DepEd chief Briones lying, teachers insist
MANILA, Philippines — While the Department of Education (DepEd) insisted that public school teachers received their benefits on time, a teacher’s group on Wednesday dismissed this statement as a “blatant lie,” arguing that the agency was heavily in debt to educators due to “continuous government neglect.”
Public school teachers have waited for as long as two years for the release of their 2019 performance-based bonus (PBB), which is meant to incentivize the performances of eligible teachers with 65 percent of their monthly salary, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said.
The release of the 2019 PBB was only approved for release this week, after the DepEd took more than a year to comply with the requirements set by the Department of Budget and Management, the group added.
According to ACT, most teachers had to shoulder communication expenses and module production due to the DepEd’s delayed release of funds.
“Benefits delayed are benefits denied, and to say that teachers are receiving theirs on time is such a blatant lie. It is already hard enough for our teachers who must suffer the brunt of the government’s incompetence, the least the agency could do is own up and take responsibility for its shortcomings instead of lying,” said Raymond Basilio, ACT secretary general.
Basilio was responding to Education Secretary Leonor Briones’ statement at a televised public briefing on Tuesday, when she maintained that the DepEd did not have any shortcomings in releasing teachers’ benefits.
Briones explained that, as far as she was concerned, the DepEd was able to release cash benefits and allowances to teachers on time, including uniform allowance.
Her response came after she was asked when teachers were expected to receive their P5,000 cash allowance in the next school year to fund the purchase of teaching supplies and materials and for the conduct of different learning modalities.
According to the DepEd, this may also be used for internet and other communication expenses, as well as for their annual medical examination.
But the agency clarified that while there was still no definite date as to the opening of school year 2021-2022, the DepEd could not schedule the release of the cash allowance.
ACT countered, however, that the majority of teachers still had not received their P300 monthly communication expenses reimbursement for 2020 that was promised by the agency.
Also among the “debts” of the DepEd were the grant of the P1,500 monthly allowance, 77 days service credit and 25-percent overtime pay for their workdays in excess of the mandated 220 school days from June 1, 2020. INQ
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.