Manila teachers alter pupils’ lesson as part of strike Friday
MANILA, Philippines—Elementary and high school students in more than 100 public schools in Manila are expected on Friday to get a crash course of sorts on government corruption and its effects on the education system.
This “alternative” lesson will be taught by their teachers who are set to stage a one-day sit-down strike calling for the inclusion of a pay hike allocation for them in the proposed P2.6 trillion national budget next year.
Classes will be held as usual, but the teachers will deviate from the day’s minimum lesson requirements. Instead, they will engage the students in activities focusing on the protest.
The Manila Public School Teachers Association Inc. (MPSTA) said in a press briefing on Wednesday that the mass action was part of a nationwide event spearheaded by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT). Around 55,000 teachers from 800 schools in 17 divisions in Manila, Quezon City, Makati, Mandaluyong and Muntinlupa were expected to participate as well as 100,000 others from Davao, Southern Tagalog and Eastern Visayas.
The MPSTA and ACT have demanded that the entry-level salaries for teaching and nonteaching personnel—currently at P18,549 and P9,000, respectively—be raised to P25,000 and P15,000.
The 2015 national budget, which has no allocation for a pay hike for public schoolteachers, was approved by the House of Representatives last month.
ACT chair Benjamin Valbuena said they wanted to press for its inclusion before the budget’s approval by the Senate and President Aquino.
“The sit-down strike is the opening salvo of our campaign called ‘Strike for Salary Increase and Quality Education, Strike against Pork and Corruption’,” said MPSTA president Louie Zabala. “We are planning more strikes in the coming months. If President Aquino does not consider our demand, then we will be forced to go on mass leave.”
Public school personnel last received a pay increase in 2012 as part of the Salary Standardization Law III passed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Zabala added that in 2012, the annual P2,000 productivity incentive benefit was scrapped while the yearly P10,000 productivity enhancement incentive cut in half.
A Result-Based Performance Management System (RPMS) was instead implemented which increased teachers’ workload since they were required to submit a daily log of all their accomplished tasks for evaluation in order to receive their Performance-Based Bonus (PBB).
“The RPMS and PBB foster a competitive environment, which defeats the purpose of the collective effort of teaching,” said Valbuena.
In 2005, around 4,000 teachers in Manila took a one-day leave to also demand a salary hike, leading to a 10-percent raise and an additional allowance of P1,000.
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