By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Partylist lawmakers cited Friday the inclusion of the P500 annual medical examination fund for each public school teacher in the approved General Appropriations Bill (GAB) in the House of Representatives.
ACT Teachers partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio noted that since the enactment of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers in 1966, the provision that mandates government to provide for the annual medical examination of public school teachers remained unfunded.
“Public school teachers have to shell out from their own pockets to comply with DepEd requirements to be able to do their jobs. Though there are services offered by the PhilHealth, this clearly does not meet RA 4670’s mandate of free health care for public school teachers as PhilHealth are not free but in exchange of monthly contributions,” he said.
Tinio noted that Section 22 of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers entitled ‘Medical Examination and Treatment’ provides that public school teachers should undergo free compulsory medical examination before employment and should undergo free medical check-up at least once a year.
He said the same provision also requires the DepEd to provide free medical treatment and/or hospitalization.
Tinio’s fellow ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro said their group consistently raised such concern during the budget deliberations since their first term 2010.
“We are glad that finally, this year, this provision in the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers will be funded,” she said. “We sought the commitment from the agency heads and the sponsors of the budget for funding. We are happy that the Lower House already included the line item for medical examination,” Castro said.
Tinio expressed hope that such provision will be partially implemented and that more or less P350 million will be allocated for the medical examination of all 700,000 public school teachers in one year.
The officials of the DBM and DepEd are expected to hold consultations regarding the matter.
Castro said Congress should ensure that the medical examination provision from the Magna Carta of Public School Teachers would always be funded.
“We urge Congress to ensure the funding for the medical examination provision from the Magna Carta of Public School Teachers and finally head the long-standing call of public school teachers for free medical examination and treatment,” she said.