Day of Mourn­ing

‘Over­worked, un­der­paid, over­taxed’ pub­lic teach­ers de­mand pay hike

Sun Star Bacolod - - Front Page - BY CARLA N. CAÑET

AS they are sup­posed to be hon­ored on the cel­e­bra­tion of the World Teacher’s Day yes­ter­day, 3,000 teach­ers who are af­fil­i­ated with the Al­liance of Con­cerned Teach­ers (Act)-ne­gros went on a mass leave yes­ter­day to ven­ti­late their griev­ances over the plight of the Filipino teach­ers who are suf­fer­ing from the se­vere con­di­tion of be­ing over­worked, un­der­paid and over­taxed.

ACT Ne­gros Pres­i­dent Gual­berto Da­jao gath­ered all the mem­bers for a protest ac­tion yes­ter­day, which they dubbed as “Day of Mourn­ing.”

Some 2,000 teach­ers marched from Rizal El­e­men­tary School down to the old City Hall grounds and vowed to stage higher forms of protest in the com­ing days should the gov­ern­ment re­mained deaf on their de­mands for a salary in­crease to a min­i­mum of P30,000 per month.

In­stead of hold­ing classes, the said teach­ers from Ba­colod City and nearby lo­cal­i­ties in Tal­isay, Si­lay, Bago, and Mur­cia, went on a “mass leave” to com­mem­o­rate the World Teach­ers’ Day.

They called the com­mem­o­ra­tion as “les­son plan-free day,” not­ing that the black shirts they are wear­ing spoke “sad­ness” amid the chal­lenges hound­ing teach­ers nowa­days.

In the morn­ing, they staged a boo­dle fight at Rizal El­e­men­tary School yes­ter­day morn­ing to send a mes­sage that teach­ers are cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “hunger” given their mea­ger salary as pro­vided by the gov­ern­ment.

Da­jao said the teach­ers’ load has be­come more and more bur­den­some over the years as the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion has been im­ple­ment­ing work poli­cies that de­mand greater time and ef­forts. Most of­ten, as­sign­ments to the prepa­ra­tion of ur­gent re­ports and pa­per­work that are no longer re­lated to the teach­ing pro­fes­sion.

This has de­prived the teach­ers to have ad­e­quate time to rest, deny­ing teach­ers of con­sid­er­able time to pre­pare for their daily lessons and most of all caus­ing a very stress­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, he said.

Fam­ily mat­ters are even put aside to give pri­or­ity to work as­sign­ments. All th­ese mis­eries are jus­ti­fied in the name of “ex­i­gency of the ser­vice.”

The De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion seemed to have ne­glected the fact that teach­ers are hu­man be­ings too and are also en­ti­tled to ba­sic la­bor rights. Teach­ers can­not refuse even though they are per­form­ing the job be­yond the le­gal work­ing hours for fear of get­ting low in the per­for­mance ap­praisal, Da­jao said, adding that Deped adopts a for­eign de­signed re­sult-based per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem (RPMS) and the Philip­pine Pro­fes­sional Stan­dard for Teach­ers (PPST) that ap­ply sys­tem­atic mech­a­nism of op­press­ing teach­ers.

While teach­ers are greatly ex­hausted from too much work, most of them just re­ceived salaries that are not enough, he stressed.

Most of the teach­ers have a min­i­mum take-home pay of P5,000 which is far be­low the re­quire­ment of a de­cent liv­ing that the Na­tional Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (Neda) es­ti­mated at P42,000 for a fam­ily of five.

This has made the Filipino teach­ers the low­est paid among the Asean coun­ter­parts.

As a re­sult, teach­ers could hardly send their chil­dren to col­lege and thus they be­come easy preys to lend­ing and loan sharks.

This con­di­tion has made teach­ers per­pet­ual cap­tives of debt slav­ery. “In most cases, to ac­com­plish added re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, teach­ers are even obliged to spend their own money for class­room dec­o­ra­tions and bul­letin boards, for school beau­ti­fi­ca­tion, for stu­dents’ ac­tiv­i­ties, for fel­low teach­ers who are in dire need and even for food to feed the hun­gry stu­dents be­cause of se­vere poverty,” Da­jao said.

Adding to the mis­eries of teach­ers and gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees is the bur­den of tax­a­tion brought about by the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the tax re­form law. “While low rank­ing teach­ers and gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees are ex­empted from with­hold­ing tax, prices of ba­sic goods and ser­vices con­tinue to rise,” he added.

Teach­ers were made to be­lieve that with­hold­ing tax ex­emp­tion will in­crease their take home pay but in re­al­ity, they brought home lesser than be­fore the Tax Re­form for Ac­cel­er­a­tion and In­clu­sion (Train) was im­ple­mented.

The pub­lic teach­ers called on the gov­ern­ment to abol­ish the Train law.

“All th­ese fac­tors af­fect the de­liv­ery of qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion. Teach­ers are made as scape­goats for the fail­ures of the stu­dents to im­prove their aca­demic per­for­mances while ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials are cov­er­ing up the gross neg­li­gence of the State to pro­vide for the ba­sic re­quire­ments of qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion that in­clude salary of teach­ers and per­son­nel, school build­ings, lab­o­ra­to­ries, and other fa­cil­i­ties, books and other learn­ing ma­te­ri­als for the learn­ers,” Da­jao said./with re­ports from Er­win P. Nicavera


PUB­LIC school teach­ers troop to the Foun­tain of Jus­tice in Ba­colod City Fri­day to de­mand a salary in­crease.

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