Teachers’ groups hit Tulfo over ‘prejudice’
Teachers’ groups on Wednesday slammed Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo for his remarks about teachers who might give “favor for certain individuals” in case they would be tapped in the distribution of educational cash assistance.
In separate statements, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) and Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said it was “insulting” and “prejudiced and uncalled for” for Tulfo to seemingly accuse them of cheating when the cash aid distribution was not even part of their responsibilities.
“It hurts to hear what Secretary Tulfo said … since we don’t have any control over that program,” said Benjo Basas, national chair of TDC.
He added that it was unfair to generalize the teachers because it questioned their integrity.
Basas said teachers already have a lot of work so it would be only right to relieve them of tasks from other agencies.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), he said, should instead assign its own staff to get the data and documents from the Department of Education.
“That is what Secretary Tulfo should do to make up for the teachers who were bothered because of the influx of parents asking for certificates of enrollment,” Basas said, referring to the document required to avail of the DSWD’s educational cash aid.
READ: Teachers’ group rues crowding, last minute cash aid for indigent students
For ACT chair Vladimer Quetua, Tulfo’s remark was “irresponsible.”
“Sir, you cannot cover up your own failures by nitpicking on others,” Quetua said in a statement on Wednesday.
Quetua said the late announcement about the educational assistance, which happened a few days before the school opening, inconvenienced the teachers as it caused the “deluge in schools” of parents requesting the certificate of enrollment at a time when the teachers were “struggling” to prepare the schools for the reopening of classes.
“He only aggravated our teachers’ displeasure with his administration with such an insulting statement,” he said.
“They don’t deserve to be insulted like this and be put in such a bad light. Mr. Tulfo should apologize to our teachers and his agency should in fact properly compensate our teachers who perform duties for the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) program,” he added.
READ: DSWD-NCR cautions public vs fake news on educational aid
Meanwhile, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte defended public school teachers on Thursday, saying that they “have always been models of professionalism.”
“What strengthens the foundation of the teachers’ profession is their dignity,” Duterte said, adding that educators embody selflessness and love of country, “something that cannot be questioned.”
“The Department of Education maintains its willingness to coordinate and cooperate with other national government agencies, such as the DSWD, especially for programs aimed to benefit our learners and teachers,” she said.
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