As the incoming Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), a group of education workers challenged Vice President Sara Duterte to “deliver on the promises that her father failed.”
The incoming DepEd Chief, who is the daughter of former President Duterte, was urged by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines to prioritize the welfare of teachers — among others.
“For one, she should push for significantly increasing teacher’s salaries to correct the distortion in the government salary scheme where teacher’s pay lag behind those of uniformed personnel and nurses,” ACT Philippines Spokesperson Vladimer Quetua said in a statement.
“This will relieve teachers of burdensome loans, improve their living conditions, lift their morale, and ultimately improve the quality of teaching and education,” he added.
While Duterte’s term starts at noon on Thursday, June 30, the Vice President and the former Education Secretary Leonor Briones agreed to hold a joint farewell and welcome ceremony on July 4.
Meanwhile, Quetua urged Duterte to “meet the government’s unpaid obligations to teachers” such as the overtime pay for 77 excess workdays which they have rendered for the school year (SY) 2020-2021, and compel Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately pay the additional honorarium of poll workers who rendered extended election service in the May 2022 elections.
Duterte, Quetua said, can also support the demands of teachers as well as other sectors to suspend the PhilHealth premium increase.
Apart from addressing teachers’ salaries and welfare, Quetua raised the need to “decisively” resolve the current learning crisis. This, he added, is another “great challenge” that Duterte should prioritize as the DepEd Secretary.
Quetua pointed out that during her father’s term, the country saw one of the longest school closures during the pandemic which “resulted in unprecedented learning crisis” as he repeatedly rejected the reopening of schools.
“She should rectify this by diligently working to meet the requirements for safe school reopening and rolling out an evidence-based education recovery program,” Quetua said.
Among the priorities of the new DepEd Secretary, Quetua said, is “objectively evaluating” the current education situation through nationwide student assessments and consultations with education stakeholders. He added that these can “effectively guide measures for addressing the learning crisis that plagues our education system.”
ACT also hoped that Duterte will be “up to these challenges and truly help our teachers and the whole education.”