ACT concerned about safe school reopening

A federation of teachers on Wednesday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to view their criticisms and demands as efforts to ensure the safe reopening of classes on Oct. 5.

“DepEd must see that our criticisms and demands are in line with the objective of ensuring education safety, accessibility, and quality,” said Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

ACT also implored DepEd officials - especially at the national level - to meet with the members of the group and “join the growing clamor demanding the Duterte administration to prioritize education, especially amid the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, ACT Philippines also commended the National Capital Region (NCR) office of DepEd - led by Regional Director Malcolm Garma - for ordering on Aug. 26 the implementation of health measures for the personnel. This is after a virtual dialogue between the office and the ACT NCR Union last Aug. 21.

Basilio noted that following dialogues, ACT’s Metro Manila union finally received Garma’s commitment to “ensure its personnel’s safe back-to-work.” He noted that the Aug. 26 regional memo “reflected significant preventive measures we’ve long called for” —such as health screening by medical personnel, provision of PPEs, constant health monitoring, and the establishment or setting up of school clinics.

“These are important gains made possible by the union’s efforts and DepEd NCR’s dutiful heeding of teachers’ demands,” Basilio said. “This shall be emulated by the Central Office in the spirit of protecting education workers’ welfare,” he added.