5-puntong kahilingan, giit sa World Teachers’ Day

Nagdaos ng kilos-protesta ang mga gurong kasapi ng Alliance of Concerned Teachers para sa World Teachers’ Day noong Oktubre 5 sa Maynila.

Pangunahin nilang bitbit ang 5-puntong panawagan ng mga guro. Kabilang sa mga ito ang salary upgrade, overtime pay, laptops at P1,500 na internet allowance kada buwan, P3,000 inflation adjustment allowance at P10,000 tax-free election service honorarium.

Bukod dito, hiling din nila sa gobyerno ang ligtas na balik-eskwela sa mga lugar na may mababang kaso ng Covid-19.# (Bidyo ni Joseph Cuevas/Kodao)

Teachers demand unpaid benefits, protest repression on World Teachers’ Day 2021

Unfazed by “thinly-veiled threats” by the Rodrigo Duterte government, teachers from various federations held protest actions in many schools in Metro Manila to demand for unpaid benefits on World Teachers’ Day today, October 5.

“Overworked, underpaid and under-supported” teachers held mini protest actions in their schools and hung tarpaulins listing five demands they said is owed them by the government amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Manila Public School Teachers’ Association members participate in a nationally-coordinated protest action on World Teachers Day 2021.

Led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the teachers said they demand salary upgrading, service credits and overtime pay, laptops and other gadgets for their online classes, P3,000 inflation adjustment allowance and P10,000 tax-exempt honorarium for their work as election inspectors in next year’s national and local elections.

“World Teachers’ Day is our day, and we are again presenting our dire situation and just demands on this day. We call on the Department of Education (DepEd) and the rest of the Duterte administration: spare us your empty messages of gratitude for teachers this year. This year, we urge you to simply listen and act on our just demands,” ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio said in a statement.

ACT said the demands have been repeatedly presented to the DepEd but were instead met with threats of administrative charges if the teachers hold protest actions.

“The shameless attempts of DepEd to invalidate our calls and dampen our resolve to fight for teachers’ rights and welfare will not stand. Our teachers have been struggling for too long because of DepEd and Duterte’s extreme neglect and incompetence. We will take no more of it,” the group said.

Political repression

Aside from ignoring their economic demands, ACT said DepEd has allowed the government’s anti-insurgency campaign to sow terror among teachers who are members of various organizations.

In a press conference last Saturday, ACT recalled their organization has been the target of vicious red-tagging activities by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that has resulted in the filing of trumped up charges against their leaders.

The government also accused several universities in being involved in the so-called “Red October Plot” a Malacanan Palace spokesperson said was hatched to overthrow the Rodrigo Duterte administration.

The group also complained against NTF-ELCAC’s seminars among students and teachers as well as recently-revealed operations to purge libraries of alleged “subversive books.”

ACT however said the teachers are not fazed by government’s fascist campaigns.

“[W]e have the lessons of history on our side and we know where we stand. We will fight for academic freedom and all other rights and liberties put under siege by this wretched government,” the group said.

In Pasay City, ACT Teachers Party has chosen World Teachers Day to file its Certification of Nomination and Acceptance with the Commission on Elections for next year’s party list elections. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Joma on removal of books from libraries: ‘Stupid book-burning fascists’

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison slammed reports government intelligence agencies are actively asking universities to have his books removed from their libraries.

Following reports Isabela State University (ISU) turned 23 of his books over to the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) earlier this week, Sison said the move violates freedom of thought and belief as well as academic freedom.

“Those in power are stupid book-burning fascists,” Sison said of the decision of university president Ricmar Aquino to remove his books from ISU’s 11 campuses.

ISU photo.

Twenty-three of Sison’s books were removed from ISU’s libraries, including “Building People’s Power,” “Defeating Revisionism & Opportunism,” “Crisis Generates Resistance,” “Building Strength through Struggle” and “Continuing the Struggle for Liberation,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Thursday.

ISU also turned over to the NICA were copies of Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)-NDFP peace talks books, versions of which were published by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process across several administrations.

The move came three weeks after Kalinga State University (KSU) removed 11 GRP-NDFP peace talks books from its libraries.

READ: Groups slam school’s decision to turn over peace books to military

Administrators from both schools said their decisions were made to prevent their students from being influenced by Left-leaning ideology.

Reports indicate however government intelligence agencies are actively asking universities to remove Sison and NDFP books from their collections.

A source informed Kodao that NICA officials are visiting Nueva Ecija colleges and universities to undertake similar activities.

“NICA is visiting libraries of universities and colleges in some provinces to get rid of any books or references about NDFP and…by Joma Sison,” the source said.

“This is worse than during (Ferdinand Marcos’) martial law,” the source added.

Sison said the books’ removal from university libraries is a throwback from the Cold War and that the “military idiots” are blind to the fact that his and NDFP’s books are available online.

“They are afraid of ideas that advocate the attainment of national full national independence, people’s democracy, development through genuine land reform and national industrialization, a patriotic, scientific and mass-oriented culture and independent foreign policy,” Sison said.

