‘A sham’: ACT slams DepEd’s P5,000 distance learning support for teachers

Published March 1, 2021, 2:39 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Teachers, a group alleged, will be “swindled” by the government once more.

Following the announcement of Department of Education (DepEd) that a P5,000 cash allowance for teachers is allocated this year to support them under the distance learning, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) revealed that the benefit is “no more than repackaged old allowances which were actually slashed instead of raised.” 

(Photo by Jansen Romero / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

ACT, in a statement issued Monday, March 1, slammed DepEd for noting that the said allowance shall cover annual medical and physical examination expenses; internet and other communication expenses; and purchase of teaching supplies and materials.

“To reduce our teachers’ benefits but make it appear that they were granted increased allowances and improved support under distance learning, the government deceitfully lumped together our old benefits,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said. “As with the failed salary increase promise, the Duterte regime is swindling our teachers once more,” he added.

Basilio noted that the P5,000 allocated cash allowance for public school teachers in the 2021 general appropriations consists of the “unincreased P3,500 pre-pandemic cash allowance for purchase of teaching supplies, P500 old medical allowance; and P1,000 internet and communication allowance for the whole year” – which is considerably lower than the P300 monthly communication expense reimbursement granted in 2020 or the teachers’ P1,500 monthly internet allowance demand.

“The P1,000 internet allowance for the whole year is gravely insulting to our teachers who toil online for more than eight hours a day, including weekends, as this only amounts to P83 per month,” Basilios said.

Basilio asserted that providing for the teaching needs of teachers and ensuring their welfare is “integral in the delivery of quality education.” Thus, there is a need to to provide ample support for teachers in the conduct of distance learning.

ACT noted that the P3,500 cash allowance for teaching supplies should be increased to P5,000 at the minimum as teachers are pressed to provide for bond paper, ink and other materials for modules and activity sheets.

On top of this, Basilio said that teachers should be granted P1,500 monthly internet allowance, while the P500 medical allowance should be given as a separate benefit in accordance to the Magna Carta of Public School Teachers.

For Basilio, it is a “deceptive” move to lump together and decrease teachers’ existing benefits. “The President does not want to pilot test face-to-face classes in low-risk areas, and neither does he want to support distance learning – this only proves that this government does not care about the learning crisis that we have right now,” he ended.