Teachers are entitled to due process – DepEd
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) on Sunday said teachers were entitled to due process after broadcaster Raffy Tulfo used his radio program to force a 55-year-old public school teacher to resign from her job and give up her license.
Tulfo’s widely criticized coercion came after a grandmother and two parents bemoaned on his show, “Raffy Tulfo in Action,” that the Grade 2 teacher, Melita Limjuco, had asked their child to sit outside the classroom when he failed to bring his report card.
“Teachers are entitled to due process, which was not given to her during the program,” the DepEd said in its first full statement since the issue erupted.
“Especially since resignation from her job earlier than her intended retirement will have serious impact on her person and family,” the statement added.
Tulfo told Limjuco via phone call to withdraw her teaching license, otherwise, the broadcaster threatened, she would face child abuse charges.
The family’s decision to take their child’s case to Tulfo seemed all the more peculiar after the DepEd said in its statement that even before the television program aired, there had been “a meeting between the parents of the learner and the teacher before the school head.”
“It is best for this process to continue,” the DepEd said. “We assure the public that this case is being handled by the DepEd regional and division offices, through procedures consistent with the applicable laws and policies.”
The DepEd’s statement appeared intended to placate both sides, saying that children had a right to protection “against bullying and child abuse,” but that teachers were also expected to “exercise reasonable supervision over the conduct of the child, including disciplining them.”
“DepEd endeavors to provide a proper forum to discuss the facts and issues that will resolve conflicts and concerns in a fair and humane manner,” it added.
Teachers’ groups, however, were less circumspect.
“We call on our Secretary Leonor Briones to make necessary steps to protect and defend our teachers,” said Benjo Basas, chair of Teachers’ Dignity Coalition.
“This and other incidents should be taken seriously by the DepEd,” he said.
While this was one of the most high-profile in recent memory, Basas said episodes of “teacher shaming” were far from isolated.
‘Trial by publicity’
“In many circumstances, teachers accused of violation of children’s rights have been subjected to harassment, … physical threat and some kind of media sensationalism,” he said, adding that the antichild abuse laws had often been used as a tool to “threaten and intimidate” teachers.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers announced that it would hold a rally protesting Tulfo’s “trial by publicity” at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila, on Monday.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.