Nationwide protests planned for Teachers’ Day
MANILA, Philippines—Teachers plan to hold public demonstrations across the country on Wednesday as they mark Teachers’ Day by pressing for higher state spending for education, a raise in their “chalk allowance” and the timely release of pay of kindergarten teachers.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) are scheduled to hold separate protest actions to push for better work conditions for educators, among them higher wages and allowances.
”Our campaign for additional chalk and teaching supplies allowance is part of our 10-point demand that essentially calls for greater budget in education and other social services,” said Benjie Valbuena, ACT vice chair.
Foremost among ACT’s pursuits is the demand to raise the teacher’s annual “chalk allowance” (subsidy for chalk and other school supplies) from P700 to P2,000, or from P3.50 to P9.85 per school day as teachers had been shelling out their own money to fill the shortage.
The Department of Education has asked Congress to realign funds within the proposed 2012 budget to increase the allowance to P1,000. Malacañang proposed a P237-billion budget for DepEd next year, 14 percent higher than the current P207-billion allocation.
ACT sought a meeting with President Benigno Aquino on Wednesday, stating the time and place of their activity near Malacañang as their “response to your suggestion that we hold a quarterly dialogue.”
“We will be there (Malacañang) at 3 p.m. and we do hope that you can join us so that we can discuss to you the importance of our need for an additional chalk allowance,” read a letter signed by ACT Secretary General France Castro.
ACT members will also hold simultaneous actions in key cities.
TDC, meanwhile, plans to hold a motorcade from Caloocan City to the Senate and the Government Service Insurance System office in Pasay City to demand higher pay and stable benefit for teachers as state employees.
“More than just praises, we challenge our government to do its obligation to teachers and public education,” said TDC chair Benjo Basas.
“This is the unfortunate truth. We are always first to sacrifice but last in terms of benefits,” he added.
TDC recently disclosed that salaries of kindergarten teachers nationwide were delayed, with their monthly P3,000 compensation unpaid since school opening in June.
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