“They are totally barbaric and ignorant of the fact that revolutionary ideas cannot be stopped from circulating through the internet in the Philippines and internationally,” he added.

Kodao’s efforts to interview officials of the government’s National Book Development Board (NBDB) failed. Higher Education commissioner and KSU Board of Regents chairperson Lilian de las Llagas also refused to reply to Kodao’s three-week old request for comment.

“[Books] are instrumental in the citizenry’s intellectual, technical and cultural development – the basic social foundation for the economic and social growth of the country,” Republic Act 8047, the law that created the NBDB, says. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

UP classes have started, but group asks for postponement

A group of students and teachers asked the University of the Philippines (UP) to move the start of the new semester even if it has officially started last week.

Rise for Education Alliance – UP Diliman (R4E-UPD) said it sent the university administration a petition for a “consultative, proactive, pro-UP academic roadmap of AY 2021-2022” and “recalibration of the academic calendar,” among other demands.

“A significant number of UP students, faculty, and staff are facing challenges that affect their readiness for the semester. These challenges exist because UP itself is not ready,” University Student Council officer Ken Palomia said in a statement.

The alliance said the petition was signed by more than 4,000 individuals and was sent to the offices of UP’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The group said students, faculty and staff faced numerous challenges before the start of the semester, including limited class slots for enrolees.

The situation forced students to compete for slots, many of them starting the semester with an “underload.” Many students also underwent a long and tedious waitlist process with no guarantee of getting the slots and units they need, R4E-UPD explained.

Some students have yet to acquire online accounts and the university’s official electronic mail service, the group added.

“These difficulties are mainly caused by the numerous budget cuts, especially in the middle of the pandemic, combined with the demands of remote learning,” R4E-UPD co-convenor Tie Santos said.

The Rodrigo Duterte government has proposed a P1.3 billion budget cut for the UP System for 2022. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Teachers denounce ‘state abandonment’ as school year opens

School teachers greeted the new school year with protest actions against what they call an “indifferent” Rodrigo Duterte administration that has abandoned the education sector amid a raging coronavirus crisis.

Teachers spent the last weekend before the new school year sorting distance learning modules, complaining they hardly had time to catch their breath from last school year. (ACT photo)

In a “sunrise protest” before the first day of classes this year, members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) trooped to Mendiola Bridge in Manila to denounce “government neglect and utter disregard of teachers and students’ welfare.”

“Today, we will be forced into another school year of underfunded and ill-equipped distance learning, with no plans from the government on how it can safely re-open our school nor on how it will address the grave issues hounding DepEd’s (Department of Education) learning continuity plan,” the group said in a statement.

The teachers said the government failed to address for the second consecutive year their demand for the safe re-opening of schools and bigger state support for distance learning needs.

ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio said teachers bore the brunt of the shift to remote learning when the pandemic hit last year, forcing them to remain “overworked, underpaid, and under-supported.”

Basilo added the DepEd continue to ignore their demands for overtime pay and service credits, Php1,500 monthly internet allowance, Php3,000 inflation adjustment allowance, hazard pay, and their overdue upgrading to salary grade 15 and other benefits to offset the additional hardships they endured because of the shift to online teaching mode.

In earlier “laptop protests,” teachers posted their photos collating printed modules for distribution to parents and students today they said should have been the responsibility of DepEd Central had it adequately prepared for the new school year.

The teachers also complained they themselves have to spend from their own pockets to enough teaching materials for the projected 20 million students to be enrolled this year.

“As state abandonment peaks, we have no one else to turn to but each other. The future of our youth and their right to accessible quality education now lies on the collective resolve of teachers, parents, and students to say ‘no more’ and demand better,” Basilio said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Teachers spent the last weekend before the new school year sorting distance learning modules, complaining they hardly had time to catch their breath from last school year. (ACT photo)

‘Tama na ang pambabarat sa mamamayan’

“Tama na ang pambabarat sa mamamayan, habang laging buhos ang pondo sa militar at sa mga gyera ni Duterte. Unahin ang serbisyo gaya ng edukasyon, hindi pasismo sa pangunguna ng NTF-ELCAC. Unahin ang ayuda, hindi CHA-CHA. Ito ang giit ng mga guro at ng mamamayan, at ‘yan ang dapat tugunan ng gobyerno.”Raymond Basilio, Secretary General, Alliance of Concerned Teachers

Teachers condemn arrest of Butuan City vice principal

By Joseph Cuevas

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) condemned the arrest of a union leader in Butuan City and called for her immediate release.

Rosanilla “Teacher Lai” Consad, ACT secretary in Region XIII, a special education teacher and an assistant principal of San Vicente National High School, was arrested yesterday, March 17, at around 4:30 pm in Butuan City by Regional Intelligence Unit 13 of National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), the police and military.

Consad is also a member of ACT’s National Council.

Consad is being charged with attempted homicide in relation to a New People’s Army ambush in Sitio Manhupaw, Brgy. Poblacion 2, Santiago in Agusan del Norte last November 21.

