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PNP ‘profiling’ of ACT members continues

Progressive teachers said they have monitored at least 34 visits by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to schools nationwide to look for teachers to “profile” as “communists”.

Since the start of the year, ACT said the PNP’s profiling activities have spread to 10 regions nationwide.

In a forum at the College of Education of the University of the Philippines in Diliman Thursday, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said 13 schools in Metro Manila; four each in Regions I, III and IV-A; three in Region V (Bicol); two in the Cordillera Autonomous Region and one each in Regions IV-B, VI, X, and CARAGA were visited by the police.

School administrators were asked to give personal details of teachers who are ACT members, the group said.

In a memorandum dated December 27, the PNP ordered an inventory of ACT members the teacher’s federation said is “part and parcel of the Duterte regime’s grand fascist scheme to suppress all forms of opposition to its tyrannical rule.” 

Despite widespread condemnation of the PNP’s memorandum, ACT said police harassments continue.

In his speech, ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio condemned the PNP’s activities against ACT.

“If the police is really looking for criminals, it should look at itself, the military camps, or Malacañan Palace,” Basilio said.

ACT added that on top of police profiling, it has recorded nine cases of threats against its officers and members.

Basilio said he was among the four mentors who received death threats early this week.

“I miss my home and sleeping in my own bed. I have been staying in places other than my home because of what they may do to me,” he said.

The forum was attended by Education International (EI) officials.

In a Facebook post, ACT Teachers Party Representative Antonio Tinio said the EI visited Manila to show solidarity with ACT in its struggle against the Duterte administration’s surveillance, harassment, and terrorist-tagging.

ACT and EI launched the Teachers’ Complaint Hotline and Legal Kiosk (Teachers CHALK), a teacher’ defense system against state attacks.

Teachers’ CHALK is a hotline for teacher-victims of state violence and aims to encourage the public to support the teachers’ efforts to defend their ranks through social media campaign, rights education, legal defense, quick reaction mass activities, ACT said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Teachers receive death threats; suffer red-tagging from educ official

Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) officers revealed receiving death threats through phone calls this morning.

In a statement, ACT in Central Luzon said Raymond Basilo, ACT national secterary general, as well as three members of their regional executive board received separate calls and text messages from a person who alternately introduced himself as Juvy Canete, Henry Pimentel of Davao and Lt Guerrero.

The phone number used to call the victims.

Using mobile phone number 0949-5628576, Canete/Pimentel/Guerrero said he and others have been contracted to kill the teacher leaders.

“May apat na tirador kami na pinadala diyan sa Luzon para ipatumba [ka] at lahat ng miyembro ng pamilya mo,” one of the phone calls said.

ACT said the calls started at nine o‘clock, first to ACT Region III president Romly Clemente.

At 9:34 am, ACT Region III secretary Mathew Gutan received a call  from “Pimentel” who threatened him and his whole family, adding he had an hour to pay P6,000 for each of his family members to be spared.

At 9:47am, the same number called Basilio, but this time identifying himself as Lt. Guerrero, saying, “Handa ka na.”

The last call came at 10:20 to ACT Region III coordinator Aurora Santiago, issuing death threats to her and her family, asking her to give money in order for the “hit” not to take place.

Audio recording of the call to Au Santiago this morning.

ACT said the calls came after retiring Department of Education Region III director Beatriz Torno red-tagged the group, publicly alleging some of ACT members are New People’s Army (NPA) fighters.

Education officer red-tags ACT

In a February 6 forum of the Pampanga Press Club (PPC), Torno said that almost all provinces in Central Luzon are infiltrated by teachers who belong to ACT and are alleged NPA members, the Philippine Star reported

Torno did not say where she got the information nor could she give figures on how many ACT members in her region allegedly belong to the NPA, the report added.

ACT said Torno’s allegations are condemnable.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the act of our DepEd Regional III Director Beatriz Torno for her public statement categorically tagging ACT Region III as being infiltrated by the communist New People’s Army,”  Mathew Guetan Santiago, the group’s regional secretary-general said.

“This statement is highly irresponsible, baseless, and downright malicious! It does not only       malign the good name of our Union but worse, it also puts in danger the life and security of our  members who might be subjected to possible harm for being labelled as NPA members,” he added.

