In light of recent events that involved the incomplete processing of digital signatures for 800+ teachers under the Department of Education – Schools Division Office Quezon City (DepEd – SDO QC), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) acknowledges the situation and is working tirelessly with the DepEd personnel to address the matter.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) requested the DICT to issue digital certificates to a total of 300,000 personnel of DepEd nationwide. These 300,000 are to serve as Electoral Boards (EBs) and Board of Canvassers (BOCs) for the National and Local Elections (NLE) 2022.

In Quezon City, the DICT received 6,248 applications from SDO QC, all of whom were issued with Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI) credentials, which are needed by for these personnel to request for and download their digital signature.

These credentials were issued and emailed to them last January of this year, 2022. This was done in cooperation with SDO QC and the COMELEC – QC.

In the months that followed, the DICT worked closely with the various Local Government Units and their respective DepEd Schools Divisions Offices to monitor the progress of requesting and downloading digital signatures of their personnel. While some challenges were encountered, these were easily addressed and resolved. Consequently, succeeding coordination with DepEd and COMELEC confirms that everything is going well.

However, it was just recently brought to the DICT’s knowledge that as many as 800+ teachers under the SDO QC had not completed the process. Similar issues were raised in the past by DepEd SDO Muntinlupa and Las Piñas but these were addressed promptly as these SDO’s coordinated with the DICT early.

Further, the delayed coordination by SDO QC of the problem caused the teachers to rush and go to the DICT’s office in Roces, Quezon City. Unfortunately, due to the nature of transactions of the Digital Signature Division being done mostly online, their office is incapable of accommodating such a large number of clients at the same time. This caused frustration among the teachers, and for this, we apologize.

Nonetheless, the DICT is committed to addressing the issue and helping our teachers fulfill their responsibilities in this year’s elections. Acting Secretary Emmanuel Rey Caintic ordered the relevant DICT personnel to extend working hours until all teachers receive their digital signatures. He also lauded the DICT staff and officials for working tirelessly on this matter.

In closing, the DICT would like to thank the teachers who took it upon themselves to approach the DICT about the issue. We would have never gotten a clear picture of the still existing problem if not for your initiative.

We pray that despite the challenges we have right now that we remain steadfast in improving and incorporating technology into our electoral process. The way forward may be uphill but it is the only way for us to achieve greater heights.