Briones, Roque defend teachers against Mamba’s criticism

Published October 6, 2020, 9:28 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Department of Education (DepEd) and Malacañang on Tuesday took the side of the teachers against an “insensitive” comment made by a provincial governor on their current work set-up amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, during the Palace virtual presser with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, defended the teachers against the comment made by Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba accusing them of shortchanging the government by “drawing salaries while doing nothing” during this pandemic.

“Hindi naman totoo na walang ginagawa ang teachers, totoo na walang school for several months pero nag-undergo sila ng training (It’s not true that the teachers are not doing anything, while it’s true that the schools are closed for several months now but they undergo training),” Briones said.

Briones said that all public schools teachers need to undergo training since they will be using various learning delivery modalities on blended learning. “Master teachers developed the modules and the superintendents report and meet with us as we worked on the learning continuity plan,” she added.

While teachers were “not physically teaching” prior to the Oct. 5 school opening, Briones said that they were “given various tasks as part of the preparations for the school opening.”

Meanwhile, Roque agreed with Briones and commended the efforts of teachers. “Hindi po kami naniniwala na wala silang ginagawa at nagpapasalamat kami sa mga guro dahil ang tagumpay nitong blended learning ay nakasalalay din sa kanila (We don’t believe that the teachers are not anything and we’re actually thankful for them because the success of the blended learning also depends on them),” he added.

As of Oct. 5, DepEd data from the Office of the Field and Operations showed that there are 760,952 teachers who underwent training on the distance learning modalities.
Since June 1, DepEd has asked teachers to render services – either virtually or physically – to prepare for the formal opening of classes for School Year (SY) 2020-2021.

The  Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) also criticized Mamba for his “degrading” comment against “self-sacrificing” teachers. “This is totally uneducated and ungrateful,” the group added.

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) urged DepEd to produce a transparent report on school opening after receiving “disturbing” updates from the ground a day after the nationwide opening of classes in public schools.

ACT challenged DepEd officials to come up with a “more grounded and transparent” report on the real state of education continuity in the country.

ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio slammed DepEd for the late release of the amended school calendar dated Oct. 2. “Aside from the ridiculously late issuance of such, October 5 was supposed to be the start of formal conduct of classes but reports from the ground reveal that no such thing happened,” he said.

The main reason is the unavailability of parts or entire subject modules which forced teachers to “come up with alternative activities or rush the printing and sorting of learning materials.”