Group claims World Teachers' Day 2021 as ‘day of protest’

Published October 5, 2021, 5:23 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The celebration of World Teachers’ Day (WTD) on Tuesday, Oct. 5, was marked with a protest by a group demanding decent pay, benefits, and support amid the health and socio-economic crises for education workers.

(Photo from ACT Philippines / Josh Pelaez)

Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines led a day of protest to register their “5 WTD” demands and to register their condemnation of the Duterte administration’s “continuing neglect” of teachers’ plight and of the education sector.

“As teachers remain overworked, underpaid, and undersupported by the Duterte admin, we are challenged yet again to take action and utilize our collective strength to forward the interests of our sector,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.

(Photo from ACT Philippines / Josh Pelaez)

The group also vowed that it will “exhaust all available measures, exercise our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms to better the conditions of millions of educators in the country and the state of Philippine education—not only for our benefit, but for the entire nation whom we continue to serve.”

The “5 WTD Demands” of ACT include salary upgrading; overtime compensation; support for teachers and learners: Laptops and P1,500 monthly internet allowance for teachers, gadgets and P10,000 pandemic aid for students; P3,000 inflation adjustment allowance; and P10,000 tax-exempt election service honorarium.

(Photo from ACT Philippines / Josh Pelaez)

As part of its yearly tradition, ACT led teachers in the streets of Manila and marched towards Mendiola to press the Duterte government to respond to their urgent demands. They denounced the President’s policy of “state abandonment and fascism” against education workers and institutions.

The group also hit the Department of Education (DepEd) for its “thinly veiled threats” against those who go on unauthorized leave.

(Photo from ACT Philippines / Josh Pelaez)

Early in the morning, ACT leaders trooped to DepEd Central Office to ring bells and alarms signifying that the agency’s “time is up” in fulfilling their mandate and pronouncements regarding teachers’ overtime.

The group also criticized the Duterte administration and DepEd for bringing “unmatched suffering to the education sector” which resulted in the “grave decline of access to and quality of education.”