The group said they talked to the official to seek clarification who reportedly denied having uttered derogatory statements against ACT. 

“She also promised to issue a disclaimer through the media but she failed to do so,” ACT said.

ACT said it filed a complaint against Torno with the Ombudsman yesterday using a video recording of her public pronouncement posted on DepEd Region III website.

The group added they aim to make Torno criminally and administratively liable for her irresponsible and false accusation against ACT and its members.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva) 

The PNP on profiling ACT members


“There is no provision in the Constitution or in the law that prohibits anybody, specifically the Philippine National Police or Armed Forces of the Philippines as a law enforcement agency, to gather intelligence information.”–Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde–10 January 2019

Teachers hold sit-down protests all over Metro Manila

Teachers from all over Metro Manila are holding a sit-down protest today to call for higher salaries and benefits in light of recent spikes in inflation.

Seeking relief from their dire economic conditions, public school teachers from more than 350 schools in the National Capital Region stopped regular lessons and instead staged sit-down protests to dramatize their call for urgent salary increases and higher budget for education.

“For public school teachers, it is our instrument to jolt the regime into heeding our cry that it should take care of its workers who toil everyday to deliver the mandate of the State,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) chairperson Joselyn Martinez said.

ACT members gathered thousands of students in school quadrangles and hallways to explain the economic crisis they say undermine the teachers’ economic wellbeing.

Support actions are also being held in several regions, ACT said.

NCR teachers are also holding simultaneous protest actions in front of the Quezon City Hall and in Mendiola.

“While in protest, we continue to fulfil our duties to our youth by educating them on the national situation and the people’s rights,” Martinez said.

The ACT leader said that the students’ social awareness and critical thinking are developed when public issues are explained to them.

Martinez blamed the Rodrigo Duterte government for its failure to fulfill its promise for a substantial salary increase at a time when their salaries have been drastically eroded by inflation.

Martinez also defended their sit-down protests against threats by Department of Education secretary Leonor Briones that their action may face legal implications.

“We have nothing to fear because our protest is well within our rights and in line with the performance of our duties. We are not abandoning our responsibilities. In fact we are doing this for the love of teaching,” Martinez said.

“We fight because we want to stay and continue teaching, especially our underprivileged students,” Martinez explained.

Martinez said the protest is being held in view of the plenary deliberations of the Senate on the 2019 national budget next week.

ACT Philippines lobbies that salaries of entry-level teachers be adjusted to the level of Police Officer I at Php30,000 monthly; that of Salary Grade 1 employees’ be increased to Php 16,000 a month; and an entry-level salary of Php31,000 for college instructors.

It also pushes for the adjustment of the Php2,000 Personnel Economic Relief Allowance to Php5,000 due to the steeply rising cost of living.

They assert for higher education budget to fill in the shortages in the education system and enable the granting of better benefits for the teaching and non-teaching personnel # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

33 percent rise in rice allowance for QC teachers

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) expressed elation over the approval of a bigger quarterly rice allowance for Quezon City public school teachers and employees.

“This is a victory for the long campaign of the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA) and the ACT Teachers Union-National Capital Region,” ACT national president Joselyn Martinez told Kodao.

The local government of Quezon City announced Monday that Mayor Herbert Bautista approved City Ordinance 2754-2018 increasing the rice allowance of the city’s public school personnel from P1,500.00 to P2,000.00 “in recognition of their valuable services to society.”

The new ordinance amended City Ordinance 2312-2014 that granted a P1,500 quarterly rice allowance to teaching and non-teaching personnel of the Division of City Schools of Quezon City.

The increased benefit will be implemented in the first quarter of 2019, the QC government said.

Martinez cited QC Councilors Ally Medalla and Raquel Malangen as authors of the ordinance.

“This is the result of QCPSTA’s alliance work with the city councilors. [It] talked to all members of the City Council as well as Mayor Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte,” Martinez said.

Martinez called on the city government to revert to Landbank in dispensing teachers’ local allowances citing delays caused by local government unit’s transfer to BPI Globe Banko. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Teachers commemorate World Teachers’ Day with protests

Teachers from different schools in Metro Manila marched to Mendiola last Friday in Manila to commemorate World Teachers’ Day with a protest rally.

