By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Members of a teachers’ federation on Monday picketed outside the Central Office of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Pasig City complaining of a cashless heart’s day celebration or “No Cash on Valentine’s” (NCoV) day.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines said that thousands of its members face another form of NCoV due to the continued delay in the release of teachers’ benefits such as the 2018 Performance-based Bonus (PBB), special hardship allowance (SHA), and the remaining Php3,000 of the Php10,000 Service Recognition Incentive (SRI).
The group hit DepEd for its “negligence and inefficiency in administering teachers’ entitlements” – especially as the Salary Standardization Law (SSL-5) pay adjustment. The said pay hike, according to ACT, is not only “measly” but it is four months delayed as well.
“Amid the failure of the SSL 5 to provide due and sufficient pay hike, teachers’ economic rights continue to be assailed by this government,” said ACT Chairperson Joselyn Martinez. “The delay in the release of our bonuses, which supposedly recognize our hard work, and the SHA, which is essential in the duty performance of classroom teachers’ assigned to hardship posts, causes huge distress to us and our families who struggle to get by with our meager pay and rising costs of living,” she added.
The group alleged that DepEd failed to “timely process these entitlements” and slammed the agency’s “lack of urgency” in handling such matters. ACT said that DepEd’s moves “reek of the government’s disregard and gross negligence of its workers.”
ACT said that these add up to the agency’s “offenses against teachers” which include its continued lack of support to teachers’ standing fight for livable wages. “DepEd owes teachers big time as we bear the brunt of their inefficiency and negligence,” Martinez said. “Every delay in their processing, every slack on their part means further struggle for us and our families,” she added.
ACT demanded for the immediate release of the benefits and incentives that will give teachers’ a much-needed economic relief. It also called on DepEd to “support the call of its employees for decent pay” – specifically their call for the upgrading of teachers’ salary grade level from 11 to salary grade 15 and the raising of non-teaching personnel’s minimum pay to Php16,000.
Teachers, Martinez said, will “not stand for this” alleged neglect and noted that the DepEd and the rest of the Duterte administration“must be held accountable.”