Teachers’ group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines slammed the police forces and the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. administration for supposedly halting their program for the opening of the teachers’ month in front of Congress, where they hoped to lobby lawmakers to support a bill increasing their teaching allowance.
“Napakabastos ng mga pulis na nang-harass at nanulak sa ating mga guro. Napakaraming sakripisyo ng ating mga guro, tinitiis nila ang mababang sahod, sobra-sobrang trabaho at kawalan ng suporta, hindi nila deserve ang ganitong pambabastos at panunupil sa karapatang magpahayag,” Vladimer Quetua, ACT Philippines chairperson, said.
(Police blatantly disrespected teachers by harassing and pushing them. Teachers have sacrificed so much, with their meager salary, overworked, and lack of support, they don’t deserve this disrespect and censorship on their right to free speech.)
On Monday (September 5), ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro filed House Bill (HB) No. 4383 to increase the teaching allowance of teachers to P10,000 a year.
“If enacted, this will help to eliminate, or at least minimize the out-of-pocket expenses of teachers to repair or beautify their classrooms, for printing and even buying laptops,” Castro said.
“Aside for pushing for higher salaries for teachers, this is our way of uplifting the lives of our educators so that they would continue serving our country,” Castro added.
Although ACT was able to secure a permit from the local government of Quezon City to hold their program in front of the gate of the House of Representatives (HoR), uniformed men “harangued them and pushed them away from the HoR gates,” forcing them to end their program abruptly.
“The current administration has no respect for, nor appreciation, of our teachers who bear the brunt of the education crisis and are only exercising their right to peaceful assembly for redress of their grievances on their special day,” ACT Philippines chairperson, Vladimer Quetua, said.
They also hit the Department of Education (DepEd) for instead of championing the welfare of learners and educators for the teacher’s month opening, the secretary of DepEd spent meeting with military leaders to discuss the revival of mandatory ROTC, and other “anti-terrorism” campaigns.
“Such matters are useless in addressing our overworked, underpaid, and undersupported situation,” Quetua said.
“Sana sa buwan ng pagpapahalaga sa mga guro, kami naman ang tunay na pakinggan at bigyang-pansin,” Quetua added.
(We hope that in this teacher’s month, our voices will be heard and our plight addressed.)
They also reiterated their five-point demand leading to World Teacher’s Day on October 5, among them upgrading the salaries of teachers, additional compensation to them, provision of laptops and other teaching materials, implementing an evidence-based education recovery plan, and doubling the budget of the education department equivalent to 6% of the country’s GDP.
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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