The Alliance of Concerned Teachers slammed public education agencies from various regions following the dismissal of provisional teachers and threats of displacement to some should they fail to meet a 100 percent enrollment turnout for school year 2020 to 2021.
ACT said that there were public education agencies in Regions 1, 4-A, 7, 12, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) who did not renew thousands of provisional teachers, while Department of Education (DepEd) officials in different regions have reportedly threatened the transfer of teachers to other schools.
In statement released Sunday, ACT said that it argued in a complaint lodged to DepEd on July 23 that the dismissal and threats of displacement are "inhumane" and go against the requirement for more teachers in the implementation of the agency’s basic education-learning continuity plan amid the uncontained pandemic and worsening economic conditions.
“This is the latest in DepEd’s string of deplorable moves as we face the COVID-19 pandemic and the insecurity the government’s failed response has caused on people’s lives, livelihoods, and rights. Adding now to the record-high unemployment stats are thousands of provisional teachers who were laid off in violation of RA 10533, and amid shortages in teachers who are tasked to deliver DepEd’s BE-LCP,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
ACT said that Section 8 (a) of Republic Act 10533 or the act that overhauled the Philippine basic education system and introduced the K-to-12 curriculum allows teachers to render service up to five years, pending their passage of the Licensure Exam for Teachers.
However, those who were recently dismissed by DepEd have only been in service for three years. On the other hand, the transfer of teachers who don’t meet their "enrollment quota" will violate Section 6 of RA 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, ACT said.
The group also said that DepEd should be working towards strengthening the education system, whose weaknesses were severely exposed during the health and economic crisis.
“Education’s frontliners are teachers and staff, and currently we don’t have enough to meet the mounting demands of the service in the midst of the pandemic. It’s only reasonable and just that these provisional teachers be reinstated, and more teachers be hired to optimize our learning machinery. DepEd can start by absorbing retrenched private school teachers, while also fulfilling the requisites to enable current teachers to perform their work,” said Basilio.