Teachers identified with the Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC ) made use of the nation’s celebration of Araw ng Kagitingan—commemorating the valor of the soldiers who fought for freedom in Bataan and Corregidor in World War II – to make their own appeal that they be liberated from so much clerical work required of them under a program called “Results-based Performance Management System” (RPMS).
For decades, they said, the Department of Education used a simplified Performance Appraisal System for Teachers (PAST). Starting 2012, however, they said, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) required the implementation of RPMS, which “requires the submission of documentation of practically everything that the teacher does.”
The new rigid system “steals the time of teachers for teaching,” the Coalition said. It called for a reduction of teachers’ clerical tasks. “The most important factor in the teaching and learning process is the time spent with the learners and not with documentation, which cannot be used to gauge teachers’ actual performance,” the TDC said.
Earlier this year, another teachers organization, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), spoke out against a program of the Philippine National Police in which police intelligence officers were said to be gathering a list of ACT members in the nation’s schools. The ACT is known to be a militant organization pushing not only for teachers’ interests but also for such causes as human rights and land reform.
Malacanang assured the teachers that the PNP was not moving against them and the PNP suspended the officers who had initiated the program. President Duterte, along with Secretary of Education Leonor Briones and then Secretary of Budget and Management Benjamin Diokno met with and invited the teachers to Malacanang. He then assured that they would soon get their salary increases. “Kayo ang isusunod ko this year.”
This issue of teachers’ salaries is probably at the root of complaints they have made on a variety of issues. At the beginning of President Duterte’s term in June, 2016, the nation’s civil servants – most especially the teachers and the uniformed services — looked forward to pay increases, one of the President’s campaign promises .
By January, 2018, the nation’s 172,000 military men and 170,000 policemen had their pay doubled. But Congress had to defer the teachers’ pay increases; they number 600,000 and over P300 billion would be needed to double their pay.
The teachers continue to hope for their long-promised pay increase. It may not be double like that of the military and policemen but it should be substantial enough. And the government should also be more open to their other complaints, such as that of the Teachers Dignity Coalition on the many clerical tasks and documentation that have been added to their basic task of teaching the nation’s children.