By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
A teachers’ group thanked the Department of Education (DepEd) for fast-tracking the release of the salaries of its personnel, saying this will be a big help amid the continuing health crisis brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), expressed gratitude to DepEd under the leadership of Education Secretary Leonor Briones. “We thank DepEd Sec. Liling Briones [for their] punctual response,” said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas.
TDC also thanked all other DepEd personnel who continue to perform their tasks and duties amid the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon. Basas said that the group are also grateful to “non-teaching personnel who take risks just to give the teachers’ salary earlier for the month of March and April.”
Basas noted that DepEd employees, both teaching and non-teaching personnel, are “still blessed because we have a salary.” In a phone interview with Manila Bulletin, Briones said salaries of teachers and other personnel for April are expected to be “paid in full” within this week.
While thankful for the early “blessing,” Basas urged their fellow teachers to extend help to those in need. “We’re still blessed not like many of our compatriots who rely on daily income to feed the family so if we can, let’s help our neighbors in need,” he added.
Earlier, DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said that Briones has already “relayed the direction and instructions” to all regional directors (RDs) on the release of salaries and other benefits.
Sevilla noted that among the urgent priorities of DepEd is the release of March and April salaries of its employees, including those who are regular/plantilla, Contract of Service (COS) and consultants.
DepEd is also preparing clothing/uniform allowance (CUA) which is subject to guidelines as well as other benefits such as Performance Based Bonus for 2018 and hazard pay if the DBM “will allow or release the funds.”
Sevilla said the DepEd is fast-tracking the release of salaries because “we want our finance staff/workforce to stay at home too when public health situation worsen and not to let them be exposed to risks and hazards while they do their work and process needed salaries and benefits of workers.”
While it continues to exert effort to fast-track benefits and salaries for its personnel, Sevilla noted that since the DepEd workforce is “almost a million already” the “processing of compensation and benefits takes time.
“We need to proactively process and prepare documents until they reach the banks for remittance to employees accounts,” Sevilla said. “We need to take into consideration the urgency of the tasks and at the same time follow existing financial policies and guidelines,” she added.
Amid the health crisis, Sevilla said that DepEd continues to take care of the welfare of its employees “with an advice to spend their salaries and benefits with prudence and to prioritize health needs specially at this challenging time.”