Led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and ACT Teachers Party, they staged a National Day of Action for salary increase and against TRAIN Law of the Duterte Government.

Similar protests and actions were also held in Davao City, Cebu City, Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.

According to Joselyn Martinez, National Chairperson of ACT, teachers experience the most oppression among government employees despite their leading role in social development.

The Duterte government failed in its promise to increase the salary of public school teachers unlike the military and police which was doubled this year, they said.

Teachers are also overworked due to oppressive policies like the Results-based Performance Management System and Philippine Standards for Teachers, they added.

They were force to attend different seminars and pay from their own pocket while their allowances are often delayed in arriving, Martines added.

According to Rep. France Castro of ACT Teachers Party, the P50 billion budget cut for basic education next year will definitely affect the budget for textbooks, feeding programs and other classroom materials.

The group also condemned recent harassments and intimidations against teachers.

This includes a threat of dismissal of Bacolod teachers if they push through with their planned mass leave. Police tried to prohibit Manila Public School Teachers from distributing leaflets and posters to their colleagues in the activity last October 4.

The teachers also slammed PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde about his warning of contempt to professors who teach ‘rebellious ideas’ to the students, citing that this is an attack following the ‘Red October’ Scare spread by the military and government cover up to the real issues such as inflation rate and TRAIN law.  (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)

 

Teachers, education workers hold summit

Mahigit-kumulang 150 na guro, non-teaching personnel at instruktor mula sa iba’t ibang SUC’s, pampubliko at pribadong paaralan ang nagtipon-tipon sa Bulwagang Tandang Sora, College of Social Work and community Development, UP Diliman para sa National Education Worker’s Summit 2018 na pinangunahan ng Alliance of Concerned Teachers, All UP Academic Employees Union, Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA), SOS (Save Our Schools) UST Chapter at KMED (Kilos na para sa Makabayang Edukasyon) noong Agosto 15, 2018.

Nilayon ng pagtitipon na ito na pag-isahin ang mga manggagawa sa sektor ng edukasyon upang alamin at talakayin ang kalagayan ng sistema ng edukasyon sa bansa tulad ng usapin ng mababang pasahod, seguridad sa paggawa, kontraktwalisasyon, mababang alokasyon ng badyet para sa edukasyon, programang K-12 at epekto nito sa mga pampubliko at pribadong paaralan.

Naging tungtungan ito upang makabuo ng 18 resolusyon ang mga guro, non-teaching personnel at mga instruktor.Ang mga resolusyon ay idinulog sa ACT Partylist upang maipaabot ang kanilang mga hinaing at pagtibayin pa ang mga labang kasalukuyang iginiggiit at tinutulak na maipasa sa kongreso.

Pangunahin ang mga resolusyon hinggil sa pagpapataas ng sahod, Teachers Protection Bill, pagpapababa ng retiring age, at marami pang iba. (Bidyo ni Maricon Montajes)

 

 

 

Hindi Ako Maglo-Loan (Petmalu na joke)

Ni Jocelyn C. Tripole

Hindi ko alam paano simulan
Baka maraming magtaasan
Wala pong personalan
Hindi po ako exempted sa listahan
Huwag po magtaka para-paraan
Ang aking joke gusto ko pong simulan.

Hindi ako maglo-loan
Kahit pilipitin hindi makiki-isa
Ayoko makiuso sa mga kasama.
Unang taon sa eskwela
Kasama ang pisara
May darating daw na bisita.
So, ang naging resulta
Nag-loan ang maestra
Kasi ang room dapat pleasing sa mata.
Hindi ako maglo-loan
Ayoko nang sundan pa
Tama na ang isa,makaahon na sana
Sa dami ng reports at paperworks
Dapat nakikisabay ka
Printer, computer, laptop
In-demand naman talaga
Kaya sa bangko doon ako nagpunta.