ACT secretary-general Raymond Basilio said that Consad had been a victim of state vilification and repression since 2018.

In November 2019, she reported about intelligence agents visiting her school to inform her that she and her husband are part of a certain hit list supposedly for being activists.

“Teacher Lai’s case only proves that terrorist-tagging serves as a prelude to worse, more fascist attacks on rights, freedoms, and lives. All of which are part of the Duterte regime’s systematic attack on the Filipino people as it desperately seeks to silence all dissent and establish its tyrannical rule,” Basilio said.

ACT Teachers Party slams DILG memo

Meanwhile, ACT Teachers Party Rep. France Castro said that teacher Lai has been a victim of harassment, threats and red-tagging by state security forces for standing up for the rights and welfare of her fellow public school teachers in Caraga.

“The arrest came days after the DILG release a memorandum tagging ACT and other progressive groups in the public sector as a communist terrorist groups. These are the real threats of red-tagging to the safety, security and freedoms of activists, human rights defenders and union leaders who have been vocal about the failure of the Duterte administration in addressing the perennial crisis of the country’s health system, education system and economy,” Castro said.

ACT Teachers Party will file a house resolution in Congress to investigate Consad’s arrest, Castro added

Consad is expected to file a petition today to be allowed post bail. #

Academic Break, hiling ng mga mag-aaral sa buong bansa

Nagsagawa ng student strike ang mga grupo ng mag-aaral mula sa iba’t-ibang unibersidad at kolehiyo sa Gate 2 ng Ateneo De Manila University sa Katipunan, Quezon City bilang bahagi ng International Students Day, Nobyembre 17, 2020.

Pangunahin nilang hiling na magkaroon ng national academic break dahil sa sunud-sunod na sakuna na dumaan sa bansa gayundin ang mga pahirap na sistema sa online classes. Ang academic break, ayon sa kanila, ay maagang deklarasyon ng pagtatapos ng semestre at mass promotion ng mga estudyante.

Binatikos din nila ang Pangulong Duterte dahil sa kriminal na kapabayaan nito na tugunan ang pandemya, edukasyon at sakuna. # (Bidyo ni Joseph Cuevas/Kodao)

Lockdown learning: Making education accessible despite the pandemic

This five-episode podcast was produced by UrbanisMO.PH and Young Public Servants with support from Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Philippines, International Center for Innovation, Transformation, and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov) and PCIJ.

BY AARON MALLARI / Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

What’s the big picture? Education stakeholders agree that learning must continue, even through blended learning, despite the Covid-19 outbreak. Teachers and learners, however, have to contend with problems in internet access and more needs to be done to ensure that no student is left behind. Blended or distance learning also presents opportunities for innovation in instruction.

Why it matters: Continued learning can help mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the development of young children, who are forced to stay at home.

What are the facts? Dr. Grace Zozobrado-Hahn, a physician and Steiner-Waldorf Education practitioner based in Palawan, says children face their own set of challenges during the pandemic, while Regina Sibal, former principal of Miriam College Grade School and Far Eastern University Senior High School, outlines measures that the government and the education sector need to take to ensure continued access to education. Elsa Magtibay, a school administrator at Xavier School in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, points to opportunities to improve educational delivery.

The bottomline: Experts agree: Education must adapt to the so-called ‘new normal,’ which entails the government to take the lead and support teachers and parents as they take on bigger roles.

Governor apologizes after accusing teachers of ‘doing nothing’

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba was forced to issue an apology following his accusation that teachers are doing less work with the government’s blended learning scheme.

Mamba told radio station DZRH Saturday that “teachers are simply enjoying themselves at home and receiving salaries without working.”

Mamba added that he thinks that the government is being shortchanged and hinted that teachers’ salaries may be slashed soon.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) president Joselyn Fegalan said Mamba had no right to accuse teachers of doing less work as teachers are in fact burdened by greater workload due to the Department of Education’s blended learning scheme.

“Teachers deserve an apology. You go back to that radio station and say sorry,” Fegalan said.

Mamba is ignorant of the situation of teachers even in his home province, ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio added.

“It seems he does not know that many teachers spend their already inadequate salaries to buy paper, laptops, printers and ink because the government has yet to fully provide these,” he said.

“Gov, it’s World Teachers Day on Monday (today, October 5) and this is your message to them? Is this how you thank them?” Basilio asked.

The Student Council of the University of the Philippines College of Education also condemned Mamba’s remarks as “patently insensitive, infuriating and disrespectful of the teachers’ effort to educate amid the pandemic.”

‘Just being fatherly’

Mamba in a statement Sunday he is sorry and did not mean to hurt any teacher, adding he wanted to challenge everyone with his remarks.

In another DZRH interview Sunday, Mamba said he has high regard for teachers as shown by his administration’s involvement of teachers in provincial government projects.

Mamba added he was just being fatherly in lecturing just as he was in admitting mistakes.

A source from Mamba’s camp told Kodao that the interviewer did not give the governor a chance to fully explain what he meant as the interview was at its end. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)