

DO 48, s. 2016 states that “the Central Office (CO), Regional Offices (ROs), Schools Division Offices (SDOs), and schools shall include a provision in all Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) entered into with donors and partners stating full commitment of all parties concerned to tobacco control implementation and stipulating that said donor or partner does not represent the interests of or receive funding from the tobacco industry” (Section V.C, page 6).

An example of this provision is annexed to the Department Order which may be downloaded here.