Hindi ako maglo-loan
Ayoko na! Ayoko na!
Konting-konti na lang ang natitira
Hindi nauubos ang aking pasensya
Seminar, training , coaching
Hindi ka pwedeng magpa-bitin
Kaya sa bulsa mo, dukot-dukot pa rin
Ang classroom, dapat home-na-home ang dating
Take note: galing pa rin sa bulsa namin
Ang garden at reading ating pagandahin.
So, loan ulit naging solusyon natin.

Hindi ako maglo-loan
Pero may bahay na mareremata
Ang anak na ospital pa
May tuition fee na umaarangkada
Mura na lang talaga ang mura
Oo, isa kang paasa
Si kuya kailangan ng puhunan
Si ate manganganak na naman
Wala nang maintenance ang aking magulang
Si bunso kailangan din damitan
May lupang dapat interesan
May utang na dapat bayaran
Kuryente, tubig nagtaasan
Kaya ang bangko ang naging takbuhan
Sa tuwing may dinaramdam si ma’am
So, ‘wag nyo kong husgahan
Kung ang pay slip aking inaabangan.

Hindi ako maglo-loan
Joke ko lang naman yun
Kung gusto mong seryosohin
Bahala ka na dun.

Habang hindi tinataasan
Ang sweldong nakalimutan
Hindi ako maglo-loan
Habang buhay kong joke un
Pwede mong seryosohin
Bahala ka na tsong!

 

(Ang makata ay isang guro sa Bulacan. Kahapon, nag-protesta ang mga guro sa pangunguna ng Alliance of Concerned Teachers sa punong tanggapan ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon laban sa pagtanggal ni Kalihim Leonor Briones sa net take home pay ng mga pampublikong guro upang masigurong mayroon silang maiuuwing apat na libong piso man lamang kada buwan.)

The profession that never pays enough

By Reynald Denver del Rosario of UP-CMC for Kodao Productions

LUDY LOCSIN would sit in her empty cream-colored office on most school day mornings, waiting for students to arrive. Before long, she would see through her window parents dropping off their children and seeing them off to their classrooms.  When the school bell rings at seven that is when her own official day begins.

That she says is the most peaceful time of her workday. As the first classes begin, calm descends on the entire school and she has time to read documents and tackle problems an assistant principal is expected to solve.

The bell would ring again before noon and she becomes busier, greeting parents who would enter her room for whatever concern they have with their children’s education. Preschool students would also regularly drop in with purple stars on their wrists and tell her how its ink has stained their uniforms. She would listen, always with a smile.

In the afternoons, Locsin would meet her class for an hour in the next school building. She dreads this part of the day, she says. It isn’t the chemical equations or the periodic table she would ask her students to master, but the flight of stairs she has to conquer first before she can reach her classroom. For someone who will turn 55 soon, climbing to the third floor has started to become hard.

For an hour, she would stand in front of her class and make sense out of what the chemistry textbook says. She would write on the chalkboard formulae trying to make equations interesting to teenagers. She knows her students find the subject hard. She knows they are sometimes distracted because they are almost always bored with offline activities. She admits to finding high school students increasingly hard to teach. But she coaxes them with patience and kindness. Every student in the school knows her as the school’s motherly figure.

She could have been a chemical engineer, she says. But she chose to be a teacher only because her other friends did. Eventually, she fell in love with it and never looked back. She has learned and taught it all, from literature to science to mathematics. On odd occassions, she is also the school’s guidance counselor, substitute teacher, sometimes its cashier.

Kulang na lang, maging driver ako ng school bus,” she said, laughing.

She has been teaching in the same private school for twenty years now. She smiles as she looks back at its humble beginnings. From 40 pupils to as high as 600, it has definitely come a long way, she says. She has seen a lot of changes in the school, both good and bad.

Facilities are lacking. An almost-empty science laboratory, outdated computers, damaged speech laboratory equipment. Teachers like her find themselves improvising and finding ways to still provide quality education to the students. The school administration has sought ways to deal with these problems, but it still isn’t enough.

Ludy’s story may be ordinary for private school teachers like her in the Philippines.  But rarely is it acknowledged that those like her receive much smaller salaries than their public school colleagues. And this is their biggest problem.

Private school teachers have lower salaries

According to Representative France Castro of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), private school teachers only receive an average salary of P10,000 per month. She cited a case where a private school in Isabela only pays their entry-level teachers as low as P8,000 a month.

