By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Members and leaders of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines on Friday trooped to the central office of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Pasig City to urge its officials to engage in a dialogue on work arrangements of teachers and other concerns on school opening.
Holding a picket protest, the group demanded that officials face them in a dialogue regarding teachers’ concerns on work guidelines and school opening.
ACT alleged that the DepEd officials refused to act on its request despite letters requesting for a dialogue. The group wishes to raise the “legitimate concerns of teachers on the ground regarding work and school opening” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is the hilt of DepEd’s callousness and indifference to refuse to listen to the voice of its own employees, students, and parents who are filled with apprehension about its school opening plans,” said ACT Philippines Secretary General Raymond Basilio. “We are worrying about our health and safety here but all our officials can think about is their own performance evaluation,” he added.
Basilio also hit the “undemocratic governance” of DepEd and alleged that the agency’s officials have been rejecting formal requests for dialogues. “What are they afraid of?” he asked. “If they are so confident with their school opening plan and wishes for it to succeed through support of the people, it should all the more engage in two-way consultations,” he added.
ACT asserted the urgency of a need for dialogue as the at least one million DepEd employees have been “ordered to report physically” by next week, June 22, without so much as “acceptable health protection mechanisms” for teachers and staff.