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Teachers reporting more toilets converted to faculty rooms

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) revealed more cases of teachers holding offices inside toilets in response to Department of Education (DepEd) secretary Leonor Briones’ dismissal of such reports as mere “drama.”

ACT said it received reports and photos from Maligaya High School, Sergio Osmeña High School, Bagong Silangan Elementary School, and Quirino High School in Quezon City as well as from Villamor High School and Calderon High School in Manila that toilets have been converted to faculty rooms.

“Common to the cases is that teachers chipped-in their own money to have the CRs (comfort rooms) remodelled and furniture provided so that they may have a space to do duties outside of actual teaching,” ACT chairperson Joselyn Martinez said in a statement.

Briones dismissed as theatrics a teachers’ Facebook post Monday showing they have transformed an unused toilet after vacating their faculty room due to classroom shortages.

“They had their choice they could hold their office in the laboratory rooms but of course it is more dramatic, it is more touching if you hold it in toilets,” a peeved Briones told reporters in an interview.

Bacoor National High School (BNHS) faculty association president Maricel Herrera is reportedly being threatened with an administrative case and cyber libel by her own principal Anita Rom for “damaging the image of the school and DepEd.”

ACT, however said, BNHS’ is not an isolated case as more teachers are coming out to speak out about their same situation.

Martinez added that teachers were compelled to set up makeshift faculty rooms in toilets and in stairwells.

Martinez also dismissed Briones’ claim teachers may use laboratories, libraries, conference rooms and other areas in schools, saying those rooms have their own purpose and must not be used as teachers’ lounges.

ACT also slammed Briones refusal to support their call for salary increases in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promise.

In response to teachers’ demands for at least a P10,000 monthly salary hike, Briones instead said that the profession is “not all about the money.”

“Sec. Briones’ tirade against teachers proves that DepEd does not intend to give teachers any dignity. First, they neglect us in schools by not providing us a proper office, then they oppose our just call for better pay,” lamented Martinez.

“Nowhere in any government agency will you see that employees take out from their pockets what is needed to repair government facilities. Teachers do it because they don’t have much choice and out of their vocation. This is one proof that we are not money-driven,” Martinez explained.

ACT added that teachers are the last that should be lectured about vocation and Briones herself should be the last person to do so since her Php3.9 million 2018 income strips her of any moral ascendancy on the matter.

“Unlike her, teachers live on poor pay but our dedication to our students and to the country drives us every day to continue teaching and make up for the government deficiencies, even if that means ending up deep in debt and with no pension left to support us when it’s our time to rest,” Martinez said.

“We don’t deserve to be painted as a whiny, selfish, materialistic bunch for asserting our rights. Maybe that is why the secretary would not support our call for pay hike, she thinks very lowly of us,” she added.

ACT challenged DepEd to a dialogue.

“We have been trying to hold a dialogue with you but have been ignored since February,” Martinez said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

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)

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.)

Teachers slam DepEd’s anti-teacher statements and policies, demand salary increase

Report and photos by Denver Del Rosario of UP-CMC for Kodao Productions

PASIG CITY—Teachers from the National Capital Region (NCR) staged a protest at the Department of Education (DepEd) yesterday to denounce Secretary Leonor Briones for her anti-teacher remarks and policies.

“She reiterated her insensitive statement that teachers are well-compensated and shall not receive local allowances and additional teaching supplies allowances,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)-Philippines Chairperson Benjamin Valbuena said.

Bonifacio Memorial Elementary School teacher Reynaldo Ga also slammed Briones saying the official is lying about teachers’ salaries.

“She is really a liar because deductions from our salaries are enormous. In my case alone, P3,000  is being deducted from my salary,” Ga said.

DepEd said entry level teachers receive a gross salary of P24,399 per month which includes their basic pay, Personal Economic Relief Allowance, and personal benefit contributions such as GSIS, Philhealth and PAGIBIG, among others.

ACT-Philippines, however, said teachers only take home P16,000 after tax and contributions.

The amount is less than half of the Ibon Foundation-announced monthly living wage of P33,570 for a family of six.

Martinez said Briones shot down their proposal to have their chalk allowance increased from P2,500 to P5,000.

Teachers are forced to spend their own monies various school events and requirements, Ga added.

“During summer breaks when we are supposed to be on vacation, DepEd forces us to attend so many seminars that we have to pay for ourselves,” Ga revealed.

“Teachers are really being made to suffer a great injustice as we were only given a measly P500 salary increase these past two years,” ACT Teachers Party’s Joy Martinez said.

According to Martinez, Briones also rejected other suggestions to increase teachers’ salaries.

Briones was among three cabinet secretaries who issued DepEd-DBM-DILG Joint Circular No.1 S. 2017 that prohibits the use of the Special Education Fund for the teachers’ local allowance.

The teachers said Briones has yet to hold a dialogue with the teachers regarding their salaries and benefits.

“We already wrote to her several times, but she refuses to talk to us.  She is close-minded as she only favors private businesses over the public,” Martinez said. #