‘Spare us your empty messages’: Group slams gov’t, DepEd ahead of the World Teachers’ Day celebration

Published October 4, 2021, 7:34 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Ahead of the World Teachers’ Day (WTD) celebration on Oct. 5, a group of education stakeholders launched its demands that would push for the rights and welfare of teachers.

Photo from Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) launched its 5-WTD demands that would help ensure the education sector’s rights and welfare amid health and economic crisis brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The group detailed how “overworked, underpaid, and undersupported” teachers are amid the pandemic. Its members also pointed out the “worsening state neglect and fascist attacks” against the education sector.

ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said that the WTD is for teachers. “We call on DepEd and the rest of the Duterte admin—spare us your empty messages of gratitude for teachers this year,” he said. “This year, we urge you to simply listen and act on our just demands,” he added.

The group’s “5 WTD Demands” consist of:

1)Salary upgrading 2)Overtime compensation 3)Laptop & P1,500 a month internet allowance for teachers, and gadgets and P10,000 pandemic aid for students 4)P3,000 inflation adjustment allowance for teachers 5)P10,000 honorarium for teacher-poll workers.

ACT’s online petition for which has so far garnered 1,808 signatures in under a week.

The group said that each demand is being forwarded through various means: dialogues with concerned agencies, lobbying for legislative measures in Congress and Senate, school-based actions, picket-protests, and—soon—through a mass leave.

“These demands stand on strong grounds,” Basilio said. “They have time and again been raised in reports gathered by our unions, validated in surveys participated in by thousands of teachers, carefully analyzed and studied with them, and consulted with stakeholders and experts in labor rights and laws,” he added.

Photo from Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)

Basilio also criticized the Department of Education (DepEd) for its “shameless attempts to invalidate our calls and dampen our resolve to fight for teachers’ rights and welfare.”

“Our teachers have been struggling for too long because of DepEd and Duterte’s extreme neglect and incompetence, we will take no more of it,” Basilio added.

Aside from economic demands, ACT also highlighted the issues and demands of their members from tertiary education institutions in the public and private sector.

Among those raised in the press conference were private schools’ and their teachers’ calls for aid and protection amid the grave effects of the pandemic, as well as their clamor for academic freedom amid “intensifying state attacks.”

On Oct. 5, education workers from basic to higher education and from public and private schools and universities will jointly hold protests to commemorate WTD.

They are also expected to hold various forms of protests and campaigning for their demands in the weeks to follow.