Minsan nga, umaabot lang yan ng P3,000 e,” she said.

Public school teachers, on the other hand, receive an average monthly salary of P19,620 per month, significantly less than the living wage of more than P26,000 for a family of six.

Teacher Ludy herself was a victim. It was only a year ago that she began receiving the minimum monthly wage from her school. She complained to a government agency, to no avail. She is her school’s regular employee in all but salary and benefits. She did not even remember when she became one.

Schools take care of their teachers, she was told at the start of her career. For two decades, she has learned not to ask for much. Her children, now working, studied in the school for free. Her workplace is a three-minute walk away from home. Her load has become lighter, and in a way, she’s relieved. Her life is simple; her love for teaching is good enough recompense, she told herself.

Her fellow teachers, on the other hand, aren’t as lucky. She has seen them come and go, choosing to find greener pastures. Many of them work now for other institutions. Her colleague for 15 years has recently gone to a public school, and she can’t blame her.

“Mas okay ang sahod doon, at mas magaan ang load,” Ludy says.

Public school teachers also have a relatively lighter teaching load compared to their private school counterparts. It is not always observed, but a public school teacher, by law, is only required to handle minimum of six hours per day, compared to a private school teacher who has to endure nine to 10 hours of work. Some are forced to work overtime but don’t get compensated.

The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670) also guarantees comparably better working conditions for public school teachers than private school teachers. Private school teachers are covered only by the Labor Code, made ineffectual by numerous loopholes and exemptions, that subjects workers to unfair practices and labor conditions such as low salaries and contractualization.

In short, our private school teachers are more overworked and underpaid than their already overworked and underpaid counterparts in public schools,” Castro said.

Castro added RA4670 by no means make things easier for public school teachers.  Teaching in Philippine public schools still needs much to be desired.

“If things are a little bit better for public school teachers than their private school counterparts, it is only because the former are more organized and have taken to the streets numerous times to defend their rights,” she said.

Unrecognized heroes

Through two decades of selfless dedication, Teacher Ludy has been promoted to assistant principal. But she still cannot help but wish things are better for teachers like her. In moments of doubt, Teacher Ludy thinks of the job and the students she has grown to love.

Doon ako masaya. Doon na lang ako bumabawi. Kita mo itong school, hindi naman ganung kaganda kumpara sa iba pero ang daming estudyante. Kasi maganda ang pakikitungo ng teachers. Yun ang puhunan dito,” she says.

School has meant smiling faces and dreams coming true for Ludy. It gives her more hope, more drive to wake up in the morning and go through the daily grind. Her life as a teacher has been a story of compromise, but she endured it all to be a part of something bigger than herself. Seeing students change for the better and achieve the best things in life has always been her life’s biggest reward. For two decades, she’s still enjoys her work. She enjoys being a part of her students’ lives. She sees in them high hopes and dreams, that someday she will read about them in newspapers or see them in television, talking about how successful they’ve become.

But just like other things, she knows it isn’t forever. Last year, Teacher Ludy already entertained thoughts of retiring, but she changed her mind.

“Hintayin ko na yung retirement age ko. Kung magre-resign ako, wala akong makukuha,” she says. She is not sure the school would pay her retirement benefits if she goes through with her plan and that made her decide to wait it out for half a decade more.

Teacher Ludy waits for the day when the school bell would ring for her one last time. She dreams of no longer answering phone calls, climbing flights of stairs and writing chemical equations on the blackboard. When it comes, she plans on taking it easy at home. It would be a happy moment when an odd student or two would visit her, tell their stories, tell her how life had been. She would listen as she now does in her office, she says, because that would just about be the only proper payment she would receive from decades of dedication and sacrifice from a profession that never pays enough. #

 

Mentors celebrate World Teachers’ Day with huge gathering

Officials from the Department of Education-National Capital Region, along with public school teachers, gathered at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on Friday, September 30, to mark World Teachers Day and National Peace Consciousness Month.

Through various speeches and performances, the teachers called for salary increases and recognition of teachers rights and welfare in the first-ever event jointly organized by the regional office of the agency and the teachers’ union.  Read more