Since the ’80s, teachers still overworked, underpaid
MANILA, Philippines — Decades have passed, but the calls of the teachers in the 1980s still stand: “We are overworked and underpaid,” said Louie Zabala, president of Manila Public School Teachers Association.
In line with the celebration of World Teachers’ Day on Tuesday, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) held various protests and activities to present their five demands before sending off their partners in Congress for the filing of the party list’s certificate of nomination and acceptance.
“Congress is one key avenue in which the cause of teachers and the whole education sector can and shall be advanced. We challenge all aspirants to take on our just demands as they vie to be elected in public office,” said Raymond Basilio, secretary-general of ACT.
The largest organization of teachers’ unions and associations in the country has called for salary upgrade, overtime compensation, gadget and internet allowance for teachers and learners, P3,000 inflation adjustment allowance, and a P10,000 election service honorarium for poll workers in the 2022 elections.
“As teachers remain overworked, underpaid and undersupported by the Duterte administration, we are challenged yet again to take action and utilize our collective strength to forward the interests of our sector,” Basilio said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the group rang bells at the Department of Education’s (DepEd) central office in Pasig City to remind the agency that “their time is up to release the guidelines for proper compensation for teachers’ overtime in the last school year.”
In Manila, teachers sent off the ACT Teachers party-list representatives through a program that highlighted the sector’s legislative demands. They proceeded to Mendiola for a fiesta protest where they held banners and party hats that indicated their demands.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, meanwhile, cited the teachers for helping the students experience innovative learning amid the pandemic.
“The [DepEd] greets, salutes, honors all our teachers whether they’re in the lowest grades or up to the highest grades in senior high school,” she said during Monday’s virtual kickoff of the 2021 National Teachers’ Month.
P1,000 cash allowance
Briones said all public school teachers this year would receive a P1,000 cash allowance as part of the World Teachers’ Day Incentive Benefit.
“As we honor our teachers and recognize their services, we will continue to strive to provide them with more benefits, we negotiate for them, we always place them in the foremost place and throne of the altars of our objectives in education,” the education secretary said.
Salustiano Jimenez, regional director of DepEd Central Visayas, underscored the key role of teachers amid the pandemic.
“Dear teachers, you may not hear it often, but let me remind you of your immense value in this historic chapter of our educational system. You are the moving force that brings light and hope in this day and age when it is seemingly bleak and dark outside,” he said.
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