What is DepEd’s role in document security and compliance to EO No. 609, series of 2007? This prompted me to ask this question after reading the Regional Advisory dated January 13, 2015 re: Seminar-Workshop on Document Security and Executive Order (EO) No. 608, s. 2007 entitled “Establishing a National Security Clearance System for Government Personnel with Access to Classified Matters and For Other Purposes”.
EO 608 provides that “it is the duty and responsibility of all government departments, agencies and offices to implement security measures that will protect and ensure the integrity and sanctity of classified or sensitive materials or information they have access to or in their possession.” This provision clearly embodies DepEd’s role. However, not all of the DepEd employees are well versed about EO 608, s. 2007. In fact, most of the participants in the seminar admitted having not known the existence of EO 608, s. 2007 until that seminar conducted by NICA.
Apparently, securing our official documents has long been practiced in the office. Security measures are in place to protect and ensure the integrity and sanctity of the classified or sensitive materials or information. For example, the administrative complaints, grievances, and disputes are secured and safeguarded in the Administrative Services. These documents are treated as classified or sensitive documents which can be accessed only by the authorized employee/s of the Schools Division Superintendent.
Public documents and official records need to be safeguarded and protected insofar as EO 608, s. 2007 is concerned. DepEd has varied documents such as communications, directives, reports, and forms which need to be protected and safeguarded, too. It is for this reason that the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) in coordination with the DepEd Regional Office No. 10 conducted a seminar-workshop on Document Security and EO 608, s. 2007 on February 12, 2015 at DepEd RO-X, Cagayan de Oro City. It was participated by the Administrative Officers and Records Officers in all divisions of the region. In this office, AO Jutchel L. Nayra and RO Florabelle R. Porras participated the seminar-workshop.
During the lecture-discussion, NICA gave emphasis on the need to protect sensitive or classified information as the responsibility of all government personnel. According to them, only few agencies classified sensitive information in their offices. Security lapses are committed in the government and the consequences of such lapses might be more serious in the wake of terrorist threats and efforts by hostile groups to infiltrate government confidential information.
NICA reiterated the existence of EO 608 which was promulgated on March 30, 2007. EO 608 called for the establishment of the National Security Clearance System. It aims to require security clearances for government personnel to have access to classified information and ensure the integrity and credibility of official documents. Recognizing the need to develop and institutionalize a uniform security clearance system, a template and generic Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) was crafted in coordination with relevant offices and has been approved by the Chairman of the National Intelligence Board in 2007.
As to the procedural aspect, the IRR provides that the heads of agencies are authorized to issue Interim Security Clearance (ISC) for access to all classified matters. It also states that only the Office of the National Security Adviser/Office of the National Security Director (ONSA/ONSD) can issue a Security Clearance for information classified as Secret/Top Secret. Heads of agencies shall designate a Security Officer (SO) whose primary responsibility is to implement EO 608, s. 2007. They are duty bound to identify classified information in their offices. Moreover, they may seek the assistance of the NICA for this purpose.
The seminar-workshop ended with the group output presentation of the DepEd’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, and Interventions (SWOT-I) on the implementation of document security and EO 608. NICA emphasized DepEd’s role as embodied in EO 608, s. 2007 and the participation of all government employees in helping protect the national interest. As a participant of this seminar, I recognized the importance of document security and EO 608, s. 2007 in the public and educational administration. Its effective implementation requires the collective effort of the DepEd officials and employees. Kofi Annan stated, “what governments and people don’t realize is that sometimes the collective interest ― the international interest ― is also the national interest.”