ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro on Thursday (September 8) called the attention of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma during a budget hearing on the complaints of teachers who are having a hard time renewing the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) licenses because of their unpaid debts.
Castro said that teachers, who mostly came from Central Luzon and were victimized by loan sharks, were being “utang-tagged” (loan-tagged) by the PRC due to a resolution.
“Kung kami pong aktibista ay nare-red tag, yung mga teachers na may mga utang ay tina-tag sa PRC para mahirapang mag-renew ng license,” Castro said.
(If activists like us get red-tagged, teachers who have loans are being tagged by the PRC so they could have a hard time renewing their licenses.)
When asked if the resolution is still standing, Laguesma admitted that he wasn’t aware of such a resolution from the PRC and that he will investigate the said matter, and repeal the policy if it still exists.
“Mukhang hindi po naman tama yung may utang-tagging, kasi po lalo po nating nade-deprive siguro ang mga teachers upang magkaroon ng pagkakataon, kung sakali man pong mayroong utang, ay makabayad sa utang,” Laguesma said.
(I don’t think that this utang-tagging is right, because it will deprive teachers who have loans the chance to repay them.)
During the same hearing, the PRC clarified that teachers who have been issued a summon against him or her based on a case filed by a loan company for non-payment of loans will be tagged.
Jose Cueto Jr., PRC’s acting chair, said that the policy was under review, and they’re studying if the tagging could just be done after adjudication and not upon the issuance of summons.
However, Castro called this illegal.
“Ilegal ito, Mr. Chair, itinatali ninyo yung teacher doon sa [kaso] na hindi pa man nade-decide-an … Bakit pinipigilan natin siyang ma-issue-han ng license? … Yung lisensya ay hiwalay doon sa kaso nila o doon sa pag-uutang,” the progressive lawmaker said.
(This is illegal, Mr. Chair, because you’re tying teachers up to the complaint without any final decision … What are we preventing teachers from getting their licenses? … Their licenses don’t have anything to do with the case or their loan.)
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.
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