A group on Monday, Aug. 8, decried the flagrant violation of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers as the Department of Education (DepEd) allegedly continues to “oblige” teachers to work on supposed rest days without proper compensation.
“Walang awa ang DepEd sa mga guro. Ipinagkakait na ang karapatan sa pahinga ay dinadaya pa sa karampatang kompensasyon (DepEd has no mercy for teachers. It is denying their right to rest and it is even cheating them of adequate compensation),” said Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
Basilio alleged that DepEd has made it a “habit” to make teachers work without proper compensation.
In School Year (SY) 2020-2021 for instance, Basilio said that DepEd already “owes” the teachers 77 days of overwork when the agency made them work for 13 months without a break.
For SY 2021-2022, ACT said that DepEd even “extended” the work of teachers up to three weeks. “Sa pagsisimula naman ng SY 2022-2023, kulang ang itinakdang kapalit na service credits sa pagsisilbi sa enrolment at Brigada Eskwela (As for the start of SY 2022-2023, there is a lack of service credits set for enrollment and Brigada Eskwela),” he added.
The group invoked sections 13 and 14 of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers mandating the payment of a daily rate plus 25 percent for work outside their regular work schedule and beyond the teaching duties.
Basilio said that teachers have the right to two months of rest after 10 months of continuous work in a school year. This, he explained, is the only leave credits of teachers in exchange for the absence of sick leave and vacation leave.
"Abusado ang DepEd sa pagsasabing walang legal basis ang 2 buwan na pahinga ng mga guro samantalang ito ang kalakaran sa mahabang panahon (DepEd is abusive in saying that there is no legal basis for the two-month break for teachers when this has been the practice for a long time),” Basilio stressed.
ACT maintained that all school calendars before the pandemic “respected” this right of teachers except for the last two years of former Education Secretary Leonor Briones and during the time of Vice President Sara Duterte who sits as DepEd Secretary in a concurrent capacity.
“Teachers are workers too whose labor rights should be protected,” Basilio said. “We should be protected against labor abuse which is what DepEd is doing in asserting that teacher's work schedules depend on their whim,” he added.
Believing that what DepEd is doing has no legal basis, ACT asserted that teachers should be paid an additional compensation of their daily rate plus 25 percent for all days between June 24, 2022, to August 22, 2022, that they were made to work.
“We also call on DepEd to immediately compensate the 77 days of excess workdays that teachers were obliged to work in SY 2020-2021,” he added.
DepEd, on the other hand, has yet to issue an official statement on the matter.