By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
An organization of private school teachers and personnel on Tuesday urged the Duterte administration to come up with an “economic and social safety net” to ensure the health, welfare, and protection of rights of all employees in different private schools, colleges, and universities nationwide.
The Alliance of Concerned of Teachers (ACT) Private Schools said that the government should address the concerns of affected sectors, particularly the livelihood of the marginalized.
Affiliated with the ACT-Philippines, the ACT-Private Schools is a progressive, militant, and nationalist organization of private school teachers, academic non-teaching personnel, and non-academic non-teaching personnel.
ACT-Private Schools had earlier launched an appeal to press concerned agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), and Department of Education (DepEd) to “create and impose” relevant policies and programs not only to subsidize medical and other basic necessities of private school personnel but also to secure the promotion and employment status of all probationary and tenured private school employees as the government positions its greater effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease or COVID-19. The appeal continues to gather signatures online.
ACT Private Schools urged DepEd and CHEd to “require all private education institutions to conduct democratic consultations among its stakeholders to create guidelines for flexible work arrangements as the suspension of face-to-face classroom sessions continue indefinitely.”
The group also urged the government to “hasten the process” of financial assistance distribution such as the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP). It highlights the “grave need for an inclusive and non-constricting” set of qualifications and guidelines, as it seeks for comprehensive and transparent action plan in order to ease the economic effects of the Luzon-wide implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.
ACT Private Schools said that its public health demands were derived through consultations with private school teachers and personnel so as to “accurately depict the realities and needs of education workers and provide sensible recommendations to further better the existing programs and systems of the government.”
The group also urged the Duterte administration to heed the demands of all academic and non-academic personnel from private basic and tertiary education institutions.
“While this pandemic may be termed novel, the solution it requires is never different. The people are united and resolute to defeat COVID 19 and they hold as well the best solutions to the crisis—ones that put first the rights of the people whose lives the government purportedly aim to protect,” the group said. “To heal as one, all the government must do is listen to and be guided by the voices from the quarantine in employing a comprehensive and rights-based approach to resolve the crisis,” it said.